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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October 18, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Rough Cider

 Peter Lovesey is an English mystery writer, perhaps most famous for his barrel-shaped and brusque Bath detective Peter Diamond and for his Sergeant Cribb books that take place in the Victorian era. I dig both. Lovesey isn’t all flashy, and isn’t perhaps as well-known as he should be over on this side of the pond, but his plots are always incredibly well thought out, his characters are real and motivated, and once you dive into one book featuring one of his two main characters, you tend (or I did, at least) to want to read more. They don’t hit the cocktails as much as other crime solvers of the police-and-non kind, so I haven’t mentioned him much here on the Spiked Punch blog. And, funny enough when considering the above, the quote below comes from the book Rough Cider, which doesn’t contain either of the fictional gentlemen mentioned above. But Rough Cider does has a fine mystery/story, and lots of cider talk (a murder happens at a cider farmer’s, if that makes sense), and I like cider, and so now it all makes sense, right? I did learn a few things from the book, too. First (and this is gross), cider makers at one time would put legs of mutton in the cider to give it a bit of body. Hmm. Second, cider that was bad would be termed “ropy” as in the below quote. Third, never put a human skull in your cider, or it will turn it ropy (unlike if you put mutton in I guess). Did these learnings turn me off cider? Nah. But they have given me a few more things to talk about when drinking it. This quote also features one of my favorite words (hogshead) and talks about drinking from jam jars, which I’m a fan of, even outside of wartime.

One evening in October, 1944, almost a year after the tragic events I’ve been describing, a man in a public house in Frome, the Shorn Ram, ordered a pint of local cider, a drink strongly preferred in wartime to the watered-down stuff that masqueraded as beer. People didn’t object to drinking from jam jars in those days of crockery shortages, but they were still choosy about what went into the jam jars. So when a customer complained that the cider was “ropy,” it was a serious matter. The publican had just put a new barrel on, a large one, a hogshead, from Lockwood, a reliable cider maker. He drew off a little for himself and sampled it.  

 

Rough Cider, Peter Lovesey

July 29, 2011

What I’m Drinking: Cider Over Ice

Holy Toledo! It’s actually a tad warm up and over here in the Northwest, with the sun beating and bleating down and temperatures approaching something that seems, suspiciously, like summer. And when summer hits, one of my favorite things to drink is a cold hard cider served up over lots of ice cubes. I picked up this habit when visiting the U.K. once (and by visiting, I mean stopping at every little pub I could to taste local brews and booze) with pals Mark and Leslie and wife Nat and have never stopped. While I’ll admit my fav ciders tend to be dry and with accent, I also am a huge fan and support more local ciders, like the lovely Tieton ciders and Ace ciders (from CA). In the below pic, I was sipping an Ace while picking out what smashing sandwich I was going to order at the almighty Smarty Pants. I went with the Ms. Piggy, with Field Roast, and the combo was darn fine.

Rathbun on Film