Ginuary 3rd: McHenry Sloe Royale @ the Taste of Tasmania.

The final day of the Taste festival and over to my other favourite locals, McHenry’s, for a range of options on the board! All of which I’ve had before, so the Sloe Royale it was. Which was just a delight, because I don’t yet have a sloe gin in the cupboard. Attempting to remedy that soon.

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McHenry Distillery have come a long way since I last visited their stall at the Taste. They’ve added another two gins to their stable—a navy strength and a barrel aged, both of which I was able to sample and both of which are delicious.

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Barrel aged, sloe, classic and navy strength!

 

These bubbles, though. Mmhmm.

I love that McHenry’s sloe berries are foraged from around the island. I love it, but sometimes it means getting your hands on a bottle of sloe is like mining for gold… I tried a few months ago (maybe even late last Ginuary) and it was completely unavailable.

It was definitely back in action today!

Now THIS is my kind of festival drink.

Now THIS is my kind of festival drink.

I don’t want to carry on too much about McHenry’s because I’ve got more exciting things to do with these guys later this month, so for now I’ll just leave you with this.

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Ginuary 31st: Death in the Gulf Stream.

Feeling much like a troubled writer myself on waking this morning, I turned to Hemingway’s other hair of the dog.

Death in the Gulf Stream

  • 60ml genever
  • 45ml lime juice
  • 4 dashes angostura bitters
  • 5ml sugar syrup

 

Take a tall thin water tumbler and fill it with finely cracked ice. Lace this broken debris with 4 good purple splashes of Angostura, add the juice and crushed peel of 1 green lime, and fill the glass almost full with Holland gin… no sugar, no fancying. It’s strong, it’s bitter—but so is English ale strong and bitter, in many cases. We don’t add sugar to ale, and we don’t need sugar in a Death in the Gulf Stream—or at least not more than 1 tsp. Its tartness and its bitterness are its chief charm. It is reviving and refreshing; cools the blood and inspires renewed interest in food, companions and life.

 

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I made so many mistakes here and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I didn’t research the drink well enough—the one recipe I referenced said London Dry was an acceptable substitute. It’s not. I mean, the version of the drink I had today was okay, but this is a genever/Holland gin drink. Another recipe I came across even stipulated Plymouth. This is a genever/Holland gin drink.

I milked three limes to get my 45ml. Did they make limes different in the 1930s? I’m so baffled by poetic recipes and I was even more baffled this morning because of the joy of fuzzy brain. Why would a pick-me-up include a delicate lime peel? I barely survived peeling that. I also added more sugar to the drink because I was a weakling. I ended up using some Monkey 47, which ended up making a pretty swell drink, but it’s still not genever.

The recipe I was referencing also made no reference to cracked ice, and had a short tumbler as the photo reference. Clearly I wasn’t the only one thrown by poetic original recipes. Maybe next time.

What a strange way to end the month. See you in 2015…?

Ginuary 23rd: the Last Word.

I was both shocked and delighted when I realised the other day that I still hadn’t dedicated a proper day of Ginuary to one of my favourites.

The Last Word

  • 30ml gin
  • 30ml Green Chartreuse
  • 30ml maraschino liqueur
  • 30ml lime juice

 

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

 

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I love this drink so much that I bought a bottle of Green Chartreuse for my home bar just so I could drink this guy whenever I felt like it. What is it about this simple four equal parts drink that I cannot get enough of?

I came into Ginuary as a huge fan of the Clover Club cocktail—it really kicked off my interest in classic cocktails and the magic held within, and my first Clover Club was at a bar in Melbourne called 1806. It was at the same bar I first tried a Last Word. Magic seems to happen in that place, for me at least. I always look forward to visiting.

But let’s get back to the drink. I even mentioned it just the other day with the Detroit Athletic Club, Honey, because both drinks come from the same bar, around the same time. Shaken or stirred, I’m a fan of the Last Word, so much so that I’d call it my favourite drink. I would, and I do. I’m so sorry it’s taken me this long to properly sing your praises, darling. Let’s kiss and make up.

Ginuary 20th: Preview.

Holy dooley, if this drink was a lady I would not want to make her angry.

Preview

  • 45ml gin
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • dash of absinthe

 

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

 

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This classy dame comes to us from Ginuary’s hot pocket of 2014, Ted Saucier’s Bottoms Up, where I’m told it’s in honour of Peter Lawford, “motion picture star”—and member of the rat pack. What a swell guy. He must’ve been a helluva to get a drink in honour of him in print by the age of thirty… and now I feel old and unaccomplished. Great. Good way to start the week.

This drink will kick you in the teeth if you’re not looking. (Another good way to start the week…)

Ginuary 17th: Everglades Collins.

Another from Bottoms Up! It’s getting me through the home bar this year.

Everglades Collins

  • 45ml London Dry gin
  • 45ml Cointreau
  • juice of one lemon

 

Serve in Collins glass. Top with club soda.

 

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I found the lemon works out to roughly the same measurement as the booze, in case you don’t have any fresh lemons hanging around.

This recipe apparently comes courtesy of Jefferson Wynne of Miami Beach. I appreciate your efforts, Jefferson. This made an Australian heatwave a little less hot and a little more delicious.

Ginuary 14th: Broadway & Elsewhere.

Another find from Bottoms Up! The brief notes against this drink say it’s in honour of Jack Lait, columnist for the New York Mirror.

Broadway & Elsewhere

  • 45ml gin
  • 22.5ml green chartreuse
  • 15ml lemon juice

 

Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

 

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I picked this one out for two reasons: because I am quite fond of green chartreuse, and because just last week I was staying around the corner from Broadway and I’m desperately holding onto that. Ok, three reasons—I also had the ingredients handy.

I wondered if it might not be a bit too tart but as a huge fan of the Last Word (definitely still the more exceptional of the two) I had a feeling things would probably go alright between me and Broadway & Elsewhere. And they did indeed.

Ginuary 12th: Chateau Frontenac Special.

Home bar is back in action!

Chateau Frontenac Special

  • 30ml London Dry gin
  • 30ml brandy
  • 30ml Grand Marnier
  • 30ml orange juice

 

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

 

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I’ve got a new weapon up my sleeves this year and that weapon is a copy of Ted Saucier’s ‘Bottoms Up’, perhaps one of the sassier cocktail books to ever exist. I was drawn to this recipe tonight because I actually had Christmas Day brunch at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and I’m desperately clinging to my holiday because I’m back at work tomorrow.

According to the Chateau at the time of printing (1956 edition, I believe), this cocktail “went over in a big way” with guests of the two World Conferences held at the Chateau. Said guests came from “practically all over the world” so I guess you could say this drink united them all. In the same way it will unite my head with my pillow in around ten minutes, not joking.

Ginuary 4th: Leg Before Wicket @ Lantern’s Keep.

I moved to the big smoke today! I have to admit I was a little saddened to be leaving Brooklyn for Manhattan, because I’m a little more Brooklyn hipster than Manhattan socialite, but this isn’t a travel blog so let’s get down to the GIN.

I’m staying in the theater district, with Times Square right around the corner. The best drinking holes in Manhattan aren’t nearby, so I’ve been trying to do a bit of homework prep but there are still a lot of options available to me here. It’s glorious. But I’m still not talking about gin.

Thanks to some awesome door guys at the Iroquois Hotel watching my motorised scooter, I got to head down to the back of the hotel and pull up a lovely little marble table of my own at Lantern’s Keep. It’s a small, dark room with a killer cocktail list, all at the flat price of $16 a drink.

The cocktail list was so killer that I couldn’t decide—and I hadn’t had any of the gin drinks on the list. Oh my! I leaned toward the bartender for his advice and much to my delight, he engaged me in my favourite game—the Questions game. What’s my spirit? Gin. Do I prefer sweet, sour, bitter or citrus? … and this is where I failed badly at the Questions game tonight. I just had no clue what I wanted. But thanks to the bartender’s skills, I ended up with exactly what I needed.

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The Leg Before Wicket comes from back in the 1930s, or so cocktail sluzza tells me. It’s no surprise with that name, the drink recipe was first printed in Britain. I don’t even like or watch cricket but I’m Australian enough to know that ‘leg before wicket’ is a cricket thing, and I locked in my order by confirming “the LBW, thanks”.

Gin, Cynar, lime juice and Campari come together very nicely. The drink was so delicious and the atmosphere was so great that I have to be careful not to end up back there every night for the rest of my Manhattan stay. Let’s see how I go.

Ginuary 31st: Dry Martini.

Could you see this one coming? If you follow me on twitter, maybe so. If I actively called you out on how you like your martini, maybe quite easily.

It’s finally time for me to come clean and admit to you that tonight I drank my first real martini. No stuffing around, no using the word “martini” just because a concoction is served in a cocktail glass and includes gin, but a straight up dry martini with a twist, as recommended by quite honestly almost every person whose opinion I respect when it comes to gin.

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IXL Long Bar had a neat but excellent selection of gin, so I went with Tanqueray Ten. Noilly Prat was on hand for vermouth, and the twist was done beautifully.

It’s funny, I spent so long shying away from the martini because I wasn’t sure I was ready for it yet—even after drinking a pink gin (and Ginuary’s effort wasn’t even my first pink gin). Even after I went from fearing Campari at the start of last Ginuary to embracing it as 2012 continued. Even after drinking a particularly floral gin plain on the rocks earlier this month (not blogged—it was a bonus round).

My dry martini tonight was fresh and floral, nothing to fear. I had a second drink (an IXL Long Bar creation called the Windsor Knot) because I was in good company for my end of Ginuary celebration, and then over a dessert (we skipped dinner) featuring gin and rhubarb sorbet, I had another dry martini, because I bloody well could.

Thanks to you for reading another month of mad gin-themed shenanigans. I’m pretty happy that I’ve made it through another year and this year I didn’t get a blood test for something else and accidentally find out that my liver levels were elevated five times above where they should have been. Suck on THAT, liver! I ignored you this year! Actually I didn’t, I drank a lot of turmeric and black pepper tea and I tried to do a little more cooking with gin this year because I had your interests at heart, a little.

Perhaps this year I’ll be better at posting more during the non-Ginuary months. Wish me luck! Otherwise… let’s face it, I’ll probably just see you next year.

Ginuary 30th: White Lady.

I’m here tonight to admit that my first proper accidental drunken night of Ginuary has occurred. I’m here to admit that it wasn’t entirely accidental but perhaps ended up a little more accidental drunken than I first assumed. Anyway. You’ll see why.

The White Lady

  • 60ml gin
  • 30ml Cointreau
  • 30ml lemon juice

 

Shake all ingredients with cracked ice; strain into a cocktail glass or coupe.

 

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Here’s the thing. The White Lady is one of those prohibition-era cocktails that has a bajillion recipe variations swimming around, which normally wouldn’t phase me if they were based on ingredient measurements. But the White Lady is different in that one of the contentious things is one of the ingredients—egg white. Y’all remember how I feel about egg white? I wasn’t content with one or the other, White Lady. Oh no. I had to try it both ways.

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