National Rum Day 2018

Today, the 16th of August 2018 marks National Rum Day! An entire day dedicated to celebrating this wonderful beverage. Rum dates back centuries and the oldest current running distillery started back in 1703!  Mt Gay, located in the Barbados, an eastern Caribbean Island is still operating to this day, impressive!

 It was my partner who introduced me to rum (predominately gold rum but also dark or sometimes spiced) 3.5 years ago and since then I have enjoyed trying rum in cocktails, with ginger beer and on occasion, if I’m feeling game I’ll have a sip of Bens’ rum on the rocks. Our three favourites (in order of preference) are Ron Zacapa, Appleton Estate and Sailor Jerry, each of these are very different in their own right but can be enjoyed in so many ways! Rum is extremely versatile, in fact when Christmas rolls around Ben uses it in our annual eggnog which has become a much loved household tradition. Any of the three rums mentioned work really well in eggnog and I’ll be sure to share our beloved recipe with you soon so you can enjoy just as much as we do.

Appleton Estate is our rum of choice this National Rum Day and below are the two very easy to make cocktail recipes that we have chosen to celebrate it with!

Storm in a Tea Cup (serves 4)

Ingredients:

120ml Appleton Estate Rum

2 Peppermint Teabags

240ml Soda Water,

120ml Fresh Lime Juice

2 Passionfruit

125g Caster Sugar or white sugar

240ml Boiling water

Mint to garnish – (opptional)

Method: In a heat proof glass jug add the teabags and hot water, stir until infused.

Remove the tea bags and add the sugar, dissolve. Once dissolved add the lime juice and refrigerate until cool.

Once cool, add rum and passionfruit, stir.

Top with soda water, pour over glasses of ice and garnish with a sprig of mint.

fullsizeoutput_1682fullsizeoutput_1687fullsizeoutput_168b

The Blueberry Apple

Ingredients:

45ml Appleton Estate Rum

10- 15 Blueberries (including garnish)

15ml Sugar Syrup

20ml Lemon Juice

Orange Bitters  

Method: Muddle 10 or so blueberries in the bottom of your glass and put aside.

In a cocktail shaker add lime juice, rum, sugar syrup and 2 ice cubes. Shake until cold.

Fill your glass with ice, strain your drink over the top of the ice. Garnish with blueberries and 3-4 dashed of orange bitters and you are done!

You will notice we have also made our ice sphere/cubes with mint and blueberries. To do this, simply add boiled water that has cooled down to the ice cube moulds then add a blueberry or two and a couple of mint leaves, done! fullsizeoutput_166afullsizeoutput_167cfullsizeoutput_1689IMG_1242

I hope that all the rum lovers out there have an amazing National Rum Day! Cheers!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on the above recipes.

Christmas in Singapore

My love for Singapore began when a friend and I unexpectedly needed to stop over for a night due to being stranded in Bali (a volcano erupted) and the only way home was via Singapore. We had less than 24 hours there so we attempted to fit in as much as possible but found we couldn’t nearly do it justice in under 24 hours.

So after my accidental visit to Singapore and needing to see more, my partner and I decided to book a holiday over the Christmas season. This time we had 10 days in Singapore and we absolutely loved it! I have listed below the three hotels we stayed with.

 

Park Royal on Pickering

Our first stay was with Park Royal on Pickering, this hotel is an eco-friendly hotel that is surrounded by gardens and they are literally are part of the hotels design. We spent four nights here and wish we could have stayed longer!

It was December 23rdwhen we checked-in and we were instantly amazed at the beautiful festive decorations throughout the entrance and lobby of the hotel. We were offered an upgraded room upon check-in and with the rooms floor to ceiling windows, incredible views and stone/wood finishes throughout we felt like we were in a garden retreat.

One of the many great things about this hotel is the infinity pool. Sitting in a pod that is hanging over the pool whilst enjoying a few too many Singapore slings and watching a lightning storm was an incredible and unforgetable way to spend our Christmas eve.

The service we received throughout our entire stay right from check in to check out was completely faultless, we loved this hotel and will 100% stay here on our next trip. It wasn’t expensive or pretentious, the room was clean and spacious and the location was close to everything we needed.

IMG_9768.jpg

Park Royal on Pickering is located:

5-minute walk to the CBD

5-minute walk to the waterfront and Clarke Quay

2-minute walk to China Town

5-minute drive to Marina Bay shopping centre and Gardens by the Bay

10-minute drive to Orchard Road shopping strip

20-minute drive to the airport


 

Marina Bay Sands

Let’s cut to the chase, the reason we stayed here was because Marina Bay Sands is the home of the famous infinity pool. This is the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool and being 57 stories high you absolutely feel like you are swimming on top of the world. You do have to be a guest of the hotel to have access to the pool thus us deciding to stay here.

There was a giant pink themed Christmas tree in the bustling lobby of the hotel along with many festive decorations throughout the resort. The room that we stayed in was clean, spacious and the view was incredible. We had a garden view room – overlooking Gardens by the Bay and waking up to the sunrise over the Bay was an amazing way to start the day! (apparentlyi’m a poet)

If you want to go for a shop, just across from the hotel (there is direct access via the hotel bridge) is The Shoppes at Marina Bay. Here you’ll find mostly high-end stores including Balmain, Cartier, Chanel, and Dior but you will find a casino, theatre and a science museum close by. The centre will lead you outside to a boardwalk that has plenty of bars and restaurants along with fabulous views of the marina.

With endless restaurants, bars, shops and the amazing infinity pool, which I forgot to mention has an adult only section, Marina Bay Sands is well worth a visit.

IMG_0363IMG_0163IMG_0957

Marina Bay Sands is located:

5-minute walk to Gardens by the Bay

2-minute walk to The Shoppes at Marina

10-minute drive to the waterfront and Clarke Quay

10-minute drive to Orchard Road shopping strip

15-minute drive to the airport

20-minute drive to Sentosa


 

Oasia

The final hotel we stayed with was Oasia, there are three Oasia hotels in Singapore and the one we stayed in was Downtown however you also have the choice of Novena or Oasia Residence (serviced apartments located West of Singapore). This hotel was recomended to us by a friend and although a short stay it was a good stay! We took the opportunity to book a club room which offered a few extra privlidges for only a small extra fee. We had a private pool for club guests only, breakfast included and a room on the higher levels. So all in all, go for the upgrade if your budget permits!

Oasia is located: 

6-minute drive to Marina Bay shopping Centre and Gardens by the Bay

8-minute drive to the waterfront and Clarke Quay

10-minute drive to Orchard Road shopping strip

18-minute drive to Changi airport

12-minute drive to Sentosa

 

I hope the insight that I’ve given here is in someway helpful in your planning. My final thoughts to you are that on my return to Singapore I will be absoutely returning to Park Royal on Pickering. The beautiful building, friendly staff, tidy rooms and excellent service were a standout but the pool was absolutely incredible and for this I feel Park Royal was the pick of the bunch!

If you havent been to Singapore before and are happy to spend a little extra, the Marina Bay Sands is a must do, at least for a day to experience the infinity pool. Saying this, if your on a budget, Oasia is a fantastic hotel which is central and gives you all the comforts that you need to enjoy your stay.

Feel free to contact me if I can give you any more info to help you enjoy or plan your stay in beautiful Singapore!

Winter Wine Festival 2018

This was my first visit to the Sanctuary Cove Winter Wine Festival, held at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast and it certainly did not disappoint! The location was just beautiful, each stop along the wine trail was decorated with fresh flowers and fairy lights and of course the sun was shining all day long.

We tried some amazing wines with a couple of stand outs that you can check out below. We also took part in a white wine masterclass where we had six winemakers/representatives discuss with us a particular wine from each of their vineyards.

Winemakers that presented at the masterclass were:

Stuart Pym from Flowstone – Margaret River, Western Australia, who presented a Sauvignon Blanc https://flowstonewines.com/

I’m not traditionally a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, so I wasn’t expecting to think much of this wine, however this was a European style Sauvignon Blanc so instead of it having an overwhelming acidic passionfruit taste this wine was complex and smoothed by oak.

Marcus Wright from Lawson’s Dry HillsMarlborough NZ, who presented a Sauvignon Blanc https://www.lawsonsdryhills.co.nz/

As I’ve mentioned above, I’m not traditionally a fan of Sauvignon Blanc and unfortunately this wine lived up to my low expectations. It was just what I expected from a Sauvignon Blanc – However, If you do enjoy wine with citrus, acidity and passionfruit you will really enjoy this drop!

Richard Done from Bimbadgen – Hunter Valley, NSW, who presented a Semillon https://www.bimbadgen.com.au/

Light, crisp and will go beautifully with seafood. The Hunter Valley is the premier Semillon region in Australia so it’s no surprise that this was a really enjoyable wine. We also gave the Chardonnay from Bimbadgen a try with our Cheese platter and it too was fabulous!

Charles Smedley from Mandala – Yarra Valley, VIC, who presented a Chardonnay https://www.mandalawines.com.au/

If you are hesitant about chardonnays (due to the heavily oaked wood taste from the 80’s) then “let it go…!” This Chardy was smooth, delicious and well worth a try.

Tom McCarthy from Quealy – Mornington Peninsular VIC, who presented a Friulano http://quealy.com.au/

I was first introduced to Quealy when my partner, a friend and I visited their vineyard during the time we were living in Victoria. We had such a memorable experience, running into the cellar door out of the rain we were greeted by a lovely lady who had just baked fresh pistachio biscuits. Each wine that we tasted was truly amazing, we were shown the terracotta vats they use to age some of their wine and finished off our visit with a desert wine and a fresh pistachio biscuit.  

The Friulano we tried in our masterclass was very different, I’ve been told that this variety is rarely grown in Australia. Fermented with the skin on (rare for a white wine) this wine is plump, golden and very interesting.. My partners pick of the festival!

Elliott Ramage, a wine representative from Brisbane presented us from Alsace, France a Hugal Riesling http://www.hugel.com/

German Rieling is hands down my favourite of all white wine, so knowing we were going to taste a riesling from Alsace was very exciting for me (Alsace is a wine region in France situated very close to the boader of Germany). I must say, I was a touch underwhelmed with this Riesling, it wasn’t bad but my expectations are high in this region for Riesling.

IMG_0776First stop was a Champagne Palmer Brut Reserve NV (Reims, France)

fullsizeoutput_1582My favourite Rosé – Rameau d’Or Côtes de Provence 2017 – What I love about this wine is that it’s a very easy to drink, versatile wine – it’s quite soft with delicate spices and a crisp dry finish. If you’re stuck with deciding on a wine to take to a dinner party this would be perfect! It will go along beautifully with almost anything. Not to mention: How gorgeous is the beautiful delicate colour? 

fullsizeoutput_158bThe wonderful, authentic and well rounded Quealy Friulano.

IMG_0706Masterclass at the Sanctuary Cove Winter Wine Festival.

It is safe to say I will be attending the Winter Wine Festival next year! Wine preference is most certainly at the discretion of the person drinking it, however I hope you have the chance to give the above recommendations a try.  It’s amazing how much love, time and effort goes into producing wine and I have nothing but complete appreciation for all of the winemakers out there, Thank you!

The Journey Begins

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” – Charles Dickens

 

Advertisements