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.


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.


1 Creme Egg
200ml vodka


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.

Friday, 6 March 2015

A Passion for Rum

It has been a while since rum featured on my cocktail menu, but with warmer weather looking like a distinct possibility and sunshine streaming in through the studio windows, I felt the urge to mix up a drink to invoke languid, summer evenings in tropical climes.

As Bacardi has recently unveiled a new bottle design and a return to the traditional Spanish names, I thought I would remind myself of its smooth, nutty flavour. With hints of vanilla, it makes for easy drinking and has been a populist choice for decades, but the new bottle and name (Bacardi Carta Blanca) give it more of an authentic feel. A Cuba Libre might just be a rum and coke, but somehow, renamed, it just tastes better...

As well as using white rum, I decided to crack open the bottle of Vanilla Galliano that has been glowing like a great, yellow lighthouse in my cocktail cupboard. I must confess that I bought it erroneously, thinking it was standard Galliano, but as I am a fan of the original's earthy vanilla undertones, I figured that earthy, vanilla overtones might not be such a bad thing.

The vanilla aroma is quite intoxicating and could be overpowering if used in quantity, but used sparingly, will add depth and complexity. As well as vanilla, there are over 30 different herbs used in the distillation of this Italian liqueur, notably star anise which, as any absinthe drinker will know, likes to make it's presence known.

To compliment the complex flavours of Vanilla Galliano and white rum, I added Giffards Passion Fruit Syrup and the juice of half a ruby grapefruit. The result is a delicately floral, sweet and citrus cocktail that slips down, all too easily.

Roll on summer!

Galliano's Passion

1 1/2oz Bacardi Carta Blanca
1/2oz Vanilla Galliano
3/4oz Giffards Passion Fruit Syrup
2oz freshly squeezed ruby grapefruit
strip of grapefruit zest to garnish

Using a paring knife, carefully take a strip of zest from your grapefruit and set aside for garnish.
Add all of the other ingredients to a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice.
Close lid firmly and shake hard until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted.
Remove lid and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Twist the strip of zest over the drink to release the citrus oils and drop in the glass.

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Friday Cocktail

This week's cocktail comes courtesy of an old favourite of mine, Pinkster Gin. Its pale pink colour makes it a perfect contender for a beautifully, blush, Dry Martini, but if you like something a little more quaffable, this should fit the bill.

Miss Pink

2oz Pinkster Gin
1oz Dolin Chambery Vermouth Dry
1/2oz Ruby Port
1/2oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4oz simple syrup
Twist of lemon zest to garnish

Using a small, sharp knife, pare a strip of zest from the lemon and set aside.
Add all of the ingredients apart from the zest, to a cocktail shaker, with a large handful of ice.
With the lid firmly attached, shake hard for about 20-30 secs and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Twist the strip of zest over the drink, releasing the all the lovely lemony oils and drop into the glass.

For more fabulous Pinkster cocktails, click here. (The Big Pink is a particular favourite)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Shrove Tuesday

This year, Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day has fallen just a few days after Valentine's, so before the roses have even lost their bloom, there's another opportunity for celebration. According to the Christian calendar, it's the feast that precedes a period of restraint (Lent), in the run up to Easter, but it's roots stretch back beyond the dawn of Christianity to pagan times. As a pagan festival, the round pancake was thought to represent the sun, signifying the coming of spring and as a Christian celebration, it was a way to use up rich foods, such as eggs, milk and sugar, before Lent when a simple, plain diet was expected (hair shirt optional).

Religious beliefs aside (live and let live, I say), there's not a great deal of restraint goes on our household, although, perhaps it does make sense to show a little moderation in the gap betwixt Pancake Day and Chocolate Egg Day lest one should find one's trousers have inexplicably begun to garrotte one's nether regions...

Each year, my delightful children insist that I make pancakes and each year, they eat one and then we are left with a lot of pancake mixture that lurks in the fridge for a while I try and fail to convince them that savoury pancakes for dinner are a good idea. As a result, I am left feeling somewhat ambivalent about the whole business of pancake making, but I think I may have the answer to my woes...the pancake inspired cocktail! When the little blighters pooh-pooh my culinary efforts, I shall simply mix one of these and tip the rest of the pancake mixture in the bin.

This cocktail is quite simply, amazing, if I do say so myself and has been achieved without the use of gin (very unusual for me). It does involve making toffee vodka, but that is so ridiculously quick and simple, it really shouldn't put you off - click here for the toffee vodka recipe.

As the name suggests, it is inspired by the French dessert, Crêpe Suzette, consisting of a thin pancake, topped with a sauce of caramelised sugar and butter and orange juice and finished with orange curaçao liqueur. It's a delicious combination and it's metamorphosis into cocktail form is no less of a gastronomic success.

Coupe Suzette

2oz toffee vodka
1/4oz triple sec
1 and 1/2oz freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon and granulated white sugar to rim the glass

Begin by rimming the edge of a chilled cocktail glass with sugar - pour a little sugar onto a small plate and moisten the rim of the glass by gently passing the cut lemon over it - do not allow it to drip down the sides, if possible. Roll the moistened edge of the glass through the sugar on the plate and see how the crystals adhere.
Next, add the remaining ingredients to a shaker with a handful of ice and firmly attach the lid before shaking hard. Always keep on hand over the top whilst shaking to avoid any sudden spillages.
When the outside of the shaker develops a frosty bloom, strain the mixture carefully into the glass, avoiding any splashes on the rim that might dislodge the sugar crystals.