August 29, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Pensiero

Hello late August! You might think in late August, where, for let’s say at least 85.4% of the readers of this blog, it’s pretty hot, that I wouldn’t dare suggest making a drink that means “thought.” But I will dare (as the song says), cause really, you don’t have to think too much about this drink when making it, and because it is rather refreshing and, if I may dare say, yummy. Just be sure your Brachetto d’Acqui (the slightly sweet Italian frizzante wine) is well chilled, or drop an ice cube into the glass. It is August, after all.

pensiero

The Pensiero, from Champagne Cocktails

Ice cubes
1 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 ounces Punt e Mes
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
Chilled Brachetto d’Acqui
Lemon twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the orange juice, Punt e Mes, Campari, and simple syrup. Shake thoughtfully.

2. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a flute glass. Top with Brachetto d’Acqui. Garnish with the lemon twist.

August 22, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Summer Dream

Sometimes, in summer, it’s too hot for me to even write up a new, clever, headnote (anyone who shakes their head at “clever” please leave the room). And sometimes, I read another headnote from a book and just think, well, that says it all, really. This is one of those times.

In his famous eighteenth sonnet, when he lays down the immortal line “and summer’s lease hath all too short a date,” Shakespeare perhaps wasn’t exactly referring to a coquetry that happened in those hotter months between him and a fair lady, an ardent connection that slid smoothly past light flirtation into something a trace more serious, a Mercury-rising affaire d’amour that—for at least as long as those months lasted—seemed more important than the sun. As these adoring concerns are, sadly, like this drink, over much too soon, his line does hit the romantic nail on the head, though—showing again why Will S. was the master.

summer-dream

Summer Dream, from Dark Spirits, Serves 2 (because of reasons mentioned above)

3 orange slices
2 peach slices
Ice cubes
4 ounces bourbon
2 ounces Campari
1 ounce Simple Syrup
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Add the orange and peach slices to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle well.

2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, Campari, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Shake really well, if a little wistfully, for at least 15 seconds.

3. Strain the dream through a fine strainer equally into two cocktail glasses.

A Variation: Want a more cluttered drink? After step 2, instead of straining into cocktail glasses, pour the whole shebang, ice and fruit and every sad last word, into two large goblets. Rename it the Disordered Dream.

August 15, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Among the Niccone Mountains

Even though it’s probably 10 degrees hotter in central Italy right now than in Seattle (where I’m typing this – not sure where wherever you are falls in the temperature spectrum, but wherever, it won’t make a different in how much you enjoy this drink), even though, I’d still at this particular moment rather be kicking it in my old Italian home (oh, hey, I used to live in Italy), with my dogs, sitting in the olive grove, having this very drink, which I came up with when living in Italy. It’s highlighted by the Italian liqueur Strega, which is one of my favorite things, a beautiful drink on its own, with herbal goodness and trademark golden hue (brought on by saffron), but also a fine player in cocktails. Have one of these with me, and we can both dream in Italian.

among-the-mountains

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounces Strega
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, Strega, simple syrup, and juice. Shake as if you were rolling down a hill.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass or creatively cute wine glass. Drink while looking over the valley.

August 8, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Blushing Bride

It’s wedding season, I do believe, evidenced by the lacy white outfits I keep seeing women wearing (usually accompanied by a bunch of other women in really oddly colored and shaped outfits – poor bridesmaids), and the number of gentlemen in tuxes with scared looks on their faces. Hah! I kid, I kid. I love weddings – they’re an especially nice kind of a party, a big ol’ celebration of two folks that hopefully are well-liked by everyone in attendance. In honor of the couples I know hitching it up this month (or right around this month), I’m going to whip up some Blushing Brides. These have to be made in batches of two, cause, well, I should think it’d be obvious.

blushing-bride

The Blushing Bride, from Dark Spirits, Serves 2

12 fresh raspberries
6 lime wedges
Ice cubes
4 ounces Cognac
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce Simple Syrup

1. Put the raspberries and 4 of the lime wedges into a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, wooden spoon, or stiletto-heeled bridesmaid’s shoe, muddle well.

2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cognac, vodka, and simple syrup. Shake in a celebratory manner.

3. Strain the mix equally into two cocktail glasses through a fine strainer. Garnish each with a remaining lime wedge.

PS: I’ve seen drinks with this title that contain other ingredients. Avoid them. They are all awful

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!

August 1, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Ponce de León

This refreshing number with a kick will not make you younger, or provide you (after you drink, say, three) with a vision that takes you to the fountain of youth. However, however, however, if you do consume three, with a good friend or two, my guess is you’ll start acting a bit more youthful, and feel perhaps more youthful, and have a generally awesome time. Maybe we shouldn’t ask for more?

ponce

The Ponce de León, from Dark Spirits

Ice cubes
1 ounce Cognac
1/2 ounce white rum
1/2  ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cognac, rum, Cointreau, and grapefruit juice. Shake well.

2. Strain the elixir into a cocktail glass. Fill the glass not quite to the top with the Champagne. Serve with a youthful grin.

July 25, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The McCutcheon Cocktail with G’Vine Floraison Gin

applegreensRecently, I was browsing again through Applegreen’s Bar Book, a book sized to fit in your vest or shirt pocket, by a guy named John Applegreen, printed first in 1899. I’ve gone through it many times before, but like a lot of old bar books, I still love looking it over. And sometimes I find gems I missed or didn’t make before. The McCutcheon Cocktail is one of those very gems.

It’s a gin-based drink, and I decided to go with G’Vine’s Floraison gin, which is a small batch gin made in the Cognac region of France, and crafted from neutral spirits distilled from grapes. The juniper is there, but subtle, and mingling with a strong grape-ness (in a good way) and other floral notes leading into spices (chamomile and ginger and a few more). It’s has enough going on that it can play well with other herbal mixers (though really, try it solo, too), which is why it seemed – and is – an ideal gin for this unburied treasure of a cocktail, a cocktail which also contain both dry and sweet vermouth (I went with Dolin for the dry, and Carpano for the sweet) and a bit of maraschino and orange bitters. I went with Scrappy’s on the bitters, in a local shout out. It’s a beauty of a drink, and here’s a toast for Mr. Applegreen for introducing me to it, at whatever afterlife bar he’s shaking and stirring at.

McCutcheon

The McCutcheon

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces G’Vine Floraison gin
3/4 ounce Dolin dry vermouth
3/4 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1 dash maraschino liqueur
1 dash Scrappy’s orange bitters

1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything (be careful on your dash of maraschino, you don’t want to go too heavy). Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Dream of the late 1800s, and France.

July 18, 2014

What’s I’m Drinking: The Beach Bubble

Hey, babies, it’s hot outside. Even up here in the northwest, the temperature is too much. It’s time to head to the beach – or, if you’re landlocked, or just can’t get away to the beach, or don’t want to deal with all those crowds, it’s time to head to the Beach Bubble. This little cooler-downer is the tropical ticket when the temperature has gotten troublingly high. Just try it!

beach-bubble

The Beach Bubble, from Dark Spirits

Ice cubes
2 ounces dark rum
2 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce mango juice
Chilled ginger ale
2 pineapple chunks for garnish

1. Fill a Collins glass or large goblet three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the rum and juices. Stir, but with respect for the beach’s mellow demeanor.

2. Fill the glass up with ginger ale. Stir, but again, mellow-ly.

3. Spear the pineapple chunks on a toothpick, and float them in the glass (watch out for that toothpick when drinking).

Rathbun on Film

Cocktail to Cocktail Hour Series Four, Episode Five, The GizmoNovember 04, 2013
A special Cocktail to Cocktail Hour holiday episode hosted by A.J. Rathbun where very special guest Jeremy Holt stops by to teach us how to make the Gizmo, a...
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Cocktail to Cocktail Hour Series Four, Episode Four, The TrilbyNovember 03, 2013
The Cocktail to Cocktail Hour hosted by A.J. Rathbun has a very special guest in this episode; Alastair Edwards stops by with a drinking problem, solved by t...
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Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, V4, Three, Horse's NeckOctober 06, 2013
In this Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, you'll learn to make the refreshing Horse's Neck from special guest star Mark Butler, and hear host A.J. Rathbun and Mark ...
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Cocktail to Cocktail Hour V4, Two, Aperol SpritzSeptember 24, 2013
The Cocktail to Cocktail Hour hosted by A.J. Rathbun has a very special guest in this episode, who teaches you how to make the Aperol Spritz, with Aperol and...
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