August 28, 2015
A late summer number if there ever was one – Behold, The River is refreshing, full of summer-y flavors without being near treacly, a nice color, and not too hard to make. If you’re actually having it alongside a river, well, you get bonus points for that! Not sure what the bonus points get you however, except a good time, and some undying gratitude from those you make the drink for, and my high esteem. Which may be worth something?
Behold, The River
1-3/4 ounces vodka
1 ounce Sidetrack Distillery blackberry liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Four ounces chilled club soda
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, liqueur, and lemon juice. Shake well.
2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into the glass. Top with the soda. Stir carefully, but thoroughly.
A Note: Having trouble finding Sidetrack Distillery blackberry liqueur? Well, you may need to take a trip to Washington, oh intrepid one!
March 20, 2015
I tend to shy away from pre-flavored spirits. So many, especially in my early years (but even now, for sure) are flavored chemically, with nothing natural involved, and the taste reflects this attitude. It’s a shame, but hey, them’s the breaks. However, with today’s focus on better taste, and so many smaller distilleries who’d rather serve up delicious bottled items instead of just getting out as much as possible, well, there are some good flavored numbers starting to show up. Example A: Skiprock Distiller’s Badger Pocket black peppercorn vodka. I would expect Skiprock (a distillery from Snohomish, WA) to have a good flavored vodka, since their regular potato-based vodka is awfully tasty and uses potatoes grown right here in WA. They use whole peppercorns in the Badger Pocket, and the end result is a vodka that’s spicy, but not as sharp as you might expect – there’s actually a hint of sweetness in there, too. When using it in cocktails, this gives it more flexibility than you might expect. It makes a great Bloody Mary (as you’d guess), but also goes well with fruit liqueurs and a whole wide range of things. But, funny enough, when I was playing around with it, I ended up going a whole different route than originally planned, pairing it finally with the Italian aperitif Aperol (whose just-about-bitter-and-citrus-ness is a dream) and a little Scrappy’s orange bitters, ending with a drink that’d ideal when the sun is shining.
The Badger’s Feather
2 ounces Skiprock Badger Pocket vodka
1 ounce Aperol
1 dash Scrappy’s orange bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the vodka, Aperol, and bitters. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist.
October 17, 2014
This is a drink from days of yore (which means, usually, with drinks, sometime in the late 1800s, early 1900s – this goes a bit on the front end) named after a beloved Russian ballet troupe that operated in Paris and sorta changed ballet and was also a fav of artist types. Also, one of the main female dancers was Tamara Karsavina, who I’m a bit fond of. What does that all mean for you, dear reader? Well, for one, now you know more about ballet, which may come in handy. Two, it means when you have a couple of these, you should plan on dancing around the room, probably in tights. Please send pics.
2 ounces Seattle Distilling Company vodka
1 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Cassis
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, cassis, and lime juice. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a small ballet shoe.
August 8, 2014
It’s wedding season, I do believe, evidenced by the lacy white outfits I keep seeing women wearing (usually accompanied by a bunch of other women in really oddly colored and shaped outfits – poor bridesmaids), and the number of gentlemen in tuxes with scared looks on their faces. Hah! I kid, I kid. I love weddings – they’re an especially nice kind of a party, a big ol’ celebration of two folks that hopefully are well-liked by everyone in attendance. In honor of the couples I know hitching it up this month (or right around this month), I’m going to whip up some Blushing Brides. These have to be made in batches of two, cause, well, I should think it’d be obvious.
The Blushing Bride, from Dark Spirits, Serves 2
12 fresh raspberries
6 lime wedges
4 ounces Cognac
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce Simple Syrup
1. Put the raspberries and 4 of the lime wedges into a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, wooden spoon, or stiletto-heeled bridesmaid’s shoe, muddle well.
2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Cognac, vodka, and simple syrup. Shake in a celebratory manner.
3. Strain the mix equally into two cocktail glasses through a fine strainer. Garnish each with a remaining lime wedge.
PS: I’ve seen drinks with this title that contain other ingredients. Avoid them. They are all awful
September 20, 2013
Sometimes, you (or I – though if this doesn’t happen to anyone else I’ll eat my hat) forget about a drink that you actually really like. There are so many drinks out there! Then you come back to it like an old friend after that first sip and think, why did I not drink this for so long? I recently had this moment with the Perseverance, which is a recipe featured in Wine Cocktails. It’s actually a nice end-of-summer-beginning-of-fall drink, so fit my mood as well. Tastiness.
1 ounce vodka (I think Rocket vodka is good)
2 ounces chilled Maryhill Rosé Sangiovese
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, rosé, maraschino, and bitters. Shake well.
2. Strain the Perseverance equally into two cocktail glasses.
September 6, 2013
While this drink’s name may be harkening to middle-summer (which for some is when harvest starts), I actually have it down as a fall number, thanks to the inclusion of cider – for some reason, I think of apples as a late fall crop. By the way, I could be totally wrong about all this. I can admit it. I can also admit that I know blueberries aren’t a fall harvest, and yet they’re still in here. Hah! Sometimes cocktail names just come about, and match the drink poetically, if not 100% factually. Oh, the cider here is from the new Seattle Cider Company, and so of course the blueberry addition comes from Sidetrack Distillery blueberry liqueur, cause I like to keep the locales local.
The Early Harvest
1 ounce vodka (keep it local with Bluewater’s organic vodka)
1-1/4 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Blueberry liqueur
3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider
3 blueberries (or thereabouts) for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the vodka and the liqueur. Stir well.
2. Fill a highball or Old-Fashioned’y glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the vodka/liqueur combo over the ice.
3. Add the cider, and stir to combine. Drop in the blueberry garnish.
March 12, 2013
Until recently, I’d never read the Friends of Eddie Coyle. Maybe you haven’t either? But maybe you don’t read the pulps and mysteries like me. So, maybe it’s not as odd, since this book is a classic of sorts, remarkable for its dialogue-focused narrative drive and spot-on look into Boston-area criminals, including the very-friendless and weaselish Eddie Coyle, and crime-fighters (not the caped kind of course). It took me a bit to get rolling with it just because it’s so much of a talking-scene-to-talking-scene affair, and you have to keep up with names to keep up with plot. But once you dig in, you dig in and feel completely a part of the life. Outside of the in the below quote, cause I’d never order a vodka Martini. But still . . .
At five minutes of six, Dave Foley escaped from the traffic on Route 128 and parked the Charger at the Red Coach Grille in Braintree. He went into the bar and took a table in the rear corner that allowed him to watch the door and the television set above the bar. He ordered a vodka Martini on the rocks with a twist.
–George V. Higgins, The Friends of Eddie Coyle
PS: There’s also a movie based on this book starring the mighty Robert Mitchum. But I haven’t seen it yet. Sadly.
November 23, 2012
It’s the day after Thanksgiving – are you having your Gizmo yet? If so, why not? If you don’t know what it is, head on over to an earlier Spiked Punch post for your Gizmo recipe and story. Now, I have to go back to drinking my Gizmo.