To be in the company of creative people is the happiest of places for me. It even beats a trip to the happiest place on earth – forgive me, Walt.  Drawing joy from those that have a true passion for what they create in the world is intoxicating. Apropos that craft cocktail development is a personal passion of mine, no? Inspired by the talented editors and contributors on the (cool) progeny team, I created an aptly christened concoction in honor of our recent editorial brainstorming session and cocktail timeout — Samuel Clemens.

Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink — under any circumstances. ~ Mark Twain’s Notebook

About a year ago, a fellow amateur mixologist introduced me to a local craft distillery in her hometown of Gig Harbor, Washington — Heritage Distilling. One sip of their Blood Orange flavored vodka and I knew this was a product made by passionate, creative people. Let’s overlook the fact that Justin – founder and distiller – touts his having distilled his first batch in the 7th grade {where were your parents young man? tsk-tsk} and instead focus on the outstanding flavor and craftsmanship.Cocktail Timeout: Samuel Clemens - (cool) progeny Cocktail Timeout: Samuel Clemens - (cool) progeny

It wasn’t until 2008 that distilling became legal in the state of Washington, and yet the vodkas that Heritage is crafting have nuances that you’d normally only find in spirits perfected over decades. It seems to me that the distillers at Heritage are a bit like writers. They weave stories with flavor notes, aromas and artistically invented spirits. At the very least, they’re making damn good vodka. {their Bourbon and Whiskey aren’t half bad either}

A truly well-crafted vodka is one that can easily be enjoyed alone, yet also blends beautifully in the company of a cocktail while maintaining it’s distinctness. Much like a good storyteller, no?

For this craft cocktail I chose Heritage’s Huckleberry vodka. Fruity and light with just a hint of herbaceous kick – think basil and watercress – it made for an interesting foundation. I’ve dubbed this drink the, Samuel Clemens. {get it?… writers… huckleberry… here’s a hint…}


take a time out! samuel clemens cocktail

Samuel Clemens (the cocktail)
Serves 4
Made with Huckleberry vodka and inspired by creative people, a light and easy cocktail for any occasion.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 4 oz Heritage Distilling Huckleberry Vodka
  2. 1 oz Powell & Mahoney Lemon Sour Mix
  3. 2 Limes (one juiced, one sliced for garnish)
  4. 1 tsp Raw Sugar
  5. 4-6 Fresh Blackberries (may substitute with blueberry or huckleberry)
  6. 3 sprigs Fresh Mint
  7. Tonic Water
  8. Ice
  1. Muddle sugar, mint and berries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add in lime juice, Lemon Sour mix, vodka and ice.
  3. Cover and shake well.
  4. Rim a highball glass with cut lime.
  5. Strain over ice into glass and top with a splash of tonic.
  6. Garnish with lime wedge. (optional: add a whole berry to the glass)
Adapted from (orginal)
Adapted from (orginal)
(cool) progeny