November 10, 2017

What I’m Drinking: The Plot Begins

It’s November here in Seattle (haha), which means the sky has shifted to grey, there’s cold rain in the wind, and people are looking longingly at their calendars. But, it’s also the time of year when whiskey takes more of a center stage spot (not that it’s ever off-stage, mind you me). Why now? Well, it’s warming for one! Also, it just adds a level of brown comfort to a cold evening. At least that’s what I thought when needing a drink for this chilly night. And luckily (lucky me!), I recently received a swell bottle of whiskey, Billy rye whiskey, in the mail, and wanted to take it for a cocktail drive.

Coming from Oregon’s McMenamins (known best for their series of creative bars, but also expanding as a distillery), Billy rye is a sibling of Billy whiskey, and is a limited-availability number, but one worth tracking down. Aged four years in American oak, it has a deep and cuddly and toasty molasses, oakiness, and caramel nature that’s begging to be sipped, and felt, to me, that it’d pair perfectly with some nuttiness. So, I went with the green-walnut liqueur nocino. I used local Sidetrack Distillery Nocino, which is a rich, strong, version of nocino, one I love. To add some undercurrents to our cocktail story I doubled up on bitters, with a bit of both Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters and Fee Brothers West Indian orange bitters. But, it felt unfinished, so I traveled even farther up the west coast, and brought in Sons of Vancouver’s (a distillery in North Vancouver, CA) No. 82 amaretto as our second to the last character – a big orange twist is the final one. Inspired by their mother’s canning recipes it has just five ingredients (apricot kernels, Bourbon vanilla beans, orange peel, Demerara sugar, and blackberry honey) and like our nocino is well worth tracking down.

And the plot all came together, letting the rye lead, but with a host of flavors swirling: nutty, herbally, a smidge of sweet, tiny hints of citrus, it took my mind right off the weather outside. Oh, if you don’t have Sidetrack or Sons of Vancouver in your backyard, well, I feel sad for you! You could sub in other nocinos and amarettos, sure. Won’t be exactly canonical, but still readable – or drinkable.

plot-begins
The Plot Begins

2 ounces McMenamins Billy rye whiskey
3/4 ounces Sidetrack Nocino
1/2 ounce Sons of Vancouver No. 82 amaretto
2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers West Indian orange bitters
Wide orange twist, for garnish
Big ice cube (or a couple decent-sized ones)

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything but the twist (it’s that kind of story). Stir well.

2. Add a big ol’ ice cube to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Strain the mix into said glass. Garnish with the orange twist, and a happy finish to the plot.

June 2, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Shine Along the Shore

It’s June, and you know what that means, don’t you? Time to bust out those short shorts (hopefully not too short – you know, those don’t really fit anymore, or at least not in a way that’s as flattering as they once were, though admittedly they once were very flattering) and have this drink. It’s not one of those ultra-freshers, which are really rather refreshing, but sometimes feel a little, oh, you know. But this one still has its place within the annals of sunshine days and daydreams, and especially when accompanying the more remote beaches. Where, I’ll admit, you can probably get away with those short shorts and, I suppose, even less.

shine-along
Shine Along the Shore

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce amaretto
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
Wide orange twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum, amaretto, and vermouth. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the twist over the glass and drop it in.

November 11, 2016

What I’m Drinking: Three Wishes

So, you know about 11:11, right? Magic number? All that? Here’s what the reliable (depending on your source) Wikipedia says to kick things off:

Numerologists believe that events linked to the time 11:11 appear more often than can be explained by chance or coincidence. This belief is related to the concept of synchronicity. Some authors claim that seeing 11:11 on a clock is an auspicious sign. Others claim that 11:11 signals a spirit presence. The belief that the time 11:11 has mystical powers has been adopted by believers in New Age philosophies.

I may believe all of that. Well, who knows. I may be kidding, too. I remember that – or think I do – my old pal Jon was the first to tell me about 11:11 being something you wish on when you see it randomly on the clock. Though it could have been an ancient spirit posing as Jon? Maybe. But I’ve spent many years making wishes in this situation, and now, today, it’s actually 11-11 on the calendar, so I’m going to drink a Three Wishes cocktail at exactly 11:11 today (both in the morning and at night, to be safe), and make some wishes. Wish me luck! Oh, you can do the same – I’m happy to share wishes.

3-wishes
Three Wishes, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

Cracked ice
2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb
1 ounce amaretto

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum, Creole Shrubb, and amaretto. Stir – no wishing yet.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink. Let the wishing begin.

January 15, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The W&A

Hey, happy 2016! Sorry there have been few posts for the last few weeks, but I went to Italy for the holidays and wasn’t able to post due to having wine in each hand. Well, wine, pizza, cheese, and grappa. And amari. And Negronis. And pasta forks. You get it! But now I’m back with a swell and simple drink for your Friday. So easy. So delicious. Just like one wants early in January. It has two key ingredients: Woodinville Whiskey Co’s new bourbon and amaretto. If you need to use another bourbon, well, I feel sorry for you. On the amaretto, I used my homemade version (recipe below), and if you can’t use that, well, I feel sorry for you again. But it would still be a good drink I think, even with slightly different ingredients. Try it! And let me know.

w&a
The W&A

Ice cubes
2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. bourbon
1 ounce homemade amaretto
Wide orange twist, for garnish

1. Add a few good-sized nice ice cubes to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Then add the bourbon. Then the amaretto. Stir well.

2. Garnish with that orange twist. Enjoy the New Year.

A Note: To make An Enticing Amaretto (from Luscious Liqueurs) follow this recipe:

1 cup skin-on whole raw almonds
1 Tablespoon orange zest
2-1/2 cups brandy
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Using a chef’s knife, roughly cut the almonds into smallish pieces. Add them, the orange zest, and the brandy to a large glass container, one with a secure lid. Stir well. Place the container in a cool, safe, place, away from the sun. Let sit for two weeks, swirling occasionally.

2. Add the sugars and the water to the medium-sized saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil over a medium-high heat. Lower the heat a bit, keeping the mixture at a low boil for five minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the syrup completely cool in the pan. This step can be done anytime during the two weeks mentioned in step 1, as long as the syrup is refrigerated until it’s added to the liqueur.

3. Add the syrup made in step 2 and the vanilla to your secure container. Stir well. Place the container back in a cool, safe, place, away from the sun. Let sit for two more weeks, swirling at least every other day.

4. After the final two weeks, carefully strain the mix through double sheets of cheesecloth into a pitcher or other container, one that you can easily pour out of–there’s no need to spill.

5. Next, get two new sheets of cheesecloth, and strain the amaretto into bottles or jars with good lids–or one larger container. Serve either chilled or at room temperature, depending on your mood and inclination.

May 2, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Over the Kent Moon

This will blow your mind. I’m not kidding. Blow your mind. I’m sorta freaked out just looking at the ingredients list. Three awesome drink ingredients. And one is an amaretto. One is a nocino. And one is a beer. There is no way these should go together in a drink. But they do. And the result will blow your mind – with tastiness.

final-departure
Over the Kent Moon

1 ounce Sidetrack Nocino
1 ounce amaretto
8 ounces chilled Airways Final Departure Stout

1. Add the Nocino and the amaretto to a chilled Collins glass.
2. Slowly, and with a steady hand, add the stout. Stir briefly and calmly.

 

January 3, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Lily, Two Ways

Recently, I had a query about a drink featured in my book Good Spirits, a drink called the Lily. As Good Spirits is from a few years back (but not old by any means, and still I hope darn fun and useful), I hadn’t actually made the Lily in awhile, and so was pretty excited to revisit the drink. The question came around the use of crème de noyaux, an almondy liqueur made from apricot pits, and an ingredient not as readily available – it also has a signature pinkish color. The drink-maker was having a hard time tracking it down, and wondered about subbing. My first thought was amaretto, also made usually with apricot pits or almonds. So, for fun, I tried making the Lily with both. And you know what? Both versions were darn tasty. The main difference really was the color, which is wildly different (the noyaux is the pink one naturally in the pic), but the flavor was very similar, with the crème de noyaux version a smidge sweeter, and the amaretto nuttier on the back end. I suggest you try both, and see what you think.

lily

The Lily

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce crème de noyau
1/2 ounce Lillet
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, crème de noyau, Lillet, and lemon juice. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist after twisting it over the drink.

A Lily

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce amaretto
1/2 ounce Lillet
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, Crème de Noyau, Lillet, and lemon juice. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist after twisting it over the drink.

September 28, 2012

What I’m Drinking: Shine Along the Shore

Poor amaretto. So many folks these days consider it a boozy beverage drunk by college students during the hours when they (and when I, back then, between us) have more drinks than brains. But listen up: this isn’t the case. The dandy-est amaretto is something that Italians savor and so should you. It’s a treat, if you don’t mind finding brands like Gozio, Luxardo, and Disaronno, amarettos that have been made with a sense of taste and care and ingredients that are real and not chemistry experiments. The end result should be a deep almond flavor (which comes from apricot or peach pits, usually) and not overly sugary.

And while we’re dolling out pity party invites: poor summer. It’s far out the rear window now, and you’ve probably forgotten all about those days of sun and cut-offs (though a nice fall sunny day is savorable much like the good amarettos mentioned above). This drink will remind you, for a few sips at least, of those shore-bound summer day and help re-introduce amaretto as needed. The recipe’s from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, if you wondered.

Cracked ice

1-1/2 ounces dark rum

1 ounce amaretto

1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

Wide orange twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum, amaretto, and vermouth. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the twist over the glass and drop it in.

A Note: I like a pretty wide twist here, so don’t fear following the same route.

February 8, 2012

What I’m Drinking: Three Wishes

There are some combinations that you just know, before you even start pouring and experimenting, will go together like the Hulk and green skin. By which I mean, perfectly. Dark rum and Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb are one of these pairings. This of course makes perfect sense, since the latter is made on a base partially of the former. But still, sometimes things don’t go as planned (like the Gamma bomb going off on poor old Doc Banner). However, I’m happy to report that in this case no one was turned into an over-sized misunderstood creature. Instead, the rum and the Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb mingle nicely, aided by an addition from another part of the globe, amaretto. Amaretto is, much like the Hulk, often misunderstood. Here, though, it shines with our two Caribbean pals. All of above leads to the fact that you shouldn’t drink this when angry (or drink anything really—who needs another angry drunk?), but drink it while watching the 1970s Incredible Hulk series, or reading the comics of the same character from the same era.

Cracked ice

2 ounces dark rum

1 ounce Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb

1 ounce amaretto

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum, Creole Shrubb, and amaretto. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

A Note: I think cracked ice is crackingly good for stirring here, but if you have only ice cubes and don’t feel like cracking, they’ll work too.

PS: This recipe is from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz. Which you should get, for gosh sakes.

Rathbun on Film