Out & About – Loft Oyster & Wine Bar Autumn Menu Launch 2015

By The Lady and The Gentleman

With the changing of the weather from bright, sunny, and sometimes unbearably hot Summer days to the cooler, wetter, and darker Autumn, classy Gouger St watering hole Loft Oyster & Wine Bar have launched their Autumn Menu featuring seasonally inspired cocktails and food. As you already know we are big fans of what Loft Wine Bar do (you can see our prior thoughts here and here) and we were lucky enough to attend a delightful evening at the Loft where we were able to sample the newest creations on offer. The Loft’s close proximity to the Central Markets mean they are always aware of what’s fresh and in season and like their menu to reflect that. Needless to say we were quite impressed with what the Loft will be dishing out to its customers all through Autumn.

Loft Cobbler2

Stop. Cobbler Time.

The whole evening had a fun and slightly theatrical air as our knowledgeable and charming host Eddie talked about the inspiration and history behind each of the new creations. We began with the Loft’s Autumn version of the Sherry Cobbler, a drink that was basically the ‘Look at my wealth’ meme of the 1800s. It has a lot of citrus and crushed ice two things that were pretty damn expensive at the time. The drink had vodka, apple liquor, cranberry, apple and ginger cider, and pomegranates. The Cobbler was tart and sour, amplified by the sherry, with a hint of maple sweetness. There was a lot of apple flavour throughout the drink, although we thought the first few sips tasted a bit cherry-y, which brought back all sorts of flashbacks to The Lady’s summer cherry binge. The drink was light with a dry finish and it is easy to see why this drink, despite being damn expensive back in the old days, would have been so popular.

Loft Fizz2

Gin Fizz No. 53 with dill garnish

We then moved into an area of the cocktail menu we felt quite at home with, gin. Specifically, Loft prepared their Gin Fizz No. 53 (dubbed No. 53 because of all the herbs/Herbie the Love Bug). This was a bit different to other Gin Fizz’s we’ve had. We were served smaller versions of most of the drinks (otherwise it would have been a drunken gramming disaster) and the Gin Fizz’s didn’t seem to have a lot of egg white in there. Instead it was the herbs that were the star of the show. The drink had dill, mint, and thyme and it was the dill that really took over. It gave the drink a really savoury aroma and slightly savoury flavour, which was an interesting and unexpected turn. The use of dill in this drink brought The Lady back to her travels in Russia, where everything had lavish sprinklings of dill. The Gin Fizz No. 53 also used Prosecco instead of the traditional soda water and the Prosecco gave the drink quite a dry finish with a hint of alcohol.

Loft Zombiegram

Tiki kitsch goodness!

Loft Zombie 2

Zombie. Uuuuuunghh.

Things really started to heat up when we moved onto the Zombie. A mix of 4 or 5 different rums, including overproof rum, the Zombie is one of the quintessential Tiki cocktails. Legend has it Donn Beach created the drink to help a hung-over customer get through a business meeting, but instead turned the customer into a zombie for the next few days. Everyone got pretty excited when the Scorpion bowls (Tiki bowls for groups) and sparklers came out. All of a sudden there were a lot of people aiming to get the best photo of the flaming, sparkling Tiki ware and why not, the fire was impressive and added to the theatrics of the evening (but take care). The Zombie was definitely a crowd favourite. Balancing the different rums and fruit juice is a difficult prospect. Too much rum and it’s too strong and difficult to drink while too much fruit juice makes it too sweet and similarly unpleasant. Luckily the Zombies we had were well balanced. There was a nice sweet fruit flavour from the pineapple and passion fruit, but it didn’t fully mask the rum. There was definitely a nice kick to it that reminded you this drink is loaded and ready for bear.

Loft Julep3

Mint Julep with some fancy pants ice

The Lady and I generally like all the cocktails we’ve tried Out & About, but there is one drink that had previously bucked that trend: the Mint Julep. A classic cocktail that is synonymous with Southern Gentleman enjoying the Kentucky Derby we ordered one, thinking we should get our head around the classics, and neither of us liked it. Since then the Mint Julep had been way down the bottom of the cocktail list, but the Loft’s Georgia Julep managed to change that. Sure it had a hell of a bourbon punch to it yet it wasn’t unpleasant. We’re pretty sure the bourbon was infused with mint, which probably gave it that something extra that changed our minds. The bourbon and mint just seemed to combine a lot better in this Julep without being too overpowering. The Georgia Julep was another drink that was up there as a favourite mainly because it managed to change our opinion of the Julep and let us feel like the fine Southern Gentlefolk we’ve always wanted to be.

Loft Contender

The Contender

Next up on the cocktail list was The Contender, a recipe borrowed and inspired by the incredible folk at Eau De Vie. In a typical Eau De Vie style, this cocktail was beautifully presented and tasted absolutely gorgeous! The drink was delightfully sweet and had a lingering smoky flavour from the toasted marshmallow garnish and residual smoking rosemary twig. Despite being a sweet drink, The Contender had a light and smooth texture, which was uniform with the consistency of a marshmallow. The addition of the mandarin was a surprising and enjoyable contribution to this modern classic.

Loft Coffee

The Coffee Experiment

Finally, the The Coffee Experiment was a rich, luscious, and decadent cocktail to polish off the night. Loft’s revolving take on the ever-so-on-trend Espresso Martini, which has been ordered in some fashion 138,000 times over the last two years at Loft, used a dark rum rather than the traditional vodka standard. Loft have opted for this alteration as they believe it has a closer resemblance to the coffee flavours and characteristics than vodka. The Coffee Experiment was an excellent fusion of flavours and gave us an energetic kick at the end of our festivities. The coffee was strong, it went down smoothly, and had a bitter coffee finish with just some dark rum lurking around.  We believe this is possibly our favourite drink of the night, but we’ll be honest, they were all pretty darn delicious!

Loft Dumplings

Truffle Sui Mai

Overall, all the drinks looked and tasted incredible. They were all extraordinarily eye catching, with each cocktail having their own little personality. This was further enhanced by the little stories and background information from our wonderful host Eddie.

Loft Duck

Peking Duck Pancake

The food served throughout the night was equally as delicious. We would like to mention that the staff at Loft made up a special serving of food for The Lady in order to accommodate her vegetarian persuasion. They went out of their way to impress everybody on the table, and made sure everybody was looked after. Their premium quality food and drinks, as well as their high attention to detail, make Loft Oyster and Wine Bar a really special place well worth the visit.

Loft Dessertgram

Deconstructed Cheesecake

It was great to meet other fellow bloggers and Instagramers too. We caught up with our friend Lee from Adelaide Food Central, we met Dee of dBites (to my excitement), and were introduced to the stunning photography of @duydash. There were many other lovely people at the event with which we were were lucky enough to share the evening with.

Overall, we were impressed yet again by our experience at Loft Oyster & Wine Bar. We highly recommend that y’all check out their Autumn menu. What’s not to love about sipping down some cocktails and nibbling on delicious treats?

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Disclaimer: The Cocktail Challenge was invited by Loft Oyster & Wine Bar to their Autumn launch and were provided complimentary cocktails and food for this article. Although this post is sponsored all opinions are our own.

Now Serving – Roger That!

By The Gentleman and The Lady

Roger That!

You know what’s great, when someone says “I have leftover homemade orange marmalade! Do you want any?” At least, that’s the sort of thing we think is great. So when a friend of ours offered us some of their homemade orange marmalade on the proviso that we make a cocktail with it, we snapped it up without second guessing. So in recognition to the provider of some delicious marmalade, we present to you … Roger That!

Marmalade

Roger That!

30 mL Ouzo

15 mL Campari

2 teaspoons of Orange Marmalade

Drizzle of Humbugz Honey

30 mL Bundaberg Blood Orange Soda

Sugar

 

In a cocktail shaker add Ouzo, Campari, and one teaspoon of Marmalade with a lot of ice and shake. Melt your honey a little so it’s easier to work with and it to the cocktail shaker.

*N.B. We have found that if you just add honey at room temperature into a cocktail shaker with ice, it often slightly solidifies, so putting it in the microwave to heat a little makes it a lot more workable for cocktails.

Shake again. Using a coupe glass, create a sugar rim with the other teaspoon of marmalade and sugar. We suggest holding the spoon of marmalade in one hand and your cocktail glass in the other hand. Dip the rim of the glass into the spoon of marmalade and twist around the whole circumference of the glass so that you get an even coating. You won’t use the whole teaspoon, but it is good to have a little extra so you have an even spread across the whole glass. Once you have your marmalade coating on the rim of the glass, place the sugar into a small pile on a plate. Again, roll the edge of your glass through the sugar, turning as you go so that you have an even coating. This is a lot easier that it sounds, but it does add a little extra preparation time. This step isn’t necessary, but we think it adds a nice sweetness to any drink, plus it looks pretty!

Pour in your booze then top with the soda. You won’t need to use much of the soda, but this depends on the size of your cocktail glass. Garnish with a dehydrated orange slice.

Roger That!

Making this drink we learned a few things. Mostly we learned that we can use Ouzo in a cocktail and get good results! It’s not something either of us have really had much of before, outside of a few ill advised party shots, so it was a bit risky. We ended up with another pretty drink (we’ve been on a roll lately) that had a really interesting and different bitter orange licorice flavour. If you like licorice then you’re going to love this. We can safely say we have never had anything quite like it. The other flavours tone down the dominance of Ouzo and give the drink a bit more depth and subtlety. The marmalade sugar rim gives it an extra sweetness and Campari and marmalade go together like peas in a pod. The other thing we learned is never let The Gentleman be in charge of decorations. It was bad. Sugar and marmalade everywhere. The Lady promptly took charge of cocktail decorating duties!

Roger That!

Homemade marmalade is great on toast, but when you want to step things up a little the Roger That! is a perfect choice. We tip our hat to our friend for providing us with such a great ingredient and for making us come up with something so delicious.

Roger That!

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Now Serving – Rye Strawberry Smash

By The Gentleman

 

Lately the supermarket has been overflowing with absolutely delicious strawberries. Every time The Lady and I go we come home with several punnets as they are just irresistible. Naturally we just had to use some of this amazing fruit in a cocktail. We opted for something simple yet full of flavour so the strawberries could really be the star of the show. Introducing the Rye Strawberry Smash.

Strawberry Smash

Rye Strawberry Smash

60ml Bulleit Rye Whiskey

60ml Lemon Juice

30ml Simple Syrup

2 1/2 Strawberries + 1 for garnish

Dash of Bittermens Burlesque Bitters

Rosemary

Black Peppercorns

Strawberry Smash

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker muddle the strawberries, rosemary, and peppercorns. You want the strawberries to release as much of their juices as possible so really mash them up good. Add in your rye, syrup, lemon juice and bitters. Shake it thoroughly so it all gets mixed together. Get some ice and put it in an old-fashioned glass then pour your deliciously boozy concoction in. Garnish with a strawberry on the side of the glass and a sprig of rosemary.

Strawberry Smash

Damn son this is a pretty drink. We wanted the strawberries to be the star of the show and they are, giving the drink a nice deep red colour, and the strawberry and rosemary garnish make it look extra inviting. It also has a delicious sweet strawberry aroma, which masks the fact that there are 2 shots of rye in there. Flavourwise the drink could definitely take more booze, as the rye provides a nice spiciness combined with the peppercorns that is not too overpowering, but towards the end you definitely start to realise this is a bit of a potent drink so add that extra shot at your own discretion. Drivers step away from the glass. Outside of the boozy spiciness you get a great mix of tart sweetness from the strawberries and sour lemon tang that is really refreshing and pairs together nicely. Also make sure you drop your strawberry garnish in so at the end you get to chow down on a rather tasty booze soaked strawberry, yum!

Strawberry Smash

Fruit seasons can be so fleeting that you really need to take advantage of them when you can, in any way you can. A simple cocktail of smashed fruit is the perfect way to do this and the Rye Strawberry Smash is the proof. A tasty drink that really shows off the great flavours of some delicious strawberries.

 

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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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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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Now Serving – Swindler’s Sangria

By The Gentleman

Swindler's Sangria

It took me a while to convince The Lady to let me make this drink for her but I got there in the end. The Lady has enjoyed good wine for longer than I have and this basically goes against all her sensibilities as a wine drinker.

 

This drink is based off the Kalimotxo, which is a Spanish cocktail that is essentially red wine, typically a cheaper bottle or cask, mixed with Coca Cola. It’s a cheap drink that you can make a lot of, and it helps to make some rather moderate wine taste a bit better. The story goes that the original Kalimotxo was created when some wine had started to go off and developed a sour taste so cola was added to mask the flavour. I came across it in Paris after I met one of my brother’s friends who was from Argentina. She said the drink was also popular there, particularly in the Summer, but bartenders always gave her funny looks in Paris when she would order red wine and a cola and then pour in the cola while she was standing at the bar. I was still on my wine L plates at this stage, basically being force fed red wine because it’s Paris and that’s what you do in Paris, so I didn’t mind mixing things up while I still got accustomed to being a wine guy. We hear at the Cocktail Challenge like to jazz things up a bit, so we thought we’d make this drink a little more fancy with our favourite new wine. We decided to call it a Swindler’s Sangria because it is like a Sangria that a con man would try to sell you, a sneaky cheat version of the famous classic that’s just a bit different.

Swindler's Sangria

Kalimotxo

2 dashes Mister Bitters Pink Grapefruit Bitters

Red Wine (we used Hither & Yon Shiraz Cabernet)

Cola (we used Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola)

Lemon slice

Orange slice

 

In a high ball glass add a lot of ice and your dashes of bitters. Half fill the glass with red wine and then top with cola. Add your slices of fruit to the glass and you can squeeze some extra juice in there if you want it to be extra fruity (and why wouldn’t you darling?).

1410497258.350005.IMG_1934 1410497257.096683.IMG_1935

The people at fine wineries may cringe at our use of an excellent wine in the Swindler’s Sangria, but we decided to take the stance that you shouldn’t make a drink with something you wouldn’t drink on its own and Hither & Yon is something we’d damn well drink on its own. Plus the Fentiman’s Cola has quite a strong and pronounced flavour so we needed a wine that was equal to the task.

Swindler's Sangria

I think the best thing to say about the Swindler’s Sangria is that I got The Lady to drink it and she didn’t hate it! In fact she quite enjoyed it, much to her surprise. Success! The drink has a real Sangria sort of quality to it, hence the Swindler’s Sangria. You get this really lovely boozy fruit aroma that is just damn enticing. The Lady’s biggest concern was the cola and it just taking over everything but luckily it doesn’t. You can definitely adjust the ratio of red wine to cola but at 50/50 you get slightly toned down flavours of both the red wine and cola that allows them to blend together quite nicely. The flavours are definitely reminiscent of Sangria but it’s not as tart or as strong as the flavours haven’t had time to soak in. Basically if you’ve got a hankering for some Sangria right now (!) then this is the drink for you. In just a few ticks you can be sipping a delightful blend of fruits, red wine and subtle sweetness from the cola while imagining you’re in Spain soaking up the sun.

Swindler's Sangria

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Disclaimer: The Cocktail Challenge was provided a free sample bottle of Hither & Yon 2013 Shiraz Cabernet for a previous article. Although that post was sponsored all opinions are our own.

Something’s Changing Around Here

By The Gentleman and The Lady

 

After operating The Cocktail Challenge on and off for over a year we thought it was time for a change. Big things have been happening and we noticed it was starting to get a little more serious around here so we thought it was necessary to update our look so that it matched. This means business cards, because it’s business time. We used our connections and managed to come up with a design that matches the mood and look we are going for with the blog. It’s classy and playful, something that mixes old school style with new school design techniques. It’s like a wedding where we’ve got something old (the style), something new (the technique), something borrowed (the designer who is a good friend of ours and does some pretty cool work), and something blue…actually we don’t have anything blue, but 3 out of 4 ain’t bad. We’re pretty excited to be rolling out our new look for you, our loyal audience, and you will be able to find it across our blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram across the next few days.

Business Card

While the new look is super exciting four us we also can’t wait to tell you about our latest adventure involving Cocktail Challenge regulars Four Pillars. It’s something a little bit different for the blog but something we really enjoyed and hope to do more of in the future. Look out for it later in the week. In the meantime, stay classy internet.

Business Card

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