tiki mintSome of our endeavors during the June Cookbook Challenge have had the added benefit of giving us an excuse to use gadgets and serving implements that have been sitting around our apartment for years just waiting for their moments to shine.  The creme brulee torch is a great example; so are Elizabeth’s tiki glasses.

We found the Suffering Bastard in The Great Tiki Drink Book, a  terrific resource for all things tiki.  Though the name was originally attributed to a 19th-century misunderstanding in Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo, it seemed all the more appropriate after watching last night’s episode of the Next Food Network Star.  And the fact that it doesn’t contain any rum made it a good choice for us as we sought out a recipe to make from the book.

Now we could have easily gone with one of the many tiki-related recipes for appetizers and other food items that are located at the back of the book, but we felt that it was important to share a drink recipe instead.  So we broke out the tiki glasses and – having remembered just how awesome these bad boys really are – immediately promised ourselves that we would have friends over for tiki drinks on the deck sometime very soon.

shakerTo make the Suffering Bastard, we combined 1 1/2 ounces gin (Tanqueray here), 1 ounce Bourbon (we went with Maker’s Mark, our favorite), 3 ounces of ginger ale and the juice of 1/2 lime in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Giving the contents five or six good, hard shakes, we poured the liquid into one of the fierce tiki glasses and then garnished it with a sprig of our Shenandoah Growers mint.

The drink was surprisingly refreshing, with the astringency of the gin balancing nicely with the round sweetness of the ginger ale.  The effervescence of the drink was also a pleasant surprise: instead of the big, heavy bubbles you usually get in soda, the Suffering Bastard had a lighter, fizzier feel to it.

Now to try some of these other recipes so we’ve got even more reasons to put our tiki glasses to use this year…

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<<EDIT 11/4 @ 10 AM:  As you might expect, we’re not the only ones on the Internets spreading the word about rewards for voting.  DCist has what might be the best of the bunch – a free cheese plate at Dino – and Endless Simmer clues us in to Top Chef Spike’s largesse in the form of a free brownie or cookie at Good Stuff Eatery.>>

There are plenty of reasons to vote: civic responsibility, a desire for real change, the right to complain about the outcome after the fact.  But we all know those just aren’t enough for some of us…and it’s getting harder and harder for politicians to outright buy our votes.

So what’s in it for you this year?  Plenty, as long as you’re willing to load up on sweets and treats.  Your “I Voted!” sticker is like a grown-up version of a Halloween costume on Election Day, allowing you to trick-or-treat your way to free food and drinks throughout the city. 

Coffee, tacos and Bourbon are just a few of the democra-licious incentives to cast a vote tomorrow – find them and more after the jump: (more…)

As Bourbon Heritage Month draws to a close, I’ve been thinking back to a great trip that we took in December of 2006.  In Louisville for a good friend’s wedding, we were lucky enough to get set up with a private tour of the Maker’s Mark Distillery in nearby Loretto, Kentucky.  Although this is a great memory for me in part because it represents Elizabeth’s awakening to just how good bourbon can be, the tour itself was truly unforgettable.

There were a dozen of us in all, visiting Louisville for a good friend’s wedding, and we couldn’t very well leave Kentucky without a trip to a bourbon distillery!  I made a call to a friend who works with Maker’s Mark here in Washington, and he offered to set us up with a tour.  I accepted his offer, thinking that it would amount to little more than the usual guided tour of the grounds and a few of the more picturesque buildings.

As it turns out, they rolled out the red carpet for us and we got to see operations at Maker’s Mark up close and personal.  Join us for the tour and some more great photos (all of them taken by another friend, Sean Redmond) after the jump.

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Grabbing a pulled pork sandwich at Old Glory is a rite of passage for DC visitors and new residents alike. The two-story BBQ joint may not be the most authentic in DC, but it keeps Georgetown from getting too snobby. Throbbing with American flags, good ol’ boy classic rock and a down home greeting (watch out for that stamp from your server – it could claim a finger), Old Glory could have just as easily doubled as Fred Thompson’s short-lived campaign headquarters.

As a Kansas City native and BBQ geek, I have mixed feelings about Old Glory. It’s a lively restaurant that’s always a safe bet for happy hours and groups, especially if you can snag a seat on their outdoor patio. But that “KC style” bbq sauce? So off target and abominable it should be considered a hate crime.

One thing that I will not dispute is Old Glory’s dedication to bourbon. In case you didn’t hear, September is National Bourbon Month and we’re all about celebrating. If you and bourbon are already buddies or if you’re still waiting for someone to make a formal introduction, Old Glory is the place. Learn about the Old Glory Bourbon Club after the jump! (more…)

Okay, in fairness every month is bourbon month for us. But for realsies, September is National Bourbon Heritage Month and since Maker’s Mark is the spirit of choice at Casa de Capital Spice, we couldn’t let this occasion go by unnoted.

Mike has always had the good sense to appreciate bourbon but I only became a convert after a fantastic trip to Kentucky a few years ago. I was skeptical – most whiskeys still make me grimace – but an enthusiastic tour guide and a few tastings opened my eyes to the beautiful world of Kentucky’s finest. Now a nice bourbon Manhattan, preferably paired with oysters, is the best salve to a rough day.

To share the joy, we’ll pony up our top bourbon-related recommendations to celebrate the month in style. Check out the first option after the jump: (more…)

The first answer to this question is obvious: You buy a cherry-pitter. After that, you’re on your own.

Last weekend, Mike and I took advantage of the gorgeous summer weather  to go cherry picking at Hartland Orchard in Markham, VA. After a few hours in the sunshine, we came home loaded with twelve pounds of sour pie cherries (montmorency cherries, to be exact). Clearly a pie was in order. (more…)