Monday 2 July 2012

Bittered Sling Extracts: Evelyn Chick at Uva Wine Bar

Next up is another newcomer to the site - the very talented Evelyn Chick from Uva Wine Bar in Vancouver. Just a block away from busy, noisy, neon-lit, and club-laden Granville Street, the Moda Hotel, restored from its 1908 glory, houses both award-winning Cibo Trattoria and Uva. Warmer, calmer, and more stylish than anything a block away, Uva offers a great alternative to a lot of the downtown hustle-bustle both during the day as an espresso bar, and at night with delicious Italian-style snacks, great wines and beers, cocktails, and even live music on choice evenings.

While Uva is, yes, known for their wine program, they're also known for their cocktails, a very modern collection of classic variations and culinary-inspired experiments. Some new creations may pique the interests of the spirit-forward types, like the "Cuban Monk," featuring Havana Blanco rum, maraschino, yellow Chartreuse, Hennessey V.S. cognac, and Angostura bitters, while classic variations like the "Highline" have my mouth watering just writing this out: vanilla and orange-peel infused Maker's Mark bourbon, Amaro Averna, Fernet Branca, and Benedictine. From there things start to get more "mixological" in nature, as Evelyn tries to create cocktails to pair well with chef Neil Taylor's belief in always using fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. You'll find lots of infusions, such as the current bourbon sour with candied rhubarb-infused Bulleit, as well as spiced syrups, and even simply prosecco draped in local fruit.

Evelyn has kindly offered to share two original cocktails using both the Bittered Sling Moondog and the Peach & Pepper. Like Justin at Yew, Evelyn's culinary and modern approach to mixing drinks makes great use of the like-minded Kale & Nori products.
First up is a Dark & Stormy variation using tea and all-spice syrup that Evelyn describes as "soft, smokey, and smooth."

Bermuda Summers

2oz Gosling's Black Seal Rum
2oz House-made ginger red tea
3/4oz lemon juice
1/2oz all-spice syrup
Dash of Bittered Sling Moondog Extract

Shake all ingredients with ice and serve in a tall glass over crushed ice.

All-Spice Syrup
1/2L water
2 teaspoons ground all-spice (nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, anise)
1L sugar
Add all-spice to the water and bring to a boil. Add sugar and lower heat to medium-low and stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.

Next is another of her classic twists, this time on the iconic James Bond drink, The Vesper, where she uses lemon perserve-infused vodka with (one of my favourites) Martin Miller's gin, and swaps Kina Lillet with the marvelously fruity Pineau de Charentes fortified wine. Infusing the vodka with preserves gives a much fuller, stronger, and sweeter flavour than just infusing with peel, and at Uva they use 3-month-old preserves infused for a week in jars with the vodka. If trying a similar infusion at home, Evelyn offered her suggestion of doing 5 lemons per 750mL of vodka, simply using thin peels and letting them sit together in an air-tight jar for a week.
Evelyn explains that this drink "is shaken, not sitrred, as this is the very phrase that conjures up images of Sean Connery, natty in his tuxedo about to break the bank at baccarat."

Vesper Lynd

1.5oz Lemon-Infused Sobieski Vodka
1oz Martin Miller's Gin
1/2oz Pineau de Charentes
Dash of Bittered Sling Peach & Pepper

Combine ingredients with ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass.

Next time you're downtown, make a stop at Uva and give the drinks a try - particularly the Vesper Lynd as the Peach & Pepper extract is of limited supply, or even just the ever-changing Uva Bourbon Sour made with seasonal fruit (currently it's strawberry). Maybe even have a little dinner at Cibo first, or plan a trip the next time they have some live music (check the website here).
Thanks to Evelyn for her contribution to the Bittered Sling series!

See the Bittered Sling introduction here
See Dani Tatarin from The Keefer mix something up in her Chinese apothecary-style here
See Justin Taylor from Yew mix up some infused and barrel-aged spirits here
See Jay Jones from Market create a spirit-forward classic here 
See Grant Sceney use his barrel-aged Cointreau here
See David Wolodidnyk's world-wide competition-winning cocktail here

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