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 – 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.

So French 75

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 – Hibiscus Tonic

By The Gentleman

Hibiscus Tonic

For my birthday I received many great gifts, including a bottle of Melbourne Gin Co gin and a jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup. It is quite evident that my love of cocktails is well known by The Lady and my friends. Both of these fine items have been sitting on my shelf for a while now and I thought it was time they met in a delicious Hibiscus Tonic.

Hibiscus Tonic

Hibiscus Tonic

45 ml Melbourne Gin Co Gin

15 ml Wild Hibiscus Syrup

1 Wild Hibiscus Flower

Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water

Ice

 

Place ice in a tumbler then add gin and hibiscus syrup. Top with tonic water and then place Hibiscus Flower on top. Enjoy!

Hibiscus Tonic

The drink is definitely not your average Gin and Tonic. There is a lot more sweetness here even though I bumped up the gin to try and balance it out (and received an enjoyable buzz as a result). The Lady described it as a classy lolly and the sweetness does linger as a pleasant aftertaste. The Hibiscus Flower replaces the lime or cucumber in the drink and brings its own fruitiness. The Hibiscus Flower has a raspberry and rhubarb flavour, but it’s not jammy or overbearing. Instead it’s got more of a tangy flavour that combines with a more subtle bitterness from the tonic water. The gin, luckily, isn’t completely lost in the Hibiscus. The strong citrus flavour of Melbourne Gin Co’s gin is still there in the aroma and cutting through the sweetness. Make sure you use a bold, flavoursome gin in this bad boy. The drink also looks gorgeous, a very pretty sparkling pink and you’re left with an edible Hibiscus Flower. It has a bit of a weird texture, but the flavour was quite pleasant with the raspberry flavour being particularly noticeable.

Hibiscus Tonic

It may be a little too sweet to be classed as a classic G&T, but that’s okay as the Hibiscus Tonic has it’s own sweet, fruity flavour that makes it rather enjoyable in its own right and a perfect drink for the warmer months ahead.

 

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Boozefood – Orange Gin Biscuits

By The Gentleman

 

So somehow The Lady and I managed to be cooped up on World Gin Day. I don’t even know how this happened, but it did, and it almost ruined our day until I realised we had sufficient stocks of gin to break it down gin-style at home. I whipped up a cheeky gin and tonic for The Lady, but thought ‘this is World Gin Day I’ve got to do something a bit special’ so lo and behold Orange Gin Biscuits. Adapted from the Mojito Cookies on Giraffes Can Bake, which I still want to try and make, they were the perfectly gintastic baked good I was looking for to celebrate this wonderful spirit.

Melbourne Gin

Servings: 18-24 suggested but I got 48

Ingredients

For the cookies:

170g unsalted butter, room temperature

300g caster sugar, plus extra for rolling cookies in

Zest of half a navel orange

2 egg yolks

120ml sour cream

2 tbsp navel orange juice

1 tbsp Melbourne Gin Company Gin

1 tbsp juniper berries, ground

375g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Orange Gin Biscuits

For the glaze

60ml Melbourne Gin Company Gin

3 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp navel orange zest

1 tsp juniper berries, ground

2 tsp navel orange juice

Orange Gin Biscuits

Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

2. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed (beware of flying sugar here, why is creaming butter and sugar always so messy?). Add the orange zest, orange juice, gin, juniper berries and egg yolks and combine. Beat in sour cream until just combined. Recommended – you’ve got the gin out, you’re working up a sweat in the kitchen, you DESERVE a gin and tonic. Go on.

3. In a separate bowl, gin and tonic in hand, add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to stir and aerate (I was too lazy to do this and instead put all the dry ingredients in a sieve and added them that way). Gradually add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and combine on a low speed until all mixed in.

4. Place teaspoon sized drops of dough on baking sheet with at least 2 inches space between each one. Sprinkle with caster sugar. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

5. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until they are slightly golden and set.

6. Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl and brush over warm cookies with pastry brush. Leave cookies to cool on wire rack.

Orange Gin Biscuits

So I made a few changes to the recipe from Giraffes Can Bake. I chose navel oranges specifically because after doing a bit of digging I found that Melbourne Gin Company gin is distilled with navel oranges so ideally the two flavours would compliment each other. Juniper berries were chosen, obviously, because juniper is the cornerstone ingredient of any gin, plus I had never really baked anything with juniper so I was curious to see how they would flavour something baked.  I toned down the amount of sugar as the navel oranges would be quite sweet anyway in comparison to the tart lime in the Mojito Cookies. I also upped the amount orange juice in the biscuits and the glaze because I not only wanted the sweetness but really wanted the biscuits to taste of orange. I hand ground my juniper berries so they were quite big bits still, which I didn’t mind because they gave the biscuits a bit of character, but with a spice grinder you could get them down to a really fine powder. Generally laziness also meant I just sprinkled my biscuits with some sugar as opposed to coating them. The biscuits do spread quite a fair bit and I probably overloaded my trays with too many biscuits, some emergency surgery was required to separate a few. I struggled to get my biscuits as thin as Giraffes Can Bake, I found the mixture quite sticky and hard to spread, so it meant the biscuits were a little chubbier but hey that’s just more to love right?

Orange Gin Biscuits

Sitting here, thinking about the biscuits, all I can think of is how fresh they tasted. Not fresh as in ‘just out of the oven’, although I did sample one as they were still warm which is my major weakness in baking, but the freshness from the orange. Every bite fills your mouth with this delicious fruity orange flavour. I don’t normally glaze my biscuits, again lazy, but here you can’t not do it. The glaze just takes these biscuits to the next level as it gives them a second dose of the core flavours of gin, orange and juniper. I’d say that the gin doesn’t really impart a particularly strong flavour, instead it helps to bring out the full orange flavour without making the biscuits too sweet and gives the biscuits a really botanical, spicy sort of smell. It’s not like just putting orange juice in the biscuits, I think the gin and the juniper give the flavour some complexity that is quite nice. I probably could have cooked my biscuits for a little longer. Still, overall the texture was quite nice. The sour cream, which I’d never used when making biscuits, definitely gives them a bit of tanginess and helps them stay quite light. Being a little chubbier they had a lovely fluffy, cakey sort of texture with a slightly crisp outer. Inside they were also quite moist and again I think the glaze has helped stop them from drying out.

Orange Gin Biscuits

We may not have made it our for World Gin Day but that doesn’t mean we didn’t celebrate in style. These Orange Gin biscuits worked perfectly as they were packed full of flavour, giving an orange kick to your taste buds that you won’t soon forget or regret, and the base biscuit recipe from Giraffes Can Bake provides a lot of opportunities to explore new flavour combinations. Now go on and treat yourself, you deserve it.

 

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