Happy Martini Day: A Guide To Martini Variants

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Today just so happens to be Martini Day, And I was going to write a piece about how to make the perfect Martini but it turns out that I’ve already done  that…. Twice (see the previous posts here and here )

Judging from the previous posts you now know that I know how to make the perfect Martini, So here is a look at some of the variants that can put a spin on your classic cocktail.

Vodka Martini

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What annoys me most about the vodka Martini is that most people think that this is a proper Martini, yes it is probably the most iconic version of the drink owing to a certain fussy spy making it his trademark. So what you need for this abomination is:

3 25ml shots of a decent Vodka

1 25ml shot of dry vermouth

1 lemon slice

And to make said abomination, all you do is slosh your vodka and vermouth into a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake if you’re a pussy who wants watered down booze, or stir gently if you’re a real man, then strain it into a cocktail glass and add your lemon slice, and then wonder why you ever thought James Bond a man of taste.

Coffee Martini 

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I was asked to make this at a cocktail  function a few weeks ago and have since perfected it, or some I’m told, hating the taste of coffee, I wouldn’t actually know if this was good or bad, so you’ll have to try it and see. You’ll need:

1 mug of black coffee (allow it to go cold)

2 shots of any old vodka

1 shot of Tia Maria (or any other coffee liqueur)

Its pretty simple to make really, shake it all over ice and strain into a cocktail glass its simply a cold Russian Coffee but it does the job, people seem to think its nice, to turn this into an espresso Martini, all you need to do is switch out the coffee for an espresso pod and shake well.

Appletini

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If you are completely secure in your masculinity and feel the need to make an Appletini for yourself, or have cause to make one for some one else, all you need are: 

4 25ml shots of vodka

2 25ml shots of Apple Schnapps

1 Apple slice

If you can avoid making fun of the recipient of this drink for long enough to make it, again all you need to take this to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake, you could stir, but no one ordering one of these things can handle alcohol that hasn’t been watered down, so shake away and strain it into a martini glass, then garnish with the apple slice, and then shake your head in sadness at the knowledge that someone actually asked for this drink.

Passion Fruit/Porn star Martini 

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I don’t know why these have become so popular of late, but every cocktail bar I go to they seem to be on the menu, so if you’re going to attempt to make one here’s what you’ll need

2 ripe passion fruits halved

4 25 ml shots of vanilla vodka

3 25ml shots of Passoa

1 tablespoon of lime juice and

1 tablespoon of brownsugar

1 teaspoon edible glitter

250 ml of sparkling wine (use Prosecco or Cava or Asti Spumante, don’t go wasting good champagne on something like this)

 

Making it is a bit of a buggerance however so listen carefully what you need to do first is scoop the seeds from one of the passion fruits into the glass of a cocktail shaker, then add the vodka, passoa, lime juice, glitter and sugar. Add a load of ice and shake well, strain into martini glasses, and then top up the bugger with some prosecco or whatever sparkling wine you have to hand and then finish it off by adding half a passion fruit to each.

What Will Be The Next “In” Drink?

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As a slightly more than casual drinker, you tend to notice phases when it come alcoholic drinks which are currently the popular choice of the moment. The trend at this point in time popular opinion seems to be pointed towards Gin as the big drink of the day, last year it was prosecco, when I was a teenager it was alcopops like Bacardi Breezers, Archers Aqua, Smirnoff Ice and WKD, and a few years ago it was fruity cider over ice. So when it comes to trying to discern what’ll be popular in the coming season, alcohol is a lot like clothing, you have to speculate, and generally just hope for the best. My predictions are that its likely to be one of the following.

Rum

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Rum is sexy and kind of exotic, it has the overtones of some tropical or island paradise where the waves are lapping against the shore, and the sun is always shining. Rum makes this list as I’m starting to see some more unusual brands turn up in bars and clubs throughout my surrounding area, so maybe this is a sign.

Port

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This may be more wishful thinking on my part, but more and more people are jumping on the fortified wine bandwagon, with sales of port growing at steady levels throughout 2015 and 2016, with aged tawny port being a particular favourite, with UK sales at over £79 Million maybe, just maybe if I order a port in a bar, I won’t get looked at like some kind of a freak.

Japanese Whiskey 

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Brands like Suntory are finally starting to gain traction on the UK market in fact I saw a bottle of 12 year old Yamazaki in a bar, and admittedly it was a really trendy, upmarket (i.e expensive) bar, but it was a bar in the UK nonetheless. But what may be interesting to note, is that the whiskey market in the UK has been dominated by scotch, and that swill that the yanks have the audacity to call whiskey, with a one two exceptions (like Jamesons’s Irish Whiskey) so it would be interesting to see something new, and tasty.

Advocaat 

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To be honest this is a complete wildcard, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in real life, I mean who wants an egg based drink on a night out?

 

Classic Cocktails You Should Know How To Make Part Two

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Yesterday I wrote the first in a series of posts about the classic cocktails that both men and women should probably know how to make, and if not know how to make, at the very least should have some sort of clue as to what actually goes into making them. Now as I write this blog with the slightly old fashioned gentleman in mind today we’ll be setting aside the mind set of unmanliness when it comes to drinking cocktails, as often the alcohol content is more than even the strongest of draft beers. And today we’ll dive back in with some more classic cocktails that you should know how to make, and should probably try.

Cuba Libre 

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(Ingredients: 2 Shots of Dark Rum, Lime, Ice, Cola) no idiot could mess up the Cuba Libre, its a rum and coke with ice and a slice. Do I really have to take you through a step by step?

Margarita 

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(Ingredients: 2 Shots of Tequila, 1 Shot of Cointreau, 1 Shot of Lime Juice, Ice, Salt, Lime) Throw everything except the lime and salt into a blender and let rip for sixty seconds. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your glass and the add salt, then pour the contents of the blender into the glass (again scale up dependent on how many people)

Negroni 

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(ingredients: 2 shots of Gin, 2 Shots of Red Vermouth, 2 Shots of Campari, orange, Ice) Take some ice, put it in a cocktail shaker, add your gin, add your vermouth and stir counter clockwise 7 times, drizzle the campari in while stirring, then pour into a glass then add your orange slice. Then drink it, then make another.

Cosmopolitan

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(Ingredients: 2 Shots of Vodka, 1 Shot of Cointreau, 1 shot of lime juice, top with cranberry juice, Ice) take your ice and put it in a cocktail shaker, then add the vodka, Cointreau, lime juice and cranberry juice, shake it up, strain it out into the glass and then garnish with a slice of lime.

Long Island Ice Tea

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(Ingredients 1 shot of Tequila, 1 shot of Vodka, 1 shot of White Rum, 1 shot of Triple Sec, 1 shot of Gin, 2 spoons of sugar, 1 shot lemon juice, top with cola, ice) This is one of those drinks that is really difficult to get right, its a fine line between nice cocktail and vomit inducing mess. Pour all the alcohol over ice, add the sugar and stir vigorously. Then you need to add the lemon juice and then top up with the cola. And then get down on your knees and pray that it tastes alright.

Join again tomorrow for some more classic cocktail recipes that will tantalise your taste buds and pickle what remains of your livers.  

Classic Cocktails You Should Know How To Make (Part One)

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The other day I wrote a piece on how to make the perfect Martini, a few people have said good things to me about it, so I thought I would use some of the knowledge that I’ve gained from years and years of experience, both behind the bar and under it, to put together a little guide on some classic cocktails that bartenders everywhere would probably hope you don’t actually order, but are always good to try and do yourself, or give a go if you are in an actual cocktail bar, order one in your local pub and there is a could chance you may get laughed at, but from the comfort of your own home, or a pool bar in the Caribbean they can prove quite the alternative, to whatever happens to be on draft.

Black Russian

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(Ingredients- 2 shots of Vodka, 1 Shot of Tia Maria, 4 shots cola, Ice) For this smooth, short cocktail, you’ll need a short tumbler, put in the ice, pour in the vodka and the tia maria then top up with the cola, stir lightly with a straw and there you have your Black Russian

Tom Collins

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(Ingredients- 2 shots of Gin, 1 shot of lemon juice, 2 tea spoons of brown sugar, 100 ml soda water, Ice) Take your Gin, you lemon juice and bung it into a cocktail shaker, spoon in your sugar and stir, pour over the ice in a long tumbler, then fill to the top with soda water, garnish with a slice of lemon and add a straw, and that ladies and gentlemen is a Tom Collins

Sex On The Beach 

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(Ingredients 2 shots of vodka, 2 shots of peach schnapps, 2 shots of orange juice, 2 shots of cranberry juice, ice) This one takes me back to my misspent youth spent in nightclubs with this sickly sweet sensation. Firstly you take the vodka and the schnapps and the orange juice, pour it into your shaker over ice, and give it your best flamenco dance, pour this whole concoction (ice and all) into a glass, and then add the cranberry juice, and now you’ve just had sex on the beach, this time without having to floss out sand.

Mojito

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(Ingredients, 2 shots of white rum, 1 lime, soda water, 1 sprig of mint, ice) whilst this mother jumping cocktail does involve a little bit of plant life, its actually pretty easy to make. Pour your rum over ice, add the mint sprig, and squeeze some lime juice into the glass, top it up with soda water, and then add another wedge of lime, just for good measure. It looks good, and tastes nice, and above all is pretty easy to make, and always goes down well if you make one for a young lady.

Pina Colada 

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(Ingredients, 2 shots of white rum, 2 shots of coconut milk 4 shots pineapple juice, Ice,) this classic cocktail does require the use of a blender if you’re going to do it right, so firstly you bosh your ice cubes into the blender, then in a completely unceremonious manner, you pour in the rum coconut milk and the pineapple juice and turn on the blender to full power for about 60 seconds until you get a nice frothy head on it, then pour it out, make sure you scale up depending on how many people your catering for.

 

Join again tomorrow for some more classic cocktail recipes that will tantalise your taste buds and pickle what remains of your livers.  

How To Make The Perfect Negroni

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Its a little bit like a Martini, but a bit sweeter and served over ice, so it isn’t as strong.

 

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Ingredients: 

2 shots of Gin (I recommend Hendricks)

2 Shots of Sweet Red Vermouth (Go with the Martini Rosso)

2 Shots of Campari

A slice of orange

Ice (don’t be a dick, use your judgement on how much)

Method:

Take some ice, put it in a cocktail shaker, add your gin, add your vermouth and stir counter clockwise 7 times, drizzle the campari in while stirring, then pour into a glass then add your orange slice. Then drink it, then make another.

The Lazy Ramblings of a Lazy Man (On Eating and Drinking)

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I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  1. ON BEING IDLE.
  2. ON BEING IN LOVE.
  3. ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
  4. ON BEING HARD UP.
  5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
  6. ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
  7. ON THE WEATHER.
  8. ON CATS AND DOGS.
  9. ON BEING SHY.
  10. ON BABIES.
  11. ON EATING AND DRINKING.
  12. ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
  13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care).

On Eating And Drinking 

Over the last few days (it being the festive period) I have probably eaten my body weight in carbohydrates and saturated fats, I love to eat, especially at Christmas. The meats, the vegetables, the desserts, the wines and cheeses, the buffet spreads, all of it. I’m not really a fan of Christmas, but the food and the drink are what make it all worth while. Over the past two days I’ve indulged all my gluttonous appetites to the point where I can visibly see my gout throbbing and I have heart burn with an acid content so high it could eat through titanium.

But it isn’t just at Christmas, I am a bit of a foody the whole year round. I like to try new things, to this date the most exotic food I’ve ever tried is pickled baby octopus. Lately though this has fallen by the wayside, I’m travelling less and having a small child doesn’t really lend itself to dining out. However in my younger days I could recite the menus and wine lists from most restaurants in  south east Wales, and it was all borne from a love of food and drink.

Not only do I like to eat, but I also like to cook, I spent the most part of Christmas day in the kitchen, not only did I cook the whole damn meal, I also ended up doing the washing up as well. I like to cook, lots of little fiddly things that look impressive, as well other meals which adhere to the 4 main food groups, salt, fat, grease and burnt crunchy bits.  However I’ve never been one of those people who have to take a photo of their food and share it with the world, if I cook a nice meal I’ll enjoy it while its still hot, not arse around with instagram filters while the degrees slip away and all your left with is a bowl of cold mush, in the hopes of getting 6 likes on social media.

Then we come to the worst possible human beings around. Those people who pour salt or ketchup on everything, without even tasting it first. I am one of those people who rarely puts salt on food, and I do think it is incredibly rude when someone cooks you a meal, and then you don’t even try it, you just pour salt on, not only is that rude, but down right insulting. Sure saltiness is a personal thing and I don’t mind to much when someone covers their meal in the stuff, but only when you have had the good manners to try it first, and the same goes with ketchup.

 

This is the eleventh in a series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.

Drinking Games & Why They’re Stupid

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Drinking games play a big part in the social lives of many people in this day and age, from ring of fire to beer pong, and quarters to buzz and the dreaded never have I ever. Many of us have taken part in that bit of fun. But it hit me the other day, when for some reason, when Marianna was staying with her grandparents, I was drinking with several 19/20 year olds (on a school night as well, no less) and the subject of drinking games came up (namely who wanted to play one). I must admit my objection was bordering on the vehement, and I wasn’t sure why. Then it struck me, that I have outgrown drinking just for the sake of getting drunk.

Back in the days when I first started going out to pubs and clubs when I turned eighteen *ahem* fifteen *ahem*, I would drink with the sole purpose of getting drunk, because the feeling was new and it was a novelty. But as I’ve grown up alcohol has become more of a social lubricant, I no longer intentionally drink my self into an absolute mess (note intentionally), I no longer use sentences like “a pint of snakebite and your strongest cheapest shot.” Now my taste in alcohol is judged on actual taste, not solely on alcohol content.

So this is why I find that drinking games are best to be avoided, and that isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy a game whilst drinking,  a couple of hands of poker, a game of foosball, darts or a couple of racks of pool all help a nice tipple to go down well and are vital parts of male bonding. But playing a game whilst drinking, where the point of the game is drinking, seems a little bit redundant and if I’m honest a little bit stupid, I mean if I wan’t a drink I’ll drink, if I wan’t to play a game, I’ll play a game, if I wanted to get trousered its within my means and knowledge base to get absolutely gazeboed, without prescribing to the convoluted rules and whims of those controlling the game.