July 2, 2021
Those, like you, who have been reading this blog for the last 10 years know that I have a white currant bush that I’m a tad bit obsessed with, and which I usually use the fruit from to make a white currant liqueur called Current Currant, which is darn delicious, and then also last year made a white currant and mint liqueur called A Most Particular Friend. See, the currant bush is now large enough that it has fruit usually for two batches or so of liqueur, unless making a very big batch (it can be devilish tricky to pick the currants, as they tend to fall off easily, and bounce around, and are fairly small for one with thick old fingers, but it’s worth it, I feel, to get that white currant taste, which is a bright citrus-y June-y taste all its own). Recently, I actually picked the first round of currants, as not all the little balls of joy ripen at the same moment; hence the first round being ready, well, first. Anywho, I wasn’t sure what to do with them, as I didn’t think there were enough for Current Currant, and so I decided to try something new – strawberries and currants (I had some strawberries around)! Check them out:
The sweetness and summer-ness of strawberries felt a good match for the tangy burst (with the barest hint here and there of bitterness) currants deliver. And, this time, I was right! The final liqueur-ing has the kissy nature of a good strawberry (I doubled down on the strawberry-ing by making a strawberry simple as our sweetener), but then the above the cloud citrus notes of the currants lingering. Dare I say, it’s summer in a glass? I dare, I dare!
Strawcurranterry, Strawberry and White Currant Liqueur
1/2 cup white currants
2 cups chopped strawberries
3 cups vodka
2 cups sugar
2 cups chopped strawberries
2 cups water
1. Add the currants and first back of strawberries (2 cups) to a large glass container with a good lid. Muddle nicely. Add the vodka, stir, and put that lid on it. Store in a cool dark place away from the sun. Let sit two weeks, swirling occasionally.
2. Add the sugar and second batch (2 cups) of strawberries to a medium-sized saucepan. Muddle briefly, mellowly. Add the water to the pan. Raise the temperature to medium high and heat to a boil, stirring regularly. Reduce the heat a touch, and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, stirring here and there. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
3. Open the jar from Step 1 back up, add the simple syrup, strawberries and all, to the jar, and stir well. Place it back in the cool dark place, and let sit two more weeks, swirling occasionally.
4. Strain – I went once through a decent fine strainer to get the fruit out, and then through cheesecloth to add more clarity. You might need a third straining, too.
June 12, 2020
Having a good drink on your birthday is (if you’re a drinker, and of legal age in the country you choose to live within) a treat, and should be something everyone gets to enjoy. With that in mind, I made up the below drink for an old pal of mine (I’ll bet you can’t guess his name) for a recent birthday, bottled up a few, and gave them to him in the appropriate manner for the times. But, because he is a such a rad dude, I didn’t feel I could just come up with any ol’ drink, but wanted it to have a little bit of a backstory. That might be, you’d think, difficult, but said fella has been a traveling man here and there in his time here, and so the lightbulb moment was “hey, how about using some ingredients from where he went in his life” or where he did “go” so to speak. And if I also made Bingo boards around said birthday, well, that’s just me. Back to the drink. It starts with a little smooth and friendly Barsol Peruvian pisco, as our base. Then, traveling back here to the states, we go to Indianapolis, where some lush limoncello is made by Hotel Tango Distillery. And then, right back here to the W-A where birthday boy lives now, with Sidetrack’s amazing Strawberry liqueur (made on the world’s swellest farmer, just outside of Kent), and Scrappy’s unbelievable Black Lemon bitters, made in Seattle. Altogether, get your go on with the Shango! On your birthday, or anyone’s birthday!
1-1/2 ounce Barsol pisco
3/4 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Strawberry liqueur
3/4 ounce Hotel Tango limoncello
Dash Scrappy’s Black Lemon bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything, and stir. Go, go, go!
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink around the world.
February 15, 2012
As I detailed a few ticks of the Spiked Punch blog ago (and in the swell Seattle Magazine), Seattle and WA are in the midst of a distillery boom of sorts, and I couldn’t be happier. All this fantastic local booze to sip and shake and sip some more? Great with me. One of the newer distilleries that I was a little slow to track down is the Sidetrack distillery, in Kent, WA, outside of the city of Seattle (I mention this mostly to give myself an excuse for the tardy tasting, not out of any geographical bias). Sidetrack is situated right on the Lazy River Farm and makes an assortment of liqueurs and fruit brandies with fruit grown on the farm–now that’s using local ingredients. This focus on fresh and homegrown fruit lends the liqueurs (full disclosure: I haven’t had the brandies, but am excited to try them. Second disclosure: I was given samples of the liqueurs) a bright, clear fruit taste backed by a smooth slight sweetness. There are four varieties: blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry. I went with the strawberry here in the Straw Track cocktail, because it seemed to yell “summer” the most to me, and as it’s mid-February I needed a jolly jolt of summer. I think, though, that this drink is balanced enough, and bubbly enough, to have year round.
1-1/2 ounces gin (I would stick with the WA theme and use Voyager if you can get it)
1/2 ounce Sidetrack Strawberry liqueur
Chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine
Lemon slice, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin and liqueur. Stir well.
2. Strain into a flute or other charming glass. Top with chilled bubbly and garnish with that lemon slice.