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. 

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 25th: Perfect Martini.

No, I’m not going to tell you how to make the perfect combination. Everyone has their own perfect combination, and that’s absolutely fine. Experiment to find what YOUR perfect martini is, ok? Having said that, this is how to make a Perfect Martini, where “perfect” means equal parts of sweet and dry vermouth.

Perfect Martini

  • 45ml gin (I used the Retiring)
  • 45ml dry vermouth (I used Maidenii)
  • 45ml sweet vermouth (I used Dolin)

Stir over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish as you like.

Ok, look. I don’t really know what what I’m doing. Today’s drink was inspired by Alamagoozlum’s tweet a couple of days ago, recommending equal thirds of all three drinks. That’s what was stuck in my head. I tried to search the web to confirm the recipe but YOU try searching “perfect cocktail”, ok!? You’ll primarily get a bunch of websites recommending their opinion of the perfect balance.

Of course, it was only after I made (and photographed) my drink that I drilled my search down a little further and found that “perfect” really only means an equal split of vermouths, not necessarily an equal amount of gin too! So I drank my original (and photographed) drink, enjoyed it very much, then made another with 10ml of each vermouth and around maybe 60ml of gin, I don’t know. Not an actual comparison post because I didn’t have them side by side but I… yes. The gin-forward version is also very delicious. They’re both delicious. I think I like the gin-forward one better but I can’t lock that in because I didn’t try them side by side and the first one was also very delicious.

Yes, I am a bit tiddly.

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 23rd: Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin.

Bless gin distillers for playing with their craft, honestly. Bless them but also curse them, because despite my meagre earnings I am always keen to own every type of bottle. I feel particularly strong about this when it comes to Four Pillars gin, and I believe this is thanks to me being in their No_1 Club, as a supporter of their possible campaign when they first launched. Very clever ownership strategy there, gents. You got me. 

The Bloody Shiraz was a particularly weird and wonderful concoction that I couldn’t pass up; I believe it was offered up to No_1 Club members and distillery visitors only. I’m going to steal the origin story directly from the Four Pillars email because it’s great.

At vintage time [last] year Cam got his hands on 250kg of top class Yarra Valley Shiraz – for the purposes of this communication let’s just say he ‘borrowed’ it from a winemaking mate. Naturally enough we got to thinking of how we could turn it into gin… 

Our next challenge was what to call it. After all there is no ‘category’ for gin steeped in shiraz, so we had to come up with our own name. We used the winemaking method of ‘bleeding’ (the French call this ‘Saignee’), it was made with shiraz and it is uniquely, undoubtedly and proudly Australian. So Bloody Shiraz Gin it is. Because that’s what it is. 

In the simplest terms we took the unfermented, hand-picked and sorted shiraz grapes and plonked them on top of a stainless steel tank full of our Rare Dry Gin. We left the grapes in contact with the gin for eight weeks and then we simply drained the now blood red gin and bottled it up.

Nothing is added, so the only sugar is extracted directly from the grapes. The alcohol is lower than our regular gin but the natural sweetness is much, much higher. 

 

Appropriate glass, no?

 
I purchased my bottle of Bloody Shiraz back at the end of June last year, but held out until today to try it. Happy Ginuary to me!

I prefer soda over tonic and being that this weirdo hybrid is a little like sloe (or is it just my brain being tricked by the colour? I don’t think so, it’s a similar process), soda seemed a better choice anyway. I cracked open one of my bottles of Daylesford & Hepburn Mineral Springs Co sodas and threw in a big chunky slice of navel orange to garnish it. 

Still very much so gin, but naturally sweeter and oh, that colour! Slay me! I can’t wait to play with this some more, and then mourn it when it’s gone. Thanks for your wonderful ginnovative creations, Four Pillars.

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