Chef James Rigato is just 26 years old, but since graduating from Schoolcraft’s Culinary Program at age 17 he has worked at some of metro Detroit’s finer restaurants, opened The Root Restaurant & Bar with proprietor Ed Mamou, started the popular Young Guns Chef Dinner Series and is now a contestant on Season 12 of Top Chef. In October, he’s coming to Traverse City, and he’s bringing friends!
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!
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.
Sicily is unique in the sheer diversity of its wine terroirs and indigenous grapes. The best wines don’t taste at all like what you expect from southern wines—they are long and elegant and not at all heavy. This is true of the wines from the high slopes around volcanic Mount Etna to the rolling hills of the interior and the sloping hills of the southern coast. Then of course there is traditional Marsala, and brilliant sweet white wines from the Lipari islands and Pantelleria. In terms of winemaking techniques you can find everything from traditional palmenti—the old stone winemaking huts—to small artisanal producers to large state-of-the art wineries. Around Vittoria, COS is Italy’s number one producer making wines in clay amphorae as the Greeks and Romans did.
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- 2016 Short’s Anniversary Party
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- Morel Love
- Wild Food Wednesday: Morels
- Wild Food Wednesday: Ramps or Wild Leeks
- Friday Cocktail Hour: Pamplemousse by Gary Jonas of The Little Fleet