Alchemy, A Concoction Not to Be Missed

‘A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination: finding the person who’s right for you requires a very subtle alchemy’ by Brian Crisp

Homemade Old Fashioned Cocktail

I’m sitting perched high on a luxurious leather barstool enthralled in my mixologist’s every word. His dark chocolate eyes twinkle with mischief. His words promise paradise in a glass.

He slips me a little note pad. I’m not sure what to do next.

He smiles and points to the liquor sitting on the back wall. “First you need to choose your base,’’ his European accent causing me to focus on his every word. “Vodka, gin, rum, tequila, bourbon/blend?” he asks. “Then you need to decide whether you are fancying something a little bit fruity or if you like it savoury. You may like to try a herb infusion – the sky is the limit.” Ooooh yes, I sigh.

Americano and Negroni cocktails with orange

For me it has to be the tequila, and yes I would say I was feeling a bit fruity. I look down the list on the prescription pad: red passion fruit nectar, watermelon nectar, mango, strawberry, cucumber or raspberry. Hmm, definitely mango for me tonight.

The herb list makes interesting reading with rosemary, mint, elderflower, basil and lavender on the menu. My wife orders a cocktail with rosemary and I watch with fascination as the bartender sets alight fresh rosemary and drops a cocktail glass over the top of the herb. A smoky rosemary aroma billows into the glass leaving a taste that lingers throughout the drink.

My cocktail arrives in a flash of hands. It’s served in a tall and shimmeringly inviting highball glass. It is the colour of a Siam sunset and tastes slightly fruity, not too sweet, but with an almost dry vermouth taste to it. Perfect for a hot summer’s night.

What really impresses me is the price. $12.95. I can’t remember the last time I paid under $20 for a cocktail. It must be at least 15 years ago. And for those wondering whether there is enough alcohol in it. Oh yes, in fact after my second cocktail I was floating on cloud 9, or should I say deck 9.

Alchemy certainly is the perfect name for this funky new bar on the Carnival Spirit. Carnival Spirit is fresh back from a USD$44 million makeover in Singapore which has introduced some new and exciting eateries and bars especially for the Australian market.

My hands down favourite has to be Alchemy with its paired back New York sophistication. It oozes moody charm with dark chocolate Chester lounges, grey club chairs, marble tables, seductive lighting and grey toned carpet. The bar too is impressive with dark timber panels and cool to the touch marble tops. Behind the bar colourful liqueur filled bottles sit beside age-old beakers of glass. On either side of the shelves sits a wall of apothecary draws adorned with name tags and porcelain nobs, giving the space a funky new age apothecary shop feel to it.

No longer known as barmen or women, the marvels behind the bar are mixologists, dream-makers of the first order. They charm, they shake, stir, blend and mull with great gusto, their knowledge of the ingredients is undeniably bordering on greatness. They even look the business decked out in black pants, white lab coats, white shirts, silver ties and slicked back hair.

While you are enjoying your cocktail at Alchemy make sure you take the time to check out the amazing collection of cabinets dotted around the bar. There are some wonderful collectible items from the years of prohibition in the US to the 1950s when the Brat Pack called Vegas their playground, and there are also countless artefacts collected from apothecary shops on show.

Two olive martini cocktails