October 30, 2011

What I’m Drinking This Halloween: The Sleepy Hollow

Just in time for you kooky fright-fest adult trick-and-treaters, let me present the latest on the Good Life Report, a recipe and such for the Sleepy Hollow cocktail. It’s an ideal Halloween party drink, one that matches both the spooky-fun nature of the holiday and (just in case you’re not reading the article on October 31st exactly) the season. It mixes gin, apricot liqueur, mint, lemon, and a hint of simple syrup (to match up with the candy and such the real kiddies get) into a mix that’s not scary at all, but good enough that you might just lose your head over it. So, get on over there and read the Sleepy Hollow up.


PS: Can’t get enough Halloween cocktails? Watch me make a Warlock cocktail and turn into a demon

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October 15, 2011

What I’m Drinking: The Whip of the Conqueror

They said it couldn’t be done! They said that dark rum, Fernet-Branca, apricot liqueur, and lime couldn’t be mixed together! They said that Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz couldn’t contain a drink that contains said ingredients, and they said it couldn’t be delicious, herbal, and tangy all at once! They said that a drink named after a whip and a world-beater (or, conqueror) couldn’t be made, that the good people of this here earth I stand on wouldn’t sip it up like the nectar of the gods! They said that it wouldn’t be an ideal mixture for Fall’s cold days, and that it wouldn’t slide the chill right off like a loose negligee! They said, they said, they said. Who is they (you might say)? Well, I’m not 100% sure. But they’re bad people. Unlike you and I. Both of whom (I sure hope) love this drink.


Ice cubes

1 -1/2 ounces dark rum

1 ounce Fernet-Branca

1/2 ounce apricot liqueur

1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

Lime twist, for garnish


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, Fernet-Branca, apricot liqueur, and lime juice. Shake in a whip-cracking motion.


2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the lime whip. Oh, I mean twist.

October 9, 2011

GBVF at the Rob Roy Party Pics

 Well, the Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz Rob Roy release party was yesterday afternoon, and it was all ten kinds of awesome. Super-duper huge thanks to Andrew, Bryn, and Anu from the Rob Roy crew who made it all possible, and the same size thanks to those who stopped by to join the GBVF Army! The Ginger Bliss and Violet Fizzes were stacked on the bar (where they like to be):



there was a sweet and stylish crowd:



sipping fine drinks off the special menu:



 those drinks being the Bitter Handshake:



and the Bruja Smash:



and then some drinks from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz were poured that weren’t on the menu, like the Ladies Cocktail:



and much talking, laughing, and Saturday afternoon drinking was had by all. Thanks again everyone, for making me the happiest dipsographer in the land.


PS: Thanks to Andy Sweet for the Bitter Handshake, Ladies, and crowd pic, and Nat for the others.


PPS: If you missed the shindig, I think the Rob Roy still has a couple extra copies for sale. So stop on by why dontcha?


PPSS: Not in Seattle and sad about your lack of GBVF Army induction? Get Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz online and start liqueur boot camp.

October 4, 2011

What I’m Drinking (Soon): The Bruja Smash

The Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz Rob Roy release party is only 4 days away (it’s happening, if you’ve been in the outback, on 10/8, from 2 to 4), and I’m already twitching with excitement about having one of the wonderful drinks bartender supremo Andrew Bohrer will be whipping up with penultimate panache. He’s doing two from the book, the Bitter Handshake and the Bruja Smash, the latter of which I’m going to tempt you with today. It’s an kind-of-crushed-ice-y affair, using one of my all-time favs, Italian spicy (as in, using spices like saffron) and gold liqueur Strega, alongside tequila and some fruity goodness all mixed up with balance, care, and craft. And muscles. Jeez, if that’s not enough to start mouths a-watering, then I suppose I’ll put the recipe here, right now:


Crushed ice

7 fresh mint leaves

7 fresh raspberries

1-1/2 ounces white tequila

1 ounce Strega

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 mint sprig, for garnish


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with crushed ice. Add the mint leaves, raspberries, tequila, Strega, and lemon juice. Shake really well.


2. Dump the contents of the shaker (no straining here) into a large tulip-style beer glass or other good-sized pretty vessel.


3. Fill the glass with crushed ice, garnish with the mint sprig, and serve with a straw.


PS: In the actually GBVF version of the Bruja Smash, I talk a lot about ol’ greenskin, the Incredible Hulk. How? Why? Well, you’ll have to get a copy, friends, to find out. And you can, this Saturday. See you there.


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September 29, 2011

What I’m Drinking: The Tuscan Mule

I recently found out the most amazing liqueur-related fact (well, maybe not the most amazing ever, but the most amazing one I’ve heard in at least 43 days): Topeka, KS, consumes more Tuaca than anywhere else in the U.S. of A. Isn’t that mind-blowing? It’s not (if you’re not up-to-date on the capitol city of Kansas) that Topeka has a big Italian immigrant community (Tuaca being an Italian liqueur supposedly based on a recipe from the big man, Lorenzo de’ Medici, himself), either. Tuaca has just taken over T-town (as Topeka is referred to on occasion), to the point where if you order a “house wine” in at least one bar you automatically get a Tuaca and Sprite. These little facts (especially this one, as I’m an ex-Kansan) make cocktails even more fun (and big thanks to pals Erin and Brad, who is a Topekean by birth, for letting me know about the Topeka-Tuaca connection). Tuaca, naturally, is one of the many liqueurs that’s featured, with even more information and history than the Topeka association, in Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz: A Cocktail Lover’s Guide to Mixing Drinks Using New and Classic Liqueurs. This means, in honor of my recently expanded Tuaca knowledge, that I’m sipping on a Tuscan Mule today–it’s one of my favorite Tuaca drinks and one whose recipe is featured in Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz. You should sip up, too, and toast all those Topekans and their Tuaca love.


Ice cubes

1 -1/2 ounces Tuaca

Chilled ginger ale

Lime wedge, for garnish


1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the Tuaca.


2. Fill the glass almost to the top with ginger ale.


3. Squeeze the lime wedge over the glass, and then drop it in. Stir well.


PS: Don’t forget, the Rob Roy release party for Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz is October 8th. Be there!

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September 16, 2011

What I’m Drinking: Lavender-Mint Grappa for Lack of a Better Name

I feel somewhat bad (I mean, not all-the-way bad, as if I’d spilled a Shoreditch Sombrero cocktail, but still sorta bad) cause I don’t have a super accurate and detailed recipe for today’s What I’m Drinking. Usually, I try to give you (and I do mean you) the opportunity to drink along with me by providing said recipe, but as this drink came about somewhat randomly I somewhat forgot to write down the measurements of what’s in it in a precise and helpful manner. Heck, I didn’t even come up with a snazzy name, and I pride myself, darnit, on the snappy-ness of my drink names (maybe I should have gone with Lant? Lavmi? Mive? LMG? Moving Lavender Gogh?). I suppose there’s still time. With all that said, here are the basics. I took a bunch of fresh lavender from the garden (the lavender was really the impetus for this liqueury drink, cause we have a lovely lavender plant), the flowers of course, about two cups, and added it to a sturdy glass container with about a cup and half fresh mint (we’ve also been lucky in the mint department this year), muddled them up a bit, then added a 750 milliliter bottle of grappa that I wasn’t sure I’d be sipping, stirred, and sealed:



I let that kick its heels for a couple weeks in my cool and dry storage room, stopping by to chat it up and swirl it around every day or so. Then I added (if memory serves) about a cup-and-a-quarter’s worth of simple syrup. I didn’t want it to be as sweetened as most liqueurs, but wanted to take the edge off the grappa a bit. You dig me? Then back down to that cool, dry spot away from the sun for a few weeks. Then I strained it a couple times through cheese cloth (those lavender pips can be tricky), bottled it, and Nat took this lovely pic:



It has a slightly floral taste, underlined with the mint and some other herbaceous-ness, but enough of a kick that it won’t be called a sissy anytime soon. I’ve been sipping it solo the last few nights but am tempted to try mixing it up with some flavorful gin or other choice items. Its flavor is singular enough that it may be tough to find the right match, but I’m game (as long as I don’t get away from the sipping solo, too, that is). If anything works out nicely, I’ll report back, okay?

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September 10, 2011

What I’m Drinking: Cold Sol

In the above title, I did not mis-type. Neither did I mean I was drinking cold “soul” as if I were a demon thirsting for evil-doers or that I was drinking cold “Soul” as if David Soul were chilled down and liquefied. Oh, no. I meant was a drinking cold Sol, the light-on-its-feet beer made in Mexico that I sometimes fancy when it’s the height of summer (the other beer usually being Miller High Life, but when snacking on some cheese enchiladas lathered in mole, it’s Sol). And, strangely, here in September at this very moment seems to be Seattle’s height of summer, which has led me to Sol. Which sounds much deeper in thought than it is (but I can’t always be philosophical, in the same way that I can’t always be drinking only cocktails and mixed drinks. Sometimes, I just wanna pop open a bottle without any fuss):



PS: The above photo was taken with Hipstamatic on Nat’s iPhone, which I thought matched up the cantina feel of the Sol (and which was the only camera for miles at the time). If you really want to know the exact settings, let me know.

September 3, 2011

What I’m Drinking: The Shoreditch Sombrero

I don’t want you to think I’m getting routine in my drink making and testing and making some more. But I just couldn’t resist conjuring up another mighty mix that maximized the potential of the Deluxe Foods Earl Grey syrup (used last in The Earl of 15th Avenue cocktail), which will soon be available in better stores near you. Or online at the Deluxe Foods site. It has a hint of smoky-ness and a hint of citrus and, naturally, a little sweetness. All those combined had me dreaming of mixing it with a smoky tequila (and yes, these are the kinds of things I dream about. Well, these things and late 1950s era Kim Novak. A boy’s gotta have multiple hobbies), a tequila like the Casa Noble Reposado, which has a smooth smoke mingling with vanilla, citrus, and agave flavors. So, I made the dream a reality by mixing the above two ingredients, and then upped the ante with a little fresh squeezed oj, for health reasons. Delicious, I must admit:



Ice cubes

2 ounces Casa Noble Reposado tequila

1/2 ounce Deluxe Foods Earl Grey syrup

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice


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


2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink with a hat on. Or drink out of a hat. Up to you.


A Note: Shoreditch is a neighborhood in London. Earl Grey tea is named for the 2nd Earl Grey, who was England’s Prime Minister at one point and who lived in London. Tequila is from Mexico, where the sombrero originates. Now you know about the name. As a bonus, Vince Noir once called himself a Shoreditch vampire. And he’d certainly like this drink.

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