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!

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

Method

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

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder.

30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

60ml gin

20ml simple syrup

Dash of bitters

Method

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

Ingredients

1 tablespoon matcha

90ml  water

Juice of 1 small lime (30ml)

15ml simple syrup

75ml gin

Method

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

Ingredients

45ml London Dry Gin

15ml triple sec

15ml simple syrup

15ml lemon juice

1 teaspoon matcha

1 egg white

basil leaves

Method

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

Ingredients

4 beetroot

2 apples

1 pack of raspberries

120ml gin (I used Four Pillars Modern Australian)

Method

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)

Method

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!

Ingredients

4 large kale leaves

1 apple

1/2 honeydew melon

1 medium-sized cucumber

juice of one lime

120ml gin

Method

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

Method

Place all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 4-50 seconds. Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish.

Enjoy!

Alaska

Alaska

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.

Alaska

Ingredients for an Alaska

45ml gin (I used Portobello Road)

15ml yellow Chartreuse

dash of orange bitters

Method

Stir ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass for 40-50 seconds. Double strain into a chilled glass.

Enjoy!

Astoria

The Astoria

Created at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, The Astoria is a post-prohibition cocktail and featured in their 1931 cocktail book.

It’s a play on the reverse martini, but uses Old Tom gin. Old Tom style gins were all the rage before distilling techniques improved and sweeteners were no longer added to mask the flavour of inferior gins. They declined in popularity to such an extent that they disappeared. However, the cocktail renaissance and interest in old cocktail books (where Old Tom was used prolifically) has seen may brands reissue recipes from the archives, like Tanqueray and Hayman’s.

It isn’t always easy to swap London Dry for Old Tom gin. In general Old Tom gins add a richer dimension to older cocktails and work best in Martinez and Tom Collins’. Some brands are more versatile than others. Jensen’s is a favourite here, probably because they have relied on their botanical mix to create the sweet flavour, rather than add sugar. It makes a lovely G&T.

Look for tell-tale signs of sugar-crystallization around bottle tops, an indication of too much sugar being added to the gin.

Astoria

Ingredients for The Astoria

60ml dry vermouth

30ml Old Tom gin (I used Jensen’s)

2 dashes orange bitters

Method

Stir ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Enjoy!

christmas gift guide2016

The Gin Queen’s Christmas Gift Guide 2016

Are you freaking out that Christmas is looming, or have you finished your shopping and everything is wrapped and under the tree? I’ve taken a breath from planning 2017 (which is going to be epic) to think about the best gifts for gin lovers. The Gin Queen’s Christmas gift guide 2016 is your one stop shop for pressies.  I’m not paid to recommend any of these, I just like them and I hope you do too.

Something to read

Luke McCarthy’s Australian Spirits Guide

Luke is a gifted writer and bartender who spent most of last year delving into the stories behind 51 of Australia’s stand-out spirits (not just gin!). A really great book for someone keen to learn about the growing Australian distilling industry.

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

 

RRP: $30.75 Order via Booktopia 

Sacha Petreske Regarding Cocktails

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

Sasha Petraske was the catalyst for the ‘speakeasy’ bar and resurgence in the cocktail era. A legend in the industry, his bar Milk and Honey in New York was the place many of the best bartenders began their careers. Sadly, Sasha passed away before his book was complete, but his wife Georgette, with the help of may industry friends finished it on his behalf.

Featuring classics and creations by Sasha and his team, it is full of delightful illustrations and stories that reveal the thoughts and humour of a much-missed personality.

RRP: $30.75 Order via Booktopia 

A Spot at the Bar

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

Michael Madrusan worked alongside Sasha Petraske at Milk and Honey and opened his beautiful bar, The Everleigh with Sasha as his business partner, so it’s fitting that his first book opens with a beautiful dedication to him. Written with his partner Zara Young, A Spot at the Bar features personal stories from Michael about his career and thoughts on making cocktails, stunning images and over 300 cocktails. Michael and Zara also share their way of organising the enormous collection of recipes they have, using ‘Cocktail Branches’. A really special book.

RRP 45.00

Special offer:  Order both ‘A Spot at the Bar and The Everleigh Bottling Co. Cocktail Gift Boxes for only $99 between now and 24th December from The Everleigh. Simply email info@theeverleigh.com quoting “A Spot at the Bar + Famous Four Gift Set” when ordering.

Something to wear

Juniper Science Necklace

 

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

My lovely and clever friend Emma, from Gin Monkey helped Luk from Science Jewelry with this gorgeous necklace. In case you were wondering, this is the molecular structure of juniper, the main botanical ingredient for gin. There is also a tonic necklace too, both are made from sterling silver. Aside from creating stunning jewellery, $5 dollars from every purchase goes towards educational resources for scientists, teachers and students.

RRP $168.00 (includes free shipping)  from Science Inspired Jewelry1824*.

Demeter Gin and Tonic Fragrance

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

Demeter Gin & Tonic fragrance does exactly what it says on the label, it acts as a pick-me-up. Light and refreshing, but with a deepening fragrance the longer its in contact with your skin. This fragrance is perfect for those of use who love a gin-inspired scent, but who don’t want to smell like they’ve had a heavy night!

RRP $29.95 (30ml) Available from Kleins Perfumery

Something to use

Tatty Devine Coin Purse

If I’ve you’ve bumped into meet at an event you will more than likely have seen me wearing my Tatty Devine gin necklace. When I saw their new gin coin purse I was pretty excited, not least because GLITTER!

Obviously, I need one to put all my gin funds in. Hopefully Mr GQ is reading this…

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

 

RRP 14.95GDP. Order here.

Limited edition Tonic of Gin Lumira candle

When the talented people at Lumira got a whiff of Distillery Botanica gin they were hooked. Once they met master distiller, Philip Moore and learned about the thousands year old technique (enfleurage) he was using to extract the fragrance of the Murraya flower, they knew they wanted to see if they could capture the essence in a candle. With the Tonic of Gin candle, they’ve done so beautifully. I haven’t lit mine and the fragrance still fills the room. The candle has been snapped up quickly and there aren’t many left! Be quick!

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

RRP $59.00 Order here.

Tom Dixon Plum Martini Glasses

Well, HELLO you sexy things. These stunning copper-plated stainless steel martini glasses would even make Mr Bond jealous. Part of a stylish collection of barware from gifted designer Tom Dixon, these would definitely win you points in the gift-giving stakes!

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

RRP $120 for the pair. For stockists click here.

Denver & Liely Gin Glass

Denver & Liely’s whisky glass has won fans around the world, so I’m delighted that the team have expanded their range to include a gin glass.

The funnel and smaller sized opening of the glass concentrates the smell, which enhances what you taste. Perfect for sipping neat gin, or serving up your favourite cocktail.

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

RRP $55 Full list of stockists here.

Something to drink

When Seb Reaburn, with an career in the spirits and cocktail industry that stretches over 20 years, tells you he’s going to make a gin, you sit up and listen. Artemis is a well crafted gin made in Collingwood by Seb and his partner Derv, using a Carl still and a range of native and traditional botanicals. It’s a savoury gin that I simply love it in a martini.

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

RRP $90 for 700ml (44% ABV) from Craft & Co.

Stone Pine Orange Blossom gin 2016 edition

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

This was one of my favourite gins of 2015 so it’s great news for me that distiller Ian Glen has launched a 2016 edition. This year, instead of simply infusing the gin with orange blossom, Ian has distilled it, to create a delightful summer gin that is as spectacular in a G&T as it is in a Negroni.

Be quick, judging by last year’s sales, this limited edition won’t be around for long!

RRP $80 for 700ml (40% ABV). Buy here.

The Everleigh Bottling Company Cocktail Gift boxes

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

Who wouldn’t want to wake up and find these beauties under the tree? Each gift box contains four classic cocktails made to the exacting standards of The Everleigh Bar ~ Martini, Negroni, Manhattan and Old-Fashioned.

RRP $69

Special offer:  Order both ‘A Spot at the Bar and The Everleigh Bottling Co. Cocktail Gift Boxes for only $99 between now and 24th December from The Everleigh. Simply email info@theeverleigh.com quoting “A Spot at the Bar + Famous Four Gift Set” when ordering.

Kew Organic Gin

I had the privilege to meet Darren Rook, founder of the London Distilling Co and creator of the sublime Dodd’s gin, when he came over for Junipalooza Melbourne in October. I can’t wait to share the interview with you, he’s a fascinating guy with an incredible attention to detail, which is evident with Kew Organic gin.

It’s a unique collaboration with Kew Gardens in London (GQ fact, this is where I got married!) and Darren and the team worked closely with the archivists and botanists to create this unique gin.

It has over 40 botanicals, including 22 sourced from Kew. 86% of the botanical bill is juniper which is music to my ears! The team have also created Kew garden inspired packaging which is stunning, and is made using vegetable based inks and water-based varnish, neither of which are tested on animals.

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

RRP $85.00 for 700ml (46% ABV) Purchase here.

Something to do

Gin Queen On Tour Gift Voucher

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

OK, so I’m a little biased on this one. I launched Gin Queen on Tour this year and was blown away by the response. Two trips to Four Pillars Gin and one each to Loch Distillery and Melbourne Gin Company later, and I’m champing at the bit to get the 2017 tours underway (sssh, I’ve just confirmed a date for Tasmania!).

RRP $115 (valid for Melbourne tours only). Purchase here.

*affiliate link.