Tag Archives: apricot brandy



‘It seems a bit presumptuous to call a cocktail “Paradise”,’ said 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer). But that was before he took his first sip. This ambrosial, old-world drink was first printed in Harry Craddock’s 1930 classic The Savoy Cocktail Book and we think it’s time it had a revival. It’s the kind of drink you can picture a 50s starlet sipping while draped across as chaise lounge making bedroom eyes at you; sunny and bright yet luxurious, sophisticated and sexy all at the same time. Paradise, indeed.


30ml gin

15ml apricot brandy

15ml freshly squeezed orange juice

dash of lemon juice


Your fanciest cocktail or coupe glass, dahling.


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker that’s half-full of ice. Shake hard, then strain into the glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel if desired.


This version appears in Margaret Fulton’s Book of Cocktails & Party Drinks (Octopus Books, 1984). For more about this book, click here.

Tagged , ,

Millionaire’s Moscato


Simple, elegant and sophisticated, the classic Champagne cocktail is a cinch to make: add a few drops of Angostura bitters to a sugar cube, pop it into a Champagne flute, add 30ml brandy and top with Champagne. Easy, right? But, this being 52 Cocktails, we just had to adulterate the recipe, partly out of curiosity and partly because we’re tight-arsed and there is no way we’re going to use actual Champagne in a cocktail unless someone else is paying. And so, here you can see what look like a pair of classic Champagne cocktails (though you’d be forgiven for thinking the one on the right is a Berocca in a glass of apple juice), but they’re actually a couple of Millionaire’s Moscatos. Here’s how to make em.


This is the one on the right hand side of the picture. It’s got a slightly medicinal taste and would be most at home in a 1950’s style cigar-smoke-filled men’s club.


Obviously this is the one on the left side of the picture. It’s sweet and fruity and easy to drink. It’s a great way to kick off a party. Speaking of which, it’s New Year’s Eve – happy 2016, and thanks for reading these posts throughout the year. May your new year bring you happiness, cocktails aplenty and a new liver. Now, where was I? Oh yes. The method for making these two cocktails is the same, it’s only the ingredients that differ. Try them both and have a very happy New Year indeed.


Sugar cube

Angostura Bitters – original

30ml brandy

Chilled Moscato (go ahead and use Champagne if you’d rather…and send a case our way, too!)


Sugar cube

Angostura Orange Bitters

30ml apricot brandy

Chilled Moscato


Champagne flute


Add about 10 drops of bitters to the sugar cube. Drop it into the glass. Add the brandy and top up with Moscato.


As easy as toasting your fellow cocktail drinkers on NYE – cheers!


We can’t really take credit for the bastardised recipe that is the Millionaire’s Moscato 1 – but we’ll happily claim we invented the Millionaire’s Moscato 2.

Tagged , , ,

Western Rose


Sipping a Western Rose is a bit like travelling back in time. Back to a time when dusty-tasting cocktails were served in sawdust-filled saloons; back to a time when various vile-tasting alcohols were used to disguise the taste of even worse tasting alcohol; back to a time before better cocktails were invented. Yeah, it’s not that great. Kind of like a martini that went wrong; not apricotty enough to be light and fruity, not gin-ny enough to be a good stiff drink. Bah. There is a way to save it, though – see ‘But wait, there’s more’ below.


45ml dry gin

25ml apricot brandy

25ml dry vermouth

dash fresh lemon juice




Half-fill a mixing glass with ice. Add all ingredients and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve.


Making it’s easy. Drinking it’s kinda hard, cause it’s not that nice. See ‘But wait, there’s more’ for how to improve this drink.

This version of the Western Rose is in The Cocktail Bible by Steve Quirk (New Holland Press, 2010).


As I said, the above recipe makes a dry, somehow dusty tasting thing that reminds me of what a grandma would have drunk in the 1970s and that I would not bother making again. I was determined to drink this one, though, if only so as not to waste the gin. And so, in an attempt to improve the beverage, I added 15ml Cointreau, resulting in a not unpleasant marmalade flavour. As 52 Cocktails CTO said, ‘Now it’s like a breakfast martini – just serve it with hot buttered toast.’

Martinis at breakfast? Now that’s something worth time-travelling for…

Tagged , ,

Palmetto Cooler


Tasting a bit like a mint julep but with an earthy undertone, the Palmetto Cooler is a refreshing, reviving drink – perfect on a hot day when you’re feeling like cactus.


60ml bourbon

15 ml apricot liqueur (confession: I substituted apricot brandy as that’s what I had handy. Don’t judge me)

15ml sweet vermouth

3 dashes Angostura bitters

120ml soda water

mint sprig




Two-thirds fill the glass with ice. Pour in everything except the soda water and mint sprig and stir. Then add the soda, stir again, and garnish with the mint sprig. (Two lots of stirring helps your drink to chill down quickly, so don’t think you can get away with bunging everything in the glass and stirring only once!)



This one’s from The Cocktail Bible by Steve Quirk (New Holland Press, 2010).

Tagged , , , ,

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?!

Tagged , , , ,

Cadenhead’s Charlie Chaplin

Cadenhead Charlie Chaplin

Last week, 52 Cocktails banged on about Cadenhead’s Sloe Gin. A while before that, we featured the Charlie Chaplin. And today, because we’re feeling really lazy, we’ve mashed the two together to create…ta da!…


This is a modern variation on the classic Charlie Chaplin cocktail, which quite possibly makes it a whole new drink that deserves a much more imaginative title. Let us know if you think of one…we can’t be arsed.


45ml Cadenhead’s sloe gin

15ml apricot brandy

15ml sugar syrup

10ml lime juice


Cocktail glass


Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients and shake while thinking up a new name for this drink. Strain into the glass, pop the new name into the comments section below, and drink.


Thinking up a name for this cocktail is way, way harder than actually making it.


52 Cocktails

Tagged , ,

Charlie Chaplin

Ever lost your voice while at a bar and had to mime your drink order? If you had to act out ‘Charlie Chaplin, please,’ you’d try to portray a sweet, slightly syrupy mixture with a well-rounded fruit base and a gentle citrus tang.

Or maybe you’d just point at the cocktail menu. Smartarse.


You know you’ve really made it when a cocktail gets named after you. This one is named after the slapstick comedian and mime artist who was at the height of his career during the silent film era, which was when this cocktail was invented at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria.

Charlie Chaplin


45ml Sloe gin (I used Hayman’s but you can substitute another brand, such as Plymouth or McHenry)

15ml apricot brandy (homemade or store bought)

10ml fresh lime juice


It should be a cocktail glass, but I used a goblet. If you don’t have either, a white wine glass will do (I can hear the purists among you screaming, but hey, not everyone has a cupboard full of stemware!)


Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add ingredients and mime a bartender shaking a cocktail really, really well. Strain into the glass and serve.


Way, WAY easier than miming a cocktail order.


This version of the Charlie Chaplin is in The Cocktail Bible by Steve Quirk (New Holland Press, 2010).


Ooh, did you see that clue a few lines ago? No? It’s the bit that says ‘This version of the Charlie Chaplin’… The recipe above is the first Charlie Chaplin I made, and I liked it. So I replicated the recipe for you here. But while I was researching this post (yes, I do more research than just making and drinking cocktails) I found that it’s not the standard recipe. And I’ve found that to be the case for many of the cocktails I enjoy. Go to two bars and order the same cocktail, and chances are it will be made two different ways*; check the recipe in any two books and there’s a good chance the balance of ingredients will be different. Such is the case with the Charlie Chaplin. While this version has less apricot brandy and lime juice than sloe gin, the traditional recipe contains equal parts of all three. I haven’t made one that way yet – when I do, I’ll report back to you. Now that definitely counts as research…

*This also counts as research and I strongly recommend you do it.

Tagged , ,

How (not) to make apricot brandy

When life gives you lemons, drink tequila, as the saying goes.

When you find a bag of apricots for $1, make apricot brandy, as the slightly-less-well-known saying goes.

Apricot Brandy

To make apricot brandy you’ll need apricots, brandy, sugar, a clean glass jar and a secret ingredient that we can’t show you here. How annoying.

I’ve been experimenting with infusing alcohol with various flavours – fruit, coffee beans, chilli, spices – for a few years. Some have been good, some have been disasters. (Let’s not talk about that stupid attempt to make Hendrick’s by bunging some cucumber into a jar of low-grade gin, OK?) I read somewhere once that when you’re infusing things with alcohol, you shouldn’t leave it for too long or it will go a bit bleargh. So I said much the same in a previous post about making peach vodka. Turns out I was wrong; it depends on what you’re infusing. Oops.

Sorry about that.

A friend gives me a bottle of fruit-infused spirits every Christmas. Her creations have included apricot brandy, strawberry-vanilla vodka and passionfruit rum. I loved her apricot brandy so much I hid it from 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer) and only allowed myself a small glass on a special occasion (luckily, I consider most days to be a special occasion). That was a few years ago and I still wish I had some left.

So when I bought a bargain bag of apricots recently I decided to re-create her apricot brandy. Can’t be that hard, I thought. Slice the apricots, bung em in a jar, add sugar and brandy, and store in a dark place for a week, right?

Rather smugly, I thought I'd try different varieties of brandy and different types of sugar to see what the results would be. Little did I know I had left out the vital ingredient...

Rather smugly, I thought I’d try different varieties of brandy and different types of sugar to see what the results would be. Little did I know I had left out the vital ingredient…


After that initial week, I taste-tested my creations (for the record, one jar had St Agnes three-star brandy with brown sugar, and the other had St Agnes VSOP with white sugar). The VSOP version was OK, but not great; the other was sort of muddy (I think that’s because of the brown sugar). Nothing like hers. Somehow her infusions are closer to liqueurs than spirits; her strawberry-vanilla vodka is almost like drinking liquidised jam, it’s so flavoursome.

In comparison, mine were kinda crap.

I had a shot of her strawberry-vanilla vodka to make myself feel better, but it only made me feel worse because clearly SHE is an expert and I am not, even though I am the one with a shelf full of cocktail books and my own cocktail site and so therefore I know everything, and it’s not faaaaair, and how come hers are so good, and….

When I’d recovered from my hissy fit, ie the next day, I asked what her secret ingredient was and she said, ‘Time. I start infusing fruit in August so it’s ready for Christmas.’

Damnit. I want apricot brandy NOW.

If you’re as impatient as I am, I suggest you buy your apricot brandy.

If you have the patience of a saint, here’s how to make your own – according to my pal, since SHE’S the one who knows what she’s doing!

Halve enough fresh apricots to half or 2/3 fill a clean glass jar. Discard the pips. Add a cup of white sugar and 700ml brandy. Screw on the lid, shake the jar a bit to help dissolve the sugar, store it in a dark place and leave it the hell alone for MONTHS. If you think of it, shake it every few weeks. And in the time it takes for Australian political parties to sort themselves out and start governing instead of sniping at each other, you’ll have a superb apricot brandy. Because it turns out, the longer you leave a fruit infusion, the stronger the flavour will be (it seems so obvious now *facepalm*) Strain it through muslin into a clean glass jar and either eat the fruit (though not for breakfast unless you plan on being drunk the entire day) or use it in a recipe. There are recipe ideas and more info about infusing fruit here.


Tagged , , ,