The idea of four-dollar cocktails proved too tempting for me to resist; so last Saturday I found myself spending the hours between 4pm and 6pm ensconced in the modern warehouse setting of Neild Avenue. I took along the Bar Fly, and between us we managed to cover their whole range of Ore Del Sole cheapies, twice over. Being a warm day, I got hooked on the Campari Granita (with an Aperol & Cider chaser). Word is: both Neild Avenue and sister restaurant North Bondi Italian Food will be keeping the weekend aperitivo special, though methinks the prices may have to rise!
Another of my preferred tipples, Wild Brumby, has three short-run seasonal schnapps flavours on offer right now. As it’s raspberry season in the Snowy Mountains, they’ve been busily handpicking their own organic berries and distilled them into a wonderful Raspberry Schnapps. It’s a rare opportunity to drink a schnapps made totally on the one property, from fruit to glass. They’ve also worked their alcoholic magic on fresh Queensland mangoes and local sour cherries.
After a tantalising reminder of just how good Indian food can be at the book launch at Aki’s Woolloomooloo, I was eager to get my hands on Kumar Mahadevan’s From India [RRP $59.95]. The first curry I cooked was the aromatic chicken curry from Kumar’s hometown of Tirunelveli – and I was hooked! Without the book, I’d never have thought to add spices like cumin seeds, fried curry leaves, garam masala and crushed coriander seeds at the end of cooking, but it makes for one fragrant curry! Of course recipes are even better when situated by personal anecdotes, and this book also gives you an insight into the love story of Kumar and Suba. I’ve just finished reproducing a second recipe from the book, and it too was a winner!
Monkey Shoulder [RRP $48.99] is the blended malt whisky for those who don’t even think they like them! Scoring a bottle, I did my first sip neat but quickly discovered just how versatile this product is! I’ve mixed it into cocktails (taken from their handy website), had it with ginger beer and ginger ale, used it as a balm for colds in a hot lemon and honey, and even given it a run flambéing figs! With a name that stems from the temporary strain distillery workers used to get turning the malting barley by hand, this small batch blend of three single malts (including Glenfiddich and Balvenie) is sure to trip off my tongue next time I’m shopping for a cold-weather spirit.