18o6 is a Melbourne institution that celebrates its 8th birthday in October. As anyone living in Melbourne will tell you, 8 years is an age in bar years!

The bar gets its name from the year that the word ‘cocktail’ first appeared in print. It’s a beautiful layout with a theatrical curtain as a backdrop, giving the bartenders a ‘stage’. The walls are decorated with images of bar tools and glassware, barware and books for sale are on display. There is also an upper mezzanine floor as well as a cute little bar downstairs called ‘The Understudy’.

While other great venues in Melbourne add their twist to existing cocktails, 18o6 is a classic cocktail bar keen to share the history and origins of the drinks they serve.

Such is their commitment to passing on their knowledge, that the team at 18o6 offer a range of cocktail experiences for customers. You can choose from a cocktail degustation , a two-hour ‘Make Your Own Cocktail‘ class or the Deconstructing Cocktails Masterclass.

Recently, Kevin and the team kindly gifted me a Deconstructing Cocktails Masterclass and I jumped at the opportunity to spend 4 hours learning about booze and cocktails!

Our host Morgan, talked us through 8 types of spirit: brandy, vodka, scotch, tequila, rye, bourbon, rum, and of course Gin. He covered the history and production behind each spirit and then made a classic cocktail with it (which of course we got to taste!). We tried a sidecar, an old fashioned, a daiquiri, to name but a few, all the while picking up tips on making better cocktails at home.


Then we were encouraged to get behind the bar ourselves. With the able assistance of the staff (on hand to make sure we didn’t injure ourselves!) we picked a cocktail to recreate. I chose a White Lady. I loved having a bottle of egg white on hand, but I don’t think I get through enough to justify keeping one at home.

After a delicious lunch – open sandwiches, dips and charcuterie we stepped back behind the bar once more, to make any drink of our choosing. (I went with a Sloe Gin Negroni!)

It was a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon (The Deconstructing Cocktails class is the first Sunday of every month). As part of the experience I received a copy of the 18o6 book ‘Cocktails World History as Seen Through The Bottom of a Glass’ which is a fascinating read and filled with recipes and stunning illustrations. I have ONE copy to give away to a lucky reader…it is World Cocktail Day after all!


All you have to do is leave a comment below outlining why you would be a worthy recipient. That’s it*!

Good Luck!

18o6, 169 Exhibition Street, Melbourne. Follow 18o6 on Facebook, twitter and Instagram.

*terms & conditions. One winner will be selected by The Gin Queen. Open to all Gin Queen readers. GQ’s decision is final. Winner announced on Facebook on Monday 18th May 2015.


  1. Even though I have just made room in the bookcase for bottles this would be a welcome addition with the ever difficult task of deciding what to mix next.

  2. Being a big gin fan – I need to expand my knowledge on what to use them for. Other than negroni, dry martinis and bees knees

  3. 1806 a perfect time for a cocktail.

  4. I’m a newbie learning to love Gin! I would love to get this fabulous book for my mixology education!

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience at 1806. It was a nice read after an arduous week, thank you. I would very much like to be the recipient of their cocktail book for many reasons. However the most timely reason comes from the inspiration I have received just now. I am reminded that some of life’s little pleasures can be the very thing that makes it all worth while. I enjoy my amateur cocktails at home, but secretly dream of being the practitioner behind the bar creating magic in a glass for the simple joy of others. I’ve had a few successful moments so far and perhaps this may bring another. Thanx and cheers, Shane

  6. Why I would be worthy?
    In so many words; I am always reading. Always trying to learn. My father always taught me that the day you think you know everything is the day you’ve lost you edge. Every day I’m trying the to find the best answer to the ever long question-how can I make this cocktail better?
    And this is why I am worthy of this cocktail book.

  7. I am currently on a journey of starting my own Gin Distillery, this book would be a great aid in my research on Gin and cocktails in particular!

  8. Because gin is my husbands favourite drink, this way i could mix him up a few cocktails!

  9. After years of appreciating the wonderful offerings of 1806 work has banished me to Darwin and a severe lack of delicious and extraordinary cocktails. I’m therefore left to make them myself and this would be a welcome aid!

  10. Who wouldn’t want the chance to play wizard with a book of spells? I love experimenting with my different gins to bring out their individual magical elements.

  11. I don’t know if this would live in my collection of leather-bound books (my fave is a red and gold ‘through the looking glass’) or my well-thumbed cook books. Either way I’d love it and give it a warm, welcoming home. I need some inspiration – I’m not brave enough to open my good bottles of gin because they deserve more than lime and tonic.

  12. just love new ways to drink gin and ideas for the summer

  13. Because Gin… What other reason is there?

  14. This would be a HUGE help for our little group in Perthshire starting our very own Gin Club! What better way to start, than learning from the best 🙂

  15. Id love to try out some of these recipes! Haven’t had a chance to get down to 1806 yet!

  16. I’m a nerd! Currently bartending at Tiny’s NYC and Miller’s Near and Far. Pushing the rest of the staff to have bizzarley high standards for pushing excellent products. I don’t settle for glassware that isn’t chilled or drinks that aren’t properly measured. I’d use the book to further drinking culture!

  17. I’m a nerd! Currently bartending at Tiny’s NYC and Miller’s Near and Far. Pushing the rest of the staff to have bizarrely high standards for pushing quality products. I don’t settle for glassware that isn’t chilled or drinks that aren’t properly measured. I’d use the book to further drinking culture!

  18. why am I worthy!! I’ve got 10 month old twins and I’ve not slept through the night for the last 10 months!!! I need delicious gin cocktail recipes to take away the pain

  19. Starting my career in Melbourne hospitality I think this book would be a fantastic asset to have! Cocktail history is always great to share with customers, and to have this book on hand to assist with any questions would be lush

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