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  • Widow’s Grove

    As the time of the fall menu nears its end, I feel the need to talk about two of our featured drinks in particular – the previously posted “Haddonfield” and the “Widow’s Grove.”

    These cocktails featured ingredients that are hard to come by in B.C., and we in fact bought up all the remaining supply we could find. The “Haddonfield” employed the Agave De Cortes Anejo mezcal (of which we are down to our last few ounces), and the “Widow’s Grove” requires the St. George Dry Rye gin (which should be back soon!) and the Clear Creek Pear Liqueur. While this latter cocktail is definitely a unique and exciting one, these two ingredients are also worth special mention themselves.

    St. George distillery in Alameda, CA, has been around for over 30 years, one of the few small (or “craft”) operations paving the way for the multitude we have now. They produce a range of spirits but unfortunately we in B.C. have access to only a handful. They have three gins to their name, all very distinct from each other. Their more familiar-style “Botanivore” is the top seller here, the “Terroir” made from California wilderness botanicals is a fan-favourite (and one of THE best old fashioneds you will ever have), but I personally got most excited about the “Dry Rye.” This one starts with an unaged rye spirit base and has a much simpler botanical bill yielding a flavour reminiscent of older styles of gin or even genever. I found it to be a perfect base for a cocktail that on paper seems like it should be made with rye whiskey. I needed something with a little more mouthfeel, some spice, and a unique flavour that would stand out.

    Now Clear Creek distillery in Portland, OR, has been around almost as long. They focus almost entirely on eau de vie (a spirit that unfortunately has never been popular in North America) and use these as a base for their fruit liqueurs as well. Their pear liqueur, which is pricey and in very short supply, starts with their famous poire base in which they soak fresh pears. There are no words to describe how intensely delicious this product is – it’s perfectly balanced.

    Throw in some Amaro Nonino for a little complexity and bitterness and a little Ardbeg 10 Yr Islay Scotch for a smokey finish and you have yourself a “Widow’s Grove.” If you’re intrigued – and you should be – come down and try one soon before we run out of ingredients as this one might not be back again!

     

    And because there always should be, here’s a little music to set the mood:

  • Death Has Come To Your Little Town, Sheriff

     

    The time is upon us! As previously mentioned, I love fall. October is probably my favourite time of the year and I spent this one visiting haunted houses around BC and Washington, eating and drinking anything themed and seasonal, and of course watching a HUGE list of necessary and festive movies.

    If there is one film you simply must watch every October, it’s John Carpenter’s seminal 1978  horror classic “Halloween.” And now you can pair it with the perfect cocktail – the “Haddonfield.”

    Named after the fictional town in Illinois where Michael Myers causes not one but two (and later many, many more) bloodbaths, this drink tastes like it should – strong, smokey, and full of fall flavours.

    This one is an unusual blend of two spirits – Booker’s high-proof bourbon and Agave de Cortes aged mezcal – with Ferrand Dry Curaçao, local stoneground apple cider from Vista Doro winery, and some of my home-made apple bitters.  It’s a dangerous beast, and there is no better to drink to have on a night like tonight. It’s currently featured on our fall menu – but only for so long as we’ve snatched up the only remaining bottles of this particular mezcal left in the province.

     

    If you’re looking for some other fun fall and cocktail ideas, here’s an old list including some classics, some originals from bartenders around town, and some of the worst the internet had to offer for good measure:
    http://and1morefortheroad.blogspot.ca/2012/10/fall-halloween-cocktails.html

    Cheers and Happy Halloween!

     

  • SuspiriaPoster

    Suspiria

    For those of you who don’t know, I’m a bit of a movie nerd. There is probably no better example of this than the fact that most of my cocktails are named after movies, and that I tend to write posts like this one. As we get closer to Halloween I guess it’s a good time to reveal the two festive movie references on our current menu. The first is “Suspiria,” a perfect pre-dinner cocktail with some very complex and unique flavours. It combines my favourite sweet vermouth, Cocchi di Torino, with bright-red bitter Campari, herbaceous Liquore Strega, and a few heavy dashes of the Bitter Truth Creole Bitters then topped with a dry sparkling wine.

    The name is inspired by a few perfectly matched elements.

    First, the ingredients are almost all Italian (though we are using the local Blue Mountain Brut rather than prosecco, but still) and its flavour is reminiscent of the classic Italian aperitivo, the Negroni.

    Second, it has a beautiful rich, red colour (see why this is fitting below).

    And third, Strega means “witch” in Italian. This liqueur (made from over 70 herbs including saffron, fennel, and mint) was supposedly a tonic created by witches in Benevento, Italy – a region rich with legends of witchcraft dating back over 1000 years. Though the production of the liqueur reaches back to only 1860, its history and of course its name are tied closely to these supposed ‘black arts.’ The film after which this cocktail is named follows a young ballet dancer to a European dance school that she soon discovers is run by a coven of witches.

    “Suspiria” (meaning “sighs” in latin) is a 1977 film by Italian horror legend Dario Argento, and has not only some amazing colour and photography but also an iconic soundtrack by the band “Goblin,” who are probably better known for their work on Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead.”

    This was one of if not THE last time that a film was made in Technicolor, which gives a dreamlike and extremely vivid look to the movie. Check out some of the awesome photography below.

    Try one of these witch-concoctions before your next PH meal, it’s a perfect drink for October.