Now Serving – Pommie Pimm’s Jug

By The Lady

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Our final installment in the Pomegranate Trilogy is a twist on a British classic. We had some much fun with the Tangy Friday, and got a bit fancy with the What A Steal!, this time we wanted to go back to one of our favourites. Ages ago, we spoke about mixing up some delicious Pimm’s Cups, and at a recent party that we hosted, we thought the best way to wow our guests was to get our jugs (of Pimm’s) out. Not long after the party, we were gifted the bag ‘o’ pomegranates and knew that some were destined to be in our recently revived classic. We present to you our Pommie Pimm’s Jug!

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Pommie Pimm’s Jug (Makes four tall glasses):

1 orange cut into slices

1 lime cut into slices

1/2 a cucumber cut into slices

8 strawberries, sliced

Pomegranate Seeds from 1 pomegranate

60mL Vanilla Simple Syrup (from the What a Steal!)

120mL Pimm’s

90mL Kangaroo Island Spirits Old Tom Aged Gin

Juice of 1 Pomegranate

Lemonade to serve

Ice, to serve

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Add all the chopped fruit, chopped cucumber, and the pomegranate seeds, as well as the Pimm’s, the gin, the Vanilla Simple Syrup, and the pomegranate juice into large bowl to leave to infuse. Sit for about 10-15 minutes. Half fill a tall glass with the Pimm’s mixture and some ice. Top your glass with lemonade. Add a fancy straw, and umbrella, and you’ve got yo’self a tasty Pommie Pimm’s Jug!

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We’re pretty happy with our twist on one of our favourite classics. The pomegranates and vanilla syrup gave the drink a unique flavour perfect for surprising and impressing your friends. The Pommie Pimm’s Jug had a lovely cucumber scent as well as an intensely delightful fruity flavour. The pomegranate definitely added an extra layer of sweetness, tartness, and an overall tasty goodness! The Vanilla Syrup is a perfect addition and helps to balance out all the flavours from the fruit, cucumber, and liquor. We’re a big fan of fruit, so we suggest when you’re pouring these out, make sure to spoon lots of fruit into your glass.

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So next time you’re hosting a party and want to get your jugs out, keep it classy and make your guests the Pommie Pimm’s Jug!

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Now Serving – What A Steal!

By The Lady

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Following the delicious results of our first pomegranate cocktail, we take it up a notch with our next installment. In take two in our Pomegranate Trilogy, we wanted to spice things up a little …  and we really mean spice things up! Again, we were so lucky to have been given for FREE(!) a sizable bag ‘o’ pomegranates, it was such a steal! Given this, we think what better to use than Stolen Spiced Rum! We invite you to take a gander at our newest cocktail – What A Steal!

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A new favourite: Settler’s Gin

What A Steal:

30mL Stolen Spiced Rum

30mL Settlers Rare Dry Gin

30mL Pomegranate Juice

15mL Vanilla Simple Syrup

Half a punnet of raspberries

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Make your vanilla syrup by prepping a 1:1 simple syrup (equal parts water and caster sugar) then add some Bourbon Vanilla Powder. We made half a cup of vanilla syrup and used roughly a quarter of a teaspoon of powder because it is pretty strong stuff. Once your syrup is ready muddle your raspberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add your spiced rum, gin, pomegranate juice, and vanilla syrup. Shake it baby, shake it with ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a few extra raspberries if you feel so inclined.

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We have to say, we are digging the vanilla and rum combo. It’s kind of like a fruity, non-chocolatey truffle … if that makes sense! The vanilla, rum, and pomegranate give the drink a gorgeous aroma that immerses you in a plethora of spices and vanilla goodness. This drink was not as tangy and tart as our first pomegranate drink, but it was still as tasty. I think the What A Steal is much more of a rich drink and has a beautiful depth to the flavours included. Interestingly, the cocktail was not as fruity as you might expect it to be but was still suitably fruit flavoured. Really, the drink was more musky and woody rather than overly fruity and had an intriguing spicy aftertaste.

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We hope that you give the What A Steal a try next time you get your hands on some pomegranates. We most certainly enjoyed shaking these beauties up … and drinking them too!

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Now Serving – Tangy Friday

By The Lady

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Just putting it out there … pomegranate is somewhat of a magical fruit. We were lucky enough to be given a large bag full of pomegranates from a friend who has a tree in her back yard. Because we’re all about dem flavours at Cocktail Challenge HQ, we simply couldn’t resist a bag ‘o’ tasty, magical fruit! As we had so so many pomegranates, we decided to make a handful of cocktails to inspire, delight, and amaze y’all. Or maybe it had something to do with us craving some cocktails …

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For Christmas, The Gentleman was kind enough to gift me some Settler’s Gin. This beautiful newcomer is a South Australian made gin (yeah boy!), so naturally we had to bust this bad boy open for a cocktail worthy of its gorgeous liquor. Also, we’re all about supporting local, especially if it means we get to drink gin. Here here!

Tangy Friday:

45mL Settler’s Gin

15mL Simple Syrup

30mL Pomegranate juice

30mL Lemon juice

Add all of your ingredients into a cocktail shaker with lots of ice ice baby. Shake it all up then strain it all out into a fancy pants chilled glass. Drink. Repeat. If you like, you can also place a few extra whole pomegranate seeds into the glass. This adds and extra tangy bite at the end of the drink!

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To make our pomegranate juice, we placed the pomegranate seeds into a blender and pulsed away. Then, we strained the juice to remove the pulp and voila! Pomegranate juice. Easy as pie!

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If you’re feeling the need for a cocktail to perk you up and keep you vibrant, the Tangy Friday is certainly the one. The drink was pretty gosh darn tasty with a bitey, tangy kick. Saaaaah tangy! As you can see, the colour of the pomegranate juice in this drink added a gorgeous, inviting appearance to the drink and was clearly destined to be added to a cocktail. We’re loving the hit of the pomegranate flavour in combination with the SA great Settler’s Gin too. Keeping it local, keeping it real at The Cocktail Challenge. Please note though that it is super easy to drink, so if you’re needing to operate heavy machinery, limit yourself (if you have the willpower).

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So, if you get your hands on some damn fine Settler’s Gin and some pomegranates at the same time, we highly recommend busting out your shaker and getting some Tangy Friday action!

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On The Shelf – Evil Twin Brewing Yin Imperial Taiji Stout

By The Gentleman

Do you know what’s fun? Standing around an open bonfire feeling its warmth while roasting marshmallows. That is until you realise you stink of smoke and your clothes are covered in little flakes of ash. God damn ash. Drinking the Evil Twin Yin Imperial Taiji Stout went a long way in replicating that experience without all that annoying ash. Winning.

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Evil Twin is another of the new Danish gypsy brewers who produce all kinds of crazy beer that are regarded as some of the best new beers in the world. I have to admit I’d seen gypsy brewer mentioned in regards to a few other labels and had no idea what it means. This time I looked it up and it means the company do not have brewing facilities of their own. Instead they collaborate with larger brewers that have excess production capacity. It’s a pretty crazy, but also reasonable idea when you think about it. Not everyone has ‘dat brewery facility money’. The Yin Imperial Taiji Stout, which has a simple but eye-catching label, is brewed at Two Roads Brewing Co in Connecticut and is actually meant to be consumed as one half of a Black and Tan with the Yang Imperial IPA making up the other half. I only had the Yin, but it was damn fine on its own.

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The Evil Twin Yin poured pitch black with a slight mocha head that dissipated very quickly. The beer smelt so smoky with a definite woodiness to it. I almost thought Smokey Bear was going to pop out and ask where the forest fire was. Seriously, I thought the smoke was just going to overpower everything. It was pretty damn intense. Luckily the more you drank it, and the closer it got to room temperature, the more you could pick up on the dark chocolate and more of a roasted flavour in amongst the smoke. I expected some creaminess and maybe a bit of vanilla, but it had quite a dry and bitter chocolate finish, although the last few mouthfuls were a bit smoother. The dry, bitter chocolate finish was definitely pleasant and quite long-lasting. You don’t really scull your way through this beer. It’s more something you sit back on a cold and windy night to enjoy slowly as the booze (and it had a heavy kick to me) tricks your body into feeling warm.

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I’d definitely be interested in getting the Yang to try the Black and Tan. The Yin is pretty bold so I’m really curious to see how the flavours interact and what gets enhanced/toned down. On its own though Yin was pretty tasty and gets bonus points for evoking those bonfire nights. Word of warning though things are still going to smell pretty smoky. The first thing The Lady said when she walked into the room was “it smells like beer…and smoke in here”. You may not be able to get rid of the smell, but at least you’ll have beer and won’t be covered in ash.

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Now Serving – Paddington’s Gin

By The Gentleman

Do you know who loves marmalade? Paddington freaking Bear that’s who. No honey for this sophisticated little duffle coat wearing chap. Only marmalade sandwiches will do. We’re no Peruvian bears, but we certainly think Paddington is on to something with his marmalade obsession so we decided to mix Paddington’s obsession with our own, cocktails!

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Paddington’s Gin

60ml Melbourne Gin Co Gin

15ml Honey Syrup

15ml Lemon Juice

3 tsp Four Pillars Orange Marmalade

Orange peel to garnish

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Prepare your honey syrup by combining equal parts honey and hot water. Stir to combine the two and leave to cool down. Put some ice in a martini or coupe glass to chill it. Grab your cocktail shaker and add the gin and marmalade. Stir the two together so the marmalade will get nicely incorporated into the drink instead of freezing to the ice (trust me it happens). Add the other ingredients and lots of ice. Shake hard. Remove the ice from your glass and pour in (you can strain it to get any bits of marmalade out). Twist your orange peel over the drink to release the oils then drop in.

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While we don’t condone giving alcohol to bears, particularly those targeted at a children’s audience, we certainly think Paddington would approve of the healthy orange marmalade aroma the drink maintains. It smells like a jar of orange marmalade and the flavour has a big orange punch. It’s a nice and tart citrus hit with a hint of bitterness, which pairs very well with the orange in the Melbourne Gin Co gin. It should also be noted that this was probably the perfect cocktail marmalade because it’s made with the oranges Four Pillars use in their gin. So they’ve been steamed and distilled in the botanicals of the gin to give them some extra spice flavour. This isn’t Paddington’s ordinary marmalade, but something a little special. We were concerned the drink may have been too sweet, more something that rapscallion Winnie The Pooh would like, but the honey provides a subtle sweetness that helps to balance out some of the tart bitterness of the marmalade. We couldn’t be bothered straining the drink so there were a few bits of orange skin, but they just provided a bit of character and texture to the drink (at lest that’s how we are justifying our laziness).

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Pack up your suitcase, put on your red hat, grab your duffle coat, and crack open the marmalade, it’s time to treat yourself to some children’s character inspired cocktails. You know you deserve it.

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Now Serving – Milk Boss

By The Gentleman

Do you know what’s annoying? Milk. You think you’ve purchased a reasonable amount of milk, no giant 3L bottle for you, but even so you just can’t get through it before the ‘use by date’. We hate to waste food, but life (that old chestnut) has a habit of getting in the way of your milk drinking plans and screwing everything up! Next minute things are starting to smell a little bit funky and you’re trying to think back to the last time you poured milk on your cereal and whether that was before or after it went bad. This time though we were not going to be beaten by the use by date. We showed that milk who was boss by pouring it’s still-fresh ass into a cocktail shaker with some damn fine booze. And thus the Milk Boss was born.

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Milk Boss :

70ml Mr Black Iced Coffee 15ml

Stolen Spiced Rum

90ml Full Cream Milk

10ml Maple Syrup

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Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour 30ml of Mr Black and the maple syrup into the glass. Grab your cocktail shaker and add 30ml Mr Black, Spiced Rum and milk. Give it a hard shake then pour into glass. Top with remaining Mr Black. Serve with a straw. This is the sort of thing we’ve already made a lot of with Mr Black, but there’s a reason for that: it tastes so damn good! It’s easy to drink with a nice sweetness from the maple syrup. There’s a nice spicy smell, but not an overly spiced flavour. It’s more of a caramel combination from the spiced rum and maple syrup with just a subtle spiciness. Using the full cream milk also gives the drink a really creamy flavour. It tastes kind of like a decadent creamy coffee truffle. It’s just a little bit fancy really.

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Next time your milk is about to expire show it who’s boss by slamming it down with some sweet sweet alcohol. Go on, make yo’self a Milk Boss.

P.S the only good thing about nearly being out of Mr Black Coffee Liqueur is the badass artwork on the inside of the bottle is almost completely revealed. God it looks cool.

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Now Serving – Stolen Coffee

By The Gentleman

Stolen Coffee

Some mornings the only thing that lets you face the day is that cup of strong black coffee. Until you get that sweet, sweet black liquid gold the struggle is real. Then you actually start working and all the joy of that morning coffee is crushed, to be replaced by the longing for that end of day cocktail. This is clearly the reason why coffee and cocktails go so well together, combining two of the strongest motivators to get through the day, and why the Stolen Coffee needs to be added to your drinking repertoire (and possibly morning routine).

Stolen Coffee

Stolen Coffee

60ml Stolen Spiced Rum

30ml Fresh Orange Juice

30ml Cold Brew Coffee

15ml Mr Black Coffee Liqueur

Orange peel to garnish

 

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice stir the rum, juice, cold brew, and coffee liqueur with a bar spoon till it’s nice and cold. Strain it into ice filled tumblers and then garnish with a piece of orange peel.

Stolen Coffee

Hot damn this is a morning coffee with some kick and just a bit of a twist. Think the lingering bitterness of black coffee mixed with the sweetness of fresh orange juice and a rich, caramel-y, molasses rum. You’ll be reminded of breakfast as the coffee and orange notes in the aroma mix and contend with each other. It sounds a bit weird, it did to us at first, but it’s like pairing your two favourite morning beverages in one for twice the fun (and by two favourite morning beverages we mean coffee and juice not rum…although we are always open to new suggestions). You get the orange first and then you’re left with that strong, slightly bitter aftertaste. It’s an interesting and tasty combination. What really boosts this to the next level is the Stolen Rum. It is the perfect rum for this drink because it already has those coffee notes. The rum just blends into the coffee like they were meant to be together. The molasses of the rum also just smooths out some of the bitterness of the coffee and the acidity of the juice to balance things out and make it very easy to drink.

Stolen Coffee

We don’t necessarily condone morning drinking, but if we did then we would be all over Stolen Coffee as our morning recommendation and beverage of choice. Coffee, rum, and juice is some sort of holy trinity that we are all for.

Stolen Coffee

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Now Serving – The Dude

By The Gentleman

“Hey careful, man, there’s a beverage here!” – The Dude

The Dude

And a damn fine beverage at that! The Dude certainly knew where it was at, worrying more about preserving his cocktail while he was being manhandled into a limo than the fact that he was being manhandled. There’s a drinking game that goes with The Big Lebowski where you have to drink a White Russian every time the dude does. With the addition of cold brew coffee and a touch of vanilla we think this is the perfect beverage to go drink for drink with The Dude.

The Dude

The Dude

45ml Fire Drum Vodka

30ml Mr Black Coffee Liqueur + 5ml for garnish

30ml Cold Brew Coffee

Whole Milk (We used B.D Farms)

1/4 tsp Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Grab a tumbler and fill it with ice. Pour in the vodka, Mr Black and cold brew coffee. Give it a bit of a stir and then top with whole milk. Sip and add vanilla extract to taste, just to smooth out the flavours. Top with extra Mr Black.

The Dude

Drinking The Dude you can really understand why The Dude drank so many White Russians in The Big Lebowski. It’s creamy and delicious. The B.D Farms Paris Creek Whole Milk is so delicious and it really takes the drink to another level of creaminess. The coffee flavour wasn’t as pronounced as you would expect with the combination of coffee liqueur and cold brew coffee, but there is a more subtle and pleasant coffee flavour. Cold brew isn’t as acidic so a more mellow flavour is probably to be expected. Not to mention the coffee aroma is just intoxicating. The whole milk and touch of vanilla make it so smooth and easy to drink. They just take the bite off the alcohol, which makes this a deadly little drink. It’s packing a fair bit of alcohol but you can drink it so damn easily.

The Dude

Everyone loves The Dude and we are sure everyone will love drinking The Dude just as much as we did. Just be careful when you are trying to keep pace with Mr Bridges and make sure you keep a firm hand on your glass, there is a beverage here after all.

 

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Now Serving – Bitter Fire

By The Gentleman

Bitter Fire

Gosh darn, it’s been heating up here at Cocktail Challenge HQ in 2015, with so many delicious new cocktails to try. So what are we to do when things start getting a  little hot? We decided to follow the advice of our friend Tom Jones when he suggested to “Fight Fire With Fire“. The only logical cause of action would be to add some of our new fave Fire Drum Vodka into the mix! This time, we pair Fire Drum with some Campari and tonic water to create a bitter, but oh so delicious little number. Introducing the Bitter Fire.

Bitter Fire

Bitter Fire

30mL Fire Drum Vodka
45mL Campari
30mL lime juice
4 or 5 large mint leaves + 1 mint leaf for garnish
1/2 tsp sugar
Lime wedge
Tonic Water

In your cocktail shaker muddle mint leaves with vodka, Campari, sugar and lime juice for a few minutes until the mint is fragrant. Add lots of ice and shake. Grab a tall glass and half fill with ice. Squeeze lime wedge over ice and drop in. Pour liquor into glass then top with tonic water. Garnish with another mint leaf.

Bitter Fire

The Campari makes this a very pretty drink with a lovely light red colour. It looks even more attractive as the Campari mix is light enough that you can see the lime wedge, ice, and mint leaf floating in the drink. It just looks very fresh and eye-catching. While the drink has a definite edge from bitterness of the Campari and tonic water, this is very easy to drink. The lime and mint leaves balance out some of the really strong bitter flavours, leaving you with this really interesting bitter mint flavour. The bitterness and the mint are both refreshing but in very different ways. I also quite like the smell of Campari and this drink maintains that delicious bitter orange Campari aroma with just a hint of sweet mint. The Fire Drum Vodka provides the perfect canvas for all the other flavours to come together. It provides some intensity and oomph as well as a slight hint of those malty flavours.

Bitter Fire

After playing around with Fire Drum Vodka we are very happy with the results. It paired equally well with all of the different flavours we threw at it. Additionally, Fire Drum and helped us to make three damn fine drinks so really, in the end, that’s all you can ask for…Well that and another glass!

Bitter Fire

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Now Serving – Cinnamon Bee’s Knees

By The Gentleman

Cinnamon Bee's Knees

Today on the Cocktail Challenge we have a bit of a blast from the past for you. We’ve revisited the first drink we ever made on the Cocktail Challenge, the Bee’s Knees. God we really didn’t have any idea what we were doing back then. Not that we have much idea what we were doing then, we’re just better at faking it now. We always said we wanted to come back to it so we did, putting a little twist on it by giving it a cinnamon boost.

 

Cinnamon Bee’s Knees

60ml Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gin

30ml Cinnamon honey syrup

30ml Lemon Juice

Ice

Cinnamon stick to garnish

 

Prep your martini glass by filling it with ice. Then grab your cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Pour in the gin, honey syrup and lemon juice. Shake it hard for about 20 seconds. Remove the ice from glasses and strain in. Garnish with your cinnamon stick.

Cinnamon Bee's Knees

Cinnamon Honey Syrup

2tbs cinnamon infused honey

2tbs hot water

1/4 cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Place the honey in a bowl. Pour over the hot water and stir until the honey has melted to create a syrup. Add in the ground cinnamon and cinnamon stick. Leave to infuse for about 15-20 minutes and then remove the cinnamon stick. Place in the fridge to cool. I already had a cinnamon infused honey to start with. If you don’t then up then double the amount of cinnamon and leave it to infuse for closer to 30 minutes.

Cinnamon Bee's Knees

It’s nice to know that after investing countless time and money into our cocktail habit we have improved marginally. This time we even managed to do the honey right, getting a little bit fancy and adding some cinnamon because cinnamon makes everything better. There was no solidified honey in the shaker for us, oh no. That bad boy got mixed in real good. The sweeter Barrel Aged Gin also definitely provides a different flavour than the London No.3 Dry Gin we used last time. The gin is less in your face, mixing nicely with the lemon and honey. The drink overall is much sweeter, with the cinnamon providing a delicious aroma and just a bit of a tingling sensation on your tongue and lips. It’s not an overly strong cinnamon flavour, but something surprisingly subtle. A touch less on the lemon juice may allow the cinnamon to shine through even more. Really this was just something that was very easy to drink mixing two of our favourite things, gin and cinnamon.

Cinnamon Bee's Knees

Sometimes a trip down memory lane is a bad thing and looking over the first post on the Cocktail Challenge was a bit cringe worthy. We were such noobs. Luckily the Cinnamon Bee’s Knees made it worth the reflection.

 

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