May 24, 2024

What I’m Drinking: The Bruja Smash

Warning: fake nearly swearing heading your way! This delight (ideal for the here and now and for the upcoming sunny days that you’ll hopefully be enjoying with pals or by yourself or with your dog to the fullest) was created by Seattle (and the world) legend, the mthrfcking baron of booze, Andrew Bohrer. I can’t recall when said sloshed sensi created it, but he let me put it into the mthrfcking Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, thereby making that book like a billion times better times a billion times. That’s mthrfcking right. The Bruja Smash is not only the Hulk himself’s favorite all-time drink (and he knows drinks, mthrfckers), but also is highlighted by Italian saffron, mint, and more goodness containing golden-hued liqueur Strega, which is mingled with tequila and a whole bunch of mthrfcking fruity goodness. Perfectly balanced, of course, cause Andrew is a genius. And he currently slings drinks most Sundays at The Doctor’s Office, which is a, dare I say it, mthrfcking awesome spot.

The Bruja Smash

The Bruja Smash

Crushed ice

7 fresh mint leaves

7 fresh raspberries

1½ ounces white tequila

1 ounce Strega

½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 mint sprig, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with crushed ice. Add the mint leaves, raspberries, tequila, Strega, and lemon juice. Shake really well.

2. Dump the contents of the shaker (no straining here) into a large tulip-style beer glass or other good-sized pretty vessel.

May 10, 2024

What I’m Drinking: The Whizz Bang

You might think a drink with this particular name would be more suited for a specific day in July (the fourth, that is), when whizz-bangers are going off in most US neighborhoods, and, between us, you’d be forgiven for thinking this, as I’ve made Whizz Bang cocktails on that very day in the past. However! I also think that mom’s need to have a hearty cocktail on Mother’s Day, and that mom’s can be firecrackers, too, in their own ways, and go whizzing around doing all that they do. Which means, as Mother’s Day is in two days, I believe it’s completely appropriate to be having this now and then. The drink’s lovely combination of bourbon (I’m going Woodinville Whiskey Company’s Straight bourbon, cause moms deserve the best!) and its sweet bourbon-ness with dry vermouth’s high-tone herbals, and with hints of Pernod’s sharper anise action, and with grenadine’s sweet tang (if you don’t make your own grenadine, you’re really not being fair to the moms), and with the deep herbal underpinnings of Scrappy’s classic Orange bitters, all of that together all being the lovely combination alluded to at the beginning of this sentence, this combination is sure to charm moms, and you, too, even if having it for no holiday at all, just cause it tastes awesomely awesome.

The Whizz Bang Cocktail

The Whizz Bang

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. bourbon

3/4 ounce dry vermouth

1/4 ounce Pernod

1/4 ounce homemade grenadine (recipe at the end of the As Luck Would Have it cocktail recipe)

2 dashes Scrappy’s Orange bitters

 1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the bourbon, vermouth, Pernod, grenadine, and orange bitters. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Present it to mom (or drink it yourself if mom isn’t available).

April 26, 2024

What I’m Drinking: Brovo Pretty Vermouth and Tonic

Hey, guess what? It’s the heart of spring (more-or-less), which means the sun is coming out more regularly (hopefully, at least, but hopefully also not so much as to make us enjoy it less), and also that summer is about to rear its sunshiny head, which then means that you and me and all (who are consumers of drinks utilizing booze) need to start to think about refreshing drinks that don’t make you sweat to make them, which are easier to make then this very long sentence. One perfect solution here: XX and tonic. The XX is not a warning, but generic so-as to remind that many things go well with tonic, and end up delicious. Gin, naturally. But many other liquids, too, including other base spirits (rum and tonic: yummy), aperitif-y things (Lillet and tonic: yummy), and one of my favorite “and tonic” things: vermouth. With the right vermouth and tonic, you have an easy to make, wonderful to drink combo. To ensure I have the right vermouth, today I’m reaching for WA-state-made Brovo Pretty vermouth. A blanc vermouth based on Pinot Gris, it has a balanced and beautiful fragrance and taste, backed by hints of spice, vanilla, lemon, and floral notes, it makes a swell partner with tonic. As I had a bottle at hand (and as it’s one of the best of the bottled varieties), I’m going with Fever Tree tonic. I am sadly out – I need to go to the store! – of my local WA tonic syrups cause they would be great, too.

Brovo Pretty Blanc vermouth and tonic

Brovo Pretty Vermouth and Tonic

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces Brovo Pretty Blanc Vermouth

3-1/2 ounces Fever Tree tonic

Lemon slice, for garnish

1. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters up with ice. Add the vermouth. Then the tonic. Still briefly.

2. Garnish with the lemon slice. Oh, and add more tonic as/if desired.

April 12, 2024

What I’m Drinking: The R56 Sparkler

Hello springtime! Hello sunshine! Hello flowers (sadly, hello allergies, too)! Hello brunches! Which isn’t to say you can’t have brunches and/or late lunches where you feel like it’s brunch even though it’s 1:30 (or 13:30 if on a 24-hour clock system) any time of the year, but somehow spring sunny days seem ideal for brunching. And for brunch drinks! Of which there are many, or many plus one, as I’m adding this here drink the R56 Sparkler to the list, as I made it specially for a brunching/late weekend lunching situation, one in which I needed a specially special drink as said brunch was a birthday occasion, too, and birthday occasions demand special drinks (the birthday-er in question’s name starts with R and I’ll give you a guess what birthday it was). Demand them!

But how to have it be special? Well, for me, I started with Brovo’s new-ish American Aperitivo, a made-in-Washington treat that combins a host of delights – hibiscus, bilberry, Schisandra berry, grapefruit, lemon, orange, and Gentian root – into one flavorful, but light and bright and friendly, sipper, one that’s balanced, accessible, and still has a cheeky quick bittery kiss at the end of a sip. It seems they designed it to pair with tequila, but here I’ve let it shine without a base spirit. But with a few partners! First, Salish Sea’s Ginger liqueur. For some really sad and tragic reasons, it can be hard to find (though I think it is still out there — grab any you see). I’ve kept a couple bottles in reserve for special occasions because it’s the best ginger liqueur I’ve had. Luckily, there are other good ones you can sub in, because the hint of ginger goes swell here. As does Scrappy’s amazing Black Lemon bitters. The finest – or most intriguing? – cocktail bitters being made currently? Perhaps! To those three freakishly good friends, I also added some fresh orange juice (one of the standards in brunch drinks), and a little soda to bring it all together. The end result is a seriously sippable number, one whose citrus and spice notes pair perfectly with brunching – and with birthdays!

The R56 Sparkler, a drink with American Aperitivo, Black Lemon bitters, ginger liqueur, oj, and soda

The R56 Sparkler

2 ounces Brovo American Aperitivo

3/4 ounces Salish Sea Ginger liqueur

1 dash Scrappy’s Black Lemon bitters

2 ounces freshly-squeezed orange juice

Ice cubes

3 ounces chilled club soda

1. Add the first four liquids lovelies to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Stir 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. Top with the soda, stir carefully to mix, enjoy!

April 5, 2024

What I’m Drinking: How Does Your Garden Grow

I believe there are people, industrious, good people, who garden well all year round, and have yards and gardens in much better shape than mine. For me, the gardening starts soon, usually late April/early May. And even then, to be honest (as we are here), I’m not a stupendous gardener, and find myself putting it off more than putting on the gloves to get everything in order. However! I have found that one of these here drinks helps make the gardening more palatable. Pull a weed, take a sip! You should try it. One warning: this here cocktail, when you look at it, sounds an odd pairing, like putting nightshade next to your pea patch. But the three ingredients actually go swell together! There’s gin, to start, and I’m using Copperworks stellar gin here. And then Sidetrack Distillery’s one-of-a-kind Shiso liqueur, made from the Asian herb it’s named after, and delivering an herby, botanical beauty one must taste to believe. Then, and this is the odd side, as you might thing the Shiso and this would go well, the third ingredient is the orange-y and teensy bitter-y aperitif, Aperol. It’s a magical match, honestly, and perfect planting of three different tasty items (planted into a shaker and then your mouth, that is), and makes even the most boring yard work a more palatable affair (no mechanized yard tools when drinking, please).  

How Does Your Garden Grow, a cocktail with gin, Shiso liqueur, and Aperol

How Does Your Garden Grow

Cracked ice

2 ounces Copperworks gin

1 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Shiso liqueur

1 ounce Aperol

Orange twist, for garnish

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

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

March 29, 2024

What I’m Drinking: Sprezza Rosso

Sprezza Rossa and Pizza

I’ve mentioned the delicious canned Sprezza spritz-style drinks made up here in WA before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again, because they are awesomely awesome. The Blanco variety is delish, and so so swell in summer, and there’s a newer Rose’ that is dreamy, but today I’m sipping the Sprezza Rosso side of the trio. Made from Mancino Rosso vermouth, Scrappy’s Orange bitters (hence the Washington connection if you were wondering), and sparkling mineral water, it delivers a swirl of effervescent rhubarb, burnt orange, and caramel with an ending brisk bitter kiss. Bellissimo! And – which you might expect given its Italian connection – Sprezza Rosso goes perfectly with a good slice of pizza. So, that’s what we’re having today, amici!

Sprezza Rosso

Ice cubes

1 can Sprezza Rosso

Orange twist

1. Couldn’t be easier: fill a wine glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Pour the Sprezza over the ice and in the glass. Twist the twist, and drop it in. Take a bite of slice, take a sip of Sprezza.

March 15, 2024

What I’m Drinking: The Leaping Drive

Well, I apologize – I really should have had this cocktail up on February 29, as that was leap day and this is a leap year and this drive, or drink, is leaping (with flavor! And in the name). It’s not the Leap Year, which is another drink, but somewhat related, and, well, just would have been good to have on or nearer to the actual leap day, though I suppose I’m still having this drink within a month of it, and darn it, the drink’s still good (and related in little ways to other drinks like the Sidecar and various other gin and Cointreau and vermouth and lemon drinks, so if you like that or those drinks, then you will be fond of this I’ll bet, maybe even leaping over things to have it), and sometimes that can weigh even more than an appropriate story, though as I’ve told you time and time again, good stories make good drinks even better. So, maybe pretend it’s still leap day? Having a couple of these tangy, botanical, citrusical, drinks might help with the leaping, or lead to both leaping and jumping. Maybe skipping too! Which would be fun.

The Leaping Drive cocktail

The Leaping Drive

Ice cubes

2 ounces gin (I used Washington-made Kur gin, and it served me well)

3/4 ounces Blanc vermouth (I used Dolin, and it was a reliable delight)

1/2 ounce Cointreau

1/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Lemon twist, for garnish

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

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass (or comparable). Garnish with the twist.

March 1, 2024

What I’m Drinking: Full Moon Over Washington

It is not a full moon today, but that does not mean you can’t drink this delicious drink – really, you can have it any day! It’s that good. I say ‘umbly. And, also, you may not be in the Pacific Northwest today – you can still have this drink if not, though I should warn you it is a very PNW drink, as all of the ingredients are made up this way (actually all are made in WA state proper, but as we’re – me typing in WA now – a part of the PNW, thought I’d stretch a bit). But most I feel are available outside of these hallowed longitude/latitude coordinates, luckily! What are said ingredients? I am glad you asked. First up, is Browne Family Spirits Bourbon, a hit in the late-winter, looking-at-spring days we’re currently in, due to its campfire-echo and oak aroma, wispy smoke-and-pepper finish, and lovely browned-buttered sweetness (it carries a nice warming 90-proofness, too). That taste goes lovely-like with a seriously individual amaro here, Brovo #14 Amaro, whose recipe was created by Mike Ryan and combines singularly Guatemalan chocolate, thyme, cinnamon, sarsaparilla, angelica, and vanilla. One of a kind! With all that choco-buttery-goodness, it only felt right (and tasted right, after some testing) to bring in some orange-ness, and here that’s coming via another Brovo hit, Tacoma Punk, made from half unsweetened Brovo Orange Curacao and half of their Amaro #4, with the end result’s slightly spicy orange flavor mingling mightily with our first two ingredients. But one more note felt needed, to me, when designing this moony number, and following along the theory that if you have four or more ingredients one should be bitters, the last addition is Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters. Made via an herb maceration, this classically-styled bitters is ideally balanced and adds a bit of herb and spice goodness that bring the drink together. A treat, I tell you, no matter what the moon looks like above you when drinking. But as it is called Full Moon Over Washington, I’ve added a cherry for garnish to stand in for the moon, in case, to cover all phases, so to speak (oh, the cherry goes perfectly, taste-wise, too).

Full Moon Over Washington Cocktail

Full Moon Over Washington

Cracked ice

2-1/4 ounces Browne Family Spirits bourbon

3/4 ounces Brovo Amaro #14

1/2 ounce Tacoma Punk orange liqueur

Dash Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters

Maraschino cherry, for garnish

1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktails shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add all but the moon. Wait, I mean all but the cherry. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass, add the cherry, carefully. Howl, if you must.

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