The Pepper Pot is a fiery little number: a short, opaque and fruity sipper with warm, spicy notes and a sharp citrus tang, which hits the bitter/sweet ratio dead on.
- premium vodka 45 ml (1 1/2 oz)
- Black Pepper Syrup (see below) 45 ml (1 1/2 oz)
- grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed 90 ml (3 oz)
- grapefruit peel or wedge to garnish
- Equipment: shaker, strainer
- Glass Type: tumbler
Shake the vodka, syrup and grapefruit juice vigorously with ice until frosty and strain into a tumbler over ice. Garnish with a grapefruit peel or wedge.
Tip: Twist the peel over the drink to release the citrus oils.
The sweet stuff. Taking the edge off sour citrus flavours and softening the taste of bitter spirits, a dash of sugar syrup can transform a drink, turning the toughest liquor into soda pop. Flavoured syrup adds a level of complexity a fresh ingredient just can’t achieve. And it’s very nearly foolproof to make – start with the Simple Syrup recipe below, graduate to the flavoured recipes, and then begin to create your own. You could always buy them ready-made, but they’re so simple, so you really don’t need to.
It’s not essential to use unrefined sugar, but it’s tastier, chemical-free and – used in all your cocktail recipes and syrup-making – lends a wobbly irregularity to proceedings that could only be handmade.
Photo from Adobe Stock/uckyo
Makes enough dashes for approximately 15 drinks
- 200 ml (7 oz) water
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz) demerara, cane or granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp golden syrup or corn syrup (optional)
- Equipment: Non-stick saucepan, wooden spoon, 200 ml (7 oz) Kilner (Mason) jar or glass bottle with stopper and a funnel
Boil the water in a non-stick saucepan and gently add the sugar. Reduce the heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 3–5 minutes, until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Turn off the heat and leave to cool. While still runny, pour into a sterilized Kilner (Mason) jar or funnel into a sterilised glass bottle with stopper. Adding a spoonful of golden or corn syrup to the cooled mixture now will help keep the syrup smooth. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.
Other Infused Syrups
Using Simple Syrup as the base, make your own infusions, tweaking amounts to taste according to the potency of your flavourings. A sprig or two for rosemary syrup should do it, whereas mint or basil syrups – with the leaves being more fragile – require a good handful. It’s not an exact science. Oh, and be sparing with citrus peel as it tends to become bitter.
- Basil and Lime
- Black Pepper
- Ground Coffee
- Vanilla Pod (Bean)
Also from Vodka:
Recipes excerpted with permission from Vodka: Shake, Muddle, Stir by Dan Jones, published by Hardie Grant Books, October 2019, RRP $16.00 hardcover.