Tag Archives: gin

Cocktails O’Clock: 5 cocktails that use Monin’s Spicy Syrup…

Monin, the coffee/cocktail syrup experts, sent me some samples way back when and using those samples I got to try some of the cocktails I’ve always wanted to try but never had the chance.

The last post based around a Monin syrup was my 6 ways to use Monin’s Falernum. It is made up with predominantly tiki style cocktails and features some of my new tiki mugs (hurrah).

This post has a slightly different feel because unlike the falernum syrup used in my last one, Monin’s Spicy Syrup is less floral and has an earthier feel to the spice. With cinnamon flavours prominent, I tried to blend this syrup into a variety of already established cocktails, simply to see if the syrup was as versatile as I hoped. Whilst some experiments inevitably fail, below you will find 5 cocktail recipes that I believe make use of this Spicy syrup in a very versatile, yet remarkably subtle way.

Although this syrup is not spicy in the traditional [hot] sense, it does have a subtle aromatic spice to it. It comes across more as an autumn/winter seasonal spicy flavour. This works perfectly for me because this syrup’s subtle flavour is easier to blend seamlessly into a flavourful cocktail recipe. I also have a low tolerance for hot spice so I’m happy I can try all these recipes personally.

Life On The Beach

20160911_200534007_ios

Recipe:

2 measures Vodka

1 measure pineapple juice

½ measure spicy syrup

½ measure lime juice

2 pineapple chunks

Garnish: pineapple chunk and lime wedge

Method:

  • Muddle pineapple chunks with lime juice and syrup.
  • Add crushed ice, then vodka.
  • Stir well.
  • Add pineapple juice and top with ice.
  • Stir once more and garnish before serving.

Kickback Mule

20160911_201600944_ios

Recipe:

2 measures rum

¾ measure lime juice

1 measure spicy syrup

Top up ginger ale

Garnish: mint and lime wedge.

Method:

  • Build the first 3 ingredients over ice.
  • Stir and top up with ginger ale.
  • Garnish and serve with a straw.

Gin and Bear it…

20160911_202817319_ios

Recipe:

2 measures Gin

½ measure blackcurrant liqueur

1 measure Lemon juice

¾ measure spicy syrup

Method:

  • Combine the gin, lemon juice, and spicy syrup in a shaker with ice and shake well (for around 10 seconds).
  • Strain into a well-chilled, crushed ice-filled, rocks glass.
  • Layer the blackcurrant liqueur on top and garnish with a lemon wedge.
  • Serve with a straw.

Algonquin Firehouse

20160911_204427232_ios

Recipe:

1 ½ measures rye whisky

¾ measure vermouth

¾ measure pineapple (or orange juice)

½ measure spicy syrup

Method:

  • Combine over ice in a shaker and shake well for about 10 seconds (until the tin ices over).
  • Strain into a martini style glass.
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge or orange slice (match the juice used).

Fervent Shaker Top Tip:

This cocktail works well regardless of the juice used. The only difference in flavour comes through the tropical vibe of the pineapple. Using pineapple will refresh those hot, bothersome days; whereas orange juice is perfect for those cold evenings when you need a warming elixir.

Spicy Melon Balls (serves 2)

Recipe:

1 measure spicy syrup

4 measure Midori

2 measure vodka

Top up fresh pineapple juice

Garnish: Skewered melon balls

Method:

  • Combine the Midori, vodka in a cocktail glass, over ice.
  • Top up with the pineapple juice and garnish with the skewered melon balls.

So there you have 5 cocktail recipes that, I think, make good use of Monin’s Spicy Syrup. They are not original recipes; they are tweaks of cocktails that already exist. This was done to try and showcase the versatility of such a product, especially with the unconvincing stance held by many in response to the rise in popularity of spicy cocktails.

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!

As always this post has been a culmination of cocktail recipes and my own opinions. Whilst the syrups were supplied by Monin themselves [as free samples], they hold no sway over my opinions.

If you’ve tried Monin’s Spicy syrup in a cocktail you liked (or disliked), why not share it in the comments below? Or let me know what your favourite flavour syrup is!

Mr Fogg’s Residence: Around the world in 80 cocktails

Located in the heart of Mayfair, a short walk from Green Park underground station, there is a place of wonder and intrigue; a portal to a world long forgotten: Mr Fogg’s residence.


I’ve always wanted to visit Mr Foggs’ Residence. For years, I’ve dreamed about seeing the inner sanctum of that famous drawing room. I also don’t get to visit London very often. As I finally get to spend some decent time in the English capital, it would be rude not to make my way through the glitz and glamour of Mayfair to this mysterious and intriguing bar…

Mr Fogg, the fictional adventurer of Jules Verne’s 1873 novel ‘Around the World in 80 days’, is an eccentric adventurer and the theme behind Mr Fogg’s Residence – a bar located in Mayfair, London.

Having looked forward to this London city break for the best part of 3 months, I have no qualms in telling you, unequivocally, that it was by far the highlight of my week!

Having used this outing to meet with an old university friend and his girlfriend, this night was made even great via the nostalgic catch up. Great bar, great company, fantastic cocktails. There was even a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure!

The venue…

To reach the establishment I had to pass through the Ritz’s walkway, past several other high-end hotels and restaurants before finally turning down a rather ominous looking alleyway; only then was I within sight of the large, towering, one-way door.

As you pass the fresh hold, the door shutting behind you makes you turn back, but like some 1930’s film you spin on your heel and are met with the glorious, time-defying drawing room pulled straight from the novel itself. With leather-clad, lavish wood seating, fanciful stools, and tables, scattered about the place, you feel utterly cut off from the outside world – in the best possible way.

The bar itself is a tall solid beast, behind which stands one of the tallest collection of spirits I’ve ever seen. The seating me and my friends were taken too was amongst the plethora of stools and tables in an area directly in front of the bar. All of this in the midst of the Victorian led décor.

From stuffed reptiles and tiger skins to mounted guns and ancient leather-backed books, the décor is brilliant and that brilliance is, remarkably, not halted when you finally decide on a cocktail to order…

The cocktails…

The cocktail list is inspired by the novel ‘Around the world in 80 days’ and is called ‘Around the world in 80 cocktails’. There are 80 cocktails on the list and they’re split into their base alcohol (all the whisky based cocktails are together, and then the Gin, vodka, rum etc.) and whilst this makes it easier to single out those that contain ingredients you may not favour (for example I kept away from any whisky cocktails) the waitress that served our table brought us a rather cute foldout map that had overlaid the different cocktails to where they’re supposed to be inspired by. Different areas of the map reflected certain aspects of the cocktails they inspired.

But what about the cocktails themselves I hear you say! Well, look below at 3 of the cocktails we had that night… There will be no measurements as they were not included on the menu, neither would I want to supply them as these cocktails are all unique to Mr Fogg’s residence and, to truly appreciate them, you’d have to go there yourself…

 

Cocktail #1: No.8 Maidens Blush

 

Maiden's Blush.jpg
No.8: New Zealand – Sweet, fruity, sharp.

 

Ingredients: Tanqueray number 10 gin, raspberry jam, fresh lemon juice, sugar, drop of absinthe.

This cocktail was fragrant, as well as being exactly as advertised: sweet, fruity & Sharp. You lose the sting of the alcohol (the thing I hate the most about some stronger spirits) and yet you get the full aroma of the base spirit as well as all the flavours introduced by the other ingredients.

The vivid deep red of the drink, combined with the low-lit ambience of this Victorian speak-easy, really suited its title and made for a well-balanced cocktail.

Sarah, my friends’ girlfriend, liked this one – it was ordered more than once, and she seemed to really enjoy it.

Cocktail #2: No.34 Dewdrops of the Samurai

Photo by www.JohnnySphotography.com
No.34: Japan – fresh, light, delicate, shaken.

 

Ingredients: Ketel One Vodka, Isake classic Sake, shiso & mint Leaves, pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice, fresh lime juice, and house made sugar syrup.

This was my first choice, having spent a long time looking at the menu, and, after not being able to decide, I went with the one drink that really stood out. Shamefully I have to admit it jumped out at me for two main reasons: its name, and the fact that it used Sake.

I’ve never had sake in a cocktail before, nor have I tried it on its own. So to me, this drink, seemed like the perfect starting point for a place as wonderful as Mr Fogg’s Residence.

As the drink was placed before me I was not disappointed, it sat in a small bowl like glass that looked as though it would suit a bramble perfectly. Upon it’s crushed ice sat a dried piece of peel (I assume pomegranate peel, although it could have been grapefruit) and, like a boat used to cross the Nishiki River, the pomegranate seeds used the peel to protect them from a sea of exotic flavours.

It was an extremely well-balanced drink, a fact making itself known among all our drink choices, and really allowed the flavours and fragrances of the ingredients used to fill your nostrils as well as your taste buds.

Cocktail #3: No.31 Boo Boo on Bromo

 

Boo Boo on Bromo.jpg
No.31: Indonesia – Spicy, aromatic, exotic, shaken.

 

Ingredients: Kaffir lime infused Grey Goose vodka, Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur, pear puree, House ginger syrup, apple juice, and lime juice.

This cocktail took even longer to choose because I was only having one more. I searched the map they gave us and perused the cocktail list several times before settling on this spicy yet fragrant looking concoction. I’ve used Ginger Liqueur before and Domaine De Canton is sublime. So I knew kind of what to expect from that ingredient. I also liked the idea of the orchard theme coming from the use of pear and apple. So I happily exclaimed, “the no.31 please!”

The cocktail, I received was a longer one than the previous Japanese themed drink, and yet still looked just as exotic. With leaves and dried fruit sprouting from the crushed ice filled glass, it really helped project a sense of the exotic towards me. The fragrance you’re hit with straight away is this lime filled apple orchard. Something that is not unpleasant to me at all. I certainly chose well that night.

Whilst a balanced fragrane doesn’t always lead to a balanced taste, one thing Mr Fogg’s residence does is balance all of their cocktails, no matter how exotic or weird they sound, and that, I believe, a sign of true class in the cocktail world.

Overall…

To have 80 different cocktails, and all of the ingredients that then infers, and still have 80 well-balanced, fragrant and truly unique cocktails, is truly a feat well achieved by those in charge.

This establishment is a truly fascinating place. A bar that allows you to, once that door shuts, fully lose yourselves within its confines. Mesmerising you with the authenticity of a Victorian (via Jules Verne) themed drawing room, Mr Fogg’s residence goes above and beyond that of any normal bar I’ve ever been too. From the beautiful waitresses, and highly skilled bartenders to the wandering magician who wows with his splendid talent, Mr Fogg’s residence is not only my new favourite bar, it’s my new favourite destination. Every time I go to London in the future, I will set aside time to visit this glorious palace of delight and every one of you reading this, who has the opportunity to travel to the English capital, should do the same. I cannot implore to you how much you should visit the residence of the fantastic Mr Fogg.

Final word: A huge thank you to Mr Francesco Medici, the Bar Manager. Thanks to him and his staff for a wonderful evening. Thank you to Siegfried, the fantastic magician – who, to this day, still amazes me and my friends. And finally: A massive thank you to my friends Stuart and Sarah. You both made the night just that little bit more fun!

 

 

20160331_220036.jpg
My companions this night. Left – right: Stuart & Sarah.

 

Offers! – Gin & Gimlets

I know that it may have been noted that in the recent few months I’ve not really posted much content.

That’s due to some personal circumstances that do not belong on this website. Bar any awful reoccurrence that is now behind me, which thankfully means I can get back to writing for this blog!

My return to this blog after a momentary lapse has come at the perfect time seeing as I’ll be visiting London at the end of the month. During my time I’ll be visiting a shortlist of cocktail bars I’ve always wanted to visit. I’ll also be popping into a few others within a reasonable distance of my hotel.

I’ll obviously be making an event of this and will be sharing pictures via Instagram and twitter. So if you’re looking to follow me please do! There are links in the drop down menu located on the homepage.

For now, at least, let me share with you the latest offer over at The Drink Shop: GIN!

Gin is awesome and is one of the big spirits (alongside Rum, Vodka etc.) and, whilst not #1 on my spirit list, it is an irreplaceable ingredient in several classic cocktails including the Gimlet.

The gimlet is a fantastically simple blend of Gin, Lime Juice and Sugar Syrup.

Using the Gimlet recipe below, and the link supplied here, why not try out that gin you’ve always wanted to try or were intrigued by?

I personally prefer a fragrant gin like Hendricks or Sipsmith – both of which can be found on the offers page!

Cocktails O’clock: The Gimlet

classic gimlet

Recipe:

2.5 measures Gin

0.5 measures Lime Juice

0.5 measures Sugar Syrup (2:1 ratio)

Method:

  • Combine ingredient in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
  • Strain into an old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel and serve immediately.

Enjoy this cocktail and enjoy the gin! Within the next two months I’ll hopefully be starting back up with Shaken Cocktails so expect a flourishing selection of posts to come. Until then? Remember to always drink responsibly!

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!

Winter Warmers: Cocktails for Christmas!

Up-cycling Tequila (and its friends)


So I always end up with half empty bottles. Left right and centre. A lot of them take up space I need and shamefully I’ve been guilty of throwing out more than a few of these ‘casualties’ of war.

So what can we, as responsible adults, do to combat the shameful wasting of perfectly good alcohol? Well let me share with you some recipes that are perfect for using up old ingredients and opened bottles of booze you might have lying around the house.

There are four (4) recipes in this post, all of which make use of the odd amounts of alcohol you may have lying around. Even if you don’t have the particular type of alcohol available you can gather ideas from how the recipes are put together and tweak them to suit your available spirits!

Without further ado, let’s look at those recipes:

#1 Homemade Fruity Winter Punch

orange winter punch

Recipe:

500ml Vodka

250ml Gin

250ml Lemon

2L Orange

2L Sparkling Wine

Garnish: Citrus Fruits, Winter berries & star anise

Method:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large punch bowl.
  • Add sliced fruit and chill well.
  • If serving with ice fill up shortly before serving.
  • If serving chilled without ice, take out of the fridge at the last second.

 

#2 Winter Pimms

winter pimms

Recipe:

500ml Pimms #1

500ml Brandy/Calvados

1.5L Apple Juice

Ice

Garnish: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 apples, 2 oranges

Method:

Cold:

  • Add all one by one and stir well.
  • Leave for 30 minutes for cinnamon flavour to develop more.

Hot:

  • Heat all ingredients – except the ice and fruit.
  • Add fruit after.

 

#3 Belvoir Spiked Mulled Winter Punch

belvoir mulled punch

Recipe:

1.5L Belvoir Mulled Winter Punch

500ml Vodka

500ml Gin

Ice

Garnish: blackcurrants, oranges, apples, limes, lemons etc…

Method:

  • Combine in the punch bowl.
  • Add sliced fruit and ice.

Serve immediately.


#4 Aromatic Spiced Winter Punch

mixed punch

Recipe:

300ml Gin

200ml Vodka

200ml Tequila

2L apple juice

250ml Ginger & lemongrass cordial

Garnish: 6 cinnamon sticks, 12 star anise, 12 cloves, 4 lemons

Method:

  • Slice lemons into wedges and squeeze a few into a punch bowl.
  • Add other ingredients and stir.
  • Leave for 30-45 minutes (cover and chill in the fridge for faster cooler).
  • Add ice just before serving.

Halloween Cocktails – Without a Twist…

This coming weekend, if you didn’t already know, is Halloween! And just in time here are some spooky cocktails that are on most cocktail menus all year round. Although you may not have tried them before!

The problem with Halloween, with any seasonal event really, is that it’s easy to buy into novelty drinks that taste super-sweet and contain ingredients don’t actually do anything for the drink they’re in, except maybe mask the taste of too much alcohol…

So for this post I’ve tried to keep away from novelties and go for 5 cocktails you will be able to order in any good cocktail bar at almost any time of year, but by the same token they’re cocktails you may not have tried at all…

So let’s begin with arguably the most themed of the lot…


El Diablo

Spicy and evocative, this cocktail is perfect for your Halloween parties...
Spicy and evocative, this cocktail is perfect for your Halloween parties…

Recipe:

1 ½ measures Reposado Tequila

½ measure Crème de Cassis

½ measure Fresh Lime Juice

2 or 3 measures ginger beer/ale

Method:

  • Combine the tequila, lime juice, and cassis liqueur and shake well, for around 10-15 seconds (or until the tin ices over).
  • Fine (or double) strain into a collins glass filled with cubed iced.
  • Top up with the ginger beer/ale (whichever you prefer) and garnish with a wedge of lime.
  • Serve with a straw.

The Last Word

Strong and fragrant; this cocktail is perfect for the cocktail geeks!
Strong and fragrant; this cocktail is perfect for the cocktail geeks!

Recipe:

1 measure Gin

1 measure Green Chartreuse

1 measure Maraschino Liqueur

1 measure Fresh Lime Juice

Method:

  • Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, over ice, and shake well.
  • Strain into a well-chilled martini glass and garnish with a lime twist.

Blood & Sand

Not as brutal as the name makes out; this cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail and tastes pretty darn good!
Not as brutal as the name makes out; this cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail and tastes pretty darn good!

Recipe:

1 measure Scotch Whiskey

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Cherry Heering

1 measure Orange Juice

Method:

  • Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into a well-chilled cocktail coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Black Velvet

Simplicity is king in this 2 ingredient cocktail. Give it a try, you might be surprised!
Simplicity is king in this 2 ingredient cocktail. Give it a try, you might be surprised!

Recipe:

Guinness (Stout Beer)

Champagne

Method:

There are two ways to make this drink, neither are right nor wrong. It’s personal preference:

  • Pour the beer into the chosen glass and then gently layer the champagne on top.
  • Pour the champagne into the chosen glass and then gently layer the beer on top.

Simple no? Well this cocktail is sublime in its simplicity and is a cocktail everyone should try at least once. You may not like it if you don’t like the beer (like me) but, also like me, you may be surprised at how smooth and drinkable this cocktail actually is!

Chartreuse Smash

A really fun way of using a rather undervalued liqueur...
A really fun way of using a rather undervalued liqueur…

Recipe:

10 mint leaves

1 measure fresh lemon juice

2 measures green chartreuse

2 tsp turbinado sugar

Method:

  • Place sugar, mint and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker and muddle well.
  • Add the chartreuse to the shaker and add ice.
  • Shake well and strain into a small rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint and, if you’re feeling it, a sprig of sage…

These cocktails are not only my tip for great drinks this Halloween, but they’re perfect if you’re looking to try something new the next time you head to that swanky cocktail bar, or spend the weekend at a nice hotel (they all have great bars nowadays right?), and they’re also perfect if you plan on a Christmas themed party with a difference…

But don’t think I’ve forgotten all of you that are looking for something a bit novel – the next of my Halloween themed posts is just for you: 6 Spooky Cocktail Shooters!

Have fun and please, as always, drink responsibly – no one enjoys a night in A&E!

Further Reading & original recipes:

El diablo – imbibe

Last word – saveur

Blood & sand – Liquor.com

Black velvet – Liquor.com

Chartreuse smash – saveur

OFFER ALERT 18/09/2015 – All Gin on Offer!!!

It’s been a while now since i shared one of these offer alerts. Truth be told it’s the first time in months i’ve read the email with enough time left for it to be worth sharing!

As you know i’m an avid fan of The Drink Shop, and they have always been good to me when i’ve ordered from them.

Whilst my stores are full to the brim of Gin, thanks to Shaken Cocktails, and my penchant for cool trinkets (here’s looking at you Hendricks with your little atomiser)  there is no reason that any one reading this post in time cannot go forth and save bundles of cash when purchasing your next Gin shipment…

Below is a link, and from that link will sprout a heavens wealth of Gin on offer (at least until the end of the offer period – where i imagine the prices will be back to normal, but no less Ginny!- is that even a word? -I don’t even care).

According to the email i received today (18/9/2015) you could save up to 20% on your favourite Gins and Genever!

Sipsmith Sloe Gin 2013 (50cl) was £23.09 Now only £20.13!

Gabriel Boudier – Saffron (70cl) was £29.98 Now only £26.85!

Martin Millers Gin (70cl) was £23.56 Now only £21.19!

Enjoy All Ye Gin Lovers! – GIN ON OFFER!!!

For all other products and various other tid-bits why not have a look at their homepage? Click Here….

Until next time folks!

Sweet, Sweet Infusions: Sugar and its Syrup!

One of the infusion types I mentioned in my introduction post was that of sugar syrup infusing.

Every bartender will tell you that sugar syrup is an essential part of their arsenal and that a well-prepared syrup has the potential to raise a cocktail above the realms of normality.

Below you will find the recipes for 4 very different sugar syrup infusions, including a special spicy concoction that is perfect for those heat lovers out there!

Disclaimer: although usually I’d offer up a complimentary cocktail recipe for each of these syrups, to make the post less cluttered I’ve simply stated the spirit(s) they pair with the best!

#1 Rhubarb Simple Syrup

A stunning red hue, this rhubarb syrup is perfect for adding a little colour to your cocktails...
A stunning red hue, this rhubarb syrup is perfect for adding a little colour to your cocktails…

Ingredients:

400 grams fresh Rhubarb

100 grams sugar

100ml water

Method:

  • Add ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Stirring consistently.
  • Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Turn heat down to low and simmer.
  • The rhubarb will begin to soften around 5/6 minutes in (this is normal so don’t panic!)
  • Allow mixture to thicken a little (around 2-5 minutes) and then remove from heat.
  • Strain* mixture into a sterile container and allow to cool.
  • Seal and keep refrigerated.

*when straining gently press the fruit pieces to gain a little more juice (flavour) but be careful not to press to hard as it will make your syrup go cloudy!

This is the most versatile of the 4 recipes and works brilliantly with vodka or gin. It is particularly good in a bramble (in place of the blackberry liqueur!) and also pairs well with light mixers or those non-drinkers out there! – Homemade Rhubarb Lemonade anyone?

#2 Honey & Rosemary Sugar Syrup

Infusing honey with rosemary is a quick way to make this syrup. Although it tastes better with the cooked method...
Infusing honey with rosemary is a quick way to make this syrup. Although it tastes better with the cooked method…

Ingredients:

2-3 Rosemary Sprigs

100ml Honey

50ml water

Method:

  • Mix the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil – on a medium heat.
  • Once boiling reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Turn off heat after 2 minutes and leave to cool (covered).
  • Strain out rosemary ad store in a sterile container.

Once this item is cooled seal it and keep it refrigerated. It should keep for up to 4 weeks (although if it looks spoiled at any point please don’t risk it – bin it and make some more!)

This particular syrup is a little more to taste and less sweet than the blueberry syrup but that just means it’s that perfect herbal addition to your favourite Whisky/Bourbon cocktail. It also mixes well with more savoury vodka and gin cocktails and does make a mean G&T.

#3 Cucumber & Mint Simple Syrup

Cucumber & mint - Perfect in your next G&T
Cucumber & mint – Perfect in your next G&T

Ingredients:

100 grams Sugar

100ml Water

½ Cucumber (Diced)

10 leaves fresh Mint

Method:

  • Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • When the sugar has dissolved turn the heat off and allow to cool.
  • Once cooled add in the cucumber and mint. Leave in for at least 1hr but for a more concentrated flavour leave it in for longer (Keep refrigerated at all times).
  • Strain away the cucumber and mint and store accordingly.

This syrup has an odd aftertaste but is still a great tasting mix regardless. It mixes well with Gin and Vodka (as you’d expect) but also makes a great twist on the classic mojito – blending well with White rum.

#4 Spicy Jalapeno Simple Syrup

The striking green colour is what gives this syrup its WOW factor...
The striking green colour is what gives this syrup its WOW factor…

Ingredients:

100 grams sugar

100ml water

1 Jalapeno (sliced lengthways)

Method:

  • Simmer the water and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Take of the heat once the sugar has dissolved and cover to cool.
  • Once cooled add the Jalapeno slices and leave for at least 1hr*.
  • After the infusion time has passed, sieve out the jalapeno and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

*as with the cucumber and mint recipe, the longer the jalapeno is in the syrup the more concentrated the flavour profile (and heat). You might want to try creating several different concentrations of this mixture and making a note of which is which – this way you can cater for different palates…

Whilst this mixture blends well with vodka (and surprisingly gin) it is best kept for the most obvious choice: Tequila. Try adding a little bit of this to your next shot of quality tequila. Try with Habanero’s or Cazadores Tequila should you have either in your possession…

So there you go! 4 rather brilliant, and yet rather different simple syrup recipes. They’re all a perfect with their own particular spirit(s) but all have room for a little versatility.

I hope you enjoy them, and if any are not quite to your tastes, feel free to tweak them. That’s the best way to improve them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these recipes if you try them, especially any cocktails you find them to particularly effective in…

10 Cocktails you should be drinking this summer… Part 1, 1-5

Summer is the time of cocktails and outdoor living, below are 5 cocktails you definitely should be drinking this summer...
Summer is the time of cocktails and outdoor living, below are 5 cocktails you definitely should be drinking this summer…

So you’re at a friends’ BBQ one summer’s evening and everyone is having a nice time, the sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze rolling through the pine trees surrounding the pool, and although the kids are screaming, they’re having fun.

You’ve spoken to all your friends, caught up on gossip and everyone’s enjoyed the hosts’ BBQ skills. But now the temperature has chilled slightly and the sun has started to set. The Kids have gone home to the supervision of their child-minders and that leaves all you adults about with a choice: Lemonade and soft drinks… Or the hard stuff?

But that decision is made for you; out comes the hosts’ and their stash of liquor. Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Triple Sec & plenty of other obscure, highly alcoholic elixirs that do not look healthy at all…

So in come the dedicated spirit drinkers, taking their share of their designated poison, rum, vodka – it doesn’t matter there’s plenty for everyone. What really gathers your attention is not the boring spirit drinkers, they can keep their Bourbon, Neat; you want what’s in that glass on the opposite table: A tall mountain of a glass, with sweeping curves and a cool orange nectar, swirling with a red syrupy surprise… Of course I’m talking about a Tequila Sunrise – the epitome of pool-side tropical cocktails…

But did you know that the cocktails available to you for your summer evenings are not restricted to generic boring simple cocktails. Sure they look great and every now and then they’re great to enjoy but if you really want to impress everyone you know, why not give these few recipes a little tipple…

Recipe #1: Limoncello – Limoncello Citrus Cooler

Blending Sorbet with a stunning cocktail results in a sumptuously sweet treat perfect for the summer time...
Blending Sorbet with a stunning cocktail results in a sumptuously sweet treat perfect for the summer time…

20ml Limoncello

20ml Maraschino Liqueur

40ml Lemon Juice

1 scoop mandarin sorbet

1 teaspoon marmalade

2 dashes hibiscus bitters

Method:

  • Shake all the ingredients with ice.
  • Strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube (ice-balls work well here)
  • Garnish with a pair of maraschino cherries and an orange twist.

This cocktail blends sweet Limoncello with some other sweet, citrus flavours and creates a cocktail that is not as sweet as it looks to be. The ingredients blend well, as mentioned, but you can still separate the intricate flavours of a high quality limoncello and the maraschino liqueur. The hibiscus bitters lends a bitter, yet exotic fragrance to the drink. This is a great drink to have in your repertoire for a romantic evening date…

Recipe #2: Gin – Italian Collins

A classic Gin cocktail tweaked with some Italian twists...
A classic Gin cocktail tweaked with some Italian twists…

1 measure Sipsmith Gin

¾ measure Limoncello

¼ measure fresh lemon juice

4 measures Club Soda

Method:

  • Mix the first three ingredients together and shake well, over ice, for around 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into a tall glass filled with ice.
  • Top up with club soda and garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel.

Recipe #3: Vodka – Wake County Cooler

From the USA this brilliant cocktail uses infused vodka, a trend gaining a lot traction...
From the USA this brilliant cocktail uses infused vodka, a trend gaining a lot traction…

Black Tea infused Vodka

Sugar Syrup

Lemon Juice

Club Soda

Method:

(Sweet) Black Tea Vodka:

  • Combine 750ml Vodka with 150ml loose-leaf black tea and allow to infuse (should take around 2 hours).
  • Then, separately: Combine 60ml water with 60g sugar and mix into a sugar syrup.
  • Combine the sugar syrup with the vodka and mix well.

Main Cocktail:

  • Half fill a Collins glass with crushed ice.
  • Add 50ml of the infused vodka to the glass.
  • Then add 12.5ml of lemon juice.
  • Top up with the club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and mint sprig.

If you create the full amount above (750ml) you’ll have plenty to share (or keep for yourself). 

One of the best things about this cocktail is that you have to infuse your own Vodka. As a home-taught cocktail maker one of my favourite hobbies is the infusing of neutral alcohol. Not only do you end up with something delicious and flavour-fuelled, most of the time you improve the original drink (obviously you don’t want to use top end Vodka for this sort of infusion). If you have enough forethought to purchase some nice kilner-jars (think along the lines of pressure topped bottles – like Grolsch beer) you can share out your good infusions for family gifts and even age some spirits…

Give it a go, you’ll be surprised what you can come up with!

Recipe #4: Licor 43 – Carta Marina

Using 2 of my favourite spirits, this cocktail is quite literally the one you have to try...
Using 2 of my favourite spirits, this cocktail is quite literally the one you have to try…

1 ½ measures Kraken Black Spiced Rum

¾ measures Licor 43

¾ measures Lemon Juice

¼ measure Aperol

2 dashes Cardamom bitters

Garnish: Vanilla Bean & orange twist.

Method:

  • Shake all the ingredients together over ice for 15-20 seconds (or until the tin ices over).
  • Strain into a coupe cocktail glass and garnish with a vanilla bean wrapped inside the orange twist.

This cocktail mixes two of my favourite spirits in Kraken & Licor 43. And boy do they blend well! This looks like an odd mixture of spirits and bitters but if shaken well (and properly) this drink elevates you to another level. When a drink can supply you with a mix of refreshment, great taste and an almost bottomless depth in quality you know you’ve hit gold; with the Carta Marina you have some good old US/Mediterranean Gold. If you only drink one cocktail of this list: Pick this one!

Whilst Licor 43 is one of the lesser known liqueurs outside of Spain, it is also one of the best, at least in my opinion, in the world...
Whilst Licor 43 is one of the lesser known liqueurs outside of Spain, it is also one of the best, at least in my opinion, in the world…

Recipe #5: Rum – Daisy De Santiago

A funny little twist on the Mojito, the Daisy De Santiago is a fantastic blend of refreshing and crisp.
A funny little twist on the Mojito, the Daisy De Santiago is a fantastic blend of refreshing and crisp.

40ml Bacardi Superior White Rum

20ml fresh lime juice

5ml sugar syrup

15ml Yellow Chartreuse

Garnish:  fresh berries & a sprig of mint.

Method:

  • Add the rum, sugar syrup & lime juice to a shaker filled with ice and shake well – for around 20-30 seconds.
  • Fill a wine goblet with crushed ice and strain the mixed liquid into the glass.
  • Garnish with the sprig & berry bouquet and then float the yellow Chartreuse on top of the drink.

The Daisy de Santiago is possibly one of the freshest and most refreshing drinks I’ve had the pleasure of sipping in a long time. It’s got a lovely rum kick from the Bacardi yet it’s sweet and almost minty after taste compliments most summer evenings. A difficult drink to balance perfectly but one that is very much worthwhile mastering.

Shaking things up in Battersea Park: Who let the Dodd’s out?

So I recently subscribed to Shaken Cocktails, and covered that in my post last week. After reading my post; Mark Jennings, one of the founders of Shaken Cocktails, invited me up to Battersea Park, or the nearby area to be specific, for a gathering of members and founders at the base of operations for Dodd’s Gin (The London Gin Distillery). Now this is the sort of event I’ve been looking forward to and the type of event I simply don’t get to go to enough.

From Left to Right: Mark Jennings, Darren Rook, Darren's Gin Still: 'Christine',  Sarah, Sophie & Fergus...
From Left to Right: Mark Jennings, Darren Rook, Darren’s Gin Still: ‘Christine’, Sarah, Sophie & Fergus…

Shaken bill the event as ‘A Shaken Lock-In’ and event where you go to meet like-minded people and, using the ingredients supplied in that specific months box, create 2 gloriously alcoholic cocktails. This event, at the London Gin Distillery in Battersea, consisted of meeting Mark Jennings as well as Darren Rook of Dodd’s Gin as well as several other members of Shaken Cocktails. It was a well organised and extremely down to earth event that was opened by Mark himself. Mark spoke very humbly about the event, Shaken and of course all those who attended. He came across highly passionate and very emotional when speaking about their recent successes at crowd funding (they’ve surpassed their original total and have since raised over £97,000… Congratulations to them!

congrats

It continued with a “15-minute” talk from the gin distillery’s main man: Darren Rook. Darren came across as extremely knowledgeable yet extremely down to earth and happy to talk about his work. Now you’d expect that from most people in his position but what’s refreshing is his openness and blatant passion for his craft. He’s humble yet highly knowledgeable.

Moving onto the cocktails and why everyone came: To experience Shaken and their cocktails…

So this month’s main cocktail was The Negroni, and was backed up with the Elderflower Collins.

Both cocktails used the Gin from the very establishment we met at: Dodd’s.

Check out the recipes below:

1) The Dodd’s Negroni

Recipe:

30ml Dodd’s Gin

30ml Cocci Torino Vermouth

15ml-30ml Cynar

1 part Dodd's Gin + 1 part Cocci Torino + 0.5 parts (OR 1 part) Cynar = One damn fine Negroni!
1 part Dodd’s Gin + 1 part Cocci Torino + 0.5 parts (OR 1 part) Cynar = One damn fine Negroni!

Method:

  • Into a rocks glass add the Dodd’s Gin and Cocci Torino Vermouth.
  • Then add the Cynar bitter liqueur. Try 15ml at first and then if you’d like it a little drier try add the other 15ml.
  • Add ice to the top of the glass and then stir for around 10-20 seconds.
  • Take a slice of orange peel and using your thumbs and forefingers squeeze the oils over the top of the drink.
  • Wipe the peel around the glass and then place it into the drink and sip away.

2) Elderflower Collins

Recipe:

45ml Dodd’s Gin

30ml Fresh Lemon Juice

15ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

15ml Sugar Syrup

Top up Soda Water

Blending Gin, lemon juice, elderflower liqueur and sugar syrup with a dash soda water results in a spritzy little number...
Blending Gin, lemon juice, elderflower liqueur and sugar syrup with a dash soda water results in a spritzy little number…

Method:

  • Fill the metal tin (from a Boston shaker) 2 thirds full with ice.
  • Using the glass part of the shaker add together the Gin, Lemon, Elderflower liqueur and sugar syrup.
  • Shake well, for around 10-15 seconds (until the tin ices over).
  • Strain into a tall, ice filled, and top up with Soda water.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve with 2 straws.

Now these cocktails are complete opposites and by Marks own admissions this was purposely done to cater for those who like their alcohol straight and for those who enjoy a longer crisper drink.

The Negroni, with its unusual mix of more exotic ingredients is both stronger and more abusive than the Elderflower Collins yet it also holds greater depth and its lighter dilution level means you get to experience all of the great flavours from each of the 3 spirits used in its creation.

However this doesn’t write off the elderflower as a lesser cocktail. Sure the Negroni is a classic, but let’s not forget that the Elderflower Collins, by name as well as nature, is a tweak on another classic cocktail: The Tom Collins.

This tweak lightens the drink up a little and also adds a floral note, one that reminds you of the summer days gone, and makes you look forward to those to come. It’s an easy drink to consume and whilst perfect for a summer’s eve, I would state that it’s a pretty good all-rounder and something I would happily make myself when at home.

margate evening
Chill out, kick back and relax.

This event was a joy to attend and cocktails with Shaken & Dodd’s aside, meeting the other people like minded and enjoying both Shaken and cocktails in general.

Shaken is doing wonderful things and they’re headed up by Mark Jennings who not only believes in Shaken but passionately believes in what they’re doing. His sincerity and humble manner will take the company a long way and I’m proud to be a paying subscriber. I simply cannot wait for the next box to arrive!!!

The Shaken & LDC Folk: Left to Right - Mark Jennings, Darren Rook, Darrens Gin Still: Christine, Sarah, Sophie & Fergus...
So one big thank you to the team at both Shaken & LDC…

As a final note I’d like to add this:

I used to hate gin. A couple years ago I met the group over at Sipsmith and they turned me. And that’s all I’ve drunk Gin-wise since. Now, after meeting Darren Rook and experiencing the effort and quality that goes into Dodd’s gin (along with the actual gin itself – sublime) I can safely say that my self-labelled bottle will be treasured for a long time to come!

So from me here at The Fervent Shaker: Thank you Mark Jennings & Shaken Cocktails for the invite and event. And thank you to Darren Rook at Dodd’s Gin for hosting and sharing your knowledge with us all!