Maybe it’s the below-average temperatures this summer, or maybe I’m already looking forward to fall, but lately I’ve been intrigued by bars and restaurants using warm ingredients in unusually refreshing ways.
By warm, I don’t mean hot. I mean rich, comforting, spiced. Don’t call it a trend, but I’ve perceived a bit of a … well, a popular concept. That’s easy to do when you have companies like Art in the Age making liquors out of sage, root, rhubarb and gingersnap. The challenge is crafting the right recipe around a savory spirit. Enter the Canton Hooch, Farmstead Grill’s seasonally shape-shifting cocktail.
The brand-new (it opened in June) Canton Crossing restaurant is big on farm-to-table fare. Similarly, its cocktail program infuses fresh, thoughtful ingredients into unique concoctions.
Nearly all 11 Farmstead cocktails incorporate an unexpected ingredient. But for all the bells and whistles and creativity, I was most attracted to the Canton Hooch. No, not because I was secretly hoping I was going to be served some sort of locally sourced bathtub gin, as the name implies. But because of its simplicity: gingersnap liqueur shaken with fresh peach juice and spiced syrup.
The SNAP brand liqueur in the Hooch is a treat all its own, with a refined, sophisticated taste one doesn’t expect to get in a summer drink. Organic, it’s made with hearty blackstrap molasses and fresh ginger — no added sugar. That’s important to note, particularly if you’re used to ginger ales or beers that tend to have a processed, saccharine twang.
Instead, the ginger retains an earthy flavor. Alone, that doesn’t complete the refreshing cocktail you’re craving in August. So how smart of Farmstead to incorporate the sunshine of peach juice to mix it up? House-made spiced simple syrup provides even more lightness to balance the rooty base.
Travis Pedley, general manager, noted that fresh juices play a large role at Farmstead — you can get non-alcoholic mixed juices at the adjacent Farmstead Shack, a quick-order version of the restaurant.
Find me a way to smuggle out the Canton Hooch in a to-go cup. There might not be a more surprisingly light taste of summer around.
How to Make the Canton Hooch
2 parts SNAP
2 parts fresh peach juice
1 part ginger infused simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a pint or highball glass over ice and garnish with an orange wedge.
Where to Get the Canton Hooch
3721 Boston St., Canton
John Nye and head bartender Oscar Bernal from Driftwood Kitchen stopped by KCAL9 Tuesday to talk about their summer cocktails and food specials.
Driftwood Kitchen opened earlier this summer in Laguna Beach and focuses on California cuisine that’s inspired, yet prepared simply, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and the ocean that’s right in their backyard.
Here are some of the cocktails they shared:
SALAD BAR -Kale, red pepper, Sage Liquor, Lemon Sour
THE PASSIONATE ONE – Hendrick’s gin, aperol, st. germain, lemon sour, passion fruit puree, prosecco
UPSIDE-DOWN 42 “CADDY” – Contreau noir, don julio 1942 anejo tequila, lime juice
SEAWORTHY – Sailor jerry rum, strawberries, lemon sour, basil
HIGH TIDE – Dikel 8 rye, fresh pineapple, ginger, lemon sour, mint
Bet you could tell where we’ll be this weekend just by reading today’s headline.
That’s right, people. This Saturday and Sunday, UNIQUE LA’s Summer Market gets underway!
We’ve handpicked a few things from the 350 vendors that will be displaying their made in the USA wares (see above). Want to see more? Check out the show’s lookbook here.
As for the details, we got ‘em! And here you go:
Cost: $10 at the door (cash only), Kids 12 and under are free.
• The first 5000 ticket buyers each day get a limited edition cotton tote bag from our artist series
• Unlimited re-entry for both days
• Free drinks from JOIA All Natural Sodas, Honest Tea, GT’s Kombucha, Art in the Age and more!
• Free snacks from KIND Bars, Cookie Chips and LUNA!
• DIY craft projects all weekend long in The DIY Den!
• Free photo booth portraits and a print at the Oh Snap Studios Photo Booth
Where: The Penthouse at California Market Center, 110 East Ninth St.
Hours: 11am-6pm (both Saturday & Sunday)
Parking: There is secure, underground parking at the California Market Center for a $6 flat-rate during Unique LA. There are also numerous outdoor parking lots surrounding the building.
Hotel Partner: The Ace Hotel DTLA – use the code “UNIQUE” to get 10% off when you make your reservation, click here to read why we love the brand-new hotel!
Gather Journal + Space 15 Twenty invite you to celebrate the spring/summer desert-inspired “Caravan” edition of Gather Journal with sips, bites and tunes.
Thursday, August 7th 6-9pm
Gift bags for the first 20 arrivals
x Michele Outland + Fiorella Valdesolo
Photograph by Gentl and Hyers. Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis.
. . .
1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd.
LA, CA 90028
I had the decided pleasure of being asked to lead, in part, an amazing and talented team to create a dreamy, bucket-list-worthy evening for fans ofElizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) at the Woodlands in Philadelphia. Normally an outdoor event in August is a dance with the devil here in Philadelphia, but this particular Sunday evening held a cool, delicate, fragrant breeze in the air and the perfect soft light dancing through the tree branches. It was pure magic.
The Woodlands is a property near-and-dear to my own heart. So many great memories have been made there. I coordinated my very first photo shoot here after a friend introduced me to the space, and I fell in love with its rich history and vibrant heartbeat. The Woodland’s energetic Director, Jessica, has made this once-derelict property a new hub for “community” in every sense of the word. She’s working tirelessly to bring the Woodlands to the forefront of many folks’ minds and raise funds to restore its amazing buildings and tell its engaging story.
I’m not the only one smitten with the peeling paint and crumbling stone in this special space. Elizabeth Gilbert was searching for a setting for her most recent book, The Signature of All Things, about two and a half years ago. She’d toured just about every historical property in Philadelphia (and there are many!), seeking inspiration, and, in her own words, “barked with joy” when she pulled up to the Woodlands’ mansion. So many of the key settings in the book — the sweeping front lawn for the fete, the columned portico, the gracious mansion, the binding closet (!!), Alma’s moss study in the stables — are very real spots at the Woodlands!
Recently, an donor stepped forward and offered to contribute a very sizable sum to help restore the beautiful, yet crumbling, old stables if the Woodlands could raise matching funds. The idea of a very special dinner with Elizabeth Gilbert seemed the perfect opportunity to kick off this tremendously important fundraising effort. And so many fans of Elizabeth’s (and of Alma, the book’s main character) showed their marvelous support, some flying in from as far as California to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I really had a blast dreaming up the perfect decor for this evening. The book is, after all, one focused on botanical adventures. I also knew that Elizabeth is an avid gardener and a fan of loose, wild and wispy things. Moss is Alma’s main pursuit so of course moss was strewn everywhere at the event. We had a blast tucking in little details like poppy pods, skeletonized leaves, and odd-looking calendula seeds among the feathery runner of green. The flowers were all grown at our farm of course and really were the perfect snapshot of high-summer blooms in all their beauty.
Perhaps the best compliment I have ever been paid in this line of work: When Elizabeth and I were introduced early in the evening and she was told I was responsible for the flowers and the look for the whole shindig, she immediately threw her arms around me in the biggest hug and jumped for joy (at the same time), shouting “Thank you, thank you, thank you! It’sperfect!” A girl could get used to this!
I am so grateful to the amazing team that brought it all to life. Birchtree Catering created the most creative, beautiful, and delicious meal (Chef Rasa is truly a rock star!). Maggpie Vintage Rentals provided the perfect tables, chairs, bar, and greenhouse props and styling to make it feel like we were truly transported to fictional White Acre for the evening (our flowers should always be so lucky as to live on a Maggpie farm table!). Art in the Ageliquored us up with some lip-smacking botanical cocktails that left no hangover (must be the detoxing effect of the herbs). Emily Wren/The Little Photo Booth captured all the details and candid moments (I’m positive her images are gonna be way better than mine,and I can’t wait to share!). And Weckerly’s made sensational seasonal frozen treats that were the perfect ending to the perfect evening! And I’m also very grateful for the help of Lindsey and Amy on my own crew for the evening.
I’ll take collaborations like these any day!!!
If you haven’t visited the Woodlands, please make sure you do! And if you are a fan of historical properties and preserving their important stories for generations to come, please consider donating (even a small amount) to the Woodlands so they can reach their super important fundraising goal. You can follow this link to make a donation online — easy peasy! When you make your donation, please put “Love ‘n Fresh Flowers — Stable Restoration” in the comment box and we will match your donation in full!!
August 6 marks National Root Beer Float Day and the only thing I love more than the dessert beverage is the idea of turning it into a boozy one. Fortunately our friends over at Loft & Bear artisanal vodka were one step ahead of me and created one at their downtown Los Angeles distillery, naturally calling it the RootBEAR Float (I also love a good play on words). Let’s just say I know what I’ll be drinking tonight.
In July, Bittered Sling Extracts creators and co-proprietors Jonathan Chovancek and Lauren Mote travelled to New Orleans to take part in the annual Tales of the Cocktail festival. Here is Chovancek’s diary from The Big Easy:
July 25, 2014:This was our fourth time taking part in Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC), with two “Tales On Tour” events in Vancouver and one incredible trip to Buenos Aires already on our resume. This year we threw a Disco Inferno; a ‘saloon on the move‘ tasting room event which played on the excitement of the nightclub and funk era of the 1970s mixed with our signature brand ofBittered Sling action.
Our Canadian crew was spectacular, representingToronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. With returnees Evelyn Chick (Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar), Grant Sceney (Fairmont Pacific Rim), Danielle Tatarin (Keefer Bar) and Robyn Gray (Reflections) as well as Bittered Sling newbie but TOTC veteran Robin Goodfellow (Bar Isabel), we brought some coast-to-coast camaraderie from the True North to the Deep South.
Lauren developed a trio of cocktails and famed cocktail consultantCharlotte Voisey (William Grant’s, NYC), Freddy May of Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whiskey and Brian Bartels of New York’s Fedora contributed a recipe each too. We wanted to give TOTC attendees a chance to dance, drink, sample and take our whole ‘psychedelic saloon’ experience back home with them too so the cocktails needed to be both in “to order” samples and “take-out” bottles too.
Each Canadian bartender batched the recipes and helped execute the stations along with Rachel Furman of Art in the Age Organic Spirits, Freddy and Brian. The tasting room event turned out to be so popular that support staff and security from the Hotel Monteleone host venue wandered down to party alongside the guests and delegates. Bittered Sling’s massive T-shirt and bitters station was consumed by the happy throng, and we ended up serving 900 cocktails in 45 minutes — no sweat!
TOTC is where professional bartenders, chefs, writers, distillers and patrons rub shoulders and bend elbows together to share stories, techniques, products and hospitality; we’re always honoured to be able to travel the world as Canadian ambassadors for the cocktail and culinary arts, and show people what innovative and inspired recipes are available both on the plate and in the glass. This year’s TOTC was even more special as our team was joined by about 20 other Canadian bartenders as well as our American colleagues. We ate, drank and learned together in the awesome setting that is the city of New Orleans, and the convivial backdrop of Tales of the Cocktail — the world’s biggest cocktail party.
We’re looking forward to hitting the road with Bittered Sling again at the next TOTC ‘On the Road’ destination of Mexico City and arealready in the process of preparing and planning for a return trip to TOTC proper in New Orleans in 2015.