April 3, 2020

What I’m Drinking: Pleasant Bounty

When in the situation we all find ourselves within (Together we can do it! Stay safe and keep others safe! All of that with exclamation points!), me as well as you I’m sure are spending more time at home. Good! But when at home, I find myself wondering what I can make for sipping that’s different – give myself a little project. Or, wondering what I can make that is easy, allowing me more time to sit on the couch and read The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries. Today, though, it’s the former of those two, the “different” path. And this path was unveiled via a suggestion/question (qugestion?) that happened way back when, like when things were starting to get mad but not as mad, from two fine folks I know: genius writer Paul Tobin and genius artist (and writer, really) Colleen Coover. I am luckily enough to be friends with these geniuses (should be geni, really) and connected on the Twitters, and there, they nicely roped me into a very important drink-a-logical conversation re: using peanut butter in drinks. It took me awhile to get on the pb-drinks trolley, but as I now (thanks virus) have a lot of time on my hands, and always (thanks tastebuds) have a love for peanut butter, finally dove in to the nutty problem. And decided to go a route I hadn’t seen, but now see is all over the internet, or at least has search results – making a peanut butter simple syrup.

 

See, I though in a lightbulb-in-a-bar-glass moment that creating said syrup would make for a more mitigating pal when playing with other liquids. It took me a little messing around (I like that!) to get to a syrup I was at least partially fond of, and I’m still not sure it’s perfect. If you’re curious (and can’t wait for the recipe below), equality was what punched the pb syrup ticket, equality of peanut butter, sugar, and water. Yay! Once the pb syrup was syrup’d to my liking, then it was drink time. Yay, again! I made two I liked, but between us, I’m still not completely convinced that I couldn’t make better, make more, and keep tweaking the formula. Above-mentioned genius Colleen has already done such she’s told me, bringing chocolate into the syrup-making mix – seems, well, a genius idea.

 

Anyway, before I ramble out of the bar, Pleasant Bounty is the first pb syrup drink. I wanted to have one at least with whiskey, cause it can be nutty, and for said brown, I picked locally-made and awesome Woodinville Whiskey Flagship Bourbon, which just won “Best Straight Bourbon Whiskey of 2020” and a Double Gold Medal (DOUBLE GOLD) at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Using only grain grown on a WA farm (grain grown just for them), it’s a caramelly, vanilla, spice, dream. For the final ingredient, went with another nutty number, Sidetrack Distillery’s Nocino walnut liqueur. Also a bit spicy with a bit of a kick, it adds more nuttiness to this drink, and this nutty world. In hindsight, perhaps I could have upped the pb simple a little. Hmm. Would be more sweet, but more peanut-y. User choice!

 PB-1

Pleasant Bounty

 

1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. Flagship Bourbon

3/4 ounce peanut butter simple syrup (recipe below)

1/2 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Nocino

Cracked ice

 

1. Add the first three ingredients above to a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Stir gently.

 

2. Add a little ice, and again stir gently. Strain into a cocktail glass or something like it. Be pleasant.

 

A Note: You could fine strain this to get rid of any stray peanut-y bits, but I sorta liked them. If you use crunchy, probably strain.

 

Peanut Butter Simple Syrup Recipe Note: It’s really easy to make this, and it would be absolutely absolute on ice cream as well as in drinks. You just need to add equal parts peanut butter (use one that’s made from only peanuts – I think creamy or smooth works nicely, but crunch if that’s your thing), sugar, and water to a saucepan over low-to-medium low heat. Whisk continually until the sugar is dissolved. You don’t want to overheat, I found. But again, still experimenting!

 

December 10, 2019

Learn About Wonderful Washington State Digestifs with Me and New Day Northwest

Eating too much this holiday season? Well, you need a good digestif – and I’ve got a bunch to suggest, all made by the world’s best distillers, right in WA state! And I’ve got the perfect place to suggest them – the mighty morning show New Day Northwest, with mighty morning show host Margaret Larson. Okay, to be honest, the show was right before Thanksgiving. But the digestifs are still good, and the sipping advice goes through the whole season – and beyond! Check it out, pals!

April 26, 2019

What I’m Drinking: What the Doctor Ordered

Thought the rain and clouds and more some are experiencing (some meaning even me) may make it hard to imagine, spring is springing into action, and palates are moving slowly or quickly (depending on how fast your palate moves) into more refreshing numbers here and there and otherwheres. Which means this drink’s title becomes more and more apt, because the drink is a tall refreshing number, but one which has an undercurrent of rummy goodness (which, I suppose, points to summer, too), so fits the transition into spring. If any of that makes sense, fantastic! But I haven’t even mentioned what may be the key to all of this: Sidetrack Distillery’s lovely Nocino green walnut liqueur. Deliciously made using walnuts from their own farm, this Italian-inspired treat adds an individual note here. It, the rum, and the cider all bring this together into a manner that – between us – is ideal for spring, but also fall, and for that matter, summer, and winter!

what-the-doctor-ordered-ar
What the Doctor Ordered

Cracked ice
2 ounces dark rum (I used Mount Gay)
1/2 ounce Sidetrack Nocino walnut liqueur
3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the rum and Nocino. Stir well

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the cider. Stir carefully and briefly. Enjoy the good health.

November 10, 2017

What I’m Drinking: The Plot Begins

It’s November here in Seattle (haha), which means the sky has shifted to grey, there’s cold rain in the wind, and people are looking longingly at their calendars. But, it’s also the time of year when whiskey takes more of a center stage spot (not that it’s ever off-stage, mind you me). Why now? Well, it’s warming for one! Also, it just adds a level of brown comfort to a cold evening. At least that’s what I thought when needing a drink for this chilly night. And luckily (lucky me!), I recently received a swell bottle of whiskey, Billy rye whiskey, in the mail, and wanted to take it for a cocktail drive.

Coming from Oregon’s McMenamins (known best for their series of creative bars, but also expanding as a distillery), Billy rye is a sibling of Billy whiskey, and is a limited-availability number, but one worth tracking down. Aged four years in American oak, it has a deep and cuddly and toasty molasses, oakiness, and caramel nature that’s begging to be sipped, and felt, to me, that it’d pair perfectly with some nuttiness. So, I went with the green-walnut liqueur nocino. I used local Sidetrack Distillery Nocino, which is a rich, strong, version of nocino, one I love. To add some undercurrents to our cocktail story I doubled up on bitters, with a bit of both Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters and Fee Brothers West Indian orange bitters. But, it felt unfinished, so I traveled even farther up the west coast, and brought in Sons of Vancouver’s (a distillery in North Vancouver, CA) No. 82 amaretto as our second to the last character – a big orange twist is the final one. Inspired by their mother’s canning recipes it has just five ingredients (apricot kernels, Bourbon vanilla beans, orange peel, Demerara sugar, and blackberry honey) and like our nocino is well worth tracking down.

And the plot all came together, letting the rye lead, but with a host of flavors swirling: nutty, herbally, a smidge of sweet, tiny hints of citrus, it took my mind right off the weather outside. Oh, if you don’t have Sidetrack or Sons of Vancouver in your backyard, well, I feel sad for you! You could sub in other nocinos and amarettos, sure. Won’t be exactly canonical, but still readable – or drinkable.

plot-begins
The Plot Begins

2 ounces McMenamins Billy rye whiskey
3/4 ounces Sidetrack Nocino
1/2 ounce Sons of Vancouver No. 82 amaretto
2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers West Indian orange bitters
Wide orange twist, for garnish
Big ice cube (or a couple decent-sized ones)

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything but the twist (it’s that kind of story). Stir well.

2. Add a big ol’ ice cube to an Old Fashioned or comparable glass. Strain the mix into said glass. Garnish with the orange twist, and a happy finish to the plot.

May 19, 2017

What I’m Drinking: 52 Skips

Washington is a state under a good sign, one with I think an awesome good fairy (or whatever mythological taker-carer-of creature you’d like), and just lucky, because we have such an outstanding local distillery community. We have distillers of all types, and some make a wide range of tasty products – one of those is Skip Rock distillery out of Snohomish, WA. They make rums, whiskeys, vodkas, liqueurs, and recently unveiled their Bicycle Tree gin, named after a local legendary tree you could ride cycles through, and with a classic-via-the-northwest flavor (juniper, local botanicals, yumminess). They have so many options I thought – why not make a single-distillery cocktail? Single-barrel things are all the rage, but a single-distillery cocktail, which only uses ingredients from one distillery? That’s next wave stuff people! And exactly what I did here, using that new gin as a base, then their tangy and fresh Raspberry liqueur with it, and a little of their walnut-y Nocino to round it out. Lots of layers of flavors, starting with fruit and those gin-ical botanicals and spices, and then ending a little nutty, it’s all here, and all from one distillery.

52-skips52 Skips

 

Cracked ice

1-1/2 ounces Skip Rock Bicycle Tree gin

1 ounce Skip Rock Raspberry liqueur

1/2 ounce Skip Rock Nocino

 

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add all the Skip Rock. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink up.

July 12, 2013

What I’m Drinking: What the Doctor Ordered

I am not, as stated in other places, a medical doctor. Neither am I Doctor Johnny Fever. I do know that according to many many old wives, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, however. I am not trying to sew discord between old wives and doctors, either, but am saying that even if a true doctor wouldn’t prescribe this drink, the fact that it contains apple cider means that it does, according to old wives, have some medicinal properties. Oh, it has rum, too, which many folks once thought was healthy, unless it was being forced on you by pirates. If that wasn’t enough for you to realize the healing factor of this drink, let me add that its third ingredient is Sidetrack Distillery Nocino, the finest Nocino made outside of Italy. Nocino, if you need to know, is a green-walnut liqueur, well and famous in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. And everyone knows that walnuts are healthy. Maybe doctors really would order this, after all. At least Doctor Fever would.

what-the-doctor-ordered

 What the Doctor Ordered

Ice cubes

2 ounces dark rum (Mount Gay works nicely)

1/2 ounce Sidetrack Nocino

3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum and Nocino. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the cider. Stir carefully and briefly. Enjoy the good health.

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