Now Serving – Clubhouse Rock

By The Gentleman

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The Lady is a tea fiend. She is the quintessential old lady in a young person’s body who surrounds herself with cats while drinking cups of tea and showing off her eclectic tea pots. I don’t like tea (gasp!) and I think if it weren’t for my winning personality and ability to supply The Lady with tasty treats and delicious beverages it would probably be a deal breaker. For this cocktail, we decided to mix The Lady’s tea love with something we can all enjoy, booze. Introducing the Clubhouse Rock.

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Clubhouse Rock

60ml Alaskan Rock Vodka infused with Scullery Made Clubhouse Lane Tea

Juice of Half a Lemon + lemon peel for garnish

30ml Cinnamon Simple Syrup

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Infuse 60ml of vodka with 1 tsp of tea for at least 2 hours. The longer you infuse it the better and you can also make more as you need it, and why wouldn’t you, following the ratio of 60ml to 1 tsp. We chose Scullery Made because it’s a local South Australian tea seller who have some pretty amazing sounding blends. After leaving your vodka to infuse, strain it into a cocktail shaker filled with lots of ice. Add your lemon and cinnamon syrup. Shake it well. Strain it into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with your lemon peel. Try and get it to twist, but don’t worry if you can’t. Those lemons can be tricky.

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So I’ll be first to admit that the Scullery Made Clubhouse Lane tea smelt pretty damn good. The Clubhouse Lane blend is made with a rooibos-like tea called honeybush, along with orange zest, cinnamon, cloves and calendula petals. I don’t really know what any of that means, all I know is it had a very strong smell with a hint of cinnamon. It was that cinnamon flavour in the tea that I wanted to capture and enhance with the cinnamon syrup. The tea was perfect for a cocktail. It gave the drink a very pretty colour and the smell of the tea carried over to the cocktail, with a stronger cinnamon scent and just a touch of lemon. It infused really well and there was no harshness from the vodka, it provided the perfect canvas for the tea to shine. The drink is sweet, but all the spices from the tea and the cinnamon syrup really balance it out. Also be warned, I downed this bad boy in a few sips and didn’t even realise. It is so easy to drink.

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I may not be a total tea convert but after making a tea infused cocktail I am definitely open to imbibing in more tea cocktails. Also there are so many options for different infusions with different teas and spirits. I think this is the start of a long and beautiful friendship.

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Now Serving – Tangy Tatiana

By The Gentleman

Tangy Tatiana

Hey there readers, after the success of our Ballsy Berry you didn’t think we’d stop at just one crazy concoction with balsamic syrup did you. That would just be crazy talk. No we went there again and were just as happy with the Tangy Tatiana.

Tangy Tatiana

Tangy Tatiana

45ml Four Pillars Gunpowder Gin

15ml Balsamic Syrup

2 Blood Orange Bitters Sugar Cubes

4 Mint Leaves + 3 for Garnish

Fentiman’s Ginger Beer

Ice

 

Using your leftover bitters sugar cubes (check the Ballsy Berry for a refresh on how to make them), muddle 1 sugar cube and mint leaves in balsamic syrup in a cocktail shaker. Mash it up real good so the sugar is all dissolved and the mint is, well, minty. Add gin and ice then shake like crazy. Grab a large wine glass, chuck in some ice and the other sugar cube then pour in the goodness. Top with about 100ml ginger beer and garnish with mint leaves.

Tangy Tatiana

The Ballsy Berry was a bit of a savoury Susan, but this is all Tangy Tatina (wow, so that just happened…moving along). Seriously though, the ginger beer and the balsamic syrup pair really well together. The Fentiman’s Ginger Beer gives the drink a lovely ginger smell and also has a really nice spiciness that makes great friends with the bitters sugar cube. The tang and the spice combined create a very pleasant sensation on your tongue.  It gives you a nice warming feeling that just gets all in and around you and you will like it! Like the Ballsy Berry the balsamic syrup gives the drink a really dark, interesting colour, that is actually even darker because the Fentiman’s Ginger Beer is a deep brown. Also be warned, we whipped up the Ballsy Berry and Tangy Tatiana at the same time and after essentially drinking 3 shots of Gunpowder Gin we were ready to partaaaay. That Gunpowder Gin, it’ll knock you for six in short order but damn is it good (seriously though, no driving or operating heavy machinery after a few of these).

Tangy Tatiana

After a few drinks made with the balsamic syrup we can definitely say that we are fans of this tangy little addition. Next time you’re looking for something to shake up your usual libations don’t be too quick to dismiss the simple yet flavourful balsamic syrup. It certainly made the Tangy Tatiana something we thoroughly enjoyed.

Tangy Tatiana

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Now Serving – Capone’s South Side

By The Gentleman

South Side

Usually we kind of just fly by the seat of our pants and make this cocktail stuff up, pouring whatever we have on hand with some vague idea of what we are doing. It usually works out…usually. This time though we thought we’d use a pretty classic cocktail recipe and there are few drinks more classic than the South Side a drink with a long, but murky history. One version has the drink originating at the Twenty-One Club in New York while another lists it as a favourite of South Side gangsters in Chicago during Prohibition. We like the latter as it reminds us of Boardwalk Empire and we could definitely see Nucky Thompson knocking back a few of these while hashing out a deal with Al Capone.

 

South Side

60ml Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gin

30ml Lemon Juice

15ml Simple Syrup

7 mint leaves

Dash of bitters

South Side

In a cocktail shaker shake all the ingredients with ice. Shake it up real good to get all the flavour out of the mint and then fine strain it into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a few mint leaves.

 

South Side

The South Side is a classic cocktail and it is easy to see why. The drink is all class and super easy to drink. It has a lovely, vibrant mint aroma and a fresh, crisp flavour. The mint, lemon and gin blend together so well, giving you this delicious mix of sweetness, tart lemon and slightly numbing mint. The South Side also has this really interesting and pleasant aftertaste, with that kind of numbing mint melding with the tangy lemon leaving your mouth fresh. Using the barrel aged gin gave the drink a slightly darker, deeper colour and sweeter flavour, but the drink still looks really nice with the lemony yellow playing well with green of the mint leaves.

South Side

Do yourself a favour, get in touch with your inner Chicago gangster and shake up a few South Sides. A simple, classic cocktail that won’t disappoint.

 

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Now Serving – Ballsy Berry

By The Gentleman

Ballsy Berry

I have to warn you, dear reader, that if you continue on things may get a little weird here. Don’t worry I don’t mean emotional weird…that would be too weird. THERE WILL BE NO BREAKDOWNS OR TEARS! Okay? Okay. Good. Things are going to get weird because we straight up put balsamic vinegar in our drink…and we liked it. Now we’ve shrubbed before and we will shrub again, but this was different. We didn’t mix any fruits or herbs, we just syruped together some balsamic vinegar and simple syrup. Then we got liquored up, a sugar cube or two may have been involved. It was an experience and one we are happy to share with you, the Ballsy Berry.

 

Ballsy Berry

60ml Four Pillars Gunpowder Gin

15ml Balsamic Syrup

2 Blood Orange Bitters Sugar Cubes

4 Basil Leaves + 3 for Garnish

2 strawberries halved + 1 for garnish

Black peppercorns

Fever Tree Club Soda

Ice

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Make your balsamic syrup by bringing together a 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar with a 1/4 cup of simple syrup. Bring to the boil then turn down to a medium heat for about a minute. It should get thick and syrupy. Take off the heat and leave to cool before bottling. Whip up your sugar cubes by mixing caster sugar with bitters on a ratio of 1 cup sugar to 1 tablespoon bitters. This will make a lot of cubes so you can halve or even quarter the mix to your needs. Mix the sugar and bitters until the liquid has combined with the sugar then pack the sugar into a mini ice cube tray. If you are super prepared you can leave the sugar in the tray overnight to harden, but if you need them in a flash place the tray in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Check to see how firm before turning them out because they may need a touch longer to harden up. You’re now ready to cocktail.

 

Muddle strawberries, 1 sugar cube, a few grinds of pepper, and basil leaves in balsamic syrup. Mash it up real good. Add gin and ice then shake like crazy. Grab a large wine glass and ice and the other sugar cube then pour in the goodness. Top with about 100ml club soda and garnish with a strawberry and basil leaves.

Ballsy Berry

We warned you things would get weird and they did. The balsamic syrup and pepper make this one of the most savoury cocktails, outside of a Bloody Mary, we’ve ever tried. It’s maybe not everyone’s cup of tea (there really needs to be a better cocktail equivalent), but we definitely think you owe it to yourself to be a little adventurous and try it out. It smells amazing. Anyone who has ever had some strawberries tossed with a little balsamic vinegar will know what we’re talking about.  The balsamic is quite noticeable, giving it a savoury, tangy vinegary flavour, and the strawberries just give it a touch of sweetness.  The sugar cubes, apart from smelling divine in your kitchen, add needed sweetness  to help balance the savoury flavour. Also the Gunpowder Gin earns its stripes here, providing a necessary punch to cut through the other bold flavours. The balsamic syrup gives the Ballsy Berry a dark, interesting colour which makes it quite impressive when serving to guests. They’ll try to puzzle out what gives it the colour. On a personal note I really need to get a proper cocktail strainer, but hey all those extra bits of strawberry and basil just give it extra character right?

Ballsy Berry

This is definitely a drink to engage your more adventurous side, throwing up some flavour combinations and aromas you may not normally associate with cocktails. We liked it though and look forward to adding the interesting flavour of balsamic syrup to more drinks in the future.

Ballsy Berry

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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.

Lobo Cloudy Apple 1

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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