Friday, 3 July 2015

Bobby's Girl


I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you are ever in the City of London, do take a stroll through Leadenhall Market and pop into Amathus Drinks. Often, there is some new spirit, wine or liqueur to sample and I guarantee you'll leave with a lighter wallet, but with a spring in your step. Even if there is nothing new to try that day, Diosa and Tom who (wo)man the store are friendly, well informed and always happy to talk you through the mind boggling array of booze that towers overhead in the little shop.

My latest visit unearthed this treasure and it was love at first sip. Bobby's Scheidam Dry Gin is bursting with the exotic flavours of lemongrass and cubeb peppers (which have an almost piney undertone), as well as juniper, rose hip and clove. This week, I wanted to bring in the flavours of Southeast Asia and Morocco to really enhance that lemongrass/cubeb pepper taste and create cocktails that I could sip in the garden while we enjoy some unexpected and practically tropical weather.

This first cocktail (see above) is  a fresh, fruity drink that isn't overly sweet. The addition of the freshly squeezed orange juice and triple sec could be a little sweet, but the lime juice adds a zing that combines with the fresh thai basil and the lemongrass of the gin, to create a taste that evokes the fresh flavours of Thailand.

Bobby's Girl

1.5 oz Bobby's Scheidam Dry Gin
0.5 oz Cartron Curaçao Triple Sec
0.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
2 basil leaves

Muddle (gently squish) the basil leaves in the bottom of a shaker with the gin and triple sec.
Add a handful of ice and both the lime and the orange juices.
With the lid firmly closed, shake the cocktail until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted over.
Remove the lid and strain into chilled cocktail glass.


The fragrant, passion fruit syrup in this cocktail, is lightly floral and enhances the exotic scent of lemongrass. The freshness of mint and lime balance the drink and a little sparkling water dilutes the intensity whilst adding effervescence. Extremely quaffable - you have been warned...

Little Bird

2 oz Bobby's Scheidam Dry Gin
1 oz Giffards Passion Fruit Syrup
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
4-6 mint leaves
sparkling water to top up
sprig of mint to garnish

Muddle (gently squish) the mint leaves in the bottom of a shaker with the gin.
Add a handful of ice and both the lime juice and passion fruit syrup.
With the lid firmly closed, shake the cocktail until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted over.
Remove the lid and strain into chilled cocktail tumbler, with a couple of large ice cubes.
Top up the drink with a little sparkling water, but don't overdo it - add a little, stir with a swizzle and test. You can always add more, but you can't take it away!
Garnish the drink with mint, gently slapping it between your palms to release the minty aroma.


This gin makes a mean martini - it's so distinctive in flavour that it doesn't need a lot of dressing up (although dressing up is fun), but I have added a little ginger liqueur for a touch of heat and to give a little twist to a classic cocktail.

Bobby's Ginger Martini

2 oz Bobby's Scheidam Dry Gin
1/2 oz Cartron Ginger
1 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth

Add all of the ingredients to a shaker with a handful of ice.
With the lid firmly closed, shake the cocktail until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted over.
Remove the lid and strain into chilled cocktail glass.


Cardamom and rose are beautifully suited to one another and this is a cocktail that will work with many different types of gin. However, once again, the fragrant lemongrass just adds another dimension that will arouse your sense of smell as well as taste. The gorgeous Van Wees Rose Without Thorns  (also from Amathus Drinks) is distilled from a selection of different roses, selected for their exceptional fragrance and the result is heady to say the least.

Bobby's Cardamom Rose Cocktail

2 oz Bobby's Scheidam Dry Gin
1 oz Van Wees Rose Without Thorns
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cardamom pods
Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic to top up

Gently muddle (squish) the cardamom pods with the gin and rose liqueur.
Add the lemon juice and a handful of ice.
With the lid firmly closed, shake the cocktail until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted over.
Remove the lid and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Top up the drink with a little elderflower tonic - remember, easy does it - stir and serve.

I hope the sun is shining where you are too. Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Tease Maid Cocktail


The journey to creating this cocktail has been a long one, that began as a conversation, more than a year ago, over tea and cake, at a Secret Tea Society meeting. Brought together by a love of tea, gin and conversation, Sarah (Sass) Allard shared with me, her vision for an exclusive, yet relaxed Tea Lounge where like minded people could come together and enjoy some exceptional teas. We discussed the possibility of my creating a cocktail for her that would encapsulate her vision and would, one day, grace the incredibly chic tables of her Tea Lounge. It was important to create a cocktail that would be enjoyed by all at the Tea Lounge, but equally, it had to represent Sarah herself as the lounge will be an embodiment of her personal vision.

With that in mind, it was imperative that the cocktail should contain tea in some shape or form and knowing that Sarah is more than partial to the rich, malty flavour of Assam, the first ingredient was assured. Deciding on spirits was slightly more complex - regular followers will know that I am a bit of a gin geek and was therefore bursting with ideas for gin/tea based cocktails. However, much as Sarah enjoys gin, her real passion is for rum; with her Trinidadian heritage, the spirit of the Caribbean runs through her veins and so the spirit of the Caribbean was to run through this cocktail.

Rum and tea have long been traditional bedfellows although it's often served as a hot drink, and creating a martini style drink that would be enjoyed by all, proved trickier than I had first envisaged. Part of the problem was the tea itself; results in the strength of the brewed tea varied slightly, which significantly changed the taste of the cocktail. Add to that, the fact that the tea continued to infuse, even after the leaves were removed, causing the flavour to become bitter and woody, it soon became apparent that another solution was necessary. The cocktail also had to be something that could be prepared in a reasonable amount of time, if it was to appear on the menu of the Tea Lounge and so, the idea of an Assam Peach Concentrate was conceived. This could be prepared in advance, in large quantities, if necessary and stored safely in the fridge. After the initial effort of making the concentrate, the building of the cocktail would be relatively simple.

When it came to choosing a rum, I wanted something with lots of spice and vanilla that would compliment the malty flavour of the tea and fragrant sweetness of peach. Rumbullion navy strength Caribbean rum is tailor made for the job - it's a high proof rum (42.6% ABV), flavoured with Madagascan vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Delicious enough to drink neat, it's a worthy addition to the drinks cabinet, plus it comes in a rather fabulous bottle...


So, before I impart the recipe for the Tease Maid cocktail, I must just share with you a few details about Sarah (Sass) Allard and her upcoming Tea Lounge. The fabulously apt name, 'Tease Maid' was conceived by her and sums up perfectly, the spirit of the drink. The 'Tease Maid' character that graces the bottle and martini glass featured in this post, was created by me and I used Sarah herself, as my inspiration. The Tea Lounge is (at the time of publication of this post) still in the conceptual stage, but you can follow Sarah, and I urge you to do so, on twitter (@teapreneur_girl) and Facebook (teapreneur) to keep up to date with all her news.

Tease Maid Cocktail

2oz Rumbullion
2oz Assam Peach Concentrate
1oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
sprig of mint to garnish

Add everything, bar the mint, to cocktail shaker, with a handful of ice.

With the lid firmly closed, shake until the outside of the shaker develops a frosty bloom (about 20secs).

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Slap the mint gently between the palms of your hands to release the minty aroma and garnish the drink.





Sunday, 14 June 2015

Assam Peach Concentrate


Making cocktails with tea is tricky as the brew continues infusing, even once the leaves are removed and if not used immediately, can become bitter and woody. This is particularly apparent when using a strong, black tea such as Assam, but making a syrup or fruit concentrate, can avoid the problem and if refrigerated, will last for a week or so. The rich, malty flavour of golden tip assam is particularly suited to a peach concentrate and will combine with most spirits to make delicious tea based cocktails. It was originally conceived as an integral part of the Tease Maid Cocktail, a delicious blend of Rumbullion spiced rum and Assam Peach Concentrate, that was created for Sarah Allard, to encapsulate her vision for an exclusive Tea Lounge.

Initially I made this using fresh peaches which I blanched, skinned and de-stoned, but after trying it made with canned peaches in juice, rather than syrup, I can testify that it tastes just as good. So, unless you have an enormous surfeit of peaches to use up, save yourself the trouble and buy a good quality can or bottle of peach halves in juice.

The tea should be a high quality, loose, golden tip assam such as Jing Assam Gold; the flavour is characteristically malty with notes of fruit and spice. Jing Tea stock great teas from the best producers, across the world. They supply luxury hotels and top restaurants across 75 countries worldwide. I fell in love with their teas after tasting their Organic Bohea Lapsang Supreme at Asia de Cuba in London and have been treating myself ever since.

Assam Peach Concentrate (makes about a pint)

20g Jing Assam Gold Tea
1 x 400g can of peaches in juice (drained)
120g white sugar
500ml just boiled water

Using a blender, purée the drained peaches and set aside in a bowl, sprinkled over with the white sugar.

If possible, make a little sachet to hold the tea, using a scrap of muslin cloth, ensuring it is securely tied so that it remains tightly shut when the water is poured over.

Using 500ml just boiled water, pour over the sachet and allow to steep for two and half minutes.

Remove the sachet, taking care not to burn your fingers and squeeze to extract all the tea.

Pour the still, hot tea over the purée and stir until all of the  sugar has dissolved.

Cover with a muslin cloth until cooled, then transfer o an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Using the muslin cloth, strain the mixture into a clear receptacle, ensuring every drop of liquid is extracted. Discard any solids that remain and store the liquid, refrigerated, in an airtight container.

Shake well before use.




Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Bespoke Cocktails

 Geordie Lass Cocktail - Lace coupe by Toasted Glass

One of the great pleasures in my life, is my work and I am very lucky to have been able to turn my love of painting and designing, into a business. In fact, so busy am I, right now, that my other great pleasure in life, that of cocktail experimentation, has had to take a real back seat. However, in the process of creating Bespoke Cocktails, the two get to overlap  and it is double the pleasure.

The Bespoke Cocktail first came about when I created one for the relentlessly sartorial blogger, Grey Fox. It was intended as a truly personal gift  that would represent him, both as an individual and as a brand - he is a style writer and blogger who addresses the issue of fashion and the older gentleman. From there, I have had the pleasure of creating numerous cocktails for all sorts of people; sometimes to represent a brand and other times to mark a significant event, but each one requires a lot of thought and a fair bit of testing - a labour of love you might say...

This latest bespoke cocktail has become a new favourite in the Toasted Glass household - so much so, that we are in danger of running out of Chase Marmalade Vodka, yet again! It was created as a gift from one friend to another, to mark her significant birthday and was accompanied by a pair of hand painted champagne coupe glasses. The name, 'Geordie Lass' was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the recipient, but I like to think it suits the cocktail well - fresh, fruity and bubbly, but with an unexpected kick...



The combination of fresh orange and marmalade is quite sweet, but the addition of lime juice dials it down a notch, keeping it zesty and the Campari adds a hint of bitterness that gives it depth. The cocktail can be made using unadulterated Campari, but adding the chilli infusion is very straightforward and adds a certain frisson to the proceedings. In the way that a straight shot of alcohol can turn a night around, a kick of chilli can bring on the same sensation. This is a drink that wants to go out and have fun!



Geordie Lass

1 1/2 oz Chase Marmalade Vodka
1/2 oz Chilli Infused Campari
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz blood orange juice
1 oz champagne or fizz

Add all, but the champagne/fizz to a cocktail shaker, with a handful of ice.
Close firmly and shake hard until the shaker develops a frosty bloom.
Open the shaker and pour in the fizz, but DO NOT SHAKE!
Strain the contents in to a chilled cocktail glass.

Cheers!

If you would like to take a look at some of the other bespoke cocktails I have created for clients, click here.


Friday, 27 March 2015

Creme Egg Flip


Generally, I don't go in for creamy cocktails and my waistline is pretty thankful for that, but hey, it's the Easter holidays and why should the kids have all the chocolately, calorific fun...

Religion aside, Easter is all about eggs and chocolate , so this cocktail is about as 'Easter' as it gets. It's made with Creme Egg Vodka (get the recipe here) and contains an actual egg, so I think I've got my Easter credentials covered. Obviously, there will be those who don't wish to consume raw eggs and I'm certainly not going to try and persuade you, but you can read the NHS guidelines and make up your own mind.

Cocktails that contain whole egg (both yolk and white) belong to a group, known as 'Flips' and date back as far as the 1600s. They went out of fashion, largely due to the possible health risks of consuming raw eggs, but when used, whole egg in cocktails, results in a velvety smooth and creamy texture that tastes incredibly decadent.

Creme Egg Flip

2oz Creme Egg Vodka
1/2oz Vanilla Galliano
1/4oz Triple Sec
3/4oz single cream
1oz freshly squeezed orange
1 egg

Begin by beating the egg and then add all of the ingredients to a shaker and dry shake , i.e. without ice, for about 30 secs. Be aware that shaking with egg can cause a build up of gas in the shaker and can pop the lid!

Add a handful of ice and shake again for another 20 secs, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Creme Egg Vodka


There are no end of exotic liqueurs and spirits, just waiting to be bought, but sometimes it's fun and tasty to have a go at making your own. With a bottle of vodka and some confectionery, you can create some nostalgic flavours that hark back to childhood and with the addition of strong liquor, might just give you something akin to the thrill of your 8 year old brain, confronted with a Creme Egg.

As I have got older, the frisson of excitement that a Creme Egg could produce, has sadly, wained, although it wasn't so many years ago that I had a daily habit. However, I've been clean for several years now and to be honest, I actually find them a bit sickly. Still, when presented with a box of Creme Eggs by the marketing department at Cadbury, to enter their Eggs Factor competition (I didn't win, not even a mention!), I wondered what to do with left over eggs. My children very kindly scoffed most of them, but I was left with one, which I decided to turn into Creme Egg Vodka.

To avoid creating a horrible, gloopy mess that would be too sickly sweet, I used 1 Creme Egg for 200ml of vodka - enough to make it sweet and chocolatey with a slight viscosity, but still fairly runny.

Ingredients

1 Creme Egg
200ml vodka

Method

Begin by gently melting the Creme Egg on a low heat in the microwave or in a bowl, over a pan of simmering water, on the hob.
When the Creme Egg has melted, pour on the vodka and stir to mix. At this point, there may be a few lumpy bits which should dissolve in a short while, but if you are very impatient, pour into a lidded receptacle and shake hard until they dissolve.
Store in the fridge if you would like to serve it as chilled shots.

When the vodka has sat for a while, you may find that there is a slight sediment at the bottom, but just give it a little shake before pouring and it will be perfect.






Just incase you are curious - this was my entry for the Cadbury's Eggs Factor... I was robbed! Perhaps I should have sent my vodka recipe instead.




Friday, 13 March 2015

Flower Bomb


This cocktail is not for the faint hearted, but if you or your mother is partial to gin and floral cocktails, this will provide the perfect Mother's Day bouquet. Be warned though, this is pretty potent, both in alcohol content and flower power. There are floral notes of rose, elderflower, violet and lavender, so if you have some left over in the shaker, perhaps mum could dab it behind her ears... Perfume, a bunch of flowers and booze, all in one glass - that's Mother's Day sorted then!

Flower Bomb

2oz Hendricks Gin
3/4oz Chase Elderflower Liqueur
1/4oz Creme de Violette
1oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
dash of simple syrup
1 drop of Ferdinand's Winerose and Lavender Bitters
1oz prosecco

Add all of the ingredients, apart from the prosecco, to a shaker with ice and with the lid, firmly on, shake hard until the outside of the shaker frosts over.
Open the shaker and add the prosecco and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.