April 14, 2017

What I’m Drinking: A Picturesque Procession with Purus Vodka

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-pictauresque-procession
A Picturesque Procession

Ice cubes
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.

March 31, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Ognam

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
Ognam, from Dark Spirits

Ice cubes
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!

October 14, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Burst of Feeling

This is a globe-trotting flavorsome sipper, which actually uses ingredients from three different continents. Really! I think. Tell me if I’m wrong, but I think I’m right, though with the teutonic shifting, well, you never know what’s changed in the many years since my geography classes. What I do know is that it’s a swell mix, thanks in large part to the addition of Bundaberg ginger beer (some of which, lucky me, showed up in the mail not too long ago. Don’t hate me cause I’m lucky). Out of Australia, Bundaberg makes a variety of tasty beverages, but is at the moment best known for its ginger beer, a n/a version made from all-natural nature-y things (roots, spices) and being a very smooth drink, with a hint of sweet and good underlying gingerness. Here, I pair it with two other flavorsome friends: Peruvian brandy Pisco, and a little Euro insertion thanks to old chum Italian aperitif Aperol. As a trio, at first glance, they may seem oddly matched, but everything brings a little this, a little that, a little of their own personality. Lots of flavor, while still being refreshing.

burst-of-feelingThe Burst of Feeling

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces pisco
1/4 ounce Aperol
Ice cubes
4 ounces Bundaberg ginger beer

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the pisco and the Aperol. Stir well.

2. Fill a smallish highball or a good-sized Old Fashioned-y glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix from Step 1 into the glass.

3. Top with the Bundaberg. Stir well.

March 20, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Badger’s Feather

I tend to shy away from pre-flavored spirits. So many, especially in my early years (but even now, for sure) are flavored chemically, with nothing natural involved, and the taste reflects this attitude. It’s a shame, but hey, them’s the breaks. However, with today’s focus on better taste, and so many smaller distilleries who’d rather serve up delicious bottled items instead of just getting out as much as possible, well, there are some good flavored numbers starting to show up. Example A: Skiprock Distiller’s Badger Pocket black peppercorn vodka. I would expect Skiprock (a distillery from Snohomish, WA) to have a good flavored vodka, since their regular potato-based vodka is awfully tasty and uses potatoes grown right here in WA. They use whole peppercorns in the Badger Pocket, and the end result is a vodka that’s spicy, but not as sharp as you might expect – there’s actually a hint of sweetness in there, too. When using it in cocktails, this gives it more flexibility than you might expect. It makes a great Bloody Mary (as you’d guess), but also goes well with fruit liqueurs and a whole wide range of things. But, funny enough, when I was playing around with it, I ended up going a whole different route than originally planned, pairing it finally with the Italian aperitif Aperol (whose just-about-bitter-and-citrus-ness is a dream) and a little Scrappy’s orange bitters, ending with  a drink that’d ideal when the sun is shining.

badger-feather

The Badger’s Feather

Cracked ice
2 ounces Skiprock Badger Pocket vodka
1 ounce Aperol
1 dash Scrappy’s orange bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the vodka, Aperol, and bitters. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist.

October 4, 2013

Cocktail to Cocktail Hour V4, E2: The Aperol Spritz

Buon giorno cocktail fans, and fans of cocktail videos, and Italian fans, and fans of good drinks, and fans of good translations, and welcome all y’all to another episode of the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, the world’s best cocktailunmentary show. This episode is extra special, as we have a guest who’s traveled all the way from Italy to share a special recipe with us. So, watch up, and ciao until next time.

PS: Special thanks to AK Translation Services for the immaculate translating.

May 26, 2011

What I’m Drinking: Ognam

The ol’ Seattle weather recently hasn’t been what you’d (you or anyone, really, unless that other person is someone who revels in dreary wetness) call awesome lately (and by lately, I mean, to all reports, since last August). You might think this rain-cloud-rain pattern would drive me to drink only straight shots of rot-gut (or at least straight shots of almost-rot-gut). But no, fair friend, no. When the weather trots out its worst repeatedly during a time when the very month name should signal clear skies and sunshine (like May, for instance) I go for summertime mixes. A: I’m not going to let that weather tell me who the boss is. I know who the boss is (Tony Danza. And then me). B: I figure if I drink like there’s sun in the sky then maybe, just maybe, I’ll influence said weather to follow my lead. Here’s hoping, at least. Which is why I’m sipping the summertime queen of the jungle, the Ognam (which is straight of out Dark Spirits, don’t you know. Wait, you don’t? Well go buy the book and find out). It was created by wife Nat and has a tropical refreshing vibe (sure, I said vibe, what of it?), and can, if anything can, change the weather:

 

 

Ice cubes

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 tippy top (Ognam insists on words like tippy top. Don’t infuriate Ognam.) with club soda. Stir again, well. Squeeze the lemon slice over the glass and drop it in.

December 14, 2010

What I’m Drinking: Highwayman’s Holiday

This vacationing vandal special is, in a big way, a liquid shout out to pals Markie B and Andy S. See, these two fine gentleman (and their wives) came with us the last time we were in Italy (way back in April 2009), and during that trip we discovered the somewhat illusive Viparo. You can read my plea for this Italian amaro here, and learn more about our adventures on that trip. On this trip, I was excited to try and track down this evasive elixir, and then when walking into some big new market/grocery/superstore a couple weeks back there it was, staring down at me–a whole display of new bottles of Viparo. Naturally, I picked one up and now it, along with Italian stalwart Aperol, features big in the below drink. The others players are gin (which starts the story behind the name, as I was picturing the drinker as a British stagecoach robber on vacation) and clementine juice (I found a bunch of clementine’s recently)—everything together equals a fine escape:

 

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounce gin

1 ounce freshly squeezed clementine juice

1/2 ounce Viparo

1/2 ounce Aperol

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, juice, Viparo, and Aperol. Shake well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass or little wine glass or flagon. Drink up.

 

A Note: Can’t find clementine’s? You could sub in orange juice instead. Call it Highwayman’s Parole.

 

A Second Note: You might want to strain this through a fine strainer to avoid citrus bits in teeth. But no real robber would care about that much.

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