Cocktail of the week: Rocketship to the Moon

Hey!  We survived the end of the world!  Well at least I think we did.  Maybe we’re all wandering around the afterlife partying.  Who knows!

In honor of the non-pocolypse, I present my cocktail of the week, the Rocketship to the Moon.  Based on one of my old favorites, the Tang-tini, this is a flavor explosion sure to add zip to any of your holiday parties.  The astronauts drank tang, we have Rocketships!

Once again, using my favorite Pithy Little Soda Works sodas, you can make this with any craft soda and vodka.  I adore the Pithy sodas because they are pure in flavor, and use cane sugar.  Whatever soda you choose, make sure it has a high flavor impact, and is quality.  Sorry gang, no Orange Crush on this one!

In the bottom of a cocktail glass, add a generous teaspoon of excellent orange marmalade.  I recommend the Republic of Jam Orange Cinnamon Saffron.  Pour 3 oz of orange vodka over it; I recommend Hangar One Mandarin, but use your favorite craft vodka.  I use vodka since it’s a neutral flavor base.  Then, add 2 parts Pithy Orange Cream Soda, and one part Pithy Vanilla Cream Soda over ice.  As always, if you cannot locate Pithy, I suggest any craft soda.  Change the ratio of orange to vanilla to suit your taste.  Add 2-3 drops orange bitters, and stir with a cocktail spoon.  Finally, float 1 oz of Cointreau on top.

So curl up in front of a fire, turn on a movie, and enjoy one tonight.  Happy Friday!  Festive at last!  Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Next week, we will be creating Pom Poppers for the New Year!

Cocktail of the week: Chinese Cherry New Fashioned

Sometimes, a wine blogger needs to mix it up a bit and enjoy a delicious cocktail.  After attending the Craft Spirits Carnival, and having a blast at the Republic of Jam after the Wine Bloggers Conference, I was inspired to get crafty with my growing bar and some of these amazing spirits.

My friends at Pithy Little Wine Company in Paso Robles have branched out in to the craft soda business, and generously gave me some of their yummy sodas to experiment with.  These amazing, old fashioned sodas have bursts of natural flavors and are made with sugar and not that icky corn syrup, and you can really taste the difference.

First up:  Pithy Little Soda Works Black Cherry.  This rich black cherry soda is made with real cane sugar, and the black cherry and red vine licorice aromas will fill your glass as flavors of cherry candies and vanilla sparkle across your palate.

With this amazing black cherry flavor, I created a Chinese Cherry New Fashioned using the Bar Keep Chinese Bitters discovered at the Craft Spirits Carnival.  This line of bitters is a whole new world, with flavors like Chinese, Lavender, and Swedish Herb.  While bitters were originally crated as medicinal tinctures, but are now used more as digestifs or as flavor enhancements to cocktails.  These Chinese bitters are a blend of clove, fennel, cinnamon, star anise and Schezuan  peppercorn, which is a classic flavoring in Chinese dishes.  Adding this to a cocktail gives it an amazing kick.

  • First, measure out 3-5 ounces of good bourbon over ice.  I only had by stand by Knob Creek in the house, but the better the bourbon, the better the cocktail!  How much depends on how strong you like your cocktail.
  • Then, fill your old fashioned glass with the Pithy Black Cherry soda.
  • Add two dashes of Chinese Bitters, and stir.  Be careful not to use too much!  These are strong suckers.
  • Garnish with Republic of Jam Brandied Cherries, Marachino Cherries, or an orange slice.  In fact, next year when cherries are back in season I will make my own drunken cherries!

Voila!  Delicious.  Cheers!

Next week, I will be making a Rocketship to the Moon.  Stay tuned!


Cocktail, laughter, and damn fine jam

After we meandered through the Walk in the Park, the Blitz Carlton crew headed back in to town and met up at Republic of Jam for cocktails and catching up.

The Republic of Jam is a unique shop that specializes in jams and culinary concoctions of distinction made from local farms and suppliers.  Each jar of jam contains at least one pound of fresh fruit, with half of the sugar of traditional jams – making them deliciously savory as well as sweet.  These are not your average jams!  With flavors like Apricot Vanilla Riesling and Mango Viognier, you are sure to have your taste buds teased and enthralled.

Lynnette creating Plum Royales
Photo courtesy of Josh Chang

In this little slice of heaven, members of the Jam Nation (the shop’s quarterly club) can wander the shelves of little gems like the much coveted Pacific Berry Jam, only made once a year, or perhaps some Cherry Black Pepper jam to spread on your pork chop.  With other items such as Spiced Pomegranate Culinary Syrup as well as mustards, the sky is the limit when it comes with creative uses of these sauces and spreads.

Republic of Jam’s proprietresses, Amy Wilder and Lynnette Shaw, are creative and inspired jam masters who are only limited by the supply of season fruit.  The creative recipies and inspirations that they come up with are truly amazing.

On our visit, we were treated to several nibbles as well as three cocktails, using both jams and culinary syrups.

Photo courtesy of Josh Chang (I swear I took pictures, but clearly not of the cocktails!)

Try some fresh chevre or farmers cheese with a little blueberry jam, or perhaps a Smoked Tomato jam with bacon sandwich!

The first cocktail was Plum Ginger culinary syrup, paired wit local winery Kramer Vineyards Brut.  This created a Plum Royale, and the flavor of the plums make it a refreshingly fun sparkler, with a twist.  When I got home, I had a bottle of Spiced Pomegranate syrup, so I tried that as well – and boy!  What a way to ring in the holidays!

Next up locally crafted artisan gin was paired with Blueberry Lemon jam, slowly dissolved in a glass with a generous slug of gin, topped with sparkling water.  Lemon Blueberry Gin fizz anyone?  I had two…or three!  Hey, I was walking 2 blocks back to the B&B and the restaurant for dinner was next door.

Our final jam libation was a Strawberry Mint Julep, created with Temperance Trader Bourbon, bitters, and Strawberry Black Pepper culinary syrup.  With the unexpected kick of pepper at the end of a sweet julep, this was absolutely delicious.

If you are in Carlton, be sure to stop by!  Situated between 7 of Hearts winery and Horseradish cafe, you can stroll the main street all day and never be bored.

As for me, I have about 7 jars of jam collected on my counter, and 3 culinary syrups in my fridge.  This weekend is the Craft Spirits Carnival, and I will be doing my best mixology routine tomorrow!  We’ll see how it goes…

Happy jamming!

Jamming in Carlton

After the Wine Bloggers Conference in August, I was invited to spend an extra day or two in the town of Carlton.  Carlton is a small farming town, in the Willamette, bordered by McMinnville, about an hour outside of Portland.  With over 40 wineries in the town and AVA of Yamhill-Carlton, it was an adventure waiting to happen! On Sunday afternoon, after the WBC wrapped up, the Blitz Bus fetched us and whisked us away to Carlton.

Now this is no ordinary bus!  A converted school bus, with red leather couches in the back, we rocked it all the way down 99 to our first stop, where 7 of Hearts Winery greeted us with a splash (or gulp) or rose, much needed after a hot and dusty bus ride.  After fetching our swag bags full of locally baked bread, jam and other goodies we were off! Once everyone gathered, we hopped back on the Blitz Bus and hightailed it over to the park, where we started our tour at an annual tradition, the Carlton Walk in the Park.  This festival is a celebration of 10 years of commitment of the town, and supported local charities,

Image courtesy of Josh Chang

with wine, food and local artisans selling their wares to the beat of live music.  Of course, our hostess with the mostess Lynette Shaw, of the Republic of Jam was quick point out the way to the wine tent! After a few sips of delicious wine, the fact that i had missed lunch became eminent and I raided the RibSlayer tent for a slab of ribs.  Luckily for me, the plate of food was enough for an army, so I split it with my doppleganger Liza, and washed it down with a glass of hard cider from Carlton CyderWorks. I am a huge fan of the cider, and the Newton Pippin was a crisp, dry and refreshing beverage on a hot day, and it went so very well with pork ribs!

Wandering around the wine tent, I met the delightful Ken of K&M Cellars, who was keen to get lessons on tweeting from Melanie and myself.  Ken, who was a great sport, was thrilled to share his wines with us, and little did I know my itinerary would take me by his tasting room the next day (more on that soon).The most fulfilling accomplishment of The Walk in the Park is that, after a week, over 10 wineries visited and at least 100 tasted, Melanie found a rose that she liked!  Most of us enjoy a rose of pinot noir, particularly on a hot day such as this, but Melanie has a peculiar aversion to strawberries.  Now, we tried to convince her that this was a delicious taste, with many samples of rose, from many regions of Oregon.  Alas, our efforts were fruitless…until – could it be?  In the wine tent, we found Monk’s Gate Winery.  Some of the posse visited the winery the next day, but I got to taste some lovely wines from this 50 acre farm in Carlton.

The sense of community and support for the local businesses was wonderful, and we were welcomed enthusiastically by the vendors as “those bloggers are those bloggers are here!”.

Later that day, we were treated to a cocktail reception at Republic of Jam.  Creating artisan jam, sauces and syrup, the Jam Nation is a place that deserves it’s own post!  Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all, and Mixology is a great reason to buy jam.

More soon!  Stay tuned for As the B&Bs Turn, The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Bees, and News from the JamNation!