Archive for May 2013

The Walkabout and Thai Phoon

Mixology Monday

For this month’s Mixology Monday, Mark Holmes of Cardiff Cocktails posted the following challenge, the Witches’ Garden:

As far back as we can look, the use of fresh herbs have been prevalent in the world of mixed drinks. From the early days of the julep, through Williams Terrington’s 19th century Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, to Don the Beachcomber’s ahead of their time Tiki drinks, fresh herbs have always been at the forefront of mixology. So lets take influence from the bartenders that once ruled the world of mixology, raid your herb garden that too often gets neglected, and start mixing. I don’t want to put too many limits on this theme so get as creative as you please, want to use roots, spices or beans as well? Sure thing. Want to make your own herbal infusions or tinctures? Sounds wonderful.

Now, I don’t have a garden, and I’m not a witch (I weigh much more than a duck), but as it happened I had a gin I had recently infused with fresh rosemary and so I immediately gravitated to that as a base. I also had some fun ingredients I had picked up in Sydney that I hadn’t yet played with. One was a bush tomato balsamic. Rosemary and tomatoes? I could work with that.


The Walkabout

  • 2.5 oz Rosemary-infused London Dry Gin
  • 1.0 oz. Cucumber Liqueur
  • 1 barspoon Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar with Bush Tomato
  • 2 dashes The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters

In addition to the balsamic, I have some dried bush tomatoes as well, which dehydrate to the size of small berries. I muddled some of these with some fresh rosemary, then combined all ingredients with ice, stirred and strained into a cocktail glass. Finally, I garnished with some of the dried tomatoes, floated on top.

The cucumber is almost like a really light simple syrup which opened the drink up a bit. The balsamic gives a rich, sweetness that isn’t too overwhelming, and the bitters help to counter it. The rosemary gin is what stands out here, as I think it should.

Not willing to leave it at that, I also infused some gin with some lemongrass and came to the following:


Thai Phoon

  • 2.5 oz. Lemongrass-infused London Dry Gin
  • 0.5 oz. King’s Ginger Liqueur
  • 1 barspoon Monin’s Coconut Syrup
  • 1 barspoon Ginger Rice Vinegar
  • 2 dashes The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Lemongrass, coconut and ginger sounded good to me. That little bit of the syrup is all that’s needed for sweetness along with the ginger liqueur, which added some bite. The vinegar is my favorite part here, adding a brightness and acidity to counter the sweetness, which the bitters also help out with. I’m not sure how much lemongrass I could detect in the end, but I didn’t mind.

Now off to see what I can do with these beets…

Blind Hermit


A little Young Frankenstein addendum:

At the show’s conclusion I was thoughtfully given a gift by one of my friends and castmates who played the Blind Hermit (famously portrayed by Gene Hackman in the film) along with a card issuing a fun challenge, asking me to construct a cocktail specifically inspired by the Blind Hermit character. The gift contained a few ingredients and bottles from another cocktail, which was basically half Frangelico and half Iced Cake Vodka with nutmeg on top. I kept the Frangelico and nutmeg (sorry, the Iced Cake Vodka tasted exactly like it sounds — yummy if you were wanting to drink cake, I’m sure) and came up with the following.

Blind Hermit

  • 2.0 oz. Old Monk Rum
  • 1.0 oz. Frangelico
  • 0.5 oz. Dry Oloroso Sherry
  • 1 barspoon cinnamon syrup
  • 1 barspoon Green Chartreuse
  • 2 dashes coffee bitters

Stir and strain into coupe over rum soaked raisins (raisins cooked in dark rum, cinnamon and allspice).
Garnish with fresh toasted nutmeg.

Keeping the monk theme (close to a hermit, I guess) presented by the Frangelico bottle, I started with one of my favorites, the spicy Indian rum Old Monk. To this I added the healthy dose of the hazelnut Frangelico and some dry, nutty sherry to open the drink up more. I wanted some Young Frankenstein influence, so added the cinnamon for a bit of “fire” and a little Green Chartreuse for the monster himself. The coffee bitters helped temper the sweetness, and were added, of course, because the hermit was “going to make espresso!”

All of this went into a coupe over rum soaked raisins — raisins were also included in the gift as an ingredient and I thought they made an interesting garnish. The nutmeg was also part of the original cocktail I was riffing on, so I ended with that, but first used a torch to toast it. Just watch that you don’t light your thumb.