June 21, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Happy Crab

happy-crabHey sunshine daydreamers! Guess what today is? That’s right beach beauties, it’s the first day of summer, and you know what that means? Smear on the sunscreen and take off your sweaters, slip on your sunglasses and slip into some short shorts (or whatever your hot weather wear of choice), and start enjoying the rising mercury and retreating clouds and cold. All of that, plus make this this drink, which slides you straight into summer, while remembering that winter, like all seasons, isn’t gone for long. How does it do that? Well, the rum is a summer standby, of course, but dark rum can really play year round, and its pal here, Bénédictine, has that rich herbal monastic thing going on that keeps one warm when the temperature is chillier, but also fits into a number of sun-tastic tiki type drinks. See where we’re going? The final player: Crabbies ginger beer, superficially Orange Spiced variety, but if you can’t find it, go with the regular variety. Ginger beer is of course a refreshing refresher, but the orange spice, well, that’s winter time. Really, though, forget my shoehorning – this is a nice one to sip as the seasons change.

The Happy Crab

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounce dark rum
1/2 ounce Bénédictine
5 ounces Crabbies Orange Spiced ginger beer

1. Fill a big highball or comparable glass about halfway full with ice cubes. Add the dark rum and Benedictine. Stir briefly.

2. Add the Crabbies. Stir to combine. Face the sun with a smile.

May 14, 2019

Cocktail Talk: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Part II

Image result for on her majesty's secret service bookThe more I mulled it over, the more I realized that having just one quote from this Ian Fleming James Bond starring classic would be a mistake of mighty proportions (if you somehow manager to miss On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Part I, as if you were skiing too fast and passed it right by, then please, go back and read that now). Especially because I find this second Cocktail Talk-ing so much fun in a silly kind of way. I mean, I like Daiquiris! I like Orange Blossoms! Sadly, there’s still a little of Bond’s backwards attitudes (as he sometimes has) today I feel, but that might be a conversation for another time. I don’t want to get us away from the below sipping.

Bond’s drink came and he was glad to find it strong. He took a long but discreet pull at it. He had noticed that the girls were drinking Colas and squashes with a sprinkling of feminine cocktails–Orange Blossoms, Daiquiris. Ruby was one of the ones with a Daiquiri. It was apparently OK to drink, but he would be careful to show a gentlemanly moderation.

–Ian Fleming, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

April 26, 2019

What I’m Drinking: What the Doctor Ordered

Thought the rain and clouds and more some are experiencing (some meaning even me) may make it hard to imagine, spring is springing into action, and palates are moving slowly or quickly (depending on how fast your palate moves) into more refreshing numbers here and there and otherwheres. Which means this drink’s title becomes more and more apt, because the drink is a tall refreshing number, but one which has an undercurrent of rummy goodness (which, I suppose, points to summer, too), so fits the transition into spring. If any of that makes sense, fantastic! But I haven’t even mentioned what may be the key to all of this: Sidetrack Distillery’s lovely Nocino green walnut liqueur. Deliciously made using walnuts from their own farm, this Italian-inspired treat adds an individual note here. It, the rum, and the cider all bring this together into a manner that – between us – is ideal for spring, but also fall, and for that matter, summer, and winter!

what-the-doctor-ordered-ar
What the Doctor Ordered

Cracked ice
2 ounces dark rum (I used Mount Gay)
1/2 ounce Sidetrack Nocino walnut liqueur
3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum and Nocino. Stir well

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the cider. Stir carefully and briefly. Enjoy the good health.

February 8, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Mojito with a Rainbow Unicorn Straw

Sure, you’ve had Mojitos (I hope, and if not, you know, it’s a minty-rum-y delight of course so where have you been, dear)? In the summer, when they are one of the ruling drink class. Or in the spring, when you’re pretending it’s summer in your short shorts, even though you’re chilly. I see you. And even in the fall once, when you were thinking about Cuba. I sorta like them also in the winter, to deliver a summer dreamtime as the cold air nips noses. You may like that, too. But have you ever had a Mojito with a rainbow unicorn straw? I did, recently, and let me assure you – it’s better. The Mojito? Great drink. With a unicorn rainbow straw? Better. Maybe it’s this way with any drink? Here, though, trust me. Good times, with rum, and unicorn. Run with that, my brave and wonderful friends.

mojito-unicornThe Mojito

7 or 8 mint leaves
2 of more lime wedges
1 ounce simple syrup
Crushed or cracked ice
2-1/2 white rum
Club soda
Mint sprig, for garnish

1. Add the mind, lime wedges, and simple to a highball or comparable glass. Muddle well with a cool muddler.

2. Fill the glass most of the way with cracked or crushed ice. Add the rum, then nearly to the top with soda.

3. Smack the mint a bit to get the oils flowing, then let it float atop the drink. And don’t forget to add your unicorn straw!

December 28, 2018

What I’m Drinking: The Ponce de León

Hey, the year of 2018 is coming to a close (you may have known this, and if not, well, congrats on your ability to disconnect from world events), which means another year – 2019, unless I’m disconnected – is about to start. As you go into the new year, with a bubbly drink I’m hoping, please go into it with a spirit of adventure, as you push yourself into thinking about the world anew (which is what you do every year, right? Right!) and all that. With that, I suggest you go with this here drink for your NYE bubbler, as it’s named for an adventurer (you may have known this, too, unless you’ve forgotten your high school history), a fellow who was not only the the first governor of Puerto Rico but one of the first Euro-venturers to meet Florida and, of course, tried in vain to find the fountain of youth. Interesting, when you think about having this on a day that counteracts the very idea of being able to go back in time, instead of forward. But that thought may be too deep! Just have this drink and have some fun why dontcha? Time is short, after all.

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 through a fine strainer into saucer-style Champagne glass or cocktail or coupe glass. Fill the glass not quite to the top with the Champagne.

December 25, 2018

Cocktail Talk: Lock 14

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/5103MKMiy%2BL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgAnother choice read and Cocktail Talk from George Simenon and my pal (well, it almost feels like it now – check out the past Maigret Cocktail Talks) Inspector Maigret. This read, Lock 14, that is, takes place as you might expect at a lock, and not only is it a regular atmospheric mighty Maigret mystery, but it’s also an interesting look into how commerce and people operated along the lock series and system at the time (for example, I had no idea how many barges were pulled along by horses that were kept on board, with their “carter” who led them and took care of them), and the bars that sprung up alongside the locks. The below is a good little look into one.

The lockkeeper accompanied his relations as far as the main road to Epernay, which crossed the canal two miles from the lock.

He saw nothing unusual. As he was passing the Café la Marine on his way back, he looked inside and was hailed by a pilot.

“Come and have a drop! You’re soaking wet . . .”

He had a rum, still standing. Two carters got to their feet, sluggish with red wine, their eyes shining, and made for the stable adjoining the café, where they slept on the straw next to their horses.

They were not exactly drunk. But they had had enough wine to send them into a heavy sleep.

–George Simenon, Lock 14

November 2, 2018

What I’m Drinking: Cinghiale’s Bikini

Maybe I’m missing summer, maybe I’m a bore (get it? sure you do!), maybe I’m feeling tropical amidst the descending days of winter, or maybe I’m heading to San Leo tomorrow – whichever the I’m I am, I decided I needed one of these today. It features an Italian tamarind syrup (any good molasses-y textured tamarind syrup will do, and if you can’t find one, him, try a pomegranate syrup and call this a Sleeping Cinghiale’s Bikini) and other jolly pals.

cinghiale-bikiniCinghiale’s Bikini

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
3/4 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce freshly squeeze lime juice
1/2 Carlo Erba Tamarindo syrup
Lime slice, for garnish
Pineapple slice, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, juices, and tamarind. Shake really well.

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass, or whatever good glass is nearby. Garnish with the lime slice and pineapple slice.

August 10, 2018

What I’m Drinking: The Puget Seine

The middle-to-beginning edge of August is a hot spot in many parts of the world – Seattle, my part at the moment, for example, is heated this time of year, though the temperatures might not seem so high to some, to me, they demand a refreshing tall drink with lots of ice. A cold cider cocktail, for example, isn’t a bad thing this time of year – actually, it’s a good thing! And, what luck, I just received some cidre in the mail. What’s that you say? I’m spelling wrongly? Well, friend, that’s just not true, because specifically I received some Louis Raison cidre – the cider master who popularized cider (French cidre) across France, the stories say.

In this cocktail, I use Original Crisp Louis Raison cidre, which is made from 100% French bittersweet apples. It’s a brightly-flavored, crisp, cider, with a fruity-but-not-to-sweet nature, and little honey and nuts on the nose, and an apple-y, woodsy, taste. I always like apples and ginger as a combo, so the first ingredient I decided to try with this cidre was Salish Sea’s Ginger liqueur. Made up this-a-way with all-organic ingredients, Salish Sea liqueurs are amazing, known for their creative and pure flavors, and the Ginger has the hottest (in a good spice way) and freshest ginger-y taste I’ve had in a liqueur. If you can’t make the trip up to WA to get some, then, well, I feel sad for you – it’s summer, take a vacation! You could try another ginger liqueur here. You won’t get the same ginger umph, but needs must – and use a little less, because most are sweeter than the Salish Sea.

But those two ingredients were just the beginning – or, the first two-thirds. I wanted a solid base (spirit, that is) as well, and after trying this and that, I came back to where I should have started, it being summer and all: rum. Specifically Flor de Caña Añejo Oro, a four-year-old gold-medal-winning amber rum with a lush, vanilla, nuttiness that teamed up like a summer dream with our other two champs. Altogether, our globe-trotting cider cocktail has fresh taste underlined by all sorts of spice currents. It’s ideal for August – or, really, anytime.

puget-seineThe Puget Seine

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces Flor de Caña Añejo Oro rum
3/4 ounce Salish Sea Ginger liqueur
Ice cubes
4 ounces Louis Raison Original Crisp cidre

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum and ginger liqueur. Stir.

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mix from Step 1 into the glass.

3. Top with the cidre, and stir to combine. Drink up!

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