Category Archives: Holiday
As far as holidays go, St. Patrick’s Day is an easy sell — all you have to do is show up wearing something green and have a drink, whether it’s green beer, Irish whiskey, Irish cream, Guinness, or some unfortunate combination of those last three things.
The holiday is by no means authentically Irish; it’s a distinctly American celebration of being Irish on this side of the Atlantic. Between the 17th and 20th centuries in Ireland, March 17th was commemorated with a quiet, dignified visit to church. Even corned beef and cabbage is, as you may know or have already guessed, an American idea of what Irish food is. Immigrants from the Emerald Isle substituted corned beef for the bacon used in the OG version of this dish, and the end result is closer to a New England boiled dinner than anything actually eaten in Ireland. It is the spaghetti and meatballs of Irish-America.
To me, all of the above is noteworthy and heartwarming in that it’s so distinctly American: a celebration of hyphenated culture and identity, a nod to our melting pot, a salute to our roots from all corners of the globe. Mike Cronin said it best: “In essence, St. Patrick’s Day was a public declaration of a hybrid identity—a belief in the future of Ireland as a nation free from British rule, and a strict adherence to the values and liberties that the U.S. offered them.”
So maybe it’s appropriate that in my search for something interesting and vividly green to share with you on this day, tomatillos and jalapeño made their way into the mix for this take on a classic Red Snapper. The end result is everything I was hoping for: vibrant, boozy, spicy, savory, and not reminiscent of green juices and smoothies. Now is not the time for apple and celery. That said, this is equally well-suited for starting your celebrations on the day of St. Pat’s, or recovering from them in the early afternoon of March 18th.
Aviation American Gin Green Snapper
(Adapted from Heather Christo)
- 2 cups chopped green tomatoes or tomatillos
- ½ cup chopped English cucumber chunks
- ½ fresh jalapeño, chopped (remove seeds and white membrane for less spice)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon horseradish
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 ounces prepared mix
- 2 ounces Aviation American Gin
- Cucumber, lime, olives, salt rim, etc., for garnish
To make the mix, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until very smooth. At this point, you can strain all or part of the mixture if you’d like a less chunky beverage; I strained half of it to thin it out a little bit. Build cocktail in an ice-filled glass, stir, and garnish as desired.
Yield: 2 drinks
-Danguole Lekaviciute, Aviation Team Member
Google “Valentine’s Day cocktails” and you’ll see an avalanche of pink and red, complete with rose petal and candy garnishes. Nothing wrong with that — we like fun too! That said, sometimes a classic cocktail like a Martinez or Bee’s Knees (both pictured here) is all you need to round out the perfect evening with your favorite person.
Of course, the first thing Very Serious Cocktail People might point out is that a citrus peel garnish is so much more than looks. Proper garnish technique expels a fragrant cloud of essential citrus oils from the zest, adding a final touch of flavor and aroma that rounds out drinks and tickles the senses. Since we’re getting a little fussy with these drinks anyway, there’s no reason not to expel oils over the drink as usual, then, instead of dropping the twist into the drink, topping it off with a relentlessly Valentine’s-appropriate garnish instead. The best of both worlds never looked so good.
To Make a Heart-Shaped Cocktail Garnish:
- Use a Y-shaped vegetable peeler to peel a large strip of orange, lemon, or grapefruit peel.
- Trim the edges with a small sharp knife to make a long rectangle.
- Starting 1/2 an inch away from the edge, cut a long slit down the middle, all the way through the other edge.
- Shape into a heart — the intact end should be the point of the heart, and the loose ends should come together in the middle. You may need to trim the loose ends to get the shape and size you want.
- Use a cocktail pick to pierce through the sides and middle of your garnish, about 2/3 of the way down.
- Stir or shake up your beverage, expel oils with a standard twist if you’d like, and garnish away!
-Danguole Lekaviciute, Aviation Team Member
Make-a-Gift Day is December 3rd, and I so appreciate the intrinsic value of gift-giving. Particularly gifts which make a “tailored-just-for-you” declaration to the receiver. The whole definition of what a thoughtfully crafted gift embodies: altruistic expressionism, makes me glow from the inside out.
I’m not the kind of gift-giver grabbing randomly for trinkets and baubles and gewgaws, to get as many folks crossed off of my shopping list as possible. My mother always said, “Don’t get them something that’s going to sit on a shelf and collect dust.” Do you want to spend a weekend afternoon dusting off an endless collection of knick-knacks which impart no sentimental attachment whatsoever; and from people, mind you, who meant well, but who obviously gave a millisecond of a thought towards the item?
Let’s avoid the mind-numbing and ungraceful fall down the rabbit hole looking for gifts. And let’s stop morphing into simplicity-mode for the sake of getting it over with, and gifting the always trending gift card: retail’s ultimate default present.
For the cocktail cultured gurus on your list, holiday “Make-a-Gift” giving is a no-brainer. Like foodies who gravitate towards kitchen gadgets, imbibers of finely crafted spirits are attracted to all things batch distilled, along with cool barware to complement their mixologist skills. Putting together a special cocktail kit is one unique and reusable gift that will have the receiver smiling every time they shake, stir or blend a spirited concoction. There are limitless combinations!
Consider giving a thoughtful, homemade present this year, with Aviation American Gin as the centerpiece. A delicious, painstakingly crafted gin which exposes the palette to the fine traditions of small batch distillation. Here are some great suggestions to get your gears turning:
A bottle of award-winning Aviation American Gin, a Bull in China hand-blown mixing glass, a set of high ball glasses, a stylish ice cube tray, a 4-pack of ginger beer (Fentimans is remarkably delicious), a couple of fresh limes and a pack of Scrappy’s hand-crafted small batch bitters. They’ll be whipping up delicious, crowd-pleasing Mile High Mule cocktails with pride.
Streamline the gift with a pair of vintage stemmed Coupe glasses, a bottle of Aviation American Gin, an Aviation cocktail shaker, and a homemade bottle of clover honey syrup*. Bee Knees anyone?
Tea aficionados on your list? In a round vintage hat box, lined with crinkled tissue paper or shredded raffia, pack a set of Irish coffee mugs, a bottle of Aviation American Gin, a small bottle of Yellow Chartreuse liqueur, a box of loose cut Chamomile tea, a mesh tea ball, a homemade bottle of honey syrup* and a couple of fresh limes and TA-DA, you’ve just gifted a Chamomile Hot Toddy kit.
Please click on the “Cocktails” tab after you read this blog for more exciting Aviation Gin drink recipes. It might just inspire you to “make” even more gifts! Happy Holidays!
*Clover Honey Syrup recipe:
Combine equal parts honey to heated water and stir until honey is dissolved, let cool. Pour into a vintage apothecary bottle and tie with a tag and a gold metallic bow!
-Kelly Gajer, Aviation Team Member
It is that time again, my friends. The time to buy stuff for people we know, some of whom we love, for a holiday that we are vaguely familiar with.
I kid, I kid!
It’s the holiday season and many of you are no doubt looking for grown-up stocking stuffers/tools for facilitating debauchery. And we have those in spades at our House Spirits PDX (Portland International Airport) location.
For that traveler in your family, grab a couple of The Carryon Cocktail Kits.
In my most humble opinion, Gin and Tonics suit the holidays better than summer. They are the perfect complement for holiday dinners. Potato latkes, turkey, stuffing, and green bean casserole pack a heavy punch. Gin and tonic, on the other hand, is light on the tongue and the botanicals in Aviation Gin are a pretty fierce digestive opener (very important for the most dignified holiday tradition of stuffing one’s face). But to have a great Gin and Tonic, you need more than gin. Behold The Carryon Cocktail Kit Gin and Tonic. It’s a travel-sized cocktail that includes a mini jigger, cloth napkin, mini spoon, a recipe card, and a bottle of tonic. All you need to add is some Aviation Gin to complete it.
If you want to add a little flare to your G & T, check out the Gin and Titonic ice cubes. Yes, you heard that right: a little tongue-in-cheek reference to the story of the Titanic, which I will assume you all know.
If you’re a bit unsure about my over-confident assertion that Gin and Tonics are the cocktail for the holiday season, try a Mile High Mule Carryon Cocktail Kit. To really put a cherry on someone’s holiday sundae, get them a proper Mule Mug for their cocktail. We are carrying a beautiful line of handmade copper mugs from This Is Folklore Company, a local artist here in Portland, Oregon. My favorite is the all-seeing eye, but there are many other magnificent designs to choose from.
Be sure to stop by our PDX kiosk and pick up some gifts for your more adult friends and family! See you soon.
-Carlene Ostedgaard, Aviation Team Member
Here come the holidays! The intensity of it all is staggering, isn’t it? Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve barely had time to take down and pack away the plastic pumpkins, bats and skeletons. I haven’t even thought to sit quietly and pen my Thanksgiving dinner shopping list, let alone figure out the logistics of my annual Christmas party. I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t worth getting upset over. Most of us test the limits of our sanity, we know it’s coming. In full force. Getting caught in the vortex of holiday madness; it’s all part of the fun, when you stop and think about it. DON’T STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT. Until February.
Once you’ve carefully crafted your shopping/gifting/baking/decorating/caroling strategies – and exhale – all that’s left to do is celebrate! This part of the planning process is always the most fun for me. Fervently pacing the aisles of my local grocery store; on the lookout for unique, affordable, mouthwatering munchies. Delectable hors d’ Oeuvre combinations which surrender my guest’s palates to limitless zesty, aromatic and savory sensations. And this includes cocktails. The artisan crafted-cocktail and beer movement has become so advanced, if I even made an attempt to try and conceive a craft-cocktail bar, it would stretch across the living room. That said, making every guest happy around the bar can break the bank. So, while my holiday party, food-wise becomes much more memorable when it embodies a timeless cornucopia of unquestionably delicious delights; getting the drinks proportional to each person’s preference can be challenging. Until now.
There will be wine of course, and some seasonal beer choice. But, leave the Eggnog where it belongs, in the dairy case. Hide the Schnapps. There is a simpler way to get your guests to imbibe and be spirit-compliant: serve punch. Not your grandmother’s punch either; with the floating orange sherbet iceberg. This year, wow every guest with a punch that blends together flavors which are at once silky and creamy, yet evoke all of the amazing perennial flavors which grace our senses during this magical time of the season. Create the masterpiece which is Saturn Punch! The brilliance of this cocktail is its presentation functionality. It can be made as a traditional self-serve punchbowl potion, or shaken individually and served as a frothy cocktail.
- 2 oz Aviation American Gin
- Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice (I use Simply Orange brand)
- Crushed Ice (for shaking individually and to fill cocktail glasses)
- Scrappys brand Orange Bitters
- BG Reynolds Syrups
- 2 tsp. Passionfruit
- 1 tsp. Oregat (Almond and cane sugar)
- 2 tsp. Falernum (ginger, clove, almond, fresh lime)
- Shake until frothy with crushed ice
- Pour into a highball glass
- Top with 3 drops Scrappy’s Orange Bitters
- Garnish with fresh orange or pear slices
Mixing instructions for punch (quantities contingent upon guest count):
- 1 750ml bottle Aviation American Gin
- 1 1.75L bottle Simply Orange Juice
- 1 bottle BG Reynolds Passionfruit syrup
- 1 bottle BG Reynolds Falernum syrup
- ½ bottle BG Reynolds Oregat syrup
- 1 bottle Scrappy’s Orange Bitters near the punch bowl for guests to discover
- Additional serving suggestions:
- A small framed sign next to the bitters will enhance your guests’ experience
- Add your favorite sparkling Cava or Prosecco and take Saturn Punch to a whole new level!
-Kelly Gajer + Brandon Waddell + Courtney Lindstrom, Aviation Team Members
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 head of garlic cut in half, plus two unpeeled cloves
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 2 pork chops, bone in
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add salt, sugar, juniper, peppercorns, garlic half, and 2 sprigs of thyme. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
- Pour mixture into a bowl large enough to hold your pork and the mixture. Add 5 cups of ice cubes. Stir until ice cubes have melted and brine has cooled. Add the pork. Cover and chill for about 12 hours.
- When ready to cook, remove pork from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat oil in skillet (I used a cast-iron pan). Cook chops until they reach 135 degrees, turning every few minutes so as not to over brown.
- Remove pan from heat and add in butter, unpeeled garlic and remaining thyme sprigs. Stir until butter has melted (add back to heat if needed). Turn chops over in pan to coat both sides with the glaze.
- Allow pork to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
-Kelly Sanders, Aviation Team Member
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet indeed — and a sweet potato, though slightly (and only slightly) less romantic than a rose, tastes just as delicious when it is mislabeled as a yam.
The sweet potato/yam distinction has been a mystery to me for a while — and if you’re in the same boat, I let Google hurt my brain a little, so you don’t have to. The quick and dirty rundown goes like this: yams grow in Africa and, to a lesser extent, Asia, and most Americans have likely never eaten a yam. What we have in the States are sweet potatoes of two varieties: firm, with pale flesh, and soft, with orange flesh. Because of a need to distinguish the two, at some point, grocery stores started labeling the soft orange ones as yams. Tricky, but now that we know the real story, let’s grab a bottle of Aviation American Gin from the liquor cabinet for inspiration, and get cooking.
Cardamom, coriander, and dried orange peel are three of the seven botanicals in Aviation, and served as culinary muses here. I coated chunks of sweet potato (the soft, orange variety) in spices, orange zest, salt, and olive oil before roasting them, then finished with a glaze of honey, lemon juice, and a hefty splash of Aviation. A sprinkle of parsley for freshness, and some toasted hazelnuts for a delicious nod to our Oregon home, and we’re done here.
If you stick to the classic pureed sweet potatoes covered in a blanket of toasted marshmallow at Thanksgiving, do your thing come November 26th, but I highly suggest you bookmark these for another time. Roasting is hands-down my favorite way to cook vegetables — crispy edges and browned bits will turn just about anything into a truly special dish full of flavor, texture, and dare I say, good looks?
Happy holiday season to you and yours!
Aviation Gin-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
- 2 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Zest of one orange (lemon will work too)
To glaze and finish:
- 3 tablespoons Aviation American Gin
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Fresh chopped parsley and/or toasted hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel sweet potatoes and cut them into roughly 1-inch chunks. Spread them over a large baking sheet or casserole dish and combine with olive oil, coriander, cardamom, orange or lemon zest, and a couple pinches of salt. Toss to coat well and roast for 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together Aviation American Gin, honey, and lemon juice, and set aside.
Remove baking sheet or dish from oven and pour glaze over the sweet potatoes, tossing gently to coat. Roast for 15-20 minutes more, and gently turn them over with a spatula halfway through. Serve hot, sprinkled with fresh parsley and/or hazelnuts.
-Danguole Lekaviciute, Aviation Team Member
Like a lot of Portland, Oregon residents, I know a few urban chickens, including Gravy, the chicken pictured. Gravy produces some pretty mean eggs and while most of them go into biscuits and omelettes, I was able to grab a few to celebrate World Egg Day this October 9, 2015.
- 2 oz Aviation American Gin
- 2 leaves Sage
- 3/4 oz Freshly pressed lemon juice
- 3/4 oz Simple syrup
- 1 small Egg white
- In a pint glass, gently muddle the sage
- Add spirits & mixers
- Shake without ice for 6 seconds
- Fill with ice & shake vigorously
- Fine strain into a cocktail glass
- Garnish with a sage leaf
-Kelly Sanders, Aviation Team Member
Coffee. The backbone of working America! Well, that could be an exaggeration, but quite a few of us start our days very similarly; wake up, rub our eyes, immediately wonder where the coffee is. The fragrance, the caffeine, the warming and comforting quality of it, makes for the perfect morning….afternoon…post-dinner…beverage. Can you tell I love coffee?
Lucky for me I live in Portland, OR and incredible coffee is the norm. I wanted to celebrate my good fortune and try Aviation American Gin with coffee, because oddly enough, I had yet to do so. There are many recipes online for English Coffee, which I adapted by using an American gin, rather than a London style. I actually prefer to the lighter juniper flavor when mixed with coffee, but to each their own. I also used House Spirits Coffee Liqueur instead of Kahlúa for a less sweet version. I think the obscene amounts of whip cream I put on top, oh and the cherry, made up for it.
- 3/4 oz Aviation American Gin
- 1/2 oz Triple Sec
- 1/2 oz House Spirits Coffee Liqueur
- 5 oz Hot black coffee
- Cherry, for garnish
Mix in a glass, top with whip cream and a cherry!
Happy Coffee Day!
-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member