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.