Posts Tagged ‘vodka’


The Wigs Cellar – Queen Street, Melbourne

January 5, 2008

How many people reading this have heard of The Wigs Cellar before?  Maybe not so many.  But if I ask how many CBD workers or walkers have noticed that shop on Queen Street with literally hundreds of miniature bottles in the window, a few more of you might nod, with a vague sense of familiarity. Not exactly the most prone to advertise, the Wigs Cellar relies on the specialties it stocks to guarantee ongoing custom (as well as a CBD location).  

In addition to the weird and wonderful collection of miniature liqueurs and wines etc in the windows – which are actually for sale – the Wigs is a winner for anyone who treats fine alcohol and wine as a chance for exploration and adventure.  They are noted for their range of imported Absinthes,  with their website listing them by type (very considerate) including:  Doubs, La Fee, Jacques Senaux, Pernod, Terchenne and a handful more.  Also impressive is their range of blended and  single malt whisky – not only do they import new but they buy rarities from collectors (unopened, of course), so it is guaranteed you’ll find bottles here unavailable elsewhere in Australia – possibly even elsewhere in the world!   They list their single malt whisky by region (Islay, Highland, Speyside, Lowland) and have in addition to the regular export bottles you can find in most chain stores a number of special editions: Laphroaig Quarter Cask and rarely seen and harder to buy (at over $400 per bottle)  Ardbeg Lord of the Isles, plus – a personal highlight – a number of rare bottlings from Gordon and MacPhail and other specialty bottlers.  Single year limited barrel expressions are reasonably well stocked, and when you get a good one of these you should cherish it – they’ll rarely be available twice.  

Also of note is a wide range of sparklings including a good stock of imported champagne plus of course a wide variety of wines and collectible ports.  These aren’t really my area of expertise so I won’t speculate, just check their website or store.  I will also make mention of their comment-worthy range of imported vodkas – lots of lovely obscurities I’ve never tried but would be happy to work my way through them and the single malts…  

The best  thing about Wigs: the sheer variety, plus the Sherlock thrill of seeing a new rarity on the shelf. 

The downside: limited opening hours.  They’re the only bottle shop in the city not open after 7pm, the daft galahs, so forget a rush purchase. 


Ph: 03 9670 2753 172 Queen Street. Melbourne. 3000



Borsht, Vodka and Tears – Chapel Street, Windsor

January 3, 2008

OK I’m not the food expert around here – I’m hiring someone with actual tastebuds for that heavy responsibility. Also, there are any number of food blogs about Melbourne.  What I am confident about is vodka.  And if you like vodka – and absinthe – this is definitely a place you have to check out. 

The theme – and cuisine – is Polish:  dumplings, goulash, soups, Polish sausages, the namesake dish borscht… I’ve tried the borscht there and can highly recommend it.   The Polish connection also instantly explains the Vodka fetish.  Their website claims to have over 100 Vodkas on offer, with many being imported direct from Poland and unavailable elsewhere.  I can certainly vouch for having seen some fantastic flavoured vodkas there and brands I hadn’t seen elsewhere.  The honey vodka was exceptional.   So, indeed was the “methode traditionale” prepared Absinthe – complete with fire, sugar and spoon.  

Drinking Absinthe is an activity around which there exists a great deal of mythology, particularly regarding the psychoactive effects of wormwood, Absinthe’s most active ingredient.  There are many websites dedicated to explaining/debating the effects of Absinthe -some say Van Gogh cut his own ear off after too much. Some say you can see the future, others say that you just get very drunk (the alcohol content is very high: approx 60 to 70% on average).  I certainly felt elevated and a little stirred (not shaken) after a glass of their absinthe: more so than most other absinthes I’ve tasted commercially.  
Whether it’s for the Green Fairy’s brew or for one of the many amazing Vodkas on offer – or even to satiate the carnivorous lusts with sausage and dumpling – I recommend a visit to Borscht, Vodka and Tears.  Do book on weekends though… it’s not a big restaurant. 

The best thing about VBT: trying a new vodka every time and knowing it will be years before you run out of new flavours to sample.  the absinthe.  

The downside: on weekends it can get pretty packed with Chapel Street types.  You know what I mean – or if you don’t you’ll soon find out.  

 Details: 73 Chapel Street Windsor 3181  Tel: [03] 9530 2694 

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