If the streets of Kings Cross could talk, it would be a curious story, once home to salacious nightlife and the territory of many infamous characters, it was guaranteed to be an exotic night out. The bright lights and energy of the ‘Golden Mile’ have dimmed to flicker in recent years but with new openings like Kings Cross Distillery (KXD) returning some moxy to the mile, you can feel the pulse returning. The team behind KXD wanted to do exactly that, breathe some nightlife back into the Kings Cross neighbourhood.
KXD has taken home in the heart of The Cross in a former illegal casino, speakeasy and adult bookshop. It’s this ‘baggage’ that new hosts and spirit architect Odelia Potts used as inspiration for the KXD gins crafted onsite, weaved through cocktails and cuisine. It’s industrial-chic-warehouse-meets wine-cellar, exposed brick, luxe emerald leather chairs with touches of gold. A curved metal bar wraps around a gin menagerie. There is live music most nights, the acoustics amplify the modern ‘Frenchy’ jazz vibe through every room. Its booked out and buzzing throughout from the footpath, to the bar to the den in the back.
Without question, start with the classic “Sin and Tonique”, homage to the venues’ colourful history, this cocktail becomes theatre when drizzled with the violet coloured butterfly pea tea, it’s both beautiful and smooth. The “Pepperation Makes Perfect”, on the other hand will make you question what sort of G&T’s have you been drinking up to now – THIS is a G&T, strong and fragrant. Struggling to choose? The warm and very knowledgeable waiters will guide you or get you going on a tasting to identify your flavour preferences.
Executive Chef, Luca Petrosino showcases a Med and Mid-East menu, using quality organic ingredients in their signature gourmet boards that have been designed to work with cocktails. The charcuterie and antipasto for 2 is overflowing with 22-month aged Parma prosciutto, casareccio salami, smoked speck, Hot Spanish cantimpaolo salami, pickles, smoked burrata, caper berries. With a side of sourdough and you guessed it, gin infused butter, it is the ultimate cocktail hour. This is a quality spread, the cured meats melt, and you could eat the burrata all night. If you move into the cellar, a glass of the French NV Lanson Black Label Brut is creamy and crisp. Both the bubbles and 2019 Spanish Quartier Pinot Gris Rueda are good choices as we make our way through the ‘bites’ and cheeses that have been masterfully curated, such as the regional washed rind with house made crisp fruit bread.
The subliminal effects of being surrounded by beautifully showcased gin all night are likely to send you back where you started as you consider what to have with dessert. The signature cocktails are bold and unique mixes with tag worthy with names like “Piscotheque!” and “Flash & Pash” and the delectable dessert bites are insta worthy, they are a delightful spectrum from strong and chocolately to the light-as-air lemon meringue.
Sure, The Cross looks a little different today, it’s no longer the wild night out you don’t remember, but it is starting to shine again with places like KXD in the hood. Follow ‘whats on’ for future gin tasting events, which are planned to start over summer.
Shop 8, 127 Macleay Street, Potts Point
Hours: Open Wednesday to Sunday