Thursday, November 01, 2007

I am just home from a three day trip to Portland which was quite and eye opener. The food scene was tremendous and the drinks scene has high hopes and a great attitude. Also, while they are seriously hampered by Oregon being a control state (all liquor comes from the State and his hampered by arcane and senseless restrictions,) they do have the advantage of a growing group of independent distillers who are poised to make the region as well known for it's Spirits as it is for it's Beer and Wine.

First, the producers:
Clear Creek Distillers (
Was actually a little bit of let down, but their range of bottlings is superior. I was unable to score a tour as they only schedule them for the weekends (being an actual bartender...that ain't ever gonna work). The next best was the tasting room which is open to the public. I was hoping to get a bottle of McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey which I have tasted but never really have been able to study. Alas, they we sold out. There are worse problems I guess.

House Spirits: (
Christiaan was very generous with his time and his enthusiasm for cocktails as well as spirits is beautiful to see. When I rolled into the distillery, I was surprised to find that fellow Bay Areans (Areites, Areaitos, Areaistas ?) Martin Cate ( and bride were there as well and halfway into a sample of Medoyeff Vodka. More details will follow, but I will say this was one of the best parts of the trip.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I have been playing with my Sunshine bitters quite a bit recently so I though I would post the recipe since it is so simple.

Take a bottle .750 of a clean vodka. More expensive is not always better, I use Square One, but anything you wouldn't be afraid to drink is fine. Infuse a 2 ounce jigger full of Cardamon pods in the bottle for a full week. (a bit longer for a full liter bottle). Then add a single ounce jigger full of Saffron and infuse that for 2 days or until the threads look bleached. Strain and rebottle. While I developed this for a Sherry based cocktail, it seems to work very well with most clear spirit drinks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I dont want to love it (hell, I don't even want to admit that it is alcohol), but....I do.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

We have decided to focus on cucumber for the rest of August on THE LIST. We have an abundance of them in the restaurant and they are very accesible to the average guest. Lemon Cucmbers in particular seem to give up their essence readily in drinks without too much muddle-work. We recently had a Cucumber/White Pepper Caipirhinia at Cantina which was very clean and easy drinking. This confirmed my idea.
A Pimm's Cup seems to given as an introduction to the section. We personally don't add gin to the drink, donating a healthy pour of Pimm's and letting that be that. I know this is probably not the most traditional drink, but it sure goes over well when it is well dressed with fruit and herbs.
Second, we worked out a riff on a Dark and Stormy called a Light and Breezy. Muddled cucs with Rhum Agricole, Ginger Beer and some fresh Fennel fronds (are they fronds? They certainly don't look like leaves.)
Third will be something with Benedictine as that seems to love Cucumber Oil.
More Later