Friday, May 20, 2011

And for your sipping delight we have....The Blinker

This past Wednesday I purchased some Sungold tomato preserves at the Green City Market and couldn't wait to fashion a cocktail using this product.  What I came up with was the Sicilian Sunrise.  I paired the preserves with vodka, a little Cynar (artichoke liqueur) and orange juice with a float of grenadine.  This drink was crazy unbalanced and also gnarly for lack of a better term.  The preserves were good but to sweet for  a savory preparation like a bloody and two weird for something like a balanced cocktail with the preserves.  And folks that is why you always need a BACKUP PLAN.

I also bought some raspberry/strawberry preserves from the good people at Tomato Mountain.  These worked perfectly in the place of raspberry syrup in making one of my favorite classics...The Blinker

The Blinker (this weeks Market cocktail at Henri)

2 Oz. Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey
1 Oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice
barspoonful of Tomato Mountain Raspberry Preserves
shake and double strain into cocktail glass
garnish with grapefruit peel.

Only $10

100% of proceeds go to paying for restaurant overhead and things like....our dishwasher Armando.

Don't let Armando down.

Come in and enjoy The Blinker today!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Second Week at Green City

The weather today...not so good.  But you know what lifts the mood on days like today?  I do.  Bongos in the rain...

Just kidding...bongos have never helped anything.  Same situation as last week: lot's of friendly people, lot's of meats and cheese, and tons of arugula and rhubarb.  Rhubarb is always a cool seasonal option in the kitchen or the bar.  But, it feels like forty degrees and there is a light mist.  I am just not into herbs or rhubarb at the moment.

Enter our friends at Tomato Mountain from Brooklyn, Wisconsin.  Their table was chock full of cool looking preserves.  I scooped up some raspberry/strawberry preserves (for personal use) and some Sungold tomato preserves all certified organic from seasons past.  I am most interested in tasting these Sungold preserves and have already decided to use them in my drink this week.  Tomorrow the Le Marche (or The Market) cocktail will debut on my menu and will change weekly.  Off to the bar to figure out what to do with these preserves and also to start  stocking champagne, wine, liquor, beer, ice, mint, olives, blah, blah, limes, blah...

Cue bongo playing.....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pineapple Caipiroska

Most of ya'll are probably familiar with the Caipirinha made with the Brazilian spirit Cachaca.  The Caipiroska is basically the same muddled drink but made with vodka.  In this version I am also using fresh pineapple because it is a natural partner with sage.  Breakdown:  Muddle four lime slices with three leaves of pungent sage, add a half ounce of pineapple juice, .75 oz of demerara (raw sugar) simple syrup, two ounces of Moon Mountain Vodka  shake and place back into the rocks glass you muddled with.  Usually, a Caipiroska would never get a club soda finish but I like a little bit for texture.  This drink would be ideal for a balmy Chicago May evening, but unfortunately it's like fifty degrees and raining.  After three of these you will not care.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First Day at the Green City Market

May 11, 2011

Sad to say, but today was the first time in eight years that I have shopped the Green City Market in Lincoln Park.  Fortunately, I will be righting this wrong by attending every Wednesday morning from now until it fades away in the fall.  My goal:  To fashion a weekly Farmer's Market Cocktail made with provisions purchased on Wednesday and debuting on my list at Henri every Thursday for the low low price of ten dollars.  A bargain since two of my drinks will usually send you on your way.

Initial GCM  impression....Nice people, cool, laid back setup and a whole lotta arugula and things in jars and not a whole lot else.  There was a variety of produce but kind of scant.  To be fair this season has been whack.  To quote early 90's east coast sewer rap sensation Das Efx "Whickity Whickity Whack".  All Chicagoans have all noted the lack of spring up to this point.  The Green City farmers are quick to note that too.  Dave Drydek of Leaning Shed farms was selling lots of potted herbs, sprouting tomato plants, and potted peppers for growing at home.  According to Dave local chefs have been asking him when certain produce will be ready and he means no sarcasm when he has to respond..."when they're ready."  Things are just gonna be a little later this year.  Which is not to say that what I saw at the market didn't look great it's just that there wasn't a whole lot of it.  I scooped up some potted sage from Dave (He will have bulk sage later this month) and am already thinking about mixing it with genever as I smell it stinking so good on my desk.  As I mentioned, there wasn't exactly an avalanche of fresh produce at Green City today.

However, I've got to give up to the abundance of farms that I found selling eggs, dairy and meat.  A good friend and former co-worker from my Nightwood days, Candace Cantrell now works for Mint Creek farms and was representing beautiful goat, beef, lamb and eggs today.  I can definitely use these eggs for my cocktails later in the season.  Furthermore, shopping at a market means using what is seasonal.  Bacon is always in season.  Bacon has been done in cocktails many what.  Face it, it works (especially with bourbon) and I imagine I will get around to working with it at some point.

But for now a toast to The Green City Market and to a (hopefully) delicious cocktail with Leaning Shed sage.  And now....I begin my Wednesday bar double.  Cocktail recipe tomorrow.