Winter Solstice Cocktail Recipe by Karen Locke - High Proof PDX

It is pretty typical around the holidays to have a cookie swap, so I thought- Why not have a Cocktail recipe swap? I've reached out to some of the best and brightest cookies in Portland to share some delicious winter cocktails with you! If you haven't decided what to get the at-home bartender in your life, check out my 7 Gadgets for at Home Craft Cocktails here!

The first in this series comes to us from Karen Locke from High Proof PDX

Winter Solstice

This wintertime cocktail combines citrus, tart cardamom and tangerine with a hint of anise from fresh tarragon. 


2 oz Volstead Vodka
1/2 oz Cardamom & Tangerine Pok Pok Som drinking vinegar
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
4-5 dashes The Bitter Housewife Grapefruit bitters
4 sprigs tarragon


Muddle 2-3 tarragon sprigs in cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Add remaining ingredients. Shake well and strain into a coupe glass.
Garnish with remaining tarragon.

Photo provided by Karen Locke

Photo provided by Karen Locke

Photo provided by Karen Locke

Photo provided by Karen Locke

Want more great cocktails from the Recipe Swap? Check out my Ode to the Sweet Potato Casserole on High Proof PDX's Blog!

provided by Karen Locke

provided by Karen Locke


Karen Locke is a Portland-based food and drink writer who has written for various publications: Thrillist, Tales of the Cocktail, Sip Northwest, Drink Portland, and more. In addition to dimly lit bars, she has spent quite a bit of time in distilleries while writing “High-Proof PDX,” a guidebook to Portland distilleries (Fall 2017, Overcup Press). Before living in Portland, Karen resided in Minneapolis where she tended bar and served a lot of Thai Food.

Grilled Banana Bread

Toasty & Tasty Banana Bread- Grilled Version!

Culinary Confession- I don't own a toaster.

When I want something toasty, I either have to fire up my oven, or use my new personal fav- the grill. However, the temperature hasn't risen about 36 degrees this week so I used my indoor grill/press. Works wonders and gets those perfect little grill marks. 

Banana Bread Ingredients:

3 bananas, rough chopped

1/3 cup butter (melted)

1/2 Cup of Sugar

1 Egg

1 tsp organic vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

dash of nutmeg or allspice (optional holiday twist)

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour


Preheat Oven to 350. Rub a loaf pan with some butter, especially in the corners so the bread won't stick

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients, whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all the wet ingredients except butter.

Mix to combine ingredients, slowly drizzling in the melted butter. Don't add the warm butter all at once, as you might cook the egg. Batter should be fluid but rather thick.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, and put into center rack of preheated oven. Cook for 45min-1hr

Let cool. Slice. And grill portions as needed. Great served with honey butter, or a scoop of ice cream for dessert! Bon Appetit!


Moroccan Spiced Lamb

Holiday Spices with a twist? You got it ! 


Pack a punch of flavor without a ton of prep with this recipe




Lamb Loin Chops (1-2 per person depending on size)

Moroccan Spice Blend

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper


Red Cabbage (Shredded)

Brussel Sprouts (Shredded)

Moroccan Spice Blend: 







1/2 c Yogurt

1 tsp Honey

2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1 drizzle of olive oil

pinch of Nutmeg

Salt & Pepper to taste


Preheat pan or plancha if cooking indoors, or grill if it's warm enough outside where you are! Start by seasoning the meat with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and rub spice blend on all sides until well coated. 

Prepare dressing in large bowl, whisking until all ingredients are blended, add shredded cabbage and brussel sprouts, toss until coated

Once the pan is nice and hot, add lamb and don't fuss with it until it is nice and seared (about 4-5 minutes per side depending on how thick it is)

Be sure to sear on top, bottom, then sides. Once the meat starts to firm up around the edges, but still kinda squishy in the middle it is about medium rare which is when I would take it off the heat, cover in foil on cutting board, and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving / cutting into it. The resting time will continue the cooking process a bit more, and lamb can be tough if overcooked. 

Plate with salad and garnish with pistachios

ehhh Voila!