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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On The Shelf – Kaiju! Beer Double IPA

By The Gentleman

After a short hiatus The Lady and I are back and boy have we come back in a big way with the Kaiju! Beer Double IPA another shining example from the growing Australian craft beer scene.

Kaiju! Beer Double IPA

During our time away from The Cocktail Challenge we kind of got a little bit obsessed with the instant restaurant portion of My Kitchen Rules. The show is just so trashy and awkward, but it’s also quite unintentionally funny. We love Pete and Manu’s serious eating faces where they kind of just stare off into the distance while they are eating the contestants dish and then they turn and look each other longingly in the eye. It’s riveting stuff. When you’ve sat through a few weeks of My Kitchen Rules all the buzzwords and sappy stories about food start to blend into one. One of our favourites is the contestants promise of “big, bold flavours”. A close second is “hero of the dish”. I’m pretty sure you would get rather drunk if you played the My Kitchen Rules drinking game where you had to take a shot every time someone said “big, bold flavours” or some other incredibly cliched food saying. It’s ridiculous. Drinking Kaiju! Beer’s Double IPA we couldn’t help but think that if the beer appeared on My Kitchen Rules the contestants and judges would trundle out the “big, bold flavours” claim. Funnily enough, in this case it would actually be a pretty damn accurate claim.

Kaiju! Beer Double IPA

Kaiju! Beer, who used to be called Monster Mash until a certain energy drink company made them stop, have crafted a monster of a beer. The Double IPA clocks in at a ridiculous 9.1% ABV and 140 IBU and comes in a 500ml bottle. It’s big and it’s damn well bold. The Kaiju on the bottle reminds me of some sort of hop monster, which is really fitting for the beer. It’s a fun and eye catching label that really makes a statement on the shelf. The beer itself pours with an attractive and thick creamy white head and the body is a dark cloudy amber colour. Taking the first mouthful the beer really wallops you right in the back of the throat with flavour. You get some malty caramel flavour and a bit of a bready taste. Really though the beer is all about the hops. They are the ‘hero of the dish’ and they’re big, they’re bold, and they’re bitter. Your whole mouth just gets swallowed up in bitterness that really pushed me to the edge of my tolerance for bitter beer. I was sure this wasn’t going to be The Lady’s cup of tea (or pint of beer), but after getting knocked about on that first sip she settled into it like I did. There is a touch of sweetness in the lingering bitterness to just help things tone down a little. It also makes you feel damn warm from the alcohol content. I’ve had a few high strength beers that didn’t feel too heavy and boozy, but the Kaiju! Beer Double IPA is a pretty heavy and boozy beer.

Kaiju! Beer Double IPA

Now it’s time to crack open another Kaiju! Beer Double IPA and experience some of those “big, bold flavours” while laughing at the latest awkwardness of My Kitchen Rules. Don’t forget to take a shot on every cliche.

As always remember to like, share, and follow The Cocktail Challenge on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

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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On The Shelf – Koerner Wine Vermentino ‘Rolle’

By The Gentleman

Koerner Wine Vermentino Rolle

The other day, we introduced you to one of South Australia’s new breed of small winemakers, Koerner Wine. We really enjoyed their Shiraz Mourvèdre, but then again that didn’t really surprise us as we have a pretty much obsessive love of red wine. What neither of us have really had as much experience with is white wine. Koerner produce two types of white, both variations of the Vermentino, and the reviews had been mighty positive so we thought it was our duty to educate ourselves and expand our white wine repertoire. We sampled the Vermentino ‘Rolle’ and we’d have to say with quality this good, we may have to put a few more whites into our wine drinking rotation.

Koerner Wine Vermentino Rolle

The Vermentino ‘Rolle’ had a sweet, inviting citrusy aroma. Tasting it, you almost get overwhelmed, in the best possible sense, by the tangyness. It is really pleasant, your whole mouth feels it, and it leaves you doing a fair bit of lip-smacking. There was also something akin to melon fruits, like taking a bite of honeydew or rock melon, in the flavour but also the sensation and texture. What surprised us, mostly because of our limited white experience, was how easy it was to drink. It was fresh and smooth with a bit of dryness. The flavours were just so crisp and fresh. After almost finishing the glass I also worked out the last little surprise, a delicious lingering aftertaste of sweet pineapple. Damn son.

Koerner Wine Vermentino Rolle

This is far and away the best white wine I have drunk. Admittedly it is a small sample, but quality always shines through. This is damn good and if you’re a white fan, or someone looking to branch out like us, then you should really hunt down a bottle or hope your local might have it by the glass (I hear Africola and Clever Little Tailor have it).

Koerner Wine Vermentino Rolle

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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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