Fall is always a time to reconnect with friends and family who we didn’t get to see in the height of summer. This week, an old shipmate and friend paid us a visit and that was occasion enough to make a festive and fun fall cocktail.
We call this drink a Rockland Sunset in our house for the way the layers settle to resemble a sunset sky. Typically, I use bourbon & and an orange-cardamom simple syrup, but in the spirit of the season I substituted a homemade apple cider syrup and a nice bottle of rum we had set aside for a special occasion. The layering effect is created by thickening the rum or whiskey with simple syrup so it settles to the bottom of the glass. By carefully pouring the floating layer over a spoon, you can create a cocktail that is visually-interesting and dynamic as the ratio of wine to the base layer changes.
I started by making a simple syrup by cooking down apple cider from Beth’s Farm in Warren with brown sugar and cinnamon. I made the simple syrup thicker than I might otherwise have so that the wine would eventually be able to float on the surface. For this drink, I used Eight Bells Rum as the base. Eight Bells Rum is a gold rum that is aged 3 years in bourbon barrels right here in Portland, Maine by New England Distilling. I chose this rum because it tastes like mulling spices and finishes like caramel which pairs perfectly with my apple cider simple syrup. The red wine on the surface is Rogue Admirals Red Blend. Rogue Admiral is a South African wine, but you can substitute any dry red wine for the same effect.
I combined 2 oz. of rum with ¾ oz. of the apple cider syrup and ½ oz. of lemon juice in my shaker and shook it with ice until it was combined. I poured that into a rocks glass over a whiskey rock. To get the layering effect, I carefully poured 2 oz. dry red wine over the back of a spoon. The thick mixture on the bottom is heavy enough that the red wine remains on the surface. I garnished this mixed drink with a wheel of apple dipped in cinnamon sugar.
This drink was the perfect way to kick-off our visit, and we will definitely be making these again soon.
One long held tradition which distinguishes the J. & E. Riggin from the rest is that of maintaining hives of honey bees. We started keeping bees last Spring and finally produced enough honey to harvest. This week, we took time to collect that honey, and thought we would share with you its journey from our hive to your tea cup. We believe knowing where your honey comes from makes each sip a little sweeter!
We start by removing each frame from the super. The super is the box in which the frames hang. We then carefully scrap away the thin layer of wax on the surface to reveal gooey delicious honey.
We use a manual-crank extractor to spin the frame, sending the honey whizzing to the outside where it runs down into a basin in the bottom. Justin cranked a lot to warm up his anchor raising muscles!
After a spin, we return the frames to the super, leaving behind an empty comb for the bees to refill with new honey from the spring flowers.
The extractor is now heavy with honey, wax, and chunks of pollen. Now, it’s time to filter it…
Through finer and finer mesh…
Until there are no visible pieces of wax. Then, we took a taste, and it was delicious!
The honey was then put into jars which we will crack on the boat this summer. It’s a taste of our home made specially for you, courtesy of our hardworking little bees!
“The food!” It’s one of the most common reasons we hear folks sail the Riggin. They aren’t wrong. The food that Chef Annie is able to turn out on her Cottage Crawford wood burning stove is pretty incredible.
This summer you can join one of several Maine Food Cruise – Cooking with Annie trips and learn how to up your cooking game and turn out your own delicious meals at home. Immerse yourself in the natural bounty of land and sea with spectacular scenery and savory substance gathered from Chef Annie’s own garden, local farms and farmers markets. It’s the perfect blend of relaxation, cooking, laughing, entertainment, and of course eating.
Come savor the taste of Maine and cook alongside Annie. Prepare creative comfort food cooked with fire and passion. Learn from Chef Annie’s 30 years of experience and take-in practical culinary ideas, tips and Annie’s secrets to building flavor, improvising with ingredients you have available, and utilizing different herbs and flowers you can grow yourself to make creative dishes at home. All menus will showcase Annie’s love for seasonal and quality ingredients.
Topics covered this sailing season will include:
- Breads – to knead or not to knead, sourdough or quick breads, baguette or stirata, the world of bread is big and the options are many.
- Soups, Stews, and Sauces – from stock to pistou, we’ll talk about how to make super tasty and healthy soups, stews, and sauces and then sample them for lunch or for dinner.
- Eat Your Greens – how to combine veggies, what to do to make them interesting, and how to preserve them if you just have too darn much to use in a week’s time.
- Pasta – from Lobster and Parmesan Ravioli to traditional German spaetzle, fresh pasta is a special way to make a meal shine and Annie makes them all.
- Leftovers and Other Unmentionables – for some, leftovers have a bad reputation, but in Annie’s galley, they just spell flavor. Learn how to cook creatively with what you had rather than always using a recipe. Leftovers will become the workhorse of your kitchen.
- Cooking with Wood and Flame – backyard wood-fired clay ovens are joining backyard barbecue as a delicious way to add flavor to our meals. Whether it’s a wood stove like our grandmothers used or a grill that we cook over today, learning to use flame and wood heat well is another tool to add to your cooking arsenal.
- Open Mic – Let’s talk food and play together over our meals. Join Annie in the morning as she creates the meal plan for the day. Ask questions and find answers to what you want to know?
Cooking with the Annies Cruise
As an added bonus, for one exclusive trip this year, we will be cooking the books. The cookbooks, that is. Joining our own Annie M., will be Annie C., Annie Copps, that is. Annie C is the former food editor of Yankee Magazine, PBS Food, and who named the Riggin one of the top 10 places to have “Dinner with a View”. She just so happens to be a cookbook author as well and is celebrating the release of her newest book, The Little Local Maine Cookbook
Annie will be on board August 18 to 20th and the Annies will be cooking up a storm, sharing stories, cooking demos, kitchen tips, and lots of delicious food. They will be cooking out of each other’s books – recipes such as Annie C’s delicious Tourtiere, Lobster Rolls (the correct and traditional way, thank you very much), and Blueberry Boy Bait and Annie M’s Roast Pork Loin with Brandy Cream Sauce, Oysters Mignonette, and Lemon Berry Tartlet.
Your three days on board will be packed with lectures, pristine scenery, exciting sailing, and all the time you could want down in the galley with both of the Annies. Our meals will be centered around what’s locally available for ingredients and all of the wonderful recipes these two fabulous chefs have created for their many fans. Book your space on the Cooking with the Annies here.
Because we buy locally and seasonally, every week’s menu is as different as the produce and ingredients that come to us. However, we thought it might be fun to give you an idea of what a typical menu might look like in any given day. Needless to say, there is lots of food to choose from. It’s always plentiful, and it’s always delicious.
Breakfast – Savory Dutch baby with leeks, local mushrooms, and Fontina, homemade scones with creme and house-made chai strawberry jam, home fries with smoked paprika, and butchers cut bacon. Granola, yogurt, fruit platter.
Lunch – House-made ramen with local sesame chili pork belly; Annie’s home-raised eggs, Napa cabbage ginger and sesame slaw; cilantro, carrot, and lime salad; blueberry lemon and lime pound cake
Appetizer – local raw oysters with lime and horseradish mignonette, house made stirato with house made butter, sea salt almonds fried in duck fat
Dinner – Roasted Cornish game hens with smoked shrimp and brandy stuffing, leek and carrot gratin; seared clementine and fennel couscous; arugula salad with cranberries, pears, and shaved Parmesan; olive oil, fig and sea salt challah; triple ginger and mango crème brûlée