Monthly Archives: February 2017

What’s the sexiest cocktail you can order?

Yo Muddlers, how about we get a little sex-y today?

Not sexy. Sex-y. There’s a difference.

It’s falling a little out of favour now, but in the decades that we will dub the Cocktail Dark Ages – the 1970s and 80s – bartenders who clearly weren’t getting enough action favoured sex-related names for their cocktail creations.

What a social success you can consider yourself when you get your rocks off as someone shouts at you that they’d like you to give them an Orgasm please. Or a Slippery Nipple or Sex on the Beach or an Angel’s Tit or a Cocksucking Cowboy.

Yes, you’ve made it. You’re a WINNER.

So there’s sex-related aka sex-y.  And then there’s sexy.

Different. So different.

But is there something more in the link? Does the name maketh the cocktail?

At Shake, Stir, Muddle we’ve been on a quest to discover whether a sex-y name makes for a better drink and have One-for-the-Road-Tested a few of these to save you the trouble.

drunk-hen-night-hens-party-secret-womens-business-l-plates-booze-e1393844243813Not surprisingly, most of these fall outside the IBA Official Cocktail purview, but we’re throwing caution to the wind today and ordering like we’re 23 and on a Hen’s Night at Kings Cross.

Slippery Nipple

This concoction was invented in the 1980s and contains Sambuca and Bailey’s. You’d drink it for two reasons – one is to get drunk quickly. The second is to showcase that you still think The Benny Hill Show is the height of sophistication.

Angel’s Titangels-tit-thumbnail

If you have mother issues, this is the drink for you. It’s white crème de cacao and
maraschino liqueur, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. So it tastes like vomit but looks like a boob. Tee hee right?

Look, if you can find a cocktail that looks like a knob, I’d go with that. It’ll match your outfit better.


There are many, many variations on the Orgasm (insert lewd joke here), but in its most basic form, it’s Kahlua, Amaretto and Bailey’s. A useful tip for bar owners wishing to keep their licence is that if someone orders one of these, there’s a fairly good chance they are underage.

Cocksucking Cowboys

So yes, back in early 2000s, I had my share of these layered shots of butterscotch schnapps and Bailey’s.

bon-joviBefore downing a shot, my compadres and I would loudly sing the chorus of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”.  Why? Because he’s a cowboy, on a steel horse he rides and he’s wanted – wanted – Dead or Alive, and because you are actually dead if you don’t think it’s fun to sing hair metal songs really loudly (even if Bon Jovi can’t punctuate correctly).

Reasons that have stood the test of time well.

As for the drink, I have no defence other than ignorance of decent liquor. (Yes Father, I’ll say ten Bloody Marys as penance).

If you blush easily, you can order a “CS Cowboy”, or better yet, follow the lead of my friend Donna and rename it a Helen Reddy and sing “I am Woman” every time you down one. Because that’s more fun and she punctuates properly.

You know, funny story, this song came out in 1972, and 45 years later women are still earning just 75% of what men earn to do the same job.


But Helen Reddy still sings like a BOSS – watch her at the LA Women’s March in January. She’s introduced by Jamie Lee Curtis and wore her Ugg Boots because screw everyone, they’re comfortable.

Sex on the Beach

So this one is an IBA Official Cocktail.

It contains Vodka, cranberry juice, peach schnapps and orange juice. Again, a cocktail that you’d order because you want something where you can’t really taste the booze.

It doesn’t taste terrible. It’s ok.

So that’s why you would order one.

Why wouldn’t you? There’s a credible-though-contested theory that it was invented in Miami Beach during a minor Kennedy’s very public rape trial. Because rape on the beach is a lot like sex on the beach, right?

Yeah. Nah mate, it’s totally different Donald.

This concept seems to confuse a few people. In 1997, Dutch band T-Spoon released a single “Sex on the Beach”. As well as having a truly bewildering clip (HERE), at 1min47sec you get

“Met a girl named Eden

She comes straight from Sweden.

I gave her a Cuba Libre

Now she does everything I say.”

Ah, the timeless humour that is date rape.

The list of sex-y cocktails is long. Sadly I didn’t have time or energy to cover the Big Banana Dick-iry, the Panty Dropper or the Afternoon Delight but I couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that it was still too early to definitively assess how the Hilarious Sex-y Name = Great Cocktail equation stacks up.

Possibly. So to establish a control mechanism for this experiment, I sought out the least sex-y name for a cocktail.

The Income Tax Cocktail

This one dates back to the 1920s and was invented either in the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel London or more likely, in NYC.

It’s basically a Bronx cocktail with bitters. And the Bronx (as we know from THIS POST) is a Perfect Martini with orange juice.

Gin, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth and freshly-squeezed orange juice. Add a couple of dashes of bitters and Income Tax becomes a whole lot more than a pile of teeny-tiny receipts that you need to make sense of to send off to your accountant.

It’s a complex and dignified offering that won’t give your bartender a cheap giggle. lindsay-lohan

Happily, like cocktails, most bartenders have moved on and most cringe a little when you dial up the porn face and order one of these sex-y offerings.

Finally, just in case my Gen-Xiness was working against me, I supplemented my own vast knowledge of vulgar expressions with a quick check of Urban Dictionary to determine that Income Tax hasn’t been given some sex-y meaning by the Millennials.


Income Tax Cocktail. Not sex-y, but sexy.3b82ae521230960b219d582069c46556

Like its namesake.

If you don’t like paying income tax, think instead of all the sexy things you can use it for it – hospitals, schools, dignified care for the elderly, renewable energy – or if you prefer, hilarious ad campaigns about the complete fairy tale that is “clean coal” – the Arts, public broadcasting.

And let’s not forget that in spite of every other dastardly deed, it was Income Tax Evasion for which they finally managed to put Al Capone behind bars.

More importantly, it was Income Tax Evasion that put James Court away, leaving the path clear for Lloyd Dobler to finally score that fancy Diane who totally didn’t deserve him when she ignored that In Your Eyes boombox thing he did in Say Anything which would have worked immediately and completely with me in 1989.

And possibly still today.


So ignore the sex-y cocktails and do your Income Tax people.


Mission: Imposter Martinis

In this era of striving to be more open-minded and actually considering the possibility that one’s views on something might be wrong, 2017 has seen me turning to vodka.

Here’s what I know about vodka – it has no taste and is made from potatoes.

And what I know about Martinis? Gin.

Anything that calls itself a “Martini” that does not contain gin, is not a Martini (I’m looking at you, Vodka “Martini”, Espresso “Martini”, and I’m not even talking to you Appletini).

So I’m conflicted about the so-called Vesper Martini. It has gin (tick). But also vodka (Clang).giphy

It was also invented by a fictional character, so walking up to the bar and ordering one seems a bit like looking to Homer Simpson for inspiration as to what to eat for lunch.

But the Vesper is an IBA Official cocktail, so it deserves its time in the Shake, Stir, Muddle spotlight.

casino-royale-bookIn 1953, Casino Royale first introduced us to James Bond.

Bond falls for a girl named Vesper whose parents presumably named her after evening prayers rather than the Italian motorbike. This is 2017 and we now know that a woman can shag whoever she pleases, but in the 1950s, there was a charming expression that would have deterred loving parents (even fictional ones) from naming their daughter after a town bike.

So yes, Vesper.

Bond goes undercover as a Jamaican playboy and is given a wad of public funds to play warnie-pokerbaccarat (it’s poker in the Daniel Craig movie, because poker is SO classy, which we know because Warnie plays it) and orders up what has become the Vesper cocktail.

You can’t order the exact cocktail anymore, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, a word on prudent Government expenditure.

I pay tax in Australia, where money is spent on important advertising campaigns that are intended to distract us from noticing Government inaction on climate change, but I still am outraged on behalf of the British taxpayers that Bond is given public money to gamble with.

I understand the mission imperative, but Bond is not the guy who should be given a weapon or cash.

Let’s ask some scientists to tell us why.

In December 2013, the British Medical Journal published THIS study that considered 007’s booze consumption.

Seems Bond had a weekly alcohol consumption of between 65 and 92 units, with a 1428456902445maximum daily intake of 49.8 units.

To put this in context, the British recommended limit for alcohol consumption for men in a week is 21 units.

But sure, here’s a license to kill Jimmy, we trust you.

2c9d420200000578-0-image-m-19_1442861027571Through the books and movies, Bond drinks anything from Heineken to Dom Perignon but he is best known for asking for vodka “martinis” shaken, not stirred.

Many, many people have view on the superiority of stirring a martini over shaking.

The primary objections are that it can “bruise” the gin (horseshit), or that shaking the ice may cause it to fracture and therefore put tiny shards of diluting ice in your drink (not horseshit, but a tolerable risk).

Bond’s recipe called for 3 measures of Gordons, 1 of vodka and half of Kina Lillet. Shaken.

Kina Lillet (pronounce it Keen-a Lillay) hasn’t been made for 30 years. It was an aromatised wine (like Vermouth and Dubonnet) that originally included cinchona bark from Peru, making it a quinine liqueur.

Back in the late 1800s, quinine liqueurs were considered “tonic wines”, in that they allegedly had some associated health benefits, but were bitter to the taste precisely because of the quinine.

170px-lilletFast forward to the decade that reinvented taste – the 1980s – and the bitterness had fallen out of favour and Kina Lillet was no more. You can go to the trouble of sourcing powdered quinine if you must, but the Lillet Blanc that replaced it is actually a lovely tipple.

You can also substitute the Gordons for a gin of your choice.

As for the Vodka, who cares? It has no taste, right?

Well, dear Readers, seems I may have been too hasty in making this assessment.

As regular readers know, my commitment to research is high, my methods mostly half-arsed.

But this time, I thought that I should challenge my prejudices properly so called upon the expertise of Scott Barber at the world’s coldest Vodka Tasting Room at the Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler, BC.

Apparently, donning an unflattering coat and entering an environment set at very antisocial temperaturesimg_7113 is optimal for challenging prejudices surrounding the potato drink.

First error. Not only is the vast majority of today’s vodka made from grain, not potatoes, it wasn’t even originally a potato-based recipe.

See, the first written reference that can be found for vodka dates back to 1405, and potatoes didn’t arrive in Europe from Peru until the mid-1500s.

Let’s pause a moment and reflect on how shit European cuisine must have been before murderous bastards like Drake starting coming home with string bags full of spices and spuds and quinine from the New World.

Potatoes dominated vodka in the late 1700s when they were a cheaper raw material than wheat.

Now, only about 10% of vodka is made from potatoes and if you’re gluten intolerant, there’s no need to tell me, but you can just order up on the potato vodka.

But back to the coldest place on earth (give or take) that was giving me a warm inner glow.

cofScott poured vodka like he was a Soviet double-agent and I was the beautiful and talented scientist who was the sole custodian of the secret formula that was needed to bring down the Western world.

You’ll be pleased to know that I held my liquor and the world is still safe(ish).

What is not safe though is my sweeping pronouncements about vodka.

Turns out vodka does have taste – in fact, it has four elements that we should all be paying attention to when we drink.

Fragrance. Feel (that’s in your mouth, don’t dip your fingers in it). Flavovodka-images-montageur. Finish.

We downed vodka from the Netherlands (Ketel One), Canada (East Van with the amazing label and Long Table from BC and Yukon Winter from yep, Yukon), Poland (Chopin and Zubrowka with bison grass and apparently not legal for sale in the USA) before Scott realised I was not going to crack under pressure.

As we left the ice chamber, Scott turned from Soviet double-agent to bartending wizard and served me up my very first Vesper.

While some of the finer details are a wee bit hazy my friends, it was GOOD (and OMG, so was the French Onion soup which accompanied it).

The Lillet softens the punch of the gin and vodka and you should probably play with proportions to get your favourite, but this – this cocktail that goes against EVERYTHING I previously stood for – has come up as a credible addition to my Go-To cocktails.

No, we won’t call it a martini, nor will it come close to replacing the actual martini as my drink of choice, but Shake, Stir, Muddle will press on with investigations into vodka and we will take pride in being able to point to one thing we’ve changed our mind about in recent weeks months years.

I think that proves I’m a grown-up, right?



PS Here’s a photo of a Vesper I had at the Qantas Lounge at LAX –img_7514 I was waiting on a Negroni when I saw a bottle on a glass shelf with a handwritten label “Vesper, 8 week barrel-aged”.

See that warmth of colour?  That comes from barrel-ageing (like whisky).

I swapped my Negroni order for a Vesper (as I said, research never rests). It had a richness of flavour that I appreciated for precisely three sips before spilling the rest over my three year old daughter just before we boarded a 15 hour flight.