Seattle Snow

A wintry cocktail, garnished with pine, sits on a snowy railing outside.


Yay! We got snow in the Pacific Northwest, lots of snow! (I mean, for us, we have lots of snow.) It’s been coming down, in one form or another, since Thursday.

Whatever amount of snow we get here (even an inch! said the native New Englander) is generally enough to shut everything down because the roads and infrastructure aren’t equipped to handle snow. The strategy is not to manage the snow, but rather to wait it out: usually by early afternoon of the same day, it has started to melt, and things return to normal very quickly after that.

My New England heart and upbringing still operate on a slightly different level from the reality here, though. Even though it seems crazy to call out of work due to a dusting of snow (Oh, if the folks at home could see me now…) there’s nothing you can do if the roads aren’t plowed or treated (which they usually aren’t). There’s nothing you can do to get any traction on a bare road, not to mention that steep hills are common here. So, we stay home until the snow melts. This happens about once a year, maybe once every two years.

Snow Day…sort of!

Today is not really a snow day – not even close – because it’s a Saturday, and we’re in a pandemic. Where am I even thinking about going, anyway!? But I wanted to enjoy something of the feeling of a snow day…that feeling of taking an unexpected break and enjoying the hell out of it while it lasts.

I decided to make a drink in the afternoon, and garnish it with a pine bough – maybe one that even still had snow on it! – and take a picture of it on my beautiful, snowy deck.

The Plan

I had big plans for this drink! It would reflect winter; it would be a fun little project today (when I’m supposed to be working). Most importantly, I wanted it to be really beautiful, as beautiful as the fresh snow.

My plan was to use the Black Forest Gin, with the flavor of pines – what could be more “snow day” than that? I had some mandarin oranges, which I’ve never had with gin, but I thought would add a light but warm note to the drink. Perfect for a snowy day. I decided also on a simple syrup, with a flavor of coriander. I was really pleased with myself so far, and it all came together according to plan.

High Stakes

I brought it outside to photograph, which I like to do when the weather and time of day cooperate. The cocktails look extra elegant and tasty when they’re photographed outside, and I particularly love the view from my deck. I had fun nestling and positioning the drink in the snow. I spent some time on this, because as I mentioned, the photo op was a big part of my vision today. It’s a real special occasion when it snows here, I’m leaving this beautiful house soon, and I’ve never taken a Pandemic Pub photo in the snow before. Folks, the stakes were high!

Tragedy strikes

I did get some good shots, and was right on the verge of claiming my cocktail and enjoying it inside when this happened:

Close-up of a glass that tumbled upside-down into a snowdrift.

Yeah, let’s look at that one more time, in slow motion.

Is there an Aesop’s Fable about this or something? There was no warning or anything; it suddenly leapt off the rail and was absorbed immediately, and almost soundlessly, into the snow right in front of me. I looked at it with my mouth open, for a long time – that might have been the real photo opportunity today. Then of course I started cracking up.

That’s what I get for showing off.

As for the drink…

For one of the first times ever, I’m glad that there were some “rocks” (leftovers, as they say in New Bedford) left in the shaker. I was able to recreate the drink and enjoy a half-glass.

There’s a not-at-all-unpleasant bitter taste – perfect for winter. That hint of bitterness comes partly from the pine of the gin, I think, and partly from the mandarin (though I would have guessed it would lend a soft, sweet taste, I do recall how orange juice can sometimes taste a little bitter). Maybe the coriander in the simple syrup also played a role in that.

It’s good, and deep, and bitter, and adult. It tastes like a crisp snow day on a Saturday afternoon! It’s not the taste of the jubilation of getting the day off from school. It’s not the taste of the resignation of having to get up early to dig out a car or a walkway too many times over the course of a long, snowy winter. It is an enjoyable, tasty, complex taste that feels just right today. 

This cocktail has the Pandemic Pub distinction of being a total win, and concurrently, an utter fail!!!! The judges have taken points because it couldn’t stick the landing…

Happy Snow Day, Seattle!


  • 2.75 oz Japanese Whisky

  • 1.5 oz Simple Coriander Syrup

  • Juice of 1 Mandarin Orange

  • Simple Coriander Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp (approx) Coriander Seeds

  • 1/4 cup Water

  • 1/4 cup Caster Sugar (regular Sugar is fine)

  • 2 Sugar Cubes

  • Garnish
  • Snowy Pine Bough (it’s not really a bough; I just like saying this)

  • Mandarin Orange Slice


  • Coriander Simple Syrup
  • Make this first, if you can, and let it cool in the freezer while you make the rest of the cocktail.
  • Combine sugars, water, and coriander seeds on the stove, and bring to boil. Stir until sugar dissolves (it will happen quickly); remove from heat. Strain seeds. Put in freezer as above, if possible.
  • Cocktail
  • Add liquids into shaker with ice.
  • Spear the orange slice with the pine bough.
  • Enjoy a thoroughly delightful afternoon, but try not to let your drink dive head first into a snowbank!!!
Enjoyed on February 13, 2021


  1. Elizabeth02/14/2021 | Reply

    It looks beautiful! I’ll attempt something tomorrow and see if I can stage it nicely.

    • admin02/14/2021 | Reply

      Thanks - you know that sometimes my drinks *look* much better than they taste! I'm excited to see what you come up with!

  2. Liz02/14/2021 | Reply

    Priceless! Most snow in 52 years! Glad we're stocked up!

    • admin02/14/2021 | Reply

      52 years!! Wow, I didn't know! It's still snowing over here!

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