Tag Archives: Cocktails O’ Clock

Cocktails O’clock: 6 delicious drinks that use Monin’s Falernum syrup…

Recently, Monin (the syrup company) were kind enough to send me some of their products. I received a few flavours and this post will showcase one of their latest products: Falernum syrup. Now Falernum is not a new product, it’s a Caribbean spiced syrup that is often alcoholic and almost exclusively used in Tiki Style cocktails.

I’ve been trying to lay my hands on Falernum, in one form or another, for years and always failed at the last hurdle. However, thanks to the lovely PR team over at Monin (specifically Emma White – Thank you) I’ve finally got some. And boy oh boy it was worth the wait!

Monin’s falernum Syrup is everything I thought it would be. It’s sweet, fragrant, and yet it contains a gentle heat that completes the flavour profile you’d expect from a Caribbean spiced syrup. I can safely say, that I now know why it’s used so copiously across the wide variety of Tiki cocktails.

Below I try to take 6 tiki style cocktails and, with very little tweaking, create them in such a way that you’ll be making them for yourself by the end of the post…

Golden Gate

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Recipe:

2m Plantation 3-star platinum [white] Rum

1m Fresh Lemon Juice

Splash of Monin Falernum syrup

Garnish: 1 orange Peel

 

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice (around 10 seconds should be enough).
  • Strain into a chilled Coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Top Tip: Although this drink is made short, you can use a rocks glass and crushed ice to make it a longer, more palatable drink – especially if you’re not one for shorter, stronger drinks.

 

Corn & Oil

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Recipe:

2 measure El Ron Prohibido Solera Rum

1 measure Monin Falernum Syrup

¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice

Dash Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters

Garnish: Lime Wedge, Edible Flower

Method:

  • Shake the ingredients hard, over ice.
  • Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
  • Garnish and serve with a straw, or two.

 

The Zombie (Classic Recipe)

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Recipe:

1 ½ measures Jamaican Rum

1 ½ measures Puerto Rican Rum

1 measure 151-proof rum

½ measure Dons Mix*

½ measure Monin Falernum syrup

¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice

¼ measure Monin Grenadine syrup

2 dashes Absinthe

1 dash angostura bitters

Garnish: 2 mint sprigs

Method:

Dons Mix: combine 2 measures Grapefruit Juice with 1 measure of cinnamon simple syrup.

Cocktail:

  • Shake all of the ingredients over ice for around 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain ingredients into a Tiki Mug filled with crushed ice.
  • Top up with crushed ice and garnish with a couple of mint sprigs and serve with 2 straws.

Whilst Jamaican Rum is quite easy to come by (Appleton Estate Special is available in most supermarkets) the Puerto Rican Rum might be a little harder to come by. Sainsbury’s currently stock Flor De Cana, a rum from Nicaragua, which is a decent replacement. Equally, you can experiment like I did and go for something completely different.

I used Plantation Platinum 3 stars, and a Mexican Solera Rum I picked up a little while ago and fell in love with (El Ron Prohibido).

 

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (Tall)

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Recipe:

1 ½ measures El Ron Prohibido Solera Rum

½ measure Monin Falernum Syrup

¼ measure Merlet Trois Citrus (Triple Sec)

¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice

Top up Ginger ale

Garnish: Lime Wheel & Mint Sprig(s)

Method:

  • Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake over ice for around 10 seconds.
  • Strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.
  • Top with more crushed ice, and then the Ginger ale.
  • Garnish and serve with 2 straws.

This cocktail, originally comprised of just the first 4 ingredients. However, it came up a bit short in my mug (even when doubled). So I simply topped with the ginger ale at hand (Canada Dry) and it seemed to work brilliantly. So I hope you enjoy this lengthened version of the Yacht Club – if not, try it without the ale, serving it short in a coupe/martini glass.

 

Bronx Cheer

Recipe:

2 measures Makers Mark Kentucky Bourbon

1 measure Fresh Lime Juice

¾ measure Monin Falernum Syrup

¾ measure Raspberry Simple Syrup

Garnish: Lime Wheel & Raspberry skewer.

Method:

  • Shake all the ingredients, over ice, for around 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into a ceramic Tiki Mug filled with crushed ice.
  • Top up with more crushed ice and garnish, before serving with two straws.

This cocktail is the only one I do not have a picture for. My raspberries went mouldy before their BBE and no shops were open on a Sunday night – murphy’s law, right? However, I have had this cocktail recently and can attest to its rather palatable taste (and considering I’m not a fan of whisky – that’s quite the compliment).

 

Juke Cup

moscow-mule

Recipe:

1 ¼ measures Monin Falernum Syrup

¾ measure Rhum Agricole (high proof)

¾ measure fresh lime juice

¼ measure Honey Simple Syrup

1 Cucumber slice

Top up – Ginger ale

Garnish: Cucumber slice & Pineapple Chunk

Method:

  • Adding the cucumber slice, lime juice and honey syrup to your glass, muddle well.
  • Then add the Falernum and Rhum Agricole and stir well.
  • Top up with ice and mix in some Ginger Ale.
  • Garnish with a cucumber slice and pineapple chunk.

Honey syrup:

Combining at a 1:1 ratio, add honey to water and simmer, mixing until the honey dissolves.

Top Tip: the original recipe called for Ginger beer, but I find it to be a tad too spicy so I stick to the gentler ginger ale. If you like your ginger soda with a kick, try using ginger beer with this cocktail!

So there you have 6 cocktails that make great use of Monin’s Falernum syrup! Monin did a fantastic job supplying me with the Falernum used in this post (you can see it in a couple of the images) and I’d like to thank them for sending me a product I’ve been desperately after for years!

Monin has a vast array of flavoured syrups at their disposal and as a cocktail imbiber, I am always interested in trying out new and novel syrups! My favourite simply has to be this Falernum, although their Hibiscus syrup is a truly inspirational. You can purchase Monin syrups from a wide variety of outlets but click here for more information!

What about you? What’s your favourite flavour Monin syrup? Do you like the cool, crisp taste of their Cucumber syrup or are you a fan of their refreshing Melon syrup? Why don’t you drop a comment below and let me know! You never know they might send me a bottle to use in future posts!

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London Cocktail Club – The Best Basement Bar around…

My first bar of the week was part of the London cocktail Club’s repertoire. This particular establishment was located on Goodge Street, not very far from the Goodge Street underground station.

After a short walk down the road, and a little double-back, I came across a secretive staircase leading down into the dark. Above the staircase was the sign ‘London Cocktail Club’.

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As I walked down, the wall to my left turned to glass and I could see into a dimly-lit homely looking bar. As I opened the door I was cheerfully met by one of the staff and after explaining who I was they set me up with a table by the bar, where I was met by ‘Balash’. One of the friendliest and welcoming bartenders I’ve ever met!

Between him and the other 3 staff (including the extremely humble bar manager), I was hosted with the most personal service I’ve ever received.

Now I know what you’re thinking… I told them I was a cocktail blogger so they were probably being overly nice? Well I thought that too at first, but then other people started arriving and it swiftly became obvious that the service I received was not isolated, but typical of this bar.

The Venue…

The bar itself was not full of over gratuitous luxury, nor was it what you would call a dive bar. This particular bar was extremely welcoming, the playful nature and mannerisms of the staff were almost mirrored by the building itself. This was a remarkably fresh feeling and for my first bar experience in the English capital, I was pleasantly surprised at how welcomed I felt.

It’s a testament to both the bar, and the individual members of that bar when someone new to the city is made to feel as welcome as I was that night. If I had not been so welcomed, I fear my entire trip to London trip would have felt completely different.

The playful nature of the staff really made you feel at ease and their constant calling of ‘200’ and them playing with their swinging lights really lent to the experience of a unique and refreshing cocktail bar.

The cocktails…

I had the chance to try three different cocktails, all of which prepared by the same bartender: ‘Balash’. He was an exceptionally knowledgeable bartender who not only knew what he was talking about, but understood my tastes and offered great advice on the cocktails to choose – a rare talent on its own, but an essential gift among bartenders indeed.

His friendly, professional, and attentive service was well received by me and everyone else he served that night. This service was not dropped when serving several cocktails at once, and whilst his workload was increased, his drink quality and mixing ability did not decrease (the opposite being a bad habit I’ve noticed before at other bars). So with his ability not questionable I was confident in his advice and suggestions and let him guide me through the menu. Below are the drinks I imbibed and their menu-recipes. For obvious reasons, the measurements are not included. If you wish to try any of these as I did, head on down to Goodge street and enjoy a great night…

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Cocktail #1: Boogie Nights

Grey Goose Citron (Lemon), crème de Peche, Disaronno, and pineapple Juice.

Shaken and served long in an ice-filled sling glass.

This cocktail was chosen to help ease me into the night and was light, fruity, and easy going. Perfect for a beginning of the night cocktail. This cocktail was unique and I’ve never had it before (it was great) but it is a type of cocktail every bar should have on their menu, one or two in fact.

Cocktail #2: Bramley Apple Smash 20160330_201440

 

Bombay Sapphire Gin, lemon juice, elderflower cordial, fresh mint, and Bramley apple sauce.

Built, shaken and served in the same mason glass. Served with a garnish of 1 custard crème biscuit. The latter a nice touch.

This cocktail was my favourite of the three and was fragrant, fruity, and tangy. The mint and apple paired up nicely and the, whilst the Gin’s burn was disguised well buy the sugary mixture, its dry fragrance and flavours really shone through – no mean feat with all of those flavours knocking about.

Cocktail #3: In-House Bramble

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Their take on the classic Bramble cocktail.

Bombay Sapphire Gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, Chambord black raspberry liqueur.

Built, muddled, and served in a nice bowl-like rocks glass.

This cocktail was unsurprisingly the strongest tasting, and their twist of shaking in the Chambord compared with the classic recipe’s float really worked. You got much more of a raspberry hit with this twisted classic and I, for one, prefer it that way! Die-hard cocktail fans might disagree, but then again this isn’t their blog is it?

Overall:

The London Cocktail Club at Goodge street was not one of their newer branches, and that’s exactly why I chose it. I chose a secluded little bar like this, one hidden away from the main street via a shady staircase, to see how their atmosphere measured up to that of the cocktail bars I’m used too.

Needless to say, this LCC venue blew my expectations apart. It made every bar I’ve been to before that night look like dive bars in every sense of the word. I absolutely loved the bars ambience, as well as the staff that were integral to that. As I stated above, my entire week in London would have felt substantially different had I not been to this bar and felt so welcomed. Something I will always owe to this outstanding bar.

With great cocktails, expertly made, and wonderful bartenders, who know exactly how to treat all their customers, the LCC @ Goodge street is a fantastic venue that anyone in London should give a go.

I’d like to end this post with a big thank you to the LCC and also to Balash who, unfortunately, was not available at the time I took the following picture. You were integral to my great week in London. So thank you.

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Cointreau – Revisited

I wrote a plethora of posts about Cointreau in my very first year of blogging, and even revisited the spirit when I attended a garden party back in 2013, further to that I also wrote a collection of summer cocktails themed on the orange beauty of a spirit.

Those posts have held their own with the latter mentioned consistently hitting high daily views. Because of this I thought I’d revisit one of my favourite liqueurs once more. This time I’ll share several collections of cocktails that are based on, or use as a focus, Cointreau.

With this post, I’ll aim to look at several original Cointreau cocktails, the new collection of Cointreau official cocktails, new summer cocktails, Cointreau classic cocktails, as well as a few little single recipe posts.

So with the above in mind, let’s look at 3 original, or different, Cointreau cocktails…

winter sun cocktail

1. Winter Sun Cocktail

Recipe:

45ml vodka

15ml Cointreau

60ml Clementine Juice

15ml Fresh Lemon Juice

Garnish: Sprig of Rosemary, Lemon Zest & Sugar

Method:

  • Moisten the rim of a large rocks glass with the lemon.
  • Grate the zest of a lemon into some sugar and mix. Upturn the glass and dip into the lemon sugar to garnish the glass.
  • Fill the glass with ice, add the ingredients and stir well.
  • Garnish, finally, with the rosemary sprig.

awaiting grace

2. Awaiting Grace

Recipe:

25ml Cointreau

50ml Absolut Vanilla

1 Tsp Brown Sugar

Top up Cloudy Apple Juice

5 basil leaves

Method:

  • Muddle the basil with the sugar in the bottom of a Collins glass.
  • Add a lime wedge and pour in the spirits.
  • Add ice and stir well.
  • Top up with the apple juice.
  • Stir once more and serve with a straw.

bourbonsidecar

3. Bourbon Sidecar

Recipe:

1m Cointreau

1m Lemon Juice

2m Bourbon

Method:

  • Shake ingredients, for around 10-15 seconds, over ice.
  • Strain into a well-chilled rocks glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist.

Offers! – Rum and Sunshine!

So another week on, and another offer from the drink shop.

They currently have offers on all of their rums! Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good rum. Seriously, I love rum; So this offer is like catnip to me.

Whether you love a ‘Blanco’ white rum in your Mojito, or an Anejo dark rum in your Cuban – there’s bound to be a rum you love on this list. Not to mention you might find a rum you’ve never tried before!!!

So why not check out the offers, grab a bargain or two and chill this Easter! I know I will be!

Check out the offers page right here!

And when you get your new bottle why not try out this cocktail full of sunshine:

My Sharona

My Sharona

Recipe:

6 Raspberries

50ml Rum

25ml Lemon Juice

12.5ml Agave Nectar

75ml Ginger beer

Method:

  • Muddle Raspberries in a mixing glass.
  • Add the Rum, Lemon Juice, and Agave Nectar.
  • Shake well for around 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into an ice-filled glass and top with Ginger Ale.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist.

Tomato & Basil Vodka, And A Bloody Nose To Boot…

The third of my infused vodkas is the only savoury one I’m sharing. I have a sweet tooth, well several actually, and therefore it is extremely hard to find savoury infusions that I actually like…

This infusion is mainly for those who like their bloody mary mixtures a little more home-made and flavourful. Infusing Tomato and Basil into a quality Vodka will, if done correctly, add a completely new layer of depth in flavour. Sure Bloody Mary Cocktails are great, but you can always do it better…

Tomato & Basil Vodka

Recipe:

6 large tomatoes

Handful of fresh Basil

70cl (700ml) High-quality Vodka

Method:

  • Cut each tomato up into 8 pieces put into a sterilised glass jar with the fresh basil.
  • Add the vodka, seal the bottle and gently shake to mix the ingredients.
  • Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for up to 7 days.
  • Fine-strain into the original vodka bottle, and discard the solids.
  • Re-seal the original bottle and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight or in the fridge.

Whilst I don’t usually go for such a savoury concoction, this one works rather well in a particular type of vodka based cocktail: Bloody Marys.

Basil Bloody Mary

tomato and basil bloody mary
Image taken from A Beautiful Mess (see below for link)

Recipe:

50ml Tomato & Basil Infused Vodka

150ml Fresh Tomato Juice

2 sprigs Fresh Basil

1/2 Lemon

1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce

1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Garnish: Olives & peppered cheddar skewers, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper..

Method:

  • Muddle the basil leaves with half a lemons worth of juice.
  • Half fill the glass with ice and then the same again with the Bloody Mary Mix.
  • Add in the vodka, stir and then add the tabasco and worcestershire sauces.
  • top up with ice and then garnish with a skewer comprised of the olives and cheddar squares, and a sprig of basil.

Combined with various other savoury ingredients the tomato and basil flavour really shines through and even takes away some of the alcohol burn associated with a strong drink…

To visit the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ – the site home to the recipe upon which i based my own, please click here.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you have any vodka cocktails that involve tequila, you should definitely give this infusion a try. It pairs well with tequila and especially spicy cocktails!

Pineapple Vodka, With Extra Toppings…

The final of my 3 Vodka infusions; this sweet and tropical infusion will be perfect for those with a sweet tooth and a penchant for the tang of a fresh pineapple (like me).

It is a relatively versatile infusion that works best in tropical cocktails but also finds its place in the more ‘traditional’ recipes. Think along the lines of a Tropical Martini or Tangy Screwdriver…

Check out the infusion recipe below and then enjoy the tropical combination of your new Pineapple Vodka and a cocktail whose origin story was set in Brazil; The Very Tropical Caipiroska.

Pineapple Infused Vodka

Recipe:

1 whole (medium) pineapple, sliced/diced

70cl (700ml) Vodka

50 grams Sugar

Method:

  • Add all of the ingredients to a sterilised & tight sealing bottle.
  • Leave to sit for up to 48hrs.
  • Strain into the original vodka bottle and seal it.
  • Keep in a cool dry place away from sunlight, or in the fridge/freezer if you want it served chilled…

This infusion is extremely fresh and does not hide its tropical pineapple flavour! This vodka is a wonderful inclusion in any cocktail you want to perk up with a tropical hit. Try it in your next vodka base tropical drink or as an addition to your next Pina Colada!

Cocktail: Very Tropical Caipiroska

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Recipe:

50ml Pineapple Infused Vodka

1 Lime

2 teaspoons Sugar*

Garnish: Pineapple leaf & speared fruit.

Method:

  • Add the sugar into a rocks glass.
  • Cut the lime into quarters and then squeeze and drop each piece into the glass skin up.
  • Very gently muddle the lime and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, fill the glass with crushed ice.
  • Add in your infused vodka, cover with a napkin and swizzle.
  • Top up with more crushed ice and then garnish.
  • Serve with a straw…

*the type of sugar determines the amount of muddling. Whilst using a sugar cube looks good, it also requires a lot more work. Use some granulated sugar, or better yet go for caster sugar!

This cocktail is based on the classic Caipirinha from Brazil and was huge during the last world cup [Brazil 2014]. During the 4 weeks that Fifa’s biggest tournament ran, there were more variations on the Caipirinha than one could shake a proverbial stick at. Whilst the Caipiroska was already well-liked before the WC, it did benefit a great deal from the exposure of its parent during the football tournament…

Caipirinha ingredients
A Caipirinha is a simple 3 ingredient drink: Cachaca, Lime & Sugar…

With citrus flavours galore and vast amounts of other tropical flavours a-plenty, the Caipi family of cocktails have gone from strength to strength. There are so many different varieties of this drink that it was only a matter of time before infused spirits/liqueurs made their way into the recipes!

This pineapple vodka based version is fruitier and lighter than a normal Caipiroska (the infusion process takes some of the alcohol burn away.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: This cocktail is fantastic short and iced. But if you’re after something a little longer (and lighter) then why not make this in a tall Collins glass? You’ll have to prepare it in a rocks glass before adding it to the larger glass. You should pour the ingredients (once muddled) into a Collins glass, add the ice, then the alcohol. Before adding more crushed ice, add in some fruit juice – in this instance a splash of Pineapple & Mango would be fantastic! – Then top up with the ice.

Cranberry-Lime Vodka & A tweaked out Vesper…

Over the next 3 weeks I’ll be sharing with you 3 infused vodka recipes, and ending each post with a cocktail recipe that shows the infusion off in all its glory. So sit back, get your notepads ready and enjoy the next week of vodka infusions!!!

n.b. These cocktails may or may not be my own recipes, although mostly they will be tweaks of other cocktails. 

Let’s jump straight into the action with this simple, yet rather versatile Vodka Infusion:

The first recipe is for a Cranberry-lime Vodka that really does feel at home in any home bar. With various cocktails using vodka and the 2 infusing ingredients; this infusion will add a depth of flavour to every cocktail you use it in!

Cranberry-Lime vodka

70cl (700ml) Bottle of high quality Vodka

1 lime

100g of cranberries

2 tbsp Sugar

Method:

  • Peel the rind off the lime and set aside the lime itself (you only need the peel).
  • Poke a hole in each cranberry (a fork works well here).
  • Add both the cranberries and lime peel into a large, sealed glass bottle.
  • Add in the sugar and the pour in the vodka.
  • Seal the bottle and store away from sunlight for up to 7 days.
  • After 7 days the colour of the vodka will have changed to a red hue. Leave the fruit in the vodka and enjoy chilled…

This vodka is extremely simple to make. Like most infusions the worst part is simply waiting to try it! The cranberry-lime flavour combination is not a new concept, but it is a great concept. This particular recipe will result in an extra fruity kick in your cocktails, especially a home made cosmopolitan. My preferred cocktail for this vodka however, is a tweak on the classic Vesper Martini:

Cranberry-Lime Vesper

cranberry lime vesper

3 measures Beefeater Gin

1 measure Cranberry-Lime Infused Vodka

½ measure Lillet Blanc

Garnish: Lime Twist

Method:

  • Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass and add plenty of cubed ice.
  • Stir well and chill the alcohol properly – anything up to 2 minutes here is totally acceptable!
  • Strain into a well-chilled coupe/classic martini-cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a long thin slice of lemon peel…

This cocktail is based on the famous Bond cocktail: The Vesper. It uses the same ratios as the classic cocktail and makes use of the infused vodka in a cocktail where it won’t over power the other ingredients, but equally stands on its own. This cocktail is the perfect canvas for it to splash its colourful flavour upon. However, I know everyone has different tastes so if this cocktail does not have enough of a fruity kick, then try adding a splash of cranberry juice. This will of course water down the drink so try not to add too much!

Naturally this cocktail will not suit everyone’s taste buds so if you’re one of those who like a more refreshing cocktail then why not try using this infused vodka in any of the following cocktails:

Sea Breeze,

Cosmopolitan,

Spiked Spiced Ciders,

Cape Cod,

Sex on the Beach,

And many more!