Category Archives: Solerno

Solerno Sunday

Weekends are made for lazy drinking, so when 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer) challenged me to make something with an unfamiliar ingredient, I chose Solerno and simply Googled a recipe. Solerno is a blood orange liqueur made by the same clever people who produce Hendricks gin. It’s a light, summery drop that marries well with prosecco or soda, which is pretty much the only way I’ve ever drunk it, so it was perfect for this challenge. I picked two easy recipes from the Solerno website; here are the results.


This one’s pictured above left.


25ml Solerno

25ml Brandy or Cognac (I used Brandy)

20ml lemon juice

2 dashes orange bitters




Shake all ingredients together with ice, then strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.


If you’ve ever had a classic Sidecar  you’ll be familiar with its smooth seductiveness, its zingy citrus tones, its ‘Oh come on, let’s have one more-ness’. Sadly, that is not so with the Solerno Sidecar. Although clearly based on the classic, this one tastes like there’s something a bit wrong with the recipe. Maybe it’s because we used brandy, not Cognac, although the recipe did say it was fine to do so. The flavours tasted slightly muddied; not muddy as in dirty, per se, but muddied as in confused. That clear-cut tone that makes a classic Sidecar a classic was missing. And the CTO detected a pithy note, which could be from the bitters, not the Solerno, but which stood out like a sore thumb. Either way, it made for a cocktail that you’d drink but not re-order if you were at a bar. But don’t lose heart! There’s a Solerno Sour just around the corner.


See, I told you so. This one’s pictured above right.


50ml Solerno

25ml lemon juice

10ml sugar syrup

1 dash Angostura bitters

2 dashes orange bitters


Tumbler/Old fashioned


Shake all ingredients together with ice. Strain into a glass that’s half-full of ice.


This one’s loads better than the Solerno Sidecar, though I’m still not sure it shows off the Solerno to its full advantage. As you’d expect, it’s orange-y and sour-sweet, but with a slightly dark, pithy undertone that I didn’t object to. It’d be interesting to try this one without the orange bitters (to see what, exactly, is causing that flavour); maybe, when I’m not feeling quite so lazy, I will.


Maybe Solerno is not all that suited to mixed drinks; from the above experiences it seems it does not play well with others. Still, the Solerno website has heaps of recipes and I’m curious to see if any of them become firm favourites. But it’s no big deal if they don’t – for lazy weekend drinking there’s nothing wrong with sipping good old Solerno and soda!

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Indus Colada


Potato Head Beach Club in Bali make a dreamy, creamy, heavenly cocktail called the Indus Nesos. It’s so good that I can remember the first time I drank it – and that was several years ago. Given that most nights spent in bars end with some kind of memory loss, that’s a hell of a drink.
The 52 Cocktails crew visited the bar recently and foolishly didn’t order one, so this week I thought I’d try making one at home. Then all I’d need is a huge C-shaped structure built out of colourful old window shutters surrounding a vast lawn and swimming pool overlooking the ocean and it would be just like drinking at Potato Head. Easy. Oh, and I’d also need the recipe, and some sunny weather, and a crowd of good-looking people swanning about wouldn’t hurt, either…
Luckily, the menu is on their website and helpfully describes the drink as containing vanilla vodka, vanilla-infused arak (the local rice liquor), apricot brandy, coconut cream and lychee puree, blended and served long. It’s practically a recipe, I thought rather arrogantly as I read it, so, despite not having any arak in the house, it shouldn’t be too hard to re-create. I’ll just double the vanilla vodka content or add some brandy or something. That’ll do.
What was I saying before about drinking and memory loss? I forget. But I know that a list of ingredients does not a recipe make, and – oh yeah, I remember now – I know that I went out to buy some lychees and forgot to get them, so I had to improvise. Long story short, I used pineapple juice instead of lychee puree and ended up with something that tasted like a cross between an Indus Nesos and a pina colada – not a bad thing at all, though next time I will try making it with the correct ingredients to see if it’s closer to the drink I remember. It’s not very strong but it is a super thick, rich drink – serve it with a spoon so you can scoop the foam up off the top. And if you’re ever in Bali, go to Potato Head and order the real thing so you can compare them!

Serves 4 if you use tumblers, or 2 if you use Collins glasses. I find the coconut cream so rich that I only want a small amount, so I prefer to divide the mix among 4 tumblers.

60ml vanilla vodka (I used Absolut, but if you have a house-infused one, go for it)
45ml apricot brandy (I used a homemade one)
90ml coconut cream
30ml Solerno (a delicious blood orange liqueur; if you can’t get it, use Cointreau)
30ml sugar syrup
5 drops Fee Bros peach bitters
250 ml pineapple juice

Tumbler or Collins

Chuck everything in a blender with a handful of ice cubes and blend away. Pour into whichever glasses you’re using and sip while pretending you’re somewhere tropical.

It’s a lot harder than ordering an Indus Nesos at the bar, but at least you don’t have to pay the airfare.

This one’s brought to you by the forgetful folk at 52 Cocktails. Who are you again?!

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