The long-term loan of an Irish kitchen table (from a friend who doesn’t have room for it in her house and doesn’t want it sitting in her the barn during the winter months) has encouraged me to do some redecorating in my apartment. Luckily, my roommate’s been on-hand for the heavy lifting.
One of the changes we made was to move the “bar” from one of the bookshelves and arrange it in a more central location. Libations should be easily accessible to guests. Included in the bar’s humble offerings are:
- Pig’s Nose (my brother’s favorite, so I tracked down the artist who designed their logo and asked if I could buy a poster as a housewarming present for Luke. Short version of the story is that the producers of Pig’s Nose and Sheep’s Dip sent me a couple of posters gratis and I looked like a very thoughtful sister indeed. Pig’s Nose is a blended scotch whisky, hand-crafted in small barrels by Richard Paterson, who is Scotland’s only third generation master blender. I must confess that I’m not a scotch girl, but any scotch drinkers who’ve had a glass of Pig’s Nose have declared it delicious.)
- Sheep’s Dip (apparently this is what British farmers use to call whiskey as a result of home-brewing, avoiding taxes and hiding their drinking from their wives. This is more up my alley with its rich malty flavors matched by citrus and almond notes. It’s round mouthfeel is complimented by being served neat. Although no one would judge you for serving it on the rocks or with a water back.)
- Edinburgh Gin (not really Gin and Tonic season, but this would be perfect in a Negroni. After its initial distillation, heather and milk thistle are added. The botanicals are subtle, creating a crisp dry Gin. Also, quite nicely, Edinburgh Gin makes a tonic syrup for when hot weather returns and you want a cold, fizzy, refreshing Gin and Tonic. You add the syrup to sparkling water and voila! Instant tonic – but less sticky sweet than store-bought brands.)
- Chartreuse (gotta love those monks: they’ve given us Trappist beer, Champagne and Chartreuse. The latter is where the color gets its name, not vice-versa. Made from 100+ herbs, flowers and botanicals, it is used in a variety of mixed drinks. It’s very herbal – I picked up fennel and rosemary – and has an earthiness to it that makes it a great antidote to sweeter drinks.)
- Maker’s Mark (my lazy version of a Manhattan involves a generous pour over two ice cubes, splash of sweet vermouth and a couple of dashes of bitters.)
- Sweet Vermouth
- Dry Vermouth
- Angostura bitters (I’m in the process of making my own bitters as Christmas presents – an orange/lemon variety that I think will be perfect in my lazy Manhattans)
I just need to add a nice bottle of tequila (I love Herradura Reposada) and vodka (Vertical or Tito’s – but definitely not my rosemary- infused failure from Thanksgiving)) to make the bar complete for the holiday entertaining.