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Rum Manhattan with Maraschino Caviar

Hosted this month at the wild drink blog, the theme for Mixology Monday is “Superior Twists.” Browsing the host blog would give anyone enough ideas for this to contribute 4 or 5 posts each, but who has the time or inclination for that?

My drink this month is a classic twist on a classic drink with a twist. The Rum Manhattan is possibly the most common modification of any cocktail that it probably should have a name of its own. As far as the rum goes I prefer Mount Gay Extra Old (the TDN Drink de Jour.) The robust oaky flavours stand up really well against the power of bitters and the complexity of sweet vermouth.

Rum Manhattan with Maraschino Caviar The twist on the twist was inspired by the previous article on the wild drink blog on how to make caviar. Using a small amount of the huge amount of Maraschino cherry juice we had at work I made some caviar to replace the cherry garnish. This worked a treat and although the caviar tastes a little bit like plastic, it is actually really similar to a cherry.

I also like to shake my Manhattans, I think the process adds a little bit of water to the mix which opens up the rum a little bit more letting the flavours speak for themselves.


  • 45ml Mount Gay Extra Old
  • 25ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 bar spoon Maraschino liquer

Shake (to Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again) and garnish with Maraschino caviar and a twist of lemon.

The Gin Gimlet and the Japanese Slipper

Of recent times I have been asked many a time about what a good introduction cocktail is, and although I’ve usually answered it with one drink or another taking this moment, courtesy of Boston Lupec, to really think about it has, if anything, solidified in my mind what a perfect gateway drink should be. Balance is mentioned in the introductory post of this month’s Mixology Monday and it is definitely one of the important traits but there are more.

Like all great cooking and mixing the most important thing is letting the ingredients speak for themselves, fresh fruit and juice in cocktails, great garnishes and most importantly quality spirits are paramount. This sounds like a whole lot of cocktail snob wishwash but it is true, noone wants stale apple juice (replete with fizz) in their drink least of all when you are introducing someone to new world of mixology.

For me however, the most important thing in an introduction drink is booze. This baby has to knock you around, people that are coming from the world of Smirnoff Double Black’s, pre-mixed Canadian Club bottles and cheap champagne are going to wonder wether if they order this at a bar are they going to get their necessary drunk on. As we all know, the answer is probably yes but these first drinks need to drive the point home that near pure alcohol can taste great.

Without further ado, I’m submitting 2 drinks to you my cocktail loving peers, my other go to drink is a basic whiskey sours which I have posted about in the past. This is especially good if someone is a whiskey drinker, in which case they probably won’t take much convincing.

Gin Gimlet Gin Gimlet

The first is a Gin Gimlet, I was introduced to this by the venerable Jeff Morgenthaler and his Richmond Gimlet. I very rarely have any mint on hand so instead forgo it for a classic Gin Gimlet. This drink is beautiful in it’s ability to match the botanicals of the gin with the strong flavour of lime and the sweetness of sugar.

  • 60ml Gin
  • 30ml Lime juice cordial
  • 15ml fresh lime juice

Shake and serve in a cocktail glass with a mint or lime garnish.

Japanese Slipper The Japanese Slipper

The second is The Japanese Slipper, this beautiful drink is far fruitier than the Gimlet which works well in not overpowering an immature palate. Melon liqueur balances the sour of lemon juice and is perfectly topped off with the smooth flavour of Cointreau. Having not been able to actually purchase Maraschino cherries I garnish it with a small amount of grenadine which creates a cool layering effect in the glass and makes the drink slightly sweeter.

  • 30ml Midori
  • 30ml Cointreau
  • 30ml Lemon juice

Shake vigorously, serve in a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry or a bar spoon of grenadine.

The Perfect Bloody Mary Recipe

Regarded as one of the best alcoholic hangover cures the Bloody Mary might be described as a spicy tomato juice and vodka, but that would be selling it far too short. As with most cocktails the basics remain mostly the same but the interpretations vary greatly. Perfecting it is an exercise in balance and flavour, not enough spice, it becomes watered down tomato juice, too much and it is a peppery assault on the senses.

The number of ingredients pale in comparison to the number of variations of this seemingly simple drink. Worcestershire and tobasco sauce are staples as are tomato juice and vodka but that is where the similarities across recipes ends. Salt or lemon, wasabi or horseradish sauce, port or shiraz, chilli vodka or plain and this isn’t to mention celery, basil or muddled cherry tomatoes.

It is hard to know what the cause of all this conjecture is. Perhaps it is due to the number of people who have attempted to make one, or the universal popularity of the drink, or it being a testament to the versatility of tomato juice. One thing is for certain though, everyone’s recipe is the best. Including mine.

  • 45 ml vodka
  • 15 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 4-5 dashes of tobasco (to taste)
  • 10 ml of lemon juice
  • 20 ml port or shiraz, port for a sweeter drink, shiraz for spicier
  • approx 100ml Tomato juice

Stir all ingredients with ice until super-cold, strain into a highball glass, crack pepper and garnish with an aromatic stick of celery or a lemon wheel.

MxMo: Hard Drinks for Hard Times – Cheap wine cocktails

The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday is “Hard Drinks for Hard Times” hosted over at the recently laid off Matthew Rowley’s blog. His thinking is, that in the current economic climate a lot of us are having trouble drinking well – actually, he says he is drinking better than ever due to having stockpiled huge amounts of booze over a long period of time. This is pretty much the complete opposite to me, I’ve been a student for just about as long as I can remember and drinking cheap is something I’ve become pretty accustomed to.

I’ve got a heap of tricks for getting on the booze cheap, but thinking about how to make some cheap cocktails got me thinking back to drinks 2 of my friends have told me about. Both of them involve mixing wine (generally very cheap wine) with something to make it slightly bearable. The beauty of this is that wine here in Australia seems to be getting cheaper and cheaper due to the rise of cleanskins. What can be better, grabbing a $5 bottle of wine that wasn’t too bad to begin with and making it better.

The first is known as Calimocho, Jameses assures me that when he was in Spain he used to buy a 2 litre bottle of red wine and mix it about 50/50 with red wine. Cheap, nasty but tasty. The second drink was recently introduced to me by my French housemates, known as “Kir“, it is a dry white wine mixed with creme de cassis, peach liqueur or blackberry liqueur. This is really quite tastey and can just top off a ridiculously cheap bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. The other option is to use sparkling wine instead.

I fully support the cuting of costs in regards to boozing, but remember. Friends don’t let friends drink Grants or Pipers.

Another Cheese Cocktail

I was reading the December Edition of the Australian Bartender Magazine and stumbled upon an article written by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Gary Regan wherein he writes about a cocktail made with not only cheese, but ham and tomato to create the Ham, Cheese and Tomato Toasted Sandwich Martini. It sounds amazing, and I would love to get in contact with David Stanton and learn where he got his inspiration.

For some history, I attempted to make a cheese cocktail quite some time ago. It tasted alright but was really fatty and not that pleasant to look at.

Advokaat Cocktails

As the theme for Mixology Monday this week, hosted at A Mixed Dram is  “Broaden your Horizons” I headed down the local liquor store and started browsing. The budget was a little bit tight otherwise I might have taken home a bottle of brandy, a bottle of  Irish Whiskey and a bottle of Advokaat and started mixing but all I ended up grabbing was the Advokaat.

Fiery Dick - Advokaat and Vodka As far as I can tell there is really only 1 common cocktail that’s made with Advokaat – the “Fluffy Duck.” This is quite nice although it is a little too creamy. However, I thought a change here and there could truly turn it into something nice. The resulting cocktail, the “Fiery Dick” is:

  • 30mL Vodka
  • 45mL Advokaat
  • 30mL Lemon Juice

Build over ice in that order and top with soda and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Variation on the Aviation Cocktail

Having just bought a shiny new bottle of Maraska Maraschino Liqueur I quickly set to making a tasty libation containing it. My first stop was Google, which brought me this post from Kaiser Penguin which discusses the best ratio of Maraschino to Gin which I didn’t read until after making my first attempt. Now, it wasn’t even that close attempt due to the fact I had no lemon juice and I made do with lime instead. So the recipe was:

Variation on the Aviation Cocktail

  • 2 oz Tanqueray Gin
  • 1 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • .5 oz Simple Syrup

This recipe ended up extremely tart, so I added a few dashes of Angostura Bitters which managed to temper it quite nicely. My next attempt will definitely cut back on the Maraschino to a ratio more like Gary Regan’s in The Joy of Mixology which hopefully will make for much easier drinking.