Category: Gin

History Happy Hour 1558 – The Gloriana

We’re  stepping into the waaaaaay back machine for today’s history happy hour, all the way back to 1558 when, on 17 November, Queen Elizabeth I ascended the English throne.


“I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too”
Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth’s parent’s were Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  However, maternal bonds were not really allowed to develop as her father had her mother’s head lopped off when Elizabeth was just under 3 years old.

By the standards of the day, Elizabeth was a beauty with the lovely Tudor red-gold hair.  I wondered if  this might not be the be the reason for the apricot brandy in the Gloriana. 

Gloriana2Elizabeth ruled for 45 years and her reign saw the voyages of Drake and Raleigh and the defeat of the Spanish Armada.  The position of the Church of England was stabilised and the arts flourished.  Elizabeth even attended the première performance of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. 

Elizabeth was the last Tudor Monarch.  She died without an heir to the throne and the crown  passed to James I. 

Gloriana1The Gloriana is traditionally ungarnished.  Given our subject was the Virgin Queen herself, I thought my garnish was appropriate.  (In a totally inappropriate way!)

If you feel like raising a toast to Good Queen Bess, Gloriana herself, I can think of no better way than with this delicious cocktail.


History Happy Hour 1558 – The Gloriana

History Happy Hour  1558 – The Gloriana


  • 30ml Apricot Brandy
  • 15ml Gin
  • 15 ml Lemon Juice
  • Maraschino Cherry to garnish (optional)
  • Ice


  • Place the ice in a cocktail shaker and shake with the Apricot Brandy, Gin and Lemon Juice.
  • Strain and pour into a cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with the cherry if using.
  • Enjoy!


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Nothing But Blue Skies…Happy 2015

Now it’s not often I get all immersive and Heston on you but I really think your experience of this post and the Blue Skies Cocktail would be best achieved if, before you kept on reading, you clicked on the link below and cranked up the volume….

Ok…are we there yet?

You know, it wouldn’t be Retro Foods for Modern Times if we didn’t have a luridly coloured cocktail to end the year so, here ’tis…The Blue Skies…and I defy anyone not to start humming along with The Chairman of The Board….

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see….

Blue Skies 1
Blue Skies 1

 It sure is blue.  And…dontcha think the ice cubes look a little bit like clouds?

If you said no to that.  Have one.   And look at the picture again.  Still no?  Have another.  REALLY crank the Frank up. And have another look.  Repeat. 

It will happen.

I can’t remember if I ever introduced you all to the third canine in our house.  F. Scott Fitzgerald, or Scotty as we like to call him, may be quiet, but much like his namesake, he knows how to sniff out a good cocktail.

Blue Skies 2
Blue Skies 2

 And when he sees one he likes? Oh boy, does he light up!

Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

BlueSkies 3
BlueSkies 3

 From all of us at La Maison de la Retro Foods to you and all of yours, all the very best for a fantastic 2015…

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on…

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Blue Skies
It's a delicious blue cocktail..with maybe ice that looks like clouds
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  1. 15 ml Blue Curacao
  2. 30 ml gin
  3. juice of 1/2 a lemon
  4. chilled tonic water
  5. ice cubes
  6. 1/2 lemon circle for garnish
  1. Fill a martini glass with ice.
  2. Pour over the Blue Curacao, gin and lemon juice.
  3. Top with tonic water.
  4. Garnish with a half moon lemon.
Adapted from Donna Hay
Adapted from Donna Hay
Retro Food For Modern Times

The Flower Power Cocktail

No, I’m not getting out my love beads and turning all peace, love and mung beans on you but I have been inspired by all things floral this week and I made you an amazing cocktail which is a veritable flowerbomb of flavour! (And not even the slightest hint of Parfait Amour).

Flower Power CocktailSpring has sprung in Melbourne which means it’s constantly windy,  all the better to spread pollen all over the place, so I’m sneezing constantly.  We’re also having bizarre weather changes….Seriously WTF Melbourne?  From 27 to 13 in one day?  We’re living in crazy times!


 On a happier note, the sun has been shining more frequently, we’ve had a couple of gorgeous warm days, I did twilight yoga in the park the other night and the garden is growing like crazy.  Back at Easter we planted the front garden – I was going for a Mediteranean look so we have an olive tree, rosemary, thyme and lots of lovely lavender.  We have a couple of dark pink ones:

Pink Lavender
Pink Lavender

 As well as the more traditional purple ones:

Purple Lavender
Purple Lavender

Then my mum brought over these gorgeous roses from her garden:


 So in between the sneezes, it really has been all about the flowers. And they have inspired a fabulous cocktail, called the Flower Power.  It’s really a trashed up Lavender Lemonade, and you know what?  I can get pretty damn trashy!!!!  I was almost tempted to call this one the snowball, because once it got started it took on a life of it’s own. 

So here is the entire evolution of the Flower Power Cocktail.

The Spark – Flower Power Coctail v1

 The lavender in the garden got me thinking about a recipe I read ages ago on Thug Kitchen (which is an awesome blog) for Lavender Lemonade.  Which you can find here:

Lavender Lemonade

And it’s a great recipe.

You could just make this and live happily ever after.  It’s nice, it’s refreshing and they are very, very funny people. But you know, with all due respect to Thug Kitchen…it’s not nearly trashy enough for this girl!

Lavender Lemonade Ingredients
Lavender Lemonade Ingredients


Enter the Flower Power Cocktail v2.

Flower Power Cocktail v2 – A Kiss From A Rose

I had some gorgeous dried rosebuds bought to make my Persian recipes for book club (coming soon) and thought that they would be a nice addition. 

They were.

The mixture will start to turn colour after about 15-20 minutes.  For the best flavour, let the petals steep for at least an hour, I left mine overnight. An added bonus is that during the steeping your kitchen will smell like a garden

The Lavender and Rose Lemonade was really good.  And a gorgeous pink!  Very girly and perfect for sipping on a sunny afternoon. 

Kissed By A Rose - Lavender and Rose Lemonade
Kissed By A Rose – Lavender and Rose Lemonade


But you know what?  Sometimes this  girl needs a little bit o’ booze mixed in with her flowers and citrus…so enter version 3…

Flower Power Cocktail v3 – The Crackling Rosie

So if you take your Lavender and Rose Lemonade and add a little hit of a florally gin like Hendricks you have a very pleasant cocktail.  Still very girly and whilst you could sip it all afternoon it does have a little ginny kick to it. 

Flower Power v3 - The Crackling Rosie
Flower Power v3 – The Crackling Rosie

But you want more.  I know you do.

So, without further ado…..

The Flower Power Cocktail

So far, we have been topping our lemonade or our cocktails up with a little sparkling water.

For the true Flower Power Cocktail, use the lemonade mix straight. 

Add your half nip, or hell, a whole nip of Hendricks.  Top with St Germain Elderflower Liqueur.

Oh baby, oh yeah! 

A couple of these and you’ll feel like you’re in San Francisco with flowers in your hair!

The Flower Power Cocktail
The Flower Power Cocktail

 Gilding The Lily – The Flower Power Cocktail Bling

 If you really want to trash up your Flower Power Cocktail you can add some flower petal ice cubes and make some lavender sugar to rim your cocktail glass. If you make the ice cubes use big trays to make them.  My ice cubes were kind of small and it was a hot day so I ended up with a couple of mouthfuls of petals.  Which is not great tastewise and even worse if you’re trying to look all classy and have to keep spitting out lavender buds!

Flower Power Bling
Flower Power Bling

Have a great week.  And live wild, flower child!


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The Flower Power Cocktail

The Flower Power Cocktail


  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups of just boiled water
  • 1 tbsp lavender buds
  • 1 tbsp rose petals
  • 1/2 cup sugar - or more more to taste
  • Soda or sparkling water
  • 4x 20mls Hendricks (or other florally gin) (only for the Crackling Rosie or the The Flower Power)
  • 4x 10 mls St Germain Elderflower Liqueur (only for The Flower Power)
  • Floral Icecubes
  • 1 tbsp flower petals or small edible flowers
  • Boiled Water
  • Lavender Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Lavender buds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Orange Blossom Water / Rose Water / Lemon Juice


  • Place the lavender buds, rose petals, lemon and sugar in a heat proof jug.
  • Bang them about a bit with the end of a wooden spoon to release the oils.
  • Pour in the just boiled water
  • Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Leave 1 hour to overnight to steep in fridge.
  • When ready to serve, add the juice of 2 lemons to the jug.
  • Taste for sweetness, you may want to add more sugar or lemon to adjust to your taste.
  • Strain.
  • Fill your glasses about a third of the way with the lavender and rose lemonade.
  • For the Lemonade
  • Top with soda water.
  • For the Crackling Rosie
  • Add a shot of gin into the glass before the soda water.
  • Stir.
  • For the Flower Power
  • Rim the glass with lavender sugar
  • Add floral icecubes
  • Pour in the gin
  • Pour in the lemonade
  • Top with St Germain
  • Floral Icecubes
  • The petals or flowers will float so for best results you need to use a layering process.
  • Place the petals or flower into ice cube trays.
  • Fill with water to half way.
  • Freeze.
  • Once frozen top with more water to fill so the petals or flowers are totally covered.
  • Lavender Sugar
  • Place the lavender buds in a mortar and pestle.
  • Add the sugar and grind together until the flowers break up and the sugar becomes very fine. Taste. If not strong enough keep going or add more flowers.
  • There will be a lot of the sugar left over. Use in baking or make more cocktails!
  • To rim the glass, soak a cotton ball in orange flower water, rose water, lemon juice or even the lemonade.
  • Run the cotton ball along the rim of the glass to moisten.
  • Roll the rim of the glass in the sugar mixture.

Retro Easter Part 1 – Cocktail: When Doves Cry

I got a mention on a Christian website the other day. And no, they weren’t damning me to hell for my potty mouth and occasional smutty innuendo.  Far from it.  They actually described this as:

 “the cutest Australian retro site”

And just in case you think I’m fibbing, you can link here.

And shame on you!!!  As if I’m going to lie about the Christians!!!   Let’s just say I’m taking Pascal’s wager on that one. If nothing else.



I believe for only the second time ever that Philosophy major I undertook at university has come in handy.  I knew all that time and money would be worth it someday.

And consider yourselves lucky I’m not doing a Paleo blog – otherwise the references  to Plato and his cave would be coming thick and fast.

BOOM! – That would be three.

Happy Easter
Happy Easter

But given it is Easter, how about a quote from the modern-day philosopher Bill Hicks:

“A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he ever wants to see a fucking cross? It’s like going up to Jackie Onassis wearing a rifle pendant.”

And farewell to the readers I picked up from the Christian website, it was nice knowing you.

So let’s talk about how I celebrated Easter….

First there were cocktails.  Then sandwiches. Then home made Easter Eggs.

Not one of them normal….because what would be the fun in that?

We’ll get to the others in due course but today is all about the cocktail.

Remember back in February when I did the post with the Parfait Amour?  At the time, I said:

If I was to make this again,  I would add some zing, maybe with some lime juice and also maybe a kick of a flavoursome gin like Hendricks – I think the floral notes in the Hendricks would combine well with the floral notes in the Parfait Amour.”

Well guess what I found?

Simply Divine Ingredients

A cocktail recipe called the Simply Divine which uses Parfair Armour, Gin and Citrus.  And it is AWESOME!!!!  So, so tasty…sweet and tangy and floral and delicious….except for one thing….

JuiceSimply DivineThe citrus mix was a very pretty peachy colour.

The Parfait Amour and gin was purple.

So the result should have been a pretty pinky purple as per the original recipe.

That didn’t happen.

If you were looking for some sexed up paintchart name for the colour this went, you’d probably call it Dove Wing Grey.  Technically, I think the weird browny purple grey colour it turned is called puce.  Unofficially, it prompted the so-called-beloved to ask if I was drinking bong-water.  After I explained that I had no idea of what he spoke of,  we decided that  this is not so much Dove Wing Grey but that this is what it looks like when doves cry.

When Doves Cry

As long as you don’t mind drinking something that looks like the water you washed your socks in, this is a super drink – the citrus and gin really do cut through the sweetness of the Parfait Armour to create a drink that has a really nice balance and is very refreshing.

Simply Divine3

And because I changed the ingredients slightly from the recipe and nothing that colour can be truly called Simply Divine, ladies and gentlemen meet the:



  • 30ml gin – I used Hendricks
  • 30ml Parfait Amour
  • 1 red or pink grapefruit, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tangerine, juiced


  • Fill a glass with ice
  • Add the gin and Parfait Amour
  • Top with the mixed citrus juice
  • Stir.
  • Wince at the colour.
  • Enjoy!

You can mix up the citrus too – lime would be great, as would orange!!!!

I’m going to try to redeem myself in the next post which will feature some of the cutest sandwiches you ever did see.

Oh and I’m now on instagram. You can follow  my feed by clicking on the icon at the top o’ the page.

Hope you had a fabulous Easter!!!!

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