Friday Fix: ホットサワー

With 42 Below’s Cocktail World Cup just around the corner, I’ve been once again staring open eyed at drinks that show a level of commitment and creativity that frankly astonishes me. I’ve also been watching a lot of the Winter Olympic coverage, in stunning HD on Channel 9 here in Australia, and it was that coverage that led me to the Toronto View website, and this great article on the cocktail scene there.

I’ve got all the ingredients for this either at home or in one of the great Asian supermarkets downstairs from my office, so I’m off home to make one of these tonight. I’ve taken a small liberty in renaming the drink the Hottosawa in katakana, somehow I like it more than the Hot and Sour, which seems a little plain for such an amazing looking drink.

ホットサワー Hottosawa

½ oz Choya 23° plum liqueur (this is a umeshu-salt/sour/sweet liquer from Japan), 1 ½ oz Bulleit bourbon (I’m going to use Basil Hayden’s instead), 4 pieces nori seaweed, 4 or 5 drops of sriracha (this is a hot chili & vinegar paste from thailand. If you can’t find it, mash up chili, garlic, salt, sugar & vinegar. I’d start with equal amounts and go by taste), 1 pinch wasabi, 1 egg white, 1 ½ oz citrus (lemon and lime juice), 3 cilantro leaves (that’s Coriander to you and me), ½ oz maple syrup (this drink is from Canada, after all), ½ oz simple syrup. Combine all those over ice and shake hard to make a great foamy consistency for the drink. Stain it into an ice filled rocks glass

The one in the picture is rimmed with a mixture of powdered Miso, lime salt and nori (seaweed). Then further garnished with a sliver of nori, tobiko (flying fish roe) & ikura (salmon roe). You could probably use Masago (capelin roe) without anyone pulling you up. If someone does, take the drink back and pour them an eight ounce glass of  Blue Curacao.

At home, Cocktail

Friday Fix: Grandmother’s Minted Pear Cooler

The latest fruit to become seasonally inexpensive in Sydney has been the Packham Pear. Incorporating pears into a drink with resorting to a nasty schnapps has been a bit tough for me in the past, muddling is a lot of work and only seems to impart flavor without that great velvety texture that I associate and love about pears.

With this idea, and a kilo of Packham pears for only 2.99 from Harris Farm markets, I hit the kitchen and got to work making poached pear syrup. First, I peeled the pears, leaving the stalk, as it makes it easy to grab the pear out of the hot syrup later in the process. I used two pears to make my syrup, but if you wanted to have them for dessert you could add one for each guest. Of those two pears, one will be for eating after and one will be for the syrup itself. So on one of them, cut a deep X into the base, halfway up the pear, so it gets really soft. Leave the other one peeled but otherwise whole.

In a saucepan, add 250grams of sugar and 350mls of hot water, stirring it until the sugar crystals dissolve. Add the pears to the pot, put the lid on and set the element to a low heat. (My stove, mark 4 is perfect, it only just simmers but not boils.) Leave it on the stove for a good couple of hours.

The pear with the X might slump a little, so grab some tongs and put it in a blender, put the other pear on a plate, pouring over a couple of tablespoons of the syrup. Add the remainder of the syrup to the blender and pulse until smooth. Strain this over a bowl, you might want to push the pulp through with the back of a spoon and strain it again as well, depending on how much process you can handle.

You should be left with about 350-400mls of cloudy but fine poached pear syrup. While it cools, go and eat the other pear.

The poached pear syrup is great in a Champagne cocktail and makes a fine addition to most sour cocktails.

Grandma’s Minted Pear Cooler.

Combine 60mls Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, 15mls poached pear syrup, 20mls fresh lemon juice, 6 mint leaves and a couple of dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters over ice. Give it a crisp shake and strain it up. It shouldn’t require a double strain due to your efforts earlier on. Garnish with a mint sprig.

I’m also partial to the same drink made with Gin, minus the bitters and I’d love to try it with Fee Brothers Peppermint Bitters too.

You can also serve it in an old fashioned glass with some ice and a splash of soda if you want to summer things up a little, or it’s daytime and drinking from a martini glass makes you feel a touch of a lush.


A Dry Friday Fix

3719946690_82bbc9fa7d_bMmmm, sometimes, the classics are the best. ice up a martini glass and metal tin (the boston glass will melt too much ice before it chills.) Add 10mls of Noily Pratt French Vermouth (it’s a bit more floral than the Italian ones like Cinzano and Martini.) Add 70 mls Tanqueray No. Ten Gin. Stir the mixture with a long barspoon, trying to stir the whole mass of the ice all together. Discard the ice from the martini glass and strain the martini in. squeeze the oil from a lemon peel onto the surface and garnish with a beautiful lemon twist.

Repeat until all the troubles of the week disappear. Have a great weekend.


Friday Fix: Negroni Madness

Picture 3This is one of those drinks you either love or you hate. I can’t remember if I loved them from the start, scrunched my face up like I’d been sucking lemons or if I just toughed it out to impress my bartender friends and my Italian coupled business partner. A Negroni has a soul, I can put it in no simpler terms than that. It’s scent is as powerful as it’s kick and the taste is one that takes some getting used to. It is one of the truly great cocktails, and as such, it comes with a history, or a few different versions of them.

The History(s) of the Negroni Cocktail.

  1. The Drink was invented by a man named General Pascal Olivier Count de Negroni. He was a French soldier who fought under Napoleon in the Franco Prussian war of 1870. We was obviously as good at fighting as he was at mixing drinks, picking up a Commander of the Imperial Legion of Honour for his trouble. This version of history is light on details outside of the Comtes military success.
  2. The drink was invented in 1920 at Bar Casioni in Florence. The Americano, vastly inferior drink of equal parts Sweet Vermouth and Campari and soda water, had become popular in the wake of the American late entry to the First World War. Count Camillo Negroni was a regular at the bar and asked for his to made with Gin instead of sparkling water. Unsurprisingly, the drink took off and people visiting the bar started to ask for their Americanos “the Negroni way”
  3. My Favourite history etwines the glamour (for some) of occupied Paris during the Second World War. While officers of the OSS slipped into highbrow parties held by the occupied aristocracy and rubbed shoulders with jackbooted Germans and the likes of Coco Chanel, the bars of Paris were hotbeds of espionage. The American and British were being fed intelligence by an Italian count who went by the name of Negroni. His signature drink was equal parts Gin, Camapri and Sweet Vermouth. Hemingway, who was in town for at least part of the time, was inspired to create the Boulevardier (below) Negroni’s bourbon cousin. This story probably has the least chance of being true, partyly because the Hemingway’s drink hit print in 1927 in “Barflies and Cocktails,” by Harry McElhone. I don’t care really, a story with Nazi’s is always a little more compelling.

All this writing is making me thristy, so let’s get on to the method.

The Negroni

30 mls Gin, 30 mls Campari, 30 mls sweet vermouth. Stir in a rocks glass over ice, garnish with a fresh Orange slice.

I’d use a bigger gin with plenty of bite, say Plymouth or Beefeater, export strength is better if you have it. pay attentions to the measures, equal parts renders a very special drink. If you, like me, favour a more botanical gin like Tanqueray, South or Hendricks, up the Gin measure so the punch of Juniper is not lost.

One Negroni is almost never enough, and each one is better than the last, right until you fall off you seat. If you do decide that you need a variation to get you through the night, or just like experimenting, you could always try one of these.

 Negroni Sbagliato.

Sbagliato means ‘wrong’ in Italian. Substitute Spumante Sparkling wine for the Gin and you’ll find out why this is a wrong negroni.


A Russian Negroni. Substitute vodka for Gin. Kind of a more alcoholic Americano. Kind of pointless.


Substitutes Cynar, made from artichokes for Campari


As above, use Cynar instead of Campari, substitute Noilly Prat for the sweet vermouth. Change the ratios to 1 and a 1/2 Gin 1/2 Cynar 2/3 Noilly Prat. Maybe try this one early on, it’s a bit hard to remember.


Substitute a decent 100% agave tequila for the gin. My favourite outside of the original. Adorn with grapefruit, preferably ruby red.

Unusual Negroni.

Hendricks Gin, Lillet Blanc & Aperol.


Substitute bourbon for the gin. Maybe add a little more bourbon than the others.

Original Negroni.

Use Punt E Mes as the vermouth.


You can change the brand of gin, the brand of bitter aperitif and the brand of vermouth to create many, many variations. If you’ve stumbled on a gem, or found one that really works, i’d love to read it in the comments.

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Cocktail, In Memoriam

Friday Fix for a quick thrill

92025769_oOk, so I know it seems like everyone on earth must be writing a Michael Jackson post right now, and it’s my second in memoriam post in as many weeks, but I know Gregor was in favour of intoxication and by the looks of Michael’s autopsy, the King of Pop wasn’t shy when it came to mixing it up.

The legal ramifications of championing OxyContin and Demerol use in Australia seem a little dicey at best, so let’s go home tonight, mix up a Thriller and settle back on the couch to watch the prisoners in Cebu, Philippines perform their very special tribute.

Thriller Cocktail.

45mls Laphroaig Scotch Whisky, 30 mls Stone’s Green Ginger Wine, 30 mls Orange Juice. 

Combine the ingredients in a Boston glass, top with ice, slap on the tin and shake vigorously with a sparkly white gloved hand.

Strain into a martini glass, collapse on the couch and marvel at the life of a man who may have touched kids, and not in a good way but who inspired the likes of this: 

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At home, Cocktail

Quick Friday Fix.

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If you’ve ever tried to explain the taste of a Feijoa to someone who hasn’t been blessed enough to have actually tried one, you’ll know it’s not an easy task.

This seeded pear, a cousin of the guava and basically the only decent thing New Zealand ever stole from the South Americans is the signature taste behind 42BELOW feijoa vodka.

Some people say it tastes great, others say it has a liniment finish, reminiscent of deep heat, or menthol rub. Anyhoo, I’ve bent to tradition and have purchased this great little product, so I’m heading home to imbibe my Friday Fix.

Quick Fix.

Take 30mls (although the drink can take far more) 42BELOW Feijoa vodka, and pour it into a highball glass filled with ice. squeeze in some fresh lime juice, top the whole thing off with CLOUDY apple juice. (it’s just not the same drink without it.) Finish it all off with a stir, sink into the couch, sigh. Repeat until the hurting stops.

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At home, Cocktail

Fog Cutter Friday Fix

a_SmallerGirl-3228It’s a rainy crappy old day here in Sydney, so I’m going home to make a drink that will improve my sodden spirits and to cut through the length and breadth of another week in advertising.

The Fog Cutter is a tiki drink that’s not as sugary sweet as many in the class, but packs the punch of a zombie.

Start with a well iced shaker, add to it 45mls of Havana Club light rum, 15mls brandy, 15mls gin, 45mls orange juice, 15mls lemon juice and 15mls of orgeat. Shake the living fuck out of it.

Strain it into a tall iced glass, or better yet, a Tiki mug, float between 10 and 20 mls of Sherry on the top of the drink, garnish it with a South Seas maiden.

A couple of these and you won’t even notice the cold.

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Bar, Cocktail, Restaurant

Man on Fire Friday Fix

Like a smoky dentist’s chair, burning to the ground, the Man on Fire delivers a unique drinking experience. This wonderful drop is one of three  new drinks on the Bayswater Brasserie list.

This little beauty rests over their patented new crazy ice, blending Tallisker and Mescal in a rocks glass rimmed with smoked salt.

Best enjoyed with a cigar in the garden. 

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The Falernum Friday Fix.

I made a batch of Falernum Syrup yesterday, so I thought I’d share the recipe that I intend to wind down with this evening. Rather than just make more tiki rum swizzles, I feel like a fix…


The Chartreuse Swizzle, courtesy of Sloshed!

1¼ oz green Chartreuse
½ oz falernum
1 oz pineapple juice
¾ oz lime juice

Swizzle with crushed ice (or shake with ice and strain over crushed ice) in a tall glass. Garnish with a spring of mint and fresh nutmeg

Have a good weekend! I’m going drinking.

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