June 20, 2017

Cocktail Talk: The Claverings

Image result for the claveringsMy love of Anthony Trollope is much documented on the many pages of this blog (so many, many pages). You probably are sick of hearing me go on and on, in my spot as the Trollope standard bearer for this here century. But maybe you aren’t – I’m going to believe that, and drop another Trollope quote in, this time from The Claverings, which, as the back cover tells you, is one of Trollope’s “three faultless books.” They all seem fairly faultless to me (well, okay, maybe that’s overstating), but I do wonder what the back cover blurber thought the other two were? I’ll never know, but I do know that I don’t drink enough port, so if you want to bring me a bottle (as in the below) I won’t turn it down.

When dinner was over, Burton got up from his seat. “Harry,” said he, “do you like good wine?” Harry said that he did. Whatever women may say about wild fowl, men never profess an indifference to good wine, although there is a theory about the world, quite as incorrect as it is general, that they have given up drinking it. “Indeed I do,” said Harry. “Then I’ll give you a bottle of port,” said Burton, and so saying he left the room.

“I’m very glad you have come to-day,” said Jones, with much gravity. “He never gives me any of that when I’m alone with him; and he never, by any means, brings it out for company.”

“You don’t mean to accuse him of drinking it alone, Tom?” said his sister, laughing.

“I don’t know when he drinks it; I only know when he doesn’t.”

The wine was decanted with as much care as had been given to the concoction of the gravy, and the clearness of the dark liquid was scrutinized with an eye that was full of anxious care. “Now, Cissy, what do you think of that? She knows a glass of good wine when she gets it, as well as you do Harry, in spite of her contempt for the duck.”

— Anthony Trollope, The Claverings

March 24, 2017

What I’m Drinking: The Rosé Squirt

You’ve probably noticed, spring has sprung. And I’m probably going to be, or already have been, talking springtime talk, and springtime drinks, and frolicking in meadows. But today, instead of that, I’m just cutting right to the chase: this is a dandy, refreshing, light-on-its-feet drink, which you should make for yourself, your friends, and then yourself again. It’s springy.

rose-squirt
The Rosé Squirt, from Wine Cocktails

Ice cubes
1 ounce maraschino liqueur
3 ounce dry rosé wine
Chilled club soda
Maraschino cherry, for garnish

1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the maraschino liqueur and rosé. Stir briefly.

2. Fill the glass almost to the top with chilled club soda. Stir again, a bit more than briefly. Drop a cherry on top and serve.

March 3, 2017

What I’m Drinking: The Italian Cactus Berry

You know this, I know this, everybody knows this – I believe good drinks should have good names, and when creating drinks you need to create names too. Okay, that’s out of the way. But here, really, the change is so minor! The Cactus Berry is a favorite spring-and-early-summer drink of mine, from Wine Cocktails, and as I was dreaming of spring recently, I decided it would be a perfect fit for today. But, it usually uses Merlot (along with tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice), and I didn’t have such. But I did have a bottle of Donini Settegrappoli, which is an Italian red, rich, lush, full of body, perhaps I think the best red wine in the world. If I can go a little overboard (admittedly, Donini is my favorite winery in the world, too). So, I thought it might be perfect. And guess what? I was right! You can be right, too, if you try this drink.

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The Italian Cactus Berry (mostly from Wine Cocktails)

Serves 2

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Donini Settegrappoli Italian red wine (or another amazing wine)
1-1/2 ounces tequila (blanc, usually)
3/4 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Lime wedge, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the wine,  tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Shake well.

2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass through a fine strainer. Garnish with the lime wedge and serve.

February 24, 2017

What I’m Drinking: The Doninoni

There’s no need to yell at me – I realize with the title here, I’m nearly breaking my own soapbox (to stretch a metaphor to the breaking point), or favorite soapbox, as admittedly there are many I like to stand upon. But this one, it’s the one where bartenders make up new drinks and then just name them some bastardization of an existing classic drink. C’mon bartenders, be creative! Though, in this case, bartender heal thyself, as this drink name is partially a play on the classic Negroni. But it’s also a play on my favorite Italian winery, Donini, and really, The Doninoni is so much fun to say! And changed enough (as opposed to, oh, the numerous Strawberry Margaritas I made in college, or something like the Appletini for gawd’s sake) to make me not too egregious, right? Right! If you disagree, drink two of the below and call me in the morning.

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The Doninoni

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Nat’s gin (I used the gin wife Nat made at Scratch, cause she did such a good job – read more about making gin at Scratch)
1-1/2 ounces Donini Tarragoni (if you sadly can’t get this, another slightly-dry but full-bodied Umbrian red could suffice)
1-1/2 ounces Campari
1/2 ounce grenadine (go homemade or go home)

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

2. Add a few good ice cubes to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Strain the mix into the glass and over the ice.

July 15, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Tropicaliana

Here’s an oldie (by that I mean, not very old at all, but one that has been on the blog before, which may make some run in horror, but really, those folks probably aren’t all that cool, anyway, which means run away, by all means, while the rest of us sit here drinking it up, and laughing at your antics), but a nice goodie of a refreshing and classy number. It’s hip, too, as it feature rosé, which seems to be the star of this year’s summer, in a number of ways (meaning, everyone’s talking about it). A good summer to be rosé, especially the sparkling version of rosé in this drink, as it gets to play which such a fine array of summertime stalwarts: rum, lime, ginger. Together, they manage to deliver the yumminess and the chic-ness, without any of the sometime accompanying annoying-ness. Try it, and see.

tropicaliana
The Tropicaliana, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

Ice cubes
1 ounce white rum
1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Chilled rosé sparkling wine
Lime slice, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, lime juice, ginger liqueur, and simple syrup. Shake well.

2. Strain the mix into a flute. Top with the rosé sparkling wine. Garnish with that lime slice.

June 14, 2016

Cocktail Talk: Old Flame

It’s sorta weird, sorta not, that I haven’t had a Cocktail Talk post before (at least that I or various search engines can remember) from a William Trevor story or book. I mean, he’s awesome, and I’ve read a serious amount of words that originally came from his typewriter, especially on the story side, though admittedly a number of his novels, too, and watched movies made from them as well. Okay, maybe it’s really weird! But his characters don’t tend to be cocktail-ing it up, or maybe I’m too involved in the stories to fold over the page corners as I usually do to remind myself of quotes that might work. However! I was recently re-reading his story collect Cheating At Canasta, in which you’ll find the story “Old Flame,” and found the below gem (I wish La Mabury was in my office – I’d be nicer), which felt the ideal way to finally bring the Trevor Cocktail Talking to life.

The day Charles appeared – the first time they laid eyes on him – he was being led around by the snooty, half-drunk Miss Maybury, both of them with glasses of vin rosé, which was what La Maybury – her office title – drank every afternoon, sometimes in the mornings also.

–William Trevor, Old Flame

July 14, 2015

Cocktail Talk: John Caldigate

john-caldigateHey, I think everyone in the world knows this, but if you’re one of the few that don’t, well, I am here to tell you – I love me some Anthony Trollope. I wonder where I rank, now that I’m pondering the whole thing, on the world’s list of Anthony Trollope fans. I’ll bet I’m in the top 100! Really! I’ve read nearly everything (and that’s saying something, cause he was one prolific mid-1800s English writer) and many things twice. I’ve read so much Trollope I’m amazed when I find one of the few books I’ve missed. Amazed and happy, as when I picked up John Caldigate recently. Most of those I haven’t read aren’t considered “major” Trollope works (whatever that means), but damn, I believe John Caligate should get some consideration. One of the more epic Trollope’s I’ve read, it has a huge cast of characters, a sea voyage, some time spent in the Australian gold mines, a bigamy trial, and lots of the English countryside-ing that Trollope is so known for. I loved it. And not just because of the below quote, which describes how a certain farmer drinks his wine.

Then the tray was brought in with wine, and everybody drank everybody’s health, and there was another shaking of hands all round. Mr. Purvidge, it was observed, drank the health of every separate member of the family in a separate bumper, pressing the edge of the glass securely to his lips, and then sending the whole contents down his throat at one throw with a chunk from his little finger.

– Anthony Trollop, John Caldigate

April 4, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Donini Wines

We (wife Nat and I) recently got back from another trip to Italy. Sadly it was two weeks in Italy, and not seven months in Italy, but it was still darn fun. And while there, we stopped to see our pal Diego, the amazing and friendly third-generation vintner at Donini Wines, who I’ve talked about more in-depth like on the Italy blog. Every time we stop by, it’s exactly like visiting a friend combined with what I think every wine tasting should be like. We sit down, he starts opening wine:

donini-1

even some unlabeled new bubbly that is fantastic, crisp, clear, and lovely:

donini-2

Then he brings out cheese and crackers and more wine:

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Then opens another bottle of wine:

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The whole time we’re catching up, talking about wine and the seasons and Italy and America and our families and this and that, and Diego is charming and always opening and pouring more wine for us to try:

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And then the table looks like this (with new reds and whites alongside old friends, all in Umbrian style and all great):

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If you’re ever in Italy, especially southern Tuscany or northern Umbria, you should be sure and stop by and see him and Donini Wines, too. Sadly, they’re only imported into the US in Montana and few other select states so far. But you needed a trip to Italy, right? Oh, one thing – you’ll probably need to take some home. So leave room in your suitcase. I always do.

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