Out & About – Espresso Martini at Melt Pizzeria

By The Lady and The Gentleman

After sampling the latest Coffee Experiment from Loft Wine Bar we were reminded of an experience that we meant to write up but never got round to…until now. It was during the height of the crazy February-March Adelaide event season when we managed to nab the last counter spot at one of our favourite city locations, Melt Pizzeria. It had been a long and hectic day and aside from wanting some damn fine pizza The Lady had one other craving on her mind, the perfect Espresso Martini. Let us tell you dear readers that we came pretty close to finding it that day.

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Our bartender buzzed around like a mad thing and we only caught glimpses of what was going into this glorious creation. Vodka, a large shot of freshly made espresso, and magic. The first thing we noticed and admired was the heavenly, strong coffee aroma with something a little extra going on and the thick, inviting foam. Try as we might we can never quite get enough of that delicious foam that elevates an okay to cocktail to the spectacular. We had to bow down in appreciation of the epic foam on the Melt Espresso Martini, which made you just want to eat it up. We almost didn’t want to take a sip, it looked so damn good. Of course, we did, we’re only human after all.

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Taking that first amazing sip the hidden scent in the aroma was revealed, a delicious note of orange. It was almost like drinking the best damn alcoholic, coffee infused Jaffa cake dreamt up in an Adriano Zumbo fever dream. The bitterness of the coffee was balanced out by the light creaminess of the foam and the slight sweetness and acidity of the orange yet it still tasted strong enough to keep you perked up all night long. We’ve done our own experiments with coffee and orange and this just confirmed that these two flavours deserve to be up there with other great partnerships throughout history like Ben & Jerry, Hewlett & Packard, Mawson and all the other guys who went to Antarctica but no one ever remembers. We’d like to say more but our urge to devour this amazing glass of coffee goodness took over. What we’ll leave you with is a throwing down of the gauntlet and a promise. This is probably the best Espresso Martini we’ve ever had. Period. Therefore, the rest of the Adelaide bar scene has been put on notice because we’re coming and the bar has been set.

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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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Small Mouth Week – Now Serving – Small Sunset

By The Lady

As this is our last date with Small Mouth Vodka,  we thought it would be rather romantic if we took it to see the sun go down. With our first taste of the adorable Small Mouth, we went for a classic. For the second, we opted for something with a bit more of a buzz. We’ll admit, this next one is a strong drink which packs a punch, but by gosh it was delicious. And, in our opinion, the perfect way to finish off Small Mouth Week. We’d like to introduce you to … Small Sunset.

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We used :

85mL Small Mouth Vodka (We are aware that this is a lot of vodka. Stay with us … )

40mL Orange, Kiwi Fruit & Cayenne Shrub (super secret recipe made by The Gentleman)

10mL Organic Ginger Syrup by The Ginger People

2 Dashes of Mister Bitters Pink Grapefruit & Agave Bitters

Lots of ice

1 dash of Cawsey’s Grenadine

Orange peel to garnish

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Shake your vodka, shrub, ginger syrup, bitters and ice in a cocktail shaker. Leave a few ice cubes aside for the end.  Strain your drink out into a glass without the ice cubes used in the shaker. Put two or so fresh ice cubes in your drink. Carefully and slowly pour the grenadine over the back of a spoon into your drink. You should get a look where the red colour sits at the bottom of the glass and fades upwards. If you haven’t done this before, I would suggest doing a test run with a glass of water so you can practise. At the very end, add your orange peel by twisting it before placing it on the surface of the drink. This will help release some of the orange smell and flavour.

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So, we’ll admit, this is a lot of vodka. But, to be honest, because Small Mouth is such a high quality  vodka, it tastes quite delicious. We thought it tasted quite smooth and not overly boozy at all. If you were to use a cheaper or low quality vodka, I would suggest using less, perhaps 60mL instead. Also, if you don’t have access to purchase shrubs, or don’t know how to make it, you could use orange juice with a pinch of cayenne pepper instead. Overall, the drink was very delicious, and was a very pretty looking drink. The drink has a very nice mouth feel, really coating your tongue with all the powerful flavours we’ve got going on. It wasn’t quite as intense as the Señor Shrub, which left your mouth buzzing with flavour 5 minutes after you’d taken a mouthful, but there was definitely some magic happening. All the flavours went well together, and the orange peel at the end was a lovely touch to accentuate the orange flavours (kudos to us).

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We’re a little sad to be ending Small Mouth Week, but we have a feeling this is not the end for us. The possibilities are endless with Small Mouth Vodka, and we think there is a future for us together, an oh so boozy future. In moderation of course ;).

 

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Disclaimer: The Cocktail Challenge was provided a free sample bottle of Small Mouth Vodka for this article. Although this post is sponsored all opinions are our own. Thanks again to Small Mouth Vodka for supplying us with this sample and giving us an opportunity to get to know their vodka. 

Now Serving – Orange, Lemon and Coriander Infused Gin

By The Gentleman

 

The Lady can attest that I am a bit of a tinkerer. I like to experiment and try new things especially when it comes to the kitchen. Naturally I also like to tinker with my drinks, hell that’s what this whole site is kind of about anyway. I’ve recently started to look at infusing spirits at home and it has been a fun and tasty experiment. One infusion that I want to share with you is my recent Orange, Lemon and Coriander Infused Gin. For the infusion I used:

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300ml Gordon’s London Dry Gin

Peel of 1 lemon

Peel of 1/2 and orange

1 tsp coriander seeds

 

Peel the fruit. Place peel and coriander in a sealable jar (I used a Ball Mason Jar) then top with gin. Leave for 3 days, checking once a day to see the progress of the flavours and giving the bottle a shake as well. When ready strain out peel and seeds and pour gin into clean bottle.

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I used Gordon’s because The Lady had a bottle hanging around she didn’t want to use anymore. The flavour combination was based on researching Gordon’s London Dry Gin and discovering that the gin already utilises orange peel, lemon peel and coriander seeds in the distillation process. I thought using those ingredients would just enhance the flavours already found in the gin and let everything blend well together. I also only used 300ml just in case the flavours didn’t mix well together and there goes all my infusing gin. A lot of recipes I’ve found call for a whole bottle of gin or whatever meaning the infusion can become an expensive process if your flavours don’t get a long.

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Throughout the process I checked on the infusion. At first the coriander seeds were quite powerful, obviously giving off their flavour first. I wondered whether they were going to be too intense as when I opened the jar you got hit with this spicy almost peppery smell. Over the next few days though the citrus peels gave off their flavour and toned down the spicy flavour I was getting early on. When it was ready I made myself a gin and tonic (using Fentiman’s Tonic Water) to test it out. The gin had a very citrusy flavour that paired really well with the Fentiman’s. It was very smooth to drink with a pleasant citrus smell and slight yellow tinge. I’d definitely say this infusion was a success and I look forward to making my next experiment.

 

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On The Shelf – Causes & Cures Semi Dry White Vermouth

By The Lady

 

Another recent addition to the shelf is a bottle of Causes & Cures Semi Dry White Vermouth created in Yarra Valley, Australia. (Hooray for the local lads and ladies!). This particular vermouth uses a selection of herbs such as orris root, wormwood, saffron, star anise and bay leaf to name a few. I would be interested to try it with some Gabriel Boudier Saffron Gin to highlight some of the saffron notes. The label describes a medieval treatise that recorded “beneficial and restorative powers of all known herbs and spices” which was also called ‘Causes & Cures’, hence where I am guessing their name comes from.

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Let’s be honest, as much as I pretend I’m not when I stroll through my local liquor store, I really am a sucker for stylish labels. And this Causes & Cures label is one dapper label. The heptagon framing the brand, name of the drink and logo is intersected by notations regarding its creation and ingredients. The selections of fonts is aesthetically pleasing and aids in making it a unique and interesting label. Additionally, I am interested to find out more about the creature featured within the brand’s logo and on the cap of the bottle. Curiouser and curiouser.

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Not really having had much vermouth previously, aside from in cocktails (aka a chilled mixture of deliciousness), I was curious as to the ways in which one might serve vermouth on its own. I somewhat followed the suggestion on the side of the bottle and was pleasantly surprised. I used :

30 mL Causes & Cures Semi Dry White Vermouth

Juice of about half an orange

An orange twist

Lots of ice

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The resulting drink was very smooth and rather tasty, if i don’t say so myself! I initially thought it may taste too strong by itself, but this vermouth has such a clean, crisp and refreshing flavour – just the right balance of strength and subtlety. The orange compliments this liquor extremely well, so thanks for the tip Causes & Cures! Being a small batch craft vermouth, supplies are limited so if you are eager I would suggest to snap up your own bottle quick smart.

 

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