Posts Tagged ‘trips’

Don’t Mean a Thang If It Ain’t Got That Twang

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

We were recently in Chinook, Montana, to celebrate Red’s grandparents’ 70th Anniversary – wow! The long weekend was busy with activities and getting reacquainted with their kids, kids’ kids and kids’ kids’ kids, about 80 people in all.

One such activity was a hayride into the prairie, but we had to get there first. The kids and some adults piled onto the chartered, un-air-conditioned school bus while some of us opted to follow in a few cars. This was a good decision, because the school bus overheated on a quiet Montana road and we ALL ended up crammed into the cars, with kids perched on coolers in the way back, teenagers crammed between seats and adults…well, we were happy that there was cold beer in said coolers.  

I had bought the town out of Corona my first night there (there were only two cases to be had among all that Bud Light and Miller), and a few of those were stashed in the back. But Coronas just aren’t the same without a lime wedge. Unless you have lime salt on hand. And who just happened to have some Twang Lime Beer Salt in her backpack? Well, I was a Girl Scout once upon a time and it’s not just the boys who come prepared.

Twang Lime Beer Salt is simply crystallized lime and salt. Given a few shakes into a beer, it imparts that nice lime flavor and makes your beer fizz. It is my go-to when I’m out of limes or when slicing a lime is impractical (like in a hotel room or when camping – not that I do that – or on a plane). And now, I’ve learned, on long stretches of Montana road.

Cheers, ICE

PS, I got my Twang at a Metropolitan Market but I’m not sure if they are restocking it. I just ordered more from the company.

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

 

Aloha to Okolehao Liqueur and a Taste of Hawaii

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Torrential rain, snow and hail on the first day home from a Hawaiian vacation – that’s the worst way to re-enter reality, especially in April. Fortunately I have new booze to keep me cozy as my “tan” fades.

Ever heard of ‘okolehao?  Traditionally it was a form of Hawaiian moonshine (also called oke by Native Hawaiians) made from the ti root. After falling out of favor for a few decades, a Maui rum distiller has resurrected ‘okolehao as a liqueur, and I happened to run across it at a Big Island grocery store (this isn’t quite as random as it sounds, given that I’m frequently found scouring a liquor aisle).

Having now sampled it, I think the ‘Okolehao liqueur most resembles a spiced rum, though none specifically. It has that caramel-ly rum vibe, along with a bit of coconut and taste of Kahlua liqueur.  Most information online references Haleakala Distillery’s re-creation of ‘okolehao, but includes very few recipes. So I tried a Bali Hai for my first ‘Okolehao Liqueur cocktail and then dabbled a bit to create my own. Both make me glad I got this souvenir for my liquor cabinet.

Bali Hai (changed a bit from the original)

1 oz ‘Okolehao Liqueur
1 oz light rum
½ oz gin
2 oz lemon juice
2 oz lime juice
½ oz orgeat*
¾ oz simple syrup
Top with champagne

Combine all ingredients except champagne in a shaker with ice. Shake well and pour into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with champagne. Note: I felt this drink was way too sour and so added the simple syrup. Reducing the amount of lemon and lime juices at the start would be preferable.

Oke would probably make a fine substitute in most recipes calling for spiced rum. If you pick up a bottle on your next trip to the islands, I suggest keeping it sealed until you return home. The bottle top is the cork-plug type and would probably leak in your checked luggage (and they won’t allow you to carry it on). If you score a bottle, give my new recipe a try:

Oke? Okay!

1 ½ oz ‘Okolehao Liqueur
¾ oz lime juice
¾ oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water shaken until mixed)
Club soda
Scant dash of falernum (optional)

 Shake all of the above with ice, and strain while pouring into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.

Home may lack 80 degree weather and island breezes, but at least I can create a bit of vacation in a glass. Maybe I can make myself a lei when the Northwest rhodies bloom. Aloha!

Cheers, ICE 

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

Aloha, Pina Colada. Our time together was far too brief...

*orgeat is a syrup made from almonds that is commonly used in tropical drinks. Commercial versions are available.

 

I’m Guest-Blogging on MamaBloo…

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I put in a guest appearance this week on MamaBloo, a blog about motherhood, marriage and life by my friend Kari. My topic is the girls’ getaway weekend, and of course I included a drink recipe! Check it out: GET ME OUTTA HERE.

Cheers, ICE

 

Portland: Drink, eat, repeat

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I mentioned in a previous post that I needed my own field trip and got my wish last weekend. Four of us trained it down to Portland, Oregon, for a weekend of ridiculously good food and cocktails. This town has it going on. Let me and my spicy booze connoisseurs take you on a tour.

We were all aboard for afternoon cocktails.

Friday, 1st round

We took the Amtrak Cascades train between Seattle and Portland and this is the way to go. Of course we tried out the onboard drink selection. A split bottle of wine for “Dee” (who felt a straw was much more klassy than chugging it out of the bottle), a cranberry-vodka for me and a surprisingly good Bloody Mary – with real worstershire sauce and not a mix! – for PRS. Meanwhile, T. atypically abstained so I assume she had a few shots prior.  It was a rolling prefunc for our weekend away.

Friday, 2nd round

Dinner on Friday night was at Southpark in downtown Portland. The drink menu appeared to have many exciting choices, but the server/bartender scrambled our drink orders enough that I’m a little confused about what we drank and when.  We went crazy for what we thought was the Foxtrot – lillet blanc, gin and a reisling reduction – but was probably the Peartini – Absolut Pear, lemon juice, simple syrup and amaretto with a sugar rim. The food was delicious, though. Best of all, my three wine-loving friends declared it a cocktail weekend. To me, this is the equivalent of the drunken, “I love you, man.” Right back ‘atcha, my Sacsayhuamán friends!

Saturday, 1st round

Our pre-lunch cards and cocktails.

We started the morning with coffee and tea rather than Bloody Marys, so remedied that at lunch. Stopping in at Henry’s 12th Street Tavern, we were expecting a slightly dive place to play a few rounds of cards, but instead found a slicker bar and grill with exceptional food and drinks. The mention of their salad with pear, manchego cheese and jalapeno dressing and the smoked turkey ciabatta sandwiches still makes me drool. The Bloodys were cold, thick and just-right spicy, fueling us for lots of walking in the afternoon that included a trip to the liquor store (just can’t help myself).

There we stocked up on minis to recreate Southpark’s Peartini. Because it’s important to get travel souvenirs and buy local (this is credible, right?), I bought a bottle of Spicy Ginger Cello made by Loft, a Portland distillery. I also lucked into a sale – can you imagine, Washingtonians, a liquor store having sales? – on a huge bottle of absinthe. I’d say it will last me years, but realistically…

Saturday, 2nd + rounds – where the gluttony starts

Tapas at Andina: Mussels with salsa criolla.

I’d like to make up a love song to this night’s restaurant, as long as someone else sings it in public (my daughter at 12 months old told me she didn’t like my singing…harsh).  Andina in the Pearl District is the whole package:  truly fresh and innovative Peruvian tapas, entrees and cocktails in a bright setting with a great vibe.  Rude as it is to talk with our mouths full, it was hard to stop commenting on how tasty everything was.

Andina's Sacsayhuamán (sok - say - hoo m-uhn) cocktail is both sassy and sexy...and too good to last long.

Andina also solidified hot peppers as one of our favorite cocktail ingredients with the Sacsayhuamán drink:  Habanero-infused vodka with passion fruit puree and sugar, served up with a cilantro leaf garnish. Pre-Incan ruins in Peru, Sacsayhuamán is pronounced much like “sexy woman,” giving us another reason to love it. And it gave us another goal: trying out all the pepper-punched cocktails we can.

Saturday, rounds #3….wait, no, #4 or 5…or infinity

Our server at Andina pointed us a few blocks down to Vault Martini.  Between the laugh-out-loud menu, people watching and mouthwatering cocktails, this may be the most entertaining bar I’ve run across. Their cocktail selection includes the 7 deadly sins plus 118 more drinks. How to choose?!? My friends went straight for the Habanero Martini – those peppers again! – with house-infused pineapple-habanero vodka and lemon juice, but my first drink was too underwhelming to remember the name. The Chocolate Martini with vanilla vodka and crème de cacao, on the other hand, was definitely memorable. Apparently they also had beer, wine and food but I can’t personally verify that.

At this point, let me give a shout-out to Portland’s street car – serving drunken visitors in the downtown corridor every night. If only Seattle was so smart.

Sunday, 0 rounds

The Vault was so cool that we never made it to our intended destination at The Nine’s hotel bar the night before, so we headed there for brunch on Sunday morning. The Urban Farmer is located in this hip hotel’s center atrium and features a Bloody Mary bar, but no hair-of-the-dog for us. We scored a table with cowhide benches and soothed ourselves with a great breakfast, leaving room for our next stop at Voodoo Donuts near the Burnside Bridge. 

Wicked good doughnuts.

The bakery’s location was perfect since it appears tucked into a bar. Its slogan is “the magic is in the hole,” and while I can’t speak to that I can say you’ll find voodoo doll doughnuts, bacon maple bars and some more, er, risqué shapes.

After close to 48 hours of cocktail and food research, we boarded the train back to Seattle.  I will have to check if Amtrak offers frequent rider miles because I am already craving several of our meals/drinks there.  Hmm, Red Hook might run the Portland Marathon in October. Surely he’ll want a couple of martinis after running 26 miles?

Cheers, ICE

A toast to Portland...and Dee's fab pictures!