(apple) cider (sorbet) spider

Remember being a kid and making soda spiders? Remember filling the glass ’til it overflows and then sucking the bubbles off the bench before someone saw you? Well, here’s the adult version and the best bit is, no one can tell you not too suck the bubbles off the bench now you’re a grown up!

Apple cider (I used Dirty Granny for this one but any nice cider will work wonderfully)
Mixed berry sorbet (mine was homemade but quality store bought will work perfectly)

Pour a nice tall glass of apple cider to about 3/4 full then add a scoop of berry sorbet. Slowly top up the glass if you want to avoid the frothy overflow. Or pour it in fast if you want to see the volcano.

This cider spider is sure to impress those who also struggle to grow up.

apple cider sorbet spider

cuba libre cocktail

Let’s face it, the Cuba Libre cocktail is just a fancy way of saying rum and coke [with a twist of lime]. But whether you drink it because you like the idea of drinking to “free Cuba”, or because you’ve always liked rum and coke (hold back on the name calling please), or because you really just like saying “Cuba” like you know it well and the reverberation in your head as you roll the “re” at the end to extremes; I’d have to say that it’s the twist of lime that really does it for me.
Cuba Libre
30 ml white rum
100 ml cola
½ lime, cut a slice to garnish the glass and juice the rest

Add the above to a tumbler filled with lots of ice.

black devil cocktail

black devil martiniIt’s pretty clear that this cocktail is derived from the martini. I’m not a big rum drinker but this made a very palatable version of the beloved martini. This version is simple, classic and a little bit mysterious. The opposite of how I like my men – smart, modern and totally understood.

30 ml white rum
15ml dry vermouth
black olives

Add the rum and vermouth to a well iced cocktail shaker, shake or stir to chill, then pour into a chilled martini glass with black olive garnish.

the bloody mary cocktail: where too much garnish is only just enough

bloody mary cocktailThe Bloody Mary has been called the worlds most complex cocktail. I’d say because each drink is as individual as each of us.

In my opinion, you’ve probably poured the perfect drink when you’ve got to hold the garnish back from going up your nose. By the time the glass reaches your mouth, you’re looking out over a jungle akin to Borneo.

Along with a good helpings of vodka and tomato juice, a well poured Bloody Mary must have some quantities of worcestershire sauce, tabasco, salt of some description, and an array of embellishments.

Enhancements that are worth tinkering with to find your perfect flavor include: lemon juice, pepper (white versus black), sugar (to tone the acidity of the tomato), parsley, beef stock (a Bloody Bull), Clamato juice (a Bloody Ceasar), teriyaki sauce in place of worcestershire sauce (a Bloody Mariyaki) and/or celery salt… but you can probably draw the line at chicken salt.

I’m glad that some precious friends recently reintroduced me the the Bloody Mary. I’ve learned (through some experimentation) that I like my Bloody drink the following way:

30 ml vodka
½ tsp vegetable stock powder (in place of salt)
½ tsp caster sugar
1 cup tomato juice, chilled
1 tsp lemon juice
2 drops tabasco
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
a frond of each, celery and parsley
a slice of lemon (ok, so this is just for show, I can drink with out it)

In a tumbler, dissolve the sugar and stock in a tablespoon of hot water.
Add ice, the worcestershire, tabasco, lemon juice, vodka and tomato juice.
Stir. Garnish.

Naturally, I call mine a Bloody Poppins.

Have you discovered any other adornments to your perfect Bloody drink?

bloody mary garnish celery

devil’s cocktail

Devil's cocktailIt doesn’t taste as evil as it sounds. It’s quite a sophisticated drink with a light wine-like flavour that is suited to evening supping.

45 ml port (I used an aged Tawny)
45 ml dry vermouth
½ tsp lemon juice

Fill a mixing glass with ice.
Pour port, vermouth and lemon over ice. Stir to well chilled.
Pour into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with lemon rind, or nothing.

all in the name of research

I would hate you to think that I’m not constantly working hard to research and perfect drinks for you. Here’s a selection of photos of cocktails I have been working on.

caprikosca vodka

Caipiroska
This never made it out of draft. This is what I wrote about it at the time.

So no one is driving after one of these, got it?! … serves 2 giggling gerties. You could halve quantities and serve in a martini glass if you’re wanting moderation.

120 ml vodka (that’s double shots/ 60 ml per person)
2 limes (juice of 1 ½, the quarter the last half, squeeze a bit into the glass and throw the chunks into the bottom of the glass – for show)
10-15 mint leaves (keep 2 for garnish)
2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp raw sugar
ice

Muddle lime, sugar, mint and vodka (I used my wooden citrus juicer to muddle)
Fill two glasses with ice and pour the muddled mix over the ice.
Dress it up with mint and lime rinds.

But it wasn’t very nice.

lemon cocktail

I have no idea what this is. Miscellanious lemon thing?! (with strange shadows)… Despite its watery appearance, it was obviously quite potent.

champagne cocktail

Champagne Cocktail
I know what this is… it’s sugar, bitters, Grand Marnier and champagne. I even layered it nicely but the photo is terrible. So it didn’t make the cut. Plus it was the last of the Grand Marnier until the next duty-free shopping, so there’s no opportunities to get a better shot.

cocktail with lemon rind

… No idea what this is either … but obviously the lemon rind was very important.

sleep when you’re dead: another cup of joe?

Coffee sleep when you're deadCoffee. It’s one of our favourite legal drugs. That and alcohol*. We all have our favourite cup of joe. And a language that goes with it. Flat white, skinny cap, decaf latte, soy, in a mug, in a shot, sugar, honey, lemon… It’s as personal as your fingerprint.

Here’s how I drink coffee:
At home. Strong espresso, some evaporated milk, sugar then heat it in the microwave until just below “f**k that’s hot!” (that’s an official temperature).

At my desk, non-descript, however my mouth did say “a flat white, please”. Purchased from the human equivalent of a coffee vending machine. Cold, bitter and reheated too many times to bother doing it again.

At home. With play-dough stuck to the side of the cup. It started out with such potential, now it’s giving up. Defeated and reheated too many times to bother doing it again.

At home. A shot in a small glass. It’s late and dark. The creme is bitter on my lips. It reminds me that I’m alive. I look like a vampire caught in the act. Wide eyed and wild.

In a cafe. One where they roast their own coffee beans. It’s fair trade, it’s hot, it’s smooth. It doesn’t need sugar. It’s bold and defiant. It reminds me that my life is nothing without good coffee. I want to have another one.

Coffee Plantation Brazil

*I put cigarettes in another category: Marketing devil spawn. Or is it third world population control. Or is it both.

images: Coffee Plantation, Brazil, http://en.wikipedia.org 
Sleep when you’re dead, http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com

strawberry cobbler

60 ml dry vermouth
¼ lime, juiced (or ½ if its not very juicy and you like lime… you know me, I’d just use the half and save myself struggling with a tiny wedge)
1 tsp caster sugar (or 2 if you like a sweeter drink)
5 strawberries
ice and mint to serve

Combine all but ice and garnish.
I started out muddling this mix, in proper cocktail fashion, but it was tedious, slow and messy so I ended up using my hand blender on it. Much better. And ready in seconds.
Then pour over ice and garnish.

Strawberry cobbler cocktail

barely summer: the cocktail

There’s a chance I had an original thought!

I mixed this drink the other day, in homage to summer, and after a few minutes spent on internet research, I’m almost positive that it hasn’t been made before. Wow. And cool. And refreshing. So I named it!

It took me ages to come up with that name so please try not to be too critical. It seemed appropriate for obvious reasons, plus, we barley had a summer this year… I tried to use “passion” in the title but it just sounded naff… regardless of what it’s called, I recommend you try it, particularly if you like things fruity but not too sweet.

Into a tumbler full of ice add the following in this order:
squeeze the contents of 2 passion fruits
30 ml vodka
15 ml cointreau
60 – 90 ml ruby grapefruit juice (pour steadily into the centre so that it neatly sinks and creates a layer)
garnish with mint and a swizzle stick

It needs to be stirred once everyone is done with the “ooh look, it’s two tone!” moment. Plus you can use your stick to pick the passion fruit pulp from the bottom of the glass while casually chatting with friends.

barely summer passionfruit cocktail

a silky white russian cocktail

For a while I had been fantasising about the Russian Torte “Mashenka” posted on one of my favourite blogs* and I finally succumbed and made myself one. Although mine is not as beautiful to look at as the original, and my lesson learned was to have more layers not less – It’s divine!! I’m enjoying it immensely.

I baked it in the quiet of the evening and by the time I had reached the point of layering the delectably creamy sauce, I was thinking about a nightcap. With about 2 tablespoons of cream left in the mixing bowl, I created a silky smooth white russian cocktail that didn’t seem as heavy as with pure cream.

white russianIf you don’t happen to be making the cake at the time, here’s what would achieve the result:
2 tbsp sour cream
¼ tsp caster sugar
30 ml Kahlua
30 ml vodka
½ cup milk
Ice

Combine well and serve with lots of ice.

Thank you Anastasia for a very decadent evening!!

My attempt at Anastasia's Mashenka Torte

*While Chasing Kids