Posts Tagged ‘mint’

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.


Can a Cocktail Cure a Cold?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

It is so predictable.  The kids go back to school and I get sick. Usually when I have a cold I nix the alcohol, but last night I got to thinking: could a cocktail also serve as a curative?

It makes sense, since so many of the ingredients I use do have health benefits.  All those limes and lemons add up to good doses of vitamin C, honey is a known mucous thinner (I know, ew), ginger is great for calming upset tummies, and alcohol is a relaxant (thus appearing in nighttime cold medicines). Browsing my pantry, I noticed some mint tea – wouldn’t that help clear a stuffy nose? Then my idea for a healing hot mint julep was born.

The No-More-Sniffling-Stuffy-Head-or-Coughing-So-You-Can-Sleep Cocktail*

6 oz brewed mint tea
1 oz bourbon
½ oz honey

To brew the tea, add one mint teabag to 6 oz of boiling water and let steep only 1-2 minutes. Add the bourbon and honey, and stir until dissolved. Let cool slightly before drinking!

Red Hook, who has progressed to the sinus infection stage of his cold (and is the source of mine!), balked at trying it but then declared it “really good.”  After sipping it a bit I really could breathe easier. So while it may not cure my cold, it does make the duration a bit more pleasant.

 *This, of course, is a variation of the old Vicks Nyquil slogan.

Cheers, ICE


A Bright, Crisp Cocktail to Welcome Fall

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

You know how great it is when you introduce a friend to something new and they go all crazy for it? Well, it may not be in the same league as turning someone on to bungee jumping or roller derby, but I’m pretty psyched that I introduced “Ginger” to ginger beer. Now she’s a connoisseur of the spicy, non-alcoholic brews (think ginger ale but with more tang), and recently slipped me a bottle of Reed’s Spiced Apple Brew. Pretty tasty, especially when combined with rum, Chartreuse and mint!

I’m glad I spotted this recipe before winging it, because it wouldn’t have occurred to me to try the Chartreuse.  The apple-y ginger, Chartreuse and mint flavors dance really well here. I really couldn’t tease out the rum and I’m thinking that citrus vodka or plain rum wouldn’t make much difference. 

Say hello to fall with this bright, crisp drink:

Mid-Autumn Highball (original recipe)

6 mint leaves, plus sprig for garnish
¾ oz simple syrup (I omitted)
½ oz green Chartreuse
1 ½ oz citrus rum
3 oz alcoholic sparkling apple cider (I used 3 ½ oz Reed’s Spiced Apple Brew)

Muddle the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker, and then add ice and all ingredients except the Reed’s. Shake well to chill, and then pour into an ice-filled highball glass. Add the Reed’s brew and stir gently. Note: I substituted 3 ½ oz of Reed’s Spiced Apple Brew for the apple cider and omitted the simple syrup because I correctly suspected that the Reed’s would add enough sweetness. 

My variation of the Mid-Autumn Highball uses spiced apple ginger beer.

Autumn is obviously hitting the Pacific Northwest early this year, and now I have the drink to toast the season.  Thanks, Ginger! 

Cheers, ICE


Drinks With a Bite

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Ha, I’m betting my headline misled that I’m posting vampire-related drinks, what with the Twilight Eclipse movie releasing this week.  Given that I lean Team Jacob, any cocktail would have to have garlic in it – which sounds just gross — and a Bloody Mary seemed too obvious.  So instead the bite is about spicy…

As my liquid weekend in Portland confirmed, I love the drinks with heat. Not torched-mouth heat, just the kind with a nice burn in the back of the throat.  Apart from muddling a jalapeno or adding a little Serrano pepper juice, I haven’t worked much with peppers at home. After pulling this recipe out of my stash so many times, I decided to attempt both the pepper-infused syrup AND turning a single cocktail into a pitcher drink.  Ooh, this could have been dangerous.

**Ginger-Habañero Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
 1 seeded habañero
2 oz sliced fresh ginger

Heat to just before boiling and sugar is dissolved, and then remove from heat. After 5 minutes off heat, scoop out peppers. Allow remaining mixture to cool and strain out ginger. Keeps in refrigerator for 3 weeks in a sealed container. Makes 10 ounces.

Since I didn’t find habañeros at the store, I substituted two Serrano peppers per instructions on various Web sites about peppers and cooking substitutes. I also used 3 tablespoons of jarred sliced ginger because I have no idea how to cook with fresh ginger. These were fine substitutions because the end syrup was delish. It was also wonderfully easy to make.

Next came the challenge of scaling the cocktail recipe to pitcher proportions. The original recipe is The Chadwick and was created by bartender Adam Seger at Nacional 27 in Chicago.  Since I had only 10 oz of syrup and the original recipe called for 1 oz, I knew I had to multiply the other ingredients by 10 as well. This was easily done with this particular recipe, although I chose to add a little extra of this and that in the end. I also opted to use 3 ounces of lime juice rather than muddle 20 lime quarters.

Here is my pitcher version of The Chadwick:

30 large mint leaves
5 oz dark rum
7 oz light rum
12 oz pomegranate juice
3 oz lime juice
10 oz spiced syrup
33 oz club soda

Muddle mint leaves with lime juice, add in all ingredients except club soda to chill in refrigerator. Add club soda before serving.

In hindsight, I could have added all dark rum, as the original listed, and more of it. Considering how quickly the pitcher was drained, no one at the BBQ seemed to mind, though. I was left wishing I had doubled the syrup recipe so that I could have made a larger pitcher AND been able to try this non-alcohol Nojito from the same creator:

Pomegranate-Ginger-Chile Nojito

Sugar + 1 oz pomegranate juice for rim of collins glass
½ lime, quartered
8 mint leaves
¾ oz ginger-chile syrup
1 oz pomegranate juice
3 oz chilled club soda

Moisten the outer rim of a collins glass with 1 ounce of the pomegranate juice and coat lightly with sugar. Fill the glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lime quarters with the mint leaves and Ginger-Habanero Syrup. Add ice and the remaining 1 ounce of pomegranate juice and shake well. Strain into the prepared collins glass and stir in the club soda.

These drinks are sure to add heat and praise to your 4th of July function!

Cheers, ICE