So you’re home for the holidays and you’re trying to go green (and stay sane) during all the hoopla. In an effort to help you along with both of those goals at the same time, I have compiled a list of California-made vodka, gin, rum and whiskey. So next time you need to take someone a hostess gift or find yourself wondering what to order in a bar (or what to put in your flask for the trip to aunt Caroline’s), go green and ask for one of these locally-made spirits:
1. Charbay by Charbay
2. Agua Libre by St. George Spirits
3. Eurydice by St. George Spirits and exclusive to San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove
4. Sergeant Classic by Essential Spirits Alambic Distillery of Mountain View
And to answer your next question: All scotches, bourbons and whisk(e)ys are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are scotches or bourbons. Are you feeling like you’re in a gray area the color of charcoal? Never fear, I’ll explain it here so that you can actually remember (or at least have somewhere to go look it up and sound smart next time someone asks you the difference). First off, the spelling thing. Whisky is from Scotland only. WhiskEy is from anywhere else. Whiskey (since I’m American, I’m going to spell it with an “e”) is a spirit made from distilled, grain mash, usually barley, rye wheat or corn. Scotch whisky comes only from, you guessed it, Scotland, and Kentucky and Tennessee whiskeys from their respective states. Bourbon whiskey has to be made from at least 51 percent (and no more than 79 percent) corn, must be no more than 160 proof and must be aged for at least two years (most are aged for at least four years) in a charred oak barrel. That’s it. Simple as pie. There are myriad differences in each type of whiskey, based on proof, age, malt and type of barrel, mix of grains, etc. If you’re interested, Wikipedia has the most comprehensive article on the differences between Scotch and Whiskey and Bourbon I found.
Now that you know what kind of booze to order, what drink should you put it in?
“A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s lime juice and nothing else,” declairs Terry Lennox in Raymond Chandler‘s The Long Goodbye. Today, the standard is 3:1 – three parts gin to one part Rose’s Lime.
HOT BUTTERED RUM RECIPE:
Three measures dark rum, two measures spiced light rum, 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning, 1 lemon twist, 1 cinnamon stick. Boil water. Into a glass mug, pour rums and spices. Stir. Add six measures hot water, a tab of butter and the cinnamon stick.
a la James Bond in Ian Flemming‘s Casino Royale:
“Three measures of Gordon’s [gin], one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.
HOT TODDY RECIPE: Six ounces organic apple cider, two ounces whiskey. Heat the cider, pour into glass mug with handle, add whiskey.
If you’re looking for another type of green drink, you might have a good time at San Francisco’s Green Drinks, a monthly meeting of green-minded folks who come together in a social setting to talk about cool green stuff. Order yourself a gimlet with No. 209 and start a trend, or at least do Marlowe proud.