Monday, January 9, 2012


I recently bought a bottle of Dubonnet in order to make a Dubonnet Cocktail. The bottle was fairly inexpensive and seemed completely worth it... until I tried it. Overly sweet and... chewy? Just gross. While it sucked as half of a cocktail, I was undeterred and looked for a cocktail that used it well as a mixer. In discovering the Crux, I found exactly what I was looking for. An ideal balance of sweet, tart, and hearty. A new favorite of a drink that uses my underutilized bottle... who could complain?

I'll complain, the main ingredient is pricy Cognac... but still... a gem.


1 oz Cognac
3/4 oz Dubonnet
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lemon Juice


Sunday, January 8, 2012

James Bond gets drunk in Washington: The Vesper

President Bartlet: “Can I tell you what's messed up about James Bond?”
Charlie Young: “Nothing.”
President Bartlet: “Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it.”
James Bond is widely known for ordering Martinis, shaken, not stirred. As the quote indicates above, it's an attempt at sounding like Dr. Awesome that essentially results in receiving a slightly watered down drink. Embracing this for the day, I decided to double down on my James Bond-y ness and not only have his weak drink, but also have one that he (or Ian Fleming) created... except with a local twist.

In Casino Royale (1953), James Bond is specific in describing the drink that he wants to the bartender.
"A dry martini," he said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."
"Oui, monsieur."
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, and then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?"
Mr. Bond goes on to indicate that this drink is the Vesper, named after the beautiful and doomed double agent.

Now, some changes have to be made.

Please note that this is a drink made for those with a James Bond level tolerance. It's the size of 2 normal martinis. So watch out... and enjoy.


3 oz Voyager Gin
1 oz Dryfly Vodka
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
large lemon peel

Add liquid and ice.
Strain into a large martini glass.
Express lemon peel and drop in.

Cheers to that's the SPIRIT for helping out with the quotes.

Thursday, January 5, 2012






An old New Orleans cocktail. Was originally made with Cognac (and is still delicious with such).

The manliest pink tinged drink I know of.

The Sazerac.

3 oz Rye (Sazerac or Rittenhouse preferred)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
5 dashes Peychauds Bitters
1 tsp absinthe
1 slice of lemon rind
Lots of crushed ice

Fill 2 lowball glasses with ice.

Glass 1: Add rye, simple syrup, and Peychauds bitters. Stir with a mixing spoon. Wait until other glass is ready.

Glass 2: When very cold and even a little frosty, discard the ice and rinse with absinthe. Discard some or all of the excess. (I let about half stay behind).

Strain the contents of glass one into glass two. Express the lemon rind into the drink and drop in.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Done with a little cheating, aka using simple syrup and not real sugar, it was extremely easy to create the Brazilian national drink. A few easy ingredients, just a little muddling, and this tasty creation is good to go.

2.5 oz Cachaca
1/2 oz simple syrup
4 lime wedges (1/2 lime)

Add all the goodies (squeeze all the lime wedges) over a significant amount of ice.

Go to town with a muddler.

Pour it all into a cup.


I could drink about 9 of these... 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Last Word

Originally created by a gentleman named Frank Fogarty at the Detroit Athletic Club in 1920. Half assed research shows that he seems to only be famous for creating this drink.

Revived sometime in the 2000s by Murray Stenson. Now called the "definitive Seattle cocktail. All things considered... Seattle could do a whole lot worse.

The Last Word is an expensive drink to make (around $100 for all the bottles), but so amazingly balanced with herbal, sweet, and sour flavors all coming through.

Also, incredibly easy to make.

The Last Word
3 oz cocktail

3/4 oz Gin (I used Washington's own Voyager)
3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur.
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Fresh Lime

Mix, Shake w/ Ice, Strain, Serve.

A true favorite.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pisco Sour

A small surprise occurred a few months ago here in Olympia... the local liquor store, for whatever reason, had a special order of Picologia Pisco.  It was a little pricy, but certainly worth it to create the signature cocktail of not one, but two different countries.

Variations are aplenty with the Pisco Sour. Some (perhaps the Chileans?) claim the egg whites are unnecessary, most recipes say to use lemon... but then one notes that South American Limon is closer to a lime. Some use 2-1 rich syrup, some use 1-1 simple syrup

And no matter the makeup... Anthony Bordain would rather have a beer

In the end, I just went with what I know I like... less sweet and more alcohol. Thus, the recipe from imbibe magazine (with a quick nod to the limon/lemon/lime issue).

Pisco Sour

3 oz Pisco
1 oz lemon and lime juice mixture
3/4 oz simple (1:1 ratio of water and sugar) syrup
1/2 egg white
4 drops angostura bitters

In a cocktail shaker, mix together pisco, lemon and lime juice (I did about 50/50), simple syrup, and egg white. Cover and shake.

Uncover and add ice (bigger ice cubes are better). Recover and shake.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Drop 4 or so drops of angostura bitters onto the egg white foam in different spots around the drink. Use a toothpick and swirl them around for the nicely finished look. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Clash of the Titans

I found this recipe on the back of the bottle of Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur that I recently bought.

I'm not sure why the drink has this name. It's a mixture of two alcohols... neither of which have any stature that can be compared to that of a titan.

Clash of the Titans

1 oz Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka
1 oz Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur

Shake with ice.
Strain into shot glass.

The yelp shot glass automatically gave it 5 stars. I'd say it's more worthy of 3. It tastes like a sugar bomb root beer float. It goes down remarkably smooth given the fairly high proof. If that's what you're looking for... go fourth.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Icelandic Breakfast Part 2

No fancy photo editing of crazy prepared dishes, this is what a normal breakfast was all about in Iceland. Skyr. A fantastic icelandic yogurt that is super healthy, fat free, loaded with protein, and most surprisingly given the aforementioned qualities... tastes fantastic. I ate a few of these every day in Iceland. Sometimes with some tasty muesli thrown on top for a little bit of a crunch. Skyr also comes as an equally delicious shake.  

It may be a little hard to see exactly what is going on here, but this is slice of smoked salmon and egg sandwich from the Sandholt bakery. The bread is loaded with seeds and tastes great. Sadly, this was not too filling and very expensive. A one time affair.

The coffee on the other hand is to die for. Super strong, almost frothy on its own, and a perfect excuse to stop by the bakery at any time of the day.

Catherine's favorite treat. Chocolate and vanilla icing over a flaky croissant like pastry with an eggy sweet custard in the middle.

Finally... Icelandic eggs are boss. Quite a few of them were consumed. We stored them in this very Scandinavian egg rack.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Icelandic Breakfast Part 1

This blog has been slightly dead for a number of months. That said, there isn't a better time to resurrect it than right at this very moment. Why is that? Because I'm on vacation and there is a ton of awesome (pardon me for speaking in the 3rd person) Food for Nick to Eat.

The first thing to show is the first meal after setting foot onto Icelandic soil. A little bit of background is needed to preface this. We arrived in Iceland at about 6:30 AM. We got to our hotel in Reykjavic at 7:45 AM. We could not check in until 2:00 PM. The town of Reykjavic stayed up the previous night drinking until about 6:00 AM. NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL NOON.

The first thing to do was to kill time and grab some breakfast at this cool little hole in the wall breakfast basement named Grai Kotturinn (Grey Kitten). The offerings are simple, average price by Icelandic standards (pricy by American), and they use delicious Icelandic ingredients that make the simple dishes shine.

So, the picture below is a simple Croque Madame with a side of bacon and a simple green salad. The bread was thick, the ham was salty enough to strike through the other flavors, the cheese sharp, and the egg gooey and and rich. A simple dish superbly executed. 

The food isn't quite the same without a little bit of the atmosphere, so take a look at the interesting artwork.

Nation, I like your moustache, your trousers, and your manners.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Washington Red Hook

One evening I was at a bar. The kind of bar where you tell the bartender to make you a drink and they create something that you've never tasted before. Upon a request for a nice whiskey drink that wasn't too sweet, the bartender came back with a creation of complex flavor that was not easy to pick apart. The bar was Tavern Law in Seattle - the drink was a Red Hook.

Luckily, the Serious Eats folks were around to provide a recipe for this tasty treat.

I wanted to make this drink my own though. Perhaps even make it that of my own state. Several weeks and a fair amount of money later, I was sipping on a Washington Red Hook.

In order to make the drink Washingtonian, I had to change up a couple of the ingredients. Seeing as the drink only has 3... I changed one and added a very complimentary garnish.

First: A trip Washington's first craft distillery since prohibition, Dryfly, was an excellent way to get some of their new, first in the country, 100% wheat whiskey. Their bourbon would have been a little better suited for the drink, but thirsty consumers can't get their hands on it until August 6th, so I was just fine with what I got.

Second: The garnish. Maraschino cherries are delicious little sugar balls, but what if I actually made them taste like something? And made them out of extremely flavorful grown in Washington Rainier cherries? Winner.

Maraschino Rainier Cherries
taken from the From Away blog

1 cup Luxardo Maraschino Liquor
1/4 cup sugar
32 pitted Rainier Cherries

1: Pit the cherries. I personally used a cherry pitter that I picked up at William Sonoma. Given the store, it was surprisingly inexpensive.
2. Coat the cherries in the sugar. Toss them around to make sure that it's evenly applied throughout. Let them sit for 24 hours.
3. Heat up the Maraschino liquor, but stop it before it simmers. Pour into the jar and shake until all the sugar is dissolved. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
4.  Let steep for 1 week. They will lose a little of their beautiful color and the taste will be completely transformed.

All good things had come together. It was time.

Washington Red Hook

2 oz DryFly Whiskey
1/2 oz Punt E Mes
1/4 oz Maraschino Liquor
Garnish with Cherries

It can be served up or over ice.