Ginuary 26th: Sloe Pimm Fizz.

Today was a national public holiday in Australia, so like all good Australians I… worked a full day for public holiday penalty rates. My drink choice was based around a couple of Aussie (Tasmanian, to be exact) favourites I could throw in! Originally found on instagram, thanks to @haywardgary.

Sloe Pimm Fizz

  • 22.5ml gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 15ml sloe gin (I used McHenry Distillery)
  • 30ml Pimm’s No.1
  • 15ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg white

Shake well with ice for a minute or so (dry shake first to emulsify the egg if you like—I did like).

Strain into a highball glass, leave to settle and then top (VERY) carefully with ginger beer.

Garnish with expressed lemon peel and discard.

 

Henry’s and McHenry!

Watch out folks, this one is SUPER fizzy! Lots of fun. No extra sweetening in here, just the sugar from the sloe gin and the Pimms, so it’s definitely a sassy drink full of flavour. I really enjoyed sipping this down and continuing to top up with ginger beer as I went.

Now to finish the leftover ginger beer (my favourite!) with a meat pie for dinner, cos Straya.

Ginuary 24th: Café Americano @ the Void Bar.

I finished work at MONA two hours before close today, which meant that I rewarded myself with a knock-off down in the void bar while most of my workmates were still busy working. It was grand. 

The Void Bar’s current cocktail menu is quite impressive: a couple of punches to share, a page of creative things, and a page of classics. I’d had everything from their classics list but that was ok—drinking on location is generally a time to try something fun.

Can’t beat that sandstone.

From what I could gather, the Café Americano is just a negroni with some cold drip coffee and chocolate bitters. Sorry, I shouldn’t say “just”—it was awesome. The bartender at the Void Bar poured out Poltergeist gin, Maidenii sweet vermouth, Campari, and coffee, splashed a couple dashes of chocolate bitters, stirred it all and then poured it over the beautiful big cube of ice you see above. 
It was a very, very good way to end a work day. 

Ginuary 3rd: Süd Polaire Frozen Negroni @ the Taste of Tasmania. 

Historically, the third of Ginuary is the day I celebrate at the Taste of Tasmania (3/5 years now, with exceptionally good excuses for the other two). The festival itself is getting a bit same-same for me—things don’t appear to change much year to year, the real challenge is in scanning the stalls for any new and appealing treats.

The main thing that’s kept the Taste exciting for me is watching the gin offerings expand each year, to be honest, because they have! The first year I went (2013), literally the only thing gin-flavoured inside was McHenry Distillery’s stall that wasn’t even touting itself as McHenry’s, but rather “the Spirit of the Tasman”, and gin certainly wasn’t the focus of that stall! It just happened to be there. These days McHenry’s stall is out on the beautiful lawn with a big lovely “Bathtub Gin” banner. This year I noticed that they had some boozy sorbets on offer there! But I was so busy, I missed trying them. A terrible error on my part. But that’s enough about McHenry Distillery, oops!

This post is to sing the praises of the 2016 festival’s saving grace, the Frozen Negroni.

 

FROZIE NEGROZIE

All hail!

 

I had been so underwhelmed (while expecting to be) by the festival on my first scan through (prior to Ginuary) that I completely missed this nugget. Bless one of my Instagram friends for mentioning it! On my next lunch break, I made a beeline for Domaine Simha’s stall and snaffled one with great joy. It was a hot day, too, so it was an absolute treat. A negroni-flavoured snow cone, if you will. And I will. I mean, I did. And I continued to each time I was near the festival grounds.

Today marks the finale of the Taste this year, but I very much look forward to finding out more about the brand new Tasmanian gin used in the frozen Negroni. I’ll be honest, when I first saw the bottle of Süd Polaire on the stall counter, I thought it was a bottle imported from Iceland or somewhere Scandinavian. But no. Of course, as it was at Domaine Simha’s stall, the logical explanation is that they’ve branched out from luxe wines to include a luxe gin!

Süd Polaire is handcrafted from a triple-distilled wine (no surprise) spirit. Individually vapour infused with ten different botanicals, some of which are top secret but of course Tasmanian pepperberry is on the list. It’s billed as an “Antarctic Dry Gin”, so I’m yet to find out if they’ve just cheekily renamed a London Dry style, or if it’s more New Wave. Though with a wine base, would it instead have a comparison with Gin Xoriguer? Having said that, Süd Polaire uses a wine spirit base (tell me more!).

Like I said, I’m very much looking forward to spending a little more time getting acquainted with Tasmania’s newest gin (this title doesn’t last long these days, to my utter delight).

Ginuary 29th: Smoky Martini.

Smoky Martini

  • 75ml gin (I used Tanqueray No. Ten)
  • 5-10ml (a splash) of scotch whisky

 
Add both ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
 
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Welcome to a very dry martini but with scotch instead of vermouth. I had other plans for today but got a bit sidetracked—plus, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this one ever since Jenn did it during Ginuary 2014. My brain gets stuck on certain things in weird ways.

Make sure you pick a wonderful gin (they’re all wonderful, aren’t they?) and a particularly smoky scotch. I used Glenfiddich 12, because that’s what I had in the house. I could have used this drink as a good excuse to buy a bottle of Laphroaig but I resisted. Good girl. My wallet is happy with me. (The drink would have been better with it, I’m sure of it.) STILL GOOD, THOUGH. Lots of gin with some more gin and a sneeze of scotch.

Plus, look at that twist. Still got it.

Ginuary 27th: Army Barrel.

WELP, this wasn’t supposed to happen. But it was delicious, and that’s always the end goal, so here’s to wonderful mistakes.

Army Barrel

  • 60ml barrel aged gin (I used Four Pillars)
  • 40ml fresh lemon juice
  • 20ml orgeat syrup

 

Shake all ingredients over ice, then strain and serve in a cocktail glass with a dash of Angostura bitters floating on the top.

 

A delicious mistake.

A delicious mistake.

Looks good, right? Sounds good too, yes?

Cocktail buffs, have you spotted yet what I’ve done?

Let me give you the answer in any case, because I’m not going to leave you hanging. Funny story. A few weeks ago I went searching for some cocktails that used navy strength gin, because I wanted to make the most of the fact that I have some in the cupboard this year. I found this blog post and pinned it, and once I got some orgeat it was back in the game. That there is a recipe for the Army & Navy cocktail—a cocktail that was first printed around 1948 but existed who knows how much longer before that. But it’s not the common recipe you’ll find around the traps, speaking of 1948. That drink looks more like 60ml gin, 15ml lemon and half that orgeat—but it’s also not specifying navy strength, so maybe the Four Pillars guys took that into consideration when altering the recipe. I’ll reckon so.

But none of that really matters anyway, because after a very long day at work today I grabbed the Four Pillars Barrel Aged instead of the Four Pillars Navy Strength, and I guess I made an Army Barrel instead of an Army & Navy.

But it all worked out well in the end because how could it not be delicious when it’s so nice and simple? And the world needs more ways to play with barrel aged gin anyway. I’d be inclined to play around more with the measures in the future, but at the same time, this really was tasty, so would I really? Would you?

Ginuary 26th: Pavlova Gin Fizz.

So this is the second year in a row now I’ve spent my 26th of Ginuary up at my friends’ place, celebrating us all having a day off and yet not being particularly patriotic because I don’t think Australia Day is entirely appropriate. Anyway. This isn’t a political blog, it’s a gin blog.

This year I found what I thought was going to be a slightly ridiculous and potentially kinda gross recipe.

Pavlova Gin Fizz

  • 45ml gin (I used my Bespoke gin)
  • 10ml lemon juice
  • 10ml lime juice
  • 5ml sugar syrup
  • AND A CHUNK OF LEFTOVER PAVLOVA

 

Add all ingredients with a heap of ice to the shaker and shake until you are blue in the face. Literally – as hard and as long as at least two people can handle. Gotta emulsify that pav, fellas.
Double strain into a glass full of crushed ice and top with about 20ml soda water.

 

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HELP ME. THIS WAS DELICIOUS. I WAS AND CONTINUE TO BE OVERWHELMED BY HOW TASTY THIS WAS.

The pavlova is a fairly iconic dessert for Australia, despite its origin being New Zealand and its name being Russian. Hey, for those who’ve come across the seas, right? This was actually the first pavlova I’ve ever made (read: decorated; I totally used a store-bought base after discovering that was A Thing only last month). I was very excited about it. Look at it! It’s lovely.

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Passionfruit was drizzled just prior to serving. Good first effort?

You can only ever make a pav when you know it’s all gonna get eaten, because they don’t keep. So the pavlova gin fizz is a perfect way to use up your leftover pav and TASTES LIKE HEAVEN. I opted to fill a jar I’d been drinking from earlier, leaving some muddled fruit in the bottom and covering that with crushed ice before straining the drink in.

I’m still having a lot of feelings, thinking about that drink. I think I’ll hope for leftover pav every time pav makes an appearance in the future. Because oh my.

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Dear pavlova, who knew you could become something EVEN MORE magnificent!?

 

Ginuary 24th: Beetroot Collins @ Ash & Besters.

A lot can happen in twelve months. Almost exactly a year ago, I went in to Ethos Eat Drink for a pretty delicious apricot gin sour. Twelve months (and two days) later, Ethos has expanded… and expanded… and expanded. Out the front of the restaurant is a providore and a frozen yoghurt joint… and underneath the restaurant, next to its beating heart, is Ash & Besters. Ash & Besters do cocktails, and they do cocktails good. Tonight Barnes sorted me out with a Beetroot Collins.

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Chocolate and beetroot and ginger, oh my!

“We recreate this venerable tall drink with Lark’s Godfather dry gin, beetroot, chocolate, house-made ginger liqueur and Bittermens habanero chilli shrub.”

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And fizz. I mean, Collins. Same guy.

I wish I had more photos to share of this beautiful space but I headed in here after a full day of work (I hope the rest of Australia is enjoying their long weekend, sure) and my phone battery didn’t quite survive the full sitting—plus we had a full house at the bar and I didn’t want to startle anyone with any paparazzo activity (it’s pretty intimate down in the belly of the beast).

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Sneaky peek at some lustworthy shelf contents, ai.

I know one thing’s for sure: I’ve updated my New Years resolutions to include “hang out at Ash & Besters more often”, because that’s all I want to do now.

Ginuary 12th: Lemon Lavender Fizz.

There’s this lavender bush that I walk past every day on my way home and sometimes I’ll grab a sprig or two of lavender to carry with me. Sometimes I shove them in my hair. In Ginuary I shove them in a drink.

Lemon Lavender Fizz

  • 60ml gin
  • 40ml fresh lemon juice
  • 20ml lavender sugar syrup*
  • sparkling mineral/soda water

 

Pour gin, lemon juice and lavender syrup into a glass and stir. Top with soda, add some ice and garnish with a lemon wheel and a sprig or two of lavender.

*To make the lavender sugar syrup, just add around 1tbsp dried lavender buds to 200ml sugar/water as you’re making it.

 

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Isn’t this one as pretty as a picture? Yes, that’s “foraged” lavender… thanks, neighbour!

I originally stumbled across this recipe on a Pinterest trawl, where I found Bakenoir’s take on it. Their fancy-looking glass confused me but also excited me but also seemed to go against their actual recipe, which calls for a top-up with soda water. I wanted to do the pretty, fancy version though, so I did.

And darn it if I didn’t find it a bit too sweet. Good for a sweet tooth, probably, but the equal parts syrup and lemon weren’t hitting it off for me. So I went back in for round two, going for more of a long glass approach a la the original recipe from Saveur, but ignoring their measurements—which called for a higher syrup to lemon ratio! Nope, nope, nope…

I made a half-strength with 30ml gin, 20ml lemon and 10ml syrup… and I’m happy to say that’s bang on the money for me, but I think the important thing to take away here is that it’s a nice simple drink you can start with less syrup on and then just adjust to your personal preference. Because whee, lavender sugar syrup!

Yeesh, I just had the last mouthful of v.1 after making v.2 and it’s close to sickeningly sweet. Horses for courses. Glad I went ahead with v.2. Go your own way!

Ginuary 11th: the Cherry Fling.

The berry influx continues with today’s recipe! On my birthday I bought 2kg of the juiciest and most delicious cherries in the world (I will fight you if you dispute this) from the Huon valley down here in Tassie, and I knew I had to turn some of them into a cocktail. Teamed with finally having a bottle of genever to play with this month, I stumbled across this recipe that oozed with potential.

The Cherry Fling

  • 60ml genever
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 7.5ml sugar syrup
  • 4-6 sweet cherries

 

Muddle the cherries in a cocktail shaker. Add the other ingredients and ice. Shake and then fine-strain into a chilled flute. Garnish with a big fat cherry.

 

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Full credit to Putney Farm for the creation of this one, and you can read about that creation story right here. Check out the red of my finished drink compared to theirs! Not bragging, just interesting. This is one of the reasons I love using fresh ingredients, because regionally and seasonally the results can be different in interesting ways.

CHERRIES. Also I like the name of this one, for reasons.

This was a delicious way to end a working Sunday, with the flavours coming together nicely (cherry and lime is always a winner) and the sugar not overbalancing but equalling out the lime and genever just nicely. Yes, delicious. I wonder if I have enough cherries for another. First I have to do some prep for coming days… me? Organised? Not really, don’t worry.

Ginuary 22nd: Apricot Gin Sour @ Ethos Eat Drink.

When people visit Hobart and want a delicious local food experience, I send them in the direction of this restaurant. They’ve recently added some super cool cocktails to their menu, which meant I couldn’t not stop by Ethos for a drink this month.

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This evening, Chloe and Alice treated me to a gin sour using a delicious poached apricot sugar syrup for a sassy twist to the classic recipe. All syrups are house made (and there are some exciting bitters on their way as well) in keeping with the crazy love that Ethos has for wonderful local ingredients (even the gin is a Tassie local). The apricot syrup smelled so good when I stuck my nose into the bottle, and the sweetness hung around noticeably once added to the rest of the ingredients in the sour.

The menu at Ethos is ever-changing, but this guy can currently be found on the drinks menu as a whiskey sour. I’m strongly advocating you ask for the whiskey to be replaced with gin, because I could quite comfortably drink another two or three of these. And may just do so when I head back to Ethos for dinner next week.

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