Because of my current habitation status, I am not boasting the impressive bar I once had. Sadly, my previous post about bitters and sodas features my entire bar at the moment.
One of the reasons I moved to Portland, however, was to enjoy the vivid, busy, and always growing cocktail scene. Becky and I have recently discovered a little place which has quickly become my favorite hang-out: The Hazel Room.
Welcome to the first installment of our Out to Eat in PDX post series! Portland has so many wonderful and varied food establishments, and we love to go out to eat here and experience the vibrant food culture. So in these posts we’ll share with you the restaurants, food carts and bars we’re visiting, what we got, and what we thought. Let us know if you have a place you’d like us to visit and write about!
We’re really into waffles. Sweet or savory, Belgian or Brussels or Liege style, cooked in our kitchen or eaten at a restaurant – we just really like them. We like waffles so much that (as some of you may know) we’re planning to name our future dog after them.
So naturally, we visited The Waffle Window.
When was the last time you went on a picnic?
I work nights right now, as I have been for a few years. When I get off work, I usually just want to have a drink and watch an episode of Community or something. However, my store closes at 11pm, which means I usually roll out around 11:30, and get home somewhere close to midnight. If I want to get anything done the next day before I have to be at work again at 3:30, I really need to get up early. Of course, if I start drinking alcohol at midnight, it usually makes for a groggy morning. So what am I to do? Have a glass of water and call it a night?
Enter Bitters & Soda; a simple non-alcoholic drink that still has flavor and complexity and allows for some creativity far more than a simple soda from the store, and with almost none of the sugar.
Becky and I are back in our hometown of Portland, OR. It’s an odd, at times difficult, adjustment, made easier by the fact that we have a place to live. Both of us our staying at our respective parents’ places, with Becky spending more time at my place than I hers, due mostly to my busy work schedule at nights.
At the moment, I only have two nights off a week to do dinner with her, or really at all. We’re making it work to the best of our abilities.
This week: Cocchi Americano, and two cocktails that use this aperitif.
First off, Cocchi Americano isn’t really a vermouth, it’s a bittersweet aperitif. It’s also the closest thing we have to the original recipe for Kina Lillet; it’s definitely closer than Lillet Blanc, which lacks the quinine which Kina Lillet was named for. But while it’s not technically a vermouth, in exploring the Martini, its use as such comes to light.
Most people know James Bonds famous martini: Shaken, not stirred. For the most part, that’s the limit of what people know about a martini. Gin? Vodka? Vermouth? Bitters? Eh, Shaken. Not stirred. With like, three or four olives.
No, not Alex’s dad Jeff. I’m referring to my (Becky’s) big brother Jeffrey, who’s turning 24 today!
Jeff is a volunteer at a food bank living in Tucson, and I miss living in the same state as him. Jeff, hope you had a great day and here’s to a happy year ahead!! Love you!
Part 2? Where’s part 1, you ask? Over here, at my father’s blog: Rants of the Hedgehog
Vermouth, especially dry vermouth, is among the most maligned spirits. Most people tend to think of it as some sort of poisonous elixir which no sane person would ever add to such a pure substance as flavorless, chilled vodka. Now, I could go on a for a long time about how chilled vodka in a glass is not a martini, or how stupid I think it is to order an incredibly expensive vodka at a restaurant, like Grey Goose, just to pour some foul, cheap olive brine into it. My dad already summed up why people avoid vermouth; It’s probably because most people have only ever had a dry martini, and if they ever had a martini with vermouth in it, it was probably not a quality spirit.
Sorry for the two month’s absence.
Since I’ve yet to get behind a professional bar, the majority of my knowledge comes from reading about cocktails and watching them be made by skilled bartenders. Due to my income and location of residence, I’m not always able to make it to the bars, so often I settle for watching bartenders online. In my searches I have found some amazing, inspirational videos. I have also found some truly dreadful ones. Here are some side by side examples of the best, and the worst, for you.
Welcome to the first installment of my (hopefully) weekly article: Spiritual Sundays. Every Sunday I will discuss a cocktail, or possibly wine/beer/whiskey, etc…
How could I begin this article with anything but one of my all time favorite cocktails, The Negroni? I’m fairly certain I had this drink for the first time at my dad’s apartment. Bitter, herbal, floral, and bright, I immediately fell in love with it.