May 8, 2020

What I’m Drinking: The Tipperary Cocktail with McConnell’s Irish Whisky

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, great drinks are even greater with a good story – and a great story takes it to even another level. Recently, I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of McConnell’s Irish Whisky in the post (what a nice thing! Especially in these stay-at-home times! So, don’t be jealous, I’ll share). And what a great story to go along with such a dandy whisky. Here are the basics – McConnell’s started producing whisky way way back in 1776, a year famous here in the U.S. for things other than whisky, though I’m sure a lot was consumed here at that time, too, hahaha. The whisky was made in Belfast, but soon being sipped all over the world by discerning sippers. But then! Tragedy, in the form of a vast fire that destroyed (so sadly) 500,000 gallons of whisky and a chunk of the distillery itself. Persevering, they rebuilt, and whisky flowed. But then! Tragedy, again, in the form of prohibition, which really put the damper on long-distance imports to the U.S., a monster-sized consumer – and that sad event destroyed the distillery, like the fire, but worse. Until this year, when it rose the economic and literal ashes, like a tipsy phoenix.

 

Of course, a good story like that (and distilleries coming alive and alive again are good, good stories) doesn’t mean as much if the flavor doesn’t rise to the tale. McConnell’s is a swell tipple, however, so the tale is ripe for more telling. A blended whisky, it’s aged five years in American oak, and as other friendly Irish whiskys, it has an approachable (not annoying) sweet nature. Beyond the lovely bottle, it sets itself apart thanks to a singular vanilla, nutmeg, spice and hint-of-smokiness taste. Yummy. So yummy, you could be forgiven for only consuming this recovered-from-history hit solo, or with a splash of water, or maybe a cube or two of ice as the mood descends on your day. Heck, I drank a lot of it that way myself, and only felt happy about it.

 

However! I also just can’t resist combining spirits and liqueurs I like into cocktails – and the welcoming, flavorful nature of McConnell’s is a bountiful base for a cocktail that lets it shine, while introducing a few friends that can stand alongside proudly. Today, I went with the classic, if not super-widely known, Tipperary. This version (there’s a separate cocktail carrying the same name from a few years earlier) goes back I believe to the 1922s, if memory serves, but don’t take me to task on it if I’m confused. To go with our mighty McConnell’s, the drink brings another legend to the mix, herbally, mystical, Green Chartreuse, along with sweet vermouth – I’m going with Punt e’ Mes here, which is just a touch drier than some, while still delivering more lush herbal notes , alongside a gentle bitter. Altogether, this cocktail delivers amazingly. I mean, it’s amazingly delicious. So, so, delicious, and just the right one for celebrating McConnell’s coming back on the booze scene.

tipperary

The Tipperary Cocktail

 

Cracked ice

1-3/4 ounces McConnell’s Irish whisky

1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse

3/4 ounce Punt e’ Mes sweet vermouth

 

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

 

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

 

A Note: I’ve seen this with a lemon twist as garnish (heck, I’ve even had a great one that way), but with this particular trio, I didn’t think the brighter citrus notes worked. But if you do, do.

September 24, 2019

Have the Last Laugh with Seattle Magazine

Hey kids, you like laughs right? Well, recently (if you think about the grand breadth of time that us ridiculous humans have been on earth, super recently) I got to go down to new-ish Seattle hotel bar Ben Paris and have a Last Laugh cocktail made by Abigail Gullo. Now that’s a laugh worth savoring – and you can savor, too, cause I then wrote about it for Seattle magazine, and they printed what I wrote, and all that. For reals! Go check it out now, why dontcha.

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.

Rathbun on Film