Sunday, August 31, 2008

Le Retour du Foragers!

"T.Mixeur, you have Le Mixeur Cinq to prepare for. October 4th will come sooner than you would believe. Surely you do not have time to pursue such cherished, yet unrelated, endeavors as monitoring the life span of your beloved wild berries of the old growth forests!"

"Mon cher ami, it is for pursuits such as these that god created three day weekends. The third day of such weekends are when we may wander into the forest with utmost serenity, without forced effort or pretense, and find ourselves obeying the edict of the pre-Catholic, Monastic era Irish: Do Simple Things With Perfect Love."

Faites Des Choses Simples Avec L'amour Parfait.

The Hawthorne berries are ripe and ready to be picked along the sunny edge of the forest, looking out over Lake Washington. Competition for these berries is none, as they are mostly tasteless and feature only a thin layer of flesh encasing a large seed. Their benefits: a slight tangy tinge on each side of the tongue, a lingering tickle on the front, and powerful medicinal value to the heart...which we need to work well.

Yes, cherries grow wild here. Rainier Cherries. They are not ripe yet. A few weeks more. Then a full report.

These are unripe Evergreen Huckleberries. Some are ripe, these are not. Were we to throw Berry parties, Evergreen Huckleberries would be the staple. Sweet enough to satisfy any palate, complex enough to pacify palates of particular refinement. The Cointreau of the berry world, one might say.

The Salal berries have been lingering, ripe on their branches, for too long. They still will provide sustenance, but nothing in the way of flavor. See you next year, Salal. Thanks for all your hard work.

Alcohol is hard on the kidneys. Horse Tail is perhaps their most beloved salve. Horse Tail predates human kidneys by hundreds of millenniums. During all those years before we came along, how did it have the wisdom to know it would one day save us all?

Horse Tail needles fit neatly in my hip pouch pocket. Party in T.Mixeur's kidneys this eve!

Oregon Grape is everywhere right now. Everywhere. It is sour, bitter, astringent, filled with seeds, and oddly delectable.

And it was Oregon Grape, le O.G., that inspired me to turn all this foraging into a cocktail venture.

O.G. (Original Gangsta) Liqueur

6 oz Boca Loca Cachaca
1/4 cup Oregon Grape
teaspoon agave nectar

muddle grapes gently, add cachaca and agave, stir
let sit, covered, for two hours
strain out grapes with fine mesh strainer

And this was good. Why with cachaca? Call it a hunch. The grapes bled their juice into the cachaca, turning it purple. Yet the flavor of the grapes was subtle enough to not mask any of that cachaca sweet-funky.

Let's make a drink with it, shall we?

O.G. Ice-T

2 oz O.G. Liqueur
1/2 oz lime
1/2 oz ginger syrup
dash peach bitters

shake and strain into cocktail glass
garnish with a lemon twist

Here's what part of it looks like:

(T.Mixeur enjoyed a few sips before photographing...blush, blush)

Enough simple things and perfect love. There's a Mixeur to be planned.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Holy God In Heaven! It's Le Mixeur Cinq!!!!!!!!

Yes, we know. We said we were "hangin' em up," never doing another Mixeur again.

There is of course, a reasonable explanation why we are going back on our word.

We are dirty, filthy, stinking liars.

Don't believe us? Just read our bio:

"That these two-bit charlatans have managed to gain the ear of some of the Northwest’s most notable mixologists only speaks to the persuasiveness of their lechery. In Finnegan’s Wake, Joyce draws inspiration from the story of Osiris, who was torn apart by his brother. One can only hope the same fate befalls these brothers and the cocktail world is spared further indignities. In the mean time, we urge all to avoid these scoundrels at all possible costs."

Not enough for you? Here's what Gary Regan himself had to say about T.Mixeur:

"This guy seems like a complete bastard. Let's stay well away from him."

And so without further ado or regard for past promises, we proudly present the triumphant return of, Le Mixeur...Cinq!

This Mixeur will be streamlined to four drink options. This Mixeur will feature the DJ concoctions of Andrew, member of acclaimed Seattle band Velella Velella. This Mixeur will be held at a new and exciting location - specifically, the loft of Zane Harris (bartender at Vessel) and Anu Apte (credentials too numerous to list in this space). Why would we hold a mixeur here? In a word:

Ooh la la! C'est très fantaisiste! C'est très chic! Le Mixeur Cinq is Le Mixeur fancy! Le Mixur Cinq is Le Mixeur Legit!

You, beloved reader, you past or future Mixer, must come to see us. You will come to see us. We know this to be true, because we will submit to you images that will program your psyche to associate Le Mixeur Fancy Legit Cinq only with happy things...warm fuzzy things...bliss.

Yes. You will come.

more to come...


Thursday, August 14, 2008

T. Portlandus Mixeur

(yes, this is a very long's OK, you can do it...we believe in you)

T.Mixeur went to Portland last weekend, an event so epic, so legendary, so biblical in proportion, that I thought this:

"If T.Mixeur could live there, T.Mixeur would."

However, this would require abandoning my child, so visits will have to suffice.

The purpose of this last visit was not primarily cocktails, but was, however, spirit-related. That is to say, the visit was made in order for friend Sarah and I to honor the spirit of a great mentor and friend to us both, Patrick Hill, who passed away on June 26.

Patrick described me, verbally and in writing, as "the king of integration," and with no small amount of sincerity, I report that this description has emboldened me in the construction of cocktails. This was certainly not the form of integration he had in mind, but I'm confident he would have whole-heartedly approved had he witnessed the passion and pleasure this pursuit has brought to me, and had he absorbed some of the positivity at any of our past Mixeurs.

So with my justification firmly in hand, Sarah and I plotted a bar course for the evening and stashed the car away somewhere safe. We undertook a unique element of Portland life: walking to where you need to go. And not just walking, but walking dramatically across our choice of bridges, arcing over the Willamette River, separating the city east by west. On this evening, we walked from the east, eyes to the city skyline in the west, anxiously anticipating what awaited us.

And so did Sarah and I head out on our path, and this is what we saw...


I first went to Ten01 last December, immediately after having attended the tasting/open house/whoop-dee-doo at House Spirits. This was not by accident, as both the Booze Bazaar and Ten01 were mentioned in the same Willamette Week article. I met Kelley Swenson that evening, ordered a Sazerac, and still consider it one of the best I have ever had. I've been back each time I've been to Portland, and Kelley since agreed to make a contribution to Left Coast Libations.

We were emotionally prepared for the fact that Kelley would not be there this evening, as he was catering a wedding at the nearby Armory (with a bar made of ice, no was beautiful but drippy...we crashed the's a long story).

I had communicated to him ahead of time that I'd be coming in to deliver his copies of Left Coast Libations, and he instructed me to leave them with Kara at the bar.

We met Kara, handed over the books, sat down, and promptly had a blast. The topic of the Broken Flower came up, a drink Kelley invented and is mentioned in Left Coast Libations as being the gin equivalent of the Toto, a co-creation of Kelley and Timothy Davey of Clyde Common, which instead uses Tequila.

Toto/Broken Flower

3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz green Chartreuse
3/4 oz tequila/gin

stir over ice and serve up

Upon first receiving this drink recipe from Monsieur Swenson via electronic mail , I decided to make myself the gin version. I placed all the ingredients in a mixing glass, stirred, picked up the mixing glass, the bottom of the glass fell off, and my drink nestled into a nice oval-shaped, shard-ridden pool on my kitchen counter.

That's one potent drink.

I decided to name this creation, "The Broken...Hold the Flower"

I relayed this story to Kara and asked if she could fulfill my unrequited desire to have a Broken Flower. She said she would, which makes sense. When you're a bartender and a customer orders something on the cocktail menu, you usually agree, right? The only exception I know of is the Jacque Tati from Jay at Sambar. Do NOT order this drink. Unless you want to see a recreation of John Belushi's Samurai Chef.

Kara's Broken Flower was fabulous, far better than the one that ended up on my countertop (I found that the soap residue of the counter, along with the blood I shed slurping it up through the bits of glass really threw off the balance of the drink).

We also tried another drink from Left Coast Libations, The Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

2 oz Italian bianco vermouth
½ oz Cointreau
1/8 - ¼ oz absinthe or pastis

Build drink over ice in rocks glass
Stir vermouth & Cointreau together
Add a slice of orange to garnish
float absinthe on top

This drink is so lovely to look at, one almost dreads having to...ah screw that. It's delicious, we drank it down. Nary a tear was shed.

During all this, Kara and we had a spirited conversation. She seemed to quickly grasp what sorts of things Sarah would enjoy (and also what I would enjoy - namely everything), and commenced with the tastes of the exciting and unusual. We tried a bit of the Pineau Charentes , a first for me after having been tantalized by various writeups. Sarah got her first ever taste of St. Germain...

There is something very special about witnessing someone pop their St. Germain cherry. It reminds me of the time I was flying back to Seattle from New Orleans after this year's Tales of the Cocktail, and we were going over the top of the Cascade Mountains (truly the most spectacular sight I have ever seen). There was a little girl from Georgia sitting with her grandma behind me. And as she looked out at the landscape, she pointed to all the fluffy white stuff below.

"Gramma, is that snow... or is that clouds?"
"That's clouds darlin'."
"But...they're on the earth. How can clouds be on the earth?"
"Well I guess the earth just reaches up so high some times it finds the clouds baby."

When Sarah sipped St. Germain for the first time she became a little girl from Georgia looking out across the Cascades. The one difference: in the case of St. Germain, what you are seeing is both snow and clouds.

My personal favorite discovery was the Farigoule, a French-made Thyme Liqueur. In fact, I was inspired to write a mini review just of this...

C'est une liqueur de raffinement extrême. Tandis que c'est la saveur principale est le thym, il joue plus que juste qu'une note. Ou si c'est une note, cette note est jouée comme si John Coltrane pourrait avoir, pliant et le tordant à maintes reprises jusqu'à ce que l'infini dans nous soit révélé!

After all was said and drank, we bid Kara adieu, and glided off to our next destination with happy memories, full tummies, and warm fuzzies all over. Print that on your Press page, Ten01!

Joined now by top secret Munat Brother Ben and Top Secret Munat Sister In Law Kate, we walked over to 50 Plates. This was a bit awkward in that we had to walk right past the Teardrop Lounge to get there. For one thing, walking past the Teardrop Lounge without going in just feels very's kind of like killing a mockingbird, isn't it Atticus?

(Editor's note: The author of this blog, influenced by his recollections of little girls from the south, has again lapsed into his alter ego of Scout Finch. Please stand by while we correct the problem...thank you)

And for another thing, Daniel Shoemaker, proprietor of the establishment, was gaping out the front windows as we passed, looking like a sad little puppy. To make the moment even more poignant, he quickly pulled out a violin and played a sad tune.

Little puppies playing sad songs on the violin. That gets me EVERY TIME.

But our remorse dissipated into the trendy air of the Pearl District (yes, even the air is trendy there), as we saw 50 Plates just ahead.

5o Plates

I met Lance Mayhew at the Jerry Thomas seminar in Portland last March, where he made a Stone Fence for the crowd. Not literally, he had no actual stone or mortar, and the crowd was not so unruly that they needed to be fenced off.

No, the Stone Fence is actually a simple recipe from the Jerry Thomas archives, which Lance made with Buffalo Trace bourbon and apple cider from Lattin's Country Cider Mill in Olympia, WA. It was a drink so easy yet so delicious, one had to ask the question: why isn't everyone drinking this? I suppose the answer is they must not have met Lance.

Lance later acted as shepherd to us weary seminarites as we went from bar to bar in Portland. I have since become a fan of his blog, both for its expertise and its candor, and was pleased he too contributed to Left Coast Libations.

But I'd never seen Lance actually do what he does in the real world.

I wish I could better describe the full atmosphere of 50 Plates, but during the time we were there I was so completely ensconced in our own little haven I scarcely was aware of anything existing outside of a five foot radius from my heart. Suffice to say Lance was an extremely gracious host, and a true master of his craft.

Food and drink appeared to us from every direction, all of it superb. I recall oysters, seafood cocktails served in shooter glasses with the fish submersed in salsa. I recall a delicious first drink with chartreuse and...uhhmm.

Better get used to this folks, the night gets blurrier and blurrier.

Lance was excited to make me a Mint Julep in one of their authentic julep cups. I must admit, I have never had a Mint Julep in a Julep cup. It was phenomenal, evolving with each sip as the whiskey slowly gave way to the syrup, mint, and ice.

I also passed along Sarah's newfound love of St. Germain, and to this Lance made her a modified version of his own creation, The Plagiarism Cocktail. This is a drink that appears in, you guessed it, Left Coast Libations (I swear this was not planned ahead of least not by me).

Plagiarism Cocktail

2 oz Clear Creek Pear Brandy
1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
½ oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz Meyer lemon Juice
2 dashes Grapefruit Bitters

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with one lightly bruised sprig of thyme to release some of the essential oils

This is the recipe for the original. I believe the modified version was with regular old lemons instead of the Meyer, with accompanying adjustments. But I could be wrong. Again, one can only be in a whirlwind for so long before one gets whirly oneself.

I have to say, and I already have said to the creator of this drink himself, that this was the best use of St. Germain I've ever witnessed. Sarah, if your reading, there's nowhere to go but down from here. But not to worry. Down is a relative term, and down when it comes to St. Germain is still relatively high. As they say, if you shoot for the moon and miss, you still are amongst the stars.

(Editor's note: Aside from the Sun, the closest star to the earth is Alpha Centauri, which is 4.3 light years away. The moon, on the other hand, is on average 384,000 kilometers from the earth. Therefore, if you shoot for the moon and miss, you are still not significantly closer to any star. In all likelihood, if you shoot for the moon and miss, you will end up careening wildly off into space like that guy from 2001 that HAL blasted off, and if you're lucky you'll just die of fright or something like that).

Finally, Lance brought us out some tastes of his own smoked whiskey. The process for making this sounds highly illegal. It involves using some sort of bong-like apparatus to trap hickory smoke, then using a tube to run that smoke into a bottle with whiskey in it, shaking it up, repeating, etc.

If Lance had been a 19th century chemist, he'd have injected himself with deadly virus to see if his experimental tonics would save his own life. I just know this is true.

Apparently we left 50 Plates, since we're not still there. That must have been sad. And we went back down the road to ask Daniel for forgiveness...and possibly a drink as well.

Teardrop Lounge

What can I say about the Teardrop Lounge? C.Mixeur calls it the best bar in America. And while he's prone to some pretty nuclear-force hyperbole, I can't disagree. Of course, I've hardly been to any bars in America because, as everyone knows, I am broke. In fact, I am the brokest dude in the whole damn cocktail scene. Everyone feel sorry for me.

We sat by the lovely bitter trough seen above. We tried tastes of some of them. We said hello to Emilee and met new bartender Evan. Daniel made us some lovely drinks.

I think I am doing pretty damn well to remember all of these immaculate details. In fact, I'll even venture a guess that my drink was an If At First...

Wrote a book about it, called Left Coast Libations. Like to here it? Here it go!

If At First...

1 ½ oz Mae de Ouro Cachaca
¾ oz Carpano Antica
¾ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
½ oz Yellow Chartreuse

Rinse glass w/ Habanero-Green Tea Bitters (house recipe)
Stir & strain into cocktail glass

Want to know how to make the Habanero-Green Tea Bitters? Buy the book!

Or, you know, ask Daniel. Or ask us for a book and if we have any we'll give you one. Or email me and ask me, and I'll send it to you. Yeah. That'd probably be the smart thing to do.

Having pillaged the West for all it was worth, we headed back across the bridge to the east to witness the seedy underbelly of Portland. We did this in the form of a Pierced Arrows show at the Eastside Club. Pierced Arrows are the new project of Fred and Tooty, who finally disbanded Dead Moon recently. Fred and Tooty are grandparents, Clackamas county homesteaders, die hard DIY proponents, about 70 years old I think, and still out-fierced every fierce little whippersnapper at the club that night.

And in a funny way. the DIY ethic that Fred and Tooty have been so closely associated with in Portland for the last 30 years (and which they helped to create), feeds directly into the Portland cocktail renaissance. There was already such a unique sense of community in this town, and such a passion for DIY, that few places on earth were so fully prepared to embrace the brave new cocktail world.

Portland is truly a spectacle to behold on the cocktail frontier. There is talent, creativity, passion, and originality bursting from the floorboards here. Not enough people seem to be grasping this fact.

It was sad to see so few from Portland make it to Tales of the Cocktail this year. But hey, they're busy! While your city's top bartenders were whooping it up at Tales, Portland's were honing their skills, lurking in the reeds, plotting their world takeover. They're like a city full of Clubber Langs, training for their shot at Rocky while he poses for pictures and does interviews with magazines.

And in just over a week, they'll be hosting the Great American Distiller's Festival. Will T.Mixeur be there? Oui bien sûr!

I have deviated away from Patrick Hill, but let's go back to him for a moment. Patrick was my teacher in college, and Sarah and I were his students for a semester abroad in rural Ireland. Of my final paper for the experience, Patrick wrote this:

“It is an ode to joy. It embodies a Jungian and Taoist embracing of the interconnection of loneliness and love, of dark and light; and moves towards a 'sentimental technology' of personal happiness and true community...It is a critique of the limitations of language and objectifying studies, and it is a hymn to the power of nature and music to bind us together lovingly. Ted has written something that will forever inspire and/or haunt him if he deserts this memory.”

I hope, for my own sake, I have done the same regarding my late, great weekend in Portland.

Thank you again to all who participated.

Until next time...


D'Aristi Xtabentun

All Hail Tina!

"T.Mixeur, who is this Tina of whom you speak?"

Why, none other than the manager of the Crown Hill liquor store at 78th St and 15th Ave, my neighborhood liquor store, my stop-off point for what potion resides in my thoughts but not my cabinet.

"And why do we hail her?"

Because of her absolutely lovely whims.


She had a whim, you see, to order up some D'Aristi Xtabentun (pronounced d'aristi xtabentun). She didn't know what it was, it just called to her, as if it were a 20-1 shot pony.

And I had a whim to go in there one day, and found me three bottles of that sweet sweet Mayan honey anisette liqueur. I had been introduced to the concept when Murray at Zig Zag (as opposed to Murray at Allstate Auto Insurance) made a drink with it for Paula "Ajeticha" Fallen Star Nicole Jenkins one evening. I was given a more thorough introduction months later by Jay at Sambar (as opposed to Jay at Bally's Gym).

Now it was mine, to experiment with to my heart's content. It is a very pleasant and tricky little liqueur, with a vanilla-y (or if your prefer, "vanilli") scent, and a stubborn heaviness to its texture that holds its shape no matter what it's mixed with. Throw some base spirit, other liqueurs, bitters, juices, wines, or whatever at it, and it still seems to settle with the same weight, into the center of the tongue and caress it for a moment. I kept wanting to call this its "honeyed heaviness," but had a feeling that wasn't my term. I was sure some cocktail writer or mixologist had used it. Then i remembered it was Mary Oliver, in the poem "Peonies."

An excerpt:

"...and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities..."

Pretty well sums up the relationship between liquor stores and cocktail enthusiasts, don't you think?

After many experiments I found something that I think is worth sharing. I think I will call it, Peonie.


1 oz gin
1/2 oz D'Aristi Xtabentun
1/2 oz Canton Ginger Liqueur
1/2 oz Lillet Blonde
1/2 oz lemon
4 dashes peach bitters

shake and strain into a cocktail glass
(I double strained because I'm, you know, that way)

And the same thing works, albeit differently, when substituting the lemon with lime. This one will be known as Tina's Whim.

Tina's Whim

1 oz gin
1/2 oz D'Aristi Xtabentun
1/2 oz Canton Ginger Liqueur
1/2 oz Lillet Blonde
1/2 oz lime
4 dashes peach bitters

shake and strain into a cocktail glass
(I didn't double strain this one because I was feeling weird about being that way)

Tina told me she was shocked at how fast the stuff flew off the shelves. She thought that it would be one of those things that lingered for months, but the 6 bottles they ordered were gone in 3 days. I urged her to order more, assuring her that they would continue to move. We'll see...

What the hell? Rock star poet Mary Oliver ladies and gentlemen...

Peonies by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities ---
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

from New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver

(c) Mary Oliver

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Update on the Roux

There sure do seem to be a lot of folks in Seattle with bottles of Elisir M.P. Roux lately!

In a related story, there appears to be a shortage of Elisir M.P. Roux in Portland these days.

On a related note: Bwah ha! Bwah ha ha! Bwah ha ha ha ha ha! Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa! Bwah haa haaaa haaaaa haaaaaaaaaaa! (cough).

Le Gra,

Monday, August 11, 2008

MxMo: From the Windswept Shores of the Carkeek Esplanade...

"...'All that would have been quite needless,'replied Don Quixote, 'if I had remembered to make a flask of the Balm of Fierabras, One single drop of that would save us both time and medicine.' 'What flask and what balm is that?' asked Sancho Panza. 'It is a balm,' replied Don Quixote, 'the recipe for which lies in my memory. With it there is no need to fear death nor so much as to think of dying of any wound. So, when I have made some and given it to you, if ever you see me cut through the middle in some battle - as very often happens - you have only to take the part of my body that has fallen to the ground and place it neatly and cunningly, before the blood congeals, on to the half that is still in the saddle, taking especial care to make them fit exactly. Then you must give me just two drops of this balm to drink and, you will see, I shall be as sound as an apple.'..."

The Balm of Fierabras

1 part oil
1 part wine
generous portion of rosemary
pinch salt

combine all ingredients in a chalice
after being severely beaten, drink
vomit, pass out, wake up feeling healed
pray it does not cause further dysentery

What, pray tell, does this have to do with this month's Mixology Monday? Hang on a second, let me retrace the steps that occurred to lead me to this happy little place...

Ah yes, rosemary. We are working with a theme of local flavor, and so rosemary, being a local and native plant of the Pacific Northwest, will be featured.

(Editor's note: Rosemary is not native to the Pacific Northwest)

While Rosemary may not actually be native to the Pacific Northwest, it certainly is everywhere around here. It grows along sidewalk gardens, in yards, around public buildings, and occasionally in remote little spots along the windswept shores of the Carkeek esplanade.

"Yes, T.Mixeur, bring it on home!" cries the crowd.

And so a drink was created some months ago made with homemade rosemary gin, infusing rosemary found on a seemingly innocent walk though the forest at Carkeek Park, a lovely little place along the Puget Sound coast in North Seattle, a mere 30 short blocks from my home. And given the preponderance of rosemary in the city, the fact that it is an Evergreen needly motherfucker and this is the Evergreen State, and that said drink is named after said local park, we do hereby declare this cocktail to qualify! Plus, I invented it, and I live here dammit.

It is a variation on the Clover Club cocktail, substituting the gin with my rosemary gin and a little Pisco. For a full breakdown of the Clover Club as disseminated by Anita and Cameron Crotty, Paul Clarke, Dave Wondrich, and yours truly, read our original post on the Carkeek Club.

(Author's mother's note: say please.)

Sorry. Please read our original post on the Carkeek Club.

(Author's mother's other note: did you write the "m.f." word in the previous paragraph?)

And so without further adieu: the Carkeek Club ladies and gentlemen!

Carkeek Club

1 ½ oz rosemary gin
½ oz Capel Pisco
¾ oz lemon
½ oz raspberry syrup
½ egg white

dry shake all ingredients
add ice, shake for 20 seconds
strain into cocktail glass (although come to think of it I really like it in a coupe)


Place 4 branches of rosemary, each about 6 inches in length, into a 32 oz mason jar. Add 2 oz boiling water, close jar, shake, and let stand for 10 minutes until the rosemary gets bright green and you can't stand to watch the poor little fellas suffer like that anymore. Open the jar, pour in about 4 ounces of ice cold water, listen for the sound of the rosemary saying "ahhhhh" then add 3 ounces dry vermouth and 1½ ounces Pernod. Pour the gin in until the jar is filled to about an inch from the top. Close the jar again and shake. You may need to throw your head back and cackle maniacally at this point, in order to get the desired shaking action. Steep in a cool spot for 48 hours, then remove the rosemary. I have always used Broker's gin for this recipe, and it seems to work nicely for this purpose.

We are a few weeks shy of the full ripening of the native wild berries, which in a perfect world would be the cornerstone of a drink with local flavor. Of particular interest are the native Trailing Blackberries. I plan to find a way to combine them with Jamaican rum and call it the "Livingstone Bramble," after my favorite boxer, the Rastafarian, corn-rowed, pit bull and python loving, former welterweight champion who drove Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini out of the ring and into a career in Hollywood by exposing the fact that Ray's face cut pretty easy. And unfortunately for Boom Boom, his cornerman wasn't named Pancho and he wasn't toting any rosemary balm.

"Let it be the clever names, rather than flavor profiles, that drive the creation of cocktails and balms," so said Don Quixote de la Mancha.

But then again, he hardly has proven himself to be an aficionado based on that simply deplorable "Balm of Fierabras" recipe he contributed. Better luck next time, Donny Boy!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Le Pèlerinage

One day, T.Mixeur was all out of Saint Germain.

T.Mixeur, T.Mixeur didn't worry, T.Mixeur didn't scream or scurry.
He merely enjoyed his gay elation
And prepared for a walk to the Saint Germain Foundation...

Le pèlerinage commence
(the pilgrimage begins)

Oui, il existe vraiment!
(Yes, it really does exist!)

Vous ne devez pas avoir honte pour prier. Saint Germain remplira votre tasse.
(You must not be ashamed to beg. Saint Germain will fill your cup)

Il n'a pas travaillé! Ma tasse n'est pas pleine!
(it did not work! my cup is not full!)

Cela n'arrive pas...cela n'arrive pas...
(This is not happening...this is not happening...)

J'ai été abandonné!
(I have been forsaken!)

Qu'ai-je fait pour le mériter ?
(what have I done to deserve this?)

Saint Germain me raille.
(Saint Germain is mocking me)

Vas faire foutre a la cache, Saint Germain!
(Go fuck a cow, Saint Germain!)

Oui, vas te faire foutre.
(Yes, go get fucked)

Regardez juste ce que vous m'avez fait...
(just look at what you have done to me...)

yes, we know - 'tis a sad story. we are sorry to have to bring it to you...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Elisir M.P. Roux Est Très Merveilleux!

Elisir M.P. Roux is something I just tried for the first time. It is truly exceptional, fits right in with the Le Mixeur enthusiasm for wild botanicals with both culinary and medicinal value, is a bargain at roughly $40-$45 for a liter, and, of course, cannot be had in the booze-forsaken state of Washington...

Excerpts from the transcript of a text-message-turned-email exchange between T.Mixeur and C.Mixeur dated Friday, August 1, 2008:

T: What was the name of the Chartreuse we were drinking last night?
C: Elisir M.P. Roux. And it's not Chartreuse
T: Why did I think it was Chartreuse?
C: 1. You're a little stupid, but we're not supposed to talk about it in front of you.
2. We were comparing its flavor to Chartreuse. It is similar.
T: Do you remember what Murray mixed with it, or Jay?
C: No.
T: Any other highlights of the evening?
C: I won the Nobel Peace prize while you were in the bathroom, but I gave it back. Too much hassle.

Elisir M.P. Roux is not Chartreuse. This is just one example of the precious jewels of information readers of this blog are treated to on a regular basis.

(We interrupt this blog to bring you the following news bulletin: St. Germain is not Benedictine...repeat: NOT Benedictine).

Yet I enjoyed Elisir M.P. Roux under the impression it was some new form of Chartreuse. In a related story, Elisir M.P. Roux is 94 proof, yet goes down surprisingly easy!

Here are some actual facts about Roux that we have derived from conducting legitimate research:

It is an herbal liqueur, created my Marcel Roux. And unlike those stodgy old Carthusian coots or the boys of Benedictine, Monsieur Roux is happy to let us know what each of the 14 botanicals used in his Elisir are...

  1. bitter almond
  2. wild angelica
  3. lemon balm
  4. garden balsam
  5. coriander
  6. cinnamon
  7. fennel
  8. damiana
  9. ginseng
  10. hyssop
  11. lemon
  12. marjoram
  13. star anise
  14. nutmeg
When I was huffing it - excuse me, I mean to say when I was taking in its lovely bouquet - I was getting coriander more than anything else, or as I put it at the time, "hey! this here chartreuse smells like curry!"

Fortunately people tend to ignore me anyway.

Let's provide a little context, shall we?

C. and I met with the Ubiquitous Dr. David Yow and The Nefarious Jamie Boudreau, Esquire, at the Zig Zag Cafe last Thursday, and upon my arrival C. had already presented a bottle of the Elisir -- procured during his trip to Portland last weekend for the 1st Anniversary of the Tear Drop Lounge -- to Murray. Jamie asked me if I'd had the Roux, and I said I managed to avoid this wheat-bearing soup base while in New Orleans, and was proud of the accomplishment.

Jamie then turned to the bowl of citrus fruit to his right and attempted to engage it in conversation instead.

Having completed his use of the Roux, Murray placed the bottle in front of us. It is a beautiful bottle, elegant and simply shaped, clear glass, with etchings of various botanicals on each side. It's also beautiful in its 1 liter size, a volume of booze all too rare in Washington State.

Murray's drink with it was wonderful, but since it was C.'s I left responsibility to him for learning what was in it. 'Twas not the first time and shan't be the last that my big brother let me down...

Zane Harris of Vessel and Anu (whose name and place of business I did not get but I'm certain both are fabulous) both arrived. Dr. Yow reached the end of his stamina and Jamie got into an altercation with the bowl of fruit that spilled outside. The remaining four of us trekked to Sambar with another bottle of the Roux to see what Jay would do.

My recollection is a bit fresher than C.'s on this one. As I recall, Jay combined the Roux with some St. Germain (which, again, is NOT Benedictine), some grapefruit juice, and a little...gin? Something like that. Whatever it was, it worked. Or as I said at the time, "Jay man! Nobody mixes up Chartreuse like you!"

That was the point when they encouraged me to go to the bathroom so C. could accept his Nobel Peace Prize without me embarrassing him.

Gary Regan had the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to write about Elisir M.P. Roux almost four years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle. Talk about pissing on someone's parade when they're excited about having found something "new." But that Regan guy gets all the good stuff because all these West Coast wannabes are always just mailing him bottles, hoping to score some brownie points (by the way, my own personal brownie points are on clearance sale at the moment, if anyone wants to do something to score some with me).

He even included a recipe, slightly more specific than the ones I have provided thus far, and an original invention of "The Professor."

Organized Chaos

2 ounces Wild Turkey bourbon (101-proof)
1 1/2 ounces Noilly Prat sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Elisir M.P. Roux
1 lemon wedge, for garnish

Fill a medium-sized wine goblet with ice, and add the bourbon, vermouth, and Elisir M.P. Roux. Squeeze the lemon wedge into the drink and drop it into the glass. Stir briefly and serve.

I eventually left Sambar and returned home at 2:30 in the morning to find the entire block was without power, including the street lights and traffic lights. I walked into my new home to absolute darkness, listening to the sounds of a strong wind blowing the trees and of me knocking things over and tumbling over unpacked boxes. Clearly, the union of Elisir M.P. Roux and Monsier E.C. Munat was to have ramifications no less significant than the metamorphosis of the earth. I'd like to see some bottle of Chartreuse accomplish that feat.