SEPTEMBER 3, 2014 Read Mary’s Vindulge blog here or below.
Let’s talk about vodka shall we?
Why not? Kids are back in school and folks are already talking about cooler weather and heartier food… in other words, the F word — fall! This whole fall business makes me uneasy since I’m a little obsessed with summer and don’t want to see it go (ever!). Vodka cocktails, like the one below, are a way to make it feel like summer year-round. And because we’re talking about vodka today I wanted to introduce you to a new vodka producer on the block.
Founded in 2011 Rolling River Spirits is a small family-owned and operated craft distillery located here in Portland, Oregon. Run by the Rickard family (Tim, Rick, and Joan), the company focuses on artisan spirits using fresh organic ingredients.
I had the opportunity to meet the family earlier this summer and check out their newly opened tasting room located in Portland’s Distillery Row to see what they have going on.
The small facility is home to hand-built stills, production equipment, and a quaint tasting room where you can enjoy their current offering.
At the time of my visit they were only making Vodka, with plans to soon release a Gin and Whiskey.
The Vodka ($25), made from wheat in a small reflux column still, is smooth with a spice kick that hits you at the end. A nice vodka to use in your favorite vodka based cocktails.
Speaking of cocktails, if you visit the tasting room you may find them sampling one of the many cocktails they create for visitors to sip on, like the Mint Jalapeño Cucumber, made from cucumber, mint, jalapeño, and vodka served in a martini glass. Or you might try the super refreshing Cucumber Vodka Mojito, a mix of cucumber, basil, lime, simple syrup, and vodka.
My favorite use is blending it with one of the simple syrups I introduced you to yesterday in a cocktail we recently came up with. They’ve been a hit with friends and I’ve been making them all summer long. I like to think of this cocktail as summer in a glass since it’s as lovely, light, and refreshing as a summer sipper should be.
And by making this cocktail you can forget about the impending fall season, even if for just a moment, and reflect on those long, warm, sunny, summer days.
Lemon Rhubarb Fizz Cocktail made with Vodka and Rhubarb Simple Syrup
2 oz Rolling River Spirits Vodka
1 oz Rhubarb Simple Syrup
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
Club Soda or Dry Sparkling Wine (such as Cava)
Add the vodka, rhubarb simple syrup, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.
Shake vigorously, and then strain into a glass filled with fresh ice.
Top with club soda or sparkling wine, and garnish with lemon wheel.
For more information on Rolling River Spirits check out their website. Their tasting room is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and weekdays by appt.
Rhubarb Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup rhubarb, chopped up into ½ inch pieces
½ cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes until the rhubarb has fallen apart and the mixture has thickened.
Remove, and allow it to cool to room temp.
Strain into a glass jar through a very fine mesh strainer while gently pressing the fruit to extract as much of that delicious juice as possible. Discard the solids.
Store in the refrigerator.
I’m told that if you add a tablespoon of vodka to the syrup it will last longer, though I have not yet tried that method.