For goodness saké! … 酒

There’s nothing I enjoy more than when customers pronounce Pinot Noir [pee-not no-ear], chipotle [chip-pot-ool] or Tempranillo [temp-rah-nillll-low]. (if this confuses you, click the words for general enlightenment.)

Word of the day!

Saké ! or 酒? [Sah-kay] ?

Such a happy little sake! Them sake eyes… How can you resist!?

Okay, I might fall in the realm of customers on this one, but I have tried my best to decipher and learn enough to share some interesting fun facts, cocktails and bars!

Ask for sake anywhere, and you’ll get sake, ask for sake in Japan, and you’ll get anything. Sake is in fact just a japanese word for ‘alcohol’, so if you want the specific liquid goodness I’ll be referring to, they say nihonshu – which means ‘Japanese alcohol’. Interesting fact, but this blogs focus is slowly seeming like a language lesson, so lets digress…to maths.

Polishing is the process whereby they mill the rice grain to reveal its starchy core. The more the grain has been polished, theoretically the better the sake! Most sakes are polished between 50-70%, in easier words: If it says 60%, than means 40% of the kernel was polished away leaving only 60%

Junmai type = Less Polishing (70%) = Richer & Deeper Flavour

Ginjo type = More Polishing (50%) = Cleaner & Aromatic Flavour

*Although Junmai is associated with less polishing, it also refers to pure rice/no additive sake. So you can also have Junmai Ginjo, which means higher polished pure rice sake… I won’t lie, I’m just as confused as you are.

Just like wine, there is a plethora of types of sake! Ones which you should stay away from reffered to as table sake (Futsushu) where the rice polishing can be as low as 93%… to Daiginjo/Junmai Daiginjo which is super premium sake.

If the above didn’t lose you and want to read more, click here for a full 101 on Sake.

Now that the English and Mathematics is out of the way, lets get to the fun bits!

My all time favourite sake cocktails

MR Miyagi

Mr Miyagi

Cold Drip Martini – Cold drip coffee, Shochu, Sake & White Chocolate foam… #whatdreamsaremadeof

Tokyo tina

Thundercat Martini - Belvedere Vodka, Junmai Sake Plum Bitters, Orange Blossom Water & Pickled Ginger 🍶👌

Thundercat Martini – Belvedere Vodka, Junmai Sake
Plum Bitters, Orange Blossom Water & Pickled Ginger 🍶👌

Not quite sake but still delicious

Cucumber & Yuzu Sour - Belvedere Vodka, Elderflower, Yuzu, Cucumber, Honey. All. The. Delicious!

Cucumber & Yuzu Sour –
Belvedere Vodka, Elderflower, Yuzu, Cucumber, Honey. All. The. Delicious!

MY wish list

Sashimitini! Gin with ginger liqueur garnished with sashimi. Yes, Sashimi. & again, maybe this one doesn't quite contain sake. But. Sashimi. It has. Sashimi. That is all.

Sashimitini!
Gin with ginger liqueur garnished with sashimi. Yes, Sashimi. & again, maybe this one doesn’t quite contain sake. But. Sashimi. It has. Sashimi. That is all.

closing words on sake

Sake, I feel, doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Kind of like soup, always underrated, but never disappointing. I tried to point out the versatility and quality of sake to my friend the other day who didn’t seem sold. That or he was just tired from the gym. Naturally, I grabbed his protein shake and turned it into a sake cocktail to prove a point:

A symphony of premixed chocolate protein shake, sake, and salted caramel ice cream. Yeah... I went there... 🍦

A symphony of premixed chocolate protein shake, sake, and salted caramel ice cream. Yeah… I went there… 🍦

After he got over the fact I used ice cream to garnish his protein shake (it was Skinny Cow, which is diet ice cream… I may of pretended it was sugar free… but really… come on…) he tasted it and was super surprised at it’s deliciousness. Sake and chocolate go together like bacon and eggs, or popcorn and butter, or cereal and baileys.

Long story short, go to your local bottle shop and start experimenting! This stuffs going to be the new Gin in your tonic, and for anyone who can post a good sake sangria recipe – I’ll be giving out stickers.

Kampai!

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Morning Sunshine! So I accidentally got my mum drunk.

I woke up this morning, walked to the fridge and stared into the chilled pantry deciding on what to forage for breakfast. The first thing that caught my eye was what I assume was a Sour Cherry jam? It’s in Greek… and as you will soon learn, I’m not.

Sour Cherry... Jam.

Sour Cherry… Jam.

I’m not sure if it was the word ‘sour’, or my dipsomania, but my first thought was …

“That… would make a cracking rum sour…”

So, as any normal person would do, I tested that theory immediately. I got out the eggs, which I thought justified the fact I was making a cocktail before 10:30am – some people like their eggs scrambled, some poached, personally I’m happy having them in a sour. I grabbed a lemon, looked at the spirits I had around me, and played bartender.

The characters in my play.

The characters in my play.

A quick tip for making the perfect sour at home – NutriBullet. If you don’t have a boston shaker (refer to previous article for example) you can either use it as a shaker, or just blend it and you have the fluffiest of cocktails which, according to the ads, also transforms into a superfood.

So!

For those playing at home:

Sour Cherry Rum Sour

As this was made quite early in the morning, I didn’t quite want to drink it. Mainly as I was so excited about it I wanted to write about it straight away, and when my fingers become tipsy that gets a little hard. So naturally I gave it to my mum, her rave review will follow. Also the only reason I added the salted caramel vodka (other than its delicious), is to add sweetness and a ‘depth of flavour’, however you can just replace it with extra agave.

Definitely a morning pick-me-up.

Definitely a morning pick-me-up.

45ml Angostura Caribbean Rum (5yo)
30ml Stoli Salted Caramel
1 tspn Sour Cherry ‘Jam’
1 tspn Agave Syrup
1/2 lemon (juiced)
1 Egg white

  1. Put all ingredients into shaker/nutribullet. If your going the superfood route, you may need to shake it a little first before blending to ensure the syrups aren’t stuck.
  2. Blend! Or shake, and if you’re shaking, dry shake (which means without ice), and you can also pat yourself on the back for getting your morning cardio out of the way. See, this cocktail just gets healthier and healthier!
  3. Fill a short glass with ice, pour in the delicious fluffy mixture and garnish with more sour cherries.
  4. Enjoy!

So a fun fact, my mum was born in Germany, specifically in the Black Forest region – thus I thought her review was a little bit cute. Also that she said this to me via facebook messenger even though she was only a room away, and they say its the kids that are bad… so this is word for word – cntrl+c, cntrl+v =

“lovely balance of creaminess sourness and alcohol that makes it hard to realize how strong the drink is.. I am lost in the Black Forrest.. ..if you suck the essence out of all the best Black Forrest Cake you have ever imbibed .. this cocktail is what you would hope to get..”

Haha cute, no!?

Anyway! Hope everyone has the loveliest of days!

Prost!

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***A few things I would like to add, as I haven’t really given anything away about myself other than the fact I may or may not like alcohol a bit too much and I’m currently in a salted caramel phase. I’m a bartender/bar manager/bar consultant (click here for evidence 😉 ) who loves the beauty and personality of alcohol. I think currently there’s been two things happening which I don’t like, the over complication of alcohol and the demonisation of it. I also study Public Health and Health Promotion majoring in Nutrition so am well aware of what alcohol does, but I also believe life should be lived in moderation, you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously, and you’re only here once so make sure to have a good time. I’ll save this for another post, or put it in the About Me (once I get around to making one) but all I’m saying is you don’t have to be a ‘mixologist’ to make a cocktail or a sommelier to enjoy wine, and don’t let a diet fad stop you from having fun. The moment I’m serving a customer who says they need a non-alcoholic option on their birthday because alcohol doesn’t fit into their #paleo regime, is the day I lose all faith in humanity. 

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.”
― Benjamin Franklin

Why salted caramel is everything the body needs!

There’s a lot more to salted caramel than meets the eye. I honestly thought that when researching the topic I would find out it was created due to the indulgent needs of a French Monarch, a little Geoffrey of a prince who just wanted everything all at once,

“Sacré bleu! Give me something simultaneously savoury and sweet! MERCI BEAUCOUP!”

And yes, that was my entire vocabulary of high school French.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much history at all. It was only created in the late 1990s by a Parisian pastry chef Pierre Hermé. That’s right, salted caramel is a 90’s kid.

(cue for novelty 90's themed macaron)

(cue for novelty 90’s themed macaron)

So more research, why is salted caramel so addictive?

Due to our hunter-gatherer ancestors – we instinctively prefer sweet-tasting high-energy foods compared to bitter-tasting poisonous foods. The sweetness indicates energy, and salt is a necessary mineral for the body’s water balance and blood circulation. So you combine the two, and in return get two very happy biological responses. Your stomach then continues to get overwhelmed by the excitement, like the mastermind kid in the Old El Paso add who decides that ‘both’ is the best option, and sends happy signals to your brain creating a reward circuit.

It’s not your fault, you’re biologically predisposed to be hopelessly addicted to salted caramel. Think of it as nutritional efficiency.

So! Now that we have an excuse:

Salted Caramel Espresso Martini

So you get the amazing duo, then add it to another stunning duo of coffee with alcohol and you pretty much get something to which I would go as far as saying is best described as: ‘Nectar of the Gods’

Oh hello there you beautiful thing you...

Oh hello there you beautiful thing you…

For those playing at home:

45ml Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka
15ml Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
30ml Little Drippa Cold Drip Coffee

  1. Add ingredients to boston shaker and fill with ice.
  2. Shake until your arms hurt, or around 20 seconds will do (I find the more I shake, the fluffier the martini)
  3. Double strain into a coupette, or wine glass, or whatever is handy. If you put it in a mug, it makes it socially acceptable to consume before 10am.
  4. Garnish with 3 coffee beans (no more or no less, I’m superstitious)
  5. Voilà!

And if you don’t know what a boston shaker is:

Or alternatively, refer to recipe below for a boston shaker free substitute.

Some times simple is best... and yes, that is a tim tam.

Some times simple is best… and yes, that is a tim tam.

120ml Milk (can come from a cow, soy bean or nut.)
60 ml Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka
Tim Tam (whichever flavour you so desire, I went with coconut cream, just to be fancy)

  1. Fill a short glass with ice
  2. Add vodka and milk, you can change up the measurements to taste… sometimes I do a cheeky vice vera.
  3. Garnish with Tim Tam.
  4. Then once you’ve finished staring at the glory before you, bite both ends of the Tim Tam to create a straw, also known as a ‘Tim Tam Slam’. For more in depth instructions for this step and fun facts, click here.

Happy drinking!

Prost!

ps. If you like looking at pictures of delicious cocktails – @cocktailsofmelbourne 😉

Hello Spring! Spoiler Alert: Contains a GIF of Leonardo DiCaprio

Once upon a time it was 45 degrees in Melbourne, the sand was beyond tolerable, the sun was merciless, and I thought the combination of a super-sized slurpee from the local 7-eleven and a bottle of Pimms was my best strategy to keeping cool whilst enjoying my day on the beach. Fast forward to later that evening, and I was throwing up water for the next 12 hours with probably the worst head ache of my life, sun stroke isn’t fun and it’s best to learn from my mistakes. (Note: If you ever are unfortunate enough to fall victim to sun stroke, you’ll find laughing is up there with one of the most painful actions. For this reason, learn from my other mistake, and avoid watching Wolf of Wall Street at all costs: I was crying from pain and laughter simultaneously).

Demonstrates both the moment in the movie I laughed so hard I thought my brain was going to explode, and how I looked like doing it.

I try to do my best to research before I type, and understand heat stroke/ sun stroke is a serious diagnosis – and if you do experience such horror Dr. Google does stress you should call emergency services/ seek medical treatment immediately. I think I opted for the – I’m going to stay on the family couch with a bag of frozen beans on my head and a bucket in front of me whilst everyone gives me sympathy approach. Which didn’t really work out, as everyone was pretty much calling me an idiot and said I only had myself to blame. Again, learn from my mistakes, at least medical professionals at least offer some form of bed side manners and support.

So! Long story short, I’ve devised a couple of tips in preparation for summer. And as I mentioned before, I try to research the topic before posting, and when I came up with results such as Avocado Margaritas and Kombucha Long Island Iced Tea I realised that the internet needed some more palatable advice…

Numero Uno!

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – water is your best mate if you’re going to have a big one under the hole punched O-Zone! However when I read googles solution of “Consider ordering your beverage mixed with a bit of water — some whiskey experts believe adding water brings out the alcohol’s deeper flavours.” I slightly died inside. (Sure, add a drop or two to open up a cask strength whisky, or add more to completely destroy it. Either way.) Don’t basterdize a beautiful drink to reach you hydration quota, drink water before and after said creations.  Make a drinking game out of it, not quite as exciting as beer pong however does sound more exciting then spending the night feeling like you’re in the seventh circle of hell.

You put the lime in the coconut…water.

Coconut water is my secret weapon when it comes to hangovers due to its hydrating abilities, and I personally think it’s delicious. Have you ever tried a coconut water mojito? Friggin’ delicious. Click here for a recipe. Or not that keen on coconut water? Try freezing it into ice blocks, and the slowly melting electrolytes will secretly seep into your body like a ninja.

The lyrics Harry Nilsson forgot to add.

The lyrics Harry Nilsson forgot to add.

In Summary

I wanted to add more life tips from a hypocrite, however I think being punished enough in primary school with the ‘no hat = no play’ rule, we’ve been encoded to know that being sun smart is of the utter most importance, not just in life, but also whilst enjoying a cheeky bevy. So! That said, slip, slop and slap. Enjoy this currently amazing weather, I’ll start compiling a list of venues where to do so, and try to avoid resembling the gif above.

Prost!

A dash of American prohibition, a spoonful of Russian Revolution, garnish with an evil English Queen…

And you have yourself a Bloody Mary!

Yes yes, some see a Bloody Mary and cringe at the idea. On the other hand, some people consider them a Sunday morning ritual, I personally think a Bloody Mary is a thing of beauty. As rich in history and creativity as it is in its red hues, and hopefully at the end of this post you’ll fall in love with its poetry as much as I do. So let the story begin! Once upon a time…

It all started back when something terrible happened in the US of A, prohibition, or as W.C. Fields likes to put it, a time where he “was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water”. Bartenders had decided to flee to the safe shores of Europe to continue their practise, the same time a pretty nasty revolution convinced groups of Russians to do the same – bringing their Vodka with them. Americans didn’t come empty handed however, they brought tinned juices. (If it was a competition….)

Nonetheless! This, right time at the right place was the birth place of something beautiful. It was 1920s Paris, a bartender by the name of Ferdinand “Pete” Petiot and a bar by the name of Harry’s New York Bar on 5 Rue Danou (or as liquor hungry americans learnt to instruct parisian tax drivers, “Sank Roo Doe Noo!”). This is where the history gets a bit blurry, there are many variations of the story, but long story short – the Bloody Mary or very early days the “Bucket of Blood” was created. Some say the Bloody Mary comes from Queen Mary I, known for the death and destruction she caused over her reign, also sharing the same nickname.

At the start it was just equal parts vodka and canned tomato juice, but as time passed, Pete moved back to New York to man the King Cole bar at the St. Regis and a Russian Prince and businessman by the name of Serge Obolensky wanted one of the infamous Bloody Marys, but with a kick. And this! My friends, is where we get the tasty concoction today. He put on his thinking cap, grabbed the salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and a lemon, and the blank canvas was promoted to masterpiece.

The story continues with its many variations, The Red Snapper it gin laden cousin, or its Mexican friend the Bloody Maria, but these are all interesting stories for another day.

The classic recipe:

  • 1 oz. Stolichnaya vodka
  • 2 oz. Tomato juice
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 2 dashes black pepper
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

The beauty of the Bloody Mary is that there is no true recipe, and its a classic which the most stubborn mixoligist will allow others to play around with. These days we see the likes of sriracha among many other ingredients being added. Its something of ones own culinary skill and these days Bloody Marys aren’t just drinks – but also foundations for lavish garnishes which really show the true potential of wooden skewers and a creative mind.

Hopefully I’ve helped open up the minds of some anti-Bloody Mary folk out there, it may be an acquired taste, but it truly is one for the books. So with that said! A few locals to have a look at:

The Bloody Hell - Chilli Infused Vodka Served with a Shrimp, Slider & Buffalo Wing @ Bloody Mary's, Sydney

The Bloody Hell – Chilli Infused Vodka Served with a Shrimp, Slider & Buffalo Wing @ Bloody Mary’s, Sydney

The Bloody Mary @ Porch and Parlour, also at Sydney. Bondi in fact, who needs garnishes when you have a view?

The Bloody Mary @ Porch and Parlour, also at Sydney. Bondi in fact, who needs garnishes when you have a view?

The Secret Bloody Mary @ Stray Neighbour, Preston. Garnished with Fried Pickles & Chipotle aioli - this one was limited edition but I'm sure we can create a petition...

The Secret Bloody Mary @ Stray Neighbour, Preston. Garnished with Fried Pickles & Chipotle aioli – this one was limited edition but I’m sure we can create a petition…

For those playing at home:

Bloody Mary’s Bar/Cafe, 332 Victoria St Darlinghurst Sydney || www.bloodymaryssydney.com.au

Porch and Parlour,  110 Ramsgate Ave North Bondi Beach  || www.porchandparlour.com

Stray Neighbour, 463 – 467 Plenty Rd, Preston ||                 www.strayneighbour.com.au

Prost!

The rivalry that was so big it created an entire city….

Tom vs. Jerry

Tweety vs. Sylvester 

Seinfield vs. Newman

I think you’re getting the theme here, Melbourne versus Sydney has been a thing since we battled for the title of capital city, only for that to fall through and Canberra to be born – the city equal distances between.

Thats how competitive we are! So much so, the stubbornness created an entire city!

So naturally, when I jumped off the plane I was sceptical about what I was going to find. The facts I had been told were:

“There is absolutely no bar scene here,”

“They have the same cafe scene as Melbourne… circa 2002.”

(May I note, these quotes came from a recent expat from Melbourne now relocated to the sandy shores of Sydney)

I like to think of myself as quite an open minded person, so I decided to do what any other like minded individual would do, and I went on a mission to discover the truth / went on a 4 day bender.

The results:

The Grounds of Alexandria, The Potting Shed

“They have the same cafe scene as Melbourne… circa 2002.”

Kingfish Sashimi and Smashed Avo on freshly baked seeded bread...

The Grounds of Alexandria: Kingfish Sashimi and Smashed Avo on freshly baked seeded bread…

Not only was this cafe amazing, it was an institution. The Ground of Alexandria is a multifaceted establishment complete with a restaurant, bar, a parrot named Fluffy and a pig named Kevin Bacon. Thats right, they have their own pig named Kevin friggin’ Bacon. The kicker, I was too hyped about Fluffy I never got a chance to meet the little piggy – rumour has it that a jealous customer stole Mr Bacon and he was later found in Victoria. Yup, I told you the competition ran deep.

It wasn’t just Fluffy that kept me distracted, it was the wheelbarrow bonfire in the car park that was lit and equipped with marshmallows and skewers for anyone interested. It was the amazing details of signage which included puns such as have a “good thyme”. It had zero faults. Not only that, but heres where the real kicker comes…

“There is absolutely no bar scene here,”

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DIY Bourbon Old Fashioned, complete with smoked cinnamon, maple syrup and bacon.

No bar scene you say? Well, I hate to come across like a traitor, but I found the above pretty damn amazing. And then…

An Espresso Martini Flip made with fig liquer and wait for it... a quail egg. #canteven

An Espresso Martini Flip made with fig liquer and wait for it… a quail egg. #canteven

An espresso martini flip made with a quail egg!? Some would say too much, I would say, well done. They literally got a stack of post its, wrote down every little bit of information about them on them, then took those 100,000 post its and made it so it was 10x better and cooler than anything I’ve ever witnessed. Or thats what I assume must of happened, because they literally had no faults.

Note, this is just ONE place I visited (maybe several times) on my four days of intensive research/drinking. I still haven’t even covered all the Bloody Marys! However I decided it’s best to go one step at a time, so I’ll leave that till next time.

For those playing at home:

The Grounds of Alexandria, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW || http://thegrounds.com.au/ ||

Prost!

That time when Cocktails of Melbourne went to Sydney…

So! A few myths that I would like to debunk.

  • Sydney does have bars
  • Sydney also has cafes

I went to Sydney for four nights, purely for research, made sure to drink as much as possible, purely for the readers benefits.

Unfortunately due to my enthusiasm I’m not quite recovered enough to describe at length, so I’m going to take the picture book route, and promise to explain in extensive detail once I finally find where I hid the Berocca.

Evidence of above fallacies:

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I’d add captions, but I prefer to leave some element of mystery and will reveal in 24 hours.

Till then,

Prost! x

Why Ron Burgundy let you down.

Mine milkshake bright all yon gentlefolk to mine yard...

Mine milkshake bring all yon gentlefolk to mine yard…

“Milk was a bad choice.”

A man of many wise words, but when it comes to a quality libation milk is constantly looked down upon. Why? There are some reasons, some poor choices such as the ‘cement mixer’ – a shot created in the seventh circle of hell in which a combination of baileys and lime juice curdles in ones mouth to highlight the fact you’ve either lost a dare or been a pawn in a cruel joke. Or you’ve asked the bartender for a shot after they’ve cut you off and you won’t take no for an answer.

Alcohol and dairy can be legendairy (sorry, not sorry). With the spiked milkshakes popping up everywhere, people are starting to come to discover this Bonnie & Clyde of a duo and discover the magic. However I understand dairy still needs a bit of promotion, so here’s a list of some quality reasons why you should introduce milk into your drinking schedule and some fine institutions where you can try it out for yourselves:

  1. Unlike most mixers, milk is high in protein, calcium and all those other goodies as well as being lower in sugar. It’s the healthy persons choice, really. #cleaneating
  2. It’s delicious.
  3. Half the time it comes with ice-cream or a dessert like garnish.
  4. Refer to the above.

Muharam

97 Burwood road, Hawthorn 3122

The Nuts'bout'Tella cocktail at Muharam Cafe (**Friday nights only!)

The Nuts’bout’Tella cocktail at Muharam Cafe (**Friday nights only!)

The Grand Trailer Park Taverna

87 Bourke Street Melbourne

Salted Caramel & Bourbon and

The Salted Caramel & Bourbon and Kinder Surprise & Frangelico spiked milkshakes at The Grand Trailer Park Taverna

Jungle Boy

96 Chapel Street, Windsor

The Thrilla Gorilla at Jungle Boy - the love child of a banana split and bottle of Barcadi 8yo

The Thrilla Gorilla at Jungle Boy – the love child of a banana split and bottle of Barcadi 8yo

Prost!