Too Soon

If you haven’t yet bought a copy of Sasha Petraske’s book Regarding Cocktails, then do it now. It’s full of exquisite cocktails created by Sasha and the many renowned bartenders who worked and learned with him at Milk and Honey.

Too Soon was created by Sam Ross (Attaboy, New York and creator of the world-famous Penicillin) and features the underrated Cynar, an aperativo that I’ve been learning to love. This bitter-sweet Italian liqueur is made with 13 herbs and botanicals, with artichoke being the predominant flavour. Don’t that put you off though! This cocktail is deliciously fresh with sweetness of the orange balanced nicely with the Cynar.

Too Soon

Ingredients for a Too Soon

30ml gin

30ml Cynar

22 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

15ml simple syrup

2 thin slices of orange

Too Soon

Method

Shake all the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker until cold. Strain into a chilled coupe.

Enjoy!

Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

Melbourne winters are brutal and this one seems to be more bitterly cold than usual. From someone who withstood years of English winters, this is saying something. Sloe gin is my go to in winter and this rich spiced Sloe gin and Tempranillo Negroni by Dan Jones in his book Gin: Shake, Muddle and Stir is perfect for cold evenings. You could even heat it up a little to keep your hands warm!

Ingredients for Sloe gin and Tempranillo Negroni

30ml Sloe and Star Anise Gin

30ml Tempranillo reduction

60ml campari

orange peel/star anise to garnish

Method

To make the Sloe and Star Anise infused gin

For his recipe Dan has created a sloe and star anise gin from scratch, using fresh ripe sloe berries, as they are easier to come by in the UK. Fortunately I had some delicious McHenry sloe gin to hand so, I added some star anise to the sloe gin and infused for three days.

Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

To make Tempranillo reduction 

Ingredients

200ml Tempranillo wine

pinch of crushed star anise

100g of dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon of corn syrup or golden syrup (optional)

Method

Simmer the wine and star anise in a non-stick pan and slowly add the sugar. Turn down heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reduced by a third. Turn off the heat and leave for 20-30 minutes to cool and for the flavours to infuse. Adding the corn syrup to the finished product will keep the reduction smooth.

To make to Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

Stir the ingredients in a  mixing glass over ice. Strain into a rocks glass filled with a large ice-cube. Garnish with the orange peel and or star anise.

Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

Nuked Negroni

Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Nuked Negroni

Microwaves are a waste of time when it comes to enhancing the flavour of food. Mine is rarely used, except for heating up porridge or the endless cups of tea and coffee that I let go cold when I’m busy with the website. However, Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Nuked Negroni (from his excellent book, Good Things to Drink) shows what a useful tool it can be for making drinks!

Heating the ingredients for a Nuked Negroni draws out the flavours and adds depth to the drink that isn’t there when you simply stir it down.

It was a particularly cold afternoon in Melbourne when I was playing with this recipe and, impatient as I am, I couldn’t wait for the drink to cool, so enjoyed it warm. And do you know something? It was the best thing since mulled wine. Warmed Negroni for the win!

Nuked Negroni

Ingredients for a Nuked Negroni (makes 6-10 depending on your generosity levels!)

1 grapefruit

300ml gin (I used Melbourne Gin Company)

300ml sweet vermouth

300ml Campari

6 blackberries

sprig of rosemary

Nuked Negroni

Method

Remove a strip of zest from the grapefruit with a peeler. Add this to a microwave proof bowl with the other ingredients. Cover and microwave on high for 3 mins. Allow to cool, and strain into a bottle. To serve, add a generous measure to a rocks glass, add ice and a slice of grapefruit.

OR for a winter warmer

Allow to cool to a drinkable temperature and serve with a grapefruit twist. Enjoy!

Beach House

Beach House

Health food trends often spill over into the cocktail world. Matcha, beetroot, and cocktail oil (think Dave Kerr’s winning entry into the Bacardi Legacy competition, The Viento) are some trendy ingredients that have found their way into cocktails,  I’ve even tried using Kombucha!

The Beach House cocktail is taken from Dan Jones book Gin: Muddle, Shake, Stir. He mixes gin with coconut water (another hyped up food trend) and lime juice to create a tropical gin cocktail that’s a worthy substitute for a gin and tonic. Tempted as I was to add an umbrella, I used one of my new bamboo straws instead!

Beach House

Ingredients for a Beach House

60ml gin

15ml freshly squeezed lime juice

chilled coconut water

lime slice to garnish

Beach House

Method

Add the gin and lime juice to a highball glass and add crushed ice. Top up with chilled coconut water and stir. Add a slice of lime and serve.

Coconut water has plenty of claims that it has weight loss benefits, improves skin condition and offers superior hydration to plain old water, but most of this has been debunked. I still enjoy a glass as I like the taste and I figure it has to be healthier than cordial or fizzy drinks. Right?

Gin Gifts for Mum

Do you have a gin-loving Mumma?Are you organised for Mother’s Day yet? I’ve put together some top gin gifts for mum. And yes, some are COMPLETELY OVER THE TOP, but hey this woman gave birth to you!

Books

 

Gin Gifts for Mum

No one knows cocktails like Simon Difford and in this compendium of quirky happenings, anniversaries, birthdays and traditional events he has paired each one with an appropriate cocktail. You can celebrate everything from Mandela’s inauguration to aliens’ alleged arrival from outer space.

$22.90 from Booktopia*

 

Gin Gifts for Mum

Some of the best cocktails are the simplest (think of a Negroni). Kara Newman has collected 50 equal parts drinks in her book Shake, Stir, Sip.

$18.75 from Booktopia*

Jewellery

Martini necklace

 

Gin Gifts for Mum

It’s 12 o’clock somewhere in the world – so celebrates Aliita’s playful Martini necklace. Made from 9ct gold, it has a small emerald “olive” for glittering finish. Stunning!

$390 from mytheresa.com

Gin Gifts for Mum

Functional AND stylish, Cynthia Rowley’s flask bracelet holds approximately 90ml of booze. Also available in gold.

$225 (USD) from Cynthia Rowley

 

Gin Necklace

Tatty Devine Gilbert and George Gin Necklace

Tatty Devine’s celebrated Gilbert and George Gin necklace is perfect for the gin-lover in your life.

$45.00 from The Gin Queen
Gin brooch

Tatty Devine Gilbert & George Gin Brooch

The obvious benefit of the Tatty Devine Gilbert and George gin brooch is that it will assist those around your mum to easily identify her tipple of choice. Handy!

$15 from The Gin Queen

Barware

Ralph Lauren Preston Cocktail shaker

Gin Gifts for Mum

This cocktail shaker would make a stylish addition to any home bar!

$169 from David Jones

Silver Monkey Straw 

Gin Gifts for Mum

Sip in style with this cheeky monkey sterling silver straw from Tiffany. Super indulgent, but so gorgeous!

$705 Tiffany.com

Waterford Crystal Martini Glasses

Gin Gifts for Mum

You can’t go wrong with glassware as a gift and while I enjoy scouring flea markets and op shops for mine, there is something wonderful about splashing out on divine martini glasses.

Marquis Crosby Barware Martini Pair $140 (pair), from David Jones

Gin

Patient Wolf Gin

Gin Gifts for Mum

 

Melbourne’s newest gin is made in the heart of Brunswick on a gorgeous Muller still. Featuring Tonka bean as one of the botanicals, this is a tasty drop that mum will love!

$ 700ml $89.99 from Nicks Wine Merchants

Red Hen Gin

 

Gin Gifts for Mum

Red Hen Gin comes from the heart of Adelaide (the CBD!) and recently took our Gold in the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards AND Champion Small Batch Spirit.

$79.95  (700ml)from Red Hen Gin

Fragrance

Gin Gifts for Mum

Lubin Gin Fizz

Created in honour of Grace Kelly’s extraordinary beauty, and named after the cocktail inspired by the “American bars of Paris”, Gin Fizz is a fresh and flowery chypre with lemony top notes over an aldehyde and musky base.
$269.00 AUD (Eau de Toilette 100ml, available at David Jones)

 

All of the products listed above have been chosen by me because I think your mums would love them and not because I’m been paid to promote them. With the exception of items marked * which are affiliate links. You are not charged extra, but I receive a small commission on sales.

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

Method

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

Method

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

Method

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-and-Company-Cocktail-book
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

Method

Stir all the ingredients together over ice. Double strain into a coupe and garnish with a twist of orange.

Enjoy!

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

Method

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.

Enjoy!

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

Method

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.

Enjoy!