February 2, 2024

What I’m Drinking: Thy Noble Father

February is here, a month known for hearts and presidents and the birthdays of famous dog-owners (the last very subjective). As the presidents in reference here, in this month, calendarically are those who kick-started or had serious impact on the US, we’re talking males, fathers or father figures or both, and perhaps bourbon lovers (conjecture, unless time machines are on offer), and historically sort-of noble (naturally history is written by those who, well, are able to write it, and without the aforementioned time machines hard to declare nobility – which is a hard word to define anyway – in a way, but go with it, okay), which makes this the ideal month for this drink. A noble drink, I may say, especially if you live in and love WA state (as I do, in the main), as nearly every ingredient here is from WA – oranges excepted. We’re talking some seriously tasty state stalwarts, too: Woodinville Whiskey Co.’s delicious straight bourbon, Brovo Spirits’ bouncy Orange Curaçao, and Scrappy’s uniquely awesome Black Lemon bitters. Plus, a dollop of Seattle Distilling Company’s beautiful brandy – if you have it. That latter is hard to come by, unless you hoarded (like me) a last sip from a limited-release bottling. If you weren’t so lucky (or forward-thinking), then sub in another reputable brandy, please. It shouldn’t make the drink too less noble. It is a swell sipper, for February – or any ol’ month in the year.

Thy Noble Father cocktail with Woodinville bourbon, Brovo curacao, Scrappy's Black Lemon bitters, and more
I originally made this for NewDay Northwest, as evidenced by the snappy wallpaper behind the drink!

Thy Noble Father

Cracked ice

1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. Straight Bourbon

3/4 ounce Brovo Spirits Orange Curaçao

1/2 ounce Seattle Distilling Company Brandy

Dash Scrappy’s Black Lemon Bitters

Wide orange twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything but the twist. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail or coupe glass. Garnish with the twist.

January 5, 2024

What I’m Drinking: The Four Winds

As another year rolls us round the sun, here’s a liquid wish of sorts that the four winds all blow pleasantly for you this year (whatever that means – it certainly sounds nice, I feel, which is a positive), without any one direction overwhelming. If you’re of a traveling bent, you can also take it as a wish that said winds blow you to whatever corner of the world you’re traveling to, and safely. The drink itself is blowing us to England, first, via solid, reliable, junipery Boodles gin, secondly to France, via the delectable Pierre Ferrand Orange curaçao, thirdly to Colorado thanks to the echoing-the-alpine-peaks Breckenridge Bitters, and then finally to the island of Trinidad through a dash of Angostura bitters. Plus, a stop-by at Florida or California or wherever your oranges come from (as there is an orange twist). Have one of these now, and then may fair four winds blow fairly on us all this year.

Four Winds Cocktail

Four Winds

Cracked ice

1-1/2 ounces Boodles gin

1 ounce Pierre Ferrand Orange curaçao

1/2 ounce Breckenridge Bitters

1 dash Angostura bitters

Orange twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, curaçao, Breckenridge bitters, and Angostura bitters. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist.  Drink four times, once looking each direction.

December 22, 2023

What I’m Drinking: One More Look

Here’s a pretty number, one which might make a swell, delicate (though flavorsome), boozy bouquet for your post-Christmas (if you celebrate such) sipping, or for consuming during the late morning hours when the presents have been most-probably opened, and when you’ve had perhaps almost enough of the fam’, and when a drink might make the rest of the day smoother. No judging here, friend! This is also a swell number for having before the year ends, as the name itself points towards giving ol’ 2023 (in this case) another viewing. Was it all you imagined? If not, or if so, this drink’s combination of Hangar 1’s intriguing (and light) Rose Vodka (now available most spots, it seems), made from, well, rose wine and vodka, and a whole field’s worth of flowers, from older classics crème di violette and Lillet Blanc to newer classic Scrappy’s Lavendar bitters, this very combination will help you imagine even more things for next year, once that one final look at last year is gone. A holiday helped on all sides, really. Try it, and see.

One More Look cocktail with Hangar 1 Rosé vodka, crème di violette, Lillet Blanc, and Scrappy’s Lavender bitters

One More Look

Cracked ice

2 ounces Hangar 1 Rosé vodka

3/4 ounce crème di violette

1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc

Dash Scrappy’s Lavender bitters

Wide lemon twist, for garnish

1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked iced. Add every blossom (or everything). Stir.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist. Enjoy, enjoy.

November 10, 2023

What I’m Drinking: The Walrus

When the weather is cold and getting colder (as it is for us here in the northwest), it’s best to look towards those creatures who might be more used to the chillier temperatures than us puny humans. Take the Walrus, for instance. Large-tusked, able to navigate icy waters as if they were a warm bath, singing Walrus songs the whole time, and willing to shake up this warming cocktail between dips. You may not have known that not only does the Walrus provide the title here, but in addition created the delicious rye, sweet vermouth (Punt e’ Mes is my choice), Cointreau, simple, orange bitters (I used Scrappy’s, naturally), combo. I may, between us, be making that up. Not the delicious part, but the walrus creation part. But how cool if I’m not! Either way, this’ll keep you warm while you ponder the idea.

The Walrus cocktail

The Walrus

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounce rye

1/2 ounce Punt e’ Mes vermouth

1/2 ounce Cointreau

1/2 ounce simple syrup

2 dashes Scrappy’s Orange bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the tusks. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink, while looking towards the stars.

August 25, 2023

What I’m Drinking: What the LL

Here’s a nice number that straddles somehow the summer, while still having a base that seems more fall-ish (rye, specifically Woodinville Whiskey Co. delicious rye. If you can get their rye finished with toasted applewood staves, do that. Do it now). Probably cause of the ice and soda and sorta tiki-ish St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram and the citrus from some fresh oj, and some local robust and fruity cherry brandy (the real stuff, not the sugary stuff that calls itself cherry brandy — I used Oomrang cherry brandy, which is yummy), but whateves. It’s a dandy treat, even here in August. I originally created it during the lockdown year of 2020, which you might remember, and which you might like to forget. The drink’s heft – while still staying light-ish on its feet mind you – might help with that! Even though that time was tough, there were I’m sure good things to come out of it, so maybe let’s not forget it completely. Like this drink, for example! Well worth remembering and having again.

What the LL
What the LL

What the LL

Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. rye

1/2 ounce St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram

1/2 ounce Oomrang Cherry brandy

3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed orange juice

2 ounces club soda

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rye, allspice dram, brandy, and oj. Shake well.

2. Add one big ice cube or a couple decent-sized ice cubes to a chalice of some glittering kind (no need to turn into savages). If none is at hand, an Old Fashioned, big one that is, can work.

3. Strain the drink through a fine strainer into the glass. Top with the club soda. Stir carefully to combine.

May 26, 2023

What I’m Drinking: Summer’s Lease

While summer doesn’t officially start until, what, a month or thereabout from now, I’m always in my (very old) brain beginning to think “summer” in force on Memorial Day weekend, which is to say, right now! Summer only has a short “lease” (to bring us all together to the all together of this drink’s name), so I like to stretch it out longer than the calendar specifics. I’d say you can disagree, but, really, I doubt many would as it’s a fairly innocuous or unmemorable thought. This drink, however, is very memorable (if I may be so bold and not blush, as I created it), thanks to a double shot of rum – both white rum and the fancy Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple rum, which is a delight to nature – a splash of herbally-but-approachably-awesome Montenegro amaro (most popular amaro in Italy by-the-way), pineapple juice (the juice epitome of summer), Scrappy’s Lime bitters (which if it would have been around during the first tiki wave, that wave would have never stopped), soda (for cooling and bubbly purposes), and fresh mint. It’s a treat all summer long, no matter how many days you want to celebrate the season.

Summer's Lease highball

Summer’s Lease

Ice cubes

1 ounce white rum

1/2 ounce Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple rum

1/2 ounce Montenegro amaro

1-1/2 ounce pineapple juice

1 dash Scrappy’s Lime bitters

4 ounces chilled club soda

Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rums, amaro, juice, and bitters. Shake well.

2. Fill a highball or comparable glass with ice cubes. Strain the mix from step 1 into the glass. Top with club soda. Stir, carefully (no need to spill). Garnish with the mint.

A Note: You could serve this over cracked ice, even crushed ice. Very summery, both. Though cubes do their part, too.

May 19, 2023

What I’m Drinking: Lillet Rouge and Tonic

It’s the 19th of May, do you know what that means? It means summer is right around the corner, pals, and that we are in the thick and warming part of spring, both of which combine to mean that you’d better start stocking up on your cooling drinks, your lighter liquid assistants that make the warmer and sunshine-y-er days hum hummingly. Drinks like Lillet Rouge and Tonic. Lovely in flavor, lighter in alcohol than those winter warmers being currently shed like so many woolly sweaters, this treat utilizes here Lillet Rouge, the orange-berry-and-spice member of the Lillet family, though both Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rose would be absolutely smashing, too. You might want to adjust the amount of tonic syrup, if you went one of the latter two routes. That’s right, we’re going tonic syrup here, specifically &Tonic tonic syrup (made in WA, dontcha know). For one, it’s bursting with flavor. For two, and this is the joy of tonic syrup, you can maintain control the amount of it and soda, changing easily to taste and occasion. You can find the right balance of it and whichever Lillet you’re using, the right balance for your taste, or the day, or the occasion. Neat, right? Right! And now you have one more (or multiple more, really), slings in your summer drink quiver.

Lillet Rouge and Tonic

Lillet Rouge and Tonic

Ice cubes

1/2 ounce &Tonic syrup

1-1/2 ounces Lillet Rouge

5 ounces chilled club soda

Wide orange twist, for garnish

1. Fill a brandy snifter or tumbler (I really like my whathaveyou-and-tonic drinks in a snifter, cause it looks cool and maybe helps the scents flow into your nose, and helps the poor dusty snifter glasses come out year round) halfway with ice cubes. Add the syrup and Lillet. Stir briefly.

2. Add the soda, stir to combine, and garnish with the twist.

October 28, 2022

What I’m Drinking: The Warlock

We, spooky friends, are very very very close to Halloween (a few paltry days)! While it falls on a Monday this year (which nearly seems unfair, though I feel that you can make any day of the week eerily jolly), it doesn’t mean that it’s not your scary duty to unleash a Warlock cocktail and while enjoying the delicious sips, transform into a zombie magician. Which is what everyone wants on Halloween. Spooky good! So whip up this brandy, Strega, limoncello, orange juice, and Peychaud’s bitters treat, my favoritest Halloween special, utilizing the handy, helpful, horrific video below!

Rathbun on Film