People often ask bartenders what their favorite drink is, and for me, that answer changes with the season, the weather, the occasion, and the time of day. If you made me pick an absolute favorite cocktail recipe, though, it would be the Old Fashioned.
This Old Fashioned recipe makes the common substitution of using a small amount of simple syrup in place of the sugar cube, in this case, Huckleberry Spruce tip syrup.
Of course, the huckleberry and spruce tip flavor additions are anything but common. They’re Northwest specific, and we love that.
When we conceive of new flavors, the idea of “terroir”is huge for us- simply put, it means that food should reflect in taste the area in which it is grown. This is big for wine, as in the reason that Champagne must legally ONLY be produced in Champagne, France. Anything else is a sparkling wine.
Terroir: the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced.-Google
On a less time honored but, we think no less tasty scale, our syrups are locally sourced not only because we love to support Washington agriculture, but because we love the taste of our homeland. This drink is …wait for it…proof. Bad puns aside, I recently entered a contest. No, it was not a joke contest, thankfully, but I lost (or rather, did not win) anyway.
I entered the Jameson liquor, liquor.com, and Tales of the Cocktail Neighborhood competition simply because I thought wow- I have the perfect drink for this.
I have never entered a bartending competition before, and given the number of takes it took to get me to stop saying “butternut squash” instead of “butterscotch,” I am not sure I will again. But man, was I inspired by my neighborhood to enter this one.
The prompt was to create a cocktail of no more than five ingredients and using widely available ingredients (this may have been where I was disqualified since I used our own syrup, but since we will ship the syrup anywhere, it felt like fair game to me…) that reflects the neighborhood in which you live or work. Here is my entry, which I feel must be shared again, because it’s pretty great. I love the tiny little backroad town where our business is headquartered, Wilkeson, WA, and this drink and these words are like my little liquid love song to it:
My mobile bar business is based in the most inspiring, rough and tumble neighborhood I’ve ever had the privilege of working in. Wilkeson, WA, tastes likes the 236,000 acres of Mount Rainier national forest land it butts up against: complex, verdant, and untamed. This is a Cascade foothills town of 450 or so people, all deeply proud and deeply rooted. The old downtown, originally called “Hope”, and made up of privately owned homes and businesses, has survived, whereas the coal mining company owned “Uptown” fell alongside the industry’s demise. The people here endure, even as prosperity around them ebbs and flows like their Gale creek.
Once called the toughest town West of the Mississippi, the neighborhood has been built around this credo ever since. Built on coal and logging, and settled in 1877, the local bar carries on the legacy with the name the Pick ‘n Shovel, and many of the men still haul timber to afford the drinks there. Folks here know everyone by name and ancestry, and if they don’t know, they’ll ask. There are a mere eight buildings in town, and at least now, four of them are open. This is the most life this town has seen in ages.
People call it a resurgence, as more and more out of towners and listless, sedentary urban technologists drive out to explore the wilderness, and stop in for a bite and a taste. They drink beer and whiskey, to fit in among the regulars. The regulars prefer the strong stuff. They share classic tastes, old-fashioned values.
They know the surrounding hills like the backs of their own hands: weathered, but brightly alive. The old timers will take their huckleberry foraging spots with them to the grave as treasured secrets, such is their value. They’ll measure each season by the evergreens that tower among them- the dank smell of wet Spruce in fall, the smell of pine brought inside for winter celebrations, the tart, tasty signs of life that are the lime colored spruce tips in Spring. The spruce tips saved many early adventurers before the turn of the century, heading off scurvy with their vitamin C brightness, and they save these people each year. They are a needed sign of the warmth to come. After 200 days of gray, they unfurl from their sleepy paper coverings, the sky opens up to blue, and glasses lift in a toast- to the trees, to the heavens!
Yes, it is a little poetic and grandiose, but have you met me?
In any case, we’re all winners if we’re toasting with one of these.
makes 1 cocktail
- 1/2 ounce Simple Goodness Sisters Huckleberry Spruce Tip syrup
- 3 dashes citrus bitters like The Bitter Housewife
- 2 ounces Jameson Black Barrel whiskey
- 1 ounce high quality club soda like fever tree, Topo Chico, or Mineragua
Follow the “How to” video instructions here to make the cocktail!
And please, although I am rather stiff and awkward in it, do feel free to share the Youtube link to the video with friends on social media so that all the time Venise and I spent filming the 34 takes of this won’t be in vain! (I think I was less stiff the first 16 times…)