I’m now entering day three of my Atlanta Food and Wine Festival hangover, which is a scary thought. As the years have gone by since college, my ability to recover quickly has become severely impaired.
That being said, I had a great time at the festival. I volunteered on Friday morning, and a few logistics were a bit rocky at first, but that’s to be expected on the first day of the first iteration of the event. Saturday was unsurprisingly much better attended, and all of the information sessions went a bit smoother, the rooms broken down and set back up between classes much more efficiently.
The sessions were really great though, more valuable to me than the tasting tent, where for some reason I decided I’d try twenty tastes of bourbon out in the sun. After a beer and cheese session. After a wine tasting. After a madeira tasting. After drinking beer, and wine, and vodka outdoors. Geez.
Which leads me to the secondary point of this post, I’ve been sampling a lot of cocktails lately. Restaurants where I’d usually order a glass of wine or beer, I’m going full throttle instead.
First up, the rose thorn at Leon’s Full Service – a mixture of tequila, mezcal, and two different vermouths. I was told it was “boozy”, and they weren’t kidding. I like tequila, but it was too much for me, a lot of heat, too much tequila and not enough balance to be enjoyable.
I also tried the smith & wesson there (not photographed) – rye, antica formula, rum, aperol, and bitters – much more my style. I love rye and bitters, so it’s tough for me to not like a drink like this.
One of my recent favorites is the Dawn and Dusk at Bocado, designed by the relatively new bartender David. At least I think that is his name. If I’m wrong, I apologize. I tried three cocktails there (the Japanese cocktail and the Pisco Frisco being the other two) but the D&D was my favorite. It’s a light and well balanced cocktail with rye, bitters, lemon, and egg whites. The texture provided by the egg white really made the drink refreshing and full bodied.
Apparently the aforementioned Japanese cocktail is a classic. The drink is made with cognac, bitters, and orgeat, the latter being an almond, sugar, and rose petal water syrup that can be purchased commercially, but many bars just make it themselves.
I had it with this prosciutto and peaches. Rocked.
Another fun cocktail was the bitter end at Empire State South. Gin, abano, cardamaro, lemon juice, and ginger ale. I don’t have detailed notes on it, but it was indeed bitter, though enjoyable. I like bitters though.
Last week I mentioned on Twitter that recently I was at Soundtable, and the bartender Navaro (sp?) made us a trinidad sour. It has an amazing full ounce of bitters in it! But it’s awesome. Sour of course, but it works, and has tons of cinnamon and Christmas-y notes. The bitters are balanced out by the aforementioned orgeat. Two orgeat sightings in one week? Ka-ray-zee.
Cocktails aren’t going to be replacing wine with my food any time soon, but it’s fun to see what people can come up with that’s interesting and enjoyable. Sometimes it’s a bit much, or a reach that doesn’t really work for me, but I do enjoy learning about all these liquors and techniques. I feel another hobby coming on.