Category Archives: Alcohol

Choose your own (alcoholic) adventure

My friend Lynn and I recently had dinner in the bar at Lola in downtown Seattle. When the bartender, Ian, asked us what we wanted to drink, Lynn said she wanted something that was like an Irish coffee but better. More like a hot chocolate.

Ian said he would make up a new drink as long as we came up with a name for it. The mixologist went to work, and the result was a warm and cozy drink that was also spicy and creamy. I liked that you could tell that it had alcohol in it, but the liquor didn’t overpower all other flavors. We christened the new concoction “Lynn’s Clove and Cocoa.” Here’s what goes into the drink:

Half an ounce of tuaca, followed by 3/4 ounce creme de cacao.

Half an ounce of falernum, which I had never heard of, but apparently, I’ve drunk a lot of it because of my love of tiki drinks. Lola makes their own falernum for its bar. (Hence the handwritten, masking tape label on the bottle.)

Next come five dashes of chocolate bitters and then you top everything off with some steamed milk.

Ian wrote down the recipe on the back of a coaster and put it in his drink recipe file. (Who knew bartenders had such a thing? But I guess it makes sense.)

So if you happen to be at Lola on a Sunday or Monday when Ian is working, order a clove and cocoa. Tell him Lynn sent you.

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Want to find a cheap way to get drunk? There’s an app for that.

I decided to take a deeper dive into the whole social media thing and just started the Master of Communication in Digital Media program at the University of Washington. Last night my class heard from Jeff Khadavi, the founder of

This past spring GoTime released a sweet Happy Hours iPhone app for Seattle that locates you using GPS and then gives you a list of the nearest bars currently hosting happy hour. Or use the shake function and the app will choose a bar for you. And best of all, it’s free to download!

The Stranger (needlessly?) created a similar app called Cocktail Compass. I heard that it’s a good app, but signs point to GoTime having the edge on better info–more happy hours listed and constant updates for accuracy.

GoTime recently produced a Happy Hours app for Portland, and now they’re getting ready to go national, providing happy hour information for 30 cities across the country.

As Khadavi gave his presentation to my class, I realized that my hard drinking days are far behind me, but I still do enjoy the food deals that happy hour offers. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite places to get some great budget bites.

1. Contour is right by my office so I have spent a lot of time here with my co-workers. It claims to have one of Seattle’s best happy hours, and I would have to agree. You get good food for a super low price. I especially enjoy the tomato honey basil soup ($1.95) and the provolone cheese burger ($2.95).

2. Oliver’s Twist offers $2 off its artful cocktails during its 5:00pm-7:00pm happy hour. I like the classic Presbyterian (bourbon, ginger ale, soda water) and the Miss Nancy (gin, rhubarb-tarragon syrup, lemon, blood orange bitters and bubbly). The roasted fingerling potatoes in duck fat make me swoon.

3. Matador in West Seattle restaurant is roomier than its Ballard sibling, which means you’re more likely to score a table and the great deals on Matador’s upscale Mexican food. With the exception of the Tex-Mex spring rolls (get rid of these already!), everything on the happy hour menu is delicious.

4. Stanford’s in Tukwila has a long and varied happy hour menu, and it offers discounted food and drink twice–from 3:00pm-6pm and 9:00pm-close. It serves chili cheese fries and other fattening favorites, but it’s also possible to put together a healthier meal. Try the Southwest chopped salad.

5. Umi Sake House offers many different sushi rolls and sashimi sets to choose from, but I also like the garlic short ribs. The 4:00pm-6:00pm happy hour stretches to 8:00pm in the front porch and bar. In addition, Umi has a late night happy hour from 11:00pm-1:00am Sunday-Thursday.

6. Ivar’s Acres of Clams on the Seattle waterfront has happy hour from 3:00pm to close! That alone makes it awesome. Additionally, as The Seattle Times reported back in February, Ivar’s extends happy hour beyond the bar and there’s an area where families can enjoy the discounts. So now I have a place where I can hang out with my single friends and my husband and son can come too.

Now that makes me happy.

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Figs, pigs and lions

My friend Tara and her husband H. recently purchased their first home, and they graciously hosted this past Thursday’s Girl’s Night dinner at their new digs.

We started the night with some cheese, figs and meat treats from Salumi. I bought them at the Metropolitan Market in West Seattle, which has a robust selection of Italian cured meats. We tried four varieties: sopressata, mole salami, mollinari hot salami and finnochiona salami.


We had pan-seared pork loin for our main course and an interesting side dish–roasted baby carrots with black olives and garlic.


I didn’t think I would enjoy these three flavors together, but the sweetness of the carrots and saltiness of the olives complemented each other, and the garlic wasn’t overpowering.

In remembrance of the “lion of the Senate,” Ted Kennedy, Lynn made a commemorative cocktail. It consisted of light rum, bitters, lemon juice, grenadine and powdered sugar. According to the recipe, it was called the “White Lion,” which was very confusing because the drink is actually pink.


Mahnaz made a pudding dessert with bananas and vanilla wafers from Trader Joe’s, which she claims are far superior to the classic NILLA Wafers. I call for a blind taste test! And plenty of milk.


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Hot dish

I’ve been out of commission the last few weeks with a nasty sinus infection so that’s why it’s been all quiet on the blog front. Here are some random bits of food news that I’ve been thinking about while I’ve been getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids.

  • I possess what may be the last four bottles of Ciclón in Washington state! My darling husband drove up north and took a ferry to pick up this precious cargo from the liquor store in Clinton, WA. My friend Bev asked me how I would judge whether an event was “Ciclón-worthy” or not (shades of Elaine on Seinfeld). Good question…
  • The Seattle P-I’s Rebekah Denn wrote a great profile about Seattle food blogger Molly Wizenberg aka Orangette. Sadly, the P-I is closing its doors and will print its last edition tomorrow.
  • I’m still in deep denial that Carla did not win Top Chef. Her spirit guides must have been asleep at the wheel during the last challenge. Why else would she have taken Casey’s advice? Oh, Carla, to thine own cooking be true!
  • The only thing more disappointing than Hosea winning Top Chef was the lame-ass reunion show. Besides Ariane looking smoking hot and living up to her “Cougar” nickname, there was little of interest. And we had to rehash the whole Hosea/Leah hookup. Talk about unappetizing!
  • Speaking of Top Chef, what is up with Tom Colicchio pushing Diet Coke and Padma Lakshmi promoting Hardee’s?!

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Dear Madeline,

Thank you for your inquiry. As per your notification, please be advised that Ciclón – Tequila Spiked Rum has been discontinued in the United States as of January 2008, due to varying consumer tastes preferences and legal restrictions.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your valued patronage.

Best Regards,

Roseann Brown
Consumer Services Department
Bacardi USA., Inc.

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Like a hurricane swept through my soul


Last week, my husband gave me some very bad news. After he told me, I had to lean against a wall for support. My face was ashen, and I couldn’t speak.

Liquor stores in Washington state have stopped carrying Ciclón.

Ciclón is Bacardi rum flavored with tequila and lime. It may sound gross, but it is DELICIOUS and has been my rum of choice for the last five or six years. Actually it goes beyond rum–Ciclón is my hands down, favorite, go-to liquor. When I want a drink, I want a Ciclón and Coke on the rocks, thank you very much.

When my husband and I were dating and we took our first trip together to Canada, what did we drink in our hotel room? Ciclón.

During my bachelorette party in Las Vegas, what was I drinking? Ciclón.

When I chose to bring my own alcohol to a bar in a Ziplock bag, what was it? Ciclón. (Yeah, I know, pretty ghetto.)

When I finally saw Prince in concert, what was I drinking? Ciclon.

When I was pregnant, what food did I miss the most? Ciclón. (Well, it probably was technically a tie with sushi, but man, I did miss it.)

There are five liquor stores in Washington state that still carry Ciclón but they are all very far away from Seattle, where I live. I searched online liquor stores to no avail.

I sent a impassioned plea to whoever manages the (ridiculous) Ciclón Web site saying that I now live in a Ciclón-dry state and that I needed immediate help locating some Ciclón. And, I had to know: was it true that Bacardi that was discontinuing my beloved amber elixir?!

I got this in reply:


This does not bode well.


Filed under Alcohol, So wrong