Ginuary 22nd: lemon rice pudding with gin syrup.

You wanna know something I love? Yes, ok, gin. But also rice pudding. My nanan used to make the best rice pudding ever when I was little, and now I live in a beautiful cold climate (well, in winter, anyway) I find curling up on the couch with a blanket and a bowl of rice pudding a real treat. Finding a recipe that gave me an excuse to curl up on the couch (sans blanket, it is the middle of summer) with a bowl of rice pudding for Ginuary? Consider me sold.

Lemon Rice Pudding with Gin Syrup

  • 700ml full cream milk
  • 3/4 cup risotto or short grain rice
  • 2 lemons
  • 6 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 Tbsp floral gin (I used Hendrick’s)
  • 3 Tbsp toasted almond slivers

Put the milk and rice (and a sprinkle of salt) in a saucepan and bring to the boil gently. Simmer for 15-20mins, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked (you may need to add a little more milk).

While the rice is cooking, zest the lemons and set aside. Cut off the peel and segment the flesh in a small bowl, saving any juice.

In a small saucepan, make a 2:1 sugar syrup with the caster sugar and 2 Tbsp water. When the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat and stir in the gin.

When the rice is cooked, add the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar to the pudding, along with the lemon zest, any juice, and half the gin syrup. Stir well. Put the segmented lemon in the remaining gin syrup.

Spoon the rice into warmed bowls, add a drizzle of lemon syrup and a sprinkle of almonds. Scoff with great abandon.

Dessert… or breakfast.

I’m very good at not reading ahead with recipes. As the pudding was near the end of its bubbling, I realised that I had a bit more work to do regarding the syrup and lemons. Luckily I had some 2:1 sugar syrup already made up, so I just heated that and added the gin, then frantically segmented the lemons as mid-cook my boss texted to ask where I was because I totally got my start time at work wrong. FRANTIC.

I threw the pudding and syrup into a container and took them to work for a very luxurious work lunch, but this did mean I had to sacrifice toasting my almond slivers. Scandalous. What even are almonds if they’re not toasted, I ask you? Look, it doesn’t really matter in the end because I had a delicious rice pudding with a smack of sour lemon and a drizzle of beautiful gin, so really, I won in the end anyway.

 

Ginuary 21st: the Southside.

Southside? South Side? Lemon? Lime? Here’s the problem with classic cocktails… who knows? Or maybe we know, but the improved version is actually better, which is why it’s better known? All I know is when there’s such a clear divide of opinions in recipes, I’ve got no choice.

I have to do a comparison post, and probably get a bit drunk in doing so.

The things I do for Ginuary.

The Southside

  • 60ml gin (I used Sipsmith)
  • 15ml lime juice
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • 15ml simple syrup
  • 6-8 mint leaves

Shake ingredients over ice and double strain into a cocktail or coupe glass. Garnish with another mint leaf or two.

Here’s what I did. One with lemon. One with lime. One with half/half. I will fight you. Half/half won. I know, I was surprised too! I actually expected lime to be the winner, and it was winning for me until I thought to try the half/half blend. Maybe it was also the glass choice—the first two I did in cocktail glasses and they don’t come anywhere near to filling the glass, but in a coupe it’s kind of perfect.

Look, I’m still really tired and I have now had six shots of alcohol and it’s bedtime and I don’t have to be anywhere tomorrow morning. BYE.

Ginuary 20th: Piccadilly Circus.

I started my day at 4:45am in Melbourne when my alarm went off for me to get to the airport, and I ended my day at 10pm when I got home from work in Hobart. Suffice it to say, I am exhausted. I’m very grateful to my past self for hoarding away a delicious limited edition mixer. 

Piccadilly Circus

  • 30ml gin (I used Tanqueray)
  • Schweppes Orange Grapefruit & Bitters
  • squeeze of lime
  • slice of grapefruit
  • sprig of mint

Pour gin over ice. Top with Schweppes, finish with the lime squeeze and garnish with grapefruit and mint. 

  

This one’s a little confusing to me, if only because a fairly simple mixer recipe is set out like a cocktail. It really is just the gin and the mixer; the other things mostly make it pretty? It doesn’t matter, I’m too tired to argue and this mixer basically exists to be put with gin so I’m more than happy to do that. 

Ginuary 19th: Sloe & Sour @ Teatro Southbank.

What a day I’ve had! I could have gotten away with using what I spent the majority of my day doing as my gin of the day, but I think I’ll save it for the finished product. I’ll probably post the work in progress to Instagram, though…

On with today’s gin!

I did have to squeeze in a gin cocktail at some point today, if only to enable my new friend Amy to reacquaint herself with gin. We were off to see a music gig and just managed to score an hour up our sleeves to find something near to Hamer Hall in Melbourne to fill our bellies and wash it down. 

I am likely a pretentious jerk at times when it comes to food, and I’ll admit that the riverside Southbank restaurants in Melbourne wouldn’t be my go-to, but they were close and we were hungry on a timeframe. Teatro was a pleasant surprise. Amy and I split a pizza between us (it was fresh, with beautiful melted cheese and a chewy, woodfire-bubbled crust) and grabbed a gin-based cocktail each from the list. 

  
My Sloe & Sour was Plymouth sloe gin, chambord raspberry liqueur, peach (chunks, evidently), lemon and pineapple juice. The description mentioned that “this is a great cocktail even if you’re not a gin lover” which I mean, of course, it’s sloe gin. It’s essentially gin with a heap of berries and sugar added, and everyone loves sugar. The combination of chambord and pineapple juice even turned a little blackcurranty on the tongue, which was interesting!

Teatro saved me from having to venture out after the gig in search of a drink (I was willing but anticipating exhaustion). Of course, I could have still done that (and even used it for the 20th once the clock struck past midnight!), but with a 6am flight the next morning looming, I opted for traipsing back to my pal’s place, reorganising my bags and having a little nap before the morning alarm. 

See you next time, Melbourne! Miss you already. That was way too quick.

Ginuary 18th: Sage Advice @ Boilermaker House.

Ah, Melbourne! I do love drinking in you but gosh, I don’t have much time on this fly-by trip. I was grateful that my pal was happy to grab some dinner and a cheeky gin in town before we headed out to the Dandenongs! Dinner just happened to be right near a newish little bar that piqued my interest… 

Boilermaker House are purveyors of malt whisky and craft beer, first and foremost, so I actually felt quite chagrined enquiring after a gin cocktail. It was certainly no doing of the staff I spoke with, who were lovely—I suppose as someone who happily drinks whisky and beer as well, I put that feeling on myself. The House does have a short but sweet cocktail menu, and once I was aware that they are the younger sibling of Melbourne’s famed Eau de Vie, I knew ordering off that wasn’t going to be a problem for me.

Sage Advice is a combination of Beefeater gin, peach brandy, fresh sage and ginger, and lemon juice. It comes served in a glass made from an old wine bottle cut in half, full of crushed ice to the point where it’s spilling over the sides. Fresh sage, lemon slices and cherries serve as garnishes, and you can bet I ate those cherries. Delicious. The drink itself is complex and absolutely delicious, herbal and fresh and I wanna do it again. 

 

Sage advice: try this drink. You’re welcome.

 
Maybe next time I return I’ll get a whisky chaser, too.

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