Cocktails at Carlton's Capitano

Words by Jane Ryan & Darren Leaney

Photography by Parker Blain

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A step-by-step guide to three of Capitano's most popular cocktails - the Tiramisu Milk Punch, the Peanut Butter & Miso Old Fashioned and the Olive Oil Martini. Courtesy of Darren Leaney.

The very first thing we wanted to do in a post-corona world was take a flight to Tullamarine and a taxi straight to Capitano in Melbourne's Little Italy of Carlton. There, under the watchful gaze of venue manager Darren Leaney, a sharp bar team are known for quietly serving up some of the most enjoyable drinks this side of the equator. We're not talking complicated, unapproachable, your-mum-wouldn't-know-what-to-make-of-it, bartender-style drinks. This menu is filled with easy to understand flavours that you trust will taste great.

And the pizza and pasta is fantastically moreish too.

But that's not something we can do for a while yet, sadly, yet understandably. If you live in Melbourne you can still get takeaway for the next six weeks, which is much, much easier than what we're about to suggest and puts vital money into the business. Speaking of which, whether you're in Melbourne or not and you have a spare dollar, five dollars or twenty dollars that you can afford to donate, please give it to Tip Jar Australian Hospitality Relief Fund.

Difford's Aus HQ is based in Sydney (right near Broadway if you ever want to come say hey) so we're a little out of the delivery range from Capitano, like most Australians right now. Luckily Darren isn't too precious about sharing his recipes - possibly because he knows we'll never make it as good as he can - and so, without further ado, we present you three of the best. They aren't simple, they aren't easy but we're also not willing to wait six weeks for a Tiramisu Milk Punch - now hand us the chinois.

Tiramisu Milk Punch

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Shopping List:
140g cacao nibs
700ml Plantation Dark rum - new name was T.B.C at time of writing
300g lady finger / savoiardi biscuits
1500ml full cream milk
120ml cold filter coffee
187.5ml Pennyweight muscat
45ml gomme syrup
45ml Mr Black coffee liqueur
6g lactic acid
800ml empty bottle
Coffee filters
Large zip lock bags

Method:FIRST STEP, make the cocoa rum. Seal a large zip lock bag with the 140g cacao nibs and 700ml plantation dark rum. If your bag isn't big enough do it in batches. Cook sous vide for 30 min at 52 degrees. Chill and strain through a chinois.

SECOND STEP, make the Savoiardi milk. Crush 300g of lady finger biscuits then pour 1500ml full cream milk over them, infuse for one hour then strain through a chinois.

THIRD STEP, combine the following in a jug, stir to combine:
90ml cocoa rum
120ml cold filter coffee
187.5ml pennyweight muscat
45ml gomme syrup
45ml Mr Black coffee liqueur
30ml lactic acid solution (6g lactic acid to 60g filtered water, stir to dissolve)

Now add 525ml of your Savoiardi milk, stir in gently to ‘mop up’ the curds. Leave it to split for 10 minutes and then strain through coffee filter paper into a bottle. Shelf life should last a year.

To Serve:
75ml Tiramisu Milk Punch
POUR into a chilled rocks glass over ice. No garnish.

Peanut Butter & Miso Old Fashioned

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Shopping List
140g smooth peanut butter
350ml Appleton Estate VX rum
350ml Goslings Black Seal rum
300g miso paste
3 egg whites
600ml filtered water
350g caster sugar
salt
Angostura Aromatic bitters
Oil filter
Coffee filter

Method: FIRST STEP, make the peanut butter rum. Spread 140g of smooth peanut butter thinly over the base of a large pan. Gently pour the rums (350ml Appleton VX and 350ml Goslings) over the top and cover with clingfilm. Leave to infuse at room temp overnight, then chill in fridge. Pour through oil filter and bottle.

SECOND STEP, make the miso syrup. Add 300g of miso and 500ml of filtered water to a saucepan and put on low heat. Stir to dissolve the miso and then add 3 egg whites and another 100ml of filtered water, and put on medium heat. Stir (gently) occasionally and once raft has formed pour through coffee filter. The consommé coming though should be crystal clear. Measure 350ml of the miso consommé and add 350g caster sugar. Stir to dissolve.

To Serve:
60ml peanut butter rum
15ml miso syrup
2 dashes saline (10:1) or a pinch of salt
5 dashes Angostura Aromatic bitters.

STIR over ice until chilled and diluted. STRAIN over ice in a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with an orange zest.

Olive Oil Martini

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Shopping List
175ml extra virgin olive oil
700ml Melbourne Gin Company dry gin
olive leaves
100ml Orange Bitters
Dry vermouth
Coffee filters
Large zip lock bags

Method: STEP ONE, make the olive oil gin. Add 175ml extra virgin olive oil and 700ml Melbourne Gin Company dry gin to a large zip lock bag (or split into two if you can't find a big enough bag) and seal. Leave to infuse for 24 hours and then chill in an ice bath and then in freezer. Pass through a coffee filter paper.

STEP TWO, make the olive leaf bitters. Add 25g dried olive leaves and 100ml orange bitters to zip lock bag and seal. Cook for 60 minutes at 52C. Chill in an ice bath and pass through a fine strainer.

To Serve:
50ml olive oil washed gin
3 dashes olive leaf bitters
15ml dry vermouth (Noilly or Martini Dry)

ADD all to tin over ice, STIR until chilled. STRAIN into chilled coupe. GARNISH with 2 Sicilian olives and a lemon zest (discard).

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