Dale DeGroff launches world’s first standalone Grey Goose bar in Melbourne

May 23, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Grey Goose, Australia’s number one Super Premium Vodka brand, has unveiled its first ever standalone bar, created in partnership with Crown Melbourne. 

As the name suggests, Le Martini is dedicated entirely to the martini cocktail and will feature a rotating menu put together by some of bartending’s biggest icons. The current menu has been crafted by none other than the ‘King of Cocktails’ himself, Dale DeGroff.

“When I did this [menu at] Le Martini, a bar that’s dedicated to the martini that Grey Goose put together at the Crown Center down in Melbourne, I got the first three drinks on the menu,” said DeGroff in a recent Drinks Trade exclusive.

DeGroff’s menu pays homage to various martini styles and trends that have emerged throughout the drink’s history: “The first 1888 martini by Harry Johnson had a dash of gum [syrup], a dash of bitters, a dash of curacao, vermouth, and gin… I wanted to do a menu that paid tribute to that 1888, I wanted to do a menu that paid tribute to the sort of turn of the century, and then I wanted to do something really, really modern.”

Included in the first Le Martini menu are the Harry’s Original, the Grey Goose Millenium Dry, and the Grey Goose Martinié Speciale. Harry’s Original is believed to be the first ever five ingredient martini recipe to be featured in print despite taking influence from one of the earliest documented martinis.

DeGroff explains: “The 1888 martini was equal parts gin and gum, and that ratio didn’t change until after Prohibition. And by the way, for his martini, Harry Johnson was respected by a lot of bartenders his junior who, although they were even mixing dry vermouth and dry gin together, they did not call it a martini because to them the martini cocktail was those five ingredients that Harry Johnson documented, and that was the martini… It took until after Prohibition for people to start breaking away.”

The second menu item, the Grey Goose Millenium Dry, is designed around a crisp profile that pays tribute to the new millennium. Following that, the Grey Goose Martinié Speciale is a modern, opulent affair featuring blanc vermouth, Sauternes dessert wine, and a juicy Sicilian olive. 

“So the premier martini that I did for Le Martini was a split wine base, vermouth/wine base, but I kept the 50-50. So we got the Grey Goose, Noilly Prat, and then Sauternes, a fine Sauternes (I mean, it’s a French vodka: why wouldn’t you?) and a dash of saline,” said DeGroff.

“The trend of putting 15% sodium solution, dashing a couple of drops of it into drinks to brighten it up, it started happening, and why wouldn’t you? Don’t we do that on the food side? We do. It works.”

Le Martini is located on the Ground Floor of Crown Melbourne, Southbank, and is open Thursday to Sunday, 5pm until late. More details can be found here.

According to Sander Janmaat, Bacardí-Martini’s Head of Marketing Australia & New Zealand, Crown Melbourne has proved to be the perfect setting for Grey Goose’s first ever standalone bar.

“Le Martini has been designed as a retreat where guests can celebrate, reminisce and create memorable experiences, sipping on the very best expertly crafted Grey Goose martinis while immersed in luxury,” he said,

“We are delighted to open the doors to Le Martini, the world’s first Grey Goose bar, here in Australia, with such an exemplar of luxury, Crown Melbourne.”

More insights from Drinks Trade’s chat with Dale DeGroff will be published soon.

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