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Friday Cocktail Hour: Pamplemousse by Gary Jonas of The Little Fleet

eatdrinkTC’s Friday Cocktail Hour is a new feature where we 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

Gary Jonas and the

Gary Jonas and the Pamplemousse

The Little Fleet is a laid back neighborhood bar featuring beer, wine, and cocktails in an open air environment. Owners Gary & Allison Jonas with an emphasis on bringing the community together.

Although it was snowing outside when we shot this on the first day of Spring, the cocktail was inspired by everyone’s need to feel that the end of winter is out there … somewhere. The name “Pamplemousse” is French for grapefruit.

Pamplemousse

3 oz fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit
3 oz Lillet Rosé
2 1/4 oz New Holland Knickerbocker gin
Dash of St George Absinthe

Chill coupe glass
Fill mixing glass with first 3 ingredients and ice, shake with shaker.
Dump ice from coupe glass, put dash of absinthe in glass, swirl absinthe so it coats all parts of glass, dump excess absinthe
Strain cocktail from shaker into coupe glass and garnish with a big twist of grapefruit.

Friday Cocktail Hour: The Twirling Derby by Low Bar’s Evan McKolay

On many Fridays, we feature original cocktails from some of Traverse City’s most creative cocktail artists in our Friday Cocktail Hour. Our thanks go out to Michael Ruhlman for letting us share his Friday Cocktail Hour concept

Evan McKolay has been tending the bar at Low Bar since they opened on the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition December 5th. You may remember him from Poppycocks and the Beacon Lounge. Read more

Friday Cocktail Hour: Platinum and Silver Gin Fizz by Abbie Steffens of Trattoria Stella

eatdrinkTC’s Friday Cocktail Hour is a new feature where we 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!

The Finished Product

Abbie Steffens of Trattoria Stella

Abbie Steffens has been perfecting her craft at Trattoria Stella since she was hired as a hostess in August of 2004. She fell in love with hospitality from the get go, and after her boss and friend, Paul Danielson, saw her potential and “fired” her from the host stand in 2011, she’s been behind the bar ever since. “Giving patrons a unique and fun experience is what I pride myself in,” Abbie says. “My favorite guests to work with have enough confidence in me to let me choose their entire experience for them, from apéritif to entree choice to closing cocktails.”

This spring Abbie was promoted to manage the front door and bar at the Danielson’s new restaurant downtown on the corner of Front and Cass Streets, and she is excited to share her passion and knowledge for food & beverage with new employees and patrons.

The cocktail she decided to highlight is an oldie with a twist. It is a Platinum Silver Gin Fizz with local egg white and Detroit’s Valentine Liberator Gin. Taking the simple recipe of gin, simple syrup and fresh lemon and enhancing the classically delicious with superb local ingredients is a perfect example of her favorite way to create a cocktail.

The Platinum and Silver Gin Fizz

Chill a Collins glass with ice and water.

Add to shaker:

1 local egg white
2 oz. Valentine Liberator Gin
1/2 to 3/4 oz. Sleeping Bear Farms honey simple syrup (honey simple: equal parts honey and water, bring to simmer, take off heat and cool)
1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Add ice and SHAKE LIKE CRAZY! When you think you’ve shaken long enough, give it another good 10 seconds. Double strain ingredients into the chilled Collins glass, being sure to let as much of the sweet frothy foam layer on top.

Add an ounce and a half of a dry sparkling wine (Abbie used Col Vetoraz Prosecco) a fresh slice of lemon down the side of the glass and enjoy!

Don’t fear the egg white! The texture is unmatched by any other ingredient.

Friday Cocktail Hour: Je T’aime by Joseph Shoup of Bistro Foufou

eatdrinkTC’s Friday Cocktail Hour is a new feature where we 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!

Joseph Shoup with his Je T'aime

Joseph Shoup with his Je T’aime

Joseph Shoup is the Bar Manager at Bistro Foufou in Traverse City and has been working there since they opened in in August.

Joseph says that he drinks to elevate his condition, not to depress it. As a bartender, he feels his role us to encourage the same direction of experience in the guests at Bistro Foufou. Joseph believes that the quality of the components of the beverage as a major part of the finished product and uses fresh ingredients wherever possible.

Je T’aime (French for I Love You)

1.5 oz Clement Premiere Canne rhum agricole
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
.75 oz house made grenadine
.5 oz Campari
.5 oz Lucid Absinthe

Shake with ice, strain over fresh ice into a tulip glass. Garnish with a wide orange twist. (They express oils better than thin ones)

About the drink, Joseph says, “If you think of love as a liquid that flows between two people, whereby one pours out and the other takes in, it has a welcoming warmth, intrigue, and beauty, yet often a slight bite to it. This beverage contains parallel qualities.”

Friday Cocktail Hour: Pesca Spritz by Katie Asher of The Cooks’ House

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!

Katie Asher has been bartending for a little over 3 years, but has worked as a hostess, server and even dishwasher. She got into making cocktails after living in Chicago and being surrounded by creative and talented people in the industry. Katie began working at Bar Pastoral, a wine bar in Lakeview, to become a more well-rounded bartender. In addition to building her knowledge of wine, she created the cocktail menu for Bar Pastoral for two seasons using almost all local spirits.

Pouring the Blanc de Blanc

Katie Asher of The Cooks’ House & Poppycocks

Katie just passed her Barsmarts certification, has achieved Cicerone beer server certification and is working towards the first level Sommelier certification. She is currently working behind the bar at Poppycocks, where she’s also developing a new cocktail menu for them.

She has also created cocktails for The Cooks’ House and says, “Their faith in me started me on this path. They have graciously allowed me to make the welcome cocktails for their series of wine and beer dinners. So far, I’ve created the cocktails for L. Mawby, Left Foot Charley, Short’s, New Holland Brewery and Brewery Terra Firma.

“My focus with cocktail menus is trying to use local ingredients and unique spirits, and my experience in many establishments has allowed me to test out different ingredients to make the best possible cocktails. I try to experiment in the kitchen and behind the bar everyday to continue to better myself as a bartender.”

Pesca Spritz

.5 oz honey simple syrup (1:1)
.5 oz Fustini’s Peach white balsamic vinegar
.75 oz Aperol
3 oz L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc

Combine honey simple syrup, Fustini’s vinegar and Aperol in mixing glass. Add ice and stir 10 seconds.

Strain into Champagne flute. Top with L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc. Garnish with an orange twist.

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.

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