September 19, 2014
Are you ready for some football? No, really, are you ready? Because we’re now in the thick of it, with passes being passed and blockers blocking, and, most importantly, football parties happening in parking lots and homes alike. Don’t let your party get stuck with the same old plays (and by “plays” here, I mean drinks) being served up to defenses who will then laugh at your tired plays. Instead, call an Audible and serve up the below mix. It’s a strong one – because sometimes we need a strong drink when watching our favorite team. It’s delicious, too, because sometimes we deserve a reward for our support. Oh, it’s also a tad Italian – just cause I like Italy. And because Italian fans are, outside of you, the most rabid fans in the world, and when drinking this, you will channel all rabid fans and become the most fanatical fan in the world. Promise. I used Woodinville Whiskey bourbon, Letterpress limoncello, and Scrappy’s orange bitters here, because they’re made in Seattle, and I like to support my home teams.
2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey bourbon
1/2 ounce Letterpress limoncello
3/4 ounce orange juice
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything Stir well.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass or smallish football helmet. Drink and cheer, drink and cheer.
September 12, 2014
Let me start with an apology: you cannot get one of the main ingredients in this drink in the US. My bad, yo. The ingredient is the Italian amaro called Viparo, and I can’t believe with the many, many amaros now being imported that someone hasn’t brought it in, because it’s a delicious member of the amaro clan, one produced by the Morganti family since 1913, and like most, originally designed for medicinal purposes. So, pick up a bottle when you’re in Italy. Until then, you could, if you want, sub in another amaro, one that shades towards the sweetish middle of the amaro scale, something like Averna. It won’t have the same exact highwayman feel, but it’ll be close. Call it the Highwayman’s Bank Holiday.
1-1/2 ounce gin
1 ounce freshly squeezed clementine juice
1/2 ounce Viparo
1/2 ounce Aperol
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, juice, Viparo, and Aperol. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass.
A Note: Can’t find clementines? You could sub in orange juice instead. Call it Highwayman’s Parole.
A Second Note: You might want to strain this through a fine strainer to avoid citrus bits in teeth. But no real robber would care about that much.
September 5, 2014
If you’re lucky enough to be sitting outside under some late-summer sun, feeling a wee bit warm, even, and wondering how in the world life could be any finer . . . well, pour yourself one of these and you’ll see how. This is, for sure, in my top ten list of sitting-in-the-sun drinks, one that manages to cool you down without sacrificing any flavor – it has oodles of flavor, actually, an amazing amount thanks to the two ingredients, Italian bitter-kissed sweet vermouth stalwart Punt e’ Mes (from all the way in 1870, for you history buffs), and ginger ale or ginger beer (I used to use the former, but have tried the latter recently with outstanding results). The herbal and spice layers in here are only a wee bit less amazing than the drink’s power to refresh you, when you’re under that sun alluded to earlier.
Punt e’ Mes Highball
1-1/2 ounces Punt e’ Mes
3 ounces ginger ale or ginger beer
1. Fill a smallish highball glass or a big rocks glass three-quarter-ish up with ice cubes. Add the Punt e’ Mes.
2. Top with the ginger ale. Stir. Be happy.
August 29, 2014
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.
The Pensiero, from Champagne Cocktails
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
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, from Dark Spirits, Serves 2 (because of reasons mentioned above)
3 orange slices
2 peach slices
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
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.
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
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.
The Blushing Bride, from Dark Spirits, Serves 2
12 fresh raspberries
6 lime wedges
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
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!