My "Bitter" Experience
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
I know, I know....you're probably thinking this is going to be a negative post. It's true I haven't had the best time lately, but that's not this post! I've been at loose ends here in Portland, so I've been searching for a new hobby or at least a temporary distraction. What to do, what to do.....
Physical activity has been put on restriction per my doctor, so that knocks out my usual choices. However, I'm hoping we can still get in a little drive by hiking. I do enjoy reading, but it's a very solitary activity and with kids around not always the easiest to accomplish. I'm currently in the middle of three books as it is. I like puzzles, but we don't have a table that can be designated for that, so we have to do speed puzzles, which while fun becomes a little more stressful than the activity intends. I am starting to draw a little, but am not very skilled at this point. It's fun though. Me and my seven year old are in stiff competition as to who draws it better. She's winning. I took a terrarium class with the kids and their Aunt this last Thursday, which was really cool, but it's a one time thing. All good things, but I'm looking for something I could do for a more extended period of time.
One thing that I've been enjoying in our dining out experiences has been cocktails! We generally drink wine, and only recently started foraying into the alcohols, beyond just a basic Rum and Coke. This foray started when my husband took a trip to Ecuador a couple years ago, visiting family there. They evidently enjoy mixed drinks and introduced him to several. Upon his return, he announced that we needed to stock our liquor cabinet, which involved getting a cabinet in addition to all the main alcohols, since we had none of it. The looks on the faces of the cashiers at the grocery store that Sunday morning were priceless. I'm sure they thought we were alcoholic vegetarians. Our entire cart was nothing but alcohol and vegetables. I was really good with the vegetables, not so much with the Alcohol. It's what I refer to as my "Blue Green" period. Who knew Blue Curacao doesn't go with everything, but it's colorful! Bartending seems to be a skill that I need to spend more time on.
We recently went to the Multnomah Whiskey Library here in Portland. It was amazing! It was like a elegant hunting lodge with the added appeal of seeming exclusive. It makes you feel special, like you're in on a secret. Pretty cool! I'm not a huge fan of whiskey at this point, but it was really interesting comparing the differences between varying bottles. Similar to Tequila tasting (dare I be sacrilegious!), there is tons of variations and flavors. I loved the mixed drink I had there called the "LAST SUMMER", which has amontillado, ardbeg 10yr scotch peach purée, lemon 18. I'm wishing I had had two... You know it's good when you reminisce about it days or weeks later, right?
Icing on the cake is that this week is Cocktails Week here in Portland! I wish I could take more advantage of it! Seriously... Portland does so many things right. I can't tell you how many cool places there are here that are almost like destinations within themselves. Case in point, the barbershop I just took Rocco to to get his haircut, Cloak and Dagger...super cool place with a whiskey bar onsite. Now I know why it takes so long for my husband to get his haircut!
In any case, I've really been interested making cocktails, and specifically in the different mixes and additions to cocktails. I decided to embark on a Bitters making endeavor, just for myself, and just for fun. I've been buying gin, brandy and vodka, along with miscellaneous whole herbs and spices. I found some cute glass bottles at a local shop, Kitchen Kaboodle, that I plan on using once my various concoctions are done. I plan on hitting a few antique stores to see what other cool bottles I can find. I also started soaking apricots in brandy and few other combinations, just for fun. In full disclosure, I ordered some dried apricots recently, which I'm pretty opinionated about, and they were not good, so I'm putting them in alcohol. Everything is better with alcohol isn't it? Other than slicing my finger open trying to peel an orange without getting the pith, it's been a lot of fun. I'm really excited every time I get to shake up the bottle, and they look so pretty! My kids are obsessed with smelling the apricots.
The best part is that I don't think I can go wrong. It's alcohol! I'm looking forward to trying them in drinks.....maybe. I'll have to see how good they turn out.