July 12, 2024

What I’m Drinking: The Good Things Should be Praised Highball

I recently created a drink to be auctioned off at the Seattle Shakespeare Co. charity auction, and used the play they’re performing this summer, The Two Gentleman of Verona, as the lift-off point for said drink. I also wrote a headnote detailing how it all came together. And now you get to read it all below (as well as making the drink, which was delicious, if you’re inclined).

In Act 3, Scene 1 of The Two Gentleman of Verona (being performed by the Seattle Shakespeare Company this summer at the Wooden O – don’t miss it), Speed says, “She will often praise her liquor,” to which Launce responds, “If her liquor be good, she shall: if she will not, I will; for good things should be praised.” And now you know where this drink’s title comes from, a drink which will hopefully be as worthy of praise. To create this refreshing delight, we’re starting with an ingredient not as utilized in summer: bourbon. Specifically, Woodinville Whiskey Co. straight bourbon, named 2020 Best Straight Bourbon. Our bourbon base is in honor of SSC board member and ex-Kentuckian Mary Park, who has revitalized many a weary traveler at her fireside with it.

But to make the hearty, innards-warming whiskey cross-dress as a thirst-quenching hot weather enchantment, some specific partners on the drink stage were demanded. First, a homemade strawberry simple syrup, strawberries being the epitome of a sunshine daydream (and a fruit that plays unexpectedly well with bourbon). Next, another local delight, like our bourbon and the SSC, Brovo Spirits Lucky Falernum. A rum-based, turbinado-sweetened liqueur, Lucky is flavored with orange, lime, pineapple, ginger, star anise, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Yummy.

Those, however, aren’t the only local treats: there’s also a dash of Scrappy’s Black Lemon Bitters, a truly unique (and uniquely delicious) bitters that delivers bright lemon and floral notes alongside earthy spice. Of course, to reach true summer heights, in a play or a drink, the palate and mind must be raised in an effervescent manner, so club soda and ice join the case here, too. For the final scene, a garnish of fresh strawberry and mint. With that, you have a summertime sipper that’s nearly as memorable as the next Seattle Shakespeare Company play you’ll see (sadly, you shouldn’t take the drink to the play – that much goodness in one spot might be too much). Thank you for your support!

The Good Things Should be Praised Highball

The Good Things Should be Praised Highball

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. Bourbon

3/4 ounce strawberry simple syrup (see Note below)

1/2 ounce Brovo Spirits Lucky Falernum

Dash Scrappy’s Black Lemon Bitters

4 ounces chilled club soda

Strawberry slice, for garnish

Mint sprig, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, simple syrup, falernum, and bitters. Shake well.

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

3. Add the club soda to the highball glass. Stir, gently, working to combine. Garnish with the strawberry slice and mint sprig.

A Note: To make your own strawberry simple syrup isn’t as hard as memorizing any of the Hamlet soliloquies. Just add 1-1/2 cups chopped strawberries (any stems or leaves removed before chopping), 1 cup sugar, and 3/4 cup water to a small saucepan. Bring the combo to a boil over medium heat, stirring regularly. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to bring it to a low boil. Boil five minutes – during this when the strawberries get soft, crush some against the pan’s side with a wooden spoon. This helps release flavor. When the five minutes is up, remove from heat and let cool completely in the pan. Then strain through a fine strainer (and funnel, if needed), into a bottle with a good lid. It will keep in the fridge for two weeks, and goes well with just soda, too, for those under 21!

April 1, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Course of the Evening

I’m pretty blessed to live in a state full of swell distilleries: big-ish ones, little-ish ones, medium-ish ones. And so many of them are doing their own, interesting bottled thing – it’s awesome! And during the course of one recent evening, I wanted to celebrate this particular WA-blessing by making myself a drink using all local booze. It wasn’t hard really (due to the many choices intimated at above), outside of narrowing it down – cause I like so many of them! Another night, it’d be completely different. This particular evening I was feeling rummy, though, and went with Skip Rock’s Belle Rose rum, the light-ish rum version, which was aged in white wine barrels, and has a nice vanilla-oaky-ness. I introduced it (hopefully not for the first time in history) to broVo spirits’ wonderful new-ish Lucky Falernum liqueur (especially good today). A lot of falernums available are a little cloying to me, but Lucky is higher-proof and more mighty than cloying, without losing its underlying ginger, lime, pineapple, star anise profile. Those two locals together is a good start, but I wanted a wild card, something to bring one more zing – I went with Salish Sea’s Hibiscus liqueur, made from Egyptian red hibiscus flowers, and carrying a lovely tangy tartness. Together, they made for a wonderful Washington evening indeed. No fooling!


The Course of the Evening

The Course of the Evening
Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces Skip Rock Belle Rose light rum
1 ounce broVo spirits Lucky Falernum
1/2 ounce Salish Sea Hibiscus liqueur
Orange wedge, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the trio of Washington-state delights. Stir well (I really wanted to say “just right” there).

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze the wedge over the glass, then drop it in.

Rathbun on Film