Cocktails at Eileen's Bar
Words by Jane Ryan & James Irvine
Photography by Wesley Nel
The gin bar in Sydney's Surry Hills is already up to its seventh volume of cocktails. Always innovative and unusual, here's two stand-out cocktails from the current menu that use local ingredients and creative techniques to aplomb.
They make it look super-simple, but we all know these majestic drinks that are poured from bottles already made and which barely require a quick stir over ice before being served, have an enormous amount of prep work and detail put in before making it to our glass. Here's what goes on behind the scenes for two of Eileen's volume VII menu drinks.
Tastes like: A creamy and savory clarified gin colada.
Made with: Modern Australian Gin, coconut whey, pineapple, lime leaf
How? This drink takes six hours of prep and requires 3kg of cubed pineapple. Let's dive in.
First of all the team dissolve 800g of caster sugar into 3 litres of water, and then combine this syrup with 4.8 litres of their Modern Australian Gin, 3kg of the fresh pineapple and 60g of lime leaves in a vacuum bag. It gets sealed and cooked sous vide for 2.5 hours at 55ºC. Once done it's cooled in an ice tub while a citric acid solution is made at 10%. 1.2 litres of the acid solution is added to the cooled gin mix.
Once that's done 1.2 litres of coconut milk are added to a large tub and the gin mix (now with the acid solution added in) is slowly poured in to allow the mixture to curdle the coconut milk. This is refrigerated for 2.5 hours and once fully curdled the team run this cocktail batch through a chinois + oil filter, repeating this process through the curds that collect in the filter until the liquid runs clear. It produces about 10 litres of cocktail.
To serve, 100ml of the Tanlines pre-bottle and chilled cocktail is stirred down to temperature, strained into a rocks glass over block ice and garnished with a lime leaf.
Tastes like: Clean, refreshing cocktail with slightly astringent dark chocolate bitter notes.
Made with: Navy Strength Gin, Davidson Plum, dark chocolate, sparkling perilla.
How? Combining a Messina distillate with a Davidson plum and perilla soda this cocktail has two separate ingredients to prep. Let's walk through them both.
DAVIDSON PLUM x PERILLA SODA
To make this the team place 1kg of Davidson plums (halved and de-seeded) , 10g of perilla leaves and 2g of pectinex into a thermomix. This gets blitzed at speed 5 for one minute and then speed 2.5 for a further four minutes with no temperature. It's then transferred to a container and refrigerated for an hour.
Once chilled the mix is filtered through a chinois + oil filter before being transferred to a centrifuge and spun for 20 minutes. It's then passed through a coffee filter and diluted with water to a 20% ratio of the liquid that's been produced from the process - for example if the yield is 1 litre the team will length with water to 5 litres. To this they'll then dissolve a 1% ratio of malic acid and a 10% ratio of caster sugar. If it has turned out as it should it'll be bottled and refrigerated and if not those ratios can be gently tinkered to ensure consistency.
Separately, the team place 1 litre of Navy Strength Gin with 200g of Messina 80% Dark Chocolate into a thermomix which is stirred at speed 2.5 for 10 minutes at 40ºC. Once finished, it's allowed to cool before being vacuum sealed and left at room temp for 24 hours. From there the mixture is distilled at 50ºC at 120rpm until only the oils remain. This is brought down to 40% ABV and caster sugar is dissolved in until the distillate reaches 20% Brix.
To assemble the entire drink 10 litres of the Davidson Plum x Perilla Soda are added to 4 litres of their Navy Strength Gin and 1 litre of the Messina Distillate. This is all batched, bottled and carbonated to 42 psi three times. To serve the team pour 150ml of their batch into a highball over a collins cube and garnish with a fresh perilla leaf.