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.

Third degree

Third Degree

I came across several recipes when looking for martinis featuring absinthe. Two caught my eye, The Fourth Degree and the Third Degree.

Flavoured with wormwood (also found in vermouth), absinthe was at one time considered an extremely dangerous hallucinogen and several countries banned its production and sale. The cocktail revival of the 1990s lead to a resurgence in the use of absinthe, but it was still banned in several places until the mid-2000’s. It has an aniseed flavour that makes an excellent partner to gin, particularly where there is vermouth present.

The standard pre-prohibition Fourth Degree according to David Wondrich’s book Imbibe, is 60ml gin, 30ml Italian (sweet) vermouth and a dash of absinthe. Further investigation led me to a version in The Savoy Cocktail book recipe which is more of a perfect/reverse martini consisting of equal parts (30ml) sweet and dry vermouth and gin with 4 dashes of absinthe.Then I found a drier option in the same book, the Third Degree.

I decided to make both drinks from the Savoy Cocktail book to see which I preferred.

The Third Degree recipe calls for ‘Burrough’s Plymouth Gin’. As I have some Burrough’s Reserve (Beefeater’s lightly barrel-aged gin) I decided to use that. For the Fourth Degree I used Artemis Gin (which used wormwood as a botanical).

Third degree

While I appreciated the balanced nature of the cocktail it was still too sweet for me and I couldn’t detect the absinthe as an ingredient as I could in the Third Degree. This was by far and away my favourite.

Third degree
Fourth Degree on the left, Third Degree on the right.

Ingredients for a Third Degree (Savoy recipe)

60ml gin

30ml dry vermouth

4 dashes of absinthe (equates to about 1 teaspoon)

Method

The usual. Stir over ice for 40-50 seconds. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish as desired. I went without as I didn’t want to be distracted from my taste test, but would suggest lemon peel.

Enjoy!

Marguerite Cocktail

Marguerite Cocktail

The Marguerite cocktail is a precursor of the dry martini. Thomas Stuart’s recipe appeared the 1904 reprint of his 1896 book Stuart’s Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them, listed under “New and Up-to-Date Drinks”, signaling a move away from sweet vermouth as Dry drinks crept into fashion.

Other bartenders use the Marguerite cocktail as a building block for their own drinks, like Harry Johnson, whose version uses anisette as well as bitters, and was garnished with a cherry.

Plymouth Gin was the gin of the time, and is the most referenced gin in the Savoy Cocktail book. I’m going to stay faithful to the original recipe, which also uses Noilly Prat as the dry vermouth.

Marguerite Cocktail

Ingredients for the Marguerite Cocktail

60ml Plymouth Gin

30ml Noilly Prat dry vermouth

2 dashes of orange bitters (I used Fee Brothers West Indian Orange bitters)

orange peel for garnish

Method

The Savoy Cocktail book asks for this drink to be shaken, but you all know my preference for stirring my martinis, so I’m going to stick with doing that.

Add all ingredients to an ice-filled mixing glass and stir for 40-50 seconds. Double-strain into a chilled glass and garnish with the orange peel.

Enjoy!

Millionaire's Martini

Millionaire’s Martini

I look to Sipsmith regularly for inspiration on how to drink gin and it was there that I found the recipe for the Millionaire’s Martini which was one of the drinks featured in their 100 Martini Pop-Up Bars in London and Amsterdam. Sipsmith Master Distiller Jared Brown has encyclopedic knowledge of not just gin, but also martinis, and his book Shaken not Stirred has been an education throughout ’30 Martinis in 30 Days’.

I’m not much of a champagne drinker, but I do make an exception when it’s mixed with gin. The French 75 is one gin and champagne drink I adore, and now the Millionaire’s martini is going to be another!

Millionaire's Martini

Ingredients for the Millionaire’s Martini

40ml Sipsmith gin

40ml dry vermouth

Champagne

Method

Stir the gin and vermouth together in an ice-filled mixing glass (40-50 seconds). Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top up with champagne.

Enjoy!

Sloe Gin Martini

Sloe Gin Martini

The Sloe Gin Martini is another  Harry Craddock creation from his 1930 manual The Savoy Cocktail Book.

Sloe gin is an old English style gin made by putting the berries of the blackthorn bush into gin and leaving it  to steep. The sloe berry looks like a blueberry, but tastes like a sour plum.  The skins are very tannic so sugar is added to balance the flavour of the sloe gin making it technically a liqueur.

Producers vary the time they allow the sloe berries to infuse the gin. I’ve tasted sloe gins that are steeped from 3 to 12 months, with differing results. The longer the infusion the higher the ABV. I prefer my sloe gin on the dry side and find some brands on the market too sickly sweet for my palate. A tell-tale sign of overdoing the sugar is crystallization  around the lid.

I’ve used McHenry Sloe Gin from Tasmania for this Sloe Gin martini. While sloes are native to England, settlers brought blackthorn plants  to Tasmania. Foraging for sloes with William McHenry was one of the highlights of last year.

William McHenry and Sloe Berries
Foraging for sloe berries with William

William leaves the berries to infuse in his Classic Dry gin for 12 months.  As a result some of the flavour from the stone of the fruit is retained which gives a hint of almonds on finish. He doesn’t add a lot sugar and the overall result is drier than many brands. It’s my stand out sloe gin.

Harry Craddock’s recipe calls for sweet and dry vermouth to be used and I’ve used Maidenii for the full Australian experience.

Sloe Gin Martini

Ingredients for a Sloe Gin Martini

40ml McHenry Sloe Gin

20ml Maidenii dry vemrouth

20ml Maidenii sweet vermouth

Method

Stir over ice for 30-40 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

fifty-fifty martini

Fifty-Fifty Martini

The Fifty-Fifty appears in Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail book from 1930. As the name suggests the martini is made with 50% gin and 50% dry vermouth and the recipe calls for it to be shaken, but rule breaker that I am I stirred mine!

If you’ve been following the whole 30 Martinis in 30 days series, you’ll know the higher the proportion of vermouth gives a ‘wetter’ martini. As the cocktail culture has evolved over the last 20 or so years and the martini has come back into fashion, vermouth has garnered more attention and quite right too. It’s an unsung hero of the bar and a worthy drink in its own right.  The Fifty-Fifty allows the flavour of a good vermouth to shine, with the obvious benefit it that is less boozy!

It can take a while to come up with your favourite gin and vermouth combination for a Fifty-Fifty, but I am going to follow one the of the best bartenders on the planet, Audrey Saunders (The Libation Goddess) who owns the Pegu Club in New York and has been a stalwart of the US bar industry for many years. If she doesn’t know the best gin and vermouth pairing, then who does? Her recipe calls for Plymouth gin and Dolin vermouth. What relief!

fifty-fifty martini

Ingredients for a Fifty-Fifty

45ml Plymouth gin

45ml Dolin vermouth

Method

Shake well in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive if desired!

Enjoy!

Boomerang martini

Boomerang Martini

The Boomerang martini was popular in the 30’s and 40’s. It’s similar to a Perfect martini in that it uses both dry (French) and sweet (Italian) vermouth, but in ratio closer to the Reverse! Confused? Perhaps this is why it’s called a Boomerang.

While I’ve been sifting through old recipes for 30 Martinis in 30 Days , I’ve come to understand that the dry martini is a relatively recent phenomenon and that the older the recipe, the more sweet vermouth was used and feature a maraschino cherry as a garnish. I have a new appreciation for vermouth, and particularly like the flavour that comes from using sweet and dry varieties together.

Boomerang Martini

Ingredients for the Boomerang martini

30ml gin (I used Jensen’s)

30ml dry vermouth

30ml sweet vermouth

dash of Angostura bitters

maraschino cherry garnish

Method

I think you know the drill by now! Add ingredients to an ice filled mixing glass and stir for 40-50 seconds. You can shake if you really want to! Add garnish.

Enjoy!

Spring Forward

Spring Forward

Spring Forward is a martini created by Sasha Patraske, probably the most influential bartender of the modern cocktail era. Sasha’s personal style and ethos on making drinks heralded the popularity of the ‘speakeasy’ style bar.

Several alumni of Sasha’s bar ‘Milk and Honey’ have gone on to open their own award-winning bars and their stories feature in Sasha’s book, written with his wife Georgette and sadly published posthumously this year.

I highly recommend buying Regarding Cocktails if you haven’t already done so. It is full of wonderful drinks; some of Sasha’s creations and some from his bar team as well as the classics. I adore the simplistic illustrations (which have their own legend) as well as insights into Sasha’s way of doing things.

Sasha Petraske book
Sasha Pretraske Regarding Cocktails

“If you’re serious about making cocktails at home, the first thing you have to do is take all the food out of your freezer and throw it away. It’ll add unwanted flavor to the ice, and you weren’t going to eat it anyway”.

Sasha Patraske

Spring Forward is a glorious riff on a dry martini and a gibson. However, the muddling of the spring onion makes the drink brighter and fresher somehow.

Spring Forward

Ingredients for Spring Forward

60ml dry gin

30ml dry vermouth

2 spring onions (one for muddling/one for garnish)

Method

Add the gin, vermouth and one of the spring onions to a frozen mixing glass. Gently muddle the spring onion. Sasha warns against over-muddling as this will lead to bitter flavors. Add ice and stir until chilled. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the remaining spring onion.

Enjoy!