The city swill: what Sydneysiders are drinking right now

Tastes change — here's the six drinks Sydneysiders are drinking in 2022.

The city swill: what Sydneysiders are drinking right now

There’s a buzz around town this past week. People are coming back to bars in a big way and I’ve noticed a few random drinks getting more airtime than usual.

I work in a pretty busy bar in the Sydney’s CBD. We serve thousands of drinks a week. I’ve collated a few that seem to be called out on the reg, and I also asked a few friends (who work in other bars) about the drinks that have been pretty popular over the holiday period.

So Sydney, this is what you’re drinking right now.

Spicy Margarita

I’m a pretty opinionated old prick when it comes to the drinks game and I have a little saying for the next generation: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The Margarita is perfect. Please stop fucking with it! If you want something spicy, go watch an episode of MAFS.

Is this your jam? Try ordering this next: The Penicillin: Two whiskies, citrus, honey and ginger. It won’t cure you of the rona, but it will tingle on your tongue.

Amaretto Sour

I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be making more cocktails than simple mixed drinks, but I seriously think I’m making so many Amaretto Sours of late, it’d rival the Vodka & Soda.

This is, to be fair, a pretty yummy drink. If I had any criticism, it’s potentially too damn sweet. If you try Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s version however, it’s more balanced and it has bourbon  — so it’s obviously better.

If you really want to mess with the spec, I’d recommend adding a whisky with some serious smoke (like Laphroaig).

Is this your jam? Try ordering this next: The Delicious Sour — apple and peach brandy, citrus and sugar. It’s all in the name. This is the most underrated drink on earth.

Here’s what makes the Amaretto Sour recipe tick
The Amaretto Sour doesn’t make for a bad drink, it’s just one that tends to be a touch on the sweet side for many — but that can be fixed.

Charlie Chaplin

This old classic has somehow made its way into mainstream drinking culture’s vernacular. A simple, straightforward sloe gin sour. To me it’s like going down on a jar of overly sweetened cherries but, hey man, whatever floats your boat.

Like this drink? Order this next time: Jack Rose — applejack, citrus and grenadine. It’s amazing!


The Negroni will never go away and it probably shouldn’t. I used to pound Negronis but admittedly, I’ve gone off them for a few years; mainly due to my addiction to flavourless lager and shots of bourbon. After making a bunch of variations a few nights ago for a guest, I think I could be back on the sweet/bitter train. I find it crazy that it’s been around in popular culture for so long, yet I still have people tell me how they’ve ‘discovered this new drink from Italy.’ What a world!

Is this your jam? Try this next:  Negroni Sbagliato. It’s a Negroni but you take out the gin and add sparkling wine in its place. If you add loads of champagne on top, it’s actually the best.

Above Board’s Negroni recipe is a recipe we love
The Negroni. The classic Italian aperitivo cocktail continues to grow in popularity, and for years it has been the drink of choice of off-duty winemakers and thirsty bartenders. There’s few drinks that can beat it before a meal, and it’s one cocktail you can reliably get in both
The Negroni Sbagliato: when messing up makes history
The Negroni Sbagliato is proof that sometimes you don’t just learn from your mistakes — sometimes you get a classic drink from being wrong.


It’s pretty safe to call it now. The Penicillin is officially a “classic” cocktail. I can’t think of a drink that has been created in the last twenty years that comes close to this flavour monster. It’s not just a secret industry drink anymore, regular folk request it, multiple times on a nightly basis. I’m just going to say it: it’s better than a whisky sour.

Huge shout out to the creative genius that is Sam Ross, who probably wishes he could trademark this drink.

Sam Ross’ Penicillin cocktail is a smoky modern classic
The Penicillin cocktail is famed for its use of smoky, Islay whisky.

Cantina OK! Seltzer

Cantina OK! is literally a hole in the wall at the end of an alleyway off Clarence Street in Sydney’s CBD. It’s a compact little space that holds twenty people (with no seats) and they sling banging Margaritas and are always good for a chat.

Quite possibly my favourite bar, they’ve recently released a bottled Margarita Seltzer and people can’t seem to get enough of it.

My Instagram feed is constantly flooded with friends at BBQs and bars crushing these bad boys. I’ve never been a huge fan of seltzers but I do love to drink this when I’m thinking about what I want next. It’s usually another one of these.

OK! Sparkling Margarita Seltzer
Whoa! Here we go. Is this the best ready to drink beverage on the planet? Undoubtedly. Bringing together the most delicious cocktail on earth, the margarita, with a soda, from the best bar in Australia, Cantina Ok!, and we’ve found our own personal nirvana. This thing cools heatwaves. It throws stre…