Ginuary 31st: sloe on the rocks.

And once again we’ve come to the end of the road! I marked the occasion today by heading to the end of another road, to drop into Nonesuch Distillery for my first visit.

You’ll find the distillery around half an hour out of Hobart, just past Sorell. Nonesuch currently exists as a humble wee thing of a shed on a working farm, but there are a whole hoard of expansions on the horizon. I need no more than a shed, a still, and a whole bunch of gin to be pleased, so I was sorted. Nonesuch first hit my radar a few months back at a little whisky house, hidden over on the small gin shelf (which I made a beeline for, of course). The question I really wanted answered was: why lead with sloe gin as your distillery champion?

Funnily enough, despite having a big chat with Nonesuch’s head distiller Rex, I don’t think I really got an answer to that. Don’t you need to lead with gin to make sloe gin? Yes, of course… and can adding sloe and sugar hide a bad base product? No, not really. You have to start strong! Rex is proud of his sloe and the gin that bolsters it, so he has finally buckled to pressure and bottled Nonesuch Dry Gin as well as the sloe champion. But today is a day for sloe gin, and so Nonesuch Sloe Gin it is.


Bonus feature succulent.

One of my questions for Rex was, “How do you best enjoy sloe gin?” I guess I still don’t really have my head around it. Is it meant to just be treated like normal gin when you look at things like G&Ts and martinis? Rex says yes, why not? He recommends the best sloe G&T is actually half sloe and half dry, so I’m going to have to try that one soon too. I’m still getting my head around sloe gin, so I’m obviously going to have to head out and have another chat to Rex sometime in the near future.

But for now, keeping things simple and lovely, cheers to the end of another Ginuary. Thanks for coming on the ride.

Ginuary 30th: Pink Lady Sugar Cookies.

Today’s a busy one! No time to muck about! Squeeze that gin in where you can! Ah, a bit of prepared baking. Perfect. Nailed it.

Pink Lady Sugar Cookies

  • 225g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1.5 cups caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp gin (I used Monkey 47 + The Retiring)
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2.5 cups flour

Cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes, until fluffy. Add egg and beat until well mixed. On low speed, mix in the remaining ingredients.

Chill the dough for a couple of hours. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Prepare the icing in the meantime, because the biscuits cool bake quickly.

  • 60g butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 1 Tbsp Grenadine
  • 1-2 drops food colouring for fanciness

Cream the butter in a mixer. Add the rest and mix slowly to combine, then beat on high for a couple of minutes until fluffy.

Back to the biscuits! Line a tray with baking paper and place tablespoon-sized balls roughly 5cm apart. Bake for only 10-15mins—until the biscuit is raised, barely browned at all. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before icing.

must… photograph… before… eating

Ooh lawd I love biscuits! As an Australian, ‘biscuit’ is a more common term for me than ‘cookie’ (while meaning the same thing) so apart from the official title I gotta stick with my roots, as well as converting some of the measures from the original American recipe.

I haven’t made a batch of biscuits for ages, so this was a real treat, even if I did finish at around 3am because time management isn’t my strongest forte. The original recipe called for an American gin, Jack Rabbit by Beehive Distilling. I don’t own any Jack Rabbit (not even sure if it’s available in Australia) but now I’ve looked it up, I would love to. Its more notable botanicals are sage and rose petals, and while I was baking and subbing I was thinking sweet thoughts of honey, thanks to the name of the distillery. I had to pick my own subs, so I went with a mix. Because I’m crazy like that. I used Tasmania’s The Retiring, Germany’s Monkey 47 and threw Bombay Sapphire through the icing.

I think the flavour of the gin gets mostly lost in the biscuit itself but has a bit more chance to make an impact in the icing, so I kind of wish I’d done my gins the other way around. Still! Biscuits are delicious! Or cookies! Whatever you want to call them! And I’m going to make lots of friends with my leftovers tomorrow.

Ginuary 29th: Monkey Gland.

I have so many things to say about today’s choice that I don’t quite know where to begin, so let’s wait until I’m drunk to write it all out. Here’s the drink!

Monkey Gland

  • 50ml gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 30ml fresh orange juice
  • 2 drops absinthe
  • 5ml grenadine

Shake well over ice, double strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe.

Nice placemat, tell me more!

That was easy. Now let’s talk about how I got here.

Back late last year I was recapping the first four Ginuarys on instagram, in both an effort to flesh out the new account and a way to hype myself up for the new month and try to maybe sorta kinda be a little bit planned, as opposed to previous years. Both ideas worked, much to my delight. But in recapping and reliving the past months, I discovered a few glaring holes in my history of Ginuary. I’ve done a few drinks inspired by or expanded on classic drinks, without blogging those classic drinks themselves. The Southside was one, and I hit that up earlier this month.

Monkey Gland was another. Way back during the first Ginuary, I had a Monkey Taxonomy at the now-defunct Salon bar in Brisbane. It was an “improved” version, a riff of the classic, with blood orange juice, a grenadine glaze, a big fat frozen plum, a very large and impressive block of ice. The drink came served inside a latex glove, and you snipped a finger off to pour it into its glass. If you know the origin of the Monkey Gland cocktail, this all makes more sense: the drink is named after a surgical technique of grafting monkey testicle tissue into humans. Yes, you read correctly. The procedure was vogue in the 1920s, and the drink came from that same decade.

But to this day I’d never given its predecessor a day of Ginuary. It almost fell by the wayside this year, too… until the fabulous Gin Monkey sent me a copy of her beautiful new book, the Periodic Table of Cocktails. I’ve been slowly amassing a collection of cocktail books, and those written by fellow bloggers are personal favourites before I’ve even read them, to be honest. Monkey’s combines cocktails and science in a wonderful way of reflecting two facets of her life. Straight from the Monkey’s mouth: The idea behind the book is to take the concept and principles behind the periodic table (that orders all of the known elements that make up the world by atomic number and therefore chemical properties and behaviour), and apply them to the topic of cocktails. The book is therefore structured around the table that sits at the front of the book (and at the back in a fold out colour poster), and the cocktail recipes within are ordered as such.

Speaking as someone fairly geeky, I’m tickled by the way each of the drinks was meticulously chosen for this book and sits so well in its element. Naturally I thumbed through in search of gin drinks, but with over a hundred recipes, this book covers all bases—no matter what your preferred spirit (and individual spirit preferences are very easy to navigate to using the index at the back). Each included drink has a short spiel, and most are classics. It’s a beautiful introduction to cocktails for a new home bartender, and a classy addition for the rest of us.

For Ginuary, though, it was straight to the index for gin. I worked my way down the list, ticking off each one I’d done. I started to worry. But wait. Of course. Monkey Gland from the Gin Monkey. It was almost too perfect.

Ginuary 28th: the Twenty-Eighth.

I had another plan for tonight, but then it was a beautiful, rainy evening and I wanted somebody else to do the work for me. So I texted my pal Barnes and went down to say hi to him at South Seas Cocktail Lounge. The name ‘Barnes’ may ring a bell—he made me a beautiful Beetroot Collins at Ash & Bester’s last Ginuary. Between then and now he’s opened this new tiki bar. Funnily enough, it’s still a tiny, dark space, like A&B… I should talk to him about that; maybe he works best in the dark!

South Seas is coming up on its first birthday in Hobart and it’s such a joy to have it. It’s honestly tiny, only fitting a maximum of 25-30 people (and even that’s cosy). It’s also very well hidden, close to Salamanca but far enough away that you have to want to go to South Seas, and South Seas alone. It’s a tiki bar, yes, but the cocktail menu ranges from zombies to classics to bowls to new creations. There’s something for everyone!

I had originally planned on having a Suffering Bastard, but when Barnes said he was whipping up something just for me, I wasn’t going to dispute that luxury!


I got to name it, and historically I have a very numeric approach to drinks of Ginuary. My bespoke bottle of gin made at McHenry last year was named Ginuary 10. This bespoke cocktail made of Tanqueray, Aperol, Dolin bitters, lemon and grapefruit, topped with crushed ice and soda? This is the Twenty-Eighth. Fresh, summery and desperate to be drunk on a beach somewhere, this drink is my jam. Thanks, Barnes. 

Ginuary 27th: Baked Martini Olives.

This one’s up a bit late because I spent the day entertaining a couple of gal pals at my place! I could have served them up a cocktail or two each but instead I went with finger food. Not the best choice for card games but we polished them off pretty darn quickly, nonetheless…

Baked Martini Olives

  • 250g mixed olives (or your favourites), drained
  • 1-2 cloves smashed garlic
  • several stems of thyme/oregano/rosemary
  • 1 small lemon, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup gin
  • 1 Tbsp dry vermouth (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Mix everything together in a small mixing bowl before transferring to a small oven-proof dish deep/wide enough to hold the olives. (This mixture will bubble in the oven and you don’t want a mess.) Add more gin and olive oil if needed (the olives don’t need to be fully submerged).

Bake for about thirty minutes. Let the olives cool a little before shoving them in your gob.


I’d even be inclined to call these martini olives. Maybe baked martini olives. Ok, yes, I’m officially changing the name (they were originally called gin-marinated olives; the start of this paragraph is going to seem confusing now). I threw in a dash of dry vermouth because I have some beautiful Maidenii in the fridge at the moment and it almost seemed necessary, what with olives and lemons and gin. Give me a dirty martini in a bowl, right? I felt wrong not putting dry vermouth in there. 

These ginny olives feel like finality for me. Here’s the thing—way back during the first Ginuary in 2012, I actually made up a batch of gin olives from another recipe (I should mention, this one’s from Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen) and had them waiting in the fridge… and promptly forgot about them. When it was time to move house (and state) I rediscovered them, and ended up gifting them to my hetero lifemate (I think I did, anyway…). So I never tried them! But the reason I found the recipe in the first place was because I used to go to this wonderful restaurant and bar in Woolloongabba in Brisbane called the Crosstown Eating House and gin-marinated olives were one of their cocktail bar snacks. My life would never be the same after trying those.

Today’s weren’t those olives, but they were pretty darn delicious. Warm from the oven (what an excellent step) and definitely alcoholic (“Do they taste boozy?” “I absolutely wouldn’t serve them to children”), like I said—we made them disappear very quickly. 

I’m actually marinating a second batch overnight (or longer; who knows with me) to see if I can get a stronger flavour seeped into them. I imagine the baking helps to cook that flavour in but I’m stubborn. And curious. It’s a lifestyle. 

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