May 2014

The Briggs Gimlet

Now that spring has sprung, it’s backyard party time. And while we like throwing back a Crooked Tree or two as much as the next dude, sometimes a refreshing cocktail just hits the spot. Spring herbs and greens are readily available now at the farmer’s market, so if you’re looking for something to spark a little happy hour on your patio, consider giving this riff on a gimlet a try.

Lemons and lemon balm

The Briggs Gimlet (as a single cocktail)

  • 2 oz gin
  • .5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz cucumber syrup (recipe below)
  • Sorrel (optional)
  • Sparkling water
  • Garnish: Lemon balm, lemon verbena, basil, or mint
  • Combine first four ingredients in your shaker, add ample ice, shake the hell out of it. Double strain over large ice, and add about an ounce of soda water (or to taste). Garnish with a sprig of your chosen herb by gently smacking the leaves against your wrist or palm to express the aromatics, then place it at the rim of the glass.

Made as a Batched Punch for Your Rad Party

  • Keeping the same 4:1:1 proportions, decide how much you want to make, and do the math on how much you need. You will need the same amount of soda water as you use gin (e.g., if you use a bottle of gin, you need 750mL of soda water).
  • Using a muddler or a fat wooden spoon, muddle the sorrel into your gin in batches, straining the used sorrel out and discarding it.
  • Combine all the ingredients except the soda water. Keep the drink chilled for about two hours.
  • Right before serving, combine the chilled drink with the chilled soda water and briefly stir to combine. If you can, use a container with a fitted lid to keep the drink effervescent.
  • Pour over ice and garnish as you would with the cocktail.
  • Consume eagerly.

Making the Cucumber Syrup

  • You’ll need a power juicer. Run a cucumber through the juicer and strain the juice out into a measuring cup.
  • Combine the strained juice with an equal amount of white cane sugar in a small pot. (e.g., if you have one cup of cuke juice, add one cup of sugar).
  • Heat the mixture, stirring with a whisk to incorporate. Do not overheat or the syrup will separate into a pale syrup and chunky cuke leftovers. If you heat it gently, the syrup will retain a deep green color.
  • Let it cool and keep in a bottle in your fridge.


Posted on 2014.05.24 in Recipes & Ideas

Clos Cibonne Rosé 2012

In the quarterly journal The Art of Eating, there’s a regular article called “Why This Bottle?” It’s a short column, written by a rotating assortment of somms, winemakers, and journalists – each telling the story of a particular wine that’s gotten them excited.

Clos Cibonne rosé is a bottle that we’ve been obsessing over lately, and both in the spirit of that article and in keeping with our effort to get people to drink as much awesome wine as possible, we thought we’d share why we’re so into it.

Close Cibonne Rose

Actually, we just served this at a collaboration dinner featuring Andy and Chef Luciano DelSignore at Bacco Ristorante last weekend. Andy had made some halibut and put it over carrot purée with a fava bean salad and some ramp butter. Almost any decent rosé could work with such a springy, fresh dish. But this, in particular, is serious stuff that rewards food as much as it does a session on the back deck.

For a rosé, there’s a remarkable amount of depth. This isn’t some mediocre bottle of red wine runoff juice. Quite the opposite. Aromatically, there’s a lot of orange and lighter fruits; and on the palate, it’s very fleshy with a silky texture. There’s also a mild earthy characteristic and slight salinity to it.

This extra level of flavor is derived in part from the grape, Tibouren, which is not commonly used on its own, but the family behind this bottle has been growing it extensively since the 1930s. Moreover, it’s a finicky, difficult-to-grow grape, and it’s widely reported by people way smarter than us to have umami characteristics.

But the winemaking plays a role here too. The juice spends a year aging in large oak foudres (French for “huge freaking barrels”), but the 1000L vessels are never capped. Instead, a fleurette develops, covering the wine in a protective layer of yeast similar to a fino sherry.

It’s spring, which is pink wine season here, but we were still surprised by the reaction to this wine when we served it at Bacco. People don’t exactly line up around the corner at their wine shop to fill their trunks with dry rosé. So it was exciting to see everyone asking questions and, even better, asking for more.

The best part for everyone is that Clos Cibonne pretty affordable for bad ass wine. We’d love to serve it when the restaurant finally opens, but in the meantime, we’ve seen it at Great Lakes Coffee in Detroit and at Plum Market at 15 and Lahser, but it’s probably to be found elsewhere too.

Grab a bottle and pour heavily to instantly improve your evening.

Posted on 2014.05.16 in Articles