July 30, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Tangerinian Defense

Poor tangerine, always jealous of it’s more famous citrus siblings, even during summer (which is when tangerines start showing more on shelves, start showing off a bit, and start becoming a part of people’s mind palaces). I like them, even with their jealousies, tangerines, that is. Like many this sunny time of year, I picked up some lately, and have been loving them, and used them in this sunny-time sipper. The slightly sweeter (than oranges, at least) juice makes a swell addition to drinks, especially, perhaps, with rum in summer? Is that recency bias? Perhaps! But in this tangerine-y bubbler, the white rum and juice go particularly well, especially with the addition of two more citrus cousins (we’ll put the jealous aside here), in the form of Scrappy’s lovely (and singular, I think) Lime bitters, which is lime-y and lightly herbal, and another WA-state made product, Grandeza orange liqueur, boasting a rich orange-and-vanilla-ness (you could sub another orange liqueur here, but while it might be good, it might not be great). While tangerine juice has that sweet nature, I felt a touch more was needed, so also added some simple syrup. And then, as the sun is shining and the mercury is risen (I’m typing here in summer, you know), some chilled club soda and ice, and finally, one more addition to give our old jealous tangerine the last word, here, at least: a tangerine twist. A wide one, I suggest.

 tangerinian-defense

The Tangerinian Defense

 

Ice cubes

3/4 ounce freshly squeezed tangerine juice

1-1/2 ounces white rum

1/2 ounce simple syrup

1 dashes Scrappy’s lime bitters

1/2 ounce Grandeza

5 ounces chilled club soda

Tangerine twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the tangerine juice, rum, syrup, bitters, and Grandeza. Shake well.

 

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mix from Step 1 through a fine strainer into the glass.

 

2. Add the soda to the glass. Stir carefully, to mix everything nicely together, but no need to get wacky about it. Garnish with the twist.

July 23, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Class of the Race

Once, I, and some athletic and newsworthy and hilarious and thirsty and running pals made a very silly Class of the Race video, which you should watch cause you like fun, and you like drinks (or why would you be here). But you can watch it without a pen in hand to write down the recipe for the drink had in the video, The Class of the Race that is, because I have the recipe directly below. It’s a swell sipper, too, one worthy of any race winners, and, though bourbon-based (well, bourbon and bubbly-based), one that I believe can be had in summer, due to said bubbly, chilled. A little simple syrup, to sweeten things up, a little Benedictine, to add those monastically-herbal notes, and a little Peychaud’s bitters to underline it all, round the drink out and make a worthy finishing line for your July Friday.

 class-of-the-race

The Class of the Race, from Dark Spirits

 

Ice cubes

2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce Benedictine liqueur

1/2 ounce simple syrup

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, Benedictine, simple syrup, and bitters. Shake well (but not so well that you expire from the effort).

 

2. Strain the mix into a Champagne flute. Top with the bubbly.

 

A Note: Pheidippides was the original marathoner, running from Marathon to Athens after a battle in 490 B.C. without stopping once, announcing, “We have won,” and then reportedly dying. I feel this is something you should know when having this, but don’t let it flatten your bubbles.

 

May 28, 2021

What I’m Drinking: Baciami Subito

You know those Fridays when you aren’t sure what to make, cocktail-wise, and you go to the shelves, and pick up the biggest library of cocktails you can get, or, to be specific (both language-wise and title-wise), Il Grande Libro dei Cocktails? Those ones? No? Yes? Well, either answer, this happened to me recently – luckily, I’d picked up said grand library, oh, now a few years back in a swell used bookstore in Sansepolcro (I sure hope that bookstore is still there and open through it all), so on this Friday I could open it, swing over to the “Cocktails del Amore” chapter (cause I’m a romantic, and cause I really like this picture of these cuddly glasses kissing – aren’t they cute!

kissing-glasses

), and decide to make a drink I’ve never made, called Baciami Subito, which was so intriguing, and which really shouldn’t have, to me at first glance at least, made sense: I mean, dark, rich, intriguing Cognac with light, springy, dry vermouth, and then bitter Angostura with it, too? On the flip side, it does sound good, now that I type it out, and, you know what, it is! Those lighter notes from the vermouth really start to accent the Cognac once mixed. But is it right for the romance chapter, which here (and otherwheres) tends to lean to sweeter liquid fare? However! If you realize or remember that Baciami Subito means “kiss me right now,” well, then, it’s a twist (no twist here though, but a cherry), because this drink does have a tasty kick that not only could induce rapid kissing, but also can me you feel fun-oozy like a good quick kiss. So, there we are, smooches all around!

baciami

Baciami Subito

 

Cracked ice

2-1/4 ounces Cognac

1-1/2 ounces dry vermouth

2 dashes Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters (the book suggests Angostura, which is dandy I’m sure, but I had the also-dandy Scrappy’s Aromatic neat. The book also suggests three dashes, but I found two enough)

Cherry, for garnish

1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Cognac, vermouth, and bitters. Stir well, or “vigorosamente!”

2. Add a cherry (or two if feeling flirty) to a cocktail glass. Strain the mix from Step 1 into the glass and over the cherry. Sip, and kiss at will.

May 7, 2021

What I’m Drinking: Summer’s Lease

Summer proper (first day of summer and all that) is still over a month away, but I can feel it creeping up with every sunny day, temperature rising, refreshing fruity drinks bubbling, flowers blooming, gardens growing, sweat sweating, outdoor meals aromatizing evenings, and did I mention the drinks? We had a precursor summer day recently, one of those days that provides a preview of all that sun and such just described, and I just had to make up a new drink to accompany said day, and had to name it after summer, and had to transport my mind into a summer mindset, and between us, I (humbly), think I did a fairly decent job, and that Theros would approve. Oh, what’s in the drink? I started with rum (a summer favorite), white rum, that is, and then upped the rummy-ness with a little Stiggins’ Fancy rum, which is a referred to as “pineapple rum,” but for summer’s sakes don’t take that to mean chemically-induced or saccharin-y or against nature, as (if you haven’t had it), Stiggins’ is none of those, instead, wafting a perfectly roasted pineapple aroma over a dark flavorful rum. If you haven’t had it, try it now. Then, to round out those rummy siblings and to underline with citrus, herbs, caramel, sweetness, and lushness, I added some Montenegro amaro – one might not think of amari as summer standbys, but one also might be foolish, as these flavor-packed pals can bring just the right layers to hot weather treats, when mixed with the right partners. Like rums! And, like pineapple juice, our next ingredient. And, like Scrappy’s Lime bitters, which delights with lime and lighter herbal notes (remember kids: bitters makes it better). Finally, ice, club soda, mint, and here we are, summer, a month or so early. Enjoy it now, and then.

summers-lease

Summer’s Lease

 

Ice cubes

1 ounce white rum

3/4 ounce Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple rum

1/2 ounce Montenegro amaro

1-1/2 ounce pineapple juice

1 dash Scrappy’s Lime bitters

4 ounces chilled club soda

Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rums, amaro, juice, and bitters. Shake well.

 

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass with ice cubes. Strain the mix from step 1 into the glass. Top with club soda. Stir, carefully (no need to spill). Garnish with the mint.

 

A Note: You could serve this over cracked ice, even crushed ice. But I wasn’t so prepared or industrious as you might be. Next time, I might be!

April 2, 2021

What I’m Drinking: Work By Lamplight

I must admit (or partially at least), I stole this title from Ed (the best poet in the world) Skoog. Or think I did, as I had his latest book Travelers Leaving for the City next to me when I was trying to come up with a title for a new drink I’d made, and so I picked up his book and randomly opened it up, and picked the first phrase I saw, but then my mind wandered, as it does, for a moment, and “Work By Lamplight” was what I remembered when fingers finally met keyboard.

And, you know what, it works well, as, though this tipple could be tipped earlier in the day, I feel it’s best later in the hours, after dinner. It can serve, in a way, as your after-dinner coffee and a dessert all in one glass. How, you ask? It starts with Tia Maria, a newly-designed bottle of which showed up neatly packaged on the porch recently (I know, I’m lucky!), and which reminded me of how it’s made with 100% Arabica coffee beans and Madagascar vanilla on a base of Jamaican rum, and in the popular cold brew method. That’s good, yes? Yes! It’s a touch sweet (but so am I), but the coffee-ness comes through smoothly and it melts on the tongue in a swell way. And coffee goes with more other bottled beauties than people give it credit for. Tequila, for example, which is the base for this cocktail, goes deliciously with coffee. In some ways, those two together in the right ratios might be okay all by their paired-ness, but we want better than okay, right? Right! So, in come two delights near-and-dear to all good drinker’s hearts. First up, Pierre Ferrand’s orange curaçao, which bring what you think of curaçao to another level in the same way this drink brings what you think of coffee cocktails to another level (if I may be so bold). And then, Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters, which utilizes organic toasted cacao nibs to add chocolate and herbal notes, without which the drink would feel ridiculously underdressed. And then, a mandarin orange twist, whose citrus oils cut the sweetness charmingly. Altogether, a layered number you’ll want to sip slowly as the evening turns. If you want to read poems while drinking, all the better.

 work-by-lamplight

Work By Lamplight

 

Cracked ice

2 ounces silver tequila

3/4 ounces Tia Maria

1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand orange curaçao

Dash Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters

Mandarin orange twist

1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full of cracked ice. Add all but the twist. Stir well, but be mellow about it, cause it’s the evening.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the mandarin twist (if you only have a non-mandarin orange, that’s dandy, too).

March 26, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Earth’s Attraction

It’s a familiar and beloved story with an alluring gravity: you are walking by your liquor shelves (or cabinet, or bottle stash, or near-toppling table, or bar cart, or horse’s buggy, or pie safe, or wherever you choose to keep your booze) and you catch, from the corner of your eye, a little wink from a gin bottle. Wink-wink, you think you saw, and knowing how flirty gin is, you stop, and peer at the bottles (in this scenario you have more than one type of gin, which I’m sure you do), and try to decide which gin is calling you over, wink imagined or not, because by now all this gin-ing has made you thirsty for a gin drink.

Well, I am here to help, with The Earth’s Attraction, a drink I made with Bluewater’s Halcyon gin, made up this way in Everett, WA, and “distilled by open flame” as they say. It brings a layered London-style, with reliable juniper backed by citrus and spice (a little angelica, orris root, and cinnamon). Yums. It provides the gravitas and base here, with our secondary players being dry vermouth (for the botanical and lighter herbal accents), Giffard’s Crème de Pêche de Vigne (for the vineyard peachy-ness we all desire, a wee bit of sweet, and nuttiness, too), and Scrappy’s Orange bitters (because bitters makes it better – plus orange layers and deep herb and spice notes). Oh! And a twist of lemon, whose heavenly citrus oils bring it all together, like Saturn’s rings. Celestial enough? I think so!earths-attraction

The Earth’s Attraction

 

Cracked ice

2 ounces Bluewater Halcyon gin

1/2 ounce dry vermouth

3/4 ounce Giffard’s Crème de Pêche de Vigne

Dash Scrappy’s Orange bitters

Lemon twist, for garnish

 

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

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twisty twist.

March 12, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Manhattan, with Early Times Bottled in Bond Bourbon

There are days when you want to unbury a drink from an old book or pamphlet, a drink that hasn’t been sipped for many years, and other days when you want to make up a whole new drink, one that you’ve created for your very self for the very first time, and then other days when you want to try and recreate a drink you had out (or as take-out, in currant circumstances) at a local watering hole, made by a talented drink-slinger, and then other days when you just want to have a classic Manhattan, one made with Early Times Bottled in Bond bourbon. Today is that day! For me, at least, as I recently received a bottle of said Early Times bourbon – lucky me! – making it all possible. Early Times Bottled in Bond bourbon has a long and interesting history, including being lost to all from I believe the 1980s until a slow re-release that started in 2017. Aged 4 years, and at 100 proof, this tipple treads an approachable path, with some umph beneath, swirling a sweetness on the nose that lingers through a citrus, caramel, vanilla flavor with spice hints popping up, and then popping up more and more through the finishing moments. Overall, just a delicious, friendly bourbon that everyone I know enjoys sipping slow as the sun goes down. But that approachability also means it’s a dandy cocktail base, too, and the Manhattan is a swell cocktail to base on it. As it has that little sweetness, I went with Punt e’ Mes as the vermouth, because it’s a little drier with beauteous bittery herbal notes – a good choice, I have to admit! And for the bitters themselves, I picked Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters, which is an ideally-balanced spice and herb bitters in a classic style, superb here.

manhattan

The Manhattan

 

Cracked ice

2-1/2 ounces Early Times Bottled in Bond bourbon

1/2 ounce Punt e’ Mes sweet vermouth

1 dash Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters

Cherry (I used a Rainer cherry I’d had mulling with mates in some bourbon, but a good Maraschino would work a treat, too)

 

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

 

2. Add a cherry (or two!) to a cocktail glass. Strain the mix from Step 1 into said glass. Enjoy.

 

August 28, 2020

What I’m Drinking: The Effervescent Snake at the Dentist

Effervescent-Snake-at-the-DentistI gotta admit straight up front that as I’m typing this my dog Ainsley is licking my ear. I also have to admit that this drink is a variation of a drink from Dark Spirits called The Serpent’s Tooth, and while we’re admitting things (or at least while I am), I’ll admit that I can’t quite recall where I first found said Serpent’s Tooth, and while I could go to the library-of-booze-books and look it up, that would then wake up said dog (who has gone from licking my ear to napping), and, well, she needs her rest. So, there we are!

However, I can tell you that this is a some odd assortment of ingredients in a way, and I ended up making it for a Friday Night Cocktail partially because it’s good, but also partially cause I was doing a bit o’ liquor shelves organizing (which can be daunting, between us), and found a couple bottles with just a sip or splash or small stream or two in them, including a bottle of Combier Kümmel. Kümmel, if you don’t happen to know, is the caraway, fennel, cumin (in the main) liqueur that kicked off in Holland way back in the 1500s, and went on to become an Eastern Europe, parts of Western Europe, UK golf club favorite. It hasn’t seen the meteoric rise in the US yet as other once-obscure liqueurs, but I have a fondness for it (along with most things boozy I suppose), a fondness not evidenced by the fact I forgot I had this particular bottle on the shelves nearly empty, but a fact evidenced by me instantly taking a sip and then making this drink with it.

A drink where our nearly-orphaned Kümmel is mixed with an array of items: Irish whiskey (this time, The Quiet Man), Italian vermouth (this time, Punt e’ Mes), and aromatic bitters (this time, The Bitter Housewife). All those ingredients are also in The Serpent’s Tooth, unlike the next one: club soda. As it’s summer, and heated, wanted to turn this into a cooling cooler type of cool, and soda and ice did it. Oh, went with a lemon twist, too, as opposed to the original tooth’s lemon juice. Lighter lemon, I suppose, and it worked a treat. Lots of flavor in this one, bubbling under the surface like an anaconda (with a toothache, if you want to take it there), while still having those, well, bubbles to refresh.

The Effervescent Snake at the Dentist

 

Cracked ice

2 ounces The Quiet Man Irish whiskey

1 ounce  Combier Kümmel

1/2 ounce Punt e’ Mes vermouth

2 dashes The Bitter Housewife Aromatic bitters

Ice cubes

4 ounces chilled club soda

Lemon twist, for garnish

 

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

 

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mix from step 1 into the glass and over the ice.

 

3. Top with the club soda. Stir briefly. Garnish with the twist.

 

PS: Yes! Those are porcupine quills in the image. I wanted to the use a snake, but couldn’t track one down. A failing, I know.

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