Tag Archives: vanilla vodka

Mandarin Dream


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!


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


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


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.


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


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

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Strawberries and Dream


You know that phrase “dance like no one’s watching”? Sometimes I make cocktails like no one’s watching. No consultation of the ever-growing collection of cocktail books. No sniffing a handful of open bottles to try to decide what will combine well together. And no fancy shake-n-strain techniques; I just chuck a few random ingredients into the blender and hope for the best. Shocking, I know, but true.

Sometimes, it works really well.
Sometimes, it’s like a superfood smoothie; you know it contains things that are good for you, ie alcohol, but it looks and tastes disgusting.

The Strawberries and Dream falls into the first category. It’s a bit like really, really good strawberry ice cream (the kind made with real strawberries, not that fake pink stripe you get in a tub of Neapolitan). 52 Cocktails’ CTO says it’s sophisticated, not overly sweet, and “should be served on a yacht, not from a Mr Whippy van.”

I couldn’t get an accurate photo of it – the colour is somewhere in between the above and below photos – so when you make it, send me a snapshot of yours, please. You can trick it up to impress your friends (see Method, below) or just make it like no one’s watching.


30ml Chambord
45ml vanilla vodka (we used Absolut Vanilia)
30ml coconut cream
3/4 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
Lime and some caster sugar for rimming the glass

If no one’s watching you, use a regular rocks glass. You could even drink straight from the blender jug while wearing pajamas if you want to.

If someone’s watching you, a fancy or frivolous works well for this.

If no one’s watching you:
Pour some caster sugar onto a plate. Rub the lime around the rim of the glass and dunk it in the sugar.
Chuck everything in the blender with a handful of ice and blend until it looks like a superfood smoothie.
Carefully pour the blended mixture into the glass (avoiding the sugar-coated rim, of course) and drink like no one’s watching you.

If someone’s watching you:
How the hell did this person watching you get into your kitchen?! Go and check if the front door’s locked. OK, so it turns out they were invited? Then let’s give em a show.
Slice a lime into three rounds and place them, flat side up, on a plate.
Pour some caster sugar onto another plate.
Turn a glass upside down and place the rim onto the lime slices. Give it a few twists, then place it in the sugar and give it a twist to help the sugar adhere. Do it with a confident flourish!
Next, make it look as hard as possible to create this masterpiece. Things taste better if it looks like you made an effort, even if all you’re doing is basically making an alcoholic smoothie. Use tongs to place the ice cubes one by one into the blender; slowly measure the liquid ingredients; be very choosy about which strawberries you deign to use. You get the idea.
Double strain the blended mixture into the glass and serve.

The hardest part is making this look hard to make.

Proudly created by 52 Cocktails.

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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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