Revel in red

Jim Meehan comes through, as usual. This cocktail is not only a gorgeous vibrant color, but it’s refreshing and delicious on an absurdly hot day. There’s a perfect balance between the floral gin, fruity sloe gin, tart grapefruit, and a touch of an herbal nose from the absinthe. This was a wonderful find.

Green Deacon

  • 1.5oz gin (Junipero)
  • 1oz grapefruit juice
  • 0.75oz sloe gin
  • Absinthe rinse

Green Deacon, Jim Meehan, PDT app

Ship-shape Sharpie

You rarely see whiskey and gin combined in cocktails: the strong flavors require skill to achieve balance and coax the two spirits into playing well together. I found a great example of that skill in the 2015 Food & Wine Cocktails book. Today’s drink is the Sharpie Mustache from Chris Elford, currently of No Anchor in Seattle. Equal parts rye, dry gin, Bonal Gentiane-Quina, and Amaro Meletti (I subbed in Amaro Lucano) come together with a sweet start, a strong flood over the palate, and an herbal and slightly bitter finish. If you’re feeling adventurous and not afraid of ABV, I’d give this a try. At a minimum, enjoy Chris’s story (inset).

Sharpie Mustache, Chris Elford via Food & Wine Cocktails 2015

Start it up

Sometimes I think re-starting is harder than starting from the first. But at least I have a drink to help me out tonight. The Self Starter was originally published in the Savoy Cocktail Book, but I discovered it with the help of Paul Clarke’s The Cocktail Chronicles. This is a very gin-forward drink, but I personally find that the apricot liqueur and absinthe do a great job of taking it beyond plain-Jane martini territory and into something more interesting. If you’re the gin-curious type, I’d definitely give this a try.

Self Starter, Savoy Cocktail Book via The Cocktail Chronicles

Must love gin

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.  

Lost in space

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!

Cosmonaut, Sasha Petraske, Milk & Honey

Bubble, bubble

One of the benefits of New Year’s is that I have leftover champagne (this years it’s actually Prosecco) with which to make champagne cocktails.  I’m not a huge champagne fan, so it’s not generally an ingredient I keep on hand, but I admit it’s fun to play with on the rare occasions that I have some available.  Even better, there’s a whole section for sparkling cocktails in Death & Company’s book that I haven’t even touched.  Tonight’s experiment was fairly tasty and definitely a nice change of pace with regards to texture/mouthfeel.  The bubbles make even a Monday night before heading back to work seem a little more exciting.

Elder Fashion Royal, Phil Ward, Death & Company

Getting the business

Early on in my cocktail adventure I drank a lot of gin. I mean, A LOT. Over the last year, however, I’ve neglected it in favor of whiskey. For some reason today, with the first frost in the air, I’m feeling the urge to revisit my old friend. I pulled this easy drink from my favorite cocktail app, Bartender’s Choice.  It’s a lovely drink, sort of a floral daiquiri. I may have to add this into my rotation, both for summer and days when I want to remember summer.

The Business, Sasha Petraske, Milk & Honey

Try and try again

I’m still working to find a good expression for the rhubarb liqueur I bought, but sadly, today’s attempt hasn’t gotten me any closer. Although the liqueur itself is sweet and provides great rhubarb flavor, I find that it gets swallowed easily by other modifiers. Today’s attempt is not a bad drink, but still not quite what I’m looking for. I guess I just have more work to do…. oh darn.  

Peace on earth

It’s been a long time since my last post, but I’m coming back online with a bang.  Last night my husband and I attended the Peace, Love, and Cocktails event, part of the annual Feast Portland food festival.  Like Toast and Proof, Peace Love, and Cocktails combined the best parts of food, drink, and mingling with like-minded folks.  It was hosted by House Spirits Distillery and featured some of their great products, including Aviation Gin.  We also had the bonus of some fantastic bartenders mixing drinks on-demand, including the fantastic Jim Meehan, formerly of PDT in New York and currently of Mixography, Inc. here in Portland.  I’m a huge fan of Jim’s work, so getting to meet him in person turned me into a bit of fangirl, I admit.  His cocktail for the evening, Bee’s Ransom, was a tart and slightly edgier riff on the Bee’s Knees.  Another standout for me was Jeffrey Morganthaler’s Triple Lindy, an incredibly refreshing combination of gin, lemon, and ginger.  This was perfectly balanced and ideal for the gorgeous Indian summer evening (80 degrees and clear skies in mid-September?  I LOVE autumn in Portland).  Accompanying the cocktails was a great selection of bites, including an elk brasaola that had me returning to the food table a number of times.

I admit, as someone who works from home, it’s sometimes difficult to summon the will to get dressed up and leave the house, especially for a long, traffic-y drive into the city on a Friday evening.  But this event was completely worth it and reminded just how much I enjoy the cocktail adventure I’ve been on for the past few years.  The weather, company, and delicious drinks and nibbles all reminded me that getting out of the house can yield fantastic results.  Cheers!


A gorgeous day and fantastic drinks at Peace, Love, and Cocktails

Processed with MOLDIV

Local spirits and talent behind the stick

All you need is love

More new toys!  I ordered a new hawthorne strainer and barspoon from Cocktail Kingdom, and they arrived today, even more gorgeous than I expected.  The gunmetal color is so striking, and the skull on the spoon makes it badass and useful (for ice cracking, skull cracking, etc.).  Since I had to use them immediately, I picked Love Makes You Feel Ten Feet Tall from Brooklyn Bartender.  A friend mentioned pisco to me this past weekend, and this also seemed like a great way to bring that bottle back out.  The salt water is curious and something new for me, though thankfully easy enough to mix even for such a small amount.  I’m not a fan of Punt e Mes (too bitter for my palate), so I subbed in a 50:50 mix of Carpano Antica and Cynar to achieve that bittersweet affect.  I have to say, it’s an odd drink: almost equal parts sweet and bitter. I don’t think I’d drink it exactly the same way again (would likely swap the Punt e Ames for full sweet vermouth instead), but it was definitely interesting. And the color was just gorgeous. 

Love Makes You Feel Ten feet Tall, by Jay Zimmerman from Ba’asik

Koriko Hawthorne strainer in gunmetal black

Beachbum Barry Skull barspoon in gunmetal black