If you drink wine, like charming ladies, enjoy reading jolly and informative writing about drinking and drinks (and really, why would you be here if not?), live in the mid-west, want to learn about wine while feeling like you’re hanging out with the rad-est wine teacher ever, or all of the above, then I strongly suggest you visit the Savvy Lush. But who (or what, I suppose), you might ask, is the Savvy Lush? Well, she’s a woman with an incredible knowledge about wine. And it’s knowledge picked up the right way: by drinking a lot of wine, starting with a trip in her youth to Italy (which is the finest way to start, of course). On her site she details reds and whites, skanks and snobs, and more in convivial and bubbly style. She also has a “Guest Swiller” section that she’s kicking off, and right now there’s a bit of wine cocktails talk from me. But don’t let that keep you from her blog–bookmark it and read it regular. With a glass of wine in hand of course.
If you don’t already know, Wino magazine is not a magazine catering solely to drunken reprobates. Though they probably are okay with that readership, too. It’s really a magazine all about Washington wines. And it’s free, and you should pick up every copy you can, cause the guys that put it out are fine fellows and very devoted to their wines (so devoted they drink about a cask a week. Ba-dump-bump). After a few glasses with Doug, the editor-in-chief, this summer, I convinced him that wine lovers would also be wine cocktails lovers with the right edging on, and also convinced him that the magazine should highlight a few of the fantastic new Washington spirits distilleries in an upcoming issue, because they’re new and deliver delicious product and need to be more known.
Little did I know that he’d be okay with me writing the article (I was okay with it, because it meant I got to visit the Pacific and Soft Tail distilleries and hang out with Mark and Dennis, the friendly and super knowledgeable distillers) and that he’d put a big review of the new book Wine Cocktails in the same issue as the article. Holy booze-tastico friends, that makes for a heck of an issue. Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a hard copy (it’s free), but Wino also puts most of the articles on their site, so you can read the Wine Cocktails review and Be Still My Heart (the article about Pacific Distillery and Soft Tail Distillery) right from the safety and comfort of your work desk, or home desk, or couch if you’re all wireless’d up. There is also a recipe using Pacific’s Voyager gin and Absinthe Pacifique and a recipe using Soft Tail’s grappa after the article (forget the recipe header that says “Wine Cocktail recipes”–these aren’t necessarily that, but are necessarily tasty). While at the Wino site, I suggest checking every nook and cranny out, especially the online only A Bottle a Week feature (cause wine is healthy and you need more). But enough of me–head on over to Wino and start swilling.
Hello . . . hello . . . is it Wine Cocktails you’re looking for? If it is, you’re in luck, cause as I alluded to below (in the S.F. Part I post), I’m making a few wine cocktails from the book of the same name this Thursday at a sweet bar called Poco here in Seattle (which is named in full Poco Wine Room, but which has recently expanded to be Poco Wine and Cocktails Room, making it the ideal match up for above-mentioned book). The basics are thus (and you can see more on this Facebook page, if that’s your thing):
When: This Thursday, August 20th
Where: Poco, 1408 East Pine Street, near the intersections of Pine, 15th & Madison, Seattle
What: Wine cocktails demos, copies of the book, actually wine cocktails to drink
Who: You, one hopes. And me.
It’s $20 to get in, but for that you get your very own copy of the book (which I’ll of course sign if you want) and two drinks, so it’s a dandy deal. And, Poco is a really nice spot. All of which means you should, as the song says, come on down, have that drink. I’ll be happy to see you for sure. And while the below isn’t one of the featured drinks, it should at least whet your wine cocktails appetite.
I’m sure you’ve had a night like this: you get home, you know you should make dinner (to save money, and to use up what’s going bad in your fridge at this very moment, right now) but you’re having a hard time getting the energy going to get started, and so instead you make a deal with yourself (and maybe your wife or husband too): I/we will go out to dinner, but then I’ll/we’ll fold the unbelievably-large mountain of laundry when I/we get home from said dinner out. That happened to me (and Nat) last night, and the restaurant we ended up going to, to balance out that part of the “deal” was La Casa Azul. We’d never been before, but our pals, tattooed-Nicole and photographer-Josh, had recently A: told us about it, and B: told us it was darn tasty. Well, they’re believable folks, so we figured we’d give it a whirl, even though it’s in a strip mall kind-of a spot. It ended up being just what they said: darn tasty. And cute and cozy too, with both a Frieda Kahlo style and décor focus (and food, in a way) and super nice waiter and chef/waiter (these two guys do it all). If you live in Seattle, take my advice, and make the trip up or over to 14419 Greenwood Ave North. If you don’t live in Seattle, then move here for gawd’s sake. Sadly, our camera ran low on batteries, so I don’t have food pics, but this blog’s about booze anyway. And, luckily, I got some snaps of the lush sangrias before said batteries blew:
The sangria was a touch sweeter than my venerable family recipe (which you can find in about half of my books), but had a great clean and bright taste backed by some fruity but firm red wine, and a full array of fresh garnishes. Nat loved it, and I drank two, so I must have thought it fine as well. We also ate like hogs (or hog-like humans, ala the Island of Dr. Moreau, the book and not either of the movie versions), which is understandable, because the food was done so right, from the spicy salsa to the onion-and-pepper packed queso fundido (which they were nice enough to make for us veggies without chorizo) to the Tlayudes which I had (which was like a giant super thin tortilla–more a tortilla-Italian-style-pizza-combo–topped with black beans, cheese, cabbage, veggies), and the Plato Vegetarianos which Nat had (which was sautéed slabs of squash and nopales, sautéed mushrooms and spinach, and lots of smashed seasoned potatoes with an avocado-tomatillo sauce). Dang, now I’m hungry. Thanks Nicole and Josh for pointing us in the right direction (North, for us).
Hey, check me out on Fox 25 Boston, talking Wine Cocktails with my pal Gene and making up Maibowles for some early morning drinking (and while checking out the fun, well, hopefully fun, stuff you should know that I had just flown into Boston the night before, and my flight was late, and, even though it was a “direct” flight from Seattle to Boston we had a layover in Philly, and they managed to lose my luggage–though I was always on the same plane–and so I was wearing the same clothes from flying the day before, which means I was in shorts and smelled a bit, and had to use a different shaker and all that cause my bar tools were in my luggage, and well, I know I’m complaining, but I also know you want the backstory, and so you’re getting it, but what I really want to say is, “damn you US Airways, how can you stink so much?” I did end up having lots of fun on the TeeVee though, and hopefully didn’t look too sleepy):
The Maibowle’s genius, too, and you should have one this weekend, with mom, who will love it, or just with yourself. And then, come back next week for Italy, Part III: This Time It’s Countryside.
Well, the lovely, third installment of Italy ’09 (a newly trademarked phrase), the Upper Tiber Valley starring Nestor’s pizza, is still to come, but will have to wait another week, cause I’m heading to Boston, to celebrate the first anniversary of that delicious food- and drink-video site, How2Heroes.com. Can you believe it, just one year old and they’ve already put out some of the most rootin-est tootin-est tastiest videos around, from chefs, bartenders, writers, and genial drunkards. And, you, of course (or folks like you, since anyone can and should post videos). Anywho, for their first birthday they’re having a big ol’ party, where they’ll be serving up delights and giving away signed copies of Wine Cocktails (and yes, they’ll be signed by me. Or a proxy). And, I’ll be serving a wine cocktail too (the Bishop), as well as a sparkly drink I made just for the occasion, called the How2Heroes Celebratorio Anniversario Sparkler, or the How2Heroes Sparkler, for short. Hopefully I’ll be seeing you at the party, but if not, you should have one of these bubbly beauts on Weds to help celebrate. And the below video will show you how to make it. Doesn’t that deserve a Yay! all around? I think so.
Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for, the second “I promise to write about Italian drinks and food soon” post. Yay! And I do promise. But, since it’s Friday, and I need to hit up the drinks before too long, this is again a short post leading into a video. But what a video! It’s for the Perseverance cocktail, which is again (as with the Bishop below) from Wine Cocktails, sported on How2Heroes, that food and drinking video bonanza site, and directed, produced, shot, and co-scripted by the boy genius himself, Fargo’s favorite frolicking son, Bradley Kosel. But this video co-stars those stage-and-screen scenesters, wife Nat and heartfelt Harry (who was last seen in Paradise). Yeaping yimmeny! Don’t sit around people: hit that play button (wait, wait, wait–feel free to make yourself a drink first. Then hit that that play button)!
PS: Holy historic halfwit! I completely forgot above to say the Perseverance contains rosé wine, maraschino liqueur, vodka, and Peychaud’s bitters. Which you might want to know before even clicking the video. Forgive me pals, I’m plum embarrassed.
PPS: Yes, I am getting paid by the exclamation point.
PPSS: Nicole, really, I’ll talk up Italy soon. With pictures. It’ll be bella. You’ll like it.
Sorry, I had to drop a little Frankenstein (from the original movie, of course, which rocks, and not the later version, which sucks) in, not because my newest book Wine Cocktails is monstrous (well, maybe, if I can be so bold, full of monstrously tasty drinks), or because it has bolts around the neck area, or because it’s shot in black and white or something (it’s shot in color by genius photographer Melissa Punch), but no, because the monster would have loved the world a little better, and vice versa, I think, if they would have shared some wine cocktails together. Cause the cocktails in the book are all about sharing, and all about wine cuddled up with other delish ingredients, and all about goodness, darnit. I plan to put up more about the book, including some recipes, and notes about a release party, when I get back from Italy–but I wanted to let you know that the book is available now, cause I feel I should. And maybe you’re interested. Oh, yeah, if you missed it in that last sentence, I leave for Italy in about 24 hours, so my irregular blogging will become more irregular. But I’ll be thinking of you (yes, you) while over there eating and drinking and living la dolce vita. So, for at least a couple days, ciao bellas. Oh, before I go, here’s a pic from the new book, and, as a teaser, here’s the first phrase in the first headnote to the first recipe, “By Jack Lord, this should transport you.” That says it all folks.