On The Shelf – By Jingo Wines Nero Rosso

By The Lady

By Jingo! Nero Russo

We, dear readers, are very lucky ducks! A dear friend of ours spoiled us this Christmas by giving us a bottle of By Jingo! Nero Rosso.

By Jingo! Nero Russo

By Jingo! are a South Australian winery who focus on growing grapes and making wines that suit the areas in which they are produced. With grapes sourced from vineyard areas such as Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Southern Fleurieu, you know their wines are going to be tasty as a wine can be. In fact, the Nero Rosso includes grapes that were grown above the nudist beach at Maslin’s Beach so you know things are bound to get a little funky at By Jingo! They also have on offer a range of unique blends, which is both exciting and refreshing.

By Jingo! Nero Russo

The Nero Rosso itself is a perfect red wine to enjoy on a hot summer’s day and boy has it been hot lately. All we want to do is sit back, sip some damn fine wine, and try not to stick to the couch. This beauty has such a grace about it and goes down so easily, qualities we are lacking as we slowly melt. The Nero Rosso combines the likes of a Grenache, Montepulciano as well as a Zinfandel. Personally, I can really taste the summery notes of the Montepulciano coming through in this wine. It has a deep red colour and a full-bodied flavour of dark berries and currants, yet it’s quite light at the same time. The mouthfeel is actually quite fresh and very smooth with lots of nice fruit flavours and just a hint of tart, acidic tannins. You can easily polish off the whole bottle in one sitting, it’s sneaky good that way, and it’s the perfect bottle to just pick up drink no questions asked.

By Jingo! Nero Russo

Their label design is also spot on. The names of the wine and winery are encased by a plethora of beautiful, colourful blooms and fruits. Again, the fresh and summery taste of the wine truly shines through their label design. As I looked at the bottle, even prior to opening it, I was able to imagine the fragrant smells and textures of the Nero Rosso by way of the dapper design on By Jingo’s graphics. It was a very inviting label, offering up a veritable cornucopia for the eyes and we definitely got a bit of a hot flush in anticipation when we saw it or maybe that was just the oppressive heat.

 

So, if summer is totally your jam and you’re in the mood for a red, we suggest you pick up a bottle of By Jingo! wine to enjoy on a balmy summer eve with friends aplenty.

 

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Out & About – Thrift Shop Bar

By The Lady

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Image courtesy of Thrift Shop Bar Facebook page.

For a long, long time now, we have been meaning to check out Thrift Shop Bar. This little gem boasts an impressive range of 100% Australian Spirits, as well as locally produced wine and beer. We heard that all the cool kids were going there, so as we are clearly (oh so) cool, we felt it our duty to partake in a slice of the Thrift Shop Bar pie! To our delight, there was a wine tasting on that evening by one of our new favourites Delinquente Wine Co., so we both agreed that it was the perfect opportunity to head on down.

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Image courtesy of Thrift Shop Bar Facebook page.

The bar has a unique and refreshing vibe about it. The furniture is foraged from local op-shops. One feature wall is plastered with what looks like old sheet music and the light shades are pre-loved vintage dresses. My particular favourite touch from the bar was the old school glassware. It really reminded me of my grandpa and his home bar he used to love. He would have loved sipping on a whiskey or two at Thrift Shop Bar, that I am sure of!

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Image courtesy of Thrift Shop Bar Facebook page.

Throughout the evening, we had several drinks, all of which were equally as delightful. Firstly, we started off with a tasting from Delinquente Wine Co. We started with the Screaming Betty Vermentino, which had a lovely refreshing flavour perfect for hot, Australian summer days. We then sampled the Pretty Boy Nero D’avola Rosato which was described as “a rosé for those who don’t drink rosé”. We can’t agree any more with this sentiment. The Pretty Boy is a perfect gateway wine to the world of rosé if one were so inclined to follow that path in life. Finally, we sampled Roxanne the Razor Nero D’avola & Montepulciano. Personally, I would have to say this was my favourite out of the bunch. It is incredibly easy to drink and would go well with a variety of meals yet it would also be perfect by itself. As you all know already, we loved The Bullet Dodger Montepulciano when we tried it a few weeks back, so it’s really no surprise that we are digging the other flavours that DWC have on offer.

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Gingerbread Black Russian (L), Popcorn Sour (R)

Then, we were drawn to the vast cocktail menu. As it is scarily close to Christmas, I opted for the Gingerbread Black Russian. Oh my, this was tasty. The drink had a perfect blend of spiciness and richness. It really did taste light naughty, alcoholic gingerbread men too! The Gentleman opted for the Popcorn Sour which was oh so buttery. The drink had a lovely creaminess also, and tasted particularly like a lemon meringue pie with a hint of sour citrus. We are now 100% convinced that we must invest in a bottle of 666 Autumn Butter Vodka that was used to create this delightful cocktail. Really, what is not to love about the marriage of butter and vodka? We here at Cocktail Challenge HQ are clearly prepping our stomachs for food galore on the 25th as we are continually drawn to foodie cocktails. Delicious! Whilst drinking these cocktails, the bartender who made them came and sat down next to us and spoke about how he had created the two cocktails we had selected. He was very informative by explaining the creation process and it added that extra personal touch to Thrift Shop Bar.

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Storm In A Teapot

Then, we decided to share a “Pot Tail” .i.e a cocktail inside a teapot. Yes people, shit just got real. We decided to go for the Storm in a Teapot, because it sounded delightful and we loved the name. Again, a lovely spiciness and rich flavour engulfed us in a refreshing and festive manner. We could really tell that the ginger beer was homemade, with lovely natural and zesty notes. The spiced rum was a perfect addition to this pot tail! Ho ho ho indeed! The Storm In A Teapot was beautifully presented, being served in an elegant gold teapot with cute little teacups to boot that made you look damn fancy while you were drinking it.

 

Finally, we polished off the evening with two different glasses of Delinquente Wine – the Pretty Boy Nero D’avola Rosato and the Roxanne the Razor NDM.  Also, we were never without free popcorn and we think we may have consumed our body weight in popcorn that evening!

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Pretty Boy Nero D’avola Rosato (L) Roxanne the Razor NDM (R)

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our Thrift Shop Bar experience. We are always happy to drink in a gorgeous setting, especially when the establishment is as enthusiastic about Australian liquor as we are. Onya Thrift Shop!

 

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Now Serving – Cocktail Kit Espresso Martini

By The Lady

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Gorgeous packaging from Cocktail Kit. Most definitely dapper design. Top marks for presentation!

 

We love making, buying and drinking cocktails, we’ll just put that out there. While we have built up a collection of equipment and ingredients, we understand that it must be hard for some people to get into cocktail making mode when they are lacking all the essential utensils and liquors. Instead of overwhelming yourselves with the thousands of different liquors you can buy or the millions of different recipes you might want to try, we suggest starting with something simpler that will provide you with all the right clues towards a fabulous first cocktail experience. We suggest that you check out Cocktail Kit, who deliver all the ingredients to your door and do everything but make it for you!

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Cocktail Kit is a brand spanking new website run by local legend Steve of Steve The Bartender. Basically, the website is a subscription service which offers either monthly or one off subscriptions where you can have a mixture of liquors sent to you based upon a feature monthly cocktail. Additionally, if you have a few extra ingredients in your cupboard, the kind people at Cocktail Kit provide guidance for a few extra cocktail recipes based upon those sent out that month. You can also purchase the one off Bar Kit, which provides all the tools needed to turn you into a master mixologist. Not only that, but the subscription also offers you exclusive access their online portal where you will find instructional videos and hints on how to create the perfect cocktails! (The online area wasn’t open when we received our sample, but we’ll be back to check it out later.)

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We think this is a great service as it helps make cocktail making more approachable and a whole lot easier for those who want to dabble in the bartender ways! It can always be tricky when you are looking at a cocktail recipe only to find that you must buy several ingredients, but Cocktail Kit provides all the ingredients you need to make each months feature cocktail. Hooray! Plus you can also choose between the Entertainer Kit, which comes with full-size bottles and will let you dazzle your friends, or the Sample Kit, which provides adorable little miniatures so you can try a bunch of cocktails on a budget.

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With the ingredients and instructions sent to us by Cocktail Kit, this is how we made our Espresso Martini, which is the first kit from the Cocktail Kit …

Espresso Martini:

30mL 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka (PS peeps … 666 have an awesome website! Turn the volume up)

30mL Tia Maria

30mL Little Drippa Cold Drip Coffee

Ice (for preparation)

 

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Place some ice cubes in your martini glass to chill. Also half fill your cocktail shaker with ice (we used the Boston shaker sent to us by Cocktail Kit and prayed the whole time that we had smacked it on correctly). Add all the ingredients into the cocktail shaker and shake what your mama gave you … oh and also shake the cocktail shaker too! Empty the ice from the cocktail glass and strain the tasty liquor into your glass. We garnished with a few coffee beans because we so fancy, but it would be just as delicious without.

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Double straining like a mofo

 

Ta da! How easy is that! Hint : so freaking easy! The Espresso Martini was very tasty with the Tia Maria giving it a sweeter, smoother flavour, but it still has that coffee and vodka kick. It was very easy to drink, easy to prepare, and tasted damn good. What more could you ask for?

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We highly recommend the Cocktail Kit subscription service. We think it is the perfect way to break into the world of cocktails and an ideal gift, especially with Christmas right around the corner (get in quick to place your order for the first kit). I think it makes it so easy and affordable to whip up quick and delicious cocktails without even having to leave the house for ingredients! It’s beautifully packaged and the recipe provided great results. Plus, it gave us an excuse to partake in a cheeky pre-lunch cocktail. Morning coffee anybody?

 

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Disclaimer: The Cocktail Challenge was provided a free “The Sampler” Cocktail Kit as well as a Bar Kit for this article. Although this post is sponsored all opinions are our own.

On The Shelf – Delinquente Wines Montepulciano

By The Lady

“Sometimes you’ve got to heed the call of the wild child within. Sometimes you’ve got to go home with a bunch of grapes who’re ugly as sin”

Girl, you know we went home with those “ugly as sin” grapes and showed them the time of their lives. By drinking them.
Bullet Dodger
We here at The Cocktail Challenge always like to keep our eyes peeled for dapper looking, locally made liquor. As soon as we saw the labels of Delinquente Wine Co., we knew that we needed to have some. We have been wanting to try this one out for AGES. Finally, we stumbled upon this beauty during a browsing sesh at East End Cellars and we felt like we’d hit the jackpot.
Bullet Dodger
Delinquente Wines are a local crew, sourcing their grapes in the Riverland and producing their wine here in South Australia. Not only do they kick ass already by being a small batch local wine producer, but they also ensure that their wines are vegan friendly. While The Gentleman is just about the opposite of a vegan, I myself dabble in the ways of veganity. Many people are not aware, but a great deal of liquor makes use of the ingredients that render their products as not suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Luckily, the vegos and vegans of the world can now get their draaank on with Delinquente Wine Co!

Bullet Dodger
The artwork for their labels and their website is created by local street artist Ankles. All of their current wines are presented in a very similar design style with each featuring their own heavily tattooed badass character to personify the wine. The Montepulciano features “The Bullet Dodger” character, with his heavily tattooed face, mullet hair and pouted lips. We love the little story Delinquente have printed on the back of the bottle to introduce us to “The Bullet Dodger”, it just gives the wine extra character and intrigue. Plus it’s quite hilarious as we all know exactly the type of person Delinquente are describing. Other bottles present an illustrated Pretty Boy and a stylised Screaming Betty.  I have seen Ankles work out and about in Adelaide and have loved the artist’s style for a long time. Really, it is no surprise that I am swooning over Delinquente Wine Co and their inked individuals.
Bullet Dodger
The wine itself is incredibly easy to drink and rather delicious. It has a rather light colour and a touch of translucency (is this a word? After polishing off the whole bottle it is definitely a word). The lighter plum colour was unexpected, but still a delightful looking glass o’ wine. The scent of The Bullet Dodger is full of fruity and berry scents with a creamy texture to boot! It is very light and we feel it would go perfectly with a number of meals, or also suitable on its own. It leaves this lovely spiciness on your tongue which would stand up perfectly on its own or compliment a meal rather well. They refer to the grapes they use as “ugly” but think this wine is anything but. The Bullet Dodger is a beautiful wine inside and out.
Bullet Dodger
We are thoroughly looking forward to continuing our Delinquente ways by trying some of their other tasty treats. We’ll keep you posted on which tattooed creatures we next meet!

Bullet Dodger

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On the Shelf – Lobo Cyser

By The Gentleman

 

By now it is pretty obvious that we pretty much cleaned out the Lobo Cider display at the Adelaide Farmer’s Market. They just had so many interesting and tasty things on offer that we could not resist. Lucky for you we have left the best for last, the very unusual Lobo Cyser.

Lobo Cyser

Cyser, if you didn’t know (and boy we did not know), is the traditional name for mead that has been made with apple juice and fermented honey. The Lobo Cyser is made with apple juice, quince juice and fermented honey from their neighbours honey bees and it’s also blended with some herbs and spices. It’s safe to say that this is the first Cyser we have tasted and it’s not something we would normally drink, but we just could not get over the label.

Lobo Cyser

We love that Lobo are quite dedicated to their wolf-men packaging, but the Cyser represents quite a departure from the Norman Cloudy Apple and Dry Pear Ciders. These guys were dapper, sophisticated wolves about town. The Cyser wolf, instead, is some tripped out version of the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. Oh Cyser wolf, you so crazy. He’s a little bit dapper, but like someone who’s got addicted and is just trying to keep it together. Those bees make some powerful stuff. We love the way he’s salivating over the honey bee hive looking for that next hit of sweet, sweet honey gold.

Lobo Cyser

A sweet, sweet honey hit it has. Damn son. This thing is basically a dessert wine for cider, or cyser. You need to have committed to not eating any more food before cracking it open because it will need all of your attention. That honey sweetness demands that you sit down and sip it as the sweetness level has been taken to the very edge. The sourness of the apple and quince do enough to stop it going over the edge. I think the sweetness also hides the fact that this is quite potent little beverage, weighing in at 10.4%, although is that high or low for fermented apple & honey mead? We don’t even know, but for something that comes in this small a bottle it seems high, but the sweetness masks any overly boozy flavour. Underneath the sweet and sour we can definitely detect some of the mystery herbs and spices, possibly cinnamon, but we would probably need to have a few more to really work it out (it’s a hard life we know).

Lobo Cyser

Well that’s the end of our Lobo Cider and Cyser adventure. Those crazy wolves at Lobo certainly know what they are doing, crafting some good looking and fine tasting beverages and hey, now we can say we’ve tasted fermented apple and honey mead, can you?

Lobo Cyser

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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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