(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

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red ginger refresher

raspberry detailThis mocktail (or with vodka optional) is a very refreshing sunny-day-sitting-on-the-lawn drink. Serve it in a big tumbler full of ice or in a champagne glass, it’s pretty enough to make any glass look impressive. If serving in a champagne glass, combine in a jug over ice and strain out the ice cubes as you pour into glasses decorated with raspberries and a mint leaf.

2 parts ginger beer
1 part cranberry juice
ice
frozen raspberries
mint
vodka (optional 30 ml per person)

rob roy: the cocktail

This is an ode to the Scottish Robin Hood, Robert Roy MacGregor. Well actually, the drink originated much after that in honour of a musical operetta based loosely on some of the key points of a select few years of the man’s life. With such an intro, it’s only appropriate to garnish this drink with a cherry for ol’ Red MacGregor.

Rob Roy cocktailAs far as drinks go, you could call this a Manhattan made on scotch and you’d be pretty right. Similar to the Manhattan and Martini, you need to do a bit of experimentation to find your perfect balance of dry and sweet, you do this with sweet and dry vermouth combinations. The starting point is this:

30 ml scotch
15 ml sweet vermouth
angostura bitters
maraschino cherry to serve

Add the scotch and vermouth to a well iced cocktail shaker, shake or stir to chill, then pour into a chilled martini glass that has been rinsed with bitters and garnish with a cherry.

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

a teenie-weenie after-dinner martini

Chocolate martiniThis lovely little bit of sweet velvet debunks the notion that a martini is an aperitif. You won’t need dessert if you opt for one of these chocolate martinis.

30 ml vodka
15 ml frangelico
15 ml white creme de cacao
3 dark chocolate drops

Add the liqueurs to a well iced cocktail shaker, shake, then pour into a chilled martini glass with 3 chocolate drops at the bottom.

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.

apple and cinnamon whisky toddy

When it feels like it might snow outside, it’s time to warm the cockles of your heart with a hot toddy.

30 ml whisky
1 tsp honey
cinnamon stick
dried apple ring
boiling water (I like about ⅓ cup)
sage leaf (optional)

Put the honey in a tumbler glass and add a little hot water, stir to melt the honey.
Add the whiskey and give it a little stir.
Garnish by placing the cinnamon stick through the centre hole of the slice of dried apple and place in the glass with the sage leaf.

whisky apple hot toddy

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.