At home, Cocktail

Nog you. Nog you very, very much.

If I had to pick the one thing that is wrong with Christmas traditions, it would be that too many Christians live in the northern hemisphere. When the sun is blazing down outside and the mercury is hitting thirty, roasted beefs, glazed geese, Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings feel as alien to having snow on the ground.

Translating that into drinks, warm noggy custards just about seem the most unappetizing thing you could get close to this Christmas. Excited by the challenge, I left the store with fresh free range eggs, a small bottle of full cream milk, a pound of sugar and a whole nutmeg.

I knew that my nog was going to be cold, but little else. Most of the recipes I could find online were for warm productions, so I decided to do it by trail and error. All of the recipes below are for two drink only. Multiply them by ten if you’ve got a tribe coming over.

The first nog of Christmas.

For my first attempt, I put one egg in the blender with 60 grams of caster sugar. Blitz it until it triples in volume, you could whisk it, but I was incapacitated by a powerful hangover. In an ice filled glass, add 80mls of the egg mixture, 80mls of brandy and 80 mls of cream. shake well and pour over ice into a rocks glass. Grate some nutmeg and you’re laughing. The result is tasty, but not quite the textural experience I was after.

If I ever feel better, I’ll have another nog.

As before, add sugar to the egg and blitz. I also decided the put the cream into the blender too, 60mls, as the volume increases as it whips up. I also added 10mls of Jamesons Irish whiskey to the blend too. Be careful not to over blend, you want thickened cream, not whipped up butter. I added this mixture to a tin with 80mls of Brandy and stirred them together and poured them, again over ice, with a grating of nutmeg.

Roll, roll, roll a nog, twist it at the ends.

Trying new things is important at Christmas, so I thought that making a rum nog might be just the ticket. same recipe as above but with no whiskey and Appleton Estate rum. works well with a little cinnamon I found too.

Don’t you nog who I am?

This one I was lucky enough to sample when made by its creator, Jacob Briars, a true bon-vivant’s companion and erstwhile Professor of Vodka for 42Below. It somewhat unsurprisingly contains vodka. I used a full cream milk, because I don’t remember it being quite as creamy as my previous attempts.

One egg, 50 grams sugar, 100mls 42Below passion fruit vodka, 30mls Chocolate liqueur, 50mls full cream milk. combine well and serve.

Feel free to offer your own recipe or corrections in the comments. I am but a nogice.

At home, Cocktail

Southside Cocktail

IMG_5498This is a drink that I was most thoroughly introduced to by Jacob Briars, socialist, bon vivant, erstwhile global Professor of vodka for 42Below and the eleventh best bar chef in New Zealand.

The Southside is essentially a Gin daiquiri  with mint. It is a simple drink that relies entirely on the quality of its ingredients. I’ve found that the round mint gives the best result and I prefer it with a softer Gin, like Moore’s or South but it is palatable whichever spirit you bring to the mix.

It’s another of those great drinks that got their start during the Prohibition. Although it’s Chicago roots set it apart from most of the classics and, appropriately are wrapped up in the Gangland culture and history of that time. The territories in the city were split North & South, the boys in the North had cornered the market in high quality spirits, smuggled across the border from Canada, leaving the Saltis-McErlane gang with access only to hooch and swill, manufactured locally and of dubious provenance. The mobsters used sugar, citrus and mint to cover the imperfections in their products. While history has not been as kind to Frankie McErlane as it was to Al Capone, Frankie blazed trails outside of the field of mixology, being the first man to use the Tommy gun and racking up at least 15 bodies during the bootlegging wars.

The Southside.

Two teaspoons of caster sugar, the juice of half a lime and 60 mls of South Gin. Combine in a boston glass and add eight leaves of mint. (don’t muddle it, you’ll only make it bitter.) Ice the glass and give it a good, hard shake. Double strain the mixture into a cocktail glass, a few of the smaller pieces of mint might get through, but it makes for a pretty drink with a few specks. Slap a couple of leaves over the glass to boost the smell and the flavour. Garnish with a single mint leaf.

What you’ll be left with is a great balance of sweet, tart and strong with an amazing cool element that makes this a perfect summer drink and in the Professor’s own words “Frrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrresh.”