Tag Archives: Cocktails

ALABAMA CHANIN - COCKTAILS AT THE FACTORY - 1

COCKTAILS @ THE FACTORY

Visiting chefs contribute cocktail recipes for our Friends of the Café Dinner series—now in its fourth year—with chef Steven Satterfield.

For The Factory Café’s new Supper Club series (learn more here), our in-house team creates their own unique cocktails. We’re sharing the recipes from our 2017 Harvest Dinner below. Impress friends at your next gathering, or make and shake and bring in another weekend. Either way, cheers.

MUSCADINE VINE

1 oz Muscadine Simple Syrup
2 oz prosecco
3 oz white wine
.5 oz lime juice
Mint for garnish

Yield: 1 cocktail

Mix all ingredients together and garnish with mint.

MUSCADINE SIMPLE SYRUP

Mix equal parts fresh, whole muscadines, granulated sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until muscadines become soft and break open. Remove from heat, strain syrup, and allow to cool completely.

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CIDER SPARKLER

1 part Singin’ River Cider (or your hard cider of choice)
1 part sangria (1 bottle red blend wine, 1 cup orange juice, juice of 1 lime)
1 part prosecco
Cinnamon sugar rim

Yield: 1 cocktail

Moisten and dip the rim of a glass in cinnamon sugar. Add cider and sangria to glass and stir, top off with prosecco.

Stay up to date on all events happening at The Factory on our Events page.

ALABAMA CHANIN - CATHEAD Q + A - 1

CATHEAD DISTILLERY + A COCKTAIL WORKSHOP @ 116

Cathead Distillery has been on our radar for many years. They sponsored one our very first Friends of the Café dinners with Vivian Howard in 2014, and we made a hand-sewn banner for them to use at special events. This spring, we’re partnering with them and Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. for a special Cocktail Workshop on April 13th, as part of The Gathering—our annual community picnic.

We spoke with the team at Cathead to get an idea of why and how the company began, and the importance of Southern arts and humanities in their approach to doing business. Cheers.

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The state of Mississippi was the last state in America to repeal prohibition, waiting until 1966 to make alcohol officially legal. Just over 100 years after alcohol was outlawed, longtime college friends Austin Evans and Richard Patrick founded Cathead Vodka in Jackson, Mississippi. While they are recognized for their passion for distilling, they are also known for their love of live music and Southern culture. When Evans and Patrick created Cathead Distillery, they did not just build a brand of liquor—they built a lifestyle brand.

The Cathead as a form of art supposedly originated with Blues musicians—specifically musician and folk artist James “Son” Thomas, who sculpted cat heads from clay.

AC: Can you explain the name of your company? How does it reflect what you do and who you are? What is a cathead?

CV: The term “Cathead” is a compliment in Mississippi, first coined back in the day by blues musicians as a nod to artists they respected. Mississippi artists and musicians went on to use “Catheads” in many forms of folk art, as a way to pay the rent and share their legacies.

Mississippi is the proud state where blues music began, a genre that has deeply influenced all forms of American music. We work hard to bring honor to the meaning of Cathead through our philanthropic support of live music and artisans alike. Cathead means friendship and respect.

AC: Craft cocktail culture has become the norm in many bars and restaurants across America. How important is that development to Cathead Vodka? And do you see or anticipate cocktail culture becoming too elaborate—more about performance or complexity and less about quality?

CV: The craft cocktail norm, as you say, has been very influential in building our brand. As mixologists, bar and restaurant owners take more pride in what they serve their guests—where it comes from, how it’s made, etc.

I think, or at least would like to think, that a quality-made cocktail will always win in the long haul vs. a trend someone made and thinks is cool but does nothing for the drink itself.

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AC: Your product has extended beyond the classic vodka and into some flavored vodkas and other liquors. How do you select what products to develop next?

Our master distiller Philip Ladner is always coming up with new things, but hopefully, we’re done with flavored vodkas. We have two successful flavors in Honeysuckle and Pecan vodka, but we are actively working on aged juice that’s pretty exciting.

AC: Location is a huge part of who we are at Alabama Chanin. How do your location and your community play into your product and your business model?

CV: Being a southern brand is everything to us. We have no immediate plans to extend our footprint out of the South. More specifically, we are proud to be from Mississippi. There’s a certain stigma being from Mississippi, and we try and change that one pour at a time.

AC: You encourage consumers to “support live music” right on your bottle. Why is that? Is there a connection between music and your brand or your product?

CV: Blues music started in Mississippi—an important piece of our American DNA and simply the roots of modern day music that has influenced pop, jazz, rock & roll, hip-hop and basically everything. By all means possible, we align ourselves with foundations who support live music, genuine arts, and southern culture.

We donate $1 for every bottle of Cathead sold to a music arts or blues foundation in the states we currently have distribution. We partner with organizations like Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Southern Foodways Alliance, Music Maker Relief Foundation, North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, Magic City Blues Society, and New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation.

AC: You founded the Cathead Jam, a music festival in Jackson, Mississippi. When and how did you come up with this idea? And how is it a reflection of your brand?

CV: Again, it goes back to our love of music and the support we try and give to live music. That, and we just want to throw a fun party and have a good time. We always knew we wanted to have different music-type events at our distillery and—moving into a bigger location two years ago—we were able to create the Cathead Jam.

AC: What is the most important thing (if any) that being based in the South or, even more specifically, in Jackson, Mississippi, brings to your products and to your way of doing business?

CV: We are proud of our Southern roots and strive to change the way people may view the South or, more specifically, Mississippi in a negative light. Southern culture and influence mean the world to us and we hope we are changing some views one libation at a time.

Find recipes for a Cucumber Limeade and Blood Orange Pomegranate cocktail with Cathead Vodka on the Journal.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: LATE AUTUMN

HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: LATE AUTUMN

“There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can’t beat the taste of a perfectly ripe pear. When I’m at the market, I hear Emerson in my head reminding me of the short window I have to enjoy them. However, you can get creative with overripe pears to extend their season.

Peel, de-pit, and puree your overripe pears. Blend with a splash of Prosecco. If you have more than one bruised pear, make a big batch of this puree, then put what you don’t use in the refrigerator. (Keeps up to 48 hours.)

Our love for Jack Rudy products is no secret, and the aromatic bitters are key to making this late autumn cocktail taste like it was made by a seasoned mixologist.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: LATE AUTUMN

THE LATE AUTUMN

1 tablespoon pear purée
1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
7 pomegranate seeds for garnish
4 oz. Prosecco
1 dash Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters

Put a dash of Jack Rudy bitters in a 6-oz. glass and swirl to coat the bottom of the glass.

Add the pear purée and pomegranate juice. Swirl around until combined. Pour the Prosecco into the mixture and finish with fresh pomegranate seeds.

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THE SFA GUIDE TO COCKTAILS

For almost 20 years, the Southern Foodways Alliance has studied and shared the narratives of Southern food, its history, and those who make it. They share those stories not only to educate, but to honor and celebrate those who prepare and serve the food. Now, with The Southern Foodways Alliance Guide to Cocktails, they take that same approach to cocktails. As author Sara Camp Milam writes, “What we pour in our glasses, where we do the pouring, and with whom we do the drinking: Those matters reveal truths about our values and our identity in a diverse and changing region.”

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The book contains classic and contemporary recipes from more than 20 bartenders and must meet one or more of the following criteria: 1) they were conceived or popularized in the South; 2) they use Southern ingredients (like Georgia peaches or honeysuckle vodka from Mississippi); 3) they were created or recommended by some of the best bartenders in the region. According to the book’s co-editor Jerry Slater, the book was intentionally arranged with its first ten chapters structured around classic cocktails, moving in order of increasing strength. The sections following include cocktail snacks from chef Vishwesh Bhatt (so you’ll never drink on an empty stomach), lists of tools and glassware, and descriptions of techniques you may need as you expand your cocktail repertoire.

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Overall, the book includes over 80 recipes, each revealing elements of the South’s drinking history – ranging from classic New Orleans traditions, to the impact of religious-based “blue laws”, to the legendary outlaw stories of moonshiners. Each chapter is accompanied by essays on topics like, “New Orleans, Bar City”, “Dance Caves”, and “Bourbon and Gender”.

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Just as with our food, the South’s relationship with drinking is complicated. This book aims to explore and honor each complex element of the past and to examine the future of Southern drinking. Milam hopes that, “After reading this book, and mixing a few drinks, you will know enough spirituous lore to impress friends, family, and barmates.”

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Find The Southern Foodways Alliance Guide to Cocktails in our Holiday Shop and at The Factory Store. ­­­

STRAWBERRY ROSEMARY PROSECCO COCKTAIL

If you ever find yourself with a surplus of strawberries after picking, puree the extra and make a delicious summer cocktail. Any excess puree can also be stored in the freezer for future use; however, strawberry cocktails are popular at my house and there is rarely much leftover puree.

Experiment with any ripe fruit as you progress through the holidays. We’ve shared other strawberry cocktail recipes: Homemade Strawberry “Fruli” and strawberry-tarragon simple syrup with Prosecco. This recipe combines watermelon juice and orange bitters. Garnish with blueberries on rosemary stems for the perfect combination of tart, spicy, sweet, and bubbly.

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ALABAMA CHANIN – SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

Traditional mojitos consist of five ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint. While this cocktail is a popular summer drink, we’ve adapted it to suit our mid-February temperatures (though the weather in Alabama has been all over the place—68 degrees one day, 30 the next).

ALABAMA CHANIN – SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

4 mint leaves
1 teaspoon raw sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 oz Grapefruit Shrub
3 oz Prosecco
Beautiful Briny Sea Orange Chili Sugar

Moisten and dip the rim of a 6 oz. glass in the orange chili sugar.

Muddle the mint, sugar, and lime juice until the sugar is dissolved. Add the grapefruit shrub and stir. Top off with Prosecco.

Garnish with mint and enjoy.

A reminder from our cocktail contributor, Jesse Goldstein: It’s important to add a note here about muddling. All too often I see people pulverizing the mint for mojitos when they simply need to bruise it. Give it a few good presses and that will help release the aromatics without getting bits and pieces floating around.

Find more cocktail recipes on the Journal.

ALABAMA CHANIN – SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: SPARKLY MANHATTAN

HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: SPARKLING MANHATTAN

Our café team continues to create festive cocktails to serve at add to the menu archives for The Factory Café. This cocktail speaks to two different demographics: whiskey drinkers and wine lovers. Follow the recipe below and make your own at home. Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar Syrup and Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters are available for purchase at The Factory.

In this Prosecco cocktail, we channeled the taste of a Manhattan to create a brunch-appropriate drink by using fresh satsuma juice, Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters, and Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar Syrup with a hint of rosemary.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: SPARKLY MANHATTAN

SPARKLING MANHATTAN

2 dashes Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters
2 tablespoons satsuma juice or orange juice
1/5 tablespoon rosemary-infused Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar Syrup
3 oz of Prosecco
Rosemary sprigs

Put 2 dashes of Jack Rudy bitters in a 6-oz. glass and swirl to coat the bottom of the glass.

In a shaker filled with ice, combine satsuma juice and rosemary-infused burnt sugar syrup. Shake until ingredients are mixed together and cold.

Strain the satsuma mixture into the glass, top with Prosecco, and enjoy.

ROSEMARY-INFUSED BURNT SUGAR SYRUP
Muddle 3 rosemary springs with 2 oz. Burnt Sugar Syrup until fragrant. This should make enough infused syrup for 8 cocktails.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: HOLIDAY SUNRISE

HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: HOLIDAY SUNRISE

We’ve been experimenting with seasonal fruits to make holiday cocktails for The Factory Café.  The Holiday Sunrise is made with shrub (drinking vinegars) from our friends at MOTHER shrub. You can also find a selection of MOTHER shrub flavors available from The Factory if you choose to make this simple cocktail at home.

HOLIDAY SUNRISE

2 tablespoons Black Cherry MOTHER Shrub
1 tablespoon orange juice
3 oz Prosecco
Orange wedge for garnish

In a 6-ounce glass, combine shrub and orange juice. Fill the glass with Prosecco and garnish with an orange wedge.

P.S.: Follow @alabamachaninfactorycafe on Instagram for our daily menu and events from The Factory.

THE GRAPEFRUIT MOTHER

If you’ve perused a drink menu in any upscale bar over the last few years, you’ve come across at least one drink made with shrub. Shrub is a mixture of fruit (or ginger), vinegar, and sweetener that was a favored drink among early settlers to the Americas. Read more about Shrubs and Switchels here.

Our friend Meredyth Archer has taken what was once considered a medicinal cordial and created a new line of drinking vinegars called MOTHER shrub.

From her website:

“Meredyth Archer first encountered drinking vinegar as a child growing up in West Virginia, when she would drink a mixture of vinegar and honey with her grandmother. Years later, she came across a recipe for raspberry vinegar in The Old Virginia Cook Book, from the late 1800s, a hand-me-down from her mother-in-law. She remembered the sweet and tart taste from her youth and decided to make a batch. Many shared batches later, MOTHER shrub drinking vinegars was born.”

For our weekly drink special, we’ve chosen Meredyth’s grapefruit-flavored shrub paired with fresh thyme and Prosecco. Join us for Saturday Brunch and a glass (or two) of The Grapefruit Mother at The Factory Café. You’ll also find a selection of MOTHER shrub flavors for sale at The Factory along with a delicious selection our of local, house made fare.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE GRAPEFRUIT MOTHER

THE GRAPEFRUIT MOTHER

2 tablespoons grapefruit shrub
4 drops maple syrup
4 ounces Prosecco
Fresh thyme

In a 6-ounce glass, combine grapefruit shrub and maple syrup. Fill glass with Prosecco and garnish with fresh thyme.

P.S.: If you can’t find a great shrub locally, The Kitchn has a simple recipe for a fruit shrub you can make at home.

BEVERAGES, BUBBLY, AND BRUNCH: THE GINGER

We’ve been playing and experimenting with cocktails for Saturday Brunch at The Factory. This week we’re highlighting one of my favorites, The Ginger, made with Tippleman’s Ginger Honey Syrup.

ALABAMA CHANIN – BEVERAGES, BUBBLY, AND BRUNCH: THE GINGER

Enjoy our recipe. Mix together:

5 ounces of your favorite Prosecco or Champagne
1 teaspoon Tippleman’s Ginger Honey Syrup
1 slice blood orange

Serve in our 6 oz Etched Glasses with an organic cotton Cocktail Napkin.
Enjoy.

See you at Saturday Brunch,
xoNatalie

Photos by Abraham Rowe

TIKI DRINKS

We are now reaching the end of summer, but there’s still time for the beach, pool, and (for those of us with no shame) even yard sprinklers. For the grown ups, it’s a season for what I call “boat drinks”—fruity concoctions filled with rum and other exotic liqueurs—that make you feel relaxed, like you are floating away. Boat drinks—aka tiki drinks—are fantastic for parties because they are playful, but they can be dangerous, especially when the weather is hot. Their sweetness quenches thirst, but also disguises the liquor inside. Too much tiki may equal a headache the next day, if you’re not careful. Jesse Goldstein guides you through all things tiki here. We invite you to try a few, or have a party to test them all out. Still, unless you have an extra day of vacation to recuperate, try not to drift too far away from shore. From Jesse:

I used to think of tiki drinks only as sweet, brightly colored cocktails with paper umbrellas. You know, the kind you would find on cruise ships and poolside bars at resorts? Over the past few years, I’ve learned a lot about what really makes a tiki drink, the crazy history that brought them to life, and how to create my own. As a result, I’ve realized how wrong I was to oversimplify or brush off tiki drinks as unrefined.

To tell the story of tiki drinks, you have to start the tale all the way back in the days of Prohibition, when there was a constitutional ban on selling, producing, importing, and transporting alcoholic beverages. Prior to Prohibition, rum was not that popular here in states—where people more often reached for gin, whiskey and bourbon. And though Prohibition closed the domestic distilleries making most of those spirits, that ban did not apply to our neighboring countries, whose distilleries increased their production to keep up with this new demand. Those Americans who chose to keep drinking had to obtain spirits that were produced illegally and smuggled in from other countries. “Rum runners” introduced the country to a wave of delicious rums from the Caribbean, and the taste for rum was established.

But you need more than just rum to create a tiki drink. You need the mix of Polynesian kitsch and fresh flavor combinations. For that, we have to thank a man named Raymond Beaumont Gantt, more commonly known under the pseudonym Don Beach. He was quite the world traveler and lover of tropical culture. He settled in California with suitcases full of souvenirs from his travels to the islands and a dream of opening a restaurant that brought together creative rum drinks and foods loosely based on Polynesian, Hawaiian, and Cantonese cuisines. This dream became a reality in 1934 when he opened “Don the Beachcomber” in Hollywood, California. The concept was a success and soon others followed his lead, opening new tiki concepts like Trader Vic’s.

As soldiers returned home from WWII, they longed for the flavors of the South Pacific. The entire nation soon developed a romanticized obsession with the tropics, thanks in part to films and music of the day. Trader Vic’s and others opened locations around the country to fill that demand, each trying to outdo the next with elaborate Polynesian structures, décor, and even fake lightning and rainstorms. The competition between these bars was so fierce that unique, top-secret recipes were often written in code to avoid poaching from competitors. Some of these historic recipes are highlighted in Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean, where mysterious sounding ingredients like “Don’s Spices #4” actually refers to cinnamon simple syrup.

But by the mid 1960s, Americans were stunned by the horrors of Vietnam and no longer romanticized wartime images; the idea of pretending to spend your evenings in far away beaches no longer held the mystique it once did. Tiki culture slowly fell out of favor and most tiki bars closed their doors.

Thankfully there’s a resurgence in tiki demand, due in part to the inventive success of bars like Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago and Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles. People are rediscovering the lively world of tiki drinks and seeking them out wherever they go. Of course, traveling to Chicago just to go to a bar doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for most of us, so we’re left to make these cocktails at home. Those of us with the desire to DIY must ask the question “what makes a drink a tiki drink?” A tiki drink is best represented through multiple layers of flavors achieved in three basic categories of ingredients: booze, fruit, and spice.

Though admittedly not all tiki drinks are made with rum, many are. And many of those drinks are not only made with rum, but multiple types of rum. There are recipes that call for two, three, and sometimes even four different rums. Others might use a combination of gin and rum or cognac and liqueurs. The use of more than one spirit helps establish the foundation of flavor in most tiki drinks. It also means that they are often quite potent.

The second essential tiki element is fruit. Tiki drinks are best when made with fresh fruit juices. Obviously many of these are tropical in nature like citrus, pineapple, passion fruit, guava, coconut, and mango. As with the spirits, many recipes require multiple juices for a single cocktail, helping to mask that dangerous potency from all the booze.

But I think the true key to tiki drinks comes in the form the third element, which we’ll call spice. Be it ginger, cinnamon syrup, freshly-grated nutmeg, a dash of bitters, or even a couple drops of almond extract, unique spice combinations were part of how individual tiki bars could differentiate their cocktails from competitors. This addition of spice is an instantly recognizable element in many tiki drinks today.

ALABAMA CHANIN – TIKI DRINKS

Tiki at Home

If you’re looking to create your own tiki drinks, you should start by collecting a few different types of rums. Of course not every tiki drink is made with rum, but if you have good rums you can make a variety of delicious cocktails. Purchase high quality versions of white, dark, spiced, and even flavored rums. Look for rums from Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands. Next, you might want to invest in some of the more unique ingredients like falernum, pimento dram, and orgeat. Falernum is available as both a spirit and a non-alcoholic syrup and is flavored with almond, ginger, nutmeg, and lime. Pimento dram is an allspice liqueur that adds a distinctive flavor to classic tiki drinks like the Voodoo Grog. Orgeat is an almond-flavored syrup that you can buy online, if not at your local liquor store. It’s worth the purchase, as there are literally dozens of classic tiki drinks that call for this ingredient.

Next, you’ll want to do a little prep in the way of syrups. Three of my favorites are a demerara simple syrup made with equal parts demerara sugar and water, a cinnamon syrup, and a passion fruit syrup. I’ve been able to find frozen passion fruit puree in Latin markets and add it to a simple syrup. To make cinnamon syrup, boil a cup of water with a few broken cinnamon sticks. Add a cup of sugar, stir until dissolved and let it sit overnight before straining.

Finally, go get some fresh fruit and juice it. Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit are a great place to start. Fresh pineapple juice requires an electric juicer, so it’s entirely forgivable if you choose to purchase it instead.

When making tiki drinks, I prefer to use crushed ice, as it has more surface area to help cool and dilute the boozy recipes. If you have a Sonic Drive-In near you, they’ll usually sell you a bag of their ice (really!)—it’s perfect for tiki drinks.

Now, on to the cocktails! I offer a few classics, alongside several of my own invention, created to inspire you to get behind the (tiki) bar and play!

ALABAMA CHANIN – TIKI DRINKS

Mai Tai
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
1 oz light Puerto Rican rum
1 oz fresh lime juice
½ oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao (or homemade curaçao)
¼ oz orgeat syrup
½ oz demerara syrup (equal parts demerara sugar and water)
Fresh mint and lime wheel for garnish

Combine all ingredients and shake with crushed ice. Pour entire contents into glass and top with more ice, if needed. Garnish with a sprig of mint and lime wheel.

Zombie
1 oz gold rum
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
1 oz overproof rum
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz white grapefruit juice
½ oz falernum
¼ oz cinnamon syrup
1 barspoon grenadine
Dash Angostura bitters
Fresh mint for garnish

Combine all ingredients and shake with crushed ice. Pour entire contents into glass and top with more ice if needed. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

La Playa Royale
2 oz silver tequila
1 oz white rum
1 ½ oz fresh orange juice
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz cinnamon syrup
½ oz orgeat
Cinnamon stick and strip of orange zest for garnish

Combine all ingredients and shake with crushed ice. Wrap the strip of orange peel inside the glass, pour entire contents into glass and top with more ice, if needed. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

ALABAMA CHANIN – TIKI DRINKS

Sailor Bait
1 oz apricot brandy
1 oz dry gin
1 oz gold rum
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz mango nectar
½ oz orgeat
2 dashes angostura bitters
Wedge of lime
Lemon wheel and cherry for garnish

Combine all ingredients and shake with crushed ice. Pour entire contents into glass and top with more ice, if needed. Squeeze the wedge of lime into the drink and garnish with lemon wheel and cherry.

Coral Reef
2 oz gold rum
1 oz white rum
1 oz melon liqueur
¼ oz pimento dram
¾ oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh orange juice
Orange slice and orchid for garnish

Combine all ingredients and shake with crushed ice. Pour entire contents into glass and top with more ice if needed. Garnish with slice of orange and an orchid blossom if you have one on hand.

Tidal Pool
1 oz Mount Gay Barbados rum
1 oz white rum
1 oz blue curaçao
2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
½ oz falernum
Freshly grated nutmeg
Pineapple wedge and cherry for garnish

Combine all ingredients except nutmeg and garnish and shake with crushed ice. Pour entire contents into glass and top with more ice, if needed. Grate nutmeg on top and garnish with pineapple wedge and cherry.

Passion Poison
1 oz white rum
1 oz gold rum
2 oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz crème de cassis
1 oz black spiced rum
Lime wedge and cherry for garnish

Combine all ingredients except black spiced rum and shake with crushed ice. Pour entire contents into glass and top with more ice if needed. Float black spiced rum on top and garnish with lime wedge and cherry.

SHAKEN + STIRRED

With Father’s Day quickly approaching, this month’s cocktail post from our Nashville-based cocktail expert Jesse Goldstein discusses the importance of an often-overlooked component of boozy drinks—water. Want to know when to shake and when to stir (or the perfect cocktail for celebrating the fathers in your life)? Read on. From Jesse:

It was in 1806 that The Balance and Columbian Repository first defined the word “cocktail.”  Simply defined, it read that a “cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.” For those with a keen eye, you might recognize this as the basic recipe for a classic Old Fashioned cocktail. But what I think of when I read that is what most people take for granted in a cocktail; the water. Besides booze, water is perhaps the most important ingredient in any cocktail, imparted usually through the use of ice. The correct proportion of water in a drink can help make it more palatable. Too much simply waters it down. So how do you get it right?

The key, I’ve learned, is all in preparation. Cocktails are made in more less two manners—shaken or stirred. Yes, there are some that you simply build in a glass, but for the sake of argument, let’s put those in the “stirred” category. With one simple rule, you can look at the ingredients of a cocktail and know which method is preferred.

James Bond always seemed like such a badass when he ordered his “martini, shaken, not stirred.” But what I’ve come to realize is that he was doing it wrong. Of course there’s room for personal preference, but if you’re like me, you like having some rules to go by. So here it is; if a cocktail has fruit juice or syrups, shake it. If a cocktail is only comprised of spirits, you stir it.

ALABAMA CHANIN – SHAKEN + STIRRED

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THE MARGARITA: A PLEA FOR TEQUILA

In this month’s cocktail post, contributor Jesse Goldstein goes deep into the margarita well (or pitcher, as it were). Everyone loves a good margarita on Cinco de Mayo—but here are a few options that will carry you through the rest of the summer in high style. From Jesse:

I catch myself feeling sorry for inanimate things every now and then. You know, the chair in the living room you never sit in, the vegetables people love to hate, and tequila. My sorrow for the latter really comes from how it’s been vilified by memories of college parties gone wrong and bright green, sickly-sweet margaritas served in many restaurants and bars.

I set out on a personal mission to make up for all that disdain and rediscover how good a margarita really can be when made with simple, fresh ingredients and good-quality tequila. In the process, I discovered a variety of ways to punch up this spirited concoction into new drinks. They don’t have to be the color of kryptonite. They can be light, bright, and delicious.

Better yet, these tequila cocktails are the perfect warm weather cocktails. Coupled with bright citrus flavors, they’re barely sweet and easy to make even more refreshing with a splash of seltzer on top.

ALABAMA CHANIN  – THE MARGARITA: A PLEA FOR TEQUILA

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HOT AND COLD TEA COCKTAILS

For this month’s cocktail selection, contributor Jesse Goldstein focuses on something that most Southerners hold dear: a glass of tea. Here he provides us with both hot and cold options that are delicious and simple to prepare—for one or for a whole group.

From Jesse:

When most think of tea and cocktails, the first thing that comes to mind is a good hot toddy. There’s nothing wrong with a classic, but if that’s the extent of your use of tea in cocktails, you’re missing out on a beautiful spectrum of flavors just waiting to be incorporated into all types of boozy beverages.

For me, a great cocktail must have balance. This most commonly comes in the form of balancing boozy sharpness with sugar and citrus, but even that can still fall flat on the palate. Think of a well-balanced cocktail like your favorite meal in a restaurant. The spices and seasonings enhance the main ingredients that make that dish so memorable. When it comes to cocktails, freshly brewed black, green, and herbal teas can impart bright herbal notes and bitter tannins that supplement just a few simple ingredients and compliment many spirits.

If you’ve read the previous blog post, Reclaiming Church Punch, you know that teas have a place in cocktail history. Much like the punches of yesteryear, these new tea cocktails can also be made in large batches for entertaining—or just a lazy weekend afternoon on the porch with friends. Just be sure to always start with fresh, high-quality teas and chill them prior to making iced cocktails.

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HOMEMADE BITTERS (REVISITED)

In December of 2011, we started playing with bitters. Today, we explore how craft meets cocktail with Jesse Goldstein. Read on to learn how to make variations of your own of cocktail bitters and how to use this relatively simple ingredient to add complex layers to your own drinks:

It was in 1806 when the word “cocktail” was first defined in print. The Balance and Columbian Repository of Hudson, NY classified it simply as “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.” Fellow cocktail enthusiasts may recognize this description as what we would call an Old Fashioned today; but it’s that last, often misunderstood, ingredient listed in the lineup that has fascinated me for many years.

The term “bitters” typically refers to alcohol infused with a variety of botanical ingredients resulting in a somewhat bitter or bittersweet taste. There are really two classifications of bitters: digestive bitters like Campari are sipped neat or on the rocks after a meal; concentrated tinctures of cocktail bitters (often referred to as aromatic or potable bitters) like Angostura are used in drops and dashes in many classic and modern craft cocktails. I’ve often referred to bitters as the “salt and pepper” of cocktails, providing amazing depth and flavor that you can’t get from basic booze ingredients alone. But the more I looked into bitters, the more fascinated I became with their history, their variety and, eventually, the process of making them myself.

Though modern Americans are only recently regaining an appreciation of bitterness, our ancestors once embraced the taste of bitter flavors. Bitters were originally developed for medicinal purposes, with a history traced as far back as ancient Egypt. The proliferation of distilled spirits and an obsession with pharmacology led to even more concentrated varieties in the Middle Ages. The use of bitters for ailments continued for generations, often used as preventative medicine for everything from seasickness to heartburn.

Bolstered by the renaissance of craft cocktails, bitters have been gaining steam amongst cocktail connoisseurs for the past few years. The old standbys of Angostura and Peychaud’s have been joined by companies like Hella Bitters, Scrappy Bitters, and The Bitter Truth popping up all over the country—reimagining bitters in small batches with flavors created specifically for cocktails. These purveyors are joining classic bittering ingredients of gentian, quassia bark, dandelion, or wormwood with ingredients more commonly found in your kitchen spice cabinet. But these craft bitters are not cheap, often fetching more than $10 for a single ounce.

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COLLARDS & CARBONARA

Vino or Moonshine? Both, please. Memphis chefs, Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman’s new cookbook, Collards and Carbonara: Southern Cooking, Italian Roots published by Olive Press, showcases their distinctly Southern-Italian dishes—or is that distinctly Italian-Southern dishes? Either way, it’s fusion cuisine with an accent.

The two chefs and best friends opened the upscale Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis back in 2008. After much acclaim, they opened a more casual sister restaurant, Hog & Hominy, right across the street in 2012. The two attended culinary school together in Charleston, South Carolina, and refined their skills in Italy. They compare their partnership to the dynamic of being in a band; they feed off one another for ideas and are always discovering inspiration together. The cookbook is a manifesto of sorts that establishes the greatness of duplicity in heritage cooking. At the root of their success is the fact that they simply love to play and work and learn and cook together. They share their stories revealing the secret to their success and the gospel of food according to these good Italian boys.

Each dish represents a new discovery and a step on their culinary pathway. The funky fusion dishes are as beautiful as they are humble. Warm pig’s ear salad with pears and Gorgonzola, fried green tomatoes with blue crab and bacon jam, gnocchi with caramelized fennel and corn; the pairings may seem unusual, but the flavors make sense together. Recipes for basic dishes like their famous boiled peanuts and pizza dough each have unlikely nuances that bring Italian and Southern American cuisines together.

COLLARDS & CARBONARA

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BUBBLES X 8

In anticipation of upcoming holiday celebrations, we asked Jesse Goldstein, our cocktail contributor, to come up with a couple of new twists on classic sparkling cocktails. Celebrate responsibly and come back for more great cocktail recipes in the new year.

I’ve often said that it’s a shame sparkling wine seems to be reserved for special occasions. Gone are the days that the only options at your local wine shop are cheap, sweet bubbles or expensive French Champagne. These days you can find many amazing (and affordable) varieties of Italian Prosecco, Spanish Cava and California sparklings. Even better, you can also find outstanding rosé varieties, which often have more depth and flavor than their white counterparts.

But just because you’ve got a good bottle of bubbly does not mean there’s no room for improvement. Adding a splash of cordial or a special garnish turns up the flavor of your bubbles and makes it more memorable and delicious for your guests.

Here are a few of my personal favorites.

PROSECCO PUNCH

1 bottle chilled rosé Prosecco
6 cherries (pitted and frozen)
6 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces brandy
1 ounces Cointreau or Grand Marnier

If using fresh cherries, freeze them first. This helps break down the cellular structure of the fruit and makes for better flavor absorption. Place the frozen cherries in a small jar with the pineapple juice, brandy, and Cointreau. Seal and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, mix with the bottle of chilled rosé Prosecco, reserving the cherries to drop into each glass as a garnish.

BUBBLES X 8

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HOMEMADE CURAÇAO

We have reached that time of the year when, even in Alabama, we have to accept that winter has arrived. While there are many things to celebrate during colder months, the early frosts are the hardest to embrace. So, we were excited when guest contributor Jesse Goldstein offered up a bit of a tropical concoction for this month’s cocktail post. Enjoy:

Although I hesitate to admit it, I once thought of Curaçao as the blue stuff that went into supposed “fancy” drinks. Of course, this was in my early college years back when I felt very grown up ordering Rum and Coke. What I’ve learned over the years is that Curaçao isn’t always blue, has an amazing history, and, when made properly, is worthy of even the most discerning palate.

HOMEMADE CURACAO

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LAVENDER-INFUSED VODKA

This month, we offer our second installment on creative cocktails from Jesse Goldstein on the often overlooked of beauty lavender as a flavor. Hopefully you will be inspired to experiment with your own infusions to create spirits with complex, but delicious, flavors.

While the idea of infusing herbs and botanicals into spirits may seem to be more popular these days than taking a “selfie”, the practice is nothing new. Take Chartreuse for example: infused with more than 130 botanicals, Chartreuse has been made by the Carthusian Monks in the French Alps since 1737. But just because infusing is an old idea does not mean that we can’t continue to interpret (and reinterpret) the process to create flavors that are fresh, modern and, most importantly, breathtakingly delicious.

The flavor of lavender has never really caught on in this country, though for centuries it has been used around the world as an herb and condiment. (Please watch Juliette of the Herbs.) While it often finds its way into an abundance of scented candles, lotions, and soaps, all too rarely does it find a home in our food and drinks.

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RECLAIMING CHURCH PUNCH

Today we welcome Jesse Goldstein, one of Nashville, Tennessee’s resident cocktail experts, as a regular contributor to our Journal. Jesse will be sharing stories of Southern culture and the spirits that surround it. Look for a cocktail recipe each month—including traditional mixed drinks and their modern interpretations.

One of my favorite things as a kid was going to the local volunteer fire department potluck suppers with my family. The quilt-covered folding tables were loaded with all sorts of casseroles, gelatin-based “salads”, and sweets that I would never get to eat the like of at home. One of my ultimate treats was what most people in the South like to call “church punch.” This version was made with a combination of ginger ale, pineapple juice, and sherbet and was like drinking pure sugar from the little waxed paper cup. I remember pretending not to love it for my parents’ sake but secretly savoring every sip of the sugary nectar.

Luckily our tastes change as we grow older. These days I prefer my salads without colored gelatin and cringe at the thought of how sweet that punch was. But there is something wonderful about the convivial aspect of a big bowl of punch and there’s no reason it can’t be brought forward to today with a recipe you would be proud to serve—to adults, that is.

Punch has an incredible history that goes back hundreds of years. Long before the invention of the cocktail, spirits were consumed socially in the form of punch. Made in large batches, punches were ideal for celebrations of all sorts. Times have changed, but punches still have a place at a party. All my friends know I’m a big fan of cocktails, but I personally prefer making punches when I’m entertaining. A good batch of punch takes time, effort, and the investment of good spirits that good friends are worthy of.

RECLAIMING CHURCH PUNCH

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SUMMER’S LAST PEACHES (+ A COCKTAIL)

The last day of summer is officially September 22nd, but Maggie started back to school weeks ago. As the long days wind down, we must begrudgingly say farewell to peach season. This year, I found myself with an abundance of peaches throughout the summer. Whenever I swiped the last one from the counter to eat in my oatmeal, another batch would show up on my doorstep. Into the house that bag would come. The moment of anticipation and joy of standing over the kitchen sink—house perfectly silent—and biting into the soft flesh, savoring the moment as juice runs down my arm…for me, this is the essence of summer.

All peach lovers know that peaches develop their sweetness and flavor while on the tree. Once they are picked, they just get softer and juicier. Stay away from peaches that are firm and look for those who yield slightly to gentle pressure. To test firmness, don’t poke the fruit with your fingertip; hold the peach in your whole hand and squeeze gently. Peaches that are green around the stem are not yet ripe; shriveled skin means the fruit is too old. The best test for a peach’s flavor is its smell; a peach will taste almost exactly how it smells.

You can store firm peaches at room temperature. Once they begin to turn soft, put them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator and plan to eat them soon. If you find yourself with too many peaches, you can freeze them (peeled and sliced) and keep them for up to 6 months.

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VIVIAN HOWARD’S CUCUMBER LIMEADE COCKTAIL

A few months ago, I spent a couple of days with friends at Gray Bear Lodge in Hohenwald, Tennessee. While there—in addition to the yoga sessions, sauna time, tub soaks, and hikes—I was treated to a (mini) juice cleanse for a few days. And though I recommend consulting your doctor before embarking on your own juice cleanses, I must say that I walked away from the experience feeling healthy and refreshed.

I returned from my trip, bought a juicer the next day, and it has changed my life. Diann from Gray Bear walked me through the juicing regimen which always seemed a bit complicated and demanding for me.  She taught me to: simplify, use ingredients that I like, experiment with combinations, and taste as I go to come up with an array of variations. “Plus,” she says, “once you have the raw ingredients on hand (and the juicer out and running) make enough for a few days.” While that might not be as good as juicing and drinking right away, this is real life, right?

After a few weeks, I also discovered that these fresh fruit and vegetable juices also lend themselves to delicious cocktails. (However, it should be noted that fresh juice cocktails don’t maintain all of the health benefits of fresh juice alone.) During Vivian Howard’s recent dinner at The Factory, we used my juicer to create the Cucumber Ginger Limeade cocktail that opened the evening. Since the dinner, there have been several requests for the recipe. Break out your juicer (but juice—and drink—responsibly).

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BLOOD ORANGE POMEGRANATE COCKTAIL

Ever since I read about classic Southern drinks in the latest issue of Garden & Gun, I’ve been craving a crisp, refreshing cocktail. We’ve shared some grenadine-inspired libations before and, in keeping with that theme (and continuing our love affair with Jack Rudy’s Small Batch Grenadine), we created a blood orange-infused pomegranate cocktail.

Boasting a deep and rich citrusy flavor, blood oranges are considered to be among the finest dessert oranges in the world and are at their seasonal peak right now. These oranges are quite sought after by most bartenders—they are only ripe for a few months each year. The perfect pairing with a range of spirits, we chose to mix ours with Cathead Vodka.

Tip: Blood oranges will only last a couple of days at room temperature, so we suggest refrigerating them; they will last up to two weeks that way.
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GARDEN & GUN DRINKS

These days it’s rare that I get the chance to sit down and read. Between second grade homework and taking out the compost (which seems an endless—and perpetually thankless—chore), my days don’t involve moments to sit, read, and ponder. In fact, “pondering” seems to have become a lost art in our busy, busy, busy (badge of honor) lives.

GG03-W

So, it was with relish that between listening to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” played on our new piano (43+ times—right hand, left hand, right hand, left hand, and one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four…) and watching Spy Kids: All The Time In The World, I was able to thoroughly read the new Garden & Gun magazine—cover to cover. And what an issue it is: Patterson Hood, Do-It-Yourself Moon Pies (more on this story next Wednesday), and Classic Southern Drinks (my personal favorite).

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A CHATTANOOGA WHISKEY COCKTAIL

In anticipation of tomorrow evening’s opening exhibit of our BBQ’ed Dresses Collection at Warehouse Row in Chattanooga, Tennessee, we mixed up a celebratory cocktail. Our friend Brooks Reitz of the Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. sent us a few more bottles of his Small Batch Tonic for the event, and the Chattanooga Whiskey Co. is providing the booze, so we mixed the two together, plus a touch of lemonade for sweetness, and found ourselves in a dreamy barbeque state of mind.

A CHATTANOOGA WHISKEY COCKTAIL

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ALABAMA SOUR COCKTAIL

A couple months ago, we launched a line of cocktail napkins made with our 100% organic cotton jersey and printed with the Alabama Chanin logo. We also shared a new favorite cocktail: our version of a Maiden’s Blush. Friend Brooks Reitz of the Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. sent us some of his small batch grenadine, which set off a quiet frenzy of cocktail experiments and creations around the studio. We work hard, and we like our rewards.

Our latest grenadine-inspired libation is the Alabama Sour (with a Sunrise flare). It’s a twist on the classic New York Sour Bon Appetít shared in April 2013. The classic recipe calls for an ounce of red wine floated atop the whiskey sour. We opted for Brooks’ sweet, yet tart, pomegranate-based grenadine instead of wine. Grenadine is denser than whiskey, causing it to settle on the bottom of the glass, hence the vibrant red, sunrise effect. Over ice, it’s a perfect early-summer evening quaff. We love it.

ALABAMA SOUR COCKTAIL

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MAIDEN’S BLUSH (AND COCKTAIL NAPKINS)

We’re not quite in the cocktail business (yet), though we seem to be sneaking behind the bar more and more lately. Our collaboration with Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. brought about the Jack Rudy Bar Towel, which we featured early last month along with the Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic, both available for purchase on our website.

Last week, our friend Brooks Reitz of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. sent us a beautiful, hand-written thank you note, along with a bottle of their newest creation – Small Batch Grenadine. Handcrafted in Napa Valley, the grenadine arrived just in time for our latest addition: the Alabama Chanin Cocktail Napkin.

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JACK RUDY PINK GIN + BAR TOWEL

This post published last Wednesday in the midst of technical difficulties that lasted more than a week. We are deeply proud of this collaboration, adore all things Jack Rudy, and want to be sure that everyone gets a chance to meet Brooks up-close (or at least closer). Here we re-publish  the story, giving the Pink Gin it’s due.  Besides, it’s a good week for everything we (heart):

Since we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, it’s only natural to throw a cocktail in the mix. And so, in keeping with the season’s color palette, I’m drinking a Pink Gin and Tonic made with Jack Rudy Handmade Tonic.

Alabama Chanin loves Jack Rudy and we have used it in several cocktails, from a rosemary-infused Vodka & Jack Rudy to our Handmade Cocktail made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka. We collaborated with Brooks Reitz, one of the creators of Jack Rudy, to design a hand-stitched 100% organic cotton French Terry bar towel especially for Jack Rudy enthusiasts.  Our Jack Rudy-inspired bar towels are available on our website, and you can also choose to bundle them with a bottle of Jack Rudy Handmade Tonic (bring your own gin).

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ROSEMARY VODKA

Everything from roasted potatoes to strawberries and Prosecco  (sometimes in the same meal) have been flavored by my rosemary plants; I have been known to make flower arrangements (and wreaths) from the fragrant leaves and drink rosemary infused tea at the same time.  And while I use rosemary year-round, this evergreen bush is readily available in the deep of winter, when all the other herbs have died back. Perhaps for this reason, there is something about the flavor of rosemary that just feels like the holidays.

Rosemary flavored vodka has recently become a bit of a staple amongst our friends. It’s easy to make and looks absolutely beautiful when you include a fresh sprig for garnish. It’s been tested and approved in a modified screwdriver: just mix 1 ounce of rosemary vodka with the juice from one orange and serve over ice.  Rosemary vodka is also delicious with a bit of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic or in your favorite Bloody Mary recipe, but the possibilities are endless. If you have a great idea for a rosemary cocktail, be sure to let us know in the comments section.

Make extra of this easy infusion for your upcoming holiday gifting.

Homemade in three days—can’t beat that.

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MORE GINGER

In March, Kristy shared a few of her favorite simple syrup recipes, which are a flavorful way to smooth your favorite cocktails.

Though gin is not my spirit of choice, the ginger and mint made this by far my favorite drink of the summer. As posted this morning, I have a particular love for ginger and I love to put a splash of this ginger syrup into a glass of Prosecco.

KRISTY’S GINGER + MINT + GIN

Ginger is such a versatile flavor that plays well with almost any spirit. This recipe uses it in a refreshing cocktail that’s great for welcoming summer.

For the ginger syrup:

1 medium piece ginger root, peeled and cut into ½ inch discs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup water

Combine the ingredients in a pot and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 more minutes. Strain off the ginger with a fine mesh strainer and set aside. Cool the remaining syrup.

For the cocktail:

1 ½ ounces gin (I prefer Hendrick’s for this cocktail.)
¾ ounce ginger syrup
1 large sprig fresh mint, stem included
Juice of 1 lemon
½ ounce spring water

Combine ingredients in a shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

MAKESHIFT 2012: CRAFTING DESIGN + A BLOODY MARY

We finished our week of MAKESHIFT with Crafting Design, a chair workshop hosted at Partners & Spade in New York City.

From the New York Times piece “Pull Up a Chair, Then Fix It” by Andrew Wagner:

“Last Saturday, as part of a conference called MakeShift, Natalie Chanin, the founder of the fashion label Alabama Chanin, held a workshop to rehabilitate some of these castoffs at Partners & Spade on Great Jones Street. The event, which she called Crafting Design, was dedicated to resurrecting the bent, twisted and broken remnants of what the poet David McFadden has described as ‘the most ubiquitous and important design element in the domestic environment’: the chair.”

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DIY BEER COCKTAILS

For me, the warmer, sunny days of spring mean patio lounging and a cold, crisp beverage. It’s during this season that beer spikes in popularity in my house, becoming my libation of choice. But cracking a cold one doesn’t necessarily mean simply turning up the bottle or emptying its contents into a cold mug. On the contrary, beer cocktails are excellent thirst quenching alternatives to other mixed drinks. They offer a refreshing effervescence and lower alcohol content, perfect for springtime afternoon sipping. Below you will find our take on some classic beer cocktails and styles. Beer purists may wish to read no further.

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THE JULIAN

I’ve been trying my hand at making the perfect Old-Fashioned Cocktail for our Visiting Artist Series tomorrow evening, and my friend Angie Mosier suggested that I try The Julian, Julian Van Winkle’s version of the Old Fashioned. Created by Sean Brock at HUSK in Charleston, South Carolina, the drink highlights the – now famous – bourbon founded by Julian Van Winkle’s grandfather, “Pappy” Van Winkle. Pappy started his family business in the 1870’s and was the creator of their original wheated bourbon recipes that are still used and aged today.

The Old-Fashioned happens to be Faythe Levine’s drink of choice, so I thought – what better time to showcase my new-found knowledge on homemade bitters and use the Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon so graciously sent to us by Julian at the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

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KRISTY + HER COCKTAILS

If there’s one thing that rivals my love for creating a delicious, soulful meal, it’s mixing a good cocktail. I’ve enjoyed the classic cocktail revival that’s swept through restaurants and bars, as well as the focus on fresh, seasonal cocktail ingredients. But, as much as I like to travel and seek out mad-scientist mixologists and their latest creations, there’s a special pleasure that comes from mixing cocktails in the comfort of my home, sharing them with friends on the back porch or around the kitchen table.

One of my favorite ways to spice up a cocktail is by adding an infused simple syrup. Syrups are quick, easy, and affordable to make and are good for the at-home cocktail party because most of the preparation can be done in advance. I think of flavors that I like to use together when cooking, such as lemon and thyme or blackberry and sage, then simmer these ingredients with sugar-water and incorporate the resulting syrup with a complimentary spirit. Straining off the ingredients you are infusing will allow the syrup to last longer, up to a month in the refrigerator. Below are some simple cocktail recipes using infused syrups:

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BITTERS

A month ago I was totally intimidated and scared of bitters, what they were, and how to use them. A recent encounter changed that.

It all began with a cocktail drink at Patois in New Orleans.  The beautiful drink menu started off with a lovely champagne cocktail that was something like this: Champagne, Cointreau, Orange Bitters and a twist of orange.  Sounds simple right?

I turn to Nathalie and Brett and ask, “What exactly IS Orange Bitters?” I am not the biggest fan of orange-infused anything and I wanted to be SURE to make the best of the most delicious cocktail that evening. Drew explained that bitters are essentially any fruit or spice marinated in 100% Pure Grain Alcohol. Nathalie added, “You can make it yourself.”

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ALABAMA ROYALE

I have been taste testing tonight for our Holiday Market and cocktail party this Thursday evening. Come by The Factory to visit with great artists and musicians and, of course, to try my Alabama Royale:

Fill glass with Belstar Prosecco
Add two wedges of organic lemon
Drizzle with a teaspoon of Elderberry Syrup

Sip + enjoy (responsibly).

Thank you to Brian Herr with International Wines in Birmingham for the lovely Belstar Prosecco!
xoNatalie

SERVING TONIGHT: THE HANDMADE

Made (and Grown) in the USA:

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic
Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Lemon Verbena – from my garden (and thanks to  Angie Mosier)

My friend John T. Edge – the man who understands everything culinary and loves “liquor and its accompaniments” – wrote yesterday of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic: “Just told Blair I want some for Christmas…”

Combine with Tito’s Handmade and drink responsibly…

Also in the picture at top:

Limited Edition Commune DesignHEATH Ceramics Bowl and Clemson Spineless dried okra – from my garden.

xoNatalie

3 APERITIVI

I thought a lot about what I would drink once my cleanse was over, and I could have alcohol in my life again. I’m a lover of white wine, but just before my cleanse started I was introduced to the world of vermouth cocktails by a talented barkeep at Blackberry Farm. In July, he served me up a simple drink so light and summery that I can’t stop thinking about it.

I’ve always kind of thought of vermouth as that terrible stuff in some grandmother’s liquor cabinet that no one ever touched. But it turns out there are lots of delicious vermouths that, when mixed with fresh fruit juice and soda, compose a cocktail more refreshing (and sometimes lower in alcohol) than the lightest white wine. Perfect for cooling off in the evenings.

Because I’m new to these, I got a primer from a friend of mine in the booze business. Here’s what I learned:  Vermouth and many other “aperitivi” almost always come from France or Italy. They are usually fortified wines infused with herbs, roots and barks. They can be sweet or savory; every house has a different style. And because they are so flavorful on their own, you usually only need very simple mixers to create a complex tasting cocktail. Oh, and one more tip: for best results, store in the refrigerator and drink them within a month or so. They are not that much stronger than wine, so they will spoil.

Here are some recipes I’ve been playing with. Don’t be too literal with them. Just trust your gut and blend to taste.

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THE DAY AFTER THE LONGEST DAY

NATALIE’S PLUM DELIGHT

1 shot vodka
6 crushed plums
Splash of cranberry juice
Splash of fresh lemon juice
Lemon basil
Ice

Porch.

ALABAMA LEMONADE

I have been remiss in posting this last week. In all honesty, this heat has made me a little slow.

The interview with Roman (see post below) is coming; please be patient with me.

To this extreme heat, add the fact that my (baby) Maggie starts school tomorrow. It seems hard to believe that time passes so quickly – even when you savor every moment, it flies. Seems like just yesterday…

Well, my mind has been elsewhere this week.

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