Tag Archives: orange juice

The Abbey: a tale of two gins

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‘But why do you need more than 20 kinds of gin?’ said no one, ever.

Actually, that’s not true. A few non-gin-drinkers (yes, they do exist, and yes, I do occasionally deign to talk to them) have asked me this exact question when they’ve glimpsed my rather meagre collection of the good stuff, to which my usual response is to either launch into a long-winded explanation about all the different kinds of gin or offer them a gin flight so they can taste those differences for themselves. After all, it’s a bit like asking why you need different types of wine, or beer, or underpants: it’s essential. But now I’ve discovered the Abbey, the days of those discussions and flights may be over. Here is a cocktail that tastes completely different depending on which gin you use. (Yes, yes, I’m sure there are many such cocktails, but this is the first one I’ve made using two ostensibly ‘dry’ gins in which the flavours end up being worlds apart…try it for yourself, you’ll be amazed.)

The Abbey is originally from The Savoy Cocktail Book, which was published in 1930. Gin was big back then, but not even the legends behind the bar at The Savoy could have predicted just how many regional varieties of dry gins would have existed nearly a century later, when the 52 Cocktails crew decided to try making the drink using two vastly different dry gins. Fittingly, one of the gins (Tanqueray) is a London Dry Gin, in honour of the Savoy’s location; the other is Australian, just like 52 Cocktails. Specifically, it’s McHenry’s, a Tasmanian drop that pitches itself as a ‘classic dry gin’. Drunk neat, the Tanqueray has more of a floral nature than the McHenry’s, which (perhaps oddly enough) seems drier and earthier than the London Dry. But in a cocktail? Wow. What a difference. Here, the McHenry’s comes into its own, enlivening the already floral notes of the drink to new heights, while the Tanqueray makes it taste almost medicinal. And this, dear friends, is why it’s essential to have many kinds of gin (and whiskey, and tequila, etc) on hand; because sometimes a cocktail that seems a bit ‘meh’ may end up being wonderful if you just switch the brand or style of spirit. So keep experimenting – that’s the spirit!

THE ABBEY

INGREDIENTS

45ml dry gin

22ml Lillet Blonde

22ml freshly squeezed orange juice

1 dash orange bitters (be careful with the bitters – any more than a dash will overpower the drink)

GLASS

Cocktail glass or coupe

METHOD

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

TASTES LIKE

Well, that depends on which type of gin you use – and, although we haven’t actually tried this out, we dare say it depends on which type of orange juice and orange bitters you use, too. Done right, this is the kind of orange-based drink you’d like to have with brunch – light, refreshing, and innocuous. Done wrong, it’s a heavy-handed version of a screwdriver – drinkable, but not as enjoyable.

RECIPE BY

Although this recipe first appeared in the Savoy Cocktail Book, this version comes from The Architecture of the Cocktail by Amy Zavatto (Harper Collins, 2013).

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Paradise

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‘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.

INGREDIENTS

30ml gin

15ml apricot brandy

15ml freshly squeezed orange juice

dash of lemon juice

GLASS

Your fanciest cocktail or coupe glass, dahling.

METHOD

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.

RECIPE BY

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

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Mandarin Dream

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I don’t know if mandarins dream but I bet that if they do, they dream of being mixed with luscious vanilla and heady cinnamon to create this aromatic cocktail.

It’s sweet and citrusy and, if you use top-quality cinnamon, its scent will blow you away. We used A-grade cinnamon from Gewurzhaus, a spice specialty shop that manages to evoke a Moroccan souk or Turkish bazaar despite its Germanic name and position in the middle of Melbourne.

Speaking of Melbourne, this drink suits all the seasons you might experience in a typical day here. Melbourne is famous for having four seasons in one day (indeed, sometimes in one hour), and the Mandarin Dream is light enough for summer but complex enough to brighten up a grey day, too. It’s based on the recipe for Dale’s Orangesicle, which is in The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff (Clarkson Potter, 2002). The original recipe calls for orange vodka; I used Absolut Mandarin instead, because that’s what I had on hand. Sorry, Dale!

INGREDIENTS

3/4 oz Absolut Mandarin

3/4 oz Absolut Vanilla

3/4 oz Cointreau

1 1/2 oz fresh orange juice

pinch of top-quality cinnamon, to garnish

GLASS

Dale uses a highball, but we used a tumbler. The tumbler’s broader surface area allows the cinnamon to spread more evenly.

METHOD

Add all the ingredients except the cinnamon to a shaker that’s half-full of ice. Strain into a tumbler that’s half-full of ice. Dust lightly with cinnamon.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

The hardest part is not snorting the cinnamon while sipping the drink!

RECIPE BY

This one’s by 52 Cocktails, with thanks to Dale DeGroff for the original recipe.

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Amaretto Sour

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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!

INGREDIENTS

30ml amaretto

30ml lemon juice

15ml orange juice

maraschino cherry

GLASS

Rocks

METHOD

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!)

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

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

RECIPE BY

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

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Orange-mango tango

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This simple fruit smoothie is reminiscent of the orange-mango juice that I used to drink at primary school. It came packaged in little Tetra-Briks that, once empty, you could inflate and then jump on to make a satisfyingly loud bang. While I doubt that kids still do that kind of thing – there’s probably an app for that now instead – the flavour hasn’t gone out of style, and you can still get orange-mango juice boxes at the supermarket. But, as with most things, juice tastes a hell of a lot better when it’s fresh. And, as with most juices, this one tastes better with alcohol in it. Serves two.

INGREDIENTS

1 mango, flesh diced

Juice of 2 oranges

90ml Cointreau

20ml or more Malibu, to taste (optional – add the Malibu if the tropical juice box was your fave, and see if it reminds you of em!)

GLASS

Tumbler

METHOD

Chuck everything in the blender, along with about a cup of ice cubes. Whizz it all up, then pour into two glasses. Garnish with mint if desired and serve with a spoon – this is a nectar-like drink so it’s kinda thick.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

The hardest part is not adding more Cointreau!

RECIPE BY

This one’s by 52 Cocktails.

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Southern Mint Tea

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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…

INGREDIENTS

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.
GLASS

Tumbler
METHOD

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.

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DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

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).
RECIPE BY

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.

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Pillar of the Community

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Once a upon a time, after too many cocktails (is there such a thing?) the night before, 52 Cocktails’ CEO (Cocktail Experimentation Officer) was nursing her poor sore head and wishing she had a hair of the dog to go with all the hairs of the cats she kept finding around the house.

Hmm, no, that’s not right.

She wanted a hair of the dog that bit her, even though she couldn’t recall actually biting a dog the night before because she was too hungover. Who goes around biting dogs, anyway?

That doesn’t sound right either.

What she actually wanted was a Buck’s Fizz, that classic brunch drink that can start a hangover or cure (well, alleviate) one. She brightened almost immediately at the thought. ‘Just pour Champagne and orange juice into a Champagne glass,’ she thought to herself, ‘and you’re done.’

Imagine her horror, then, when she discovered the Champagne cellar was dry.

Imagine her horror at discovering the Champagne cellar was actually a laundry with a few boxes of wine in it, and you’ve got inspiration for a new version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

Anyway.

Once she’d got over her horror, she concocted something that was vaguely inspired by a Gin Fizz and could pass as something similar to a Buck’s Fizz if you’d never had one before, in that it contained orange juice and something fizzy. She chose to use Four Pillars gin as it’s made with oranges and she figured that would marry well with the orange juice. It worked: 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Chief Tasting Officer) called it ‘perfumed and ambrosial’ and said it was ‘floral, and reminds me of orange blossom water.’

PILLAR OF THE COMMUNITY

You’ll look like a pillar of the community with this drink in your hand, as its light, floral scent disguises the fact it contains a shot of gin.

INGREDIENTS

30ml Four Pillars gin

30ml orange juice

20ml sugar syrup

soda, to top up

GLASS

Champagne flute

METHOD

Add all ingredients except soda to a cocktail shaker that’s half-full of ice. Shake until icy cold, strain into a Champagne flute and top with soda.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

Much easier than putting up with a hangover.

RECIPE BY

52 Cocktails

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From Gin Fizz to Gin Fizzer

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I never liked gin until a few years ago when I was on a two-week holiday and it was the only thing we had to drink. And, since it was a family holiday, I really needed a drink. By the end of the holiday I was a gin fan (deprivation of other forms of alcohol + excess family time will do that to you) and I haven’t looked back since.

One of the first gin-based cocktails I learned to make was a gin fizz. I found the recipe in Stephanie Alexander’s amazing book The Cook’s Companion (Penguin Group Australia, 2004), which should be required reading for anyone who eats food. If you haven’t got a copy, you can usually get it here. Along with a massive number of recipes, the book provides alphabetical listings of various ingredients and how to use them. So if you have, say, loads of lemons that need to be used up, turn to the “L” section and voila, there are recipes for lemon tart, lemon curd, lemon delicious pudding…you get the idea. It was while browsing through such recipes, trying to work out what I would do with a kilo of lemons I’d just been given, that the gin fizz recipe caught my eye. It seemed like a much better use of lemons than any of the other recipes, primarily because it involved gin. I’m probably risking copyright infringement by reprinting the recipe here. Stephanie, if you’re reading this, please don’t sue me. I need all my money for gin. Thank you.

STEPHANIE’S GIN FIZZ

Shake 45 ml gin with 1 tablespoon pure icing sugar, several mint leaves and the juice of 1 lemon over several ice cubes in a shaker. Strain into a long glass and fill with soda water.

‘But hang on,’ I hear you say. ‘That’s not a new cocktail. Isn’t the point of 52 Cocktails to try out a new cocktail every week of the year? Why yes, it is. It says so right there at the top of the page. Harrumph!’

You’re right – there’s more to this story. And it does involve a new cocktail, I promise. Anyway, where were we? Oh yes.

I liked Stephanie’s gin fizz recipe. I liked it a lot. But I didn’t like having to look up the recipe in her mighty tome whenever I felt like drinking it, which was often. So I wrote the recipe on a bit of paper and stuck it to the fridge for easy reference.

Around this time, I’d also begun using sugar syrup in my drinks and tried using that instead of icing sugar in the gin fizz. It worked – although the taste and texture were different, it was still good. I scribbled ‘can use sugar syrup instead of icing sugar’ on the bit of paper on the fridge so I’d know for next time.

Fast-forward a few years and that bit of paper stuck to the fridge had been joined by lots of other bits of paper, all with cocktail recipes – and amendments to these recipes – scribbled on them. It was getting so you couldn’t see the numerous calendar magnets with real-estate agents’ heads on them that you always get in your letter box and that are never strong enough to hold anything to the fridge other than themselves. (There is probably a whole thesis in that, or at least a stoner-style chaos theory. What do these magnets represent – that real-estate agents want all your fridge real-estate to themselves? Or just that they use really shitty, cheap magnets because they know most people discard them immediately? Discuss.) It was time for drastic measures. No, not throwing out the real-estate magnets. We needed them for dart practice. It was time to Get Organised and Write All the Recipes Onto One Large Piece of Paper. In retrospect, it would probably have been smarter to do this while sober; that way, the recipes would probably have been copied out correctly, instead of into some kind of drunken shorthand.

Yep, you can see where this is going, can’t you.

After years and years of making gin fizzes according to the recipe on the One Large Bit of Paper….

After years of proudly offering them to friends, assuring them, ‘It’s a really gentle drink, it’s like lemonade, you can’t get wasted on a gin fizz…’….

After years of non-gin-drinkers saying, ‘Oh, this is nice, I can barely taste the gin in it. It’s really refreshing.’…

I’ve just discovered that my tried-and-true gin fizz recipe is WRONG.

After I breached copyright by typing out Stephanie’s recipe, I thought, ‘Hmm. 45ml of gin? Nah. A gin fizz is really gentle and refreshing. I’m sure I make them with 15ml of gin, because that is what it says to do on the One Large Piece of Paper. Maybe I have been reading it wrong all these years.’ So I checked. And the recipe written there says:

GIN FIZZ

15ml gin

15ml lemon juice

10 ml sugar syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Strain into a Champagne glass and top with soda.

And that is how I make my gin fizzes.

Really, REALLY weak.

Oh, and I serve them in a Champagne glass, not a long glass, because that seems classier….even if its contents are really, REALLY weak.

I have thoroughly bastardised a great recipe. I could cry with shame.

Except…

Except that I really, REALLY like my gin fizzes.

And so do all the people I serve them to. They’re fantastically refreshing on a hot day. You can start drinking them in the early afternoon and not feel like an alco because they’re so weak. The tartness of the lemon combines beautifully with the gin to create something like an adult lemonade. People who swear they hate gin like them. You can use a more expensive gin than the one you’d usually use in cocktails because you don’t need much of it (you can see in the photo that I used Tanqueray 10 in a recent round). Designated drivers can have at least one of these and not feel like they’re missing out on all the fun. And there’s a chance – just a chance – that when I wrote out the recipe, however incorrectly, I was trying to create a drink that would fit into a Champagne glass instead of into a long glass. After all, the recipe is (roughly) still in proportion – it’s just that it’s only one-third as strong as it ought to be. Which means you can drink three in a row and it really only counts as one cocktail. What’s not to like?

And that is where this rather lengthy transmission should end.

Except….

In regards to “What’s not to like?” 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Chief Tasting Officer) says, “Plenty.”

Oh dear.

To quote: “I’m not sure you can have a drink with only half a shot in it and still call it a cocktail. No bar would serve something so weak. I think you could probably drink them on an AFD (alcohol-free day) and get away with it. Although apparently that’s their advantage…”

Bugger. Turns out my gin fizz is more of a gin fizzer.

Luckily, I have been playing around with my piss-weak recipe and have discovered it’s got more flavour if you use some orange juice in with the lemon. I made a massive batch for a party a few weeks ago and used about a third orange juice as I’d run out of lemons. But if you’re making just one gin fizz, this is particularly annoying to measure. Who the hell can be bothered squeezing an orange to use just 5ml of juice? Solution: make a big batch. You can share it with friends or drink it all yourself. It’s not that strong anyway, right?

ORANGE YOU GLAD YOU MADE A GIN FIZZ

This flavoursome thirst-quencher is great on a hot day. Serves 10 if you want a low-alcohol drink, or 5 if you want something stronger.

INGREDIENTS

150ml gin

100ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed

50ml orange juice, freshly squeezed

100ml sugar syrup

Soda, to top up

GLASS

Champagne

METHOD

Put all ingredients except soda into a jug and stir to combine. (This can be done before your guests arrive.) When it’s time to serve, determine if your guest wants a low-alcohol or a ‘normal’ drink. For a low-alcohol drink, add 40ml of the above mixture to a cocktail shaker that’s half-full of ice. For a ‘normal’ drink, use 80ml of the mixture. Either way, shake the hell out of it, strain into a Champagne glass and top with soda.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

As easy as incorrectly copying out a recipe.

RECIPE BY

52 Cocktails

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