THEY can be dirty, wet, dry, shaken or stirred and of course these days they come in many different flavours. The martini has dominated the world cocktail scene since the 1920s - around the time the Queensland Country Women's Association was formed. And what do they have in common, you ask? The QCWA's Ruth magazine recently challenged mixologists at Bitters Lab in Melbourne to create the perfect CWA-tini in time for National Martini Day on June 19.
Ruth magazine editor Ally Martell put the challenge to the Bitters Lab team. "At first I thought this cocktail would have to be all about tea, scones, jam and cream," she said. "But how on earth does that translate into a cocktail? So then I thought it needs to be uniquely Australian featuring and supporting emerging Australian-made cocktail ingredients."
Australian gins, vermouths and bitters are creating a sensation in the cocktail world. The unique bush flavours of Maindenii vermouth will have Bond rethinking the Vesper.
Then there's the fantastic range of flavoured bitters and the new/old kid on the block: "the shrub".
"I had to Google 'shrubs' because I had no idea what they were," Ally said. "Apparently they've been around since the 17th and 18th centuries and were known back then as 'drinking vinegar'. They're like a fruit cordial with a tart vinegar finish and very popular in contemporary cocktails.
"You can make your own or check out Aussie varieties at Currong Comesitbles. They make a superb Riberry and a gorgeous Rainforest Lime Shrub - fabulous for giving your mocktails a flavour hit. But when it comes to cocktail flavours you can't go past a good bitters."
The CWA morning tini will certainly put some vim and vigour into your next morning meeting. The slight jaminess is designed to complement a fresh batch of scones.
The CWA morning tini
INGREDIENTS: 45ml Australian gin (West Winds, Melbourne Gin Company, Loch Gin and Four Pillars are some favourites) 15ml Currong Comestibles Riberry Shrub (if you don't have any nearby, you can make your own or use a favourite berry cordial or syrup) 1 pipette Mister Bitters Pink Grapefruit and Agave Pink grapefruit twist for garnish.
METHOD: Combine all ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pink grapefruit twist, making sure to pinch the twist over the cocktail to release the delicious citrus oils.
For a Long Tall Morning Tini - pour the above into a tall glass filled with ice and top with soda water or sparkling grapefruit.
The CWA mocktail
INGREDIENTS: 30ml Currong Comestibles Rainforest Lime Shrub (you could use a good quality lime cordial) Mister Bitters Honeyed Apricot and Smoked Hickory (there's nothing quite like it for the hint of smokiness but any fruit bitters will do) Soda water 5-6 fresh raspberries 1 sprig fresh mint.
METHOD: Combine shrub, bitters and raspberries in a tall glass. Fill the glass with ice and top gradually with soda water, stirring to ensure the shrub is mixed in well. Clap mint in your hands to release its flavour and fragrance, and pop it in the top.
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