Schweppes Elixir Launch Party with Behind Bars at Elizabeth Bay House

A faint light at the entrance of a grand house beckons against the night sky. At the front door, an elegant woman clad in a pink Victorian dress and vintage brooch welcomes her guests with a mysterious smile. They enter the hallway, and one by one, they step through time.

One by one, they embrace the darkness.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party

The women are welcomed into a salon from a bygone era where they are transformed into graceful ladies dressed in Victorian fashions. The men are directed up a long imposing staircase where find their inner gentlemen in top hats, tailcoats and canes.

And so travel to the darkness begins.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Step back in time

A photographer captures timeless mementos of the time travellers against the grandeur of Sydney’s Elizabeth Bay House. The event is the launch of Schweppes Elixir, a dark and mysterious mixer, organised by Behind Bars.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Embrace the dark side

Elizabeth Bay House

I am met by a tall, enigmatic gentleman with long blond curls beneath his top hat. With blue eyes that shine through the darkness, he asks me to follow him below ground. I lift my long ruffled skirt over the stone steps softly illuminated by lanterns.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party

He leads me to the distillation room where Hugh the Baron Von Paton Smithson is creating aromatics with dry ice.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Distillation Room

Like a magician, the Baron pours a liquid into a series of beakers with coffee beans, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon and citrus. I am invited to experience their fragrance. I close my eyes and let the aromas seduce my senses.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Aromatics from dry ice

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Hugh the Baron Von Paton Smithson in the Distillation Room

Schweppes Elixir Launch PartySchweppes Elixir Launch Party
(L) Spirits with Elixir – (R)Vintage D. Jeure Soda Syphon, Paris, circa 1860

In another room, I am invited to sample from a mirror roasted macadamias with caramel dipped in dark Belgian chocolate and organic coffee beans coated with dark chocolate, the latter made in a curious panning machine. I pause with intrigue then indulge my palate.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Boon Chocolates: Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans, Macadamias with caramel and chocolate, panning machine

My tall, charming gentleman with the curls accompanies me to the bar. “You can call me Beatty,” he says before he introduces me to Elixir. The dark mixer with flavours extracted from a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans has subtle notes of chocolate, burnt caramels and vanilla.

And this is how the mystery of the drink unravels.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Jeremy mixing the Batanga

After my initiation, I am offered my first taste of a drink named Batanga. Made with Jose Cuervo Tequila, topped with Schweppes Elixir and a squeeze of orange juice, the drink is served in a salt and pepper rimmed glass and garnished with a slice of orange.

Schweppes Elixir Launch PartySchweppes Elixir Launch Party
Caleb with the Batanga served in Elixir signature glass

The Schweppes Elixir Batanga draws its inspiration from an original drink created by Don Javier at la Capilla, a small traditional Mexican bar in the town of Tequila where Don Javier has been tending bar since 1940. Tonight’s drink was created and tested in the deep, dark depths of Behind Bars headquarters as the signature drink for the Elixir mixer.

With my senses primed, the first sip of the Batanga takes me to another world of earthy flavours of chocolate, coffee and vanilla with after notes of citrus. The salt and pepper rim serves to enhance the flavour of the Tequila and leaves me wanting more.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Priscilla preparing an “Instant G&T”

The drinks are flowing with an “Instant G&T” made with Tanqueray 10 Gin, orange bitters and pink grapefruit – a refreshing and addictive drink that is carbonated and dispensed from soda siphons.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party

A Moscow Mule is prepared with Vodka, Schweppes Dry Ginger Ale and served with a slice of cucumber.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
The Elixir

I am drawn back to the Elixir.  Although designed to be a mixer and not a standalone drink, I am curious to try it on its own. I find the taste a little familiar now but unique in the blend of coffee and caramel notes I detected in the Batanga. With the product launching into the top 100 cocktail bars nationally over the next three months, I am already looking forward to the creativity it will add to the cocktail scene.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party

The party is now in full swing with beautiful women and dashing men mingling. I can’t help but admire the romance Victorian costumes and old-world surrounds add to this event.

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Denéa (Gourmet Rabbit) and Alex (Ms Darlinghurst)

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Beautiful ladies

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
(left) Michael Shafran, (middle) Simon McGoram, (right) Dénea Buckingham

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Matt and Emma from Schweppes

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Karina Munoz and David Beatty (Behind Bars)

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Alex Chan and Fanny Chan (Boon Chocolates)

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Emma Brown (Schweppes) and David Beatty (Behind Bars)

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Priscilla Kinekazi (Behind Bars) and Hugo (Corner House)

Schweppes Elixir Launch PartySchweppes Elixir Launch Party
Clare Beatty and another Beautiful Lady

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
The inimitable Simon McGoram (R)

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party
Hugh Payten Smith

Schweppes Elixir Launch Party

As the evening comes to a close and costumes are shed into the night, I am drawn back to the dark side.

Gourmantic embraced the darkness at the Schweppes Elixir Launch Party as media guests of Behind Bars. The event was held on Wednesday 15 June 2011 at Elizabeth Bay House. With thanks to Karina Munoz “the elegant woman in pink Victorian dress”and David Beatty “tall, enigmatic gentleman with long blond curls” for their hospitality.

Behind Bars

Schweppes Australia

Boon Chocolates

The Wardrobe Costumiers

Photography by @MrGourmantic

More photographs of the event here by Dan Gray of


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Schweppes Elixir Launch Party with Behind Bars at Elizabeth Bay House was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

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Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the founder and editor of Gourmantic. An avid scribe, she has taken pen to paper since the age of five. Her repertoire includes long works of fiction, short stories and travelogues. She is a winner of the GT travel writing competition, has judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and several cocktail competitions. She is also named in the Australian Bartender Most Influential List.


  1. Great write-up Corinne and props too to Mr Gourmantic on some great shots! Thanks for the link back.

  2. What a cool looking party. How do you get all these invites anyway?!

  3. Great review! It’s as if I was there. Love the costumes and the concept that draws you into the drink!

  4. Love the description of the instant G&T! Very jealous of the whole experience – looked magical :)

  5. great costumes. now that’s what i call a fancy dress party :-)

  6. Another great review, Ms G! Your prose carried me along every step of the way. Great photos of what looks like a fun and successful event. Well done!

  7. awesome costume party… its like a set in a vampire movie ;-)

  8. Pingback: I have but one word for you Sir, “Batanga!” « Everyday Drinking

  9. Feels like stepping through the pages of an old world victorian novel, mysterious and exotic.
    I wouldn’t mind visiting the dark side myself. Good luck to Elixir.
    Batanga!!!! yummmmmmmm

    Great review and pictures as always.

    • There were a few Mr Darcy’s around… and I must say the men looked handsome and dashing in tails and top hats! The Batanga is addictive… in the nicest possible way :)

      Thank you for the compliments.

  10. What a fun party! And the costumes were awesome. Now I’ll have to look for Elixir. :)

  11. that looks like one fabulous launch party. i’m ready to try the dark side! :)

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