September 8, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Arturo’s Hairy Hands

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.

arturos-hairy-handArturo’s Hairy Hands

Cracked ice
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.

November 20, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Snow Leopards at Dawn

Sometimes, you can both help out and enjoy yourself – and this is one of those times! As we’re in the season for giving, I wanted to whip up a drink that in itself helped out a cause I believe is a good one, and Snow Leopards at Dawn is that drink. It starts with Snow Leopard vodka, which is the world’s first vodka made from Spelt grain, a rarer grain, and one grown without pesticides and such. Spelt (plus natural spring water) gives the vodka its taste, too, which is crisp, clear, and slightly nutty. All cool stuff! But even cooler is that 15% of all profits from the vodka are given directly to Snow Leopard conservation projects through the Snow Leopard Trust. That’s awesome! Snow Leopards are endangered, and can use the help. All of which leads to having the below cocktail. Drink up, help out. That’s a pretty darn swell combination.

snow-leopardSnow Leopards at Dawn

Ice cubes
2 ounces Snow Leopard Vodka
1 ounce Pierre Ferrand dry orange curaçao
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, curaçao, bitters, and juice. Shake well.

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Drink up.

November 6, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Sir Henry Morgan

I’m not sure why this sort-of Manhattan-on-a-island cousin (which I first saw in Here’s How: A Round-the-World Bar Guide, Signet, 1957–not the Here’s How cocktail book with wooden covers) isn’t better known. Made with the right rum and right vermouth, it’s a should-be classic. And delicious.

In my case recently (and in what should be your case, if you can make it happen), the right rum was the memorable Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum. Holy cow, this is a rum! From Venezuela, distilled from molasses in a copper pot still, and aged for 12 years, really, it’s a sipper in most cases. However! If you are bold, and let it shine as the main player in a cocktail like this (not overwhelmed by too many ingredient), well, feel darn special cause that’ll be a great cocktail (speaking of special, this rum arrived to me via the mail. Don’t be mad). It’s won like 20 awards, and has a serious aroma: caramels, nutmeg, nuts, allspice, hints of orange, vanilla, and more. And all of those aromas come out smooth into the slightly sweet, but nowhere near sickly, taste, with even more spices. Yummy.

Picking the sweet vermouth for the below recipe was tough, due to wanting to really find something that went with that fantastic rum. I decided on La Quintinye Vermouth Royal rouge, made with 28 spices, plants, and magical items (like all vermouths), on a base of white wines, interestingly enough, and Pineau des Charentes Rouge, and it was an ideal decision. The vermouth’s flavor also has some vanilla notes, and fruit and spice, which is why it mingles so well with the rum. Try it – you can thank me later.

The Sir Henry Morgan, recipe from Dark Spirits

Cracked ice
2 ounces Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum
1 ounce picked La Quintinye Vermouth Royal rouge
2 dashes Angostura bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum, vermouth, and bitters, and stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Get your thanks ready.

March 24, 2015

Cocktail Talk: Martinis and Murder, Part II

martinis-murderI introduced you to the book Martinis and Murder by Henry Kane (originally titled, A Halo for Nobody, by the way, which is nowhere near as good) in an earlier post, and promised, much like old Jacob Marley, that we’d have three different quotes from the book. And here’s the second!

‘Now,’ she said and she produced rye and bitters and cherries and olives and gin and two kinds of vermouth, dry and sweet, and then she backed up against a table and put her hands behind her and clasped the edge of the table and watched me, her body tight against her dress.

I mixed drinks. And set them up on the washtub and I looked at her and she didn’t move and I looked again and I don’t know which of us was breathing more heavily.

–Henry Kane, Martinis and Murder

November 21, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Owl’s Wink

This bubbly beaut is ideal all through the fall holidays – a time which is, also, surprise, surprise, owl time. But the drink (as opposed to the feathered friend) is also bursting with some fall flavors: cranberries, bubbly, juniper, and, cherries. Okay, the latter may be pushing it, but as someone with a cherry tree, I tend to have them more in the fall after the harvest in the summer. Here, too, the cherry is represented by the Old Ballard Liquor Co.’s amazing Cherry Bounce, which is good anytime. The cranberries come in thanks to the Fee Brothers bright cranberry bitters, the juniper from our old friend gin (here, I went with Voyager gin), and the bubbly from Valle Calda Prosecco DOC (Prosecco being the wonderful Italian sparkling wine). The Valle Calda DOC is slightly fruity with a dandy effervescence, like an owl with a really serious hoo, hoo. It all adds up to a wonderful drink.

The Owl’s Wink

Cracked ice
1 ounce Voyager gin
3/4 ounce Cherry Bounce
3 dashed Fee Brothers Cranberry bitters
3 ounces chilled Valle Calda Prosecco DOC

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, Cherry Bounce, and bitters. Stir well.

2. Strain into a flute glass or any glass with an owl on it. Add the Prosecco. Stir, carefully, working to combine all ingredients.

A Note: If your Prosecco isn’t chilled enough, feel free to add an ice cube or frozen cranberries at the end.

March 5, 2012

The KC Classic

Those who known me well (or who have ever met me, or ever read this blog, cause honestly, I’m somewhat of an open book, and have been known to go along and along and along a bit, even though you may have a hard time beliving that now) know that I spent my formative drinking years, if not my formative cocktail-creating years, in Kansas. Which may lead you to hypothizing that this particular mix was monikered after the big city in northeastern corner of that state. But, mysteriously, it’s not. Hah! And neither is it named after the ingredients (which include scotch, some homemade cherry hazelnut bitters, and superstar and super-misprounced Italian sweet vermouth Carpano Antica). Hah! Instead, it’s named after two separate gentlemen. First, a fella named Ken who writes the Price Family Farms blog (when he has time and sunshine) and who created those homemade bitters alluded to just two sentences before this one. And secondly, a fella named Callanan (first name Dave, but don’t stalk him or anything). They both seemed to need strong drinks, and while at least the latter, Dave, strays more towards beer (don’t hold it against him as he’s still quite rad), I figured neither would turn down having a drink that boasted a serious wallop of blended scotch with the edges slightly sanded by the stitch-sweet and herbally Carpano and the also-a-hint-cuddly-but-boastin -nutty-goodness-bitters named after them. Who, in their right mind, in Kansas or anywhere else would turn that down though? No-one in their right mind, that’s who.

Cracked ice

2 ounce blended scotch (I’ve been enjoying the famous Famous Grouse here)

1 ounce Carpano Antica

2 healthy dashes cherry hazelnut bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add all the ingredients. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

A Note: Want your own cherry hazelnut bitters? Well, go on over to Price Family Farms and beg for the recipe.

A Second Note: Feel this absolutely has to have a garnish? Try a really good brandied or whiskied cherry if you can find one.

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December 20, 2011

It’s Not Too Late for a Bitters Beautiful Holiday

I know, I know, I’m a little late to the party (which doesn’t happen as often as you might think, unless I’m going to like 5 parties in one night). In this case, I’m specifically referring to the Bitters party. If you don’t know about the Bitters party, then I’m glad to be the one to invite you. In this case, I’m not speaking of bitters in the larger sense, but Bitters in the sense of Brad Thomas Parsons’ wonderful book of the same name, a book which will (if you get on it and get to ordering) make your holiday season the jolliest, not to mention making every shin-dig you throw in 2012 tastier. To roll out the full title, Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas is packed with (you might expect this) recipes for bitters, recipes for cocktails with bitters, and recipes for culinary delights with bitters. But it also is bubbling with (and this you might not expect, cause few books deliver on it) histories, stories, and most of all darn fine writing of all of the above. See, Mr. Parsons isn’t just a recipe developer, or a cocktail cultivator, or a historical researcher of food trends and triumphs throughout the years. Though he is all of those things, he’s also a darn fine storyteller and yarn-spinner, and it’s the stories and his always charming writing that makes the book such a fine read and such a boon bar companion (much like the man himself). But heck, I’m gushing like a teenager. Here’s my final word–don’t take my word for the brilliance of Bitters. Go on and get yourself a copy. Because you certainly don’t want a mundane holiday season, or a boring 2012. And Bitters will make both better.


August 2, 2011

You Can Still Help Hella Bitter—But Do It Soon

First and foremostly, let me say that I have never met the folks at Hella Bitter. Heck, I’ve never even tasted Hella Bitter bitters. I have had a fella tell me they were fine folks. But it’s a fella I’ve never even met face-to-face! So, I feel I’m completely un-biased here, and you cann’t shake your head at me and disagree (about this. Other things? For sure). But here’s the skinny: Hella Bitter is a little bitters company in Brooklyn, and they want to open a bitters-and-soda cart to roam the streets of NY making everyone’s life better. Doesn’t that sound awesome? A bitters-and-soda cart? I wish it was an idea for Seattle, but as I just think the world would be a better place with said cart, I’m urging you donate to their Kickstarter campaign. You can go right here and learn more about the Hella Bitter cart campaign. If you live in Brooklyn and haven’t already donated, then I think it’s a must. So, quit reading and start donating, because you only have 48 more hours to help.

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