September 22, 2017
It’s now Fall, as of today, actually, September 22, and your summer is now fading into a dream, as summer sadly always does. But if you miss the hot nights of the sunny months now in the past, and want to try and rekindle a little of that lovely summertime feeling, you might try this drink – though I wouldn’t have it alone. Have it with someone you are either close to (in a cuddly sense) or want to be close to, as it is – legends say – a romantic summer drink. That’s my advice, at least.
Hot Night in Hidalgo, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz
2 ounces dark rum
1-1/2 ounces Damiana
3/4 ounce fresh pineapple juice
Pineapple chunk, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, Damiana, and pineapple juice. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the pineapple chunk, and dream of a sunshine daydream with your favorite daydreamer.
September 19, 2017
Feeling poorly because you’ve missed out on some of my recent pieces for Seattle magazine? Well, friend, feel bad no more. Check out the below and put a spring in your step and a wiggle in your walk:
September 15, 2017
Listen, you can disagree and I won’t budge (I also won’t get up all in your face about it, cause that kind of discourse should be saved for fools of the worst order, of which sadly there are many): Washington has the best distillers distilling. Am I a local nerd? You betcha. But they just keep making tasty things in bottles, and I keep tasting them and being happy. You should come out here and do some tasting (and buying, to help the cause) and be happy too. Recently, I put two of our newer releases together, and the end result also made me awfully happy. It started with Westland Distillery’s Garrayana 2|1. The first version won “Best American Single Malt” last year, and this will win plenty of awards, too. It’s aged in casks made from Garry Oak (Quercus garryana), a native oak only growing up here in the Pacific Northwest, and admittedly a limited-edition (get it while you can). It has a molasses, smoke, berry, citrus flavor. And goes remarkably well with another new-ish release, Salish Sea Organic Liqueur’s Honeybush liqueur. Honeybush is an herb out of South Africa that is usually used to make tea, but here it’s crafted into a liqueur that is super tasty, with a smoky honey flavor on the front end, and a fruity ending. It goes well with whiskey, as evidenced here.
The Fountain of Fantastic Flora
2 ounces Westland Distilling Garryana single malt whiskey
1/2 ounce Salish Sea Organic Liqueur Honeybush liqueur
Bigger ice cube
1. Filling a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add our two Washington delights. Stir, but not too long.
2. Add a big ice cube to an Old Fashioned or other comparable glass. Strain the flora (in liquid form) over the ice cube.
September 12, 2017
You may think this the title refers to some sort-of ear-bursting occurrence, but actually, it’s a taste-exploding occurrence, because it refers to the new tonic syrups available in Washington state – which are awesome and which will change your life. Not just for G&Ts, but for many more drinks, these crafted-with-care ingredients are swell. So well that I wrote a tonic syrup Seattle magazine article, which you should read, so you can be swell, too. So, get your Tonic Boom on.
September 8, 2017
I recently posted a delicious Italian-inspired drink on the Spiked Punch called The Translation of Giuliana Monti, which I made up for a wonderful night of literature, laughs, and liquid libations. The night centered around the jolly and masterful writer Andrew Sean Greer’s newest, entitled LESS, a book you must buy (I talk about it more in that earlier post, which you should go read, and then you should go read LESS, and now you’re back), and during said night we chatted, joked, took questions, read from the book (well, Andy did), and drank two drinks came up for for the occasion and named after characters in the book.
This one, the second, is called Arturo’s Hairy Hands, named for the main character’s tour guide in Mexico City, and is a rare beast in that it has two base spirits. Savor it while savoring LESS and be a happy reader and drinker.
Arturo’s Hairy Hands
1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. bourbon
1 ounce Maguey mezcal with agave syrup
1/2 ounce Alessio sweet vermouth
1 dash Bittermen’s Xocolati mole bitters
Orange twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the orange with your hands. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist. Sip and read. Sip and read.
September 5, 2017
Part IV! It’s hard to believe, but our Cocktail Talking through the marvelous Our Mutual Friend, by Mr. Charles Dickens (who is hopefully our mutual friend, as well) is almost at an end. If you’ve missed them, well, starting now don’t miss Part I, Part II, Part III, and the original Our Mutual Friend Cocktail Talk post from way back when, both because you don’t want to miss the Cocktail Talk quotes, and because you’ll get a bit more backstory about the book, and how much I love Dickens – which I know you want to hear about. Heck, you may want to ever read all the Dickens Cocktail Talks. But for the here-and-now, we’re, I believe, setting a record with the fourth Cocktail Talk in a row from the same book (well, outside a series on another Dickens. See if you can find out which one)! Neato! Also, this is going to be the first Cocktail Talk post that doesn’t really have a focus on anything to do with drinks, cocktails, booze, booze-y-ness, spirits, or exceteras. Instead, it’s dogs! Which I love even more. However, there is public house mention, so I believe (and think you’ll agree) that it works.
It was a Saturday evening, and at such a time the village dogs, always much more interested in the doings of humanity than in the affairs of their own species, were particularly active. At the general shop, at the butcher’s and at the public-house, they evinced an inquiring spirit never to be satiated. Their especial interest in the public-house would seem to imply some latent rakishness in the canine character; for little was eaten there, and they, having no taste for beer or tobacco (Mrs. Hubbard’s dog is said to have smoked, but proof is wanting), could only have been attracted by sympathy with loose convivial habits. Moreover, a most wretched fiddle played within; a fiddle so unutterably vile, that one lean long-bodied cur, with a better ear than the rest, found himself under compulsion at intervals to go round the corner and howl. Yet, even he returned to the public-house on each occasion with the tenacity of a confirmed drunkard.
–Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend
September 1, 2017
I recently was lucky enough to have a day where I could make the claim to luckiest person around (admittedly, I haven’t checked with every single person worldwide to test this particular proclamation, but hey, I still believe). On that day I was able to share the stage with my pal, genius novelist Andrew Sean Greer, and talk to him about his latest book LESS, while making him a few cocktails. LESS, if you don’t know, is the book of 2017, gaining raves from near and far – with people like Christopher Buckley saying in the NY Times, “Andrew Sean Greer’s Less is excellent company. It’s no less than bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful.” And they’re all well-deserved, because the book is charming, creative, funny, touching, and detailed in locations around the world with so much pizzazz that it’s a wonder Andy isn’t being hired by every city to write about their city. If that makes sense! Buy it now! Anyway, I’m rambling, as one does about great books, but to get back to the booze, for said lucky-day-for-A.J. I made up two drinks for Andy and I to sip while talking, naming both after characters in LESS. This first is named after the Italian translator of Less’ (oh, Arthur Less is the main character in the book, a novelist) latest book, and in honor of her and the Italian section of the book, contains all Italian ingredients.
The Translation of Giuliana Monti
1-1/2 ounces Purus organic Italian vodka
1 ounce Donini Dono di Dio aged vin santo
3/4 ounce Campari
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full of cracked ice. Add everything but the twist. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist. Drink while reading LESS.
A Note: Donini Dono di Dio aged vin santo (vin santo being the “holy wine” of Italy, a lush dessert wine) is made by the fine folks at Donini winery, one of the finest in the universe, located in Verna, Italy, in my favorite area of Italy. If you can’t get it, I feel it’s time for you to take a vacation. Or, sub in another vin santo.
August 29, 2017
I’m continuing mutating the Spiked Punch into a site dedicated to the Charles Dickens classic Our Mutual Friend (okay, that may be a small fiction, but it certainly sounds like a decent idea!), which started with Part I and Part II. If you haven’t read them, I suggest firmly-but-friendly that you do so right away, to get a little backstory about the story and to ensure you don’t miss our earlier quotes (actually, don’t miss the very first one, from years back). In this Cocktail Talk, the villainous (which also comical in a way) Wegg drops a phrase about drinking straight that I want to try and remember to utilize in the future.
Mr. Venus, reminded of the duties of hospitality, produced some rum. In answer to the inquiry, “Will you mix it, Mr. Wegg?” that gentleman pleasantly rejoined, “I think not, sir. On so auspicious an occasion, I prefer to take it in the form of a Gum-Tickler.”
Mr. Boffin, declining rum, being still elevated on his pedestal, was in a convenient position to be addressed. Wegg having eyed him with an impudent air at leisure, addressed him, therefore, while refreshing himself with his dram.
–Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend