September 28, 2018

What I’m Drinking: The Last Word

As September rolls into October, it feels we should have one Last Word for it – hahaha! Really, sometimes I just feel like a classic, and this is one of my classic classics, brought back to the world, after nearly slipping into the mists of history, thanks to legendary Seattle bartender Murray Stenson, who launched it into modern bar culture. It was, legends say, originally created by Frank Fogarty way back in the Prohibition era, though he wasn’t a shaker and stirrer. Instead, he was known as “the Dublin Mistral,” and was one of the leading vaudevillian monologists of his time. Give a toast to both, and to September, when having this.

last-word-1
The Last Word

Ice cubes
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
3/4 ounce Green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, maraschino, Chartreuse, and lime juice. Shake well.

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass and don’t forget your toasts.

August 31, 2018

What I’m Drinking: The Bijou

A swell drink as we slowly shift away from the height of summer into the end of summer and the beginning of fall, the Bijou, as legends have it, was originally created by the legendary Harry Johnson in the late 1800s, with a recipe printed in his New and Improved Bartender Manual from 1900. But I first found it in The Stork Club Bar Book by Lucius Beebe (published first in 1946). The name comes from the jewel definition of Bijou, as the drink has three ingredients aligning with jewels: gin and diamond, sweet vermouth and ruby, and Green Chartreuse and emeralds. Pretty!

bijou
Bijou, from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz

Cracked ice
1 -1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce Green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
Lemon twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, Chartreuse, and vermouth. Stir well.

2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass. Twist the twist over the glass and drop it in.

November 13, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Lucky Duck

First: no ducks are actually used in this drink. If you were worried. Second, it’s Friday the 13th, and you have enough to be worried about without worrying about ducks. I mean, it’s a day renowned for bad luck (especially if you’re camping) and all that. However, this drink is sure to balance out any bad luck, so I suggest you make one double quick.

Why is this particular drink lucky? I’m glad you asked. It starts with Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac. Armagnac isn’t as well-known at the level it should be. Distilled once, but aged more than most spirits in barrels, it leans towards warm, full flavors, and is usually made by smaller, family-owned producers who’ve been Armagnac-ing for hundreds of years. Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac is aged in oak for 3 years, and is lovely, with toffee and bread aromas followed up vanilla, oak, and more. It’s well worth sipping solo, but also makes a fairly magnificent base for cocktails.

Especially when added to just a few other key ingredients. Here, the first is Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino Sherry (Sherry, by the way, is another ingredient not enough think of for cocktails, though it’s thankfully on the rise). Delicate in color, this Sherry is made by one the preeminent Sherry-making families (they’ve been making fine Sherries since 1835) aged for four years, and is quite dry, but with a light almond aroma, and a nutty taste with just a few fruity hints. It’s also quite nice by itself, with food, but brings an individual note to drinks. And if those two charmers weren’t enough, enter old pal Green Chartreuse. Which also brings a very signature style and flavor to any drink. And a little umph.

All together (plus a tiny bit of simple syrup to round out the edged), this is one seriously swell drink. Rich, layered, elegant (in a way that only certain drinks can be), but still approachable. If you can swing it, change your lucky to the better by tracking down these ingredients and making this before the day ends.

lucky-duck
The Lucky Duck

Cracked ice
2 ounces Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac
1/2 ounce Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse
1/4 ounce simple syrup

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Armagnac, Sherry, Chartreuse, and simple syrup. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Feel lucky.

May 29, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Supersonic Cocktail

So, you know, it’s the NBA playoffs. I like the NBA quite a lot. I’ve been watching the playoffs, mostly with my nephew, who’s 14 and so doesn’t drink. Heck of a baller though, really. But it’s probably good I’m watching them with him, or I’d get melancholy for the Seattle Supersonics, stolen these many years ago, and then I’d probably drink too many Supersonic Cocktails, instead of just the 4 or 5 I’ve had in honor of the green and gold. Dang! Speaking of things I miss, I also miss the mighty Cocktail to Cocktail Hour (the world’s best cocktail show with “hour” in its name), which is on extended hiatus as director, producer, co-writer, best boy, head gaffer, and inspiration Dr. Gonzo remains stuck in a Tijuana prison. At least we have the re-runs, like the below, which teaches you to make said Supersonic cocktail, with gin, green Chartreuse, lime, simple, and lemon.

June 21, 2013

What I’m Drinking: The Last Word

This classic (and unburied treasure if there ever was one) owes its 21st century emergence to the legendary Seattle bartender Murray Stenson, who brought it back after tracking it down in an old bar book, and put it on the menu at the Zig Zag Café, where its lore started a new chapter, one that’s still expanding.

last-word

The Last Word

Ice cubes

3/4 ounce gin

3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur

3/4 ounce green Chartreuse

3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, maraschino, Chartreuse, and lime juice. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass and drink without another syllable spoken.

December 18, 2012

The Supersonic Cocktail and the New Season of the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour

The time is now! This is the time! This time it is time for the time being now! All of which is to say, the sparkling new season of A.J. Rathbun’s Cocktail to Cocktail Hour (starring me, A.J. Rathbun) starts today. And what a start it is: in this first episode I’ll teach you how to make the Supersonic cocktail, named after my favorite NBA team of all time, The Seattle Supersonics. Yeah! It’s a delicious mix, which should be enough to woo you to watching and making, but to make things even more exciting, the episode has a very special guest: the Glove, the best defensive point guard in history, Gary Payton! You have to watch it to believe it folks. So what are you waiting for – hit play already!

PS: As always, the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour was directed, co-wrote, edited, produced, and gaff’d by Dr. Gonzo and is an Artificial Khaos production.

October 10, 2012

Shot Week, Day 2, The Carthusian Shrub

If you didn’t read Shot Week, Day 1, then go do that now, so you know where I (and the shots) am coming from. In short, from Andrew Bohrer’s bubbly new book The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried, but go get the full backstory in the below post—I’ll wait.

Great, now that we’re all on the same shot page (so to speak), I’m going jump right into Shot Week’s second shot, one with history and cooking. But hey, to give you a better feel for the book’s personality—which is wonderful—I’m gonna back out of the way and let Andrew talk, via the headnote from the book:

“The Carthusian Shrub

Plums and cocktails don’t really mix. Even the ripest plums must be mashed into oblivion to get any play into a cocktail. The Carthusian Shrub takes fresh plums and roasts out their sweet juices into, well, a shrub. What is a shrub? A type of colonial era, prebottled cocktail consisting of cooked fruit and vinegar. It may sound crazy, but this type of boozy gastrique was a mainstay of drinking culture long before the cocktail was invented.”

Makes 2 Shots

1 de-stoned plum

2 ounces Green Chartreuse

1 ounce water

.25 ounce balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 ° F.

2. Cover the de-stoned plum with Green Chartreuse, water, and balsamic vinegar in a roasting pan.

3. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes.

4 . Allow mixture to cool and strain into a separate vessel.

5. Serve in 1½-ounce shots.

6. Enjoy eating the roasted plum.

December 17, 2011

EvenStar Shochu and the Venus in Voiron Cocktail

Here’s something that’ll add a little kick to your holiday season–Seattle has another local spirit now available for public consumption. After the various distillery articles, it’s probably not surprising that there are more new spirits, but what’s surprising is that this one probably isn’t going to ring any bells (or not many). It’s a shōchū, a Japanese-origin spirit, one that often goes through a single distilling, usually made from barley (though other options abound), and usually with a lesser alcohol content as well as with less calories than say, vodka and various health benefits (or so the legends go). There are some other rules and such, but I’m starting to digress too far afield. The main point is that the Sodo Spirits distillery here in Seattle (lucky us) is making and marketing a shōchū called EvenStar.

 

If you’ve never had shōchū, or shochu, then you aren’t alone. I hadn’t tried it but once, until recently experimenting with the EvenStar. It was light on its feet as you might expect, with a hint of rosemary and grain and a tiny herbal undertone. The suggested drinking modes cover the gamut from neat, warm (like some sake is consumed), over ice, and mixed in cocktails. The friendly folks at the Sodo Spirits have some cocktail suggestions on their site and some that come along with the EvenStar (by the way, they were nice enough to send me a bottle) but many of the drinks were using it alongside other base spirits, and to me it seemed to have enough taste to stand as a base spirit, if that makes sense. So, I did what comes naturally to any cocktail-loving cocktail lover; I started experimenting on my own.

 

I thought that the EvenStar’s hints of herbalness and rosemary might match up with other herb-ish mixtures, and I was right–it matched up well with French liqueur Chartreuse, especially the green version, as well as with the earth mother of bitters, Peychaud’s. After I had those two other ingredients, I just needed to balance everything out a bit, the low and the high, the herbal and the sweet, the gossip and the facts, and a little fresh orange juice did the trick right. The end result is a cocktail worthy of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, as it’s light, won’t weigh you down, and has a lovely glow. I suggest trotting down to your local liquor store (if in the Seattle area) and picking up some EvenStar and taking Venus out for a spin this winter. Or, try it in other mixes and let me know what you come up with, because I’m always open to other ideas. And if you don’t live here (well, first–why not?), then come for a visit, because our local distillers are making Seattle an even finer place to reside within.

 

The Venus in Voiron Cocktail

 

Ice cubes

2 ounces EvenStar shochu

3/4 ounce green Chartreuse

1/4 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

Dash Peychaud’s bitters

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the shochu, Chartreuse, orange juice, and bitters.

 

2. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Drink looking east, and then drink looking west.

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