Even though it’s probably 10 degrees hotter in central Italy right now than in Seattle (where I’m typing this – not sure where wherever you are falls in the temperature spectrum, but wherever, it won’t make a different in how much you enjoy this drink), even though, I’d still at this particular moment rather be kicking it in my old Italian home (oh, hey, I used to live in Italy), with my dogs, sitting in the olive grove, having this very drink, which I came up with when living in Italy. It’s highlighted by the Italian liqueur Strega, which is one of my favorite things, a beautiful drink on its own, with herbal goodness and trademark golden hue (brought on by saffron), but also a fine player in cocktails. Have one of these with me, and we can both dream in Italian.
It’s a proud day in Spiked Punch land – our pal Ed Skoog has a new book out and ready for reading. It’s his latest poetry collection (he is a poetic genius, as well as being a dandy drink maker, bonny bar companion, general good egg, and cute) and it’s called Rough Day, and you should get it today! Then, after getting it, come back and watch Ed make his world famous Ellipse in the below Cocktail to Cocktail Hour episode, which we’re resurfacing from way back in season 2 in honor of his new book.
Hello hello. I’ve been lucky enough to do some fantastic blogs and articles for Seattle Magazine recently (like I’ve mentioned in past Seattle Magazine blog posts here on Spiked Punch), and in case you somehow missed them, now’s your chance to catch up on your reading. Cause you can’t get enough of me, right? Right? Here is a selection of the goods, in bulleted fashion:
Ba, baa, baaa, ba bum! That’s right cocktail lovers, the moment you’ve dreamed about since the finale of the last season of the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour dripped to a close is here–the new C2C season is now beginning (sorry for the wait. Our cameraman had some problems in a Central American lock up. But all’s well now). And what a beginning it is, friends, one that will be sung about in bars from here to Poughkeepsie. We have a very special lit’rary guest for this first episode, none other than poet and drink-maker and shot-putter extraordinaire, Ed Skoog, making his soon-to-be-renowned cocktail (a cocktail featured in Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz) the Ellipse. I’d say more, but I don’t want to spoil the fun, and the episode is a tad lengthy, so, with no further palaver, let the new season begin.
TheGinger Bliss and the Violet Fizz Rob Roy release party is only 4 days away (it’s happening, if you’ve been in the outback, on 10/8, from 2 to 4), and I’m already twitching with excitement about having one of the wonderful drinks bartender supremo Andrew Bohrer will be whipping up with penultimate panache. He’s doing two from the book, the Bitter Handshake and the Bruja Smash, the latter of which I’m going to tempt you with today. It’s an kind-of-crushed-ice-y affair, using one of my all-time favs, Italian spicy (as in, using spices like saffron) and gold liqueur Strega, alongside tequila and some fruity goodness all mixed up with balance, care, and craft. And muscles. Jeez, if that’s not enough to start mouths a-watering, then I suppose I’ll put the recipe here, right now:
7 fresh mint leaves
7 fresh raspberries
1-1/2 ounces white tequila
1 ounce Strega
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 mint sprig, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with crushed ice. Add the mint leaves, raspberries, tequila, Strega, and lemon juice. Shake really well.
2. Dump the contents of the shaker (no straining here) into a large tulip-style beer glass or other good-sized pretty vessel.
3. Fill the glass with crushed ice, garnish with the mint sprig, and serve with a straw.
PS: In the actually GBVF version of the Bruja Smash, I talk a lot about ol’ greenskin, the Incredible Hulk. How? Why? Well, you’ll have to get a copy, friends, to find out. And you can, this Saturday. See you there.
Hello and happy Monday! It’s not only now less than two weeks before the below-mentioned Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz Rob Roy release event, but today is also the birthday of Mr. Ed Skoog, a poet and cocktail aficionado of the first ranking, whose poems highlight the compilation of drinking verse called In Their Cups, and whose past spirited creations have been in Dark Spirits, that compendium of darkly-natured drinks. Those two occurrences (Mr. Skoog’s birthday and upcoming GBVF party) make this the absolutely perfect day to drink an Ellipse. Why? Cause it’s a drink created by Skoog that’s featured in Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz. A delicious and creative drink, I may say, also, though you should expect that from Mr. Skoog. And I expect you to wish him happy fortieth today, if you happen to see him. And buy him a drink why dontcha?
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram leaves
2 ounces Strega
Fresh marjoram sprig, for garnish
1. Add the marjoram to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle gently.
2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Strega. Shake well.
3. Strain (preferably with a fine-mesh strainer) into a flute glass. Top with Prosecco, almost to the rim, and garnish with the marjoram.
I recently was slinging cocktails for an Italian-themed charity event (it was for my mom’s HeartWork, if you’re interested), and the drinks were so popular (I say, humbly) that I wanted to post a couple. And, I had a few myself, so I thought they’d fit right into the What’s I’m Drinking group. But here, in this picture, it wasn’t me drinking, but Kent, one of the fantastic piano players who were tickling the ivies for the event. And what he was drinking was the La Rana d’Oro. Sounds continentally intriguing, yes? Really, though, between us, it was just an older drink called the Golden Frog, which I’d Italian-ized (in name, anyway). The drink is packed with Italian punch no matter what language the name is in, however, boasting both Galliano and Strega, two golden and delicious Italian liqueurs. It has a bit of a kick, but hey, what would you expect from a frog? Kent sure seemed to like it:
1-1/2 ounces vodka
1-1/2 ounces Galliano
1/2 ounce Strega
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway up with ice cubes. Add the vodka, Galliano, Strega, and lemon juice. Shake well.
The Man Behind the Evening's PlansA.J. Rathbun is a freelance food and entertainment writer, poet and author, a frequent guest on the Everyday Food program (Martha Stewart Living/Sirius satellite radio), and is a contributor to culinary & entertainment magazines such as Every Day with Rachael Ray, The Food Network Magazine, Real Simple, Wine Enthusiast, and many others. Of course, there's so much more to it than that...Read More