Archive for the ‘Vodka’ Category

Not Your Pappy’s Moonshine

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Last week I got a fun treat and joined Seattle’s LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktail – love that!) group for a private tour of the Woodinville Whiskey Co. Talk about a perk to this blogging stuff!

Only open to the public for a few months, the Woodinville Whiskey Co. has been busy creating a boutique whiskey distillery not far from the Red Hook Brewery, Chateau St. Michelle Winery and many other booze-forward businesses in Woodinville. Owner Orlin Sorensen took about 20 or so LUPEC women through their facilities, let us peer into vats of boiling organic corn and rye mash, and gave us several samples to sip. While I was familiar with the basics of bourbon and whiskey, the tour went way beyond. I can’t do all of the information justice (a few bullet points are at the end), but tastings and tours are available to the public each week.

These barrels are in high demand by home and commercial brewers!

 While Boss Hogg pursued the Dukes of Hazzard for runnin’ moonshine, the distillery has accomodated us by launching Headlong White Dog Whiskey, an organic, unaged whiskey made with true bourbon mash but just out of the still…in other words, legal moonshine. Orlin described white dog as being to bourbon what white rum is to aged rum – rougher, sharper but still flavorful. Just for kicks, he used the white dog in a cocktail called the Green Trellis to demonstrate its mixability. You can pick up a bottle of Headlong at the distillery or at state liquor stores: How fun to tell guests at your next party that you are serving a form of moonshine!

Green Trellis (created by John Ueding at Trellis Restaurant in Kirkland)

3 slices of cucumber
10-12 mint leaves
1 ½ oz Headlong White Dog Whiskey
1 oz apple cider (they used non-alcoholic, but I think hard cider would also be tasty)
½ oz simple syrup

Muddle the cucumber and mint in a cocktail shaker, and then add ice and other ingredients. Shake well, strain and serve up in a chilled cocktail glass.

Orlin gave us a sneak peek, or rather sip, of their first batch of micro-barrel (5 to 7 gallons) aged bourbon. Very tasty. Plans are to release a new micro-batch of organic bourbon each quarter, so it will be interesting to see what more refined palates have to say about the releases.

Cutest cask ever (don't mention that to Dad).

Can’t wait to taste their results? The distillery is also selling its “Age Your Own Whiskey” kit, complete with a wee cask. The company says that the small cask size means the aging process is greatly accelerated, producing a properly aged whiskey in just 3-6 months. Too late for Mother’s Day, this kit could make a great Father’s Day gift for the whiskey lover in your family.

And although bourbon is clearly their passion, the distillery’s owners also produce an organic vodka to pay the bills while the bourbon ages. Most vodka is pretty tasteless, but the Peabody Jones Vodka tasted almost creamy, with hints of vanilla. A pleasant way to add interest to your vodka drinks.

In addition to the sipping and sampling, LUPEC also raised about $400 for the Red Cross’s tornado relief efforts – fitting given that the recent tornados have devastated areas around and in the South’s bourbon region. Cocktails and a cause, the perfect combo.

Bonus: Random Bourbon Factoids

  • Bourbon is America’s only native spirit and must contain at least 51% corn mash. But it does not have to be made in Bourbon County, Kentucky, to be called bourbon.
  • Bourbon barrels are made from new white oak by professional called coopers (at a cooperage, naturally).
  • The insides of the barrels are charred to distillery preference, depending on the flavor profile the distillery seeks.
  • After the barrels are used just once for bourbon, they are used by other distilleries for beer, Scotch or Irish whisky, rum and tequila.
  • The alcohol lost to absorption in the cask is called the angels’ share.
  • The Woodinville Whiskey Co. already has a long list of home beer brewers and commercial brewers waiting for those used bourbon barrels to free up!

Cheers, ICE

As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol
and mixer definitions and details.

 

Sham-rockin’ on St. Patrick’s Day

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Get out the green and have a cheery St. Patrick’s Day. But just a warning: Leprechauns get thirsty, and you really don’t want to piss them off. Have one of these drinks on hand. Even if you aren’t delivered a pot ‘o gold, these drinks are still magically delicious.

The cilantro garnish almost looks like a shamrock clover, right? Right?

Sacred Silence

1 oz citron vodka
½ oz green chartreuse
1 cucumber chunk (less than 1″, peeled
2 cilantro leaves
4 green peppercorns
1 squeeze of lemon
½ oz simple syrup (I reduced to ¼ oz)
¼ oz Jones Green Apple Soda (optional; just bumps up the green)

Muddle cucumber, cilantro and peppercorns in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, vodka, green chartreuse, lemon squeeze and simple syrup and shake well. Double strain into ice-filled glass.

Note: while the picture shown on Grey Goose’s site makes this drink look very green, it wasn’t.  I added the Jones Soda to make it more appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day and adjusted the simple syrup accordingly. 

The Sparkling Shamrock for one day only.

I admit I was skeptical about the next cocktail, but gave it a shot. Red and I had the same, probably comically surprised reaction – this is a really good drink! Incidentally, I found this on the Grey Goose site when scrolling through their fabulous pictures looking for green drinks, but later saw the same recipe on other sites with an appropriate name change: The Sparkling Shamrock.

 Cucumber Fizz/Sparkling Shamrock

1 ½ oz pear vodka
½ oz St. Germain
2 oz juiced cucumber (peeled)
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
Top with lemonade or club soda

Shake all but club soda with ice. Double strain into ice-filled highball glass and top with lemonade or club soda. Garnish with mint, cucumber slices and lemon zest.

If you are looking for other green options, click on the “green_drinks” tag in the sidebar.  And, as a new feature, you can always check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.

Cheers! ICE

 

Pour This in Your Apple Cup

Monday, November 29th, 2010

This Saturday is the annual Apple Cup, Washington’s intra-state football showdown: WSU Cougars vs. UW Huskies. In our case, it is an intra-house battle, as I’m a Coug and hubby is a Dawg.  Mostly this is a skirmish to determine which of us gets to dress our kids for the day.

In addition to beer, a big game needs a cocktail, right? Lo and behold, I discovered this drink already called the Washington Apple. Perfect! And so easy even a Husky can make one.

Washington Apple

1 oz Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey
1 oz Sour Apple Pucker
½ oz cranberry juice
½ oz simple syrup (omit if not using 100% cranberry juice)
Splash of soda water (optional)

You can combine the liquids and shake with ice, or simply build in an ice-filled glass and stir well.

The lovely, red Washington Apple

Now, the trouble I have with recipes using cranberry juice is that they are usually not very specific. 100% cranberry juice or the actual fruit are not always available, while juice combinations (with added juices, sugar or even the dreaded high fructose corn syrup) are ubiquitous. But I draw most of my recipes from books and sites that preach the gospel of market-fresh ingredients – are they really using regular ol’ Ocean Spray? These are the questions that vex me.

In this case, I used 100% cranberry juice – which is soooo tart – and therefore compensated with the added simple syrup. If you prefer, make yours with a cranberry juice beverage, omit the syrup and fuggedaboutit.

I will say that with the pure cranberry juice, this drink was a lovely deep red…crimson, really (Go Cougs!).

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Oh, fine. Here’s a purple one, too. I fashioned this one for the UW Alpha Delta Phi Centennial banquet because my friend and organizer wanted a purple cocktail. After I got over the swearing and shaky hands, I came up with this:

Woof

1 oz citrus vodka
½ oz Cointreau
2 oz Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Blueberry Juice mix

Combine in a shaker filled with ice, and shake until well chilled. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Oh, sorry. Was that too fast for you? Here it is again:

Woof

1 oz citrus vodka
½ oz Cointreau
2 oz Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Blueberry Juice mix

Combine in a shaker filled with ice, and shake until well chilled. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cheers, ICE

 

The Perfect Pumpkin Finale for Your Feast

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Can’t decide whether to make a pumpkin pie or pecan pie for Thanksgiving? Bag them both and whip up this easier dessert cocktail instead.

Praline Pumpkin Pie

¾ oz vodka
½ oz praline liqueur (or substitute, see notes below)
2 ½ T pumpkin ice cream (I used Snoqualmie Pumpkin Custard)
1/8 t ginger juice (optional)
Scan pinch of salt
Scant pinch of pumpkin pie spice for garnish (optional)

Measure out softened ice cream and add it to the vodka, praline liqueur, ginger juice and salt in a mixing glass. Stir until mixture is uniform in texture. Pour into chilled cocktail glass and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice on top before serving.  Note: For the ginger juice I used the liquid in a jar of Ginger People’s grated ginger, but the drink won’t be ruined without it. You may substitute the praline liqueur with Frangelico liqueur or amaretto, but they can be stronger flavors, so start with only ¼ oz and add to taste.  Update 12/6: I noticed in a Food & Wine book that they recommend substituting praline liqueur with equal parts Frangelico and amaretto to approximate the taste. A useful option if your friend didn’t bring you back any praline liqueur from New Orleans.

Praline Pumpkin Pie: It's like three desserts and a cocktail rolled into one.

I created this one after experimenting with other pumpkin cocktail recipes (see below) that used pumpkin butter. Faced with having to make my own pumpkin puree mix or syrup, I had an “ah ha” moment and grabbed some pumpkin ice cream to create this creamy dessert drink. The ice cream has a nice spiced pumpkin taste that the praline liqueur plays off while the combination keeps both flavors in balance.  Top with whipped cream to really get your pie on. 

Other options

During my experimenting, I did find a couple of “pretty good” pumpkin drinks and discovered a nice pear vodka by Grey Goose.  Both of these drinks came from About.com’s cocktail page via the Grey Goose company (the local liquor stores have a big display right now that includes a handy sample pack of their flavored vodkas, but definitely substitute brands if you have a different one on hand).

Pumpkin Carver

1 ½ oz Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka
½ oz maple syrup (the original recipe says ¾ oz, but it was too much)
½ oz ginger liquer
1 t pumpkin butter (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
1 oz fresh lemon juice
Apple chip to garnish

Add ice and all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish (optional).

Pumpkin Divine

1 oz Grey Goose La Poire vodka
1 T pumpkin butter (or less)
½ oz triple sec
½ oz simple syrup
Pinch each of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger
Apple chip sprinkled with nutmeg to garnish

Add ice and all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish (optional).

The Pumpkin Carver Cocktail

This year I give thanks for a bounty of cocktails I’ve tried and for you Ice + Clink + Drink readers I share them with.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers, ICE