summer

Summer Cocktail Series: The Highball Express

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Let’s take a trip together. It’s Friday afternoon, you’ve just finished work and the warm evening air welcomes you to the weekend as you walk outside. Enter, the Highball Express – Canberra’s newest bar that’s flown in just in time for the summer.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, the Highball Express was the nickname for the plane that took wealthy Americans to Cuba during the Prohibition years. On board, they would drink cocktails in highball glasses, excited for a weekend full of sunshine, Cuban rum and everything that Prohibition America wasn’t.

So about that trip. The Highball Express is an easy, breezy, laid-back bar that will whisk you away to Cuba with the first sip of a rum cocktail. Located on the top floor of the Melbourne Building (above Smith’s Alternative on Alinga Street), the shady open balcony that looks out to Black Mountain is the perfect spot for a warm Friday afternoon.

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When it comes to the contents of your glass, rum cocktails is where it’s at. The team behind the Highball Express are serious about their rum. So serious that they’re even barrel-ageing cocktails.

It was a warm but rainy Friday night when I visited with some friends a couple weeks back. As I came in off the street dripping from the rain, I couldn’t have been more ready for a rum cocktail or two. As we sat on the balcony watching the rain come down, we sampled more than a few on the list and loved every one.

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If you’re into interesting and unusual drinks, the carrot-flavoured cocktail is surprisingly good. And if you’re with a group, I recommend ordering a rum punch from Peggy, the cute little punch trolley.

I am so glad the Highball Express landed when it did. I can see it quickly becoming a summer favourite – sitting on that bright and breezy balcony, sipping on some rum and enjoying the warm weather.

If you’re keen to jump on board and see what all the fuss is about, fly up the stairs at 82 Alinga Street in the City or check in to the Highball Express on facebook or instagram.

– Bec x

highball express cocktails canberra

highball express cocktails canberrahighball express cocktails canberra

highball express cocktails canberra

Summer Cocktail Series: White Rabbit Cocktail Room

Summer is my absolute favourite time of year. Sun-kissed skin, bare legs, cute party dresses and warm nights that seem to go on forever. It’s the time of year when cocktails at 3 in the afternoon is a regular occurrence and Friday night drinks is a must.

To celebrate the arrival of t-shirt weather, I’ve got a new series featuring some of my favourite cocktail bars in town. First up is new kid on the block, White Rabbit Cocktail Room. A few weeks back, a few of us dropped by for a sneaky Friday night drink.

Playful. Curious. Intimate. Decadent. Sophisticated. That’s how the owners describe this whimsical bar located on Northbourne Avenue in the city.

Everything at White Rabbit is a little bit pretty, a little bit decadent and a lot of fun. The team behind the scenes tell me they want people to feel pleasantly surprised by their unusual dessert and cocktail ideas – and pleasantly surprised we were. One look at the menu and we had fallen down the rabbit hole and landed right at the Mad Hatter’s table (cue all of the Alice in Wonderland puns).

For me, it’s all in the details. Like the cucumber sandwich that comes served with the Alice Be Curious cocktail, a sweet mix of Hendrick’s gin, Lillet Blanc and house made berry and rosemary tea served in a pretty little tea cup. Yes, a cocktail in a tea cup. It’s a scene straight out of Lewis Carroll’s imagination, am I right?

Also, be ready to get your sweet tooth on, for their other strong suit is dessert. Think creative items like blood plum soufflé served in a tea cup or a strawberry and vanilla bavarois “forest” featuring strawberry mushrooms and dark chocolate trees. It’s dreamy and decadent and had us all grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

When I ask what cocktail I should order for a hot summer night, I’m led in the direction of the Tweedle Rum. “It’s the perfect blend of rum, pomegranate, pineapple, ginger and crushed ice.” Served with pineapple chips on the side, I have to agree, the Tweedle Rum is the ultimate refresher.

So what else can we expect from them this summer? “More playful and quirky twists with the menu” – I can’t wait.

If you’re game, follow the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole to 65 Northbourne Avenue. You can also find this cute little cocktail bar on facebook and instagram.

– Bec x

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Buy Local: The Fix Cold Pressed Juice

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I have so much love for local Canberrans doing cool things. When Lucianne from the Fix, Canberra’s first cold pressed juice company, approached me to try their juice and share my thoughts, I was pretty pumped.

I met Lucianne for coffee one morning last week and was thus inducted into the world of cold pressed juice. Over a soy cap or two, Lucianne shared with me her passion for the cold pressed process, life in Canberra and travelling the world, as well as the exciting news that they are opening up a new shopfront in Fyshwick soon.

1. Define the Fix in five words.

Seasonal health in a bottle.

2. How did you get started and why?

We want to make a genuine healthy alternative available to people.

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3. Why is cold pressed the best?

Simple. No heat is ever introduced during the extraction process. There is no blending. No oxidation. No preservatives. No additives. Just juice. Nothing, but the juice. Because it stays raw, you get loads more nutrients. Up to 6 times more!

4. What does buying local mean to you?

There is certainly a growing trend of buying local in Canberra. We love that! When you buy local you get a superior product. You can hold the maker accountable. You get better customer support and finally, you support your local economy. Overall, when you buy local, you are making a decision to invest in your local community, into people you see face to face. I think that is special.

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5. What do you love about living in Canberra?

Canberra is not like other cities. It is more like a big village. Everyone is connected and happy to lend a hand. A community of people with a growing entrepreneurial spirit.

6. What was the last place you travelled? Describe it in three words.

Micronesia – Tropical hidden paradise.

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Lucianne and her partner in life and in business, Jovan, have carved out their own piece of juice heaven in the local Canberra market. I’m most excited for the upcoming opening of their new shopfront in Fyshwick. You can follow the Fix on facebook and instagram for updates.

After my soy cap date with Lucianne, I came home with a box of the new summer range, ready to get my Fix and get my tastebuds around some of their unusual flavour combinations – tomato, watermelon and strawberry, anyone?

I spent my weekend taking photos of their cute new packaging and slurping down all of the juices. After all those vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, I literally bounced out of bed this morning.

Overall, the seven juices in the summer range are pretty flippin’ delicious. I particularly love that being a seasonal range, the produce is local, fresh and their fruit and veg combinations are pretty inventive – I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had rockmelon in a juice before.

Here is what I thought:

Grow – filtered water, cashews, almonds, mixed berries, agave

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This cashew almond milky goodness is one of my faves. Grow is just the right amount of sweet and the perfect balance of nutty. It is the perfect juice for a mid-week breakfast on the run, a late weekend morning lazing about in bed or even a little sweet treat for after dinner.

Glow – valencia oranges, carrots, lime, turmeric, ginger

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This little number is all about healthy glowing skin and is my pick of the summer range. Glow is sweet, bitter and a little bit spicy all at the same time. I can see myself starting every day with a little pick me up in the form of this juice.

Energise – rockmelon, beetroot, cucumber, zucchini

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Energise is my new workout friend. This dark purple juice is rich and earthy, but still surprisingly light and refreshing. I could easily smash one of these before a sweaty summer gym sesh or sip it slowly by the pool after an early morning run.

Elevate – tomato, watermelon, strawberry

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Elevate is a juice that just screams health. It is both sweet and savoury at the same time, with an unusual but yet completely addictive flavour. I drank the entire juice in about 5 seconds flat and found myself slurping an empty bottle in the hope a little extra might appear.

Optimise – filtered water, pineapple, lemon, ginger, cayenne pepper

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Just like the bright yellow colour suggests, this juice is light, refreshing and oh so zesty. It starts off sweet and ends with a real kick in the tastebuds. Optimise is the perfect anytime, anywhere juice.

Detox – rockmelon, cucumber, zucchini, celery, romaine, parsley

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If health had a taste, this juice would be it. Detox is a dark green juice that will make your insides smile. The rockmelon gives it just the right amount of sweet, taking the edge off all those healthy greens and making it taste real good.

Hydrate – honeydew melon, cucumber, zucchini, celery

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With a hint of sweetness, Hydrate is light, refreshing and super tasty. It’s thirst quenching goodness made it the ultimate partner for an afternoon walk with my dog, Leo. We stopped for a few cuddles along the way, but Leo seemed way more interested in the delicious juice I was slurping down.

The Fix juice range is available for purchase online, as well as in selected dispensaries around town. Keep an eye out for their new shopfront opening soon in Fyshwick and just get your mouth around their juice. It is seriously good.

– Bec x

Note: The juice in this post was provided by the Fix. As always, all opinions are my own.

The Pigeon House Mountain Walking Trail

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Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was as chill as mine and, unlike me, you’ve managed to come to terms with the fact that it’s almost mid-way through January in the year 2015.

How did you finish off the year that was 2014? I spent a blissful last few days of the year lazing in the sun at the South Coast with family and friends. It was in a post-Christmas we-ate-too-much haze we decided to walk Pigeon House Mountain (about 30 minutes drive from Milton on the South Coast). It’s a good walk, hard but not too hard, about 5km in total and pretty steep in parts. It took us 3 hours and more than a few litres of water.

The day we went was hot and sunny, giving us the best conditions for the 360 degree views at the top. I love the feeling of getting to the top of a mountain. I don’t even mind that my legs are hurting or that I’m sweating so much that all my hair is sticking to my forehead. I just love being up so high that it’s just me and the clouds casting shadows on the treetops below.

We finished our day with a perfect late lunch at Pilgrims Vegetarian Cafe in Milton. This is my favourite place to eat on the South Coast – they make the best burgers I have ever consumed and have a killer juice menu too.

It’s a new year and I don’t normally make resolutions, but if I was to start, my two resolutions would be to climb more mountains and eat more burgers from Pilgrims.

– Bec x

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Opening Night at the James Turrell: A Retrospective

James Turrell

Photo: nga.gov.au

Last Friday night, Matt and I put on our fancy clothes and ventured out to the National Gallery of Australia for the opening night of James Turrell: A Retrospective – an exhibition where light is the medium and your mind is the playground.

I always love the NGA’s summer exhibitions, but this one is something special. Mesmerising. Playful. Moving. Turrell has a way of making light and colour touch all of your emotions at the same time.

The opening event itself was pink-themed happiness wrapped up into one evening and served to us on a platter alongside trendy slider burgers, tiny choc-top ice-creams and limitless pink cocktails. In all of which, Matt and I were more than happy to indulge.

The exhibition, however, was our main indulgence. In an almost trance-like state, we found ourselves moving through the exhibition and searching for the source of light in every piece – getting excited when we discovered how it worked and watching on as others discovered what we already had, united in our common awe of Turrell’s intricacies.

With our little white booties on, we waited patiently for our turn to walk up the stairs and venture inside one of Turrell’s works – entering into an abyss of seemingly endless colour. I could spend hours inside the Ganzfeld, watching as the colours change and blend into one another.

Words and photos just don’t cut it. My advice – discover Turrell’s magic for yourself.

The exhibition, James Turrell: A Retrospective, is open until June 8 2015.

– Bec x

Note: We scored tickets to this event thanks to Threesides Marketing.

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