Monday, 27 May 2013

Gambling & Hard Liquor
While driving around the past week, there has been a lot of news and radio talk about gambling. The discussion focuses on whether the TV networks should continue to show gambling advertisements and live odds during sporting events. Yes, right there on the screen throughout a game, gambling odds are shown. As a foreigner, I was gobsmacked (shocked) when I saw this on the TV as that wouldn't be allowed in the US. I can't imagine watching a college basketball game or pro football game and the gambling odds being shown during play. The outcry here is that tobacco advertising is banned and alcohol advertising is restricted so why is it ok for gambling to be shown? The fear is that it's causing a greater addiction to gambling and exposing children to gambling as if it's an accepted part of sports and culture. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is vowing to restrict TV advertising to scheduled breaks in play and before and after the game. This still sounds excessive to me but just my observation.......

I've been surprised by the amount of gambling facilities in Australia. There are TABs, RSLs, other gambling outlets and online betting.  Pokies (slot machines) are very popular. I remember driving through northeast Queensland, in the middle of nowhere with countless sugar cane fields, and coming upon a very small town with only a few storefronts. The lone sign in the town read 'Play pokies here!' I thought to myself, "Really...there are probably about 500 people (and 10,000 cane toads) that live here and they want to play pokies?" 

So how big IS gambling in Australia? According to Wikipedia, 'over 80% of Australian adults engage in gambling of some kind which is the highest rate of gambling in the world. There are big casinos, lottery organizations, betting on: horse racing, greyhound racing, car racing, sports, etc. In 2007-08 the states collected about $3 billion from poker machines, and $4.9 billion from all forms of gambling, accounting for 9.1% of their total revenue.' For a country of only 22 million people, this is huge. While reading further on Wikipedia and doing more research on the Web, I found some interesting facts - gamblers' winnings in Australia are not taxed since gambling is not considered a profession, it's treated as a hobby or recreational activity. The Australian government views gains from gambling activities as a result of good luck. (I like that one.) The government taxes gambling operators instead. Perhaps those US lottery winners need to move here.

What recipes go with gambling? Hard liquor, of course! Below are the recipes of some of my favourite alcoholic drinks. Not all are common cocktails down under like the Lynchburg lemonade. Anyway, I love them and hope you will try one/some at home.

(A few of my favourite) DRINKS

Kir Royale
Champagne or bubbles is huge in Australia. I remember when we first moved here and I went to pick my daughter up in the late afternoon at a new friend's house. I was offered a cup of tea or bubbles, which of course I had no idea what 'bubbles' meant beyond a bath. My friend, Lindsay, introduced me to this drink and I like the sweet fruitiness of it as I find regular champagne a bit too dry.

1) pour 2 tbls/30ml Creme de Cassis (blackcurrant liquor) in champagne flute
2) slowly add  dry white champagne
Add more or less Creme de Cassis to suit taste

Lynchburg Lemonade
I am a fan of whiskey, especially Dewars and Jack Daniels. I like to use Jack Daniels in pecan pie and it tastes good simply with some gingerale. My parents went to Lynchburg, Tennessee where Jack Daniels is distilled and came back with this recipe. It is great for a BBQ.

2 tbsp/30 ml Jack Daniels
2 tbsp/30 ml Triple Sec
4 tbsp/60 ml Sour Mix
Lemonade, Solo, Lift
maraschino cherry, lemon for garnish
1) Pour all measured alcohol in glass. Add some ice to your liking and top up with lemonade or lemon soda. Garnish with lemon and/or cherry if available.

Naked Pimms
I call this a naked Pimms as it is pretty bare bones without the usual fruit that is in the traditional recipe. I like to drink this in the summer when it is hot, I want something refreshing, and I have lemon juice on hand.

1) Take out tall glass and fill 1/2 way with ice
2) Fill 1/3 of glass with Pimms.
3) Fill 2/3 glass with ginger ale.
4) Add a squirt of lemon juice or squeeze a big slice of lemon into drink and drop lemon in glass.
Note: It tastes really good with some cucumber slices added.

Thanks to HBO's 'Sex and the City,' this cocktail is very popular and I see different variations of it on bar menus. The classic recipe is sweet and easy to drink which often leads to a dusty morning after. Lime juice is a key ingredient as it cuts down on the sweetness.

3 tbsp/45ml vodka
1 tbsp/15ml Cointreau or Triple Sec liqour
2 tsp/10ml lime juice
2 tbsp/30 ml cranberry juice

1) Add ingredients to cocktail shaker
2) Add a lot of ice, shake and and strain into cocktail glass
3) Garnish with lime if possible

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