Tag Archives: gin

Valentines Day Cocktails – A gift from the Fervent Shaker

Valentine Day

Spirits, as any good bartender knows, are the door to many a persons’ heart (buy me a bottle of rum and you’ll have a friend for life), come in many shapes and sizes and nowadays flavours. There is a lot of choice out there and even more so these days, the choice can be very difficult for those not up to date with the ‘in’ product. For instance do you know the best types of Dark rum to buy for your dark ‘n’ stormy? Or whether Smirnoff is the best UK vodka? (Hint: it’s not even from the UK).

Well the idea behind these valentines inspired cocktails is that they use spirits (as well as other ingredients) that can all be easily found in your local supermarkets (UK readers) or liquor stores (USA & other worldly destinations)…

So here we have 6 cocktails: 1 for each of the big 6 spirits: Whisky, Rum, Vodka, Tequila, Cognac & Gin. As I stated above; all the ingredients used can be easily sourced and in short notice too. So without delay let’s get started, with this wonderful Vodka cocktail:

Vodka Valentine: The Pomegranate Martini

Lustful and Red, this 'Martini' might not be classic, but it sure is classy...
Lustful and Red, this ‘Martini’ might not be classic, but it sure is classy…

Recipe:

1 measure Vodka

½ measure Cointreau*

3 measures POM Pomegranate Juice

Method:

  • Combine all the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake well (around 5-10 seconds – just enough time for the shaker to ice over).
  • Strain mixture into a well-chilled martini cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with an orange/lime peel.

This cocktail is a lovely little drink similar in hue (and length) as a cosmopolitan. It’s a girly favourite and that should make it a shoe in for any of you guys trying to impress a lady on a night in (or order them on a night out – always a winner).

*if you’re not a fan of the wonderfully sweet Cointreau Liqueur then you can always replace it with the same measurement of orange or lime juice. Equally if you want alcohol but want a less-sweet liqueur then try replacing it with Orange Curacao.

Rum Valentine: Cranberry Kiss

Simple and extremely effective; This rum cocktail is perfect for stargazers and long movies...
Simple and extremely effective; This rum cocktail is perfect for stargazers and long movies…

Recipe:

1 measure Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced Rum

2 measures Sour Mix*

2 measures Cranberry Juice

1 wedge of lemon

Method:

  • Build the ingredients over ice in a Collins glass and stir well as you do so (you can mix this drink but it’s best built).
  • Drop in a lemon wedge and stir gently. Serve with a straw.

This is a lovely long-ish cocktail with a slightly sweeter-than-normal taste. Great for chilling out on a long night out (or in) especially if you need a slight pick-me-up, this cocktail is definitely perfect for intimate evenings with loved ones and will go down a treat.

*Sour mix is a fancy term for lemon & lime flavoured sugar syrup. It can be made by following the usual sugar syrup method and adding lemon & lime juice to the mix. Click on the Sour Mix in the recipe for the sour mix recipe itself. Again – all the ingredients can be found in your local shop(s).

Tequila Valentine: Phoenix Rising

Not for the faint of heart, this cocktail packs a hell of a kick, but a flavour profile to match: Perfect for Tequila lovers and for something a bit different...
Not for the faint of heart, this cocktail packs a hell of a kick, but a flavour profile to match: Perfect for Tequila lovers and for something a bit different…

Recipe:

2 measures Blanco Tequila (100% Agave)

4 measures Fresh Orange Juice*

1 measure Agave Nectar

1 splash (5ml) Lime Juice

5-6 fresh pitted cherries**

Method:

  • Muddle the cherries with a splash of lime juice and leave to one side.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake well (for around 5-10 seconds – or until the shaker ices-over).
  • Strain into an ice filled rocks glass and drop in the cherries for a garnish.
  • Serve with a straw, or straight if preferred.

This cocktail is what Valentines is all about: Sharing something special with someone special. Sure it’s only for tequila lovers as the tequila really shines through, but this cocktail, prepared correctly is a fantastic combination of flavour and kick.

*You can use juice from a carton but the fresher the better: Long Life Carton < Chilled Carton < Fresh Squeezed. Hint: The middle option, whilst not the freshest is the best value without losing too much quality. Especially if you choose a nice brand or supermarket top brand e.g. Sainsbury’s TTD or Tesco’s Finest.

**The cherries, if muddled just right, will release their burgundy coloured juice and tint the cocktail a nice reddish hue that dances about your glass with every sip. It also adds a slight fragrance to the drink enticing you in…

Gin Valentine:  Lady Killer

This elegant cocktail oozes class and will help you charm her back for a second date.
This elegant cocktail oozes class and will help you charm her back for a second date.

Recipe:

1 measure Hendricks Dry Gin

½ measure Cointreau/Triple Sec

½ measure Apricot Brandy*

2 measures Passion fruit Juice**

2 measures Pineapple Juice***

Method:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker.
  • Shake well (5-10 seconds or until the shaker ices over).
  • Strain into a champagne flute half filled with crushed ice.
  • Garnish with a cherry on a long skewer & serve with a straw.

*Apricot Brandy is an apricot flavoured liqueur and the most common brands (at least here in the UK) are: De Kuyper & Bols (surprise, surprise they’re both Dutch!).

** This can be found in long life cartons in the UK, as for the USA: you should be able to find it in a grocery store (failing that a large supermarket should sell what you need).

*** Whilst fresh pineapple juice is always better than pre-juiced products it is also extremely expensive. So go for the ‘not from concentrate’ pineapple juice available in almost all supermarkets (UK readers hint: use the supermarket own brand).

Cognac Valentine: Angel’s Shoulder

Class redefined... This unique little cocktail is perfect for showing off your flair and a risky move - but done right it's a sublime master-stroke.
Class redefined… This unique little cocktail is perfect for showing off your flair and a risky move – but done right it’s a sublime master-stroke.

Recipe:

1 ½ measures Cognac (V.S.O.P.)

¾ measure fresh lemon juice

½ measure rosemary simple syrup*

¼ measure Amaretto

¼ measure Crème de Peche (Peach Liqueur)**

¼ measure Benedictine

Red wine (Cotes Du Rhone)

Method:

  • Combine all the ingredients (except the red wine) in an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake well (around 5-10 seconds – or until the shaker ices over).
  • Strain into a rocks glass containing 1 large ice cube.
  • Then float the red wine on top of the drink (best done using the back of a bar spoon).

This cocktail has a bit too it, but if you practice it before hand; surprising your date with this rather classy drink is certain to get you some plus points. Use a bar-spoon (a teaspoon will suffice) to layer the red wine and look like a real pro! – Don’t know how to do this little trick? Worry not; click here and you’ll master the technique in no time at all!

Click here for a rosemary simple syrup recipe, and liven up your cocktails today!

** This is a peach liqueur and the most common brands are again the 2 big Dutch brands of Bols & De Kuyper. But failing that Archers peach liqueur is a very handy substitute.

Whisky Valentine: The Rob Roy

A Scottish classic if there ever was one; this cocktail is for the Scots out there. Have a Scottish date that loves whisky? Then order them one of these...
A Scottish classic if there ever was one; this cocktail is for the Scots out there. Have a Scottish date that loves whisky? Then order them one of these…

Recipe:

2 measures Blended Scotch

1 measure Vermouth

1 Dash of angostura bitters

Garnish: Lemon Peel Twist

Method:

  • Pour ingredients into a mixing glass full of cracked ice.
  • Stir well for around 30-60 seconds (stirring for longer helps chill the drink right down).
  • Strain into a well-chilled small rocks glass.
  • Garnish with the lemon peel twist and a cocktail cherry (optional).

This cocktail will be the focus of a whisky special coming soon, but for now it’s perfect for wooing those you truly care about. You may have to ask the drinker if they like whisky, but if they answer yes the chances are they’ll love this classic Scottish cocktail.

Top Tip: For the sharp eyed this cocktail will resemble a classic Manhattan cocktail almost exactly. Except the Rob Roy uses Scotch Whisky instead of American Rye whisky…

Sangria: A latin party maker and centrepiece to boot

sangria slowstruck

Here’s a little secret: Sangria is a perfect centrepiece for parties. Ok, so it wasn’tsuper-secret – most of you already knew that!  But do you know the best way to get the most out of your sangria recipes? No? Well, here is my guide to perfect sangrias every time…

Europe And Its Great But Terrible Sangria Obsession

To be faithful to my story telling roots (or, if you want to put it more bluntly, my rambling nature), I thought I’d start with a bit of history: about the origins of Sangria and, most importantly, about why wine takes centre stage in this universal favourite.

What are the origins of Sangria? Well done for those of you who answered ‘Spain’, but even more points for those of you who said Spain and identified the timeframe of 1700-1800’s. We know this historical period more commonly as the Middle Ages (think Game of Thrones, albeit a little less rose tinted – if that’s possible!). Sangria was created mainly out of necessity! Until the mid-late 19th century, safe drinking water was not as readily available as it is today; therefore, the people of the time looked for safer means of drinking.

Based upon the idea that alcohol kills off the harmful bacteria/nasty stuff that causes diseases like Cholera and Diptheria, alcohol naturally and literally became the only safe way to drink any water. In addition to the health benefits of this plan, it was obvious that certain concoctions would be socially shared (quite merrily, I might add).

As these potent mixtures gained popularity, they also accumulated added ingredients, and thus the first ‘Sangria’ recipes came to be. As milk was considered strictly for babies, and as water was more likely to kill you than keep you alive, this wine mixture was consumed en masse, and even given to young children – talk about an interesting childhood.

Traditionally, the typical Sangria consisted of several ingredients: wine, some type of brandy and fruit. This mixture – in one form or another – became popular across Europe for hundreds of years, and has eventually been refined into the modern Sangria we know and love so much. Introduced into the USA back in 1964’s World Fair in New York, Sangria really put Spain (and red wine, especially) on the map across the Americas.

To this day, traditional Sangria is still made using red wine, brandy and fruit, although sugar and fruit juices are generally both used as well.

But where do you begin with the preparation of your Sangria? What ingredients do you need to rustle up a crowd pleasing wonder? Well, before I share with you my easy-to-follow recipes, why don’t you quickly review this check list to get a basic Idea of the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Wine or non-alcoholic substitute.
  • Try using different fruit juices. Base fruit juices such as orange, apple, peach and grape are great possibilities.
  • Sugar: preferably unrefined brown/muscovado – it’s richer in flavour and is not as bad for you as the refined white cane sugar. Honey/Agave Nectar are also great substitutes.
  • Spirits: rum, vodka, gin, tequila and liqueurs – choose those that work best with the wine you’ve picked. For instance, try using tequila in a spicy style wine, and rum for a sweet one.
  • Fruits, Vegetables, Spices: Citrus Fruits(lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits), Orchard Fruits (plums, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines),Soft Fruits/Berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.), Exotic Fruits (dragon fruit, bananas, coconut, pineapple, kiwi, sharon fruit, lychee), Vegetables (cucumber, tomatoes, peppers) andspices (fresh red/green chili, ginger, jalapeno, cinnamon).

Once you have your plethora of ingredients, you can move on to the step by step guide below (here’s some free advice: for that added ‘special something’, try using locally grown seasonal ingredients; they will add much more flavour and you can direct your friends on where to acquire them).

How to Mix Sangria

sangria (1)
If your Sangria looks a little like this? You did good 🙂
  1. One giant leap

Start by mixing the wine, chosen spirit, juice and sugar together and then cover and chill for approximately 1-2 hours.

I find that taking your sweet time will result in a better tasting end product. Stir in the sugar until it is fully dissolved, and mix in your juices and spirits thoroughly.

Did you know? – Whilst traditional Sangria primarily uses red wine and brandy, you can use pretty much any type of wine and any spirit you like. Why not try rum and sparkling white wine (Prosecco/Cava/Champagne) or vodka and still white wine?

  1. Sugar and spice and everything nice

Now comes the best bit: adding your preferred flavours.

First, quickly stir your sugar/juice mixture then introduce your ready-prepared mix of fruits and/or vegetables and spices. You can use any fruit you like, so experiment and have some fun. Once the fruit has been added, cover and return to the fridge for another 2-4 hours

  1. The mid-season finale

Like any decent process, you need to check your progress half way through, so this step it designed to allow you to do just that. Remove the Sangria from the fridge, stir it extremely well to make sure the Sangria ingredients are combining well, and then cover and put back in the fridge for one final time (again for around 2-4 hours).

Did you know? – The best tasting Sangria can sometimes involve leaving the mixture in a fridge overnight to allow the fruit to settle into the alcohol, creating deeper, more meaningful flavours in the mixture.

  1. As cold as ice

By now you should have a large bowl/container/pitcher full of a very fruity and alcohol-laced chilled liquid. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to stir thoroughly before serving and have your carbonated mixer on hand (if you’re using one – you don’t have to!). If serving straight away, then ice isn’t necessary. But have a bag or two ready in case it’s a particularly hot day (or you plan on leaving it out all evening).

  1. Service with a smile

To serve, half fill a glass with ice, then top up with your chosen sparkling mixer!

Prosecco/champagne or lemonade make great mixers, but feel free to try any sparkling mixer you want.  I find orange soda works particularly well.

This 5 step guide is genuinely all you need to produce party-popping Sangria mixes every time. You can make non-alcoholic Sangria using  the same ingredients as detailed above. Whether alcoholic or not, your Sangria will be the envy of all your friends and before you know it, they’ll all be after your recipe.

Since it’s taken you nearly an entire day to create this masterpiece on your table, respect it and take every opportunity to enjoy every scent and sip. Did I mention it’ll keep, in a sealed container, for up to 24-48 hours depending on the fruit/juice used?

And, as I don my Etiquette hat for a small moment; A good host always remembers to be responsible when serving/consuming alcohol, and will check thoroughly that no one is allergic to the fruits/vegetables being used.

One Last Thought

I love to take the slower, more traveled path when creating a great cocktail.  I’ll go out and buy ingredients to make my own infused syrups rather than buying pre-prepared, lower quality products. This process scales elegantly in mixtures such as Sangria. Of course you can create a decent version in a couple of hours; but to really blow your guests away, use fresh juice, locally sourced ingredients, maybe something a little less known, and of course take your time preparing it. You should always treat Sangria like a joint of meat in a marinade – allow plenty of time for the flavour to develop.

Stay tuned for next time – I’ll have something a little seasonal once more, in the form of a very well known and historically charged topic: London Dry Gin.

Cocktails O’ Clock: Negroni

Reacting to a classic italian cocktail…

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Courtesy of badassdigest.com

The Negroni, in cocktail terms, is ancient. It is one of the pillars of the cocktail world, along with the Manhattan and the old fashioned…

A staple on the menus of most cocktail bars, the Negroni works well on several levels, from the floral Gin to the sweet vermouth and the bitter Campari, this drink blends all of the individual elements together into a tasty little glass.

Recipe:

1 measure Campari

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Gin

Orange Zest

Method:

–          Build the ingredients in a rocks glass filled with ice.

–          Garnish with a twist of Orange zest and stir well.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: to make this drink drier, try using a splash more of gin, or even substituting the sweet vermouth for dry/extra dry vermouth.

This cocktail is a classic and you should all know how to make one for your friends, especially if you’re having a cocktail party anytime soon. This is a drink is one of the rare drinks that I think are better left short and sweet. Given my preference to longer drinks I did find it a little strange to begin with, but the strength this drink provides is matched by the flavour combination.

The Negroni can be dated back to around 1910 (if you believe the stories) and was apparently used to strengthen another cocktail; the Americano. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous then why not join the trend of using the Negroni as a base, and use these rules:

Base Spirit (your preference) + Bitters + Vermouth (your preference) = Your Negroni.

Various versions of these Negronis can be found HERE. Otherwise check out these 3 rather different versions…

Tequila Negroni

Recipe:

1 measure Reposado Tequila

1 measure Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Aperol

A mexican style earthy-tasting version of a classic italian cocktail: The Tequila Negroni.

Method:

–          Stir over ice for 20 seconds.

–          Pour over ice in a rocks glass and enjoy.

–          Use a Lime twist should you want a fruity kick.

The use of Aperol means this drink is a little less bitter than when using Campari, but it works well and the tequila adds a real earthy taste to this version.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: As always, you should only use 100% Agave Tequila, and my preferred brand at the moment is Aqua Riva, but any 100% Agave Reposado Tequila will suffice.

Negroni Sbagliato (Wrong Negroni)

Recipe:

1 measure Campari

1 measure Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Spumante/Prosecco (Sparkling wine)

Sparkling and refreshing this ‘Wrong Negroni’ cocktail will help lift your spirits…

Method:

–          Build over ice and stir the first 2 ingredients.

–          Pour in the sparkling wine and then garnish with an orange twist (expel the oils over the drink before dropping it in).

This version of the Negroni keeps to its traditional Italian theme, using a Prosecco or Spumante sparkling wine. This way the tradition is still there, only this drink is a little lighter, allowing for a more refreshing longer drink-feel.

Cucumber Negroni

Recipe:

1 measure Cucumber infused Vodka

1 measure Campari

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

Sweet, Crisp and refreshing, what could be better than that?

Method:

–          Stir all the ingredients over ice and pour over ice into a rocks glass.

–          Drop in an expelled lemon zest twist and serve with a straw.

This version simply swaps the cucumber Vodka in for the gin. The cucumber flavour adds a little flavour where the removal of the gin would leave a hole and supplies a nice crisp taste to the bitter and sweet of the Campari & Vermouth.

Links:

11 Awesome Negronis

Imbibe Negroni Special

The Hooch Life

Cocktails O’ Clock: The Shady Grove

Shade is a small miracle on hot summer evenings so sit on down and refresh yourself…

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This shady little grove is just what you need to enjoy this cocktail…
Picture courtesy of: trailblogs.wordpress.com

I haven’t done a gin cocktail for a while now, which is odd as I have a rather full bottle of Plymouth Gin (42%) in my cupboard. So it made sense to try a few out and this one stuck in my mind…

Mixing ginger ale (if you haven’t guessed it’s my favourite mixer) and lemon juice with this gin was a master stroke. Whilst the cocktail should work with any gin, there was something about this gin that made using it the first stop for any future attempts (it may have been the slightly increased alcohol content of 42% – most gins are around 37.5-40%).

Regardless of the reason for this difference the cocktail was refreshing and had the usual heat and crisp taste Ginger ale brings to the table, but with enough sweetness from the sugar to balance out the lemons sharpness.

This drink is perfect for the final days of summer, should we have any summer weather left (it’s pouring with rain as I type this).  

Here’s the recipe:

Shady Grove Recipe

2 measures Gin

1 measure Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Caster Sugar

Top up Ginger Ale

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Gin, Ginger & Lemon: Holy Matrimony…
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinckneybend.com

Method:

1)      Shake the first 3 ingredients over ice vigorously (to help dissolve the sugar).

2)      Strain into an ice filled tall glass.

3)      Top up with Ginger Ale and garnish with a slice of lemon and 2 slices of fresh ginger.

This cocktail works well as a refreshing after dinner drink, but also as a standalone summer evening drink. You can add small amounts of liqueurs into the shaker to help flavour the drink lightly (try around 7ml/1 teaspoon), for example the use of Chambord will add a slightly sweet raspberry taste whereas the addition of Licor 43 (Cuarenta Y Tres) will add a Vanilla taste but with added undercurrents of citrus (with help from the use of the lemon).

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: Using a martini cocktail glass and leaving out the ginger ale is a good way of shortening this drink and allowing for a more robust taste affair. For an added Ginger hit, use a teaspoon of Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur. Also garnish with a stick of fresh/stem Ginger.

Fervent Fact: The use of sugar in this drink adds a slightly course taste, but for those who like their gin cocktails smoother try using Agave Nectar or Sugar syrup (the use of flavoured syrups are favourites in my book, but a double measure of a sweet liqueur would work just as well).

Until next time, why not check out these great blogs I found recently…

Trail Blogs

Summer Fruit Cup

Cocktails O’ Clock: Purple Passion Tea

This one’s for you ladies; Give it a try on a September evening and you’ll never want another cocktail again…

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The drink is called the ‘Purple Passion Tea’ but in reality it’s more a shade of pink… Perfect for the ladies out there…
Picture courtesy of: http://www.alaska-in-pictures.com

I’ve tried plenty of Iced-Tea cocktails in recent years, some classic and some I’ve made up, and when it comes to my female friends this has to be one of their favourites. Now it’s not just for the colour, that’s kind of stereotypical, it’s because of the flavours… Combining smaller amounts of the base spirits and adding a double dose of Raspberry liqueur helps sweeten the drink (and is the reason for the pink hue). The best thing about this cocktail however, has to be the versatility to mix with fruitier mixers. The recipe below is the classic version, and below that you’ll find the best mixers to substitute in for the sour mix… Take your time working out the kinks in this recipe, make a few up and enjoy yourselves. Trust me when I say you’ll love them:

Purple Passion Tea:

1 peeled Passion Fruit

(7ml) ¼ measure Vodka

(7ml) ¼ measure Rum

(7ml) ¼ measure Gin

(14ml) ½ measure Chambord (Raspberry Liqueur)

(112ml) 4 measures Sour Mix

(7ml) ¼ measure Lime Juice

Top up Lemonade

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A great refreshing cocktail perfect for September evenings, but also great for accompanying your desserts…
Picture courtesy of: http://www.delish.com

Method:

1)      Muddle the passion fruit in a shaker and then add ice.

2)      Add all of the ingredients (except the lemonade) and shake well (5-10 seconds).

3)      Strain into an ice filled glass.

4)      Top with the lemonade and garnish with a hulled passion fruit halve on the rim of the glass.

This cocktail is a less-alcoholic version of the famous long island iced tea (using half the amount of alcohol) and therefore a little easier to handle. Knocking down the alcohol levels does several things for the drink, one of which is the balancing of flavours. If you up the alcohol, you lose the Chambord (raspberry) and passion fruit flavours.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: For an added touch of fruitiness try substituting half of the sour mix with either pomegranate or cranberry juice. Also, for a really classy touch, try using Hibiscus soda instead of the lemonade (if you do try to garnish with a Hibiscus Flower)…

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Hibiscus Flowers are one of the most elegant cocktail garnishes out there. Done right they are simply beautiful (they’re edible too!)…
Picture courtesy of: ajachicago.typepad.com

This is perfect to drink with desserts and works well with Cheesecake or Citrus tarts, perfect with the odd bit of sorbet also. Have you ever tried an ice-cream soda? – Home-made it’s just a dollop of ice-cream with a top up of Lemonade. – This is not a new dessert by any means, but this cocktail should have a fruity flavour to compliment such an ambitious idea.

So until next time drinkers, drink up and enjoy!

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And for the ladies: Yellow Hibiscus Flowers 🙂

A Pitcher Says A Thousand Words…

5 scalable sparkling drinks, perfect for your end of Summer BBQ…

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Everyone loves a BBQ, whether you’re British or American, it’s a universal food language! Picture courtesy of http://www.affordablecateringdenver.com

This post is a bit pre-emptive. It’s not the end of summer just yet, but with the slightly cooler weather we are getting, it’s only ever around the corner.  With these concoctions you can hang on to what remains of this weather for as long as you feasibly can. There is even a non-alcoholic one at the bottom…

Without further ado I present to you the 5 pitcher drinks you simply cannot be doing without this autumn!

1)      Vodka Knockout

1L Vodka

175ml Lime Juice

500ml Triple Sec

1L Cranberry Juice

1L Bitter Lemon(ade)

1L Classic Lemonade

Method:

Mix all of the still ingredients into a bowl/jug and stir well. Add your choice of slice/chopped fruit then cover and place in the fridge for 2-12 hours. Then top up with the carbonated ingredients and serve. If preparing without the 2-12 hours’ notice use large blocks of ice to keep the drink chilled.

2)      Rum Juggler

700ml Rum

500ml Southern Comfort

50ml Sugar Syrup

150ml Lime Juice

1L Apple Juice

1L Ginger Ale

Method:

Mix together the alcohol, lime juice and syrup. Then add your selection of prepared fruit. Cover and leave to chill for around 4-5 hours, then add the apple juice, cover and chill for up to a further 8hrs.

Serve straight from the fridge, and top up with the ginger ale. If prepared at short notice, again use large lumps of ice to chill the mixture, stirring in the ice to begin with.

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Cocktail are refreshing, and they are perfect for BBQ’s too… Picture courtesy of http://www.vegasnews.com

3)      Gin Garden

700ml Gin

350ml Passoa

250ml Cointreau

150ml Lemon Juice

1L Tropical/Passionfruit Juice

1L Soda Water

Method:

Mix together the alcoholic ingredients and lemon juice in your serving bowl/jug.  Cover and chill for up to 5 hours. Then mix in the chosen fruit juice. Cover and chill for up to a further 7 hours. Serve straight from the fridge, topping up the drink with soda water, but only when it’s in their glass. DO NOT put the soda in the bow as, it will go flat extremely quickly.

4)      Orchard Liqueur Especial

250ml Licor 43

250ml St. Germain Liqueur

350ml Plum Liqueur

100ml Chambord

500ml Apple Schnapps

350ml Cranberry Juice

1L Apple & Pear Juice

1L Ginger Ale

Method:

Pour all of the ingredients into a large serving bowl. Then stir in your selection of chopped/slice fruits and stir well. Cover and leave in the fridge to cool for 2+hrs. Then remove and add the fruit juice and stir again. Leave for another 2hrs and then serve, topping up with Ginger ale at the last moment.

If you have less time on your hands, put all the ingredients (except the ginger ale) in the bowl with large ice cubes. Then stir in the fruit, and add the fruit juice and stir again. Top up with the Ginger ale just before serving.

This mixture is perfect as it is, but should you like to tweak it try and stick to Orchard/Forest fruits. A selection of apples, pears, plums, peaches and various soft berries work wonders chopped up and served in the mixture.

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Not all cocktails have to be alcoholic, some of the best cocktails i’ve tried have been non-alcoholic… Picture courtesy of http://www.rachaelraymag.com

5)      Mocktail Monster

100ml grenadine

700ml POM pomegranate juice

350ml cranberry juice

350ml Apple Juice

150ml Lime Juice

1L Bitter Lemon

1L Lemonade

Method:

Mix all the ingredients up and serve with ice. The bigger the ice cubes the better, as they will melt slower. Serve with various sliced/chopped fruit and plenty of lemonade to top.

This recipe works well as a non-alcoholic alternative but can easily be made alcoholic if you wish; Vodka or rum make good bases, with liqueurs like SoCo and Cointreau working equally well. For a special little kick why not try adding 500-700ml of Tequila?

Or you can go for a more elegant touch and swap the lemonade out for Sparkling Wine/Champagne. It’s all up to you!

I’ve tried to make these recipes as crowd friendly as possible, you’ll notive that I’ve refrained from the use of Orange and Pineapple Juices, this is because I’ve found more people than you may think are allergic to them. That’s not to say you cannot add them in at all, just find out who’s allergic beforehand! – we want everyone to get the most enjoyment out of your drinks after alll!

These recipes are easy to prepare in bulk, and show clear volumes of each ingredient so you can scale them up (or down) to order.

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Always aim to try new things, this wonderful device is a brilliant day out. check out http://www.firebox.com for more information…

All recipes are my own creation, so please ask me if you would like to use them on your own websites/blogs. Otherwise feel free to use them at your events , and even play with the ingredients to suit your tastes. The ingredients used are such that there is a certain amount of tweaking allowed before they taste unbalanced. Hopefully you enjoy them as much as we do here at the Fervent Shaker Co. Your BBQ’s will never be the same…

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!

Kicking it like a pro – the World’s best Mule’s!

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The best mules in the world… Oh hang on a minute…

The Moscow Mule arguably one of the most famous mule cocktails ever made. But what you might not know is that there are literally dozens of variations. From Paris to New Zealand and everywhere in between, there is a Mule for everyone…

The idea of a mule is very simple… Top with Ginger Beer/Ale (whichever one you prefer). Of course you need other ingredients but if you take a gander at the recipes below you’ll see that those depend on the theme…

It’s important to keep the ratio’s in these drinks as they are written. Use this conversion: 1 measure = 25ml (UK) or 1oz (USA). This way the balance of the drink remains as it should be and everyone is happy!

Onto the cocktails:

10) Berry Nice

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Fresh berries make for the best Mules. Add a splash of ginger beer and Bob’s your uncle!

Recipe:

2 measures of Raspberry Vodka

¼ measure Chambord (Raspberry Liqueur)

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

8 Blackberries

Top up with Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add the vodka and blackberries and muddle well.

2)      Add the Chambord liqueur and lemon juice.

3)      Shake over ice and strain into an ice filled glass.

4)      Top up with Ginger Beer/Ale and garnish with a blackberry and lemon peel skewer.

9) Yule Mule

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A simple yet stunning cocktail that scales up brilliantly if you have a few extra friends round…

Recipe:

2 measures Light (white) Rum

2.5 measures Cranberry Juice

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Build this cocktail in an ice-filled Collins glass.

2)      Garnish with a Lime wedge.

This cocktail is a simple Caribbean style Mule. Made ideally at Christmas, so you can use cranberries when they are in abundance (here in the UK at least) for a fresher crisper drink, this cocktail is perfect for the summer too. Refreshing and crisp this drink is simple yet flavourful. Try experimenting with your favourite aged/dark rums for a deeper taste.

8) Blackberry Mule

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A wonderful infusion of British produce and gorgeous vodka… The Blackberry Mule: Summer, well, summed up…

Recipe:

1.5 measures Vodka

½ measure Crème de Mure (Blackberry Liqueur)

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

6-8 fresh blackberries

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Muddle the blackberries with the vodka in a shaker tin.

2)      Then add the crème de mure and lime juice.

3)      Shake well over ice and double strain (to keep out the seeds) into an ice filled Collins glass.

4)      Top up with Ginger beer/ale.

5)      Garnish with 2 plump blackberries.

A great UK summer cocktail, the Blackberry Mule comes to fruition around the same time as the blackberry bushes bless us with their bounties. Fresh blackberries mean a fresher drink. Sure you can shell out for some supermarket blackberries (the ones that have probably gained more air miles that you will in a couple of years) or you could go blackberry picking and gather some for yourself. Over here in the UK berry picking is still a pastime. I even tried my hand at it when I was younger. There are plenty of farmers that take on hands to help (as volunteers mainly – but they do let you keep the odd punnet or two). It’s a fun day out and you get to enjoy your spoils with a nice splash of your favourite spirit.

Oh right, one last thing, this cocktail tastes just as great using any spirit. Try it with some of these if you’d prefer: Tequila, Rum, Gin & Cachaca.

7) The Mordor Mule

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A drifter from Mordor… This mule has a slightly tangy feel as well as a knock-out blow should you disrespect it…

Recipe:

1.5 measures ‘42 Below’ Vodka

½ measure Lime Juice

¼ measure Agave Nectar

1 whole Kiwi (skinned & chopped into chunks)

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      In a mixing tin muddle the Kiwi chunks, lime juice and sugar syrup.

2)      Add the vodka and fill with ice.

3)      Shake and strain into an ice filled Collins glass

4)      Top up with ginger beer/ale

5)      Garnish with a Kiwi wheel (leave skin on this one).

This Middle Earth (New Zealand) themed Mule is something a little different. It combines one of the best vodkas in the world (from NZ of course) with a New Zealand Kiwi fruit and then using the ginger beer/ale as a top up. This cocktail, as a result, is extremely refreshing and crisp and great for those summer evenings when you want something a little different.

Again the room for tweaking lies with the fruit. There are several other edible species of Kiwi fruit available that are different to the commercial one we are all accustomed to. If you want to try them, and they’re available in your country, start here; on the Wikipedia site and have a search around.

Oh and not to mention this is one of my very own recipes so please let me know how it goes down!

6) Parisian Mule

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A great Parisian Mule, picture courtesy of the http://cocktailqueens.wordpress.com

Recipe:

2 measures Vodka

1 measure Crème de Cassis

1 measure Lime Juice

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      In an ice filled shaker add the vodka, crème de cassis and lime juice.

2)      Shake well and strain into an ice filled Collins glass.

3)      Top up with Ginger Beer/Ale and serve with a lime wedge as garnish.

This is a recipe I’m really proud of, back during the early days of this blog I catered cocktails for a friend of a friend’s birthday party. One of those cocktails was a pitcher sized serving of a Parisian Mule. Now various other mules do exist and probably more appropriately named too. But this cocktail is special to me, and when I think of Crème liqueurs I think of France, of the romance capital of the world: Paris. Now the other recipe I have found for a Parisian Mule contains Cognac, a fine vintage too I might say, and it is a delicious drink. But rather than fill up another spot for a cocktail of the same name, if you follow this link for what I have dubbed the Imperial Parisian Mule you’ll find the original website for it. Whichever taste of Paris you prefer, you will not be disappointed.

5) Moscow Mule

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A classic mule, in a classic Russian Copper Cup

Recipe:

2 measures Vodka

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Build this cocktail in an ice filled mixing glass.

2)      Start with the Vodka, then lime juice and bitters.

3)      Stir well and strain into an ice filled Collins glass.

4)      Top up with your preference of Ginger Beer/Ale.

5)      Garnish with a Lime Wedge and serve with straws.

This classic cocktail is all about the kick. Refreshing and crisp (the lime and ginger pair exceptionally well) it lulls you into a full sense of security, then after about 3 or 4 you try and stand and remember the vodka; It’ll sit you right back down again, I assure you. Perfect for those summer evenings when you just don’t want to get up the next morning. Still they taste great and a couple wouldn’t hurt…Right? Right.

4) Saigon Sling via Bar Blue

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A great Mule variation. It’s balanced well and the lime wedge adds a little tartness to the drink…

Recipe:

45ml Bombay Sapphire Gin

15ml Krupnik Honey Liqueur

30ml Pineapple Juice

2 dashes Peychauds Bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add the Gin, Honey Liqueur, Pineapple juice and bitters into an ice filled shaker and shake well for about 20-30 seconds.

2)      Strain into an ice filled sling glass (see glass in the picture).

3)      Top up with ginger beer/ale and garnish with a slice of lemon.

This cocktail was first tasted by me when I went to London Bridge’s Bar Blue (on the way to the Cointreau Fizz Garden event). Combining the floral flavours of Bombay Sapphire Gin, and the sweetness of Krupnik Honey Liqueur, this cocktail is a borderline Mule, and therefore a controversial choice, but it is just so good I could not leave it out. It is just a wonderfully refreshing drink everyone needs to try at least once.

3) Anejo Mule

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What your Anejo Mule should look like…

Recipe:

1 measure Light Rum

½ measure Dark Rum

½ measure triple Sec

¼ measure Fresh Lime Juice

2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add all the ingredients (except the ginger beer/ale obviously) and shake well over ice.

2)      Strain into an ice filled Collins glass and top up with Ginger beer/ale.

3)      Garnish with a lime wedge sat on the rim of the glass*.

Now I love all types of rum. Whether it’s the classic white stuff or the darker, aged stuff, it doesn’t bother me as long as it tastes great (which most of them do). Usually I find it hard to choose between light and dark rum, but this drink puts a line through this conundrum with a simple answer: Use both…

*this allows for your friends/customers/drinkers to add a splash more lime juice if they would like.

2) Caribbean Mule

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The best thing about a Mule, is you can dress it up to look like a Circus Zebra, but underneath it all, it’s still a Mule.

Recipe:

1.5 measures Light Rum

½ measure Spiced Dark Rum

½ measure fresh squeezed lime juice

½ measure guava juice

1 measure pineapple juice

3 dashes of angostura bitters

Method:

1)      Combine the first 5 ingredients in an ice filled shaker and shake well.

2)      Strain into an ice filled sling glass and top up with ginger beer/ale.

3)      Garnish with a pineapple wedge and cocktail cherry.

4)      Serve with straws.

Similar to the Anejo Mule, this cocktail adds a little Caribbean flavour to the mixture with some exotic fruit juices. This does lengthen the drink somewhat and water down the rum a little, but it makes it a little more beach specific and refreshing. The ginger beer/ale adds a splash of crispness and heat that is really balanced well with the sweetness of the juices.

Give it a go and close your eyes, you’ll be hearing waves roaring at your feet and feel a tan coming on before you know it…

1) Mexican Mule

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Lots of lime and Tequila, this one is all Mexican 100% baby! (Except the glass – that was made in china)…

Recipe:

2 measures good quality Tequila

¾ measures fresh squeezed lime juice

¼ measure agave nectar

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add the tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and bitters into an ice filled shaker and shake well.

2)      Strain into a tall glass filled with crush ice.

3)      Top up with ginger beer/ale and garnish with a lime wedge.

This cocktail is my number one by a country mile. This cocktail takes everything great about the classic Moscow mule and just spins it on its head, in a way only the Mexicans can, with TEQUILA!

Now a couple of months ago it was Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) which celebrates Mexico’s ways in all their glory, although it’s a more United States specific celebration, which means Tequila and all things Mexican are centre stage.

And then there was National Tequila Day (NTD) which was as recent as last week! Again it’s largely an American ‘Holiday’ (I’m starting to notice a theme here, are you?) upon which much more Tequila is consumed (naturally). Now I did a post on the 24th July (NTD) and this was based on the craft Tequila George Clooney has co-financed, along with his life-long buddy Rande Gerber and this is the perfect tequila to use here. If you cannot get a hold of it (I know I can’t) then use the best quality Tequila you can find (that means 100% Agave people!).

This drink, as already stated, turns the classic vodka based version on its head and creates a rather delicious monster. Tequila mixes well with lime, we all know this, but it also mixes fantastically well with Ginger Beer/Ale. So combining the 3 sounds perfect right? Right.

“Never ever mix tequila with lime and ginger beer/ale” – Said no one. Ever.

So mix one of these up, chuck a poncho and a fake moustache on and put the maracas down, Sit back on your hammock and enjoy the sunset – beach, sunset, fake moustache, maracas & poncho not included.

finally enjoy this lovely couple of Mules, can you guess their names? Hint: Even I’m not sure of their names, so good luck…

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A happy Chap…

And the twins here…

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A couple of twins not happy with your lack of a cocktail like beverage already…

Gin Summer Cocktails… Classic British Cocktails

10. GINger juice cocktail

50ml Plymouth Gin

25ml Ginger Liqueur

15ml Lemon Juice (fresh)

15ml Sugar Syrup

2 Long thin slices of Ginger (optional garnish)

1 lemon wedge (optional garnish)

Combine in a shaker over ice, and shake until the tin ices over on the outside. Then strain into a small glass filled with crushed ice. Gently position the ginger slices around the outside of the inner glass (between the ice and the glass). Then top up with ginger ale and drop in a lemon wedge for garnish…

9. Beefeater Almond Iced Tea

60ml Beefeater 24 Gin

90ml Sencha Tea (chilled)

20ml Almond Syrup (Orgeat)

10ml Sugar Syrup

10ml Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Build all the ingredients in a tall ice-filled glass and then stir well before serving…  Garnish with a lemon wheel.

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Beefeater Almond Iced-Tea

8. Gin Fizz

45ml Gin

20ml Lemon Juice

15ml Sugar Syrup

Top up Soda Water

Shake the Gin, Lemon & syrup and strain into an ice filled glass. Top up with the Soda water and garnish with a wedge of lemon.

7. Citrus Crush

60ml Gin

30ml Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 dash sugar syrup

Add all the ingredients to a glass filled with crushed ice and stir. Serve immediately. For a longer version; top up with the soda of your choice.

6. Damascan Punch

60ml Gin

60ml Pomegranate Juice (Use POM Juice)

30ml Lemon Juice (FS)

30ml Sugar Syrup

60ml Bitter Lemon(ade)

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Mix all of the ingredients by adding them to an ice-filled glass and stirring well. Garnish with a sprig of mint, fresh pomegranate & a wedge of lemon (all of these are optional).

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Damascan Punch

5. Classic G&T

60ml Gin

90ml Tonic water

Build over ice in a tall glass, garnishing with a lemon/lime wedge.

4. Tom Collins

45ml Gin

20ml Lemon Juice (FS)

15ml Sugar Syrup

60ml Soda Water

Add all the ingredients into an empty glass and stir. Add ice and then top up with the soda water, Garnishing with a lemon wheel.

3. Summer Breeze Punch (will serve 2-4)

60ml Beefeater Gin

30ml Lemon Juice (FS)

30ml Lillet Blanc

15ml Curacao (triple sec)

15ml Grenadine Syrup

120ml Vervain Tea (chilled) – Mint Tea also works well here!

Mix all of these ingredients over a large slab of ice in the serving bowl. For the fruit: Add Mint sprigs, lemon & lime wheels and your preferred selection of soft berries (I strongly suggest using strawberries).

2. Singapore Sling

40ml Gin

20ml cherry heering (cherry Brandy will suffice)

5ml Cointreau

5ml Benedictine

10ml Grenadine

80ml Pineapple Juice

30ml Lemon Juice

1-2 dashes angostura bitters

This drink is a bit of a legend. The above recipe is, as far as I know, the original. Any Singapore sling recipe without Benedictine is wrong. With that in mind, you can (if you do not have any at home) substitute it with 5ml of any other orange liqueur; Grand Marnier is a good call, so is mandarin napoleon, but adding another 5ml of Cointreau is acceptable.

Shake all the ingredients and strain into an ice-filled hurricane glass. Garnish with a pineapple chunk and maraschino cherry.

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Singapore Sling

1.Vesper

60ml Gordons Gin

20ml Stolichnaya Vodka

10ml Lillet Blanc

Stir* all the ingredients over ice and strain into a martini glass, garnishing with a lemon-peel twirl.

*for a more 007-esque experience you can shake this cocktail, but as most bartenders know; shaking a drink like this will dilute it and thus weaken the drink’s flavours… Stirring the drink cools the alcohol just the same, but does not dilute the drink as much…

Inspiration for these cocktails, including the pictures where taken from these websites (as well as my own mind in the case of recipes i created):

http://www.gintime.com/tag/summer-cocktails/

http://www.beefeatergin.com/

Long Island Iced Teas – not *just* a route to a drunken you…

The long island iced-tea is one of those cocktails that, when ordered, will get you contemptuous looks and pure anger from some ‘mixologists’. Now the problem is that they, in their ‘infinite wisdom’ think people that order a LII-T are just wanting as much alcohol in a glass as possible (with a splash of coke). Now whilst in some places this is true, I’d like to think better than that. Sure it is a drink that is kind of asking for it (containing no less than 5 different strong spirits), but look past the high alcohol content and look at the actual ingredients and you have the recipe for something potentially fantastic…

Here is the classic Long Island Iced-Tea recipe:

1 measure Vodka

1 measure Gin

1 measure Rum

1 measure Tequila

1 measure Triple Sec (or Cointreau)

1.5 measures Lemon Juice

2 measures Sugar Syrup

Top up Coke Cola

Top Tips: For a perfect amount try using 15ml as one measure (so 15ml of each alcohol, then 21ml for the lemon juice – about half a small lemons worth – and 30ml sugar syrup). Measured right it should allow you to add a couple of large splashes of Cola, allowing for a more potent flavourful drink.

As you can see this cocktail has the means to be quite potent, and mistreated it can result in very a drunken you, very quickly. However treated with respect, and measured/served properly and this drink is one that can be savoured and enjoyed to its fullest. Meant for kicking back on a beach somewhere in Bali, this cocktail offers a refreshing taste I’m yet to find with any other cocktail (yes, including Mojito’s)…

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Mixing 5 parts alcohol and a little sugar, makes this a great refreshing and relaxing drink, perfect for bring out the sun in any weather…

Now in keeping with my philosophy of ‘if you haven’t got all of the ingredients, improvise’ this recipe was privy to one of my improvisations recently. Now at a recent event (https://theferventshaker.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/a-secret-soiree-in-margate-old-town/) I did not have all the ingredients available for this classic recipe, so I created a work around. Based on the Original Iced Tea method, of building in a glass, over ice, I used the following recipe:

My Tweaked Long Island Iced-Tea

15ml vodka

15ml White Rum

15ml Silver Tequila (Tequila blanco)

20ml Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

30ml Sugar Syrup

1 large dash of Amaretto Liqueur

Top up with Coke Cola

Now as you can see this recipe starts off the same as a classic LII-T, but the lack of lemon juice, gin and triple sec meant I had to improvise. Now the use of amaretto liqueur and sugar syrup means this drink is rather sweet, but a simple ‘too-taste’ rule when adding the sugar syrup would be a smart move: If you find this amount too sweet, cut it down slightly until you find it perfect.

I feel that the addition of the Amaretto gives this drink a nice hint of almond, just underneath the alcohol. The layers of rum, vodka and tequila (especially the rum and tequila) come through more, as the floral notes of the gin are not there. Add to this the crisp nature of the lime juice and you get rid of the nasty alcohol taste (you know that taste at the back of your throat). This drink, in my and my friends’ opinions is well balanced and arguably better overall than the classic recipe. Although that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourselves!