December 30, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Pensiero

Bubbly cocktails are good all the year round. This is an incontrovertible fact. However, if you wanted to make the point that bubbly cocktails are even finer this time of the year, because of the elegant effervescence they bring to the season, well, I wouldn’t argue. Which is why today I’m sipping this Italian-inspired sparkler from Champagne Cocktails. Because I don’t like arguing. No, no, it’s because it’s a darn tasty drink, a bubbly number that’s a little different, intriguing, yummy-licious.

pensiero
The Pensiero, from Champagne Cocktails

Ice cubes
1 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 ounces Punt e’ Mes
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Chilled Brachetto d’Acqui
Lemon twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the orange juice, Punt e Mes, Campari, and simple syrup. Shake thoughtfully.

2. Strain the mixture into a flute glass. Top with Brachetto d’Acqui. Garnish with the lemon twist.

January 30, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Blue Train (Take Two)

I’ve had a Blue Train cocktail up here on the Spiked Punch blog in the past, and it’s a good drink. There is, however, another Blue Train cocktail I like, based on one I saw called the Blue Train Special. It’s a bubbly mix, a celebratory number, an effervescent affair, one that’s sure to provide a hint of elegance for those occasions that demand such. You should try it, whether you’re on a train or not. Though really, it might be, now that I think about it, better when actually had on a train.

blue-train

The Blue Train, from Champagne Cocktails

Ice cubes
1 1/2 ounces brandy
1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
Chilled brut sparkling wine
Pineapple chunk, for garnish, (optional)

1. Fill a cocktail shaker three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the brandy and pineapple juice. Shake well.

2. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a Champagne flute. Top with chilled sparkling wine and garnish with a pineapple chunk on a toothpick.

August 29, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Pensiero

Hello late August! You might think in late August, where, for let’s say at least 85.4% of the readers of this blog, it’s pretty hot, that I wouldn’t dare suggest making a drink that means “thought.” But I will dare (as the song says), cause really, you don’t have to think too much about this drink when making it, and because it is rather refreshing and, if I may dare say, yummy. Just be sure your Brachetto d’Acqui (the slightly sweet Italian frizzante wine) is well chilled, or drop an ice cube into the glass. It is August, after all.

pensiero

The Pensiero, from Champagne Cocktails

Ice cubes
1 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 ounces Punt e Mes
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
Chilled Brachetto d’Acqui
Lemon twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the orange juice, Punt e Mes, Campari, and simple syrup. Shake thoughtfully.

2. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a flute glass. Top with Brachetto d’Acqui. Garnish with the lemon twist.

June 29, 2011

What I’m Drinking: Sbagliato

I love this bubbly-and-bitter-belle-of-the-ball. First, it’s a variation on the Negroni (which is, of course, a fav) that subs in Prosecco for gin. Second, I originally had it and heard about it when staying in Florence at a spot called the Hotel Casci (not far from the Duomo, don’t you know), and pal Jeremy was there as well (we were drinking and playing Quiddler after a day of touristing). Third, it means “wrong” due to its Negroni-less-ness, if that makes sense, and I think having a drink called “wrong” is genius. Fourth, well, it tastes great–can’t go wrong with Campari, sweet vermouth, and Prosecco. Fifth, it (like La Rana D’Oro below) was a featured drink at a recent charity event that I slung drinks at (for my ma, if you didn’t know). Sixth, it’s also featured in my book Champagne Cocktails (which, if you don’t have, please buy, cause I need to be able to buy more sparkling wine). And seventh, well, seventh just adds up all the earlier six reasons to expand my love of this drink to epic–epic–proportions.

 

 

Serves 2

 

Ice cubes

3 ounces sweet vermouth

3 ounces Campari

Chilled Prosecco

2 orange twists, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vermouth and Campari. Shake well.

 

2. Strain the mixture equally into two flute glasses. Top with Prosecco and garnish with the orange twists.

 

A Variation: You could use the Italian sparkling wine Moscato d’Asti or Asti Spumante here and be happy about it.

 

A Second Note: I could see the rationale behind serving this in a cocktail glass in the Negroni’s honor. I could also see the rationale behind calling this a sparkling Americano. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to do either of them.

December 17, 2010

Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, Episode Two, The Eden Cocktail

Here we are (after a little delay due to French, Italian, and Russian TV censor problems) with Episode Two of the new season of the Good Spirit Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, hosted by me. In this episode, I take over the mixing duties (and the “wearing-painful-garlands” duties) and show how to make an Eden Cocktail. The Eden is a sparkling wine drink, with rum, Campari, fruit juices, and bubbly. It’s ideal for the holiday season, so let’s call this the C2C holiday special! Oh, there’s swearing in here (it is the holidays), but it’s bleeped out. So, play the video for the kiddies as the Yule log burns and as you load up on holiday puddings. And a ho, ho, ho to you, too.

 

* See all Cocktail to Cocktail episodes

November 4, 2010

It’s the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour New Season Kick-Off! Featuring A.J. and Special Guest Andrew Bohrer!

Okay, that’s the world’s longest blog title, but I just wanted to get everything in and would have even bolded it if this blogging software would let me. But it wouldn’t (even after I promised it drinks). That’s how excited I am that the first episode of the new season of A.J.’s Good Spirit Cocktail to Cocktail Hour is done! For this season, we wanted to really knock some boozy socks off, so we took the camera and crew on the road to Seattle’s Mistral Kitchen, so bar manager and boy cocktail genius Andrew Bohrer (proprietor of the Cask Strength blog, too) could get all up in his molecular mixologist for you with an updated version of the Jimmy Roosevelt. As it’s the first episode and such a big whomping deal, it’s longer than normal–but you get twice the fun, twice the laughs, and (most of all) twice the cocktailing! We are still haggling with our normal Swedish station, so the only way you can see this currently is online (thanks to AKTV). Please send it to your friends, your bartenders, your paramours, and anyone else whose email you have. Cheers!

October 1, 2010

Champagne Cocktails Is On! And the Mysterious Lavanda

Though it’s been orderable for a few weeks, in my mind today’s the real release date for the new bubbly book, Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions and Scintillating Sparklers. Why today, you ask? It’s because tonight is the effervescent evening celebrating the book’s release, with an event happening at Seattle’s rollicking-ist kitchen store, Dish It Up. If you’re in Seattle, you may even be able to still sign up (though it may be full–but hey, why not take a chance). In honor of the book and event, here’s a recipe from the book that I’ll be serving tonight at the event, a recipe for the Lavanda. Doesn’t that have a mysterious name, like a forbidden dance? The drink itself is somewhat mysterious too, or at least mysteriously delicious, thanks to the lavender simple syrup–and the gin and Prosecco of course.

 

Serves 2

 

Ice cubes

4 lavender sprigs

3 ounces gin

1-1/2 ounce lavender simple syrup (see note)

Chilled Prosecco

 

1. Add the flowers from the top of two lavender sprigs, the gin, and the lavender simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle well.

 

2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Shake like a dancer.

 

3. Strain equally into two flute glasses. Top each with chilled Prosecco, and garnish each with a lavender sprig.

 

A Note: To make lavender simple syrup, add 1/4 cup chopped fresh lavender, 2 cups sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water to a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches a low boil, stirring regularly. Once it reaches that low boil, reduce the heat to medium- low and keep the syrup at a simmer, still stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

September 8, 2010

Come Get Champagne Cocktails (the book and the drinks) at Dish It Up on 10-1

Sorry for the second book party post in a row, but I’d be remiss to the bubbly fans (and general good-living and good-living-loving pals) if I didn’t say anything. So, bubbly ones, step right up–I have got a deal (full of bubbles) for you and for yours. On October 1st, 2010, I’ll be making a couple drinks from my brand new bubblicious book Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions and Scintillating Sparklers at Seattle’s own Dish It Up in beautiful Magnolia, at 2425 33rd Ave West, and you can get in on the effervescent action for a mere $25. This, you might think, is more than enough to get you out for a few on a Friday night. But wait, there’s more: you also get a free copy of the book (which I’ll sign to you with all the love and affection I have for you. Which is a lot). Now that, you’re thinking, is one heck of a deal. But wait, there is still more: you’ll also get a $10 gift certificate for Dish It Up (the coolest Kitchen store you’ll ever have the pleasure of browsing within) that you can spend that very night! Holy Dom Perignon, that’s quite an evening.

 

The book, if I can be so bold, is pretty darn swell all on its own, too (just in case you can’t make the big night on October 1st). It has the classic bubbly mixes, but also a host of unburied bubbly treasures, some fresh fresh mixes (from fresh folks like Andrew Bohrer, Jaime Boudreau, and the ladies of LUPEC), and some crowd-pleasers. And it doesn’t just rest its laurels on straight up sparkling wine and Champagne (though those are well represented). There are also drinks with Italian charmers Prosecco, Brachetto d’Aqui, Asti, and Lambrusco, South Africa’s Cap Classique, German Sekt, Spanish Cava, and Australian sparkling Shiraz, so it covers the globe and the rainbow (not forgetting the rose’ part of that rainbow either). Now there, friends, is a frizzante party just waiting to be uncorked.

Rathbun on Film