Friday Cocktail Hour: Social Medicine by Mickey Humpula of Low Bar

eatdrinkTC’s Friday Cocktail Hour is a brand new feature where we’ll feature original cocktails from some of Traverse City’s most creative cocktail artists. Our thanks go out to Michael Ruhlman for letting us share his Friday Cocktail Hour concept. Tune in next Friday for another!

Mickey Humpula is a bartender at Low Bar in Traverse City and is one of the creative minds behind their custom cocktail menu. He’s led a colorful life that includes 5 years in an ice factory. In addition to tending bar, he’s worked as a farmer, baker, cook and caterer. Mickey rides his bike a lot and dreams of homesteading.

Mickey and the completed "Social Medicine"

Mickey and the completed “Social Medicine”

Mickey named this cocktail “Social Medicine” and prescribes it for increasing sociability and false courage. Find him and his cocktails tonight at Low Bar!

Social Medicine

2 slices of lemon
1 oz Art in the Age of Root
.75 oz brown sugar simple syrup
1.5 oz Sparkle Donkey Tequila
.5 oz Pimms
6-7 drops house bitters
6 ice cubes
4.5 ounces soda water

Muddle lemons in tumbler. Add all ingredients except for the soda water and shake for ten seconds. Add soda water to tumbler, lightly stir, gently pour into a zombie glass and serve.

Click the photos below to view them bigger.

You may not be familiar with Art in the Age’s “Root” so here you go:

In the 1700’s, it was called “Root Tea.” An herbal remedy made with sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch bark and other wild roots and herbs. Native Americans taught the recipe to colonial settlers. As it was passed it down from generation to generation, it grew in potency and complexity. Particularly in the Pennsylvania hinterlands, where the ingredients naturally grow in abundance.

In response to the Temperance Movement, a Philadelphia pharmacist removed the alcohol from Root Tea and rechristened it “Root Beer”. Art in the Age thought it would be interesting and fun to turn back the clock and recreate a true pre-temperance alcoholic Root Tea. It’s certified organic, since back then, everything was organic. It is NOT Root Beer flavored vodka or a sickly sweet liqueur.

The Traverse City Zinger by Michael Ruhlman

Noted food writer Michael Ruhlman was in Traverse City last fall for Pigstock. On Fridays, he often posts a “Friday Cocktail Hour” featuring a hand-crafted and delicious drink along with plenty of backstory and a beautiful photo by his wife, Donna Turner Ruhlman. Michael graciously allowed us to not only share the Traverse City Zinger recipe that he created a few years ago, but he has also let us start our own Friday Cocktail Hour series!

On Fridays when we can, we will feature a cocktail presented by one of TC’s cocktail artists – tune in next Friday for the first of what promises to be a tasty feature!

Friday Cocktail Hour: The Traverse City Zinger Returns

by Michael Ruhlman

The Traverse City Zinger

The TC Zinger. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

michael-ruhlmanI’m presumably in Stonington, Maine, cutting pig and rejoicing in the glories of the hog with Charcuterie pal and co-author Brian Polcyn, to benefit the Island Culinary & Ecological Center. (Join us if you’re anywhere near Stonington! Details here.) From Maine we return to wonderful Traverse City and Pigstock, so I’m reposting this splendid cocktail made from gin and preserved Michigan cherries (don’t have any on hand? improvise!—a gin sour with preserved fruit). —MR A PR firm sent me a bottle of Nolet’s gin, which I was happy to taste (and used in The Southside), but when I was researching the gin I came across a Cocktail Enthusiast review of the gin, and lo! What’s this? The author of the post, Kevin Gray, included a cocktail recipe pairing the gin with sour cherries. His post calls it a Nolet’s New Fashioned. (I don’t think any general drink name should be brand specific, unless it came from the company, which this one did—shame on you Kevin! Have a little imagination, or steal, like I do!)

Gray’s post accurately reviews the qualities of Nolet’s; it is indeed superlative gin. Slightly more floral than my beloved Beefeater, but still very dry. It’s so good, in fact, that arguably it should be saved exclusively for martinis. Honestly. If it sucked I wouldn’t drink it or write about it. But, hey, I’ll drink Barton‘s, so that’s who you’re dealing with here. I recently returned from Traverse City, MI, tart cherry capital of the country (Michigan grows 70% of the total U.S. harvest, I was told), and in my Pigstock swag bag was a jar of local cherry preserves. As I’d bought some Michigan grappa and pear brandy (happily, Brian and I managed not to polish off the entire bottle that night), I was forced to check a bag ($25, thanks Delta, I’ll be flying United next time), so I returned with the preserves as well. And because I’m still so totally jazzed on the whole Pigstock and Northern Michigan experience, I offer this cocktail. The first of the preserves went on Donna’s morning biscuits, but then they went into this heavenly cocktail: gin, pulverized preserved cherries, and a gingery bitters (Angostura or whatever’s available to you is fine). I do all of my pulverizing in a mortar and pestle; no wimpy “muddling” in this household. Love this cocktail. Thank you, Kevin and Nolet’s, but I’m renaming it.

The Traverse City Zinger

  1. Pulverize the cherries using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add the gin and bitters to the mortar. Give the drink another stir with the pestle.
  3. Pour into a lowball glass over ice.
  4. Raise your glass to Mother Nature and ask for a good growing season in Northern Michigan next year.

Editor’s Note: February is National Cherry Month so maybe you can make it really local with a Traverse City gin.

The Short’s Cast and TC Podcaster Mike Moran

“This spring will be 10 years for us, and our company has grown from 6 employees to 90. We’re really proud of where we live, and we love what we do. There’s a lot of stuff that happens around it, but first and foremost, we really love making beer.”
~Joe Short, Short’s Cast ep. 1

"Looks like NPR, feels like SNL, couldn't get much better than this!" - courtesy Short's Brewing

“Looks like NPR, feels like SNL, couldn’t get much better than this!” – courtesy Short’s Brewing

Yesterday the Short’s Brewing Company unveiled their new podcast. Like the brewery  that produces it, the Short’s Cast is wild, energetic and slightly unpredictable.

Short’s CEO and Creative Engineer Joe Short shares, “I think that the biggest thing that new podcast is going to give us is the connection between the listener and the actual people of Short’s. I’m excited for people to get to know everyone here better, because there’s a lot more to Short’s than just me.”

The Short’s Cast is produced by Mike Moran of Quarter After Productions who says, “Short’s was one of the businesses up here that I really wanted to develop a podcast for. People absolutely love their beer, and it’s great to work on a podcast with Joe. The guy has so much character that really shines through, and even though everyone around him really respects and looks up to him, they’re always cracking jokes on him and each other.”

The first episode reflects Joe’s love of fun and the Short’s family. Joe opens with an essay about mullets and follows with a whirlwind introduction of some of the Short’s family. Traverse Brewing founder Jack Archiabale’s story of meeting Joe for the first time is pure gold, so be sure to check that out!


Read more

Low Bar, Traverse City’s New Speakeasy

Always do sober what you say you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
~ Ernest Hemingway (via the Low Bar menu)

Evan Mixes It Up

Evan Mixes It Up

We had a chance to sit down at the new Low Bar with Matt Cozzens and Jim Smolak to talk about their new venture. Matt & Jim own 7 Monks Taproom and on December 5, 2013, the 80th anniversary of the end of prohibition, they opened a speakeasy-style establishment in the basement just next door to 7 Monks.

“I’m big on atmosphere when it comes to bars,” explains Jim. “We wanted to create something completely different down here.”  Read more

Left Foot Charley, Doug Frost and the Jefferson Cup

Left Foot Charley 7th Hill RieslingThe Jefferson Cup Invitational wine competition features the best of the best from all of America’s wine regions. On the weekend of November 21-22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri the judges tasted 700 wines selected to showcase the best in viticulture and winemaking from twenty-two states.

The top honor, the Jefferson Cup, was awarded to just 25 wines. Among the recipients were winemakers Bryan Ulbrich and Drew Perry and growers Tom and Linda Scheuerman for Left Foot Charley’s 7th Hill Riesling (2012), the second time in two years that the single vineyard Riesling has won the Cup!

Ulbrich says, “There’s only a handful of competitions we enter, and we’ve just entered this one twice. I like this one because it’s not just a pay your way in – they have to invite you.” Read more

BLTs, BOMLAs – a winter treat

BLTs are one of my favorite easy meals. We eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I get almost all of the ingredients for a good BLT from my CSA and farm market in the winter, but we never get tomatoes so I am consistently one tomato short of a BLT. I’m not a fan of winter tomatoes: they’ve spent too much time traveling here and not enough time ripening with flavor.

Here’s my winter version, substituting an apple in for the tomato!

BOMLA – Bacon, Onion, Mayo, Lettuce & Apple Sandwich

  • 9 Bean Rows Brioche
  • Bacon -Farm Market or Honor Market
  • Onion -Farm Market (Sweet, thin slices)
  • Mayonnaise – Oryana
  • Lettuce -9 Bean Rows CSA
  • Apples – Farm Market (thick round slices)

Ask Me Anything w/ Joe Short of Short’s Brewing!

Joe Short of Short’s Brewing Co. founder Joe Short did an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit on Wednesday, November 13th on the Michigan Beer subReddit. We grabbed some of our favorite responses – many more at Reddit! Read more

Michael Ruhlman, an eatdrinkTC interview

Noted food writer Michael Ruhlman is the author and co-author of numerous books on cooking and the craft of the chef including The Making of a Chef, Ratio, Charcuterie (w/ Brian Polcyn), The French Laundry Cookbook (w/ Thomas Keller) and Ruhlman’s Twenty. He was in Traverse City this week for Pigstock TC and I had a chance to sit down with him to talk about cooking, writing and his Traverse City experience.

Michael Ruhlman, photo by Joe Hakim/

Michael Ruhlman, photo by Joe Hakim/

What would you say your job is?

My job is to provide for my family, and I do that by writing books. In the food world, it’s to convey information and to make what I’ve learned in cooking as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. I write about stuff that I don’t know, explore it and find out what it’s all about.

Do you still want to be a novelist?

I just started writing fiction again. I’m a writer by disposition – I just have to write. It’s a physical need and happily I’ve been able to make a living at something I enjoy.

ratio-cookbookYou wrote a book about cooking ratios. What do you think that knowing and understanding the fundamentals of cooking frees a person to do?

With Ratio and Ruhlman’s Twenty, I show that when you know one ratio or one technique, you don’t know one recipe, you know a thousand recipes. All of cooking is about fundamental technique. What Thomas Keller (The French Laundry) does is not that difficult, there’s just a lot of it – a lot of components on the plate. I learned early on that it’s all about technique. I’ve always been exploring that because one of my goals is to get more people cooking. I think the world is better if we cook our own food. We stopped cooking food, and it’s made us sick. I’m trying to counter thoughtless mantras that are put before us like “Fat is bad, fat makes you fat.” Fat is not bad, stupid is bad. We need fat to live on. Too much fat is bad. Read more

Wild Food Wednesday: Beechnuts

Beechnut-in-shellI’ve been eating beechnuts off of the forest floor for as long as I can remember. I like to roast them and eat them on their own as a treat, so this season I collected a few extra beechnuts to bring back to my kitchen. Read on for lots of beech nut facts, videos and a photo gallery and how to prepare a tasty snack!

From the Hiker’s Notebook:

Beechnuts are encased in a woody husk that is covered with spines, each containing  two irregularly triangular shiny brown edible nuts. They are only produced after the beech has reached the age of about 40 years; annual beechnut production ramps up at this point to reach maximum yields after at about the 60 year point.  Read more

Brewer Tina Schuett of Rare Bird Brewery and Taproom


Rare Bird Brewery and Taproom is slated to open in December at 229 Lake Avenue, about midway between Firefly and Patisserie Amie. We had a chance to sit down with brewer Tina Schuett to talk about the plans for the latest addition to TC’s beer scene. Enjoy the article and be sure to read to the end for a chance for you to get in on the ground floor with all kinds of perks and benefits with their Indegogo crowd-funding campaign!

Tina Schuette of Rare Bird Brewery

Tina Schuett of Rare Bird Brewery

How did you get started brewing and what made you decide to take it to the next level with your own brewery?

I started homebrewing in college, and kept it as a hobby while I was a park ranger in California and New Zealand. I couldn’t resist the urge to do it professionally and was able to land a job at Sand Creek Brewery in Wisconsin. My mom is from the area, so when I got an opportunity to brew at a local brewery, I moved here. I worked there and also as the contract brewer at Sugarfoot Saloon.

I had worked with Nate and we really hit it off, so when the opportunity to work with him presented itself and we found this location, I jumped right in. It was always my dream and goal to have my own brewery.

Traverse City has a lot of brewpubs – what’s going to make Rare Bird unique?

We won’t simply be a brew pub. Our full class C liquor license means we’ll be able to have 6-10 of my beers on at a time and fill out the rest of the 35 taps with some really interesting and hard to find beers. We’ll also have a full menu of liquor, wine and cider, so we will be a spot where everyone can get something yummy that fits their taste.

We’ve also been searching out reclaimed materials into old barns that have collapsed – going to the source to find the right pieces. Our tabletops are all being made from a giant cottonwood tree that died of natural causes. Read more