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The 2018 Solstice Fire

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The weather cooperated spectacularly for the 2018 solstice party. The rain cleared for a day or two. The moon was full. It was a crisp cold night with a beautiful sky.

Our ritual of gathering good friends from all walks of life every six months took place again without a hitch. Thanks to all who came to help us turn the sun.

Sunset before the party

This year, the fire lighting was cheered on by a rising full moon. The fire caught quickly and burned hard and fast.

Full moon and unlit pile

 

Lighting (time to run away)

Lots of people arrived for the lighting this year

Every solstice party is different in interesting ways. This year lots of people showed up for the lighting at 5:45. Then the BOILO got the party rocking.  The lighting is always a sight to see.

The fire gets going

2018 solstice fire

 

 

The moon was incredible and lent a silver tinge to everything.

The barn was alight in party mode

This year the unplanned potluck food supply was great with chilli, meatballs, sloppy joes, fried chicken, and even krispy kreme donuts. The barn bar took a licking. Gonna need some serious restocking before summer!

Sorry about the terrible Christmas music in the barn. That’s just how it goes. At least there is a disco ball.

Marco. BOILO! There’s nothing quite like extremely local product.

 

A violin burns

Possibly the most ridiculous and surprising part of the evening was the violin sword fight instigated by Josh Henry (my trusty and talented violin and bow repair guy). Unbeknownst to everyone, Josh brought three dead rental violins to the party. So when we got them out and started sword fighting vigorously with them and then threw their remains into the fire, the 20 somethings who were already wondering just what those old people across the fire were all about, freaked out. They thought just for the smallest moment that I was destroying my actual violin.

LOL! Got you.

There was lots of music this year.  It started early and went late.  Thanks music makers!  We love playing with you all.

 

Late night the music continues

 

Ember glow

I know, lets do it again this summer!!

Moonglow (picture by Amy Barley)

Amer Picon Experiment 3

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We’re there I think. Our third shot at homemade Amer Picon is in the jar. Next comes siphoning.

This time we adjusted the recipe only slightly with the addition of some bark infusion. Hopefully that will not kill us.

The key to all this is make sure the oranges are green and burn the heck out of the caramel.

BASE RECIPE HERE.

Strain the infusions (three this time)

Mix in a big old jar.

Looking good. Once the material settles, we’ll extract our Picon. We need a centrifuge!

Thanks to Christa for the raw materials and the inspiration!

How to make Boilo

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Ever since we made a batch, we’ve been running around yelling “Marco” “Boilo!” which after enough boilo is highly amusing. But I digress. What IS boilo anyway??

There is nowhere with more authority to turn to than David Wondrich, who wrote this Daily Beast article. Thanks for cluing us in!

After reading the article (you should read it) we were bummed to find that there was no associated recipe.

Twitter to the rescue! David provided this pointer.

An unofficial boilo recipe. Realize that boilo is an individual thing. Make it your own.

Of course we had to make some…

We made some adjustments to the recipe…abandoning raspberry ginger ale for black cherry selzter and ginger beer. We also added Star Anise and Mace which we just so happened to have sitting around. This is upscale boilo by god!

We boiled for a good 15-20 minutes, letting the spices infuse. But then we let the liquid cool down so that none of our alcohol would evaporate when we added it.

Since we have very good access to local shine, why, we used that. the gallon that we used clocked in not too hot at 107.4 proof. Believe me, the shine from around here is an outstanding product, and it clocks in higher than that with some regularity.

At first we were thinking 2 quarts. But then, what the hell…

The warm boilo was pretty good, but it was WAY better this morning after some more steeping time.

Final product came out just shy of two gallons. We imagine it’s somewhere between 60 and 80 proof. Can’t bubble it since there is so much crap in the liquid.

Anyway, thanks David!

Marco!

Boilo!

Catoctin and Kimpton – Cocktail Combo.

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Visited the Lorien Hotel (a Kimpton) in Alexandria for an evening where friends of ours from different lands and lives unknowingly were working on the same project – a tasting of Catoctin Creek’s locally distilled and bottled rye and brandy’s paired with Chef’s choice hors d’oeuvres from the Lorein.  Our friends Becky and Scott Harris have created a high level distillery in Purcellville, VA and Steph Vogel, another amazing person-friend runs the Lorien. The perfect cocktail storm.

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Serious mixing and choosing

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Yes, that one.

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All enjoy.

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Good Stuff.

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Becky explains the science.

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“The barrels are this big! ” Scott

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“We just have beer here.”

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My kind of bar! Proletariat Bar, NYC. Superb beer, kind and knowledgeable service, and perfect conversation. DSCF0473DSCF0483DSCF0482DSCF0485DSCF0476

The Great 2017 Amer Picon Experiment

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Because of the Liberal, that’s why. It all started as a hack of Torani Amer and Regan’s Orange bitters #6. But that was before Amer Picon from France. Now there is always Amer Picon in the house, a band called the Bitter Liberals, and a house cocktail.

Then came a Thanksgiving, Christa, and talk of Neroli-Petitgrain oranges growing in East Tennessee.

So yes, Amer Picon. Lets make it. Using ultra local super hot white dog. Lets make it.

December 15

December 19

SOLSTICE

Christmas Eve

And then the big day: January 5, 2017

The final ingredient mix

The final ingredient mix

Orange peel infusion jar

Orange peel infusion jar

Straining the peel infusion with a coffee filter

Straining the peel infusion with a coffee filter

Measuring the proof

Measuring the proof

A drop from 165 to 110

A drop from 165 to 110

*** 110 proof orange peel infusion

Straining the orange leaf infusion

Straining the orange leaf infusion

*** Orange leaf infusion

Caramelized orange juice with brown sugar and butter

Caramelized orange juice with brown sugar and butter

*** Caramelized orange juice

Gentian

Gentian

*** Gentian

Quina

Quina

*** Quina

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Very close but needs some sugar, so simple syrup of demerara.

Demarara

Demarara

Blend, taste, adjust, work. (Two half batches combined was our methodology.)

Notes and the final recipe.

Notes and the final recipe.

Proof is in the Liberal.

A Liberal with homemade Amer Picon

A Liberal with homemade Amer Picon

Success!

Pineapple + Jalapeño = Yowza

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Somehow an actual pineapple grew here in Virginia. It came due today.

Ripe Pineapple

Ripe Pineapple

Around here, when you get ripe you may well end up in a cocktail.

Put the lime in the pineapple

Put the lime in the pineapple

Pineapple + jalapeño mergerita
2 oz liquified mix of 1/2 jalapeño and a tiny cored pineapple
2 oz fresh lime juice
4 oz blue agave tequila
2 t blue agave syrup
Stir down. Strain into cocktail glass.

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YOWZA, that jalapeño is hot

YOWZA, that jalapeño is hot

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