Raspberry vodka

Raspberries

This one is for my very very awesome mate, Dr B.

For a long time now, she has been my number one drinking buddy, and no doubt she will remain so for many many years (and hangovers) to come.

This woman is a vodka connoisseur, a discerning, knowledgeable and appreciative consumer, who knows her Gray Goose from her Absolut.

That is until she’s had a few; then all wisdom goes out the window and it’s a free for all. But sure who needs wisdom anyway? It’s totally overrated in my opinion.

Raspberry Vodka Bottle
Whoever thought of mixing fruit with sugar and vodka was a genius, as this raspberry vodka is unbelievably delicious. If you think it’s going to be like the skittles vodka you drank in your student years, think again. This is the grown up version. It’s not too sweet and tastes so strongly of raspberries you almost forget about the vodka, at least until it warms the back of your throat and of course, slams into your synapses.

So now you can get drunk, talk shite and act the maggot, all the while safe in the knowledge that you’re at least getting a little more mature with your choice of drink. Sounds just perfect for a vodka-aficionada-come-messer-extraordinaire I know.

Cheers Doll, I know you’ll enjoy!

Raspberry vodka

RaspberryVodkaShot

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Sydney Sparkles

When it comes to weather, us Irish like to think we’re pretty hardy.  We just love to hate it, almost as much as we love to talk about it; and I did think we had it pretty tough, until I moved to Australia. The weather in this poor country is pure mental.

MENTAL I tell you.

When I first moved here and was house hunting, I amused quite a few real estate agents asking in-depth questions about central heating. At that stage I was such a FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) I didn’t realise the buzz phrase in Sydney is ‘reverse-cycle air conditioning’, doh! One actually guy laughed in my face. Well what can I say? I love to keep people entertained.

So, last week, when the reverse-cycle air conditioning in my office gave up the ghost, it wasn’t a good day. The system was kaput, defunct, dead. And it got hot. Oh so very hot. I started to glow, then to glisten and then to sweat profusely; all over my keyboard. As this was happening I also got progressively more stressed and stupid. Apparently my mental faculties are inversely proportional to the temperature of my immediate environment; which means if I ever move to Finland or Antarctica or someplace, I would probably be SO smart.

When I got home I needed alcohol, cold alcohol.

So I made this, and it was yum. I got the idea when browsing Heidi Swanson’s pop-up shop, QUITOKEETO. Heidi made hers with a straightforward thyme-infused syrup, but I decided to take things a step further and use lemon thyme instead of the regular variety. Lemon thyme is wonderful and I would urge everyone to get a pot, just for the beautiful smell if nothing else.

This cocktail is so very yummie. It’s lemoney and herby, aromatic and sweet, I love it; and I usually like my gin so bitter it makes my face turn inside out. So if you’re not a gin drinker, this might be the perfect introduction.

They fixed the air-conditioning, by the way; but the next day there was a hail storm, so it was a bit redundant really. See, I told you: mental.

Lemon-thyme gin sparkler

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A tipple for advertising gurus the world over

There’s a great website I follow called Gojee; I subscribe to their newsletter which has a weekly round-up of all that’s hot and tasty on the interwebs. One feature I especially look forward to is called WWDDD? As in: what would Don Draper drink? A question on the forefront of minds across the globe no doubt.

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The Fella and I are huge Mad Men fans, massive. Ever since the show started in 2007 we’ve been totally hooked. You see, The Fella is an advertising creative, and a very clever one at that; so he enjoys it for much more than just the great storylines and the super-awesome-fabulous styling. Hence when the fifth season finished up last week, we found ourselves at a bit of a loss on our usual Mad Men night. Then I’d a brain wave and made us some deliciously-retro whisky sours. They were just the ticket to get the creative juices flowing and I feel sure Don would have approved.

While I got the inspiration for this cocktail from Gojee, I actually used a recipe given to me by a friend of The Fella. She insisted that a good whisky sour absolutely HAS to have egg white in it. Initially I wasn’t convinced. But she argued and persisted and basically wore me down and I’m so glad she did. Not only does putting egg white in your cocktail make you feel like Rocky or some other super-fit-healthy dude (thus totally negating the alcohol content); it also give the cocktail a beautiful frothy head and a je ne sais quoi that is hard to describe, especially after a few.

These are delicious, and the more of them you drink the more your boyfriend will start to look like Mr Draper, which is never a bad thing, is it?!

Whisky Sours

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Lemon, lime and bitters

This year, the poor people of Sydney have experienced what can only be described as an Irish summer. Well perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration; seeing as Irish summer is the one day in July where the mercury reaches 22 °C and the entire population goes to the beach to eat ice-cream and get sunburnt. No, the weather here hasn’t been that extreme; but by Sydney standards, it hasn’t been great either. And the poor Sydneysides are getting very very upset and muttering a lot about vitamin D withdrawal symptoms.

This weekend however has been fabulous. Not too hot or humid, but by no means cold; it has been nice, bright and sunny. This morning we went to Clovelly to go snorkelling with friends and then enjoyed a fish and chip lunch by the water. It was beautiful, but the drive back was hot, and we were both sweaty and flustered by the time we got home, and in dire need of a cold and refreshing drink.

Enter lemon, lime and bitters, possibly thee most refreshing drink in the world. And so apt on a hot summers day like today. Yumo.

Lemon, lime and bitters seems to be a real Australian thing, I had never heard of it, nor tasted it until I started coming here on holidays with The Fella. After one of our holidays here, we actually brought bottles of Angostura Bitters home to Ireland, as we could never find any in Dublin. Shortly after that trip, we were in Westport for a weekend and found loads of the stuff in the town-centre Centra. It was totally bizarre! Perhaps there’s a large Australian community in Westport, or perhaps they’ve just copped on to how god-damn delicious the stuff is.

So if you’re in Sydney, make this and soak up the last of the evening sun, apparently there’s a storm coming tonight, so you might as well enjoy the weather while you can. If you’ve got no place to go, you might even add in a wee sneaky splash of vodka or rum!

And for those of you at home in Ireland, you’ve got five whole months until summer arrives to find a shop selling Angostura Bitters and buy up the lot.

Lemon, lime and bitters

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Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka!

Years ago, just after we first met, The Fella went on a trip with his cousin to Poland. While international travel broadens most people’s minds, The Fella came back with just one word (which he repeated a LOT) and significantly less brain cells. The word was tatanka. Or to be more specific: Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka!

Tatanka is a cocktail made with a very special type of vodka, Żubrówka is a Polish brand that is infused and flavored with bison grass. It tastes like no other vodka you’ve ever had, as in, it actually tastes nice and not even slightly like paint stripper. So when I saw a bottle in our local liqueur shop, I wasn’t even slightly deterred by the $49.99 price tag (it costs about 20 quid at home) and I snapped it up.

All the tatanka recipes I found on-line called for ice. However I have it on good authority from a Polish friend back home that using ice is a faux-pas, instead you should use super-chilled vodka and juice. The Polish can get very touchy about their vodka and it is mostly drunk undiluted and unadulterated.

This drink is super delicious, very simple and after just a few you too will be singing: Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka!……………

Tatanka

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Christmas in July

OK, OK I know that it’s now August, not July. But those of you who know me, know that I’m probably going to turn up late to my own funeral. Punctuality is NOT my strongpoint. And also, if you’re picking an arbitrary date to celebrate a northern hemisphere winter style holiday, does it really matter when exactly that arbitrary date is? Eh, I don’t think so.

So this weekend, we’re going to Melbourne to celebrate ‘Christmas’ with our good friends Betty and Elms. The thing is though, none of us are really that pushed on the whole Christmassy element of this celebration, what with temperatures topping 23 °C in Sydney this week, it doesn’t feel particularly like Christmas (or even winter for that matter). So really, this is just an excuse to have a bit of craic and get a wee tincy bit langers (who said that?!), so actually, quite like Christmas at home really.

Anyways, these little mulled wine parcels are perfect for this celebration. Just add alcohol and hey presto, you have Christmas in a glass!

Mulled wine parcels

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