February 21, 2017

Cocktail Talk: The Third Man

http://www.easyreaders.eu/media/115489/978-87-23-90103-3.jpgI recently re-read (for the, oh, let’s say, fourth time) Graham Greene’s classic short post-WW-II Vienna thriller The Third Man. It was written specifically to be made into the (possibly) more classic movie of the same name, and is entirely worthwhile. And a quick read, too, as it both keeps you on the edge of your reading chair or couch – as you, along with the amazingly-named Rollo Martins, unravel the mystery of Harry Lime – and because as mentioned, it’s short. It also has a couple of neat bar scenes. I especially like the description below.

After he left me, Martins went straight off to drink himself silly. He chose the Oriental to do it in, the dreary smoky little night club that stands behind a sham Eastern façade. The same semi-nude photographs on the stairs, the same half-drunk Americans at the bar, the same bad wine and extraordinary gins – he might have been in any third-rate night haunt in any other shabby capital of a shabby Europe.

– Graham Greene, The Third Man

February 17, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Rabo de Galo

I was recently lucky enough (don’t be mad at me – I like to share) to receive a bottle of Novo Fogo Single Barrel cachaça – it was from barrel 152, to be precise. If you don’t know Novo Fogo, well, you should! They’re an organic-certified, handcrafting, recycled-glass using, zero wasting cachaça distiller (from Brazil naturally, where all cachaça is made), incredibly focused on sustainability and using processes that are going to deliver high-quality spirits, sure, but also make it possible to do this over the long term without destroying their neighborhood. That gets a RIGHT ON! from me.

With all that said, I need to drink more cachaça. It’s made from fresh-pressed sugar cane, and there are loads available there days, many solid versions and a lot of variety in taste and such. But now back to the matter at hand. Barrel 152 has a good history – aged for three years in oak, it’s a sip-able representation of Novo’s locale (coastal mountains), with a hint of the sea in the aroma, along with cream, and a flavor of toasted coconut, walnuts, more cream and butter, and oak. Neat or over a single ice cube, it’s something to savor.

But also something to put in cocktails (in my mind). It came accompanied by a little history/recipe book, in which I found the below recipe, in the barrel-aged cachaça section. When reading it, I got thirsty. Usually, I like to play around and create my own concoction (or rescue one from long ago) when I receive a new bottle, but here, I figured, the 152 was aged, so I’d give this recipe a try using it. I suggest you do the same, cause it’s a lovely, layered drink, with the herbal notes from our other players mingling perfectly with the Barrel 152 savory notes. It gets a RIGHT ON! as well.
rabo-de-galoRabo del Galo

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces Novo Fogo Single Barrel 152 cachaça
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce Cynar
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
Wide swath of orange peel

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

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Spritz the orange over the drink, so the citrus oil is expressed. You can add the peel to the glass, too, if you want.

February 14, 2017

Cocktail Talk: The Long Goodbye

http://www.detnovel.com/images/Longgoodbye.jpgYou’ll discover, as you spend hours and hours here, that there are a lot of Raymond Chandler Cocktail Talks – go read them all now, to get my views on the great writer, and to read more sweet booze-y quotes. WAIT! Don’t go read them all yet, cause the below quote is actually already in that list of posts. But it seemed so ideal for Valentine’s Day (in a, oh, vaguely sarcastic sense, but it’s all funtimes here!) that I couldn’t resist posting it again. Read it once, below, and then go read all the other swell Chandlerisms on the site.

Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.

— Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

February 10, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Up In Mabel’s Room

mabelThere’s a delicate hint of hanky panky (not the classic drink, but the activity) in the name here, for me, at least (but I am an incurable romantic, and also like things like delicate hints, and gently bawdiness, as opposed to outright lewd-itity, I suppose. Most times!). Which is why I think this drink can cover the whole “Valentine’s Day” drink need just as well as some sweeter-in-taste, more traditionally romantic-y, numbers. Though this does have a little sweet, admittedly, along with a little citrus, and a lot of rye. In my mind, that rye is for lovers, too. But like I say, I’m an incurable romantic!

Up In Mabel’s Room, from Dark Spirits

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces rye
3/4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
3/4 ounces simple syrup

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything. Shake exceptionally well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Enjoy.

February 7, 2017

Making Gin at Scratch Distillery

Kim Karrick (left) teaches her “Giniology” class at Scratch Distillery in Edmonds. Botanical distillates allow you to customize your own ginNot so long ago in the past (though, admittedly, not yesterday either), wife Nat and I were lucky enough to go with some pals out to Scratch Distillery in Edmonds, WA to take part in one of their Ginology classes, where you end up with a bottle of your very own gin – one you designed! It’s neat, and even neater was that I got to write an article about Scratch Giniology for the Seattle magazine. You should read it! And then go do the class.

February 3, 2017

What I’m Drinking: The Poor Harriet

I say, go into January with bubbles; go out of January and into February with bubbles. And love, of course. And Parfait Amour (which, you know, gets a bad rap – some of it deserved, as it can be a sickly sweet kind of love at times). But damnit, it’s a worthy love here. Ya’ hear? And this drink (which itself can run sweet for some – but on occasion sweet isn’t bad. The orange juice, if fresh as the driven snow or some such, should help balance. You could also drop the simple altogether, now that I think about it. Again, though, you may want to sweet up. That’s okay, too.), as well as being a good end-of-the-year’s-first-month choice, is also not a bad idea for you and yours to snuggle with on the up-coming Valentine’s Day. It checks the boxes for that: ingredient with “love” in title, sparkling and classy, Peychaud’s for health, and gin to base it all on. See what I mean?

poor-harriet
The Poor Harriet, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

Ice cubes
1 ounce gin
1/2 ounce Parfait Amour
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
Dash of Peychaud’s bitters
Chilled Prosecco

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, Parfait Amour, simple syrup, orange juice, and bitters. Shake well.

2. Strain into a flute glass. Top with chilled Prosecco. Be loved.

January 27, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Tether’s End

Earlier in this blog’s lifetime, I had a Cocktail Talk post quoting (as they do) from the Margery Allingham book Tether’s End, and in said post I mentioned that I thought that title would be a good name for a drink. And I was right! And this is that drink. Not cause this drink is an “end” of anything (though it like all drinks will have an ending sip), but just cause I thought the name was neat. But when making up a drink to match the name, I did want to at least align with the source in a manner or two, so I started with gin, it being an English favorite and all (and I went with Boodles, an English gin, naturally). For the next step, I browsed the liquor-shelves-of-doom, and decided to use (symbolically, and to add a delightful randomness) the very last bottle currently on the very top shelf – the end of one’s tether is often a time when you feel you’re at the very edge of a very high ledge. Lucky (and this was random) that bottle was Amaro di Toscana, an amaro now available over here stateside (when I first had it, years back, in Italy, and when I first brought a bottle back, it wasn’t). To add a final homage into the drink, I wanted something sort-of tethering – by that, meaning, an anchor, as a “tether” can be a cord (or cord-like item) that anchors one to a fixed object. So, as you might guess, I went with homemade grenadine, tethering everything to my own home. Isn’t that lovely? Well, if you don’t agree, you will agree the drink itself is lovely, I’ll bet. Try it, and see.

tethers-end

Tether’s End

Ice cubes
2 ounces Boodles gin
1 ounce Amaro di Toscana
1/2 ounce homemade grenadine

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add all three tethers. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink to the last drop.

January 24, 2017

Cocktail Talk: The Story of Lucy Gault

The wonderful William Trevor passed away lately. One of the all-time top short story writers for sure, he also wrote a number of short-ish novels which are amazing for their pace, narrative control, writing chops of course, and way that his characters both seem remarkably normal and remarkable. Anywho, if you don’t know him, read him. The Story of Lucy Gault like many of his works takes place in Ireland, and really is one whole life, including one scene with one of the memorable Irish whiskeys.

Not listening any more, Lucy read the advertisements: for Ryan’s Towel Soap, and corner beer and whiskey and Guinness’s stout. She’s asked her papa what Guinness was when they saw it written up and he said it was the stuff Henry drank. There was a bottle of whiskey they’d left behind, only a little gone from it. Power’s it was.

–William Trevor, The Story of Lucy Gault

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