Dutch Courage Officers' Mess opened recently on Alfred Street, Fortitude Valley. The gin-focused split-level bar is decked out in 19th century regalia, both military and colonial, with the upper floor reminiscent of ye olde English imperialism at its height: with slow moving ceiling fans and a tropical balcony setting.

The bar boasts 80 different gins from around the world, including 30 varieties imported specially by owner, Matthew Hilan.

"We have one from Greenland, one from Sweden, a German one with 47 different botanicals and, of course, Australia is doing some fantastic small batch gins," he says.

"While the Dutch invented gin, it was the British who created the gin and tonic in the mid-19th century," says Hilan.

"They used to drink quinine water in the colonies to protect themselves against malaria, but it wasn't very palatable, so the British came up with the idea of adding gin to make it taste better."

There will be 18 house cocktails created exclusively for Dutch Courage Officers' Mess, claims Hilan, including the Bloomsbury Bouquet (Tanqueray gin, St Germain elderflower, yellow chartreuse, egg white, chamomile flowers). The venue features live music and DJs on weekends.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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