burnt toast

Category: Drinks

Toasty Brown Butter and Maple Old Fashioned

IMG_8116.jpg

…And what a ridiculously long and pretentious title that is. But really, if you love whisky, and you love the toasted, malty flavours of browned butter and maple, do go make this. However, keep in mind that you need to let the whisky infuse for three days before making this – so if you hurry, you’ll have some by the weekend.

Also makes for an excellent gift.

IMG_8129.jpg

Brown Butter and Maple Old Fashioned

taken and adapted from this wonderful site.

60ml brown butter infused whisky (recipe below)

2 tsp maple syrup

2 shakes bitters

1 strip of orange rind

ice

combine the whisky, maple syrup, and bitters in a tumbler. Squeeze the orange rind over the top and drop it in, giving it a bit of a stirry-smash to release some more of its orangey goodness. Add the ice and give it one last stir.

Yum.

 

Brown Butter Infused Whisky

makes about 500ml

 

100g butter, cubed

500ml whisky (go for something that’s drinkable on its own, but not sinfully wasteful if mixed into a drink – I used Red Label here)

One 600ml jar with a lid

A coffee filter, a clean tea towel or muslin of some sort

a 500ml bottle, to store the whisky in

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and let it sizzle gently until it smells deliciously nutty and has gone a nice shade of hazelnut brown. This will take a moment or two, but be sure to keep an eye on it, because it can go from brown to black in an instant. Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature (otherwise it’ll sizzle when it gets into contact with the whisky, and you lose precious alcohol percentage for nothing). Pour the butter and the whisky into the jar, screw on the lid, and give it a good shake. Then, place it into the fridge for three days.

Once those three days are up, filter the whisky into a bottle, using the coffee filter or tea towel. I regretfully don’t like whisky flavoured butter, so I usually discard it. If you’re a fan, please use it. But basically, once you’ve transferred the whisky into the bottle, you’re done! Keep it in the fridge between cocktail – making.

Cinnamon Old Fashioned

IMG_8103

The third cocktail in a row – am I on a roll or what? Look – nah, I won’t even. You don’t need convincing anyway. Drinks are always front page news in these parts. I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a few years now, but only a few months ago did I discover the ultimate version of the Old Fashion by adding cinnamon syrup. The cinnamon doesn’t punch you in the face, which is what I like and need in my life. The world is way too oversaturated with cinnamon-spiced things as it is.

This is one of the easiest and quickest drinks to have around – everyone should have bitters at home anyway, and a jar of maraschino cherries doesn’t take up much room in the fridge either. All you need to do is go out and buy a juicy (and preferably organic – you’re getting a bit of the rind smooshed into the drink, kay?) orange and make that cinnamon syrup. YAHM.

IMG_8106

Cinnamon Old Fashioned

Makes 1 glass

1/2 slice of orange, plus another half for decoration

1 maraschino cherry, plus another for decoration

3 shakes of Angostura Bitters

2 tsp (10ml) cinnamon syrup (recipe below)

ice

60ml whiskey (I used Red Label)

 

In a jug, combine the orange slice, the cherry, the bitters and the syrup. With a muddler or even a spoon, mash everything together until you feel certain that the orange oils and cherry juices have done the best they can. Add about 3 ice cubes and the whiskey, and give it all a good stir. Fill a pretty tumbler with a few more cubes of ice (or a fancy big one if you have it) and sieve the delicious golden liquid right over the top of it. Add the additional orange slice and cherry to garnish. Done.

When I feel lazy (which is mostly) I skip the sieving and the additional cherry and orange slice and just pour that into my glass. Do whatever your level of lazy requires of you.

 

Cinnamon Syrup

Makes about 130ml

110g raw sugar

125ml water

1 big pinch salt

1 cinnamon stick, or 1/2 big chunky one

 

Combine everything in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and darkened in colour. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon by sieving the syrup into a glass jar.

Keep it in a jar in the fridge – it’ll last quite a long time there.

Cyclone

IMG_8069.jpg

As warmer weather approaches (hahahah), people are once again slowly opening up to the idea of drinking something a bit more refreshing than wine, yet a wee tastier than yeasted bubble water (why humanity, why). Granted, this is more of a summer drink, but I recently discovered Bundaberg Ginger Beer, the one and only ginger beer, in Bern. And lord knows I need to make the best of it.

I last had this drink at the Beaufort in Carlton, Melbourne (another excellent place to visit if you’re in the neighbourhood). There they called it a Hurricane, but since I’m only using one type of Rum, I’m settling for “Cyclone” – the tame, tasty sort that limits itself to small glass vessels. You get a hint of vanilla from the rum, an extra punch of ginger from the syrup,  all zingily balanced by the lime. What more is there to say.

IMG_8080.jpg

Cyclone

 

Makes 1 drink

ice, rather more than less

60ml Sailor Jerry Rum

15ml ginger syrup (recipe below)

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

2 lime wedges

120ml Bundaberg Ginger Beer

 

Get yourself a tall glass and fill it with ice. Add rum, syrup and bitters. Squeeze over the lime and fill up with ginger beer.

 

Ginger Syrup

makes about 180ml

220g white sugar

250ml water

100g ginger, thinly sliced, then roughly chopped

1 pinch salt

Combine everything in a small pan. Bring to the boil, then let simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes until syrupy. Let it cool, then pour into a jar through a fine mesh strainer. Will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

Spring Fizz

IMG_7915

It’s summer guys! Confusing Swiss summer. I’m surprisingly okay with that. No sweating! No sunburn! And lots of happy green trees having a ball of a time. Gentle monsoons is where we’re at.

In order to celebrate the very agreeable climate had here, I thought I’d serve you up a nice little tipple. This is what I’ve been nipping at in the past few months, at first because I was in the mood for something a little less heavy, and then later because there was an inordinate need for something refreshing and citrusy to reflect the parasol- and gumboot clad world outside.

 

Spring Fizz

Adapted from this recipe . Serves 1.

Ice

2 tsp orange, lemon and vanilla syrup – recipe below

2 tsp lime juice

3 shakes bitters

15 ml sweet vermouth

30 ml gin

1 strip lime rind

30 – 60 ml sparkling water

Fill a tumbler with ice. Drizzle over the syrup and juice. Add the bitters, vermouth and gin. Rub the lime rind around the rim of the glass, give it a bit of a squeeze and drop it in. Give everything a good stir and top it with as much sparkling water as you’d like.

 

Orange, Lemon and Vanilla Syrup

1 orange

1 lemon

½ tsp vanilla seed paste or ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped

250g sugar

300ml water

Using a vegetable peeler, remove as much of the orange and lemon peel as you can. Transfer to a small saucepan. Juice the orange and the lemon, adding that to the peel. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes (maybe more), until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and let it cool. When it’s reached room temperature, remove the peel and pour into a large jar. Keeps for a few weeks in the fridge.

The Perfect Dirty

perfect martini

For years I had decided that martinis weren’t my thing. Too strong. what’s the point, give me one of those sweet ones instead. And to some extent, I still agree with that line of thought. But now I also know that there is a martini for everyone, or at least almost everyone, minus the uncool people. This came to be while I was having dinner at this Italian place with two dear friends of mine, and for some reason I was feeling a bit frisky and up for a bit of a challenge in the drink sector. I confided in the lovely waitress that I was new to this, and I don’t know what was said between her and the barman, or what he was plotting in that little genius mind of his, but what came to the table a few minutes later made me re-evaluate my life’s decisions and ponder over what else was lying ahead of me, yet to be uncovered or rediscovered. The martini was ever so slightly sweet, balanced out by the salt from the olive brine, and the gin, oh how it sung. None of that punch-in-your-face bull of “I’m a purist martini, triple concentrated and only held within the vicinity of a photograph of a water droplet, because dilution would be a sin. Vermouth was never in fashion anyway.” No, this was sophistication in a glass.

Weeks later, after repeated experimentation with vermouth and olives of different degrees colour and texture, we got there. And I’ve been making them ever since. You’ve heard of a perfect martini, right? That’s equal parts sweet to dry vermouth. I don’t care what you think, but I like the sweet edge the former gives to the drink. The way to prevent it from becoming  too girly or overpowering, is by giving it a nice dose of dirty with that olive brine. Essentially it’s combining a perfect and the dirty. In with the gin, stir, stir, stir, pour, garnish, yum.

If you’ve never been a martini person either, give this a try. It might just change your mind. And if you already have a favourite recipe, and you will have it no other way, then I hope that at least you can appreciate the photographs I made of mine.

martini 2

The Perfect Dirty

Makes one glass

10ml sweet vermouth

10ml dry vermouth

20ml olive brine from a jar of Sicilian olives (the green ones with the pip intact)

40ml gin

ice

3 Sicilian olives (or more – I’m a greedy creature)

Combine both vermouths with the olive brine, gin and ice in a jar or tall glass. Stir intensely for a minute or so until very very cold – you want a bit of dilution going on if you’re like me and don’t like being assaulted in the neck by what tastes like a shot of scented nail polish remover. If you’re unsure, give it a little taste. Give it a few more stirs if you’re not satisfied yet, or strain it into a coupe glass. Add your olives and enjoy.

Combine both vermouths with the olive brine, gin and ice in a jar or tall glass. Stir intensely for a minute or so until very very cold – you want a bit of dilution going on if you’re like me and don’t like being assaulted in the neck by what tastes like a shot of scented nail polish remover. If you’re unsure, give it a little taste. Give it a few more stirs if you’re not satisfied yet, or strain it into a coupe glass. Add your olives and enjoy.

Mulled Winey Goodness

mulled wine‘Tis the season my friends. Time for mulled everything. Everyone is trying to top everyone else in winging about how cold it is, but secretly they love it, because who doesn’t love a steaming mug of something spiked warming up their frozen nose hair. Warmed nose hair for everyone! We’ve had hot buttered rum before, which went down a treat – but now it’s time for the antioxidant-rich grape to take centre stage and charm our socks off.

mulled cloves

This recipe calls for the creation of a complexly spiced syrup, to which later you add some red and a few splashes of ginger wine. That way you can either store it in the fridge for a few weeks, use half, or have it all straight away. This method also ensures that most of the alcohol is still present by the time of serving. None of this boiling-wine-for-two-hours business. And honestly? Most bars, no matter how craft and boutique and amazing they are, their mulled wine won’t be as good as this. Promise.

mulled orange

Delicious Mulled Wine

via the Guardian

This will make about 12 servings. If you aren’t up for cracking open two bottles of red because you’re a smallish group, make the syrup and only use half, combined with half of the rest of the ingredients. The syrup will last for a few weeks in a jar in the fridge.

2 oranges, washed
1 lemon, peel only
150g raw sugar
5 cloves, plus extra for garnish
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 bottles of fruity full-bodied red wine – Shiraz-Cabernet for me please
150ml ginger wine

Remove the peel from one orange using a vegetable peeler, then squeeze out the juice. Add both to a big saucepan along with the lemon peel, the sugar and the spices. Add a few small glugs of wine, enough to cover the sugar, and let it simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. You should be left with a thick syrup. If I have the time I like to let it sit for a bit to let the flavours meld.

If you’re keen on doing some shmancy decorating, get the remaining orange and the remaining cloves, and make a few (as many guests as you have)vertical clove lines down the side of the orange. slice it into segments  and voilà,  your garnish is complete.

Once you’re ready to serve, add the rest of the red wine as well as the ginger wine, and gently heat the mixture until hot. Ladle into cups and squeeze an orange segment onto the edge of each. Yum!

 

 

 

The Earl of Grey

the earl of grey

Most of us seem to associate a cup of tea with grandparents – a doily or two thrown in there with the shortbread biscuits, the teapot shining with all its glory in the middle of the table, waiting to be poured. Tea is the bomb. I have two wonderful grandmothers, one of them, Grandma, lives about an hour out from where I live in Melbourne. Every one of my weekly visits starts with a cup of tea in the living room – hers very weak with a splash of cold water (I know. But she has many other fabulous assets), mine with milk, sometimes with or without sugar, depending on the biscuit situation. The two of us sip and exchange our news of that past week, before deciding what else we have in mind for the next few hours. I love my Grandma days.

My memory of tea with Omi reaches back a bunch of years, back to Switzerland, to when I was small, but still the tallest of my class, with white-blonde hair and an obsession with dogs. Every once in a while I’d stay the weekend at my grandparents’ place, at their wooden chalet with the red geraniums, nestled at the foot of a forest. Giesenstein is basically a hill with a few farms sprinkled about, an only child’s paradise, where you could pick cherries during your afternoon walks with Omi and Opa in the summer, play with the tadpoles in the pond in their front yard, or watch TV. I may have mentioned before that I was a TV-less child growing up, which was great I might add, but which also made me appreciate TV and its many wondrous animal documentaries all the more. I truly loved breakfast at their place. Omi would already be awake down in the kitchen, singing to herself, setting the table for me. I’d pad down the stairs and sit down in my chair, where I’d select which type of jam I wanted on my slice of freshly buttered bread. In her sweet Austrian accent Omi would then always ask me how I would like my tea, with milk or with lemon, and I’d almost always request lemon. You know why? Because when you poured the lemon juice into the tea, it would change from black to golden caramel. Magic. And which little girl doesn’t like magic? A few lumps of sugar and then we were in business.

This cocktail recipe is inspired by Omi’s breakfast tea. It’s deliciously fresh and a slight bit posh. Earl grey takes the place of black tea and is paired with dash of lemon, accompanied by vanilla vodka and gin, because earl grey and gin are good friends, and a squeeze of orange rind to complement that seductive bergamot flavour.

 

The Earl of Grey

Serves one

 

For the earl grey syrup:

1 tsp earl grey leaves

½ cup / 125ml boiling water

½ cup / 220g white sugar

 

30 ml earl grey syrup

30 ml fresh lemon juice

30 ml vanilla vodka

30 ml gin

ice

a thin sliver of orange peel

 

Get a tea sieve or whatever handy contraption you own, place the tealeaves inside. You could use a teabag here of course, but if you’re going to all this trouble, you might as well go the whole way. Plus tea from tealeaves is a million times better. If you haven’t already, it’s time you converted, trust me. Place the sieve into a small cup, and add the boiling water. Let it sit for about 3 minutes. Remove the sieve and pour the tea into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to the boil, letting it simmer until thickened slightly. Transfer to a jar and let it cool.

Once you’re ready to cocktail, combine the earl grey syrup, lemon juice, vodka, gin, and a few cubes of ice in a cocktail shaker or a jar and give it a good shake. Find your prettiest teacup, fill it up with ice cubes and pour over your Earl of Grey. To finish off, squeeze the orange rind over the top of the drink before dropping it in and giving it a little swirl.

 

 

The Honeybee

the honeybee

I’ve always had a so-so relationship with honey. Oh no, I don’t mind the fact that it’s bee spew. Humans eat far worse things I’d think. It’s more that I felt that it wasn’t being worshipped enough. If we’re going to be so mean and ruin all that hard work by nicking it and stirring it into our tea, there should be a certain level of appreciation had. It’s pretty amazing stuff. Next to being wonderfully flavoursome, it can aid people in getting rid of allergies, while its antibacterial properties can help combat infections and heal wounds and burns. It’s part magic alright?

So what is it I make when I decide to incorporate some magical goodness into my day, you will ask. Oh you know me too well. A cocktail of course. A delicious little combo of honey, lime juice, elderflower cordial, and vanilla vodka, with a sliver of fresh chilli to represent the sting of the bee. Pretty nifty eh?

 

The Honeybee

Serves 1

 

30ml fresh lime juice

30ml honey (if it’s too solid, give it a few seconds in the microwave)

15ml elderflower cordial

60ml vanilla vodka

Ice

1 slice of chilli (optional for those who are weak in the chilli – ingesting department)

 

Combine the lime juice, honey, cordial and vodka in a jar with a few cubes of ice. Give it a mighty good shake, then pour into a pretty glass over some fresh ice or just by itself. Float the chilli on top. Yum.

Hot Buttered Rum

hot buttered rumIt’s time, guys. Spring’s here. Jasmine bushes are exploding all over the place, sunscreen is taking the place of cologne and we can finally leave the house without a scarf. Oh how I love spring. To bid my farewell to winter, and helping you lovelies on the other side of the world ease into the realization the cold is going to come get you, I present to thee: Hot buttered rum.

 

The inspiration for this recipe came from a visit to this charming little bar down the road called Little Mess. If you’re ever in Brunswick, give it a go. They won’t be doing hot buttered rum till winter though. A few months back, when I asked about the ingredients that made up the delicious steaming beverage I was holding between my frozen paws, I was expecting something along the lines of “Ah, sorry. Secret recipe.” Which I did. But my disappointment must have guilt-tripped the friendly barman, so he ended up giving me a tiny insight into a short and incredibly vague list of ingredients make up the magic of which is hot buttered rum. So eagerly I went on home and over the following months taste-tested my own interpretation of it until I was certain that it had well and truly ticked all the boxes. May I present to you, a caramelly, buttery, spiced cup of sweet boozy goodness.

 

Hot Buttered Rum

Serves 1

 

60ml butterscotch sauce (recipe below)

30ml water

1 cardamom pod

1 clove

1 small piece of cinnamon bark

60ml Sailor Jerry’s or other spiced rum

 

Now ideally, try and get this first step done at least 15 minutes before you serve your drink. That way, the spices have a chance to develop and let themselves be noticed. Combine the butterscotch, water and spices in a heatproof mug and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. If you hate microwaves, or just don’t have one, warm the mixture in a small pan until hot, but not boiling. Set aside for 15 minutes.

When ready to serve, add the rum to the cup and heat for a further 30 seconds in the microwave, until nice and hot, but again, not boiling. You, my sweet, are now ready to drink.

 

Butterscotch sauce

Makes enough for at least 5 drinks

 

160ml / 2/3 cup cream

155g / ¾ cup light brown sugar

75g butter, cubed

2 tsp vanilla essence

1/3 tsp salt

 

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and stirring, bring to the boil. Let it bubble away for about 5 more minutes until thickened slightly. Take from the heat and let it cool.

Can be sored for at least one week in the fridge.

Sling

Singapore sling

It’s Friday ladies and gents. Time to celebrate. Why, you ask. Because it’s the day all the good comes together, and all the bad gets released, the pressure, the stress, all gone. It’s the day of reflection, recounting the irritating, the weird and the hilarious, sharing it with friends, loved ones and cats. This one is especially for two of my favourite people, the co-founders of Friday night drinks and Nibbles, Hayley and Ross. Back then in the “Free-tapas-plate-with-every-two-cocktails” days at Dominic’s in Brunswick heads, back then when the bar tender was called Cameron, back when the cocktails were teasingly flirty, the conversation pun-heavy, and the tapas phenomenally memorable.

 

I’ve never tasted a Singapore Sling that good since. Sad? A little. But not despaired. I was stealthy enough to memorize the ingredients and amounts on one such Friday night occasion, so that I could recreate it for myself and others in future, creating peace and happiness all around for many, many more years. Such stealth. Wow.

lime slice

Singapore Sling

(The way it should be. Forever.)

 

Makes 1

 

30ml gin

15ml Benedictine

15ml cherry brandy

15ml Cointreau

15ml lime juice

10ml grenadine

120ml pineapple juice

Ice

 

lime slices or umbrellas or parrots or something even more exotic than that if you feel like decorating

 

Get a nice big jam jar and pour all the ingredients with a few cubes of ice in. Give it a mighty good shake, then pour into a tall glass filled with ice. Decorate however you see fit.

%d bloggers like this: