September 26, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Defensive Formation

defensiveIn an earlier post, I talked about football, football season, and having better drinks at your football parties. My suggestion there was that you call an audible over your past party selections and serve an Audible cocktail. It’s a good plan. However, the Audible (drink) is a strong mix, and after a couple, you may need to go on the defensive, so you make it until the end of the fourth quarter, and overtime, perhaps. With that in mind, at some point when the emotion is high, move to The Defensive Formation, which will refresh and perhaps balance things out. It still has a strong kick, but it’s mellowed some — but it could still hit the game-winning field goal from 45 out as time ticks down. Don’t think that it can’t.

The Defensive Formation

Cracked ice
2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey bourbon
1/2 ounce Letterpress limoncello
3/4 ounce orange juice
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
Ice cubes
3 ounces chilled soda water

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the bourbon, limoncello, orange juice, and bitters. Stir well.

2. Fill a highball or other comparable glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix from Step 1 through a fine strainer over the ice and into the glass.

3. Fill the glass almost to the top with the club soda. Stir to combine. Drink and cheer, drink and cheer.

September 23, 2014

Cocktail Talk: Ralph the Heir

ralphI recently picked up a couple Trollope books I hadn’t read before (which is rare – if you don’t know of my Trollopean love, go check out past Trollope Cocktail Talks), thanks to Powell’s, and as long-time readers of this here blog could guess, I was super excited to find them. Both because I could happily read Trollope all day long, and because the books tend to contain a nice bit of Cocktail Talk, too. For example, one of the books was Ralph the Heir, about a somewhat ne’er-do-well running into trouble before some inheritance kicks in, along with being about his much nicer cousins, and how they all end up and with who. It’s fantastic, really. But having a ne’er-do-well means, naturally, that there’s some time spent in clubs and bars, which leads to the below quote – one of the best about how service is sometimes driven.

Mrs. Horsball got out from some secluded nook a special bottle of orange-brandy in his favour – which Lieutenant Cox would have consumed on the day of its opening, had not Mrs. Horsball with considerable acrimony declined to supply his orders. The sister with ringlets smiled and smirked whenever the young Squire went near the bar. The sister in ringlets was given to flirtations of this kind, would listen with sweetest complacency to compliments on her beauty, and would return them with interest. But she never encouraged this sort of intimacy with gentlemen who did not pay their bills, or with those whose dealings with the house were not of a profitable nature. The man who expected that Miss Horsball would smile upon him because he ordered a glass of sherry and bitters or half-a-pint of pale ale was very much mistaken; but the softness of her smile for those who consumed the Moonbeam Champagne was unbounded. Love and commerce with her ran together, and regulated each other in a manner that was exceedingly advantageous to her brother.

–Anthony Trollope, Ralph the Heir

September 19, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Audible

Are you ready for some football? No, really, are you ready? Because we’re now in the thick of it, with passes being passed and blockers blocking, and, most importantly, football parties happening in parking lots and homes alike. Don’t let your party get stuck with the same old plays (and by “plays” here, I mean drinks) being served up to defenses who will then laugh at your tired plays. Instead, call an Audible and serve up the below mix. It’s a strong one – because sometimes we need a strong drink when watching our favorite team. audibleIt’s delicious, too, because sometimes we deserve a reward for our support. Oh, it’s also a tad Italian – just cause I like Italy. And because Italian fans are, outside of you, the most rabid fans in the world, and when drinking this, you will channel all rabid fans and become the most fanatical fan in the world. Promise. I used Woodinville Whiskey bourbon, Letterpress limoncello, and Scrappy’s orange bitters here, because they’re made in Seattle, and I like to support my home teams.

The Audible

Cracked ice
2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey bourbon
1/2 ounce Letterpress limoncello
3/4 ounce orange juice
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything Stir well.

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass or smallish football helmet. Drink and cheer, drink and cheer.

September 16, 2014

Aquavit and More at the Old Ballard Liquor Co.

Washington State is awesome! There are so many fantastic distillers here now, I sometimes feel like the luckiest drinker in the world. And there are a couple even in my neighborhood, including the small-in-size, giant-in-taste Old Ballard Liquor Co., which is focused on making traditional aquavits, lovely forgotten products like Cherry Bounce, and more. Recently, I was doubly-lucky, in that I got to write an article about the Old Ballard Liquor Co. for the smashing Seattle magazine. And then, I got to put up a bit more of my interview with Lexi, the super knowledgeable distiller owner, on the Seattle magazine blog. Read the article and the blog to learn more.

*See all Seattle magazine articles by me

September 12, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Highwayman’s Holiday

Let me start with an apology: you cannot get one of the main ingredients in this drink in the US. My bad, yo. The ingredient is the Italian amaro called Viparo, and I can’t believe with the many, many amaros now being imported that someone hasn’t brought it in, because it’s a delicious member of the amaro clan, one produced by the Morganti family since 1913, and like most, originally designed for medicinal purposes. So, pick up a bottle when you’re in Italy. Until then, you could, if you want, sub in another amaro, one that shades towards the sweetish middle of the amaro scale, something like Averna. It won’t have the same exact highwayman feel, but it’ll be close. Call it the Highwayman’s Bank Holiday.

highwaymans-holiday

Highwayman’s Holiday

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounce gin
1 ounce freshly squeezed clementine juice
1/2 ounce Viparo
1/2 ounce Aperol

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, juice, Viparo, and Aperol. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

A Note: Can’t find clementines? You could sub in orange juice instead. Call it Highwayman’s Parole.

A Second Note: You might want to strain this through a fine strainer to avoid citrus bits in teeth. But no real robber would care about that much.

September 9, 2014

There’s Still Time to Get The Cocktail Hour CD at Starbucks and Start Your Cocktail Party Right

cocktail-hour-2Hey friends, if you somehow missed it, the newest Starbucks CD is called The Cocktail Hour, and you need to get to your local and demand a copy (well, maybe just ask) today, unless you want your next cocktail party to fall flat. See, the CD features a host of sweet music that accompanies a well-made cocktail perfectly, songs that range from Ray Charles and Betty Carter singing Cocktails for Two to Eartha Kitt’s unmissable I Want To Be Evil. But the CD booklet is also gonna help your party along, as it is bubbling over with 11 drink recipes specially selected by me, and they go with the songs like gin goes with vermouth. The recipes include classics (like the Singapore Sling) and some newer mixes. Add the music and drinks together and your cocktail party is nearly set (in an awesome manner). Just grab some pals and go go go! So, head to a Starbucks and get your Cocktail Hour CD today!

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September 5, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Punt e’ Mes Highball

If you’re lucky enough to be sitting outside under some late-summer sun, feeling a wee bit warm, even, and wondering how in the world life could be any finer . . . well, pour yourself one of these and you’ll see how. This is, for sure, in my top ten list of sitting-in-the-sun drinks, one that manages to cool you down without sacrificing any flavor – it has oodles of flavor, actually, an amazing amount thanks to the two ingredients, Italian bitter-kissed sweet vermouth stalwart Punt e’ Mes (from all the way in 1870, for you history buffs), and ginger ale or ginger beer (I used to use the former, but have tried the latter recently with outstanding results). The herbal and spice layers in here are only a wee bit less amazing than the drink’s power to refresh you, when you’re under that sun alluded to earlier.

punt-e-mes-highball

Punt e’ Mes Highball

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Punt e’ Mes
3 ounces ginger ale or ginger beer

1. Fill a smallish highball glass or a big rocks glass three-quarter-ish up with ice cubes. Add the Punt e’ Mes.

2. Top with the ginger ale. Stir. Be happy.

September 2, 2014

Seattle Magazine Cocktail Catch Up

Hey, happy Tuesday! Hope your weekend was dreamy. Of course, a dreamy weekend may mean you’re back at work wanting to think about anything but work. I am here to help! With a little round up of some recent blog posts I wrote for the suave Seattle magazine. These should provide the perfect counter to thinking about work (and maybe well help you get ready for next weekend, too).

•    Duck Fart and Other Ill-Named Drinks Not to Serve the In-Laws

•    It’s Wedding Season! Four Drinks to Serve the In-Laws

•    Must-Try Cocktail Recipe: Blood & Sand

•    Four Refreshing Drinks to Order When You’re Out and About

•    5 Refreshing Cocktail Recipes

*See all Seattle magazine articles by me

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 A.J. 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...
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