I’m the author of Ginger Bliss & the Violet Fizz, Good Spirits, and other books, the Seattle Magazine Bar Hop columnist and write the blog Spiked Punch. Sip slowly on cocktail recipes, booze news, liqueurs legends and lore, and a heaping helping of party talk.
Recently, I was talking about bottles to buy dad for Father’s Day on the mighty and mighty fun New Day Northwest. It was great, as I got to highlight some fantastic spirits and liqueurs made right here in way-out Washington state. And, I also got to make a special cocktail for dad using a number of those bottles. But here’s the thing – the drink, which is called Thy Noble Father (from Hamlet, you know), is a dandy one for any time of year, any day, with Woodinville Whiskey straight bourbon, Brovo Spirits Orange Curacao, Seattle Distilling Company brandy, and Scrappy’s Black Lemon bitters. I’m not sure I can conjure many better quartets than that for you, if you’re the type of person who like cocktails layered with flavor, underlined by two base spirits, cocktails with lots of earthy and celestial citrus, along with spice notes, and a little friendly sweetness that isn’t overly sweet, just an echo. And, you can make it for dad whenever you want – it’s not like he doesn’t deserve a good drink multiple times a year, right?
Cocktail, bar, and spirit lovers, I’m sure that you haven’t missed a moment of Seattle magazine lately – cause you’re far too smart for that. But I also know that things get busy, and other things come up, and then this, and then that, and then you find you’re a little behind, and it’s okay! You know why? Cause you can catch up on any pieces you might have missed right here and now:
This is a nice summertime buzzer, though one that in the past I’ve gone a route that equals a fairly substantial shaking, which can be a bit much if the ol’ sun is beating down and the Mercury’s risen up. Meaning, it’s hot, friends, and so shaking a ton is a little much, but since it’s needed when using honey, that was the situation. Until, however, I decided to make a honey simple syrup, which I should have done anyway cause it makes the mixing much smoother overall. I just went basically 1:1 on the syrup, and it was dreamy. Some use a bit more lemon juice and honey then in the recipe below, and that is okay, too! But I was using the marvelous Sipsmith gin here, and I wanted to let that gin shine just a little brighter, by toning down our other players without toning them out. Not a bad idea, really, and just the thing for a July day in the pleasant Pacific Northwest.
2 ounces Sipsmith gin
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce honey simple syrup
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway up with ice cubes. Add everything by the twist. Shake well, but not so well as you’d have to with pure honey, which takes some serious shaking.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist. Kick back, buzz, buzz.
Hello teevee fans! Recently, I was lucky enough to go on the awesome New Day Northwest show to talk about locally-made bottles of spirits and liqueurs (locally in wonderful W-A that is) for dads for Father’s Day. I know what you’re thinking – Father’s Day was last month. And you know what, you’re right! But you know (what else)? The bottles I talked about are good any day of the year. So, do yourself a favor and watch me talk about Washington distilleries on New Day Northwest.
Another from our series of Maigret Cocktail Talk posts featuring famous stoic, tall, Parisian Inspector Maigret, created by the celebrated author Georges Simenon, who wrote said Inspector as one who is not shy about having a sip of something boozy here and there. Even when he’s in retirement and not an Inspector (well, really, he’ll always be the tops to his past police pals, and the world at large, which is how he gets involved in this particular post-police case, which a matriarch of a family brings him in to look over a supposed suicide — it’s a sort-of extra long story, which I read in the Maigret’s Christmas collection) at all. Also, he still has some drinks. Including some kümmel with the landlady of a very down-in-the-mouth hotel he is staying at.
“I wouldn’t mind a glass of something,” he had said, sitting down or rather straddling a chair beside her. “What about you Madame Jeanne. What will you take?”
“Nothing, Monsieur. I’d better not drink. Everything upsets me.”
“A tiny drop of liquor?”
“Well, just to keep you company … some kümmel, then. Will you help yourself? The bottles are on the shelf. My legs are so terribly swollen this evening.
Kümmel was her tipple then. And he, too, had drunk kümmel out of politeness. It had left him still feeling queasy. He vowed never to touch a drop of kümmel again in his life.
The north wind says, I bring a clear spirit with the breath of juniper and some cracked ice for chilling. The east wind says, I’ll bring a classically-style orange essence built on grapes and a nice glass. The west wind says, I’ll bring something with a hint of bitter and herb made in the mountains (or thereabouts) and a twist of orange. The south wind says I’ll bring a bit more bitter undercurrenting via a legend that needs no introducing, along with a long spoon for stirring. That’s all the winds, and now we have our drink for today.
Hey sunshine daydreamers! Guess what today is? That’s right beach beauties, it’s the first day of summer, and you know what that means? Smear on the sunscreen and take off your sweaters, slip on your sunglasses and slip into some short shorts (or whatever your hot weather wear of choice), and start enjoying the rising mercury and retreating clouds and cold. All of that, plus make this this drink, which slides you straight into summer, while remembering that winter, like all seasons, isn’t gone for long. How does it do that? Well, the rum is a summer standby, of course, but dark rum can really play year round, and its pal here, Bénédictine, has that rich herbal monastic thing going on that keeps one warm when the temperature is chillier, but also fits into a number of sun-tastic tiki type drinks. See where we’re going? The final player: Crabbies ginger beer, superficially Orange Spiced variety, but if you can’t find it, go with the regular variety. Ginger beer is of course a refreshing refresher, but the orange spice, well, that’s winter time. Really, though, forget my shoehorning – this is a nice one to sip as the seasons change.
Opening late-ish last year as the newest sibling in the swell Derschang Group collection of Seattle bars, Queen City is a beaut of a Belltown spot here, and not too long ago (in the history of time), I got to visit it, and while visiting, chatted a lot with amiable Derschang Group beverage manager Myles Burroughs. And – I know, all the good things happen to me, don’t be jealous – he made me a Pineapple Riesling Daiquiri, a nice twist on the rum classic boasting natural wine. Then, I got to write a Pineapple Riesling Daiquiri article for the smashing Seattle magazine, and now you can go read it. Then go to Queen City and have one, some some good things will happen to you.
I know you know about Ardbeg Uigeadail (because you are smart and know things). I mean, it was named World Whiskey of the Year by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, due to its “complexity” and “silky brilliance,” is crafted with care by the now-legendary Islay distillery, has a name that’s also unforgettable (and pronounced “Oog-a-dal” which is just plain fun) and coming from a loch near the distillery, is aged in ex bourbon barrels and sherry butts, boasts a lovely golden hue, and is freakishly reasonable. Especially when you consider the rich aroma of peat, walnuts, a little sea and forest, and spice, the taste of honey, malt, more spice, then a big, muscular-but-smooth smoke, and a raisin, caramel, smoke finish. I mean, with all of that, I know you know about it – of you should.
As you’d expect, it’s a swell sipping Scotch, solo, over an ice piece or two, or with a little splash of spring water. Yummy, indeed. However, when I was lucky enough (don’t be mad at me, please) to get a bottle in the mail the other day, I of course had some solo, but then had to also try it in a cocktail. With a sipper this swell, you don’t need to or want to bring too many dancing partners into the set. Keeping it simple is key, letting this malt shine, while accenting a little in the corners with appropriate additions. Here, I went with orange stalwart and cocktail classic Cointreau. To bring a few more herbal/spice notes under our big two, I brought in two bitters, just a dash of each: Regan’s orange bitters and old pal Peychuad’s. Altogether, the orange and bitter-ing players add to the Uigdeadail, while letting it take the lead. Smoke in the Grove’s flavor-filled, hearty, but maintaining that silky brilliance. Yummy, again.
Recently, I took the long trip (hahaha, I kid, I kid) over to Bellevue, WA, to visit a neat little bar called Civility & Unrest, and instantly – after having a few of the find cocktails – wondered why I hadn’t been before. While there, I got to chat a bit with friendly and talented bartender Jessie Yoskin and she made me a refreshing botanical springtime French garden of a drink called A Day in Giverny, and then I got to write about it, with recipe, for Seattle magazine. Now, you, lucky you, can read about A Day in Giverny, too. Do it now, or you’ll be sad!