What’s the price of a cocktail in NSW’s best bars? Which are the leading brands?

A look at what’s pouring in the bars of NSW right now.

What’s the price of a cocktail in NSW’s best bars? Which are the leading brands?

I’ve had a whirlwind week, with a visit to Adelaide to host at Paramount Liquor’s Future Proof show last week, followed by the six big days and nights of the drinkapalooza that is the Maybe Cocktail Festival, before last night judging the national final of the Cointreau Margarita Challenge (congratulations again to Keeley McAlinden from Centro 86 in Sydney). And I’m not done yet — tomorrow, Wednesday 17th I’m in Brisbane talking all things Bartenders’ Weekender — I’d love to say hi if you’re around.

That’s all to say that I’ve seen and spoken to a number of bar owners and bartenders the last week — more than usual. And the theme that keeps coming up is this: times are tough for bars out there right now. People don’t have the disposable income they did coming out of lockdowns, and they want more value for their dollar — they want something memorable.

That’s a theme I’ve been following all year, and doing some research into. Which leads me on to today’s big question:

What’s the price of a cocktail these days?

More specifically, what’s the price of a cocktail in the industry-leading bars in NSW?

It’s not the first time Boothby has answered questions like this. Back in February, we did the math and tallied the averages for drinks across the bars of Victoria — you can read that here, and last week we took a deep dive into the new list at Maybe Sammy in Sydney, tallying up the prices and looking at which brands were best represented on that menu — you can read that one here.

The prices between NSW and Victoria are relatively comparable, as you might expect, but when it comes to comparing Sydney and Melbourne, one city is around a dollar more expensive.

Behind the login wall below, you’ll find:

  • the results from surveying 511 cocktails from across 36 of the best bars in NSW (according to bartenders);
  • the average size of a cocktail list at these bars;
  • the average price of a cocktail in Sydney;
  • the top 20 brands with the most listings;
  • the top 10 spirits suppliers with the most listings in NSW’s best bars;
  • a breakdown of which spirit categories are most often represented on cocktail lists across NSW.