The Empire Strikes Bax by Hayden Lambert

Hayden Lambert created the Empire Strikes Bax as an off-menu special in his time as head bartender at Bar Americano in the Melbourne CBD.

Here’s a drink that has stuck with its creator. In a time when bartenders throw out the cocktails they create for their list with every new menu change, this Empire Strikes Bax has been with Hayden Lambert since he created it a forerunner to it back in 2013.

Lambert created the drink as an off-menu special in his time as head bartender at Bar Americano in Presgrave Place, in the Melbourne CBD.

It landed on the list when Above Board opened in 2016 with some tweaks and a new name. It employs ingredients familiar to those who have had the chance to step inside what must be Melbourne’s smallest small bar: coffee, Amaro Montenegro, Italian vermouth and Campari.

The drink is also named for Lambert’s boss at the time, Bar Americano owner and one of Australia’s most original bar thinkers, Matt Bax. Turns out Bax is a big Star Wars nerd, and that Empire Strikes Back is his favourite movie from the series.

Empire Strikes Bax


  • 25ml Amaro Montenegro
  • 25ml Cinzano Rosso
  • 25ml cold drip coffee
  • 15ml Campari
  • 7.5ml sugar syrup
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters


  1. Add all ingredients to a Cobbler shaker.
  2. Add one large ice cube, shake well.
  3. Strain into a small, cold highball glass.
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