Archive for May, 2008

Sketches from the Gin Palace: Being a Mixological Gin Comparison

Thursday, May 29th, 2008


The aim of this post is to compare different gins, and thus to learn about their character and uses in cocktails. Understanding the nuances of different gins is crucial to making good gin-based drinks, so the exercise of comparing gins is highly educational. The gins examined here represent a reasonably comprehensive snapshot of the ‘upper end’ of gins currently available in New Zealand, as well as a fair swathe of what is available internationally. (more…)

La Cosa Nostra

Monday, May 19th, 2008

I was trying to think of more uses for Cynar, the Italian artichoke-based aperitif that somewhat resembles Campari. I decided its bitter vegetal notes would be complemented by Kola Tonic and threw this one together. I think it works, though perhaps the Tia Maria could be toned back to 1 tsp.


Cynar has has one of the coolest label designs out there (more…)

The Rough Rider Cocktail

Sunday, May 11th, 2008


The Rough Riders take a break on top of San Juan Hill

Mixology Monday has rolled around and get and brought with it the theme of rum. The host of Mixology Monday XXVII is Trader Tiki. To be honest, this was never intended to be a Mixology Monday post. However, since the drink includes rum I guess I get a handy Mixology Monday entry for minimal effort.

I was rearranging my booze cupboard when I remembered I had a bottle of Kola Tonic that had never been used other than to make the Filmograph – from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Cocktails and Forgotten Spirits. (more…)

Genever, Geneva or Jenever? History and Product Comparison

Sunday, May 11th, 2008


Genever, the original gin, is a true old worldly spirit.

Genever was the original gin. Genever’s old fashioned credentials are highlighted by the way its producers play fast and loose with spelling. You can buy genever, geneva, genievre, jenever, jeniever, junever, and probably more; in English you might also find it called ‘Holland gin’ or ‘square gin’. Mark Twain once said he felt nothing but contempt for a man who could only spell a word one way. We can only imagine the esteem in which Mark Twain would have held genever producers. Genever was the popular gin style in the United States throughout most of the 19th Century, so Mark Twain surely found frequent occasion to reflect upon the orthographical creativity of its distillers. (more…)

The Romanza Campari Cocktail

Monday, May 5th, 2008

This one comes from eGullet, and before that from bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout at Pesce restaurant in San Francisco.

In some ways this would be good drink for introducing people to Campari. OK, the dose of Campari is kind of heavy for that purpose. Still, the classic Campari drinks (i.e. the Negroni and the Americano) are complicated by the inclusion of vermouth – another problem ingredient for many people. This drink is free of vermouth, Grand Marnier increases the sweetness, and fruit juice lightens things a little. In fact the drink is purely about rich and bitter sweet citrus. The taste is intense but free of surprises. While quite bitter, this drink reflects the current fashion for drinks that are light on spirits and heavy on juices and liqueurs.



Ugly Nationalistic Chinese Demonstration in Auckland

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

“Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!” – William Golding, Lord of the Flies

Sunday afternoon saw Auckland subjected to a mass display of ugly Chinese nationalism. Thousands of Chinese gathered in Aotea Square for what was billed as a ‘celebration’ to ‘support the Beijing Olympics’ and promote ‘peace and harmony’. In reality the event was clearly a political rally. Olympic references were drowned out by nationalistic flag waving and chanting. The chauvinistic demeanor of the majority, coupled with a lack of policing, encouraged a large and hostile minority to indulge in physical intimidation and random violence. Within a few minutes of arriving at the event I was assaulted and abused, getting rescued from the hostile crowd by a protest marshal. The marshal then politely asked me to leave, because the event was, in his own words, “not safe for New Zealanders”.

So what exactly happened here? (more…)