August 19, 2014

Sidetrack Lemon Verbena Liqueur is Awesome

I’m a big fan of the local distillery scene here in Washington State (as any regular readers – the three of you – already know). And one of my favorite distilleries here is the Sidetrack Distillery, in Kent. They make award-winning fruit liqueurs using fruit grown on their farm, a lovely Nocino made with walnuts grown on their farm, and other tasty items – all using ingredients from their farm. Their latest is a must-taste-to-believe-how-amazing-it-is Lemon Verbena liqueur. Which I wrote about for Seattle magazine. You need to know more about this liqueur, trust me, so go read my Sidetrack Lemon Verbena liqueur article now.

August 15, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Among the Niccone Mountains

Even though it’s probably 10 degrees hotter in central Italy right now than in Seattle (where I’m typing this – not sure where wherever you are falls in the temperature spectrum, but wherever, it won’t make a different in how much you enjoy this drink), even though, I’d still at this particular moment rather be kicking it in my old Italian home (oh, hey, I used to live in Italy), with my dogs, sitting in the olive grove, having this very drink, which I came up with when living in Italy. It’s highlighted by the Italian liqueur Strega, which is one of my favorite things, a beautiful drink on its own, with herbal goodness and trademark golden hue (brought on by saffron), but also a fine player in cocktails. Have one of these with me, and we can both dream in Italian.

among-the-mountains

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounces Strega
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, Strega, simple syrup, and juice. Shake as if you were rolling down a hill.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass or creatively cute wine glass. Drink while looking over the valley.

August 12, 2014

Listen to Me on Happy Hour Radio (In Case You Missed It)

Holy awesomeness! If you didn’t know, I was recently lucky enough to be on the wonderful and wonderfully fun Happy Hour Radio here in Seattle (if you did miss it, you might want to follow me on the Twitter at @AJRathbun so you don’t miss the next one). It’s a swell show hosted by the friendly and knowledgeable (he’s like a sensei of a sommelier) Christopher Chan, which runs every Saturday from 11 AM to noon on 570 KVI AM. The episode I was on also featured Steve Metzler and Almudena de Llaguno from Classical Wines of Spain and Auction of Washington Wines Executive Director Aimee Sheridan – who were super great – and I made a Last Word in Kent and a Princess and talked up local spirits. So, not a show to miss, right? Lucky for you (we’re all lucky here), the show is archived and available, so you can listen to it whenever you want (maybe twice), or download it. Just go to this link: https://app.box.com/s/vgimk224vu4rmcogm8n2. You’ll love it! And here’s the line-up visually, if you want to picture us as you listen:

hh-radio

August 8, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Blushing Bride

It’s wedding season, I do believe, evidenced by the lacy white outfits I keep seeing women wearing (usually accompanied by a bunch of other women in really oddly colored and shaped outfits – poor bridesmaids), and the number of gentlemen in tuxes with scared looks on their faces. Hah! I kid, I kid. I love weddings – they’re an especially nice kind of a party, a big ol’ celebration of two folks that hopefully are well-liked by everyone in attendance. In honor of the couples I know hitching it up this month (or right around this month), I’m going to whip up some Blushing Brides. These have to be made in batches of two, cause, well, I should think it’d be obvious.

blushing-bride

The Blushing Bride, from Dark Spirits, Serves 2

12 fresh raspberries
6 lime wedges
Ice cubes
4 ounces Cognac
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce Simple Syrup

1. Put the raspberries and 4 of the lime wedges into a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, wooden spoon, or stiletto-heeled bridesmaid’s shoe, muddle well.

2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cognac, vodka, and simple syrup. Shake in a celebratory manner.

3. Strain the mix equally into two cocktail glasses through a fine strainer. Garnish each with a remaining lime wedge.

PS: I’ve seen drinks with this title that contain other ingredients. Avoid them. They are all awful

August 5, 2014

Beer Cocktail It Up

Hello! I recently wrote an article on refreshing (as heck) beer cocktails that combine Seattle-and-WA-made spirits, liqueurs, and beers. It’s called Warm-Weather Cocktails Made with Local Beer, Spirits and Liqueurs as you might expect, and was written for the mighty-fine Seattle magazine. If you like beer, cocktails, spirits, liqueurs, refreshing drinks, entertaining your friends, entertaining yourself, enjoying a righteous libation, or reading anything I write (there has to be at least one person out there who feels this way), then this beer cocktail article is for you.

* See all Seattle magazine articles by me

PS: I am also the hand model in the photo. Hah!

August 1, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Ponce de León

This refreshing number with a kick will not make you younger, or provide you (after you drink, say, three) with a vision that takes you to the fountain of youth. However, however, however, if you do consume three, with a good friend or two, my guess is you’ll start acting a bit more youthful, and feel perhaps more youthful, and have a generally awesome time. Maybe we shouldn’t ask for more?

ponce

The Ponce de León, from Dark Spirits

Ice cubes
1 ounce Cognac
1/2 ounce white rum
1/2  ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cognac, rum, Cointreau, and grapefruit juice. Shake well.

2. Strain the elixir into a cocktail glass. Fill the glass not quite to the top with the Champagne. Serve with a youthful grin.

July 29, 2014

Seattle Magazine Bar-Hopping: Bar Code, Hollywood Tavern, and Triumph

bars in bellevue barcode seattle magazine happy hour in bellevue seattleHello Seattle and surroundings drinkers! Here’s little round up just for you, of bars in the area I’ve recently reviewed for the swell Seattle Magazine (just in case you missed them). Drink up at:

•    BarCode

•    The Hollywood Tavern

•    Triumph Bar

* See all Seattle magazine articles by me

July 25, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The McCutcheon Cocktail with G’Vine Floraison Gin

applegreensRecently, I was browsing again through Applegreen’s Bar Book, a book sized to fit in your vest or shirt pocket, by a guy named John Applegreen, printed first in 1899. I’ve gone through it many times before, but like a lot of old bar books, I still love looking it over. And sometimes I find gems I missed or didn’t make before. The McCutcheon Cocktail is one of those very gems.

It’s a gin-based drink, and I decided to go with G’Vine’s Floraison gin, which is a small batch gin made in the Cognac region of France, and crafted from neutral spirits distilled from grapes. The juniper is there, but subtle, and mingling with a strong grape-ness (in a good way) and other floral notes leading into spices (chamomile and ginger and a few more). It’s has enough going on that it can play well with other herbal mixers (though really, try it solo, too), which is why it seemed – and is – an ideal gin for this unburied treasure of a cocktail, a cocktail which also contain both dry and sweet vermouth (I went with Dolin for the dry, and Carpano for the sweet) and a bit of maraschino and orange bitters. I went with Scrappy’s on the bitters, in a local shout out. It’s a beauty of a drink, and here’s a toast for Mr. Applegreen for introducing me to it, at whatever afterlife bar he’s shaking and stirring at.

McCutcheon

The McCutcheon

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces G’Vine Floraison gin
3/4 ounce Dolin dry vermouth
3/4 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1 dash maraschino liqueur
1 dash Scrappy’s orange bitters

1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything (be careful on your dash of maraschino, you don’t want to go too heavy). Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Dream of the late 1800s, and France.

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 aj 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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