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!
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.
Holidays cause you to miss some of my recent blog post on the swell Seattle magazine blog? Well, I suppose I can’t blame you too much. And, lucky for you, you can go back and read them – even the holiday ones are still fun. I promise!
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.
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
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).
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.
Hey, happy 2016! Sorry there have been few posts for the last few weeks, but I went to Italy for the holidays and wasn’t able to post due to having wine in each hand. Well, wine, pizza, cheese, and grappa. And amari. And Negronis. And pasta forks. You get it! But now I’m back with a swell and simple drink for your Friday. So easy. So delicious. Just like one wants early in January. It has two key ingredients: Woodinville Whiskey Co’s new bourbon and amaretto. If you need to use another bourbon, well, I feel sorry for you. On the amaretto, I used my homemade version (recipe below), and if you can’t use that, well, I feel sorry for you again. But it would still be a good drink I think, even with slightly different ingredients. Try it! And let me know.
2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. bourbon
1 ounce homemade amaretto
Wide orange twist, for garnish
1. Add a few good-sized nice ice cubes to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Then add the bourbon. Then the amaretto. Stir well.
2. Garnish with that orange twist. Enjoy the New Year.
A Note: To make An Enticing Amaretto (from Luscious Liqueurs) follow this recipe:
1 cup skin-on whole raw almonds
1 Tablespoon orange zest
2-1/2 cups brandy
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Using a chef’s knife, roughly cut the almonds into smallish pieces. Add them, the orange zest, and the brandy to a large glass container, one with a secure lid. Stir well. Place the container in a cool, safe, place, away from the sun. Let sit for two weeks, swirling occasionally.
2. Add the sugars and the water to the medium-sized saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil over a medium-high heat. Lower the heat a bit, keeping the mixture at a low boil for five minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the syrup completely cool in the pan. This step can be done anytime during the two weeks mentioned in step 1, as long as the syrup is refrigerated until it’s added to the liqueur.
3. Add the syrup made in step 2 and the vanilla to your secure container. Stir well. Place the container back in a cool, safe, place, away from the sun. Let sit for two more weeks, swirling at least every other day.
4. After the final two weeks, carefully strain the mix through double sheets of cheesecloth into a pitcher or other container, one that you can easily pour out of–there’s no need to spill.
5. Next, get two new sheets of cheesecloth, and strain the amaretto into bottles or jars with good lids–or one larger container. Serve either chilled or at room temperature, depending on your mood and inclination.