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.

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.