Now Serving – Wild Lemon

By The Gentleman

 

After sampling some rather tasty tequila cocktails at Chihuahua Bar we naturally had a hankering for some more tequila. We also had a bunch of fresh lemons that were just crying out to be used in something alcoholic and delicious, so we whipped up the Wild Lemon.

Espolon Tequila

Wild Lemon

45ml Espolón Blanco Tequila

15ml Fresh Lemon Juice

30ml Cranberry Juice

5ml Orange and Cayenne Shrub

30ml Fever-Tree Club Soda

 

Build the drink in an old-fashioned glass over ice, topping with Club Soda last and garnishing with a lemon slice.

Wild Lemon

The first thing you’ll notice about this drink is it is so pretty. It has a lovely pale pink colour from the cranberry juice and the lemon slice really pops in contrast to it. It also has a really pleasant tequila aroma, which is an odd thing to say given most peoples history with tequila, but all the fruit mingles nicely with it and the boozy smell is reduced to reveal the flavours of the tequila, particularly the pepper and floral aspects. The drink has a nice sweetness from the cranberry and lemon juice, but there is also a delicious tang so it’s not sickly sweet. The tanginess leads into a nice kick as there is some great heat from the tequila and the cayenne in the shrub, but again it’s not too overpowering. The balance of sweet, tangy, and hot is just right,

Wild Lemon

The Wild Lemon is very easy to drink and The Lady can imagine enjoying a few of these on New Year’s Eve. It has a real celebratory and fun feel to it that would suit a big celebration and it’s so easy to make that you can easily scale it up for friends (or enjoy a whole jug on your own). Just imagine bringing out a tray of these pretty little packages for your guests to enjoy. Things will get fun and celebratory real quick.

Wild Lemon

The Wild Lemon certainly satisfied our hankering for more tequila and if you’re looking for something fresh, fruity, and a bit fun then we think it will satisfy your hankering as well. Just remember to pace yo’self.

 

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Out & About – Chihuahua Bar Take Two

By The Gentleman and The Lady

You have probably noticed by now that we like to go out to bars, but we don’t do reviews per se. Instead we just recommend and comment on the things we drink. That means we can quite easily visit the places we like several times and try different things (poor us) and tell you about it. It’s for this reason that we decided to revisit Peel Street’s resident Mexican hole in the wall Chihuahua Bar to sample some more fine Mexican Cocktails.

Image courtesy of the Chihuahua Bar Facebook page

If you didn’t read about our first visit you can check it out here. Basically we are quite big fans of the fun, kitschy decor and that hasn’t changed second time around. This visit we decided on something a little less crazy than the fresh fruit bombs, although it was hard not to get one because they were so good last time! We opted for a pretty classic tequila cocktail, the Paloma, and a Mexican twist on a favourite of ours, the Negroni, which was called a Rosita. Both of the drinks used Jose Cuervo Tradicional tequila and were pretty damn delicious, and eye-catching, in their own way.

Paloma

The Paloma

The Paloma mixes the tequila with lime and grapefruit soda, giving it a really nice pale pinky orange colour. The drink was surprisingly still and not as sweet as we were expecting. You hear soda and immediately think super sweet, but this had a really nice tangy, sourness to it and basically the grapefruit soda cuts the real booziness of the tequila so you can actually realise, “ha, this is what tequila tastes like”. The Rosita replaces the Negroni’s gin with tequila, but keeps the Antica Formula and Campari so it still has that amazing bright red colour. Being a Mexican twist on the Negroni it had its own flavour, with the tequila showing up nicely the same way a good gin does in a Negroni. The drink had a gorgeous aroma of oranges from the big orange peel that was just heavenly. There also seemed to be a touch less bitterness in the Rosita, compared to a traditional Negroni, but there’s still a great blend of flavours.

Rosita

Rosita – Chihuahua’s Mexican take on a Negroni

We reckon both of these drinks would be the perfect accompaniment to some Mexican food and and it was probably the only thing missing, some great food that we could wash down with the already fantastic cocktails. We are pretty sure we overhead that food may feature in the future and we hope that’s true. A Paloma, a Rosita, salty corn chips and some guacamole and you’ve got yourself a damn good time!

 

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Now Serving – Hibiscus Tonic

By The Gentleman

Hibiscus Tonic

For my birthday I received many great gifts, including a bottle of Melbourne Gin Co gin and a jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup. It is quite evident that my love of cocktails is well known by The Lady and my friends. Both of these fine items have been sitting on my shelf for a while now and I thought it was time they met in a delicious Hibiscus Tonic.

Hibiscus Tonic

Hibiscus Tonic

45 ml Melbourne Gin Co Gin

15 ml Wild Hibiscus Syrup

1 Wild Hibiscus Flower

Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water

Ice

 

Place ice in a tumbler then add gin and hibiscus syrup. Top with tonic water and then place Hibiscus Flower on top. Enjoy!

Hibiscus Tonic

The drink is definitely not your average Gin and Tonic. There is a lot more sweetness here even though I bumped up the gin to try and balance it out (and received an enjoyable buzz as a result). The Lady described it as a classy lolly and the sweetness does linger as a pleasant aftertaste. The Hibiscus Flower replaces the lime or cucumber in the drink and brings its own fruitiness. The Hibiscus Flower has a raspberry and rhubarb flavour, but it’s not jammy or overbearing. Instead it’s got more of a tangy flavour that combines with a more subtle bitterness from the tonic water. The gin, luckily, isn’t completely lost in the Hibiscus. The strong citrus flavour of Melbourne Gin Co’s gin is still there in the aroma and cutting through the sweetness. Make sure you use a bold, flavoursome gin in this bad boy. The drink also looks gorgeous, a very pretty sparkling pink and you’re left with an edible Hibiscus Flower. It has a bit of a weird texture, but the flavour was quite pleasant with the raspberry flavour being particularly noticeable.

Hibiscus Tonic

It may be a little too sweet to be classed as a classic G&T, but that’s okay as the Hibiscus Tonic has it’s own sweet, fruity flavour that makes it rather enjoyable in its own right and a perfect drink for the warmer months ahead.

 

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On The Shelf – McCashin’s Brewery Stoke Bomber Kiwi Pale Ale

By The Gentleman

Stoke Bomber

Nelson’s McCashin’s Brewery is one of New Zealand’s oldest craft brewers, but I only stumbled across it after one of my recent searches for beers with interesting design and flavours. The prospect of trying a Kiwi Pale Ale in a simple yet effectively designed package was just too good to pass up.

Stoke Bomber

The Bomber range of McCashin’s Stoke Beer represents the breweries experimental and crazy side. It’s the sort of flexibility that make craft brewers so fun, they can throw together flavours that interest them and see what happens while we get to drink the often tasty and always different results. The Kiwi Pale Ale is one of five current beers in the Bomber range. The beer gets its name from the local Wai-iti hops that are used, making it a truly local brew. Impressively, the brewery also sources its water from a 14,000 year old Paleo water source that is 350m below where the brewery stands. I never thought I’d write that sentence, but there you go. At least you know the water is up to the task.

Stoke Bomber

The whole Bomber range has a really clean and simple design that is highly effective. The bold white and yellow text on the big 650ml amber bottle invokes a bygone era. You could imagine bottles of Stoke Bomber waiting in the Officer’s Tent after the latest mission. It doesn’t need to be flashy or edgy to stand out that’s the job for what’s in the bottle. It’s a real testament to the power of damn good typography. I’m also disappointed that I only ordered one bottle because the carton for a case of six beers is really cool with a picture of two members of a bomber crew decked out in full kit looking rather intense.

Stoke Bomber

The Kiwi Pale Ale is said to have strong caramel, biscuit and marmalade notes. The caramel and biscuit are definitely there and give the beer quite a thick mouthfeel, but not too thick to be cloying. The marmalade is there also, giving a little bit of fruitiness and sweetness. The caramel and malt dominate the aroma. The beer pours with a reasonable head and lacing and the colour is quite a dark, almost murky, amber brown. It’s not overly bitter with the caramel providing a creaminess and softness to the finish. It’s a slow drinking beer that is quite still, with low carbonation, and gave me a more than expected buzz despite being a reasonable 5.5% ABV. I did notice a bit of sediment in the head and I wasn’t sure if that was intentional, like the Cooper’s Pale Ale.

Stoke Bomber

The Stoke Bomber Kiwi Pale Ale was an enjoyable beer. The bottle is great and the beer has enough flavour from that really nice caramel that sipping it throughout the evening is a pleasant experience. Plus, in a 650ml bottle there is a lot of it so you can sit back, relax and forget that it’s the start of a new week.

Stoke Bomber

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Out & About – Bank Street Social Take Two

By The Gentleman

Bank Street Social

After visiting new local bar Bank Street Social on International Rum Day we were invited back to sample some more of the bars delicious Australian gin. We also ventured back there as a bit of a collaboration with fellow blogger Lee from Adelaide Food Central, for a night of food and drinking blogging. Sometimes it’s good to be a blogger.

 

We revisited Bread & Bone for dinner and you can read Lee’s review of our experience at his website. The Lady enjoyed another of their fine Negronis and I tried the Feral Hop Hog IPA. The Hop Hog was very fruity and refreshing with little bitterness, a thoroughly drinkable and enjoyable beer.

 

You already know our feelings about Bank Street Social’s decor. We just love the old school, speakeasy style. Hot tip, if you want to really soak in the design of the bar and enjoy your drink while quietly relaxing in a booth then head their on Wednesday night. The bar was relatively quite and had a far more subdued atmosphere compared to the crazy, high-energy of a Saturday night. The relaxed atmosphere allowed us to really notice all the little details that help make the bar come alive, like the old photos near the entrance and the cabinet filled with various old bottles, clocks and books. Coming on a slower night also allowed us to talk to the bar staff who really know their stuff. We spoke to Cameron who was knowledgeable and passionate about the experience Bank Street Social is trying to offer. We had a good chat about the bar’s focus on Australian spirits and the difficult, but rewarding experience of introducing bar goers to the wonderful world of Australian spirits.

Botanic Australis Gin

The Lady and I didn’t need any encouragement to drink Australian and we had a hard time choosing a different Australian gin to try. We eventually settled on the Botanic Australis Gin from Queensland’s Mt Uncle Distillery. The gin is made with 14 native Australian botanicals including Lemon Scented Gum, River Mint, Wattle Seed, Lilly Pilly, Lemon Myrtle, native ginger and Finger Limes. The gin has a lot of flavours going on but it works so well. Smelling the gin in the bottle it had a really pleasant cinnamon aroma. Cameron prepared a simple gin and tonic with Schweppes Tonic Water and an orange twist. The orange added a pleasant citrus scent and a hint of sweetness to the drink. Paired with the tonic water the Botanic Australis is so lovely to drink. You get a whole bunch of different herbal flavours before a really pleasant mint and pepper finish that leaves your mouth feeling so fresh. We could definitely drink these all night.

Bank Street Social

We finished the evening with what is fast becoming a favourite drink of ours, an Australian Martini. There is such a growth in good quality Australian gin and vermouth that you would be foolish not to pair them together. This time our barman mixed the drink with West Winds Sabre Gin and Maidenii Dry Vermouth. To make it just that extra bit special, and to enhance the flavours present in the martini our bartender also roasted some rosemary over the top of the drink to release the flavours and aromas from the rosemary before dropping it in the glass. The martini was so smooth and easy to drink. It had warmth and intensity from the spirits but it wasn’t so strong that it was unpleasant. The combination of the rosemary with the gin and vermouth was very nice. It really enhanced the flavours and the aroma of the martini and took it to that next level. It’s becoming very hard for us to go past an Australian Martini when they keep being this good.

West Winds Gin

Bank Street Social certainly didn’t disappoint on our second visit. The relaxed atmosphere, knowledgeable staff and quality drinks made it the perfect way to power through hump day and celebrate the fact that the week was half over.

Australian Martini

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Australian Martini

Disclaimer: The Cocktail Challenge was invited back to Bank Street Social and provided with complimentary gin and tonics for this article, but paid for the martinis. Although this post is sponsored all opinions are our own.

Now Serving – Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate

By The Gentleman

Hot Chocolate

After what felt like one of the coldest and wettest winters down under we are finally on our way to Spring. Just to spite everyone though, the weather has decided to remind us that it can still be damn cold and wet in September. While it may be rather miserable outside, The Lady and I realised it’s also the perfect opportunity to indulge in some boozy hot chocolate to celebrate the last of the wintery weather. We also really wanted to make something a little naughty with our recently acquired Mörk hot chocolate powder. So, without further ado we present to you Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate (I have no idea why it is called this, but The Lady was rather adamant this would be the name).

 

Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate

Naughty Whipped Cream

300ml Thickened Cream
1 teaspoon Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
1 teaspoon Mörk Dark Chocolate and River Salt Cacao Powder

 

Make your cream first. In a jug beat your cream with an electric mixer. When it is almost whipped, add your chocolate bitters and cacao powder. Give it another quick whip so everything is mixed together. Put in the fridge until you’re ready. You’ll have some left over for more delicious treats the next day. You can now start making your ho cho!

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

2 tbs Mörk 65% Dark Chocolate and River Salt Powder

200 ml milk

1/2 tbs maple syrup

1/4 tbs brown sugar

Pinch of salt

60 ml Bulleit Bourbon

Marshmallows

Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

 

In a small saucepan over a medium heat whisk together your chocolate powder, maple syrup, brown sugar, pinch of salt and 50ml of milk. When it becomes smooth and oh so velvety, add the rest of your milk. Whisk again and leave for about 4-5 minutes to heat through. The hot chocolate isn’t going to get scalding hot and nor do you want it to be. After your hot chocolate mix heats up add your bourbon. You only want to leave it on the heat for about a minute so everything gets nice and warm but the alcohol doesn’t cook out of the bourbon. Grab a mug and drizzle a few drops of chocolate bitters in the glass. Pour in your hot chocolate then top it with a good dollop of whipped cream. Top it off with a marshmallow that has been rolled in chocolate bitters. Marvel at your chocolatey creation and enjoy immediately!

Hot Chocolate

Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate has a whole lot flavour going on. The Lady and I have already indulged in quite a few Mörk hot chocolates on their own and they have a lovely rich chocolatey flavour. It’s not overly sweet or sickly compared to some other powders. This is perfect for this boozy hot chocolate as it means the brown sugar and maple syrup aren’t going to send you into some kind of sugar induced coma. Mörk’s gorgeous, deep dark chocolate flavour also means it can stand up to the two shots of bourbon. The Lady isn’t a fan of solo dark spirits and reckons some people may want to dial the booze back a bit as it can be quite strong but I found it to be a suitable amount. Sure, the first sip was a bit potent but for the majority of the drink it was a delightful blend of chocolate and bourbon with the bourbon giving the drink a subtle spiciness and warmth. The extra chocolatey whipped cream just heightens the chocolate and spicy flavours. We are definitely a fan of adding chocolate bitters to whipped cream and it gives an added creaminess and richness to the drink without diluting the chocolatey goodness. Seriously, this is definitely a chocolate lovers drink as it’s chocolate on chocolate. The marshmallow is a nice little presentation touch and the whole drink has a real dessert feel to it. Something indulgent and special to cap off a cold night out or a snuggled night in.

Hot Chocolate

Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate is our way of sending off winter and the last of the cold weather in boozy style. Spring is upon us and that means fresh, fruity and refreshing cocktails are the go but goddamn we’re going to miss the indulgent mug of chocolatey goodness that is the Sir Mörkalot’s Naughty Hot Chocolate. Till next time winter.

 

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On The Shelf – Kangaroo Island Spirits Old Tom Aged Gin

By The Lady

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“Hello everybody, my name is The Lady and I am a Crazy Cat Lady.” This would be my opening line if I were to enter cataholics anonymous rehabilitation, but luckily for me there is no such thing. I’ll admit, way back in May when we checked out Tasting Australia, I set my eyes upon Kangaroo Island Spirits Old Tom Aged Gin and fell in love. Created especially for Tasting Australia 2014 means that this gin is pretty gosh darn special. This limited release liquor combined my two greatest loves – gin and cats. Oh my. Unfortunately, at the time I left it too late to order a bottle and it all sold out (there were tears). Luckily, I happened upon the Kangaroo Island Spirits website and noticed that it was again available for a second time so I immediately snapped up a bottle for myself.

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Firstly, the label is pretty impressive with an old world feel completed (of course) with a cat gazing back. The earthy, rich colours featured on the label reflect the heritage of the Old Tom style of gin. By being a limited run, each bottle is individually labelled which adds an extra special touch. The gin itself has held onto a slight yellowish tone through the aging process, which is refreshingly different from a lot of other gins on the market.

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Over the weekend, The Gentleman and I visited a lovely little cafe in Semaphore, South Australia called The Corner Store. Not only did we eat a delicious brunch, we were able to browse their wares. After our epic meal, we picked up a four pack of Bottlegreen Elderflower Tonic Water. Best decision ever. That night, we combined these two new finds and we’re pretty smitten. Hence, we’d like to present you with the Smitten Kitten.

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In the Smitten Kitten, we used :

60mL KIS Old Tom Aged Gin

90mL Nudie Cloudy Apple Juice  (our favourite!)

175 ml Bottlegreen Elderflower Tonic Water

One slice of dehydrated apple (you could probably use some fresh apple, but we had these preprepared so voilà!)

 

Start by pouring the gin into a glass, then follow with the apple juice. Top the drink with the tonic water and add your apple slice to finish.

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The Smitten Kitten is a deliciously refreshing drink, courtesy of the bubbliness of the tonic water, that we will definitely be putting into regular rotation at The Cocktail Challenge HQ. This cocktail has a lovely balance of sweetness and tartness, neither of which are too overwhelming. In our opinion, it was just the right balance of flavours. The drink was also extremely fragrant, with a delicious floral scent wafting from the glass. At first, the dominant flavour was definitely the floral taste of the elderflower tonic and KIS gin. However, as we were sipping away at the Smitten Kitten, the flavours from the apple juice and dehydrated apple really shone through. Drinkers beware, even though the Smitten Kitten has two shots of gin in it, it does not taste overly alcoholic at all. We could quite happily drink this smooth cocktail for breakfast, but unfortunately it’s not really socially acceptable!

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All in all, we are very happy with our new feline gin which we can add to the collection. Also, we are very excited to use it again very soon for some more #ginlove times! Personally, I will jump at the chance to create cocktails with delicious liquor and name them after cats.

 

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