Smalls’ East India

Photography: SCOTT HAWKINS

In two minds? The cure for apéro indecision at Smalls - a former garage turned drinking den in South Melbourne - is the East India, which combines two satisfying pre-dinner classics, vermouth and sherry, in one fortified fell swoop. "Sherry is slightly oxidative which gives weight and texture to dry vermouth," says Smalls' owner-manager Jess Ho. To hit the right balance, Ho recommends Maidenii vermouth for its herbaceous undertones and touch of sweetness.

Smalls, 20 Yarra Pl, South Melbourne, Vic,

Stir 45ml dry vermouth, 45ml dry sherry and a dash of bitters over ice until chilled, then strain into an ice-filled tumbler. Twist a zest of lemon over the glass to release its oils, then drop it in as a garnish, and serve.

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