October 2, 2015
A couple years back as many know, my wife and I loaded up the dogs and we moved to Italy. It was great (of course), and if you want to know more, go to my Italy blog and start at the beginning. But when moving back, I needed a drink to take the sadness down a little, a drink that brought me back while reminding me of the Italian hours. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to see the Seattle pals and sights and bars I also love. But hey, sometimes coming back is hard, and you need the right drink to accompany it. And this is that drink! Why am I having it again today? Well, October 2nd was the very day we flew out to start our adventure, those years ago.
Welcome Back, Weary Traveler
2-1/2 ounces bourbon (I used the new Woodinville Whiskey Co. Straight bourbon)
1/2 ounce Luxardo Maraschino
1/4 ounce Fernet Branca
Orange twist, for garnish (I like a wider orange twist here)
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ie.
2. Add the bourbon, maraschino, and Fernet Branca. Stir well.
3. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the twist and drink as happily as you can manage.
September 25, 2015
I am very sorry, dear readers, for what’s to come in the next few sentences. The kids these days call it “venting,” and I shouldn’t do it here, but we’re all in this together, and trust me, the payoff is good. So, tally ho! To all those who feel that they need to have early morning work meetings where they can be totally self-centered, churlish, idiotic, preening, demanding, aggressive, annoying, smelly, rude, obnoxious, piggish, full of sophomoric one-up-manship, self-absorbed, beastly, un-jovial, un-jolly, un-jiggy-with-it, grabby, grandstanding, stinky, vainglorious, un-fun, stoopid and stupid, pompous, jealous, vindictive, douche-y, territorial at a level way beyond petty, pushy, primpy, powermad, and just plain fatheaded, to all y’all that fit that – please, just let me know far, far, in advance when you’re scheduling your morning meetings, so I can make a Morning Call, or two, and thereby just ignore your sorry ass.
The Morning Call, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
1-1/2 ounces absinthe
3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the absinthe, maraschino, and lemon juice. Stir well, and hang up the phone.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass.
PS: Sorry about the rant. But the drink is worth it, one hopes.
September 22, 2015
I know, it’s September. That doesn’t mean it’s cold yet. But, but, but, I can feel the cold in the mornings when I walk the best dogs in the world around one of the best blocks in the world, feel that cold behind my ears, people! Which means I want to warm up a bit, and one of the good ways is with some rums from Washington State! Don’t believe me? Read this rummy piece I wrote for the sweet Seattle magazine, called 6 Washington Rums that Bring the Beach to You. Really, you should drink some rum while reading. Though you haven’t read it yet, so you may not know which rums to drink? Hmm, this is a conundrum. I may have to have more rum to think it over.
September 18, 2015
The other day, some whippersnapper said something like “but you’d don’t like Martinis, do you?” If I wasn’t a gentleman of the old school, I would have shown them the back of my hand, all close up like. I may not have Martinis that often, but of course I love them (when made right and all that)! Martinis are lovable. Since I don’t have them super regularly though, I try to make my Martini-ing a memorable affair. When at home, that means I use a gin that’s really going to bring some personality. Today, that’s Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin, which is bursting with a host of flavors: juniper, spice, botanical, berry, monkey. You can read more about it in this post on The Lord Suffolk (a worthy drink). But let it be said that when connected amiably with Dolin dry vermouth and a lemon (I’m a lemon guy, like all right-thinking people), that’s a memorable Martini, friends. And I loved it. You should try the same, and if any silly person has the temerity afterwards to intimate that you don’t like Martinis, punch ‘em in the snoot.
2-1/2 ounces Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
1/2 ounce Dolin dry vermouth
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin and vermouth. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist.
September 15, 2015
Recently, as anyone on the street would be happy to tell you (though, perhaps, talking to people on the street isn’t your cuppa, and for that matter, maybe not always a good idea, you know), I’ve had a fair amount of Cocktail Talk posts featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy Sayers’s nearly-a-duke detective. Because of that, I’m not going to say any more about him, or her, cause you could just click that link in the last sentence, go read the past posts, and only lose say, .5 calories in the clicking. Whereas if I went into it all again, I’d wear my fingers to the bone. To the bone, I tell you.
Wait, where was I? Oh, right, Strong Poison, where Lord Peter falls in love with a woman (an author, which is what did it – everyone loves authors) who’s been convicted of murder. And he of course has to get her off the dock and into freedom so they can enter the world of bliss known as matrimony. Sweet stuff, outside of the poison. Best of all, there’s a scene with Martell brandy, which I’ll detail in the below quote:
Well, then I see he wasn’t drunk, so I mixed him a double Martell with just a splash of soda and he gulps it down, and says, ‘That’s better.’ And the other gentleman puts his arm round him and helps him to a seat. There was a good many other people in the bar, but they didn’t notice much, being full of the racing news.
–Dorothy Sayers, Strong Poison
September 11, 2015
There are nights when inspiration hits like lightening, or like a very fast snake on the prowl, or like bowling ball dropped off a tall, tall building. On nights like that, you, if you’re like me, realize that if you subbed Ancho Reyes (the ancho chile liqueur, which I go much deeper into in the recipe for the Summer Near Puebla, if you missed it) for sweet vermouth in a Bobby Burns, you’d have a drink of genius. Of genius! Especially if you perhaps twisted the proportions just a little, and then added a dash of Peychaud’s bitters, and served it over a giant piece of ice. Double genius! Don’t believe me? Try the below recipe, as you watch for lightening, snakes, and falling bowling balls. After one sip, you’ll realize how lucky you are and forget all the rest of that stuff.
Oh, one thing. I used Speyburn 10 year old Scotch here. Its slight fruitiness and balance and friendliness make it a good match. It’s also not super expensive, so you won’t feel bad mixing it up with other powerful personalities.
The Bowling Roberto
1-1/2 ounces Speyburn 10 Year Scotch
1/2 ounce Ancho Reyes ancho chile liqueur
1/2 ounce Bénédictine
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Big ice cubes (or a couple sorta big ice cubes)
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full of cracked ice. Add everything but the second piece of ice. Stir well.
2. Add a big piece of ice to an Old Fashioned or such glass. Strain the mix over the ice.
September 4, 2015
So, it’s September I suppose, and like the very earth itself I can sense the approaching Fall in my bones, and in my drinks too – though admittedly, I’m still leaning in those drinks towards summer-ish mixers. But the drinks know the weather is changing! And the drinks themselves are changing, with new ingredients showing up on my shelves (which are sturdy, I must say). A recent addition which I’d been pining for, and which is now almost in need of restocking, is Ancho Reyes. A lovely, perhaps the lovely, chile liqueur, made of course from Ancho chilies. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying it, I can hear you, in my mind, muttering to yourself about how most spice-ily flavored booze-y items are either just freaky hot or taste like chemical fire. Hold on to your chairs, though – Ancho Reyes is different. Full-bodied, rich, holding an underlying spice that isn’t bite-y, but flavorful, with cinnamon, chocolate, fruit, and herbs mingling with the chili, Ancho Reyes is to be savored, solo or in cocktails.
And savoring it is what we’ve been doing, here at the home bar, as the weather begins to think about changing. I’ve made a number of cocktails with it, but Summer Near Puebla, the cocktail below, is ideal for this time of year – still refreshing in a summer way, but with enough flavor and umph to fortify you for the following fall and winter-y months. And the taste! I am going to be a little obvious here (I mean, Ancho Reyes is made in Puebla, Mexico, from local chilies, in a handcrafted manner that’s rather swell, and award-winning Vida Mezcal, another key ingredient here, is from San Luis del Rio), but this drink goes awfully well with Mexican food. Or by itself, as you soak in some of that sunshine while you can.
Summer Near Puebla
2 ounces Vida Mezcal
1-1/2 ounces Ancho Reyes
1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
2 ounces chilled club soda
Lime wedge, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker up halfway with ice cubes. Add the mezcal, Ancho Reyes, curaçao, and lime juice. Shake well.
2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters up with cracked ice. Strain the mix into the glass.
3. Top it off with the club soda. Stir briefly. Garnish with a lime wedge.