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Cover: Shaken and stirred

27Apr 12

Watermelon Man

About ten years ago, I decided to learn German. And the best way to do that, according to my brilliant scheme, was spending time in cities where it is spoken. I had heard a lot about Berlin and decided to start there. Of course, as soon as I arrived, I realized the futility of my plan. Seeing as I was only going to be spending a week there before going back home, I gave up on the project as soon as I landed and decided to check out the night life instead. This is how I first tried a cocktail called Watermelon Man and met a living legend. The Watermelon Man was first concocted at a weekly party held in different bars in Berlin in the mid 90s called: Cookie’s parties. These parties were organized by one of Berlin’s top characters: Cookie himself. I went to one of his parties […]

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24Apr 12

Hot Toddy

A few years ago, I decided to join some friends who were working as ski instructors in Austria for a couple of weeks. I was actually on my way back from somewhere hot and wasn’t ready for the cold that hit me when I arrived in Lech. In order to warm myself up, I ran into a bar downtown and ordered a Hot Toddy. Luckily, the bartender was from Bolton and understood my request. He gave me a big smile and said, “There is nothing in the world that compares to a good Hot Toddy on a lousy day, is there lad?” The Hot Toddy is usually known as a winter beverage made from a distilled spirit (whiskey or brandy preferably), sugar and water. It is believed to be very good for people who have the flu or are feeling under the weather. When I was growing up, sometimes my […]

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19Apr 12

Sex on the Beach

The Sex on the Beach Cocktail (SOTB) is one of the first cocktails I learned how to make. It’s also one of the most popular. Sex on the Beach is a delicious fruity drink that almost anyone would like. It’s a great tropical highball that is wonderful on hot summer nights or afternoons at the beach. Beginning bartenders should place Sex on the Beach as first on their list of “must-know-how-to-make.” (Another beach favourite is this Tropical Sundown.) The SOTB is a relatively young and popular cocktail. It was invented approximately at the end of 80’s or beginning of the 90’s in order to promote peach schnapps in Florida. With the influx of tourism for spring break, Republic National Distributor devised a contest that would pay the bar that sold the most peach schnapps a bonus of $1,000. The bartender with the highest sales of schnapps at the winning bar […]

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16Apr 12

Xanté hot apple

Last year, I spent a couple of weeks hiking in the mountains of Patagonia, in the south of Argentina. The plan was to reach a mountain hut called “Refugio Laguna Negra”, a 5 hour hike from the nearest town. Once there, I wanted to do some ice skating on the frozen lake. I managed to lose the main trail, and by the time I finally reached the hut, it was almost dark and at subzero temperatures. I was met by a Swiss chap by the name of Carl, who was in charge of Laguna Negra. He immediately gave me a blanket and then did something extremely odd: he poured apple juice in a pan and put it on the stove. When I inquired, he simply replied: “Xanté hot apple for the cold”. This is how I was introduced to a relatively new and very fashionable drink. Xanté hot apple is […]

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14Apr 12

Violette Royal

To be honest, I have never been a champagne drinker. When at a wedding, whisky or gin suit me a lot better. (However, combining the two into this French 75 cocktail is pretty tasty.) There is, though, a form of drinking champagne which I have embraced. It is quite rare, and I first tried it when a friend got married in the United States. It was, I admit, a very fancy reception. So there we were chitchatting -as one does at these events- when I was offered a bubbly purple drink. I tried it and absolutely loved it. The name of the cocktail is Violette Royale. The Violette Royale has got only two ingredients: champagne and Crème de Violette, also known as violet liqueur. It dates back to the early 19th century when it was served with dry vermouth or alone as a cordial. Its name is a generic term […]

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10Apr 12


Most people know that the wonderful climate in Spain is an essential element in the creation of some stunning Spanish wines, as well as other beverages. When I was about 19 years old, I travelled to Spain with a couple of friends, and at that age, we just wanted to enjoy the Spanish “fiesta” during its best season: summer. We travelled through various cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga, Valencia and Granada, and all of them had one absolutely refreshing drink in common: Sangria. Although mostly associated with summer, it can be found throughout the year, especially in the warmer Southern parts of Spain. (For another dark  fruit drink, try this dragon-blood punch.) Sangría comes from the Spanish word ‘sangre`, which means blood. The drink’s colour is dark red, thus the name. The strength and taste can vary depending on the spirit and quantity used. Sangria is a kind of red […]

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06Apr 12

Singapore Sling

When I think of extravagant places I have visited, Singapore always pops up in my mind. Although it is as complex and beautiful as the rest of Southeast Asia, there is something about this place that makes it unreal. The same happens whenever I taste the most famous cocktail this tiny country has ever produced: the Singapore Sling. The drink is said to have originated at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel (named after Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Modern Singapore as a trading post of the East India Company in 1819) by a bartender called Ngiam Tong Boon sometime in the early 1920’s. When in this country, you will be offered the Singapore Sling, also referred to as “the lion’s drink”. This is due to the fact that Singapore means “lion city” in Malayan. The key (and often overlooked) ingredient in a Singapore Sling is Benedictine, a French herbal liqueur which boasts […]

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03Apr 12


Last month, a good friend invited me over to France for a couple of days. She has always had a great sense of humour and an undying passion for nights out. This trip, instead of sipping wine, she introduced me to a drink called the Sidecar. The Sidecar was invented at the Ritz Hotel Bar in Paris during World War I, and was named after a certain captain who liked a tot or two before dinner. One evening at the Ritz, he was feeling under the weather and ordered an aperitif before dinner. Since brandy was used to combat a cold in those days, the captain thought a little brandy would help. However, he didn’t want it straight, so he suggested that the bartender add lemon juice and Cointreau to lighten it up a little. After a few of them, he realised he was in no shape to drive his […]

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31Mar 12


A romantic drink to share with someone special

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28Mar 12

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary. What a strange drink with an eery name! This tipple supposedly is the cure to all hangovers, but prescribing a cocktail to battle against the effects of the rest seems contradictory, to say the least. Whether a Bloody Mary is good for hangovers is matter of much discussion. Most scientists claim that more alcohol (on top of a lot of it) cannot be good for you. However, many of my friends vow that tomato juice contains fructose, a type of sugar that helps your body metabolize alcohol more quickly, and that this is probably why the morning-after Bloody Mary seems to help with hangovers. In my case, eating lots of carbohydrates also helps beat a bad hangover. So, if carbs and tomatoes are the cure, then both together in this clams linguine will get you feeling better in no time! As to how it got its title, one […]

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