July 22, 2016
Sometimes, it’s good to keep things simple, tall, refreshing, and the lesser-known cousin of a better-known drink. At least that’s what I’m doing today. Because hey, I’m a simple person, at heart. And that’s why I’m keeping this short. No long speeches today, or talks about this booze or that booze, this writer or that writer, this awful person or that awful person that leads me to really desiring a tall, simple, refreshing drink on a Friday. Oh no, none of that. You feel the same way? Mix this up, friend, and think of me, and your favorite Mike. Mine is, um, Mike Caine (if that isn’t too informal). Here’s to you, Mike!
2 ounces Irish whiskey
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Chilled club soda
Lemon slice for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the whiskey, juice, and simple syrup. Shake well.
2. Fill a Collins glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mix over the ice. Fill almost to the top with chilly club soda. Garnish with the lemon slice (stirring briefly if you want Mike mixed more).
July 19, 2016
I’ve had a few Cocktail Talks from the Inspector Chen series by Qiu Xiaolong – if you haven’t seen them, well, you probably want to go check them out. In the same way, if you haven’t read the Chief Inspector Chen books, then you should check them out too, as they’re not only good mysteries, but great portraits of a China going through huge changes from the 90s on a bit. They’re also packed with poetry (Chen’s a poet, too), and an incredible array of food (he’s a gourmet as well). Good stuff. I’ve recently been re-reading the lot of them, in order. Right now, I’m in the middle of The Mao Case, and came across a poem written by the Chief Inspector himself (if I can get a little meta), part of which I thought would make a good Cocktail Talk:
The fragrance of jasmine in your hair
and then in my teacup, that evening,
when you thought me drunk, an orange
pinwheel turning at the rice paper window.
– Qiu Xiaolong, The Mao Case
July 15, 2016
Here’s an oldie (by that I mean, not very old at all, but one that has been on the blog before, which may make some run in horror, but really, those folks probably aren’t all that cool, anyway, which means run away, by all means, while the rest of us sit here drinking it up, and laughing at your antics), but a nice goodie of a refreshing and classy number. It’s hip, too, as it feature rosé, which seems to be the star of this year’s summer, in a number of ways (meaning, everyone’s talking about it). A good summer to be rosé, especially the sparkling version of rosé in this drink, as it gets to play which such a fine array of summertime stalwarts: rum, lime, ginger. Together, they manage to deliver the yumminess and the chic-ness, without any of the sometime accompanying annoying-ness. Try it, and see.
The Tropicaliana, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
1 ounce white rum
1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Chilled rosé sparkling wine
Lime slice, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, lime juice, ginger liqueur, and simple syrup. Shake well.
2. Strain the mix into a flute. Top with the rosé sparkling wine. Garnish with that lime slice.
July 12, 2016
Hello! I’ve been having lots of fun recently writing about booze, bars, and bumbling about for the Seattle magazine lately, and, well, cause I care about you (I do, really), and know you’re busy, what with the busy things, I figured I’d list out a few of the Seattle magazine things done in the near-ish past, so you can catch up. See, I do care. Read the below to see how much:
• Prohibition Drink Picks for the New Smith Tower Bar
• 3 First Impressions of Gracia
• Upcoming Festivals, Distillery News, and Ultimate Bartending
• 3 First Impressions of the No Bones Beach Club
• 3 First Impressions of Meet the Moon
• Oliver’s 40th and Local Distillers Win Big
*See all Seattle magazine pieces by me
July 8, 2016
Summer seems somehow a swell season for sherry drinks. Lighter, refreshing, sherry won’t weigh you down when the Mercury’s risen. And the Greenbrier (which isn’t the cocktail below, by the by) is one of a handful of elder sherry drinks, in that it shows up in a number of older classic cocktail tomes. It’s a fairly tasty mix, too, with dry vermouth, sherry (duh), and, interestingly, peach bitters, oh, and mint, too. Very summery, right? But for some reason I wanted to try a twist (probably because my dry vermouth and blanc vermouth bottles are right next to each other) on the formula, and changed the vermouth from dry to blanc. Super, duper, choice, if I can be so bold. A tiny bit brighter, and bit, oh, rounder in a way, due to the sweeter (but not sweet) nature of the blanc. Lovely. Do it.
Of course, before the super-duper-ing, you gotta pick the right sherry. I went with Tio Pepe Fino sherry (which, lucky me, arrived in the mail). Fino sherries are lowish in alcohol, light, crisp, and meant to be served cool and kept cool (and best to consume fairly soon after opening, like a light white wine). Tio Pepe’s version is made from the Palomino grape, and is nice and dry with a golden color and a little nutty-ness. It mingles here with the blanc vermouth as if they were cousins (hmm, I suppose they are, in a way), as well as playing nice with the bitters and mingling on the nose with the mint. A swell summer sipper indeed.
2 ounces Tio Pepe Fino sherry
1 ounce Dolin Blanc vermouth
1 dash Fee Brothers peach bitters
Mint sprig, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything but the mint. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with that mint.
July 5, 2016
Recently had a chance to ask some awesome (well, that list is super-duper long – I love me some shakers here, but all these folks happened to be both neat and within recent earshot) Seattle bartenders about what they think re: summer drinks and drinking, with a whole ton of suggestions, all rounded up in a mighty Seattle magazine summer drinking interview post, which you, being someone who likes to drink in summer I’m guessing, should read right now.
July 1, 2016
This refreshing relative of the Diablo cocktail is sure to become a summertime favorite, whether you’re wearing your 10-gallon hat and chaps (and maybe little else – it is summer after all, and very sweltering) or normal attire. It uses one of the new Stolen Fruit cocktail mixers, which I surely hope are available in your town (if not, complain to the mayor). Not a “cocktail mixer” in the yucky, pre-made un-natural way, but instead, grape-based, and more just a mixer in really-good-thing-you-add-to-booze way. What happens is, they use the fresh-pressed juice from green grapes (which is called verjus, if you’re feeling fancy), combined with other natural flavors, to make mystical (why not?) liquids, which can be added in with spirits and liqueurs and such to make cocktails and highballs and more, oh my, or just added to soda water or other juices to make fine non-boozy beverages.
So, I recently received a few to try out (I know – I’m lucky!), and made this very drink with the Hibiscus Grenache Stolen Fruit mixer, which is not only perhaps the most poetic (the word “hibiscus” is really poetic, me thinks), but which also boasts a berry, zingy, and tiny bit spicy flavor that to me screamed out tequila! Tequila! Tequila! As that’s another summer favorite around these parts, the combo felt right. And you know what? It was! Try the below, and make your summer not only more bubbly, but just plain better.
2 ounces Reposado tequila (I went with Corralejo Reposado, and it was great)
1-1/2 ounces Stolen Fruit Hibiscus Grenache
4 ounces ginger beer (I used Q ginger beer, and it spiced right)
Lime wedge, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the tequila and the stolen fruit. Shake well.
2. Fill a highball glass (preferably one shaped like a boot) three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix from step 1 into the glass.
3. Top with the ginger beer. Stir well. Garnish with that lime.
June 28, 2016
Hello G&T lovers! It seems this summer stalwart is having yet another moment in the sun, as every bar and their bar’s mom are talking about how they have the finest types of gin mixed with the finest types of tonics and more variations than you could count. However! One of the actually finest G&T programs is at Seattle’s fresh Naka (the bar, not the restaurant, which is also fresh, and really, they’re connected, so who’s pulling hairs? Not me), where I recently went, had their newest G&T, talked to energetic and awesome bar star Nic Virrey, and then wrote about it in a Seattle magazine article you should read right now. Thank me later!
*See all Seattle magazine pieces by me