Now Serving – Pommie Pimm’s Jug

By The Lady

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Our final installment in the Pomegranate Trilogy is a twist on a British classic. We had some much fun with the Tangy Friday, and got a bit fancy with the What A Steal!, this time we wanted to go back to one of our favourites. Ages ago, we spoke about mixing up some delicious Pimm’s Cups, and at a recent party that we hosted, we thought the best way to wow our guests was to get our jugs (of Pimm’s) out. Not long after the party, we were gifted the bag ‘o’ pomegranates and knew that some were destined to be in our recently revived classic. We present to you our Pommie Pimm’s Jug!

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Pommie Pimm’s Jug (Makes four tall glasses):

1 orange cut into slices

1 lime cut into slices

1/2 a cucumber cut into slices

8 strawberries, sliced

Pomegranate Seeds from 1 pomegranate

60mL Vanilla Simple Syrup (from the What a Steal!)

120mL Pimm’s

90mL Kangaroo Island Spirits Old Tom Aged Gin

Juice of 1 Pomegranate

Lemonade to serve

Ice, to serve

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Add all the chopped fruit, chopped cucumber, and the pomegranate seeds, as well as the Pimm’s, the gin, the Vanilla Simple Syrup, and the pomegranate juice into large bowl to leave to infuse. Sit for about 10-15 minutes. Half fill a tall glass with the Pimm’s mixture and some ice. Top your glass with lemonade. Add a fancy straw, and umbrella, and you’ve got yo’self a tasty Pommie Pimm’s Jug!

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We’re pretty happy with our twist on one of our favourite classics. The pomegranates and vanilla syrup gave the drink a unique flavour perfect for surprising and impressing your friends. The Pommie Pimm’s Jug had a lovely cucumber scent as well as an intensely delightful fruity flavour. The pomegranate definitely added an extra layer of sweetness, tartness, and an overall tasty goodness! The Vanilla Syrup is a perfect addition and helps to balance out all the flavours from the fruit, cucumber, and liquor. We’re a big fan of fruit, so we suggest when you’re pouring these out, make sure to spoon lots of fruit into your glass.

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So next time you’re hosting a party and want to get your jugs out, keep it classy and make your guests the Pommie Pimm’s Jug!

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Now Serving – What A Steal!

By The Lady

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Following the delicious results of our first pomegranate cocktail, we take it up a notch with our next installment. In take two in our Pomegranate Trilogy, we wanted to spice things up a little …  and we really mean spice things up! Again, we were so lucky to have been given for FREE(!) a sizable bag ‘o’ pomegranates, it was such a steal! Given this, we think what better to use than Stolen Spiced Rum! We invite you to take a gander at our newest cocktail – What A Steal!

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A new favourite: Settler’s Gin

What A Steal:

30mL Stolen Spiced Rum

30mL Settlers Rare Dry Gin

30mL Pomegranate Juice

15mL Vanilla Simple Syrup

Half a punnet of raspberries

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Make your vanilla syrup by prepping a 1:1 simple syrup (equal parts water and caster sugar) then add some Bourbon Vanilla Powder. We made half a cup of vanilla syrup and used roughly a quarter of a teaspoon of powder because it is pretty strong stuff. Once your syrup is ready muddle your raspberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add your spiced rum, gin, pomegranate juice, and vanilla syrup. Shake it baby, shake it with ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a few extra raspberries if you feel so inclined.

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We have to say, we are digging the vanilla and rum combo. It’s kind of like a fruity, non-chocolatey truffle … if that makes sense! The vanilla, rum, and pomegranate give the drink a gorgeous aroma that immerses you in a plethora of spices and vanilla goodness. This drink was not as tangy and tart as our first pomegranate drink, but it was still as tasty. I think the What A Steal is much more of a rich drink and has a beautiful depth to the flavours included. Interestingly, the cocktail was not as fruity as you might expect it to be but was still suitably fruit flavoured. Really, the drink was more musky and woody rather than overly fruity and had an intriguing spicy aftertaste.

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We hope that you give the What A Steal a try next time you get your hands on some pomegranates. We most certainly enjoyed shaking these beauties up … and drinking them too!

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Now Serving – Tangy Friday

By The Lady

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Just putting it out there … pomegranate is somewhat of a magical fruit. We were lucky enough to be given a large bag full of pomegranates from a friend who has a tree in her back yard. Because we’re all about dem flavours at Cocktail Challenge HQ, we simply couldn’t resist a bag ‘o’ tasty, magical fruit! As we had so so many pomegranates, we decided to make a handful of cocktails to inspire, delight, and amaze y’all. Or maybe it had something to do with us craving some cocktails …

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For Christmas, The Gentleman was kind enough to gift me some Settler’s Gin. This beautiful newcomer is a South Australian made gin (yeah boy!), so naturally we had to bust this bad boy open for a cocktail worthy of its gorgeous liquor. Also, we’re all about supporting local, especially if it means we get to drink gin. Here here!

Tangy Friday:

45mL Settler’s Gin

15mL Simple Syrup

30mL Pomegranate juice

30mL Lemon juice

Add all of your ingredients into a cocktail shaker with lots of ice ice baby. Shake it all up then strain it all out into a fancy pants chilled glass. Drink. Repeat. If you like, you can also place a few extra whole pomegranate seeds into the glass. This adds and extra tangy bite at the end of the drink!

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To make our pomegranate juice, we placed the pomegranate seeds into a blender and pulsed away. Then, we strained the juice to remove the pulp and voila! Pomegranate juice. Easy as pie!

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If you’re feeling the need for a cocktail to perk you up and keep you vibrant, the Tangy Friday is certainly the one. The drink was pretty gosh darn tasty with a bitey, tangy kick. Saaaaah tangy! As you can see, the colour of the pomegranate juice in this drink added a gorgeous, inviting appearance to the drink and was clearly destined to be added to a cocktail. We’re loving the hit of the pomegranate flavour in combination with the SA great Settler’s Gin too. Keeping it local, keeping it real at The Cocktail Challenge. Please note though that it is super easy to drink, so if you’re needing to operate heavy machinery, limit yourself (if you have the willpower).

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So, if you get your hands on some damn fine Settler’s Gin and some pomegranates at the same time, we highly recommend busting out your shaker and getting some Tangy Friday action!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 – So French 75

By The Gentleman

So French 75

Tea, if you haven’t realised by now, is a great addition to your cocktail repertoire. This is already our fourth experiment with using tea in a cocktail and we aren’t planning on stopping anytime soon. The complex and delicious flavours of your favourite tea blend can lend a different element to your drink of choice. That’s the approach we took with our So French 75, which ramps up the flavour of the classic French 75 with a delicious concentrate made from Sydney based T Totaler’s French Early Grey Loose Leaf Tea (see what we did there, French tea for a French 75).  Props to With Food + Love for the inspiration.

T Totaler French Earl Grey

French Earl Grey Tea Concentrate

5 tsp T Totaler French Early Grey Loose Leaf Tea

1 cup boiling water

4 tsps candied cinnamon honey

 

First you need to make your tea concentrate, which doubles as the sweetness (simple syrup) you would normally add to a French 75. Start by boiling the kettle. Place tea in a tea strainer or French Press. Pour over water and leave to steep for 10 minutes. After about 5 minutes stir in your honey, making sure that it dissolves. After 10 minutes plunge your French Press and then pour out the tea into a jar or glass. Place in the fridge to cool.

So French 75

So French 75

30ml French Earl Grey Concentrate

15ml Lemon Juice

45ml Melbourne Gin Co Gin

Champagne to top (We used Jansz Premium Cuvee)

 

Fill your cocktail shaker with ice, then add the tea concentrate, lemon juice and gin. Shake well. Strain into a Champagne Flute and then top with Champagne. You can garnish with a lemon twist if you feel inclined, but alas we did not have any lemons.

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The first thing you’ll notice is the tea concentrate gives the drink a very pretty colour, a brassy, copper tone. The second thing you’ll notice is this drink has an absolutely delicious aroma and that’s all down to the tea. The T Totaler French Earl Grey is made from China Black Tea, hibiscus, roses, blue corn, marigold, and bergamot. It has a real fruity, floral and herbal aroma that stands out in the drink, which isn’t dulled but actually enhanced by the gin and Jansz. The So French 75 has a really sharp, zingy citrus flavour but there’s nice balance. It’s not too sweet and the Jansz gives it a nice dryness, a combination that leaves you quite refreshed. Be careful as this is a sneaky strong drink. The delightful tea flavours mask the strength of the gin and wine.

So French 75

I’m still not a tea drinker, but all these tea cocktails are definitely to my taste. They add something different to any drink without much effort and we are all about adding as much flavour with the least amount of effort. The tea concentrate makes quite a lot so we can’t wait to shake up a few more drinks that are bursting with floral, herbal tea flavours.

 

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Now Serving – Apricot and Date Infused Gin Old Fashioned

By The Gentleman

Apricot and Date Infused Gin

Randomly we were given a huge bagof apricots from a neighbour’s apricot tree. As it was just before Christmas, everything was too stressful to think of anything major we could do with them, like a pie or something. So instead we did the only logical thing. Grabbed some Gordon’s Gin that had been hanging around for a while, chucked it into a mason jar and filled that bad boy up with apricots and dates. That way we didn’t have to think too much about what to do with them and would hopefully have something tasty for little work. After the craziness of Christmas ended we decided to test the fruits of our labour, whipping up a classic Old Fashioned style cocktail that got a big kick of flavour from the infused gin.

 

Apricot and Date Infused Gin Old Fashioned

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp water

2 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

60ml Apricot and Date Infused Gin

Date to garnish

1 large ice cube

 

In an old fashioned glass muddle the brown sugar with the water until you can’t hear it crunching. Add your two dashes of bitters and the large ice cube. Pour over your apricot and date infused gin and then stir to combine. Garnish with a date cut into strips.

Apricot and Date Infused Gin

For the apricot and date infused gin start off with 1 cup of gin, 5 apricots quartered and 3 dates chopped. We opted for fresh apricots but we have heard dried apricots also give off a good, albeit different flavour. After a few hours we added 2 more apricots and 2 more dates and then the next morning we added another apricot and 2 more dates. Leave it for at least 2 days. It was hard at first to gauge how much flavour was being imparted as even after almost 2 days it still smelled a lot like gin, but once we strained it and it had rested for a few days the date flavour really came forward. Make sure you strain it well because the dates will produce a fair bit of sediment.

Apricot and Date Infused Gin

We chose something relatively straightforward because we really just wanted to see how the apricot and date infused gin was. We are pleased to report that it turned out quite well. The dates given the gin a sweet, caramel flavour that has a fruit aftertaste from the apricots. We were worried the dates may have overpowered the apricots, but they didn’t. They provide a nice balance to the dates and stopped it from being too sweet. What was quite interesting was the almost syrupy consistency the gin developed. The infusion really stripped everything out of the dates and started to take the juices out of the apricots, giving it quite a thick mouthfeel. It was quite delicious and there was no real hint of alcohol or the original Gordon’s Gin. It was very smooth and easy to drink with just a touch of spicy chocolate from the bitters.

Apricot and Date Infused Gin

We’re not sure what else we will pair this with because it has a whole lot of flavour on it’s own, but we would be more than happy to just see the bottle out drinking infused Old Fashioneds because they tasted mighty fine.

 

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