Tag Archives: competitions

King of Cool: Cocktails and Justin Timberlake…

“Take Back the Night… With a Cuba Libre”

At home I make cocktails all the time, granted I drink a lot of Cuba Libre’s, (hell if I have rum I’ll drink them all day long) but every now and then I push the boat out, buy some Tanqueray, and chill with a classic Gin fizz, but mainly I’ll use my Boston Shaker for something a little more challenging. Now when I do this, it’s like making a meal, I gather all my ingredients; making sure I have all the tools (utensils, shaker glass etc.) ready and the right measuring jiggers for what I need.

Now to really get into the ‘zone’ I like to chuck on some music, whatever I happen to be into at the time. When I want a classic cocktail from the prohibition I go for Jazz, it just sets the mood, but when I’m making something more modern I like to listen to a bit of pop. Mainstream I know but its easy listening and easy to jig along to.

Anyway, to the point, the other day I chucked on Justin Timberlake’s new song ‘Take Back the Night’ and started to test out some cocktails for the Angostura 2014 Global Cocktail Competition. This was one of the more fun sessions I’ve had recently, both distressing from my current job, and also general life. You might say it’s my happy place… Now I’ll listen to anything me, I’m quite partial to a bit of the classic 80’s & 90’s stuff but also quite into artists like Diana Vickers. Something happy, upbeat and fun, that’s the name of the game for me. This is where good old JT comes in to the fray:

JT likes a drink or two... He's also pretty good at music if you hadn't heard...
JT likes a drink or two… He’s also pretty good at music if you hadn’t heard…

I was jigging along to we take back the night, mixing away working out cocktails that worked and those that didn’t (those that were as crisp and refreshing as being hit around the face by a Pimms marinated cucumber, and those that were worse than a martini containing more brine than a walrus’ backside), when I realised I’d come up with something a little special.

What I came up with are 3 very fantastic but equally dangerous cocktails. I have no doubt that I will not be invited to the UK heats, as I’m sure that there are other people better than me, but I live in hope, the hope that I get to go to such an event and have someone professional judge my work. That’s my aim, for professional feedback from someone in the drinks business. The money always helps should I ultimately win it too hehe.

One of these cocktails is a tweaked version of a mule cocktail I published on a recent post; the Mordor Mule (that’s right the New Zealand themed Mule Cocktail).

I won’t be sharing the cocktails just yet as, should I be invited to the heats, I want them to be a surprise (you never know who’ll read the post right folks?)…

What I’m trying to get across is that for me, music and cocktail making work extremely well together. If I enjoy the music, it helps me get lost in the atmosphere I create, letting my creativity run a little looser than usual.  And the magic potion this time: JT’s Take Back the Night

Although my favourite song at the moment is: Diana Vickers: Music to make boys cry

It doesn’t always result in great cocktails every time, but I find it helps me focus in on the ingredients that work better than others. It may not work for you but that’s the point, I find it works for me, so thought I’d share that with you all… Not to mention this funny cocktail related picture 😀

Even the lesser mammals enjoy a cocktail or three...
Even the lesser mammals enjoy a cocktail or three…

Drink well, drink responsibly!

I Entered a Competition!!!

“I hope I win…”

So recently I entered two competitions, whilst one involved coming up with 3 cocktails (one initially but 3 in total should you make it to their UK heats) the other was a screenplay competition. In my spare time (when I’m not working on my cocktails, this blog or my book in progress) I love coming up with Sci-Fi novel ideas. None of which I’ve had the time to write up in full yet.

However these competitions have given me something to focus on heavily (hence the abundance of shorter posts from me in recent weeks). The screenplay was only for a 3 minute scene, but I actually got some great ideas written down for my own novel, which I’ll be working on this week coming.

This screenplay competition is something I’m extremely excited about from a personal point of view; however this next competition is something I’m also proud about from a business point of view…

With London cocktail week coming up (October 7th-13th) I wanted to enter a proper cocktail creativity competition. Then I saw the Angostura Bitters Global Competition. An annual competition, Angostura looks for ways to showcase one of their flagship products: Angostura Bitters.

The prestigious Angostura global cocktail championships…

This competition calls for three cocktails:

1)      A Rum based cocktail containing 5 dashes of Angostura bitters. Rest of the ingredients were my own, as were the garnishes, glassware and methods.

2)      A freestyle cocktail: Can use any combination of alcohol but must contain 5 dashes of bitters once again.

3)      An Angostura Rum (1919, 1824, Reserva, 5yo & 7yo Rums) & bitters drink.

All 3 are allowed up to six ingredients as long as 1 is Angostura bitters (5 dashes). Now I think 5 dashes is far too much, but I set out to prove myself wrong and try and come up with something a little better than I have done before. Now straight away I singled out Ginger Ale as the obvious mixer for at least one of my three drinks…

The others are very orchard like, and what I feel to represent the best fusion of Angostura Rum/Bitters with the British produce. One is a soft berry & mixed berry themed punch (my signature one) and the other rum one is an orchard special (using apple and elderflower).

I won’t be sharing the cocktails just yet as, should I be invited to the heats, I want them to be a surprise (you never know who’ll read the post right folks?)…

With any luck I can make it to the heats, be told how my cocktails are, and either take the brutal criticism on the chin or revel in some great remarks (most likely a mixture of the two).

Anyway I shall leave you with this, rather special, cocktail you should all try:

Open House Punch

750ml Southern Comfort

175ml Lemon Juice

175ml Fresh Lemonade*

175ml Fresh Orange Juice*

3 litres lemon-lime soda (7up/Sprite)

Perfect for large parties, this punch is soft enough but if you're not careful it'll kick like a Bucking Bronco...
Perfect for large parties, this punch is soft enough but if you’re not careful it’ll kick like a Bucking Bronco…

Method:

1)      In a punch bowl combine all the ingredients, and stir well.

2)      Chuck in some fruit you like (citrus works well, and so do orchard fruit, soft fruit & berries).

3)      Chill well if making in advance (cover and place in fridge for 2/3 hours) if making to order:

4)      Add ice and stir until cold. The bigger the ice cubes the less the dilution. A single large block of ice is best.

5)      Serve out with a ladle and enjoy.

Top tip: Try experimenting with fruit liqueurs and different fruit juices, it won’t be an ‘Open House Punch’ but you just might discover something a little special…

*these can be found down your local supermarkets fresh juice aisle. The original recipe calls for frozen 6 oz cans of both the lemonade and OJ but over here in the UK we don’t have those readily available. Should you also want something a bit fresher (I’m aiming that one at all you north Americans (USA & Canada alike) then fresh lemonade and (not from concentrate) smooth Orange juice work as a great substitute.