August 28, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Behold, The River

behold-the-riverA late summer number if there ever was one – Behold, The River is refreshing, full of summer-y flavors without being near treacly, a nice color, and not too hard to make. If you’re actually having it alongside a river, well, you get bonus points for that! Not sure what the bonus points get you however, except a good time, and some undying gratitude from those you make the drink for, and my high esteem. Which may be worth something?

Behold, The River

Ice cubes
1-3/4 ounces vodka
1 ounce Sidetrack Distillery blackberry liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Four ounces chilled club soda

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, liqueur, and lemon juice. Shake well.

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into the glass. Top with the soda. Stir carefully, but thoroughly.

A Note: Having trouble finding Sidetrack Distillery blackberry liqueur? Well, you may need to take a trip to Washington, oh intrepid one!

July 31, 2015

What I’m Drinking: The Violet Fizz

You know a drink’s good when it’s in the title of a book. Hah! See, the funny part is, I’m saying that about this particular drink that is in the title of one of my own books (Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, that is), which  probably makes me sound like a bit of a chump. But heck, when you try the bubbly below drink, you’ll forgive me I’ll bet. It’s another one that’s matches summer like a well-matched sock (I really love socks – one more little tidbit about me you were dying to know), as it’s refreshing but not too taxing to make. I suggest it for brunches, where its color and deliciously delicate flavor is sure to be a hit.

violet-fizz

The Violet Fizz

Ice cubes
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce crème de violette
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4  ounce simple syrup
Chilled club soda

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, crème de violette, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake extra well.

2. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mixture into the glass.

3. Fill the glass with chilled club soda, stir well, and drink quickly, before those bubbles have a chance to fade.

July 3, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Good Luck In Pisticci

I’ve been lucky in life, in that I’ve had a fairly large share of amari (the Italian digestif of herbally goodness everyone loves now), and been a fan for a while, and have brought a couple neat obscure ones back from Italy. I feel like I’m bragging  – please don’t throw a tin can at me! Here’s one thing that will balance it out. I haven’t had a bottle of Amaro Lucano in the house before! Before now, that is (hah)! I’d tasted it before, and liked it, but until a bottle showed up, as they sometimes do, I hadn’t spent any real time with this particular amaro.

If you don’t know, Lucano has been around since 1894, when a well-known cookie baker (really! I love these stories) named Pasquale Vena blended up mysterious herbs and spices and boom, deliciousness. It really kicked up the fame, though, when in 1900 it became the drink of choice to ancient ruling family the House of Savoy, whose crest is on the bottle. Neat, right? The amaro is a tiny smidge to the right on the sweetness scale for amari, with a strong caramel-ness, though containing a rich bitterness as well, and nice floral, citrus, and spice accents.

Anyway, it’s the kind of thing you tend to have after dinner, and not what you think of as a summer treat. Which is why I challenged myself to make a summer drink with it – because I am like that, and because I like bitter sodas, and because what’s the world for if you don’t challenge yourself? All that! So, I paired it up with some usual and some unusual suspects, tried a little of this, and a little of that, and came up with the below. It’s effervescent, it’s got a host of herb and spice and citrus notes, and it’s darn refreshing and flavorful all at once, like a bubbly Tilt-a-While for your tongue. Try it – and then thank the Vena family. And me (well, why not?).

lucky-in-p
Good Luck In Pisticci

1-1/2 ounces gin (I used Kur gin)
3/4 ounce Amaro Lucano
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
2 dashes Scrappy’s Grapefruit bitters
Ice cubes
4 ounces chilled club soda
Mint sprig

1. Add the gin, Amaro Lucano, Grand Marnier, and Scrappy’s to a mixing glass. Stir well.

2 Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Pour the mix from step 1 into the glass over the top.

3. Top with soda water. Stir briefly. Garnish with the mint sprig.

PS: Yes, that’s a Don Ho glass! I am very lucky indeed.

April 23, 2012

What I’m Drinking: Ten Nights in June

Even here in sunny (hah! got you looking) Seattle the hints of summer are hinting at the sunnier days to come. Enough so that I’ve been looking towards summer cocktails and starting to plan what might make up the mainstays of my summertime menus. I naturally start with some of the classics (the Summer Beer, as those who know me well know, makes any hot weather drink list of mine, as does the basic and basically wonderful Tom Collins) but then move into trying out new drinks that could make the roster, so to speak. One that’s making a strong push for inclusion is called Ten Nights in June. It come into play thanks to a liqueur somewhat new to me, The King’s Ginger (disclosure: I was sent a bottle in the mail). Carrying a bit more of a hearty hello and wearing more of a citrus hat than other ginger liqueurs, along with its ginger accents, The King’s Ginger was, as legend and lore tell us, created by the Berry Brotheres way back in the year 1903 especially for King Edward VII, the Peacemaker, who desired a pic’um’up before his morning jaunts. Ever since I had the first sip I’ve been playing around with using it in various cocktails in my mind and in the real world.

But it took me awhile to find one that I wanted to keep in the rotation (as they say, whoever they are), and it was somewhat of a left turn in a way. First, the drink is more highball than cocktail. Second, it’s simple as simple can be. Third, and most importantly, the other key ingredient is sparkling hard cider. Are you shocked? C’mon, admit you’re shocked. I was a little shocked. You can be shocked. But not so shocked so as not to try it. Really, it makes sense in a way. Apples and ginger are a good match. Something bubbly and cool is good as summer rolls in to town. And underlying a light drink with a wee boom is good. Good, good, and good. I suggest you put this one onto your summer roster as well.

Ice cubes

2 ounces The King’s Ginger liqueur

3-1/2 ounce chilled hard cider (I used Strongbow, but most dry English-style ciders would be good)

Lemon slice, for garnish

1. Fill a big ol’ Old Fashioned or comparable glass about halfway with ice cubes. Add the King’s Ginger and then the cider. Stir well, but respectfully.

2. Squeeze the lemon slice over and then drop it it. Drink up, pals and gals.

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