This Salty Dog with Fennel and Rosemary puts a delicious spin on the traditional combination of gin and grapefruit. A fennel simple syrup and rosemary salted rim add extra flavor to this yummy cocktail.
Why is it so hard to find good food on the Oregon coast? You’d think that with the easy access to salmon, ling cod and crab, it’d be a mecca for foodies. In reality, what you’ll find 95% of the restaurants is fish and chips and clam chowder – Which is all good, but really? Where is the fresh fish, that’s not hidden behind breading or heavy cream? I’m on a quest to find spots where the seafood stands for itself, and the flavors are innovative.
One of our favorite discoveries is The Schooner Restaurant in Netarts, Oregon. You’ll find it tucked away in a small town just outside of Tillamook. Yep – The place that makes the cheese. And while you’ll find the ubiquitous fish and chips and chowder, you’ll also find daily specials like Dungeness Crab Gazpacho and Chinook Belly Skewers. And, a must eat on the menu – but totally not seafood? Their General Tso’s wings. They’d rival Portland’s Pok Pok wings any day. I was even inspired to recreate the recipe at home.
Typically, we grab a spot in the bar. The bartenders are always friendly and they’re concocting some cocktails that you’d only expect from the more inland master mixologists. For example, their specialty martinis that change from month to month – Rick’s favorite is the Tonmy’s Pickle Martini – He’s always bummed when it’s not on the menu. Another is the Sea Bean Martini – Briny and salty. I could easily down a couple those briny, salty cocktails.
But my favorite cocktail on their menu is the NW Salty Dog. Taking the traditional cocktail of grapefruit juice and gin with a salted rim, and amplifying it a bit. They’re throwing a fennel simple syrup into the mix and rimming the glass with Jacobsen Salt Co.’s Rosemary Salt. Fitting, since Jacobsen Salt is harvested on the Netarts Bay just 10 minutes south of the restaurant.
I have a slight obsession with fennel – Throwing it into this Grilled Kale Salad with Fennel and Radishes, or topping it with salami for these Fennel & Salami Bites, or roasting it for this Fresh Linguini with Roasted Fennel. I’m all about it.
Here’s my take on their recipe for the NW Salty Dog. I did my best to recreate it at home and I’d say that minus the beautiful view of the bay that you get at the restaurant, the drinking experience is pretty much the same. Note: Be sure to use fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. I tried the bottled version in a pinch and it’s just not the same. The bit of extra work is totally worth it in this case.
Do you have a favorite spot on the Oregon coast? A favorite off-the-grid restaurant that’s serving up something besides the basic fish and chips? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Salty Dog with Fennel & Rosemary
Fennel Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 bulb fennel sliced
- 4 ounces fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce fennel simple syrup
- Jacobsen Salt Co. Rosemary Salt for garnish
- Fennel fronds for garnish
Fennel Simple Syrup:
Combine sugar, water, and fennel in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Let cool and then strain, discarding the fennel.
Pour the salt into a shallow dish.
Run a grapefruit wedge along the rim of your glass and dip into the salt, rimming the glass.
Add grapefruit juice, gin and fennel simple syrup to the glass. Stir to combine. Fill glass with ice, and stir to combine again.