CAPI Trade Secrets goes to one of the best whisky bars in Melbourne, Woods of Windsor. We talk to Sylvia about giants, taxidermy, some brutal workplace disasters, and the importance of shots on a date.
So, the Woods of Windsor, lots of taxidermy.
Lots of taxidermy.
So I guess, what is the focus now in its current guise?
We’ve just written a new cocktail list for the summer, which is our pride and joy, and our whisky list is always expanding. We change the back bar fairly regularly at the moment, rotate some interesting whiskies that you may not be able to get anywhere else, particularly in our house in Chapel Street. The new list is less whisky heavy, but it is an option for people who aren’t just whisky-heads, you know.
Yeah. So trying to push whisky in itself and then cocktails for other, normal humans.
And make it more approachable, and not like you have to know everything about whisky just to set foot in the door. It’s for everybody, you know.
So what’s the biggest selling thing? What is the thing you’re opening most or pouring most?
To be honest it’s still the three or four list cocktails that are sweet, fluffy and delicious.
But are they?
They are! So, there’s one called the passion dash, which is vodka and passion fruit and yummy things. Then there’s the espresso martini and we do a spiced rum, vanilla and cinnamon syrup, which sells pretty well… But we’re moving into like, champagne cocktails and spritzer stuff and all sorts of infused syrups and liqueurs.
And dragging the good people of Chapel Street kicking and screaming into cocktails…
So, how does this place go for a Tinder date?
Oh, it’s so good! Someone said; everyone at the bar you have, like, four or five couples and they’re all Tinder dates and some of them are, like, crashing and burning and some of them are falling in love.
Are you a helping hand?
Yeah, ‘fraid so; yeah, yeah, yeah, I get involved, like really involved; if the girl’s nervous I’ll be like, ‘You should have a shot’.
Definitely, is that your solution? Just feed her shots? [laughs]
Yeah, ’cause they’re really nervous, and often the guy turns up early and he needs, like, a drink to calm him down.
Amazing. Have to say, I just noticed your heels
Yeah, I’m wearing two inches of heels.
On top of being…
Six, are you six foot? And you feel like you need an extra two inches?
Yeah [laughs], helps me do my job. Plus people don’t really fuck with me [laughs]
Have you got a cringeworthy hospo moment that you don’t want to share with me? Like, I worked at Opera Bar in 2003, and I spilt an entire flat white into an open Chanel handba
Oh my, that’s pretty good.
It’s out there.
Yep. I mean, there’s two that come to mind; one is cringeworthy because it was my fault, I was working at this horrible restaurant at Southbank…
Sounds like a great story already
Yeah, you can imagine. And it was brutal…
And I had a whole tray of gin and tonics, about eight of them, and I spilt them on a guy’s crotch [laughs] like, all over his suit and I cried and everything and he tipped me, and I was like, oh, God!
You cried your way out of it and you got tipped!
Like, a baby! I was so embarrassed, I was so scared.
Incredible. Favourite drink at the moment. Today.
If I, if you could order anything right now, what would it be? That’s such a better question.
Well… Blueberry black.
Talk me through it, really quickly.
It’s a love-child of cider cup and, erm, bramble. It’s funky.
That’s actually a match made in heaven. I would drink that!
Woods of Windsor
108 Chapel St, Windsor, 3181
9521 1900 @thewoodsofwindsor