Category Archives: Uncategorized
Thursday, February 14th 2013
First Seating at 5:00pm featuring An Affair to Remember
Second Seating at 8:00pm featuring Sleepless in Seattle
Fresh Ginger, Ponzu, Sake
Steamed Manila Clams
Smoked Fennel, Toast Point
Maple Glaze, Arugula Salad
Cajun Spice Romano Crisp
Apple, Pine Nuts, Pomegranate Molasses, Cream
Get A Room
Stout Braised Short Ribs
Creamy Polenta, Meyer Lemon Gremolata
Pan Seared Rockfish
Fingerling Potatoes, Castelvetrano Olives, Brown Butter, Charred Lemon
Shortbread Thumbprint Cookie
Chocolate Angostura Ganache, Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Blood Orange, Whipped Cream
$75 per person
(choose one option from each course per person)
additional $35 cocktail or wine pairing
By reservation only
360. 392. 8051 to reserve your seat
It’s been a few months since the last time I participated in Mixology Monday but I’m thrilled to be back for this raucous online cocktail party! Thank you Dave at The Barman Cometh for coming up with such a great theme, Flores De Mayo – Floral Cocktails. Because if April showers can’t bring May flowers, at least we can mix up some cocktails that bloom with flavor!
For my addition to the party I decided to tweak the classic Twentieth Century cocktail. Even on its own, the gin, Lillet, lemon and creme de cacao is fantastic; able to raise the eyebrows of those select few who ask me to mix something based on the fact that they “like lemon drops.” In this variation, I kept the gin and lemon intact (I used 12 Bridges gin – one of my favorites!). I benched the Lillet and brought in St. Germain, the elderflower liqueur that has seemed to blossom its way onto every bar shelf imaginable.* This is a great substitution because I really love St. Germain’s floral notes mixed with gin and lemon. For the chocolate role I got all bitter and swapped the creme de cacao for Seattle’s own Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters. I think a more subtle play here was needed so the drink didn’t become too sweet and syrupy. The bitters kept the original chocolate essence unaltered, while adding a little vanilla and spice. Like the original, this combination of flavors may seem odd at the start but I think together they really shine in the glass.
So using relatively new (21st century) ingredients and the fact that girls tend to like flowers and chocolate (it’s just what I’ve heard) here’s my floral cocktail – 21st Century Girl.
- 1 1/2 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce St. Germain
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 2 dashes of Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters
- garnish with a lemon twist
- Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Happy Flores De Mayo!
* My dad told me the other day he was at a reputable waterfront restaurant I will leave unnamed (hint: ____ Hopkins) and noticed the bartender unpacking a new supply of liquor. The bartender was baffled as he pulled out a bottle of St. Germain – forcing my dad to chime in and help explain what it was. So this handpicked elderflower liqueur is so popular it’s reaching bartenders who know nothing about it – awesome!
My recent obsession with the Showtime hit series Californication has inspired me in two ways. One, to write more. And two, get down to Los Angeles for some bar hoppin’! The first is a work in progress, but the second I achieved last week. I was lucky enough to trade a weekend of Northwest gloom for sunshine and cocktails during a mini-vacation to visit my sister in Orange County.
While the craft-cocktail bar has seen a resurgence over the last couple of years, Los Angeles was a bit late to the party and has had to play catch up with cities like New York and San Francisco. Despite the early hesitation, L.A. has finally unglued themeselves from the ‘Appletini 90′s’ and can now lay claim to bars such as The Varnish, Seven Grand and The Edison. All three have played a major role in bringing life to the once decaying L.A. cocktail scene. In a 2010 article from Imbibe magazine about L.A.’s cocktail rebirth, Paul Clarke of The Cocktail Chronicles blog said “change comes quickly in L.A., and while the city’s craft bars have been slow out of the starting gate, today there’s a cocktail renaissance underway that could make the City of Angels one of the world’s most exciting drinking cities.” We were determined to find some of this new energy.
After a glorious day at Universal Studios, our journey began on the downtown streets of L.A. Our first visit was to The Varnish. Tucked in the back of Cole’s restaurant (originators of the French Dip) lies this Prohibition-era, speakeasy style bar. Walking in, I had the sense I was going to interrupt a mobsters poker game. Luckily that wasn’t the case. Instead, the place was packed with happy drinkers. Dim lights and scratching jazz warmed the room. After settling in, it was time to drink! I was surprised by the limited number of cocktails on their menu, however they do offer a ‘bartender’s choice’ option which encourages the customer to give the bartender a base spirit or flavor profile and let them delight you with the rest (similar to how Seattle’s Needle and Thread operates). I stayed on the menu for my first cocktail and ordered the Adderley. A delicious rye based drink with marischino, lemon and bitters. For my second, I went bartender’s choice and ordered “something herbaceous with gin.” When the waitress left, I turned to my sister and her boyfriend and the first words out of my mouth were “I bet it will be the Last Word” – the ‘Emerald City’ cocktail made popular by iconic bartender Murray Stenson of Zig Zag Cafe. Sure enough, I called it! Although, instead of green chartreuse the bartender opted for yellow. A twist I had never tasted – well done!
Next on the itenerary was The Edison. Unfortunately, the line down the block and dress code requirements put a damper on our mood, so we headed back to the hotel bar and sipped a few overpriced cocktails while sharing our regrets about missing out on all the primitive mating rituals and awkward dance moves (talk about good times!). The next day, we headed to Hollywood. My sister had the bright idea of wanting to check out The Roosevelt Hotel because she had heard great things, plus it was a hot spot for celebrity sightings! We began snooping around in the middle of the afternoon. Within twenty minutes we spotted Colin Farrel, and stumbled upon an incredibly cool bar - The Spare Room. To our disbelief, this newly opened (January 5th) classic gaming parlor-style bar offers up vintage cocktails, custom-built backgammon tables and two reclaimed wooden bowling lanes. I felt like I should’ve been rubbing elbows with the Rat Pack. Plush leather sofas and tables with hidden compartments supplying dominoes and cards, we were lovin’ it! All of this, and the drinks were outstanding. I sipped an elegant Negroni as I watched a gentleman attempt to change the name of the place to ‘The Gutter Room.’ Equal parts gin, campari and sweet vermouth made the Negroni similar to my time at the spare room – bittersweet. It was short lived and I didnt get a chance to lace up the bowling shoes.
Giving a nod to a time that once was, The Varnish and The Spare Room are making L.A.’s drinking scene reminiscent of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Classy joints, featuring bartenders who care about the craft keeping the cocktails flowing into the wee hours. If you’re headed to LA (or already there) you should definitely check them out, and let me know what you think!
After taking a brief leave of absence (four months is brief right?) from booze blogging, I think it’s time I freshen up this Real McCoy. Despite neglecting that blinking cursor for a while, I’ve continued to stay focused behind the bar. Private gigs and another successful guest bartending stint at The Temple Bar have kept me busy, and I’m ecstatic for what lies ahead – a permanent home for all my mixing, shaking and stirring (more on that soon).
Now how should I begin this…? I know! How about channeling the one-hit wonder boy Vanilla Ice – “Alright stop, collaborate and listen. Ice is essential in every cocktail you’re mixin.” It’s true. In the first printed definition of a cocktail from The Balance & Columbian Repository of 1806, it states a cocktail is a “stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.” Water, as in the frozen cubed variety. I touched on this topic briefly in an article I wrote for the Bellingham Herald. I basically said ice should never be overlooked. A bartender who takes cocktails seriously, takes ice seriously. I would “chill” with that bartender any day.
Ice is a crucial ingredient in cocktails for a simple reason – dillution. The wrong ice for a cocktail can lead to over-dilution, or a drink that’s not dilluted enough. This is why attention to detail and choosing the right-sized ice cube is key. Spirit-heavy drinks, such as an Old Fashioned, should have a long lasting relationship with its ice. If the ice were to melt too quickly you would get a watered down mess in your glass. In making these style of drinks it’s best to use larger cubed ice, which is the reason some craft cocktail bars are hand carving their ice.
And how does ice relate to a drink like the classic gin martini? The philosophy is similar: you don’t want to over-dillute. Shaking a martini could water down your gin and ruin the aroma and taste. Here, a gentle stir of the ice will do. On the other side of the ice equation, tiki-style drinks like the Zombie and concentrated drinks such as mint juleps work best with crushed ice . You want to use ice that will melt as fast as Vanilla Ice’s career. A fast dillution will make these drinks instantly palatable.
So next time you’re mixing a well-crafted cocktail, remember – it’s not all about the liquor. Give ice the proper respect it deserves and your drink will be that much better. Word to your mother.
This is my first time participating in MxMo and I couldn’t be more excited…My lemon peel has now been twisted! Thank you Lindsey Johnson for hosting this months online cocktail party – Brown, Bitter and Stirred is a fantastic theme for my first go around due to my continually growing affection for all drinks bitter.
I mulled over the possibilities for what brown-booze cocktail I was going to stir up and I ultimately decided to stay true to that old saying…”go bitter or go home.” So here she is, the Trinidad Sour.
A cocktail I first had the pleasure of sipping during my stay with Jim German last November. I remember thinking it was nothing like I’d ever tasted. Spicy, bitter, sweet…the complexity was ridiculous. Jim adopted this bold creation from the ‘Best Bartender in America’, Murray Stenson. However, I read it was initially crafted by Guiseppe Gonzalez of NYC’s Clover Club. This recipe varies a little from the original as it amps up the rye quantity and downplays the orgeat syrup.
2 oz Rye
3/4 oz Angostura Bitters
1/4 oz Orgeat Syrup
2 Lemon Wedges
Break two lemon wedges over an ice-filled glass. Add the rye, bitters and orgeat syrup. Stir and strain. Garnish with an orange peel and enjoy!
It’s usually the bitters that end up playing the supporting role in a cocktail, but the Trinidad Sour flips the script. Angostura is the ‘star’ of the stage dominating the nose and color of the cocktail while the rye, orgeat and lemon beautifully share the rest of the spotlight.
The idea of using fresh, local ingredients to sustain our culinary culture and enrich our dining experiences has generated a lot of buzz over the past few years. On a recent getaway to Northern California, my girlfriend and I made a stop at Mustards Grill. Located on the outskirts of Napa Valley, Mustards takes the farm-to-table cooking philosophy to new heights. Cindy Pawlcyn, Owner and Executive Chef, used organic and seasonal inspiration in her cooking long before it became trendy. And while the food (seared ahi and wild mushroom tamales – if you were curious) was spectacular, it was the cocktail list that gave me goo-goo eyes. Fresh fruit and herbs were intertwined into every drink description. It was then I realized the farm-to-table method of cooking had made its way behind the bar – and I love it! After enjoying a mojito (had to start with a familiar friend) and then a ‘bartender special’ (vodka-based with muddled lemon and a flurry of fresh blackberries), I couldn’t wait to incorporate this idea into my own cocktails.
With more and more bartenders blurring the line between the bar and kitchen, it’s exciting to recognize the endless possibilites in using fresh produce to create new, flavorful drinks. Whether it’s a margarita sweetened with lemon thyme syrup, or muddled raspberries adding flair to a classic mint julep, I’m beginning to see many bars combine seasonal flavors to make their drinks new and enticing. One of the ways many craft bars across the country are putting their unique “shake” of approval on a cocktail is through infusions. Infusing herbs and fruit in spirits lead to exciting flavors, all while using very little effort. Uncap a bottle of your choice, add simple or exotic fresh ingredients, shake and steep. There you have it – infusion!
Keeping with the infusion theme, Seattle cocktail enthusiast Paul Clarke wrote a tantalizing article today for serious eats about preserving your summer fruit with liquor – by making Bachelor’s Jam. With simple ingredients (booze, fruit and sugar) and a forgetful mind (must let it sit for six weeks to several months) your finished product will be a powerfully sweet and delicious companion for your next dessert.
Do you have any ideas for updating a favorite cocktail with some seasonal flair? Have you tried any do-it-yourself infusion experiments at home? Let me know about your farm to shaker thoughts and your favorite infusions!
It was many cocktails ago when I was dreading life behind the bar. Life as a casino barback was a freakin’ grind and while I liked the idea of bartending, I knew dealing out Bud Lights and Long Islands night after night was not in the cards for me.
Fast forward to today and I couldn’t be more excited about mixing drinks – The Temple Bar was gracious in asking me to be their guest bartender for a night and I give them a huge thanks for this awesome opportunity. There will be a special ‘Real McCoy’ menu featuring some of my favorite classic cocktails as well as some modern trends – Saturday, July 17th, 7 to midnight.
And if you have moment, this weeks Cascadia Weekly featured an article about The Real McCoy traveling bar and tonight’s event. Thank you Amy Kepferle for the kind words.
It’s been an action-packed month! To sum it up without writing a novel; I’ve had weekly events, made a few fresh additions to the menu (more on that later), boosted the booze collection, and had my first “hired” bartending gig. The setting for my first event was a 40th birthday celebration – complete with a 1980′s theme to the party (minus the hammer pants/leg warmers wardrobe). I felt it would only be right to accompany the awesome old school jams and 80′s pop culture trivia with cocktails spun to fit the vibe.
Here are some highlights from the evenings menu…
Miracle On Ice
gin. lemon. st. germain. champagne.
rum. dry vermouth. orange curacao. homemade grenadine.
gin. dry vermouth. orange bitters. creme de violette.
It was a fantastic event – I was excited and thankful to be called upon, and the birthday girl herself was gracious enough to give me the following feedback:
“Everyone was raving about your cocktails.” – Heather E.
And now…heads up on some upcoming events featuring The Real McCoy!
I’ll be bartending @ Purple Space for the first ever Ladies Night Tuesday, July 6th (a fitting subtitle might be 6th and The City…) There will be a plenty of pampering for the ladies, massages, jewelry blah blah blah…And cocktails!
If interested contact PurpleSmileWines – 360. 756. 0422
I’m also absolutely ecstatic to say I’ll be guest bartending for The Temple Bar Saturday, July 17th. Details soon…
A few years ago, I was a casual drinker. I could have probably told you the difference between well and top shelf tequila, but if you would have asked me about vermouth, I would have told you that I’ve never polished furniture before. Inspiration, a new direction, a jimgermanbar education and quite a few empty cocktail glasses later, I can tell you that vermouth is an essential ingredient for me and bartenders across the world. Far more than just a rinse of the glass when making a martini, vermouth is an unsung hero. It’s often overlooked and underappreciated, it’s like the offensive line of the liquor cabinet (sorry, NFL Draft still on the brain). Yet despite its seemingly humble reputation, The Manhattan, Rob Roy and The Martinez (one of the first true martinis) all feature vermouth. So how does such an integral part of so many classic cocktails rarely get the recognition it deserves?
For most people, vermouth isn’t typically bought out of desire but rather necessity – unlike our neighbors across the Atlantic. Drinking vermouth as an aperitif is still largely a European habit, thus making the selection at your local liquor store limited to boring impersonations of this delicious spirit. However, there is a new brand of vermouth popping up in cocktail bars across the country, I’d call it the Walter Jones of vermouth (too many football comparisons?) Dolin Vermouth de Chambery has been a welcome addition to The Real McCoy suitcase. Earning France’s only A.O (Appelation d’ Origine) certification for vermouth, in 1932, Dolin is held up to the same standards as some of the finest wines from France. Since the early 19th century Dolin has been produced in France’s Chambery region, recently taking advantage of a bland and overly sweet vermouth market in the U.S. and making its way west into our glasses. Using a secret collection of over fifty different plants and herbs, Dolin makes all three classic vermouth styles – Dry, Rouge and Blanc.
All three styles are outstanding, lighter and carry more life than any other vermouth I’ve tasted. The Dry has grassy, white wine characteristics and is excellent in a Can Can cocktail (gin, St. Germain, Dolin Dry Vermouth). The Rouge (sweet) has the nose of tomatoes and apple skins, is golden-brown in color from dark, caramelized sugar and will make any Manhattan a “Man-thats good-hattan!” The Blanc is the sweetest of the three and is similar to Lillet - perfect on its own, over the rocks with a twist. So next time you are sitting at the bar, or hovering over the Gin section at the liquor store, be braver then I once was. Give vermouth a chance. And if you happen to seek out Dolin, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
* All three styles of Dolin Vermouth are available at Purple Smile Wines. $11.99 (375 ml)