Living in the city has its advantages. While Sydneysiders may not have many inner-city cellar doors, a new ‘soda door’ and cocktail bar more than makes up for it.
Cocktail lovers will already be familiar with PS Soda: a local independent soda brand that’s shaking up the Sydney bar scene. Far from your standard tonic water and lemonade, the complex, hand-made flavours draw from Australian botanicals to create tipples such as Grapefruit and Gentian, Wattle Cola, Blackstrap Ginger, Bush Tonic and Smoked Lemonade. These seasonal mixes are natural too, so you can enjoy your night without giving a thought to artificial sweeteners and chemical additives. The boutique nature of these mixes has led to some great collaborations for the team – Archie Rose Distillery, Watermans Lobster Co, Hunters and Gathers, Anason, Lot 1 and Firedoor all offer the specialised soda.
PS Soda now has a new home – PS 40, a creative den in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. This super-sleek, surreal space is where the magic happens: collaboration, creation and testing all takes place here, and you have the opportunity to partake.
The brains behind the bespoke soda space are Thor Bergquist, Livia Lima and Michael Chiem, all specialists in their own right. Thor’s international bar experience in New Zealand, Singapore, London and New York has led to an inventive approach to cocktail recipe design, while Livia’s extensive background in graphic design and fashion brings a distinctive aesthetic to the project. Michael’s experience at Sokyo, Tio’s, Cliff Dive and Lobo Plantation has paid off at PS40 – his hospitality knowledge matches his flair behind the bar.
You get to reap the benefits of this union by sampling the PS40 cocktail menu. Start with the clean, crisp, Scandinavian-inspired Stockholm Syndrome: cumin and dill Ketel 1 vodka, Aquavit and lemon seasoned with pink Himalayan salt and pepper. For something a little darker in tone, opt for the Tonka Parfum, a mix of Encanto Pisco, tonka bean, vermouth, sandalwood and coriander seed, lightened with lemon and soda water.
The team’s technical skills shines through in the Sazerac Matcha, an inventive blend of cacao butter fat-washed Bulleit rye, matcha syrup and aromatic bitters spiked with absinthe. Tropical flavours will spice up your cocktail routine, such as the Jean Claude Pandan, made with Pandan Plantation rum, coconut water, fresh pineapple, whey, and ceylon tea spice; or the Japanese-influenced 3 Dots & a Dashi, which combines savoury dashi with pineapple skin, Pierre Ferrand Cognac and falernum with pimento dram, honey and lime. There’s also a carefully curated selection of wine and beer for those who can’t quite commit to a cocktail.
You’ll need some bar snacks to go with those fancy drinks: nibble on macadamias with lemon myrtle dukkah and Sicilian olives with juniper and coriander infused oil. For something a little larger, go for the pickled tartare with grilled eggplant, house pickles, garlic oil, crispy eschallots, smoked water and an egg yolk; or a upscale banh mi with pork terrine, house pickles, chilli, coriander and shredded pork.
Offering extraordinary, inventive cocktails in a creative space, PS40 will introduce you to cocktail combinations you never dreamed of. Be warned: your average vodka soda just won’t cut it anymore.