Now Serving – Paddington’s Gin

By The Gentleman

Do you know who loves marmalade? Paddington freaking Bear that’s who. No honey for this sophisticated little duffle coat wearing chap. Only marmalade sandwiches will do. We’re no Peruvian bears, but we certainly think Paddington is on to something with his marmalade obsession so we decided to mix Paddington’s obsession with our own, cocktails!

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Paddington’s Gin

60ml Melbourne Gin Co Gin

15ml Honey Syrup

15ml Lemon Juice

3 tsp Four Pillars Orange Marmalade

Orange peel to garnish

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Prepare your honey syrup by combining equal parts honey and hot water. Stir to combine the two and leave to cool down. Put some ice in a martini or coupe glass to chill it. Grab your cocktail shaker and add the gin and marmalade. Stir the two together so the marmalade will get nicely incorporated into the drink instead of freezing to the ice (trust me it happens). Add the other ingredients and lots of ice. Shake hard. Remove the ice from your glass and pour in (you can strain it to get any bits of marmalade out). Twist your orange peel over the drink to release the oils then drop in.

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While we don’t condone giving alcohol to bears, particularly those targeted at a children’s audience, we certainly think Paddington would approve of the healthy orange marmalade aroma the drink maintains. It smells like a jar of orange marmalade and the flavour has a big orange punch. It’s a nice and tart citrus hit with a hint of bitterness, which pairs very well with the orange in the Melbourne Gin Co gin. It should also be noted that this was probably the perfect cocktail marmalade because it’s made with the oranges Four Pillars use in their gin. So they’ve been steamed and distilled in the botanicals of the gin to give them some extra spice flavour. This isn’t Paddington’s ordinary marmalade, but something a little special. We were concerned the drink may have been too sweet, more something that rapscallion Winnie The Pooh would like, but the honey provides a subtle sweetness that helps to balance out some of the tart bitterness of the marmalade. We couldn’t be bothered straining the drink so there were a few bits of orange skin, but they just provided a bit of character and texture to the drink (at lest that’s how we are justifying our laziness).

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Pack up your suitcase, put on your red hat, grab your duffle coat, and crack open the marmalade, it’s time to treat yourself to some children’s character inspired cocktails. You know you deserve it.

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Now Serving – Cinnamon Bee’s Knees

By The Gentleman

Cinnamon Bee's Knees

Today on the Cocktail Challenge we have a bit of a blast from the past for you. We’ve revisited the first drink we ever made on the Cocktail Challenge, the Bee’s Knees. God we really didn’t have any idea what we were doing back then. Not that we have much idea what we were doing then, we’re just better at faking it now. We always said we wanted to come back to it so we did, putting a little twist on it by giving it a cinnamon boost.

 

Cinnamon Bee’s Knees

60ml Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gin

30ml Cinnamon honey syrup

30ml Lemon Juice

Ice

Cinnamon stick to garnish

 

Prep your martini glass by filling it with ice. Then grab your cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Pour in the gin, honey syrup and lemon juice. Shake it hard for about 20 seconds. Remove the ice from glasses and strain in. Garnish with your cinnamon stick.

Cinnamon Bee's Knees

Cinnamon Honey Syrup

2tbs cinnamon infused honey

2tbs hot water

1/4 cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Place the honey in a bowl. Pour over the hot water and stir until the honey has melted to create a syrup. Add in the ground cinnamon and cinnamon stick. Leave to infuse for about 15-20 minutes and then remove the cinnamon stick. Place in the fridge to cool. I already had a cinnamon infused honey to start with. If you don’t then up then double the amount of cinnamon and leave it to infuse for closer to 30 minutes.

Cinnamon Bee's Knees

It’s nice to know that after investing countless time and money into our cocktail habit we have improved marginally. This time we even managed to do the honey right, getting a little bit fancy and adding some cinnamon because cinnamon makes everything better. There was no solidified honey in the shaker for us, oh no. That bad boy got mixed in real good. The sweeter Barrel Aged Gin also definitely provides a different flavour than the London No.3 Dry Gin we used last time. The gin is less in your face, mixing nicely with the lemon and honey. The drink overall is much sweeter, with the cinnamon providing a delicious aroma and just a bit of a tingling sensation on your tongue and lips. It’s not an overly strong cinnamon flavour, but something surprisingly subtle. A touch less on the lemon juice may allow the cinnamon to shine through even more. Really this was just something that was very easy to drink mixing two of our favourite things, gin and cinnamon.

Cinnamon Bee's Knees

Sometimes a trip down memory lane is a bad thing and looking over the first post on the Cocktail Challenge was a bit cringe worthy. We were such noobs. Luckily the Cinnamon Bee’s Knees made it worth the reflection.

 

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Now Serving – Four Sailors

By The Lady

 

This weekend just gone, we were feeling a little adventurous! So, we decided to use our new favourite navy strength gin Four Pillars Gunpowder Proof Gin and incorporate it into a delicious cocktail. We wanted to stay in keeping with the nautical theme, so we decided to give our drink the navy/at sea/beachy touch and whip up something that will see off scurvy in style. So, we present to you the Four Sailors.

Four Sailors

Four Sailors :

60mL Four Pillars Gunpowder Proof Gin

200 ml Coconut Milk

2 Kiwi Fruit

1/2 lime (juice and rind)

1/2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract

A pinch of shredded coconut

 

Blitz the kiwi fruit and coconut milk in a blender. Add to your cocktail shaker with the gin, lime juice, vanilla and ice. Shake vigorously. To prepare your glass, rim with lime juice (you can just use the juiced lime half to run around the rim of the glass as there should be some moisture left in the glass). After you have done this, coat the rim of the glass where the lime juice is with coconut. Strain your cocktail into a cocktail glass then top with lime zest, coconut and wedge of kiwi fruit for decoration.

Four Sailors

You’ll really think summer is here when you start sipping on this lovely cocktail. It’s so fruity and fresh with a delightful creaminess. We really needed some coconut halves and little umbrellas to really do it justice. You can dial back the coconut milk a bit depending on your penchant for coconut. It does make it quite a filling drink, so don’t plan on having too many. Either way it is full of flavour. The lime juice provides a sweet/sour combination that hits you after the creaminess of the coconut. The coconut rim changes up the texture and gives you a bit of a toasted flavour and the Gunpowder Gin is perfect because it has that extra punch it doesn’t get lost in all the other flavours. It lurks in the background and provides a pleasant boozy hit to finish with.

Four Sailors

Whether you’re prepping for a long sea voyage or a long day relaxing by the pool the Four Sailors is sure to keep you happy, just keep an eye on the horizon for pirates.

Four Sailors

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On The Shelf – Four Pillars Gunpowder Proof Gin

By The Lady

Four Pillars Gunpowder Gin

A few weeks back, we were lucky enough to attend the Adelaide launch of Four Pillars Gin and were one of a few to sample, prior to the release date, the great and powerful Gunpowder Proof Gin. At the launch, we were all told the story behind the name of the gin which we found rather interesting. Back “in the olden days”, sailors in the navy were provided with a supply of gin and those clever sailors suspected that perhaps their beloved liquor was being watered down. In order to test this hypothesis, they mixed a sample of their gin with gunpowder and set it alight. If the gin fired up, then it got the sailor seal of approval. However if it did not catch on fire, those sailors were not happy chaps! Hence, gunpowder gin offers us “proof” that it is a big deal, highly boozy, super tasty gin!

Four Pillars Gunpowder

Four Pillars have emulated their classic, timeless label design and incorporated a “navy” feel by replacing the copper and black for royal blue and crisp white. We already love the Rare Dry Gin as well as the Barrel Aged Gin, so it is no surprise that we are falling for the dapper design and smooth flavours of the navy strength Gunpowder Proof Gin that continues to rock native Australian flavours, this time in the shape of finger limes.

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Dapper Design in all its glory! (L) Rare Dry Gin (R) Gunpowder Proof Gin

Clearly, it was a given that we were going to have to add this one to our liquor cabinet! After receiving our very own bottle in the mail, we decided to put it in a glass and have ourselves a good time. We opted for a variation on a classic gin and tonic, which we must say was refreshingly tasty. We’ve decided to call it the Gunpowder G&T.

 

In the Gunpowder G&T, we used :

45ml Four Pillars Gunpowder Proof Gin

Juice of half a grapefruit

3 sprigs of fresh coriander

2 wedges of lime. Squeeze in juice of one and one for garnish

Ice

Schweppes Indian Tonic Water

 

In a cocktail shaker, mix the gin, leaves from two sprigs of coriander and grapefruit juice with ice. Strain into a tall glass. Top with tonic water and the lime juice. Add a few coriander leaves on the top to decorate.

Gunpowder G&T

The resulting drink was very delicious and the perfect accompaniment for a warm evening. The gin and tonic was very herbal with the coriander providing a very different flavour for a G&T. We think that all the extra ingredients pair well with the big flavour of the Gunpowder Proof Gin, which does a nice job of standing up to the coriander and grapefruit and making its presence felt. The new gin uses turmeric for an added earthy character and we think the coriander played nicely with those notes in the gin. Also speaking of grapefruit, it gives a really nice bitterness and a touch of sweetness that the lime picks up on as well so you’re treated to a whole host of wonderful flavours. Additionally, our Gunpowder G&T had a gorgeous colour and fragrant scent.

Gunpowder G&T

Similar to the Barrel Aged Gin, this one has a limited release due to the seasonal ingredients (mainly finger limes!) that are used. So, we recommend snapping up a bottle quickly if you want one in your life. Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t need quality Australian made navy strength liquor in their life?

Gunpowder G&T

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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

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Now Serving – Blood Orange Collins

By The Gentleman

Four Pillars

A little while ago The Lady and I were lucky enough to secure a bottle of Four Pillars limited run Barrel Aged Gin. We were so pleased with the original Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin that staying up till midnight on World Gin Day to ensure we got a bottle was a small price to pay. We’ve had the bottle for sometime now but never got around to properly trying it out. Rightly we’ve now rectified that, making a variation of the classic Tom Collins.

Four Pillars

We chose to make a Tom Collins style drink based on the exceptionally stylish little recipe book that came with our bottle of Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gin. It contains a few classic recipes you can make with the Barrel Aged Gin. It’s just a really nice touch that shows the dedication and care taken to deliver an awesome product by Four Pillars. The design of the bottle continues that dedication to style, as the bottle has the same aesthetic as the original Rare Dry Gin. The lighter tones echo the colour of the aged gin quite nicely and the two bottles look quite dashing on the shelf.

Four Pillars

Blood Orange Collins
60ml Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gin
45 ml Blood Orange Juice
15 ml Simple Syrup
Fever Tree Soda Water
Ice

Build the drink in a high ball glass filled with ice. Top with soda water. Add a fancy straw. I opted to grill my blood oranges a little bit with some sugar, but it’s not really an essential step. Simple syrup is also extremely easy to make, just combine 1 cup of sugar, I used caster sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. When it has dissolved remove from the heat to cool, then refrigerate. It’ll last a little while, but if you up the ratio to 2 cups sugar to 1 cup water you’re syrup will last even longer.

Blood Orange Collins

Pouring in the soda water generates this delicious looking foam on the top of the drink, a lovely bright orange colour. Overall the blood orange juice gives the drink a gorgeous colour. It’s fun watching it change from the deep red to this light orange as the soda water does its thing. I know that classically a Tom Collins is made with lemon juice, but the blood orange is a fine substitute. It not only makes it look amazing but it has a really lovely flavour. The blood orange isn’t overly sweet, but it’s also not too sour or tart. As Goldilocks would say, it’s just right. It also pairs really well with the Barrel Aged Gin. Really any citrus would as the Barrel Aged Gin has a strong citrus flavour. The blood orange also works quite well with the sweetness of the gin to give you a very fresh, refreshing and light drink that has just enough zesty bite to remind why the Tom Collins is a classic cocktail.

Blood Orange Collins

As the Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gin is a limited production there’s little chance of getting another bottle. That means we can’t waste any on subpar drinks. Luckily the Blood Orange Collins is anything but a sub-par drink. Gorgeous in colour, delightful in flavour, not a drop of Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gin was wasted in its creation. If you were lucky enough to pick up a bottle, or have any other good gin hanging around, then brighten up your Winter with this delicious drink.

Blood Orange Collins

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Now Serving – Yarratini

By The Lady

 

While it is true that James Bond gets many things right, I always wonder why he opts for the “vodka martini – shaken, not stirred”.

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(L) Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (R) Causes & Cures Semi Dry White Vermouth

 

After recently adding to our On The Shelf collection some lovely Yarra Valley goods, I thought The Gentleman and I should give this old classic a go. Having been very delighted after trying both Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin and Causes & Cures Semi Dry White Vermouth, as well as the fact that they are neighbours, it seemed only natural to create a modern Australian twist on an old fashioned favourite. We named it : The Yarratini – shaken, not stirred.

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We used :

40mL Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin

10mL Causes & Cures Semi Dry White Vermouth

Lemon twist

Ice (for the shaker)

 

Add all the ingredients to your cocktail shaker. Shake like crazy. Pour into your fancy martini glasses. Use a strainer to ensure only the liquor (not ice cubes) end up in your glass. Garnish with a lemon twist (I need to work on my garnish cutting skills … )

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The first time I ever had a martini was about a week after I turned eighteen. Thinking I would attempt being all suave and sophisticated, I ordered said drink. All I remember of that night was that it was a very strong and boozy drink.  Luckily for us, our Yarratini was a much more smooth and refined version of the cheap impostor I sampled back in the day. Yes, it certainly was a strong drink (it does have 50mL of alcohol after all!) but it was the sophisticated drink I had hoped and dreamed for many years ago. Given that the Four Pillars Gin is made using whole oranges and the Causes & Cures Vermouth suggests the pairing with oranges,  I was definitely able to taste the orange flavour coming through. This delightful orange tone was a pleasant and unexpected surprise, which made me want to try it in the future with some sort of orange addition to further enhance the flavour. It may be the liquor talking, but I also thought I could taste a rose flavour coming through. I personally LOVE anything rose flavoured, so again, this has inspired me to partake in some rose-flavoured cocktail making!

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The Yarratini was a very tasty and grown-up cocktail although I wouldn’t drink too many in one sitting for fear of my oh so dignified self becoming not so dignified! Moderation is the key! Yay for the power of our Yarra Valley friends at Four Pillars and Causes & Cures to get you smashed in a stylish and quasi modern Australian James Bond style!

 

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