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.
"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.
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.