Now Serving – Campari and Corona

By The Gentleman

 

Right now it’s that time of year at Cocktail Challenge HQ, end of uni semester. That dreaded time of essay writing and exam prep that is a living hell before weeks of blissful holidays. The Lady has been madly finishing essays and I’ve been madly trying to stay out of her way, but still trying to keep her fed and liquored up (because we all know there’s nothing better for study than a few drinks right? Right??) The other night she was madly trying to finish one of her last essays so I decided to whip up this quick summery drink I saw on The Kitchn (one of our favourite sites) to help her beat the Winter and essay blues.

Campari and Corona

Campari and Corona

1 1/2 oz Campari

1/2 bottle Corona

Lemon zest

Ice

Fill glass with ice, add Campari. Pour in beer. Squeeze zest over glass then rim edge and drop lemon in the glass.

Campari and Corona

So the original recipe uses an IPA but all we had on hand were Corona’s, which are a pale lager. As you all know Corona’s are a pretty easy to drink beer with not a lot of bitterness and I think this actually worked out quite well with the Campari. Campari is soooo bitter. It’s crazy. Campari and tonic drinkers I salute you because that is dedication to your drinking right there. Here it gets toned down a lot and combining the Campari and Corona gives you this really nice smelling, bitter beer. The drink has a really fruity bitterness from the Campari but it is really easy to drink. It is that sort of bitterness which is still very refreshing. Over time the flavour of the grapefruit also becomes more prominent, opening your taste buds up to a next level experience. This is definitely a summer drink but it also brings a nice burst of colour and flavour to a miserable Winter night of stress and study.

Campari and Corona

So this was a quick little mix up that is super easy and super tasty. Lemon, Campari and beer is definitely a winning combination. It’s something you can mix up when you’re feeling fancy, but also feeling quite lazy (or stressed in this case). Plus there are lots of opportunities to explore different fruits and beers to see how the flavour changes. So go on and treat yourself to something a little fancy, you deserve it.

 

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Out & About – The Collins Bar

By the Lady

Collins Bar

A few weeks back, y’all will all be aware that I made the Espresso Beer Cake for The Gentleman’s birthday. In addition to having his cake and eating it too, we went out for a few drinks with some friends to a dapper local that is The Collins Bar.

The Beautiful Bar and Communal Table at Collins Bar. Image from Collins Bar Facebook Page

Collins Bar is a lovely little bar attached to the Hilton Hotel in Adelaide’s CBD. I love the design of the bar with the mood lighting, gorgeous furniture and the large windows, which are often opened up to a view of Victoria Square – perfect for people watching. In fact, Collins Bar has won a design award for its dapper, 1960’s style design. I instantly feel classier when stepping into Collins Bar, which I think is a rare task for a bar to achieve! We have been there many times before and love what they do, so we thought a birthday is the perfect opportunity to share their fine drinks with our friends while we were hitting the town!

 

The Collins Bar has a large selection of spirits to suit any taste. Image from Collins Bar Facebook

I’ll be honest, we ordered quite a few drinks. We loved everything they served up, but here are a few we thought were especially damn fine … (apologies for the photos, moody bar lighting and phone cameras are not the best mix)

 

Honolulu

From the menu – “gin + pineapple + orange juice + lemon juice + dash angostura bitters = served straight up in a coupet”

This deliciously made classic cocktail made us want to wear a grass skirt and get lei-ed! So fruity and refreshing it’ll make you feel like you’re on holiday.

Honolulu (L)

Honolulu (L) and Granny Smiths Cider Apple Sour (R)

 

Granny Smiths Cider Apple Sour

From the menu – “sous vide apple infused belvedere vodka + fresh pressed citrus + bitters +homemade cider + apple cider ice sphere + baked apple crisp garnish = a unique cider inspired take on the classic sour”

This drink has a FROZEN BALL OF CIDER! For real. You know you need this in your life. It has so many layers of apple flavour you’ll think you’ve gotten lost in an orchard.

Honolulu and Granny Smiths Cider Apple Sour

Honolulu (L) and Granny Smiths Cider Apple Sour (R)

 

Cloverclub

From the menu – “old tom gin + freshly pressed raspberries + lemon juice + sugar syrup + a hint of egg white = served straight up”

This one is already a favourite of mine, however The Gentleman had not ever tried it before that night. Clearly, he had not yet lived. Cloverclub is just so damn delicious. I am a fan of anything with gin, but this one just makes my gin-love grow even more. A fresh pop of raspberry goodness and a damn fine example of what egg white can bring to a cocktail.

Clover Club Clover Club

In addition to our delicious cocktails, we were also given free popcorn. Somebody making me feel classy, providing me with liquor AND free snacks … a dream come true. To quote Humphrey Bogart, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Collins Bar Popcorn

 

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Boozefood – Double Bourbon Cornbread

By The Gentleman

 

I was lucky enough to go to America last year and while I was there, obviously, I indulged in as much American food as I possibly could. I gorged myself on 99c pizza slices, key lime pie, bagels, Southern-style biscuits, fried chicken and waffles and deep fried pork chops. By the end of the trip The Lady was pretty sick of seeing my latest food snaps. Disappointingly what I didn’t get to try was cornbread. There was just too much to see and to do and to eat that I couldn’t fit it all in (time wise and in my belly). The trip to America did inspire me to explore American cooking and cornbread was pretty much the first thing I tried to make…even though I don’t like corn. Yes I’m sorry I have to admit it and any cornbread purists reading this may start screaming at the screen, because I don’t actually like corn I only use cornmeal and no actual corn kernels. Shock horror I know. Stay with me though because this is some tasty boozy cornbread with a decadent butter.

Bulleit Bourbon

Bourbon Cornbread adapted from Brother Jimmy’s BBQ Cookbook

1 cup cornmeal (or where I come from polenta)

1 cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carb soda)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs (I used 3 medium ones)

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Boom!)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (about 250g)

2 tbs Bulleit Bourbon

Cornbread Ingredients

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and grease a 9-by-9 inch square pan or an 8-inch cast-iron pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour sugar, baking soda and salt.

3. In another large bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and butter. Add the bourbon then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until just incorporated. Make sure you get all the little pockets of flour mixed in, flour can be crafty and decide to stay dry and clumped together. The devils.

4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Cornbread Dry Mix Cornbread mix Cornbread mix 1

While your bourbon cornbread is in the oven it is time to make the ‘double’ part of this double bourbon cornbread, the bourbon butter. Oh my god this butter was deadly, it just tasted and smelt so good. You can definitely adjust the levels of molasses and bourbon depending on whether you want a sweeter butter or one with a really nice kick. I thought this measure was spot on because the cornbread already has a bit of sweetness and I didn’t want the butter to go overboard.

Bourbon Butter Ingredients

Bourbon Butter

2 1/2 tbs butter room temperature

3 teaspoons molasses

1/2 teaspoon Bulleit Bourbon

 

Directions

1. Get your room temperature butter and chop it into cubes. Place the cubes in the bottom of a stick mixer or a bowl.

2. Add the molasses and the bourbon. Even though it says 3 teaspoons of molasses, molasses is a sticky thing so you don’t get the full 3 teaspoons.

3. With your stick mixer or electric hand mixer whizz the butter until it is incorporated with the molasses and bourbon. Depending on how cold your butter is this could take a minute or a bit longer. You’ll know though because the butter takes on this light caramel sort of colour and goes really creamy and smooth.

Bourbon Butter

Cornbread was my first attempt at bringing Southern cooking way down South to Australia and while at first everyone I’ve made it for has been skeptical, like me they have all come to love this staple BBQ side. The cornmeal (or polenta in my case) gives the bread this delightful graininess and texture that is unlike anything else I’ve really eaten. The bread has this very cakey density and I love that it gets crispy on the outside but still a bit moist in the middle. It also smells divine and tastes just as good as either a side with dinner or toasted the next morning for breakfast or both! I’m enjoying cornbread so much that I’m looking at getting a cast-iron skillet just to make it so I can try and make it even more authentic Southern-style (sans kernels of course).

Bourbon Cornbread 3

I didn’t think the bourbon in the cornbread really changed the flavour profile too much. It maybe toned down some of the sweetness and just added to the aroma. I think next time I’d like to maybe soak the cornmeal or the sugar in the bourbon to see if it gets a more intense flavour. The butter though. Wow. That is like next level cornbreading right there. I don’t think I can go back to plain butter after this. The molasses gives the butter this delicious sweetness and caramel sort of smell but the bourbon works to balance the sweetness and gives the butter this great aftertaste, kind of tangy, kind of boozy. This is all topped off by the butter just doing it’s thing, being creamy and tasty. I seriously need to be alone with this butter and a whole load of cornbread.Warm cornbread plus this butter is just….sorry I kind of drooled over the keyboard a little bit thinking about it again. The butter melts and it seeps into the cornbread, fusing the flavours together to give you something that is so goddamn good.

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Usually when you taste something that is amazing you’ll realise it has butter in it or it was cooked in butter. Butter just makes stuff awesome. In this case though, the butter is awesome because it has booze in it! Seriously, no kidding next level butter is happening right here. Once you’ve made this butter, which takes no time at all, you’ll realise what you’ve been missing out on. Pair this butter with cornbread and you’ve got a classic boozefood combination that you need in your life. Now go on and get some South in your mouth!

 

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Now Serving – Lemon Slipper

By The Gentleman

 

So this is a quick little experiment that went very quickly from ‘I don’t even know if this is a thing’ to ‘please sir can I have another’ quite rapidly. After getting the stylish Arthur Wines Glass Slipper and sampling it’s deliciousness I was looking for other ways The Lady and I could enjoy this great drink. I then came across the delightful sounding Golden Dream Cocktail and in a moment of mad science insanity wondered whether I could adapt it to use the Arthur Wines Glass Slipper. After shaking a few of these up, and tweaking the amounts a bit, it turns out you could!

Lemon Slipper

Lemon Slipper

45ml Arthur Wines Glass Slipper White Fortified Wine

30ml Tuaca

20ml cream

15ml lemon juice

 

Put all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it till that cream gets all frothy and good then pour it into your fancy glass.

Lemon Slipper

This is the second version we tried. The first one used equal parts lemon, Tuaca and fortified wine but our fellow tasters thought it was an overload of lemony citrus. The Lady and I thought it was fine, a pleasant citrus kick, but because we live in a democracy we decided to change it to appease the people. This second try still has a strong citrus flavour but it’s not anywhere near as in your face. The above recipe also makes quite a small drink so you can easily up the amounts or just have multiple, that is a-okay with us.I’ll be honest and say that I’m surprised this tasted as good as it did. I’d never really had a cocktail made with cream and I’ve also not had a lot of experience with fortified wine, both on it’s own or in a cocktail. It was hard to know how well these flavours would play together but thankfully everyone got along nicely and The Lady and I were able to enjoy a rather gorgeous dessert cocktail. We reckon that if you are not a big milk or cream person though you may not find this as enjoyable as some. Sorry lactose friends.

Lemon Slipper

The cocktail had this divine citrus and vanilla fragrance. Drinking it you experienced this really nice creamy flavour and texture at first and then you were hit with the citrus. This is why we reduced the lemon juice but upped the fortified wine so the drink finished more smoothly, and boy was it smooth. It was probably smoother than the Old Spice guy and he’s pretty damn smooth (am I right? Ladies?). It was also super easy to drink. The fortified wine and Tuaca blended together exceptionally well and the lemon juice offsets any potential overload of sweetness. The Lady described the drink as being even more like lemon meringue pie than the Glass Slipper we tried just with some lemonade. It was like a lemon meringue pie that has heaps of meringue so it’s all creamy and smooth with just this bite of citrus. I am all for drinks tasting more like pie because pie is awesome.

Lemon Slipper

So The Lady and I aren’t sure whether this drink is a thing somewhere else already but if it isn’t then it definitely should be. Cream and cocktails, who would have thought but hot damn if this wasn’t one tasty little experiment. If Cinderella lost this slipper I don’t think a Prince Charming would be bringing it back to her, he’d keep this all to his own self. Also I’m really glad this worked out because I wasn’t looking forward to explaining to The Lady why we had less Glass Slipper and nothing to show for it if it was a failure. No one ever wants to waste good liquor and the Lemon Slipper is certainly no waste!

 

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Now Serving – The Eastender

By The Gentleman

 

A few weeks back we got engaged in a great, challenging little conversation on Twitter with local organisation East End Adelaide. East End Adelaide work to improve and promote Adelaide’s East End, which is one of the city’s major food, shopping and late night districts. They challenged us to come up with a cocktail, called The Eastender, that would characterise the city’s East End. At first, we’ll admit, we were a little freaked out. THE PRESSURE! But when we thought about it a few ideas started to come through and we came up with a cocktail that ended up being damn fine and we think worthy of the name, The Eastender.

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 9.31.33 pmProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

To us Adelaide’s East End is all about the coffee. There are so many great cafes like Exchange, Hey Jupiter, Sad: cafe, Horner & Pratt, Nano and The Howling Owl that you’re always spoiled for choice. They’re all slinging such high quality coffee as well. Adelaide as a whole makes great coffee, hell it’s part of the reason why we don’t have a Starbucks here anymore and that’s a pretty cool title to have.  The East End also has plenty of options to indulge you’re sweet tooth, both at the cafes mentioned already and at specialty dessert joints Steven ter Horst, Chocolate Bean, Sir Cafe, Cocolat and Gelatissimo. When thinking about The Eastender we thought the drink had to reflect these two key aspects of what makes the East End a great place to visit (and slowly pack on the pounds). It also recognises that sometimes these things need to be kicked up a notch from the kiddies section to the adults table! Without further ado:

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The Eastender

40ml Tuaca

60ml orange infused cold brew coffee made with Barossa Coffee Roasters Single Origin Brazil Jarbas Cleto from Sad: cafe

120ml B.D Farms Paris Creek Zero Fat Organic Milk

2 scoops Gelatissimo chocolate gelato

Optional – good shake of cinnamon, more to garnish

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Add all the ingredients except the gelato to a blender. Blend that goodness up. Add your gelato then blend some more. Pour it into a fancy glass, get yourself a colourful straw and dust that bad boy with some more cinnamon.

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Now you could just make this with a shot of espresso, but talk to any coffee lover and they’ll tell you that for iced coffee or in this case coffee milkshakes cold brew coffee offers a much smoother, less bitter flavour. Cold brew does require some forethought and preparation, but you’re a sophisticated cocktail drinker who does have time for this! Cold brew is also really simple:

 

Orange Infused Cold Brew Coffee

1 cup ground coffee beans (Barossa Coffee Roasters Single Origin Brazil Jarbas Cleto from Sad: cafe for me)

Zest of half an orange

About 850ml filtered room-temperature water

Cold Brew4Barossa Coffee Roasters

In a sealable jar, like a mason jar, combine your ground coffee and zest. There is some debate over what sort of grind is best, french press or espresso. I don’t go full espresso but it is a finer grind. Add in your water, making sure all the coffee is covered and there aren’t any areas hiding and mocking you by still being dry. Give the coffee a bit of stir with a wooden spoon and then seal the jar. Don’t shake it or anything like that, just leave it out at room temperature for at least 12 hours but closer to 16 hours if you can. After you’ve let the coffee brew pour it through a coffee filter or muslin cloth at least once but twice if you’ve got the patience. Your yield should be around 600mls, sometimes more sometimes less depending on how much liquid the coffee decides to soak up. You can add whatever you like when brewing, I think the zest of the orange keeps it fresh and brings out the fruity sweetness a lot of coffee beans naturally have. Tuaca also has a citrusy flavour so I thought a citrus infused cold brew would marry well.

Cold Brew2Cold Brew

The recipe we based The Eastender off is called a Wake Me Up shake but The Lady and I instead indulged in a few of these at night. The coffee and Tuaca combination instead acted as a Keep Me Up with The Lady being particularly buzzy after breaking her rule of no coffee after midday (all in the name of science…or blogging). We weren’t sure whether the chocolate gelato would be too much , overpowering the other flavours, but it worked quite well. The shake of cinnamon was one of those ‘well why not?’ moments and besides, everyone knows cinnamon makes everything better! The drink was really well balanced. Sweet but not sickly. Boozy, but not over the top like a lot of other alcoholic milkshakes we’ve had. Fragrant and spicy from the cinnamon and suitably creamy from the milk and gelato. The coffee and chocolate didn’t quite mix to mocha flavour but it was something very similar with a boozy, slightly vanilla kick from the Tuaca. There was a whole lot of flavour going on that really just worked and we were pretty happy with the results.

The Eastender Cocktail

Adelaide’s East End is where it’s at for good coffee and good desserts. The Eastender is our attempt at blending those two features together into one delicious drink. We think we did alright and reckon The Eastender would be right at home amongst the cafes and dessert bars of the East End, hanging out in the adults section.

 

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Boozefood – Chocolate Espresso Beer Cake

By The Lady

Hitachino Espresso Beer

So, it was The Gentleman’s birthday recently, and he stated that he wanted to try making Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake from her book Feast. I slapped the spatula out of his hand and insisted that one cannot simply make their own birthday cake, one must have said cake made for them! So, to the kitchen I went!

Seven Seeds Espresso

I decided I would try something a little different because a) I like to try new things and b) I was not prepared and had no Guinness handy (really, it was more b!) Instead of using Guinness, I substituted it for Hitachino Nest’s Espresso Stout. I decided to go for this beer because like Guinness, it is also a stout and I felt like (hoped) the chocolate flavour already in the cake combined with the espresso flavour would truly be a flavour sensation! I made some changes to Nigella’s recipe to compliment the coffee/chocolate combination, which I think were tasty and worthwhile additions!

Ingredients

250 mL Hatachino Nest Espresso Stout

250 gm unsalted butter

1 Teaspoon of Seven Seeds Espresso Coffee

75 gm cocoa powder

400 gm caster sugar

142 mL Sour Cream

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

275 gm plain flour

2 ½ bicarbonate soda

150mL cream cheese

75 gm icing sugar

65mL double cream

Nigella ingredients

For the cake

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a springform tin.

Pour your beer into a large saucepan and gradually add the butter and heat all until butter just melted. Also, add the Seven Seeds Espresso coffee while the butter is melting.

While your beer and butter are melting away, whisk in the cocoa and caster sugar.

Beat your sour cream with the eggs and vanilla.

Pour sour cream, egg and vanilla mixture into the beer/buttery saucepan.

Lastly,  whisk in the flour and bicarb.

Pour your cake mixture into the lined springform pan and bake for 45 minutes (Nigella says 45 – 60 minutes, but I would suggest checking in on your cake at 45 minutes!)

Remove cake from oven and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack. When completely cool, place on your desired cake stand/plate/platter!

Nigella Cake no icing

For the Icing

Beat together double cream, cream cheese with electric hand beaters. Gradually add sifted icing sugar. Pour icing over cake and spread away to your heart’s desire! (Nigella’s recipe actually used twice as much of the ingredients for the icing, but I found that made way too much, so the measurements in our recipe are adjusted to what would be a suitable amount for this cake!). In her recipe, Nigella suggests icing the cake to look like a frothy Guinness. We feel like our beer cake looks more like an over-excited beer whose foam has fallen over the edge of the glass (much like how I feel when I see Nigella – a little over-exited and unable to contain myself!)

Nigella Cake Icing3

The resulting cake was perfect for a birthday cake as it was rich and decadent, two requirements in birthday celebrations! The Chocolate Espresso Beer Cake had a lovely moist and fudgey texture with a crispy edge, which was a delightful combination. The icing complimented the cake well, but as I mentioned earlier, the original measurements resulted in an overload of icing, so I have halved it for your cake baking convenience. Considering the cake had a large amount of sugar, it was not overly sweet which is always a delight. The coffee flavour was quite subtle, so this cake wouldn’t scare off coffee haters (in fact, The Gentleman’s granddad is a coffee hater and he found the cake to be quite enjoyable!). One of our cake tasters even said that it had a nutty, pecan-like flavour, despite containing no nuts! Overall, I think we all enjoyed celebrating The Gentleman’s birthday in Chocolate Espresso Beer Cake style!

Nigella Cake Icing5

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