Category Archives: lemon juice

Gins N Roses I & II


This week, after waiting since, oh, the 1980s, I FINALLY got to see my favourite band from childhood, Guns N Roses. Were they as good as they used to be? I don’t know – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory – but they played some of my very favourite songs and everyone had a great night, so who cares? That’s fine in My World. And so, to celebrate, I thought I’d make a cocktail in their honour. But what to call it? Sweet Child O’ Wine? Catcher in the Rye Whiskey? Mama Gin? (OK, OK – Mama Kin is not strictly one of their songs, it’s a cover. Don’t put me Right Next Door to Hell for that.) I decided Anything Goes and that the drink should just be named after the band – and so I attempted to make something reflecting the moniker-Slash-pun Gins N Roses. Yep, you might be thinking ‘You’re Crazy’, but You Ain’t the First. And it’s not like I’ve been fertilising my imagination in the cold November Rain – I’ve just been greasing the Axls on the old pun wheels. (If all this reading is making you Dizzy with thirst, grab a Duff… but don’t get too Adler’d. Someone has to be across this post, after all. Stradlin’ it, in fact… )

All of this just goes to show It’s So Easy to have an Appetite for Distraction – I really hope you’re not Out ta Get Me as this Double Talkin’ Jive fills the space that should be filled with a cocktail recipe. It’s just that, well, it turns out I’m better at working song titles into a sentence than I am at inventing cocktails. Don’t Damn Me.

I’ll stop beating this Dead Horse – here’s my attempt at a cocktail intended to reflect the band. I wanted something so hard-hitting (like their music) that it could Get in the Ring, be as bitter as an Estranged band member and still feature notes of roses So Fine they could look Pretty Tied Up.



60ml Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin

30ml honey syrup (made by dissolving 10ml honey in 20ml boiling water)

15ml lime juice

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon rosewater (to taste)





Add all ingredients except tonic to a mixing glass that’s half-full of ice. Stir really well, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add a dash of tonic.

If this tastes too much like grandma’s scented drawer-liners (ie if you find the rosewater overpowering), dump the whole lot into a chilled tumbler that’s half-full of ice, add tonic and you’ve got a fancy G&T. It’s not a One in a Million cocktail, but it does taste like something Nice Boys would drink.


It’s not by My (friend) Michelle – it’s by the 52 Cocktails crew.

And you know what? It’s not great. But if you didn’t like it, Don’t Cry – there’s another version of the Gins N Roses just below, and it just might make you think you’re in Paradise City. Ain’t it Fun experimenting?


I confess, I’m not a massive fan of the Gins N Roses I. But back in the ’90s the band released two albums on the same day, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion  II. So surely I should get two goes at getting the cocktail right – all I need is just a little Patience. (I’ve been  working the bar at night, just trying to get it right…) It’s not a Bad Obsession – I just don’t want this idea to become Dust N Bones. And so, here we have the next version:



60ml Tanqueray gin

30ml lemon juice

15ml sugar syrup

3 good shakes Angostura Bitters

2 shakes Bar Keep Chinese Bitters

soda, to top


Old-fashioned or tumbler, rimmed with Angostura sugar. (To make this, simply add enough bitters to white sugar to turn the sugar pink. There’s more info on it here.)


Add all ingredients except the soda to a cocktail shaker that’s half-full of ice. Shake it hard – Rocket, Queen! – and then pour everything, including the ice, into the tumbler. Top with soda and a few more dashes of each of the bitters.


This is a rough variation on a Fitzgerald (which is a Dale DeGroff creation) that was devised by the 52 Cocktails crew. The ‘pink rocks’ (Angostura sugar) pay homage to the band’s, er, lifestyle, while the refreshing, moreish concoction is just the Welcome to the Jungle I was looking for.



Bourbon Stone Martini


Everyone who’s drunk this beguiling cocktail – it’s somehow mellow, sweet and a bit tart all at the same time – has asked two things:

(1) why is it called a Bourbon Stone Martini?, and

(2) can I have another one?

I can’t answer the first question but I can say yes to the second. Especially since, now that I’m giving you the recipe, you can make me one while you’re at it.


45 ml bourbon

30 ml orange curacao or triple sec (I used triple sec; for a good explanation of the difference between them, check out Ten Cocktails, a brilliant book by Alice Lascelles, or read this)

30 ml fresh lemon juice

30ml fresh orange juice

1 tsp castor sugar or sugar syrup (I used sugar syrup as it plays nicely with the other ingredients)




Shake all ingredients together with ice. Double-strain into a cocktail glass. (Double-straining gets rid of any fruit pulp. Don’t know how to do it? It’s easy – check out this video for instructions.)


You could be stoned, and still get this one right. Maybe that’s how the name came about…


The Cocktail: 200 fabulous drinks by Jane Rocca (Hardie Grant Books, 2005) features this and loads of other delish creations.


Amaretto Sour


Light and almondy without tasting of wedding cake icing, the Amaretto Sour is a great way to drink Amaretto, an Italian liqueur that tastes of almonds despite being made of apricot pits. Even if you hate almond-flavoured things (such as marzipan, almond jelly, etc) you will probably enjoy this. It’s a much more complex, well-balanced and interesting drink than The Godfather (which also uses Amaretto); it tastes a bit like a lemon meringue pie whose base is covered with frangipane (almond filling). It could possibly be made even more slurpalicious with the addition of egg white to create a frothy, sweetly sour cloud atop the cocktail. Here’s the original recipe; if you do add egg white, let me know the result!


30ml amaretto

30ml lemon juice

15ml orange juice

maraschino cherry




Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients except the cherry and shake it like you mean it. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with the cherry. (Admittedly I just chucked in a bourbon-soaked cherry as that’s what I had on hand. It certainly added an element of booze-fuelled surprise for my taste-testers, who were expecting a sugar hit!)


Don’t get all sour-faced, this one’s easy.


This recipe is from Shaken: 250 Very Sexy Cocktails (Murdoch Books, 2004).

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Corpse Reviver no 2


Maybe it’s too early to call it, but Ten Cocktails (Saltyard Books, 2105) by drinks journalist Alice Lascelles could well be my very favourite cocktail book of the year. It’s beautifully presented, fascinating and leaves you wanting more – just like a great cocktail. The title is a bit misleading, as the book covers more than 10 cocktails (there are lots of recipes, plus the stories and histories behind various drinks, hints on how to make them, and Lascelles’ musings on wine- and spirit- tastings), but hey, that’s hardly a bad thing. If your interest in cocktails extends beyond just drinking them, I highly recommend you grab a copy. Reading Lascelles’ light yet informative writing is a bit like having a chat with a very knowledgeable bartender; it’s even better if you read it with a drink in hand, such as the Corpse Reviver no 2 that’s detailed in the book.

The oddly named Corpse Reviver no 2* was invented by another super cool drinks writer, Harry Craddock (yep, the bartender behind The Savoy Cocktail Book). For such a gruesomely named drink, it’s surprisingly light and nuanced, and not the kind of thing you’d serve at a Halloween party at all, unless you were having a terribly sophisticated Halloween party in which no one dressed as a ‘naughty nurse’ and your theme, instead of ‘how to wear a bedsheet and wail like a ghost,’ was ‘how to get three sheets to the wind and then nail your host,’ which doesn’t sound particularly elegant but does serve to illustrate that this drink, which also doesn’t sound particularly elegant, is strong – strong enough to revive a corpse, perhaps. You have been warned.


25ml gin

25ml Lillet Blanc

25ml Cointreau

25ml lemon juice (strained to remove pips and pulp)

5 ml absinthe


Chilled coupe


Shake the ingredients with lots of ice and strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon or lime twist.


As enjoyable to make and drink as it is to read about.


The original recipe is by Harry Craddock. This version appears in  Ten Cocktails (Saltyard Books, 2105) by Alice Lascelles.

*Wanna know why this recipe is ‘no 2’? Then buy the book!!

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Queen Elizabeth



It takes just two words to make the 52 Cocktails crew very, very happy but, surprisingly, those two words are not ‘free cocktails’. No, the magic words are ‘The Everleigh’. The Everleigh is our bar of choice in Melbourne, but we won’t bore you with the ever-growing list of reasons why. Just go there, and revel in the old-world-yet-unpretentious atmosphere, the table service that makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room, the glorious displays of vintage cocktail shakers and vintage cocktail books (drool) and, of course, the ridiculously good, meticulously well-made cocktails. Basically, it’s heaven. (And if we ever hear the words ‘free cocktails’ and ‘The Everleigh’ in the one sentence, we’ll know we’ve died and gone to heaven!)
On a recent visit we tried a Queen Elizabeth cocktail and it was so delicious and sophisticated that we decided to try to recreate it at home. Two recipes with the same name appear in The Savoy Cocktail Book (just one of the many on display at The Everleigh, and the subject of a recent meeting of the bar’s Vintage Cocktail Book Club. Yes. This bar is so cool it has a book club dedicated to vintage cocktail books. If you have even a passing interest in books, cocktails or drinking and a fun night out, I highly recommend you attend a meeting.) One Queen Elizabeth recipe calls for curacao, vermouth and brandy; we made the other version, as follows.  It’s light and refreshing yet complex and herbaceous – more so when it’s made by a bartender at The Everleigh.


As with most of the recipes in the fabulous Savoy Cocktail Book, this one is light on instructions, so we’ve taken the liberty of adding our own (in parentheses).


1 dash absinthe (we used this to rinse the glass, though the original instructions indicate you just add it to the shaker along with everything else)

1/4 lemon juice (we used 15ml)

1/4 Cointreau (we used 15ml)

1/2 dry gin (we used 30ml Bombay Sapphire)


Chilled cocktail glass


Shake all ingredients with ice (unless you’ve already used the absinthe to rinse the glass) and strain into glass.


Easy – but even easier, and most definitely more refined and delicious, if you simply order one at the Everleigh.


This version appears in The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock (first published 1930 by Constable & Co; this edition published 1987 by Spring Books), with additional instructions by the 52 Cocktails crew.

PS No, this article was NOT sponsored by The Everleigh. Though if they feel like it they are welcome to…

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Aussie Aussie Aussie!


A minty take on a classic lemon, lime and bitters, complete with a Big Pineapple and kitsch koala. Could it get more Aussie than this?

According to the good folks at Angostura, Australia is one of the world’s largest consumers of Angostura Bitters. This is partly because, although Australians have a well-earned reputation as big drinkers, the non-alcoholic lemon, lime & bitters is the go-to drink Down Under for designated drivers or those on a sobriety kick. (It’s possibly also partly because, until recently, you couldn’t easily buy any other types of bitters here). Apparently this refreshing drink is so Australian that if you order it another country, the bartender will just give you a blank look. And so it seemed like the perfect drink to serve at a party held in honour of an American friend who’d just received her Australian citizenship.

There was just one problem: it was non-alcoholic.

And, as a freshly minted Aussie, my friend was not.

And besides, Australian tradition dictates that you MUST drink at a party. Not drinking is unpatriotic – I’m sure that was in her citizenship oath. So I set out to put an alcoholic twist on the classic Aussie non-alcoholic drink – how very Australian.


Lemon, lime and bitters is a classic Aussie combo. Here’s my take on it – with mint added to the mix, and the glass rimmed in Angostura sugar. 

First and foremost I wanted to play up our nation’s love of lemon, lime and bitters. I also wanted to create something with visual appeal. And so I created Angostura sugar by adding enough Angostura bitters to white sugar so that the sugar turned pink, then used it to rim a glass. Then I added a patriotic “green and gold” theme to the mix, muddling 10 mint leaves and half a lime (for the green component) along with lemon juice (gold) and sugar syrup, chucking in 60ml of white rum and topping the lot with soda.
Oddly enough it was reminiscent of a Moscow Mule, and probably would have been great with ginger beer instead of soda. (If you’ve never had one, a Moscow Mule is really easy to make: pour 45 ml vodka and 15 ml lime juice into a highball glass that’s half-full of ice and top up with ginger beer. It’s the drink credited with making vodka popular in the United States and is possibly called a Moscow Mule because it gives the drinker a bit of a kick. The 52 Cocktails house version uses half as much ginger beer and double the vodka, and is fondly known as a Russian Headfuck.)

But this minty, citrusy creation wasn’t what I was after and it certainly wasn’t very Angostura-heavy; it wasn’t a riff on a lemon, lime and bitters at all. So I went back to basics, making a lemon, lime and bitters in an Angostura-sugar-rimmed glass and adding a shot of vodka (because nothing’s more Aussie than trying to get your unsuspecting friends drunk with some alcohol that they can’t even taste).


Lemon, lime and bitters in an Angostura-sugar-rimmed glass. Simple and refreshing.

Here’s how to make one:

First, run the rim of an old-fashioned glass over some lemon slices, then dip it in  Angostura sugar. Add a couple of big ice cubes, 20ml lime juice, 20ml lemon juice, 20ml sugar syrup, 4 dashes Angostura bitters (or more to taste) and 30-60ml vodka depending on how strong you want your drink. Give it a stir and top with soda. Yum.

It’s refreshing, easy to drink and easy to make; perfect for a hot Australian day.

Except that it was winter.

And so it was time to pull out the big guns – or at least, my Whip It! Cream Whipper.


Ooh yeah baby. When a problem comes along, you must whip it.

Apparently these things are great for making whipped cream and desserts and mousse and things, but in 52 Cocktails Land it’s used for one thing and one thing only: making foams for cocktails. Yep, it was time to make lemon, lime and bitters foam, the easiest way I could think of to take the drink from summer to winter and from refreshing to elegant while possibly also getting egg whites to drip from my ceiling (as sometimes happens when I squirt the Whip It’s lever thingy too enthusiastically).


First, I rimmed the glass. I like to place three slices of citrus (in this instance I used lemon) on a flat surface, place the rim of the glass on top and rotate it a few times.

IMG_3671Next, I made the Angostura sugar by adding enough bitters to white sugar to turn the sugar pink. (I initially used sugar cubes doused in bitters and mashed them up with a muddler, then added more white sugar and kept mixing it all up until I had the consistency I wanted: chunky enough to look good, but with enough fine sugar to really stick to the glass and carry the flavour.)
IMG_3672 Then I rotated the glass in the sugar a few times…IMG_3674 Et voila, an Angostura-sugar-rimmed glass.

Next I made the drink.


Add one egg white, 15ml lemon juice, 15ml lime juice, 30ml sugar syrup and 4 dashes Angostura bitters to a cream whipper. Give it a shake and chill for an hour or longer (following the manufacturer’s instructions).


Add 20ml lemon juice, 20ml lime juice, 30ml sugar syrup, 4-6 dashes Angostura bitters and 50ml vodka to a cocktail shaker that’s half-full of ice. Shake it hard and strain into the glass, then add enough soda to half-fill the glass.

Top with the foam, following the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the cream whipper to dispense foam without getting it all over your kitchen.

IMG_3678Sprinkle with more Angostura sugar and there you have it – a sophisticated, alcoholic take on a classic non-alcoholic Australian drink.

We really DO do things upside-down here!

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Bourbon Triple Sour


Some cocktails last through the ages; others die out like the dinosaurs. I’m hoping the Bourbon Triple Sour is in the former category.

The clue is in the title; it’s got bourbon in it, and it’s sour. But it’s a balanced sourness that’s offset by the bourbon’s caramel-ness; and with a gentle orange flavour tying it all together, it’s sort of like drinking citrus cordial for adults. It’s refreshing and tart and tastes way better than it sounds – try it.


30ml bourbon (I used Hogs 3 Bourbon)

30ml triple sec (I used the Marie Brizard brand)

30ml lemon juice

5ml sugar syrup




Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker that’s half-full of ice. Shake it. Shake it more. Harder. Keep shaking. OK, you’re done. Strain into a glass that’s half-full of ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge. (The original recipe calls for a cherry and a slice of orange AND a slice of lemon as a garnish. If you want a fruit salad in your face while you’re drinking. go for it.)


Maybe one degree, since you have to squeeze a lemon. Can you have one degree of difficulty? Gah, I don’t know, I’m not a mathematician.


This recipe appears in The Cocktail Bible by Steve Quirk (New Holland Publishers, 2010).


One of the good things about this recipe is it doesn’t try to be high-fallutin’. There’s no requirement that you use top-notch bourbon, and it actually calls for triple sec instead of Cointreau (yes, I know the two are different things and have their own qualities, and I know triple sec is pretty damn good in a cocktail, but I’m a snob and still think Cointreau is better). While I’m tempted to try making this drink using, say, Buffalo Trace bourbon and Cointreau, I’m not sure there’s any point – it’s great just as it is. One day I’ll do an A-B test and find out which one is best – it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. If you’ve already conducted such a scientific experiment, please let me know the results in the comment section below. Cheers!


Gertrude the dinosaur appears courtesy of Make it Wednesday:

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