If you've met me at an event, you've probably heard me call myself a nerd. I mean, my company name is a Monty Python joke reference, so I think it should be pretty clear but sometimes maybe it's not...
So let me go on record then as saying, I'm a nerd. I play D&D with my friends (3.5 thankyouverymuch), rock out with my hubby to video games, and still cry when Artex dies in The Never Ending Story. Which meant that when Pokemon Go launched a few weeks ago I was totally excited to put that app on my phone.
I have had a blast wandering around catching monsters and sharing knowing looks with strangers as we both stand on the sidewalk flicking our fingers across our phone screens. There's even a hot spot near my house where 3 Pokestops are clustered that has become a nearly perpetual Pokemon party. Seriously, some guy was out there a week ago with a portable speaker and about 50-60 people were jamin', talking and playing Pokemon.
I'm a huge people person so I love this!
But... right about the same time, this Buzzfeed style list of Pokemon cocktails started showing up on my Facebook. It's been around a while, and it's a cute way for adults to enjoy applying their nerdy things to another thing they enjoy. Having said that, these shots and cocktails are more about appearance and getting the right colors to layer than they are about enjoyable cocktails. They all look like syrupy sweet concoctions guaranteed to leave you feeling like a Beedrill has taken up residence in your head. No thank you.
I firmly beleive that everyone deserves delicious cocktails, so here is the first of our Pokemon Go team cocktails: Team Mystic. Since blue is a very difficult color to get naturally, and I didn't want to put a bunch of over sweetened things in this cocktail, I went with our brand new Blueberry Lemon shrub. It's a rich blue violet, which IMO is more mystical anyway... A quick word on the rum. I used the Mt Gay Black Barrel rum for this because it tastes somewhere between rum and whiskey. Any full bodied aged rum should work here, just try not to pick one that's very sweet.
.75 oz Blueberry Lemon shrub
1.5 oz aged rum
.5 fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 oz Ginger Beer
In a shaker with ice, combine everything except the ginger beer. Shake well, 15-20 seconds, and strain into a chilled tumbler of at least 8 oz capacity. Top with fresh ice and ginger beer. Sip mystically while catching all the Pokemon.
In the Pokemon Go playing universe Team Mystic and Team Valor are rivals of the first order. They have competing ideas about what Pokemon are and how to best make use of them. And it's really fun to have someone to lightly banter with.
Despite the fact that Team Valor is awful (jk... but seriously Mystic 4ever) I think they deserve a delicious cocktail to sip while they battle for gyms and catch all the Pidgeys. And of course it has to be red, like the blood of their enemies! Or like their red shirts, which would be a terrible thing to wear if there was ever any Star Trek/Pokemon crossover. Which there isn't to my knowledge but now that I've said something there probably is.
I also wanted to capture the fiery spirit of the Valor folks I know, as well as their team mascot. Which gave me the perfect excuse to pick up a bottle of Ancho Reyes liqueur, which is a smokey/spicy blend of ancho chilis and cane spirits. A little of this goes a long way if you're sensitive to spicy things, so use sparingly (or throw caution to the wind and drink it straight because it's delicious but has some heat). It's a natural pairing with tequila and that seemed to keep with the fiery theme of this cocktail, but I didn't want to add anymore smoke, so a tasty agave forward blanco seemed like a perfect choice. But Team Valor was not to be denied their smokey deliciousness, and the reposado was a better match. Cocktail evolution, like Pokemon evolution, can sometimes be wild and fun!
Now for the red part... Our Raspberry Lime shrub is super red and super delicious with tequila. Plus it has all this sassy snap from the limes we use in it. So we have smokey, spicy, lime and tequila which was already most of the way to a margarita variation. It was just missing a touch of orange, which we added via bitters to keep the cocktail from getting too sweet. This is the perfect thing to drink while mourning all your gyms turning blue... I mean to celebrate all the gyms being red. Good job Team Valor!
.75 oz Raspberry Lime shrub
1.5 oz Reposado tequila
.5 oz Ancho Reyes liqueur
.5 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes Orange Bitters
Put a bit of tequila on your finger and run it around half the lip of your glass. Dip the moistened end into flakey sea salt. Skip if you don't care for a salted rim on your margarita. Put everything in a shaker with ice. Shake well, 15-20 seconds, and pour into prepared glass. Add more ice if needed and toast your fellow Pokemon trainers!
July here in Seattle has been unexpectedly gloomy and rainy and then sunny and warm, and then gloomy again. I feel like I might get weather related whiplash. Which may sound like a silly complaint from someone who moved to Seattle for the weather, but I've grown to love our brief Summers full of 80 degree days and I want more of them. In succession.
There are an abundance of Summer outdoor festivals, movies in the park and every deck is packed with people enjoying the long days and mild nights. Typically with a beverage in hand. These long evenings, and our partnership with the amazing folks at Letterpress Distilling, helped inspire this cocktail. We got to have them as our neighbors at Proof this year, which was beyond fun. Seriously if you haven't been to see them, do it. They make an excellent craft vodka and one of my two favorite Limoncellos on the market.
It is from this Limoncello that we get our lemons actually. From the beginning I have always wanted to celebrate the produce that comes from Washington State. We have berries galore, stone fruit to die for, pears that are some of the best ever, apples that are one of our best known fruits and so many more things I'd never heard of until I moved here. What we don't have, much to the sadness of my California heart, is citrus. Sure, I use it sparingly in things like our Raspberry Lime shrub, but making a flavor that was focused on a citrus fruit just went against one of the main ideals of my company: Highlight local fruit, grown in state by small to medium sized growers.
And then Skip and his team posted to Facebook about wanting to find someone with a use for a bunch of blood oranges and lemons that they used for making their products. Which is how we ended up with our (sadly now sold out) Blood Orange and Lemon Lavender shrubs. So when I was planning for Proof 2016, I knew it would be super fun to make a cocktail with them to showcase the partnership we'd built. And it was super fun.
It also gave me an opportunity to work with the seriously awesome folks at Addition Cocktail Spice. They make uncomplicated things to add to your cocktails that give a finishing touch, like the best stocked spice rack. But for booze. When I'm formulating a cocktail I want three or so flavor things going on in each sip. Since La Tenerreza was a vodka based cocktail, I knew we'd need something other than the spirit to give those three distinct notes. So I added a few drops of tarragon and just fell in love.
La Tenerezza (Tenderness)
1.5 oz Letterpress Distilling vodka
.75 oz Lemon Lavender shrub
6-8 drops Tarragon cocktail spice
Chilled cava or brut champagne
In a shaker with ice, combine the vodka, shrub and cocktail spice. Shake well, 15-20 second, until the outside of the shaker is well frosted. Strain into a chilled champagne flute or coupe glass and top with the chilled bubbly.