January 7, 2011
Not too long ago, I was lucky enough to be able to play around with making drinks that feature Washington State cider-maker Tieton’s ciders. Operating out of the Yakima, WA area, Tieton ciders utilize all-natural ingredients, are made with care, and are starting to be more and more widely available. The ingredients and care are evident when drinking them, too, as they boast clear, crisp taste (which is what you want in your ciders—stay away from those overly sugary messes). At first, I was a little unsure about what I’d mix up with them, but after taking a few sips my unsure-ness re-routed straight into excitement. The following are my two favorite Tieton mixes. So, head down to your store and pick up some Tieton cider (or head down to complain that they don’t yet have them) and then cocktail up.
Harmony in C
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
3/4 ounces Grand Marnier
1 dash Peychauds bitters
2 ounces chilled Tieton Wild Washington apple cider
Apple slice, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, Grand Marnier, and bitters. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the Tieton Blend apple cider. Stir briefly and carefully. Garnish with the apple slice.
1 ounce applejack or apple brandy
3/4 ounce Benedictine
2 dashes Fee Brother peach bitters
Chilled Tieton Blend apple cider
Mint sprig, for garnish (optional)
Apple slice, for garnish (optional)
1. Fill an Old Fashioned glass three quarters full with ice cubes. Add the applejack, Benedictine, and bitters. Stir briefly.
2. Fill the glass almost to the rim with Tieton Blend apple cider. Stir again, briefly. Garnish with a mint sprig and an apple slice, if desired.
August 27, 2010
A little serious (with the seriousness of gin), but with enough fruity overtones to ensure no one gets ponderous in conversation or step, the Après Coup is easy enough to make on a whim but layered enough in flavor to support a whole party. As long as the partiers weren’t opposed to staying up late. Cause you know a drink with Maraschino is going to have you up past midnight, right? I mean, the Maraschino (and I go Luxardo, because that’s the way I roll) is all about living after midnight. So much so that Rob Halford used to carry a whole crate of bottles of tour with him. Think I’m fibbing?
1-1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce Chambord
1/4 ounce Maraschino liqueur
1 dash Peychaud bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass three-quarters full with cracked ice. Add the gin, Chambord, Maraschino, and bitters. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass (or, if there aren’t any clean ones left, any old glass that isn’t tattooed with lipstick or halfway full with an old drink works).
August 3, 2010
It’s August, and gardens are seriously in overdrive, and flowers are still showing their faces, and skirts and shorts seem to be getting even shorter. It’s enough to make one blush, all this blooming. But I suggest, all my little summertime Romeos and Juliets, that you remember what the word “accismus” means: showing no interest in something while secretly wanting it. Or, to say it another way, don’t forget to keep your cool in the face of all this sultry floral-ness. To help out, here’s a delish little floral drink. It’s a tad sweet, but sweetness will balance out the saltiness from any late-summer sweat.
1-1/2 ounce Hangar One Mandarin Blossom vodka
1 ounce Crème de Violette
1/2 ounce Aperol
1 dash Fee Brothers peach bitters
Edible flowers for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the vodka, crème de violette, Aperol, and bitters. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a few edible flowers.
A Note: The new Crème Yvette can be subbed in for the Crème di Violette with no ill effects.
July 20, 2010
Heck, I was going to say this: “some days, about 1 pm, I just get a feeling that I’d like some sort of sparkling wine cocktail.” But honestly, between us bubbly pals (and we are, I hope), what I really mean is this: “every day, about 1 pm, I just get a feeling that I’d like some sort of sparkling wine cocktail.” Today, it’s the Pensiero, which is from the upcoming Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions and Scintillating Sparklers. The Pensiero is a drink that involves thinking only to the point of the word (Pensiero) meaning “thought” (that’s almost a meta-booze-ical sentence). And to the point of tracking down a little Brachetto d’Acqui. If you don’t know, Brachetto d’Acqui is another in the lovely line of Italian effervescents, one made from the Brachetto grape (originally grown in the Acqui district). It’s lightly fizzy and features a taste redolent of berries, cherries, spices, and flowers–and it’s a bit sweet, making it an after-lunch or dinner partner of choice for many. If it’s 1 pm wherever you are, or fast approaching, then I suggest you track down a bottle and starting thinking about the Pensiero (whoa, that’s deep).
1 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 ounces Punt e Mes
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
Chilled Brachetto d’Acqui
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the orange juice, Punt e Mes, Campari, and simple syrup. Shake thoughtfully.
2. Strain the mixture into a flute glass. Top with Brachetto d’Acqui. Garnish with the lemon twist.
July 6, 2010
Summer has finally it seems found its way to Seattle, and as hemlines go up with the increase in temperature, the amount of tall bubbly refreshing drink consumption also needs to go up. Sadly, I’m just looking out the window dreaming of the above right now (and while I meant dreaming of refreshing drinks, you can dream about them with rising hemlines if you want. I’m sure not gonna tell you not to), but when I move from dream to reality, I’m starting with a Foppa (the below recipe is from Dark Spirits, proving that the darker base spirits can be as useful in summer as in winter).
I found the Foppa in an Italian book called Cocktails: Classici & Esotici (Demetra, 2002) and love how it mingles ingredients from all over the globe: Scotch whisky, amaretto, dry vermouth (sometimes known as French vermouth), and ginger ale combine to become a lovely world tour of refreshment in a glass. Use it to break the heat and, after a couple, as a spur to taking those hemlines even higher. I mean, it is hot outside.
1 1/2 ounces Scotch
1/2 ounce amaretto
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
Chilled ginger ale
1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the Scotch, amaretto, and vermouth. Stir with a long spoon.
2. Top the glass off with ginger ale. Stir again.
A Note: The original recipe here suggests single-malt Scotch, but I like using a nice blended version, which I think works well with the other ingredients (something like Dewar’s is a dandy choice). They also suggest using Di Saronno Amaretto, which traces its secret recipe back to 1525. A good suggestion, I think.
March 23, 2010
Okay, I’m just thirsty. So thirsty I don’t have the energy to write the full-on over-the-top legendary journey of cocktails blog post I want to write about the weekend before last, a weekend of amazing cocktails that would leave every other blog post in the dusty dust, that would make you want to stroll in my shoes (or at least borrow my throat and tastebuds for awhile), a blog post that would involve at least 74.5% of the top cocktail creators in Seattle, and me tasting their drinks, a blog that would make you drool like George the Animal Steel before a cage match, a blog that might just have you (if you don’t live in Seattle already) running screaming to your suitcase, packing said suitcase, and getting a ticket here poste haste, a blog that if you already lived in Seattle would make you instantly descend to the floor crying tears of joy in front of your liquor cabinet, shelf, or box, happy that you could follow my footsteps in cocktails, a blog that might just cause the whole internet to go silent as a lonely ice cube due to everyone shaking off the electronic shackles to go on a drinks quest, the blog I want to write but just am too thirsty to write (but write it, someday, I will), so instead I’m just writing this post about how much I’d like to be drinking an Athenian at Cicchetti, a drink made with Metaxa, Martini and Rossi Bianco vermouth, and Scrappy’s grapefruit bitters, the very drink pictured below. Look at it, friends, and dream along with me (and if you’re not on the Scrappy’s bitters wagon, then get on it.)
September 4, 2009
It could be said that this is the last day of summer (the Friday before Labor Day and all), the last day when, at least out here in Seattle W-A, the sun is still shining brightly and the backyard is still calling out to be sat within and relaxed within and shirtsleeves are still just dandy as attire (with pants, or without, your call), and while there might be a small bit of chill in the air, it’s possible in that summertime way to ignore it (cause really, isn’t summer about ignoring responsibility? Being more grasshopper than ant?). That’s today folks, and on a day like today, though I might sing the praises of high-falooting cocktails, and might even have one later, what I really feel like on a day like today is a cold bottle of Miller High Life. Probably I feel that way cause my old pal and serious bartending angel Joel Meister and I used to drink them like water throughout the summertime months when we were a bit younger–heck, we never had a fridge from late May through August that didn’t contain at least two bottles in it no matter the hour of the day for emergencies–and those were good, memorable months that embodied that whole recklessly lovely tipsy-ness that is summer. What’s all this shake up to? Me giving out a toast to everyone celebrating that last day of summer, a toast in the form of the one and only Champagne of Beers, a toast to you. Drink up pals, and hold on to that summer sun as long as possible.