I’m a huge fan of the whole class of Daisy drinks, but this one seems just about perfect for summer: not too sour, not too sweet, not too boozy. Be sure to shake this thoroughly so it sips ice cold. And if you haven’t tried the Caña Brava rum yet, I definely recommend it. Via Bartender’s Choice app.
This was a surprisingly wonderful drink! The ingredients are so simple that I wasn’t expecting the flavors to come together and be so much greater than the sum of their parts. There’s a rich sweetness, a bit of sour, just a hint of freshness from the mint, and the mellow spiciness of the rye just pulling it all together. I definitely recommend giving this cocktail a try, especially as we move into summer: the mint helps make this a great sipper for the warmer weather.
With so many great summer drinks including mint in the recipe, I decided to try to cultivate my own this year.
I bought Paul Clarke’s The Cocktail Chronicles more than a year ago, but I’m just starting to dig into its pages. I’ve been very impressed so far: you get a great combination of new recipes, classic recipes, and a lot of interesting stories about cocktail life in general. The drink I pulled today only made me like the book even more. I rarely have fresh strawberries on hand, but I was lucky to have a couple mostly-fresh strawberries on hand to make this delicious sipper. The simple syrup really brings out the sweetness of the strawberry, which in turn is a great foil for the spicy ginger beer. It’s a beautiful day out here, and it’s a perfect compliment to this lovely drink. (And if you’re wondering, yes, that is an Alien pint glass.)
Every year for our anniversary, my husband and I spend a few days enjoying the rides, the food, and the people-watching at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, CA. Oh, and the booze. While Disneyland is understandably dry, Disney California Adventure and two of the resort hotels have great options for drinks if you need a break from the Disney experience. This is the first trip I’ve made a point to visit all four of my favorite cocktail bars, and it was worth the effort.
Napa Rose: high-end restaurant in the Grand Californian Hotel. You can try for a reservation months in advance, or just stroll into the lounge and take a seat at the bar. They have both classic cocktails and new ideas, and the bartenders are great at their jobs (both mixing drinks and providing hospitality). Say hello to my friend Joe if you stop by.
Cove Bar: water-side outdoor bar in Disney California Adventure. Although this used to be a nice hidden spot for 21+ guests, it has unfortunately become well known and you might have to endure a 30-40 minute wait for a seat (and endure a lot of toddlers and strollers). However, I usually find it worth the wait to enjoy a Manhattan at the bar top while savoring a plate of the delicious lobster nachos. Like all park atttractions, they’ve done a nice job with the 1920s boardwalk theming.
Carthay Lounge: located downstairs in the Carthay Circle Theater building, the lounge is a wonderful throwback to old Hollywood. You may have to wade through a lot of fun-in-the-sun park-goers, but again, the bar top is a great place to wile away and hour or so. If you have extra dollars to spend and find yourself looking for a fancy dinner, the Carthay Circle restaurant upstairs is also a nice option (reservations definitely recommended).
Trader Sam’s: reminiscent of the Jungle Cruise and Enchanted Tiki Room with the same tiki and tongue-in-cheek vibe, Traer Sam’s is another well-known bar that is worth the wait. Located at the Disneyland Hotel, you’ll likely find yourself with plenty of company while you stalk an elusive seat in the small, dark bar, but once you’re there you get to watch all the best efforts of the Disney “imagineering” attitude come to fruition. This place turned the tiki dial up to 11 with a awesome decor, the expected long list of rum drinks, and bartenders who enjoy having fun while they work.
So whether you’re visiting Disney sans children or just need a break from the sun, I definitely recommend checking out some of the cocktail options on the park property.
This weekend, we picked up a bottle of Pretty white vermouth by BroVo, which I’ve been watching since we tried it at Proof in Seattle last year. For those unfamiliar with white vermouth (also called bianco or blanc), I think of it as a cross between Italian vermouth (red, sweet) and French vermouth (white, dry). It brings a slightly sweeter, more floral version of the dry vermouth flavors, and I feel like it pairs gorgeously with gin. This was definitely true in the Amaryllis. It’s a very gin-forward drink with a slight offset by the floral vermouth and bare trace of sweetness from the apricot. It’s not my favorite drink ever, but it’s a good way to use this lovely white vermouth.
Today is my last day at home before several days of travel for work, but of course i had to make time for an evening taste test. Cobble Hill is another selection from Regarding Cocktails: a lighter riff on my favored Manhattan. Normally I don’t enjoy dry vermouth, but this time it’s nicely offset by the cucumber and an equal amount of a lightly citrus amaro. The first sip takes a bit of reorienting since you don’t usually see rye with cucumber, but after a few sips you taste how the combination really works well together. It’s a great contrast to the heavier, sweeter Manhattan that usually sees me through the winter.
It’s been a while! As happens, life took over for a while, but I’m diving back into the drinking pool. I’m starting with Sasha Petraske’s Cosmonaut, from Regarding Cocktails. This is a fairly straightforward cocktail, but a lovely one. I added a bar spoon of simple syrup for a little more sweetness, but otherwise really enjoyed this drink, especially on our first sunny day in months. What a lovely way to wade back into the pool. Cheers!
We spent Saturday night at our regional distiller’s festival, Toast, hosted by the Oregon Distillery Trail group. This is our second time attending, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. Oregon/Washington has a great selection of local distillers and they were showing off everything from core spirits such as rum, whiskey, and vodka, to liqueurs and syrups to supplement your cocktails. Plus, there was a great selection of food from local restaurants and caterers (including truffled rabbit stew and whole roast pig).
Some of my standouts for this year:
- Quince Liqueur from Stone Barn Brandyworks
- Silver rum from Flooded Fox Den Distillery (and some of the best graphic design I’ve seen)
- Interrobang vermouth
- Vanilla-spice Rooibos Syrup from Portland Syrups
I’m really lookin forward to using some of these great new ingredients.
In the meantime, I’ve been waiting to share this Manhattan variant. While the Bartender’s Choice app calls this a Bobby Burns, it’s really just a Scotch Manhattan with a touch of Benedictine. I really love this cocktail, and I’m not generally a huge Scotch fan (I’ll drink it, but it’s not what I gravitate to). I’m guessing my choice of scotch helps (Compass does great work with blended scotch), but I definitely recommend giving this a try.
I went back to The Canon Cocktail Book tonight, and was drawn to this drink because the authors wrote that it had replaced the Old Fashioned as their favorite cocktail. Sadly, I can’t quite agree. My Amer Picon replacement (since the real Amer Picon isn’t imported to the US) is Bittermen’s Amere Nouvelle, which has a very pronounced, almost musty bitterness that I couldn’t quite get past. I’d love to try the recipe with an alternate bitter, but I don’t think I’d try this one exactly this way again.
One of the things I love about cocktails is the amazing variety of recipes and how pleasant it can be to go back and revisit old favorites (of course, I also love re-reading my favorite books and re-watching my favorite movies). I have a bunch of lemons left over from a party, so I’ve been looking for lemon-based drinks (waste not, want not, right?). Tonight I paid a return visit to the 19th Century, a riff on the 20th Century brought to us by Brian Miller from Pegu Club. This cocktail marries disparate ingredients in a lovely and incredibly drinkable way. And if you haven’t tried pairing bourbon and creme de cacao, you should put this on your list – these two ingredient play very well together. Via Bartender’s Choice app.