The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

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Mango recipes

Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Dark chocolate delice, salted-caramel ganache and chocolate sorbet

"The delice from Source Dining is a winner. May I have the recipe?" Rebecca Ward, Fitzroy, Vic REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.

Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

Koh Loy Sriracha Sauce, David Thompson's favourite hot sauce

When the master of Thai food pinpoints anything as his favourite, we sit up and listen.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Cocktails by the batch

Bottled Negroni at Bar Americano

Bottled Negroni at Bar Americano

Did the cocktail game just get easier? We look at why more and more cocktails are being served straight from the bottle and not the shaker.

It might seem an odd move for a guy so wedded to the ideal of cocktail integrity that he started his own hand-carved ice company, but Michael Madrusan of Melbourne booze temple The Everleigh and neo-dive bar Heartbreaker is a convert to the cause of bottled cocktails. 

Never fear, mixology fans: he's not reaching for the Malibu and Coke can. Ordering a cocktail has become as simple as the bartender cracking a bottle and pouring the contents over ice. Easy. We've reported on it before, but in the last couple of years batching, as it's called, has been catching on worldwide, from London's White Lyan and Craft Cocktail Co to New York's Booker and Dax at Momofuku Ssäm Bar. Sydney's Dead Ringer bar and The Apo in Brisbane are also no stranger to the pre-batch. And in Melbourne the bar movement's spiritual leaders are taking up the cause. 

In Madrusan's case it was move initially driven by necessity. Batching cocktails made a whole lot of practical sense when providing the booze for a pop-up last year. It made sense to continue with Heartbreaker - "although when we first opened we had plenty of people giving us shit about it" - which, despite being patently not a cocktail bar, now shifts a thousand bottles a week. 

So did the bar game just get a whole lot easier? 

Well, from the customer's point of view, yes. No more waiting 15 minutes while an intricate display of measuring and muddling takes place behind the bar. 

From the bartender's perspective? Well, if they're done properly, not so much.  

At Fitzroy's Bar Liberty, cocktail prep begins four hours before the doors swing open. Co-owner Banjo Harris Plane says batching frees them up to make more complex recipes. Case in point: Pepe's Plums 2.0, a Negroni-esque combination of spiced house-made cherry vermouth, plums, gin, orange bitters and salt.

"Quite a bit of work goes in ahead of time," says Harris Plane. "It's about precision and being able to deliver a better quality product." 

Madrusan prefers sticking to the classics. Heartbreaker has four: a Manhattan, a Martini, a Negroni and an Old Fashioned. He has a few rules. Each bottle, for example, must represent a single serve. "And don't put anything in the bottle you wouldn't put over the bar. The quality and dilution have to be perfect." 

Matt Bax started serving a bottled Americano when his tiny Bar Americano opened in 2011 - a move due more to the complicated recipe, which involves a secondary infusion of several bitters and vermouths - and added a Negroni about two years ago. "Bar Americano, being so small, is not plagued with any issues of consistency or needing to rush. I think in bigger bars, bottling can help with consistency, but you have to put your best bartenders on during the prep to guarantee any advantages. Bottling takes skill, patience and concentration. It should be simple but it's often not." 

Bottling has an added value: it opens up a secondary take-home market. 

"Through bottling our guests can still enjoy the drink back home," says Bax. "We serve from the bottle at Bar Americano not for consistency or speed, but to demonstrate the authenticity of our bottled cocktails. It's the very same hooch you can take home."

The Everleigh, 1, 150-156 Gertrude St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9416 2229, theeverleigh.com

Heartbreaker, 234A Russell St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9041 0856, heartbreakerbar.com.au

Bar Liberty, 234 Johnston St, Fitzroy, Vic, barliberty.com

 

Looking to batch your own cocktails before a big party? Here's our guide.

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