December 6, 2019

What I’m Drinking: A Suitably Bittersweet Memoir of Games, Copy, Friends, and How They Might Be Found on a Friday in Mid-November

What a name for this cocktail! Credit has to go to pal mighty Matt Dupree (thanks Matt!), who I used to work with at a big game-making company. And this here drink – which honestly isn’t bad, but I don’t think it lives up to the name; then again, what drink could? – was going to be the one had one my final day at said company, but then fate (as fate does) didn’t allow it all to play out that way. But no worries! You and I can drink the below drink any day, and still enjoy it’s slightly sweet-with-a-little-bitter nature, which matches leaving a gig you’ve gigged at for some years, but also matches, say, a day you’re sad to see go, or finishing a good book, all of that. As you might expect for a drink that I originally crafted for a day as described that took place here in WA, this drink definitely leans local, though if not in WA (but really, why aren’t you? At least visiting), you could still put together wherever you may be by doing some ingredient hunting, which is a fun pastime indeed. It starts with gin – for me, I used Scratch’s Martini Style gin, a jolly medium-juniper-y gin with 17 botanicals and oodles of flavor. Then, Salish Seas lovely Allspice liqueur, delivering the spice that’s nice, and Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters, available in big bottles as well as the small one pictured! And a perfectly-pitched aromatic bitters for a host of classic bittering needs. For the sweet (well, the liqueur is a little sweet, but not overly so), a splash of Woodinville Whiskey’s Bourbon Barrel Aged maple syrup does the trick so well, I can’t even describe it. You’ll have to try it. And this drink! Which I am toasting to all the past co-workers right now.

last-day

A Suitably Bittersweet Memoir of Games, Copy, Friends, and How They Might Be Found on a Friday in Mid-November

 

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounce Scratch Martini Style gin

3/4 ounce Salish Seas Allspice liqueur

3 dashes Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters

1/2 ounce Woodinville Whiskey Bourbon Barrel Aged maple syrup

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add it all, with the memories, too. Shake well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Sip, muse about stuffs, sip more.

 

 

November 15, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Fall Frolic

It’s still fall (though mean ol’ winter is coming on quickly), and fall means to most good people a glorious time to sip ciders, and to most even good-er people, cider cocktails. Cider, cider cocktails, and fall go together like candles in pumpkins, hands in gloves, and kisses in hayracks (well, maybe that should be “on” hayracks but I didn’t want to mess up the line). And WA – where I am lucky enough to reside – has amazing cider, thanks to us having amazing fruit! And amazing cider makers! Who are always making new tantalizing ciders, like Locust Cider’s current seasonal, Dark Maple, which adds maple syrup and brown sugar to an all-WA apple mix, turning into a fall delight. Which then, I added to a few more local heroes, including Woodinville Whiskey Co.’s award-winning bourbon and it’s caramel, spice, swellness, Salish Sea’s memorable and singular maple-icious Maple liqueur, and Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters, full of bakery chocolate and spice. Voila! I’ve made make the end of your fall fantastic. Thank me later. And if you can’t get all the ingredients where you are, then let me assure you, WA is a wonderful place to visit this time of year, so come on out.

fall-frolic

The Fall Frolic

 

1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey bourbon

3/4 ounces Salish Sea Maple liqueur

2 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters

Ice cubes

7 ounces Locust Cider’s Dark Maple cider

 

1. Add the bourbon, liqueur, and bitters to a mixing glass. Stir well.

 

2. Fill a pint glass halfway full with ice cubes. Strain the above into the glass.

 

3. Fill the glass nearly to the top with the cider. Stir well – but carefully. You don’t want to spill a drop!

 

November 12, 2019

Cocktail Talk: Tall, Dark and Deadly

tall,dark,deadlyYou know those days when you wake up and think, “you know, I really want to get into an adventure in NYC with a 1950s lawyer who likes his drinks, knows the best bars, also knows the law quite well, is a bit pugnacious while also flirty, and seems to be surrounded by murders,” those kinds of days? You know them? I had one recently, and so of course set myself up with a big dose of books by Hal Masur (aka Harold Q Masur), starring Scott Jordan, the pocket-book-y-est lawyer in the land! I’ve had a fair amount of Hal M. Cocktail Talks, including one from Tall, Dark and Deadly, a sort-of mid-career Jordan rollicker, with a divorce, double talk, drinks, and the tagline “Divorce is messy. Murder is messier.” Indeed! And the below quote, perhaps the only book with the Saratoga cocktail – though a version different then some I’ve seen. Sounds intriguing? Check it out:

 

String instruments only in the orchestra, no brass, Hazel created a mild stir from the male contingent as we followed the major dee to a corner table. He hovered solicitously, pad ready in his hand.

“Saratoga cocktail,” Hazel told him.

I looked at her curiously. “What’s that?”

“Brandy, bitters, maraschino, and pineapple.”

 

Tall, Dark and Deadly, Hal Masur

November 8, 2019

What I’m Drinking: Oh Sherry, Take 37

I have to imagine there are many sherry cocktails called “Oh Sherry” – I myself have an article about sherries called that. It’s such a musical name, and takes you on a journey (haha, I couldn’t resist), much like that breathless moment when a non-sherry drinker has good sherry, or a good sherry cocktail for the first time. To set this particular sherry cocktail apart, though, I’ve added Take 37 to the name. Why 37? I just felt like it! What also sets this particular sherry cocktail apart is Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Medium sherry.

With a citrus and cinnamon spice overlaying a lovely nuttiness, all with a smooth crispness accented when chilled, this sherry is nice on its own (don’t forget the chilling), but plays particularly well with others in cocktails, too. It also delivers a solid history, as Williams & Humbert has been making sherries and brandy for more than 140 years. What to mix with it on a late fall day? I wanted to keep things light – one of the many bonuses with sherry is that due to low abv-ing, you can use it as a base and have more than one without toppling. Bringing vermouth into play as our second ingredient doesn’t throw that equation off either, and here I went with Priorat Natur Vermut (or vermouth) an earthy Spanish vermouth, with citrus, almond, floral, and spice accents, and just a hint of bitter.

To our two Spanish pals, I also brought an island favorite, with even more citrus and a hint of sweet, Pierre Ferrand Orange curaçao, a wonderful addition to many cocktails and bar shelves. The final component, Fee Brothers Peach bitters, here bring into a slightly different fruit note, and a little more depth while still adhering to the overall light mood. You’ll sing this drink’s, and sherry’s, praises after one sip.

oh-sherry-take-37Oh Sherry, Take 37

 

Cracked ice

1-1/2 ounces Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Medium sherry

1 ounce Priorat Natur Vermut

1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand Orange curaçao

Dash Fee Brothers Peach bitters

Lemon twist, for garnish

Mint spring, for garnish (optional – but I’d suggest it)

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass three quarters up with cracked ice. Add everything but the garnishes. Stir well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist, and, perhaps, a mint spring. I went just with lemon on my first drink, but added mint to the second and it was a treat.

October 25, 2019

What I’m Drinking: All the Devils

Hey pals, Halloween is just around the corner of the calendar! It’s the eeriest (in the fun way) time of the year, and leads to lots of costume and generally spookily jolly parties, at which of course if the host or hostess is one with the mostess, they’ll have a cocktail or two that matches the holiday – in fun and in mood – a cocktail like this devilish delight. It starts with a classic cocktail mixer, Bacardí Superior white rum. Sometimes, sadly, in our modern world of many choices, people forget just how good this white rum is in cocktails – it’s light, dry, and flavorful with vanilla and nutty notes, without overwhelming. Yummy, really. And fun, as demonstrated by a special bottle they’re releasing for Halloween, one with a glow-in-the dark jack-o-lantern on it! I was ghoulishly lucky enough to receive one in the mail recently (don’t pull any tricks on me because of it), and I just had to come up with a cocktail featuring it: All the Devils is that cocktail!

 

To go along with the legendary and scarily garbed rum, I brought in a few other uncannily delightful additions, starting with one made right here in WA: Brovo’s Orange Curaçao, made from three types of dried orange peel, and carrying a layered orange-ness. Then, to deliver a hint of ghostly-good zing (it is a devilish drink), spicy Ancho Reyes ancho chile liqueur knocks at the door. And then, for some underling un-nerving (in the best way) herbal hints, Regan’s Orange bitters. Altogether, a cocktail that’s not scary at all – but one that is scary good for your Halloween-ing.

all-the-devils

All the Devils

 

Cracked ice

2-1/4 ounces Bacardi Superior rum

1/2 ounce Brovo Orange Curaçao

1/2 ounce Ancho Reyes

Dash Regan’s orange bitters

Lime twist, for garnish

 

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

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the twist. And a small skull or pumpkin if you want.

October 18, 2019

What I’m Drinking: Simian Seriously

Let’s start with the title inspiration here, and the base of this drink that you’ll want to make all your drink-loving pals, cause it’s serious only in how seriously anyone who has it will love it (the drink, as well as the base), that base being Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin. If you haven’t had this gin (what’s up with you?), it brings a lovely smooth juniper-ness swirling on the tongue with citrus, spice, pepper, botanicals, and berries accents on all sides. Also, their website is so darn cool, in an old-timey newspaper style (the Monkey Drum is the name), with articles, information, recipes, neat-o images, and more (they also do a magazine where some of this is available). It is so cool and well done I almost want to see if I can work there. And that level of care of course is also what drives the gin! It’s a gin that needs to shine, and it certainly does so here, in this (as you’ll see!) Martini-esque beaut.

 

Of course, with a good base, you’ll also want some good other players, and here we have two Washington-state numbers that if you haven’t had, you’ll want to track down. First, Brovo’s Pretty vermouth. A blanc style vermouth, Pretty is, well, pretty, and pretty darn good, with a Pinot Gris wine base and spice, floral, and lemon notes. Then, I added perhaps my favorite ingredient of the year so far, Scrappy’s Black Lemon bitters, which has a unique earthy lemon-ness. Buy why am I still typing – let’s get to this cocktail.

simian-surpriseSimian Seriously

 

Cracked ice

2-1/4 ounces Monkey 47 gin

3/4 ounce Brovo Pretty vermouth

2 dashes Scrappy’s Black Lemon bitters

Lemon twist, for garnish

 

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

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the lemon. Be serious (about enjoying the drink, not about things in general, that is).

October 4, 2019

What I’m Drinking: Rye on Earth

Okay, hopefully this isn’t annoying (too much), but I’m going to lay out a perfect chilly-fall-night drink, but it has not one, but two ingredients that might not be easy for all to get – however, they are worth getting, so get on your buggies (or whatever you use for transportation) and perhaps time machines (or whatever you use to travel through time). The first is from the swell sweethearts at Seattle Distilling Company, a whiskey made from Washington-grown rye (the best rye, I’m guessing), called Brockway Hill, which has a lovely rye spice flavor and umph and is well worth sipping solo as well as in this cocktail. However! That’s not the end of the story, as this delight was named for a Vashon Island bootlegger from back during the sad time called prohibition. Does that story make it taste better? Yep, yep it does! Our second ingredient alluded to above is another WA-made delight: Scrappy’s Seville Orange bitters. A seasonal Scrappy’s (hence the harder to get, and maybe the need for time machines), it as-you’d-expect utilizes Seville oranges, the peels specifically, and delivers cozy marmalade and winter spice action. Watch for it as the snow falls. Our last ingredient in this Manhattan-y trio is actually more available now than it was – because it’s fairly new and wasn’t available at all in the dark days of the past: Cynar 70. If you haven’t had the amazing and fairly-legendary Italian artichoke-based amaro Cynar, then shame on you. Have it now, and then have its higher-proof sibling, Cynar 70. The latter still brings the herbally goodness, but with a bit of a stronger kick, a kick that can be nice to have in cocktails such at this one. Drink up (but not when driving that buggy).

 rye-on-earthRye on Earth

 

Cracked ice

2-1/2 ounces Seattle Distilling Company Brockway Hill whiskey

1/2 ounce Cynar 70

2 dashes Scrappy’s Seville Orange bitters

Blackberry, for garnish*

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ices. Add our trio of stalwarts. Stir well.

 

2. Add your blackberry to a cocktail glass. Strain the mix into said glass.

 

*You could go a cherry here. But blackberries are cool. And you wanna be cool, right?

August 9, 2019

What I’m Drinking: My Final Offer

Whiskey (with “e” or not) sometimes – or often – gets short shrift in the summer months, when the temperature is as high as modern hemlines. And I can see the point, a little, as whiskey is deep, dark, strong, and not known as a light-stepper. However! I also feel sad for whiskey, and think that there are many ways to utilize it that get the flavor, and also bring the refresh. Take this drink right here, which is a fruity, friendly, thirst-quencher that you’d be happy to have in the backyard as the sun goes down on an August day – or ever around the pool, if that’s your summertime activity of choice.
It starts with a whiskey that was new to me until recently (when some lovely little bottles showed up at my house – I know, I know, I’m lucky), Tommyrotter Distillery’s Triple Barrel American Whiskey. If you don’t know them already (and really, you should), Tommyrotter is a distillery from up in Buffalo NY, named after the Tommyrotters’ Club of early 20th century artist types, who (as the website told me), “sought adventure, mischief, and inspiration in nature.” I love that! That’s a good story for sure. Which wouldn’t mean as much if the whiskey wasn’t also good, naturally. A blend of three different whiskeys, which is then finished in French oak ex-wine barrels, this tipple is a very amiable and approachable spirit. It has a caramel and vanilla nature, accented by baking spice, apples (dried and fresh), and hints of herbs and other fruit – a little stone fruit here and there. The nose mirrors that taste, while the finish adds a bit more oak. Smooth! And well worth sipping solo.
But also, due to the approachability, dandy for mixing. Here, I brought in two fruit accents, both because I thought they’d match the whiskey well, and cause it seemed summer-y. To me, at least! First up, Rothman & Winter Orchard apricot liqueur. A brandy-based liqueur, it boasts a rich, lush, tasty that doesn’t get overwhelmed by cloying sweetness like some. Peach bitters from everyone friends at Fee Brothers rounds things out with its peach-forward-ness. Finally, some club soda (it is hot out, after all), a bunch of crushed ice I crushed myself (good exercise), and a sprig of mint from the garden. I’ve never really thought of mint, apricot, and peaches, but it’s a delight – when the whiskey is in place to make sure everyone plays nice.
final-answer
My Final Offer
Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Tommyrotter Distillery Triple Barrel American whiskey
3/4 ounces Rothman & Winter Orchard apricot liqueur
2 dashes Fee Brothers Peach bitters
Crushed ice
4-1/2 ounces club soda
Mint sprig, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the whiskey, liqueur, and bitters. Stir well.
2. Fill a highball or comparable glass with crushed ice (or cracked if needs must). Strain the mix from above into the glass.
3. Top with the club soda. Garnish with the mint. Serve with a straw? I like it, but up to you.

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