November 9, 2018

What I’m Drinking: The Volga

I’m just gonna quote one of my favorite headnotes here (I know, I know, vulgar to quote myself, but what the heck), from Good Spirits:

“It’s as if I never left. In a canoe. On the longest river in Europe, the Volga. Ice in every direction. Bears and bear-like animals along the banks. A storm railing against that canoe for every one of the 2,300 miles. Crazy birds circling, waiting for the canoe crash to pick the remains clean from splinters. Water splashing over the sides like a curse. And then the sturgeon with their beady eyes tracing my progress from the deep pockets. The banks birthing jagged rock after jagged rock, taunting me with possible capsize after capsize. But did I worry? No sir, and no ma’am. I poured a Volga and sat backed and smiled. If you’re every stuck on a long river, I suggest doing the same.”

This is made even better if you use Sidetrack Distillery’s Cassis, which is tarty, fruity, and awesome-y.

volgaThe Volga

Ice cubes
2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce cream de cassis
1/2 ounce heavy cream
Two raspberries for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice cubes. Add the vodka, cassis, and cream. Shake well.

2. Add the two raspberries to a cocktail glass. Strain the mix into the glass. Za vashe zdorov’ye!

October 26, 2018

What I’m Drinking: Sleepy Hollow

Here’s a haunting favorite I hadn’t made recently – which was foolish of me, because it’s a Halloween hit that’s good year round. But, especially due to the headless nature of the eerie moniker, it’s a chillingly good choice this time of year. Luckily, it’s not scary to make, and the taste isn’t scary at all, and your spooky party pals will love it. Heck, they might even say it’s boo-tiful. Hahaha!

sleepy-hollow-1
Sleepy Hollow, from Good Spirits

Ice cubes
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
2-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur

1. Add the mint, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or hefty wooden spoon, muddle well.

2. Fill the cocktail shaker or glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin and apricot liqueur. Shake well, but don’t lose your head.

3. Strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a swizzle stick topped with a plastic head. Or other appropriate Halloween fun.

June 24, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Sweetie Pie

Sometimes, one gets cravings (I’m no fortune teller, but I’m seeing that in everyone’s future, they’ll get cravings, too), of all sorts, I suppose. Example A: the other day, I had a swell drink made with maraschino (the most misunderstood of all liqueurs, historically, or at least the last, let’s say, 40 years of history, because too many think it’s sickly like those sick twisted things that pass as maraschino cherries in mass market grocery stores, when it’s not, at all, instead being dry and a hint nutty, being made from the pits of the marasca cherries and all), and that swell drink made me crave more maraschino drinks. And so I went for the Sweet Pie, a cuddly classic-y number, where the always tasty and reliable Luxardo Maraschino shines alongside gin and sweet vermouth, and a smidge of simple syrup comes along for the ride to round the edges in a cuddly – as mentioned – manner. Dreamy deliciousness.

sweetie-pie
Sweetie Pie, from Good Spirits

Ice cubes
1 1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce simple syrup

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and simple syrup. Shake well.

2. Add the cherry to a cocktail glass or pretty cordial. Strain the mix into the glass.

PS: Sometimes this is garnished with a Maraschino cherry. But sometimes I want to skip the fruit. You go as you go.

April 11, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Captain’s Blood

Argh, shiver me timbers, and yo-ho-ho. If the Captain’s Blood is flowing across the mizzenmast, it may be time to give up the ship. Or invite the marauders over, where you can splice the mainbrace in proper fashion–eye-patches, peg-legs, cutlasses, and black hats required. And if you think I know what that means, you are a very tipsy pirate. Which, I suppose, is the only way to be.

Oh, also, this makes a good drink if you’re watching any pirate movie, taking a bath with some sort-of floating ships in the bath with you, or watching BATTLESHIP, BATTLESHIP, BATTLESHIP. Heck, it’s just a good drink.

captains-blood

Captain’s Blood, from Good Spirits

Ice cubes
2-1/2 ounces Sun Liquor barrel-aged rum
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Lime slice, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, bitters, and lime juice. Shake matey, shake.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime slice.

March 21, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Leviathan 477 with Westland First Peated American Single Malt Whiskey

I found this beast (in the best way) of a drink in David Embury’s classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. However, he doesn’t say where the name is from, and I’ve never managed to track it down in Bible, Talmud, Blake, Milton, Hobbes, or other spot (those all seemed like they could have a Leviathan 477). Where the name comes from is a secret that Mr. Embury may have taken to the big bar in the sky.

One thing on our side, though, that Mr. Embury sadly missed, is Westland Distillery’s new First Peated American single malt whiskey. And probably so will most others (hah) as it’s a limited release. But, the distiller’s regular peated whiskey is soon to follow, and I’ll bet it will also be amazing in this drink. The First Peated has a deep smoky peatedness, but also an underlying chocolate, leather, shortbread mix with little hints of citrus and cherry. It’s a fine whiskey, and one that is delicious solo. You might not even think of it as a spirit to have in cocktails, but let me tell you, mixed into the below it shines and helps deliver a drink worthy of the monstrous name (in the best way, of course).

leviathan

The Leviathan 477, from Good Spirits

Ice cubes
2 ounces Westland First Peated American single malt whiskey
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the remaining ingredients. Shake smoothly.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Sip. Sip. Sip.

March 14, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Dublin 8 with Clontarf 1014 Irish Whiskey

If you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a fashion that truly honors the St. and the Irish (and you should), then I have the ideal drink for you: The Dublin 8. This Irish special (by way of the Midwestern U.S.) owes its birth to Jeremy Sidener, bartender extraordinaire and manager of the 8th Street Taproom in Lawrence, KS. It’s a fantastically refreshing drink, one that won’t weigh you down, but it also boasts a ton of flavor. Especially when made with Clontarf 1014 Irish Whiskey.

If you don’t yet know it, Clontarf 1014 Irish whiskey is a triple distilled, bourbon-barrel aged blended beauty. It’s amazingly smooth and sippable, but still carries a solid honey and nutty flavor with hints of oak and citrus, all of which mingles perfectly with the citrus and ginger in this recipe. It’s also named after a famous battle, and carries the slogan “Live Like a Warrior” – which is pretty cool I think. You should definitely try it solo as well as in this drink. (Oh, one last thing – it’s freakishly reasonable on price. Which is a bonus).

Clontarf 1014 is also one of the brands behind the Irish to the Core contest, where you can win a trip to Ireland or $10,000 – both of which sound great to me. So, enter up.

dublin-8

The Dublin 8, from Good Spirits

Ice cubes
2 ounces Clontarf 1014 Irish whiskey
3 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3 ounces chilled ginger ale or ginger beer
Lime quarter for garnish
Lime slice for garnish

1. Fill a highball glass, or similarly-sized glass, three quarters up with ice cubes. Add the whiskey.

2. Add the orange juice and ginger ale, at the same time, so that we don’t have any arguments over who’s more important to the effort.

3. Squeeze a lime wedge over the glass, and then drop it in. Stir gently. Garnish with the slice of lime.

January 3, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Lily, Two Ways

Recently, I had a query about a drink featured in my book Good Spirits, a drink called the Lily. As Good Spirits is from a few years back (but not old by any means, and still I hope darn fun and useful), I hadn’t actually made the Lily in awhile, and so was pretty excited to revisit the drink. The question came around the use of crème de noyaux, an almondy liqueur made from apricot pits, and an ingredient not as readily available – it also has a signature pinkish color. The drink-maker was having a hard time tracking it down, and wondered about subbing. My first thought was amaretto, also made usually with apricot pits or almonds. So, for fun, I tried making the Lily with both. And you know what? Both versions were darn tasty. The main difference really was the color, which is wildly different (the noyaux is the pink one naturally in the pic), but the flavor was very similar, with the crème de noyaux version a smidge sweeter, and the amaretto nuttier on the back end. I suggest you try both, and see what you think.

lily

The Lily

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce crème de noyau
1/2 ounce Lillet
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, crème de noyau, Lillet, and lemon juice. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist after twisting it over the drink.

A Lily

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce amaretto
1/2 ounce Lillet
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, Crème de Noyau, Lillet, and lemon juice. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist after twisting it over the drink.

November 22, 2013

Cocktail to Cocktail Hour V4, E5: The Gizmo

It’s the holiday season y’all! Which means one fantastic thing: it’s time for another episode of The Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, with very special hunky holiday guest Jeremy Holt! Mr. Jeremy stops by to teach us how to make perhaps the finest Thanksgiving cocktail known, the Gizmo, which features Voyager gin, cranberry sauce, and simple syrup. If you want your Thanksgiving to be awesome, watch this now. Right now!

Rathbun on Film