For now, I bounce from coast to coast, but I plan to die in Providence. I was student at the Rhode Island School of Design more than a decade ago, and the magic of that jewel-box of a city still pulls on my heartstrings. It’s the Victorian homes, industrial buildings, the charmingly gruff New England personalities, and concentration of Italian American markets that have kept me coming back. The town is divided by the Providence river, separating the posh, College Hill area to its east, and the grittier, fast-developing downtown, Olneyville, Federal Hill, and Atwells to the west. Most tourists will cling to the picturesque, colonial Benefit street, with its gas lamps and pristine mansions, but that’s only a tiny sliver of what the city has to offer. This place has chutzpah. It’s the blue collar dive bar and the Ivy League, it’s Mayflower meets crust punk. What other city’s most beloved mayor was a convicted felon and the face of a popular line of packaged red sauce? R.I.P Buddy Cianci…..
…. For smaller grassroots galleries, World’s Fair Gallery is a tiny storefront next to the Columbus Theater that mounts thoughtful shows with local artists. It’s run by the owners of Little Bitte cocktails, a craft cocktail company that often pops up around town.
There are a couple of traditions I gleefully look forward to every November:
#1. An entire weekend devoted to activities in front of the wood stove playing cards & board games with my BBC favorites in queue. Hot toddies, cider, popcorn, the whole nine yards….
#2. …. FRIENDSGIVING!
Friendsgiving dinner is different every year. This year I joined a group of beautiful new friends and we documented our afternoon together at Phones Wright house in Bolton, MA. I debuted a few of my new favorite holiday recipes during cocktail hour and they were a hit!! Here are a couple of recipes to test out on your friends & family over this holiday….
1 1/2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz Amaro Cynar
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
3 dashes Smoked maple bitters
Garnished with brandied cherries + fresh herbs
Preparation: Pour bourbon, Cynar, sweet vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass, add ice and stir for 15 seconds. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass or over rocks into a mule mug for slow, relished sipping. Garnish with Luxardo cocktail cherries, fresh sage and nasturtium blossoms. Cheers!
Tasting Notes: Smooth, aromatic & bittersweet
1 oz Vodka
1 oz fresh pressed local cider
½ oz spiced ginger cordial
Top with dry Sparkling wine
Preparation: Add vodka, cider and ginger cordial to a bar tin, add ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, top with bubbles and garnish with edible blossoms and fresh herbs.
La Pom (Mocktail)
2 oz Fresh pomegranate juice (½ of the fruit, juiced)
4 oz with sparkling water
Top with 2 drops of orange blossom water
Preparation: Add juice to a collins glass filled with ice, top with sparkling water,
orange blossom water and garnish with a wheel of lemon and edible blossoms.
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!
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 PVDFest Finale at Armory Park between Cranston Street + Parade Street!!! Come find us in our neck of the woods for a famous ‘Lime in the Coconut’ or a Signature Paloma with silver tequila + grapefruit!
What to know about #PVDFest
PVDFest showcases performers from around the country and all over the globe, including some of the biggest stars in world music. This year alone features musicians, dancers, and performance artists from Harlem, Miami, Detroit, Oakland, East LA, Montreal, Trinidad, and Honduras. Of course, there is no shortage of talent here in our own backyard, and many local performers will be sharing the stage with the national and international talent. Catch some of the highlights on the PVDFest Blog