By The Lady
A while back, we whipped up a tasty little cocktail which paid tribute to Adelaide’s East End district. We called this drink The Eastender. The drink got us thinking about the key characteristics and traits of other districts in our beloved home town. We decided to shift our focus from the East to the West. I’ll admit, with the West End being such a diverse and broad area, we found this one a tad (read : a lot) trickier to encapsulate into a drink. However, we were pretty happy with the end result.
Adelaide’s West End is an unusual creature, with a rich and colourful history which has helped shape the district into what it has become today. Hindley Street is peppered with nightclubs, adult establishments and has a vibrant nightlife. In addition, the area currently houses a melting pot of cultural hubs, including UniSA’s Samstag Museum, the independent film venue Mercury Cinema, one of Adelaide’s few surviving independent booksellers Imprints, as well as the famous Jam Factory. In the West End, you will also find an abundance of inspiring and ever-changing street art.
With The Westender, we wanted the drink to have elements of the old and the new. For this reason, we decided to base our drink off of the classic cocktail “Old Fashioned”. We like to think of our Westender as an Old Fashioned in New Fashion. Instead of using whiskey, we decided to use West Winds Gin (although not made in Adelaide’s West End, we felt the name speaks for itself). We used Bittermens Burlesque Bitters as a nod toward the West End’s infamous past, and we also added splashes of colour to represent the West End’s colourful art and cultural scene.
We used :
60mL West Winds Gin – The Sabre
1 Dash of Bittermens Burlesque Bitters
1 teaspoon caster sugar
Several drops of Vok Blue Curacao
Several drops Cawsey’s Grenadine
Orange peel to garnish
Add your sugar and bitters into a glass and mix with a cocktail muddler (you could use a teaspoon if you don’t have a muddler). Mix until the sugar is close to dissolved. Add the gin and stir together in the glass. Use a teaspoon to add a few drops of both the Blue Curacao and Grenadine into your drink (a tribute to Adelaidian Street Art!). If you have a pipette handy, this would be easier but I found the teaspoon a suitable alternative. I poured a small amount of each (separately) into a shot glass, dipped the spoon in and tapped the spoon over the glass until the drops fell in.
As you drink The Westender, the colours of the grenadine and blue curaçao mix together and blend with the drink, much like how the varying elements of Adelaide’s West End have mixed together to offer a unique district. The drink is definitely a strong beverage, but it delivers a firm statement with a unique flavour. Overall, the drink is quite powerful but certainly very tasty and grownup. We were aiming for a strong drink to match such a vibrant and diverse district. We feel that the mix of old and new fits in perfectly with Adelaide’s West End. The West Winds Sabre gin has a lovely citrusy flavour that makes it very drinkable. This paired quite nicely with the Burlesque Bitters, which has flavours of hibiscus, acai and long pepper and gave the drink a very spicy and herbal flavour. The bitters also gave the drink a delightful smell, full of peppery spice mixing with citrus oils of the orange peel dropped in the glass.
The Westender certainly was a tough cocktail challenge, trying to synthesise this diverse and exciting region of the city, but we we’re pleasantly surprised with how well our representation of the flavours of Adelaide’s West End mixed together to create this cocktail inspired by both the old and new elements of the district. So sit back and try a new take on an old classic as you plot your next visit to Adelaide’s West End.