Friday, 20 February 2015

The Friday Cocktail

This week's cocktail comes courtesy of an old favourite of mine, Pinkster Gin. Its pale pink colour makes it a perfect contender for a beautifully, blush, Dry Martini, but if you like something a little more quaffable, this should fit the bill.

Miss Pink

2oz Pinkster Gin
1oz Dolin Chambery Vermouth Dry
1/2oz Ruby Port
1/2oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4oz simple syrup
Twist of lemon zest to garnish

Using a small, sharp knife, pare a strip of zest from the lemon and set aside.
Add all of the ingredients apart from the zest, to a cocktail shaker, with a large handful of ice.
With the lid firmly attached, shake hard for about 20-30 secs and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Twist the strip of zest over the drink, releasing the all the lovely lemony oils and drop into the glass.

For more fabulous Pinkster cocktails, click here. (The Big Pink is a particular favourite)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Shrove Tuesday

This year, Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day has fallen just a few days after Valentine's, so before the roses have even lost their bloom, there's another opportunity for celebration. According to the Christian calendar, it's the feast that precedes a period of restraint (Lent), in the run up to Easter, but it's roots stretch back beyond the dawn of Christianity to pagan times. As a pagan festival, the round pancake was thought to represent the sun, signifying the coming of spring and as a Christian celebration, it was a way to use up rich foods, such as eggs, milk and sugar, before Lent when a simple, plain diet was expected (hair shirt optional).

Religious beliefs aside (live and let live, I say), there's not a great deal of restraint goes on our household, although, perhaps it does make sense to show a little moderation in the gap betwixt Pancake Day and Chocolate Egg Day lest one should find one's trousers have inexplicably begun to garrotte one's nether regions...

Each year, my delightful children insist that I make pancakes and each year, they eat one and then we are left with a lot of pancake mixture that lurks in the fridge for a while I try and fail to convince them that savoury pancakes for dinner are a good idea. As a result, I am left feeling somewhat ambivalent about the whole business of pancake making, but I think I may have the answer to my woes...the pancake inspired cocktail! When the little blighters pooh-pooh my culinary efforts, I shall simply mix one of these and tip the rest of the pancake mixture in the bin.

This cocktail is quite simply, amazing, if I do say so myself and has been achieved without the use of gin (very unusual for me). It does involve making toffee vodka, but that is so ridiculously quick and simple, it really shouldn't put you off - click here for the toffee vodka recipe.

As the name suggests, it is inspired by the French dessert, Crêpe Suzette, consisting of a thin pancake, topped with a sauce of caramelised sugar and butter and orange juice and finished with orange curaçao liqueur. It's a delicious combination and it's metamorphosis into cocktail form is no less of a gastronomic success.

Coupe Suzette

2oz toffee vodka
1/4oz triple sec
1 and 1/2oz freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon and granulated white sugar to rim the glass

Begin by rimming the edge of a chilled cocktail glass with sugar - pour a little sugar onto a small plate and moisten the rim of the glass by gently passing the cut lemon over it - do not allow it to drip down the sides, if possible. Roll the moistened edge of the glass through the sugar on the plate and see how the crystals adhere.
Next, add the remaining ingredients to a shaker with a handful of ice and firmly attach the lid before shaking hard. Always keep on hand over the top whilst shaking to avoid any sudden spillages.
When the outside of the shaker develops a frosty bloom, strain the mixture carefully into the glass, avoiding any splashes on the rim that might dislodge the sugar crystals.

Toffee Vodka

 Apothecary Bottle by Toasted Glass

A lot of flavoured vodkas require patience and effort to get the desired result, but this one is so ridiculously simple, there really is no need to buy it ready made. All you need is some vodka (it needn't be the most expensive bottle on the shelf) and some Werthers Original butter candies - I'm sure other brands are available, but I haven't heard of them and these are sold, pretty much everywhere.


35cl vodka
10 butter candy sweets


Unwrap the sweets and place in a microwaveable bowl with just enough water to cover the candy.
Heat in the microwave on full power for about 4 minutes or until the sweets have fully melted - at this stage the mixture should have reduced in volume and be bubbling like molten lava.
Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave, bearing in mind that it may well be hot, so please protect your hands.
Ensure that the vodka is at room temperature - if you pour chilled vodka into the mixture, the candy will harden immediately.
Add the vodka to the toffee and stir to mix - you may find that a little of the toffee does harden and adhere to the spoon, but it should be a very minimal amount.
Once the mixture is fully dissolved, allow to cool and store in an airtight bottle or container where it should be good to drink for several weeks, if not longer.
If you are partial to drinking chilled, vodka shots then store in the fridge and give it a shake before serving as the mixture may separate over time.

Toffee vodka is an integral part of the Coupe Suzette cocktail that I created in celebration of Pancake Day - click here for recipe.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Valentine's Tipple

Whether or not you are an advocate of Valentine's Day (owing to a distinct lack of interest from Mr TG, I have learned not to be...), this cocktail will make you feel all warm inside. The fizz and the fruit keep it light and fun while the Campari adds a subtle bite; a recipe for a perfect night...

I've used Chase Elegant gin because its botanicals won't overwhelm the flavour and unusually, it is distilled from apples, making it a perfect partner for fruity cocktails. Chase Elderflower liqueur adds a sweet, floral hint that pairs beautifully with all forms of fizz and is definitely one to add to your drinks' cabinet. If you search this blog, you'll find I've used it on many an occasion and have had to replace the bottle more times than I care to admit.

So, even if you're feeling a little 'bah humbug' about the whole occasion, I can still recommend this cocktail. Enjoy with friends, or perhaps watching Brief Encounter with just the dog for company - either way, it's a coupe full of love to enjoy this weekend.

Scarlet Woman

1oz Chase Elegant Gin
1/2oz Chase Elderflower Liqueur
10ml Campari
3oz Brut Cava
5 raspberries

Pulp the raspberries by pushing them through a sieve, collecting the juice in the bottom of your shaker and discarding the pips.
Add the gin and elderflower with a handful of ice, pop on the lid and shake until the outside of the shaker frosts over.
Open the shaker, add the Cava and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Something For The Weekend...

After a long hiatus (more than 4 months), I could contain my inner bartender no longer and felt compelled to take up my cocktail shaker and mix up a little something for the weekend...

Of course, I can't claim to have endured a period of abstinence over the last few months, but the lead up to Christmas proved to the busiest yet for Toasted Glass and there was scant time for cocktails, never mind photographing them or writing about them. The festive period is now over and although things are a little calmer, it would be unrealistic to think that I could resume the blog as before, but I hope to entice you with the occasional cocktail, just to get the weekend off to a good start.

During my blogging sabbatical, I developed a love of martinis, not least because they are simple to mix, requiring only a couple of ingredients (of the highest quality of course). This cocktail takes the basic martini ingredients of gin and vermouth and adds a little a little ginger, basil and lime to give it a distinctive Thai flavour. Faintly reminiscent of a Jo Malone scented candle (in a good way), this is fresh and zesty with a spicy warmth that will remind you of warmer climes whilst melting away the winter chill.

Siam Gin Cocktail

1oz Gin (I used No.3 London Dry Gin)
1oz Dolin Chambery Vermouth Dry
1oz Dolin Chambery Vermouth Blanc
1/2oz Ginger Liqueur (I used Catron Ginger )
10ml freshly squeezed lime juice
2 basil leaves (thai basil if you can get it)
sprig of basil to garnish

In the bottom of a shaker, gently muddle (squish) the basil with the gin.
Add a handful of ice cubes along with the remaining ingredients (bar the garnish) and pop on the lid.
Holding it tightly shut, shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker develops a frosty bloom and double strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with fresh sprig of basil (to release the aroma, gently slap the herb between your palms, before popping it in the glass)