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Farewell to a Lady and Friend

As I sat in a bar in Miami tonight I received a terrible phone call.  I learned that a dear friend and maternal figure in my life had passed.  Kim Ricketts of Kim Ricketts Book Events had passed earlier in the evening and the impact was immediately palpable to me.  Besides being someone who I am honoured to call my friend she was a great influence on my life like many other people.  Full of energy and love for all things wonderful and delicious in life she gave to me the opportunity to meet many people I would otherwise never would have.  I first met Kim nigh on 12 years ago now, she was hosting a dinner and book signing where I would first meet one of the culinary writing heroes of my until then young life.

On that night I also got to really meet many people whom I will consider lifelong friends.  This was the power of Kim and her gift to us all.  She brought people together, gave them to them the opportunity to expand their worlds and to learn something new, rub shoulders with those we held in high esteem, and made communities of people who might never have met in person.  I sit here not knowing what to say.  She meant to so much to so many people and I will forever be in her debt for giving me the opportunity to stretch my wings and explore a whole new world of possibilities.

Tonight I sit bereft, though certainly no more so than her family whom she nurtured and loved.  To you, I can only imagine your loss and hurt as a pillar of your lives has been borne away.  The sole tribute I can give is that besides all of the tangible things that Kim gave us, more importantly she left lasting and indelible impressions upon all who were lucky enough to encounter her, we are all the poorer for her passing.  If Valhalla exists she will be there, to the right of Guthlaf, cup in hand, pen in the other, and all shall be welcomed into her heart.  This world will be less bright without you.  I miss you and always will.

Mitch Albom 08

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Mixology Monday XLVII: Punch

Mixology Monday XLVII:  Punch.  Probably my favourite category of drink around.  Sometime I’ll go on and on about it.  This month though, it’s our theme and hosted by Mike over at Hobson’s Choice.

Ti Punch.  Very rarely have two words ever affected my life so much.  It was the final push to send me down the flume of rum geekery.  At the Rum, Ron, Rhum panel during Tales of the Cocktail 2008 Ben Jones from Rhum Clement stood up and presented this little thing, its simplicity accenting the spirit and providing the perfect little wake up nip I needed.

You could argue that it’s not a really a punch, it definitely doesn’t follow the classic two of sour, one of sweet, three of strong, four of weak cantrip, but stuff it.  It says punch in the name and that’s good enough for me.  Besides, it’s one of my favourite drinks and that goes a long way in my book.  Classically originating from the French dominated islands of the Caribbean, it serves as an ideal foil for the notes that are associated with rhum agricole.

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Wakey Wakey

This month is my first Mixology Monday, and somehow it works out just right for me.  This round is hosted by Sonja over at Thinking of Drinking who has picked the theme of absinthe.  Personally, I love the use of absinthe in drinks, but it is definitely an ingredient where a little can go a long way.  I’m also fortunate enough to have a distiller locally, Pacific Distillery that makes an excellent absinthe for both mixing and drinking as a drip.  It’s always nice to be able to support someone local to you and who is also making a really great product.

Recently, I worked very briefly at Emmer and Rye, a new local and seasonal restaurant here in Seattle and I made up a new signature drink for them.  The name of the drink is a study in unintended consequences.  One night the chef was sitting at the bar at Vessel – where I am still working, and asked if I had come up with a name for the signature drink yet.  Not being serious I gave him a punny answer.  I didn’t know he was being interviewed at the moment and he sent it off to the reporter.  Much to my chagrin the name stuck.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Rye-se and Shine.

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What’s Japanese for Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch?

Cars. Electronics, and now booze.  What do these things have in common?  Things the Japanese have put their own indelible stamp on and raised standards around the world for.  Recently, I was able to attend a Washington State Bartenders Guild event at Liberty Bar featuring Yamazaki and Hibiki whiskies.  Gardner Dunn, the brand ambassador for Yamazaki led a session on the history, makeup, and production of Yamazaki and Hibiki.  Even more importantly was the fact that he was here as part of an effort to get more of these onto the shelves here in the US and more importantly to me, Washington State.

Yamazaki at Liberty 25

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