February 12, 2016
Hey, young lovers! Do you have your Valentine’s Day drink ready yet? If not, well, did you know you only have two more days to figure it out? Don’t fret though (you’ll get wrinkles). I have you covered, with the Lover’s Moon. It’s smooth, but has a little umph (like all us romantics), and lots of flavor. A swell choice! Trust me.
The Lover’s Moon, from Dark Spirits, Serves 2
3-1/2 ounces bourbon
3 ounces Kahana Royale Macadamia Nut Liqueur
2 ounces heavy cream
2 maraschino cherries for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, macadamia liqueur, and cream. Shake well.
2. Add a cherry to each of two cocktail glasses. Strain the mix into the glasses, making sure each gets its full share. Sure, the cherries will vanish for a minute, but like the moon, they’ll reappear.
A Note: Can’t find the luscious Kahana Royale Macadamia Nut Liqueur? You could try this with another nut-based liqueur. Nocino (the Italian green walnut liqueur) would be interesting. It’d be less sweet, but still . . . intriguing. Try it, and let me know!
February 9, 2016
I recently got to visit the Salish Sea distillery, in Lacey, WA, where they make a whole host of intriguing and delicious organic liqueurs (a couple of which I’ve written about in earlier Spiked Punch posts, one on the ginger and one on the thyme-coriander). And then I got to write an article about them, and the liqueurs, for Seattle magazine. You, if you’re someone who likes tasty things, should go read it now!
February 5, 2016
I was browsing through Crosby Gaige’s Standard Cocktail Guide (which is a smallish book, much smaller that his Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion, which I love mostest), the 4th printing from 1944, and came across a cocktail called the Boomerang. I’d seen this version before (that’s a name that has probably been used for at 67 different drinks), but it’d been a bit, and fit the What I’m Drinking bill perfectly, because the base is rye, and I had a new rye I wanted to try in a cocktail.
What rye? I can hear you asking, and I’m glad you asked. It was Spirit Works Rye, from Sonoma CA (it came in the mail, I’ll admit). Spirit Works is a “grain-to-glass” distillery, which means that grain is milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, and bottled all on site. That’s neat! The rye is a small-batch number, aged for a minimum of two years in 53-gallon, charred, new American Oak barrels. It’s a rich rye, with nice woodsy-and-baked aromas, and a little spice (nutmeg and hints of clove) on the taste mingling with vanilla and more. Very approachable and mixable.
However! This drink also has a decent helping of Swedish Punsch and Sweet Vermouth. For the latter, I wanted something special, that would deliver its own full range of flavors. Luckily, our pal Michael N had recently given us a bottle of the Martini Gran Lusso Italian vermouth, 150th anniversary edition. Now that’s a gift! It’s based on a blend of Barbera and oak-aged Moscato, with a whole host of secret botanicals. The taste is memorable, with layers of flavors, sweet on the front with just the right amount of bitter on the back end. Delicious on its own, it’s swell in drinks too. And great here with the rye and other players. Crosby would be proud.
1 ounce Spirit Works rye
3/4 ounce Martini Gran Lusso Italian vermouth
3/4 ounce Kronan Swedish Punsch
1/8 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything. Shake well.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Drink, then drink again.
January 29, 2016
It’s hard being the conquered. Stinks, even. Whether you’re Gaius Flaminius at the battle of Lago Trasimeno, or at the less-happy end after a re-org in a big company, or destroyed by a hated rival during the NFL playoffs on national TV, being in that position doesn’t tend to lead to happy days. However! The nights at least can be better when you drink the below, instead of feeling the literal whips. Maybe not much better, but a little better.
The Whip of the Conqueror, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
1 -1/2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce Fernet Branca
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Lime twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, Fernet Branca, apricot liqueur, and lime juice. Shake while longing to be the conqueror.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the twist.
January 26, 2016
I don’t know much about pulp-y early-and-mid-1900s author Horace McCoy, best known probably for a book called They Shoot Horse, Don’t They?, and a few other hits. It’s always nice to delve into a new noir-y legend though – just opens up more lovely hours of reading. I started with his shorter book, I Should Have Stayed Home, which was maybe less noir-y then the title made me think, but a really good look at Hollywood from the less-bright-lights side in the 1930s-ish time frame. It made me excited for more McCoy’s, and the below made me thirsty.
She had coffee and brandy in the living room and she poured Cointreau for me. It was sweet and pleasant. She taught me how to drink this too. She was patient and quiet and very nice. I couldn’t believe this was the same woman who had been so wild that afternoon in Mona’s bungalow, that time with Lally.
–Horace McCoy, I Should Have Stayed Home
January 22, 2016
I was recently flying into an airport (I don’t want to irritate said airport, so I’m resisting the urge to name, or to sound too complain-y), and not 25 minutes before landing, we were re-routed due to fog. It seemed strange – we were so close! But I figure the pilots and ATC folks know way, way better than I. And while I’m not really making a comparison, or saying I know better than anyone, really, but . . . you’ll let me now turn that little story into talking about the Black Fog, a drink that seems a little strange at first glance. But one which is darn tasty. Really! Trust me.
Black Fog, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
One 12-ounce can Guinness stout
1 ounce framboise
1 or 2 mint leaves, for garnish
1. Fill a pint glass almost to the top with the Guinness.
2. Slowly pour the framboise into the glass, swirling it as you pour. Garnish with a mint leaf (or two, if you’re feeling it).
A Variation: Sometimes this is mixed using the French black raspberry liqueur Chambord, but I like the slightly stronger framboise (which is usually made from regular red raspberries and has a bit more kick).
January 19, 2016
If you love the sound of my voice as much as I do (hahaha, I kid, I kid), and missed me on Seattle’s jolly Happy Hour radio right before the holidays, then you’re in luck! It’s still available for your listening pleasure – so tune in, metaphorically, to hear me on Happy Hour radio (you’ll also be able to hear about some swell local wine from the W-A), and the dulcet tones of host Christopher Chan.