Friday 22 June 2012

Bittered Sling Extracts!

It's about time to start another series, and my hope was to do a shorter one that better showcases Vancouver. The perfect opportunity arose with a brand new line of tinctures from Vancouver's own Kale & Nori Culinary Arts Inc, a marriage (figuratively and literally) between "mixologist" Lauren Mote and chef Jonathan Chovancek.
Kale & Nori is a catering and event company "specializing in delicious, ethical, and seasonal cuisine paired with avant-garde mixology focusing on the finest Canadian artisinal products." The tinctures, or "extracts" as they call them, are aptly named Bittered Sling (after the original name given to the "cock-tail") and have a full and unique range of flavours.
The products just launched this month, but there are a handful of Canadian bartenders who have already been working with them, so this series will be both a showcase for Vancouver-made bitters (about time!) and for some of the talent we have here - including a handful of newcomers to the site!

I'll let Lauren introduce the products herself:

"In 2008, bartender Lauren Mote started making extracts and bitters for the sheer love of science and experimentation. After the creation of over 43 different kinds, they developed into an award-winning cocktail program, and hundreds of worthy cocktails. In 2010, Mote partnered in life and business with Chef Jonathan Chovancek, and Kale & Nori was born. Over the next two years they would tirelessly develop recipes and applications for extracts to become the bridge between culinary and the cocktail. Bittered Sling Extracts is a pipe-dream come to a tasty fruition, celebrating what beautiful ingredients can provide the palate, plate and potion. We pride ourselves on accurate research and application in order to bring you a product that does as much for the mind and body as it does for the palate. Each extract promotes something different, but all of our extracts promote longevity."

Why "extracts"? I asked Lauren if all the products are technically bitters in that each of them contain some bittering agent - as calling them "extracts" might imply that they do not - but her response was that "extracts is the term we use to seamlessly slide into the kitchen and the bar." These are actual bitters and should be treated as such in a cocktail.

The Refinery used to host a series called "Cocktail Kitchen" (both of which were programs run by Lauren), which was a challenge to the chef and a guest bartender to create a number of pairings based on a particular food style and a particular spirit. Twice a month Kale & Nori host a similar competition called "Bittered Sling Bistro" at Legacy Liquor Store, again having a feature bartender create cocktails to pair with a multi-course meal. All of these programs focus on the union between cuisine and mixed drink, and the Bittered Sling Extracts were designed for the same purpose.

With that in mind, each of the extract descriptions on the Kale & Nori site is accompanied by both drinking and cooking suggestions. Check it out by clicking here!
Below is each flavour and just their description from the site...

This aromatic extract is smoky, earthy, rich and complex. This extract works best as a bridge between ingredients. This extract is loaded with natural anti-inflammatory and digestive aids, and developed in part using the properties of Ayurvedic study. Most notable in a classic sour or with dark spirits.

This aromatic extract is inherently spicy and complex, a celebration of Vancouver’s Denman Street with a rich combination of several Asian & sub-Gobi cultural spices! This extract is loaded with natural anti-inflammatory and digestive aids, and developed in part using the properties of Ayurvedic study. Adds a long finish to any spirit or drink.

Grapefruit & Hops
Bitter and herbaceous grapefruit with notes of spring and forest. The fresh-cut grass of the extract family. Made with Organic wild cascade hops from the B.C. interior region. Grapefruit is a natural lymphatic stimulant, promoting muscle and joint health, and enhances the body’s circulation. Hops act as an effective sedative, relieves insomnia and is widely used as a nerve remedy. This extract LOVES white spirits.

Orange & Juniper
Floral, bitter, sweet, sour and bright. This extract captures the multi-level flavour notes of the perfect sweet orange. She lends herself well to all spirits, but white ones in particular! Orange is a natural relief of heartburn, and strengthens the heart, and her muscles. Juniper is a naturally effective relief in joint pain, arthritis and has been used for centuries to help calm coughs, bronchitis and gastro-intestinal infections.

Plum & Rootbeer
This is an extract celebrating the kid-like memories of the rootbeer float. Spicy, rich, everlasting and velvety, a beautiful way to share the ripe B.C. prune-plum all year round. This extract is loaded with natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and digestive aids, and developed in part using the properties of Ayurvedic study.

Peach & Pepper (seasonal)
Stone fruit extracts make the mouth sing, with a luscious palate coating character. The peach & pepper marks the most successful combination of flavours with brilliant Okanagan stone fruits. This extract contains natural stomach fortifiers, and may relieve high body temperatures and fever, while being a mild digestive.

Cranberry (seasonal)
Tart and bright, this extract acts partly as an acidulated compound, adding the “right stuff” where you need it most! This extract contains naturally strong antioxidants, anti-adhesive properties, with excellent benefits for the urinary tract, cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Crabapple & Cardamom (seasonal)
Never have we tasted an apple like this. The crabapple has high skin tannins, brilliant colour and a remarkably intense flavour. This gorgeous extract pairs perfectly with cardamom, and brings a subtly sweet depth and captivating perfume to all applications. This extract contains natural fever, digestive, and aphrodisiac properties, using 3000 year old theory and Ayurvedic ingredients.

Elderberry (seasonal)
We were pleasantly surprised to experience the shift in flavour, character and composition of our elderberry extract. What started as a bright, tart, delicate, tiny fruit, transformed into a naturally beautiful extract with subtle hints of anise, licorice and herbaceous, earthy character. This extract contains natural influenza relieving properties, and has been used as such for centuries throughout several cultures. Perfect for white spirits.

The Bittered Sling Extracts launched this month (June 2012) across Canada, through Qualifirst Foods Ltd. & Far-Met Importers Ltd. You can get some at the Legacy Liquor Store in Vancouver, and for the American readers - they will be available at Tales of the Cocktail 2012 (July 25th-29th) in New Orleans at the "Bookstore" and "Bitters Market."

Stay tuned for some original cocktails using this exciting new line of products!

See Dani Tatarin from The Keefer make her "Haokan" cocktail here
See Justin Taylor from Yew mix up some barrel-aged spirits here
See Evelyn Chick from Uva Wine Bar create some twisted classics 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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