November 20, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Snow Leopards at Dawn

Sometimes, you can both help out and enjoy yourself – and this is one of those times! As we’re in the season for giving, I wanted to whip up a drink that in itself helped out a cause I believe is a good one, and Snow Leopards at Dawn is that drink. It starts with Snow Leopard vodka, which is the world’s first vodka made from Spelt grain, a rarer grain, and one grown without pesticides and such. Spelt (plus natural spring water) gives the vodka its taste, too, which is crisp, clear, and slightly nutty. All cool stuff! But even cooler is that 15% of all profits from the vodka are given directly to Snow Leopard conservation projects through the Snow Leopard Trust. That’s awesome! Snow Leopards are endangered, and can use the help. All of which leads to having the below cocktail. Drink up, help out. That’s a pretty darn swell combination.

snow-leopardSnow Leopards at Dawn

Ice cubes
2 ounces Snow Leopard Vodka
1 ounce Pierre Ferrand dry orange curaçao
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

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

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

November 17, 2015

Get the New Issue of Seattle Magazine Before It’s Too Late

sm-best-bar-issueHey hey party people from the WA (and any one visiting right now). The November issue of the smashing Seattle magazine is the Bar, Cocktail, Spirit, and Tipsy Awesomeness issue! And I wrote a big chunk of this booze-y beaut, so you don’t want to miss it, do you? DO YOU? Get it now – it’s available at all better stores that carry magazines, and all better magazines stands – and drink up!

November 13, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Lucky Duck

First: no ducks are actually used in this drink. If you were worried. Second, it’s Friday the 13th, and you have enough to be worried about without worrying about ducks. I mean, it’s a day renowned for bad luck (especially if you’re camping) and all that. However, this drink is sure to balance out any bad luck, so I suggest you make one double quick.

Why is this particular drink lucky? I’m glad you asked. It starts with Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac. Armagnac isn’t as well-known at the level it should be. Distilled once, but aged more than most spirits in barrels, it leans towards warm, full flavors, and is usually made by smaller, family-owned producers who’ve been Armagnac-ing for hundreds of years. Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac is aged in oak for 3 years, and is lovely, with toffee and bread aromas followed up vanilla, oak, and more. It’s well worth sipping solo, but also makes a fairly magnificent base for cocktails.

Especially when added to just a few other key ingredients. Here, the first is Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino Sherry (Sherry, by the way, is another ingredient not enough think of for cocktails, though it’s thankfully on the rise). Delicate in color, this Sherry is made by one the preeminent Sherry-making families (they’ve been making fine Sherries since 1835) aged for four years, and is quite dry, but with a light almond aroma, and a nutty taste with just a few fruity hints. It’s also quite nice by itself, with food, but brings an individual note to drinks. And if those two charmers weren’t enough, enter old pal Green Chartreuse. Which also brings a very signature style and flavor to any drink. And a little umph.

All together (plus a tiny bit of simple syrup to round out the edged), this is one seriously swell drink. Rich, layered, elegant (in a way that only certain drinks can be), but still approachable. If you can swing it, change your lucky to the better by tracking down these ingredients and making this before the day ends.

The Lucky Duck

Cracked ice
2 ounces Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac
1/2 ounce Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse
1/4 ounce simple syrup

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Armagnac, Sherry, Chartreuse, and simple syrup. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Feel lucky.

November 10, 2015

Cocktail Talk: Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite

sir-harryYou know this, because you’re a regular reader: I love books by Anthony Trollope. I believe there are more Trollope Cocktail Talk posts than any other type. So, I’m not going to go in deep into the whys and such here (go read the older posts, if you’ve missed any, which you probably haven’t, because you’re a regular reader). Here, instead, we’re diving in quick to a quote from Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite, a shorter, lesser-known Trollope sparkler. Actually, though it sparkles in some ways, it’s also probably one of the top five most-depressing-ending Trollope books. Still worth a read, but don’t expect it to be all smiles once that last page is turned. Maybe you’ll even need a drink?

Early on the morning after George’s return he was run to ground by Mr. Boltby’s confidential clerk, at the hotel behind the club. It was so early, to George at least, that he was still in bed. But the clerk, who had breakfasted at eight, been at his office by nine, and had worked hard for two hours and a half since, did not think it at all early. George, who knew that his pheasant-shooting pleasure was past, and that immediate trouble was in store for him, had consoled himself over-night with a good deal of curaçoa and seltzer and brandy, and had taken these comforting potations after a bottle of Champagne. He was, consequently, rather out of sorts when he was run to ground in his very bedroom by Boltby’s clerk.

– Anthony Trollope, Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite

November 6, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Sir Henry Morgan

I’m not sure why this sort-of Manhattan-on-a-island cousin (which I first saw in Here’s How: A Round-the-World Bar Guide, Signet, 1957–not the Here’s How cocktail book with wooden covers) isn’t better known. Made with the right rum and right vermouth, it’s a should-be classic. And delicious.

In my case recently (and in what should be your case, if you can make it happen), the right rum was the memorable Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum. Holy cow, this is a rum! From Venezuela, distilled from molasses in a copper pot still, and aged for 12 years, really, it’s a sipper in most cases. However! If you are bold, and let it shine as the main player in a cocktail like this (not overwhelmed by too many ingredient), well, feel darn special cause that’ll be a great cocktail (speaking of special, this rum arrived to me via the mail. Don’t be mad). It’s won like 20 awards, and has a serious aroma: caramels, nutmeg, nuts, allspice, hints of orange, vanilla, and more. And all of those aromas come out smooth into the slightly sweet, but nowhere near sickly, taste, with even more spices. Yummy.

Picking the sweet vermouth for the below recipe was tough, due to wanting to really find something that went with that fantastic rum. I decided on La Quintinye Vermouth Royal rouge, made with 28 spices, plants, and magical items (like all vermouths), on a base of white wines, interestingly enough, and Pineau des Charentes Rouge, and it was an ideal decision. The vermouth’s flavor also has some vanilla notes, and fruit and spice, which is why it mingles so well with the rum. Try it – you can thank me later.

The Sir Henry Morgan, recipe from Dark Spirits

Cracked ice
2 ounces Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum
1 ounce picked La Quintinye Vermouth Royal rouge
2 dashes Angostura bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum, vermouth, and bitters, and stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Get your thanks ready.

November 3, 2015

Seattle Magazine Cocktail Catch Up

Hello pals and gals! It’s time for you (wonderful person) to catch up on reading my (not-as-wonderful, but certainly trying, person) posts and pieces done recently for the swell Seattle magazine! These tipsy gems include:

•    Bartenders Tell Us: What’s the Scariest Drink to Serve on Halloween?

•    3 First Impressions of the Bar at Naka

•    The Rules Regarding Cocktails at Distilleries Have Changed

•    Westland Peat Week Kicks Off, Tieton Fall Cider Releases

•    Award-Winning Local Bourbon, Tailgating Fun and More

•    3 First Impressions of Everett’s Bluewater Distillery Bar

•    Woodinville Whiskey to Release its Flagship Straight Bourbon Whiskey

•    3 First Impressions of Jude’s Old Town

*See all Seattle magazine pieces by me

October 30, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Warlock

This is the day before Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, everybody make a Warlock, drink it down till the neighbors gonna die of delight; it’s your drink, everybody scream, on the day before Halloween.

Okay, as you know, every year near Halloween I do three things – sing the above song, have a Warlock (made with brandy, Strega, limoncello, orange juice, and Peychaud’s bitters), and turn into a zombie magician. This year is no different.


October 27, 2015

Cocktail Talk: Baby Moll

baby-mollI’ve had a Cocktail Talk post from John Farris’ Baby Moll before, but recently I was running late for the bus, and had to grab a book (I can’t ride the bus book-less), and well I couldn’t resist the cover here, and it was well worth reading again. Especially because of the below quote:

In the afternoon some of us, including Macy and Evelyn Rinke, put on suits and went swimming. Taggart, Diane, and Charley Rinke didn’t participate. They sat together on the terrace and drank Planter’s Punch and Salty Dogs. She paid no attention to Taggart. Now and then he would look at her over his lifted glass, a hint of pleasure in his eyes.

–John Farris, Baby Moll

Rathbun on Film