Dutch Courage: The Perfect In-Season Cocktail

A great bar starts with a top shelf drinks list, a top vibe and atmosphere driven by the clientele with great music, an excellent fit-out and lighting, amazing staff and a premium food menu. Owner-bartender of Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess on Alfred Street, Matthew Hilan has worked from the ground-up to be the master of his own establishment. From investment banking analyst to air combat officer, Matthew decided tending a bar was for him and spent two years around Brisbane perfecting his craft. “Give people great service,” Matthew declares. “Good service is a cliché but you know it when you experience it. Efficient and friendly service is the foundation to hospitality.”


There are a few things to make the perfect drink

  • Know what you’re working with – be aware of your ingredients and how they work together.
  • Good ice is a necessary component.
  • Know your glassware – it makes all the difference to enjoying your drink. A strong straight-up drink works best in a martini glass or a strong drink on the rocks will work best in a double old-fashioned glass.
  • Make sure the drink is well garnished. It has to be suitable to the drink, but keep in mind that presentation is everything.
  • Every drink should be made with love. You can have all the right ingredients and measurements, but it also needs care.


Gin Tonica

The Gin Tonica is Spanish. The Spanish have been leading the world in the service of gin and tonic and it’s a great way of experiencing the botanicals of the gin. As a larger serving, it looks great – especially when the garnish matches. It’s a new taste and smell experience – a sensorial episode. 

  • 45ml of your favourite Gin
  • 90mL tonic
  • Matching garnish – depending upon the gin. Dutch courage uses rosemary
  • Big, big chunky ice

Build in a tonica glass or goblet – the rounder and bigger it is, the better. You want to get your nose in it when you drink it. 

Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess
G/F 51 Alfred Street, Fortitude Valley
07 3852 4838

Photographer: Marc Casolani


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here