Thursday, 15 November 2018

Book review: Drink Me, Curious Cocktails from Wonderland

Head down the rabbit hole with a new cocktail book from Nick Perry and Paul Rosser.

Alice’s big adventure started when she sipped from a curious bottle labelled ‘Drink Me’. This is exactly what Nick Perry and Paul Rosser’s book is inviting you to do too.

There are 20 cocktails to get your tongue and mind around in ‘Drink Me, Curious Cocktails from Wonderland’ – from the sweet to the savoury, and all surreal combinations in between.

The book is split into three sections:

Part One covers an introduction to all the spirits and liqueurs, the techniques you’ll need, garnishing help, equipment and tools, and glassware.

Part Two is your cocktails, including the likes of the sweet and bitter Queen of Hearts, complex and herbaceous Mushroom, and palate cleansing and light-on-booze Caucus Chaser. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try the Dirty Oyster Martini though…

Part Three is all the extra recipes you might need, including syrups, infused spirits, puree and juices, fat-washed spirits, and how to dehydrate fruit.

‘Drink Me’ is full of gorgeous illustrations and designs, which you can enjoy nearly as much as the drinks themselves. And you even get tips on how to throw your own amazing Alice-inspired cocktail party, and how to garnish and decorate your drinks.

It’s not a book for a complete cocktail beginner though, as you do need quite a few curiosities in your cabinet already. However, everything is well explained, and recipes for the interesting syrups or infused spirits no-one is likely to have lying around are easy to follow.

‘Drink Me’ is a lovely coffee table book for any Alice in Wonderland fan who happens to also like a drink. Perfect for any upcoming Unbirthdays, or Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties.

Get yourself a copy of 'Drink Me, Curious Cocktails from Wonderland' from Amazon, £10,62.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Innocent imbibing: non-alcoholic alternative to a gin and tonic

We love a gin and tonic, we know you know love a gin and tonic… but sometimes, occasionally, even we don’t want to drink alcohol. I know, hard to believe right?

Quite a few people have heard of Seedlip now, which was the first big non-alcoholic ‘spirit’, but a few more are starting to pop up here and there.

One of those is Borrago. Its #47 Paloma Blend is made in the UK, and is a blend of six steam-distilled botanicals. The ingredients are a close kept secret, but I picked up on some pepper, citrus, clove, mint, and spice. It has no sugar, or fat, or calories – and is vegan and gluten free too – so is a bit different to the usual adult soft drink.

Before mixing, the nose is certainly potent. It reminded me of my nana’s old medicinal toothpaste… which is not quite what I expected, and not entirely pleasant. But honestly, once you’ve mixed it, it totally changes. With a good tonic, and a fresh garnish – Borrago suggests orange and basil – it is really delicious, and super refreshing. It's dry, heady, and almost a bit savoury as well. There's a lot going on, but in a good way.

Lime and mint also works nicely as a garnish. Basically, keep it light, and stay away from anything too bitter, like grapefruit.

It’s great to be able to offer drivers, non-drinkers, Dry January-ers, Stoptober-ers, something a bit different from water or squash when they pop over.

Borrago recipes

The Borrago signature serve
25ml Borrago #47 Paloma Blend
150ml Fever Tree tonic
Orange slices
Crushed basil

Pour the Borrago over ice and top up with tonic.

Clap the basil between your hands to release the aromas.

Add orange slices and a borage flower if you have one.

Borrago Green Fizz
25ml Borrago #47 Paloma Blend
25ml Lemon juice
25ml Basil syrup
2 fresh basil sprigs

Shake well over ice. Double strain into a glass loaded with crushed ice and garnish with a large sprig of basil and a borage flower if you have one.

You can buy a bottle of Borrago for £19.99 (500ml), from the Borrago website, or Master of Malt.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Friday Cocktail: Toffee Apple Martini

Although they were a favourite of mine, I don't think I've had a toffee apple since I was about ten. After that, everyone kept going on about how they'd rot and break my teeth, and how they were for kids, and I fell out of the habit of eating them. Autumn became just a bit less fun.

I've decided to change all that this year, and have rekindled my love of the toffee apple by adding an adult, martini-shaped twist. This really is a simple cocktail, but it's definitely one of the absolute tastiest I've come up with. It will also be perfect for Bonfire Night, which, by the way guys, is only a few days away.

Toffee Apple Martini recipe (serves one)


  • 1.5 shot vodka
  • 1 shot toffee liqueur (I used Dooley's)
  • 1 shot apple cider
  • 1 shot apple juice
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • Toffee sauce and an apple slice, to garnish

Shake it!

1. Rim the glass by dipping it in a plate of toffee sauce. It's a slightly messy task, and will induce much finger-licking (bonus.)
2. Combine the vodka, toffee liqueur, cider, apple juice, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker and stir vigorously. You can do this over ice (and then strain) if you like, but I prefer this particular recipe without (I normally just use vodka from the freezer, and make sure the cider and apple juice is refrigerated for a while before use.)
3. Pour carefully into the glass, and garnish with a slice of apple.