February 12, 2021
Here’s something that may have confused you for years (heck, it confused me – maybe still does): citrus fruits, those sunny suntime suntreats, are often associated with gloomy old greytime cloudypants winter months. Weird, right? I suppose (this is how I’m telling it to myself at least, and, I guess, you) that it’s because said citrus fruit delivers said sunshine within these wintery grey months, a juicy daydream of the beach when the rain or snow or ice is descending from unfriendly skies. Why this fruity ramble? Well, as an intro way of saying that recently I felt the need to make a little Mandarino, the mandarin orange liqueur, to bring said sun beams into my glass and my dreary days, and, well, let me assure you that it did just that! I was hulu-ing and be-shorted in no time. I first made this, my version of Mandarino, way back for Luscious Liqueurs, and you can sip it solo, on ice, or as the orange component in a Margarita or other cocktail, any time of the year. Though maybe it’s best in winter.
6 Mandarin oranges
2 cups vodka
2 cups simple syrup
1. Wash, dry, and peel the oranges and 1/2 of the lemon, working to not end up with any of the white pith (if the Mandarin peels just slip off, as they often do, then scrap any excess pith off the inner sides with a paring knife). Put the peels in a glass container that gets cozy with its lid (meaning, the lid fits well). Use the fruit for juicing or cooking or just eating.
2. Add the vodka, stir a little, and seal. Place the container in a cool, dry spot away from the sun. Let it relax for two weeks, swirling every 3 or 4 days.
3. Add the simple syrup, stir well, and reseal. Leave the Mandarino to get pretty for two more weeks, stopping by to swirl every 3 or 4 days.
4. Strain the liqueur through double sheets of cheesecloth into a pitcher or other easy pouring vessel. Strain again through 2 new sheets of cheesecloth into bottles or jars, or one larger bottle or jar.
January 15, 2016
Hey, happy 2016! Sorry there have been few posts for the last few weeks, but I went to Italy for the holidays and wasn’t able to post due to having wine in each hand. Well, wine, pizza, cheese, and grappa. And amari. And Negronis. And pasta forks. You get it! But now I’m back with a swell and simple drink for your Friday. So easy. So delicious. Just like one wants early in January. It has two key ingredients: Woodinville Whiskey Co’s new bourbon and amaretto. If you need to use another bourbon, well, I feel sorry for you. On the amaretto, I used my homemade version (recipe below), and if you can’t use that, well, I feel sorry for you again. But it would still be a good drink I think, even with slightly different ingredients. Try it! And let me know.
2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. bourbon
1 ounce homemade amaretto
Wide orange twist, for garnish
1. Add a few good-sized nice ice cubes to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Then add the bourbon. Then the amaretto. Stir well.
2. Garnish with that orange twist. Enjoy the New Year.
A Note: To make An Enticing Amaretto (from Luscious Liqueurs) follow this recipe:
1 cup skin-on whole raw almonds
1 Tablespoon orange zest
2-1/2 cups brandy
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Using a chef’s knife, roughly cut the almonds into smallish pieces. Add them, the orange zest, and the brandy to a large glass container, one with a secure lid. Stir well. Place the container in a cool, safe, place, away from the sun. Let sit for two weeks, swirling occasionally.
2. Add the sugars and the water to the medium-sized saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil over a medium-high heat. Lower the heat a bit, keeping the mixture at a low boil for five minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the syrup completely cool in the pan. This step can be done anytime during the two weeks mentioned in step 1, as long as the syrup is refrigerated until it’s added to the liqueur.
3. Add the syrup made in step 2 and the vanilla to your secure container. Stir well. Place the container back in a cool, safe, place, away from the sun. Let sit for two more weeks, swirling at least every other day.
4. After the final two weeks, carefully strain the mix through double sheets of cheesecloth into a pitcher or other container, one that you can easily pour out of–there’s no need to spill.
5. Next, get two new sheets of cheesecloth, and strain the amaretto into bottles or jars with good lids–or one larger container. Serve either chilled or at room temperature, depending on your mood and inclination.
December 11, 2015
Ho, ho, ho! This is what Santa drinks to stay warm as he’s delivering the gifts to all you (of age) boys and girls out there. At least the ones that have been good all year. And it’s also a drink that I created for a happening holiday hoe-down at the zesty Zinc recently. If you don’t know (well, why dontcha, first?), Zinc is an art, design, and interiors store in Edmonds, WA, perhaps the finest art, design, and interiors store anywhere ever. EVER! It has (as they say), an eclectically-curated selection that’s truly one-of-kind, and is the best stop if you need gifts. Then, you can also be like Santa, delivering great gifts while having one of these (as long as you aren’t delivering gifts in your car, of course. Don’t be silly.)
Speaking of gifts, I made this the first time with The London No. 1 gin, a small batch beaut made in the heart of London with 12 botanicals, a list including things like juniper (natch), and orange peel, to other more off-the-beaten-gin-path items like bergamot and cassia. All of which means a very individual gin, with layers of flavor. You may want that as a gift for yourself.
Sleigh Bells Ring
1-1/2 ounces The London No. 1 gin
1 ounce Strawberry Gold liqueur (See Note 1 below, and this is from Luscious Liqueurs)
1/2 ounce Red Hembarig (See Note 2 below)
2 dashes Fee Brothers cranberry bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the reindeer. Shake well.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Ho, ho, ho indeed!
Note 1: You should really pick up Luscious Liqueurs, but if you don’t have time today, here’s the recipe for Strawberry Gold, making about two pints. Gently wash 3-1/2 cups fresh strawberries and dry them on towels. When dry, remove the stems from the strawberries (I cut off the top of the strawberries, stems and all, due to the flesh around the stems being often not as sweet as the rest of the strawberry), and any blemished spots. Coarsely chop the strawberries and then add them (you should have 3-1/2 cups here) to a large glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Add 3 cups vodka to the container and stir well. Seal and place in a cool, dry spot, away from the sun. Let it sit, whirling the strawberries around the jar every 3-1/2 days. Add 1-3/4 cups simple syrup and 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla, stir and reseal. Return it to its spot. Let it sit for two more weeks, whirling the contents every other day. Filter the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Strain through double sheets of cheesecloth into a pitcher, jar, or other easy-pouring vessel. Strain again through 2 new layers of cheesecloth into bottles or jars that have good lids (or one large one).
Note 2: Red Hembarig is a raspberry-vinegar syrup that made people very happy in the past. And it will now make you happy, too. To make it, start by briefly muddling two cups raspberries in a bowl, then add 1-1/4 cups apple cider vinegar and stir briefly. Let it sit overnight. Then add the raspberry-vinegar combo plus 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cups water to a saucepan. Heat to a simmer and then let simmer for 10 minutes. Take the mix off the heat and let it cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, place it in a refrigerator and let it sit overnight. Then strain the Red Hembarig through a fine strainer. Keep it in the fridge.
June 10, 2014
Hello friends! Come have a couple free drinks made by me on June 14th, from 4 – 7 pm. What, you say, free drinks? Yes, I’m hosting a cocktail party at the awesome Zinc Art + Interiors,102 3rd Ave South, Edmonds, WA, on the 14th. I’ll be serving two drinks from
Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, the award-winning Persephone’s Elixiar and the classic Lucien Gaudin – and I’ll be making the latter with the amazing Alpinist gin from the fine folks at the Seattle Distilling Company! I’ll also have two homemade liqueurs from Luscious Liqueurs for you to sample and they’ll be a few tasty treats from Party Snacks. All three books will be on sale alongside the finest art and interiors in the region! If you haven’t been to Zinc (which is packed with swell stuff and run by swell people) this is the perfect chance to go. If you need a drink, this is the perfect time to have one! See you there.
December 14, 2012
As the holidays approach like a sleigh driven by a tipsy elf, I find it’s good to have A: an easy-but-tasty homemade present ready to whip together as needed for a last minute gift and B: a delicious crafted and crafty sipper to whip together as needed for offices parties, friend parties, family parties, and tête-à-tête parties. This recipe for Chocolate Cream Liqueur, from Luscious Liqueurs, hits both A and B in the above equation, is memorable enough to make year after year, and doesn’t take more time than wrapping most gifts. So, as usual, I suggest giving the gift of booze this year – and homemade booze adds an even special-er touch.
Chocolate Cream Liqueur
Makes 2-1/2 pints
2 cups dark rum
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1. Put all of the ingredients in order (you want the rum to take the first plunge, to convince the other ingredients everything is okay) to a sturdy blender. Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and well-combined.
2. Pour the liqueur into 1 large bottle or a number of small bottles or jars with tight-fitting lids. Seal and refrigerate. You can serve this right away, and please consume within 2 weeks.
A Note: I suggest shaking the bottle in a serious manner before serving (unless you’re serving right after making it) to assure that no settling has occurred.
June 5, 2009
Not that I’d want to tee off any polar bears (does anyone say “tee off” anymore, outside of the obvious golfers? That’s a good phrase. You should use it this weekend). Anyway, I finally got a copy of an interview I did that was printed in Onion’s NY edition about a billion years ago. Or last fall. It was when Luscious Liqueurs came out, so there is some liqueurs talk, but also just general drinking talk, talk about the Replacements, talk that could get me retroactive tickets, and more, all rolled up in an article that I now have as an incredibly-difficult-to-read pdf. It’s probably my favorite interview (even better than the one that starts “A.J. Rathbun, we’d kill to have a drink with you” if you can believe it), so you should read it! Right now. And if Andy Battaglia is out there, thanks pal. If you see Andy, buy him a drink for me, too.