Now Serving – Fire Fueled Cider

By The Gentleman

Fire Fueled Cider

We’re all about finding and using locally made spirits here at the Cocktail Challenge. You already know of our love affair with Australia’s award-winning gin and our continued education in the wide world of craft vodka. Over the next few posts we’ll be showing you our latest find, Fire Drum Vodka. We spent all weekend playing with fire and mixing up some fresh drinks with this fine Tasmanian vodka. Our first drink is the Fire Fueled Cider, which pairs craft vodka with craft cider…we are so crafty.

Fire Fueled Cider

Fire Fueled Cider

45ml Fire Drum Vodka
B Cider Company Two Pink Ladies Cloudy Apple Cider
Juice of a Lime
2 dashes Bittermen’s Burlesque Bitters
Ice
Apple for garnish

Fire Drum Vodka

Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and then pour in your vodka, lime and one dash of bitters. Shake hard for about 20 seconds. Grab a champagne flute and pour into the glass.  Add the second dash of bitters and then top with the cider. Garnish with an apple slice.

Fire Fueled Cider

Fire Drum Vodka is made from 100% Tasmanian barley and Tasmanian mountain water. There is quite a pronounced barley and malt aroma, hinting at it’s full bodied but slightly sweet flavour. We really think the malty flavour of the Fire Drum Vodka paired well with the spiciness of the bitters. The drink had a nice peppery spice aftertaste as well as a subtle pepper and apple aroma. You got quite a nice tingle on your lips. The B Cider Cloudy Apple Cider proved a great addition to the spicy bitters and malty vodka. B Cider Company are a small South Australian cider maker who make good cider with cute and quirky labels. It had a more subtle apple flavour than we expected but it had a delicious richness that paired well with the malty flavour of the vodka. The cider also provided a little bit of fizz, giving the drink a nice texture, and wasn’t as sharp or sweet as other ciders. Also you definitely need to dip your apple wedge in and enjoy the boozy flavour soaking through the apple, delicious. We also have to warn you that this drink is alcohol mixed with alcohol and it’ll send some heat through you. Tread carefully friends.

Fire Fueled Cider

For our first go-around with Fire Drum Vodka we were suitably impressed. It had a nice aroma and rich malty flavour that made a damn fine cocktail. We can’t wait to show you what else we whipped up with this bad boy, but for now sit back and enjoy some Fire Fueled Cider!

Fire Fueled Cider

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On The Shelf – Matso’s Mango and Desert Lime Cider

By The Lady

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As the weather here is getting hotter and hotter (it happens when you are in the driest state in the driest country!) we here at Cocktail Challenge HQ are feeling more in the mood for drinks that keep us cool. Well, cooler than we already are if that is possible! So, we find ourselves being drawn to cider these days when we are looking to a evening beverage to accompany the balmy nights. Hence, after trying out Matso’s products in our Mango Beer Bellini, we were intrigued by their Mango and Desert Lime Cider. Honestly, we felt out lives would not be complete if we had not tried it out.

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Matso’s Broome Brewery is a microbrewery based in the Kimberly Region in Western Australia. They produce an impressive range of award winning beers and ciders that all have something new to add to the world of Australian liquor. Some of their unique flavours include a Chilli Beer, a Lychee Beer as well as the Desert Lime & Wild Ginger Cider to name a few. The Mango and Desert Lime Cider that we sampled is extremely refreshing and surprisingly not overly sweet. We were expecting that with the mango and desert lime flavour that the cider would be ultra sugary, however this drink had a lovely subtly to its fruity flavour. The cider also had some very enthusiastic bubbles which gave the drink a very fresh and energising character. While we sampled this one on its own, we feel it would go quite well with a variety of dishes and would not clash with savoury meals.

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Also, I feel we must mention the packaging and design of this liquor. Really, what’s not to love about an old school diver man surrounded by flying mangoes? Honestly! We feel like the Matso diver is in some sort of boozy, fruity heaven where one can drink as much cider as you want. If this is what heaven is, we want to go to there. We also respect a company who spin a good yarn about their product and the Mango Cider With Desert Lime has a fun little story about pearl divers off the Kimberley Coast helping save a shipwrecked crew and their cargo, including lots of fresh produce that soon ended up in some unique brews. We love how it captures the rascal spirit of Australia and provides some context to Matso’s diver man.  They also get bonus points for having a fun website!

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We can really see ourselves sipping down many more of Matso’s Mango and Desert Lime Cider in the coming months, in part because we love the flying mangoes and diver man on the label, but mainly because it is just so gosh darn refreshingly delicious!

 

 

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On The Shelf – Lobo Dry Pear Cider

By The Gentleman

Lobo Cloudy Pear

While we were quite enamored with Norman, the dapper Cloudy Apple Cider wolf, he was not the only one to catch our eye at the Adelaide Farmer’s Market as we were also introduced to the Lobo Dry Pear Cider.

 

Norman was quite a fun dapper wolf with his bike and glasses, but the wolf on the Dry Pear looks all business. He’s dressed for success in his fine suit and he’s got that confident, almost cocky look to match. That’s necessary because you need that confidence and assurance to go a long with Lobo’s slogan ‘Evolving Tradition’ on the Dry Pear Cider.

Lobo Cloudy Pear

The Dry Pear Cider is another of Lobo’s small batch ciders and is made with Lemon Bergamot pears that are a specialist variety from South Australia (that’s right we’re special). It was another quite dark cider, but it’s not as dark as the Lobo Cloudy Apple Cider. That thing was like the mist from Stephen King’s The Mist, whereas this is more like a regular light morning mist. There’s definitely dryness to the cider, but it’s not overwhelmingly dry. It’s still got a quite crisp, refreshing flavour with enough bubbles going on that it gives you that ‘take your breath away’ sensation. There’s more of an aroma in the Dry Pear than the Cloudy Apple, a bit sour and floral, and flavourwise there was a touch more sweetness to it bordering on sour. The pear, the star of the show, is surprisingly subtle and the cider is a bit lighter as it only comes in at 5.6%. Usually The Lady and I don’t go for pear cider, but this was something we definitely liked.

Lobo Cloudy Pear

The Dry Pear, like the Cloudy Apple, is really nothing like the commercial stuff you find on the market these days, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider these are special small batch ciders that are evolving tradition. The Dry Pear means business with a very interesting flavour that has a lot of depth and a dapper suited wolf to match.

Lobo Cloudy Pear

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On The Shelf – Lobo Norman – Cloudy Apple Brut Cider

By The Lady

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Recently, The Gentleman and I visited the Adelaide Farmers’ Market and splurged a little (read : a lot). For all you Adelaidians, I highly recommend checking these markets out. There are so many stalls with lots of different and delicious goodies to take home.

 

Firstly, we had some delicious breakfast from Abbots & Kinney including ice coffees and mind blowing pastries. All I can say is … oh my! Do yourself a favour and get some of these pastries in you. You really haven’t lived otherwise.

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After buying many delicious treats, we came across a stall for Lobo Cider, brewed right here in Lobethal, SA. Previously, we have had their cider and loved it. This time, there were new varieties that we had never seen in our favourite liquor stores or local bars. So, we’re feeling pretty special that we were able to pick up a few different bottles of cider that are super exclusive and a little bit special!

 

Our first cider we decided to sample was the Norman Cloudy Apple Cider. The Norman is a special little cider that Lobo make in small batches once a year. We were surprised at the deep, rich colour of the drink which looked almost the colour of some beers you might see. The cider was a lovely dry and crisp flavour and not overly sweet, which we appreciate! We think this would be great to drink while eating, but we’re biased really because we love eating. The scent is very subtle with a very clean taste to follow, despite the fact that this cider packs a bit of a wallop at 8.1%. Also, the drink has a lovely aftertaste and we can really see ourselves enjoying many of these in the upcoming summer.

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Also, I think it is necessary to address the dapper bike riding wolf Norman, who in my opinion, is probably the most stylish wolf known to man. The oversized bottle provides Lobo with a big canvas and they certainly haven’t wasted it. As some of you may already know, we are huge fans of great design, and we think that Lobo’s Norman is a fine example of dapper design on a liquor label. If a dapper bike riding wolf isn’t going to make you pick up a bottle of cider then we don’t know what will.

 

Overall, we are very happy with our sampling of Lobo’s Norman Cloudy Apple Cider. Not only is Norman a style god, the contents of his bottle have proven themselves to be a damn fine cider.

 

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On The Shelf – Clare Valley Brewing ‘Miss Molly’ Grape Cider

By The Lady

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So, The Gentleman and I were strolling through one of my favourite liquor stores Parade Cellars in Norwood when we stumbled upon a beautiful woman. Naturally, I turned to The Gentleman and said “I need this woman in my life!” So, we picked up this beautiful, lovely looking sailor girl off the shelf and took her home. The woman in question is actually Miss Molly – the pinup girl character featured on the label of Clare Valley Brewing Company’s Miss Molly Grape Cider.

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Neither of us had ever had a grape cider, so we were curious as to how it would taste. Miss Molly had a very light colour, similar to a white wine. I suppose this is not surprising as it is, in fact, also made with grapes! It is almost like the love child of cider and moscato, so we felt like it would be great for somebody who wanted to start transitioning from cider into wine. Miss Molly was not as sweet as some ciders, a pleasant surprise which resulted in all the fruity flavours being illuminated and enhanced. Miss Molly would be great for an afternoon when you have a hankering for a light drink rather than something rather strong or boozy (an adult kind of pick-me-up!). Alternatively, if you prefer lighter, less alcoholic tasting drinks, Miss Molly would be the drink for you! In the future, perhaps when the weather gets warmer, we would love to use some Miss Molly Grape Cider in some sort of Sangria or another Sunday afternoon-type cocktail.

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The label design is simply gorgeous in addition to Miss Molly  being a rather enticing mascot for Clare Valley Brewing Company  while she stares at you, inviting you to have a taste. I love the colour combination of black, white, cream accompanied by the striking red sunset in the background behind Miss Molly as well as her deep red lips. The bottle cap was also a dandy design addition, with their brewery name being shaped into the silhouette of a charging bull. We here at The Cocktail Challenge adore refreshing, thoughtful and creative label design, so we’re looking forward to checking out some of the Clare Valley Brewing Company’s other drinks  which possess similarly dapper labels including their Red Ale, the Bulls Eye Australian Pale Ale, and the King Kong Stout.  All in all, Miss Molly was a lovely Sunday afternoon drink which The Gentleman and I look forward to sampling more of in the future!

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Boozefood – Strawberry & Lime Rekorderlig Cupcakes

By The Lady

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So after The Gentleman made the Macadamia Beer Cake, I think I have developed an addiction to Boozefood! I get to consume baked goods AND alcohol at the same time?! This idea is both thrilling and a little worrying at the same time. Do I need to seek professional help? Not if I can become a functioning boozefoodaholic! Recently, I have also been reminiscing about the time my father made scones using blue lemonade he acquired on a holiday to Mount Gambier. This got me thinking about whether I could use alcohol in the same way i.e. to make light and fluffy cupcakes and at the same time incorporating the flavour of the alcohol.This led me to the idea of  … Rekorderlig cupcakes! The recipe I used for my Rekorderlig cupcakes was a modified version of a recipe I found on TinyTimTams. I made a few changes because I am both a) lazy and b) clumsy (I try so hard to be a fully functioning adult, but it never seems to work out for me). The recipe makes 24 cupcakes folks, so be prepared for a mountain of food!

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I used :

4 eggs

200 gm butter

2 1/2 cups caster sugar

3 cups self raising flour

300 mL Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime Cider

250 gm cream cheese

250 gm icing sugar (I used icing sugar mixture, even though Tam says not to because I am a careless supermarket shopper and also because I am a baking rebel)

1 punnet strawberries

2 limes

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For the cupcakes

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Line 2 x 12 hole muffin trays with cupcake liners

Mix together with electric beaters your butter and sugar until combined.

Then, on a low speed, add eggs gradually until just combined.

With a spoon, add your cider and flour gradually (I mixed it all into the existing mixture in four lots)

Divide the mixture between the cupcake liners (Remember, it makes 24 so don’t go crazy with your first tin!)

Bake for 20 minutes (The original recipe says to bake for 15 minutes, but I found some of my cupcakes weren’t cooked entirely through at this point. You can always check by poking several of your cupcakes with a skewer. If there is still wet cupcake mixture on your skewer, they are still raw. If your skewer is clean when you take it out, they are cooked! Remember to check a few of your cupcakes because different ovens have hotter spots than others!)

Remove cupcakes from oven and cool on a cooling rack.

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For the icing
With an electric mixer, mix cream cheese until soft and add icing sugar gradually. Add lime juice and rind to your icing. Ensure you use an even amount of icing on each cupcake so you don’t run out or end up with an uneven distribution. Garnish your cupcakes with strawberries. I used halved strawberries but you could alternatively use slices or even fanned strawberries if you are super clever!

You may notice that the original recipe used twice the amount of cream cheese and icing sugar for the icing. The true reason why I halved the amount is because I dropped half of it on my kitchen floor (swearing ensued)! It all worked out okay though because I prefer cupcakes that aren’t smothered in icing, and the amount that I made was actually perfect for me. If you like lots of icing, make sure you aren’t as clumsy as me so you can use ALL the cream cheese you buy!

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The resulting cupcakes were very tasty and delicious! The use of the Rekorderlig does in fact make the cupcakes very light. The Rekorderlig gets it’s bubble on, go science, and everyone is better for it. They had a lovely strawberry scent and I think adding the lime rind was a nice touch to the icing. Even with the addition of the cider the cupcakes didn’t end up tasting that much sweeter, which meant you could gorge on one or two or four. Using this recipe meant that I had 24 cupcakes at my disposal and also half a bottle of left over Rekorderlig to drink while the cupcakes were in the oven! Who could ask for a better afternoon really?

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