Drinks brands unveil magical Melbourne Cup marquees

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has officially unveiled the exclusive Birdcage Enclosure marquees for the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival, featuring Penfolds, Furphy, G.H. Mumm and Schweppes, plus a Don Julio 1942 Secret Bar.

VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said: “One of the most famous aspects of Cup Week is the iconic Birdcage Enclosure which is unique in Australian sport and entertainment.

“The Birdcage is not just a location; it is an experience.”

This year’s theme for The Birdcage is “Unbridled”, designed to transport members and guests to a futuristic landscape and anchored by the VRC’s own enhanced Bird Bath Bar.

Take a look inside the Melbourne Cup marquees …

Penfolds goes under the sea

Fine wine, horse racing and the deep sea have come together as Penfolds returns to the Birdcage at the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

The winemaker has given a glimpse of the magic ahead of the celebrations kicking off with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on 4 November. Inspired by its global brand thematic, ‘Venture Beyond,’ the Penfolds marquee experience will have an underwater wonderland theme.

Guests will enter via the ‘Mother of Pearl Cave’, before making their way into ‘The Coral Reef’ and sipping sea-inspired cocktails at the ‘On The Rocks Bar’, including the Seaside Spritz and the Ocean Drop Martini.

Each will pair with freshly shucked oysters, Avruga Caviar Bumps and grilled scallops with curried shallot butter.

For an intimate food and wine paring, guests can book into ‘The Tasting Cave’, where Scott Huggins, Executive Chef of Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant and Penfolds Ambassadors Zöe Warrington and Sam O’Connell will be serving a taste of Penfolds Grange 2019 with a perfectly curated bite of slow cooked beef rib, potato foam and pickles.

The journey will continue as guests make their way into ‘The Seabed’, the marquee’s activity hub with a stream of entertainment throughout each raceday, including a DJ, performances from Mike Snell, plus surprise performances from
notable Australian musicians.

‘The Sandbar’ will serve an array of wines from The Penfolds Collection including Bin 311 Chardonnay and Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, while the outdoor Boardwalk will be the perfect spot to enjoy the trackside action with sweeping views of the Pre-Parade Ring.

G.H Mumm creates trackside theatre

G.H Mumm is opening a world-first, double-storey theatre in the heart of The Birdcage.

Designed to encapsulate the Champagne producer’s passion for the creative arts, innovation and celebration, Théatre G.H. Mumm will host a full program of performances accompanied by unique cuvées.

Entertainment will include singer-songwriter Thando, NZ DJ duo and producers Sweet Mix Kids’ Sandon James and Chris Scott, and house DJ Nico from Melbourne.

Guests will have the opportunity to create performance moments of their own with photo walls and breakout areas complemented by the luxurious contemporary design.

Pernod Ricard Australia Marketing Director Kristy Rutherford said: “Théatre G.H. Mumm celebrates a contemporary vision of our theatrical and cinematic heritage, embodied by our iconic cuvée Cordon Rouge. Like any great theatre, it is not just about what happens on the stage – it is the opportunity to meet friends and enjoy outstanding hospitality.”

G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge and Cordon Rouge Rosé will be available in the two bars and expect to see the Champagne fountain moment with a Jeroboam (3L) of G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge popping and flowing high into the air.

There will be a secret backstage cellar for a select few to taste G.H. Mumm’s vintage cuvées.

In the main marquee, guests will be treated to unique French and Australian inspired canapés: Murray cod, sweet corn bisque, leek foam; Champagne poached prawns, endive, horseradish, tarragon and lemon cream fraiche; Lavosh wafer, D’affinois, and truffle honey.

On Melbourne Cup Day, Matilda’s stars Chloe Logarzo and Elise Kellond-Knight undertook the iconic and theatrical ‘Tap Tap’ moment, sending a shower of free-flowing Mumm Cordon Rouge champagne high into the sky by tapping the neck of jeroboam with a sabre. 

Jessie Murphy, wife of AFL legend, Marc Murphy led the secondary ‘Tap Tap’ moment.

Don Julio secret tequila bar

The Birdcage will also feature its first secret tequila bar, the Don Julio 1942 Secret Bar.

Those fortunate enough to score an elusive invitation will step through the threshold of the mirrored acrylic box, featuring a display of Tequila Don Julio 1942 bottles.

With touches of gold refracting the light, a table of eight individual glasses will be set a top of a striking golden coaster, each filled with a liquid served by Orlando Marzo, one of the World’s Best Bartenders (2018 Global World Class Champion).

Marzo will share the secrets of Don Julio 1942 with guests and the story behind the liquid, as he begins to light the smoking hats atop each glass – the hat representing the elusive Don Julio Tequila ‘Man in the Hat’.

As each hat is lit, the scent of the woodchips has been designed to ignite the senses and as the hat is removed, the soft flowing smoke hits the nose even further as the first sip is taken. Designed to be savoured, the serve is complemented by a salted chocolate with delicate gold flakes, highlighting the flavour notes of warm oak, rich vanilla and roasted agave.

Furphy’s favourites

Furphy is hosting the ultimate pub-style marquee in The Birdcage, with eight screens for racing.

The marquee is also showing off its automatic beer pouring machine, delivering a perfect inch of Fuphy froth. 

Cocktail sipping with Schweppes

Asahi’s Schweppes has a marquee on the front row of the Birdcage as the company prepares to “elevate” its brand with new packaging and design that is soon to hit the shelves.

“Schweppes is all about bringing sophistication to social occasions with our range of premium mixers and drinks,” a spokesman said.

The marquee will feature ‘a magical bubble booth, boasting delicious edible bubbles in a variety of flavours’, while the brand will serve guests a range of premium cocktails.

Rosich said the 18,000 square feet Birdcage with its lavish Melbourne Cup marquees will accommodate about 5000 people a day during the carnival.

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