Created by Naren Young in 2010 during his time at Saxon + Parole, the Celery Gimlet is a flavour bomb guaranteed to wake up your palate.
A class gimlet is a fine drink indeed and is hard to go past when you are after something simple and refreshing. This turbo version combines sweet, savoury, bitter and sour flavours that balance surprisingly well together to create a herbaceous riff on a citrus forward cocktail.
I’ve made a couple of adjustments to Naren’s recipe, but you can try the original here. I’m obsessed with Rutte Celery gin at the moment so have used that, but this cocktail would work just as well with a bold juniper forward gin like Tanqueray or Junipero.
Ingredients for a Celery Gimlet
45ml Rutte celery gin
7.5ml green Chartreuse
20ml freshly squeezed lime juice
15ml simple syrup
5ml white wine vinegar
2 dashes celery bitters
Pinch of salt
Put celery leaves with salt in a cocktail shaker and muddle briefly. Fill shaker with ice and add gin, Chartreuse, lime juice, simple syrup, vinegar, and bitters. Shake, then double strain into a rocks glasses filled with ice. Enjoy!
Death and Company in New York is one of the most influential bars to emerge from the craft cocktail movement since it opened 10 years ago. It won Best American Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu at Tales of the Cocktail Spirited awards in 2010, and continues to win accolades. Obviously it’s high on my list of “bars I must visit before I die”, but as trip to NYC in not in the pipeline any time soon, I’ve been consoling myself with their cocktail book which I received from Santa.
To be fair, it’s more than just a cocktail book in spite of the 500 recipes stuffed into it’s funereal black cover. There are tips on stirring techniques and pairing flavours as well as notes on how to name a cocktail! Since I’ve been cheating on gin a bit with wine during my WSET course, the Summer Shack is the perfect cocktail to sip while I enjoy the autumn heatwave that has descended on Melbourne town.
The Summer Shack ticks all the boxes for me. It features one of my all time favourite gins, Martin Miller’s Westbourne strength, St-Germain elderflower liqueur and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s an approachable drink for those who haven’t quite given in to martinis.
The original recipe, created by Joaquín Simó, calls for Lillet Blanc, simple syrup and an orange twist which is discarded. I’ve replaced the Lillet with Dolin vermouth, omitted the simple syrup (I found it sweet enough for my taste), and kept the orange twist! Experimenting until you find the flavour profile you prefer is the best thing about making drinks!
Ingredients for a Summer Shack
45ml Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength gin
20ml Dolin dry vermouth
15ml Sauvignon Blanc
7ml St-Germain elderflower liqueur
orange peel for garnish
Stir all the ingredients together over ice. Double strain into a coupe and garnish with a twist of orange.
House of Correction opened last week and what a welcome addition to bar life in Melbourne. Industry legend Alex Ross has turned a former porn cinema into a sleek yet welcoming space, with seats aplenty at the bar, or cosy booths where you and your mates can catch up and work your way through the bar menu.
I was fortunate enough to score an invite to the opening night where we sampled a range of the cocktails available. Dave Smillie has put together an delicious list of drinks with a mix of boozy and light (in ABV) and intelligent twists on classics. Dave is a long time admirer of Iain Griffiths and Ryan Chetiyawardana, so expect to see lots of house-made ingredients and a drive towards creating a sustainable bar.
The cocktail that caught my eye (and my tastebuds) was the House of Correction #2 (all the drinks are numbered rather like the menu in a Chinese restaurant). Maidenii vermouth, Four Pillars Navy Strength gin, hopped grapefruit bitters are all stirred down and then topped off with Capi pink grapefruit. Garnished with a piece of grapefruit, this is a light, refreshing tipple that stops short of being too bitter at precisely the right moment.
I recreated it at home during the warmer weather and it was spot on in delivering a perfect summer cooler with masses of flavour.
Place a couple of ice cubes in a wine glass. Add vermouth, gin and bitters. Stir gently. Add a little more ice and top up with Capi pink grapefruit. Stir again and garnish with a wedge of pink grapefruit.
The other week I popped into Romeo Lane to say congratulations to Joe and the team for their wins at the Time Out Melbourne Bar Awards. Joe took out Bartender of the Year and the bar won Best Cocktail Bar.
Joe and the team at always have an excellent drinks menu, which changes regularly and offers lots of variety. This visit, the KT Collins caught my eye when I was looking for something to refresh and revive me.
Collins’ are a great alternative for a long gin drink when you aren’t in the mood for a G&T. A classic combination of gin, lemon juice, and sugar syrup are shaken together before being topped up with soda water. There is lots of room for experimentation ~ Rhubarb Collins for one, but this version is made with celery and a hint of salt, offering a savoury twist that appealed to my taste buds!
Muddle the celery sticks in a cocktail shaker. Add all the other ingredients (excluding the soda water) and ice and shake until chilled. Pour into an ice-filled Collins glass and top up with soda water. Garnish with a celery leaf or a thin slice of celery.
West Winds The Cutlass gin has long been a favourite of mine. The 50% ABV and savoury notes make this one of the best gins in a dry martini, however, the in a Cutlass Cocktail it’s a sure-fire winner on a hot day.
Created by Jason Chan, the palate behind West Winds gins, it combines Rose’s lime marmalade and basil leaves and is deliciously refreshing. A variation on a gimlet (which uses Rose’s lime cordial – unavailable to us here in Australia) so it is a little boozy tipple, so add some soda for a longer drink!
Ingredients for a Cutlass Cocktail
60ml The West Winds Gin The Cutlass
25ml lime juice
1 heaped barspoon Roses Marmalade
3 basil leaves
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until chilled. Double-strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and garnish with a basil leaf.
My English heritage leads to a natural love of tea (black no sugar, thanks), not just the regular variety, but also green tea which I consume by the bucket load!
Matcha is whole green tea leaves that have been finely ground into a powder. Grown in the shade, it contains caffeine and theanine which are said to produce calm energy in those that drink matcha. In an attempt to balance my gin intake with some antioxidant ingredients, (and get some of that calm energy), I played around with it in some cocktails.
3 Matcha Gin Cocktails for you to try
I picked three matcha gin cocktails to taste test. When making you’ll need to blend the powder in liquid well otherwise you’ll have lumps in your drink! Feel free to tweak the quantity of matcha added.
Matcha Gin Sour
1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder.
30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
20ml simple syrup
Dash of bitters
Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until cold. Strain into a chilled glass.
This was one my second favourite of the three, I can see this being a regular at GQHQ!
1 tablespoon matcha
Juice of 1 small lime (30ml)
15ml simple syrup
In a glass mix the matcha powder with water until smooth. Add your freshly squeezed lime juice and simple syrup. Pour this mixture to a cocktail shaker and add the gin and some ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
I found this one a challenge, I think due to the amount of matcha which dominated. Next time I would reduce the amount of matcha or possibly look for a sweeter variety.
Dry shake (no ice) the gin, triple sec, simple syrup, lemon juice, matcha and 1 basil leaf with the egg white. Add ice to the shaker and then shake until chilled. Strain into a collins glass with ice and garnish with basil leaves.
My favourite of the three! Superbly sippable with a lovely balance of flavours and sumptuous mouth-feel.
I’m not one for the whole “New Year, New You” bobbins that begins as soon as the last wisp of smoke from the New Year’s Eve fireworks disappear. However, I recognise that I may have* over indulged a little over the festive season and that my body requires more than a diet of cheese and gin (yes, really) in order to attack the coming year.
Cocktails with plenty of fresh ingredients are always a good idea. (Have you checked out my gin and herb cocktails?). Luckily, I purchased Jules Aron’s amazing book Zen and Tonic **last year. The delicious recipes featured all contain booze, but also lots of freshly juiced fruit and veggies to balance out the alcohol. Win. win.
I’ve picked 3 of my favourite of Jules’ fresh and savoury gin cocktails, all guaranteed to give you a boost!
Don’t worry if you don’t have a juicer, just look out for some of the more savoury juices in the supermarket or health food store.
Beet Berry Bomb (makes 4 shots)
1 pack of raspberries
120ml gin (I used Four Pillars Modern Australian)
Juice the beets and apples. Blend together with the raspberries (Jules uses frozen raspberries). Add to an ice-filled shaker, pour in the gin and shake until well-chilled.
The Jessica Rabbit
In Jules’ recipe, the gin was infused with oregano for 24 hours. I skipped this part. Instead, I used Gin Mare gin, which has oregano as a botanical. I also popped a couple of sprigs in the shaker with the carrot, grapefruit juice and gin. If you like your cocktails on the sweeter side, make sure to include the passionfruit.
Ingredients (makes 2)
60ml freshly juiced carrot juice
30ml freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Juice of 1/2 passion fruit (optional)
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with ice until cold. Strain into a glass a garnish with a sprig of oregano if desired.
Glow, Baby, Glow
Don’t be put off by the kale, this is a beautiful juice that works equally as well without the gin!
4 large kale leaves
1/2 honeydew melon
1 medium-sized cucumber
juice of one lime
Juice all the ingredients and add to a cocktail shaker together with the gin. Shake with ice until cold.
Inspire me with you favourite juice combinations that you think might work with gin!
After success with my Frozen negroni last summer, I’ve been wanting to make boozy gin popsicles, not just gin and tonic ones, but other flavours too.
The challenge with making popsicles is that alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature (around -114c) than a standard domestic refrigerator can reach (usually around -20c). Recipes need to be adjusted and diluted down and should contain no more than about 20% alcohol in order for the popsicle to freeze properly.
For my boozy gin popsicles, I chose Gin and Tonic, Gin Gin Mule and a Negroni. I had varying degrees of success in terms of freezing but they all tasted FREAKING DELICIOUS.
Gin and Tonic Popsicle
The easiest and most successful of all the boozy gin popsicles! I used 20ml gin to 80ml Fevertree tonic and added some lime slices to the liquid for add a little color before freezing. They have a great refreshing flavour and these are going to be a regular at GQHQ over the summer months.
I pushed the limits with this one by using 10ml each of gin, vermouth and campari and then 70ml of Capi’s Sicilian Blood Orange and adding some small pieces of fresh orange. While the flavour was spot on, it was the least successful popsicle in terms of staying on the stick. I just slammed it in a glass and added a spoon. Frozen Negroni are just too good to waste.
Gin Gin Mule Popsicle
One of my favourite summer cocktails, the Gin Gin Mule combines gin, lime juice, simple syrup and refreshing ginger beer. I used 20ml gin, 10ml of lime juice and sugar syrup and 60ml ginger beer and added some fresh mint leaves for colour before freezing.
Others to try
Next on my list to try:
Sloe gin fizz ~ the lower alcohol level of sloe gin should make this one a good option
Corpse Reviver No. 2 ~ I recently had a Corpse Reviver slushy at Heartbreaker in Melbourne and it was perfect.
Cherry Pop ~ Cherry season is here so a great opportunity to make this gorgeous PDT cocktail in a popsicle.
Have you tried making boozy popsicles? Any I should try?
I have tried to steer clear of those cocktails that aren’t remotely related to a martini, in spite of having ‘-tini’ at the end of the name. Think appletinis. Yeah, no. However, I am making an exception for this Gin Saketini, mainly because it hasn’t got any of the ingredients (like syrups or liqueurs) that are the stuff of ‘-tinis’.
The Gin Saketini, as you’ve probably guessed, combines gin and Sake. Sake is rice wine from Japan. There are several types of sake that are differentiated according to how highly polished the rice grain is, and whether alcohol is added. I have chosen a junmai sake (14%ABV) to make my Gin Saketini.
Jinzu is a made in Scotland by Diageo (who make Tanqueray), created by bartender Dee Davies. Dee won the opportunity to create her own spirit through a global competition. She chose gin, but as a lover of all things Japanese, she wanted to use Sake as part of the gin-making process. Tanqueray Master Distiller, Tom Nicol, was on hand to lend his expertise and in the end the pair decided to blend the sake into the gin after distillation. I’ll be reviewing Jinzu at a later date, as it’s a lovely gin.
The Jinzu and junmai pair well in this martini, which is light and aromatic.
Ingredients for a Gin Saketini
70ml gin (I used Jinzu)
umeboshi (japanese pickled plum) for garnish
Place all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 4-50 seconds. Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish.
The Alaska is another loose interpretation of a martini which swaps vermouth for yellow Chartreuse, an herbal liqueur made by monks in France.
It first appeared in the Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930, where there is a helpful explanation of where the name originates: “So far as can be ascertained this delectable potion is NOT the staple diet of the Esquimaux. It was probably first thought of in South Carolina – hence its name.”
David A. Embury, in his book “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks“, created a version of the Alaska called the “Nome”, which dials back the yellow Chartreuse and has some Fino sherry added. I’ve also seen recipes calling for orange bitters to be added, which is the option I’ve chosen.
Be warned, the Alaska is a delicious but not for the faint-hearted. It has a high ABV, (yellow Chartreuse is 40%) and it’s very sweet.