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.

dripping_springs

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:

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

Directions
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

Dressing
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

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Omission Gluten-Free IPA

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Last Chance Rack — Really Good Wine by Joe: Pinot Noir


Upshot: An unpretentious Pinot Noir from Oregon. Made by Joe, apparently.

Joe’s 2010 Pinot Noir is great drinking, straight from the bottle. Slightly bristly on first intake, the tannins fade quickly and overall the mouthfeel becomes quite mellow. Maybe it could use a little cellering. Just think of August 2015, that dog-days outdoor soiree, this little guy will be all grown up and ready to party. Perhaps it’s not something you would bring stone cold to a fancy dinner party but one you could proudly serve under your own conditions, opened ahead of time and ready to go.

The color is a translucent cranberry or garnet, definitely a medium-light bodied wine. Bright tannins transform into a ripe raspberry that spikes the roof of the mouth. In the middle there’s a light, watery melon– or some might say “watermelon” with a lingering, juicy currant that almost disappears on the tongue.

Having design often dictate my choice in bottle, I love the simplicity of Joe’s label and there’s a sense of humor in the vineyard name that I can appreciate. 13.5% ABV ain’t too bad for a light bodied wine either. Poolside or just chilling and watching an SVU marathon, it’s a solid buy for under $15.

Best Use: Dog-Days Backyard BBQ

Soundtrack: A nostalgic dose of De La Soul.

Food Pairings: Tofu pups if you have to but I’d go for Nathan’s Ballpark Franks. No condiments.

Have you tried this wine? What do you think?