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.
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.