It is the most wonderful time of the year for cocktails. A good cocktail isn’t just a booze delivery system. It should be far more than the sum of its parts. Sharp sweet fruity fresh icy with hints of spice fulsome bitterness or complex botanicals. Then there is the pleasing range of textures, be they smooth frothy effervescent thick or viscous.
We all know that cocktails are popular but over the past few years they have been elevated to new heights thanks to amazing cocktail posts by sheshedcocktails, thetipsyfrenchy, cocktailswithmike, themargaritamum and so many other talented mixologists on social media. When I think of the perfect cocktail experience it is so much more than a tasty drink. Reflecting on my 2021 Cocktail Staycation in Melbourne CBD the best cocktail I ever had was created from a sense of occasion, good glassware, appropriate garnishes and company combined.
“Liquor works quicker” is a saying that is stuck in my head. Not sure where it comes from but it sounds sort of wrong!! Strong liquor tastes better when mixed into a delightful concoction with other ingredients. This accounts for the enormous variety of drinks on modern cocktail menus, both fashionable and weird. Today cocktail bars are the focal point for good restaurants, hotels and in many homes. With the exception of a few classics such as the dry martini most cocktail recipes shouldn’t be treated with undue reverence. Try them, and if you like them fine, if they are too dry or too sweet adapt them to suit your taste. Be adventurous and try inventing some of your own. Approach recipes as a child and have fun mixing flavours. You may end up creating YOUR perfect cocktail.
Perfect Cocktail Tips
It’s never too late to join the debate on what makes a “Perfect Christmas Cocktail”
For many people, a classic cocktail, done well, is the perfect cocktail. Most bar tenders will regularly make traditional favourite’s like the Negroni, Espresso Martini, Bloody Mary or Margarita. These will taste the same all over the world with slight variations here and there depending on the drinker’s preference.
Fans of James Bond will remember that he always insisted on his dry martini to be shaken not stirred. Since this holds true for most cocktails, the most basic piece of equipment is a cocktail shaker. It can be any size shape or material but for convenience it should have a built-in strainer.
Always shake vigorously with both hands as this is how you bring your cocktail to life and ensure a well-mixed drink
Fresh ice must be used for each mixing. Always use large ice cubes for shaking or serving drinks as small cubes will melt faster and dilute the drink. Cocktails such as the Tom Collins and our Rosemary Collins variant can be made in a tall glass or jug using a long-handled spoon to stir rather than shake. If the ice is left in the glass, then a straw must be added. You may want to go back and read up on Straw Etiquette for cocktails.
Apart from the mandatory cocktail shaker you will need teaspoons and tablespoons to measure ingredients like simple syrups, vanilla essence and citrus juice. Using a measuring cup or jigger is much easier and more accurate. When measuring the spirits and syrups for a cocktail it is important to get the proportions right. For many classic cocktails the standard measure is one jigger or 45ml.
Certain recipes call for the cocktail to be blended in a food processor, but a stick blender is better and is also useful in getting the perfect foam on cocktails using egg whites. The good news is this machine can also crush ice BUT be aware that repeated crushing can lead to the blades being blunted. Opt for crushing the ice in a tea towel with a wooden mallet or heavy wooden board.
Many recipes call for fruit or fruit juice. Fresh is best. From raspberries to cucumber and mint garden fresh ingredients can be muddled or mashed in a tumbler or cocktail shaker. This action will help extract the colour and flavours required. Containers of orange cranberry, pear or pineapple juice are useful for party punches.
Stemware (coup or espresso martini glass) and various size tumblers will enhance your drinking pleasure and provide a more professional end result.
Preparing for Christmas
As stay at home orders come and go in Victoria, the fear of a snap lockdown has curbed many holiday plans. Travelling interstate or overseas is now considered risky business in the current pandemic climate. People are choosing to staying home for Christmas. So it is time to get you liquor cabinet sorted for the Christmas holidays. If you have a well-stocked home bar at your fingertips you can entertain in style.
Here is our check list for home bar essentials to host cheerful get togethers over summer.
- White Spirits (Gin, Vodka, Tequila and Rum) – White spirits create exciting traditional and modern drinks that will go well with most mixers. From soda to sparkling wine and juice to ginger beer. Think classic cocktails like Gimlet, French 75 and Lemon Drop Martini. Not only will you be ready to bunker down but it is always a thrill to master the Gin Slings, Sours and Fizzes. Make sure not to scrimp on quality mixers as it will show up in your glass.
- Botanikos Simple Syrups are usually required in many cocktail recipes and ours are handy to mix. Fresh herbs spices and flowers are infused into sugar syrup to build intensity thus lifting the core profile of the cocktail. Additionally, botanically flavoured simple syrups can become the spine of a great mocktail.
- Citrus fruit such as lemons and limes provide the sour to balance the sweet and bitter
- Ice is vital in making drinks so don’t treat it as an after-thought. It is really a key ingredient in own right controlling the temperature and dilution of the cocktail.
- Stemware (coup or espresso martini glass) and various size tumblers will enhance your drinking pleasure
When friends come calling look chic and sophisticated as you Shake Stir Swizzle gorgeous colourful aromatic cocktails. We have you covered with our simple syrup range and recipes. Customise your cocktail by choosing your favourite botanical flavour and get mixing with our liquid simple syrups. By combining with our range of natural flavours to your favourite spirit, you can elevate that glass of fizz into a custom creation that speaks to your individual tastes and allows you to flex your creative muscle.
The Perfect Gin Fizz
While responsible consumption of alcohol is paramount, pandemic or not, a sophisticated tipple is a pastime enjoyed across generations. Turn your favourite drink on its head and do a non-alcoholic gin fizz. Whether you are at casual summer gathering and need to drink responsibly or you are relaxing at your favourite summer destination it’s time to make yourself the PERFECT Gin Fizz.
Introducing Juniper Jinn simple syrup a satisfying blend of juniper berries fresh cut herbs and citrus notes. Enjoy a refreshing summer cocktail made with Juniper Jinn which we are calling the “Gin Fizz Flip” because it tastes like gin without the gin. For some of you this may be your first mocktail but I bet it could fool quite a few dedicated gin drinkers!
So are you ready to master the art of drinking sober? Make our Gin Fizz Flip, recipe below
30 ml Juniper Jinn simple syrup
30 ml lemon juice
30 ml pasteurised egg white or aquafaba or vegan alternative
90 ml Soda water
Shake the ingredients well in a cocktail shaker. Dry shake (without ice) for 6 seconds to help the egg white expand. Add ice to shaker and shake for 8-10 seconds. Double strain into a tumbler and top with soda (45 ml). Garnish with a twist of lemon slice or rosemary sprig.
Enjoy this delicious cocktail without the alcohol price tag.
Yep, I will have one of those thanks 😊