Becoming Alice @ The Understudy, Melbourne

I’m not exaggerating when I say I felt a little disorientated as I ventured through the enticing doors below the Melbourne CBD bar 1806. Disorientated in all the right ways I may add. Colours and faces fill your head as you venture through the beautiful wooden doors. I had entered The Understudy.

The creatures, out of a mysterious version of Alice and Wonderland become your drinking partners. Taste me, drinks me they say…I dare you to resist.

At one point I found myself wondering if I drank a certain drink, would I shrink like Alice? On this particular occasion I unfortunately stayed human size for the whole evening. I have secret hopes that one day this may change…

I did however taste some remarkable cocktails. Leaving our drinking fate in the hands of the knowledgeable manager Nick Reed, my drinking companion and I found ourselves trying two of The Understudy’s offerings. The first was the Szechuan House, a combination of Pisco, spiced watermelon syrup, lemon juice, and Cinzano Rosso. It was finished with a pink peppercorn salt rim. When I heard what was in the drink I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I was very wrong. This drink was the epitome of refreshing. It was crisp and beautiful and the pink peppercorn salt rim added a unique and welcome surprise to the taste.

The other drink that we sampled was the slightly controversial Nieve. This was a combination of Tequila, avocado, soy milk and cinnamon. Another surprising taste sensation, this drink was creamy and nutty with a kick from the Tequila.  The richness of the drink would prevent me from drinking it all night, but I really enjoyed it.

While not as extensive as the cocktail offering upstairs at 1806, the knowledge and time that has gone into these drinks really shows. Those not interested in cocktails can of course drink from the wine and beer offering here, but I do have to say, to come to a place like this and not order at least one cocktail would be a real shame.

As we sipped our cocktails, it felt like Tom Waits was talking to me and the all seeing eye of the rabbit was watching me. There is something very intoxicating and alluring about The Understudy. It’s the power of the sounds, the smells and the wondrous creations you’ll find yourself drinking. I warn you dear readers…you might find yourself doing something you would never expect, you’ll certainly find yourself drinking something you’d never imagine.

So go forth, explore the unexpected and do something a little out of the ordinary… just for me.

Welcome to The Understudy…


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