The New Year isn’t yet in full swing, so if you haven’t made your resolutions there is still plenty of time. I’d like to suggest that you not only include normal resolutions (losing a few extra pounds, saving a few extra bucks), but also a few resolutions distinctly related to cocktails and spirits. They tend to be much more fun than the others. Here are a few to get you started.
Get Friendlier with Locally Made Whiskeys
While the Washington state distillery scene is booming, many still believe that good whiskey only comes from others states or countries due to its infancy. But our locally made whiskey landscape has grown quickly and it’s darn tasty. Try sipping things such as Woodinville Whiskey Co.’s Microbarrel Collection bourbon and rye, Westland Distillery’s American Single-Malt whiskey, Seattle Distilling Company’s Idle Hour whiskey, and 2bar Spirits bourbon (which just sold out of its first batches – but more should be around by the end of the month). You’ll be amazed at the breadth and depth of flavors these whiskeys bring to the glass and palate. And that’s by no means a comprehensive list!
Learn About the Art of the Shim (and Have a Few Lower Alcohol Cocktails)
If you’ve over-indulged a bit during the holidays, and want to cut back but not cut out your cocktailing, Dinah Sanders' new book is going to be a bubbly favorite. Called The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level, it’s a fun and knowledge-packed read with one overarching idea: more drink, less drunk. You’ll find delightful and delicious drinks that have a little less booze. The cocktails include lesser known classics and new numbers such as the Apparent Sour with Aperol, lime, elderflower liqueur and rosemary. The book also contains helpful setup sections, an intriguing “explorations” section and tons of knock-out photos.
Get Over Your Cocktails-With-Egg Fear
I’m continually amazed when I go out to one of our local cocktail sweet spots with a pal who professes to “like a good cocktail” and then hear her talking about how she’d never try a drink made with an egg: whole, white or yolk. Listen up friends: as long as they’re well shaken (and at the best spots, they are), eggs in drinks are amazing. They add a ton of mouth feel and frothy loveliness and are super safe, too. But if you’re worried on the latter, just double check that the egg being used is organic, which makes it even safer. A great place to start your cocktail egg-venture is at the Rob Roy with the Elk’s Own, which combines rye, tawny port, lemon, egg whites and pure cane sugar.
Make Better Drinks At Home with the Help of Local Authors
There’s no reason to throw a party where you serve the same old drinks. If you want your 2014 parties to rise above the pack and send you into the host/hostess stratosphere, then be sure to always pick out a few signature drinks to serve at your wing-dings, soirées and fetes. And the best way to select a signature drink or two is to pick up a book by a Seattle author: Think Robert Hess’ The Essential Bartender’s Guide or Andrew Bohrer’s The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried. Or visit a locally written cocktail blog, such as Paul Clarke’s The Cocktail Chronicles. All are filled with great recipe ideas, hints, tips, bubbly bar talk and more.
Tip Better Every Time You Interact with a Good Bartender
Hopefully this was on your list without me even suggesting it. But as our bar scene has expanded, it seems to me sometimes that we’re getting a bit spoiled. There are so many good bars in Seattle! But don’t let our truly awesome bartenders, those who make a wonderful drink and deliver a smile (and maybe some charming chatter if they have time), think that they’re getting lost in the rising tide of bar options. Show ‘em you love ‘em in the best way possible—by tipping well (they may also like a hug, but I’ll let you make that decision).