1 1/2 oz Botanical Gin
1 oz Aphroditea Syrup*
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Top with sparkling wine
Garnish with beach rose petals
Preparation: In a bar tin add gin, Aphrodite syrup, lemon juice and shake vigorously with ice for 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass, top with sparkling wine + rose petals. Cheers! *Aphroditea Syrup: Brew Aphroditea blend (rose petals, hibiscus, lemongrass, lavender) with 1 cup of boiling water, steep for 15 minutes, strain & stir in half cup honey. This rosy signature cocktail is a botanical spin on a French 75 with the perfect zesty & floral notes to step up the romance in your cocktail game! Post your #aphroditespritz photo on Instagram and tag us @littlebittecocktails for a chance to win a sparkling cocktail package for 2!!
Little Bitte’s Willa Van Nostrand
infuses cocktails with creativity and panache
By Amanda M. Grosvenor
When cocktail caterer Little Bitte shows up at a party, you know it’s the place to be. Their attention to detail is unparalleled, with elegant bar setups, gorgeous floral displays, and vintage flair providing the perfect complements to the delicious cocktails they shake and stir.
Little Bitte is the brainchild of local Jill-of-all-trades Willa Van Nostrand, who moonlights as a writer, singer, and gallery owner at World’s Fair in Providence. What’s her secret? Living life as an art form, she says, and bringing seemingly limitless energy and care to all her pursuits.
For years, Van Nostrand bartended at local watering holes and developed a following with the locally sourced, farm-fresh garnishes, juices, and small-batch bitters she would bring for cocktail experimentation. Over time, this flair for artisanal alchemy led to private party bartending and then a full-blown cocktail catering business. Today she caters public and private affairs in New England and beyond, flanked by a team of well-seasoned mixologists.
Now in its seventh year, the company succeeds by “happening upon recipes that appeal to a crowd, and kind of bringing that to a science,” Van Nostrand says. Little Bitte knows how to please its audiences: often it’s a “light, spritzy, citrusy cocktail balancing out a menu and then a whiskey or aromatic deeper, darker more intense cocktail.” She also likes to throw curveballs and push her tasters’ palettes with “infusions, spice, mezcal, and smoke.”
Event themes run the gamut as well; a recent BBQ festival inspired garnishes like smoked pork belly on a whiskey cocktail, grilled pineapples on margaritas, and grilled mussels on Bloody Marys. At a Movies on the Block screening of Pulp Fiction in Providence over the summer, one bartender dressed up as Uma Thurman’s character, Mia Wallace. Little Bitte also now occupies two bars at WaterFire – one in the basin and one at Star Field. For September’s Ocean State Oyster Festival, happening at the Providence Riverwalk on September 22, they’ll be introducing recipes with a mermaid-inspired theme.
“For me, my creative process is really important, and I do a lot of research and reading,” Van Nostrand says. “I’m always traveling to new bars and restaurants, and I find that so inspiring and exhilarating.” Following a trip to Italy last summer, she fell in love with aperitifs and spritzes, and hopes to help adopt them more into American culture. Wherever Van Nostrand’s travels take her, you can trust that her curious eye will find the best new flavors and approaches to incorporate into Little Bitte’s cocktails.
Derby Day & The Etiquette of the Julep
The mint julep became the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby in 1938. The recipe calls for muddled spearmint, sugar and a splash of water topped with crushed ice and bourbon. The cocktail was born in the American South in the late 18th century and was originally made with brandy, gin, genever and, finally, whiskey. Today, Woodford Reserve bourbon is the definitive brand of the Kentucky Derby. A julep is meant to last several hours, hence the heavy proportion of whiskey to sugar and copious amounts of crushed ice…
For the rest of the story read on at http://ediblerhody.ediblefeast.com/
Julep Photos by Chip Riegel
Triple Crown Julep
- 4 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
- 1 ounce mint-infused simple syrup*
- Plenty of crushed ice
- 1 sprig fresh mint for garnish
In a chilled mint julep cup, add ice, followed by mint syrup and bourbon. Stir, then top with more ice to crown the cup. Garnish with fresh mint.
* Combine 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepot over low heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add ¼ cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves and gently muddle. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour and refrigerator overnight. Strain, discard solids and pour into a clean bottle. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
The classic daiquiri – which consists of just rum, lime, and sweetener – originated in Cuba, which is probably why it conjures images of palm trees and sand. But New England’s coldest months are also prime time for citrus, when farm fresh produce can be hard to get. Limes and lemons travel well and are relatively long lasting, which means they taste like they should when they land in our northern markets….
Read on for the Queen Bee Daiquiri recipe & to learn more about its origin on Puddingstone Post!
Little Bitte’s Chamomile Spritz – photo by Chip Riegel
Praise for the Italian Bitter
Italian amari (translated: bitters) are a category of liqueurs that require a level of linguistic and gastronomical translation. Meant to stimulate the appetite as an aperitivo or calm the stomach as a digestivo, amari are traditionally served neat or on the rocks with an orange twist. When mixed in appropriate proportions, they add immense herbal complexity to cocktails.
Decode the elaborate layers of an amaro by adding a splash to a glass of sparkling wine and experience the silky, herbaceous (and sometimes vegetal) nuances of the spirit. The Chamomile Spritz is a lightly floral cocktail that illuminates the lemony and caramel tones of Amaro Nonino, a bittersweet amaro made with a secret recipe composed of pungent bark, herbs, citrus peel and sugar. Wind down an evening with a soothing sparkler that settles the nerves, calms the stomach and beguiles the taste buds.
Amaro: A single liqueur. Translated, “bitter” in Italian.
Amari: Plural form of amaro. Signifying more than 1 amaro, or the category of spirits.
½ oz Amaro Nonino
½ oz chamomile-honey syrup*
fresh sprig thyme twisted into a wreath for garnish
splash sparkling wine (I love Morphos American Sparkling wine from Maine)
Preparation: In cocktail glass, pour Amaro Nonino, chamomile-honey syrup and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a tiny wreath of fresh thyme.
* Pour 4 ounces (½ cup) boiling water over 2 chamomile tea bags and steep for 25 minutes. Discard the teabags, add 4 ounces local honey, stir and pour into a clean glass jar. Refrigerate up to 1 month.
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Happy New Year!
Whether you prefer a sparkling blowout of a party or a quiet night at home on the couch, New Year’s Eve deserves a special cocktail. Enter The Sequin, a fabulous Armagnac-based concoction crafted just for you by Willa Van Nostrand, the award-winning mixologist behind catering operation Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails of Providence. With the motto “from garden to glass,” Willa aims to please the palate and concoct a feast for the eyes. Here, she presents the perfect libation for New Year’s Eve, a pick-me-up for the day after, and a mocktail for teetotalers (or little people) who want celebrate with style.
With The Sequin – a twist on the traditional sidecar – she’s swapped Armagnac for Cognac (they’re cousins), and added a some extra citrus for brightness. “I adore Cognac,” explains Willa, “but it’s a pricey style of brandy to use in mixed drinks, especially if you’re making a batched cocktail. Armagnac is a cost effective alternative, and has a really lovely palate – specifically, butterscotch and vanilla notes that lend themselves to mixing.” Make it by the glass, or mix up a batch as a signature cocktail to delight your entire squad.
And because a few bubbles always put a little sparkle back in everyone’s mood the following day, Willa’s also concocted the Olympia Spritz, a lightly sweetened, sparkling delight. “A good ‘hair of the dog’ cocktail needs to be light, simple, and just sparky enough to add the bounce back to your step,” adds the mixologist. “This one is great bc it’s deliciously refreshing and there’s very little prep involved.”
Prefer to avoid potential regret or just need a non-alcoholic option? The virgin Persephone Sparkler, made with lime, ginger, and pomegranate, is the perfect potion for night or day. “The pomegranate symbolizes the cyclical change of seasons,” says Willa, “and reminds us that spring follows winter. Persephone, in this case, is a ray of sunshine on a cold winter day.”
Yes, these cocktails require a little more effort than popping open the Veuve and pouring it straight out of the bottle, but the send-off to the holiday season is totally worth it, right? No matter how you celebrate, New Year’s is a time to reflect on times gone by, and to look forward with hope to the future. So go ahead and make a special drink then raise a glass and make a toast to auld lang syne and all that’s to come. After all, every sequin needs a spotlight to really make it shine. – Meaghan O’Neill
The Sequin (our favorite sidecar)
makes 1 drink
1½ ounces Armagnac (I Marie Duffau Armagnac)
½ ounce Dry Curaçao or Cointreau
½ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce fresh squeezed Honeybell tangelo juice (or substitute your favorite fresh citrus juice here)
Granulated sugar for glass rim*
Pour liquid ingredients over ice, shake hard and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with sugar. Add a twist of orange in homage to a classic sidecar. Yields 1 cocktail.
*To prepare a sugared rim, coat the outside lip of the glass with a citrus wedge and roll the edge of the glass in sugar. Allow to dry as you build the cocktail.
Edible Landscape – Sparkling with Liquid Sunshine
Little Bitte’s Roselle Mimosa
Brunch cocktails are a weakness, especially a mimosa with fresh squeezed orange juice and a dry sparkling wine. In the winter, I look forward to blood orange season and the fresh citrus from sunnier parts of the globe. In short, I look for inventive ways to add sunshine to my glass.
Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), commonly referred to as Red Sorrel, is in the hibiscus family. When brewed as a tea or a simple syrup, Roselle produces an exotic crimson hue and a taste similar to fresh cranberries. In New England, Roselle is grown as a decorative annual. For this purpose, it’s not the flowers but the calyx, the horned crimson pod also produced by the plant, that you’re after.
It’s easy to start Roselle from seed in a sunny bed after the last frost of spring and watch it sprout into tall (2-foot) stems mitted with three-pronged leaves and pinkish-yellow buds. The calyxes are ready to be picked in August or early fall, just after the buds have blossomed.
Air-dry the pods in a cool dry place with good air circulation and save them to make a rich ruby-red simple syrup. In mid-winter its flavors will remind you of the not so distant past, when only fans and popsicles could alleviate the heat.
½ ounce roselle simple syrup*
½ ounce blood orange juice
Top with dry sparkling wine
(I like Morphos American sparkling wine from Maine or prosecco)
Preparation: In a flat champagne coupe, add Roselle simple syrup, blood orange juice and top with dry sparkling wine. Yields 1 cocktail.
* Boil 1 cup water in a small saucepot. Remove from heat and add 5 dried Roselle calyxes (or 1 tablespoon dried hibiscus leaves), cover and steep for 25 minutes. Remove and discard calyxes, then add 1 cup granulated sugar. Stir over low heat for 1 minute, cool and pour into a clean glass jar. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
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Crystallized Ginger Smash
The smash is a tremendously tolerant category of cocktails. It is considered the younger, “shorter” brother of the mint julep: base spirit, sugar, muddled mint (or other herbs) and ice. My favorite smash recipes are off-the-cuff—inspired by the most radiant and ripe ingredients of the season. For the base spirit, I prefer a bright single malt whiskey like Sons of Liberty Spirits’ Battle Cry that encourages the fresh herbs and muddled fruit to shine through the mash bill of rye malt and honey malt.
September brings a fleeting ginger harvest in New England, and with it, a most enviable smash. According to Silas Peckham-Paul from Wishing Stone Farm in Little Compton, “Young, fresh ginger is different from the large rhizomes (what we refer to as “roots”) that you buy in the grocery store. It’s white and bright pink close to the shoots. Our ginger is more delicate and mellow.”
He’s right. The young locally grown rhizomes are tender and less fiery than the ginger that’s available at the supermarket. In order to embrace our short-lived ginger season, candy the fresh root and save it for recipes that cry for a sweet, assertive spice. Muddle fresh mint simple syrup with crystallized ginger for a fallish smash or substitute 2 dashes of Angostura bitters for the mint when green foliage is out of our grasp.
The Crystalized Ginger Smash
¼ oz fresh mint simple syrup* (traditional, but not obligatory)
2 slices crystallized ginger and 2 more for garnish**
2 oz Sons of Liberty Spirits Battle Cry single malt whiskey
Prep: Muddle 2 slices of crystallized ginger with fresh mint simple syrup. Add ice and whiskey and stir for 10 seconds. Garnish with 1–2 slices of crystallized ginger.
* Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup granulated sugar in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves and infuse 15 minutes. Strain the batch and discard the mint. Cool and store the syrup in a clean glass jar. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
** Combine 1½ cups water and 1½ cups granulated sugar in a small saucepan and simmer. Peel and slice fresh ginger root into ⅛-inch sections and add to simple syrup. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. Transfer ginger to a wire rack set over a shallow pan. Let ginger cool completely and dry, then roll slices in additional sugar. The candied ginger will take at least 4 hours to cure. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Refrigerate ginger simple syrup, the delicious byproduct, for up to 2 weeks.
Avoid Turkey Day panic with expert advice.
There’s a dizzying array of gin lining liquor store shelves these days. Labels broadcast mystically spiced infusions, pungent barrel-aged recipes and traditional juniper-forward bouquets of “Old World” gin. Where to begin when ogling the towering aisle of London Dry, Plymouth and the ever-evolving styles of “New Western” botanical gin? “When selecting the base gin for your cocktail, decide your goal for the overall flavor profile,” says Lesley Bolton, beverage director of Avenue N American Kitchen in Rumford. Bolton suggests that particularly botanical gins complement the vibrant aromatics of vermouth and ripe fruit, while London Dry varieties pair impeccably with fresh citrus. Glorious Gin, infused with ginger, lemon and rosemary, sets the tone for her new cocktail, The Glorious Rhuby. The botanicals of Glorious Gin round the acidity of the rhubarb simple syrup and grapefruit juice while embellishing the bittersweet notes of Byrrh, an apéritif made with cinchona, the bark used to make quinine. The resulting tipple is a sweet and savory ode to the opulence of spring.