We recently sat down with Robin Christenson of Santa Ana’s Blinking Owl Distillery to talk all things mixology and making spirits – the old-fashioned way. We asked Robin if she could craft “the perfect late-summer cocktail” using only local and seasonal ingredients found at The Ecology Center (or nearby). Because sourcing local ingredients are the cornerstone of Blinking Owl’s philosophy we knew she would be up for the challenge! The OC Orange Vodka used in this recipe is a great example of their steadfast promise to utilizing quality and close to home ingredients. Each bottle of Blinking Owl OC Orange Vodka is made with 130 pounds of whole Valencia oranges, sourced from the Heritage Museum of Orange County. And it’s amazing. Enjoy the result of our spirited conversation: a refreshing and dimensional cocktail, which tastes like an ice cold sip of summer.
OWL B ENJOYIN’ SEPTEMBER
Ingredients (makes 1):
1.5 oz Blinking Owl Orange Vodka
3/4 oz lemon juice (roughly half a lemon)
3/4 oz Snug Harbor Falernum (a low alcohol spiced rum. Substitute with simple syrup if you don’t have)
2 ripe chunks yellow peach (about 1/8 of the fruit)
Spring of mint
- Muddle raspberries and peach into a shaker.
- Add vodka, lemon juice, and falernum into a shaker.
- Add ice and shake.
- Garnish with orange peel on rim of glass and mint.
About Blinking Owl
Blinking Owl’s “Grain to Glass” concept is taking production to a new level of responsible sourcing in the world of spirits. Owner Robin Christenson explains why it is important to protect the integrity of their craft and the impact it will have on the environment. “When we worked through our business plan and started to calculate the amount of grain we would be using to make our spirits, we suddenly realized the impact we, as one small distillery, could have on our local grain economy. It has become our mission to make a product unique to California and we hope to source 100% of our grain from California in the next 2 years. We are currently working closely with farmers and grain companies to purchase organic, sustainably grown grains (from California when possible). We decided early on that we were committed to making everything from scratch (rather than purchase pre-made spirit and blending or flavoring it).
We get the grains by the ton, mill it into a flour, then “mash it” (basically make it into a crude beer) and finally distill it into a spirit (vodka, whiskey, gin or aquavit). Just like in wines, spirits will retain a certain “terroir”, or ode to the soil from which the grain came. As the great chef, Dan Barber explains in his book, The Third Plate, SOIL MATTERS. “Rich, healthy soil will produce rich beautiful grain”, and THAT is what we want to transfer through our spirits to your glass. We desire California terroir to uniquely shine through our products, and we want to encourage California farmers to practice organic, sustainable farming practices to have the most delicious, flavorful products”.