May 14, 2019

Cocktail Talk: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Part II

Image result for on her majesty's secret service bookThe more I mulled it over, the more I realized that having just one quote from this Ian Fleming James Bond starring classic would be a mistake of mighty proportions (if you somehow manager to miss On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Part I, as if you were skiing too fast and passed it right by, then please, go back and read that now). Especially because I find this second Cocktail Talk-ing so much fun in a silly kind of way. I mean, I like Daiquiris! I like Orange Blossoms! Sadly, there’s still a little of Bond’s backwards attitudes (as he sometimes has) today I feel, but that might be a conversation for another time. I don’t want to get us away from the below sipping.

Bond’s drink came and he was glad to find it strong. He took a long but discreet pull at it. He had noticed that the girls were drinking Colas and squashes with a sprinkling of feminine cocktails–Orange Blossoms, Daiquiris. Ruby was one of the ones with a Daiquiri. It was apparently OK to drink, but he would be careful to show a gentlemanly moderation.

–Ian Fleming, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

May 10, 2019

What I’m Drinking: Now and Then a Porcupine

Do you go through phases in your cocktail-and-spirit-sipping? I’m sure you do, though admittedly I know some who have the same drink every time, year round, and I myself when younger probably had a lot of the same drinks. For some, it’s their signature I suppose. And then some have drinks via seasons, or occasions. And you know what? All those are fine, as long as you’re having fun! Fun is good! I, myself, now-a-days, often go through phases where I’ll have more of a certain spirit, or brand, even, sometimes solo, sometimes in cocktails. Recently, I’ve been on a bit of a Pernod jag, for example, having it over ice, or neat, or in drinks like this one!

In which, I took what may seem a step into the unknown, as I mixed it with underutilized (in the main, I’ve found, though perhaps here and there inroads are happening, and naturally this doesn’t go to the Nordic regions) spirit aquavit, specifically Wintersun aquavit, made out here in WA, specifically (again) in Everett, by Bluewater distillery. Wintersun has a swell balance, with that traditional caraway mingling with aniseed and orange, all on an organic grain spirit base.

That flavor profile seemed like it’d play well with Pernod, but something more was needed, and I went with French aperitif pineau de charentes, specifically (one more time!) Chateau D’orignac pineau de charentes, made from Cognac and lightly fermented Merlot and Cabernet Sav grapes, and aged in oak five years. The result is a citrus, floral, fruity delight, which goes (delightfully) with the other two members of our trio in this curiously-named drink, which is also curiously-light, with anise, orange, and spice undertones.

now-and-then-a-porcupine
Now and Then a Porcupine

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces Bluewater Wintersun aquavit
1/2 ounce Pernod
3/4 ounce Chateau D’orignac pineau de charentes
Wide orange twist, for garnish

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

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with that wide orange twist. Drink up.

May 7, 2019

Cocktail Talk: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Image result for on her majesty's secret service bookI’ve only had one other Cocktail Talk post from Ian Fleming I’m sad to admit, because (also sad to admit), I haven’t read all of his legendary James Bond books. Though I recently read On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and it reminded me that I need to go back and catch up on all of them. While a few bits are a little dated in a way, they move fast, they’re fun, and Bond seems a little less a super hero, a little more relatable somehow, than in the movies, especially the recent ones (but really, all of them in a way, though Mr. Connery is the closest, of course). This particular book is, well, I don’t want to give anything away if you haven’t read it (though you should, even if you’ve seen the movies, cause they’re different indeed), but at least feel okay saying that it’s just-past-mid-way in the series, and features Bond skiing a fair amount, among other things. Moves along quickly, too, so while it might take you longer than watching a movie, it won’t cut too much into your day, and while you read, might as well have a drink! Which the below Cocktail quote might lead you to, too.

With efficient, housekeeperly movement he took out a bottle of Pinchbottle Haig & Haig, another of I.W. Harper bourbon, two pint glasses that looked like Waterford, a bucket of ice cubes, a siphon of soda, and a flagon of iced water. One by one he placed these on the desk between his chair and Bond’s. Then while Bond poured himself a stiff bourbon and water with plenty of ice, he went and sat down across the desk from Bond, reached for the Haig & Haig and said, looking Bond very directly in the eye, “I learned who you are from a good friend in the Deuxième in Paris.”

— Ian Fleming, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

May 3, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Portofino

A cosmopolitan affair, I found the Portofino in an Italian drink collection called Cocktails Classici & Esptoco (Demetra, 2002) which I picked up in a bella Florence (Italy, that is) bookstore. It’s an intriguing combo with English liqueur Pimm’s – specifically Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, which is “made to James Pimm’s original recipe from 1823, a closely guarded secret known only to 6 people,” a recipe of gin, herbs, and a touch of fruitiness. It’s the main Pimm’s variety today (at one time there were six, made on bases of gin, Scotch, brandy, rum, rye, and vodka) though you can find Pimm’s Winter Cup, based on brandy, spices, and orange peel, if you look. The second main ingredient is Italian favorite Aperol (the light, orange, and barely bitter dream that’s taking everywhere you can imagine by orange-y storm).  Portofino, the city this is named after, is located on the Italian Riviera in the Genoa province and according to reports (that go all the way back to Pliny the Elder, and why would he lie?), the town was settled by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, which means Port of the Dolphin, due to the dolphins that frolicked in the gulf around it. Amazing, am I right?

portofinoThe Portofino

Ice cubes
2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
1 ounce Aperol
Chilled ginger ale
Orange wedge for garnish

1. Fill a highball glass three quarters up with ice cubes. Add the Pimm’s and Aperol and stir briefly.

2. Fill the glass almost to the top with ginger ale. Stir again and garnish with the orange wedge.

April 26, 2019

What I’m Drinking: What the Doctor Ordered

Thought the rain and clouds and more some are experiencing (some meaning even me) may make it hard to imagine, spring is springing into action, and palates are moving slowly or quickly (depending on how fast your palate moves) into more refreshing numbers here and there and otherwheres. Which means this drink’s title becomes more and more apt, because the drink is a tall refreshing number, but one which has an undercurrent of rummy goodness (which, I suppose, points to summer, too), so fits the transition into spring. If any of that makes sense, fantastic! But I haven’t even mentioned what may be the key to all of this: Sidetrack Distillery’s lovely Nocino green walnut liqueur. Deliciously made using walnuts from their own farm, this Italian-inspired treat adds an individual note here. It, the rum, and the cider all bring this together into a manner that – between us – is ideal for spring, but also fall, and for that matter, summer, and winter!

what-the-doctor-ordered-ar
What the Doctor Ordered

Cracked ice
2 ounces dark rum (I used Mount Gay)
1/2 ounce Sidetrack Nocino walnut liqueur
3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum and Nocino. Stir well

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the cider. Stir carefully and briefly. Enjoy the good health.

April 23, 2019

Cocktail Talk: You Can Die Laughing

Image result for you can die laughing aa fairWell, shamus lovers, it was just a few weeks back I think when I had another A.A. Fair Cocktail Talk post from The Knife Slipped, a recovered-and-printed-for-the-first-time number from the Hard Case crime folks. But I also just finished another A.A. Fair book, You Can Die Laughing, in old-time-y Pocket Book printing (which I love, too), and it was yet another swell Cool and Lam (Bertha Cool and Donald Lam, that is) yarn, with loads of twists and turns, a murder (or, ?), some fun times, and some smart thinking, and some neat-ness. If you’re scouring the used racks and see it, pick it up. And if you want more on A.A. Fair and his real, even more well-known name, and such, see all the past A.A. Fair posts. But be sure to read the below B&B beauty before you head off.

There was a juke box in the place and we did a little dancing. She was nice. I held her as close as I dared, and she flashed me a glance from time to time that did things to me. I knew she was still sizing me up, still leading me on.

We had dessert and two B&B’s. I shuddered to think of Bertha’s reaction to the expense account if I didn’t fake it.

We had another B&B, and I decided to fake hell out the expense account.

–A.A. Fair, You Can Die Laughing

April 16, 2019

Cocktail Talk: Maigret and the Minister

Image result for maigret and the ministerMy love of, and diving into, the George Simenon Maigret canon has been well documented here on the Spiked Punch, with loads of Simenon Cocktail Talks that you should go back and read and love. This one here, the newest as I write this at least, cause I’m sure they’ll be more, sees our man Maigret drawn into the wacky world of Parisian (and France, in general) politics, which he doesn’t always enjoy, but which it’s fun to see him navigate and he tried to unravel a corruption case. As usual, he and his team have an assortment of drinks along the way, starting with some sloe gin, but leaning heaviest I believe into Pernod.

And Maigret felt slightly guilty vis-à-vis his two colleagues. Lapointe too must have realized by now what it was all about.
“A beer?” suggested Maigret.
“No. A Pernod.”
And that too was out of character for Lucas. They waited for the drinks to be served, and then continued in hushed tones.

–George Simenon, Maigret and the Minister

April 12, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Palexander

Here’s something that’ll be no surprise to you, pal (as you’ve read this blog for years and years, and know me so well, and all that): I’m not opposed to a good dessert drink. Actually, I’m a dessert drink proponent, and feel that in our modern must-be-brown-and-bitter (I like brown and bitter, too, by the by) culture, sometimes people frown at slightly creamier and sweeter sippers – but not me! Anyway, the king of the dessert drinks, and an overall classic since 1916, is the Alexander, and I’m a big fan of its perfectly-balanced balance. I’ll have one fairly regularly (like, every six months or some such), but recently I was craving one and realized – GASP! – I was out of crème de cacao! What’s a boy to do? Well, I’m not one to sit around and not have a drink at all just being due to one missing ingredient. Instead of making sorrows, I make solutions! And really bad sayings, hahaha. In this case, my solution was subbing in another component that has the crème de cacao’s sweetness and flavor to the drink – though a different flavor as instead of chocolate, see, I went nutty, with Dumante Verdenoce pistachio liqueur. Really! Made with care in Italy using Sicilian pistachios, it’s a lush sipper and goes perfectly with gin and cream here. Perfectly I say! The combo retains the original’s smooth velvety-ness, with the gin accents and now some nutty nuttiness. Lovely! Especially when topped with a shake of cinnamon sugar, which I did!

palexander
The Palexander

Ice cubes
1 ounce gin
1 ounce heavy cream
1 ounce Dumante Verdenoce pistachio liqueur
Shake of cinnamon sugar

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add our trio (gin, cream, liqueur). Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Give a little shake of cinnamon sugar over the drink. Yum it up.

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