Head out for a warming experience

Head out for a warming experience
But there are some Melbourne traditions best enjoyed when the days are crisp and grey, and one of the most popular is to find a spot beside an open fire to enjoy a hot drink with good friends. The Boatbuilders Yard  – the easy bar and cafe beside the Yarra River at the gentrified South Wharf precinct  – is one city establishment embracing this cold-weather ritual with a selection of warm beverages on the menu. "We’re serving mulled wine and a hot toddy", venue manager Gabriel Presutto says. "We have blankets and heaters outside and a wood fire inside, and we decided serving mulled wine in a little thermos and hot toddies in teapots is the best way to sit in the cold enjoying the blankets and heaters while sharing a drink and a chat with friends." The Boatbuilders Yard, which opened last September with the ambition of bringing "relaxed European-style eating and drinking to Melbourne", is the little sister of the more famous Riverland Bar that occupies a row of historic vaults on the riparian promenade below Federation Square. "Riverland is such a summer venue and I really needed to focus on winter, and when we opened The Boatbuilders Yard, we knew we had the perfect place to do that", Presutto says. "The hot toddy is one of our winter drinks  – it is a traditional old cocktail made from hot water, lemon, cloves, honey and a whisky base  – but we’re doing something different here, offering it with Irish, Scottish, American or Japanese whiskies. "Another option is to have a Milo  –  we serve Milo on the side, because we know everyone has their own way of making it that goes back to childhood, but you decide if you want the milk hot or cold  –  or one of the winter cocktails. "Something else we’re doing this year is importing Pimm’s No.3, and that’s because it is a variety of that very traditional drink best consumed during winter. "Pimm’s No.1 is the one everyone knows and it has gin base but Pimm’s No.3 is harder to find because it is seasonal, it has a brandy base, it is infused with spices and orange peel, making it a drink for winter, and it is a drink that’s perfect to be heated."  For more information, see The Boatbuilders Yard website (theboatbuildersyard.com), or go to the Visit Victoria (visitvictoria.com) or the Play Melbourne (playmelbourne.com.au) pages for details on planning your own Melbourne escape.The Boatbuilders Yard isn’t the only Melbourne establishment tackling cooler weather, with bars and restaurants around the city serving mulled ciders and wines and other very grown-up hot beverages.—Places of Interest Cider House, Brunswick St, Fitzroy Young & Jackson’s Rooftop Cider Bar, Swanston St, City The Alchemist, Brunswick St, Fitzroy Sister Bella , Sniders Lane, City Rue Bebelons, Little Lonsdale St, City Claypots Evening Star, South Melbourne Market Madame Brussels, Bourke St, City Eau de Vie, Malthouse Lane, City    

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