Month: March 2014

Thirsty Thursday: Whiskey Skin

Doesn’t that sound gross? I call them hot toddies when I make them, but as David Wondrich has pointed out, it’s not really – it’s a Whiskey Skin (read his Imbibe! – it’s good stuff). *shudder*  Although, it makes a certain amount of sense, the principal difference being the presence or absence of lemon peel (lemon “skin”). Since I like a little lemon peel in mine, gimme some skin.

Whatever you want to call it, I’ve been sick the last few days and this is an effective and delicious “it’s time for bed and we’re out of Nyquil” cocktail and generally a nice cold-weather cozy thing to drink. We’re finally seeing signs that winter may be departing but it’s still chilly and having spent several days in pajamas on my couch with nothing but bad daytime cable television to comfort me; and having just returned from Park City, home of High West Distillery, maker of Campfire Whiskey, which I can never find locally … I’ve had a lot of good reasons to put water on to boil.

This also made the third in the trifecta of cocktails we mixed up on vacation – the other two being the Milk Punch and the Old-Fashioned^3

Still working on my skills with a channel knife …

  • 1 strip of lemon peel
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 oz. scotch or other full-bodied spirit (I like the chewy, smoky flavor of scotch in a hot drink; High West Campfire has that nice, rich smoky taste I want)

Put some water on to boil and then combine the ingredients above in a heated mug.* Lightly muddle to break up the sugar cube and express the oil in the lemon peel.

  • 4-5 oz. boiling water

Pour into mug, stir, sip.

Still working on my photography skills, too – those I can try to hide with a photo effect …

* I like to fill the mug with water and put it in the microwave for a minute. You could run it under hot tap water, too, or just fill it with hot tap water and let it sit for a few minutes. Microwaving just gets it the warmest the fastest.


Spring skiing

I took a quick break not just from the interwebs but from my regular life to go skiing with friends in Utah last week.

I hadn’t been on skis in at least five years and I’ve only been about a half dozen times in my life. We went for a day every year or two for the 5 years we lived in Wisconsin. Skiing in the Midwest involves learning to handle a lot of ice on a hill and runs that take about ten minutes to run from top to bottom. Utah? Real snow! And half an hour to ski it from top to bottom (the downside being when you’re exhausted and still at the top of the mountain, the run ahead of you feels really daunting). I’ve jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet, but I’d never skied from that height before.

The pictures above were taken on our third of three days skiing, and the weather was perfect. My first two days skiing – Wednesday and Thursday – were a little rough (6,000 ft above sea level + 5 years off skis + 8 hours of skiing + 1.5 dead toenails + 1 turned ankle). But we rested on Friday and I was good to go on Saturday, and I had the best time. I ran blues with my group most of the day, which surprised me (I’m generally a green skier).

Thirsty Thursday: Unicorn Sour

Running behind this week so Thirsty Thursday is happening on Friday …

I hunted for Marie Brizard Apry for quite a few months before finally having two bottles special ordered for me. It’s not really expensive – it’s just tough to find. When I got home with them, we immediately began thumbing through cocktail books and deciding what we wanted to try with our new acquisition.

A few drinks into the evening, we decided to try the Rainbow Sour from Dale DeGroff’s The Craft of the Cocktail, blithely ignoring our lack of pineau des charentes. And also ignoring that none of us had any idea what pineau des charentes tastes like. In the cocktail description, DeGroff explains that it’s a combination of raw grape juice and cognac. So I thought, let’s just substitute cognac. I still have not tasted pineau des charentes but I did some lazy internet researching, and it sounds like it’s sweet and more like an apertif wine than straight cognac.

But we like it with cognac and we’re sticking with it and since 1) I’ve been on a serious unicorn kick lately; 2) nothing goes better with rainbows than unicorns; and 3) Apry is the one-horned elusive, mythical ingredient in the cocktail … I’m calling it a Unicorn Sour.

1 oz. cognac
1 oz Marie Brizard Apry*
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/3 oz. simple syrup*

Shake all ingredients with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Unicorns don’t need garnish.

* Other apricot liqueurs will work, but Apry is our favorite and what the original Rainbow Sour recipe calls for. I find the drink a bit sweet with the Apry + original amount of simple syrup, so I’ve reduced it. We find the Rothman & Winter we have at our house sweeter than the Apry, and I’d use even a little less simple syrup if using that. I tend to prefer my drinks a little on the drier said, though, so YMMV and all that … adjust to taste.

Interlude: Medieval Times

Scene: early morning, dragging our feet about getting out of bed after it has snowed yet again.

D: Last night, I had a dream …
A: …that Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream came true?
D: No, I …
A: Racist.
D:  … I dreamt that I was on vacation, but, like, we were being attacked and it was people from medieval times …
A: Were they attacking you with chicken legs and bad costumes?
D: … *sigh* Not THAT Medieval Times. And it’s not that funny.
A: Did the blue knight win?
D: Wench, stop interrupting my story!

via Medieval Times

ATE / DRANK / MADE / DID : Stuff other people did while I was watching TV

I’m no longer Catholic, but I was thinking about giving up TV for Lent. I’ve lately binge-watched 3 seasons of The Wire, Luther and Wallander … It’s starting to affect my sleep. My one hangup with committing? Lent ends on April 17. Game of Thrones Season 4 starts on April 6. While I waffle over my commitment to watching less television, here is some awesome stuff other people are doing …



  • Em reviewed Bell’s Amber as only she can. I haven’t kept up with beer since I’ve gotten into cocktails; her reviews are how I figure out what to buy at the store these days.
  • Erik Ellestad introduces a different kind of milk punch – basically, you “break” the milk and then strain out the solids … apparently, it’s delightful.



Thirsty Thursday : Old-Fashioned ^ 3

I learned to make an Old-Fashioned early on, and I’m very snobby about my Old-Fashioneds. I have rules.

  • No smashed up fruit. You can put a cherry in at the end to garnish if you want. But don’t muddle it, mash it or squish it in any way. Don’t put an orange slice in there either.
  • No fizzy stuff. No club soda. No 7-Up.
  • If you smash up fruit & put brandy in it, call it by it’s proper name: Wisconsin Old-Fashioned.
  • Use a pretty good whiskey.

It’s not too hard, really. Plenty of people will break these rules and serve it to you in a glass … so it goes. I’m pretty careful about where I order an Old-Fashioned these days.

1/4 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes bitters

Put ’em in a glass & mix it a bit. Then add a great big ice cube and mix it a bit more.

2 oz. bourbon or rye

Add it to the glass, give it a stir and wait a minute. Maybe toss in a pretty bourbon cherry. Don’t smash it.

And this is delightful and simple and what I like to drink when I want to pretend I’m a classy lady. But last year, I found Jamie Boudreau’s recipe for an Old-Fashioned “Cubed” … an Old-Fashioned within an Old-Fashioned. The Inception of Old-Fashioneds. I won’t reprint it here – you can find the recipe in detail here. Click it. Make it. Drink it.

It’s all the same ingredients, plus two more boozes, two more bitter … bitterses. And 3 times the awesome. It is also Pip-approved.