Sitka spruce are really cool trees: they only really grow along the west coast and are among the world's largest trees (seriously: some are five meters in diameter at breast height...just think on that). They also have a fascinating relationship with salmon: sitka spruce growing along salmon spawning waterways grow faster because of the nutrients from the salmon after they die. Of course, that makes for shadier and more protected waterways with more stable banks, too, which is good for salmon. Bears and other carnivores are also involved, because they drop salmon carcasses nearby, and the remnant nutrients make their way into the soil, promoting vegetative growth in surrounding forests . Pretty cool stuff: healthy salmon runs promote healthy forests, healthy forests promote healthy salmon runs. I feel like I should plug @wildsalmoncenter
at this point: they do really cool work preserving salmon ecosystems around the world, including Oregon and Washington.
Onto booze: You may have seen a few bottles of @fortgeorgebeer
's spruce tips beer, Budd, or seen @wolftreebrewery
's malty spruce tips ale on a taplist, but I'm pretty sure you haven't seen the Spruce Tips vodka from @jazspirits
, which I hope to remedy because it is excellent. Spruce Tips impart a singular flavor: a bit citrusy, a little resinous, a freshness reminiscent of mint, and generally the smell of brushing through a coastal forest in spring. It's not really like a gin, exactly, but it certainly prods the imagination in the similar ways.
In any case, I tested this as a White Negroini with my old standby of 1:1:2 Blanc Vermouth, Salers and "gin," but I'm happy to report that approach is misguided and you should stick to the recipe suggested, reproduced below.
Verstovia Spruce Tips Vodka
1 oz dry vermouth (though I am curious to try this with a blanc!)
1 oz Cocchi Americano
Stir together with ice (perhaps about 12 seconds of stirring), garnish with an orange slice, or, if you're me, forget that was the indicated garnish and instead express the orange peel over the top and wander around to try to find a spruce tree to capture in reflection in the glass.