Suckers for a good pun, we think the best thing about this cocktail from Oregon’s Clear Creek Distillery might be its name, but it could also be its simplicity. Featuring three ingredients — two of which are made in-house — the spirit-forward, play-on-words-titled Shaken and Firred cocktail spotlights the distillery’s new vodka.
Vodka is often created to be odorless and flavorless, a base to greater ingredients. However, head distiller Joe O’Sullivan views his rendition differently, who admits, after over a decade at Clear Creek, he got a “little philosophical” about what he bottled.
“I didn’t come to Clear Creek wanting to be a distiller, I just wanted to do good work,” he says of the Hood River distillery. “So now when I’m creating a new spirit, I do so to tell a very short story. It only has to be two or three beats, but as long as it carries some sort of action then I’m interested.”
In the story of this new vodka, O’Sullivan focused on the apple, using 14 different varietals of non-GMO, Northwest-grown apples, fermenting and distilling above 190 proof using Clear Creek’s 46-chamber column still. From there, he cut with glacier-fed spring water from Mt. Hood to take it down to a smooth 80 proof.
“The resulting vodka highlights the flower blossom quality which is innate to apple spirits, as well as the brine and flint flavors which make vodka so distinct,” he says. “The result of each sip should be a two-part movement of sweet to mineral. My hope is that people will taste just that.”
Accenting the vodka with Clear Creek’s Douglas Fir brandy and dry vermouth, the Shaken and Firred is all about balance.
“This recipe shows just how powerful the Douglas Fir brandy can be in a cocktail — [it] should be the setting for the vodka, not the other way around,” O’Sullivan explains. “If you ask me, this recipe achieves it perfectly. Being able to taste the subtle sweetness of the apple against the heavier evergreen aromatics showcases each spirit’s distinct offerings without sacrificing the smooth texture of the vodka. It’s a distinctly Northwest martini.”
Shaken and Firred
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ½ ounces Clear Creek Vodka
½ ounce Imbue Classic Dry Vermouth
¼ ounce Clear Creek Douglas Fir Brandy
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a martini glass.