May 25, 2018

What I’m Drinking: What the Doctor Ordered

Well, it’s the end of what’s been a long month (not if you track hours, in that way, it’s the same as any other month with 31 days in it, if you believe in time, and it’s hard not to), or month and a half, the kind of month (or month and a half) that could almost lead one to visiting the doc, for a little happiness. Luckily, I don’t have to take that time out of the week or set up appointments, because I know what the doctor would order – this here drink. It’s a drink that’s ideal for this time of year (whether the month is long or not), thanks to its ability to straddle the spring and the summer, or summer and fall, due to the combination of summer-loving rum, Washington-made Sidetrack Nocino (the dark rich green walnut liqueur you should be in love with), and a refreshing splash or splashes of also-Washington-made Seattle Cider Company cider. It’s flavorful, refreshing, has some umph, and is both a slow sipper and a light-hearted charmer. That’s why the doctor orders it – and why you should give it a try, too.

what-the-doctor-ordered-ar-
What the Doctor Ordered

Ice cubes
2 ounces dark rum
1/2 ounce Sidetrack Nocino
3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider

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

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the cider. Stir carefully and briefly. Enjoy the good health.

October 3, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Fat Fisherman

I feel bad for not being much of a fisherman. Well, not usually that bad, but when I come across a bottle of one of The Fat Trout Scotches, which have fish on the bottles and which are a line of “sportsman’s Scotches,” then I feel a little bad. Until I realize there’s no need for actually going to the trouble of fishing (I realize, fishing folk, that for many it’s no trouble at all – good for you, if you’re one of them), and that I can enjoy the Scotch and just tell fish stories. One time, I caught this great white shark . . .

Anywho, a bottle of the Fat Trout blended Scotch (there are also Lowland and Speyside single malt versions) showed up the other day, and led to all this fish musing. It’s a tasty blend, too, with hints of smoke and spice and grain all mingling together. A fine thing to have neat or on the rocks. But also a fine thing when put into a drink with other items. Example A: The Fat Fisherman. To follow up a fall theme (it being fall and all), I mixed the Fat Trout with a cider, Tieton’s Dry Hopped cider (from here in WA) to be exact, which is a fine fall drink. But it was missing something . . . until I added a healthy dollop of Yzaguirre red vermouth, a type of what most would think of as sweet vermouth. Coming from Spain, this vermouth has a snazzy herbalness and a dash of balsamic flavor that went perfectly with the Scotch and cider.

fat-fisherman
The Fat Fisherman

2 ounces Fat Trout blended Scotch
1 ounce Yzaguirre red vermouth
Ice cubes
4 ounces Tieton Dry Hopped cider
Apple slice, for garnish

1. Add the Scotch and vermouth to a highball or comparable glass. Stir briefly.

2. Fill the glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Add the cider. Stir, carefully, working to bring the bottom stuff to the top and vice versa.

3. Garnish with the apple slice. Talk about fish.

October 22, 2013

It’s Cider Season – Apple Up!

Hey friends and drinkers of all varieties and shapes and sizes. I know I ramble on mainly about cocktails on this blog, but hey, I’m an equal-opportunity drinker, and also love the cider (and other non-cocktail drinks, but here it’s apple season), and, for that matter, cider cocktails. I wrote about both recently for Seattle magazine, and thought, hey, you might want to cider up, too! So check out:

•     Seattle’s Thriving Hard Cider Scene

•     Two Cider Cocktail Recipes

July 12, 2013

What I’m Drinking: What the Doctor Ordered

I am not, as stated in other places, a medical doctor. Neither am I Doctor Johnny Fever. I do know that according to many many old wives, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, however. I am not trying to sew discord between old wives and doctors, either, but am saying that even if a true doctor wouldn’t prescribe this drink, the fact that it contains apple cider means that it does, according to old wives, have some medicinal properties. Oh, it has rum, too, which many folks once thought was healthy, unless it was being forced on you by pirates. If that wasn’t enough for you to realize the healing factor of this drink, let me add that its third ingredient is Sidetrack Distillery Nocino, the finest Nocino made outside of Italy. Nocino, if you need to know, is a green-walnut liqueur, well and famous in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. And everyone knows that walnuts are healthy. Maybe doctors really would order this, after all. At least Doctor Fever would.

what-the-doctor-ordered

 What the Doctor Ordered

Ice cubes

2 ounces dark rum (Mount Gay works nicely)

1/2 ounce Sidetrack Nocino

3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider

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

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the cider. Stir carefully and briefly. Enjoy the good health.

October 18, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Rough Cider

 Peter Lovesey is an English mystery writer, perhaps most famous for his barrel-shaped and brusque Bath detective Peter Diamond and for his Sergeant Cribb books that take place in the Victorian era. I dig both. Lovesey isn’t all flashy, and isn’t perhaps as well-known as he should be over on this side of the pond, but his plots are always incredibly well thought out, his characters are real and motivated, and once you dive into one book featuring one of his two main characters, you tend (or I did, at least) to want to read more. They don’t hit the cocktails as much as other crime solvers of the police-and-non kind, so I haven’t mentioned him much here on the Spiked Punch blog. And, funny enough when considering the above, the quote below comes from the book Rough Cider, which doesn’t contain either of the fictional gentlemen mentioned above. But Rough Cider does has a fine mystery/story, and lots of cider talk (a murder happens at a cider farmer’s, if that makes sense), and I like cider, and so now it all makes sense, right? I did learn a few things from the book, too. First (and this is gross), cider makers at one time would put legs of mutton in the cider to give it a bit of body. Hmm. Second, cider that was bad would be termed “ropy” as in the below quote. Third, never put a human skull in your cider, or it will turn it ropy (unlike if you put mutton in I guess). Did these learnings turn me off cider? Nah. But they have given me a few more things to talk about when drinking it. This quote also features one of my favorite words (hogshead) and talks about drinking from jam jars, which I’m a fan of, even outside of wartime.

One evening in October, 1944, almost a year after the tragic events I’ve been describing, a man in a public house in Frome, the Shorn Ram, ordered a pint of local cider, a drink strongly preferred in wartime to the watered-down stuff that masqueraded as beer. People didn’t object to drinking from jam jars in those days of crockery shortages, but they were still choosy about what went into the jam jars. So when a customer complained that the cider was “ropy,” it was a serious matter. The publican had just put a new barrel on, a large one, a hogshead, from Lockwood, a reliable cider maker. He drew off a little for himself and sampled it.  

 

Rough Cider, Peter Lovesey

July 29, 2011

What I’m Drinking: Cider Over Ice

Holy Toledo! It’s actually a tad warm up and over here in the Northwest, with the sun beating and bleating down and temperatures approaching something that seems, suspiciously, like summer. And when summer hits, one of my favorite things to drink is a cold hard cider served up over lots of ice cubes. I picked up this habit when visiting the U.K. once (and by visiting, I mean stopping at every little pub I could to taste local brews and booze) with pals Mark and Leslie and wife Nat and have never stopped. While I’ll admit my fav ciders tend to be dry and with accent, I also am a huge fan and support more local ciders, like the lovely Tieton ciders and Ace ciders (from CA). In the below pic, I was sipping an Ace while picking out what smashing sandwich I was going to order at the almighty Smarty Pants. I went with the Ms. Piggy, with Field Roast, and the combo was darn fine.

November 26, 2008

What I’m Drinking Right Now: Steaming Spiked Cider

It’s almost become a cliché, how much I like the booze-fueled hot apple cider within the colder months (in that it’s utterly expected that when one walks into my house they’ll smell the cinnamon, apple, and rum on the air during holiday-season gatherings). But you know what? I think being a cliché is just fine (in this one instance that is. Don’t be calling me cliché any other time. Unless my love of genius British television character Dean Learner becomes a cliché. Which would be awesome, cause the world would be a better place if everyone, when asked what they loved, said “Dean Learner.” But I digress), when the word revolves around this cider recipe, which is from the GS. It’ll warm you and your guests (and works darn well as a pre-Thanksgiving-meal sipper, too. Especially in chilly KS, Jen, if you were wondering).

 

4 quarts fresh apple cider

20 ounces cinnamon schnapps

16 ounces white rum

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

10 cinnamon sticks

10 apple slice for garnish

 

1. Add the cider to a large nonreactive saucepan. Heat over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes

 

2. Add the cinnamon schnapps, rum, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks.  Simmer for 15 minutes, but don’t let the mixture boil.

 

3. Once thoroughly warm, ladle the mixture into heatproof mugs, making sure that each mug gets a cinnamon stick. Garnish each with an apple slice.

 

A Note: Here are three things to remember: 1. Be careful with the cloves when scaling (meaning, too many cloves can take over the flavor). 2. Use apple cider (which is good and cloudy) not apple juice. 3. Boiling boils off some of the alcohol. If getting mistakenly to a boil, or leaving the cider on the stove for an extended period, add more rum as needed.

 

A Second Note: This may be too much cinnamon for some. I see no problem, for balance, in upping the rum.

September 30, 2008

Drinks on the Road: U.K. Drinks, Part One

Just flew back in from a U.K. vacation (and I have to say, boy are my arms tired. No, really, I had to say it. I was forced by the lame jokes union, who said they’d cut off my supply of Strega if I didn’t use that particular line), where I not only had the brilliant pleasure of seeing the almighty Mighty Boosh live (a show I suggest everyone see before they shuffle off unless they’re very, very lame), but also had some fine drinks. The drinks came in the cocktail, highball, cider, and beer varieties, depending on the place and time and situation. The trip started in London, and started heavier on the cider and beer sides of the bar. I’m a large cider lover (take that as you will–there are what, at least four ways to take it), and the U.K. is an ideal spot to try out members of the cider species, including Aspalls Suffolk Cider, which I had at the Royal George Pub (in the Charing Cross neighborhood–I think), a punkish pub suggested by pals Stereolad and Schtickergirl, who came along for this U.K. adventure and who know their London spots. The Aspalls was “light, dry, and flouncy.”

 

Wife Natalie was a bit pooped by the time we hit the George (we’d been doing the London market experience all the live-long day), and went for an old reliable: the ice-cold Peroni, which is good no matter what country you’re visiting.

 

 

We also went in for the Pimm’s multiple times during the trip (and even brought back a bottle of Pimm’s No. 3, which is the brandy-based winter version, and hard to get over here in the WA), which only makes sense, with Pimm’s being an English standby and a favorite on warm days, which we had plenty of–who says the U.K. is cloudy and rainy and gothic-novel-melancholic 365 days a year by the way? That’s crazy talk. We had a few fine Pimm’s Cups, but the absolute finest, the tip top Pimm’s Cup, maybe in all of the U.K., but definitely in the parts we visited, was discovered at the White Bear Hotel, in Masham, in the Yorkshire Dales (a part of the country we spent some lovely days hanging out within). Masham is a nice village, with a market on Wednesday, a couple good hotels, quaintness to spare, and (like any English village) plentiful pubs on every street. Maybe my favorite Masham pub was the Bay Horse, which had a great veggie Ploughman’s Lunch loaded with 7 kinds of cheese, a meal I consumed while being watched by a little dog named Hank. Oh, but back to the Pimm’s at the White Boar (I start to go tangential, like a monkey flinging through the forest, right after a vacation, cause I miss every bit of it so much). They gave us the option of having it with lemonade (which is lemon soda) or straight soda, but every glass was packed with strawberries and grapes to go with the Pimm’s and mixer, and then topped off with the traditional cucumber slices.

 

A delicious bubbly treat, indeed. We also had an assortment of cocktails to swoon over at the Lonsdale in London, but I’ll hit those up later in the week.

Rathbun on Film