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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.

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.