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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Foodie Sunday: Old Friends, Fabulous Food and a Fun Giveaway just in time for Summertime!

By Beth

I’ve had the good fortune of having my friend John staying with us all week! He’s traveling across the country with his fabulous dog Tonks to start a fabulous new life with his wife and year old son in Vermont. I’ve had a wonderful time cooking for him; we’ve had cocktails on the porch every night and we’ve also shown him several of our favorite new restaurants. Although John grew up in Cleveland it’s been quite awhile since he’d seen his hometown. We’ve had some marvelous meals and are continuing to do so; tonight we’re going to try out a brand new vegetarian bistro that just opened up about a month ago. We just got back from the farmers market where I had the most delicious Pad Thai and he was absolutely delighted with his Banh Mi from Umami Moto, one of our newest food trucks. Cleveland has finally emerged as quite a foodie’s city and it’s been a real pleasure to share it with my old friend.

Last night we ventured out to Tremont for the Art Walk, located in a trendy little neighborhood with some of the best art galleries, restaurants and vintage stores (my downfall) in town. We enjoyed the mac and cheese and Broccoli risotto at the Lincoln Park Bistro but we saved the very best for last stopping for a nightcap at my favorite bar in Cleveland, The Velvet Tango Room! In my opinion VTR is really the best bar in the city because everything is made from scratch, there's not a single mass market mixer in the place! Fresh eggs, limes, oranges , lemons and bottles of homemade bitters and wine syrup sit quietly on the bar, just waiting to be shaken or stirred into a wonderful handcrafted cocktail. Everything is weighed , poured and mixed to perfection.

There’s just no way to describe the experience and no matter how many times I’ve tried I can’t quite duplicate it at home. The Velvet Tango Room is a truly a period piece…a naughty yet wonderful speakeasy filled with film noir and smoky jazz. Spending an evening there is like going back in time to a place your mother told you about in hushed silky tones and the elegance and quality are so evident everywhere, but no more so than in their cocktails. Everything is fresh and the liquor is top shelf…each drink is made for you as you watch. The NY Times featured it as one of THE places to visit in their article “36 hours in Cleveland”!

Consequently the menu of cocktails served is incredible with everything ranging from an old fashioned Pisco sour to a Rangpur lime gin fizz which is an easy and refreshing summer favorite. Jim ordered the Moscow Mule, which featured homemade ginger beer and was presented in it’s traditional copper mug and John ordered a Brazilian (no snickers please, we already teased him too much!) which is essentially a dark and stormy with bitters added to smooth out the rum. Having so many choices can sometimes be difficult for me who wants to try a bit of everything, but last night I was very sure that I wanted MY new summer favorite ; a wicked little cocktail called the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club decadently named after the same!

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is a delicious rum based cocktail that would be wonderful sipped at your next summertime cocktail party!
Served with some wonderful appetizers like a curried chicken satay or grilled pork and pineapple the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club will make a refreshing addition served outside on your bar or if you want, serve it with a fabulous flaming dessert like Banana's Foster which is how I drank mine the other night! VTR makes the best Banana's Foster that I've ever had outside of New Orleans!

Have fun and use some colorful cocktail glasses for this one...I know that the traditionalists love a clear martini glass but I'm all about setting the mood so I think that some cobalt cocktail glasses accented with some fresh green lime wedges or skewered of rum soked grilled pineapple bits would be great. Either that or use the plain ones with some really silly Lily Pulitzer napkins...anything pink and green will do!

To make one Royal Bermuda Yacht Club the way that I love them you will need:

A couple of ounces of really good rum, nothing too sweet, I love good old fashioned Captain Morgan Private Stock which is a perfumistas dream spicy and filled with vanilla!

3/4's of an ounce of fresh lime juice

About 1/4 ounce of Cointreau

1 teaspoon of pineapple juice

1 teaspoon of fresh grapefruit juice

2 teaspoons of John Taylors Velvet Falernum - Falernum is an infusion of sugar cane syrup, rum, clove, vanilla, ginger, lime and almond that lends a delicious and spicy bite to the drink! If you can't find any, you can make your own! The Velvet Tango Room does!

Shake the whole thing over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass! Sip carefully and slowly. More than one and all bets are off! I’ve been known to even consider Karaoke after two and definitely Skinny dipping after three...........

So now that I’ve given you mine what’s your favorite summer cocktail and what do you serve it with? Recipes please! The one entices me the most gets a pack of those wonderfully silly Lily Pulitzer cocktail napkins and a fragrant treat or two to get this party started!

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Blogger The Gastronomic Goddess said...

Oooh! My favorite, favorite summer cocktail is a Mojito - simply quarter a lime and take 1 quarter, a sprig or two of fresh mint with leaves picked off to equal about 10 leaves(spearamint works best I think), and muddle together. Then, add 2 tsp of granulated sugar or simple syrup (or to taste) and 2 more quarters of lime, muddle again. Fill the glass with ice. Add 1 1/2 fluid oz. of white rum and 1/2 cup club soda (you don't want to strain this anything). Stir, and garnish with the remaining lime wedge, and if you can find it, a stick of sugar cane. Enjoy! Be careful - they go down like water. Before I know, I can have 3 sucked down so fast and then I realize I'm half-way drunk LOL.

1:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

I love drinks involving cucumber - like for instance the Porch Swing so lovingly described by Deb at Smitten Kitchen: . Or an Angel Soft, which is muddled mint with tequila, simple syrup, lime juice, and cucumber juice - heavenly! I'm afraid I never mix my own, because I am blessed with a brother who must have been a bartender in another life. I did smile to see you mention Pisco Sours, which are Peru's natural drink; I have lovely memories of sipping them on the malecon in Pacasmayo, watching the kids bring in buckets of small donax mollusks called señoritas from the surf, to be used in ceviche.

2:03 AM EDT  
Blogger queen_cupcake said...

A few summers ago, I began to grow Thai basil in my garden along with the usual Genovese type. I had been to a local, upscale restaurant that served us delicious basil martinis, and got the idea to make a Thai basil martini. It's pretty simple: Make a simple syrup in a heavy sauce pan (water & sugar, bring to a boil & reduce heat). Take your rinsed bunch of fresh Thai basil leaves and bruise or chop them a little. Put them in the syrup and cover the pot. Let it simmer for a minute or two, then cover & turn off the heat. Ideally, you should let this sit overnight to infuse, but an hour or two is probably sufficient. When cool, strain the leaves out of the liquid & discard. I usually add a drop of green food coloring but don't overdo it. Put ice & gin (or vodka) in a cocktail shaker; add a tablespoon or two of the Thai basil syrup; shake shake shake; strain into a pretty glass. Experiment with proportions. You can dress it up with garnishes & stuff, but I prefer the simple recipe--so good!!

6:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Karin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Karin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Karin said...

This drink sounds yummy! Thanks, Beth!

Gotta throw a margarita into the mix. Here's my husband's recipe:

1. Fill a pint glass with ice.
2. Fill it to the halfway mark with tequila.
3. Fill it to the 2/3 mark with triple sec (or Grand Marnier or Cointreau if you dare).
4. Add the juice of one lime.
5. Top the glass with Rose's lime juice.
6. Stir.

These are tart and delicious!!!! They're also STRONG, so drink with caution. ;-)

(BTW, sorry for the deleted posts...had to edit!)

7:07 AM EDT  
Blogger woodgirl said...

Okay, I'll be the lowbrow here. Other than a classic gin and tonic, what I like best in the heat is beer and Vernor's Gingerale. Take a bottle of each and pour them together, adjusting to your taste. Sounds absolutely disgusting, but somehow strangely good.

8:35 AM EDT  
Blogger queen_cupcake said...

woodgirl, nothing low-brow about it! It's what the Brits call a shandy. I come from Western NY state, where we used to get Vernor's. Alas, I almost never see it in New England. But I remember the taste of this ginger ale, which is distinctive and should go well with beer. Next time in NY, I'll pick up some Vernor's so I can try this.

8:47 AM EDT  
Blogger woodgirl said...

Oh, good. I thought it was just one of the weird combinations I had consumed over the years. I haven't seen Vernor's in ages, it used to be everywhere when I was a kid, although that has been a while ...

9:35 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Gehring said...

I personally think that it sounds absolutely wonderful and am going to make it today:)

10:31 AM EDT  
Anonymous your vintage avon lady said...

For a late nite summer dessert drink - TOOTSIE ROLL! Pour into a tall skinny glass over ice in this order. 2 parts creme de cacao, 1 part kahlua, 2 parts orange juice. Don't stir, and drink with a straw.

12:06 PM EDT  
Blogger kareng said...

Other than the margarita that Karin already covered (there's nothing like a *real* margarita..I'll never drink those frozen pre-mix concoctions again!), I'm totally in love with the classic Negroni this summer:

In an old fashioned, or cocktail glass, pour over ice:

1.5 ounces gin
1.5 ounces Campari
1.5 ounces sweet vermouth

Stir, garnish with orange slice.

One more,
Pegu Club Cocktail:

2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 dashes bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


12:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous Joanna said...

I usually prefer a classic gin & tonic especially when the heat index is up there.
When I feel like mixing it up a little I'll drink a French 75:

1 1/4 oz Gin, 1/2 oz Cointreau, 1 oz Lemon juice,3-4 oz Champagne.
Shake all ingredients except champagne. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and slowly fill with champagne. Serve with a twist if desired.

My sister and I were enjoying these with raw oysters over the weekend of the 4th.

8:03 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Gehring said...

Ok...I'm really thirsty now! You guys are amazing! (As usual)

9:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely Mojito, non-alco is even better in hot summer, also just a bit of sugar, I prefer bittery taste. Thx for entering me. Alica -

4:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous Maureen said...

I am a real Pinot Grigio girl , but I have just discovered Gin & Tonics made with Bombay boyfriend introduced me, and the first time I smelled it, I thought it smelled like perfume, and I LIKED it! He actually drinks the Sapphire straight on the rocks, but thought I should try it with baby steps, I guess. YUM.

8:43 AM EDT  
Anonymous ElizabethC said...

Isn't it great when you find a bar that does it right (Zig Zag in Seattle for us)! Summer drinks are tiki drinks, gin and tonics and (for some reason I only drink these at lunch) gin gimlets. We also love aguas frescas - nothing better than a cool glass of liquid fruit on a hot day.

2:56 PM EDT  
Blogger arlene20 said...

I'm all about a pomegranite lime martini on a hot summer day: 1/4 c. Trader Joe's Pomegranite Lime juice, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 oz. Absolut Limon, shake over ice, pour, garnish with sprig of mint and lime twist, and bring it on! Oh, and I usually serve it with something salty to offset the sweetness of the drink, like homemade pita chips with sea salt, and a bowl of hummus.

3:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Isa said...

This is my favorite cocktail: Sangria for two!

In a jar:

- 1 can of Fanta Lemon Zero
- 1/2 fl. oz red wine
- 2 peaches (peeled and cut in small pieces)
- 3 oz cherries
- 2 spoonfuls of sugar
- 1/2 cinnamon bark stick
- 42 fl. oz fizzy sugared water

Everything must be very cold.

Before serving, add iced cubes in the jar :)

A Spanish cocktail for summertime.

10:29 AM EDT  

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