One of our favorite local foodies, Jen Spaide, is a mother, chef, writer and natural food & health advocate. She also does recipe development for Barcelona/ Bartaco and makes a darn fine cocktail. Tis that time of year, when all should be drinking margaritas. Fresh, bright and summery, with just a little bite, this "Pretty In Pink" Margarita recipe is a keeper. Enjoy!
Entries in Cocktails (108)
Move over "show case showdown," there's a new showdown in town. Jeff Maron, bar manager of Kawa Ni in Westport (and both of the other Bill Taibe's jaunts) hosted the first of six Bartender Competitions where some of the North East's finest BAR-istas concocted some fabulous potions for the judges and guests to imbibe and describe. The goal of this event series is to showcase the art of the craft cocktail and elevate mixology in CT.
Each 'tender was required to create 5 identical cocktails using one ounce of the sponsored ingredient - in this case, Appleton Reserve Rum, and one ounce of the secret ingredient - in this case Ancho Reyes chili liquor. Other than that, each drink-master was given free reign to embellish, add, adjust and design their signature cocktail. There was even some blow torching of fruit. The end game was to impress the panel of 4 judges, including the lucky winner of the CTBites cocktail naming contest, and Adam Roytman of Walrus and Carpenter (from whence many of the evening's delicious nibbles were provided).
La Zingara in Bethel will launch a new cocktail program beginning April 1 with a menu spanning classic cocktails to their own crafted creations. The backbone of the new menu will be rooted in house made ingredients, including syrups, grenadine, fresh-squeezed juices, and (a handful of) bitters. In addition to the new cocktail program, Ecco Rooftop Eatery & Bar (located just above La Zingara) will reopen on April 1 as well.
"We are finally bringing La Zingara up to par on the cocktails that we have been doing on the [Ecco] rooftop for a while now. We are looking to bring the same quality that we bring to our food. Clean, simple drinks that utilize what is in season. Twists on the classics," said Lisa Tassone, La Zingara and Ecco owner.
When the winter doldrums set in, and the temperatures flirt with zero, I set my sights firmly on brown spirits. Whisky, not whiskey, to be exact. A dram will usually do the trick, but on occasion I like to sully that perfect spirit by making it the foundation of a Rob Roy cocktail.
If you can reconcile the fact that you’re meddling with the perfection that is scotch, with sweet vermouth and bitters, then you’ve found your perfect century-old cocktail. It’s essentially a Manhattan with a kilt, which is a fitting description seeing as it was created in New York’s Waldorf Astoria in 1894 for an opera based on the Scottish folk hero and outlaw Robert Roy MacGregor.
There is something about peated scotch and a roaring fire, but an unpeated or blended whisky for your Rob Roy will also do the trick.
Looking for the perfect Holiday Cocktail recipe for your festivities? Sean Nye has mixed up a little something special for CTbites, from his new post, behind the bar of Match in South Norwalk.
Enjoy this truly delicious recipe for the "Holiday Flip" made with Applejack Brandy, cardamaro and nutmeg. And if you're simply too tired from opening presents, just go order one at Match.
Holiday Flip Cocktail Recipe
The gin and tonic has become one of my favorite year-round cocktails. Now before you shout INFIDEL or HERESY and run for the torches to scare me and my cocktail into hibernation until the summer equinox, hear me out.
The first rule of a year-round G&T: the gin must be considered carefully. If you’re looking for guidance here, you can’t go wrong with the St. George Terroir Gin, which grounds this G&T with an earthy bite of “Douglas fir, California bay laurel, coastal sage, and other evocative botanicals.” One whiff and you’ll instinctively look over your shoulder for the bear that modeled for the label. Trust me, this is the gin you want for a cold weather G&T.
Next, find yourself a clean and crisp tonic. I recommend and will rarely stray from Q Tonic. Don’t even think about desecrating the G&T with a tonic like Schweppes, or please don’t tell me about it because I WILL judge you harshly.
Sheila Barton is a local caterer with a flair for food styling. After watching her work her magic at several parties, we asked her for a few tips on creating your own "Classic Cocktail Bar." Here are her tips...
I thought it would benefit many to talk about how to set up the perfect holiday cocktail bar. Not only are the essentials so very important, but so are Style, Texture and Taste. I am always about creating an experience..starting with your eyes and ending with taste. Even if you can only afford to serve one great wine and one great beer, you can still do it with style. If you can throw in a classic craft cocktail or two, more the merrier!
So to first create Style, it is important to create a feeling of glamour and fun. You do this with visual appeal using different heights and Texture.
The work day comes to a close and all I can think is “Holy hell I need a bottle of wine …maybe two… maybe three… who’s coming with me?” But where do I go? What places offer specials? What vibe am I feeling? I instantly start googling “Happy Hour Downtown Stamford” but nothing pops up and suddenly I am in a panic, yes a panic. We’ve all been there many times…so I have compiled the ultimate list to help fellow happy hour enthusiasts.
Personal favorites for each day are:
- Monday - Cotto, with half-priced bottles of wine and delicious tapas it’s the perfect way to ease into a hectic week;
- Tuesday - Lola’s Mexican Restaurant, Taco Tuesday & Margaritas…need I say more?
- Wednesday - Brickhouse Bar & Grill, known to many regulars as “wing night” it’s a low-key, delicious and fun way to finish hump day;
- Thursday – Barcelona, delicious tapas and great deals on a variety of wines, the young and vibrant scene is always served up;
- Friday – Hudson Grille, come for the happy hour and stay for the DJ, just be sure to bring your dancing shoes;
The Norwalk Historical Society is hosting a fun-spirited Bourbon and Whiskey Tasting Fundraiser, with speaker Gregg Glaser, publisher and editor of Modern Distillery Age, on October 3, 2014, 7:00-9pm at Mill Hill Historic Park - Town House Museum, 2 East Wall Street, Norwalk, CT.
A sampling of six selections will be tasted from around the world. Join us for an entertaining and informative discussion on the history, production, style and character of each. Appetizers are included. Must be 21 years and older to participate in the tasting.
Tickets - Early Bird until 9/26: $35-After 9/26: $40-At the door: $50. Purchase tickets here.
“We've come through the Dark Ages of the Cocktail," observes Gretchen Thomas, Director of Wine and Spirits for Barcelona and Bartaco.. "There was a time here when the spirit of choice was mainly Vodka, and the best we could do was flavor it.”
Though Connecticut may be a bit late to the party, the Craft Cocktail has finally, fully arrived. In fact, the drinks created at many local bars are as artful and artisanal as what's cooking in the kitchen.
Today’s barcraft is almost culinary … reflecting the way we now cook and dine: with fresh seasonal ingredients, locally sourced and often hand crafted. Re-mixes of the old classics are updated with super premium, small batched spirits and served with stunning visual presentations and precisely balanced flavor constructions.
“Cocktails have become part of the meal,” notes Jeff Marron, who heads up the beverage programs at Bill Taibe’s restaurants in Westport. They are enjoyed for flavor and complexity more than potency.
The much celebrated legacy drinks of the Prohibition Era were often filled with unreliable spirits that were masked by powerful mixers. And the boozy indulgences at Mid-century served as Mad Men escapes more than savored enjoyment. After Viet Nam, mixed drinks barely survived the counter cultural revolution. It took a new millennium to revive the cocktail’s pleasurable role in America’s drinking and dining.
Indeed, the eras of Gatsby, Draper and Joplin have long passed, and the Golden Age of Cocktails has come to the Gold Coast. So here’s our toast to the 10 top local Craft Cocktails… and the men and women who are raising the bar. Cheers!