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Tag: vodka

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.

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

ice

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.

Cheers.

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.

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