February 20, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Up North, Down South

This border-busting concoction combines a couple of ingredients that are from fairly different points on the compass: tequila (that’s the southern one), and Washington State’s own Skip Rock Distillery’s Spiced Apple liqueur. The former I’m guessing you know about, but the latter uses local Jonagold apples, and a little bit of sweet and spice, in a dandy manner – meaning, it’s a liqueur that lets the flavor shine through, one that makes a great pairing with tequila and other things. However, when making this cocktail with those two ingredients, I realized that the whole Mason/Dixon quandary was keeping it from fully delivering the awesome, and that I needed one or two last mediators to really make things hum. After some hemming and hawing (and by that I mean, testing and testing), two unexpected other ingredients fell into place: Lillet and Scrappy’s orange bitters. The end result is . . . well, try it and see (okay, a hint: it’s darn tasty).

upnorth-downsouth

Up North, Down South

Cracked ice
2 ounces tequila blanco
3/4 Skip Rock Spiced Apple liqueur
1/4 ounce Lillet
Dash Scrappy’s orange bitters

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

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

November 16, 2012

What I’m Drinking: The Saguaro Steamer

Tequila is sometimes given the seasonal shaft. Folks can tend to think of it (except those true tequila fanatics I suppose) only in the hotter months, and only in chilly Margaritas and the occasional other cold number. This means from, oh, October through late February in many areas tequila just doesn’t come to mind for cocktail and drink lovers. I myself may have fallen into this tequila trap a time or two. However, the other night I found myself both craving tequila and freezing (freezing in Seattle means the temperature is down to the mid-30s. Yeah, we’re wimps). “So,” I thought to myself, “what can I do to remedy the situation?” And what I did was come up with the below drink, which I’m calling the Saguaro Steamer:

The funny (both sad funny and just funny) part of it all is that tequila goes smashingly in a hot drink. Thinking about it, it just makes wonderful sense. Tequila tends to be smoky and the flavors mingle well with the steam and hot water. Amazingly well, really. But a little balance and tang and sweet were needed, and that’s where the other ingredients came into play. To add even more flavor and take the edges off, I used the new-ish Mariposa agave nectar liqueur, which mingles agave nectar and 100-percent agave tequila and premium vodka, and which has a floral smoky loveliness going on. Then I added some orange juice (another hot drink casualty that’s surprisingly good here) and topped it all off with the top hot drink topping, nutmeg. I strongly suggest this combo if you want to update your hot drink repertoire and give tequila its due year round.

The Saguaro Steamer

2 ounces Reposado tequila (I used Casa Noble and it was awesome. As it always is)

3/4 ounces Mariposa agave nectar liqueur

3/4 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

3 ounces pretty hot water (not boiling, but close)

Freshly grated nutmeg

1. Add the tequila, Mariposa, and orange juice to a double-walled Bodum glass or other heat-okay receptacle. Stir.

2. Carefully add the hot water to the mix. Stir again, carefully but thoroughly.

3. Grate a little nutmeg on the top. Make that “ahhh” sound you make when it’s cold out and you’ve just had something deliciously warm.

October 12, 2012

Shot Week, Day 3, The Diablita

As anyone knows, a week on this blog equals, usually, three posts (sue me if that seems wrong—my lawyers are at the bar). Which means, sadly, Shot Week is already coming to an end. Be sure you read Shot Week Day 1 and Shot Week Day 2 to get the full story. But the basics are thus: cocktail genius and genuinely nice fella Andrew Bohrer has a delicious new book out, called The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried. It’s bringing the idea of the shot, a shorter drink, to a higher plateau. Instead of shots thrown down the throat rapidly so-as to avoid tasting them, the shots in his book are ones to savor and share. So, quit pussyfooting around—buy the book. If Shot Week so far wasn’t enough to sway you, check out the below recipe for the diabolical Diablita, which you should consume rapidly to ensure the devil doesn’t enter your mouth.

Diablita

1 ounce reposado tequila

.25 ounce crème de cassis

.25 ounce lime juice

2 ounces ginger beer

1. Pour ingredients into a shot glass and slam.

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June 18, 2012

What I’m Drinking: The Cactus Berry

It seems like summer is upon us (at least everywhere outside of my little corner of the northwest, as it’s, oh, 50 degrees and cloudy here. Which might lead you to think I’m complaining. But I’m not. Cause I know July and August will be wonderful and everyone living outside of here will be melting, melting, like a bad witch. Not that I want everyone to head this way duing those months, though. A few, sure, but not everyone. The bars would be too crowded. But I digress). Which means it’s time to start focusing the sipping on seriously refreshing liquid solutions. And when I want refreshing and light and summery stuff, I usually start by browsing Wine Cocktails, which is a book of my very own. It’s full of prescriptions for the summer months (not actual prescriptions, for those head-shaking pharmacists in the room. But I think you know what I mean), including the below number, the Cactus Berry. A relative of the Margarita (another fine sunshine-y drink), the Cactus Berry goes like shoes and socks with spicy food and rising temperatures. This recipe’s for two, cause summer’s more fun in pairs.

Serves 2

Ice cubes

3 ounces Merlot

3 ounces white tequila (blanco, yo)

1-1/2 ounces Cointreau

1 ounce fresh lime juice

2 lime slices for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Merlot, tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Shake exceedingly well (as if you were shaking cactus thorns from your hands).

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

PS: I think using Herencia Tequila or Dos Manos Tequila will make your summer even more memorable.

October 4, 2011

What I’m Drinking (Soon): The Bruja Smash

The Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz Rob Roy release party is only 4 days away (it’s happening, if you’ve been in the outback, on 10/8, from 2 to 4), and I’m already twitching with excitement about having one of the wonderful drinks bartender supremo Andrew Bohrer will be whipping up with penultimate panache. He’s doing two from the book, the Bitter Handshake and the Bruja Smash, the latter of which I’m going to tempt you with today. It’s an kind-of-crushed-ice-y affair, using one of my all-time favs, Italian spicy (as in, using spices like saffron) and gold liqueur Strega, alongside tequila and some fruity goodness all mixed up with balance, care, and craft. And muscles. Jeez, if that’s not enough to start mouths a-watering, then I suppose I’ll put the recipe here, right now:

 

Crushed ice

7 fresh mint leaves

7 fresh raspberries

1-1/2 ounces white tequila

1 ounce Strega

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 mint sprig, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with crushed ice. Add the mint leaves, raspberries, tequila, Strega, and lemon juice. Shake really well.

 

2. Dump the contents of the shaker (no straining here) into a large tulip-style beer glass or other good-sized pretty vessel.

 

3. Fill the glass with crushed ice, garnish with the mint sprig, and serve with a straw.

 

PS: In the actually GBVF version of the Bruja Smash, I talk a lot about ol’ greenskin, the Incredible Hulk. How? Why? Well, you’ll have to get a copy, friends, to find out. And you can, this Saturday. See you there.

 

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September 3, 2011

What I’m Drinking: The Shoreditch Sombrero

I don’t want you to think I’m getting routine in my drink making and testing and making some more. But I just couldn’t resist conjuring up another mighty mix that maximized the potential of the Deluxe Foods Earl Grey syrup (used last in The Earl of 15th Avenue cocktail), which will soon be available in better stores near you. Or online at the Deluxe Foods site. It has a hint of smoky-ness and a hint of citrus and, naturally, a little sweetness. All those combined had me dreaming of mixing it with a smoky tequila (and yes, these are the kinds of things I dream about. Well, these things and late 1950s era Kim Novak. A boy’s gotta have multiple hobbies), a tequila like the Casa Noble Reposado, which has a smooth smoke mingling with vanilla, citrus, and agave flavors. So, I made the dream a reality by mixing the above two ingredients, and then upped the ante with a little fresh squeezed oj, for health reasons. Delicious, I must admit:

 

 

Ice cubes

2 ounces Casa Noble Reposado tequila

1/2 ounce Deluxe Foods Earl Grey syrup

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything. Shake well.

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink with a hat on. Or drink out of a hat. Up to you.

 

A Note: Shoreditch is a neighborhood in London. Earl Grey tea is named for the 2nd Earl Grey, who was England’s Prime Minister at one point and who lived in London. Tequila is from Mexico, where the sombrero originates. Now you know about the name. As a bonus, Vince Noir once called himself a Shoreditch vampire. And he’d certainly like this drink.

August 16, 2011

It’s Margarita Time for Those Living the Good Life

My latest article on the Good Life Report, The Mysteries of the Margarita, starts by saying:

The Margarita may just be the most curious of the super-popular cocktails (and by “super-popular” I mean being ordered by a massively large number of people as I type). The curiosity stems both from its history, which I’ll talk more about in a second, and from the fact that people seem to be okay about 78% of the time with drinking a really awfully made mix that somebody who doesn’t know better calls a Margarita.

 

and if that doesn’t get you over there to read the rest of the article, well, you’d better check your pulse pal, to make sure you’re not, actually, a ghost.

August 9, 2011

Bring Your Tequila to the Garden

Okay, I could talk here about how tequila has a bad (as in tough, not un-tasty) reputation (and has nothing to say about its bad reputation), and how thinking this is sure to make your summer less delicious as you’ll utilize tequila less than you should, it being such a fine, fine summer mixer. But, I’m going to skip saying any more than I did already (jezz, I just can’t shut up) to point you to a new tequila-in-summer article I wrote for the Good Life Report, an article which talks up the same points. It’s a quick read, so you can skip over there now and catch it between sips (or between meetings, if you’re at work). Beyond the basic talk, there’s a recipe for a cocktail that proves my points, a cocktail called the Green Garden, which just happens to be from Paul Abercrombie’s book (that you should own) Organic, Shaken and Stirred: Hip Highballs, Modern Martinis, and Other Totally Green Cocktails. It, and the Green Garden cocktail, bring whole new meaning to the term green party.

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