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Recipes

Even though we are big Guinness drinkers, we realise it isn’t everyone’s favourite pub pint, it seems as though there is one day of the year upon which most people are happy to forget that they don’t actually enjoy the taste of Ireland’s national drink, and get stuck in to a few pints of the black stuff. Today is that day, St. Patrick’s Day.  Obviously our mission as a cocktail company is to ensure that everybody has something in their glass that they enjoy drinking, so it seemed only right that we try to do something with Guinness to turn the haters into lovers.

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Short of suggesting that people charge their glasses with Gin and top it up to create a delicious but dangerous nectar that we call Gin-ness, we thought we ought to suggest something both a little more sensible and suitable for the light hearted drinkers out there. We’ve come up with a delicious spiced punch that is easily created at home, and that is sure to be sure to change people’s opinions of Guinness.

Combining Spiced Rum, Guinness, a careful selection of different spices and ginger beer to taste you can make a delicious concoction to get your St Patrick’s Day going…

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Oak Aged Manhattan

Whilst trawling the internet the other day looking for new and interesting stuff to experiment with it occurred to us that we had never tried oak aging anything. Everyone knows that hundreds of spirits are oak aged and that it can change the flavour profile of a drink completely, but we thought we’d have a go and get some in depth tasting notes on the change of the drink.

We didn’t just want to try ageing a spirit however; we thought it would be more interesting to have a go at ageing a cocktail, one we could then just pour straight from the barrel and into the glass. We decided that it ought to be something whiskey based and chose one of our old favourites the Perfect Manhattan. We bought ourselves an unused litre sized oak barrel and then set about deciding on the type of whiskey we ought to use.

Generally speaking I personally am a big fan of Makers Mark in my Manhattans; I like its smooth sweet texture. However we thought we needed something a little different for this experiment as we felt the oak ageing could potentially ruin the delicate flavours of a bourbon like Makers Mark. We thought we’d go for something a little more peppery and spicy instead, and see how the fresh oak mellows these flavours out.  We chose Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey as it seemed to match the flavour profile we needed.

So, using the recipe below we filled the barrel with our Manhattan, keeping a small bottle to one side to use for comparisons, and we will check on the drink every two weeks to see how it’s changing, and how fast these transformations are taking place. We also concluded that it would be best to turn to someone with a more sensitive and highly trained palate than we could personally offer, so all of our tasting notes will be coming from our good friend Aljoscha Wright, who is the spirit expert at The Oxford Wine Company.

Recipe:

  • 50ml Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey
  • 15ml Martini Extra Dry
  • 15ml Martini Rosso
  • 3 Dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • 3 Dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters

A few years ago, whilst bartending in one of the very first cocktail bars I ever had the pleasure of working in I came across this recipe and it’s one that I still love to make and drink today. The bar wasn’t the most prestigious; it was the sort of establishment that would see goldfish bowls of luminous drinks laced with peach schnapps and cheap vodka being thrown at customers by the dozen every Friday and Saturday night. However I felt that this was one drink on the menu that I’d happily serve in most places I’ve worked. It comes as courtesy of the manager I worked under, a guy called Lee, and was one of his signature drinks that he was entering into competitions at the time. The base spirit for the drink was Mandarine Napoléon Liqueur; a cognac based liqueur made with mandarins (obviously) and a variety of spices and plants. I think that even as a neat spirit served over a couple of cubes of ice it is a perfectly palatable drink, and as such would probably lose its charm if it were to be overpowered by a huge number of flavours in a cocktail. This is probably the reason I’m so fond of this recipe. It’s simple but at the same time makes for a fantastic drink that you can slowly sip and enjoy without the lip curling effects one usually gets from near enough a neat spirit.

Recipe:

  • 50ml Mandarine Napoléon Liqueur
  • 2 Bar Spoons Soft Brown Sugar
  • 6 Fresh Basil Leaves
  •  Shake and double strain all ingredients.
  • Serve in a Martini glass with a mandarin segment floating on a basil leaf for garnish.

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  Floral fizzWe had recently bought some Hibiscus flowers in syrup for the first time, and upon tasting them, we realised that they were the solution to our needs. The sweet pink syrup that they came in with an almost raspberry flavour was perfect for a summer champagne cocktail. Wanting to keep the drink one of summer ingredients Grey Goose Pear vodka was an obvious accompaniment to the syrup. The vodka itself is not all that sweet so combined with the syrup it would make a great combination. To finish the drink off we decided that a small amount of fresh vanilla was required; not wanting to use any more syrup we took it at its most natural form and cut about an inch off a pod, scraped out the seeds, and muddled the whole lot together before shaking the vanilla and other ingredients over ice. We then double strained the resulting mixture into a flute, dropped one of the hibiscus plants in and filled the glass with champagne. The bubbles cause the flower to open slightly and you are left with a pink cocktail, with a blossoming flower in the bottom. What could be more perfect for a wedding?

Recipe:

  • 1 inch of vanilla pod cut open and scraped out
  • 30ml Grey Goose “La Poire”
  • 20ml Hibiscus syrup
  • 1 Hibiscus plant
  • Muddle the vanilla, add the vodka and syrup, shake and double strain into a champagne flute.
  • Place Hibiscus plant in flute with drink.
  • Top with champagne

 

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A few years ago, whilst working in one of the more prestigious bars that I have been employed by over the years, I found myself confronted with a challenge from a customer. This gentleman stood and looked over the whole of the cocktail menu for quite some time before closing it and questioning why he could rarely ever find a recipe that used his favourite spirit? Obviously my next question was to ask what his favourite spirit was. I was confronted with the response “black Sambuca”. Not shy of a challenge I confidently said “leave that with me Sir, I’ll bring your drink over shortly.”

As I turned and looked at the bottle of ‘Opal Nera’ that we served as our house Sambuca, all sorts of ideas starting going through my mind. I decided to keep the drink simple however. I started with some raspberry puree and Chambord, pouring both into a shaker, about 25ml of each. I then added about 30ml of the Sambuca, not wanting to overpower the drink but wanting it to be the prominent flavour. Once I gave these a shake and tasted it I was reasonably pleased. There was obviously something more needed though to soften the harsh alcoholic flavours. Once lengthened with cloudy apple juice I concluded that I had created something I wasn’t ashamed of serving. Thankfully the customer agreed.

The following day I decided to refine the recipe: swapping the raspberry puree for fresh raspberries, and adding some fresh muddled Granny Smith apple for a slightly sour bite. Serving the drink long in a Catalina, and garnishing with an apple fan, and whole star anise I decided I was finally happy. This is still a drink that I will proudly serve today.

Recipe:

  • Muddle 6 fresh Raspberries, ¼ Granny Smith Apple
  • 25ml Chambord
  • 50ml Cloudy Apple Juice
  • Shake hard over cubed ice
  • In a Catalina:
  • Fill with crushed ice
  • 30ml Opal Nera
  • Double strain raspberry, apple, Chambord and apple juice on top so the drink layers.

Garnish:

  • Apple Fan
  • Whole Star Anise

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