On The Shelf – Arthur Wines ‘Glass Slipper’ White Fortified Wine

By The Gentleman

 

As part of running The Cocktail Challenge The Lady and I have got the blog plastered over every social media platform we can find to get the word out there that we really like drinking. The best thing about being on these platforms is people not only find out about our blog, but we can find out what other people are up to. This On The Shelf is completely the result of  putting the blog on Pinterest, getting followed by the creative director at design and branding agency Studio Lost & Found and perusing what they have worked on. We came across these two very pretty ladies and simply had to find out more.

Arthur Wines Glass Slipper

The Glass Slipper White Fortified Wine is made by Arthur Wines in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. I’ve never had fortified wine before and The Lady hasn’t had much before but we both saw the labels and decided we had to have it regardless. Luckily, after tasting it, we realised the contents were just as good as the label. The Glass Slipper displays hints of lemon, lime, and meringue. It smells quite nice when you open the bottle, a very sweet but not overpowering smell. The Lady and I had a taste on it’s own, which was very sweet, but hey that’s fortified wine for you. We then mixed it with a bit of lemonade and surprisingly it actually tasted a bit like a lemon meringue pie! And who doesn’t love lemon meringue pie?  This is definitely the sort of drink that will go down really well in the summer. It’s very fresh and tastes as good as the bottle looks.

Arthur Wines Glass Slipper

The bottle though, oh the bottle. It has such a lovely shape, something you’d see more with spirits than wine. With the label it’s like Arthur Wines and Studio Lost & Found have read my mind when designing it. Pretty vintage ladies with hair worthy of Mad Men and vintage style font, oh my. The Glass Slipper is particularly cheeky, hello stockings, riffing off Cinderella and who doesn’t love that in a label. This time though she’s a bit rebellious, exchanging her slipper for her roller skates as the wine is part of the roller derby collection. Perusing through the Arthur Wines Facebook they certainly seem to like their derby, getting out and supporting the derby girls. Wine doesn’t have to be fancy all the time, sometimes it can be a bit more bold, more rough and tumble. The Glass Slipper works that line between fancy and more rough and tumble beautifully. Tash from Arthur Wines was also very kind in sending a few drink cards AND cards of the label. I am definitely going to get them framed because they are that damn stylish and cool. I’m very lucky that The Lady also shares my love of pretty vintage ladies so I can admire the Glass Slipper and not get in trouble.

Arthur Wines Glass Slipper and Drink Card

Being a fortified wine newbie and a lover of vintage pinup ladies it was almost inevitable that Arthur Wines Glass Slipper was going to be my first taste of this very sweet branch of the wine family. At the end of the day who can say no to a pretty lady? Plus I’ll definitely be keeping a keen eye out on Pinterest for more tasting inspiration, although that could prove fatal for my bank account. Something I’m sure you are all familiar with.

Arthur Wines Glass Slipper

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Out & About – Street ADL

By The Lady

Recently, The Gentleman and I visited the reasonably new kid on the Rundle Street block – Street ADL. This fine establishment is where we were able to sample a duo of gin based drinks recommended by the bartender. The Gentleman ordered the Native Currant Bramble and I opted what the bartender referred to as a “Proper” Gin & Tonic. Being a HUGE gin lover, this prospect excited me a little more than I would usually publicly acknowledge. While we didn’t eat a full meal, we did order a serve of tasty fries which really hit the spot!

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After informing the bartender of my love of gin, he informed me that in his opinion, the “Proper” Gin & Tonic that he was going to prepare for me would include Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin, Fever Tree Soda Water and El Guapo Tonic Syrup. Of course, I accepted. The resulting drink was very refreshing and went down far too easily I must say! Due to the El Guapo Syrup being used, the drink had a slight golden hue. I felt that pairing the El Guapo Tonic Syrup with the Monkey 47 Gin was a perfect combination that enhanced the botanical flavours in the gin. Also, the “Proper” Gin & Tonic had a lovely citrus scent, so it really was an enjoyable flavour sensation. I might have even paid the $48 that I misheard the bartender quote me!

"Proper" Gin & Tonic (L) & Native Currant Bramble (R)

“Proper” Gin & Tonic (L) & Native Currant Bramble (R)

The Native Currant Bramble, which The Gentleman sampled, was beautifully presented and a gorgeous magenta colour. The drink included gin (a crowd favourite), lemon juice, native currants as well as some Gabriel Boudier Crème de Cassis. Using native Australian ingredients is Street ADL’s jam and it makes for a nice change in the local cocktail scene. The drink was very similar to boysenberry ice-cream, so clearly, a very enjoyable experience! Also, it had a nice tangy taste, which was very well balanced with all the other flavours in the drink.

East End Style at Street ADL. Photo credit Street ADL website http://streetadl.com

East End Style at Street ADL. Photo credit Street ADL website http://streetadl.com

Street ADL definitely fits in very well in the East End of Adelaide with its very cool vibe and impressive drinks list. The interior of the bar includes interesting black and white murals painted on the walls as well as large share tables and knowledgeable staff to boot! We both look forward to revisiting Street ADL for another gin filled afternoon or evening in the near future! They have recently started doing Gin Bench Sundays and The Gentleman and I definitely approve of this development because there isn’t a better pairing than gin and Sundays (well gin and any day is good really).

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On The Shelf – Clare Valley Brewing ‘Miss Molly’ Grape Cider

By The Lady

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So, The Gentleman and I were strolling through one of my favourite liquor stores Parade Cellars in Norwood when we stumbled upon a beautiful woman. Naturally, I turned to The Gentleman and said “I need this woman in my life!” So, we picked up this beautiful, lovely looking sailor girl off the shelf and took her home. The woman in question is actually Miss Molly – the pinup girl character featured on the label of Clare Valley Brewing Company’s Miss Molly Grape Cider.

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Neither of us had ever had a grape cider, so we were curious as to how it would taste. Miss Molly had a very light colour, similar to a white wine. I suppose this is not surprising as it is, in fact, also made with grapes! It is almost like the love child of cider and moscato, so we felt like it would be great for somebody who wanted to start transitioning from cider into wine. Miss Molly was not as sweet as some ciders, a pleasant surprise which resulted in all the fruity flavours being illuminated and enhanced. Miss Molly would be great for an afternoon when you have a hankering for a light drink rather than something rather strong or boozy (an adult kind of pick-me-up!). Alternatively, if you prefer lighter, less alcoholic tasting drinks, Miss Molly would be the drink for you! In the future, perhaps when the weather gets warmer, we would love to use some Miss Molly Grape Cider in some sort of Sangria or another Sunday afternoon-type cocktail.

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The label design is simply gorgeous in addition to Miss Molly  being a rather enticing mascot for Clare Valley Brewing Company  while she stares at you, inviting you to have a taste. I love the colour combination of black, white, cream accompanied by the striking red sunset in the background behind Miss Molly as well as her deep red lips. The bottle cap was also a dandy design addition, with their brewery name being shaped into the silhouette of a charging bull. We here at The Cocktail Challenge adore refreshing, thoughtful and creative label design, so we’re looking forward to checking out some of the Clare Valley Brewing Company’s other drinks  which possess similarly dapper labels including their Red Ale, the Bulls Eye Australian Pale Ale, and the King Kong Stout.  All in all, Miss Molly was a lovely Sunday afternoon drink which The Gentleman and I look forward to sampling more of in the future!

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Out & About – Gin and Tonics @ Udaberri

By The Gentleman

 

Sadly The Lady and I had to say goodbye to a friend who is going away on a Uni placement the other week, but on the bright side the going away event was held at Leigh Street’s hole in the wall bar Udaberri. Since opening in 2012 Udaberri has been a popular spot in Adelaide, making the most of a small space with an interesting fit out and offering a wide selection of bar food, wine and spirits with an emphasis on Spanish bar culture. The Lady and I were hapy to knockback a few gin and tonics while catching up with friends.

 

Udaberri Bar Photo From Udaberri’s Facebook

The bar itself is a long skinny bar with a small upstairs area that looks over the bar below. The long bar dominates the space, which is all brick, wood and exposed ceiling beams with moody lighting. It’s a very cool looking place with a good atmosphere now that the hubbub has died down. It doesn’t take much for the bar to fill up, making it hard to move around. Luckily it was the middle of the week and there was a very relaxed vibe with only a few other people there.

Udaberri Upstairs Photo From Udaberri’s Facebook

 

The Lady and I had been to Udaberri before, soon after it opened, but never really thought of it as a bit of a gin den. On this visit, as we perused the menu, we were both shocked to see a whole page dedicated to gin and tonics showcasing a wide variety of gins, tonic waters and flavour combinations. Between us we tried an Aviation Gin, Martin Miller’s Gin, The Botanist and a Brokers.

 

The Botanist was made with marmalade, dried apple and Fever Tree Tonic Water. We noticed that most of the gin and tonics were prepared not with fresh fruit but with dried fruit. I’m not quite sure why this would be the case but it seems to be a trend catching on. It could be to do with getting rid of the water so it’s not diluted as much and instead jut leaves you with the essential flavours of the fruit. Either way they seemed to work quite nicely. The Botanist was so smooth, fresh and a touch sweet with no trace of bitterness at all. I didn’t really notice the marmalade, you couldn’t really see it in the glass anywhere yet it may have been what accounted for the hint of sweetness.

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Botanist Gin and Tonic

 

The Brokers gin and tonic was meant to be served with dried lemon and orange but I’m pretty sure the bartender actually used dried orange and fresh lime topped with Schweppes Tonic Water. I was pretty happy to come across Brokers gin here because I love the bottle with it’s little English Bowler Hat. The combination itself was far more bitter than the Botanist gin and tonic. It was still very nice, sometimes you don’t want an overly sweet gin and tonic and instead want something with a bit of a kick, but on the night the Botanist combination was my preference as I just really liked the freshness and the blend of flavours.

 

The Magic Getting Ready To Happen

The Magic Getting Ready To Happen

The Lady had the the Aviation gin and tonic, which was made with dried orange, cardamon pods and Schweppes Tonic Water, and the Martin Millers, which was served with dehydrated apple, fresh cucumber and Fever Tree Tonic Water. She described the drinks pretty much the way I did (I knew there was a reason we got along). The Aviation gin and tonic was smooth, fresh and presented nicely with the orange and cardamon pods. The Martin Millers wasn’t bad by any means, but was a similar combination to the Brokers gin and tonic, more dry and bitter. Again nothing wrong there, but it was a smooth kind of night (The Lady and I are too awkward to be smooth any other way than in our drinks, so we’ll take it when we can get it).

 

Aviation Gin and Tonic

Aviation Gin and Tonic

It was a sad night, saying goodbye to friends for any length of time is always difficult, but Udaberri’s stylish surrounds and tasty gin and tonics meant we could at least be sad in a happy place. The Lady and I will definitely be returning under a happier pretext, and there’s none happier than trying more of their gin and tonic menu.

 

Martin Miller's Gin and Tonic (L) and Broker's Gin and Tonic (R)

Martin Miller’s Gin and Tonic (L) and Broker’s Gin and Tonic (R)

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On The Shelf – Sixpoint Brewery Global Warmer

By The Gentleman

 

So I’m back with another Sixpoint brew On The Shelf but I have to admit one small caveat this time around. Unfortunately, due to a sudden urge to stick a chicken on a can of beer and roast it for delicious ends the Sixpoint Brewery Global Warmer cannot actually take a physical place on my shelf at home. Don’t feel too bad though, the can went to a better place after doing its duty proudly, holding that chicken up so it could be some of the juiciest, tastiest roast chicken I’ve ever had.

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Anyway enough about beer can chicken, it’s making me hungry. The Sixpoint Global Warmer is one of the brewer’s seasonal beers. It comes in a smaller 355ml can, which was the perfect size for roasting a chicken on top of. Damnit I’m back to talking about chicken again. The beer is a strong 7% ABV and a IBU of 70 meaning it’s a rather potent, bitter little package. Interestingly, the beer was first canned one year after Superstorm Sandy hit New York and the Sixpoint brewhouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn was flooded.

 

Sixpoint Global Warmer Standing Proud

Sixpoint Global Warmer Standing Proud

By now you know that I am a fan of the Sixpoint Brewery design philosophy. Great use of layout, color and typeface to create a uniform branding that is also flexible enough to allow for each beer to have its own identity. The Global Warmer, as a seasonal beer, is allowed to let its hair down a little more with a gorgeous deep red dominating the look of the can. There’s not much more I can really say other than even when you stand the smaller Global Warmer next to its taller brethren my eye was constantly drawn to the Global Warmer due to the deep red can. Also, while I still think the Bengali Tiger has the best logo, because tigers,  I do like the Global Warmer globe in a globe idea. It suits the beer as it has a clear ideology, focusing on the rapidly changing beer climate hence the focus on the globe.

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Making the beer can chicken required only a third of the beer to be left in the can, so naturally I downed the rest. The beer itself was super bitter, which is to be expected by the high IBU. It really coats the mouth leaving your mouth with a pleasant but powerful bitterness all over. Sixpoint say there are also notes of biscuit, toasted caramel, dark fruit and mild notes of chocolate. I can’t say I really picked up on any fruity or citrusy flavours nor the chocolate but there was definitely a caramel, malty after taste. It was probably a more bitter beer than I would normally drink to be honest, but it was still a rather enjoyable and interesting brew.

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Now that the Global Warmer is down I’ve only got one more Sixpoint beer left from my first experiment with this Brooklyn based brewer. So far I’ve been pretty impressed with what they have to offer, both in terms of design and flavour, and I’d definitely like to explore more of what they have to offer as well as revisit some of the one’s I have already tasted. Thankfully, it’s also a good thing I’ve started to see Sixpoint at a few more local establishments so I can satisfy my craving easily. Plus the can is the perfect size for beer can chicken and that is definitely a plus in my book.

Now Serving – Señor Shrub

By The Gentleman

 

So we may have missed the boat on Cinco de Mayo for this year but that doesn’t mean there’s any less of a reason to indulge in some tequila based libations. I adapted this recipe from one I found online at Paste Magazine when I was looking for some help on what tequila to buy. The recipe may not be much help to you, given the availability of some of the ingredients and the use of shrubs, but it was certainly something worth writing down because it was one tasty beverage.

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Señor Shrub
1.5 oz Espolón Blanco Tequila
1.5 oz apple, pear and clove shrub
1 oz orange, kiwi and cayenne shrub
1/2 oz Port Willunga Fine Foods Appleberry (Muntries) Syrup

Combine in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to incorporate the Appleberry Syrup. Strain into a glass.

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So obviously there are a few things here that you probably won’t have just lying around. Like I said before I’m a bit of a tinkerer and shrubs are now one of my favourite things to experiment with. I happened to have a few bottles of these homemade shrubs on hand to add something a little different to the original drink. For those of you who don’t know, shrubs are a colonial era drink born out of the preserving practices for fresh fruit. Basically you combine fruit, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and patience for a dry but refreshing soda. You can pretty much experiment with any fruit, herb and spice combination you want. Cocktail 101 has the run-down on how to get shrubbing as I’m keeping my exact recipes a secret for possible future fun times while Shrub & Co make a variety of delicious sounding shrubs that could work with this recipe. We picked up the Appleberry syrup at the Tasting Australia Town Square and were pretty eager to try it in something. The original Señor Ramon had maple syrup so I figured the Appleberry syrup would be a suitable and interesting replacement. The syrup is made from a local Australian native fruit and it has a very strawberry jam sort of flavour.

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The drink had a very sharp flavour but with a sweetness. I would say this was from the shrubs as anyone who has tried one before knows they have a very dry, sharp flavour with a sweet aftertaste. I thought it might have been too sweet from the shrubs and syrup, the lady who sold us the Appleberry Syrup said it’s very sweet, but I think the tequila did a good job of cutting through most of the sweetness. The drink smelled amazing from all the fruity flavours mixing together, very citrusy and sweet. While the drink had a very sharp flavour it was also a very fruity one that was quite well balanced. Despite all the fruity flavours there was still that trademark kick from the tequila. This was probably enhanced by the cayenne in the orange and kiwi shrub, seriously using cayenne more often now, and you were left with a delightful warming sensation for quite some time after finishing the drink. Perfect as we head into colder weather here in Australia.  From the use of the shrubs and syrup the drink had a very thick consistency that really coated your mouth in deliciousness and a gorgeous light orange colour. The Lady described it as resembling a glaze or sauce you’d have over a dessert at a fancy restaurant. With all of her grace she also declared that she would like ‘all of them in me’ and she has this longing look every time she sees a photo of the drink so I’m declaring the Señor Shrub a spicy, fruity success.

 

Now to sit back and listen to Tequila by The Champs while sipping a few Señor Shrub’s.

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Out & About – Tasting Australia Town Square

By The Gentleman

 

Adelaide is one of those all or nothing cities. There’s either little happening or a lot. The other weekend was one of those where there was a lot.

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The Lady and I ventured out to the Bowerbird Design Market on the Saturday thinking our day would only consist of delicious pastries, good coffee and lots of shopping. While it was all of those things, as Bowerbird is a great local event highlighting the work of designers from all over Australia, it soon turned into a boozy day as we realised the Tasting Australia Town Square was open in Victoria Square.  The Town Square featured some of South Australia’s best local food regions including the Barossa, Riverland, Kangaroo Island and Clare Valley. With sampling glass in hand our already indulgent day soon included wine and many samples of the produce being made right here in South Australia.

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What really impressed The Lady and I was how passionate and chatty all the stall holders were. You could tell they really care about their products, but not only that, they were genuinely excited that other people are just as interested in their work as they are. The highlight was meeting a lovely lady from Shut The Gate Wines located in the Clare Valley. Aside from the fact that she had oodles of red wine for us to taste, always a bonus, she spent a lot of time talking to us about the brand. As you all know The Lady and I appreciate those brewers, distillers and winemakers who go the extra mile to position their brand as something different through their labels. Shut The Gate are definitely one of those brands. In particular she told us about the evolution of their labels, which were very cool, and started out as your typical writing on a white background but they soon realised they could standout more with some labels that matched the creativity of the wines. We especially liked the three labels that are based on fables about ‘shutting the gate’ and after listening to her for a while we promptly purchased a bottle of the Barbera and the Grenache. The Barbera was an especially meaty wine, tasting like the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast, and really quite unlike anything The Lady and I had tasted before.

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We also sampled and purchased some divine Cinnamon Honey from Williamstown (the last jar) and a very interesting and super tasty Appleberry Syrup from Port Willunga Fine Foods. The Appleberry Syrup is made from native Australian Muntries and has a very jammy flavour and consistency. The Lady and I are looking forward to using it in a few cocktails, including an upcoming tequila based cocktail.

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There was also plenty of food to eat and while we originally liked the look of some pizzas we ended up going for something fried and barbecued. The Lady had some pumpkin fritters and I had a beef brisket cibatta. I have a bit of a thing for brisket, bordering on obsession, and the sandwich did not disappoint. I even managed to get a few of the blackened end bits, meat heaven right there. The pumpkin fritters were crispy, deep-fried deliciousness and continue to show that if you deep-fry something it instantly tastes better. It’s a science fact people.

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For an impromptu end to the day the Tasting Australia Town Square couldn’t have been better. Great food, exceptional wines and passionate people talking about what they love. It was really a fabulous celebration of what South Australia has to offer with a great location in the heart of the city. The Lady and I will definitely be returning to this well run and fun event in the future.

 

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