August 5, 2022

What I’m Drinking: Current Currant Liqueur (a Homemade White Currant liqueur)

It’s been a few years since I first posted the recipe for my white currant liqueur Current Currant (since then, there have been other currant liqueur recipes, including strawberry currant liqueur, Strawcurranterry, and mint currant liqueur, A Most Peculiar Friend). In that first Current Currant post, I talked about the little currant bush that could, the history behind it, all that. Well, now the currant bush is much bigger, and takes over a fair amount of my time for a few weeks every year, as I chase off the dreaded white currant grubs (grosser than you’d think), shoo off other pests, water, wait for currants to get ripe and then pick them in the moment before they go bad. It is, my little-no-more currant, a pain! But, it’s part of the family now, so I stick after it. And, the end result – a bunch of small fruits that you’d never want to just eat – does make a mighty fine liqueur. There’s nothing quite like it, though it has shades of affable citrus, light on the tongue, the barest whisper of bitter and sweet, a sort-of sunshine-y flavor all its own. Many things I guess that are a pain pay off in the end? That’s too deep for an old booze blog like this one. When sipping the liqueur, usually chilled, all the taking-care-of seems worth it. And now I have this written to remind myself of that fact next year, when the no-longer-young currant is driving me around the bend!

current-currant-liqueur

Current Currant Liqueur

2 very full cups white currants
2-1/2 cups vodka
1 cup simple syrup

1. Add the currants to a large glass container with a good lid. Muddle slightly. Add the vodka, stir, and put that lid on it. Store in a cool dark place away from the sun. Let sit two weeks, swirling occasionally.

2. Open it back up, add the simple syrup, and stir well. Place it back in the cool dark place, and let sit two more weeks, swirling occasionally.

3. Strain – I went once through a decent fine strainer to get the fruit out, and then through cheesecloth to add more clarity. You might need a third straining, too.

July 8, 2022

What I’m Drinking: The Rosita with DE-NADA Reposado Tequila

Here is something I learned recently:  nearly 80% of the tequila brands sold in the U.S. have additives, things to add sweetening or alter coloring or change up the natural taste. I mean, I knew that additives like caramel for example have been used for, well, ever (or a long time) to change up certain aspects of whiskey or what-have-you, but for some reason never thought this extended in general to tequila. I mean, obviously (by taste alone) you can tell that chemicals are in certain boozes, including tequilas. But just didn’t realize the reach. Until recently, about the same time I was lucky enough to have a little DE-NADA tequila show up in the mail (lucky me!). A newer brand to me, DE-NADA tequilas are confirmed additive free – which means taste, coloring, everything, is coming from the natural ingredients in the tequilas, and the time-honored processes used to make real tequila. Neat! They make both blanco and reposado tequilas (both at a fifth-generation tequila distillery in Jalisco), and while the blanco is a treat – smooth and bright on the tongue, with some fruit notes, peach, grapefruit, and some herbal notes, anise, mint, a hint of pepper at the finish – when I was craving a Rosita, I went with the reposado.

The Rosita (you probably know this, being in the know, but just in case), is a relation in a way to the Negroni. Not, to me, a sibling, but at least a cousin. As well as a cousin to various other drinks served over ice that have spirit + vermouth + something else. The something else here is Campari, and hence the Negroni connection. Oh, though, there are both sweet and dry vermouths – that makes it a cousin only. And also extra bitters (which maybe means, second cousin). But it has a little of that memorable Campari-sweet-bitter-ness (which I love, so much), even though there is less here, allowing the tequila to shine. I feel to stand up to a party properly with the Campari and vermouths, that slightly deeper reposado is needed – and the DE-NADA Reposado shines in the drink. It’s, like the bianco, smooth, very smooth, but the flavor leans nuttier, with almonds and vanilla (okay, a bean, but nut-like), mingling with toasted oak and caramel, roasted agave, and hints of cinnamon, mellowing out buttery at the finish. Yummy! And goes really well with the vermouth, and the bitter-ing undertones. The Campari, too, which might seem an odd pairing at first, but trust me, the end result is lovely summer drink to savor.

rosita

The Rosita

 

Cracked ice

1-1/2 ounce DE-NADA Reposado tequila

1/2 ounce Campari

1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

1/2 ounce dry vermouth

Dash Angostura bitters

Ice cubes

Orange twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything, except the ice cubes! Stir well.

2. Add some ice cubes – about halfway – to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Strain the mix from Step one over the cubes and into the glass. Garnish with the orange twist.

September 10, 2021

What I’m Drinking: The Painkiller

A little lesser-known than some of it’s more famous tropical tiki siblings, the rummy Painkiller is an early-summer, mid-summer, and late-summer treat (though honestly, why not bring summer into any day by having this year round? I can’t conjure up a single reason). I once wrote “old pirates say this was first mixed using Pusser’s rum by Daphne Henderson (owner and bartender) at the six-seat Soggy Dollar Bar at White Bay, British Virgin Islands in the 1970s” and still believe that to be the historical case. I used to love the Painkiller at Seattle’s much-missed No Bones Beach Club (you can see me on Seattle’s King 5 talking about it and other Seattle tiki treats if so inspired), and currently love the one at the bubbly Baker’s up this way, but I also like to sail my own ship once in a while, high winds be damned, and you should tack the same direction. Because the Painkiller isn’t tough to make, and will leave you singing sea shanties in a superior manner – which is how every day should end, right? If you’ve never had a Painkiller, it’s a near cousin to the Pina Colada (if only Rupert Holmes would have sung about a Painkiller, we might be having a different conversation), meaning it’s coconutty, creamy, fruity, strong, and lush, with a dark rum base. Historically (see: above) it should be Pusser’s rum, but I am currently, sadly, Pusser’s deficient, and so went with Ron Abuelo 12-year old dark rum and it was yummy. Sometimes to relieve the pain you have to do what you have to do! So, get tropical y’all.

painkiller

The Painkiller

 

Ice cubes

2 ounces Ron Abuelo 12-year old dark rum (or Pusser’s, if you got it)

4 ounces pineapple juice

1 ounce orange juice

1 ounce cream of coconut (I used Coco Lopez)

Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Crushed or cracked ice

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, juices, and cream of coconut. Shake really well.

 

2. Fill a highball glass or comparable glass three-quarters up with cracked or crushed ice. If you happen to have a Lewis bag (and I hope you do!), now’s a good time to use it!

 

3. Strain the drink into the glass. Garnish with fresh nutmeg. You could also garnish with an orange slice and a cherry (both or one or the other, you might see). I wasn’t feeling the fruit salad, so left them off, this time!

 

August 6, 2021

What I’m Drinking: Iollas’ Itch

iollas-itchOne of the invaders (in the best way) of summer into our yard is mighty fine mint. We have mint that’s been planted by us, years past, but either it’s spread or we’ve also had wild mint find it’s way into the yard. Though I wouldn’t be sad to be responsible for a mint invasion, I think I’d like it even better if there was wild mint propagating hither and thither randomly. But back to the point I’m meandering my way into making: we have a lot of mint! Not a problem to induce tears falling in any manner, but one that does mean searching for drinks that make fine use of mint, and eventually finding my way back to this particular potion: Iollas’ Itch, which I hadn’t made in a number of years. Not because it’s not delicious (it is), but because, well, there are loads of delicious drinks in the world and sometimes one forgets one or two. Anywho, this cocktail, though rye-based (yum), and with heady sweet vermouth (yum), I believe still beckons during the hotter months due to the addition of apricot liqueur, whose sweet fruitiness is very much sunshine-y (and, yum), and naturally that summer favorite that brought this paragraph on pointe: mint.

 

Iollas’ Itch, from Dark Spirits

 

3 fresh mint leaves, plus 1 fresh mint sprig for garnish

Ice cubes

2 ounces rye

3/4 ounce sweet vermouth

3/4 ounce apricot liqueur

 

1. Rub (carefully but firmly) the 3 mint leaves all around the inside of a cocktail glass. Then discard them.

 

2. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rye, apricot liqueur, and vermouth. Shake well.

 

3. Strain into the minty glass from above. Garnish with the mint sprig.

 

 

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.

 

November 13, 2020

What I’m Drinking: As Luck Would Have It

Once upon a time (a recent time, admittedly between us friends) I had a drink here on the Spiked Punch drinks blog called Spirit and Substance, within which I dropped tales of some homepage plum shrub and grenadine that a powerful pleasant pal had gifted me and mine. In that drink tale, the plum shrub was used, and now, here, As Luck Would Have It, we’re using the grenadine. And it’s key to have homemade grenadine me thinks, as (in the main) most store-bought grenadine isn’t all that fine. There are a few brands perhaps? But be safe, make your own, and have the lush, tanged, deeply good grenadine you deserve. There’s a homemade grenadine recipe below, if needed. But that’s just the beginning of our luck! With the grenadine here are many more lucky things, beginning with Montefalco Rosso, an Italian wine made of a bland of Sangiovese and Sagrantino. Specifically, here, I used Cantina dell’Alunno Montefalco Rosso, which is robust, fruity (cranberries and plummy-ness), herbal, and approachable. Delicious, I tell you, and the ideal base for a fall-time wine cocktail like we’re whipping up here. To bring more fruits (and a nice belly warming), we’re also adding Sidetrack Plum brandy, made with plums grown not but yards from where the still is that makes this clear, strong, bracing, lovely brandy – oh, made in WA, by the way, much like our next introduced ingredient, Brovo Spirits Jammy sweet vermouth. If you haven’t had the Jammy, then jump on it, cause it really lives up to its name, with a rich, cherry, chocolate, spice flavor. And then, to round and even the flavor, a slip of lemon juice, and a twist of orange. Altogether, a bounty of yumminess that’s lucky indeed.

as-luck-would-have-it

As Luck Would Have It

 

Ice cubes

2 ounces Cantina dell’Alunno Montefalco Rosso

3/4 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Plum brandy

3/4 ounce Brovo Spirits Jammy sweet vermouth

1/2 ounce homemade grenadine (see Note below)

1/8 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

Orange twist, for garnish

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the twist. Feeling lucky yet? Shake well.

2. Strain the luck through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange.

A Note: Hey, homemade lovers! This grenadine recipe’s a snap to make, and a joy to add to cocktail or soda:

Homemade Grenadine

4 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice

1 pint fresh raspberries

4 cups sugar

2 ounces orange flower water

1. Add the pomegranate juice and raspberries to a large saucepan and place over high heat. Cook for 15 minutes.

2. Let the mixture stay at a steady boil, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes longer, reducing the heat if needed to prevent burning.

3. Slowly stir in the sugar, stirring continuously. When the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the orange flower water. When the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the orange flower water.

4. Let cool, and strain into bottles. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

August 21, 2020

What I’m Drinking: A Champagne Cocktail with Chateau Ste. Michelle Bubbly White Wine

champagne-cocktailWhoa, summer is already deep into its summerness, and I feel I haven’t had nearly enough bubbly sparkly shimmery (while still cooling) drinks yet. It goes so fast! Could be that with all that’s happening in the world, having a celebratory effervescent mix seems, oh, off a bit? But that’d be silly, cause there is still so much to celebrate, every day, if I can be a little starry-eyed. Maybe I’m just lazy (far more likely)? Or maybe I haven’t had the right mixing option?

 

Luckily, at least for the latter open-ended (potentially rhetorical) question, a nice selection of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s new line of wine in single-serve aluminum bottles recently showed up in the mail (see, that’s something worth celebrating), and the selection included the “Bubbly” white wine variety (or varietal, if you will, hahaha). All of the four different options have screw-top caps for those that don’t finish in one go – but at 250 ml, I can’t see that happening for you! – lovely artsy decoratives (I made that word up!), and come in a 2-pack. The non-Bubbly choices include a crisp, citrus-y Pinot Grigio and a summer-y and strawberry-and-currant-y Rosé that I’ve tasted, and a Something Sweet white wine blend I’m excited to taste.

 

But back to Bubbly! It’s made from a bountiful blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Muscat Canelli, and Gruner Veltliner, and delivers a nice apple core flavor, with a little spice, a hint of summer, a dry enough nature, and a clean inviting bubbly-ness. Well worth having chilled all on its own under the shining sun (though I suppose some might be too much in the wine snob category to sip something from an aluminum container – let’s pity them, shall we?), Bubbly also is convivial enough to serve as a solid base for a classic Champagne Cocktail or other sparkling-based cocktail. And the 250 ml size makes it ideal for making two drinks, which is what you’ll want to do so your paramour, bestie, spouse, sanitized neighbor, or other personality doesn’t feel left out. It’s what I did! With that very-legendary and mentioned-above Champagne Cocktail. Side-non-Bubbly-note: I suggest you choose Scrappy’s Orange bitters for your bitters here. Because it has a rich, herbal, bitter-y flavor that goes perfectly (so well that I just ran out of my bottle. That’s the opposite of an occasion worth celebrating).

Champagne Cocktail (using the recipe from Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions and Scintillating Sparklers, of course!)

1 sugar cube

3 dashes Scrappy’s Orange bitters

Chilled Chateau Ste. Michelle Bubbly white wine

Lemon twist, for garnish

 

1. Add your sugar cube to a flute in any manner you see fit. Dash the 3 dashes orange bitters over it. Let it settle in for a minute.

 

2. Fill the flute almost to the top with Bubbly. Garnish with the lemon twist.

June 26, 2020

What I’m Drinking: The WAD

Upon reflection while sipping one of these beauties, I’ve realized that perhaps The WAD isn’t the most attractive of names. Am I right? Tell me I’m wrong? Perhaps I’m right, but, well, it’s too late to change the name now, cause it’s out in the world, and the poor drink would be sad cause people would always be calling it by the wrong name. So, here we are, The WAD. I do think it’s made better if I say that it stands for Washington Aligned Daiquiri of Sorts? And that WADS would be worse (well, maybe)? Cause that’s where the name comes from. See, I was making a Daiquiri type drink for a pal, or was wanting to, and also wanting to use all WA-made ingredients, for fun, and wanted to differentiate it a bit, all that, okay. Okay! So, started with the Puget Sound Rum Company’s Rum 47 Amber rum – so named as it was carefully made on the 47th parallel, with organic panela from a family farm in Columbia, and aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Great start! Next, sticking with Puget Sound Rum Company, their Comb and Cane honey-infused rum, which is made with Pacific Northwest honey, and has a slight sweetness and more good rum-ness. Add some fresh lime juice, and some brown sugar simple syrup, and The WAD is here. Potentially not awesome name and all.

 WAD

The WAD

 

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces Puget Sound Rum Company Rum 47 Amber rum

1 ounce Puget Sound Rum Company Comb & Cane

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 ounce brown sugar simple syrup

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything. Shake well.

 

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass or comparable. Sip it up, WA style, whatever your name.

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