January 22, 2016

What I’m Drinking: Black Fog

I was recently flying into an airport (I don’t want to irritate said airport, so I’m resisting the urge to name, or to sound too complain-y), and not 25 minutes before landing, we were re-routed due to fog. It seemed strange – we were so close! But I figure the pilots and ATC folks know way, way better than I. And while I’m not really making a comparison, or saying I know better than anyone, really, but . . . you’ll let me now turn that little story into talking about the Black Fog, a drink that seems a little strange at first glance. But one which is darn tasty. Really! Trust me.

black-fog
Black Fog, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

One 12-ounce can Guinness stout
1 ounce framboise
1 or 2 mint leaves, for garnish

1. Fill a pint glass almost to the top with the Guinness.

2. Slowly pour the framboise into the glass, swirling it as you pour. Garnish with a mint leaf (or two, if you’re feeling it).

A Variation: Sometimes this is mixed using the French black raspberry liqueur Chambord, but I like the slightly stronger framboise (which is usually made from regular red raspberries and has a bit more kick).

August 5, 2014

Beer Cocktail It Up

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!

May 2, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Over the Kent Moon

This will blow your mind. I’m not kidding. Blow your mind. I’m sorta freaked out just looking at the ingredients list. Three awesome drink ingredients. And one is an amaretto. One is a nocino. And one is a beer. There is no way these should go together in a drink. But they do. And the result will blow your mind – with tastiness.

final-departure
Over the Kent Moon

1 ounce Sidetrack Nocino
1 ounce amaretto
8 ounces chilled Airways Final Departure Stout

1. Add the Nocino and the amaretto to a chilled Collins glass.
2. Slowly, and with a steady hand, add the stout. Stir briefly and calmly.

 

September 3, 2013

U.K. Drinks Part I: Real Ales

We (wife Nat and I, that is) were recently in lovely England for a wedding – our friends Becs and Drew (who wrote a number of dandy Drew’s Brews columns for this very site) got hitched down in Falmouth, Cornwall. Since we were down in that beautiful part of the world, we stayed on for a while after the wedding, in a spot near Port Isaac, where Doc Martin is filmed. Yes, I am square. While in the English countryside, we saw many amazing vistas, caught up on some history, drove on some very tight roads, ate a host of tasty meals, and sampled a fair number of  real, or cask ales. Though this site is usually about cocktails and spirits, I also (don’t gasp) like the ales, lagers, stouts, and general beers. Which meant that our English beer-cation was right up my alley. And so I thought I’d highlight a couple favorites. Out first hit, which to be honest was a hit for many days, was the award-winning Tribute Cornish pale ale, from St. Austell brewery. It’s made (I discovered) from 100% Cornish Gold Malt, and has a biscuity, malty flavor, with hints of citrus:

tribute

I also had a few Proper Jobs, which was a favorite of Becs and Drew that they suggested we try. It was a good suggestion. Also from the St. Austell brewery, it’s a hoppy hoppy IPA with the right amount of bitterness:

proper-job

We went to a lot of dandy pubs (most of which not only have intriguing beers, but really better-than-expected food, too), including the Blisland Inn, which is owned by a fella nicknamed King Buddha, and he has his own beer only available there (I think), the King Buddha Blisland Special from Sharp’s brewery, which I was happy to try. It also had a great English ale taste, a stitch bitter, and was a good accompaniment to a hearty lunch:

king-bhudda

Eventually, we found our way to London, at which time we moved into the Fuller’s family of beer. Both because it’s Nat’s last name and because Fuller’s Ales are darn fine, especially the classic London Pride, which is smooth, creamy, malty, and wonderful:

fullers

Now, get yourself over to the U.K. and have your own beer-cation.

 

April 26, 2013

Cocktail Talk: The Old Curiosity Shop, Part II

If you didn’t read The Old Curiosity Shop, Part I, you might want to, or just check out all Charles Dickens Spiked Punch posts. Cause I don’t want to take a lot of pre-amble, as this post will have a quote from that classic book, as well as a recipe that relates to the quote (cause I like to have Friday Night Cocktail recipes on Fridays, and wanted to somehow tie it all together. Make sense?). So, here’s the Cocktail Talk, Dickens’ style.

Presently he returned, followed by the boy from the public house, who bore in one hand a plate of bread and beef, and in the other a great pot, filled with some very fragrant compound, which sent forth a grateful steam, and was indeed choice Purl, made after a particular recipes which Mr. Swiveller had imparted to the landlord at a period when he was deep in his books and desirous to conciliate his friendship. Relieving the boy of his burden at the door, and charging his little companion to fasten it to prevent surprise, Mr. Swiveller followed her into the kitchen.

Now, to follow that up, here’s a recipe for Purl from Good Spirits, so you can make your own to sip on while reading Dickens on a cold spring night. Or, to have with friends while you’re acting out scenes from your favorite Dickens’ books. This is something you do, right?

Purl

6 ounces porter

6 ounces ale (a pale ale works)

1 ounce gin

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1. Add the porter, ale, and ginger to a small saucepan. Heat over medium-heat, until warm but not boiling.

2. Carefully pour the porter-ale mixture into a pint glass that has been slightly warmed (by running it under warm water).

3. Add the gin. Stir once with a spoon. Sprinkle the freshly grated nutmeg over the top.

March 22, 2013

What I’m Drinking: A Cold Peroni

So, I’m in Italy. And since it’s springtime, and sunny, I’m sitting outside of Bar Pina (which is outside of Umbertide), one of the finest spots anywhere to sit in the sun and have a beer. I mean, it’s in Italy. Which means that this Friday Night Cocktail isn’t as fancy as others, but I wouldn’t trade it for any of them. And if you want to feel jealous about it all, well, that’s up to you. But a better impulse might be for you to just come on over to Pina your-own-self. It’s pretty darn fun.

PS: Yeah, Dr. Strange drinks with me when I’m at Pina. And you thought it couldn’t get any better.

 

August 27, 2012

A.J.’s Brews: Beerdessert with Southern Tier’s Crème Brûlée

If you’re a regular reader (and I know that you are) of the Spiked Punch, you know that for a while there we had a fairly consistent column written by a guy named Drew, said columns being all about beer. Drew’s Brews, they were called, and it was nice to give some beer time here. Sadly, Drew’s moving and shaking and such, and while hopefully he’ll do a few more posts in the future, well, I can’t actually predict the future. In his honor though, here’s a short post about beer. Specifically, about a beer I had here in Seattle last week at Chuck’s, which is a crazy beer haven (that used to be a really porny convenience store). The beer was from the Southern Tier Brewing Company, and was a Crème Brûlée. Seriously. I guess the actual varietal would be “Imperial Milk Stout,” but I believe it should fall into a category you don’t hear about a lot: dessert beers. It had an incredible crème brûlée aroma and a whole passel of vanilla, caramel, and burnt sugar flavors. If I remember correctly, at the time I said it was “weirdly tasty” and I stand by that account. If you get a chance, and if you’re an adventuresome drinker, I strongly suggest keeping an eye out for it. And when you get a pint, pair it up with some creamy dessert. Dreamy, man, dreamy.

 

July 30, 2012

Cocktail Talk: The Man with a Load of Mischief

Sometimes, it doesn’t take long to know you’re gonna like a new book. I’m talking about a completely new book here, by an author you don’t know, and not say the 32nd book in a series by your all-time favorite writer (which I’m guessing is Garth Marenghi). Sometimes, it takes a few pages, but sometimes, rarely, sure, but sometimes by the end of the second sentence you know the book’s gonna snag you. Or at least has serious potential. I recently had this very phenomenon happen, with a book called The Man with a Load of Mischief, by Martha Grimes, who I’d never read word one from before. As this blog isn’t one of serious literary merit (wait, are any?), you probably have guessed that there’s some boozy mention in said second sentence. And you’re right. But what you probably couldn’t guess is that the boozy mention is of an English beer, one that’s not prevalent in the U.S., but one whose distillery I’ve actually been to! Amazing. It was a few years back, and I was traveling the U.K. with wife Nat and pals Markie B and Leslie P and we were in the Yorkshire region tooling around before seeing the Mighty Boosh, and ended up in a village called Masham, where the famous Theakston Brewery resides, which we visited. And, to bring it all full circle, at Theakston they make a renowned beer call Old Peculiar, which we had (and which Markie B has since lobbied to get in Seattle—successfully I might add) and loved, and which is mentioned in the second sentence of the book, which I talked about like an hour ago at the top of this paragraph. But hey, you wouldn’t want me to leave the story unfinished, right? The payoff is the quote itself, which is right here:

Outside the Jack and Hammer, a dog growled. Inside, his view of the High Street obstructed by the window at his shoulder, Melrose Plant sat in the curve of the bay drinking Old Peculiar and reading Rimbaud.

The Man with a Load of Mischief, Martha Grimes

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