August 17, 2018

What I’m Drinking: Brightly Rouged Cheeks

It was long ago – just last week! – when I had a drink here on the Spiked Punch featuring Louis Raison French Cidre, or cider, made in France, by the Raison family who’ve been making such since 1923. That drink was called The Puget Seine (being a drink that used ingredients from hither and yon), and if you missed it, go back in time and drink it up.

It was so good, that I wanted to try another cider cocktail (or cidre cocktail) right after, going in a different direction, to see where I might land. And I landed with Brightly Rouged Cheeks! What, I hear you ask, is that? Not a cosmetic, I assure you. But a completely different cider drink, one’s that’s also swell for August, using some summer favorites, including mezcal. That’s right, mezcal and apples, and you know what – delicious! This time, I used Louis Raison’s Rouge Delice cidre, made from bittersweet and Rouge Delice apples (you may have guessed the latter). It’s a stitch redder in color (you may have guessed that, too), with a floral, apple, plum flavor, a hint sweeter than other Louis Raisons, but not sickly sweet like some “ciders” out there.

I decided a splash of zing and heat might be nice (sometimes, spiciness in a hot way mingles memorably with the high mercury days of summer), so brought the world’s finest ancho chile liqueur – perhaps the only, but oh so great, and such a favorite of mine – into our party, Ancho Reyes. Everything was going well, but the drink needed something more. Voila! Bitters. And is so often the case. The time, it was The Bitter Housewife Aromatic bitters, whose cherry, ginger, spice, bitter nature brought the needed flush. A wedge of lime, and we’re all set for a sunshine day.

brightly-rouged-cheekBrightly Rouged Cheeks

Cracked ice
2 ounces Montelobos Mezcal Jovan
1/2 ounce Ancho Reyes ancho chile liqueur
Dash Bitter Housewife Aromatic bitters
Big ice cube
3 ounces Louis Raison Rouge Delice cidre
Lime wedge

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the mezcal, Ancho Reyes, and bitters. Stir well.

2. Add a big ice cubes (or a few pretty big ice cubes) to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Strain the mix from above into the glass.

3. Top with the cidre. Stir to combine. Squeeze the lime wedge above the drink and drop it in. And start sipping.

PS: Want to learn a bit more about Montelobos Mezcal Jovan, check out the Fire on Popocatépetl cocktail, which is, if I can say it, amazing.

August 10, 2018

What I’m Drinking: The Puget Seine

The middle-to-beginning edge of August is a hot spot in many parts of the world – Seattle, my part at the moment, for example, is heated this time of year, though the temperatures might not seem so high to some, to me, they demand a refreshing tall drink with lots of ice. A cold cider cocktail, for example, isn’t a bad thing this time of year – actually, it’s a good thing! And, what luck, I just received some cidre in the mail. What’s that you say? I’m spelling wrongly? Well, friend, that’s just not true, because specifically I received some Louis Raison cidre – the cider master who popularized cider (French cidre) across France, the stories say.

In this cocktail, I use Original Crisp Louis Raison cidre, which is made from 100% French bittersweet apples. It’s a brightly-flavored, crisp, cider, with a fruity-but-not-to-sweet nature, and little honey and nuts on the nose, and an apple-y, woodsy, taste. I always like apples and ginger as a combo, so the first ingredient I decided to try with this cidre was Salish Sea’s Ginger liqueur. Made up this-a-way with all-organic ingredients, Salish Sea liqueurs are amazing, known for their creative and pure flavors, and the Ginger has the hottest (in a good spice way) and freshest ginger-y taste I’ve had in a liqueur. If you can’t make the trip up to WA to get some, then, well, I feel sad for you – it’s summer, take a vacation! You could try another ginger liqueur here. You won’t get the same ginger umph, but needs must – and use a little less, because most are sweeter than the Salish Sea.

But those two ingredients were just the beginning – or, the first two-thirds. I wanted a solid base (spirit, that is) as well, and after trying this and that, I came back to where I should have started, it being summer and all: rum. Specifically Flor de Caña Añejo Oro, a four-year-old gold-medal-winning amber rum with a lush, vanilla, nuttiness that teamed up like a summer dream with our other two champs. Altogether, our globe-trotting cider cocktail has fresh taste underlined by all sorts of spice currents. It’s ideal for August – or, really, anytime.

puget-seineThe Puget Seine

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces Flor de Caña Añejo Oro rum
3/4 ounce Salish Sea Ginger liqueur
Ice cubes
4 ounces Louis Raison Original Crisp cidre

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum and ginger liqueur. Stir.

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mix from Step 1 into the glass.

3. Top with the cidre, and stir to combine. Drink up!

May 25, 2018

What I’m Drinking: What the Doctor Ordered

Well, it’s the end of what’s been a long month (not if you track hours, in that way, it’s the same as any other month with 31 days in it, if you believe in time, and it’s hard not to), or month and a half, the kind of month (or month and a half) that could almost lead one to visiting the doc, for a little happiness. Luckily, I don’t have to take that time out of the week or set up appointments, because I know what the doctor would order – this here drink. It’s a drink that’s ideal for this time of year (whether the month is long or not), thanks to its ability to straddle the spring and the summer, or summer and fall, due to the combination of summer-loving rum, Washington-made Sidetrack Nocino (the dark rich green walnut liqueur you should be in love with), and a refreshing splash or splashes of also-Washington-made Seattle Cider Company cider. It’s flavorful, refreshing, has some umph, and is both a slow sipper and a light-hearted charmer. That’s why the doctor orders it – and why you should give it a try, too.

what-the-doctor-ordered-ar-
What the Doctor Ordered

Ice cubes
2 ounces dark rum
1/2 ounce Sidetrack Nocino
3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum and Nocino. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the cider. Stir carefully and briefly. Enjoy the good health.

October 3, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Fat Fisherman

I feel bad for not being much of a fisherman. Well, not usually that bad, but when I come across a bottle of one of The Fat Trout Scotches, which have fish on the bottles and which are a line of “sportsman’s Scotches,” then I feel a little bad. Until I realize there’s no need for actually going to the trouble of fishing (I realize, fishing folk, that for many it’s no trouble at all – good for you, if you’re one of them), and that I can enjoy the Scotch and just tell fish stories. One time, I caught this great white shark . . .

Anywho, a bottle of the Fat Trout blended Scotch (there are also Lowland and Speyside single malt versions) showed up the other day, and led to all this fish musing. It’s a tasty blend, too, with hints of smoke and spice and grain all mingling together. A fine thing to have neat or on the rocks. But also a fine thing when put into a drink with other items. Example A: The Fat Fisherman. To follow up a fall theme (it being fall and all), I mixed the Fat Trout with a cider, Tieton’s Dry Hopped cider (from here in WA) to be exact, which is a fine fall drink. But it was missing something . . . until I added a healthy dollop of Yzaguirre red vermouth, a type of what most would think of as sweet vermouth. Coming from Spain, this vermouth has a snazzy herbalness and a dash of balsamic flavor that went perfectly with the Scotch and cider.

fat-fisherman
The Fat Fisherman

2 ounces Fat Trout blended Scotch
1 ounce Yzaguirre red vermouth
Ice cubes
4 ounces Tieton Dry Hopped cider
Apple slice, for garnish

1. Add the Scotch and vermouth to a highball or comparable glass. Stir briefly.

2. Fill the glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Add the cider. Stir, carefully, working to bring the bottom stuff to the top and vice versa.

3. Garnish with the apple slice. Talk about fish.

October 22, 2013

It’s Cider Season – Apple Up!

Hey friends and drinkers of all varieties and shapes and sizes. I know I ramble on mainly about cocktails on this blog, but hey, I’m an equal-opportunity drinker, and also love the cider (and other non-cocktail drinks, but here it’s apple season), and, for that matter, cider cocktails. I wrote about both recently for Seattle magazine, and thought, hey, you might want to cider up, too! So check out:

•     Seattle’s Thriving Hard Cider Scene

•     Two Cider Cocktail Recipes

September 6, 2013

What I’m Drinking: The Early Harvest

While this drink’s name may be harkening to middle-summer (which for some is when harvest starts), I actually have it down as a fall number, thanks to the inclusion of cider – for some reason, I think of apples as a late fall crop. By the way, I could be totally wrong about all this. I can admit it. I can also admit that I know blueberries aren’t a fall harvest, and yet they’re still in here. Hah! Sometimes cocktail names just come about, and match the drink poetically, if not 100% factually. Oh, the cider here is from the new Seattle Cider Company, and so of course the blueberry addition comes from Sidetrack Distillery blueberry liqueur, cause I like to keep the locales local.

early-harvert

The Early Harvest

Cracked ice

1 ounce vodka (keep it local with Bluewater’s organic vodka)

1-1/4 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Blueberry liqueur

Ice cubes

3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider

3 blueberries (or thereabouts) for garnish

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

2. Fill a highball or Old-Fashioned’y glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the vodka/liqueur combo over the ice.

3. Add the cider, and stir to combine. Drop in the blueberry garnish.

July 12, 2013

What I’m Drinking: What the Doctor Ordered

I am not, as stated in other places, a medical doctor. Neither am I Doctor Johnny Fever. I do know that according to many many old wives, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, however. I am not trying to sew discord between old wives and doctors, either, but am saying that even if a true doctor wouldn’t prescribe this drink, the fact that it contains apple cider means that it does, according to old wives, have some medicinal properties. Oh, it has rum, too, which many folks once thought was healthy, unless it was being forced on you by pirates. If that wasn’t enough for you to realize the healing factor of this drink, let me add that its third ingredient is Sidetrack Distillery Nocino, the finest Nocino made outside of Italy. Nocino, if you need to know, is a green-walnut liqueur, well and famous in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. And everyone knows that walnuts are healthy. Maybe doctors really would order this, after all. At least Doctor Fever would.

what-the-doctor-ordered

 What the Doctor Ordered

Ice cubes

2 ounces dark rum (Mount Gay works nicely)

1/2 ounce Sidetrack Nocino

3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum and Nocino. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the cider. Stir carefully and briefly. Enjoy the good health.

April 23, 2012

What I’m Drinking: Ten Nights in June

Even here in sunny (hah! got you looking) Seattle the hints of summer are hinting at the sunnier days to come. Enough so that I’ve been looking towards summer cocktails and starting to plan what might make up the mainstays of my summertime menus. I naturally start with some of the classics (the Summer Beer, as those who know me well know, makes any hot weather drink list of mine, as does the basic and basically wonderful Tom Collins) but then move into trying out new drinks that could make the roster, so to speak. One that’s making a strong push for inclusion is called Ten Nights in June. It come into play thanks to a liqueur somewhat new to me, The King’s Ginger (disclosure: I was sent a bottle in the mail). Carrying a bit more of a hearty hello and wearing more of a citrus hat than other ginger liqueurs, along with its ginger accents, The King’s Ginger was, as legend and lore tell us, created by the Berry Brotheres way back in the year 1903 especially for King Edward VII, the Peacemaker, who desired a pic’um’up before his morning jaunts. Ever since I had the first sip I’ve been playing around with using it in various cocktails in my mind and in the real world.

But it took me awhile to find one that I wanted to keep in the rotation (as they say, whoever they are), and it was somewhat of a left turn in a way. First, the drink is more highball than cocktail. Second, it’s simple as simple can be. Third, and most importantly, the other key ingredient is sparkling hard cider. Are you shocked? C’mon, admit you’re shocked. I was a little shocked. You can be shocked. But not so shocked so as not to try it. Really, it makes sense in a way. Apples and ginger are a good match. Something bubbly and cool is good as summer rolls in to town. And underlying a light drink with a wee boom is good. Good, good, and good. I suggest you put this one onto your summer roster as well.

Ice cubes

2 ounces The King’s Ginger liqueur

3-1/2 ounce chilled hard cider (I used Strongbow, but most dry English-style ciders would be good)

Lemon slice, for garnish

1. Fill a big ol’ Old Fashioned or comparable glass about halfway with ice cubes. Add the King’s Ginger and then the cider. Stir well, but respectfully.

2. Squeeze the lemon slice over and then drop it it. Drink up, pals and gals.

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