Friday, 28 May 2010

Recipe: Sour Victorian Mojito

My girlfriend first drank a caipirinha in Brazil, during carnaval. I remember the first time I had one, August 2006, Ibiza. I had drunk so many mojitos at the Sun Sea Bar that they had run out of mint. And recommended the caipirinha as a very suitable alternative. (When you're drinking so many mojitos that a sunset bar runs out of mint, you know you're in for a good night.)

One of the many mojitos enjoyed during that afternoon was named on the menu the Victorian mojito. Rum, apple schnapps, pieces of apple along with the usual mojito ingredients of mint, lime and brown sugar. However since then a Google search will quickly reveal that a Victorian mojito doesn't involve rum at all. Its a mojito made with gin, and favoured by Hemingway. (Is there a drink in existence that doesn't claim to have been favoured by Hemingway?) Well ladies and gentlemen, I present to you. The Sour Victorian Mojito.

Why sour? That is unfortunately a side effect of the town I live in. You just can't find apple schnapps, so a bottle of sour apple Mickey Finns it is,  but that has actually worked out pretty well.

The apple normally adds an extra sweetness to the mojito, for those who already find a mojito too sweet this would almost certainly be a bad thing. However the sourness of the Mickey Finns add an extra bit of bite to the rum and the limes. It really brings out a wider range of flavours. One day I'll try this with apple schnapps and I'll add angostura bitters to see if that works as well. However for now...

You will need:
  • 2 tsp of brown sugar
  • 2-3 lime quarters, depending on garnish.
  • 8 mint leaves.
  • 2-3 slices of apple, again depending on garnish.
  • Crushed ice (if you don't have an ice crusher put the ice in a tea towel and beat it with a rolling pin.)
  • 2 measures of rum
  • 2 measures of an Apple Sourz equivilent.
I used Mount Gay rum for mine today, as that's what I had available. I can also recommend Havana Club Anejo Especial.

And its just as easy to prepare as a normal mojito. Muddle the brown sugar and limes at the bottom of the glass, throw in the mint and muddle it some more, fill the glass halfway with crushed ice, throw in the apple slices, fill the rest of the glass with ice and then pour the apple liquor and the rum. Then give the whole thing a good stir to mix the flavour. Add a little bit of extra crushed ice to top up the glass as garnish, then slice of apple and mint on the edge if you like.

Now all you have to do is go outside in the sunshine and enjoy it!

If you're unsure of how to properly prepare a mojito, and have an iPhone? You should check out this app from Havana Club.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Not Australian

When I worked in a call centre, people used to ask me a lot where I was from. "Uh, we're based in Kent." No they would say, where are YOU from. "Uh, Kent." And it would continue. No no where about in Australia are you from? Originally? "Uh, always lived in Kent. Sorry... cobber."

I guess growing up with Neighbours on BBC 1 after all the kids programming might have effected a slight twang to my accent but, I'm sorry callers, not Australian.

I'd love to visit though, and failing that would like to sample some of the local produce. However we don't get too many Australian beers penetrating the UK market, especially on draught. European? of course! American? Yup. Japanese? Yeah, actually, a few. But Australian? Fosters and Castlemaine XXXX are about it. And drinking Fosters is a far more popular pastime on a Friday night than a XXXX. But then hey Britain is a nation of drinkers rather than lovers. BOOM BOOM TSSS!

My apologies, but back to the amber nectar. 'Australian for beer', 'Get some Australian in you' 'Down Under piss water'. Oh yes, we all know the slogans*, but you know what? In Australia, no bugger drinks Fosters! It's Tooheys or Carlton, or Victoria Bitter. Fosters nary gets a look in. You'd have more luck finding a bunyip than finding Fosters on draught, and it's only slightly more common in bottles.

Which is how I know, this woman, is not Australian.

*One of those might not actually be a Fosters slogan.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Review: Brewzer Beer Tool from PocketToolX

Today I was enjoying myself in the sunshine, and opening my beers with a Brewzer from PocketToolX. A very pleasant surprise, as thanks to a certain Icelandic volcano that shall remain nameless (They know who they are.) the shipping from the States had been somewhat delayed. 

According to its manufacturer  this will be the "Only keychain bottle opener that you will ever need." and on top of that it packs five different uses into its frame. So in honour of its American made heritage off I went to Asda for some Budweiser and some MGD for a test.

First thing is, this thing is small. 2.5" long. This is definitely not a pry bar with a bottle opener, this is a key-ring bottle opener with a small pry tip. But it feels very sturdy and nicely solid in the hand. According to the manufacturer it weighs 16grams, and it certainly feels like it has weight to it. The Brewzer is made from 154CM stainless steel, which is a tough American made premium steel, though I'm relying on the internets for that snippet as I'm no metallurgist. 

Because of its size, it really only comes into its own when attached to a set of keys, in my 'exhaustive' tests it definitely felt easier to snap the top off when holding a bunch of keys behind the Brewzer.  Compared to other slim tooth and hook style bottle openers I have used over the years, this one really is the best. The tooth of the bottle opener hooked solidly under the lip of the cap, and in 8 bottles opened, not a single one took more than one try, no teasing the edge around to lift these caps like with a Beer Key. Hook, lift, pop. considering its slender size I was very surprised.

So thats its primary function getting flying colours. What about the other four? Well, the flat head screwdriver tip... It's a screwdriver. Nothing more for me to say. The pry tip was perfect for slicing its way into the plastic wrap around a crate of Carlsberg, and was equally competent at tearing its way into the carboard crate. Which brings me to that notch tip, why open the Carlsberg? I needed a can. And yes, it works perfectly to add a breather into a can for shotgunning. (mayblogmaynot reminds you to drink responsibly. Beer is for enjoying, not just downing to get you drunk!*)

The Brewzer isn't a cheap bottle opener. But at 19$ it's great value for a machined tool of this type. It's been well made, the finish is smooth and it opens beers quickly and easily. Its nearest competition would be from Peter Atwood, either a Ghost or a Brewdriver. And while those boast a titanium frame in a similar size package, who knows when they will be available again. Besides that, they're also three times the Brewzers price. 

I'm more than pleased to have this addition to my keyring. This is a great beer tool. I'm certainly satisfied that I wont need another bottle opener, unless I lose my keys again! Which was what started this quest for a new bottle opener in the first place.

*Actually, that is pretty much all Bud is good for. What I wouldn't give for some Kokanee Gold.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Beer Festivals: A Photographic Comparison

The Hop Festival, Faversham, Kent, UK

Oktoberfest, Munich, Bavaria, Germany

(Images via The Telegraph and Uncoached)

Emoji and the iPhone: A Tutorial

So, another friend has recently got an iPhone, and one of the first things I tell them are about these funky Japanese emoticons, for every occasion, that are contained within in every iPhone. (So, if you don't have an iPhone you can just skip this post, and come back later today for something booze related.)

Now for some reason emoji's are contained within every iPhone, yet not activated. And in fact the option is hidden unless you happen to be using a Japanese iPhone on a Japanese network. Fortunately for us they don't have to remain that way. And so, ready for the next friend who buys an iPhone, I present to you these step by step instructions.
  1. Download Spell Number from the AppStore. (There are plenty of £0.59p apps on the store purporting to give you emoji, but this one is free, activating the emoji is just an easter egg the dev put in.)
  2. Open the app, and type 91929394.59 into the on screen calculator.
  3. Go back to your iPhone homescreen and open settings.
  4. In settings navigate to the following options General -> Keyboard -> International Keyboards -> Japanese
  5. Slide the switch next to emoji to 'on'
  6. ?
  7. Profit! 
Emojis are now enabled, you can exit settings and delete Spell Number. Don't forget to rate it 5 stars, the dev's have just saved you £0.59p for no other reason than they're nice that way. Why not visit their apps on the AppStore, and see if there's anything else you need! Just try not to spam any reviews with too many smiling poos.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Summers here already?

Must be, because suddenly I really want a Corona.

(Image via Kelly Hall's Twitter)

White iPhone G4 is U.G.L.Y

So another string of leaks relating to the new iPhone coming out of China. This time relating to a white iPhone. Now a friend of mine has always favoured the white iPhone. "iPods we're white, the iPhone is the best iPod ever made, it should be white." And I could see his point.

Unfortunately, by making the front of the new iPhone white also, you're left with the same problem the white PSP had. Smooth white lines, big ugly black screen when the screen is off. Which certainly spoils the 2001-esque monolith look the new iPhone enjoys.

I really can't say it's a good look! although I'm sure people will disagree. I wonder though if the people buying the new white iphone (If released in its current leaked state.) would be buying it because they really honestly like the look, or just to be different from the pack.

Friday, 7 May 2010

iPad Prices Announced

Its a momentous day today in the UK. No, not the hung Parliament. Today Apple have announced the release date and prices for the iPad in the UK.

Pre-orders will start on the 10th of May, for the device to ship on Friday the 28th of May. Prices for the UK as confirmed by Apple below.

"iPad will be available in the UK for a suggested retail price of £429 (inc. VAT) for 16GB, £499 (inc. VAT) for 32GB, £599 (inc. VAT) for 64GB for Wi-Fi models and £529 (inc. VAT) for 16GB, £599 (inc. VAT) for 32GB and £699 (inc. VAT) for 64GB for Wi-Fi + 3G models."

I'm still not entirely convinced this is as an exciting release as it would've been had it been closer to the release date in the States. Nonetheless I will be pleased to get my hands on one of these at the local Apple Store.

Of course already there has been some (much) discussion in the blogosphere of how much of a rip off those prices are. Alot of people struggle with maths, myself included. However, lets break it down.

Mid range Wi-Fi 32gb model

US $ - 599 (exc. Sales Tax) is £408.13 at current exchange rate
UK price £499 (inc. £87.32 VAT)

UK Price £411.68 ex VAT
US Price £408.13 ex sales tax

So for the middle range model its 3 pounds more than a straight US$-UK£ conversion. Not that much of a rip off.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Vengeance has been done at the Municipal Fortress of Justice

My apologies for the lack of any updates recently, to you, my dear readers. (both of you.) I was unfortunately required to fulfil my civic duty and complete a term of jury service. Fortunately, justice has now been done, and normal tech/drinking/breast related posts will be forthcoming.

After all there's a hell of a lot of waiting around when you do jury service, and not a lot of entertainment. its given me plenty of ideas.

If only Justice were actually this entertaining