I love glitter and all things kitsch, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I also love drag queens. Back when I was making jewelry as a way to cope with the soul sucking corporate gig I had, I wanted to do a drag/burlesque craft show so that I could hang out with and meet more of the amazingly talented men, women, lady-boys, kings, queens and queerdos that populate the local scene. I never found the time to organize said event but, I have thankfully found time to experience more of the amazing talent here in Seattle.
If you've watched RuPaul's Drag Race, and if you haven't seriously what are you doing with your life, you have seen two amazing queens from Seattle kick ass and take names (and a crown). And while Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme are both amazing performers we have a city full of amazing. This Saturday I got to hit one of my favorite daytime drag shows, Mimosas Cabaret featuring Ruby Bouche, Isabella Aextynn, Tipsy Rose Lee and Vanity White. Two plus hours of live performance, lip syncing, camp, glamour, glitter, liquor, and the stage manager's ass. You should stop whatever you're doing and buy tickets to this ASAP.
Obviously a show this amazing needs to have a signature cocktail, and it needed to be based on the titular (hehe, I said tit....) Mimosa. We've done cocktails before with Cava, but I wanted this to be closer to the original so I grabbed our Blood Orange shrub. Now you can't just dump shrub into sparkling wine, or you end up with a 4th grade science experiment all over your counters and flat wine. Which is not fun and not delicious. So you have to dilute the shrub with ice and booze.
For this I wanted the orange flavor to really shine so I grabbed some local craft vodka. If you wanted to do something a little sharper, you could swap the vodka out for gin or bourbon but it would be a very different cocktail.
I also wanted to pay homage to the Unicorn Bar, home of the Mimosas Cabaret, so I added just a little vanilla extract to this. Hello boozy orange creamsicle. You could use vanilla infused vodka if you like, or if you have it around, but make sure it isn't sweetened or this will get over sweet really fast. I tend to find most of the commercially available flavored vodkas to be unpleasantly artificial tasting, so I either infuse my own or use high quality extracts. You do you.
A last word about sparkling wine. You have three main options for these sorts of cocktails. You will often find me using Cava in the recipes, because it's the closes to Champagne with a price tag that's about half the cost for a halfway decent bottle. It also tends to be less sweet than Prosecco, which is important when adding sweet ingredients like shrubs. If you can't find Cava, or if you just have a serious sweet tooth, use Prosecco.
.75 oz Blood Orange Shrub
1.5 oz Vodka
.25 - .5 tsp Vanilla Extract
Chilled Cava or Prosecco
In a shaker with ice, put all ingredients except Cava. Shake well, about 15 seconds, and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with Cava or prosecco. Garnish with a fierce attitude and red lip glitter.
I really hope you were able to spend some of today outside because it was GLORIOUS!!! I was at the U District market all day, enjoying the weather and all the puppies (seriously I do the markets just for puppy scritches some days). I also scored some nettles and some fiddle head ferns which I'm really excited to have for dinner later this week. But perhaps the best part was meeting the folks at Hierophant Meadery, who made this amazing off-dry mead you see pictured.
If you've never had mead, you totally should. It's a type of wine made from honey and it's delicious all on its own. This one is lightly sweet, with mild honey flavor and lots of grassy notes. This is going to be a favorite warm weather sipper I can tell.
But mead always makes me think of high fantasy, which always makes me think of D&D, and the way every adventure begins: in the tavern where a shadowy figure lurks. This cocktail is the perfect thing to kick off your night of adventure. The sweetness from the mead and shrub are balanced by a little lemon and bourbon, keeping it refreshing and light. Use a more robust bourbon like Buffalo Trace, or Woodinville Whiskey, to add a light smokey note to the background. And top it all off with a bit of seltzer or tonic, for an effervescent kick.
Meanwhile Back at the Tavern...
1 oz Blueberry Thyme shrub
1 oz Semi-Dry Mead
1 oz Bourbon
.25 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Seltzer or Tonic
Put everything except seltzer in a shaker with ice. Shake around 20 seconds, until well chilled. Strain into a glass and top with seltzer. Add ice if desired. Raise high and toast to the beginning of your adventure.
Spring seems to be well and truly here in Seattle. The trees are blooming and the air is warmer, birds are singing, and we're getting a few precious days of sun. It's one of my favorite times of year. It's also the time of year that I go through my freezer in the kitchen and see what I have lots of left from the previous year's purchases. Last year, it was Apricots and that led to the creation of our Apricot Cardamom shrub. We loved it so much that it's now part of our regular rotation.
This Blueberry Thyme shrub might have a similar place in our line up; it's that good.
I mean, I never make anything I don't personally want to drink but that doesn't mean all the flavors I invent are wildly successful with our adoring public. But if its inaugural weekend is anything to go by, it seems you really like this one. Which makes me so delightfully happy because I really love this one.
As I was making it, I was struck by the way thyme smells like loamy forests in the rain which got me thinking about the number one request I got after we published our Chandra cocktail a few weeks ago: a cocktail for Nissa, her fierce elven companion (and unconfirmed lover, but let's be real here we all ship it). I knew I wanted to make something very herbaceous and light, so initially I was thinking about gin. But honestly, I've always pictured elves as living in deciduous forests and gin is more of a deep pine forest sort of flavor.
So instead I pulled out some Aquavit I purchased from local distiller Old Ballard Liquor Co, which is just as herbaceous but without the juniper note. I did want a little bit of woody pine, so a touch of barrel aged gin from our friends at Copperworks was added as a grounding spirit. The barest whisper of Campari rounded everything out and kept things earthy. Overall the taste of this is very light and sippable, with a sweet berry start, lots of herbs and a lightly bitter/woody finish. I know you're going to enjoy this.
What other nerdy pursuits would go better with a themed cocktail? Let me know in the comments.
The Voice of Zendikar
.75 oz Blueberry Thyme shrub
1 oz Citron Aquavit
.5 oz Barrel Aged Gin
.5 tsp Campari
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake well, about 20 seconds, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. You can garnish with a lightly bruised thyme sprig or a few fresh blueberries, though I chose to leave it unadorned today.
What's up GruulFriends? How excited are you that the trees are FINALLY in bloom here in Seattle? I look forward to this brief time all year and have been just stupid happy that the trees are putting on such a lovely show for us. It's still mostly rain in the forecast, but we keep getting days with a touch of sun, and we seem to have seen the last of the bitter cold. And thank gods, because I have so many cocktails to drink out on my patio.
One thing I'm also looking forward to doing is playing more Magic the Gathering with friends. I started playing a little over my Winter break and it's serious fun. I mean yes, it's nerdy AF but that's what we're into around here so... And while I enjoy the strategy of the game itself, I'm enamored with the stories they weave around the various characters. I mean, you don't have to be into the lore to play it but I love how fully fleshed out it is.
Right now Wizards (the owners and makers of Magic) have been focusing on the plane of Kaladesh and the planeswalker Chandra Nalaar who hails from that plane. It's complicated, and full of political intrigue, but her story is really fascinating. Plus there's a lovely will she won't she tension between her and a certain elven planeswalker.
In honor of this fiery badass comes a sweet cocktail with a touch of smokey heat. While the recipe calls for bourbon, rye would be just as good here. Anything robust with a nice bit of woodiness and just a little spice suits this. I used Buffalo Trace, but pick your favorite. Ancho Reyes liqueur, which we've used before, has a gentle heat and has hints of caramel, chocolate and earth. If you want to kick the heat up a little you can add a dash of Scrappy's Firewater Bitters, but go easy since it's made from habaneros and packs a punch.
The Fires of Kaladesh
1 ounce Apricot Cardamom shrub
1.5 ounce Bourbon or Rye
.5 ounce Ancho Reyes
2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
1 dash (optional) Firewater
Put everything in a shaker with ice. Shake well, about 20-30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five year mission: to seek out new life, and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before."
Fun fact, I love Star Trek. I love that it's based in hope, that it demands optimism in the face of adversity, that the writers (mostly) demanded that viewers get over their shitty attitudes about race, religion, gender and class. I love too the way that it has influenced generations of scientists, actors, explorers, and pop culture makers.
And while in terms of captains I will always be a Next Generation girl (Picard forever!), I also have a deep love for the fierce and unapologetic women that have been part of the show. This is my homage to the woman who held the coms in the original series and who refused to take any shit from anyone. She would not be won like a prize, or be talked down to. She owned her talents as both a linguist and a singer and inspired a generation to believe they could be something other than a maid. Dax, Troi, Kira, Dr Crusher, Torres, Janeway and the rest all have their start in this calm, beautiful, unashamed woman.
I am so pleased to be able to raise my glass in honor of Nyota Uhura.
2 ounce Copperworks Gin
1 ounce Blood Orange Shrub
1 ounce heavy cream
.5 ounce lemon juice
1 dash orange bitters
1 egg white
Combine everything in a shaker without ice. Shake for 2 minutes. Yes, really. The longer you shake this before adding ice, the creamier the finished results.
Add ice. Shake another 20-30 seconds, until the tin becomes very cold. Strain into a chilled glass, fresh ice is optional but is nice in warmer weather. Top with about an ounce of seltzer or club soda.
This drinks like a milkshake for adults. It's creamy, with a rich foam on top, an assertive orange and juniper flavor and slightly sweet finish.
I have been totally obsessed with egg white cocktails of late. There's something about that creamy frothy texture that I just love. I knew I wanted to make a cocktail that was a riff on the much loved Clover Club, but with a lighter more spring time sensibility. I also just bought the most darling coup glasses at the Northwest Flower and Garden show which I knew would be fun to use.
The glasses have a band of etched laurel leaves surrounding slightly geometric cabbage roses, and are delightfully art deco. I wish I could get a better picture of the etching work, as it's really quite pretty. But you'll just have to settle for pictures of delicious cocktails.
For spring, rhubarb is one of my go to flavors. I've featured it in our Queen Bee and it's been featured on a few local menus in seasons past. Right now my go to mix is our Simply Rhubarb shrub, gin and a touch of rose water. For our Pink Diamond Theory cocktail, featured on the side of the bottle, we blend these three ingredients with Cava for a bubbly sip that has a lovely sharpness to it. But I wanted this to be softer, more delicate, and oh so slightly fussy.
And it is all the things I wanted it to be. Floral and lightly sweet with a tang of rhubarb and lots of herbal notes in a creamy sip. It reminded me of a favorite Steven Universe character, Pearl, who is a bit fussy and precise, but worth the effort to get to know.
1.5 ounce Aviation Gin
1 ounce Simply Rhubarb shrub
.5 ounce Dry Vermouth
.5 tsp rose water
1 egg white*
Put all ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake for at least 30 seconds. A full minute is better. This fully incorporates the egg white and is necessary for a thick, creamy foam. Add ice and shake for another 15-20 seconds to chill and dilute the drink. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
*Can substitute with 1 ounce Aqua Faba for a vegan/egg free version
Chocofest was, as it always is, totally madcap and wonderful. Pike Brewing is such a staple of the city, with so much history, that there's always a sense of roots to the space. This year we were just pleased as can be to partner with Copperworks Distilling, our wonderful waterfront friends, on a cocktail for this party. Since it was just before Valentine's Day I wanted to create something with a touch of romance, that you could sip while looking into your beloved's eyes (even if your beloved is your cat). And since we had just released our Blood Orange shrub, this seemed like a great place to start.
We've paired the Blood Orange with gin on other occasions, in our Dame Judi Dench cocktail last Spring and liberally in our g+t, so I knew the combination was a winner. Honey, with it's seductive aroma and reputation as an aphrodisiac, seemed like a great direction. And we all know honey + gin + citrus is my favorite Bees Knees cocktail. So that was an easy call to make, with the added bonus that it is a great cocktail to make in large batches.
But why the name? Well, in searching for name inspirations I often start with pagan mythologies, especially those outside Greek and Roman tradition. I found that Kamadeva is the Hindu god of desire and love (especially sexual desire) and his bow is made of a sugar cane strung with bees. He seemed like the perfect patron for this cocktail, with it's charming light red color and sweet kiss of honey.
The sip is sweet to start, with big orange and herbal notes following. Then a touch of molasses and honey gives way to a grapefruit like finish. It's very refreshing and the addition of the seltzer keeps it light and effervescent, like new love.
1.5 ounce Copperworks Gin
1 ounce Blood Orange shrub
.5 ounce Rich Honey Syrup
2 ounce Seltzer
To make rich honey syrup, warm 2 parts honey in 1 part water until the honey is dissolved. This makes it easier to incorporate into the cocktail (or a glass of iced tea). For this syrup I used a robust wildflower honey that could stand up to the assertive flavors in the shrub and gin. Cool the syrup fully before using and store in a sealed container. This keeps until just about forever.
Put all ingredients, except seltzer, into a shaker with ice. Shake well, about 15 seconds, until the shaker is frosted on the outside and everything is well combined. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with seltzer. This cocktail is great both straight up or over ice. But either way, you should garnish it with a strip of blood orange zest and a smoldering, come hither look.
One of the nerdy rights of passage is coming back from a convention and immediately coming down with a nasty case of Con Crud. It's a blend of the flu, the common cold, and ohmygodican'tgetoffthecouch that happens when you pack a mess of people all into one place for a weekend and then go full speed, don't sleep, and live off caffeine and booze. Which is why I'm continuing the trend of late to my own cocktail party.
But holy cow it was a great round this/last month. Anime, comics, My Little Pony, birdwatching and D&D all made appearances. But I think most creative adaptation of the theme has to go to Craig E for his pangram inspired duo. If you're like me and you didn't know what a pangram was, it's a sentence that uses every letter in the alphabet. One of the most famous pangrams is "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Here we have two cocktails who's instructions are also pangrams. I love word play!
I also really love that, even though Craig wasn't the most happy with the way this turned out that we still get to see it. I'm really into seeing the thought process that goes into the craft of cocktail making so this hit several nerd themes for me.
Craig also gave us this lovely spirit forward number that I'm very keen to try out. I love me some mole bitters so this is going on my to shop for list. I'm sadly out of Mezcal. Better if you don't ask...
Our next submission was from Meticulous Mixing, and I have to admit when I first saw the title I thought we were going to get some kind of Burning Man inspired libation. And I was really keen to see where that was going. But this is better. Because it's on fire! It's inspired by a manga/anime serial/song that sounds delightfully bizarre in the way only anime can really do. Add item one bazzillion to my Must Watch list...
Also did I mention this is a shot. And it's on fire!
Our esteemed host Fred at Cocktail V̶i̶r̶g̶i̶n̶ Slut literally gave us the sun. But in cocktail format. I love the fact that he combined his nerdy love of vintage cocktails and cocktail history with his nerdy love of astronomy. Way to embrace the theme! Also this looks delicious and I super want one. It's a punch with citrus and rum and rose liqueur in it. Who wouldn't want one?
The Booze Nerds got into the theme by pulling out their favorite fantasy inspirations and gave us two beverages that I'm seriously thinking need to be had at my next D&D gaming night. The D20, named for the ubiquitous polyhedral die gamer nerds know and love/hate, sounds like the sort of Autumnal imbibeable I'm forever dreaming of. Honey Cider and Brandy? Yes please.
We also got this coy seeming number of American whiskey, Amaretto and Pomegranate juice. This seems like the perfect sort of thing for a rogueish Lady or maybe a not-so-good Cleric to sip while she counts her latest haul of treasure.
Over at Garnish, we got a glimpse into the really-not-all-that-different-from-Pokemon-Go world of bird watching. Collect them all and get super excited when you find a rare one or one that is totally outside of its usual habitat. With the bonus of being able to celebrate with this delicious sounding cocktail. Rye and Apple brandy sound like a combination I will be drinking loads of this Fall. And being in Washington there's likely a good local Applejack or Apple Brandy.
OOOH, research project!
Southern Ash got us into some classic nerd places with his ode to Cyclopes and the X-Men. In the greater scheme of things, I agree that Scott gets glossed over in favor of the bad boy (Logan) but he was clearly the better choice for Jean's affection. I'm really excited to see him celebrated in this Negroni inspired number. I totally ship this Gin/Campari/Dry Curacao triangle.
Speaking of Logan... Mr. Muddle gave us maybe my favorite garnish for his ode to Wolverine. I mean, he made a claw out of blueberries and lemon peel. I die.
I also really want to drink this Fernet and whiskey concoction. Probably while smoking a cigar and having a super bad attitude.
By Grabthar's Hammer I want this cocktail. I have no idea what Nitrogen Cavitation is but I love that probable chemistry was involved in making this nerdy cocktail. I also love Gin bitters, and as I need to make more I might just steal Doc Elliott's recipe. For the next time I need to make a virgin G&T.
In the meantime I think I need to rewatch Galaxy Quest for the eleventybillionth time. Because Sigourney Weaver.
Totally not last to the party (that was me) but bringing in a fandom I'm not super familiar with, is WJM Beverage with this My Little Pony inspired apple tiki tipple. With a hand painted mug no less! Seriously this is cosplay on a whole other level. Also rum and apples might be a thing I need to experiment with more because this sounds really good.
And then there was me. Inspired by Steamposium, and Steam Punk in general, I got to play with one of my favorite wholesale partner's gin and a good friend's tea. The Airship Captain was a really fun cocktail for me to develop and even funner for me to stage the picture of. How cool is that vintage flight hat?
Huge giant thanks to everyone who participated, and to Fred especially for keeping us all involved. Also for putting up with me being late on everything. I hope this inspired you to look in new and interesting places for your cocktail inspiration and that you all had fun learning about each other.
So, of course I'm late to my own party...
To be fair I've been getting ready to vend at a SteamPunk Convention here in Seattle, which is sort of in the vein of the prompt. It's also the inspiration for my contribution.
Steampunk, for those of you not in the know, is an aesthetic/literary movement based on the steam powered/industrial revolution era with an emphasis on Victorian England. It combines science fiction, alt-history, costuming and tea. It's delightfully fun, and you get to play dress-up! And while yes there are loads of men in frock coats and women in corsets standing around and making delightful eye candy, there is also a very strong maker community that creates props, art, sculpture, modifies electronic devices, and more!
As a litterary movement, there are loads of fun adventure/horror/mystery stories to explore. Anything by Jules Vern or H. G. Wells, the original era writers. Comics like Girl Genius, Hark a Vagrant, Lady Mechanika and others. Modern books like The Parasol Protectorate series, The Difference Engine, Infernal Devices, and Boneshaker are great places to start.
The thing I love best about Steampunk is it's blending of what was with what could have been, and what never was. Often advanced science is powered by steam creating monstrous mechanical marvels, while genteel people take tea and discuss the latest Penny Dreadful. Alternative histories where dashing airship captains swashbuckle for the glory of Queen and Country brush up against horror novels where Jack the Ripper stalks and the undead roam.
So, how am I going to make all THAT into a cocktail? Well I wanted to start with gin, of course. A solid London Dry style gin from Copperworks Distilling seemed like the perfect choice. Their name is even a bit reminiscent of the Steampunk genre. I also knew I wanted to incorporate tea into my cocktail. I've been having tons of fun with tea in cocktails lately, and it so happens that I have an amazingly talented friend who blends and sells the most delightful geeky teas. If you're a tea fan, I can't say enough good things about Friday Afternoon Tea.
Our Apricot Rosemary shrub seemed like the perfect choice for this tea and gin concoction, both because of its color and because I've used it in both gin and tea based cocktails before. I mixed the three components together and felt like it needed a little something more. So into the bitters drawer, and first thing my eye sees are Teapot Bitters which I've been looking for an excuse to play with. They add a spicy note to this cocktail that speaks of danger and dark places well brought up young ladies shouldn't go (but do anyway because it's fun).
Overall the sip on this is herbaceous and the tea gives me earthy notes of leather. I think making this with a touch of smoked tea next time would deepen that. The sweetness is present but not overpowering and there's just a little bit of alcohol bite from the gin.
1.5 oz over brewed black tea
1.5 oz Copperworks Gin
.75 oz Apricot Rosemary shrub
4 dashes Teapot Bitters
Combine everything in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a steely gaze and a captain's hat.
The thing that unites everyone who participates in MxMo is our love of of cocktails. We love the history, the alchemy, the artistry, and of course the drinking. Loads of us go to conventions, collect memorabilia, read books about all manner of boozy subjects, and tour distilleries like they're sacred places. One might say, we're nerds.
I say, what else are you nerdy for?
For the purposes of this challenge I'm going to define a nerdy pursuit as: anything from or related to science, science fiction, fantasy, video games, role playing games/characters, or comics. Come up with a cocktail that celebrates or is inspired by a nerdy thing you love. A cosmo variation for Neil deGrasse Tyson? The perfect sip for Sarah and her Goblin King to share? A beer based cocktail for that barbarian you played in your college D&D game? Star Trek? Anything you are enthusiastic about. And since the best part of being nerdy is sharing that enthusiasm with others, tell us about the thing you're drawing your inspiration from.
I can't wait to see what else we have in common.
Here's how to play:
Rebecca, Beca to most, is the owner and proprietress of The Shrubbery. Based in rainy Seattle WA, she loves all manner of seasonal produce, tasty beverages, single origin chocolate and her cats.