Now Serving – Modified Admiral

By The Gentleman

 

So the other night it was the midweek slump and The Lady was enjoying a night with the girls and I was on my lonesome catching up on House of Cards Season 2. All that political intrigue, backstabbing and Kevin Spacey Southern drawl made me work me up a mighty thirst. As I perused the bar I remembered there was an open bottle of Noilly Prat dry vermouth in the fridge from our adventures during Small Mouth Week that probably needed some attention while a bottle of Bulleit Rye Whiskey caught my eye  as aside from a recent sampling of Old Fashioned’s it’s not a spirit I recall using much. Looking at these two ingredients I wondered if there was a drink that combined the two and their is, an Admiral.

Modified Admiral

Modified Admiral

60ml Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

45ml Bulleit Rye Whiskey

45ml Fresh Orange Juice

2-3 dashes Bitter Tears Lucille Blood Orange and Ginger Bitters

Orange Peel

 

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vermouth, rye and orange juice. Shake to combine and to cool the mix. Use bitters to coat a rocks glass. Strain into glass. Squeeze peel over glass to release oils then drop into glass to garnish.

Modified Admiral

Now I’ve called my drink a Modified Admiral because, as this was a spur of the moment thing, I didn’t have the other essential ingredient. An Admiral typically uses lemon juice instead of orange juice but I didn’t have any lemons on hand and couldn’t bring myself to use the little squeeze bottle of lemon juice. Channeling my inner Frank Underwood I didn’t let such a minor thing stop me on my path to drinking greatness, so I improvised and ever so slightly bent the rules. I also decided, since I’m already not making a proper Admiral, to try and jazz it up a little bit hence upping the amount of rye for some extra spicyness and the bitters, to just give it a hint of something different.

Modified Admiral

The drink had quite a murky colour, murky like Frank Underwood’s morals. It is probably one of those times when it needed to be double-strained to further clarify it given the amount of orange juice. That aside this was quite an enjoyable drink to sip as I watched Kevin Spacey plot his next move up the political ladder, he so sly. It was easier to drink than I expected given the fact that it had over three shots of alcohol in it. There’s no horrible after-burn yet the orange juice also doesn’t make it overly sweet either which I was concerned it might. Instead it’s just a pleasant sipping drink with that lovely aroma of orange citrus from the peel, a hint of sweetness from the orange, some spicyness from the rye, a slight tang and a bold dry white wine flavour from the vermouth. The vermouth is certainly the dominant flavour but I think there’s enough from the orange and rye that there’s a bit more complexity which is quite nice.

Modified Admiral

Like one of Frank Underwood’s political opponents I didn’t see this coming. A spur of the moment drink, slightly tinkered with and over three shots of alcohol in it? That sounds like a recipe for disaster nine times out of ten. Still, somehow, this managed to be a very pleasant drink that was the perfect thing for a midweek wind down with some good TV. At least the unexpected result is an enjoyable one, unlike the recipients of a House of Cards style blindside. Seriously, those people, get screwed over so damn much.

Modified Admiral

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Small Mouth Week – On The Shelf – Small Mouth Vodka

By The Gentleman

 

So, this is the first post of a special week here at The Cocktail Challenge, it is our first sponsored week of posts! We are pretty excited, it makes us feel like real live bloggers. Soon, we’ll be jet-setting and getting fast-tracked entry into all the clubs. Wait, no, we’re meant to say how we do this because we love it and its fun and any opportunity like this that comes along is just a bonus because that is totally true. We really do do this because we love it and its fun and discovering and promoting brands like Small Mouth is what this is all about. So sit back, relax and enjoy Small Mouth Week – our look at Small Mouth Vodka.

Smallmouth Vodka

Based in New South Wales, Small Mouth Vodka is an organic Australian craft vodka founded by Chris Payton and Rohan Rivett. The vodka is copper pot distilled 9 times and charcoal filtered 3 times to give the vodka a fresher, pure taste. It is made without any preservatives, artificial additives, colours and flavours. Small Mouth joins a growing market of craft spirits in Australia, as producers put their beverage know how towards not only craft beer but premium spirits and people like us get to drink the excellent results. Small Mouth aims to be a more drinkable, sippable vodka that also goes great in cocktails.

Smallmouth Vodka

The folks at Small Mouth sent us a rather stylish little sample bottle. The blue and white gingham pattern on the back of the bottle in addition to the bright yellow wax seal reminds us of a summer picnic complete with a cute gingham picnic rug. The wax seal is also a classy little touch that gives the bottle some added style. The colours are gorgeous and vibrant, with the yellow popping out like citrus in a cocktail. It’s ultra eye catching and just so gosh darn adorable. Jon Hamm would probably say it has a simple classic design to highlight the fabulousity of the vodka.

Smallmouth Vodka

To taste the vodka, I whipped up The Lady and I an Extra Dry Vodka Martini. We’re still developing our martini pallet but thought to give the vodka a proper try it was really the perfect choice. The drink calls for drops of dry vermouth and 1ml of lemon juice but ain’t nobody got time to measure like that so it’s a little adjusted.

Extra Dry Martini

Extra Dry Small Mouth Martini

10ml Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

60ml Small Mouth Vodka

5-10ml lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Extra Dry Martini

Okay so firstly I really need to practice on my lemon twists. The internet keeps lying to me about how easy they are meant to be. So excuse the poor excuse for a lemon twist in the photos. I am quite ashamed. What is important is how the vodka tasted and on that front it was all positives. I have to admit that previously my experiences with vodka have been pretty typical and rather uninspiring. The occasional horrible shot at parties, vodka and insert mixer here where all you really taste is the mixer and buried under layers of other spirits and mixers in a cocktail where you wouldn’t even know you were having vodka. I had a friend who was rather well to do, she may or may not have technically been a Princess we still aren’t sure, and when we would go out she would always drink vodka on the rocks. We would look at her with a mix of disgust and astonishment as she downed these drinks. She always tried to tell us that if you have good quality vodka then it was really quite enjoyable. We just thought she was crazy and continued to drink our mixers and beers and such. I’d also bought into the whole idea that vodka is meant to be odorless and relatively tasteless. Small Mouth is definitely changing my idea about vodka. It’s not an infused vodka yet when you read on Small Mouth’s website that it contains hints of vanilla and citrus you actually believe them. I didn’t pick up on the vanilla very much, but that might have just been adding to the smell of the vodka which was very clean. The Lady thought the vodka had a very pleasant botanical scent that was so pleasant it reminded her of that very aromatic smell when you take a fresh cake out of the oven (I think she may be having a bit too much boozefood). We both thought the citrus was quite prominent and the Extra Dry Martini just amplified the citrus flavours. The citrus definitely makes it a far more drinkable vodka and you aren’t left with that awful gagging alcohol sensation or a desire to make it end as soon as possible. Don’t get me wrong this is still vodka and packs a powerful punch BUT with Small Mouth I can finally understand the idea of sipping vodka on the rocks. It was a much smoother experience that was altogether far more enjoyable than any other vodka I have had.

Smallmouth Vodka

So that’s our first post in Small Mouth Week. Think of it as the first date. We exchanged back stories, sussed each other out, shared a few awkward glances, took things slow and realised hey there’s actually a bit of a connection here. As you know things start to heat up on the second and third date and we can’t wait to get further acquainted with Small Mouth Vodka over the course of the week.

 

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

New Book- The Architecture of the Cocktail: Constructing the Perfect Cocktail from the Bottom Up

I may have been away from The Cocktail Challenge for a while but I have not been completely idle during that time. In the intervening months I have acquired a few more useful items, including this great book from Race Point Publishing titled The Architecture of the Cocktail: Constructing the Perfect Cocktail from the Bottom Up. The book is written by Amy Zavatto, who writes about wine, spirits and food for numerous websites, and drawn by Melissa Wood, with recipes and tips on how to build the perfect libation.

The Architecture of the Cocktail

The Architecture of the Cocktail

What really caught my eye with this book, apart from the fact it is about cocktails, is the unusual yet somewhat logical choice of using architectural blueprint style drawings to convey how to construct the perfect cocktail. Everyone knows mixing a good cocktail requires a lot of skill, otherwise you end up drinking a glass of rocket fuel, and for the amateur this means some solid directions on how to get there are essential.

Archi2

The book breaks down the process of crafting a cocktail beautifully and I love the way they have crafted unique symbols for the different element in cocktail making, giving the book a style and character all its own.

Archi3

With 75 recipes included the book covers most of your classic cocktails like the Manhattan, Cosmopolitan, Zombie and Corpse Reviver. I’m particularly interested in making a Bronx cocktail. They say nothing soft comes out of the Bronx and this mix of gin, sweet and dry vermouth and orange juice promises to deliver a full on hit of carefully constructed refreshing flavour. The book is stylish addition to any home mixers library.

The Bronx Coctail

The Bronx Coctail

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