The “honeycrisp” cocktail

January 17, 2013 § 14 Comments

honeycrisp cocktail 1

A cocktail seems only appropriate given I still have dried whiskey grain schmutz on my shoes (epic pump disaster people, epic!) and smell like a fermenting tank from our five days of working out at the Bainbridge Distillery.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not so very coincidentally, this particular cocktail came out of our last trip to Seattle.

maple syrup spoonpouring rye shot

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Honey Bee latte

September 25, 2012 § 26 Comments

My mother, it appears, is on a mission to get Joel – and me as well, really – thoroughly acquainted with the many wonderful places, resources, and activities available in our new stomping grounds.  We are accepting this mission with enthusiasm.  Two thumbs up for exploring the area!  Especially when it means, as it did this last weekend, going on a tour of some local farmer’s markets, farms, and the charming little town of Bayfield, Wisconsin.

My mom picked us up early Saturday morning in her zippy silver Honda.  It wasn’t exactly still dark, but it was early for most people’s version of a Saturday morning, and there was a frigid nip in the air.  We donned hats, and mittens, and puffy coats and piled into the car with Squid in tow.  We met up with a couple of friends at the bottom of the hill (have I mentioned Duluth is built on a hill? – like San Francisco in extra-miniature), and off we went! « Read the rest of this entry »

Buttermilk peach smoothie

July 24, 2012 § 9 Comments

We are nearing August.  The air, thick with fresia, mosquitos, and humidity begs for laziness and simplicity.  I can partially oblige.

Simplicity.  Simplicity often has such beauty to it.  So much can be contained within so little.  Like a haiku.

A haiku:

Peaches, golden orbs

Buttermilk, kissed with maple

Blend until frothy. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Mamie Taylor

February 10, 2012 § 13 Comments

According to our bottle of it, Rye Whiskey was once the predominant brown spirit in the US, and the base of many classic cocktails.  But, Prohibition  changed all that “and the spirit of Rye was oft forgotten by many.”

My impression is that, actually, the entire ability to make a cocktail of any quality was forgot by many.  Replaced for years either by overly ginned martinis or tutti fruity funhouse drinks.

I can’t actually say for certain because first I wasn’t exactly around for most of the lost decades, and when I arrived on the scene I wasn’t allowed to drink for some time.  And then, not all that far into my personal era of being able to legally drink (which has been fairly dominated by craft beers and red wines, if I may please present myself as a total snob), classic cocktails had a resurgence.

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Dirty chai latte

December 6, 2011 § 16 Comments

The puppy is napping, after a wild squirrel chasing romp we just took in the arboretum behind our apartment.  It’s gray and drizzly outside, the world has a muffled feeling, and I’m taking a quiet little break.  There’s a pleasant empty stillness right now.  It feels like a container for latent rejuvenating potential.

I feel as though I haven’t had that much to say lately.  I mean, I could tell stories of the pup.  About the number of times we trek up and down our three flights of stairs together so she can get out and I can watch her with a mix of admiration at how wondrous she obviously finds the world, and impatience because I can’t seem to let go of my own busybody agenda and feel my mind nagging at me to go back to my work.

I could tell you about the assortment of things she has hoovered up into her mouth.  It reads like a bizarre post-apocalyptic still life: glass pieces, pottery shards, a screw, pinecones, styrofoam… I never quite noticed before how many little pieces of trash there are along the street.  I could shock you with the story of how she seemed to think that she was an aerialist, or at least attached to some type of gliding device, and she leapt off of a 6 foot drop to crash on the sidewalk below.

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Strawberry drinking vinegar

July 26, 2011 § 23 Comments

Ok, I’m back.  And I’m going to put this out there:  I have a bit of a drinking problem.  It’s kombucha.  I LOVE the stuff!  It’s tangy, and fizzy, and refreshing imbibeable perfection in a bottle.  I could drink it all day.  Except it’s a leeetle expensive.  And, I have not had great success with brewing my own.  I’m not half bad at tending plants, and pets for that matter (er, except for one unfortunate incident with my pet frog in early grade school), but my kombucha-mother (the fungus that you leave in the sweetened tea to ferment it and fill it with nurturing probiotics) care is apparently sub-par.

Also, I get seriously overwhelmed by all the babies they produce. I have on several separate occasions gone all irrational, thrown up my hands in overwhelmedness and thrown everything – mother, babies, tea – away as if I were fighting against alien invasion.  It’s not good.

Anywho, it’s been so funny to see how kombucha has come back into popularity over the past couple of years.  When we were quite little (around the same time as the unfortunate frog incident, in fact) my dad used to brew kombucha.  The kombucha fungus lurked in a bucket of tea, hidden in the bottom cupboard of a coral-colored dish cabinet in the kitchen.  Building up an air of mystery, my brothers and I would show it to our friends like a circus side-show to elicit whispers of “look,” “ewww!” and “what is that??”

One unfortunate (in our opinion) little boy actually drank some of it once, thinking it was apple juice.  His face, as the vinegary fermented flavor hit his tastebuds, was priceless.  Had youtube and flip videos existed back then, we would have had a viral moment on our hands. « Read the rest of this entry »

Rosemary lemon sparkler

March 23, 2011 § 11 Comments

I’m not really a cocktail person.  This is not to say I don’t like them.  I do.  At least, some of them.  I have a particular failing for anything involving Campari, for example.   And when my fancy-pants, rather cultured younger brother who has been off studying in London made Pimm’s cup for my family this summer, well, I could easily have polished off the entire pitcher myself.  But, I am no good at remembering the names of cocktails or what’s in them or anything much about most of them.  So, if one of you asked me for a Manhattan while another asked me for an Old Fashioned, I’d probably bumble off, think for a moment, and then come back with gin and tonics for both of you.  And, as I approach a bar I get more and more flustered until I reach the critical moment when the bartender (or, should I say, mixologist) asks me what I’d like and then I usually order something like an, “ummm, uhh, oh gosh, um, I don’t know.  Um, what do you have?  Oh, right you have everything, well how about an um, what’s it called, an um, I’ll have a gin and tonic.”  I am fond of the gin and tonic simply because its name, while relatively uncreative, tells you exactly what it is and therefore I can remember it.

Because of my ineptitude with mixed drink taxonomy, on the occasions when I do meet a friend after work for a cocktail or decide I need something special for toasting with, I really appreciate those places that have specialty drinks created by them and listed conveniently on a menu complete with names and what is in them.  What a concept!  Under the tutelage of such drink menus, I have been able to sip incredible concoctions with things in them that I would never have thought to order otherwise.  Things like St. Germain, Campano Antico Formula, grapefruit and cardamom, the ever beloved Campari, and house made ginger beer.  Good gracious, this makes me sound like a lush!  I’m not even sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing in the context of this conversation, but I’m going to go ahead and admit that my average cocktail consumption usually hovers around 4 or 5 per year. « Read the rest of this entry »

A perfect cup of hot chocolate

December 22, 2010 § 15 Comments

As we drove from the airport up to my parents’ house, sparkling fat snowflakes swirled through the headlight beams and across the road.  Sure, it wasn’t ideal driving conditions, but it didn’t matter because everything else about it was perfect.  Home for Christmas, a white Christmas, what more could you want?  We woke up to a soft, luminous world freshly blanketed in snow.  Perfect for snow angels, and skiing, and plain old flopping into snowdrifts.  Which was pretty much the entire agenda for the day.  And will be the agenda for tomorrow as well.  That, and drinking hot chocolate.  Oh boy is it ever hot chocolate time!

Being a devoted daughter of Mother Winter and Father Snow, hot chocolate and I go waaaaaaay back.  We have an incredibly close and special relationship.   A little too close, potentially.  I can’t even keep milk around because if I did I would drink far more hot chocolate than my system could possibly handle.  I have memories of one of the first times I ever had a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream.  I couldn’t have been more than about four, but I remember taking a sip and entering into a reverie as I tasted the warm darkness of the chocolate contrasted by the sweet cool cream, and that amazing, unctuous foam of the whipped cream as it melted.  Good hot chocolate is downright other worldly.  And in my opinion, it really needs the counterpoint provided by the whipped cream – no one can sell me on marshmallows, I’m afraid – in fact, I keep adding new layers of whipped cream as I make my way down through the mug.  That borderland where the flavors and textures mingle is the best part! « Read the rest of this entry »

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