December 9, 2016
Admittedly, I’m usually (as anyone who knows me knows, or, even if you don’t actually know me in an in-person way, if you read this blog you probably know) a staunch soapboxer about drinks-that-borrow-names-from-other-drinks. Meaning, I think a drink name should be as creative as a drink, and that even a small ingredient change needs a new name. So, inis, ritas, olitans, all those, make me sad, as does the recent proliferation of Negroni names. Jaysus, bartenders, be creative!
However, this Dry Negroni is pretty darn swell, and so I can step off my soapbox while I’m sipping. For some reason I’d never even thought to try the subbing of dry for sweet vermouth, cause I am silly. And, I picked up the recipe and idea from rollicking Rob Chirico’s new book, Not My Mother’s Kitchen: Rediscovering Italian-American Cooking Through Stories and Recipes! Rob has a host of good books you should pick up, and his latest is both funny and tasty. It up-ends the hoary tradition of so many cookbooks, where the cook/writer has learned the craft at the side of some family elder, because it turns out Rob’s mother was a terrible cook, and he had to learn in spite of it. It’ll have you laughing and have you making delish dishes all at once, thanks to the combination of funny stories and helpful recipes, the whole of which is written in a wonderful convivial style. There’s even a short chapter on Italian libations, and that’s where I picked up this recipe.
Dry Negroni, from Not My Mother’s Kitchen
1 ounce gin
1 ounce dry vermouth
1 ounce Campari
Orange slice, for garnish
1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, dry vermouth, and Campari. Stir well.
2. Fill a cold old-fashioned glass halfway full with ice cubes. Strain the drink into the glass. Garnish with the orange slice.
December 6, 2016
Canlis is one of Seattle’s restaurant gems, and I (and wife Nat of course!) recently got to stop in and sit at the re-designed bar and sip and chat with friendly bar manager James MacWilliams and bartender José Castillo. One of the sippers was the Ouroboros, a mezcal-based delicious drink that José came up with. Then, I got to write about the drink (including the recipe for it) and the place and the people for Seattle magazine. You should read about it now. Then head to Canlis yourself.
December 2, 2016
Sometimes, a holiday week can feel like you’ve been on a trip. Sometimes a fun trip! Sometimes a filling trip. Sometimes a tiring trip. Sometimes . . . well, you get the idea, right? Right! Even with a wondrous trip, you still may feel a little weary after it, and that’s where this drink comes in (it was created after my return from my longest trip, seven months living in Italy, hence the Italian-American-ness of it). I’ve used a number of bourbons when making this but most recently used the new-ish Backbeat bourbon, from Seattle’s swell 3 Howls distillery. It’s got a mix of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% barley and is finished in French Oak. Smooth, with a little honey-ness, spice, and oak, it mingles swell-ly with maraschino and old pal Fernet-Branca here. Try it and see! You’ll feel less weary, I’ll bet.
Welcome Back, Weary Traveler
2-1/2 ounces 3 Howls Backbeat bourbon
1/2 ounce Luxardo Maraschino
1/4 ounce Fernet-Branca
Wide Orange twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice.
2. Add the bourbon, maraschino, and Fernet-Branca. Stir well.
3. Strain into a cocktail glass. Utilize the twist in the proper manner.
November 25, 2016
It’s the day after Thanksgiving – if you don’t think I’m drinking a Gizmo, you’re mad, friend, mad (oh, see past Gizmo posts, if you must):
The Gizmo, from Jeremy Holt
2-1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce homemade cranberry sauce, which I know you have leftovers of right now
1/2 ounce simple syrup (optional)
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin and cranberry sauce, and syrup if using (if you’re not into the sweets, omit the syrup). Shake exceptionally well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a turkey leg. Or, for vegetarians, a hunk of stuffing on a toothpick.
A Note: Not sure about making homemade cranberry sauce? Try this (also courtesy JH): Add 1 bag cranberries, the juice and zest of 1 orange, and 1 cup sugar to a saucepan. Heat until required sauce texture is reached.
November 22, 2016
See, I told you (in Part I) that I’d probably have a second quote from Hal Masur’s (aka Harold Q. Masur) lawyer-y pulp-y book from last century, You Can’t Live Forever. And here we are! Check out the below, and know that I can predict the future.
It was a nice quiet bar on a side street off Park Avenue, cool and dim and silken, a high-class oasis with retiring waiters and a hushed atmosphere. The chairs were softly pliant to make you comfortable and the pretzels crisp and dry to keep you thirsty. Enclosed booths ringed the room and smoke wove a gauze-like web that hung motionless in the still air.
We were on our third pair of Martinis and were calling each other by our first names. Conversation so far had been limited to that polite badinage used between two people on mutual fishing expeditions. I was in rare form.
— Hal Masur, You Can’t Live Forever
November 18, 2016
While some may think of Thanksgiving’s upcoming table as an enchanted field of food, well, I understand where you’re coming from, but we haven’t gotten there yet, food-loving friends. So, instead, have this Enchanted Field now, and then that one later. Really, we all may need enchantments now, or now and then, but especially now. I’m typing a little bit like I’m enchanted, and maybe in a field, too, at the moment. But hey, you have a couple of these, see how it goes – you’ll want to type enchantingly your own self.
The Enchanted Field, from Dark Spirits
1-1/2 ounces rye
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 ounce Strega
1/4 ounce Simple Syrup
Orange twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rye, orange juice, Strega, and simple syrup. Shake enchantedly.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the orange twist clockwise over the drink, then let it sink in.
November 15, 2016
It’s been too long since I’ve had any quotes from the lawyer-y pulp-y writer Hal Masur (also known as Harold Q. Masur), who writes about one Scott Jordan – a lawyer (you might have guessed that), who also likes a good drink, dames, bars, and isn’t afraid to roughhouse it up. Just what you’d want in a 1940s and 50s pocket-y book leading man. I recently re-read the Masur classic (well, in its way) You Can’t Live Forever, which has a great cover, and which is a rollicking read. Heck, I may need to have two Cocktail Talk posts from it! But let’s start with the below, which has Scotch and cigars.
He hung a humidor of long Havana fillers under my nose. He let me see the label on a bottle of Macnish.He poured generously and put a brief squirt from a syphon of bubble water on top. Ice cubes dropped and a swizzle stick clinked. He put the glass into my hand and a silver lighter broke into flame at the end of my cigar.
— Hal Masur, You Can’t Live Forever
November 11, 2016
So, you know about 11:11, right? Magic number? All that? Here’s what the reliable (depending on your source) Wikipedia says to kick things off:
Numerologists believe that events linked to the time 11:11 appear more often than can be explained by chance or coincidence. This belief is related to the concept of synchronicity. Some authors claim that seeing 11:11 on a clock is an auspicious sign. Others claim that 11:11 signals a spirit presence. The belief that the time 11:11 has mystical powers has been adopted by believers in New Age philosophies.
I may believe all of that. Well, who knows. I may be kidding, too. I remember that – or think I do – my old pal Jon was the first to tell me about 11:11 being something you wish on when you see it randomly on the clock. Though it could have been an ancient spirit posing as Jon? Maybe. But I’ve spent many years making wishes in this situation, and now, today, it’s actually 11-11 on the calendar, so I’m going to drink a Three Wishes cocktail at exactly 11:11 today (both in the morning and at night, to be safe), and make some wishes. Wish me luck! Oh, you can do the same – I’m happy to share wishes.
Three Wishes, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb
1 ounce amaretto
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum, Creole Shrubb, and amaretto. Stir – no wishing yet.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink. Let the wishing begin.