New Deal 10 Year Anniversary

I can’t wait! I’m getting my party pants on. As my readers may know, I love supporting local distillers and do so almost exclusively (except with tequila, obv.) I also REALLY REALLY REALLY love New Deal.

From their Facebook Page

Ten years of creating original craft spirits is cause for celebration! Join us at the distillery along with many of our longtime partners for an unforgettable celebration on Saturday, July 12th, 5-10pm.

From 5-7pm, enjoy BBQ deliciousness from Smokehouse 21, pour-over ice cream cocktails featuring Salt & Straw Ice Cream‘s summer flavors, a New Deal craft cocktail menu concocted by our favorite bar mavens atMerit Badge with help from Pok Pok Som and DRY Soda Co., plus a Bloody Mary Garnish Bar from Yelp Portland and Unbound Pickling. Munch on boozy popcorn snacks featuring New Deal spirits from Masala Popthroughout the evening.

We’ll be unveiling our new Aged Rum in the Tasting Room and commemorative merchandise, including a surprise collaboration with Maak Lab and new summer t-shirts and tanks.

From 7-8pm, we’ll have a special Anniversary Edition of Comedy & Cocktails. Your hosts for the evening will be Jason Traeger and Brandy Feit–both veterans of the PDX comedy scene and vital members of the New Deal Crew. Join us in welcoming Portland’s top comedic talent, including Sean Jordan, Anthony Lopez, Katie Nguyen and Veronica Heath.

At 8pm, celebrate with an Anniversary Toast featuring desserts by Saint Cupcake and Salt and Straw’s Spicy Monkey Banana Walnut Ice Cream, made with our Hot Monkey Pepper-Flavored Vodka.

Stay until 10pm and dance the night away while DJ Dickel of The Dickel Brothers spins songs and tunes from around the world, recorded between 1900-1945.

Admission is free. RSVP here. Cheers!


DIY Cocktail Hour: Gold Dust Woman Martini

Tito’s Handmade Vodka started something with its notion of taking the distilling of vodka as a serious art in this country. It has been my workhorse vodka for years and will remain one of my favorites unless they change the recipe or start making prissy flavors like “angel food cake” or “cool whhip.”

There are now a plethora of artesinal vodkas that are organic, distilled over charcoal in artesinal springs with dancing nymphs and Romans eating grapes. With Portland 88, Crater Lake and House of Spirits Volstead Vodka, the Portland area certainly has more than its fair share of purified and crystalline vodkas. But this week when I went to Austin on vacation, I wanted to see how the locals stacked up.


At the liquor store down the street from the ranch that was my vacation home– yep, you got it, a ranch. (No cows but a salt water pool and about a billion stars at night). I found several Austin craft distilled vodkas. I went with Dripping Springs because it had received some convincing accolades. The label doesn’t do it justice. It is a ten times filtered vodka from the water of an artesinal spring. Beautifully alcoholic and clear it has the resonance of crystal. Don’t let the label fool you, it’s not fake crystal. This can’t go through the dishwasher.

With the elegance and decadence of the vodka as a starting point, I created the following cocktail:

Gold Dust Woman

Gold Dust Woman

Gold Dust Woman:

5 oz Dripping Springs Vodka
1 1/2 oz mango pulp
1/2 oz Headsnapper Sauvignon Blanc

Fill martini glass with sparkling water and ice cubes
Fill shaker with ice
Add vodka, mango pulp and sauvignon blanc
Shake, shake shake until the shaker is frosty and sticks to your hand
Empty martini glass, rinse with 1/2 oz of sauvignon blanc
Partially rim with white sugar
Strain drink into glass 7 oz glass (It’s Texas, it has to be big)
Garnish with giant, freshly picked Texas strawberry

To Pick On: (Cuz Gold Dust Women Don’t Really EAT)
Tex-Mex Strawberry Salad

2 Shredded romaine hearts
1 cup juillienned jicama
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup tortilla strips

1 small fresh red chili pepper, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsps agave syrup
1/3 cup pack fresh chopped mint
1/2 cup squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup EVOO
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Dress salad in bowl, chill if desired and dish up into four dishes.

Best Use: Chillin’ by the pool waiting for your toenails to dry, sparkled gold over violet

Reading Materials:
 Maya’s Notebook, Isabelle Allende

Soundtrack: Duh, Gold Dust Woman… this version

Tuaca Oatmeal Cookies…directly from heaven (can be gluten free and vegan!)

zen cookie

from the folks at

This has nothing to do with booze except for the fact that if you make them, you might want to hide them so that drunk you doesn’t eat a whole batch. As it is, you might want to put them in a time-locked capsule that will only allow you to open it every 12 hours and remove one cookie. Not like I’m the cookie police.

Oh, and the Tuaca. Who needs vanilla extract when there is Tuaca in the world.


1 1/2 Cup Trader Joes Gluten-Free Oats (uncooked) or other oats if you don’t worry about such things
1 1/2 Cup GF all purpose flour (again, regular flour is ok too)
Couple shakes cinnamon, maybe some nutmeg
Half a shot of  Tuaca (if you don’t have Tuaca, vanilla extract will have to do).
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil (I love coconut oil in baking, it’s so moist and sticky it’s easy not to use eggs)
1 egg if you think it’s necessary
A small banana would be nice, well ripened. If you are not using the egg, definitely use the banana but you can use both.

Mix ingredients. If you decide not to use the egg, you can totally eat the cookie dough to your heart’s delight but the raw oats may prove to be an obstacle. Anyway, I eat some of it. A little cookie dough, a little nip of Tuaca. Make them as big as you want, just remember the time-locked capsule principle. If you make them pancake size and eat 2 of them, that’s on you buster. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes and you’re golden. You probably want to leave them sit for about five minutes so they don’t fall apart but you may not be able to wait that long.

Made Marion, Let Us Kiss With Tongues: 2Towns Ciderhouse Summer Seasonal

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9 Breweries, 9 holes– Brewvana’s Putt Putt Drink Drink 5/18

This Saturday 5/15, starting at noon, Portland brewery tour company Brewvana, will host their most adventurous tour yet–Putt Putt Drink Drink. The tournament brings the giddy fun of miniature golf to nine of the awesome craft breweries that have made Portland the #1 beer city in the US. $55 gets you in the tourney and you get to show off your sweet mini-golf moves and deck out in your craziest golf outfit (whatever that means to you).

Each brewery will be constructing their own mini-golf holes (will windmills be involved? I wonder…) Tickets also include a swag bag with tasting mug, T-shirt, nine 6-oz beer tokens (redeemable at any of the hole locations), transportation between various holes, invitation to the after party and awards ceremony at Blitz Ladd, scorecard, map and pretzel necklace.

Winners receive prizes at the after-party. Categories are: lowest score, best outfit and for the breweries, most inventive hole.

Breweries include: Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, Lompoc 5th Quadrant, Base Camp Brewing, EastBurn, Coalition Brewing, The BeerMongers, Bazi Bierbrasserie, Amnesia Brewing and Blitz Ladd.

Got questions? Check out the Putt Putt Drink Drink FAQ

Sign up in advance and pick your rules and regulations packet up on Friday

And give a shout to me at Laurelwood Public House and Brewery (I’ll be the one keeping score).

On Tap: Hopworks Deluxe Organic Ale

hub_doaAccording to some people, Portland is the #1 craft beer city in the US. It makes this recent transplant retroactively proud (having come from city #6). There are 52 active breweries in the city. 52.

Hopworks Urban Brewery is one of them. Like many Portland-based businesses, Hopworks is dedicated to making itself as sustainable as possible, minimizing footprints of all kinds. Between water conservation, energy efficiency and composting, they have got the bases covered. Also, their ingredients are organic and locally sourced. I don’t know if that’s Portland organic or Oregon organic but nonetheless. The eco-friendliness extends to the brewpubs as well. It’s impressive. I take even more pride in living in a city in which the businesses really focus on keeping their eco-footprints neutral.

BUUUT enough with the tree-huggery (for now) and on to the beer.

Hopworks Deluxe Organic Ale is that mysterious style–the American strong ale. Sharing the stage with Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale and many other brews that age in bourbon-soaked oak bottles, the ABV is a husky, musky 6.9%. My personal sweetheart Yard’s Thomas Jefferson Ale (85 my ass, Beer Advocate reviewers) is the British version of this style and the overall profile is not dissimilar–neutral yet robust with a mild caramel linger, a scootch of hop and a boozy undertow. Me likey.

It’s a fairly sessionable ale but it will sneak up on you and make your head all warm and fuzzy so watch it.

Beer Profiler: Strong, handsome if a bit old school. A silver fox.

Best  Use: Great for a cool nigh,t perhaps fireside better yet if it’s a campfire with some sophisticated friends. You don’t need many and it warms up nicely so it’s ok to sip.

On Netflix: 
Dollhouse. Why do they always take the good ones too young? Two seasons? What did Joss Whedon do anyway, sleep with the wrong person’s sister?

DIY Friday Cocktail Hour: Futbol Hero

frozen margarita in mason jar

frozen mason jar cocktail a la

I will readily admit that I have had a love affair with margaritas–I know a minute on the lips and a lifetime on the hips. That’s why I come up with variations on a theme that are a little bit lighter so you feel less guilt.

This happy accident came during Cinco de Mayo and is a holy hybrid of the Pina Colada and the margarita.

Ingredients: (Makes one 40 oz pitcher of  Tropical Margaritas plus ice)
Iced Pitchers
 1/2 cups Espolon 100% Agave Blanco Tequila
1 1/2 Trader Joe’s Low Sugar Lemonade
1 cup Knudsen Pineapple Coconut Juice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cups Monarch Triple Sec (or to taste)

On really hot days, sometimes a frozen margarita is on the menu, if the blender’s not broken 😉

Frozen Pitchers
Pre-frozen sliced banana and small can of pineapple chunks
1/2 cup cocktail ice (if available)
1 1/2 cups Espolon 100% Agave Blanco Tequila
1 cup Trader Joe’s Low Sugar Lemonade
1/2 cup Knudsen Pineapple Coconut Juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cups Monarch Triple Sec (or to taste)

The liquid should cover the frozen bits with about a half-3/4 inch to spare. Blend for 45 seconds to 1 minute depending on the power of the blender.

Serve frozen or on the rocks in mason jars (can be kept cold in coolers or in the freezer
Or serve up in a margarita glass
Garnish with a lime and a pineapple wedge
Cocktail umbrella optional

Serve with: Spicy Mango Salsa and Tortilla Chips from my new fave Sarah’s Cucina Bella
Soundtrack: Futbol Heroes Cinqo de Mayo 2012 by pandemix

Columbia Valley CMS: A New World Bordeaux

I’m watching the first episode of Showtime’s Borgia a cable soap-opera depicting the showdown between the Medicis and the Borgias. Due to my dislike for period dramas, I haven’t even approached this show until now. But Netflix makes it so easy. Borgia has me mulling over ideas of worlds new and old. On the show, accents circle the globe from a fictitious Roman yesteryear (at least the faked accents aren’t inexplicably British) to a South Philly stoop circa now. (John Doman, I appreciate the fact that you didn’t try to “go there.”)

In the show there is an underlying sensation of watching the Godfather– the infighting, extramarital sex and of course the violence. We tend to think of this trifecta as part of the fleshly corruption of modernity but it’s always been there, just dressed in a more polished wardrobe and a big papal hat. That’s sort of how I feel about the difference between French Bordeaux and its descendant–it’s wine of the same lineage but dressed in new cloth.

Columbia Valley CMS, New World Bordeaux

Columbia Valley C.M.S. (Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah) is an inexpensive and highly drinkable example of what has been called a “new world Bordeaux,” a term that while clearly an homage to the formative years of wine making but I say whatever–we’re making it now. The blend usually includes Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, grapes that flourish in the bio-diverse regions of the “new world” and can be made amply and inexpensively. Because of this, it can serve the purpose of its old world namesake, embodying something that is both “common” in that it is an inexpensive table wine and “fine” in that it is an intentionally crafted work of art.

Columbia Valley CMS may not be a Bordeaux Superiere. It was only 8.99 a bottle, But it is a wine that is welcome on my table any time. Its raspberry nose that dips into currant and cedar are followed throughout the whole wine by a bright and light-bodied juiciness. There’s a little nibble but nothing too bristly (especially if you let it breathe). In fact, there’s no real gravity at all. Whatever tannic structure the Cabernet brings is counterbalanced by the easygoing Merlot with the Syrah holding the whole thing together.

Food Pairing: Grilled pork tenderloin and pineapple, new potatoes and a green salad
Soundtrack: Beck, Odelay
Best Use: A late spring griller with old friends who you knew before college. Buy a case.

Omission Gluten-Free IPA

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What’s your gorgeous spring day missing? An Aperol Margarita

So bear with me on this one because it may sound a bit culturally inappropriate and downright odd. There are those of us in this world who do not like sugary margarita mix. I’m one of them. Combine the sugar water with a triple sec and woo-baby, sugar spike, calorie binge. They may be delicious but they add up.

So, in the spirit of ingredients that mysteriously add up to delicious things, I present the Aperol Margarita. Made with an Italian digestif rather than triple sec, it actually captures quite well the neighborhood in which it was invented: the Italian Market in Philadelphia, a place where Italian Americans and Mexican people co-exist although they don’t often mingle.

Mingle me this Batman.

Aperol Margarita

1 1/2 oz blanco or reposado tequila (100% agave of course, some recommendations here)
1 1/2 oz Aperol
1 1/2 oz fresh lime juice sweetened with agave nectar (to your liking)
Garnish with an orange twist (just the surface zest)

This will be unlike any margarita you’ve had before…call it a “dry” margarita, but it’s great for a spring day when the sun is not radiating you with its death rays and the flowers are blooming.