September 1, 2015

Paul Clarke’s The Cocktail Chronicles Is Out – And You Should Get It!

paul-clarke-2Paul Clarke is a swell guy. I once compared him to an Anthony Trollope quote and he never complained (it was quite a good quote!). He writes a blog, and has since time began, more or less, called The Cocktail Chronicles, which I read a lot, but was always too shy to comment on – and he still says “hello” when I see him at local Seattle bars. He also is now editor-at-large for the insightfully-tipsy Imbibe, and has written for most of the good mags, online and off. Through all that, he’s been a witty, learned (in the best ways, like, say Dr. Johnson, but with drinks instead of dictionaries), educating, tasteful, and bespectacled voice throughout the cocktail resurgence and renaissance. And now he has a book! It’s called The Cocktail Chronicles (which is logical, as it feels a very thorough extension, in a way, of the blog): Navigating The Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, Shaker, and Glass, and it’s darn good. It has enough history-of-booze-and-drinks to satisfy the history buffs, and enough humor to satisfy the humor buffs. And enough drinks for a whole year’s worth of parties, and then a few more on top.

If you, like me, are a home bartender who actually, you know, likes to read, you’ll love this, and find much to make your evenings more enjoyable. If you’re a pro bartender, then, well, I consider you a failure of sorts if you don’t devour this book as part of your professional education (oh, buy one of mine, too, cause I need new shoes). If you can’t tell, I think it’s a darn fine book. And I didn’t even mentioned the design, which has a certain 1920s style all its own, with fine drawings and layouts and balance as opposed to over-wrought stylized foodie shots. Which is refreshing.

Not sold? Hmm, maybe you should read the below excerpt, a drink recipe for the Blood and Sand. You’ll understand my enthusiasm once you do, trust me.

The below is from Paul Clarke’s The Cocktail Chronicles: Navigating The Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, Shaker, and Glass

BLOOD AND SAND
Spoiler alert: the recipe includes neither.

Some legacies deserve permanence, while others could use a little cleanup.

On the permanence side there’s Rudolf Valentino, the actor who, in 1922, starred as an ill–fated matador in Blood and Sand. In 1926, just a few years before the advent of talkies would destroy the careers of many of his co- stars, Valentino shared that Blood and Sand was his favorite of his films; a few days later, he was dead from peritonitis, leaving only the legacy of a dashingly handsome star who would never age, and whose voice would never be heard.

The Blood and Sand cocktail, however, has a less–illustrious legacy. Its print debut was in 1930 as an equal–parts recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book, but following its revival during the cocktail renaissance, the Blood and Sand began to suffer from its own imperfections. Fact of the matter, the Savoy’s Blood and Sand just isn’t all that great. Oh, it can be nice when made well, but “nice” isn’t the same thing as “holy hell, that’s scrumptious.”

But craft bartenders like to tinker, and many have taken a crack at the Blood and Sand’s formula. Some boost the whisky’s profile by increasing its volume in the drink as well as by utilizing smokier, burlier styles. Others tweak the orange juice’s insipid contribution, either swapping in the juice of blood oranges or adding lemon to the mix; and others just chuck three of the ingredients down the sink and drink the whisky on its own without all the fanfare.

Nothing against straight Scotch, but the Blood and Sand’s legacy is one worth preserving. Tip one to Valentino, and don’t view the recipe specs with anything resembling rigidity.

BLOOD AND SAND

1 oz. blended Scotch whisky
1 oz. orange juice
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
3/4 oz. Cherry Heering

Glass: cocktail
Garnish: cherry
Method: Shake ingredients with ice to chill; strain into chilled glass. Garnish.

Tips: Give the whisky’s power a jolt by bumping the Scotch to 11/2 oz.  and dropping everything else to 3/4 oz., or keep the above proportions and instead swap a blended malt like Great King Street or a single malt like Highland Park 12 for the blended Scotch. You can also add a teaspoon of lemon juice to give it a little more pep, or substitute blood–orange juice for the OJ. And if you put a slice of orange in the shaker before mixing, it’ll give the cocktail an added—and welcome—dimension.

August 28, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Behold, The River

behold-the-riverA late summer number if there ever was one – Behold, The River is refreshing, full of summer-y flavors without being near treacly, a nice color, and not too hard to make. If you’re actually having it alongside a river, well, you get bonus points for that! Not sure what the bonus points get you however, except a good time, and some undying gratitude from those you make the drink for, and my high esteem. Which may be worth something?

Behold, The River

Ice cubes
1-3/4 ounces vodka
1 ounce Sidetrack Distillery blackberry liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Four ounces chilled club soda

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, liqueur, and lemon juice. Shake well.

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into the glass. Top with the soda. Stir carefully, but thoroughly.

A Note: Having trouble finding Sidetrack Distillery blackberry liqueur? Well, you may need to take a trip to Washington, oh intrepid one!

August 21, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Lucien Gaudin

Before you say anything – I know I’ve featured this drink-named-after-an-Olympic-fencer on the Spiked Punch blog before! I know it, and that’s okay, me thinks, because it’s such a fine drink that naturally it would be What I’m Drinking more than once. Also, a reader and drinker named sassy Scott has been hankering after more Campari drinks (even if he hasn’t directly requested it, he has talked about his love of Campari drinks, and from that I surmised he probably needs some other options). So, with all that said, here we are, the Lucien Gaudin. En garde!

lucien-gaudin
Lucien Gaudin

Cracked ice
1 ounce gin
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
Orange twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, Cointreau, Campari, and dry vermouth. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist.

August 18, 2015

Cocktail Talk: Busman’s Holiday

busmansLast week, we had a little Cocktail Talking from the Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey book Whose Body?, and there I mentioned the four-pack of Lord Peter I’d picked up. Wait, what’s that you say? You missed that? Well, go read it now.

Welcome back! This week, we’re on to Busman’s Holiday, when Lord Peter and his new wife find a body, naturally, in the house they’ve picked up for their honeymoon. Bodies everywhere! And, as usual, my Lord’s wondrous butler, Bunter, is around, helping out, taking photos, and bringing the drinks. Which at one point leads to a little fun talk about sherry. Though I’m not sure I agree about these cocktails he mentions.

‘Sherry,’ he said, pleasantly, ‘had always appeared to me a most agreeable wine. I was so glad to read in the newspaper that it was coming into its own again. Madeira, too. They tell me that both sherry and madeira are returning to favour in London. And in the Universities. That is a very reassuring sign. I cannot think that these modern cocktails can be either healthful or palatable.

— Dorothy Sayers, Busman’s Holiday

August 14, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Orchard Sea

This is a very Washington state drink (cause I love my local producers – you should love ‘em, too, and your local producers, no matter what your locale). It uses three Washington-state boozes, at least in its original form. However! If you’re not in Washington state (first, sorry – come visit!), you could conceivably make this subbing in non-WA rum, and sweet vermouth, instead of the Skip Rock Belle Rose rum and broVo Jammy vermouth. It’s a little trickier with the Sidetrack Blackberry liqueur. But I think subbing in Chambord (made from French black raspberries and more widely available at this moment) would still make a dandy drink. But heck, really, come on out here and do some shopping at our local distilleries. I mean, why not?

orchard-sea
The Orchard Sea

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Skip Rock Distillery Belle Rose rum
1 ounce Sidetrack Blackberry liqueur
1/2 ounce broVo Spirits Jammy red vermouth
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, blackberry liqueur, vermouth, and lime juice. Shake well.

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass.

August 11, 2015

Cocktail Talk: Whose Body?

whosebodyI picked up a box set of Dorothy Sayers not long ago, a four-pack of Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, and it’s been fun. I can’t plow through a bunch of Lord Peters in a row, due to there being a bit too much French in some of them (hah, I kid). No, no, it’s that, while I like them (and Whose Body? is my favorite of the bunch), I’m not so into them that I wanna read four in a row. You dig it. Whose Body? does start with a naked, unknown, body in a bathtub, and takes some interesting turns, so I can heartily recommend it. Especially because of the below quote, that reminds us what being gentlemanly means.

One of the young ladies came up to me and said, didn’t I dance, and I said ‘No,’ so she said wouldn’t I stand her a drink then. ‘You’ll stand us a drink then, darling,’ that was what she said, and I said, ‘Wasn’t it after hours?’ and she said that didn’t matter. So I ordered the drink – a gin and bitters it was – for I didn’t like not to, the young lady seemed to expect it of me, and I felt like it wouldn’t be gentlemanly to refuse when she asked.

–Dorothy Sayers, Whose Body?

August 7, 2015

What I’m Drinking: An Elusive Memory

Recently, as sometimes happens (don’t be jealous!), a bottle showed up in the mail. This time, it was Boodles gin (thanks Boodles!) and I couldn’t have been happier. I’d had Boodles here and there, but not at home (well, unless I’m remembering poorly and it was long long ago, and I’m not that old, really). Boodles is a very proper British gin – a variety of spirit I’m quiet fond of – made from British wheat, with a number of botanicals and herbs (though, a bit unlike a fair share of modern gins, no citrus). As you might expect, it’s dandy in Martinis and the more traditional gin drinks.

But hey, if you’ve read this blog before (and if you haven’t, where have you been, friend), you know I tend on occasion to want to push the envelope so to speak, see if I can create a drink that isn’t necessarily along the lines you might think, or which uses ingredients that at first glance make one say, “what?” An Elusive Memory, a Boodles-based cocktail I made up recently, sorta falls into that category. But darn, the end result is so dreamy. It’s just that Meletti anisette (the finest anisette, in my opinion) doesn’t necessarily seem like it’d go with Boodles at first, and especially Lillet (another key ingredient). Then I brought the new-ish Whiskey Barrel Aged Peychaud’s bitters in, and . . . not an expected “umm,” but a welcome “ah-ha!” It took a big of finagling, but trust me, folks, this is a tasty, layered, mixture that plays nice.

elusive-memory
An Elusive Memory

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces Boodles gin
1/2 ounce Meletti anisette
1/2 ounce Lillet
2 dashes Whiskey Barrel Aged Peychaud’s bitters

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

2. Strain into a cocktail shaker. Try to remember the time before you’d tasted this fine drink.

A Note: If you can’t find the Whiskey Barrel Aged Peychaud’s, you can use the normal variety. It won’t be quite as elusive, but close.

August 4, 2015

Seattle Magazine Bar-Hopping: Hotel Albatross, Good Bar, Cozy Nut Tavern

Drinks come served in pineapples, parrot mugs & moreIt’s time to take another turn through recent Bar Hop columns written by me for the swell Seattle magazine. Whether you live here, or are visiting (and if so, welcome!), be sure to check out the below to see where you might want to drink:

 

*See all Seattle magazine pieces by me

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