September 1, 2017
I recently was lucky enough to have a day where I could make the claim to luckiest person around (admittedly, I haven’t checked with every single person worldwide to test this particular proclamation, but hey, I still believe). On that day I was able to share the stage with my pal, genius novelist Andrew Sean Greer, and talk to him about his latest book LESS, while making him a few cocktails. LESS, if you don’t know, is the book of 2017, gaining raves from near and far – with people like Christopher Buckley saying in the NY Times, “Andrew Sean Greer’s Less is excellent company. It’s no less than bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful.” And they’re all well-deserved, because the book is charming, creative, funny, touching, and detailed in locations around the world with so much pizzazz that it’s a wonder Andy isn’t being hired by every city to write about their city. If that makes sense! Buy it now! Anyway, I’m rambling, as one does about great books, but to get back to the booze, for said lucky-day-for-A.J. I made up two drinks for Andy and I to sip while talking, naming both after characters in LESS. This first is named after the Italian translator of Less’ (oh, Arthur Less is the main character in the book, a novelist) latest book, and in honor of her and the Italian section of the book, contains all Italian ingredients.
The Translation of Giuliana Monti
1-1/2 ounces Purus organic Italian vodka
1 ounce Donini Dono di Dio aged vin santo
3/4 ounce Campari
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full of cracked ice. Add everything but the twist. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist. Drink while reading LESS.
A Note: Donini Dono di Dio aged vin santo (vin santo being the “holy wine” of Italy, a lush dessert wine) is made by the fine folks at Donini winery, one of the finest in the universe, located in Verna, Italy, in my favorite area of Italy. If you can’t get it, I feel it’s time for you to take a vacation. Or, sub in another vin santo.
August 16, 2016
We don’t have a lot of comic book Cocktail Talks around the Spiked Punch parts, which does, I suppose, make sense, as not too many comics have drinky, cocktaily sections or such. Though, on the flip side, I read a fair amount of comics, so it should balance out, and today it does! With a power-booze-packed panel from Milk and Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad. If you haven’t read Milk and Cheese, well, a warning: it is about a carton of milk and a wedge of cheese, who happened to be the badass-est dairy products, and who revel in violence, drinking, ranting, and all that, in a way that’s serves up a dose of hilarity and spite-ful-ness. It’s sorta hard to describe, really! But when they celebrate birthdays, they do it like the below (around messing up people, places, and things):
–Evan Dorkin, Milk and Cheese
November 20, 2015
Sometimes, you can both help out and enjoy yourself – and this is one of those times! As we’re in the season for giving, I wanted to whip up a drink that in itself helped out a cause I believe is a good one, and Snow Leopards at Dawn is that drink. It starts with Snow Leopard vodka, which is the world’s first vodka made from Spelt grain, a rarer grain, and one grown without pesticides and such. Spelt (plus natural spring water) gives the vodka its taste, too, which is crisp, clear, and slightly nutty. All cool stuff! But even cooler is that 15% of all profits from the vodka are given directly to Snow Leopard conservation projects through the Snow Leopard Trust. That’s awesome! Snow Leopards are endangered, and can use the help. All of which leads to having the below cocktail. Drink up, help out. That’s a pretty darn swell combination.
Snow Leopards at Dawn
2 ounces Snow Leopard Vodka
1 ounce Pierre Ferrand dry orange curaçao
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, curaçao, bitters, and juice. Shake well.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Drink up.
August 28, 2015
A 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
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!
October 17, 2014
This is a drink from days of yore (which means, usually, with drinks, sometime in the late 1800s, early 1900s – this goes a bit on the front end) named after a beloved Russian ballet troupe that operated in Paris and sorta changed ballet and was also a fav of artist types. Also, one of the main female dancers was Tamara Karsavina, who I’m a bit fond of. What does that all mean for you, dear reader? Well, for one, now you know more about ballet, which may come in handy. Two, it means when you have a couple of these, you should plan on dancing around the room, probably in tights. Please send pics.
2 ounces Seattle Distilling Company vodka
1 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Cassis
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, cassis, and lime juice. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a small ballet shoe.
September 20, 2013
Sometimes, you (or I – though if this doesn’t happen to anyone else I’ll eat my hat) forget about a drink that you actually really like. There are so many drinks out there! Then you come back to it like an old friend after that first sip and think, why did I not drink this for so long? I recently had this moment with the Perseverance, which is a recipe featured in Wine Cocktails. It’s actually a nice end-of-summer-beginning-of-fall drink, so fit my mood as well. Tastiness.
1 ounce vodka (I think Rocket vodka is good)
2 ounces chilled Maryhill Rosé Sangiovese
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, rosé, maraschino, and bitters. Shake well.
2. Strain the Perseverance equally into two cocktail glasses.
September 6, 2013
While this drink’s name may be harkening to middle-summer (which for some is when harvest starts), I actually have it down as a fall number, thanks to the inclusion of cider – for some reason, I think of apples as a late fall crop. By the way, I could be totally wrong about all this. I can admit it. I can also admit that I know blueberries aren’t a fall harvest, and yet they’re still in here. Hah! Sometimes cocktail names just come about, and match the drink poetically, if not 100% factually. Oh, the cider here is from the new Seattle Cider Company, and so of course the blueberry addition comes from Sidetrack Distillery blueberry liqueur, cause I like to keep the locales local.
The Early Harvest
1 ounce vodka (keep it local with Bluewater’s organic vodka)
1-1/4 ounce Sidetrack Distillery Blueberry liqueur
3 ounces Seattle Cider Company Semi-Sweet cider
3 blueberries (or thereabouts) for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the vodka and the liqueur. Stir well.
2. Fill a highball or Old-Fashioned’y glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the vodka/liqueur combo over the ice.
3. Add the cider, and stir to combine. Drop in the blueberry garnish.
November 16, 2011
Earlier this week (see below) I talked about building a better Gin and Tonic (though the world didn’t beat a path to my door–yet) for pal Erika’s birthday. But we didn’t solely serve G&Ts at the birthday party, though they were quite fantastic. We also whipped out a new-old drink, or old-new, in honor of the occasion. See, I had some homemade blackberry liqueur around that was begging to be consumed in something bubbly and some nice recently-released local vodka begging for the same. I couldn’t resist the call, and so fashioned a drink based on one created for another pal, Rebecca (a recipe for The Rebecca, the drink, can be found in either Good Spirits or Champagne Cocktails, both of which I hope you have, cause we’re pals, right?). The Erikecca combines the two ingredients touched on above, Skip Rock vodka–a smooth, berry-friendly, potato vodka made in Snohomish, WA–and blackberry liqueur with a demi sec sparkling wine to lovely, and tasty, effect. It’s a drink worthy of a serious birthday celebration, or any old celebration. And, as some philosophers say it’s right to celebrate every day, that means you should have this drink every day. At least that makes sense to me.
1-1/2 ounces Skip Rock vodka
1-1/2 ounces blackberry liqueur
Chilled demi sec sparkling wine
Frozen blackberry, for garnish
Ice cube (if needed)
1. Add the vodka and the blackberry liqueur to a flute glass. Stir once or twice.
2. Fill the glass about three-quarters full with sparkling wine–carefully, though, so it doesn’t bubble over. Stir again, carefully, briefly, to introduce the vodka and the liqueur into the bubbly.
3. Garnish with the blackberry by dropping it into the glass. If your sparkling wine isn’t good and chilled, feel okay about adding one ice cube to keep this cool.
A Note: Not sure about making blackberry liqueur? Luckily, there’s a great recipe for one, called Always Bet on Blackberries, in Luscious Liqueurs. And yep, I’ve managed to link to three books in one post. Amazing.