Get Writing



It’s seems like an eternity since I’ve managed to carve off a few minutes to craft a post  worthy of your attention. Luckily, the fine folks at Island2Island have sent me a welcome gift that has shaken the cobwebs and broken a months old writer’s block.

The front label carries a lyric from the obscure Dierks Bentley, a country musician out of Nashville, Tennesee. The marketing materials reference Joyce and the golden age of writers in Dublin as the inspiration for the liquid.

It’s on opening the bottle however that you get something special. A crafted blend of pot still and single malt whiskey from the hand and nose of Bernard Walsh, who also crafted the Irishman. For those of you who care, pure pot still is the result of both a malted and unmalted barley mash run through a pot still. It’s rumored not to have been chill filtered and does carry the slightest hazy hint in Sydney’s warmish weather today.

What you get is a lovely honeyed balance, a full but easy drinking profile that easily evokes the cold nights and broken dreams of Joyce’s Ireland. It is delicious and I think it won’t last long in my hands.

Dan’s don’t have it. The Oak Barrel don’t have it. I is delicious and you want. I’ll find out how you can get a bottle and post it up shortly.

Those of you in the trade, contact island2island direct.

They also have a 52% cask strength available. I bet that it’s delicious.



The second drink of Christmas: Rum

There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.

Lord Byron

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is characterised by the long balmy days of summer, and the recent dump of snow of the aptly named Snowy Mountains (really hills) notwithstanding; long, cooling, tasty drinks really are the order of the day.

Rum comes in many different guises, from the clear blancas to the pitch dark blackstraps, the fermented and distilled product of the sugar cane provides plenty of outlets past the rum and coke. If you are going to go down the spirit and splits route, add plenty of ice, a healthy measure of whatever rum you have on hand and squeeze in at least 3 or 4 segments of lime in there.


Rums work with fruits and juices. As such it’s not a difficult one to start the day with. Try Gaugin’s Breakfast 30 ml white rum, 30 ml dark rum, 15 ml passion fruit syrup, 15 ml apricot liqueur, 60 ml pineapple juice, 60 ml cranberry juice, Shake all ingredients with ice, strain in to hurricane glass and garnish with fresh fruit. The Pirate’s Breakfast too, 60mls spiced rum, 20mls honey, 80mls freshly squeezed orange juice, Shake all over ice, strain over ice and garnish with a fruit salad.


Get into the tiki drinks. The Kaiser penguin has a great article comparing Zombie recipes. Start the afternoon working your way through them. Team up Rum with some Olorosso Sherryand make a Jumbo Mumbo. Those of you with a more substantial liquor cabinet might want to try your hands at the three finalists from this years Tales of the Cocktail.


Try your hand at the Bumble Bee cocktail. Add bitters and sugar to a healthy slug of rum over ice and stir up an old fashioned, garnish with citrus peels. The Daiquiri is also a must for summer nights, or days for that matter. Combine two teaspoons of sugar, the juice of half a lime and 60mls of white rum, 100 year old Bacardi, if you are a purist. Add ice and shake hard enough to dissolve the sugar. strain and serve up. Make them small and drink them before they become warm.

Outside of that, Rum is fantastic in Punch. Remember this poem and you can’t go too far wrong whatever you throw in.


This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.


Oh, and if you’re buying rum in New Zealand this Christmas, make sure it’s Stolen.

Cocktail, MixMarch

MixMarch #12: The Bumble Bee Cocktail

This drink comes from the second volume of Charles H. Bakers Gentlemans Companion. Charles was a bit of a legend, travelling the world, partying with both royalty and ruffians and documenting it all in neat prose.

The Bumble Bee is a really lovely drink, silky smooth, with a wonderful balance of sweet, sour and strong that opens up the flavours in the rum. It might just be my favourite non tiki rum drink.

The Bumble Bee Cocktail

60mls good quality rum (I used Mount Gay XO), 2 tsp honey, 2 tsp egg white, 2 tsp fresh lime juice.

Add the rum and the lime juice to the drink and stir in the honey until it dissolves. Spoon in the egg white, ice the glass and shake hard to make it fluffy and delightful. Garnish with a couple of drops of Angostura, the peel of an orange and a flower to attract a real bumble bee.

I think this might be the best shot of a cocktail I’ve ever taken, by the way.