April 7, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Stockholm Tar

 This sounds so sticky in a way, and sorta yucky, and other “y” ending words that don’t imply springtime (okay, maybe spring is a little sticky sometimes – your mileage may vary on this intro sentence). But this is actually a fairly bright little number, with the rum base a precursor to summertime’s funtimes, and the juices being juicy, and a little sweet and that hint of maraschino that is another dream entirely. But I’m all over the map of descriptions now, and the seasons, and probably every line that denotes what’s proper in a drink introduction. But this is called Stockholm Tar! Whatdya expect? Just sip, laugh, sip, laugh.
stockholm-tar
Stockholm Tar, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
Lime slice for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, lime juice, cranberry juice, simple syrup, and maraschino liqueur. Shake well (you want to ensure it doesn’t get a tar-like appearance).

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

December 20, 2016

Cocktail Talk: Home is the Sailor

home-is-the-sailorAs a longtime reader (you are, right?) of this here weblog, you probably know that I have a fondness for the pulp-y writer Day Keene, who churned out an incredible amount of stories and novels in the classic pulp era. It’s not always easy to track down his books (though some story collections now available help), but there is a reprint from the swell folks at Hard Case Crime of one novel, Home is the Sailor. A typically fast-paced Keene read, it follows the travails of a sailor who wants to do right, but runs into the wrong bar and the wrong lady. It’s well worth tracking down, not only for this quote, which happens south of the border:

The Mexican license bureau was closed. I’d expected that. There was a bar on the main drag with a faded sign that proclaimed it to be the longest bar in the world. I parked Corliss at a table and bought her a rum Collins to work on. Then I brushed off my rusty Spanish and buttonholed the first cop I met on the street.

–Day Keene, Home is the Sailor

November 11, 2016

What I’m Drinking: Three Wishes

So, you know about 11:11, right? Magic number? All that? Here’s what the reliable (depending on your source) Wikipedia says to kick things off:

Numerologists believe that events linked to the time 11:11 appear more often than can be explained by chance or coincidence. This belief is related to the concept of synchronicity. Some authors claim that seeing 11:11 on a clock is an auspicious sign. Others claim that 11:11 signals a spirit presence. The belief that the time 11:11 has mystical powers has been adopted by believers in New Age philosophies.

I may believe all of that. Well, who knows. I may be kidding, too. I remember that – or think I do – my old pal Jon was the first to tell me about 11:11 being something you wish on when you see it randomly on the clock. Though it could have been an ancient spirit posing as Jon? Maybe. But I’ve spent many years making wishes in this situation, and now, today, it’s actually 11-11 on the calendar, so I’m going to drink a Three Wishes cocktail at exactly 11:11 today (both in the morning and at night, to be safe), and make some wishes. Wish me luck! Oh, you can do the same – I’m happy to share wishes.

3-wishes
Three Wishes, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

Cracked ice
2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb
1 ounce amaretto

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum, Creole Shrubb, and amaretto. Stir – no wishing yet.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink. Let the wishing begin.

September 9, 2016

What I’m Drinking: My Heart Stood Still

Sometimes, writing about drinks takes its toll (well, not really, but it’s giving me a convenient out, and also reducing the grumbling about how awesome writing about drinks is). Recently, for example, I somehow forgot that I’d already had Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum, before a bottle showed in the mail. See, my memory is failing! And I even wrote about it here on Spiked Punch. But seriously, the very distinctive bottle reminded that of course I’ve had it – it was, for gosh sakes, probably my favorite rum in a long time.

It’s a molasses-based rum distilled in copper pot stills and aged for 12 years, and boasting an array of awards. If you haven’t had it, get it (if you’re in Venezuela, where it’s from, should be a snap – though it’s widely available, so no-one should have any problems). You’ll catch the complexity from the first smell, with caramel, nuts, orange peel, vanilla, nutmeg, and allspice all hanging together, and the taste, where they all come back together with a little more spice forwardness and just a hint of sweetness. Tasty.

Tasty enough that if you’re not going to have it by itself, you should have it in a cocktail that really lets the rum shine. I went back to one of my old favorite books, Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion, to re-discover a cocktail that has both a great name, and which lets rum take center stage: My Heart Stood Still. If you want to quibble (which is sorta sad for you), this is a rum Manhattan with a little heavier pour of vermouth, or perhaps some other things, none of which are named as lovely as the current name. And the drink itself is so lovely, too. The Diplomatico brings so much, but the vermouth here – Martini Gran Lusso Italian vermouth, the 150th anniversary edition – also delivers a nice layered flavor to our heart-y party. Try it. Love it. Thank me later.

my-heart-stood-still
My Heart Stood Still

Cracked ice
2 ounces Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum
1 ounce Martini Gran Lusso Italian vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Savor and sip. Sip and savor.

August 5, 2016

What I’m Drinking: Wide Horizons

It’s August, which means even way up here in Seattle we have some warmer weather happening (and in some spots, I know it’s even moreso), which also then means that refreshing drinks are on the menu (though, admittedly, sometimes I like to play devil’s advocate and have what seems like not-as-refreshing-drinks when it’s hot. Today is not that day!). Luckily, I recently received some Hard Frescos (yeah, I’m lucky), which are very refreshing numbers, and lend themselves to refreshing drinks.

Brewed right in Washington State (in Stevenson), and based out of a love of Mexican fresh-pressed juices, if you don’t know them, Hard Frescos are a malt beverage, but one made with real fruits and botanicals, cane sugar, and yeast. Like a fruit beer, though they also use Mexican Fruit Cider as a name, which to me works a little better, because it points to their very unique nature – fruity, flavorful, but also with a slight underlying beer-y/cider-y-ness, with an end result that’s really different, in a good way.

There are four versions currently available: Tangy Tamarindo, Citrico, Juicy Jamaica, and Cola Buena. In this summer drink, I used the latter to delicious (if I can say that and sound humble) results. I don’t drink much, if any, cola-of-the-soda sort, so playing around with Cola Buena, which use Kola Seed, and has a bit of that cola taste, but a bit more bitter and fullness was good stuff. And as you might expect, goes well with rum! As it does here, but I’ve also added another local ingredient, broVo’s Lucky Falernum, which is higher-proof than most falernums, and which has a swell subtle spice and citrus taste. You could sub in another falernum, but it wouldn’t be nearly as good. And who wants that?

wide-horizonWide Horizons

Ice cubes
2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce Lucky Falernum
4 ounces Cola Buena Hard Fresco
Lime wedge, for garnish

1: Fill a cocktail shaker just under half way with ice cubes. Add the rum and falernum. Stir well.

2. Pour everything into a highball or comparable glass (a green goblet works nice, if you have one). Top with the Cola Buena. Stir carefully.

3. Top with the lime wedge.

April 1, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Course of the Evening

I’m pretty blessed to live in a state full of swell distilleries: big-ish ones, little-ish ones, medium-ish ones. And so many of them are doing their own, interesting bottled thing – it’s awesome! And during the course of one recent evening, I wanted to celebrate this particular WA-blessing by making myself a drink using all local booze. It wasn’t hard really (due to the many choices intimated at above), outside of narrowing it down – cause I like so many of them! Another night, it’d be completely different. This particular evening I was feeling rummy, though, and went with Skip Rock’s Belle Rose rum, the light-ish rum version, which was aged in white wine barrels, and has a nice vanilla-oaky-ness. I introduced it (hopefully not for the first time in history) to broVo spirits’ wonderful new-ish Lucky Falernum liqueur (especially good today). A lot of falernums available are a little cloying to me, but Lucky is higher-proof and more mighty than cloying, without losing its underlying ginger, lime, pineapple, star anise profile. Those two locals together is a good start, but I wanted a wild card, something to bring one more zing – I went with Salish Sea’s Hibiscus liqueur, made from Egyptian red hibiscus flowers, and carrying a lovely tangy tartness. Together, they made for a wonderful Washington evening indeed. No fooling!

course-of-the-evening

The Course of the Evening

The Course of the Evening
Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces Skip Rock Belle Rose light rum
1 ounce broVo spirits Lucky Falernum
1/2 ounce Salish Sea Hibiscus liqueur
Orange wedge, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the trio of Washington-state delights. Stir well (I really wanted to say “just right” there).

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze the wedge over the glass, then drop it in.

March 4, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Hurricane

Created at some point in the 1940s (as the story goes) by Pat O’Brien (whose bar when first opened during Prohibition had the code phrase “storm’s brewin’” if you wanted in) to get rid of the cheaper rum his distributors forced him to buy in order to get the more desirable whiskey and Scotch, by mixing said rum with fruit juice and such and then giving it all away to sailors, the Hurricane is now thought of as a drink for drunken-and-wanna-be-drunker collegians. It’s usually made with a pre-mix-y thing that would make Pat turn over in his grave, and usually has all the taste of off-brand Kool-Aid. Hopefully whoever gets the $$ from this travesty is happy. But! And however! Even if he was originally  making it as a give-a-way, a Hurricane made more closely to the original idea, and with homemade ingredients (at least the grenadine), and decent rum (which is plentiful), is actually darn good, refreshing, fruity, and a treat. A treat! So, don’t believe the hype. Believe the Hurricane. Oh, the below recipe can easily be doubled, as the below is a lighter wind than my usual recipe, which is only for sailors. For gosh sakes though, if drinking that doubled version, don’t go sailing or driving, and do use a fancy Hurricane-style glass.

hurricane
The Hurricane, recipe from Good Spirits

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces white rum
1/2 ounce dark rum
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 ounce homemade grenadine
1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup
1/2 ounces pineapple juice
Orange slice for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rums, lime juice, grenadine, passion fruit syrup, and pineapple. Shake really well.

2. Fill an old fashioned or comparable glass halfway with ice cubes. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into the glass.

3. Garnish with an orange slice.

A Note: Passion fruit syrup can be hard to find – check Asian grocery stores and online. But if you absolutely can’t track it down, substitute 1 ounce simple syrup. Not quite the same, but not quite awful, either.

January 29, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Whip of the Conqueror

It’s hard being the conquered. Stinks, even. Whether you’re Gaius Flaminius at the battle of Lago Trasimeno, or at the less-happy end after a re-org in a big company, or destroyed by a hated rival during the NFL playoffs on national TV, being in that position doesn’t tend to lead to happy days. However! The nights at least can be better when you drink the below, instead of feeling the literal whips. Maybe not much better, but a little better.

whip-2
The Whip of the Conqueror, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

Ice cubes
1 -1/2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce Fernet Branca
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Lime twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, Fernet Branca, apricot liqueur, and lime juice. Shake while longing to be the conqueror.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the twist.

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