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Grilled T- Bone with Lemon and Parsley and Barbera D’asti

During the summer months I cook almost every meal outside. When I have time I Barbecue but many nights it is easy to fire up the grill for dinner. Salmon, Chicken, pork all work well, and there is something spectacular about grilled vegetables. Asparagus is so simple and quick I grill them up almost every chance I get. And then there is steak.

Around the globe, for as long as we have been around we have cooked over an open fire. If there is one thing quintessential dish that seems the grill was invented for is steak. There are many variations of the dish as there are languages on the planet. In Italy it is customary to serve a grilled steak simply with just salt and pepper and maybe a squeeze of lemon, alla Fiorentina. The simplicity of the dish is characteristically Italian so use the best ingredients for the greatest results

Here is my simple version that cooks quickly and makes quite an impression.

Grilled T-Bone with Lemon and Parsley
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 ea 1 lb (1 ½” – 2” thick) T-Bone
¼ Cup Olive Oil, plus more for serving
Sea Salt
Black Pepper, freshly ground
Rosemary sprigs

*** For Serving

Lemon wedges
2 Cups Arugula
Roasted Potatoes
2 lb Asparagus

1. In a bowl large enough for steak place rosemary and steak and drizzle with olive oil. Let the steak rest outside the refrigerator for at least an hour before cooking.
2. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat (450 -500).
3. Using tongs, lay steak over the hottest part of the fire, cook 2 – 5- 7 minutes. Turn the steak and sprinkle with salt. Cook on the second side until browned, 2 – 3 minutes more.
4. Remove the steaks to a carving board and let rest for at least 5 minutes before carving.
5. Cut the steaks away from the bone and carve into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the meat on warmed plates season with salt and pepper.
6. Garnish with lemon wedges and arugula
7. Have more sea salt and pepper available at the table
8. Serve with Roasted Potatoes and grilled asparagus

Now in Florence they would have drink a nice Chianti or Brunello. But I like go even lighter in the summer, and a perfect summer red is Barbera. Barbera has ancient origins, the first documented mention of the grape is in 1798, in a letter by Count Giuseppe Nuvolone-Pergamo of Scandaluzzo, deputy director of the Società Agraria di Torino (Agrarian Society of Turin). Barbera-based wines were well regarded even then, for their rustic yet generous character.

Barbera wines are esteemed for their deep color, low tannins and high levels of acidity. When young they offer fresh flavors of cherries, blueberries and raspberries. Relatively rich, bold and flavorful, the most powerful examples might just be compared to Barolo or Barbaresco. Barbera is a great summertime wine. Serve it slightly chilled and it makes a great afternoon supper wine, especially on a hot day.

One of our favorite producers is Renatto Ratti. Founded in 1965 about Renato himself and now his nephew Massimo runs the operation. The original winery was built in an old abbey located halfway up the hill in the valley of Barolo. Here buttressed by steep slopes lined by orderly vineyards, lies a precious jewel from the 15th century: the Abbey of Annunziata. From the 100 acres of vineyards, the Renato Ratti winery produces Barolo, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba.

Gin & Tonic paired with Gin cured Gravlax and fixings

For many people Summer is all about Rosé . I like many of friends drink Rose all year round. There are many drinks that conjure images of sunshine and sunny days – Margaritas, Sangria, Mojitos. But, there is one drink that I really only drink in the summer – Gin and Tonic. A tumbler with a splash of gin, a good quality tonic and wedge of lime, at the end of work day sitting on my deck, my feet up and good book- now that’s what I call relaxation.

G & T is happy hour. It is also a simple and almost perfect aperitif. For cocktail party or as a warm up act to a nice dinner, G & T’s lend themselves to many traditional appetizers – Pâté Campagna, smoked salmon, Crab Cakes, Cucumber Sandwiches, Blini & Caviar. But a perfect pairing Salmon Gravlax.

Gravlax is one of the first dishes I learned how to make in professional career. I only takes a couple days, a good quality (fresh) salmon some salt and sugar. Juniper is a traditional spice used in making Gravlax, but since I rarely have juniper berries lying around, even in my kitchen, I have turned to using a splash of ubiquitous Gin.

For a pre-funk to night out or dinner party I would serve right off the cutting board a side of gravlax accompanied by Cornichon, capers, diced red onion, fresh mascarpone or crème Fraiche, mustard sauce and pumpernickel rye bread.

As for The Gin? There are many good quality Gins to choose from – Martin Millers is the benchmark as far as I am concerned. Bombay Sapphire is a good default. Locally we have great gin producers: Big Gin, Batch 206, Sun Liquor Gun Club, Voyager, Halcyon. But, I do a favorite Local and That is BelleWood Gin.

What makes BelleWood good is that it has a refreshing light clean base of apple derived spirit. At BelleWood they use a traditional blend of seven botanicals that are vapor infused into their Gin. What makes it unique is that this is one of the few Farm to Table Gins, I have ever heard of. BelleWood is an Apple Farm just north of Bellingham. They grow the Apples, press into cider, ferment and distill right on the property. You can’t really get much more local than that.

Gin and Tonic

Ice
1 part Gin
2 -3 Parts Tonic
Squeeze of lime
Lime wedge for garnish

Gin Cured Wild Salmon Gravlax
________________________________________
1 2 to 3 pound, wild Coho Salmon, deboned, skin removed
6 ounces kosher salt
4 ounces brown sugar
2 tablespoons Coarse ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill (1 teaspoon Dried)
2 ounces (BelleWood) Gin
13 x 9 baking dish
1. Remove any pin bones from salmon side
2. Combine kosher salt and sugar in bowl. Place half of this mixture in bottom of Baking dish
3. Lightly toast fennel and caraway seeds in dry pan until aromatic cool and coarsely grind with mortar pestle. Combine with black pepper and dill.
4. Drizzle Salmon with gin pour any remaining gin into baking dish.
5. Season both sides of Salmon liberally with spice mix and place in baking dish cover with remaining sugar salt mixture
6. Wrap with plastic wrap and cure overnight in refrigerator. The next day turn over salmon, wrap and return to refrigerator
7. Day 3 remove salmon from marinade and rinse gently. The salmon should feel firm to touch. Wrap in plastic and return to refrigerator if not using immediately.
8. Using a sharp nice slice the Gravlax as thinly as you can.
9.
Serve with Cornichon, capers, diced red onion, fresh mascarpone, mustard sauce and pumpernickel rye bread

Mustard Sauce:
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Honey
1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or Tarragon

Combine the mustard, honey and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil and stir in the chopped herbs

Grilled Chicken Provençale and Bandol Rose

When it comes to summer there is nothing like lounging on my deck with a nice glass of Rosé. Refreshing and delicious it is a great porch pounder. But many people don’t realize that Rosé is one of the most food friendly wines out there. Because, there are made with red grapes the wines can be a touch more substantive than a lot of white wines but without the troublesome tannins can make some reds tricky to pair. Everything from vegetables and vegetarian foods, spicier cuisines, herbal and aromatic dishes can be easily swayed by the power of Rosé.

Rosé is made all over the world in virtually every wine growing region from just about every grape it seems. But, Roses true home is in the south of France – Provence to be specific, Bandol to be precise. Here something like 90% of the wine produced is pink! So when it comes to pairing I look to Provence for inspiration – Ratatouille, Salad Niçoise, Bouillabaisse are classics. But a personal favorite is Chicken Provençale- chicken marinated in olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs grilled and served with a sauce of fresh tomatoes, Niçoise olives fennel and a touch of anchovy and capers. Served up with some haricot vert and chilled Rosé et viola!

http://bit.ly/2sz3nmZ

Bandol is a personal favorite. There are many greats –Tempier, Bastide Blanche,   . My personal favorite is Domaine Sorin Bandol Rose 2016 and at $17.99 it is truly a steal for Bandol Rosé. With all the extra richness that comes from a Bandol rose, this is a full wine, rounded with a touch of watermelon as well as generous berry fruits. The blend is 60% Mouvedre, 25% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 5% Carignan. The acidity gives a lift to the concentration of the wine.

Chicken Provençale
Serves 8
Ingredients:

3 pounds Chicken Breast – Boneless, skinless and butterflied

*****Marinade
¼ cup Olive oil
1 teaspoon each fresh Rosemary, thyme and sage
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Garlic, chopped

***** Provençale Sauce
¼ cup Olive oil
1 each Onion, Diced
1 each Fennel, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
½ cup White Wine
Salt
1 teaspoon Red pepper flake
2 Tablespoon chopped Parsley
1 Tablespoon Herbs du Provence
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme
1 cup olives – Nicoise, Picholine, Kalamata, etc.
2 tablespoons capers
2 each anchovy, Minced
1 Pound Fresh Tomato, diced
14 ounces Tomato Puree

1. In large bowl combine ingredients for marinade
2. Butterfly chicken breasts: Put your chicken breast on a chopping board and, with your hand flat on top of it, use a sharp knife to slice into one side of the breast, starting at the thicker end and ending at the thin point. Be careful not to cut all the way through to the other side. Open out the breast so that it resembles a butterfly.
3. Place into marinade and toss to coat. Place in zip lock bag, you can do this a day before.
4. To make sauce: In a large pot heat olive oil and add Onion, Fennel and garlic stir to soften. Add spices and herbs stir to sweat add white wine. Reduce.
5. Add olives, capers, anchovy, tomatoes, and puree.
6. Cook until sauce is thickened, remove from heat.
7. Preheat grill: clean and brush with oil
8. Place breast butterflied side down. Cook 3 minutes turn ¼ turn cook 2 minutes
9. Flip and cook another 2 – 4 minutes remove from grill and let rest a few minutes
10. Serve with Haricot Vert, roasted potatoes, and Provençale sauce.

Scarpetta Wine Pig Roast Event, Saturday, June 3rd!

Many of you have been asking about the La Caja China roaster, stacked with an assortment of Friulian delights, on our entry way carpet. We’ve brought in a pig roasting box emblazoned with Scarpetta Wines  and we can’t wait to share the excitement with you!

Scarpetta Wines was started by Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Patterson. Bobby is a Master Sommelier and James Beard Award Winner. Lachlan is an award winning chef. Together, they own Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Co. which was nominated this year for Outstanding Restaurant in America. Accolades aside, these guys know what they are doing and they’re doing it right. They bring the countryside of Friuli to every glass and plate they present.

With an obsession with Friuli, Bobby and Lachlan have been blazing their way through the states. And, we have some of their Scarpetta Wines in our store to celebrate!

Join as we serve Porchetta Panini along with Scarpetta Wines at our Scarpetta Pig Roast event on Saturday, June 3rd, 2-PM. We hope to see you there!

Grazie!

Weekend Wine Pairing ~ Vintager Chardonnay + Crab Tostadas with Sriracha Guacamole

Okay,  I start to really miss California when it snows in the passes in May, and the rain never ceases. Yes, I am a California native, albeit I have lived in Seattle for over 32 years, so that has to count for something, right? Oh, I do have certain California kid peccadillos. Like when my northern brethren claim indisputable expertise on Mexican food, or when I find myself defending a fondness for Zinfandel or a certain style of California Chardonnay.

Take for example a new Chard we just found.

The Californian Vintager Chardonnay Knights Valley 2012 $14.99

This is an elegant barrel aged chard produced from hand harvested grapes in the legendary Knight Valley AVA, home to winemakers like Peter Michael. Coastal fog and conifer trees create a special cool climate that gives the resulting win a balance of fruit and fresh acidity. Full bodied, yet balanced with well integrated oak and a long seductive finish. Honey crisp apple, blood orange and just a touch of vanilla give this wine all that classic Northern California Chardonnay appeal.

Only 748 cases of this wine were produced by winemaker Sam Jennings, The Vintager Chardonnay is true small production wine.

Yes, and there are certain dishes that pair perfectly with that certain style of Cali Chard – Smoked Chicken Salad, grilled Salmon, Lobster. This wine would be perfect just sitting on a sunny deck with some friends, but this also would be awesome with my Crab tostadas! Recipe below

Join us and taste this extraordinary Chardonnay, Saturday May 20th, at Esquin 2 pm to 5 pm!

xo Lenny

Crab Tostadas with Sriracha Guacamole

1 (16 ounce) package tostadas ( or fresh made)

16 ounces Dungeness crab

1 lime, juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

***** Garnish

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced

1⁄2 medium onion, finely chopped

¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped

*****Guacamole

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled

1 lime, juiced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Sriracha

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoon sour cream

  1. You can fry your own tortilla but store bought are just fine
  2. In a large bowl, pull crab apart and check for any shell pieces. Combine lime juice and olive oil and dress crab with dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In another bowl combine diced tomatoes, diced peppers, onions and cilantro.
  4. In bowl of food processor combine all ingredients and pulse until well comined.
  5. Spread 1 tablespoon Guacamole on tostada top with 1 ounce of crab meat and garnish with pepper mixture

Crab Tostadas with Sriracha Guacamole Printable Recipe

Weekend Wine Pairing Mother’s Day Edition

It’s Mothers Day weekend! If you haven’t made reservations yet, you should start putting together plan B. A late lunch or brunch is a casual and easy way to give mom her day without too much stress. A casual spread with cinnamon rolls and croissants purchased from a local bakery, some fresh fruit cut and displayed nicely, smoked salmon or lox and schmear and maybe bagels. A spiral sliced ham, bacon and/or sausages provide some protein. A nice salad – Classic Cobb is a winner. Add a Quiche or Tart at the center will round out the spread.  See my Arugula, Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato and Prosciutto Tart Recipe Below.

Oh, and bubbles. You have to have Bubbles!

Champagne is always a perfect answer. If you are on a budget there are plenty of excellent options for bubbly out there. A nice Cava, Crémant or domestic Sparklers can be a good gift. But, I will always default to Prosecco for a party or brunch. Prosecco has a softer edge than Champagne, and lends itself to a wide variety of foods quite nicely. Also, you can’t beat the price! You can get 3 or 4 bottles of great Prosecco for the price a bottle of Marque Champagne.

The Prosecco house of Ruggeri is an excellent example. The Ruggeri Winery was established in 1950 by Giustino Bisol, whose family boasts a deeply rooted, centuries-old tradition in viticulture in the Valdobbiadene area. The Bisol family has been cultivating vines in the heart of Valdobbiadine for centuries. Today the winery is run by Paolo Bisol, who is assisted by his children Giustino and Isabella.

Today, Ruggeri is one of the most respected producers in Valdobbiadene winning the coveted Tre Biccheri from the Italian wine guide of record, The Gambero Rosso. In the prestigious World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling wine, which is published every ten years by the famous auction house Christie’s, Ruggeri has the highest rating of all the producers from the Prosecco D.O.C.

“I hold the wines of Ruggeri & C. S.r.l in the highest regard. Paolo Bisol and his team run an immaculate operation that extends from the vineyard to his high tech winery.” Robert Parker

Today, we have an unbeatable deal on one of Paolo’s wines.

Ruggeri NV Argeo, Prosecco DOC $13.99

“Brilliant silvery straw color. Delicate aromas of honeycomb, spiced melon and apple, and pink peppercorn with a silky, tangy, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a tingling, distinctive, long tangerine, delicate herbs, and pickled kumquat finish with fine, fruit tannins. A delicious, mouthwatering Prosecco with a savory twist.” – 92 Points BTI

It’s absolutely delicious as an aperitif, but like virtually all wines from Italy it is made to go with food. From Venice to Milan you will see Prosecco sipped everywhere from sidewalk cafes to white linen restaurants to garden veranda.

So, set out the spread put on your Mom’s favorite record and Pop some Bubbles. Don’t forget to take some pictures and don’t let mom do the dishes!

Arugula, Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato and Prosciutto Tart recipe

Weekend Wine Pairing – Asparagi di Bassano Con Salsa dl Uove Sode + Teutonic Wine Company

It is asparagus time!

If you look around your local Farmers Market or grocery store you will see tables laden with first crop local asparagus. Washington is famous for its asparagus. The same soils that allow wine grapes to thrive also happen to be perfect for growing asparagus (and onions, too). This weekend, May 6th, is the annual Asparagus Festival in Pasco where consumers will be able to sample everything from grilled asparagus to asparagus ice cream. That’s right, asparagus ice cream!

Today, I present nothing quite so adventurous, but a simple elegant dish that you can serve at a dinner party or (hopefully one day- weather permitting) an outdoor BBQ – Full recipe for Asparagi di Bassano Con Salsa di Uove Sode

Now, most wine drinkers have heard that asparagus can be difficult to pair. Asparagus assertive flavor can clash with most wines, the reason is that asparagus contain chemical mercaptans which makes wine taste bitter and metallic. One solution is to add Fat: butter, olive oil, bacon. The fat will help tame the aggressive nature of the vegetable. 

I suggest choosing wines with higher acidity, wines that mirror the green notes of the vegetables. Sauvignon Blanc, Verdicchio, Gruner Veltliner, Gavi are all good answers. But, a great high acid Pinot Gris or Grigio is just about perfect.

2015 Teutonic Pinot Gris Crow Vineyard Willamette Valley 

We love the fruit that comes from the 35 year-old vines at Crow Valley Vineyard. This Pinot Gris is crisp and refreshing with fine mineral flavors that the vines absorb from the deep established roots. Golden pale in color, red apple, lime and lemon zest on the nose.

A perfect foil for the surly asparagus.

Teutonic Wine Company started in 2002 when Barnaby was the wine buyer at Papa Haydn Restaurant in Portland’s southeast location. It was his passion for cool climate wines that lead him to plant Oregon’s first coastal vineyard west of the coastal range. His fascination has garnered he and his wines a cult like following from Seattle to New York.

The Crow Vineyard Pinot Gris is made with minimal intervention, natural spontaneous fermentation; fermented in neutral oak (no steel) and bottled with lower alcohol.

xo

Lenny

Taste this wine and other Teutonic wines Saturday 2 pm to 5 pm

Upcoming Classes in the Sky Lounge

Introduction to Wine Classes Series:

With this Introductory Series, sommelier Arnie Millan will be your guide as you are taken through the basics of wine. You will learn about the many wine producing regions throughout the world, sample the wines and participate in lively discussion.

This shortened series begins May 7th and continues through June 4th. The program of four classes is scheduled on Sundays from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. in Esquin’s Sky Lounge. Free parking is available in Esquin’s lot on the South end of the building.

These fun, informal classes were featured in the Wall Street Journal and each class includes useful handouts. Arnie was recenjtly featured in a Seattle Times profile entitled “The finest Wine Mind in Seattle.”

The series of four classes, including wine tastings of 8 wines during each class, will be offered for $39 per class or $145 for all 4 classes per person. Gift certificates are available.

To register, please email arnie@esquin.com.com or call 206-682-7374.

Advance registration is required. Gift certificates are available.

Topics covered will be:

May 7th –  Class 1 : Grapes, Viticulture and Winemaking

We will learn a glossary of important wine terms, discuss the major international grape varieties as well as the basics of viticulture and winemaking.

May 21st – Class 2: A Tour of Spain

Spain’s wine history is the oldest in Europe and its wine regions reveal a wealth of indigenous grapes far beyond the famous Tempranillo. Explore Spain’s dynamic and exciting wine scene.

May 28th – Class 3: A Survey of Italy

Italy is one of the world’s greatest wine regions with an unbelievable treasure trove of terrific indigenous grape varieties. We will cover all 19 wine regions and taste 8 delicious wines made from native grapes.

June 4th-  Class 4: A Tour of France

France is the touchstone for fine wine, the benchmark by which quality wine is judged. We will de-mystify and explain all their major regions including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace and the Rhône Valley

Food + Wine Classes with Lenny Rede

May 14th – Champagne & Caviar! 2-4PM in the Sky Lounge

Explore the range and elegance of Champagne and some classic pairings – including Caviar, Lobster, Fried Chicken, and Popcorn. We will discuss the production styles, rules, and history of the King of wines. With Special Guest! $49
Call 206.682.7374 to register. Advance registration is necessary. Gift Certificates are available.

Weekend Wine Paring ~ Cedar Plank Salmon with Tarragon Mustard Glaze + Chehalem Wines

Spring seems reluctant. I see the fits and starts, the bud break and blossoms, the first Rosés’ and the first of the seasons’ harvests. This is the time of year that I get the most antsy with anticipation. I just can’t wait to get outside and grill! Growing up in California we would grill year round.  Here, I have to seize the day, and catch the sun when she briefly smiles on me.

Grilled Salmon is just about one of the best dishes to prepare when entertaining guests, especially out of towners. The best part is how little time you actually have to spend in front of the grill. Less cooking equals more partying. Again, plan ahead and have your ingredients ready to grill when your guest arrive.

There are a many great ways to grill. One of the time-honored traditions, in these parts, is Cedar plank salmon. One of the greatest things about a Cedar Plank Salmon is that it works just as well in the oven as it does on the grill, so no matter how fickle mother nature may be you can still have a nice dinner.

Call me a traditionalist, but there are few better wines to serve with Cedar Plank Salmon than a good Oregon Pinot Noir, especially from Chehalem Winery. 

Chehalem Three Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2013 $32.99  

This Three Vineyard Pinot Noir has beautiful ripe black cherry and brambly cassis on the nose, with fresh wet earth and a tea leaf component. White pepper, dusty cocoa, tobacco, sweet loam, and raspberry accentuate the nose, providing a fresh, full, complex package. The palate is lithe and playful, with especially round, pliable acid, and an overarching flavor of rich cranberry sauce and rose hips. The finish is lengthy, yet elegant, with beautiful balance – a perfect partner for salmon.

“Light and sleek, open-textured and appealing, with delicate plum and guava flavors, riding on a glassy frame into a vivid finish.” 91 POINTS, Wine Spectator

Or, if you prefer, few places grow Chardonnay as well as they do in the Willamette Valley.

Chehalem “Inox” Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2014 $19.99 

The fruit shines brightly in this all-stainless cuveé. Ripe golden apples are at the core, with hints of peach and papaya. It’s a lovely, forward, ready to drink style that brings extra concentration and detail that is all too rare in unoaked Chardonnays.  91 Points, Wine Enthusiast

xox, Lenny

Taste these wines, plus other BBQ favorites on April 29th  from 2pm to 5pm

Grab a bottle to take home, and create your own:

Cedar Plank Salmon with Tarragon Mustard Glaze

Weekend Wine Pairing ~ Martini Party!

Almost everyone loves a cocktail party! I love them because they are relatively easy and surprisingly inexpensive ways of having people over. Cocktail Parties give people an excuse to dress up. There is a simple touch of glamour to people chit-chatting over cocktails and caviar. Some good shopping, a little bit of preparation, plenty of ice, and you have a party!

Less is more.

Pick one or two cocktails to feature. Just tell everyone you invite, “We are having a Martini party this Saturday! Would you like to come?” Yes, you want to have back-ups, say some beer, some chilled Champagne and wine, even a bottle or two of other basics (Bourbon, Vodka). But, letting people know what they are getting into sets their expectations and anticipation.

Let’s say you want to throw a Martini Party. First, plan on tending bar for the evening, so have your food already plated and ready to go. For the food, I like to set platters and trays around the party to create an inviting atmosphere. Many classic hors d’oeuvre are perfect pairings for Martini’s – Caviar, Smoked Salmon and Lox, Crab Cakes, Deviled Eggs, Shrimp Cocktail, even Oysters on the half shell.  Also, have back up snacks: nuts, chips, crackers, cheese, in case more people show up or they show up hungry.

First things first.

A Martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Classic is a ratio 2:1 gin to vermouth, International Bartenders Association dictates a ratio of 6:1 (which could end up being quite a party), but I like to use better vermouth and get the ratio closer to 1:1. I also recommend using smaller martini glasses 3 – 4 ounce to help restrain consumption a little.

Lenny’s Martini (serves 4)

8 oz. The Botanist Gin

6 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth

Squeeze lemon wedge

4 shakes orange bitters

8 olives on picks

Lemon twist for rim

Prepare chilled martini glass running lemon twist around edge of rim. Discard. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Stir until all ingredients thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cocktail olives.

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin $42.99

(Taste Botanist Gin Saturday April 22, 2pm – 5 pm)

The Botanist Gin is truly one of kind. Made by one of my favorite scotch producers Bruichladdich, it is the Gin produced on Islay. While most gins are made using a column or continuous still, Botanist is made in an old Lomond pot whiskey still, nicknamed Ugly Betty. That means that the base distillate is made with same care and attention as a fine scotch. Second, while all gins have Juniper along with a usual cohort of six or seven botanicals, Botanist contains 31, of which 22 are native to the Southern Hebridean Island itself. It should be noted that most of the native botanicals sound like they came straight out of a Harry Potter novel; rest assured the final product is delicate and not surprisingly floral.

A great Gin and good quality Vermouth some good olives and plenty of ice …

The botanical quality of a Martini lends itself very well to seafood of all sorts. How about an update to classic Shrimp Cocktail? My Kick Butt Shrimp Cocktail will change the way you think about the cocktail sauce.

Kick Butt Shrimp Cocktail  Ingredients + Recipe

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