Category Archives: Cocktails

Project Botanicals – 30th June 2015

The distinctly different pop-up bar will pair expertly crafted gin cocktails, mixed by some of Melbourne’s best bartenders, with tapas-style dishes created by MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan.’ – This is what we were promised when we went along to Bombay Sapphire’s ‘Project Botanicals‘, which returned to Melbourne after a sell-out 2014 event. Boy, did it deliver. With 10 courses, each served with a cocktail inspired by one of Bombay Sapphire’s unique, hand-selected botanicals, this was truly an experience not to be missed.

Bombay Sapphire. The 10 unique and exotic botanicals inspired the menu and some very inventive cocktails. Image courtesy of projectbotanicals.com.au

The North Melbourne venue looked amazing, decked out in sapphire blue.  The tables were softly lit with candles and tealights inside Bombay Sapphire bottles, and decorated with a very cool botanical theme.

Table

The venue, awash with sapphire blue light.

Upon entering, we were treated to a fantastic aperitif – ‘The Smooth Star and Tonic’, made with Bombay Sapphire’s new super-premium gin expression, the ‘Star of Bombay’.

 

THE SMOOTH STAR AND TONIC

A blend of Fever-Tree tonic water and Star of Bombay served with fresh zested orange peel and ice. The stand-out was the Star of Bombay, which contains the 10 botanicals that make up the Classic Bombay Sapphire gin with the addition of bergamot orange peel and aromatic ambrette seed.

The twist of orange peel set off the bergamot orange and elevated this gin and tonic to something really special! Some of us in attendance were not previously big gin drinkers, but the general consensus was that this cocktail was fresh, citrusy and one we’d order again.

VERDICT: I’ll have another!

The Star and Tonic, made with the Star of Bombay gin.

The Smooth Star and Tonic, made with the Star of Bombay gin.

 

BOTANICAL No. 1: JUNIPER 

First course started very strongly. The dish was an incredibly tasty blue swimmer crab toast with pistachio nut dukkah, lime, and avocado cubes. The crab was soft, sweet and expertly cooked, pairing perfectly with the crunch of the toasts. The subtle flavours of the nuts and avocado complemented the crab and gave the dish a creamy, rich texture, while the acidity of the lime added a bit of tang to offset the richness.

The Juniper pairing of a Juniper Sublime G&T and Blue Swimmer Crab Toasts. Image courtesy of projectbotanicals.com.au

The Juniper pairing of a Juniper Sublime G&T and Blue Swimmer Crab Toasts. Image courtesy of projectbotanicals.com.au

The dish was paired with the Juniper Sublime G&T, made with Bombay Sapphire gin and Fever-Tree tonic water, served over cubed ice and with a fresh lime wedge. A fragrant and refreshing cocktail, this was the perfect palate cleanser for the creaminess of the dish.

Bombay Sapphire uses juniper from Tuscany, and the berries are harvested by hand to ensure the highest quality. This dedication to quality really shone through in this cocktail, with the taste of the gin itself at the forefront.

The Juniper Sublime G&T.

The Juniper Sublime G&T.

Overall first course was a very clever and moreish pairing that we wanted more of.

VERDICT: Would go back for seconds!

 

BOTANICAL No. 2: LEMON PEEL

After one taste of the second course, we knew this would be the one to beat.

The dish was one that raised a few eyebrows at first – crisp tostaditas with gin-cured king fish, flame roasted pablanos, sour cream and charred corn salsa. No one had tried gin-cured fish, so we wondered what we might be in for.

What we got was a beautifully fresh, extremely flavoursome and utterly delicious dish that was all too easy to eat. The fish was delicate and melted in your mouth, while the Mexican flavours of the sweet corn, spicy pablano and crunchy tostadita blended wonderfully with the sour cream.

The Lemon Peel pairing of a Lemon Collins and Crisp Tostaditas with Gin-Cured King Fish. Image courtesy of projectbotanicals.com.au

The Lemon Peel pairing of a Lemon Collins and Crisp Tostaditas with Gin-Cured King Fish. Image courtesy of projectbotanicals.com.au

The Lemon Collins cocktail was so good, it had gin-drinkers and non gin-drinkers alike agreeing it was one of the nicest cocktails we’d had in recent memory. A blend of Bombay Sapphire gin, fresh lemon juice, 1883 sugar syrup, Fever-Tree soda water and crushed ice, served with a dehydrated lemon wheel, it was like drinking freshly made lemonade with the added soft floral flavours of the gin.

Bombay Sapphire uses hand-picked lemons from Murcia, Spain’s largest lemon exporter. The lemon peel helps to ‘lift’ the other botanicals, which was never more evident than in this cocktail. In a word, sublime.

The Lemon Collins Cocktail.

The Lemon Collins Cocktail.

This course was so delicious, we wanted the recipes.

VERDICT: Gone in 60 seconds.

 

BOTANICAL No. 3: ANGELICA

Our first two courses had exceeded expectations and the third followed suit. The dish was excellent – a tartine of pickled and exotic mushrooms, garlic and parmesan custard, and parsnip crunch. The texture was as enjoyable as the taste – a truly decadent mix of crunchy crumbs, rich, smooth custard and silky mushrooms. The flavours were earthy yet mild, a cleverly constructed dish with a flawless balance of flavours.

The Angelica pairing of an Angelica Negroni and Tartine of Pickled and Exotic Mushrooms. Image courtesy of projectbotanicals.com.au

; The Angelica pairing of an Angelica Negroni and Tartine of Pickled and Exotic Mushrooms. Image courtesy of projectbotanicals.com.au

The Angelica Negroni cocktail was the punchiest drink yet. With Bombay Sapphire gin, Campari, Cocchi Torino. Antica formula, Cocchi Amaro and gentiane, served over Hoshizaki ice and with a dehydrated orange wheel, this cocktail was a fantastic mix of sweet, sour and a little bitter.

The root of the angelica plant used in Bombay Sapphire is harvested from the woodlands of Dresden. With an almost herbal flavour, it balances the the other botanicals with an earthy tone.

Angelica was the perfect botanical inspiration for this Negroni cocktail, and the pairing with the mushroom dish worked wonderfully.

VERDICT: For those who like a drink with a kick and a dish with every element!

 

 

 

Enjoying this post? Stay tuned for more!

Bombay Sapphire’s Project Botanicals is running until the 11th of July 2015, so be sure to get your tickets now! Learn more at www.projectbotanicals.com.au and don’t forget to pick up your bottle of Bombay Sapphire or Star of Bombay at www.jrdutyfree.com.au (Australia) or www.jrdutyfree.co.nz (New Zealand).

Hot Buttered Toddy

We’d try this just because it’s really fun to say!
Hot Buttered Toddy
1 tsp butter, softened (or brandy butter)
pinch ground spice - try allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg depending on taste
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla syrup (optional)
25ml whisky
hot water or cider, to top up

Cream together the butter, sugar, spice and vanilla if using. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into the mug or glass, then add whisky. Top with boiling water or cider, stir well, and serve immediately.

hot-toddy

Image courtesy of liquor.com

Whisky Sour

An oldie but a goodie!

How about a good old-fashioned Whisky Sour?

60 blended whisky
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp icing sugar
1 cherry
1/2 slice lemon

Shake blended whisky, lemon juice, and icing sugar together with ice and strain into a glass. Decorate with the half-slice of lemon, and top with the cherry before serving.

whisky sour

Image courtesy of carolinaheritageco.com

‘Melbourne Cocktails’ Recipes – Velvet Kisses

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Velvet Kisses cocktail, courtesy of Mel – creator of ‘Melbourne Cocktails’ and Saveur Award nominee. Find the original recipe here: www.melbournecocktails.com/2015/02/recipe-velvet-kisses/

Perfect for lazy, indulgent Sundays, as what could be more indulgent than chocolate? Take your time and savour this creamy mix of chocolate, vanilla, berry and coconut. Even better shared with someone special.

Ingredients

2 tbs coconut cream
1 x 20 gm chocolate
30 ml Chambord raspberry liqueur
30 ml Absolut vanilla vodka
Desiccated coconut for rim – only do half
Garnish: 3 fresh raspberries on a cocktail pick

Valentines-Day-3-1075x605

Method
Gently warm coconut cream and chocolate together to melt chocolate into a smooth rich mixture. Cool to room temperature.
Prepare coconut rim rub a wedge of lime around half the rim of the glass. Pile desiccated coconut onto a small plate. Then dip the glass upside down into coconut.
Add Chambord, vanilla vodka and chocolate mixture to cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake to chill. Strain into martini glass with coconut rim. Garnish.

Valentines-Day-2-208x300

Imagery courtesy of Mel at Melbourne Cocktails.

Republished with permission.

Find the original recipe here: www.melbournecocktails.com/2015/02/recipe-velvet-kisses/

Check out melbournecocktails.com for great recipes, bar information, reviews and more!

‘Melbourne Cocktails’ Recipes – Vanilla Espresso Martini

vanilla-espresso-martini-1075x605Vanilla Espresso Martini, courtesy of Mel, creator of ‘Melbourne Cocktails’ and Saveur Award nominee. Find the original recipe here: www.melbournecocktails.com/2015/02/recipe-vanilla-espresso-martini/

The perfect Friday after-work cocktail to get you revved up for the night ahead! Give yourself a caffeine kick to get your evening going with a Vanilla Espresso Martini.

Try with Absolut Vanilla Vodka.

Ingredients
45 ml Vanilla Vodka
30 ml Mr Black’s coffee liqueur
10 ml Galliano Vanilla liqueur
15 ml shot of espresso
Garnish: 3 coffee beans

Method
Add all ingredients to shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

vanilla-espresso-martini-2-200x300

Imagery courtesy of Mel at Melbourne Cocktails.

Republished with permission.

Find the original recipe here: www.melbournecocktails.com/2015/02/recipe-vanilla-espresso-martini/

Check out melbournecocktails.com for great recipes, bar information, reviews and more!

‘Melbourne Cocktails’ Recipes – The Passionista

Passionaista-Ingredients-1075x605The Passionista Recipe, courtesy of Mel, creator of ‘Melbourne Cocktails’ and Saveur Award nominee. Find the original recipe here: http://www.melbournecocktails.com/2014/11/mason-jar/

Looking for an excuse to try a Mason Jar cocktail? It doesn’t come much better than this. Try with Hendricks Gin.

Ingredients

45ml gin

5 slices lemon

½ lemon, juiced

20 mint leaves

4 tbs passionfruit pulp

Ice cubes

100ml diet tonic water

Garnish: 1 sprig of mint and 1 slice of lemon

 

Method

Add lemon slices, lemon juice, mint leaves, passionfruit pulp, ice cubes and gin to a tall mason jar. Seal tightly. Shake rigorously. Open jar and add tonic water. Top with extra ice cubes and garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon. Serve with a drinking straw.

Note: for a slightly sweeter, less tart version, use canned passionfruit pulp in syrup as available in supermarkets.

Passionista-199x300

Imagery courtesy of Mel at Melbourne Cocktails.

Republished with permission.

Find the original recipe here: http://www.melbournecocktails.com/2014/11/mason-jar/

Check out melbournecocktails.com for great recipes, bar information, reviews and more!

‘Melbourne Cocktails’ Recipes – Killing Thyme

killing-thyme-v2-banner1-1075x605

Killing Thyme Recipe, courtesy of Mel, creator of ‘Melbourne Cocktails’ and Saveur Award nominee. Find the original recipe here: www.melbournecocktails.com/2015/03/recipe-killing-thyme/

An amazing twist on an classic pairing.  Try with Australian distilled Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin!

Ingredients
40 ml gin
20 ml dry vermouth
20 ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed & fine strained
10 ml sugar syrup (see note)
Sprig of thyme
Note: to make sugar syrup, add 1/2 cup caster sugar to 1/4 cup boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Cool and refrigerate til ready for use.

Method
Add ingredients to shaker with ice cubes. Shake well to chill. Strain into cocktail glass. Add sprig of thyme and top with crushed ice.

killing thyme nz

Imagery courtesy of Mel at Melbourne Cocktails.

Republished with permission.

Find the original recipe here: www.melbournecocktails.com/2015/03/recipe-killing-thyme/

Check out melbournecocktails.com for great recipes, bar information, reviews and more!

‘Melbourne Cocktails’ Recipes – Berry-tini

berry-tini-for-insta

Berry-tini Recipe, courtesy of Mel, creator of ‘Melbourne Cocktails’ and Saveur Award nominee. Find the original recipe here: melbournecocktails.com/2014/12/recipe-berry-tini/

Try with Absolut Raspberri for an amazing cocktail:

Ingredients
30ml chilled raspberry vodka
30ml Chambord raspberry liqueur
100ml strawberry purée, strained
5ml lime juice
Ice
Fresh raspberries & a slice of lime to garnish

Method
Add vodka, liqueur, lime juice and strawberry puree to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a skewer of raspberries &/or slice of lime.

berry-tini-2-for-insta

Imagery and recipe courtesy of Mel at Melbourne Cocktails.

Republished with permission.

Find the original recipe here: melbournecocktails.com/2014/12/recipe-berry-tini/

Check out melbournecocktails.com for great recipes, bar information, reviews and more!