Friday Fête: Three Drinks

August 29, 2008

I feel bad I haven’t put any of my own drink-making fun up this week (cause I’m lame, or busy, or tipsy, or all three), but still wanted to point you to three mighty mixes from the blogosphere, to make sure you spend the weekend in high spirits.


  • Anticipation: Paul at the Cocktail Chronicles is always good for teaching not only about a drink, but about the history behind it, with fun bounding around everything. Here, he details a drink found in William Schmidt’s The Flowing Bowl, from 1891, that still tastes swell.
  • Natural Harmonic: Take a trip to the Spirit World and discover this  intriguing combination that uses a syrup made from I.P.A. (that’s beer, folks) to balance out Damrak gin. Old pals lemon juice and Marashino round out the orchestra in a manner sure to transport you. Consuming it while playing a hydrocrystalophone is suggested.
  • Tropical Rum Infusion: The knockout photos at Rejiggered of this fruity mixer made me unabashedly start salivating. Wow. Every time I look at them I realize that yes, even though silly Seattle is a bit cloudy it’s still summer most spots, and a pitcher full of booze and fruit is something summer wears as comfortably as Natalie Portman wears skinny pants.

Cocktail Talk: Murder With Pictures

August 26, 2008

Not the best pocket book ever, but still worth a read (and the cover is sweet, with the tag line “the girl stepped over the edge of the tub”), George Harmon Coxe’s Murder with Pictures is a “Kent Murdock Mystery.” Kent’s a photographer, who solves a bit of crime on the side. You could do that in the 1930s. Here are two quotes from the book, both of which are worth repeating.

“A hot bath, a cocktail, and a change of clothes–these made a difference.”

“She contemplated the dress a moment, then stepped over to the bedside table and picked up the cocktail shaker, a severe cylinder on chromium and black enamel. She shook it five or six times, poured dark red liquid into the single silver cocktail cup. Manhattan’s were her favorite. But she had to be careful.”

— George Harmon Coxe, Murder with Pictures

Friday Fête: Three Drinks

August 22, 2008

Bring on the weekend, and the sooner the better. Speaking of “better” and “weekend,” make your upcoming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday rise to the occasion by trying out these three cocktails from the booze-y blogosphere.

  • Heirloom Martini: From A Dash of Bitters, this elegant mixture matches up with the current-and-upcoming (depending of your locale) harvest season, as it matches up gin and heirloom tomato water.
  • Shanghai Gin: In the Scofflaw’s Den you’ll learn about this variation of the Last Word (and learn about the Last Word for that matter, if you don’t know it), a variation that combines gin, yellow Chartreuse, Benedictine, and lemon juice.

  • The Hop Toad: On SpiritAndCocktails, Jamie Boudreau sings (in written format, but lovingly all the same) about Matusalem Gran Reserva rum and then blends it into an old favorite that traces back to the venerable Waldorf-Astoria.

What I’m Drinking Right Now: Margarita’s From the Trolley

August 21, 2008

The missus had her Discovery Park (for those not in Seattle, Discovery Park’s the biggest park here, and she directs the summer camp, the nature preschool, and about everything else out there) staff of rowdies over for eats and drinks, and I decided to roll out the outdoor drink trolley so I could keep up with their massive intake requests. As the line-up included rogue actresses Megan and Melissa (from the Paradise Cocktail video), I knew I’d need to keep things flowing. The cart, as the picture displays, has three bottle holders, (though the bottles are out on top in the picture, you get the idea), which led me to honing in on the classic, straight up, Margarita for the drink of choice (it’s also good in the August sunshine). It boasted simply tequila, GranGala (a lovely orange liqueur from Italy–if you aren’t already acquainted with it, it’s brandy-based, has rich orange flavor with a punch, and matches up with tequila in Margs like sleeping in matches with Saturdays: perfectly), and fresh lime juice. Shaken, strained, and accented with a lime slice in 3, 2, 1 fashion, here it is in recipe breakdown format:


Ice cubes

3 ounces Cazadores Blanco Tequila

2 ounces GranGala

1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

Lime slice, for garnish


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add the tequila, GranGala, and lime juice. Shake well.


2. Strain into a cocktail glass or other glass that fits your mood, occasion, and dancing style. Garnish with the lime slice and a smile.


Cocktail Talk: To Kiss or Kill

August 18, 2008

It’s gotten all sorts of cloudy and rainy here (and it’s Monday, besides), which leads me to thinking of down-on-their-luck boxers embroiled in trouble, murder, at least one femme fatales, some tough cops, some dangerous political types, and dark nights and dark whiskey. Much like the main character in pulp-a-teer Day Keene’s To Kiss or Kill.


“The switchboard operator said impatiently, ‘Yes? May I help you?’


Mandell counted the crumpled bills in his pants pocket. ‘Send up a boy with a pint of rye. Old Overholt.’


He cradled the phone and sat on the bed. Then he lay back on it, thinking that if his brief set-to with the hood was a sample of what he had left, he was washed up as a fighter. He was just another meatball.”


 –Day Keene, To Kiss or Kill

Friday Fête: Four Drinks

August 15, 2008

Since the weekend is here (thankfully), I thought I’d point you towards four drink ideas from the drinker’s blogosphere to get your booze-y motor running and to give you some starting points.


  • Nobody’s Darling: From LUPEC Boston, this lovely mix just won the Hendrick’s Gin Beantown Bartender Battle, and comes with a limerick. So, there’s poetry in the glass and in the air.


  • Ti’Punch: At Trader Tiki’s they’re punching it up right with this Rhum Agricole-based combo (and, you’ll get to learn a lot about Rhum Agricole while getting ready to get punched–in the friendly fashion, that is). 


  • The Maple Leaf: Okay, this is a little old, but I’ve just been browsing the archieves at Drink Dogma, and so saw it for the first time. A bourbon, maple syrup, and lemon juice cocktail sounds like a great way to wind down a Saturday.


  • Ring My Bell Martini: From a blog that’s new to me, Listen to the Ice, this may be the first drink I’ve had with bell peppers, gin, and peach in it–making it ideal for late summer when the gardens are popping. Also, it’s the first Italian drinks blog I’ve known (and how happy I am to have found it).

Cocktail Video: The Paradise Cocktail

August 13, 2008

A nice drink, a little silliness, and some gin, orange juice, and apricot brandy equal a whole truckload of summertime fun.


A Recipe for What I’m Drinking: The Crimson Slippers

August 12, 2008

When clearing out space in the homemade liqueurs cabinet (for the new bottles from the below post), I realized that I had a few ounces left of some homemade triple sec that I’d constructed during my first liqueur-making frenzy. Not sure why I didn’t completely guzzle it up, cause it ruled/rules–not too sugary and just orange-y enough. Anyway, I wanted to utilize the last drops in making up a new drink (to give that triple sec the honor it deserved), and the Crimson Slippers was the end result. An awfully pretty result, as you can see.


Since I had the Campari bottle at the front of the shelves (from the Negroni-making), I thought I’d play around with it in the drink, even knowing that it can be a dangerous addition to the party because of the bitter undertones. But hey, I love bitter. So much that I ended up adding a dash of some homemade bitters in there as well (I’d made them for a bitters party thrown by no other than bartender Andrew Bohrer, from Cask Strength). These homemade bitters were based on an old “stomach” bitters called Hostetter’s, and take the bitters scale to another level. If I play around with the drink a little further in the future, I might try in other bitters–I think Peychaud’s would work well (and look well, too). Wait, I’m skipping the base liquor. I decided to go with rum, since it’s summertime. Well, and I thought it would be a nice touch, especially the dark variety, which has enough personality to hold its own, and thought it would be enjoyable to work to balance it with the other players.

The Campari uses a disguise to try and sneak into the scene

The Campari uses a disguise to try and sneak away from the scene.

The end result is a touch bitter, but bounces around well due to that touch of triple sec (the homemade kind has such a bright orange-ness that it doesn’t get overwhelmed). The color, with that red glow, seemes like it would fit in at a crime scene, too. Maybe not one of the modern, forensic-equipment-and-fluorescent-y-mood-lit heavy scenes, but an Agatha Christie attic scene, with lots of thinking and sipping and a rocking chair. Here’s the final recipe.


Ice cubes

2 ounces dark rum

1 ounce Campari

1/2 ounce homemade triple sec

1 dash bitters

Lime slice, for garnish


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway up with ice cubes. Add the rum, Campari, triple sec, and bitters. Shake well.


2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze the lime slice over the glass and drop it in.

Drinking Homemade Liqueurs: Limoncello, Millifiori, Fentastic

August 10, 2008

I spent a few hours straining and straining liqueurs yesterday (in anticipation of the liqueurs book release–hey, there’s my first book plug. I’m shameless), which is always a good time. Especially because tasting them is an important part of the process. The ones I worked on started with limoncello, the sun king of liqueurs, and a favorite, and really the main impetus behind my whole crazy homemade liqueur obsession. It began when my wife Natalie and I went to Italy for the first time and had a lot of limoncello, both house-made and store bought, and fell in love with its strong-but-pleasant lemon-ness. Then, on returning home, we found that the available limoncellos here didn’t have the same backbone, and tended to be overly sweet. So, we thought, why not make our own? It’s devilishly simple, and allows a lot more control. We loved constructing it (and sipping it, ice cold, and pouring it into drinks) so much that we ended up throwing together a gigantic batch before our wedding, so we could give little bottles to everyone in attendance and spread the love around. You can see the lemons close up in the below photo–don’t they look a little tipsy?



Hanging out in grain alcohol (which is a must to reach that desired strength) for a month tends to induce tipsiness even among lemonkind, I suppose. The limoncello goes well solo, when ice cold, but is dreamy as well with club soda, and, in certain situations, when combined with other ingredients.


Millifiori (or, a million flowers) is another Italian-inspired liqueur, one that’s very herbally and spicy. In the close-up shot here, it may look like it contains worms, but have no fear worm champions–no worms were used in the making of this liqueur–it does have a little lemon zest in it, cozying up with a host of other items (including coriander, mint, cardamom, cloves, mace, marjoram, thyme), with an end result that’s very layered, and which has a number of flavorful notes coming through during a single sip.



It’s one to use carefully if experimenting with it cocktails and other drinks (I’m experimenting now, and hope to have a good recipe using it later in the blog).


Oh, the final liqueur I was working on today is fennel-based, and a completely new recipe for me (nice and simple, solely fennel, the liquor, and simple syrup). From my first tastings, it seems to have a good balance of sweet and fennel (let’s hope I didn’t go overboard on the sweet. It’s a dangerous road). We’ll see how it plays out.


Here’s the recipe for the limoncello, nice and delicious.


1 liter grain alcohol

14 lemons

3 cups simple syrup


1. Peel the lemons, working to leave the white pith with the lemon, and not taking it with the peels. Add the peels to a large, glass, container that is at least 2 liters in size and that has a good lid.


2. Add the grain alcohol to the glass container and then secure the lid. Place it on a cool and dry and secure shelf, away from the sun. Let it sit for two weeks.


3. Once the two weeks have passed, add the 3 cups simple syrup. Stir, lid, and let sit two more weeks.


4. After the waiting is over, strain the mix through double sheets of cheesecloth into a pitcher or other container.


5. Then, using new sheets of cheesecloth, strain the limoncello into bottles or jars.


Millifiori, Limoncello, Fentastic

Millifiori, Limoncello, Fentastic

Cocktail Talk: Who Censored Roger Rabbit?

August 8, 2008

Here’s a weekend quote from a book that was turned into a sorta revolutionary, fun, and touching movie (the book’s not bad either–though, and this is rare, I like the movie better. It’s sweeter somehow, and the Hoskins is Cockney choice, as usual. Can you imagine running into him randomly in a pub in small town Britain? I’d probably faint, then wake up and buy him as many rounds as possible). Seems like a great quote to have up early in this blog’s history.


“Dominick lowered his voice and became as coy as a debutante sidling up to a bowl of spiked punch.”


–Gary Wolf, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?