December 6, 2013
People, like you (yes, you!) who have read this blog for a while, or at all, know that I’m what people call an equal-opportunity-drinker. Meaning – I tend to like almost all families of imbibables, and am open to trying pretty much everything. This doesn’t translate into me sipping on anything that tastes like gutterfied gasoline. But it does mean that I, for example, really like sherry, but also really like rye, and lemon, and etc. Also, it means that I’m not afraid to try non-traditional items in cocktails. For another example, I’ve tasted more cocktails with vinegar lately, and loving them, and have wanted to make a few myself. Luckily, I recently came into possession (thanks to Corinne from the LEG, or the Lisa Ekus Group, the finest folks in the land) of a bottle Boyajian balsamic fig vinegar, an all-natural combo that seems ideal for a dressing or a drizzle, but for me also screamed – cocktail! And thus the Atta Boy was born, which combines the beautiful Boyajian vinegar with rye, sherry, and a lemon twist. The result is fantastic, savory but with a nice rye base, a tiny bit tangy and a smidge sweet, all topped by the zing of citrus. Give it a whirl and your tastebuds will thank you.
2 ounces rye (I used Woodinville rye)
1/2 ounce Boyajian balsamic fig vinegar
1/2 ounce dry sherry
Wide lemon twist
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rye, vinegar, and sherry. Stir really well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the wide lemon twist, draped over the side.
December 3, 2013
I haven’t read a whole lot of Rex Stout books, which is a bit weird, as his famous detective Nero Wolfe and the era he wrote in both hit me fairly square in my detective-y wheelhouse (not to mention that I love the covers, as I tend to, of books from that age). But hey, these things happen. However, when I came across a copy of his book entitled The Case of the Red Box, in a pocket-sized copy and with a cover that I couldn’t resist, well, I couldn’t resist. And it was a good read, for sure, with multiple murders, a great twist-y-ness, and a lot of beer. Perhaps the strangest thing about Nero Wolfe isn’t that he never leaves his house (or rarely), or that he takes hours every day to deal with his orchids, or that he only eats at home, etc. But that he drinks a ton of beer while interviewing suspects. Awesome! However, the below quote is even better, so I skipped the beer . . . this time.
You do shorthand in that book? Good: put this down. McNair was an inveterate eater of snails, and he preferred calvados to cognac. His wife died in childbirth because he was insisting on being an artist and was too poor and incompetent to provide proper care for her.
–Rex Stout, The Case of the Red Box
November 22, 2013
It’s the holiday season y’all! Which means one fantastic thing: it’s time for another episode of The Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, with very special hunky holiday guest Jeremy Holt! Mr. Jeremy stops by to teach us how to make perhaps the finest Thanksgiving cocktail known, the Gizmo, which features Voyager gin, cranberry sauce, and simple syrup. If you want your Thanksgiving to be awesome, watch this now. Right now!
November 19, 2013
Calling all bar lovers from near and far (but especially near). It’s time to round up the latest bars I’ve profiled in my monthly Seattle magazine Bar Hop column. You should read the below, pick which best matches you and your mood today, and go have a drink. But don’t forget – tip your bartender people. They work hard. Bars to hop:
• Anchor’s Down
– See all A.J. Seattle magazine articles
November 15, 2013
Hello students of the cocktail, and welcome to another episode of the finest series on cocktails, drinking, and good times ever: The Cocktail to Cocktail Hour. In this episode, our favorite foreigner, Alastair Edwards, is back with another drinking problem, one I solve with the help of the Trilby Cocktail, a bit of an undiscovered treasure featuring Broker’s gin, Dolin dry vermouth, and crème Yvette.
PS: Special thanks to Natalie Fuller, Jeremy Holt, Beatrice Holt, Markie Butler – perhaps the finest actors this side of Stratford, and the wizardry of director Dr. Gonzo.
November 12, 2013
Hey pals and gals and galpals, I recently did a fun series of posts for the swanky Seattle magazine, all designed to help out the home bartender. First, was a post detailing essential bar tools, then one where I detailed some mixers you should make, not buy, and finally one with a few choice recipes using said mixers. It was pretty tasty fun, and I figured you (yes, you) might dig it.
• Five Essential Home Bar Tools
• Cocktail Mixers You Should Make, Not Buy (and How to Make Them)
• 3 Drinks Perfect for Homemade Mixers
– See all A.J. Seattle magazine articles
November 8, 2013
Sometimes, a drink name says it all. In this case: Perfect. Does that mean I think this is the perfect cocktail, always and for every situation and second? Nah. But I do think it carries a kind of perfection, and for those days when you feel neither 100% sweet or dry, it certainly matches the mood. For those reasons, and during those seasons, sure, this one’s vermouth balance does indeed equal the name: Perfect.
Perfect Cocktail (recipe from Good Spirits)
Ice cubes 1-1/2 ounces gin (Voyager gin is pretty swell here)
3/4 ounce dry vermouth (might as well double up and go Dolin for both vermouths)
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
Orange or lemon slice for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice cubes. Add the gin first, and then the vermouths. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with either an orange or lemon slice (I’ve seen it both ways, and go depending on my mood).
November 5, 2013
My un-stopping love for the great English novelist Anthony Trollope continues with each of his books I read (there are a lot, luckily). Recently I finished the lesser-known treasure Is He Popenjoy?, all about class and legacy and inheritance in multiple ways. What I wish now is that some fine bartender out there would make up a drink called The Popenjoy. I would pay a pretty penny for that, if it was awesome. It would have to contain cherry brandy, which is mentioned in the books, as well as curaçao, which is in the dandy quote below (oh, if you do make up a drink here, go with Pierre Ferrand curaçao, please). If you create The Popenjoy, please let me know asap.
She was in the habit of sitting by him and talking to him late in the evening, while he was sipping his curaçao and soda-water, and had become accustomed to hear odd things from him. He liked her because he could say what he please to her, and she would laugh and listen and show no offence.
–Anthony Trollope, Is He Popenjoy?