I’ve been baking pies for as long as I can remember. Sweet or savory, it makes no difference to me. But, despite countless pies, I have never been fully satisfied with my crust. That is, until recently when I had one of those “A-ha!” moments. It all started after trying a piecrust recipe developed by the king of cooking himself, chef Christopher Kimball. The recipe called for vodka. Vodka you say? Obviously I was intrigued.
As the cold of winter begins to blanket the Pacific Northwest, so too does the fluffy gray fog that the region is often known for. Though dreary, the weather here has been an inspiration for many things and is said to be the birth place of the popular café drink, the London Fog. In turn, Seattle restaurant Local 360 uses this drink as the source of inspiration for its very own Fremont Fog Cocktail.
In the thick of the holiday stretch, ‘tis the season for piping hot coffee cocktails. Though Irish coffee and the like are classics for a reason, the variety of recipes being developed by coffee professionals, bartenders and home mixologists today is growing. New places like Corretto place their primary focus on coffee and espresso cocktails, while some baristas have even played around with coffee mocktails of sorts, as in the trending espresso and tonic.
A heady, fragrant rush of apple butter, Bartlett pear and sun-sweetened plum and prune flavors cascade along with the juiciness of quince from Stone Barn Brandyworks’ slim bottle into your glass. Golden raisin is present too, backed by warm wintry mulling spices and an underscore of clay. But they’re all supporting cast members to what is unmistakably quince’s breakout role.
Depending on the occasion, most people are guilty of having a “go-to” spot. For some, it’s the breakfast joint that promises to cure your hangover with the greasiest of delights. For others, it’s the kitschy coffee shop perfect for afternoon people watching. For those frantically hopping from bar to restaurant and back again, searching for that perfect post-work watering hole… The hunt is over.
In 2010, Neil Kopplin partnered with Willamette Valley winemaker Derek Eiberger to create Imbue Cellars. Their flagship Imbue Vermouth is a bittersweet style, aged in American oak casks. Two years later, they released Petal & Thorn Vermouth, which combines of Oregon grown Pinot Gris wine with Pinot Gris brandy distilled at Portland’s Clear Creek Distillery. It is flavored with botanicals and includes some beets which lend to its pale pink color.
While the frigid wind shakes the last few leaves off the trees and snowflakes build up in the corners of windowsill, Northwesterners are cozied up by fireplaces, heating hands with beverages that taste as warm and comforting as they feel.
Bar Manager Abel Beazley from Portland’s French-Arabesque restaurant Levant shares with us his recipe for his hot Toffaha Toddy. Beazley takes a traditional toddy and beefs it up, Levant style.
Aberdeen, Washington plays home to Wishkah River Distillery (“Legal Since 2010”) as well as to its founders, who trace their Aberdeen ancestry back five generations. Many of said ancestors cultivated a family tradition of distilling, reflected today in Wishkah River’s small fleet of spirits.
Bulfinch 83 Gin starts off from Wishkah River’s proprietary neutral grain base, which is redistilled with a London Dry-ish mix of botanicals, left unfiltered and bottled at 83 proof.
Around this time of the year, I start brainstorming quick, edible creations that can be used as stocking stuffers, gift add-ons or even just treats to have out for around-the-clock snacking during the holidays. In years past, I’ve made cookies, cleverly decorated as snowmen, Christmas trees or other holiday icons. But this year, I wanted to do something different.