burnt toast

Category: Drinks

Rosewater and Mint Lemonade

rosewater and mint lemonade

Yeah, it’s hot. Listen, this isn’t really what I signed up for when I decided to move to Melbourne. It was more the European autumns and the dry climate that enticed me. But hey, we’ve got aircon in our living room, so there’s no point in bitching anyway.

Before you go and drown yourself in H2O, may I suggest a more delicious way to go? I came across this refreshing and utterly delicious beverage in Brunswick Heads, up there in the tropical New South Wales, at a Middle Eastern café called Yami’s. The food is beautiful and fresh, plates of crispy falafel served with creamy hummus, parsley and tomato salad and warm pita bread. The lemonade though, that’s the reason I go back.

more lemonade

Rosewater and Mint Lemonade

Makes about 350ml of syrup

3-4 lemons, depending on size, to make 200ml lemon juice

175g sugar

2 Tbsp rosewater

¼ bunch mint, leaves torn, to serve


Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and stir over low heat, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the rosewater. Transfer to a glass jar, screw the top on and let it chill in the fridge. This syrup will keep for a couple of weeks, just so you know. So depending on if you’re serving a crowd or just yourself, you’ll have to adjust the amounts. As I’m a solitary lemonade drinker most of the time, here are the amounts I use: In a 250ml – sized teacup (to me, everything tastes better in teacups), combine 3 Tbsp syrup and two torn mint leaves. Chuck in a couple of ice cubes and top up with water. Proscht.

I know what you’re thinking. Laura, this drink does not contain any alcohol. What’s wrong. Darling, don’t you worry, I’ve been going over this in my head for a few weeks now. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m certain it would taste quite delightful with some gin or perhaps even vodka. I’ll give it a go when things get a bit milder. But honestly – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – it’s too hot for spirits.


White Russian

white russian

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, I used to like coffee. I had a great love for it, made even greater by the fact that I worked at a café, which was known by its locals for its coffee.  One shot late, one sugar, or sometimes even a mocha, depending on my mood. Then one day, during my “at least three coffees a day” – phase, I decided to quit. What followed was a week of headaches, and a taste for coffee no more. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is, but I would say that it’s the combination of aroma and flavour that makes my tummy turn just a little. Maybe also the fact that that’s what you can smell on people’s breaths first thing in the morning on the tram to uni. That off, bitter fragrance of unbrushed teeth wafting through the tightly packed carriage.

All is not lost though. I still like kaluha. That counts as coffee in my books. Delicious, sweet, alcoholified coffee.

You already know I’m a sucker for a good cocktail, although mind, purists will say this isn’t.  To which I will agree and say of course not, it’s sophisticated dessert. Now do you want one or not.

I find most of the time, White Russians are a rather neglected drink, usually resembling a careless coffee milkshake – ice, Kahlua, milk, done. No, no, no.

I tasted this version almost a year ago in this little cellar bar called Abflugbar in Bern. If you’re ever there – go. It’s great. The barmen come have a little chat with you to determine what cocktail would suit you best. Anyway.  What I was served then was an incredibly pleasant surprise: A two-layered drink, dark and strong down the bottom with a  white cloud of cream floating on top. Delish.

So what you first need is a fancy glass, preferably a coupe. To this, add, shaken at different intervals, ice, Kahlua, vanilla vodka and cream – by which I would just like to mention – what is it with this “thickened cream”  Australia? How about pure cream? Does thickening it make it easier (and so much more time efficient – “takes only one minute to whip instead of two! Wow!”) for lazy people to whip it? If that’s the case, you should wear a bag over your head and get the pre-whipped sweetened can of cream from the back isle. Shame on you.

If you’re in a big enough supermarket, chances are you’ll find cream without any thickeners in it. That, or you add a splash of milk to your cream before shaking. Your choice.

White Russian

 Serves 1

45ml Kahlua

45ml Vanilla Vodka

60ml cream

splash of milk if using thickened cream


Find a jam jar with a tightly fitting lid. Add the Kahlua, vodka and 3 cubes of ice, screw the lid on and give it a good shake. Pour into your coupe glass, making sure you catch all the ice. Throw the ice into the sink, give the jar a wash, then add the cream (and milk) and 2 ice cubes. Give it a good shake. Gently pour over the back of a teaspoon onto the Kahlua vodka, making sure you catch the ice again.

Happy dessert time.

In case you were wondering how to drink this – just sip it. You’ll get a nice mixture of the two layers with every sip.

Also, you can use as many ice cubes as you want. We always seem to run out, so I’ve adapted my needs to our ice cube tray.

Pink Zing


Ooh a pink drink? Blablabla. Don’t. Just don’t, okay? This is what some people would call “their guilty pleasure” of a cocktail, and in some ways they might be right. But what differs me from them is that I will hold this drink in my hand with pride, because there is absolutely nothing to feel ashamed about loving the delicious tango of zingy green apple, accentuated by a burst of fresh lime, with the sweet golden flavours of the butterscotch, completed by the slight bitterness of the cranberry juice. This is unity, people, harmony and happiness in a glass. Do it.

toffee two

Toffee Apple

Makes one cocktail


30ml Butterscotch Schnapps

30ml Sour Apple Pucker

60ml cranberry juice

the juice from 1/2  a lime

4 ice cubes

A thin slice of green apple, if you want to be schmancy

Combine everything except for the apple slice in a glass jar, screw on the lid, and shake it until the glass goes frosty. Pour into a martini glass, catching the ice by holding the lid slightly askew over the opening. Nope, no room for ice here. I want it in it’s purest form, undiluted deliciousness in a glass. Get your slice of apple in there for for some prettiness. Cheers darling.

If you ever find yourself in Melbourne on a Monday night, head up to Spleen on Bourke Street, where they have free comedy and this drink. They serve it with ice though, just letting you know.

Elderflower and Basil.

3 am sunrise

Hey there beautiful.

I’ve missed you. Come, sit down with me, in the green velvet armchair. Tell me all, what’s been going on in your life – tell me about how a ticket inspector randomly started talking to you, saying how you reminded him of his granddaughter, how you saw a young bearded woman lovingly hold her boyfriend’s hand near the 2-dollar shop, how you made smores with your housemate for the first time and you’re still kicking yourself for having waited this long to taste them.

And I will gently press a delicate coupe glass into your hand, a little basil leaf floating atop a fragrant moonstone – coloured liquid, and you will ask me what it is, and I will tell you to take a sip. A “Wow.” is all I get from you before you dive in for another nip. This little beauty is called a 3 am sunrise. I too reacted quite similarly to you the first time I had it, at this beautiful place called Lily Blacks in Melbourne. This strong, fragrant little tipple with elderflower and basil completely mesmerised me. It made me feel like there was nothing more important than the here and now, same as now.

3 am Sunrise

makes one cocktail

This drink has nothing to do with the sunrise you might be accustomed to. It is strong and subtly floral, the sweetness cut by a squeeze of lime, completed by the subtle basil undertones. Beautiful. If you can’t be bothered going out to get the Zubrowka vodka, replace it with any other good-quality vodka and add a drop of vanilla essence. I find all vodka tastes like nail polish remover, so I like spending a little more on it so I can actually enjoy it. Zubrowka is also known as bison grass vodka, it’s flavour described to have woodruff, almond, vanilla and coconut notes.

4  ice cubes

30ml gin

30ml Zubrowka vodka

20ml elderflower cordial

1/4 lime, juice

1 large basil leaf, bruised with the palm of your hand, and another smaller basil leaf, for decoration

Got an empty glass jar lying around? Fantastic. Place the ice cubes, gin, vodka, cordial, lime juice and bruised basil in it and screw the lid on. Give it a good shake for about 15 seconds and strain into a coupe glass. Float the remaining basil leaf on top and serve.

My pleasure darling.

Punching it up

white peach and vanilla punch

Lets talk about punch.

It can be a delight to the tastebuds or evidently a punch in the stomach. Preferably, I go for option a. There is nothing I despise more than a bowl of fizzed up sugary nail polish remover with three kilos of fruit salad bobbing around the bucket, waiting for their unpredicted fate.

I don’t like fruit salad. It is boring as hell. The worst kind you can get is on the airplane, as a half frozen dessert component of your western vegetarian meal. The best is possibly the one you make at home, made with a maximum of 4 different fruit at the peak of their season. Less is more. I feel the same about punches. The fewer fruit, the better. Let their individual personalities shine baby, let them be the centrepiece of the tastebud tango.

In this case, it’s just peaches. White peaches. Their alluring, fruity sexiness, combined with the musky aroma of the vanilla seeds – their combined effort results in what I like to call “the little black dress of punch.”

White Peach and Vanilla Punch

Now I don’t have to tell you that this will be no good if the peaches aren’t ripe, or even worse, if you use the tinned version. All good? Bring out your best crystal, lover.

Makes lots, or a bit over 2.5 Litres

6 beautifully ripe white peaches

½ lemon, juice

2 tsp vanilla paste, or 2 vanilla pods, seeds

200g icing sugar

1 bottle (7 1/2 dl) of white wine

1 bottle (71/2 dl) champagne or prosecco

1 Litre of sparkling mineral water

Now first, we’re going to skin the peaches. Score a cross across the bottom of each one, then place them in a large bowl or plastic container. Fill up the kettle with water and bring to the boil. Pour over the peaches and let them soak for 2-4 minutes, or until the skins come off easily when poked with a finger. Drain, then pull the skins off. Now chop the flesh into eensy squares and put them back into the container. Squeeze over the lemon juice and add the vanilla paste, or the scraped out vanilla seeds. Stir in the icing sugar and add the bottle of wine. Swirl with a spoon to make sure all the icing sugar is dissolved, then cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably up to six. Then, when ready to serve, crack open the champers and the sparkling water and add to the mix. You may want to transfer everything (before adding the bubbles) into a fancier bowl, but I leave that up to you.

Cheers darling.


It is time for drinks me thinks. Time to celebrate. It is very important to have a reason to clink glasses. It makes it all the more important. There are many many reasons today for this one. To good friends, to family, to health, to food, to life. To my repetitive sneezing, to early mornings, to warm scarves, and to tired giggles. And to this drink of course. Often it will be ordered without alcohol, as a designated driver’s drink, or even overlooked because it has become “standard”. However, if it is done right, it becomes so much more than just standard. Don’t go shy on the angostura and squeeze that lime for what it’s worth.

Cheers to us.


Vodka with Lemon, Lime and Bitters

ice of course

15ml lime cordial

10-12 dashes of angostura bitters

50ml vodka

150ml “Lift” lemonade, or other cloudy lemonade

2 fat lime wedges

Fill a tall glass with ice and add cordial, bitters and vodka, combining them with a spoon. Add lemonade and squeeze the lime wedges on top and drop into the drink.

Ginger, lime and colds

Hi. How are you. Feeling like crap? Join the club. I don’t know if it’s a cold, the dust mites under my bed or a newly acquired allergy to some new pollen hybrid, but I am over going through a tissue box every few days. Weak and vulnerable could be one way to describe my delicate self at the moment. Or just plain over it. Have I tried taking cold and flu tablets? Yeah those things are crap. I’m convinced all they’re made of is compressed lint. Those people are making a fortune out of our gullible little minds. We’ll do anything to get better faster. But really, all we really can and should do is drink bucket loads of hot herbally liquids and stay in bed. With a few panadol. That always helps. Or at least my mind wants me to believe that.

So what to drink when Mr. Cold is visiting? Lemon and ginger always sounds like the best option. The teabag version is alright. It’s a bit weak in my opinion though. I like something that makes my lips pucker, my throat burn and my eyes water, just ever so slightly. The zingy spicy punch it gives my tastebuds after that first sip. Something with that effect must be good for me. Home made lemon and ginger tea, my savior.

Both lemons and ginger are both known for their vitamin C content, a powerful antioxidant that can help boost your immune system and decrease the severity of some of the symptoms associated with the flu and other illnesses. Lemon ginger tea may also temporarily relieve sinus pressure, a runny nose, a sore throat and coughing. This mixture of lemon, ginger and honey can stimulate the release of dermcidin, which is a compound that has anti-microbial properties and can help fight the flu. Let’s get ready to terminate this sucker.

You can use lemon instead of lime if you want. I’m quite partial to lime because on one of my trips to India one of the things I would frequently order at our favourite seaside restaurant in Goa was “Lemon Tea” – made with these round little lemon limes and lots of honey.

Lemon Lime and Ginger Tea

1 lime, juiced

3-4 thin slices of fresh ginger, bashed with the back of a knife to release the gingery goodness

1+ Tbsp honey

Recently boiled water

Combine the juice, ginger and honey in a mug. Give the ginger a bit of a workout with the back of a spoon – get those flavours going. You don’t want the water to be boiling or else it will kill the goodies in the juice and honey. You need these vitamins for a rapid recovery. Stir and add more honey. You’re sick, you can have it as sweet as you want. That’s my excuse anyway.

Get well soon chicken.

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