April 24, 2015
Sometimes, I even surprise myself when making drinks. This is one of those times! When I started messing around with the three ingredients in this drink, I was all, “there is no way these will come together,” and then, “yowza!” they worked better together than Sonny and Cher. During their good period. It started with Sidetrack Distillery’s new Shiso liqueur, which is made from the Asian herb it’s named after, and which is a singular, herby, botanical elixir that must be tasted to be believed, and which has a brilliant color to match its taste. I figured (rightly, as it turned out) that it would go well with gin, but I needed a gin that had a solid juniper taste, but also a little citrus, and some botanicals as well – and Copperworks gin is just like that (and it’s local to WA, much like the Shiso, so that was nice). But the third ingredient is a wild card – the Italian orange-y and a wee bitter-y aperitif, Aperol. I just worried the cocktail would get muddled with all those flavors, but dang, instead they all just shared the spotlight in a way that let the flavors shine. This is swell spring drink, and if you can track down these three, give it a whirl.
How Does Your Garden Grow
2 ounces Copperworks gin
1 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Shiso liqueur
1 ounce Aperol
Orange twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything but the twist. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist.
April 17, 2015
Okay, I know it’s only April, but dang, we’ve had some serious spring days out this-a-way, with that good ol’ sunshine bringing the light and warmth – and the need for bubbly, refreshing drinks, like the good ol’ Gin Fizz. If you’re in a locale where it doesn’t feel springlike (and admittedly, we’re still having days where it seems anything but spring), well, you should still have a Gin Fizz, because when sipping it you’ll feel the sense of spring, even if outside your window it’s anything but.
The Gin Fizz, using the recipe from Good Spirits
1-1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Chilled club soda
Lemon slice, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Shake well.
2. Fill a highball glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix into the glass through a fine strainer.
3. Top off the glass with soda water. Garnish with a lemon slice.
A Variation: Add the white of an egg to the shaker along with the gin, syrup, and lemon juice and you have a Silver Fizz.
A Variation: Add the yolk of an egg to the shaker along with the gin, syrup, and lemon juice and you have a Golden Fizz.
A Variation: Add the white of an egg to the shaker along with the gin, syrup, and lemon juice and you have a Royal Fizz. And breakfast.
April 14, 2015
The lost James M. Cain novel – which was found, thankfully – is good enough that I couldn’t have just one Cocktail Talk from it (if you missed The Cocktail Waitress Part I, catch up). So, here’s another quote from the book to wet your whistle (and to get you to read the book, if you haven’t already. But you probably have. Cause you’re cool like that).
“Sergeant Young, can I thank you again, for suggesting I come here, for recommending me to Bianca, or vice versa, whichever is the right way to say it? I handed over the wine and cocktail list, though obviously he knew the Garden better than I did and probably already knew what he liked to have.
“I’m glad she had an opening for you, and that you took it.” He handed back the card. “You can ask Jake to make me up a smash.”
Jake mixed a whiskey sour and poured it into a highball glass with some muddled mint leaves at the bottom. Sergeant Young took a long sip and set it down, then looked me over from head to toe. This time I didn’t stiffen. A week can make a difference
– James M. Cain, The Cocktail Waitress
April 10, 2015
This is one of those moments where I wonder about my own sanity. I woke up this morning, and thought, “I’ve never had the Bijou recipe on the ol’ Spiked Punch blog. And the Bijou is one of my all-time favorites, at least in the top 20, or 25, somewhere in that range for sure, and a drink I travel back to again and again because of its balance and herbal-spice-nice combination, and cause it’s called the Bijou for Bruce’s sake, and what am I doing not having it on the blog?” So, I thought all that, got up, and instantly made myself a Bijou. You should do the same.
Bijou, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
1 -1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
Lemon twist, for garnish (sometimes this is skipped, but I sorta like it)
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, Chartreuse, and vermouth. Stir well.
2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass. Twist the twist over the glass and drop it in.
April 7, 2015
A lost novel by James M. Cain (James M. Cain!) came out a couple years ago, and I didn’t even realize it. Cause I am an idiot! But, that didn’t make me any less happy when I did find out, and when I found a copy I was ridiculously happy. Mr. Cain is of course one of the honest-and-true pulp and hardboiled masters, and so discovering The Cocktail Waitress, a lost novel of his, well, that’s treasure to a guy like me. And the book is fantastic, with many of the Cain hallmarks (sex, greed, stark, and characters that breathe), and with a fair amount of action in a bar called The Garden of Roses. In it, our main character learns a bit about what she’ll need to do besides delivering drinks.
“First set-up is for the old-fashioned. You know what an old- fashioned is?”
“You mean the orange slices and cherries?”
“…Yeah, them.” He gave me a long look, then went on: “And for Martinis?”
“I turn the olives out in a bowl and stick toothpicks in them.”
“Onions, no toothpicks.”
“O.K. Now, on Manhattans—”
“No toothpicks if they have stems on them. But sometimes the wrong kind is delivered, and them without stems take picks. On Margaritas—”
“Salt? In a dish? And a lemon, gashed on one end, to spin the glasses in?”
“Speaking of lemon—”
“Twists? How many?”
“Many as three lemons make. Cut them thick, put them in a bowl, and on top put plenty ice cubes, so they don’t go soft on me. I hate soft twists.” He looked at me like I was a dancing horse or some other marvel. “You sure you never…?”
I explained: “My mother used to give parties, and my father fixed the drinks. I was Papa’s little helper.”
– James M. Cain, The Cocktail Waitress
April 3, 2015
You might think if I told you that I made up this cocktail with a cherry-ish liqueur and also Merry Cherry Bee Knee’s (whatever that might be) that it’d be sweet in all the wrong ways, and make your teeth hurt. Well, pals, you’d be wrong! But don’t take it too bad, cause really, you probably didn’t know that the cherry liqueur in question was Boomerang, the new release from Washington’s broVo Spirits, which was created in conjunction with Micah Melton, beverage director at Chicago’s Aviary, and which isn’t just cherry, but cherry mingled with apricot, walnut, cinnamon, orange, vanilla, and peppercorn. So, savory, and not too sweet at all.
But that’s really just the half of it! The Merry Cherry Bee’s Knees is also the kicker, and really what gives this drink the umph that I (and I’ll bet you) love so well. Bee’s Knees, in this situation, means a spirit distilled from mead, the honey-fermented-and-fruit-beverage that probably makes you think of Vikings, or Renaissance Fairs. However, jump back from that thought. These Bee’s Knees are made by the Hardware Distillery, also in WA, and while they take characteristics from the mead and fruit (beyond Merry Cherry, there are Peachy Keen, Fig, Raspberry, and Plum varieties), they’re still a spirit, and aged in oak, and have the heft and personality of a whiskey.
So, what’s that all mean? Come to WA (or, if you’re here, stay here), get these ingredients, and try this drink. Then you’ll see what it means. And be happier for it. Also, if you can tell me where the name comes from, I’ll buy you three drinks.
Like to a Double Cherry
2 ounces Merry Cherry Bee’s Knees
1 ounce Boomerang liqueur
1/2 ounce Cocchi Torino sweet vermouth
Rainer cherry, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything except the real cherry. Stir well.
2. Add the cherry to a cocktail glass. Strain the mix into the glass and over the cherry.
March 31, 2015
We are now onto the third Cocktail Talk post featuring drinky talk from a book by Henry Kane. Please, please, for the love of all that’s dear to you, go back and read Part I and Part II, because you’ll only kick yourself when you miss them. Though the below may be my favorite, just cause you don’t see Sidecars come up in literature that often – and you need to savor them when they do!
I pursed my lips. I said, ‘Two sidecars.’
We sipped and looked at each other and set them down.
‘Let’s pay and leave,’ Edith said. ‘Mine stinks. And you look like yours does, too. Sacrilege. I’m going home. Got work.’
I put her into a taxi.
‘Bye, Red. Be seeing you.’
I walked home and went straight to the kitchen and fused lemon and Cointreau and cognac and in the living room I lapsed into beautiful beatitude.
–Henry Kane, Martinis and Murder