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

Ballsy Berry

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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Now Serving – Four Sailors

By The Lady

 

This weekend just gone, we were feeling a little adventurous! So, we decided to use our new favourite navy strength gin Four Pillars Gunpowder Proof Gin and incorporate it into a delicious cocktail. We wanted to stay in keeping with the nautical theme, so we decided to give our drink the navy/at sea/beachy touch and whip up something that will see off scurvy in style. So, we present to you the Four Sailors.

Four Sailors

Four Sailors :

60mL Four Pillars Gunpowder Proof Gin

200 ml Coconut Milk

2 Kiwi Fruit

1/2 lime (juice and rind)

1/2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract

A pinch of shredded coconut

 

Blitz the kiwi fruit and coconut milk in a blender. Add to your cocktail shaker with the gin, lime juice, vanilla and ice. Shake vigorously. To prepare your glass, rim with lime juice (you can just use the juiced lime half to run around the rim of the glass as there should be some moisture left in the glass). After you have done this, coat the rim of the glass where the lime juice is with coconut. Strain your cocktail into a cocktail glass then top with lime zest, coconut and wedge of kiwi fruit for decoration.

Four Sailors

You’ll really think summer is here when you start sipping on this lovely cocktail. It’s so fruity and fresh with a delightful creaminess. We really needed some coconut halves and little umbrellas to really do it justice. You can dial back the coconut milk a bit depending on your penchant for coconut. It does make it quite a filling drink, so don’t plan on having too many. Either way it is full of flavour. The lime juice provides a sweet/sour combination that hits you after the creaminess of the coconut. The coconut rim changes up the texture and gives you a bit of a toasted flavour and the Gunpowder Gin is perfect because it has that extra punch it doesn’t get lost in all the other flavours. It lurks in the background and provides a pleasant boozy hit to finish with.

Four Sailors

Whether you’re prepping for a long sea voyage or a long day relaxing by the pool the Four Sailors is sure to keep you happy, just keep an eye on the horizon for pirates.

Four Sailors

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On The Shelf – Four Pillars Gunpowder Proof Gin

By The Lady

Four Pillars Gunpowder Gin

A few weeks back, we were lucky enough to attend the Adelaide launch of Four Pillars Gin and were one of a few to sample, prior to the release date, the great and powerful Gunpowder Proof Gin. At the launch, we were all told the story behind the name of the gin which we found rather interesting. Back “in the olden days”, sailors in the navy were provided with a supply of gin and those clever sailors suspected that perhaps their beloved liquor was being watered down. In order to test this hypothesis, they mixed a sample of their gin with gunpowder and set it alight. If the gin fired up, then it got the sailor seal of approval. However if it did not catch on fire, those sailors were not happy chaps! Hence, gunpowder gin offers us “proof” that it is a big deal, highly boozy, super tasty gin!

Four Pillars Gunpowder

Four Pillars have emulated their classic, timeless label design and incorporated a “navy” feel by replacing the copper and black for royal blue and crisp white. We already love the Rare Dry Gin as well as the Barrel Aged Gin, so it is no surprise that we are falling for the dapper design and smooth flavours of the navy strength Gunpowder Proof Gin that continues to rock native Australian flavours, this time in the shape of finger limes.

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Dapper Design in all its glory! (L) Rare Dry Gin (R) Gunpowder Proof Gin

Clearly, it was a given that we were going to have to add this one to our liquor cabinet! After receiving our very own bottle in the mail, we decided to put it in a glass and have ourselves a good time. We opted for a variation on a classic gin and tonic, which we must say was refreshingly tasty. We’ve decided to call it the Gunpowder G&T.

 

In the Gunpowder G&T, we used :

45ml Four Pillars Gunpowder Proof Gin

Juice of half a grapefruit

3 sprigs of fresh coriander

2 wedges of lime. Squeeze in juice of one and one for garnish

Ice

Schweppes Indian Tonic Water

 

In a cocktail shaker, mix the gin, leaves from two sprigs of coriander and grapefruit juice with ice. Strain into a tall glass. Top with tonic water and the lime juice. Add a few coriander leaves on the top to decorate.

Gunpowder G&T

The resulting drink was very delicious and the perfect accompaniment for a warm evening. The gin and tonic was very herbal with the coriander providing a very different flavour for a G&T. We think that all the extra ingredients pair well with the big flavour of the Gunpowder Proof Gin, which does a nice job of standing up to the coriander and grapefruit and making its presence felt. The new gin uses turmeric for an added earthy character and we think the coriander played nicely with those notes in the gin. Also speaking of grapefruit, it gives a really nice bitterness and a touch of sweetness that the lime picks up on as well so you’re treated to a whole host of wonderful flavours. Additionally, our Gunpowder G&T had a gorgeous colour and fragrant scent.

Gunpowder G&T

Similar to the Barrel Aged Gin, this one has a limited release due to the seasonal ingredients (mainly finger limes!) that are used. So, we recommend snapping up a bottle quickly if you want one in your life. Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t need quality Australian made navy strength liquor in their life?

Gunpowder G&T

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Now Serving – Yarratini

By The Lady

 

While it is true that James Bond gets many things right, I always wonder why he opts for the “vodka martini – shaken, not stirred”.

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(L) Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (R) Causes & Cures Semi Dry White Vermouth

 

After recently adding to our On The Shelf collection some lovely Yarra Valley goods, I thought The Gentleman and I should give this old classic a go. Having been very delighted after trying both Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin and Causes & Cures Semi Dry White Vermouth, as well as the fact that they are neighbours, it seemed only natural to create a modern Australian twist on an old fashioned favourite. We named it : The Yarratini – shaken, not stirred.

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We used :

40mL Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin

10mL Causes & Cures Semi Dry White Vermouth

Lemon twist

Ice (for the shaker)

 

Add all the ingredients to your cocktail shaker. Shake like crazy. Pour into your fancy martini glasses. Use a strainer to ensure only the liquor (not ice cubes) end up in your glass. Garnish with a lemon twist (I need to work on my garnish cutting skills … )

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The first time I ever had a martini was about a week after I turned eighteen. Thinking I would attempt being all suave and sophisticated, I ordered said drink. All I remember of that night was that it was a very strong and boozy drink.  Luckily for us, our Yarratini was a much more smooth and refined version of the cheap impostor I sampled back in the day. Yes, it certainly was a strong drink (it does have 50mL of alcohol after all!) but it was the sophisticated drink I had hoped and dreamed for many years ago. Given that the Four Pillars Gin is made using whole oranges and the Causes & Cures Vermouth suggests the pairing with oranges,  I was definitely able to taste the orange flavour coming through. This delightful orange tone was a pleasant and unexpected surprise, which made me want to try it in the future with some sort of orange addition to further enhance the flavour. It may be the liquor talking, but I also thought I could taste a rose flavour coming through. I personally LOVE anything rose flavoured, so again, this has inspired me to partake in some rose-flavoured cocktail making!

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The Yarratini was a very tasty and grown-up cocktail although I wouldn’t drink too many in one sitting for fear of my oh so dignified self becoming not so dignified! Moderation is the key! Yay for the power of our Yarra Valley friends at Four Pillars and Causes & Cures to get you smashed in a stylish and quasi modern Australian James Bond style!

 

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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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