The Boothby Drink of the Year Awards are a celebration of how we drink right now.
If you ask us, our bars make some of the best drinks in the world, and the Boothby Drink of the Year Awards represents our effort to shine a light on the drinks — and the bartenders behind them — that make the drinking in Australia as good as it is.
The drinks here are those drinks bartenders serve to their punters night in and night out — drinks that people (and our judges) love. They've been ranked by a panel of 100 industry judges — experienced bartenders, bar owners, and industry personalities — and the drinks here give us a little taste of how we drink at bars in 2022.
The Boothby Top
50 Drinks of the Year
A play on hot and cold temperatures, this is a drink by Michael Chiem that has its own tee shirt.
Ingredients: Mr Black, native wattleseed cola, coconut foam.
2. H.S.L. Special
Inspired by the Bramble, this drink is named for its creator, Hayden Lambert.
Ingredients: Amaro Montenegro, creme de mure, lime juice, sugar syrup, absinthe.
3. Tiramisu Milk Punch
A bartender favourite Milk Punch by Darren Leaney.
Ingredients: Rum, muscat, coffee, biscuits, milk.
Luke Whearty's love letter to Victorian winter citrus.
Ingredients: Victorian yuzu, citrus coconut ice, Geraldton wax pow pow.
Melbourne bar Byrdi was also awarded the Drinks List of the Year 2022 for its innovative, beautifully designed menu.
5. Salted Piña Colada
Possibly the best Piña Colada we've ever had. A recipe by Michael Chiem.
Ingredients: White rum, aged cold pressed pineapple, lime juice, Coco Lopez, Murray River flaked salt.
6. Sea & Shell
Pearl Diver Cocktails & Oysters
A complex Martini served with an olive oyster from Alex Boon.
Ingredients: oyster shell gin, coastal dry vermouth, verjuice, orange bitters.
7. Clare de Lune
An elegant exploration of grape and pear from Nick Corletto.
Ingredients: Pisco, Lillet Blanc, quince eau de vie, clarified pear juice, vanilla syrup, jasmine tea oil.
8. Japanese Slipper No. Blue
The Australian modern classic made blue by Nick Tesar.
Ingredients: Yuzushu, melon liqueur, blue curacao, gin, water.
Double Deuce Lounge
A clarified Milk Punch built on tequila and coffee by Oliver Churcher.
Ingredients: Anejo tequila, cold brew, maple, whey, salt.
Unexpected flavours and fresh fruit star in this drink by Harrison Kenney.
Ingredients: Silver tequila, fino sherry, simple syrup, lime juice, celery juice, kiwifruit puree, vanilla olive oil.
11. The Prince & The Showgirl
A twist on the Ramos Gin Fizz, the drink is inspired by Marilyn Monroe and comes from Sarah Proietti.
Ingredients: Gin, peach wine, honey macadamia cream, egg white, champagne acid, simple syrup, peach & jasmine soda, coconut veil.
12. House Martini
A super-cold, always delicious Martini by Rob Libecans.
Ingredients: Plymouth gin, house vermouth.
13. Shady Lane
A smart, stirred down and elevated riff on the rum and Coke from Liv Kelly.
Ingredients: Pecan dark rum, oloroso sherry, cola spice syrup.
14. Margarita OK!
The signature Margarita of Cantina OK! from Jeremy Blackmore.
Ingredients: high-proof tequila, mezcal, lime juice, sugarcane syrup, shaved ice.
15. Pandan Airways
Old Mate's Place
A refreshing and moreish fixture of the Old Mate's Place list by Sarah Mycock.
Ingredients: Young coconut, pandan and strawberry gin, sugar, verjuice.
16. Blinky Bill
A long and refreshing drink using super-local ingredients by Jack Connor.
Ingredients: eucalyptus vodka, strawberry gum vodka, lime leaf vodka, quandong gentian liqueuer, verjus, aloe vera, soda.
17. Back To Black
A carbonated, flavoursome and refreshing drink by Matt Whiley.
Ingredients: Blackened pumpkin brains distillate, bourbon, lacto koji water, blackened banana 'honey', osmosis water.
18. Fallen Fruit
A drink by Luke Whearty that gives new life to old wine.
Ingredients: Poached pear, verjuice caramel, curry leaf, nitro sorbet.
Dean & Nancy on 22
A Manhattan-style drink by inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat from Krisztian Csigo.
Ingredients: Coconut oil fat-washed rye, vermouth, Cherry Heering, peaty whisky, bitters.
20. Pavlova Milk Punch
Channeling the flavours of the classic pavlova, and smartened up by Jenna Hemsworth.
Ingredients: White rum, strawberry & vanilla milk, passionfruit liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse, grapefruit btters, lime juice, sugar syrup.
21. Strawberry Gum Gimlet
This Gimlet riff by Shirley Yeung employs native ingredients and fresh fruit flavours.
Ingredients: Gin, lemon juice, strawberry gum & cucumber syrup, elderflower liqueur.
Jacoby's Tiki Bar
Jacoby's take on the all time tiki classic is a collab between Pasan Wijesena, Sam Pinerri, and Dan Hunt.
Ingredients: Jacoby's House Grog, overproof rum, violette liqueur, apricot brandy, passionfruit syrup, orgeat, falernum, lime juice, absinthe.
23. Rum & Coke Spritz
This drink by Sion Roberts is a Rum & Coke — just not as you know it.
Ingredients: Vanilla rum, yuzushu, cacao husk cordial, prosecco, lavender hojicha, soda, white chocolate.
Long Chim Perth
An exploration of all things lychee by Eoin Kenny.
Ingredients: Lychee, gin, lime leaf fino sherry, blackberry distillate.
Double Deuce Lounge
An updated and flavoursome take on the Sea Breeze by Oliver Churcher.
Ingredients: Vodka, lime leaf acid, grapefruit syrup, cranberry juice.
26. Mary Celeste
A savoury-style of Martini by Alex Gondzioulis.
Ingredients: Olive oil gin, lemon juice, dry flor apera, clarified watermelon cordial, dill vinegar.
Eileen's Bar at Four Pillars Lab
A clarified and gin-focused homage to the Pina Colada, from James Irvine.
Ingredients: Gin, coconut whey, pinepaple, lime leaf.
28. The Coffee Negroni
A clear, coffee-fied Negroni variation by Michael Nicolian.
Ingredients: Campari, sweet vermouth, coffee gin, citrus.
29. 22nd Century
A barrel-aged take on the 20th Century cocktail by Adam Lau.
Ingredients: Sloe gin, gin, Lillet Blanc, cacao, Muyu Jasmine Verte, clarified lemon juice, grenadine, oak.
A long, Spritzy drink by Andie Bulley.
Ingredients: Citrus vodka, clarified lychee and blueberry wine, soda water.
31. Cold Irish Coffee
The classic Irish Coffee made anew for a warmer climate by Martin Hudak.
Ingredients: Irish whiskey, honey sugar mix, filter coffee, double cream.
32. Over & Above
Hanky Panky Lounge
Using local botanicals and Mango, a Darwin take on tequila by Anneliese Grazioli.
Ingredients: Anejo tequila, mango vermouth, Campari, lemon myrtle olive oil.
33. Cup O Joe
Memphis Slim's House of Blues
A bourbon-led take on the Espresso Martini from by Michael Keogh.
Ingredients: Coffee bean bourbon, coffee bean cognac, Averna, cold brew coffee, vanilla syrup.
34. Hills of Savocca
This Jason Williams creation is a Southside riff made textural with milk-washed gin.
Ingredients: Milk-washed gin, orange syrup, lemon juice, mint, lavender bitters.
35. Pike Place Mule
Memphis Slim's House of Blues
Named for the Pike Place Markets in Seattle and from the hand of Michael Keogh.
Ingredients: Burnt butter & sage Bacardi, ginger-infused Lillet Blanc, plum & makrut lime syrup, lime juice.
A light, floral and long drink by Nicholas Sebar.
Ingredients: Fino sherry, dry vermouth, orange bitters, strawberry & nasturtium tea, strawberry syrup, lemon juice, carobonated.
37. Belle of Barbados
Nick & Nora's Melbourne
A tiki-style, frappe'd, complex and punchy drink by Kayla Reid.
Ingredients: Pineapple rum, absinthe, amontillado sherry, bitters, house pineapple caramel, orange juice, lime juice, coconut cream, cream.
38. Buttered Pecan
Inspired by butter pecan ice cream, this silky cocktail comes from Ellery Low.
Ingredients: Bourbon, butter, toasted pecan, Licor 43, saline, orange bitters.
39. Up In Smoke
This spicy, smokey number was created by Jacopo Montis.
Ingredients: Angel Hair chilli pineapple rum, Islay whisky, amaretto, pineapple skins syrup, bitters.
40. California Soul
Earl's Juke Joint
This is the Earl's take on a Spicy Marg, from Dale Schoon.
Ingredients: Blanco tequila, ,mezcal, dry curacao, lemon juice, mandarin syrup, chilli.
41. Large Hadron Colada
A stirred-down elevation of the Pina Colada by David Fowler.
Ingredients: Coconut fat-washed pineapple rum, Cocchi Americano, raw sugar syrup, unaged agricole rhum.
A Martini-style drink that champions mezcal by Ellery Low.
Ingredients: Mezcal, nixta corn liqueur, Ancho Reyes Verde, agave syrup, salt, orange bitters.
Beneath Driver Lane
A Clover Club-inspired cocktail from Melanie Hack.
Ingredients: Vodka, first press pineapple juice, sumac and rhubarb syrup, lime juice, rhubarb bitters, saline.
Dean & Nancy on 22
A smoky and fun cocktail inspired by the pyramids of Giza from Stefano Filardi.
Ingredients: Vodka, coffee liqueur, Islay whisky, hibiscus burnt honey, raspberry, filter coffee.
45. Thistle Grasshopper
Petr Dvoracek's foraged homage to the classic Grasshopper.
Ingredients: Sow thistle, absinthe, creme de menthe, orange blossom, cream.
Employing Par's wine-like approach to cocktails, from the hand of Tony Huang.
Ingredients: Bourbon, peach liqueur, Xoclatl Mole Bitters, Allee Trop Loin Tropical Blanc wine, soda, peach tea, apple cider vinegar.
47. Chloe Amour
A riff on the modern classic Pornstar Martini, from Liam Gavin.
Ingredients: Tequila, passionfruit fino sherry, salted fig syrup, lime juice, passioifruit wine.
A low-ABV riff on the Negroni by Luke Kelly.
Ingredients: Absinthe, Cocchi Americano, fino sherry, Campari.
49. Tajin Tommy's
A spicy twist on the Tommy's Margarita from Hobart's Etien Celzner.
Ingredients: Szechuan spiced reposado tequila, lime juice, miso, mango & red chilli spiced agave syrup.
50. Hook Turn
A riff on the Manhattan by Nat Yao.
Ingredients: Whisky, cream sherry, Aperol, coffee amaro, chocolate bitters.
Here's how it works.
- From September 15th 2023, bartenders are invited to enter their drink in the awards. The big overarching rule? It’s got to be a drink that has been on the list or regularly available during the past 12 months — this isn’t a cocktail competition, but a recognition of the top quality drinks our bars serve year in and year out. You’ll need a good photo of the drink, one of yourself (or the bartender who made the drink), the recipe, and some more info. Entries close 11:59PM AEDT October 31st 2023.
- The entries are winnowed down to the Top 50 Drinks of the Year by Boothby and a small panel of industry advisors. These will be showcased online at boothby.com.au at the beginning of November.
- The public is then invited to cast their votes for the People’s Drink of the Year presented by Orlando, and a 100-plus person panel of industry experts casts their votes to determine the order of the Top 50, the winner of Drink of the Year presented by Patrón Tequila, and the winner of Drinks List of the Year presented by The London Essence Co.
- Get ready to party at the invite-only Boothby Drink of the Year Awards in Sydney in late November 2023. This is when we count from 50 all the way down to number one, stopping to present the People’s Drink of the Year 2023, the Drinks List of the Year 2023, and the Drink of the Year 2023.
Got questions? Email us at email@example.com.
When do entries open?
Entries into the Boothby Drink of the Year Awards open in September 2023.
Can I enter a classic cocktail?
Yes, you can. But the classic drinks that have the best chance of making the Top 50 are those which are served a certain way that the bar is known for, for example: the Martini made at The Connaught in London, or the Dead Rabbit’s Irish Coffee in New York.
Can NZ bars enter?
Yes — in 2023, we have plans to open the Awards to the best drinks in NZ, too!
Does the drink need have been created in the last 12 months?
No it doesn’t. And in fact, we’d love to see drinks entered into the awards that have stood the test of time at a bar.
Does it have to be a cocktail I enter?
Not necessarily, no it doesn’t. You could have a particular G&T that is well known and served in a certain way, or it might be a house ferment you make, or even a non-alcoholic drink you pull together. The point is that it’s delicious, and somewhere along the line a bartender is making it. So no, the VB throwdowns at Old Mate’s Place are not what we’re looking for (though we agree — they’re delicious).