What are we doing this weekend?

Friday…

Get your favorite mom out of the house and check out some live music. Seriously–we have the luxury of living in the midst of a vibrant arts community with more live music than you shake a drumstick at! If you plan your evening correctly, you can sing along to a country trio AND shake your booty to some funky dance music. For more info on all your music opportunities, check out http://www.musicbham.com.

Saturday…

Get your bad self to Saturn and remember why you love everything that comes out of New Orleans. Tank & the Bangas won the Tiny Desk competition on NPR; now they’re bringing the beat to Birmingham. Is it funk, soul, or hip-hop? Or all of the above? Decide for yourself for a measly $12 Saturday night.  http://www.saturnbirmingham.com

http://www.tankandthebangas.com

Sunday…

Duh! Get your sorry butt up and take your mom to brunch!

Approachable: de-coding the craft cocktail

Spirit of the Season: May 2017

She comes in all shapes and sizes. She inspires musicians to write songs, producers to make movies, and scientists to conduct studies. She has been compared to various members of the animal kingdom–bears, tigers, and elephants. Restaurants, boutiques, and novels are named after her. She is all at once, warrior, nurturer, and manager. Merriam-Webster defines her as “a female parent… a woman in authority… source or origin… something that is an ultimate example of its kind.” She is all of those things and more and so warrants a holiday in 46 countries around the globe. A few hundred synonyms exist for her, but in the South, she’s simply known as “Mama.”

Most mamas, biological or chosen, fall in love with their babies as soon as they know about them and expend a lifetime of energy and resources caring for them. Over the years, mother-child relationships evolve, and grow, from caregiver, to mentor, to friend. Mamas unapologetically sacrifice so much for the benefit of their families and the world.

But of all mom’s contributions, her most cherished gift is her priceless counsel. Mamas cry countless tears and talk you through your best and worst moments. No matter the situation, she always has just the right words to make it all better. Ask any southerner for advice, and they’ll be quick to share something “Mama always said.” So, while she usually only gets one day, this year, let’s extend the celebration. Listen when she speaks, send her hand-written notes, take her out to eat. And for heaven’s sake, call your mother!

Sage Advice

1 ½ cups Tito’s Handmade Vodka

½ cup Dolin’s Blanc Vermouth

½ cup sage syrup*

1 pint of fresh strawberries

Sparkling water

Slice strawberries and muddle in the bottom of the pitcher. Pour in vodka, vermouth, and sage syrup. Add sparkling water to taste. Chill and/or pour over ice. Garnish with sage leaves.

*Bring equal parts of sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add a handful of fresh sage, and let the mixture continue to boil for another minute. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool/steep for 30 minutes. Strain into a re-sealable glass container (like a mason jar) and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Photography by Liesa Cole.

Ingredients courtesy of Lou’s Pub & Package Store

 

Approachable: de-coding the craft cocktail

Photo by Liesa Cole

Spirit of the Season: January 2017

Bright lights come on, confetti is swept away, and leftovers are stored. Every outfit was a knockout, every joke was a hit, and every dish a triumph. Or perhaps not, but the page in the calendar turns anyway. So, the holiday hangover begins. The new year promises to bring challenges, which can be met with discontent or anticipation—the crucial difference between the two is perspective. Too often, well-meaning people make grand resolutions in January, only to abandon them by February. But, the most successful individuals favor authentic commitments with realistic plans to follow. Then, they have the audacity to achieve their own personal goals, ideals, and dreams.

This cocktail is the namesake of The Sunrise Ruby by Rumi and personifies how diligence can evoke grace and refreshment from unexpected ingredients, just like the beginning of a new year.

“The ruby and the sunrise are one. Be courageous and discipline yourself. . . Work. Keep digging your well. . . Water is there somewhere. Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door. Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there.”

In poetry, cocktails, and life, the balance of unexpected ingredients can create surprising and fulfilling results.

Sunrise Ruby

1½ oz. 27 Springs gin

1 ½ oz. ruby red grapefruit juice

¾ oz. rosemary syrup*

3 oz. Trimtab IPA

lemon peel

rosemary sprig

Pour all liquid ingredients over ice into a Collins glass. Rub lemon peel around the rim of the glass, twist, and drop into the drink. Strip bottom half of rosemary sprig and use as garnish.

*This rosemary syrup is simple to make. Sneak into your neighbor’s yard, scissors in hand. Clip some fragrant rosemary sprigs and slip, unnoticed back into your kitchen. Keep some syrup in a mason jar in the fridge to liven up your lemonade, iced tea, or morning cocktail.

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

handful of fresh rosemary clippings

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, pour over rosemary sprigs, and allow to cool and steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain to remove rosemary sprigs and store in a sealable bottle in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Approachable: de-coding the craft cocktail

Photos by Liesa Cole

Spirit of the season: December 2016

As the holiday season approaches, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of the season and miss the most beautiful parts–obsessing over the perfect gifts, decorations, and parties.  Well-meaning revelers eat too much, spend too much, and worry too much.  In the hustle and bustle, exhaustion replaces true spirit of the season.

The holidays should be about taking a break from daily routine to regroup, refresh, and remember the important things in life. The lights twinkling on the tree, the fire crackling from the hearth, and mom’s latest masterpiece baking in the oven—all impart the sweet traditions of holidays past and bring the comfort and joy of this time of year.  The best wintry cocktails are boozy, yet balanced, and invoke peace and goodwill with every sip.

Cocktailing, whether creating or imbibing, should be simple but memorable.  The best drinks are approachable like comfort food–accessible ingredients, reproducible recipes, nostalgic flavors.

Ginger Takes Manhattan

1½ oz. Maker’s Mark (or your favorite bourbon)

¾ oz. Byrhh Grand Quinquina

¾ oz. gingerbread syrup*

1 tsp. of dark cherry juice

couple dashes of bitters

Pour all ingredients into mixing glass, add ice, and stir.  Then strain over fresh ice and garnish with a dark cherry.

*This gingerbread syrup is so easy to make with components you probably already have in your spice rack.  Keep it in the fridge to jazz up your nightcap or label it with a pretty tag for the perfect last-minute gift.

1 cup water

1 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. molasses

3 2-inch pieces of peeled ginger root

1 cinnamon stick

4 cloves

pinch of nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover for 20 minutes. Remove ginger and cinnamon stick and discard.  Pour mixture through a mesh strainer or layer of cheesecloth. Store in a resealable bottle in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

Approachable: de-coding the craft cocktail

Photo by Liesa Cole

Spirit of the season: March 2017

“Beware the Ides of March,” the soothsayer cautioned Julius Caesar, in one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. When the Bard dramatized Caesar’s dismissal of all warnings and subsequent assassination, he forever etched the date in the pages of literature and history. Raids, cyclones, and blizzards–all sorts of disasters have befallen many peoples at this time of year. Throughout the ages, the Ides of March have marked calendars with calamity and evoked a sense of foreboding.

But March also brings the promise of a new season–the sun appears, temperatures rise, and flowers bloom. The birds raise their voices, the trees begin to bud, and the air is somehow sweeter. After the Ides have come and gone, it’s time to look past the barren winter, and anticipate the arrival of spring. As winter melts away, escape the grip of the past and look forward to longer, brighter days. In the spring, the earth enjoys renewal, beauty, and youth. As the pages turn in the calendar, close old chapters and greet fresh opportunities. Learn new skills, un-clutter living spaces, and push boundaries.

This effervescent cocktail features Italian ingredients reminiscent of Caesar’s culture. Chilled Prosecco and bittersweet Aperol accented with ginger candy and blackberries remind us to turn from the cold winter and dance optimistically into the warmth of spring.

Ballerini

3-4 pieces of candied (crystallized) ginger

3-4 blackberries

1 oz. Aperol

1 oz. San Pellegrino

3 oz. Prosecco

Cut candied ginger into slivers and drop into the bottom of a wine glass or champagne flute. Add Aperol, San Pellegrino, and fill with Prosecco. Add fresh or frozen blackberries on top.

Ingredients courtesy of Lou’s Pub & Package Store.

What are we doing this weekend?

Magic City Art Connection

FIND ART. APRIL 28-30, 2017. LINN PARK. 10-6 FRI & SAT, 10-5 SUN

This weekend, we’ll be exploring Linn Park to see, sample, taste, and purchase all kinds of fresh goodness from some amazing artists. Magic City Art Connection showcases the talents of over 200 artists (local and national). And don’t forget about my favorite part, Corks & Chefs*, where we will get to see all our restaurant and beverage friends. We can’t wait to try what the chefs are cooking up and wash it all down with some great local spirits. So meet us downtown all weekend for live music, hands-on art for the kids, sculpture installations, and delicious local food and drink. Check out www.magiccityart.com for a comprehensive list of all artists, directions, and other info.

*Featured Local Restaurants for Corks & Chefs

SATURDAY

BarVino
SUNDAY

Avondale Brewing Company
Good People Brewing Company
Trim Tab Brewing Company
Fairhope Brewing Company