The third bar I visited on my Melbourne soiree was Amigo’s Tequila and Tapas Bar on Hardware Lane. Hardware Lane is full of places to eat and drink, it can almost be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out where you want to go and its also home to a pet peeve of mine, spruikers. I fucking hate spruikers. If a spruiker is outside of a restaurant and tries to talk to me and get me to come inside then I’m moving on. I understand that restaurants need to do it in certain areas, but I didn’t grow up with it and I’m just not a fan. A previous visit to Hardware Lane, during the busier dinner period, was spruiker central but luckily it was only late afternoon so there was a very cruisy vibe to the laneway and no pressure to decide where you wanted to go.
We mainly decided to go to Amigo’s because we were a bit peckish and felt like some tapas would be the right meal to tie us over till dinner. It also helped that the bar had a pretty extensive cocktail menu that featured not only old favorites, but also a host of twists on classics and a few new (to me at least) concoctions.
We decided to sit outside as the weather was reasonably nice. It was a little difficult getting in the table as the chairs were all rather close, trying to do it when a lot of people are there could be interesting. Hardware Lane is a nice lane with all its old brick buildings and brick road.
Picking out something from the menu was almost impossible as there were so many choices. I eventually settled on a variation of a favorite of mine, a Mexican Mule, and my partner chose the boozy, appropriately named Smashed Fairy.
The traditional Moscow Mule has quickly developed into one of my favorite drinks. I’ll often make a variation of it at home because that’s how I role. What intrigued me about Amigo’s take on it was the use of tequila (el Jimador to be precise), agave nectar and Tuaca instead of vodka. The drink came loaded with ice, lime and wedges of fresh ginger in the glass. The use of ginger wedges in the drink was a great touch. I think Hells honey and ginger infused vodka may have benefited from a wedge or two of fresh ginger in the glass to enhance the flavor. I wondered whether the use of tequila may have been too strong for the drink but it all worked very well together with the Tuaca probably helped to take away some of the tequila’s generally powerful alcohol flavor. The wedges of ginger meant the drink had a really good spicy kick to it and I think its something I’m going to adopt myself.
The Smashed Fairy was a combination of gin and La Fèe NV Absinth that was shaken with fresh muddled lime, coriander and ginger then finished with pineapple juice and ice in a tall glass. Even with the pineapple juice, lime, coriander and ginger the licorice taste of the absinth was still prominent throughout the drink. My partner found the prominence of the absinth quite nice, they are an absinth fan, and for me the use of the La Fèe NV Absinth was good because it has a lower alcohol content than most absinths. Anything stronger probably would have pleased my partner, but may have been too strong for me.
There were other drinks on the menu that sounded quite appealing including the Gin & Sangria Sling and Rosy Mamasita that may need to be sampled on a future visit.