January 17, 2020

What I’m Drinking: Football Punch

Yes! Football is happening. Important professional football. Football, football, football! And, it’s nearing the time when football isn’t happening (oh, btw as the texters txt, here I am referring solely to USA-style football, and not the football played around everywhere else in the world. Though that kind of football is most-likely happening, too, in some form, which I admit, and if you are watching the original football, and want to have this delicious drink with a passel of pals, that would be amazing and you would be able to say “score!” loudly when drinking, too), so if you haven’t yet had your football punch yet this professional football season, well, rah-rah-rah-ers, now is the time for you to have it! With a team of friends – though perhaps not as big a team as a full professional football team, unless you can make multiple batches, that is, in which case, do that – cause this is a drink scaled for more than just one. And it’s so awfully tasty, that even if – and I do hope with every pigskin inch, whatever that means, that this isn’t the case – your team of choice isn’t playing anymore, having bowed out already in ignominy, you will still be able to smile after sipping. If not the first glass, at least the second. Let the football-ing and Football Punch-ing commence!

 football-punch

Football Punch, recipe from Dark Spirits

 

Ice cubes

One 750-milliliter bottle dark rum

16 ounces apple juice

10 ounces sweet vermouth

5 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice

5 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

Two 25.4-ounce bottles chilled sparkling apple cider

2 apples, cored and sliced

 

1. Fill a large punch bowl halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, apple juice, vermouth, lemon juice, and orange juice. Stir with a pennant from your team of choice.

 

2. Add the sparkling apple cider, but in a sustained drive, not in a sprint (meaning, slow and steady wins this game), and the apple slices. Stir well. Serve in punch glasses, mugs, or little plastic footballs.

 

January 10, 2020

What I’m Drinking: The El Diablo-esque

It’s funny, in a curious way, because it’s January, and January is known as a bit of a cold-hearted month for a number of reasons; one, cause it’s cold! But, the curiously funny thing is, that for the second time in two weeks, I’m having not a winter warmer, but a light, refreshing, mix with ginger beer and ice cubes and sunshine (admittedly, chilly sunshine, but sunshine, pals, is sunshine). This devilish mix, though, is such an old favorite, and (perhaps more important? I’d say most important) my wife’s top drink, or at least top five, that it gets consumed at our house – or at nearby bars – year round. It’s a treat year round, too, as the tequila smoke and warmth play so perfectly with the ginger beer, and then that unexpected in a way, slight sweet fruity boop from the cassis and tangy tang of lime (or lemon, in a pinch, hence the “esque” in this this title, but, you know, needs must), all combining into a, well, treat! No matter what the day of the year.

 One note: some folks (many?) shake the tequila, juice, and cassis first. That’s not my style. I’m not saying my style is better, oh no! But I do how I do. You do you. We all can still toast drinks.

el-diablo

The El Diablo-esque

 

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces tequila (often, reposado, but I think blanco is nice, too)

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

3-1/2 ounces ginger beer

1/2 ounce crème de cassis

Lemon slice, for garnish

 

1. Fill a big-ish highball or comparable glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the tequila, lemon juice, and ginger beer. Stir thoroughly, but no need to chase the devil in an over-rambunctious manner.

 

2. Carefully drizzle the cassis over-the-top of the mix (I tend to angle towards the edges, but that’s me, again). If you want, give it a brief stir. Garnish with the lemon. Go January, go!

 

 

January 3, 2020

What I’m Drinking: The Libellule with PiùCinque Gin

Gin. Geeeeeen. Gin. I remember when I first started making drinks with gorgeous (mostly!) gin, way way way back in the dawn of time, moreorless, a darker age in many drink ways. Back then, we only had a few gin choices, and even less choices in other boozy things. But we’re talking gin here friends, ol’ junipally gin. So, back then, again, I thought of gin in a probably more regimented fashion. But, like many (and many more each day, one hopes), I’ve learned as time has passed, and the imbibing world has changed. Jumping into our time machines (you have one, right?) from those way-back-then days of few gins to today and BOOM, gins-a-popping. All kinds of variations on the gin theme. Which leads to today, where I’m drinking a wonderful gin distilled in Italy, a gin called PiùCinque. Now, I love gin. And I love Italy. But I didn’t know that, as in many spots, Italy’s long and distinguished distilling and delicious-tipple-making scene had embraced gin, too – but it has! PiùCinque utilizes ten specific botanicals to give it a very individual taste, but one that stays true to the gin roots, with a nice even juniper-ness. One that’s partnered with nine intriguing friends (which gets us to ten, see), including I think sage, ginger root, wormwood flowers, angelica, Seville orange (if I’m reading things rightly), almond, the earthy mysterious zedoary, orris root, and lemony, springtime bergamot. That latter really brings this gin into its own, starting the taste off with light citrus notes that then smoothly move into the  grounded, herbal, nut, root notes. Definitely worth a solo sipping over a cube or two.

But also, a fine ingredient for cocktails! I was sitting in some unexpectedly warm December sunshine considering gin, all the gins I’ve had, and especially this new-to-me gin, PiùCinque, and decided I wanted a refreshing mix, and something simple (cause I’m sometimes lazy, you know) and decided on an old, old friend, the Dragonfly. This basic mix of gin, ginger beer, and (usually) lime is a dandy manner to take a gin new-to-you out for a walk, so to speak. However! I only had lemons. And I was using this Italian gin for the first time! So, I changed up the name a slight bit, as one does. Anyway! The lemon actually worked a treat with this gin’s lighter, high end citrus notes, and the gin itself brought all those botanicals to the party, and, well, the drink was delicious. End of gin story! Now, I just have to figure out how to fill my suitcase when in Italy with Italian gins, so that the Italian gins can cuddly up on my gin shelf with my other gins!  Gin!

Libellule

The Libellule

 

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces PiùCinque gin

Approximately 4 ounces ginger beer (Fever-Tree and its genuine ginger soul worked a treat)

Lemon slice, for garnish

 

1. Fill a highball or other glass (that fits the scene) three-quarters up with ice cubes. Add the gin, gently.

 

2. Add the ginger beer, and stir in a manner that’s not too wacky, but does combine well. Squeeze the lemon over and drop it in. Drink up, with a nod to Italy (unless you’re in Italy, in which case, just be happy you’re there).

December 20, 2019

What I’m Drinking: Stuffing’s Lament

This was originally created as an after-Thanksgiving-feast-is-feasted-on cocktail (featured on the fantastic New Day Northwest), but I was thinking the other day, as I sometimes do, that, hey, you know, the winter holidays also deliver lots of moments where the eating heads into eating-a-whole-lot territory, and you know what that means? That this stomach-easer will also easily be a hit throughout the whole darn holiday season! Try it friends, and see if I’m wrong. A hint: I’m not. It has some bitter-ing, but also some sweet underneath it all, and well, the holidays are sweet, though they pass so quickly often that there is a little bitter-where-did-it-all-go-ing, too. This drink has all that!

stuffings-lament

Stuffing’s Lament

 

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces Seattle Distilling Company gin

1 ounce Brovo Amaro #1

1/2 ounce Four Leaf Spirits Sásta herbal-tea liqueur

1/2 ounce Woondinville Whiskey Bourbon Barrel Aged maple syrup

2 dashes Scrappy’s Grapefruit bitters

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add each ingredient with a holiday smile. Shake well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink up. Then head for the leftovers.

December 13, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Frank Morgan with Bacardi Gran Reserva Especial Dark Rum

I was browsing the small-but-swell Standard Cocktail Guide from Crosby Gaige today, and read this, “In this year of 1944 it behooves the prudent mixer to know his rums. Good whiskey is now scarce and will be scarcer for some time to come while good rum is in plentiful supply.” First off: glad we have so many plentiful options of both rums and whiskey (and other delights) today! Secondly, it still behooves the prudent mixer to know and love rum. Thirdly, I found a delightful little recipe in this Rum section of this delightful little book, one I can’t remember if I’d made before, called The Frank Morgan. So, I wanted to make it again, even though I’m not sure which Frank Morgan it’s named after – though I think it’s the early 19th century actor. Let’s say that!

 

Anywho, the drink is deceptively simple: rum, sherry, Angostura bitters. But with that simplicity, the rum must be one – it behooves the drink – that really shines. Lucky for me, I recently received a bottle of Bacardi Gran Reserva Especial dark rum in the mail (don’t hate me, be happy for me!). Admittedly, this is a really fine, fine rum, and one that in most situations you’d want to sip solo. I mean, it’s a limited-edition number, aged a minimum of 16 years (!) in American white oak in the Caribbean. You’ll find stone fruits, caramel, a little island forest, and more unveiling as you sip, and an overall lushness that can’t be beat. So, sip solo for sure. But, you know me (right?), I had to try it in a cocktail, too, and this one is ideal, cause the rum really does shine, with just a few other players. Starting with the sherry side, where I went with Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Medium sherry, which has a nice nutty and spice notioning that matched well. Add old pal Angostura, and here we are. Well, almost! Though it’s not in the original recipe from the esteemed (from whatever afterlife bar he’s at) Mr. Gaige, I added a small orange twist. And that burst of citrus was a treat. Both he and Mr. Morgan would approve, I believe.

frank-morgan

The Frank Morgan

 

2-1/4 ounces Bacardi Gran Reserva Especial dark rum

3/4 ounces Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Medium sherry

Dash Angostura bitters

Thin orange twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add all but the twist. Stir well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist. Sip, and think about 1944 – and about the bounties in your local liquor store.

 

December 6, 2019

What I’m Drinking: A Suitably Bittersweet Memoir of Games, Copy, Friends, and How They Might Be Found on a Friday in Mid-November

What a name for this cocktail! Credit has to go to pal mighty Matt Dupree (thanks Matt!), who I used to work with at a big game-making company. And this here drink – which honestly isn’t bad, but I don’t think it lives up to the name; then again, what drink could? – was going to be the one had one my final day at said company, but then fate (as fate does) didn’t allow it all to play out that way. But no worries! You and I can drink the below drink any day, and still enjoy it’s slightly sweet-with-a-little-bitter nature, which matches leaving a gig you’ve gigged at for some years, but also matches, say, a day you’re sad to see go, or finishing a good book, all of that. As you might expect for a drink that I originally crafted for a day as described that took place here in WA, this drink definitely leans local, though if not in WA (but really, why aren’t you? At least visiting), you could still put together wherever you may be by doing some ingredient hunting, which is a fun pastime indeed. It starts with gin – for me, I used Scratch’s Martini Style gin, a jolly medium-juniper-y gin with 17 botanicals and oodles of flavor. Then, Salish Seas lovely Allspice liqueur, delivering the spice that’s nice, and Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters, available in big bottles as well as the small one pictured! And a perfectly-pitched aromatic bitters for a host of classic bittering needs. For the sweet (well, the liqueur is a little sweet, but not overly so), a splash of Woodinville Whiskey’s Bourbon Barrel Aged maple syrup does the trick so well, I can’t even describe it. You’ll have to try it. And this drink! Which I am toasting to all the past co-workers right now.

last-day

A Suitably Bittersweet Memoir of Games, Copy, Friends, and How They Might Be Found on a Friday in Mid-November

 

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounce Scratch Martini Style gin

3/4 ounce Salish Seas Allspice liqueur

3 dashes Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters

1/2 ounce Woodinville Whiskey Bourbon Barrel Aged maple syrup

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add it all, with the memories, too. Shake well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Sip, muse about stuffs, sip more.

 

 

November 29, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Gizmo

gizmoThat’s right holiday pals and pals, it’s Gizmo time! Thanksgiving was yesterday, which means leftover (for your sake, I hope) cranberry sauce, which then translates into the great and powerful Gizmo, created by jazzy Jeremy H and recipe’d below. So, eat your leftovers over everything else, sure, but don’t forget to drink your cranberries.

The Gizmo

 

Ice cubes

2-1/2 ounces gin

1 ounce homemade cranberry sauce

1/2 ounce simple syrup (optional)

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin and cranberry sauce, and syrup if using. Shake exceptionally well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Hopefully you have enough leftovers for two!

November 15, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Fall Frolic

It’s still fall (though mean ol’ winter is coming on quickly), and fall means to most good people a glorious time to sip ciders, and to most even good-er people, cider cocktails. Cider, cider cocktails, and fall go together like candles in pumpkins, hands in gloves, and kisses in hayracks (well, maybe that should be “on” hayracks but I didn’t want to mess up the line). And WA – where I am lucky enough to reside – has amazing cider, thanks to us having amazing fruit! And amazing cider makers! Who are always making new tantalizing ciders, like Locust Cider’s current seasonal, Dark Maple, which adds maple syrup and brown sugar to an all-WA apple mix, turning into a fall delight. Which then, I added to a few more local heroes, including Woodinville Whiskey Co.’s award-winning bourbon and it’s caramel, spice, swellness, Salish Sea’s memorable and singular maple-icious Maple liqueur, and Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters, full of bakery chocolate and spice. Voila! I’ve made make the end of your fall fantastic. Thank me later. And if you can’t get all the ingredients where you are, then let me assure you, WA is a wonderful place to visit this time of year, so come on out.

fall-frolic

The Fall Frolic

 

1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey bourbon

3/4 ounces Salish Sea Maple liqueur

2 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters

Ice cubes

7 ounces Locust Cider’s Dark Maple cider

 

1. Add the bourbon, liqueur, and bitters to a mixing glass. Stir well.

 

2. Fill a pint glass halfway full with ice cubes. Strain the above into the glass.

 

3. Fill the glass nearly to the top with the cider. Stir well – but carefully. You don’t want to spill a drop!

 

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