Squeaky Bean0

While doing a little research for a recent trip to Denver, the oddly-named Squeaky Bean kept coming up. This was my first time in Denver and while I usually keep list of notable bars in a variety of cities I may find myself in, I didn’t have any here. But the number of recommendations I got for it made The Squeaky Bean a good bet.

So after a fantastic dinner at Watercourse Foods, we made our way up to Denver’s Highland neighborhood. We arrived around 8:00pm and managed to get seats at the bar where Sean Kenyon was mixing up drinks. We had met briefly via Twitter in the days before our visit so we introduced ourselves and settled into the serious business of exploring the menu.

We had a couple rounds during our visit, trying the Smoking Frenchman, The Gooch, The Drinkable Molly Brown, and their signature Rock and Rye. All were great, but the Smoking Frenchman really nailed it. Their house-bottled Rock and Rye was also very neat, having been bottled up with their own custom labels. Delicious too.

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The Cornerstone0

Cornerstone

  • 2 ounces Novo Fogo aged cachaça
  • 1/2 ounce Trader Tiki Hibiscus Grenadine
  • 1/4 ounce Fernet Branca
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Combine ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir until cold. Strain and serve up in a cocktail glass or over ice in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange zest.

I made The Cornerstone at home some time ago when I received a couple sample bottles of Novo Fogo cachaça but never I posted the recipe. I was reminded about it again today when I was served one at a Novo Fogo cachaça tasting event here in Portland. This is truly a fantastic drink – rich and complex, smooth and sipable. It makes a great substitute for a Manhattan when you want something a little different.

Hot Scotchy0

Here’s another recipe from Cocktail Camp PDX, this one from Ezra Johnson-Greenough who participated in our discussion of Beer Cocktails.

The Hot Scotchy is a bit more labor intensive than most of our recipes but might be worth it if you’re a fan of both beer and Scotch. Malted barley can be purchased from online or from your local homebrew shop. Use a peaty Islay Scotch for best results (we served it with Ardbeg).

Hot Scotchy

  • Malted barley
  • 2 ounces peaty Scotch whisky
  • Heavy cream

First crack the barley by using a rolling pin over a bag of the grain. Do this just long enough to crack the hull — you do not want to grind it up. Fill a coffee press about 1/3 full of the cracked grain and fill with 160°F water and let steep for at least 15 minutes or until the water drops below 144°F. Add 2 ounces of Scotch to an Irish Coffee mug. Once the barley is ready, press and strain into the mug. Top with about one inch of lightly whipped, unsweetened cream.

This drink got some very strong reactions from the Cocktail Camp audience, on both sides of the spectrum. As for myself, I enjoy peaty Scotch but am not particularly fond of beer, so my feelings were mixed. Regardless, this is definitely an interesting cocktail and probably worth the effort if it sounds like something you’d like.

Photo by Ritch Marvin.

Royal Brunch Punch0

While the programs we printed for this year’s Cocktail Camp PDX contained most of the recipes we served at the event, some were omitted due to space constraints. One of these was the punch served by Jackie Patterson at the Lillet bar in the morning.

A few people have asked for this recipe, so here you go:

Royal Brunch Punch

  • 25 oz Earl Grey tea
  • 1 bottle Lillet Blanc
  • 1 bottle Hendrick’s Gin
  • 1 bottle Solerno
  • 18 3/4 oz fresh meyer lemon juice
  • 12 1/2 oz orange marmalade
  • 12 1/2 oz soda water

Brew tea and set aside to cool. Combine all ingredients except soda in a punch bowl with a few large blocks of ice and stir briskly to combine. Add soda water and serve.

Enjoy!

Aquavit Old Fashioned0

Aquavit Old Fashioned

  • 2 ounces aged aquavit
  • 1/4 ounce honey syrup
  • 3 dashes mole bitters
  • grapefruit zest

Muddle the grapefruit zest with the bitters and syrup in an old fashioned glass. Add ice and aquavit and stir until cold.

I made this cocktail using Gammal Krogstad, the latest in the House Spirits limited release apothecary line. The recipe is based on one served at a recent House Spirits event at Central in downtown Portland, the only difference being that I used muddled grapefruit zest in place of the grapefruit bitters in their recipe. I didn’t make that change for any particular reason – I just don’t have grapefruit bitters on hand. I do have plenty of fresh grapefruit left over from Cocktail Camp though, so I made do with that. If you’re making my adaptation, be sure to cut a nice thick piece off the rind, with plenty of the bitter white pith.

The drink itself is a great way to showcase the spirit we’re using. The aquavit comes through nice and forward with some very light honey notes and a spicy bitter finish from the grapefruit and bitters. I’m getting a good bit more bitterness from the citrus in my variation than the original with the grapefruit bitters, but it works well either way.

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