The Perfect Margarita

Another installament in the Cocktails with George series.

We are thoroughly enjoying our time house sitting in Sanctuary Cove, more about this later, for now Cheers!

The Recipe: in a Boston shaker add

  • 15 mils (.5 oz) fresh lime juice
  • 15 mils Cointreau
  • 12 mils agave syrup
  • 60 mils silver agave tequila

shake and serve on the rocks, garnish with a lime slice (and salt if desired)


Quality Ingredients are Important!

Ever notice how some folks will knock themselves out to get the very best brands of liquor and then mix it with some of the most awful stuff.

In this edition of Drinks with George we explore some key ingredients, and of course, make some excelllent cocktails.

Recipies for cocktails mentioned or made in this video are below:

White Russian

  • 30 mL (1 oz) full cream milk
  • 30 mL (1 oz) vodka (such as Titos)
  • 30 mL (1 oz) Kahlua

Fill a rocks glass halfway with ice, and add Kahlua and Vodka. Layer cream on top by pouring it slowly over the back of a spoon so that it does not mix with the other two liquors. Add a straw to stir with, but no other garnish.


Gin and Tonic

  • 30 mL (1 oz) Gin (such as Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray or Hendrick’s)
  • 60 mL (2 oz) Tonic Water (George suggests Fever Tree Mediterranean)
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • Lime for Garnish

Fill rocks glass with ice. Add gin then tonic and a squeeze of lime. Stir gently and garnish with a lime wedge.

Moscow Mule

  • 60 mL (2 oz) of Vodka (such as Titos)
  • 30 mL (1 oz) fresh lime juice
  • Dash of simple syrup
  • 90 mL (6 oz) ginger Beer (George prefers Bundaberg)
  • Lime for garnish
  • 2 Dashes bitters (Angastora Orange)

Fill a copper cup with ice, add all ingredients. Stir gently and garnish with a lime wedge

Jack and Diet

  • 60 mL (2 oz) Black Label Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey
  • 90 mL (3 oz) diet Coca Cola

Fill rock glass with ice, add all ingredient and stir gently.

Important – never, ever garnish a Jack Daniels drink     NFL – No Freakin’ Lime!


Springbrook National Park

As our time in Australia draws to a close, we decided to take advantage of one of the many opportunities here in Queensland to do so hiking. We choose a relatively short (about 2 hours) hike that was not too difficult, rated as a Grade 3 (moderate fitness required) in Springbrook National Park.

The park is about an hour south of Brisbane and is listed as a World Heritage site. It was a spectacular hike. We chose the Twin Falls Circuit which is about 4km or 2.5 miles. As the name suggests along the way we passed two waterfalls, walked through the rainforest and got some phenomenal scenic views.

I couldn’t decide which photos to include in this post, so I just uploaded them all…

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Summer Days in Surfer’s Paradise

It’s summer on the Gold Coast and we are finding plenty to do to entertain ourselves.

Since we technically are still tourists, we decided to do one of the ultimate touristy things – we attended a staged production by the Australian Outback Spectacular called Heartland. Maybe staged is not the correct word to use, since the show was presented in a upscale indoor rodeo with arena. A combination of horses, cattle, cars, trucks, 4 wheelers, singing, dancing and amazing choreography (most of it on horseback) was sewn together with very creative use of scenery projected onto the arena via an extremely sophisticated lighting system.

The story was a familiar Australian tale: cattle ranchers in the outback struggled to hang onto their farms through a severe drought. There was a love story, comedy and a villainous banker who tried to foreclose on the ranch. We were amazed how they were able to serve a three course meal to the whole arena while the showers was taking place. And we got hats!

About 40 minutes drive from the house is the Burleigh Heads National Park. There are many walking tracks within the park itself including the Ocean View Walk around the the rocky headland; the Rainforest Circuit which takes you through the park where you can view beautiful plant and bird life. Along the way there are many places that allow access to the beach. We went on a Saturday, so the beaches and trails were busy, but everyone was friendly and we had a great hike of about 3 miles or so. The views were amazing!

On another evening, we caught a ride from friendly Uber driver Dave. We went to wander through the Night Quarter

Rows and rows of storage containers have been converted to create alleys of shops, food vendors, beer stands and live music. This is truly a locals hangout, we were among extremely few tourist at there. The food was excellent, the beer was cold and cheap and the music was energetic. Definitely worth a visit.

George’s birthday dinner was a special evening. We sat at the edge of the lagoon, at the Intercontinenal Hotel a table with fine china and while linen table cloths and our bare feet in soft white sand. Dinner was a giant seafood buffet, with oysters, crab, jumbo shrimp (they call them prawns here) and an amazing dessert bar. Our waitress Kelsie made sure that our glasses stayed full of champagne and then red or white wine which flowed freely throughout the night. All in all, a delightful experience at a very reasonable price of for an “all you can eat (and drink)” meal In an ideal setting.


A Cocktail For Queensland

The idealic setting of the Gold Coast in Australia inspired a new cocktail called “Santuary Cove”.


  • 1 oz (30 ml) white rum
  • 1/2 oz light agave syrup
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz Champagne or Prosecco

Add ice, lime, agave syrup,and rum to a Boston shaker. Shake, break and strain into a martini glass. 

Top with champagne, garnish with a lime wheel, enjoy with friends!


The Australia Zoo

Steve Irwin has been gone since 1996 when he was stung through the heart by the barb of a stingray tail. Ironically he was working on a film called “Ocean’s Deadliest”. But 23 years have done little to fade the memories of his exploits in global television shows such as the crocodile hunter.

In 1970 Steve started working with reptiles at his parents nature preserve in Northern Queensland, at 10 he wrestled his first crocodile while his father looked on. Later Steve married an American from Oregon (Teri) and together tho two launched a film series aimed at raising consciousness about wildlife conservation and raising money to expand the preserve his parents had started.

Today that preserve is the Australia Zoo and has more than 1,000 acres and is owned by Teri Irwin the family. Yesterday we drove two hours north to the Zoo and had an amazing day.




Mango Daiquiris

Cocktails from around the world…

We have divided this recipe into two sections:

1. How to cut up a mango
2. Making the perfect mango daiquiri.

The Recipe:

  • 3 oz white rum
  • 1 1/2 cops frozen mango chunks
  • juice of 1 and 1/2 limes
  •    Reserve other half for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons full of white caster sugar
  • splash of dark rum for the float

Add all ingredients (except dark rum) to the blender and on high until smooth.

Pour into 2 talll glasses. Garnish with lime wedge and float with dark rum.



A Day in the Life – Housesitting in Australia

Are you wondering what we do all day? Before we got here I had a vague idea of how we would fill our days. Now that it’s a reality we thought we’d let you know how we manage to fill all our time now that we “don’t have anything to do”.

We generally wake up pretty early (the sun rises a round 4:45AM here). The very first thing we do when we  actually get up is take the dogs for a walk. Cuddles generally leads and Honey straggles along behind. We walk into the “village” and back – about a mile and a half round trip. 

After our morning constitutional we have a light brekky (Aussie for breakfast, in case you couldn’t figure that one out), read or listen to the news of the day and contemplate what to do next.

Some days I go for a swim in the pool and George works out on the exercise equipment at the house, yesterday we started canoeing on the canals behind the house. Afterward we shower and get ready for the rest of the day. 

Most days we drive the golf cart to the grocery to buy dinner for the evening, check the mail and just cruise around to see what’s going on “in town”.  

On days we need to run a little further than the 2 miles to the grocery, we’ll take the car. It generally takes both of us paying attention to ensure we’re on the “right” side of the road all the time (although as we get used to driving on the left, it is getting easier). 

The afternoons drift by quickly between practicing guitar/mando or an afternoon nap and before we know it it’s cocktail hour and time to take the dogs for their shorter, evening walk. 


G’Day from Australia

For the next six weeks are house sitting for friends who have an amazing home on the Gold Coast in a city called Surfer’s Paradise. We don’t surf, but they got the paradise part correct.

Our task is to look after the house and it’s occupants: Honey, Cuddles and Shine (the cat). 

We settled in quickly, although it did take a while for us to get used to having the sun come up at 4:45am. After all, ‘if the sun is up, you should be too”.

Local transport around the village of Sanctuary Bay is mostly done by golf cart, although we have had need to take the car to a couple of places. Driving on the other side of the road came back quickly, as we have lived in Australia, England, and Ireland and have had to drive on the left before.

Yesterday we saw kangaroos for the first time this trip. They were standing on one of the local golf courses observing the game. We are told since this is a sanctuary, the wildlife always gets to “play through”.

The house sits on one of the canals that criss cross this area. We will be exploring them, first by canoe and then later via jet ski. But first we have to get licensed to ride the jet ski. If we get caught riding without the certificate, our house (the owner of the jet ski) will get fined. 

We will be here for six weeks, so it is sure we will have lots to share.



A note on visiting Australia – Americans do need a visa. It is not hard or expensive to get, you can do it online (it takes about 15 minutes), just make sure you do it before you travel.

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