Sublime Moment

A cocktail that tastes likes chocolate but doesn’t contain any? Bizarre. But that’s the Sublime Moment Cocktail created by Sam Carter, gin professor at Bombay Sapphire. (You’ll remember I did a cocktail masterclass with Sam when I visited the home of Bombay, Lavistoke Mill, you can read about it here.)

I was looking for another Easter cocktail to add to my repertoire and the Sublime Moment, and it wasn’t long before the smell of vanilla filled the house as I made the one of the key ingredients, the vanilla sugar syrup. You’ll need to make this in advance as it takes a few hours for the flavour to fully develop. Once you’d made it though, it will keep for a couple of months in a sealed container if kept in the fridge, so you have as many Sublime Moments as you want!

Ingredients for the vanilla sugar syrup

500g sugar

200ml water

1 vanilla pod

Sublime Moment


Add 25og of sugar to a pan with 200ml water and one vanilla pod, split with the seeds scraped out. Heat gently until it goes clear. Remove from the hear and add another 250g sugar and stir until clear. Put to one side and allow the vanilla pod to infuse the syrup.

Sublime Moment
Sublime Moment

Ingredients for a Sublime Moment

50ml Bombay Sapphire gin

25ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice

15ml of vanilla sugar syrup


Add all the ingredients to a shaker, fill with ice and shake until chilled. Garnish with grapefruit peel. Enjoy!


Celery Gimlet

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.

Celery Gimlet

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
celery leaves
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!

Celery Gimlet

Summer Shack

Summer Shack

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.

Summer Shack
Death & Company, New York

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.

Death & Co cocktail book

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.

Summer Shack


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!

Summer Shack
Ingredients for a Summer Shack

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 #2

House of Correction #2

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.

House of Correction #2
House of Correction. Image by Georgia Verells

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.

house of correction #2

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.

House of Correction #2

I recreated it at home during the warmer weather and it was spot on in delivering a perfect summer cooler with masses of flavour.

Ingredients for the House of Correction #2

45ml Maidenii Dry vermouth
15ml Four Pillars Navy Strength gin
2 drops Bittermans Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
60ml Capi Pink Grapefruit


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.


KT Collins

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 Jones
Joe Jones, owner of Romeo Lane

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.

KT Collins
Romeo Lane’s KT Collins

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!

The KT Collins is the creation of Sasha Petraske and features in his book Regarding Cocktails.

KT Collins

Ingredients for a KT Collins

2 thin strips of celery

60ml gin (I used Rutte Celery Gin)

22ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

22ml simple syrup

pinch of salt

soda water


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.


Cutlass Cocktail

Cutlass Cocktail

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!

Cutlass Cocktail

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.

Cutlass Cocktail

3 Matcha Gin Cocktails for you to try

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

3 matcha gin cocktails for you to try
Matcha gin sour


1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder.

30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

60ml gin

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!

3 matcha gin cocktails for you to try
Matcha Gimlet

Matcha Gimlet


1 tablespoon matcha

90ml  water

Juice of 1 small lime (30ml)

15ml simple syrup

75ml gin


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.

The First Lady

Created by Grant Wheeler of The Garret, New York.

3 matcha gin cocktails for you to try
The First Lady


45ml London Dry Gin

15ml triple sec

15ml simple syrup

15ml lemon juice

1 teaspoon matcha

1 egg white

basil leaves


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.

Are you a fan of tea and gin together?

Fresh and savoury gin cocktails to give you a boost!

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!

Refreshing cocktails
Zen and Tonic by Jules Aron

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)

Refreshing gin cocktails
Beet Berry Bombs


4 beetroot

2 apples

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

Refreshing gin cocktails
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)

90ml gin

oregano sprigs

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

Refreshing gin cocktails
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 apple

1/2 honeydew melon

1 medium-sized cucumber

juice of one lime

120ml gin


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!


*I definitely did

**affiliate link. See disclosure for details.

boozy gin popsicles

Boozy gin popsicles

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

boozy gin popsicles
Gin and Tonic popsicles

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.

Negroni Popsicle

boozy gin popsicle
Negroni gin popsicle

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?

Jinzu gin saketini

Gin Saketini

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.

gin saketini

Ingredients for a Gin Saketini

70ml gin (I used Jinzu)

20ml Sake

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.