Here's your place to come talk about food & booze whenever you feel like it.
Hey boozehounds, and welcome back to That One Drink, the column that has really improved the state of my bar cart. For example, last week's discussion of alcoholic beverages you enjoy while ill resulted in me buying this very fine bottle of grappa.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "That's not rakija, Claire. You were supposed to buy rakija."
THIS IS TRUE. However. It would seem that the entire state of Oregon refuses to sell the stuff. (I even checked that website that lets you search the whole state: no dice.) So I took emerald_bunny's advice and bought some grappa (muscat, tbh). Of course it was a hyper-local, "made in PDX" grappa, but it was the closest thing to rakija they had.
Croatian moms are usually firm believers that alcohol helps with various ailments. Low blood iron? Have a glass of red wine. Low blood pressure? Glass of red wine. Going out with your hair damp (God forbid)? A shot of rakija to boost your immunity. Have fever? Here's some rakija soaked socks to put on your feet.
When we'd have a sore throat/flu/cold, my mom would ply us with the following concoction:
Hibiscus tea: A slice of lemon; 1-2 teaspoon honey (or 3 if she can slip it in there while you're not looking); a glug of rakija (distilled alcohol made out of sun dried grapes. Italian grappa is probably same/similar and more widely available)
Brew a cup of strong hibiscus tea. Add honey, squeeze some lemon in there and add a generous glug of rakija (or grappa). Drink, pass out. You're probably 12 and your Croatian mom is plying you with alcohol to get healthy. Miraculously get better despite all scientific evidence to the contrary.
This is probably the most Croatian comment I've ever written here in all my years of posting.
It turns out that this beverage is going to replace my toddy, because holy hell, this is a delightful concoction. The tea/lemon/honey combination makes for the most refreshing, floral lemonade-tasting brew and — even though grappa is a strong sort of ethanol — there was virtually no burn. I bet this would be great iced too. Who needs to be ill? This is my Official Drink of Summer 2016.
This beverage gave me a happy, groovy feeling, so I feel inclined to reward emerald_bunny with a happy, groovy song by the not-usually-happy Magnetic Fields. (I'm going to be honest, I can't remember all the songs I've given out as trophies, so I apologize for repeats. I also feel like it's becoming apparent that I listen to like, five bands.):
Scootin' right along.
Last fall, I went on a crazy cool press trip to Santa Barbara, where I got to go paddle boarding and drink a ton of wine. I'm going to be honest, the trip was a blur of bottles, but the one bottle I will remember for ever and ever was that from Liberated Wines, because just look at these bottles:
In addition to being beautifully packaged, the wine inside was pretty freaking tasty.
This bottle got me into a good bit of trouble, to be quite honest. It's super drinkable, with a good bit of acid and some pineapple-y notes, I was able to put it away pretty quickly without any food, and that all led to a very fun night.
The cab demands a slower pace of enjoyment, though I thought it was kind of fruity (mostly currants and cherries in there) and "soft" (is that a real wine term? Who knows?) for a cab. I drank it with spaghetti and thought it worked out quite well.
But, let's be honest, the real star of the show are these damn labels, of which there are many. For example, each varietal has three different possible labels, making them fun for gift giving purposes. Though my bottle of cab was graced by "The Professional," it could have just as easily been "The Adventurer" or "The Explorer."
Alright, now you tell me yours. When's the last time you bought a bottle because of the pretty label, or otherwise excellent packaging? (It doesn't have to be a label. Maybe you were swayed by a particularly well-crafted bottle. Perhaps you bought one of those skull-shaped vodka bottles.) How did it work out?