Now Serving – Bitter Fire

By The Gentleman

Bitter Fire

Gosh darn, it’s been heating up here at Cocktail Challenge HQ in 2015, with so many delicious new cocktails to try. So what are we to do when things start getting a  little hot? We decided to follow the advice of our friend Tom Jones when he suggested to “Fight Fire With Fire“. The only logical cause of action would be to add some of our new fave Fire Drum Vodka into the mix! This time, we pair Fire Drum with some Campari and tonic water to create a bitter, but oh so delicious little number. Introducing the Bitter Fire.

Bitter Fire

Bitter Fire

30mL Fire Drum Vodka
45mL Campari
30mL lime juice
4 or 5 large mint leaves + 1 mint leaf for garnish
1/2 tsp sugar
Lime wedge
Tonic Water

In your cocktail shaker muddle mint leaves with vodka, Campari, sugar and lime juice for a few minutes until the mint is fragrant. Add lots of ice and shake. Grab a tall glass and half fill with ice. Squeeze lime wedge over ice and drop in. Pour liquor into glass then top with tonic water. Garnish with another mint leaf.

Bitter Fire

The Campari makes this a very pretty drink with a lovely light red colour. It looks even more attractive as the Campari mix is light enough that you can see the lime wedge, ice, and mint leaf floating in the drink. It just looks very fresh and eye-catching. While the drink has a definite edge from bitterness of the Campari and tonic water, this is very easy to drink. The lime and mint leaves balance out some of the really strong bitter flavours, leaving you with this really interesting bitter mint flavour. The bitterness and the mint are both refreshing but in very different ways. I also quite like the smell of Campari and this drink maintains that delicious bitter orange Campari aroma with just a hint of sweet mint. The Fire Drum Vodka provides the perfect canvas for all the other flavours to come together. It provides some intensity and oomph as well as a slight hint of those malty flavours.

Bitter Fire

After playing around with Fire Drum Vodka we are very happy with the results. It paired equally well with all of the different flavours we threw at it. Additionally, Fire Drum and helped us to make three damn fine drinks so really, in the end, that’s all you can ask for…Well that and another glass!

Bitter Fire

As always remember to like, share, and follow The Cocktail Challenge on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Advertisements

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

As always remember to like, share, and follow The Cocktail Challenge on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

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.

 

As always remember to like, share, and follow The Cocktail Challenge on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Now Serving – Tuaca Spider Cocktail

I know I keep deviating from the drinks from the Ultimate Bar Book, but I had this bottle of Tuaca I felt I should use and the book doesn’t have many Tuaca recipes.

I’d been thinking about what sort of drink I could make that was effectively a spider after seeing there are a few cocktails based on The Avengers and thought the obvious choice for a Spiderman drink was to make a spider. Trying to think what spirits would go well with both ice-cream and a soda, and what soda, was difficult until I came across the Tuaca Float on the Tuaca website. A float is the same thing as a spider in my book so it was a done deal.

tuspider 2

2 ounces Tuaca

4 ounces Sarsaparilla ( I used Bundaberg Sarsaparilla)

Mint Leaves

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Ice

1-2 scoops Vanilla Ice-cream

I added the mint leaves and sugar to the recipe. I thought the mint would go well with both the vanilla from the Tuaca and ice-cream and the licorice from the Sarsaparilla. I just did a light muddle with the sugar in the glass until I could smell the mint. Conveniently I had an old promotional spider glass to make the drink in. After muddling the mint leaves add the Tuaca, ice cubes, top with Sarsaparilla and stir. Once stirred add the scoops of ice-cream and drink!

tuspider1

I think the mint leaves add a little something extra to the flavor. Its very subtle but it gives it a little bit of freshness and compliments the vanilla nicely. The combination works quite well overall and it is the sort of drink where the flavor progresses overtime. At first the Sarsaparilla and its licorice tones are the dominant flavor and then as you drink more and more the vanilla takes over and the last few mouthfuls are very creamy and in this case minty.

 

As always remember to like, share, and follow The Cocktail Challenge on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.