Cardiff Cocktails

By Mark Holmes

spotted cocktail

Mixology Monday - Lambeek Cocktail

So I’m back after a few months off from Mixology Monday, and I’m going to jump straight into it with the announcement, this month coming from Craig of A World Of Drinks blog…

For this month’s challenge I would like to take us back to the humble beginnings of the cocktail bar, the days when bartenders didn’t have the luxury of daily deliveries of ingredients from around the world. In these times bartenders would have been uncertain when they would again have the privilege to work with special ingredients so would naturally try to make the most of them. As a result of this restrictive access to many ingredients we today take for granted many methods used in home kitchens for years began to find their ways in to bars. Such methods of preservation such as syrups and preserves have been staple ingredients behind the bar ever since, while others such as shrubs and sherbets were relatively short lived.

The aim of the challenge is to go back to the days of the preserve, pick an ingredient, seasonal or not and treat it as if you won’t be seeing it again for quite some time. Syrups, sorbets, jam, shrubs and the like are all fair game, anything that will preserve the integral character of your favourite ingredient.

For this theme I’ve decided to go with a shrub, I had a varying of success a year or two ago, after reading Michael Dietsch blog post on shrubs. With midnight rapidly encroaching (and there’s already a wealth on the topic all over the internet) I’m not going to go into any detail on the history of the shrub. The flavours I’ve chosen to match with a rather nice bottle of Don Julio Anejo I had In the flat. I’ve served this in a vinegar bottle, due to the addition of white wine vinegar in the shrub, but to also offer the guest a touch of theatre to the drink. I’ve named this drink after a region of Belgium, Lambeek, a region most likely the origin of lambic beers. For anyone who has never had this type of beer, I suggest you hunt one down (try an offering from the Cantillon Brewery), sit back and enjoy. The name will then make sense!


50ml Don Julio Anejo
20ml Orange, Chilli, and Coriander shrub
15ml fresh lime juice
5ml Fernet Branca
40ml Ginger beer

Shake first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into a vinegar bottle, top with ginger beer. Serve with a rocks glass with ice, garnished with some fresh coriander

Orange, chilli and coriander shrub

1 chilli, chopped
Handful of coriander, chopped
Peel of half an orange

Muddle ingredients with 150ml volume of sugar and let infuse for 2 hours. Add the juice of the orange and any necessary water to give 150ml of liquid (in other words a syrup 1:1), gently heat to dissolve the sugar and cool. Add 50ml of cider vinegar, stir, strain, and bottle. Job done. I use slightly less vinegar than most recipes on the internet due to the fact that I’m really not a huge fan of the stuff, but used in small quantities it really does give mixed drinks a lovely sour and refreshing touch.

Cocktail Confections part 1

Cocktail Confections Part 1

A while ago at work, Chris my fellow bartender came up with an idea. Fisherman’s Friend syrup. Fisherman Friend syrup!? We both knew that it had to happen. Chris’ idea was to mix the syrup in an old fashioned with a nice salty Single Malt Scotch, Genius.

For anyone who’s never tried a Fisherman’s Friend before, it’s a throat lozenge with a fantastically strong cooling menthol deliciousness. The Original Extra Strong lozenges contain sugar, liquorice extract, menthol, Eucalyptus Oil, tragacanth, and capsicum tincture.
To me that Sounds cool. But back to that later.

I’ve also being playing around with making sugar cubes recently. I watched this video here and saw how stupidly easy they where to make. The first batch I made I used Peychaud’s bitters instead of water and got some actually quite pretty pink, anis tasting cubes. Almost like Sazerac sugar cubes.

That’ll be fun, Cocktail Sugar Cubes. You could even add dehydrated liqueurs. How about Campari dust Sugar Cubes!? Or mix Cointreau dust and sugar, add Absinthe instead of water when making the cubes…Improved Cocktail cubes, just add spirit! Once formed you could pass them on to friends, sell them, take them to Glastonbury, take them on flights to add to your complimentary spirits…the possibilities.

So what about a Fishermans Friend sugar cube? They turned out great. To make the cubes I added a 25g pack of ground up Fishermans Friend to 200g of sugar, added a small amount of water, mixed and then dehydrated the mix. To dry them out I used the chefs heat lamps at work to excellent effect, but I’ve also had the same success by leaving the sugar to dry at room temp for a day or two.

Once dried I mixed the cube with some good jenever (I’m planning on using this concept for my Bols Around the World entry, which ask entrants to conceive the next big trend, a tough competition for sure.), stirred and strained. It had lovely soothing cooling effect. It was sweet, but it was also wonderful. To solve this I added some tartaric acid, first however a little history on sugar cubes and confectionary.

So the throat lozenge can be dated back to 1000 BC, but far more interestingly back in the nineteenth century throat lozenges contained Heroine and Mophine, until as late as 1879. During this period lozenges started to appear, with Pharmacist James Lofthouse founding Fishermans friend lozenges in 1845. Interesting the sugar cube wasn’t patented until 1843, with Henry Tate, the guy behind the Tate museum, getting involved with a new patent for a different way of formulating cubes in 1872.

What I find fascinating about this era of sugar formulation and creation of modern confectionary is the fact that this is Jerry Thomas era, the Golden Age of bar-tending. How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion was published in 1862, the undisputed mother of all cocktail books. Cocktails and confectionary where growing up together.

I needed to tie this altogether some how, so I’ve come up with a concept (this is also going to help me in the second round of Bols around the world competition, if I get through the first round that is. The second round will be a menu design based on your new trend, a cool competition in its own right). So the year is 1868 and physician/local druggist Raymond Smith has just opened his new pharmacy/apothecary/drug dispensary R.M. Smiths & sons. Within This pharmacy Raymond serves up the best cure all tinctures, essential oils and lozenges, but what Raymond is most famous for is his new Cocktail Confections served with a pony of spirit. Using new formulation techniques, Cocktail Confections can be administered for all sorts of ailments, simply add your choice of spirit. Raymond was taking on the bitters market, this was the new way to make a cocktail.

So here’s the first drink to fit in this Cocktail Confection concept…

R.M. Smith & Sons
Moltzer Cocktail Confections
For cough, cold and all irritations of the throat

1 Moltzer cocktail cube
60ml Genever

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist

Moltzer Cocktail Cube

25g ground Fisherman Friend lozenges
200g sugar
1/8 teaspoon tartaric acid

Add a small amount of water until the sugar starts to clump together, shape as desired and dry. Much the same way as the sugar cube in the video linked earlier. If you haven’t tried tartaric acid, it can be best described as sour and tasteless. Imagine sucking a lemon when you have cold. Or may recognise this sensation better as the sour sherbet you ate as a kid (sherbet being a mix of super fine sugar, tartaric acid, and bicarbonate of soda). This acid gives the cubes their balance, stopping the drink becoming too sweet as there is no bitterness helping here.

So that’s it, part one of my Cocktail Confections. I’ve just brought some sarsaparilla boiled sweets, but I’ll save that for more experiments later on.

Mixology Monday - The Three Magi

I’ll jump straight to the description of this months Mixology Monday, which is hosted by Christa and Shaun of the great BoozeNerds blog…

We thought hard about a theme that would work well for this time of year, and after contemplating the food, booze, and decor we like for the holidays, we settled on “Resin.” From savory rosemary in a stuffing, to a delicious juniper-y gin in a martini, to a fragrant fir ornament or garnish, our friends the evergreens have a lot to offer… The challenge: come up with an ingenious creation using the resin-y ingredient of your choice. Zirbenz, retsina, hoppy IPA, pine-nut puree, even? Sure! Spirit, garnish, aroma, all are fair game. Whatever resin means to you, we want to hear it.

After a quick google on resin, I headed out to see what I could pick up, knowing I have no retsina, zirbenz or fir liqueurs behind the bar. What I came back with was some frankincense (also called olibanum) and myrrh, both of which are aromatic resins. Resins are obtained when a wound penetrates the bark on specific trees and into the sapwood, after which the tree bleeds a resin. The resins are both waxy, and coagulate quickly to become hard and glossy. At this point I had no idea what to do with it. After eating a piece of each, I scrapped the idea of the myrrh (it was so bitter and not very pleasant), and started making syrups and tinctures with the frankincense, and ended with a lovely, very aromatic, citrusy syrup.

Frankincense syrup

1 Barspoon of frankincense (use good frankincense here, it should be translucent, with no black or brown impurities)
150ml water
150ml by volume sugar

Heat the frankincense in the water until boiling, simmer for 1 minute and remove from the heat, strain out any frankincense that hasn’t dissolved, add the sugar and heat until dissolved.

There wasn’t much information about people doing this on the internet so it was a bit of trail and error. This give a VERY fragrant syrup, so use sparingly!

I’ve also recently been very much enjoying my beer, if you follow me on Instagram you may have already noticed! I love the idea of crossing over beer into cocktails, but lately I’ve been wondering about using hops to make a drink more bitter and aromatic. I’ve seen a few hop infused gins online, but for this drink I’ve made an aromatic wine with hops In replace of the woodworm used for vermouth. (I may expand on this in the near future, a range of single variety hopped wine anyone!? Or maybe dry hopped vermouth? Just a thought). For more on making aromatic wine check out Frederic’s posts over at cocktail virgin slut (He has a nice little bibliography at the bottom of the post as well, essential he’s done all the hard work for us!)

Hopped wine

Handful of hops
Peel of 1/2 an orange
Peel of 1/2 a lemon
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
6 juniper berries (cracked)
5 cardamom pods (cracked)
1/2 star anise
1/4 teaspoon chamomile flowers
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds

Simmer all the ingredients with 200ml of white wine, I used a Chardonnay here, for ten minutes in a lidded pan. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 hour, strain. Add 400ml of the original wine, 2oz of 2:1 sugar syrup, 100ml vodka, bottle and keep refrigerated.

So finally here’s my entry of this months mixology Monday

The Three Magi

50 ml Gin (I used Hendricks)
20ml hopped wine (substitute Noilly Prat)
10ml lemon juice
10ml orange juice
5ml Frankincense syrup
5ml sugar syrup
Dash of lavender bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled glass, garnish with an orange twist

Thanks to Christa and Shaun, and to Fred for hosting, and I look forward to everyone else’s entries.

Mixology Monday; Clermont Cocktail and Cathays Cocktail

So finally after missing 3 months of Mixology Monday (and any other blogging for that matter), I’ve actually got round to submitting a cocktail for Elana’s theme, of the fabulous Stir and Strain, titled ‘smoke’. Before I post what Elana has to say on the topic, I’d like to have a quick say on how wonderful her blog is, and not just that, her Instagram is a thing of beauty. Follow her on @elanabean on twitter, and elanabean on Instagram. Here’s a snippet of what Elana has to say on her announcement post

They say where there’s smoke, there’s fire– it isn’t necessarily true if we’re down to the smoldering embers, but, well, they say it anyway. In our case, where there was fire, now there’s smoke, and it’s time to stoke your enthusiasm for the next challenge. Smoke has been everywhere this past year… For me, smoke is also a transitional element: it symbolizes the last summer bonfires, sitting around the fire pit making s’mores, and the start of the fragrant crackles from the fireplace announcing that fall is coming. For September’s theme, I’d like to see how you interpret smoke. With your liquor or ingredients? Your glassware? Will you whip out a chemistry set to transform your cocktail into ghostly vapors? Do you own a home smoker, still in the box, that’s never been used? Well then, you’re welcome. Unpack those ideas and let’s set off a couple smoke alarms this month for MxMo.

The first cocktail I made I wanted to use smoke as an aroma rather than a component in the drink, adding another layer to the drink. After playing around with atomisers, or simply by wiping an aroma around the rim with a soaked bar napkin, i found the initial sip or two to be perfect, however the aroma would soon fade. Unless I handed the customer a small bottle of perfume to add when desired, I couldn’t get an aroma to last. To overcome this I’ve made a syrup with the desired aroma (in this case a smokey islay) to steep the garnish in, this way the smokey essence lasts the whole drinking experience, if you can resist eating it that is.

Clermont Cocktail

2oz Bourbon
3/4oz Campari
1/2oz Underberg
Barspoon rich sugar syrup
2 blackberries

Muddle the blackberries with the sugar syrup, add the rest of the ingredients, shake with ice and double strain into a chilled rocks glass over ice. Garnish with 2 blackberries soaked in a Lagavulin syrup. Serve with a hand rolled Kentucky cigarette (after all Kentucky isn’t just famous for bourbon, and this mounts topic is ‘smoke’)

For the Lagavulin soaked blackberries, cover the blackberries in 150ml of rich sugar syrup and 50ml Lagavulin 16 yo, or any other massively peated Islay (you know the ones!), leave overnight.

Never tried Underberg? Go buy some now.

Another cocktail to incorporate smoke I’ve been making recently is a cocktail I’ve called the Cathays Cocktail (the area of Cardiff in which I live and work). It’s really just Jim Meehans and John Deragon’s, of PDT, Newark Cocktail substituting Penderyn Peated Welsh Whiskey for the Apple Brandy, and dry vermouth for the sweet. For all the other cocktail geeks out there you’ll also notice that the Newark is a twist on a Brooklyn. Penderyn whiskey is a wonderful product and one that I would suggest it to any whiskey drinker, but the peated expression interestingly isn’t peated, however it is aged in ex-islay whiskey barrels. Oh and it’s great.

Cathays Cocktail

2oz Penderyn Peated Welsh whiskey
1oz Cocchi Americano
1/4oz Fernet Branca
1/4oz Maraschino

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Thanks again to Fred for keeping the ball rolling, and to Elana for hosting and her great choice of topic.

Mixology Monday 74 - Carlig Cocktail

Thanks to Andrea form the Gin Hound blog for hosting this months Mixology Monday with the topic Cherries

Singapore Gin Sling, Blood and Sand, and the Aviation wouldn’t be the same without them… But cherries in cocktails are also horribly abused, few things taste worse than artificial cherry aroma, and the description of how most maraschino cherries are made can make you sick to your stomach. So it’s my pleasure as the host of Mixology Monday… to challenge you to honor the humble cherry. However you choose to do that, is entirely up to you. You could use Maraschino Liqueur, Cherry Heering, Kirchwasser, Belgian Kriek Beer, cherry wine, or any spectacular infusions invented by you in a cocktail. Or make your own maraschino cherries for a spectacular garnish.

For this drink I twisted and aviation, and made use of as much cherry based ingredients I had behind the bar. The name comes from an old boss of mine who was obsessed with cherry juice, and would frequently ask me for a cherry based cocktail. This ones for him.

Carlig Cocktail

1 3/4oz Martin Millers Westbourne strength Gin
1/2oz lemon juice
1/4oz Luxardo Maraschino
1/2oz Cherry Heering
2 dashes of fee brothers Cherry Bitters

Shake and strain and garnish with a Kirsch soaked cherry. Click here to see Michael Dietsch recipe for branded cherries.

Again thanks to Andrea for Hosting, and Fred for keeping things going as ever.

Mixology Monday Round up - Witches’ Garden

Time for this months Mixology Monday round up for Witches Garden. Thanks to everyone who got involved, great to see the regulars but also to still see new participants each month! So without further ado…

First in was new comer Yagowe of Disco Ginferno with an awesome twist on the classic Black Jack from Jack Straub’s 1914 book Drinks called Jack Dandy, in which Yagowe uses a homemade Dandelion root coffee.

Next up was Nick at The Straight Up, giving us two Drinks utilising tarragon. The first, Summer Abroad, also uses Lavender bitters and lavender honey, and is based on one of my favourite drinks an Improved Holland Gin Cocktail. Wonderful. The next was The Green Orchard which pairs his tarragon with grapes

Dustin Doran brought us the Tobago Shipwreck from his blog A Pyrat Life For Me. Dustin made a fantastic sounding ‘tea syrup’ which included lime basil, and pineapple sage amongst a wealth of others ingredients, which he married with fresh basil leaves

From his fantastic looking back garden in Italy Raffaele bellomi made a Rosemary Glory for his blog The Shorter Straw. Raff whips up a Peach and Rosemary Shrub based on Micheal Dietsch recipe. What I love here is the use of Underberg bitters. This man is a genius.

Alex of the Malty Puppy uses mint to recreate Hugo Ensslin’s southside, in which he offers a wonderfully balanced version, a cross between the version in the Savoy cocktail book and the which appears in the PDT cocktail book. Alex finishes off with a fizz version the drink.

Next in line was the Mixology Monday boss, Frederic Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut. Fred brought a sage sazerac, the sagerac, to the party. A Rye based drink created by Jacques Bezuidenhout. I for one would also love to see Fred make us a cocktail using catnip…

The two over at Booze Nerds shared their Clark Kent with us, a drink using gin and hot pepper vodka with a herb I never would of thought of, Garlic Chives! The garlic chives also had the added bonus of making a sexy looking garnish

Home bartender Ian Lauer of Atlanta, Georgia, and owner of the awesome blog Tempered Spirits, made us 2 drinks, Destination Rome and All Glory is Fleeting. Both drinks making use of a Bay Laurel-Honey Syrup, and the later a Cinnamon Tincture. Ian also has himself some REAL peach brandy, which in its own respect is cool.

One of my favourite blogs belongs to Elana of Los Angeles called Stir and Strain. Elana whips up a rosemary and sake based drink called Fruit and Dagger Cocktail. Best looking cocktail photos on the web? Most probably.

Over in Denmark Andrea of the blog Gin Hound mixed us the drink Balmy Rhubarb, mixing Balsam Herb with mezcal and a homemade rhubarb syrup. This was bad timing as Andrea’s herb garden had been devastated by a harsh winter, but still the Balmy Rhubarb rose to the occasion!

Madeleine Popelka from the Neighborhood Kitchen (again one of my favourites, and she also has an excellent Instagram) makes us a classic style cocktail called The Witch’s Remedy using a fantastic looking Stinging Nettle Syrup, married with Bourbon and Absinthe.

Another productive blogger Todd Yard of Concoctails, brings us 2 cocktails for this months theme. Todd makes use of a Rosemary infused Gin for his drink The Walkabout, and a Lemongrass infused gin for his Thai Phoon. Both drinks look wonderful with balance being brought from acetic acid in 2 different Vinegars.

Last months host Rowen Leigh of the Fogged in Lounge, stirs us up a sage and rosemary infused mix of Cognac and Port called Reynardine, this looks like the most delicious after dinner tipple I’ve seen for a long time!

Joel Dippa is next up with a orange peel and clove infused Lillet, mixed to perfect ratio with earl grey tea and tequila called Witches’ Brew. Joel can be found over at Southern Ash where he blogs about food, drinks, and cigars

Of to Dubai where Dominik of the Opinionated Alchemist makes us the drink Rum n’ J! using Ron Matusalem Platino and a frankly delicious sounding home-crafted jasmine soda!

The Putneys of Putney Farm made a beautiful looking drink titled The Strawberry Witch, which mixed thyme with strawberries, gin and sparkling wine, with one more appropriately named ingredient Strega.

Scott Diaz from Shake, Strain & Sip makes us a smashingly good cocktail the Green Tea & Basil Smash, a gin smash using basil instead of mint, ginger liqueur, green tea syrup, and lavender bitters. I must say Scott, this sounds incredible.

The lovely K.Muse of Feu de Vie blog (who’s twitter feed keeps me very well entertained) makes us a Acrasia’s Bower, a wonderful grappa based drink with strawberries and mint, and lengthens with a really interesting carbonated chai green tea!

I have to thank Mixology Monday for introducing me to Raul’s blog Death to Sour Mix when he first posted his drink for the Crass to Craft theme. Since then I’ve been following this one intently! Not only is he funny he’s a dab hand with a camera and photoshop. Oh yer and the drinks are great. This month we get the Elysium, a gin based cocktail which uses a Guava/sage/lavender syrup.

Zach from The Venture Mixologist brings us a wonderful gin based buck, which is balanced with a home made Thyme Rosemary syrup, and cleverly naming the drink About Bucking Thyme!

The Sexi Mexi is a awesome sounding drink made for us by Forrest Cokely of A Drink With Forrest...the drink mixes mint with Amargo Vallet and Mina Real Reposado.

Here my post the Loch Indaal Smash, a scotch whiskey smash I made using mint and lemon balm

The last but not least post was that from the blog Foothills Fancies, and it’s an EPIC adventure into making a herbal liqueur - they sourced 62 herbs and spices to male their very own Chartreuse. How cool is that and what a fantastic way to wrap up this months Mixology Monday

Thanks to everyone who got involved and a special thanks to Fred for keeping things flowing! Sorry if i’ve missed any one, drop me a message and i’ll amend asap. See you all next month!

Mixology Monday - Loch Indaal Smash

This month it was my turn to host Mixology Monday, something a year ago I’d never though I’d be able to do. The topic I chose for this months cocktail party was ‘Witches Garden’, in which in my announcement post I asked professional and home bartenders alike to create a mixed drink that utilised fresh herbs. For my drink I chose to make a Smash
As Jerry Thomas said in his 1862 Bartender’s Guide ‘The ‘Smash’ is in effect a julep on a small plan. However as Erik Ellestad points out in his excellent blog Savoy Stomp a ‘Fancy Smash’ can be made by straining the mixed drink into a glass with no ice, I.e. served straight up (taken from Harry Johnson’s outstanding and seminal 1888 New and Improved Illustrated Bartender’s Manual). Also I noted while reading through William Terrington’s Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks from 1869 that he liked to include Lemon Verbena to his Smashes. Not a bad idea.
The thing is though, I don’t really like juleps. I don’t find the mint bitter enough to balance the sweetness, and here in Wales the crushed ice seems pointless, it’s just never that warm here! Legendary Bartender Dale DeGroff seemed to agree with the balance of the smash and popularised a Smash in which he muddled a few slices of lemon. Although not technically a Smash any more (as Ellestad points out, it’s beginning to look more like a fix), in my opinion it yields a more palatable drink.
So by mashing all my favourite aspects of the different Smashes I created my drink for this months Mixology Monday

Loch Indaal Smash

-60ml Bowmore single malt whiskey
-10ml Honey syrup
-2 lemon slices
-Handful of mint and lemon balm (I substituted balm for the verbena)

Muddle the lemon slices, avoiding as much as the pith and peel as possible, with the honey, mint and lemon balm. Shake with cracked ice and strain into a chilled rocks glass, garnish with a sprig of Lemon balm.
I’m not usually one for muddling fruit, or not measuring out my citrus, but it just felt right here, being called a Smash after all. That leads me nicely onto the name, named after the often rough loch which batters the Bowmore distillery in Islay, Scotland.

Professor Woland

Heres my entry for the Crystal Head Rolling Stones inspired cocktail compeition. didnt win this one but got into the final and met Dan Akroyd, which was pretty cool…

- 37.5 ml Crystal Head Vodka
- 20ml Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth
- 20ml Noilly Pratt
- 20ml fresh blood orange juice
-12.5ml Jegermeister
-10ml sugar syrup
-Teaspoon Regan’s Orange Bitters
Shake and strain into a chilled goblet. Finish with expressing orange zest oils over the top of the drink, garnished with dehydrated orange and a bag of cocaine(sherbet - sugar, tartaric acid, bicarbonate of soda)

The inspiration behind the drink was the song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ which is sung by Jagger as a first person narrative from the view point of Lucifer. The name ‘professor Woland’ is Lucifers guise in the book ‘The Master and Margarita’, a Russian novel which Jagger said his influence for the song came from. The cocktail is a twist between a forgotten cocktail Satan’s Whiskers and a blood and sand, with a bit more bitterness in the form of jäger (it seemed more rock and roll than say Chartreuse!). Each part represented the lyrics within the song, the vodka represented the time ‘I stuck around st. petersburg’, the pefect vermouth combination ‘Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints, as heads is tails’. The Jäger represented ‘when the blitzkrieg raged’ with the sherbet (cocaine lookalike) to symbolise the ‘traps left down for the troubadours’

Mixology Monday Announcement LXXIII - Witches’ Garden

It’s my pleasure to be hosting the 73rd Mixology Monday here at Cardiff Cocktails, with the herbaceous theme 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. Here’s how to participate.

1. Create or find a drink which utilises the use of fresh herbs (or barks, roots, beans etc). There’s plenty to play with here, be it mint, basil, rosemary or thyme, or something further a field such as balm, verbena, angelica, or eucalyptus, so get mixing!!
2. Make your drink and post it on your Blog, or on egullet’s spirit and cocktail’s forum if you don’t have one, with a picture, the recipe list, and any thoughts on the drink or theme.
3. Add the MxMo logo to your post with a link to the Mixology Monday website, and one to Cardiff Cocktails
4. Lastly comment on this post by clicking here, with a link to your entry, or you can email me at holmeandpub(at) or tweet me on twitter @markholmes16. Do all this by midnight on the 20th may.

So open up your newly bought Drunken Botanist book, get creative and have fun! Cheers, Mark.



This months Mixology Monday we go over to San Francsico and to Rowen, from the blog Fogged In Lounge. The theme for the month is titled ‘Drink Your Vegetables’. Here’s what Rowen had to say

What to get more vegetables but you’re always easting on the run? Maybe you hate vegetables but feel you should get more of them? Well then, how about a vegetable cocktail? No, not that nice little glass of red stuff Grandma put at each place setting-we’re talking something with a kick in it.

For this task I decided to use a romano peppers juice. After seeing Danil Nevsky use a fantastic bell pepper juice in last years Flor De Cana competition, this was a juice I’ve been wanting to recreate it for a while (he also mentioned in a conversation over twitter that he recently had a Harvest Negroni in Amsterdam, which was made using gin infused with frozen peas. I hope someone uses peas this month, and is something which I’ll definitely be playing with soon!). My first initial instinct was it should be tequila based, but after going through a recent patch of loving a nice smokey tequila/mezcal Blood and Sand, I decided a good peaty scotch could work well here.


  • 1 1/2 oz peaty scotch whisky (I used Talisker here)
  • 1 oz romano pepper juice (fresh raw peppers de-seeded and ran through a juice extractor)
  • 3/4 chilli infused Carpano Artica Formula vermouth (2 de-seeded birds eye chillies left in a bottle of vermouth for 2 hours)
  • 3/4 fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 sugar syrup

Shake and stain into a chilled coupe, no garnish.

The smoke from the peat worked really well with the sweetness of the peppers here, and the chilli vermouth worked wonders for giving it an unusual but welcome spice. Thanks to Rowen for hosting this month and look forwards to seeing other peoples vegetable cocktails

Cardamom and Rosewater Collins


This drink I made to utilise a cardamom tincture I made last week (a tincture being an alcoholic extraction of plant material, in this case cardamom which I cracked and left in high proof vodka for 1 week). Tinctures are great to have handy, and REAL easy to make, and the best thing is you can make them with just about anything. Cardamom has been one of my favourites so far. To compliment the cardamom I’ve used rosewater in a stock syrup, and by using this flavour combination in the structure of a classic John Collins, made a real refreshing drink ideal for the spring (if it ever comes over here!).

Cardamom and Rosewater Collins

  • 50 ml Gin
  • 25 ml Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 12.5 ml Rosewater Syrup (25ml rosewater per cup of sugar syrup)
  • dash of Cardamom Tincture
  • dash Peychaud’s Bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass and top with soda, garnish with a lemon twist and a few cardamom pods.

30-3 & Brown Derby


This Cocktail was the first cocktail I’ve made using a foam, the idea being that the foam on top compliments the drink underneath - I wanted to create something that would actually aid the experience of the drink, and not just be there for novelty reason. For me foams are definitely one of the more useful (and more approachable to work with) trends to arise from the boom of Molecular Mixology of recent years.

The flavour profile of the drink was based on the Brown Derby from Hollywood Cocktails by Buzza & Cardozo, 1930. For a full history on the drink check out Michael Rooney’s article at his great blog The Liquid Culture Project. The simplicity of the Brown Derby is beautiful, much like that of the Daiquiri, a simple 3 ingredients which just work and work so well.

Brown Derby

  • 50 ml Bourbon
  • 25 ml Grapefruit Juice
  • 15 ml Honey Syrup (1:1 honey & hot water)

 Shake and strain into a chilled coupe. 

building on this flavour profile to create the 30-3 I decided to use the honey in the foam to compliment the grapefruit and whisky below, sweetening it with simple syrup. The foam is then balanced with lemon juice.

The name was to commemorate Wales’ huge Victory over an unbeaten England to win this years 6 Nations (I’ve sold out here as I’m English, but if there’s one thing the Welsh love more than winning the Rugby it’s beating the English, and it sells!)


  • 50 ml Penderyn sherrywood single malt Welsh whisky
  • 25 ml grapefruit juice
  • 15 ml simple syrup

shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, top with a honey and lemon foam.

Honey and lemon foam

  • 200 ml egg white
  • 100 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 50 ml simple syrup
  • 50 ml honey syrup

Add all the ingredients into a cream whipper and charge with 2 NO2 cartridges. Refrigerate for an hour before use.

The Journeymen


I thought this months Mixology Monday was a great theme and one in which I totally believe in. Hosted by Scott Diaz at Shake, Strain & Sip the theme he chose was titled ‘From Crass to Craft’, and focuses on the use of ingredients so many of us (bartenders) now consider, as the title suggests, crass. Here’s a snippet from Scott’s announcement post…

The evolution of the cocktail has been a wondrous, and sometimes, frightful journey.  From its humble beginning, to the ”Dark Ages” of most of the later 20th century, to the now herald “Platinum

Age” of the cocktail,  master mixologists and enthusiasts alike have elevated its grandeur using the best skills, freshest ingredients and craft spirits & liqueurs available.  But with all this focus on "craft" ingredients and classic tools & form, it seems we have become somewhat pretentious.  The focus on bitter Italian amari, revived and lost ingredients such as Batavia Arrack or Creme de Violette, the snickering at a guest ordering a Cosmopolitan or a Midori Sour; has propelled us into the dark realm of snobbery. Many scratch bars and Speakeasies have gone as far as to remove all vodka and most flavored liqueurs from their shelves.  Some even go as far as to post "rules" that may alienate most potential imbibers.  Remember, the bar was created with pleasing one particular group in mind: the guest.

The first few things that came to mind when thinking about ‘crass’, was mainly different cocktails I regularly get asked for that wouldn’t be considered as ‘the right thing to drink’, rather than specific ingredients, and one cocktail I get asked a lot for is an Amaretto Sour. Amaretto I thought was a pretty reasonable place to start. I started by mixing a few drinks with some apricot infused bourbon I made last week, with some pretty pleasing results. But in the end I really wanted to make a cocktail that would please a guest who likes an Amaretto Sour, after all it’s for the guest.

With this in mind, I decided to use vodka to give the amaretto the kick it lacks, but with out changing too much of the almond like taste. Just to point out here, I don’t really consider vodka crass, marshmallow vodka yes, but straight unflavoured vodka rightfully deserves its place behind the bar. the main focus here is on amaretto.

Another ingredient I’ve used, but again like the vodka wouldn’t consider crass, is a preserve, more specifically apricot preserve. Using preserves in cocktails is nothing new, Harry Craddock’s Marmalade Cocktail (1930) and Salvatore Calabrese’s Breakfast Martini (2000) both come to mind.

So here it is, my drink for this months Mixology Monday using amaretto as a crass ingredient to craft a more palatable cocktail.

The Journeymen

  • 15 ml Disarrano Amaretto
  • 50 ml Vodka
  • 20 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Bar spoon apricot preserve
  • 5-6 Cloves
  • 2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • white of 1 egg

Muddle the cloves with the apricot preserve and vodka. add the rest of the ingredients and dry shake to start emulsifying the egg white. Shake with ice and double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist

Check out the round up post here and a big thanks to Scott for hosting


Lemongrass Bitters


After a brief spell of not writing anything up due to working on a new menu (and missing last months Mixology Monday), I’m finally getting around to posting the recipe for some Lemongrass bitters I made back in January.  These are my first set of bitters and I have to say they came out pretty good. The basic method I used to make them (thanks to Brad Thomas Parson) was to make the bitters in one small batch, rather than making tens of tinctures and blending them (I have plenty of bottles of booze already and to be honest, having an excess amount of mason jars just wouldn’t fit in my flat). For more detail on making bitters check out, If you don’t own it already, Brad  Thomas Parsons excellent Book called Bitters.

Lemongrass Bitters

  • 5 Lemongrass stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried citrus peels *
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon prickly ash
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • small piece of chenpi
  • 1/2 teaspoon cassia chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon quassia Chips
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon licorice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Zedoray
  • 1 craked tsao-ko
  • 1 Vanilla pod halved and seeds scraped out (use both pod and seeds)
  • 500ml High proof spirit (I used Spiritus - a 95% polish spirit)
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar syrup (2:1)

This looks like a lot of ingredients but if you can find Mujur spice from your local Chinese supermarket you’ll save yourself a whole bunch of money and time (Mujur consists of fennel, prickly ash, cloves, chenpi, cassia, bay leaves, anise, licorice, and tsao-ko). The only other unusual items to pick up is your Spiritus, which can be found in most local Polish food shops, and quassia chips, which is an internet job.

*Dried Citrus Peels - Zest and finely chop the peels 3 grapefruit, 8 lemons, 8 limes, and 6 oranges. Preheat the oven and bake for 30 mins at 90 degrees Celsius. Store in an air tight container. This makes about half a pints worth of peel so you wont need to do this again for a long time.

To make the bitters add all the ingredients except the water and sugar in a large mason jar, seal and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2 weeks, shaking daily.

after the 2 weeks strain all the solid through cheesecloth until all the sediment has been separated out, squeezing the solid to expel any excess liquid. seal the liquid in a clean jar and add the solids to a saucepan. To the saucepan add the water and bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes

After the 10 minutes remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. Empty the saucepan into a clean mason jar (i.e. not the one with the infusion from earlier), seal and store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for a further week, shaking once a day.

After the week is up, filter the jar with the solids in as before, and add to the jar with the original solution. This time discard the solids. Add the sugar and shake. Leave this final solution at room temperature  out of direct sunlight for 3 days, but do not shake.

After the 3 days are up and the sediment has settled, filter one last time through cheesecloth. now your bitters are ready for bottling.

Japanese Cocktail

This cocktail comes from Jerry Thomas’ 1862 cocktail guide ‘How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivants Companion’.

  • 50ml Brandy
  • 10ml Orgeat
  • 3 dashes of Lemongrass bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a couple pieces of lemon peel, discarding one.