Guides & How To

A TOM BIHN Cocktail for New Year’s

When @icarusrex posted his “TOM BIHN Travel Bar” set-up on the Forums, we had an idea: we could ask him to craft a TOM BIHN cocktail.

We polled the crew here at TB about their favorite cocktails and mixed drinks and shared that with
@icarusrex for inspiration. Here’s the cocktails he came up with (of course, we had to test the recipes, and yes they’re very good) plus a couple of amateur creations of our own, just in time for New Year’s.

Alcoholic Drinks

TB Cocktail (Sweet & Spicy)

1 1/2 oz. bourbon whiskey (@icarusrex used Elijah Craig 12 Year; we used Woodinville Whiskey Company)
1/2 oz. Zirpenz Stone Pine Liqueur (see note below)
1/2 oz. real maple syrup
3 oz. ginger beer (@icarusrex used Goslings; we used Trader Joe’s)

Shake bourbon, pine liqueur and maple syrup with ice and pour in a glass with ice. Top with ginger beer. Substitute honey syrup for maple syrup for a different flavor.

Note: We had difficulty finding the Zirpenz Stone Pine Liqeur, so we got a little creative; we brewed Douglas Fir tea, made ice cubes out of it, and added that to the drink, replacing the liquid with…. more whiskey.

Northwest Sky AKA Seattle Seagull* or “tastes like you’d expect”) (our own amateur cocktail creation)

1 1/2 oz. Tito’s Vodka
Sparkling water to fill the glass

Salt the rim of a small mason jar, camping mug, or whatever you happen to have around. Add ice cubes, packed snow, or icicles. Pour in vodka and sparkling water.

*Years ago when Tom managed the AYH hostel in Santa Cruz, he met a laconic young man from Denmark who claimed to have been raised in Greenland.

“Wow… tell me something about life in Greenland. What do you recall from living there?”

After some moments of thought, the young man replied “I remember we ate seagulls.”

“So… what do seagulls taste like?” Tom had to ask.

After some further long moments of reflection, the young man shrugged and said “pretty much like you’d expect.”

Seagulls, it turns out, taste like you’re expect them to.

Ever since then Tom has used this story to illustrate a situation when something is more or less self explanatory.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

TB Non-Alcoholic Cocktail

2 oz. apple juice or apple cider
1/2 oz. real maple syrup or honey syrup
3 oz. ginger beer

Mix in a glass of your choice. Garnish with curled lemon or orange peel.

Cucumber and Fir Non-Alcoholic Cocktail

Sparkling water
3 Cucumber slices
Douglas Fir for garnish
Optional: Douglas Fir Ice Cubes*

Combine sparkling water with two cucumber slices and ice in a glass. Cut the third cucumber slice as a garnish and add it to the rim of the glass along with a piece of Douglas Fir. This very simple drink is quite refreshing, especially for those who prefer a less sweet taste.

*Douglas Fir Ice Cubes
To make: brew Douglas Fir tea. Either collect your own Douglas Fir spring tips (the very bright green, new growth of the tree; take care not to collect all of the tips from the same tree, or same section of the tree) in the spring and dry them for use year ’round or purchase this ready-to-go tea from Juniper Ridge. Let the tea cool and pour it in an ice cube tray. Freeze.

Many thanks again to @icarusrex. See also: his article on Mile High Bartending.

Tom’s Simplified and (nearly) Painless 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Tom Bihn Listening to Audibooks While Designing

Much has been said and written about giving gifts that are not things, and about how experiences ultimately mean more to us than stuff. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve observed that more than ever before, I cherish time spent with family and friends, travel to new and old places, fresh air, wildlife, and nature more than a garage full of objects. With that in mind, I’ve in years past given movie, concert or opera tickets as gifts, or even a gift certificate for a massage or kayak rental. So far, so good.

As we set out to create a 2017 version of our Bags and Beyond Gift Guide, we realized we couldn’t improve much on the list of things already in it, and that some of us were giving other types of gifts this year – food, drink, experiences, and…. books.

I am very fond of books and I’ve begun to give them as gifts. The thing of a book is often more the experience of reading it than the possession of it. Coffee table books of art, wildlife, and photography, as well as illustrated works like Eric Sloan’s A Reverence for Wood or Roger Jean Segalat’s How Things Work series, (and yes of course graphic novels, my dear friend Erin the librarian) are exceptions.

My advice this year is: if you feel compelled to give a gift that is a thing, find your way to your local bookstore and buy books. If you see nothing there that seems appropriate to the person on your list, or if you’re like me and everything looks wondrous and beguiling, gift certificates are there for you. Shopping remotely for an out-of-towner? Go to Indie Bookstore Finder and then call the bookstore closest to your friend and buy a gift certificate. Seriously consider the local bookstore rather than the easy way out of online shopping — remember, if you don’t support your local bookstore, it may not be there the next time you look.

Now, back to where I was headed with this…

These past few years I’ve become rather addicted to audio books. I listen when I drive, while I do housework, and even in my studio as I’m working on a new design. I listened to 57 hours of Sherlock Holmes while designing The Hero’s Journey (though I guess I really ought to have been listening to Joseph Campbell); Anna Karenina and The Boys in the Boat while designing the Luminary; News of the World and A Brief History of Time while designing the Pop Tote; Far from the Madding Crowd and The Heart of Everything That Is while working on The Moveable Feast. When a story has really grabbed me, I’ve even been known to listen, unbelievable as this may sound, as I hike. (One must exercise some reasonable caution: as I listened to Sissy Spacek read To Kill a Mockingbird, I had to pull the car over and wipe the tears from my eyes.) I’ve always a few books in queue loaded on to my smartphone, along with some language lessons to break things up (Cantonese and Swahili: I just want to be able to say “hello” and “thank you”.)

I love my audio books.

So with that in mind, and in the spirt of giving things that are not things, this year I am offering up what is perhaps the simplest gift guide ever: after you’ve pillaged the local book store, give Audible.com subscriptions. Yes, I know they are part of Amazon.com, and are therefore somehow cahooting with Darth Vader, but it’s an amazing service: there are not enough hours in the day to ever make a dent in their selection. [Editor’s note: when we sent this post out to our email newsletter list yesterday morning, reader H.C. wrote back to offer an independent bookstore equivalent of Audible — Libro.fm.]

Best wishes to all of you for a grand holiday weekend with friends, family, dogs, cats, and anyone else who is dear.

Cookbooks
Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables by Joshua McFadden
The How Not To Die Cookbook by Michael Greger
The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs by Karen Page
Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman

Coffee Table Books
Where The Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics by by James Cheshire, Oliver Uberti
Sohan Qadri: The Seer by by Various (Editor)

Books For Kids
Big Red Barn and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Matilda by Roald Dahl

Magazines (print or digital) 
Astronomy 
Nautilus 
The New Yorker

How to Choose a Bag to Give as a Gift

How To Choose A Bag As A Gift | Made in USA Gifts | Made in Seattle Gifts

In this guide, we share some of our favorite bags to give as gifts (hey Pop Tote, Yeoman Duffel, Travel Cubelet and The Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 — we’re talking about you!) and what to do if you aren’t sure which bag to choose for the lucky recipient.

Our Guide To Backpack Frames

Tom and Nik in the Seattle Factory

As with many things in life, deciding whether to use an internal frame—or if you even need one—is subjective: it’s based on how you plan to carry your backpack, what you plan to carry in it, and how carefully you’re willing to pack it. A lot of folks will find an internal frame useful, but not everyone will, and certainly not everyone needs one, especially those who carry smaller/lighter packs or less gear.

Our Hero’s Journey, Guide’s Pack, and Guide’s Edition Synapse 25 backpacks all come with internal frames included. Versions of the same internal frame are optional for our Synapse 19 and Synapse 25 backpacks. But just because we offer internal frames doesn’t mean they’re required; our goal with this guide is to give you the facts as we know them (experientially, theoretically, and historically) so you can make the decision as to what’s best for you and your carrying comfort.

News Briefs

Heads-up! We’ve decided to retire the Road Duffel, Large (sold out) and Road Duffel, Medium (some are still available) to make way for new designs.

Darcy has posted a Forum update on the Small Shop Bag + hints of new designs to come. See here.

We’ve decided to retire the Sprout and Small Shop Bag to make way for new designs. This is the last chance to order them.

Subscribe: Blog Posts

You’ll receive an email every time we publish a new blog post. That’s about 3-4 times a week.

Recommended Posts