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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
The Blushing Bride, from Dark Spirits, Serves 2
12 fresh raspberries
6 lime wedges
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
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!
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?
The Ponce de León, from Dark Spirits
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.
Hello 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:
* See all Seattle magazine articles by me
Recently, 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.
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.