Recipe: Macadamia Brittle from The Book of Vermouth »

A perfect side to the cocktail Summer's Funeral, or enjoy it on its own

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<i>The Book of Vermouth</i> by Shaun Byrne and Gilles Lapalus

The Book of Vermouth by Shaun Byrne and Gilles Lapalus [©Hardie-Grant]

Summer's Funeral, Book of Vermouth


Bartender Shaun Byrne and winemaker Giles Lapalus have combined to present The Book of Vermouth  – a complete guide to this often misunderstood drink.

Vermouth is the base of many cocktails including the classic Martini, yet few realise its breadth of uses, history and process.

How vermouth is made with its essential ingredients – the grape varieties, botanicals and the key ingredient, wormwood – is all covered along with its long history, including in Australia. 

Of course there are the all important recipes for to showcase vermouth, 100 of them in fact (or you can drink it neat). The recipe for Summer's Funeral cocktail calls for a delicious little taster on the side, Macadamia Brittle. Of course, the cocktail isn't mandatory with the brittle but you know what they say about food and wine drawing the best out of each other...

Shaun Byrne writes:

Summer's Funeral was the first Maidenii cocktail, written way back in 2012.

Maidenii Classic vermouth works really well with the autumnal flavours of pomegranate and apple. Be sure to invest in real grenadine rather than red sugar syrup and, while the brittle isn’t mandatory, it certainly is delightful to nibble on while drinking this cocktail on a chilly autumn evening.

Macadamia Brittle

The first cocktail I developed with Maidenii after its launch was Summer’s Funeral (see link above). We served it at Gin Palace with this brittle on the side.

It goes really well with the cocktail, but is equally good on its own, perhaps served after dinner with something sweet. Chinato, anyone?

Ingredients for 1.2–1.5kg (2lb 10oz–3lb 5oz )

  • 150 g (5½ oz) salted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 300 g (10½ oz) macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 250 ml (8½ floz) Maidenii Classic vermouth
  • 250 ml (8½ floz) cloudy apple juice


Grease a baking tray and spread the chopped nuts on top.

Combine the sugar, vermouth and apple juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat.

Boil for 15 minutes, without stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Brush any sugar crystals from the side of the pan into the caramel with a pastry brush.

Once the caramel turns a deep golden colour, quickly whisk in the butter and carefully pour the mixture over the macadamia nuts.

Leave to set at room temperature for 3 hours before eating (if you can wait that long).

About macadamias (Macadamia Integriflora, M. tetraphylla)

The world’s first cultivated macadamia, Macadamia integrifolia, still grows in the City Botanic Gardens in Brisbane. It was planted in 1858 by Walter Hill, superintendent of the gardens, a year after Ferdinand von Mueller described this plant, named in honour of a chemist from Melbourne, John Macadam.

Yet, despite this, and despite it being harvested and eaten by Indigenous communities in south-east Queensland, macadamia was commercialised first in Hawaii, in 1882. Australian production only began in 1963.

Macadamia integrifolia has leaves in whorls of three while the other species grown commercially for nut production, Macadamia tetraphylla, has leaves in groups of four.

Perhaps the most well-known and widely-exported Australian native plant, there are significant plantations of macadamia in Hawaii and South Africa, as well as various parts of Australia.

My first experience with macadamias in booze was when my friend Andrew Marks launched the Melbourne Gin Company. The use of macadamia in distilling works similarly to almonds, by giving softness and texture to the distillate. And boy does it give great texture! Pick up a bottle of Melbourne Gin Company gin and try it for yourself.

Macadamias can also be substituted for almonds in the production of orgeat, a staple cocktail syrup usually made with almonds.

Read more about The Book of Vermouth here »

See links below for more recipes.

This extract from The Book of Vermouth by Shaun Byrne and Giles Lapalus is reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher.

The Book of Vermouth by Shaun Byrne and Giles Lapalusis published by Hardie Grant Books (Melb, Vic; Jul 2018; Hb; 208pp RRP A$39.99). It is available at good bookshops and can be purchased online via »

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November 15th, 2018
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