Off to the Races

IMG_5439We’ve been asked to participate in Maker’s Mark #TrifectaChallenge (pronounce that with stadium voice, if you will ;)) to celebrate the premier horse races here in the States. If you ever happen to watch them, those are some magnificent animals. We liked the idea, so thought, “what the hey”.They kindly supplied us with a free bottle of Maker’s Mark (see our Samples Policy to see what it means that we’re even participating 🙂 ) to play around with.
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Posted in Bourbon, grapefruit bitters, lime bitters, pineapple syrup, tangerine juice, white rum | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tikis from the Way Back Machine

IMG_5402It is hot in Seattle today. Not as hot as it’s going to be tomorrow, but still quite hot. And in the land of no air conditioning, that means you have to fight the heat some other way. For us, it means consuming large tiki drinks! With that in mind we set out to try some of the lesser known (to us) tiki drinks.

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Posted in absinthe, allspice dram, angostura bitters, demerara dark rum, falernum, gold rum, grapefruit juice, grenadine, honey syrup, jamaican rum, lime juice, orange juice, passionfruit puree, pineapple juice, white rum | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Red Hot Cocktail Action

IMG_5376This week we’re noodling around with cinnamon syrup. It pops up from time to time as a tiki ingredient, but we’ve never done much else with it. We’re big fans of tiki, and we’ve been having a spate of unseasonably warm weather, so we thought we’d play around with this somewhat less common tiki ingredient, first in a classic tiki drink and then in something new.
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Posted in allspice dram, angostura bitters, chocolate bitters, cinnamon syrup, gold rum, lime juice, orange juice, Original Cocktail, tequila - anejo, vanilla syrup | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

PNW Ginger Liqueur

IMG_5355When people think of the Pacific Northwest, they think of rain, green firs and ferns, salmon, and ginger (record scratch). OK, maybe not ginger. However, it turns out that we have a number of local distillers who are producing some very nice ginger liqueurs. So we decided to do a little taste test and see how they compare.

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MxMo: Swizzles

mxmologoIt’s time for Mixology Monday again. This month’s theme comes from Fred Yarm, the Cocktail Virgin Slut himself. Fred’s theme is Swizzles:

So what is a Swizzle? And what is a swizzle stick? The literary references to Swizzles seem to begin around the mid-18th century with the written definition growing in the early parts of the 20th century. Swizzles began as a Caribbean style of mixing drinks perhaps stemming in Barbados — mostly cold although there are certainly hot swizzles out there. Unlike say the Martini which is chilled in a mixing glass by gently stirring cubed ice with a spoon and straining into a cocktail glass, most cold Swizzles are built in the glass, topped with crushed ice, and agitated with a rapidly spinning natural swizzle stick (or facsimile) to mix and chill… The Swizzle has had a resurgence starting around 2008 or 2009 as various cocktail supply stores have procured Caribbean sources for these Bois Lélé mixing instruments… Plenty of recipes for these drinks reside in mid-century Trader Vic books and other Tiki-leaning tomes; moreover, modern drinks books have begun to embrace the style as well including the Death & Co. Cocktail Book where their house Swizzle formula was exposed to me a few years before via the Company Swizzle.

Sounds great! Swizzles are one of those drinks we don’t make very often, but they can be quite tasty and delightfully cooling on a warm day. It’s unseasonably warm in Seattle right now (which of course means we’re roasting a turkey for dinner, because why not?) so this is just what the doctor ordered. We decided to proceed by making an existing recipe and then concocting one of our own.

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Posted in absinthe, amontillado sherry, angostura bitters, blended scotch, boker's bitters, drambuie, falernum, ginger syrup, honeyed apricot & smoked hickory bitters, lime juice, mint, Mixology Monday, old tom gin, simple syrup, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Local Aquavit

IMG_5301We’re always up for noodling around with under-utilized spirits, and this week we decided to play with aquavit. Aquavit is a delicious Scandinavian liquor that relies on caraway, dill, anise, and other savory herbs and spices for its flavor. It’s kind of gin’s eccentric cousin. There’s a strong Scandinavian presence here in the PNW, and so we’re lucky to have a number of local distillers who choose to make this spirit. We’ll taste through a few and then try them in a cocktail.

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Posted in aquavit, lillet blanc, Original Cocktail, peychauds bitters, punt e mes, Tasting Notes | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Bitter Familiarity

IMG_5246We recently received some tasty new bitters from The Bitter Housewife out of PDX (see our Samples Policy to understand what it means that we’re talking about them). We’re also lucky to have Scrappy’s bitters here in Seattle. We’re big fans of our local producers. 🙂

These two happen to have very different styles; Scrappy’s tends to make strong, dry, concentrated bitters that focus on one or maybe a few flavor components, while Bitter Housewife makes mildly sweet though still quite bitter concoctions that are less concentrated and use more supporting flavors to round out the central flavor. We thought it would be interesting to see how their bitters of the same types compare, both straight and in a cocktail.

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Posted in Bitters Comparisons, blanco tequila, Cointreau, dry vermouth, grapefruit bitters | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

MxMo: Prove It

mxmologoOnce again it’s time for Mixology Monday. This month’s theme is from Dagreb of the Nihil Utopia blog. He’s chosen Overproof as the theme. In his words:

My theme this time is overproof. Or rather how you utilize overproofs.  Do you sub them into your standards? Save them for accents in particular recipes? Pour them into ceramic volcanoes and set them on fire? Reserve them only for making liqueres? Whatever it be I’m looking for your recipes that use overproofs as base or as modifier in a noticeable-
“What’s an overproof,” you ask? 
“Well, uh, yeah…”
First let’s decide what is proof. It’s my party so I say 50% abv is proof. Above that is overproof. You disagree? Host your own party! (No really host a MxMo it’ll be fun.) So BIB liquors are exempt this month but lots of bottles are fair game! Whether it boldly proclaims its strength on the label or nonchalantly lets you discover its strength for yourself use that bottle that packs a punch in a drink this month.

So with that in mind, we reviewed our overproof options and set out to make a cocktail.

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Posted in 151 rum, cherry bitters, egg white, licor 43, lime juice, Mixology Monday, orgeat, simple syrup | Tagged , | Leave a comment


IMG_5192We try to occasionally give a shout out to spirits we love that don’t get the limelight a lot, and this week we’re taking a look at grappa. Grappa is cognac’s ne’er-do-well cousin, an un-aged brandy made from the fermented skins, stems, and seeds leftover from making wine. It tends to be sharp and musty (go figure) with some dried fruit flavor, in addition to carrying over characteristics of whatever grape varietal it is made from. Read on to get reviews of a few reasonably available bottlings as well as some cocktail recipe recommendations that will hopefully lead you to love it as much as we do 🙂

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Posted in dry vermouth, grappa, honey, lemon juice, limoncello, Original Cocktail | Tagged | 2 Comments


IMG_5152We love fizzy cocktails, which we typically make with fizzy wine or club soda. As you’d expect though, both of those ingredients change the flavor profile of the drink (we sometimes make whiskey sours without club soda just because of that). So what if you could carbonate a drink without the added flavors or dilution?

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Posted in absinthe, Cointreau, gin, lemon juice, lillet blanc, orange bitters, scotch, sweet vermouth | Tagged , | 2 Comments