April 28, 2017
A couple weeks back, I had a stunner of a spring cocktail on the ol’ Spiked Punch blog, one made with all-organic, Italian-made, darn delicious, Purus vodka. If you’d like to learn a little more about Purus, and have yet another (hah!) amazingly good drink off of this blog, be sure to go check out the post with the recipe for A Picturesque Procession. Really, read it now!
And, you’re back. Welcome back! I liked Purus well enough that I decided making up one drink inspired by it wasn’t quite enough. I really love Italian things (as everyone knows from here to Italy)! This cocktail is another beaut, if I can say so humbly, but completely different from A Picturesque Procession. It’s a little more, oh, reflective in a way, less bright, maybe a bit more layered, a tiny bit more depth. Both are solid, I think, but just different in the way they get to their sip-able-ness. Here, the other players are mostly Italian: Cocchi Americano Rosa, the smidge more bitter (than Cocchi Americano) aperitif that’s a little like dusk on a spring day that’s had a few showers (if you know what I mean), old companion Luxardo maraschino liqueur, and one non-Italian, Seattle’s own Scrappy’s orange bitters. A beaut, for sure.
Beauty Is More Often Felt
1-1/2 ounces Purus Organic Italian vodka
1 ounce Cocchi Americano Rosa
1/2 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add all the beautiful things. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Muse on it all.
April 21, 2017
I would never ask the question (being happily married with the bestest wife in the whole wide world – the universe, even) from which this drink takes its name. But Crosby Gaige sure would. Not sure why, and sadly I can’t ask him, as he’s currently tippling (with his wife, perhaps, for all I know, or husband, or alien companion, if we’re getting universal. I’m sure no species-ist) in that great big bar in the afterlife. See, this comes from his book (a jolly one, by the way, if you ever see a copy) from way back in 1941, Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion. This particular drink is from “The Department of the Charentes or Brandy Department” chapter, and I was looking for a brandy a drink the other day, and realized, hey, I’d never tried this, and so even though I know many good answers to the drink’s name, I made it anyway. And it’s an interesting mix, because really (oh that joker Crosby), it’s a gin drink, with brandy (and Cointreau, and lemon juice) playing smaller parts. It might have just a stitch too much lemon juice for most modern palates, but I found it refreshing, and like the way the brandy sidekick’d to the gin, with that Cointreau underneath really, and the lemon bright up top. No matter what your views on material status, give it a whirl.
1-1/2 ounces gin (dryer the better)
1/2 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Shake well (yes! I know this all goes against traditional ice/shake/stir/mumbo/jumbo. But this is how Crosby did it, and it worked for me, too).
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Drink up. Then walk down that aisle!
April 18, 2017
. It’s always good to go back to Trollope (for me, that is. For you, too, I hope), re-reading books I love. But it’s also
amazing to uncover one of the few Anthony Trollope books I haven’t yet read (there are only a few left, which is amazing – if that isn’t tooting my own horn too much – when you consider the vast assortment of books he managed to write), which happened recently with a novel called Miss Mackenzie
. And, as you’d expect, it’s a fantastic read, a little different in that the heroine is a bit older than the norm, and in an interesting situation (which is the norm). I don’t want to spoil anything, so won’t say anything more, but it’s a dandy book. Not a lot of drinking, really, and, to be completely honest (not a bad thing, most days), the below isn’t even a drinking quote, in a cocktail or spirits or etc. way. But it feels like one! Maybe it is, in a way, too. Hmm. Either way, it is amazing. You’ll agree. I can feel it.
“I have heard a great deal about Mr. Stumfold,” continued Mr. Rubb, not appearing to observe the lady’s altered manner, “not only here and where I have been for the last few days, but up in London also. He is quite a public character, you know.”
“Clergymen in towns, who have large congregations, always must so be, I suppose.”
“Well, yes; more or less. But Mr. Stumfold is decidedly more, and not less. People say he is going in for a bishopric.”
“I had not heard it,” said Miss Mackenzie, who did not quite understand what was meant by going in for a bishopric.
“Oh, yes, and a very likely man he would have been a year or two ago. But they say the prime minister has changed his tap lately.”
“Changed his tap!” said Miss Mackenzie.
“He used to draw his bishops very bitter, but now he draws them mild and creamy. I dare say Stumfold did his best, but he didn’t quite get his hay in while the sun shone.”
–Anthony Trollope, Miss Mackenzie
April 14, 2017
Vodka has gone from over-rated to under-rated. Due to an over-abundance of flavorless vodkas enjoyed more for their lack of character than taste, and then an over-abundance of drinks made with them during the dark days (like, the 80s and 90s) of drinking, vodka got a bad – if, perhaps, deserved – rap. But here’s the thing: there are plenty of good vodkas today, which bring flavor and personality to the party. I didn’t know, however, that one was made in Italy!
Until recently, that is, when I received a bottle of Purus organic vodka in the mail (I know, I know, lucky me). Made from Italian grain and water from the Italian Alps, up in northern Italy’s Piedmont region, it felt on first glance – no, on first hearing about it – that the vodka was made for me. Though admittedly I used to live in Central Italy, but hey, it’s ITALY! And it’s made by the Sacchetto family. Who I don’t know, but c’mon, they sound awesome – and they placed their vodka, certified GMP free and organic by the USDA, in a curvingly artistic bottle that’s lovely and recyclable, as is the bottle top.
So, with all that I say they’re an awesome family. Well, that and from this vodka, which not only sounds good, but is good. It’s clean and bright, with a lush slightly sweet essence mingled with notes of peach and plum and good grain and the Italian springtime. It’s that kind of tipple. If you don’t believe me, it’s won a bunch of awards, too, picked by famous people. It’s dandy solo, over an ice cube or two. I liked a twist of lemon with it, too, as it balances a bit. It’s also a willing and able contributor to cocktails, including this one, where I bring two other Italian favs, Strega and Aperol, into the mix, and a little lemon. I’ll probably have another drink up here with it before long, as well, so don’t be a stranger.
A Picturesque Procession
2 ounces Purus Organic Italian vodka
3/4 ounces Strega
1/2 ounce Aperol
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the twist. Shake well in an Italian manner.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist. And a toast.
April 11, 2017
Those long-time readers of this Spiked Punch blog (which is all of you, correct?) know that I love me some Peter Lovesey
. Especially his Peter Diamond series, which is body-packed (lots of murders) with awesomeness. But I like tracking down his other books, too, and recently found one of the few I don’t already have, a super-fun read called Keystone
. It takes place during the early glory days of Hollywood, especially around the studio that made the Keystone cops. There’s a murder or two and some mysteries and a well-researched setting, and the regular tight pacing and prose that Lovesey always delivers. If you can find it, get it. And then drink a whiskey sour while reading it:
We had to go as far as Wilshire Boulevard to find a place that served hot meals in mid-afternoon. By then I was ready to tackle the steak that Murray ordered. I ate, while he drank whiskey sours and talked about Louise, their daughters, his early life and his career in motion pictures, from the San Francisco nickelodeon to the absurdities of Keystone.
— Peter Lovesey, Keystone
April 7, 2017
This sounds so sticky in a way, and sorta yucky, and other “y” ending words that don’t imply springtime (okay, maybe spring is a little sticky sometimes – your mileage may vary on this intro sentence). But this is actually a fairly bright little number, with the rum base a precursor to summertime’s funtimes, and the juices being juicy, and a little sweet and that hint of maraschino that is another dream entirely. But I’m all over the map of descriptions now, and the seasons, and probably every line that denotes what’s proper in a drink introduction. But this is called Stockholm Tar! Whatdya expect? Just sip, laugh, sip, laugh.
Stockholm Tar, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
Lime slice for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, lime juice, cranberry juice, simple syrup, and maraschino liqueur. Shake well (you want to ensure it doesn’t get a tar-like appearance).
2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime slice.
April 4, 2017
Did you miss any of my Seattle magazine boozy beauties (I say with humility of course) last month, said month being marching March naturally? If so, I understand – it’s a hectic month. But I’m here for you, hearing your need, and so have rounded up said beauties from Seattle magazine for you below.
• Drinks News: Rob Roy, 190 Sunset and Spirits in the South Sound
• Three Impressions of Bruciato
• Musical Beers, Basil Mint Cider, The Dark Door Bourbon and More Spirited News
• Three Impressions of Bar Charlie
March 31, 2017
It’s spring right? I mean, according the calendar and all, spring started way back on the 20th. You’re frolicking right? In a meadow? Please tell me you are frolicking. FROLICKING! It’s spring, after all, when meadows should be begging to be frolicked in, as well as various other springtime spring-y-nesses. If you haven’t started your frolicking engines, then I suggest you drink a couple Ognams. They start the spring frolicking in a perfect way. Try it out – but be sure you have your frolicking clothes on.
Ognam, from Dark Spirits
1 1/2 ounces brandy
2 1/2 ounces mango juice
1/2 ounce Aperol
Chilled club soda
Lemon slice for garnish
1. Fill a highball or comparable glass with ice cubes. Add the brandy, mango juice, and Aperol. Stir well.
2. Fill the glass almost to the top with club soda. Stir again, well. Squeeze the lemon slice over the glass and drop it in. Frolic!