Join Little Bitte for Making Spirits Bright: Cocktail + Truffle Making Class at Newport Vineyards on December 7th!
Add a little Newport Vineyards to your holiday season and make your spirits bright as Willa from Little Bitte & Executive Chef Andy Teixeira will take you on a cocktail-creating and truffle-making journey. This is one of our favorite evenings of the year!
Thursday, December 7 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
$42 per person
The Birds ’n’ Bees is my spin on a favorite classic, the Hanky Panky, by one of my favorite bartending heroines: Ada Coleman, who began bartending at the ultra-swanky Savoy Hotel in London in 1903. Ada rose to the position of head bartender at the American Bar in The Savoy in 1925 and she’s still making waves as one of the first women to make a serious impression on modern mixology.
The original recipe for the Hanky Panky is a stirred cocktail made with equal parts gin and sweet vermouth with a splash of Fernet Branca, a bitter aromatic Italian amaro. The Birds ’n’ Bees swaps sweet vermouth for Vermut, an incredible vermouth hailing from the region of Catalonia in Spain, that’s bitter, sweet, nutty and fruity, infused with a proprietary blend of herbs and botanicals. Instead of Fernet, I opt for an alternative cordial, nocino, a sweet, tannic walnut liqueur that flies a little under the radar in the U.S. but popular in Italy, especially during autumn when walnuts are harvested and infused into this heavenly cordial.
Instead of garnishing with the normal orange peel, I garnish with a pinch of bee pollen, a nutrient-rich superfood collected by worker bees, parts nectar and pollen, sweet and reminiscent of wildflowers and fresh citrus zest. When serving nocino, remember to alert any guest with a nut allergy.
Join us in the barn to build your own bouquet & learn how to make 2 new signatures featuring autumnal ingredients from the harvest. Both the arrangements and drinks will feature edible flowers and herbs, all grown and foraged at the farm, including dahlias and amaranths and ornamental herbs. $75 includes all materials, drinks, and bites.
The Aperature – a cocktail made from Aperol, gin, and blood oranges – helps usher in spring while saying goodbye to citrus season.
In my early twenties, I lived in Florence for a year on a street called Via degli Artisti with a wonderful painter named Fiorella, a sandy blonde with a scratchy voice and a deep affection for card games, rum, and cigars. We were a 10-minute ride on our rusty bicycles from the heart of city, and a brisk five-minute walk from the main market near Santa Maria Novella. The first warm sunny days of spring always remind me of Fiorella and how she would wake up each morning, fling open the kitchen doors, and step onto our tiny terrazza to water the scented geraniums on the railing. She’d come back into the kitchen and fresh squeeze two glasses of blood orange juice by hand, one for each of us.
The fruits Fiorella juiced were called Moro oranges. Grown in Sicily, they tasted more like fresh raspberries than any kind of orange I had ever tasted, with flesh ranging from deep orange to dark burgundy. I lived for these oranges and those mornings when Fiorella made me sit down with her for breakfast.
As I wait here at home for the flora of the season to pop, I scan my imagination for ways to conjure spring. I keep a keen eye on the oily green rhubarb leaves peeking out of the soil in my raised bed. I visit the micro clusters of lemon balm daily – but it’s still too soon to pick it. And the asparagus nowhere in sight. And so I find solace in fresh oranges at this time of year – so sweet and so abundant – though I know that the harvest must be on its last legs. Clementines and minneolas will slowly but surely trickle out of season, soon to be replaced with the awe of artichokes, fiddleheads, and fresh nettles.
One of my favorite epiphanies from my time in Florence came in the form of a cocktail. I call it the Aperture, as it’s proverbial widening of the lens, if you will. It’s a marriage of two of my favorite classic drinks, the Aperol spritz (a quaffable mix of the bitter aperitif, prosecco, and soda water) and the Negroni (equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth). Every café in Florence serves their own version of a Negroni during aperitivo (cocktail hour), complemented by a bowl of olives or nuts, or sometimes a bigger spread of cured meats, cheese, and crostini topped with anything from fresh seafood to tiny slices of hotdog. (During aperitivo, anything is possible.)
The Aperture’s soft, fruity notes come from the blood orange juice, which adds a lush texture and depth to the spritz, mellowing any sharp edges from the gin and fortifying the citrusy notes of the Aperol….
<3 Little Bitte
For Fiorella, my Italian queen.
I had always hoped that high tea would catch on in America the way it’s revered in the U.K.: English tea served in a pretty cup flocked by diminutive sandwiches, scones, and clotted cream. But it wasn’t until college when I was working in a tea house that realized that I could begin my own ritual of taking tea whenever and however often I wanted. Eureka! The endless imaginary tea parties of my childhood finally came alive.
I oscillate between perky peppermint blends and bold blacks, sometimes with milk or honey or both. And when I have company in the afternoon, I love to break out the botanicals and customize a hot toddy for the occasion – I’ll take any excuse to have a tea party. The beauty of the toddy is its simplicity. Choose a base spirit, such as rum, whiskey, scotch, or cordial, add a sweetening agent and hot water, and you’ve got a deliciously warming libation.
The true alchemy of the Ruby Tea Toddy is that the aromatics of the amaro fortify the floral botanicals of the tea: Lush hibiscus notes pop with the astringency of orange peel; lavender tempers the sweet essence of mint leaf and chamomile with a most sensual balance, a light herbal smack to the palate. This tipsy tea is a botanical daydream. It’s the perfect libation for inviting your gal pals over. Assemble a sumptuous snack to celebrate one another, as well as your daily feats, flops, and the pleasures of everyday.
<3 Little Bitte
Thanks for tuning in to Go Local Prov this weekend to catch our segment on mixology & spring cocktails. Watch & learn how to make our spring favorite ‘The Goldfinch’