cabernet Archives - Koonara Wines
9 Gin and Vodka Cocktails to swirl in your Smartini

9 Gin and Vodka Cocktails to swirl in your Smartini

James Bond made sipping from cocktail glasses look effortlessly cool, when let’s be honest the reality is part of your drink usually ends up running down your arm or on splashes on the floor.  It was after a lot of “research” (i.e. sipping martini’s) I knew cocktail lovers deserved better so I did what I do best when dissatisfied with the status quo, and designed a glass myself.

Having previously designed our Savour Wine glasses and taking inspiration from them I have designed what I like to call a Smartini glass (cue clapping and applause).

 

What’s this Smartini you speak of?

Our Smartini cocktail glasses feature a non-spill curve at the top of the glass to stop your drink from splashing out and running down your arm, but still maintains a fine rim that doesn’t drip when you take a sip, literally poetry in motion.

Like all of our other glassware wear our Smartini glasses are potassium salt strengthened, making them 5 x stronger than normal glass. Suitable for both domestic and commercial dishwashers, they can be used in both home and more commercial settings. These glasses are a stylish alternative to your standard martini glass and will be sure to impress even the fanciest of cocktail drinkers

Introducing the Smartini glass

To celebrate the release of our Smartini glasses we have compiled a list of some of the very best Gin and Vodka based martinis and cocktails for you to shake and stir.

Just like James Bond, Shaken not Stirred…

Straight up let’s talk about the vesper martini made famous by James Bond. This martini is a mix of both gin and vodka and dry vermouth and is definitely not one for the faint-hearted. Best garnished with either a twist of lemon or olives this one is simple and stylish. Get your shaker ready with the recipe here

Channel your inner James Bond with this martini

One for the Sex and the City Fans

It’s possible the Vesper Martini is to James Bond what the Cosmopolitan is to Sex and the City. Although this drink had been around for quite sometime before those 4 sassy single ladies made it iconic. 20 years on (yes that’s really how long it’s been since Carrie Bradshaw aired on our screens) the Cosmopolitan with its refreshing citrusy and cranberry flavours mixed with Vodka is still a firm favourite today. The perfect drink to kick off a girls night. Find all the details to make them here

The Cosmopolitan is back

Wake up and smell the coffee

Whilst it was supposedly invented in the early 80’s the Vodka espresso now known as an Espresso martini has seen a recent surge in popularity. Most likely attributed to just how much people like good coffee and how well coffee mixes with vodka. When prepared correctly this martini not only looks fantastic in the glass but is strikingly smooth, and will put a pep in your step. Find the recipe here

Coffee and Vodka what could go wrong?

Chocoholics unite

But if the idea of coffee so late in the day (or morning, who am I to judge) is not for you perhaps you should try a chocolate martini. Still vodka-based but with Baileys Irish cream, chocolate liqueur and syrup its one for the sweet tooth among us. You can check it out here.

Summertime fun

While the Bikini Martini is relatively unknown to most, the striking layered effect is totally made for Instagram. The coconut rum, vodka and pineapple juice combo is the perfect reminder of warm sunshine on your skin and those long hot summer nights. Check it out here.

Smartini’s for the Wineo’s

Given Wine is our main jam, we couldn’t help but add a few cheeky wine-based cocktails to the mix for you to try out as well. We have even created some print at home recipe cards to go with these.

Rosey Gimlet 📷 with thanks to Cherie Birks

New York Sour

Much like the bikini martini, this one is totally insta worthy with the red wine floating effortlessly on the whisky sour. The New York Sour is a treat for the tastebuds with the whisky sour a perfect balance of sweet, and tart. When you add the red wine, it adds complexity and fruity acidity. You can use any one of our delicious red wines in this recipe, but we recommend the Wanderlust Cabernet.

Lucy Spritzer

Given our Flowers for Lucy Moscato is such a crowd favourite it we had to add a cocktail or two featuring it. Our Lucy Spritzer will please even the non-Moscato drinkers amongst us, as the Aperol tones down the sweetness of the Moscato. This one is a super refreshing drink on a hot day.

Rosey Gimlet and Lucy Gimlet

Now you may be wondering what the hell a gimlet is. Quite simply it’s a cocktail made of gin and lime juice. When you add some of our Emily May Rosé it simply becomes a Rosey Gimlet, if you want something a bit sweeter, we have adapted this one with our Flowers for Lucy Moscato and proudly introduce the Lucy Gimlet.

Lucy Gimlet 📷 with thanks to Liana Skewes

Be sure to check out the PDF document just below for our very own print at home recipe cards for our Koonara Wines based Cocktails. We can’t wait to see these glasses out in the wild, filled with the most delightful drinks. Be sure to tag us on socials @koonara in all of your #smartinis and cocktails makes.

Wine Cocktails

How to truly experience & enjoy a Coonawarra Cabernet Wine

How to truly experience & enjoy a Coonawarra Cabernet Wine

They say wine is one of the best things in life and I’d have to agree. Not only is it delicious on its own but it pairs well with so many foods really allowing both the wine and foods flavours to truly shine.

With most wines, we end up developing favourites that become everyday quaffers. What I hope to share today is a guide to taking a moment to stop and take in so much more about your wine to really allow you to appreciate it.

Since our wine of the month is Ambriel’s Gift and we have been plunged into the cold depths of winter (well a vast proportion of the country has) It’s the perfect time to stop and savour all that is rich and warming about this elegant Coonawarra Cabernet. 

 

Tasting Wine the Koonara way

All too often we pop things in our mouth because we know we like the taste of it. How often do we really stop to appreciate what it is we are tasting? Simply by taking a mere moment to use our five senses, we can appreciate it even more. Tip for beginners–what I’m about to share with you is essentially what the pros sommeliers do but they take notes and take a bit more time as well.

 

a snapshot of Koonara Wines spotify playlist
Follow Koonara Wines as we have so many
playlists to choose from on Spotify

When it comes to using our five senses with regards to enjoying wine, we focus primarily on Sight, Smell and Taste. The key to truly a memorable experience when indulging and enjoying wine is to try to involve the other senses too. So ensuring perhaps you have some background music playing to add to the moment. I have a few playlists that I made specifically for drinking red wine that will add a great atmosphere to any occasion. You can find them here Or simply follow Koonara on Spotify. I have so many playlists for every occasion.

 

Is it time for the wine yet?

When it comes to the next part, the actual wine tasting there are four basic steps that one should follow to ensure mindfulness and appreciation.

 

Look / Appearance

This is essentially doing exactly that – look at your wine, what do you observe? Take 5 seconds to take in the colour, clarity, viscosity. You will probably have ideas about what to expect just from Looking at the label too.

Dru Reschke drinking Ambriel's Gift Cabernet Sauvignon at Koonara Wines
Just another day at the office tasting wines

Smell

Swirl the wine around and hover your nose over the glass and take a whiff. Describing the smells is completely subjective, given there are potentially thousands of aroma components in the glass just take a moment to pick a few that stand out for you. Think broadly about fruits, and then narrow it down to the type of fruit, eg blackberries, raspberries, blueberries.

Taste

This is the part where you pop it in your mouth finally–Hooray! It’s at this point you should really stop and engage with your senses to ensure you appreciate all the flavours.

You might straight away taste flavours you identified in the previous step, these might be blindingly obvious to you, or they may not and that’s ok.

Koonara Wines 2016 Ambriel's Gift Cabernet Sauvignon
Our 2016 Ambriel’s Gift Cabernet Sauvignon

Our tongue is a great helper in detecting things like salty, sweet, sour and bitter. Sweet (from residual sugar) and sour (acidity) are common components of wine due to the nature of grapes being acidic. Saltiness is rarely encountered but can come with age in some wines. Bitterness usually is a feeling that stems from the tannins rather than actual bitter flavours in the wine.

While we are tasting, we think about the mouthfeel or texture. This comes about because of a combination of effects from the alcohol, the tannins and sugar in the wine. Ethanol (alcohol) gives the wine texture because we perceive it to be richer than waters. Tannins are what give wines a bitter taste, and can give you a sandpaper tongue feeling when drinking red wines. Thick-skinned wines like Cabernet have much higher tannin levels than thin skinned varieties.

The final part of the taste element is the finish. Think about how long the wine stayed with you. Now I don’t mean, we drank it over dinner so roughly an hour. This specifically refers to how long the flavours linger in your mouth after the wine has been swallowed.

 

Conclusion/Summary

This is where you bring everything you have just seen, smelt and tasted together to form your opinion. The first thing you should be doing is thinking about if you like the wine. What specifically did you like or dislike to make you come to that conclusion? Was there something that stood out for you?

 

 

Now What?

Now you have stopped and smelt the roses (or wine in this instance) what can you further do to enhance your tasting pleasure? Cook a delicious meal that what. You have opened the bottle of wine. Now let’s see how the taste is heightened when it’s paired with food that enhances those flavours.

 

Koonara Wines Ambriels Gift paired with Red wine and chocolate braised lamb shanks
It’s a perfect match Ambriel’s Gift and braised lamb shanks

We paired up with Gavin from another food blogger fame who has created a recipe that truly is a match made in heaven when it comes to food pairings. You definitely need to try this Red wine and chocolate braised lamb shanks. Chocolate, lamb and red wine does sound a little weird but trust me when I say it is deeellliiccciiioouuusss. We are so glad Gav wanted to work with us here at Koonara. 

This recipe again evokes a whole lot of our senses with so many flavours coming together during the preparation, and while you are cooking expect your kitchen to come alive with the tastiest smells. Once you plate this up, you are going to savour that glass of Ambriel’s Gift Cabernet and just enjoy how well this dish pairs.