Now Serving – Mr Black’s Experimental Brew

By The Gentleman

Mr Black's Experimental Brew

So we planned on publishing this post later in the week, but my drinking friend, drafted in because of The Lady rocking the vego life, got a little too excited and revealed it on Instagram so we had to speed things up a bit. We don’t blame him though because this is one damn fine drink made with some damn good Australian spirits. Get ready for breakfast and start the day the right way with Mr Black’s Experimental Brew, the breakfast cocktail of non-vego champions.

Mr Black's Experimental Brew

Mr Black’s Experimental Brew 

30ml Experimental Spirits Co. Bacon Bourbon

30 ml Mr Black Spirits Coffee Liqueur

10ml Maple Syrup

Dash of Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub

Large Ice Cube

Coffee Bacon for garnish

 

In an Old Fashioned glass, or a brandy balloon if you are unprepared like us, mix your bitters, maple syrup, bourbon and coffee liqueur. Give it a good mix so the maple syrup is well mixed in and less syrupy. Add your big ice cube and garnish with the coffee bacon.

Coffee Bacon

To make the coffee bacon you need to whip up a quick little coffee marinade. For three pieces of bacon I combined coffee (3 tsp), brown sugar (3 tsp), a good squeeze of maple syrup, smoked paprika (1/2 tsp) and some water. Mix it together till the coffee and sugar have dissolved then pour it over your bacon. Leave it to marinate for at least an hour, but the longer the better. Preheat your oven to 190 C and cook for roughly 15 minutes. You want the bacon to be nice and crisp.

Bacon Bourbon

This drink showcases two new Australian spirits that are rocking the market right now thanks to people like you. Both drinks were funded using the Australian crowd-funding site Pozible, so we had a little Pozible party in the glass. We’ve already played around with Mr Black’s coffee spirit to some delicious ends, but I was very excited to try out the Bacon Bourbon from Experimental Spirits Co, a venture started by some of the talented folks at Melbourne and Sydney’s Eau De Vie Cocktail Bar. While The Lady sadly can’t partake I am secretly pleased as that just means there is more for me!

Mr Black's Experimental Brew

The drink is a play on an Old Fashioned with a breakfast twist. I love nothing more than starting the day with good coffee and crispy bacon. You know things are going well when you have these two things in your life. I’m also a convert to having something a little sweet with bacon, and maple syrup is the classic choice for a reason, although you can’t go past a bit of hot sauce. The cocktail transfers these flavours into the glass. The bacon bourbon is so smooth. We sipped a bit on its own and it’s just really mellow without a crazy alcohol taste. That worked nicely in the Coffee and Bacon. It didn’t overpower the coffee or the shrub. The shrub is alive and kicking, providing some nice heat to the finish, while the coffee liqueur buzzes strongly with its rich flavour. I think the sensation of the drink feeling really smooth comes from it’s slightly syrupy consistency. It just fills your tastebuds with smooth, syrupy goodness. What really tops it off though is the coffee bacon. Biting into that crisp, blackened piece of bacon is heaven. The coffee darkens and burns slightly and when that is mixed with the smoked paprika you get a delicious smoky flavour with a touch of sugary sweetness. Wash that down with a sip of Mr Black’s Experimental Brew and you’ve got a smoky, coffee, bacon mouthful that satisfies all your breakfast cravings at once. Damn son.

Mr Black's Experimental Brew

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It also makes a damn fine cocktail. So remember to start your day the right way and get some breakfast in yo glass with Mr Black’s Experimental Brew.

Mr Black's Experimental Brew

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Now Serving – Mr Black’s Invigorating Tonics

By The Gentleman

 

Because we’re such nice people and because you, our adoring audience, deserve it The Lady and I are bringing you not one but TWO drinks today. I know, I know we’re pretty awesome and modest people. We were just so impressed with Mr Black’s Coffee Liqueur that we had to share with you two tasty experiments.

Mr Black

Mr Black, located in Erina, New South Wales, started the recent trend in crowd funding Australian spirits on local site Pozible. They were successful and were able to bring their cold-drip coffee liqueur to the masses, which is great for us because it’s delicious. The guys at Mr Black went through over 340 iterations to find the right balance of coffee flavour that wasn’t too sweet and loaded with overbearing vanilla and caramel flavours. Mr Black comes in what at first looks like a rather nice but plain bottle. It’s very nicely shaped and the double walling of the glass shows off the deep blackish/brown of the liqueur. The real treat though, and what makes Mr Black stand out, is the artwork by Dale Bigeni. Not only is the artwork very cool, a rather dapper and impressive looking owl, but the way the art is integrated into the design of the bottle is also very impressive. The owl is done in black line-work on the inside of the back of the bottle. As you progress through the bottle the owl is slowly revealed. It’s just a very cool and different way to design a bottle that we are definitely a fan of. Plus it encourages you to get through the bottle quicker to reveal the artwork, so well played their Mr Black.

Mr Black

Mr Black have a bunch of classic cocktails that have been given the coffee treatment listed on their site. They all looked and sounded great yet we noticed something was missing, a Mr Black take on the classic tonic based libations. With some quality tonic in tow and a bit of imagination we rectified that and we think our Invigorating Tonic’s are up to the high standards of Mr Black.

Mr Black

Mr Black’s Invigorating Tonic #1

45ml Mr Black Coffee Liqueur

2 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

Fever Tree Tonic Water

3 Coffee Ice Cubes

Lemon twist

Coffee grounds

Mr Black

To make the coffee ice cubes brew your coffee as usual then freeze. Put the ice cubes in the glass, add a dash of bitters and top with tonic water. Add the Mr Black, lemon twist, second dash of bitters and coffee grounds.

Mr Black

The first tonic was super decadent. Combining the coffee liqueur with the coffee ice cubes gives it a deep, rich coffee colour, aroma and, most importantly, flavour. The two coffee flavours combine as the ice cubes melt rather quickly and together they are very strong and tasty, but not too overpowering as the lemon twist gives it just enough tart sweetness to make it very drinkable. The tonic also doesn’t impart too much flavour to make the drink overly bitter. It’s also quite a fun drink as the tonic water generates a lot of froth and foam when its added to the coffee ice cubes and bitters. A small amount of this foam remains when you’re drinking the drink, which makes it very reminiscent of an espresso coffee.  The richness of the drink, and I assume the foam, also contribute to a very thick, but nice mouthfeel. Even though it’s a cold drink it feels more suited to a winter’s day, something to finish your evening with. The second tonic, on the other hand, is very much the reverse but equally as good.

Mr Black

Mr Black’s Invigorating Tonic #2

45ml Mr Black Coffee Liqueur

2 dashes  Bittermen’s Hellfire Habanero Shrub

Fentiman’s Tonic Water

Ice cubes

Lemon slice

Coffee grounds

Mr Black

Put the ice cubes in the glass. Add one dash of the shrub and top with tonic water. Add the Mr Black, lemon slice, second dash of shrub and coffee grounds.

Mr Black

The first tonic may have been a decadent winter drink, but the second tonic is a much fresher and brighter drink that’s definitely suited to a hot summer’s day. It’s lighter in colour and the tonic didn’t generate that intense foam, which gives it a lot lighter feel on your tongue. The coffee flavour, which dominated the first tonic, becomes more of the background flavour as the lemon and shrub come to the front as the initial flavours. The habanero shrub gives the drink this really nice spicy heat. People might think it’s weird to add chilli heat to coffee, but man does it work here. It just gives the drink that something different that’s a little bit special. The lemon again provides the sweetness and the coffee, mixed with the more herbal Fentiman’s tonic, gives the drink a slight herbal bitterness to finish. You really get a multitude of different flavours here, going from spicy, to sweet, to a pleasant bitter end which leaves you feeling mighty refreshed.

Mr Black 9

Mr Black’s Invigorating Tonic #1

Mr Black 3

Mr Black’s Invigorating Tonic #2

Normally The Lady and I like to keep our tonic with our gin. We really love a good gin and tonic. That being said, a Mr Black and tonic is damn fine thing. These are just two experiments with this tasty coffee liqueur that show off the wide variety of applications for this very nice liqueur and we can see many more delicious variations in the future.

 

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Alaskan Rock Week – Now Serving – Hot Rock

By The Gentleman

 

We’re back as Alaskan Rock Week continues and The Lady and I shake up a cocktail to make you forget the winter blues. It’s the perfect mix of vibrant fruity freshness, Alaskan Rock Vodka, and warm chilli spice to responsibly chase the cold away. The recipe was inspired by an article on Bon Appetit that sent us to the drawing board and allowed us to come up with the Hot Rock.

Hot Rock

Hot Rock

2 Strawberries halved
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
60ml pineapple juice
60ml Alaskan Rock Vodka
15ml homemade Jalapeño Syrup
2 dashes Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub
Pineapple chunks for garnish
Strawberry for garnish

Hot Rock

Muddle strawberries in shaker with sugar. Add ice, pineapple juice, vodka, jalapeño syrup and Bittermens. Shake until combined and very cold. Strain into rocks glass. Prepare garnish by grilling or cooking  fruit in the pan with some brown sugar. Cook until they’re nice and brown then skewer the fruit to garnish.

Jalapeno Syrup

Jalapeño Syrup

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 fresh jalapeño pepper, washed and stemmed

Add the sugar and water into a pot. Slice jalapeño lengthwise and add into the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat let steep. I left my syrup for a good 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bottle. This should make 250ml.

Hot Rock

Making the jalapeño syrup is not necessarily an essential step if you have ready access to canned or jarred chillies in syrup. You could just use the syrup from there and a lesser amount, about 1/2 a teaspoon, but I didn’t have any jars or cans. Plus,  I do enjoy a little experiment so making the syrup was something I was probably always going to do. The syrup had a really nice balance of sweetness from the brown sugar and heat from the chili. I was expecting it to be a lot hotter than it was after letting it steep for so long but instead it was a really smooth, mild heat that was quite pleasant. That mild heat was perfect for the Hot Rock. I was worried the heat might overpower the rest of the drink but instead it all came together rather nicely. The strawberries and pineapple juice provided enough sweetness and freshness to balance out the heat from the syrup and the shrub while the vodka provided the boozy background to the whole drink. Despite having two shots of vodka, the alcohol didn’t dominate or give off any weird flavours that might otherwise spoil the drink, it just provided that necessary extra kick. This is key as you wouldn’t want to ruin those lovely strawberry, pineapple and chilli flavours which worked so well together. At first you got the fruitiness and a bit of sweetness as well as the flavour of the chilli, not the spiciness but the actual taste of the pepper. It’s after that you get the spicy heat, which leaves a pleasant warmth in your mouth. The caramelised fruit top off the drink nicely, especially if you drop them in the drink at the start like I did. They soak up the flavours and make for a nice finishing bite at the end of the drink, an explosion of fruit juices, caramel and alcohol. Swoon.

Hot Rock

We’re halfway through Alaskan Rock Week but so far we’re enjoying every minute of it. Exploring and experimenting with interesting flavours is what the Cocktail Challenge is all about and sometimes we hit on the right mix to bring you a great drink like the Hot Rock.

Hot Rock

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Alaskan Rock Vodka

Disclaimer: The Cocktail Challenge was provided a free sample bottle of Alaskan Rock Vodka for this article. Although this post is sponsored all opinions are our own.