The Sophisticated Urbanite

Asked for a Cosmo on Saturday night and had no cranberries nor any desire to reprise SJP, this is what I came up with instead.

The Sophisticated Urbanite

45mls Smirnoff Black, 7.5mls Cointreau, 7.5mls Aperol, one dash Fee’s West Indian Orange Bitters, 30mls freshly squeezed blood orange juice, 5mls fresh squeezed lime juice. Combine over ice, shake and double strain up.

I was told it was better than a Cosmo, I’m not sure if I should have replied “that’s not hard,” but I went with humble acceptance of the compliment and a sneaky shot of Don Julio.

At home, Cocktail

A Collins for Tom

I was reminded on Saturday night of the beauty of simple recipes. Talking the guys at Velutto through making a spectacular Tom Collins and seeing it bring a smile to the face of the guy drinking it reminded me once again why I love cocktails enough to spend my spare time writing about them.

They are at their best transformative, little windows into something else and a spark of inspiration. I had taken my friend, also called Tom, to such a window that night.

Sitting through Tom’s window was, amongst other things, an Apple Tom Collins. While I couldn’t put one together for him on the night. I came home inspired to make one. Most of the recipes asked for Applejack, and having none, I went in a different direction.

A Collins for Tom.

45mls Smirnoff Black, 15mls Sour Apple Syrup†, 7.5mls absinthe, 30mls fresh lime juice. Combine in a large glass, stir well. Ice the glass, top with soda and garnish with an apple fan.

†Sour Apple Syrup is made by first making a plain 1:1 sugar syrup and once it has cooled, the addition and steeping of 3 Granny Smith Apples, macerated as finely as you can be bothered. If you add the apple while the syrup is still warm, the fructose will stew and turn to glucose, making your syrup more poached apple than sour apple.


Smirnoff Black

I wrote a while back on the Smirnoff Black event I attended and the efforts that felt a bit like a brand relaunch of the Black bottle here in the Australian market. I didn’t mention much about the product itself so I thought I’d dive in a little deeper and let you know my thoughts.

I remember my first taste of the Black being around the James Bond film, I think I even remember the Martini Briefcase that was rolled out to support the brand and the movies launch.

Smirnoff have saved a bit of money on the bottle, bring costs down so the product can compete more squarely against the others in the mass premium category (namely 42Below and Absolut). Produced in the UK at the Diageo distillery that also knocks out my favourite gin, Tanqueray.

This is not tasteless, odorless spirit. The use of a pot still imparts a sweetness and depth that sets it apart from the others in its class. (42 probably wins on the traditional notions I have for vodka, but this is a vodka that has got me excited in mixing to accentuate the boozy flavour, not its additives or infusions.)

Try it over ice with a dash of orange bitters, or maybe with a teaspoon of orange liqueur for something approximating a vodka Old Fashioned. Garnish with a thick orange peel.

Event, Spirit, Sydney

The Smirnoff Black Room

Last night’s hot ticket was the Smirnoff Black Room. Described on the invite as a creative journey through the senses, inspired by the essence of black.

I loved the tasting station, pictured above, with Blake Head offering up a great Mule sorbet to cleanse the palate and a sip of Absolut, 42Below and Smirnoff’s pot stilled Black. I’m going to another tasting next week, so I’ll go into some more detail then, but the spirit stood up well in that line up, the character and flavours really coming through.

I loved the hand carved, triple frozen ice cubes, with a slug of Black, a dash of Grand Marnier and a spritz of Orange Bitters. The copper cups for the Mules, the lemongrass alternative covered a little too much of the vodka’s character for my taste and the cloudy cucumber & appletinis were almost too smooth, judging by the sway of some of the crowd towards the end of the night.

I loved the room, the Aston Martins, the raised black catwalks defining the space in what is a very big venue. The artworks and soundscapes gave people something to do as they tried the various drinks on offer. The little tastes of food, especially the prosciutto wrapped asparagus. I loved hanging down the back, talking to the other bar geeks.

For me things went a bit too far with the Essence of Black fragrance, but maybe that’s just me. I certainly left the building feeling, well, indulged.

More images after the jump.

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