November 19, 2019

Cocktail Talk: So Rich, So Lovely, and So Dead

so-rich-so-lovely-so-deadMy Scott-Jordan-ing re-reading continues (see the Tall, Dark and Deadly post below for more on this lawyer-ing hero from the 1950s pockets-and-pulps) in nearly as fast a manner as Jordan gets in scraps, woos the ladies, sips the drinks, slings the punches and the smart remarks, and solves the murders. In this one, he’s about to provide some lawyer-ing help to a rather wealthy young lady/heiress, one with an artistic bent and a penchant for headlines and bad marriages, when she turns up murdered. Oops! The tag here is “How the other half dies” dontcha know. It’s a swell read (so much so that I’ve had a So Rich, So Lovely, and So Dead Cocktail Talk already), moves quicks, turns and twists, and stop for drinks at the right spots, and, perhaps the only time I’ve seen this in an American book from the 50s, likes grappa. You can see why these books are worth re-reading.

 

We were in the mood for Italian food and I knew just the right place on Thompson Street in the Village. It was unpretentious and seldom crowded, but the cooking was superlative and the house wine fair. Between courses we read the paper.

“Anything special we’re looking for?” Susan wanted to know.

“Just keep your eyes peeled for news about any of the principals in the case.”

We kept at it after espresso and a shot of grappa.

 

 

— Harold Q. Masur, So Rich, So Lovely, and So Dead

November 15, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Fall Frolic

It’s still fall (though mean ol’ winter is coming on quickly), and fall means to most good people a glorious time to sip ciders, and to most even good-er people, cider cocktails. Cider, cider cocktails, and fall go together like candles in pumpkins, hands in gloves, and kisses in hayracks (well, maybe that should be “on” hayracks but I didn’t want to mess up the line). And WA – where I am lucky enough to reside – has amazing cider, thanks to us having amazing fruit! And amazing cider makers! Who are always making new tantalizing ciders, like Locust Cider’s current seasonal, Dark Maple, which adds maple syrup and brown sugar to an all-WA apple mix, turning into a fall delight. Which then, I added to a few more local heroes, including Woodinville Whiskey Co.’s award-winning bourbon and it’s caramel, spice, swellness, Salish Sea’s memorable and singular maple-icious Maple liqueur, and Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters, full of bakery chocolate and spice. Voila! I’ve made make the end of your fall fantastic. Thank me later. And if you can’t get all the ingredients where you are, then let me assure you, WA is a wonderful place to visit this time of year, so come on out.

fall-frolic

The Fall Frolic

 

1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey bourbon

3/4 ounces Salish Sea Maple liqueur

2 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters

Ice cubes

7 ounces Locust Cider’s Dark Maple cider

 

1. Add the bourbon, liqueur, and bitters to a mixing glass. Stir well.

 

2. Fill a pint glass halfway full with ice cubes. Strain the above into the glass.

 

3. Fill the glass nearly to the top with the cider. Stir well – but carefully. You don’t want to spill a drop!

 

November 12, 2019

Cocktail Talk: Tall, Dark and Deadly

tall,dark,deadlyYou know those days when you wake up and think, “you know, I really want to get into an adventure in NYC with a 1950s lawyer who likes his drinks, knows the best bars, also knows the law quite well, is a bit pugnacious while also flirty, and seems to be surrounded by murders,” those kinds of days? You know them? I had one recently, and so of course set myself up with a big dose of books by Hal Masur (aka Harold Q Masur), starring Scott Jordan, the pocket-book-y-est lawyer in the land! I’ve had a fair amount of Hal M. Cocktail Talks, including one from Tall, Dark and Deadly, a sort-of mid-career Jordan rollicker, with a divorce, double talk, drinks, and the tagline “Divorce is messy. Murder is messier.” Indeed! And the below quote, perhaps the only book with the Saratoga cocktail – though a version different then some I’ve seen. Sounds intriguing? Check it out:

 

String instruments only in the orchestra, no brass, Hazel created a mild stir from the male contingent as we followed the major dee to a corner table. He hovered solicitously, pad ready in his hand.

“Saratoga cocktail,” Hazel told him.

I looked at her curiously. “What’s that?”

“Brandy, bitters, maraschino, and pineapple.”

 

Tall, Dark and Deadly, Hal Masur

November 8, 2019

What I’m Drinking: Oh Sherry, Take 37

I have to imagine there are many sherry cocktails called “Oh Sherry” – I myself have an article about sherries called that. It’s such a musical name, and takes you on a journey (haha, I couldn’t resist), much like that breathless moment when a non-sherry drinker has good sherry, or a good sherry cocktail for the first time. To set this particular sherry cocktail apart, though, I’ve added Take 37 to the name. Why 37? I just felt like it! What also sets this particular sherry cocktail apart is Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Medium sherry.

With a citrus and cinnamon spice overlaying a lovely nuttiness, all with a smooth crispness accented when chilled, this sherry is nice on its own (don’t forget the chilling), but plays particularly well with others in cocktails, too. It also delivers a solid history, as Williams & Humbert has been making sherries and brandy for more than 140 years. What to mix with it on a late fall day? I wanted to keep things light – one of the many bonuses with sherry is that due to low abv-ing, you can use it as a base and have more than one without toppling. Bringing vermouth into play as our second ingredient doesn’t throw that equation off either, and here I went with Priorat Natur Vermut (or vermouth) an earthy Spanish vermouth, with citrus, almond, floral, and spice accents, and just a hint of bitter.

To our two Spanish pals, I also brought an island favorite, with even more citrus and a hint of sweet, Pierre Ferrand Orange curaçao, a wonderful addition to many cocktails and bar shelves. The final component, Fee Brothers Peach bitters, here bring into a slightly different fruit note, and a little more depth while still adhering to the overall light mood. You’ll sing this drink’s, and sherry’s, praises after one sip.

oh-sherry-take-37Oh Sherry, Take 37

 

Cracked ice

1-1/2 ounces Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Medium sherry

1 ounce Priorat Natur Vermut

1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand Orange curaçao

Dash Fee Brothers Peach bitters

Lemon twist, for garnish

Mint spring, for garnish (optional – but I’d suggest it)

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass three quarters up with cracked ice. Add everything but the garnishes. Stir well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist, and, perhaps, a mint spring. I went just with lemon on my first drink, but added mint to the second and it was a treat.

November 5, 2019

Seattle Magazine Cocktail Catch Up

taglioWhat’s that I hear? It’s the sound of shakers and glasses and sipping oh my, all from pieces written by me for the mightily mighty Seattle magazine. While I know you (yes you) have probably read most of these already, I know it’s rather busy, what with the hustling and bustling, so just on the off chance, check out the below:

 

 

 

October 25, 2019

What I’m Drinking: All the Devils

Hey pals, Halloween is just around the corner of the calendar! It’s the eeriest (in the fun way) time of the year, and leads to lots of costume and generally spookily jolly parties, at which of course if the host or hostess is one with the mostess, they’ll have a cocktail or two that matches the holiday – in fun and in mood – a cocktail like this devilish delight. It starts with a classic cocktail mixer, Bacardí Superior white rum. Sometimes, sadly, in our modern world of many choices, people forget just how good this white rum is in cocktails – it’s light, dry, and flavorful with vanilla and nutty notes, without overwhelming. Yummy, really. And fun, as demonstrated by a special bottle they’re releasing for Halloween, one with a glow-in-the dark jack-o-lantern on it! I was ghoulishly lucky enough to receive one in the mail recently (don’t pull any tricks on me because of it), and I just had to come up with a cocktail featuring it: All the Devils is that cocktail!

 

To go along with the legendary and scarily garbed rum, I brought in a few other uncannily delightful additions, starting with one made right here in WA: Brovo’s Orange Curaçao, made from three types of dried orange peel, and carrying a layered orange-ness. Then, to deliver a hint of ghostly-good zing (it is a devilish drink), spicy Ancho Reyes ancho chile liqueur knocks at the door. And then, for some underling un-nerving (in the best way) herbal hints, Regan’s Orange bitters. Altogether, a cocktail that’s not scary at all – but one that is scary good for your Halloween-ing.

all-the-devils

All the Devils

 

Cracked ice

2-1/4 ounces Bacardi Superior rum

1/2 ounce Brovo Orange Curaçao

1/2 ounce Ancho Reyes

Dash Regan’s orange bitters

Lime twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything but the twist. Stir well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the twist. And a small skull or pumpkin if you want.

October 22, 2019

Cocktail Talk: The Three Clerks

Image result for trollope the three clerksOkay, let me admit something right up front: this quote from Anthony Trollope’s perhaps lesser-known The Three Clerks has been featured on this blog long, long ago. But I’ve been daydreaming about Spring (not so surprising and we role into deep fall and then into winter), and when I do that, I start to daydream about Mint Juleps, which all reminds me of this quote, which I am now bringing to you, just in case you’re thinking of Mint Juleps, too.

 

One man had on an almost new brown frock coat with a black velvet collar, and white trousers. Two had blue swallow-tailed coats with brass buttons; and a fourth, a dashing young lawyer’s clerk from Clement’s Inn, was absolutely stirring a mixture, which he called a Mint Julep, with a yellow kid glove dangling out of his hand.

 

The Three Clerks, Anthony Trollope

October 18, 2019

What I’m Drinking: Simian Seriously

Let’s start with the title inspiration here, and the base of this drink that you’ll want to make all your drink-loving pals, cause it’s serious only in how seriously anyone who has it will love it (the drink, as well as the base), that base being Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin. If you haven’t had this gin (what’s up with you?), it brings a lovely smooth juniper-ness swirling on the tongue with citrus, spice, pepper, botanicals, and berries accents on all sides. Also, their website is so darn cool, in an old-timey newspaper style (the Monkey Drum is the name), with articles, information, recipes, neat-o images, and more (they also do a magazine where some of this is available). It is so cool and well done I almost want to see if I can work there. And that level of care of course is also what drives the gin! It’s a gin that needs to shine, and it certainly does so here, in this (as you’ll see!) Martini-esque beaut.

 

Of course, with a good base, you’ll also want some good other players, and here we have two Washington-state numbers that if you haven’t had, you’ll want to track down. First, Brovo’s Pretty vermouth. A blanc style vermouth, Pretty is, well, pretty, and pretty darn good, with a Pinot Gris wine base and spice, floral, and lemon notes. Then, I added perhaps my favorite ingredient of the year so far, Scrappy’s Black Lemon bitters, which has a unique earthy lemon-ness. Buy why am I still typing – let’s get to this cocktail.

simian-surpriseSimian Seriously

 

Cracked ice

2-1/4 ounces Monkey 47 gin

3/4 ounce Brovo Pretty vermouth

2 dashes Scrappy’s Black Lemon bitters

Lemon twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything but the twist. Stir well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the lemon. Be serious (about enjoying the drink, not about things in general, that is).

Rathbun on Film