Ooh, my favorite!

Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto Sake
January 23, 2013, 10:29 am
Filed under: Drinks

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Yes, it’s true. This is not a sparkling wine post. On a trip to Uwajimaya, on an innocent turn down the sake isle we decided to branch out and play with something new. But let me just say that drinking sake is nothing like drinking bubbly. Or maybe I should say that the pace in which one drinks bubbly should not be the pace that one drinks sake. I found this out the hard way and ended up going to bed at 8:30…on a Saturday. I was, however, able to salvage our night by getting up again at 10:30 and enjoying a lovely dinner with Andrew.

I blame the fact that like those first two glasses of bubbly, this Kurosawa sake was especially easy to drink and is the perfect intro to sake (and I am admittedly in the intro camp). It comes from the Nagano prefecture and means black river. It is brewed using the kimoto method which is considered rare even by Japanese standards as the hands-on method requires a meticulous eye and process.

The Kurosawa has a perfectly smooth texture and viscosity (not syrupy!), and a quality and taste like cocoa butter. In the most complimentary way possible it smells of tootsie rolls, and the finish tastes of toasted coconut, banana, and a hint of chrysanthemum. Surprisingly no fruit notes. Even with all of these tastes of sweet it is quite dry. I prefer my sake chilled, but many prefer this just reaching room temp.

Kurosawa Sake, $20 online here or at Uwajimaya in Seattle.

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Lemon Maple Soda
January 10, 2013, 11:49 am
Filed under: Drinks

I swear there must be endorphins in bubbles because I can’t ever seem to get enough in any form, wine or mineral water (not that this is a surprise to many of you). So when conventional sodas became too sweet for me I started coming up with ways to get a soda fix without the sugar and other junk. This is the easiest way to make your own concoction, no measurements just quick-and-dirty pour to taste. (Do try not to go too heavy on the maple syrup though.)

Lemon Maple Soda

–  1/2 lemon, squeezed

–  maple syrup, to taste

–  naturally sparkling mineral water

–  ice

lemon-maple-sodaI love the taste of the maple with the lemon, and sometimes I’ll even add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Kind of Master Cleanse-esque without the 10-day timeline. (So not good for you, by the way.) The great thing about this is that I can also drink it during detox to help curb my sweet and bubbly cravings.

Grab all of these ingredients at Trader Joe’s too. Their bags of organic lemons and their organic maple syrup are perfect.




Milk Punch
December 17, 2012, 9:52 am
Filed under: Drinks, Entertaining

Milk punch

I’ve never been an egg nog kind of gal but I’ve always felt a little lonely without it during the holidays. There’s something so wonderfully festive about a richly coated glass of boozy, milky goodness. Thankfully this season I happened upon this vintage concoction (but still a southern favorite) and was immediately giddy, I mean with a name like Milk Punch how could you not get excited?

In the most non-alcoholic way possible I must admit we’ve been enjoying this on our weekend mornings while still in our pajamas. There are many a variation out there, and of course heritage recipes are always being rediscovered and reinterpreted, but after playing with proportions I’ve included our favorite here, for two. It’s really easy to size up though, so if you’re thinking holiday get-together I’ve seen recipes where you’ll whisk instead of shake. (In this case you’d get to serve it in a fancy punch bowl too!)

I used organic raw whole milk and half & half, but there are recipes where cream is used. Ultimately you’ll want more than one, there’s no need to make it richer with cream…I’d say start here and go the cream route later if you wish.

Milk punch


Milk Punch for Two

–  3 oz. organic whole milk

–  3 0z. organic half & half

–  2 oz. bourbon or brandy

–  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

–  1 tsp. superfine sugar

–  Ice

–  freshly grated nutmeg (to top only)

Add all of the ingredients (except the nutmeg) with ice in a shaker and shake vigorously until sugar is dissolved and a nice this foam is made. Strain into two small glasses. Grate fresh nutmeg on top of each. Sip and enjoy!

Douglas Fir tea
December 10, 2012, 10:20 am
Filed under: Clean, Drinks, Green, Health, Seattle

Douglas Fir tea

This isn’t just a holiday tea, in fact Douglas Fir tips are usually harvested in the spring when they’re young and tender, but there’s something so undeniably festive about enjoying this tea now. If you geek out over the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree, then you’ll probably die from pure bliss when you get your hands on this stuff.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like a tree; instead it’s very light and clean with aromatics that smell like the sweet notes of a forest. Simply put, it’s one of the most lovely and comforting teas I have ever sipped. And since the tips are harvested from Pacific Northwest tress, every Seattleite should be drinking it.

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Tea for two:

3 to 4 cups boiling water (depending on how concentrated you’d like it), two tea bags. Steep for 10 minutes.

Get it from the makers at Juniper Ridge. 20 unbleached tea bags per tin, $12.

Please, please, please…if you do one thing this season be sure to steep yourself a cup of this amazing tea.

Francois Pinon Vouvray
September 20, 2012, 12:47 pm
Filed under: Bubbly, Drinks, Yes please

As much as I love a nice cold glass of bubbly, and as often as I sneak it into lunches/dinner/just because, I really should be sharing my favorites here more often. I’m not a connoisseur in any way, but I do have strong opinions about what I like and why. So here we go…

This is my other favorite bubbly, next to the Rose d’Orfeuilles that I posted before. This is the François Pinon Vouvray Brut Petillant Non-Dose, but we just call it Vouvray. Tart, but not sour, this chenin blanc grape wine has a lovely minerality but also hints of citrus rind and honey. And perhaps my favorite feature, the beading (bubbles, effervescence, etc.) is off the charts amazing and endorphin-inducing. It is pure elegance.

This is an organically grown and harvested wine, but another really cool feature is that new plantings are selected from the farm and not from a nursery, so the genetic make-up of the vines remains consistent from year to year. Also, the Non-Dose means that there is no sugar added during fermentations or during bottling.

One really important thing to note I realized just last night when we did a little experiment. This particular wine is best served in a flute and NOT A COUPE! As much as I love my coupes, only the flute is able to maintain the elegant beading of this wine. With the wide surface area of the coupe the effervescence is lost and the taste profile changes so quickly. Trust me and stick to the flute.

I usually head down the hill and grab this from Bar Ferd’nand, but you can also buy online here. $23.



Agate slice trivets
August 23, 2012, 11:36 am
Filed under: Drinks, Entertaining, Home

I’ve never quite understood the whole coaster thing; perhaps because I eat dinner at my coffee table where there are no rules as to what can be placed atop, or because I love my linen cocktail napkins. So really what it comes down to is that I have never had a need for a coaster set. But then I saw these referred to as trivets and that was something I could understand. And what perfect timing as my guy and I were just talking about looking for a trivet. This is probably not what he had in mind but perhaps I can sneak a couple into the kitchen anyway. They range between 5-6″ so as a single it’s perfect for my teapot or his Chemex coffee, or for larger pieces a few of them might be needed. From Leif $20 each.


Berry soda
August 13, 2012, 10:50 am
Filed under: Drinks, Farmer's Market

Quick and easy berry soda

I’ve been going berry crazy at the farmer’s market the past few weekends, but with our extra warm weather they barely last the ride home. I needed a quick and dirty way to enjoy them after they were slightly past their prime– and by that I mean the very next day. You could boil them down, make a syrup, strain it, blah, blah, but I like the big bits of fresh berries and seeds. If you’re really not into the seeds you could strain them I suppose, but this really is a one jar kinda deal.

The touch of rose water adds a lightly fragrant note to the berries, but be careful not to add too much! Just a few drops is perfect. It’s worth having as a pantry staple, but if you don’t have it don’t worry, it’s not necessary.

1.  All you’ll need: ice, berries, honey, rose water, soda water

2.  Add the berries, spoonful of honey, and a few drops of rose water to a mason jar

3.  Muddle, add the ice and soda water. Sip.

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