Best Apertif List

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Rockpool Bar & Grill

66 Hunter St, Sydney
(02) 8078 1900

CUISINE Steakhouse
WINE LIST Richard Healy
WINEs ON LIST 2732 (60 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($10-$350 by the glass)

The impressive collection of libations at Rockpool Bar & Grill is thoroughly deserving of Best Aperitif List. Insightful notes are knowledgeably and joyfully compiled to accompany a vast range of specialty spirits that span the globe. Seasonal cocktails are thoughtfully curated with an array of flavours. With a strong showing of pastis and amari, aperitivo hour certainly calls for a taste of Neil Perry’s favourite Italian sour. Martini mavens will delight in the range of gin, aromatised wine and vermouth, while seekers of the exotic can dive into Caribbean rum, tequila or Peruvian pisco.

For those with a fondness for Scotch, a remarkable array of warming drams from the Highlands, Lowlands and Islay awaits. Look out for rare editions from Port Ellen and Ladyburn. They are joined by Tasmanian, Irish, French, Canadian and Tennessee styles. Whatever your fancy, this treasure trove is guaranteed to please. Louise Radman


Apothecary 1878

118 Hindley St, Adelaide 
(08) 8212 9099

CUISINE European
WINE LIST Paola Coro
WINEs ON LIST 500+ (34 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($8-$22 by the glass)

Apothecary has not rested on its laurels, and for this owner/sommelier, Paola Coro is to be congratulated.  It is a fine list, championing stunning local wines from South Australia's best producers. However, Coro has a keen eye on what is happening in the rest of Australia, as well as New Zealand, with thoughtful inclusions.  What excites me the most is the lists' slow evolution, with a breadth of styles and vintages, so you can delight in combing through to discover a forgotten favourite with bottle age.  There are some new wave wines to satisfy the curious plus plenty of respected and trusted names to give comfort.  As for international wines, there are many well-priced options.  There's an excellent cellar of half bottles, plus numerous wines by-the-glass, and the aperitif/digestive selection is seemingly endless.

De Vine Food & Wine

32 Market St, Sydney
(02) 9262 6906

CUISINE Italian/ Mediterranean
WINE LIST Julian Izzillo
WINEs ON LIST 500 (40 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($11-$25 by the glass)

The wines of the Mediterranean - Italy, Spain and France, in particular - all come out to play on this delightful wine list. Sure, there might be grapes you've not heard of before like grenache blanc and monastrell but that's the joy of this list. It's not made up of the usual suspects and there are plenty of discoveries to be made. With 40 wines by the glass you could easily take a trip around the world, and what a pleasure it is to see vermouth and sherry elevated in status and given prominence.

CHAIRMAN'S COMMENTS: Apothecary 1878 remains among the finest places to enjoy an aperitif: cocktails to delight, a clever range of beers and ciders, exhilarating Champagne, and an outrageous collection of gin. De Vine makes a feature of cocktails, vermouth from different Italian regions, beers and Champagne.