This post, like most good nights out involving alcohol, will be well represented with photos in the beginning and then taper off into some nonsensical smears of dogs running from the room. But nonetheless, I attempt to recreate the 2nd annual Obscure Holiday Cocktail Tasting. Sometimes not so obscure, other times not so holiday. But, away we go.
First up, the Grinch. Maybe I would have drank more of this if it wasn't my third drink of the night. I figure, why waste good tolerance on something so terrible? I know that it was made using high quality liquor (Midori, Cointrea, and vodka), but it ended up tasting a bit Rikaloff-y. (Side note: did you know there's a Facebook fan page for Rikaloff vodka? Ew.)
It made ME kind of Grinch-like.
But paired with Lenora, an aged Spanish goat cheese, the burning aftertaste was less pronounced. Or rather, I stopped drinking my drink and just ate some cheese. Others didn't think this one was so bad, but I couldn't get into it.
Next up, was my favorite drink, the Ultimate Holiday. The instructions for the drink tell you to throw out all the mixers and just drink the booze, but if you actually make the drink, it's delicious.
2 oz Orange Juice
1 ½ oz Bourbon
½ oz Lime Juice
1 splash Grenadine Syrup
1 splash Ginger Ale
and serve over ice.
Oh, yum. I could drink these all day at the beach. This drink was paired with Dutch Farmstead, which Uke picked because it paired well with Bourbon. To test it, we had to have a mini-bourbon tasting as well (and yes, the cheese went well with them).
Next, A. of Portland Food Map, introduced us to Muslum. We started with Casillero del Diablo Carmenere, a full-bodied red wine. Then we stirred in some local honey (from Tom's Honey & More), sipped, and marveled at the transformation. The honey added another layer of richness and cut the tartness of the wine. The honey also went well with the Uplands cheese paring. Really, it sounds simple, but a tablespoon of honey transformed the wine into something cozy and perfect for the holidays.
Last was a drink called the Spanish Reindeer, which started with some homemade eggnog. I followed John Meyers' recipe from the Bollard, and found it to be a little too mild. I was expecting the taste of store-bought eggnog, but better, because, well, I made it!
To make a Spanish Reindeer, simply mix in 1 oz Dark Crème de Cacao and 1 oz Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur to a glass of eggnog. The result was a little sweet, a little nutty; a nice twist on traditional nog.
The cheese pairing, much like the photos, kind of went out the window, by the end of the night. I'm sure I had some, but don't quite remember!! So again, just like last year, we come away with some favorites and some never to be repeated. My recommendation is the Ultimate Holiday at anytime and the Muslum to share with friends and family around the holidays. Cheers!
To read more opinions about booze and cheese, visit Appetite Portland and Edible Obsessions.