July 22, 2014

Seattle Magazine Cocktail Catch Up

Hello – it’s summertime, which means it’s the perfect time to sit on down with the old computer in one hand and a drink in the other and spend some time browsing some of my recent Seattle magazine posts you might have missed. Heck, you wouldn’t want to miss any of the below, right?

•    4 Drinks That Pair Perfectly with Summertime Books
•    New Local Spirits and Liqueurs to Try this Summer
•    4 Drinks for Golfing
•    4 Drinks to Have While Missing the Sonics
•    Seattle Happy Hours: A.J. Rathbun Picks Four of His Favorites

*See all Seattle magazine articles by me

July 18, 2014

What’s I’m Drinking: The Beach Bubble

Hey, babies, it’s hot outside. Even up here in the northwest, the temperature is too much. It’s time to head to the beach – or, if you’re landlocked, or just can’t get away to the beach, or don’t want to deal with all those crowds, it’s time to head to the Beach Bubble. This little cooler-downer is the tropical ticket when the temperature has gotten troublingly high. Just try it!

beach-bubble

The Beach Bubble, from Dark Spirits

Ice cubes
2 ounces dark rum
2 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce mango juice
Chilled ginger ale
2 pineapple chunks for garnish

1. Fill a Collins glass or large goblet three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the rum and juices. Stir, but with respect for the beach’s mellow demeanor.

2. Fill the glass up with ginger ale. Stir, but again, mellow-ly.

3. Spear the pineapple chunks on a toothpick, and float them in the glass (watch out for that toothpick when drinking).

July 15, 2014

Cocktail Talk: Death Warmed Over

deathwarmedoverI don’t know much about Mary Collins, outside of that she wrote 6 mystery books set in Cali in the middle part of the last century. The only one I’ve read is Death Warmed Over, and it’s worth tracking down. It’s mostly set around this Los Angeles boarding house during the war, where people keep getting knocked off, and has a plucky heroine who decides to do some detecting. But best of all, at one point our heroine is hanging with another LA sweetie, and they’re drinking B-and-Bs (or, brandy and Bénédictine). I love that (not so much the pre-bottled version, but the make-it-your-self version). Then they switch to brandy and soda! Neat. Check it all out in the below:

“Naturally,” she said, standing up. “Look, Janey, do you want some more B-and-B or would you like a nice plain brandy and soda?”

I said brandy and soda would be wonderful. When Jewel came back from the kitchen, we drank our drinks with unseemly speed. That’s the trouble with good liquor. It tastes so nice that a girl is likely to forget that aside from the taste, it also contains alcohol. With a few minutes we had drunk another brandy and soda.

Death Warmed Over, Mary Collins

July 11, 2014

What’s I’m Drinking: The Lucky Apple

When I began to write this post, I was looking at a calendar for June. And so I thought today was going to be Friday, July 13th. When it’s actually Friday, July 11th. I’d planned to warn you, friends, to not walk under a ladder today, cuddle a black cat, or forget to toss a whole handful of salt over your shoulder. And tell you to instead have one of these drinks, too, as it’s a very lucky drink. Now, it’s not Friday the 13th. But I still think you should have one of these, because everyone needs a bit of luck every day. And, as I said, this is a lucky drink.

Why, you might ask? Well, first it has apples in it, and apples are the luckiest form of produce. You might think clover, but that’s a myth. It’s apples that are healthy, patriotic, and crunchy – all lucky things. And, also lucky, in this drink I’m using Tree Top fresh pressed apple juice. See, Tree Top is a company from up here in Washington State, in Selah to be specific, that has been here for 50 years supporting the state’s fruit growers – over 1,000 apple and pear growers to be specific, and all their juices are made from 100% USA-grown fruit. That is lucky on all sides.

Also, this drink features 3 Howls single malt whiskey. If you didn’t know, 3 Howls is a distillery in Seattle itself, and they’ve managed to put out 12 different spirits in just one year! Including this whiskey, whose caramel and vanilla hints go smoothly here, is also lucky. And if that wasn’t enough, the third core ingredient is Averna, a nice amaro that brings just the right amount of herbalness.

And this drink is of the super-refreshing variety and, as it’s summer, the mercury has risen for most and us, and a super-refreshing drink is needed. So, this Friday, the 11th, is a great day for this lucky drink.

lucky-apple
The Lucky Apple

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces 3 Howls single malt whiskey
3/4 ounce Averna
4 ounces Tree Top Fresh Pressed 3 Blend apple cider
Mint sprig, for garnish

1. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Add the whiskey and Averna. Stir a bit.

2. Top the glass off with the apple cider. Stir a bit more. Garnish with the mint. Feel lucky.

July 8, 2014

Hey Seattle, Check Out Peat Week at Westland Distillery

If you know me (and you must, right?), you know I love local distilleries here in Washington. There’s such a range, both of types of distilleries and products and events around both. It’s a fantastic time to live here! As example A, take the fun smoky stuff happening at the awesome Westland Distillery this week. See, they bring in 150,000 pounds (wow, right?) of peated malt to the distillery every year, and then mash, ferment, and distill it to make whiskey that makes angels sing. This year, and this week, they’re celebrating the peated malt’s arrival with a week of free tours, single cask tastings, and extended hours, all culminating in a giant not-to-be-missed release party (you’ll need tickets for that one) on Saturday, the 12th –two peated single cask bottlings are being release. So, get on down to the distillery this week (and if you’re reading this from a locale outside of WA State, then get some tickets and fly on it). Learn even more at: www.peatweek.com.

peatweek

July 4, 2014

What’s I’m Drinking: The Happy Crab

Hey, it’s the 4th of July! Is anyone reading this? Perhaps not, but just in case here’s a drink that’s sure to up the refreshing ante for your holidays – the Happy Crab. It’s not, as you might think, a reference to how holidays make some folks crabby. Oh no, it’s a reference to the happiness of summertime when you have a really refreshing drink. One of my favorite refreshers in summer, by the way, is English boozy ginger beer Crabbies. And Crabbies not too long ago released a new version, Spiced Orange Crabbies, which is also tasty when the sun rises high in the sky.

But, you know me – even tasty things I believe can sometimes be tastier when mixed with other tasty things. Which is the case with this very drink, as it takes the tasty new Crabbies orange and mixes it with another summer fav, dark rum, and then, just cause I’m crazy for it, Bénédictine. And you know what? The end result is awesome. Try it this holiday, or anytime this summer, and see how right I am. You’ll be happy . . . as a crab.

happy-crab

The Happy Crab

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounce dark rum
1/2 ounce Bénédictine
5 ounces Crabbies Spiced Orange ginger beer

1. Fill a big highball or comparable glass about halfway full with ice cubes. Add the dark rum and Benedictine. Stir briefly.

2. Add the Crabbies. Stir to combine. Face the sun with a smile.

July 1, 2014

Cocktail Talk: Doctor Thorne

doctor-thorneI probably don’t need to reiterate my love for English writer Anthony Trollope, but what the heck – I love me some Trollope. I’ve nearly, nearly, read all of his books (well, I’m still missing a few, but I’ve done a fair job and am hunting out the few that I’m missing), and re-read a ton, too. But somehow, the first time I read Doctor Thorne (one of the Chronicles of Barset), I skipped, or read but then forgot about, the below quote. Which is, admittedly, a quote about a character who has a serious probably with the drink. But still! It mentions some bottles that continue to be favorites today, including one thing that’s being in made in Seattle after a long absence by the Old Ballard Liquor Co. See if you can figure out which one!

His father had killed himself with brandy; the son, more elevated in his tastes, was doing the same thing with curaçao, maraschino, and cherry-bounce.

–Anthony Trollope, Doctor Thorne

June 27, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Ivanel

It may surprise no one to know that I’ve tried a fair number of the spirits and liqueurs and such that are available around the world. But still, there are many, many imbibables that I’ve yet to sample (so please, send me any you think I haven’t had. Hah!). Example A until recently was palinca, or pálinka, the fruit brandy made in the Carpathian Basin and thereabouts. I hadn’t even heard about it until my Romanian pal George (who I work with remotely at a giant video game company, but don’t hold that against us) was visiting Seattle and brought a bottle. It wasn’t earmarked for me, at first, but I quickly convinced him that I should go home with it, and he eventually agreed – he also told it was very dangerous stuff and super strong.

After tasting it, I certainly agree with the latter, but not the former. The version he gave me, Palinca de Maramures, or palinca made from plums or prunes, has a kick, no doubt, but also a nice fruit undertone, with a tiny hint of nuts. He also told me that I could never come up with a cocktail using it – this, of course, was a challenge I couldn’t back down from. So, I invented The Ivanel, named after George. I mellowed out the umph of the palinca and added some layers of flavor with a little Cocchi di Torino (a lovely sweet vermouth) and the unbeatable Pierre Ferrand orange curaçao. The end result was good enough that I expect George to come back soon to try it.

ivanel

The Ivanel

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Palinca de Maramures
1 ounce Cocchi di Torino vermouth
1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand orange curaçao
Wide orange twist, for garnish

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

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the wide orange twist and a salute to Romania.

Rathbun on Film

Cocktail to Cocktail Hour Series Four, Episode Five, The GizmoNovember 04, 2013
A special Cocktail to Cocktail Hour holiday episode hosted by A.J. Rathbun where very special guest Jeremy Holt stops by to teach us how to make the Gizmo, a...
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Cocktail to Cocktail Hour Series Four, Episode Four, The TrilbyNovember 03, 2013
The Cocktail to Cocktail Hour hosted by aj Rathbun has a very special guest in this episode; Alastair Edwards stops by with a drinking problem, solved by t...
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Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, V4, Three, Horse's NeckOctober 06, 2013
In this Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, you'll learn to make the refreshing Horse's Neck from special guest star Mark Butler, and hear host A.J. Rathbun and Mark ...
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Cocktail to Cocktail Hour V4, Two, Aperol SpritzSeptember 24, 2013
The Cocktail to Cocktail Hour hosted by A.J. Rathbun has a very special guest in this episode, who teaches you how to make the Aperol Spritz, with Aperol and...
See More