Tag Archives: orange

Cointreau Fizz Garden – 25.06.2013

A Night of Fizz and glamour, for the most part…

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So straight away I must disclaim: I suffer from hay fever and this did somewhat spoil the mood, but all the same I tried to take that out of the equation when writing this post…

Cointreau are a big brand, owned by Remy Cointreau (a huge alcohol company – many fingers in many pies), and they have been putting on a weekly event recently: The Cointreau Fizz Garden (5th Floor Magdalen house, London Bridge).

Tickets for this event were given away for free on a first come first served basis through Cointreau’s UK Facebook page. I got tickets for me a 4 of my friends for the 25th June event.

I went up with my friend Peter on the train and went to the Bar Blue before-hand, and met up with my friend Jack, and his girlfriend and her friend around 6.30pm. After making our way up the very cramped lift, we walked out onto a roof terrace that resembled a wonderful garden scene (something one might see at the Chelsea flower show), wooden seating, some tables scattered around and some wonderful looking (but fake) flowers draping the trellis, cutting off the London high rises (all but the Shard anyway)…

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Me and Peter enjoying a chat whilst sipping on a Fizz…

We were all given 3 tokens each (enough for 3 cocktails each) and when we sat down and had a read of the flavours of ‘Cointreau Fizz Cocktails’ available, it was apparent that the flavours had been well thought out. Some combining fresh flavours like cucumber and basil, others opting for the subtle yet refreshing flavours of orange and lime, the cocktails offered contained both safe and edgy flavour combinations; something for everyone…

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My friends; Jack & Lauren having a look at the drinks being prepared, it was a rather chilled atmosphere at the beginning of the evening…

However as the night went on, it became apparent that only 3 cocktails were offered to us. Although it was still a great selection, this was not made apparent until we got to the bar and saw the amended menu’s there. This was a shame as some of the cocktails not on offer looked amazing (I’m especially thinking of the Passion & Pepper one).

The biggest problem, however, was the amount of people allowed to attend. Whilst I’m all for letting as many people as possible experience a bespoke event like this, there needs to be some sort of line drawn so that the people at the event can enjoy it fully. After going to such lengths to ensure an amazing venue, with a great view and then managing to create a garden-like atmosphere there, it seemed a shame to let it be ruined (in part) by the attendance of so many people. At one point me and my friend were waiting, at the front of the bar, for around 35 minutes before being served and even then the sheer volume of drinks orders meant we were kept waiting as the bartender made 8-10 drinks at a time.

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The Shard in all it’s glory, rising high above the rooftop. A wonderful sunset…

All that aside the event itself was, overall, fantastic. The sun set behind the shard and the light was refracted and reflected all around us, combine that with great company and a very cool acoustic set from a talented musical duo, and then throw in the sometimes strange and weird tasting canapé’s the Cointreau ladies were serving, well, you just cannot fault it too much.

It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was worth going all that way to experience and if I’m completely honest, I’d go to another one! Especially if they addressed the minor issues.

The Verdict:

Cocktails: 9.5/10

The idea of keeping the cocktails in the ‘Fizz’ genre was fantastic, and the selection of flavours was plenty varied for the beginning of the event, in the least.

Cocktails tried: 10/10

I tried the Strawberry & Mint and the Original Fizz cocktails, both of which were fantastically balanced. The use of fresh ingredients was evident and really gave the drinks a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ not to mention a little kick.

Décor: 8.5/10

The first impressions were stunning. To see the transformation from a London rooftop to a Parisian garden was simply superb. Colours were well thought out and the table arrangement was well planned. The only improvement would be to the ceiling, although half was open and showing off the view of the Shard (again this was a stunning view), the other half was covered by dirtied plastic sheeting and really did ruin some of the illusion.

Service: 7/10

At the beginning of the night the service was excellent and it was easy to go and get a drink. However as more people started to turn up it became clear that the bar was far too small and they had not planned for so many people/orders coming in. The Staff seemed quite overwhelmed and always behind (not their fault, there was only 3 guys behind the bar). The food service (canapés) was slightly better however, with the two ladies making their way around the crowds gracefully and making sure everyone got the choice to try a selection of savoury and sweet dishes.

Overall: 8.75/10

Overall this event was fantastic. Whilst there were some flaws on show, the event came across as well thought out for the most point. The service really lacked but mainly to the high influx of attendees in the latter part of the evening. Receiving the ‘goody-bag’ on the way certainly went some way to making up for it. I definitely recommend you all try to get tickets to any future events they hold if possible.

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A rather packed bar area led to long waits for drinks, but everyone was in high spirits…

For more information on this event, and any others on offer by Cointreau, check out their Facebook page, twitter feed and official website on the links below:

Website: www.cointreau.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CointreauUK

Twitter: @CointreauUK, https://twitter.com/CointreauUK

Disclaimer: all pictures used on this post are either my own, or from the Cointreau Fizz Garden album.

Caipirinha Please… No, Wait. A Caipiroska

Continuing my theme of the day: how interchangeable certain alcohols are in certain cocktails; I feel compelled to discuss, briefly at least, the family of Caipirinha cocktails:

Across the Caribbean and now most of the world the preferred distillate of sugar cane is Rum. White, golden, dark, spiced even the newer infused rums, it doesn’t matter what type of rum, what matters is that it is RUM.

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The Caipirinha, packs a punch, but it’s full of South American flavour.

This may be the case across almost all the world, but down in South America, Brazil especially, this is far from the case. Cachaca is the distillate of choice. Cachaca is a sugar distillate not too dissimilar to rum, but it arguably lacks the same smoothness of some rum products. Regardless of its texture, it has been used in one of the 20th century’s most popular cocktails. Served across the beaches of South America, be it Brazil, Argentina and even Uruguay, Caipirinha’s are a source of great joy for locals and tourists alike.

The standard recipe for a Caipirinha takes half a lime (cut into wedges) and muddles it with brown sugar, then after topping up with crushed ice, 2 measures (around 50ml) of Cachaca is added. A quick stir later and you’re sipping on a very strong, but refreshingly crisp cocktail.

This cocktail is traditionally served with crushed ice in a rocks glass.

Classic (American/UK) Caipirinha Recipe

50ml Cachaca

½ lime (cut into wedges)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Top up ice.

Top tip: very gently muddle the lime with the sugar until the sugar has all but dissolved. Then add the cachaca and give it a swizzle stir. Serve with 2 straws.

This recipe is so easy to tweak to your tastes its perfect for chilled evenings watching the football with your pals, or catching up with your girlfriends after a busy day shopping. Either way this versatile drink can be tweaked several ways:

Short Cachaca Mojito

45ml Cachaca

½ lime (cut into wedges)

2 teaspoons sugar syrup

2-5 mint leaves

Top up crushed ice.

Splash of soda water

This version of the Caipirinha is simply a short version of a Mojito using cachaca instead of rum. Using the same method for the standard Caipirinha, only when muddling the lime and sugar you muddle the mint leaves too.

The splash of soda water adds the familiar mojito fizz, without diluting the drink.

Margarita Caipirinha

40ml cachaca

10ml triple sec

¼ orange (cut into chunks)

2 teaspoons sugar syrup

Top up crushed ice.

This cocktail uses the margarita as inspiration, mixing triple sec, cachaca and lime to create the feel of a margarita but served in a traditional South American way.

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Try using all your favourite fruits in Caipirinha’s you try at home, this one is made with Passion fruit. Just add a little bit of your fruit to the muddling phase…

The interchangeable alcohol idea:

A famous north American/European cocktail known as the Caipiroska is a simple twist on the standard Caipirinha cocktail. The Caipiroska uses high quality vodka, lime and sugar to the same ends as a Caipirinha. The idea is that this is a refreshing drink using an alcohol that North Americans and Europeans are used to (vodka).

Classic Caipiroska Recipe

50ml high grade vodka (i.e. Green Mark)

½ lime (cut into wedges)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Top Tip: If you have it available, use agave nectar. This sugar syrup like product is fantastically sweet and works brilliantly with this cocktail (as well as mojito’s but that’s a discussion for a future post).

If you find this drink a little too strong for your tastes, then try having it in a taller Collins glass and top up with soda water…

One last note about the Caipiroska; the citrus noted above is lime, but because vodka is such a neutral spirit, there is no reason why you cannot use the same quantities of any citrus fruit; some good examples and quantities are as follows:

Orange – ¼ orange (cut into chunks)

Lemon – ½ small lemon (cut into wedges/chunks)

Grapefruit – ¼ small Grapefruit (cut into chunks)

After note: now it has come to my attention (through a source) that the above recipe is purely an Americanised version of the cocktail. I have it on good authority (see the comment below) that the original recipe from Brazil actually uses lemons. Although they are actually green lemons! It’s quite easy to see that from an american point of view if it’s green it must be a lime… Well this is not true. Brazilians use what are simply green lemons. So if you want a Brazilian Caipirinha (and you don’t mind swapping out the green colour for yellow) replace the lime chunks with lemon. For an extra special twist, shave a large full circumference slice of lemon peel and fit it around the glass (after muddling the chunks & sugar), then add the ice and Cachaca … Whichever recipe you choose I’m sure you’ll enjoy the drink all the same. sure lemons will change the flavour slightly, but it’ll still be a refreshing summer drink!

Drink up I’ve just ordered you another one!

Thanks to http://thingsthatfizz.wordpress.com/ for the advice below!

Stilettos – Don’t get too excited ladies, I’m not talking about shoes!

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Looking rather classy, this potent but flavoursome cocktail is a female favourite…

Recipes online generally stick to two or three base recipes and tend to vary the ratios of their ingredients. The two base recipes, again, are the same except that 1 uses Lime Juice, and the other uses Lemon juice:

 

Recipe 1:

1.5 measures Bourbon

1.5 measures Amaretto

1 measure fresh lime juice

1 lime wedge, for garnish

Recipe 2:

1 measure Amaretto

2 measures Bourbon

1 measure Lemon Juice

Lemon twist to garnish

Now usually when you have citrus and bourbon, you would opt for lemon juice (as in recipe 2), and the amaretto in such a high amount would be far too sweet. However the tartness of the lime juice helps cut through the amaretto’s sweetness and works perfectly to marry the two alcohols together…

For a longer version you can top up either recipe with Ginger beer (not ginger ale – it just doesn’t work as well).

However the version I spent my early cocktail and university life drinking was completely different:

Stiletto, My way:

1.5 measure amaretto

¾ measure crème de banane

1 measure Pineapple juice

1 measure Orange juice.

Now my version is both infinitely smoother and a tad sweeter.

Now the first recipe made for a great cocktail, a tad too strong and I did need the ginger beer, but nice none the less. The second recipe is made ‘long’ already so it should go down quite well. If you need to tweak it to your own tastes then please do so. I find that to add a little depth in flavour, adding a dry curacao (or triple sec – but not Cointreau) works wonders.

Other recipes, not quite so well-known include the following (sources are credited where appropriate)

Recipe from http://partywithleah.blogspot.co.uk

1 measure Grand Marnier

1 measure cognac

Top up with champagne

3 dashes Angostura bitters

Spiral of orange zest, for garnish

Recipe from http://www.orlandosentinel.com/

1.25 measures Hendrick’s Gin

1 measure sugar syrup

0.5 measure fresh lime juice

5 fresh blackberries

Top up Ginger Ale

2 blackberries for garnish

 These two recipes were taken from their sources as they have the same name as the other recipes in this post. Whilst being made up of different ingredients their quality is as good as the original and of course my recipe. If you try them out let me know what you think, it would be interesting to see which Stiletto is the favourite…