Tag Archives: mint

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 , , , ,

Southern Mint Tea


On a long, slow, hot day, when all you want is an ice-cold beverage….don’t make this drink. Make a mint julep or a Tom Collins or a Southside – they’re easy and refreshing. Southern Mint Tea – similar to the sweet tea that’s served in the Southern parts of the USA – is easy and refreshing, too, but it takes aaaaaages to make, since you have to wait until the tea is cold – ice cold – before you can serve it.

The good news is, it’s worth the wait. This heady, instantly addictive mixture – not too sweet, not too tannin-y, with as much or as little bourbon as you’d like – tastes like the kind of thing you’d sip while sitting on a back porch in a cane chair overlooking your plantation, fanning your face occasionally as beads of sweat trickled down your face in a somehow alluring, not gross, manner towards your pristine white outfit, just like in all those cliched movies you’ve seen set in the South.

So check the weather forecast, and if there’s a hot day on the horizon, make this recipe the night before. Then you can sit around in your underpants next to the air-con unit drinking and feeling smug, which isn’t the traditional method of drinking a Southern-style ice tea but hey, whatever works for you…


8 cups water

1/2 cup white sugar

8 black tea bags (do not, repeat, DO NOT use Irish Breakfast or Earl Grey or any other fancy tea bags or the flavour will be all wrong)

Juice of 1-2 oranges (I used one-and-a-half)

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

This will make about 2 litres of iced tea, which is about 16 serves. It’s delicious as it is but it seems to be missing something….ah yes, the bourbon. It’s up to you how much you add per serve – I used 45 ml, but you might like to make it weaker/stronger. Don’t use your best bourbon – save that for a fancier cocktail. I used a cheapie and it worked out just fine.


Boil 4 cups of water and pour into a large bowl or saucepan.

Add the tea bags and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. If your tea bags have those little paper tags on them, you might like to cut them off before adding the bags to the water. Otherwise you’ll end up with soggy bits of paper in your drink. Ugh.

Leave it to steep for 10 minutes, then remove the tea bags.

Add 4 cups of cold water and the orange juice. Chill the mixture in the fridge (you can pour it into a large jug first, or just leave it in the saucepan.)

Just before serving, add the mint leaves and bruise them against the side of the jug/saucepan with the back of a spoon so they release their refreshing flavour.

Half-fill a tumbler with ice, then three-quarters fill the glass with ice tea. Strain out the mint leaves as you go, or leave em in; it’s up to you.

Add however much bourbon you like (as I said, I used 45ml), garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

Store any leftover ice tea in the fridge; it will last for a few days.

If you’re feeling especially hipster-ish you can store the leftovers in a mason jar, like the one below, which has been converted into a cobbler-style cocktail shaker. Bonus: thanks to the in-built strainer, it’s easy to strain out the mint leaves as you pour yourself yet another glass.



The hardest part is the long, slow wait for the tea to cool. It’s best to make the tea the night before you plan to serve it so the wait isn’t so frustrating (translation: you can let it cool while you’re drinking something else).

This Southern Mint Tea recipe is a mash-up of this recipe by The Bitten Word and this recipe by Joy the Baker. So while we’re claiming it as our own, really, we couldn’t have done it without them.

Tagged , , , ,

Summer Dreams


When it’s a sunny spring day and the scent of ripe strawberries is in the air, you can’t help but think all’s right with the world…and that you really want a drink, because hey, you’re only human.

This is the perfect drink for that kind of day, when the sunset burns shades of orange into the sky and you’re dreaming about that long, hot summer that’s just around the corner. It’s like strawberries and cream in a glass and is a sophisticated way to kick off a garden party.

Serves two.

5-10 ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
5 large mint leaves
2 teaspoons caster sugar
30ml strawberry-vanilla infused vodka*

*The 52 Cocktails crew was lucky enough to receive a delicious homemade strawberry-vanilla vodka from a fan, who wouldn’t reveal the recipe but hinted they’d let a lot of cut strawberries, sliced vanilla pods and sugar infuse in some vodka for several months before straining the mix and presenting it to us. It’s fantastic and we reckon you could make it, too. And maybe give us a sample, hint, hint. If you don’t want to make your own infused vodka but you do want to try this recipe, substitute 15ml vanilla vodka and 15ml strawberry vodka and let us know how you go.

Champagne flute

Place the strawberries, mint and sugar in the glass part of a Boston shaker, like so:


Muddle them together, then add the vodka and half-fill the glass with ice. Pop the metal part of the shaker on top, flip the whole thing over and shake like mad. Of course, if you don’t have a Boston shaker you can use a cobbler instead.

Strain through a sieve into a clean glass. If you really, really don’t like having ‘bits’ in your drink, strain it again. Pour the mixture into two Champagne flutes. It will look like this:


Top with chilled moscato and serve.


Straining the mixture is the hardest part. And that’s pretty easy!

This one’s by 52 Cocktails….with a little help from our friends.

Tagged , , , ,

Hendrick’s Mojito

HM 01

What’s fresh and sassy and always looks good? Apart from the 52 Cocktails crew, that is? I’ll give you a clue: they’re in the photo above. Yep, it’s The Fashionable Cocktail by Jane Rocca (Hardie Grant Books 2013), which contains the recipe for the mighty fine Hendrick’s Mojito. Gorgeously illustrated by Neryl Walker, this little tome is tres chic, dahling, and features a mix of new cocktails and updated classics. In my ongoing bid to convert some gin-hating friends into liking the sacred spirit (I know, I know, how are we even friends, right?), I hit em with the Hendrick’s Mojito and they loved it. You will too.


This is a refreshing, moreish drink, the kind that’s all too easy to knock back. Hendrick’s gin is made with cucumber and rose petals, giving it a softer flavour than other gin, and the cucumber flavour plays nicely with the mint in this drink. The original recipe calls for a Collins glass but I used rocks glasses to avoid diluting all the dee-lish flavours too much. Go with whatever version you think you’ll like best.


45ml Hendrick’s gin

1/2 lime

20ml lime juice

15ml sugar syrup

mint leaves


cucumber slice, to garnish (optional)


Collins or rocks


Muddle the lime half and about 10 mint leaves in the base of the glass. Don’t be too rough; you want to release the flavour, not pound them into oblivion. Add enough ice to fill the glass at least halfway. Add the Hendrick’s, lime juice and sugar syrup and stir. Top with soda. Garnish with a cucumber slice if you wish.


The hardest thing about making this drink is trying to resist making another 10 or so and devouring them all.


This recipe appears in The Fashionable Cocktail by Jane Rocca (Hardie Grant Books 2013).

Tagged , , ,

Nectar-ine of the Julep Gods


There are some things in life that I just can’t explain, such as why my bottle of Crystal Head vodka insists on wearing a pineapple tea cosy as a beanie and why I haven’t, until now, made a mint julep with white nectarine-infused vodka in it. The idea for this concoction came about when, in order to find a really good mint julep recipe, I read loads about juleps, tried a bunch of different ones (it was all in the name of research I swear), and read somewhere that juleps used to be made with cognanc and peach brandy, which is probably why some recipes for modern-day juleps call for peach slices to be muddled along with the mint. Anyway, you’ll hear the outcome of the mint julep research later (hint: the recipe will be in a book, which will be heavily advertised here – after all, what’s a website without nepotism?); for now, you’re probably either wondering why the hell I used white nectarine vodka instead of peach brandy, or you’re wandering off in search of a drink. So I’ll keep it brief: I didn’t have any peach brandy handy. But I did have some white nectarine vodka, which I made last summer. (To make it, slice up some white nectarines, leaving the skin on but removing the stones. Place in a clean jar with a handful of caster sugar, cover the lot with vodka and then store in a dark place for a few months or until you really want to try adding peach brandy to a julep but discover you don’t have any.)
What does adding it to a julep do? It takes the edge off the bourbon, sweetens the drink and lightens it, making it even more perfect for a hot summer day than a regular julep. And it totally counts as a serve of fruit, right?

15ml white nectarine vodka
15ml sugar syrup
60ml bourbon
12-20 mint leaves, plus a sprig or two of mint to garnish
2 drops Fee Bros peach bitters (optional – they add a teeny bit of peach flavour and are a nod to the original recipe)

Tumbler or old-fashioned.

Place the mint leaves in the glass and pour in the white nectarine vodka and sugar syrup. Stir gently to combine. Add a heap of crushed or cubed ice and stir again. Add the bourbon and peach bitters and stir again. Garnish with the mint sprig(s) and serve.

If you’ve got the white nectarine vodka handy, this one’s easy. If you don’t, the hardest part will be waiting several months for the fruit to infuse with the vodka, in which case we highly recommend drinking something else instead.

This one’s by the clever folk at 52 Cocktails. Enjoy!

Tagged , , , ,

Baldilocks and the three Caipirinhas: a 52 Cocktails experiment

IMG_3656Once upon a time there was a man with no hair called Baldilocks who was also known as the 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer). One day Baldilocks went out to gather flowers for his mother and came home with a big bunch of mint and some juicy limes. “I suck at picking flowers,” sighed Baldilocks. “And whatever am I going to do with all these limes?”

Just as Balidlocks began juicing limes by smashing them repeatedly into his forehead, 52 Cocktails’ CEO (Cocktail Experimentation Officer) came home. “I don’t know what to do with all this sugar,” she said, unpacking a bag of brown sugar (not the kind favoured by the Rolling Stones), a bag of caster sugar and a bag of organic rapadura sugar. “I met with a publishing company today who said they might be interested in turning 52 Cocktails into a cocktail book. They said they couldn’t pay much but that they’d try to sweeten the deal. I didn’t think they’d mean it literally!”

She turned to look at Baldilocks, who had a rather sour expression. “What’s that look for?” she asked.

“I can’t help it,” Baldilocks said. “All the lime juice keeps getting in my eyes.” He indicated the pile of citrus and mint on the bench, which rather conveniently was sitting next to a bottle of cachaca. This gave the CEO an idea.

“Oh Baldilocks,” the CEO sighed, “why don’t you out for a walk and when you come back I’ll have something smooth and juicy for you to slip into.”

Baldilocks left hastily, and while he was out the CEO prepared herself for a three-way.

A Caipirinha prepared three different ways, that is, in order to discover which one they liked best. What, were you expecting some kind of kinky sex story? This is 52 Cocktails, not 52 Cock Tales!

First she made her standard, tried-and-true Caipirinha, using a recipe she’d adapted from Shaken: 250 very sexy cocktails (Murdoch Books, 2004).

CAIPIRINHA (aka 52 Cocktails’ house Caipirinha)

Brazil’s national drink is simultaneously sweet, sour and strong. On a hot day, with a squirt of soda water and some mint added, it’s a refreshing thirst-quencher.


6-8 mint leaves

1 lime, chopped in half, then each half into quarters

3 teaspoons caster sugar

15 ml sugar syrup

ice cubes

60ml cachaca (she used the Sagatiba brand)

30ml soda water




Muddle the mint, lime, sugar and sugar syrup in an old-fashioned glass. Add several ice cubes and the cachaca and stir until ice-cold. Top with soda water and serve.


– The above recipe is for a 52 Cocktails house Caipirinha; true Caipirinhas are not usually made this way. The method given in the book is to muddle the lime, sugar and syrup in a cocktail shaker, add ice and cachaca, shake and strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a sprig of mint. Note that soda is not usually added if you’re using this method, and the mint is not muddled along with the lime. Try making one of each style and see which you prefer – let us know in the comments section below!

– If you are trying the 52 Cocktails house Caipirinha recipe, you can add more or less mint and more or less soda water, to taste. 52 Cocktails would usually add enough soda water to top up the glass.

Next, she made two Caipirinhas based on the recipe in The Craft of the Cocktail by the legendary Dale De Groff (Clarkson Potter, 2002), using brown sugar in one and rapadura (unrefined cane sugar with a caramelly flavour) in the other.


6-8 mint leaves

1/2 lime, quartered

1 teaspoon brown/rapadura sugar

60ml cachaca

30ml soda water




Muddle the mint, lime and sugar in an old-fashioned glass. Add several ice cubes and the cachaca and stir until ice-cold. Top with soda water and serve.


Dale De Groff’s recipe is quite different, but for the sake of the experiment 52 Cocktails had to make each drink using much the same ingredients and method. Dale’s recipe does not include mint or soda, and it uses brown sugar (not rapadura). His method is as follows:

Chill a rocks glass with cracked ice. Muddle the lime and syrup in a mixing glass and add the cachaca. Dump the ice from the rocks glass into the mixing glass and shake well. Pour the entire contents of the mixing glass into the rocks glass and serve.

Because this was turning into a scientific experiment that just happened to look like an excuse to drink three cocktails on a school night, the CEO labelled each drink using a very scientific method, ie by writing what type of sugar was in each drink on a rubber band and placing it around the relevant glass. “Genius!” she exclaimed. OK, OK, she might have had a few too taste tests along the way, but let’s not hold that against her.

When Baldilocks returned he found the three drinks lined up on the bench. First he tried the rapadura Caipirinha.

“Erk,” said Baldilocks eloquently. “Why is this so dry? Where’s the flavour I know and love?”

Next he tried the brown sugar Caipirinha.

“Ooh,” said Baldilocks. “It’s not as sweet as the house style Caipirinhas. But that allows the flavour of the cachaca to come through; that slightly petrol-y, slightly earthy, entirely delicious flavour. I like this one.”

Then he tried the house style Caipirinha.

“Oh!” said Baldilocks in shock. “I thought this would be my favourite, since it’s the one we always drink. But it’s so, SO sweet! It’s like drinking liquid lime icing! It’s delicious, but I can barely taste the cachaca and it makes my teeth hurt.”

He tried them all again before giving his final verdict.

“I like the brown sugar one best, though it could do with some more lime. It tastes like what a local would get in Brazil, whereas the house style one tastes like what the tourists would drink. The rapadura one is too dry and tastes sort of burnt.” He paused, thinking. “A drink that was in between the brown sugar one and the house Caipirinha would be really good,” he hinted subtly.

He tried them all again to be sure, even drinking the one he liked least, and then, not surprisingly, he need a little lie down. So he made his way into the bedroom – and in walked three bears. And not the kind from a fairy tale, either. Boy, was Baldilocks in for a surprise!

Tagged , ,

Mint Condition

Mint Condition 3

A while ago I accidentally bought a bottle of Tag Honey Ginger vodka. (True story – I went to the bottle shop to buy wine, and left with cider and the aforementioned vodka. Don’t ever send me grocery shopping unless you want a clusterf**k for dinner.)

Recently, 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer) accidentally bought a vibrant green bunch of mint.

“It was only a dollar,” he said, “and I thought you could make a cocktail out of it.”

“Yes,” I replied, “but did you buy the ingredients for dinner?”

There was the sound of the front door slamming and tyres spinning as he raced back to the grocery shop.

If you’re sensing a theme here, you’re right: the two accidental purchases went really well together to make a Mint Condition cocktail. And we got take-away for dinner.

Mint Condition 2


This is a bright green drink that’s reminiscent of Moroccan mint tea, but with honey overtones and a gentle warmth. It tastes so healthy you could almost swear it’s kale juice. And that’s about as close to kale juice as we like to get.


15ml honey syrup

12 big fresh mint leaves

45ml Tag Honey Ginger vodka


Cocktail glass


First, make the honey syrup. Combine equal parts honey and boiling water in a mug and stir to dissolve the honey. Don’t use a strongly flavoured honey such as leatherwood as the cocktail will taste too strongly of it. Allow the syrup to cool.

Next, put the mint leaves and honey syrup into the glass part of a Boston shaker. Muddle the hell out it. Don’t just lightly bruise the mint; treat it as if it’s in a mortar and pestle and grind it into a rough paste.

Add the vodka and a generous scoop of ice. Shake it up, baby!

Double-strain into the glass and serve.


If you can remember which ingredients to buy, this cocktail is proof that it IS easy being green.



Dinosaur provided by our friends at Make it Wednesday: https://www.facebook.com/MakeitWednesday

(We don’t know how the dinosaur crept into our photo. It was probably also trying to buy something.)

Tagged , , , , ,