T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Blackberry Sour

The end of another long work week. Excellent. As we are wont to do, we wanted to give you a T.G.I.F. cocktail that was delicious and seasonal, but we also wanted to put a twist on it. You might be surprised at one of the ingredients, but trust us, it is delicious!

This is our take on the traditional Amaretto Sour. We’ve partnered up with Rhinebeck’s hottest new store Pure Mountain Olive Oil. Their all natural flavored balsamic vinegars are appearing in our cocktails, salads and sauces. I’ve also introduced them to my colleagues at Just Salad and we hope to be making new dressings with them there soon! Their balsamic vinegars are wood aged in the 900 year old Modena tradition; they are rich, syrupy and balanced in acidity. Since it’s Blackberry season (berries are ripe for the picking at Greig Farm), we asked our Gigi bartending phenom, Lisa Butenhoff,  for her take on a traditional cocktail using this finely crafted artisanal product and local blackberries. We’re serving it “up,” but you could also lighten this up to a “spritzer” by serving over ice and adding a nice splash of seltzer.

1 ½ ounces Amaretto (we use Disarrono)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of Pure Mountain Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
Handful of fresh blackberries

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Optional garnish: fresh blackberries and orange slice strung through a long decorative toothpick. Enjoy!

-Laura

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Apricot Julep

The classic julep it a hotly contested beverage, with many preparation variations, though the basic ingredients are generally always the same; bourbon, fresh mint, sugar and crushed ice. We scored some beautifully sweet apricots from Rose Hill Orchards in Red Hook this week and we decided to take a twist on the classic julep and add fresh apricot.

It’s incredibly delicious. Though this isn’t the simplest drink to make, we promise you it’s worth it. The Kentucky Derby may have come and gone, but the Julep is a great sipper all summer long. 

2 ripe fresh apricots (available locally at Rose Hill Orchards)
Approximately 20 mint leaves
3 ounces Bourbon (we used Maker’s Mark)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 ounce simple syrup (may be adjusted to preferred sweetness desired)
 

Throughly muddle 20 mint leaves (stems removed) with 1 teaspoon sugar. The granular quality of the sugar will work to break down the mint as you muddle, eventually turning it into a fragrant mash. Add quartered apricots, pits removed. Continue to muddle until apricots are broken down and integrated into the mint mash. Don’t worry about the skins, they will be strained out. Add the bourbon and simple syrup and fill the shaker with enough ice to reach the top of the liquid. Shake until the outside of your shaker is frosty and all components are integrated. Pack an Old Fashioned glass or Julep cup with crushed ice (almost to overflowing.) Strain drink into glass, garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a short straw so that the fabulous fragrance can be enjoyed while sipping. A multi-sensory explosion of goodness to kick off your weekend!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Plum and Honey Spritzer

The heat of summer is already starting to settle into our bones. Flushed and sweaty, we end up with hair don’ts instead of hairdos, as the humidity wrecks havoc. Hot car seats burn our thighs as we struggle to keep our cool.  We are in definite need of a delightful and refreshing T.G.I.F. cocktail this week!

Voila – the plum and honey spritzer!

2 ripe yellow plums (available locally for your picking pleasure at Mead Orchards)

1/2 ounce honey simple syrup*
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice.
1 1/2 ounces gin (we use Hendrick’s for it’s clean and refreshing taste)
2 ounces dry sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Cava

Cut plums in half and remove pits and skins. In a cocktail shaker, muddle plums with honey simple syrup and lemon juice. Add gin and fill enough ice to come to top of liquid. Use your muscles to shake this one, you want to shake it hard enough to fully liquify the muddled plums. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with your favorite dry sparkling wine. Enjoy!

*Honey simple syrup is made by combining equal parts honey and very hot water. Stir until it reaches a syrup-like consistency and refrigerate. 

 

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Blueberry Cosmo

Ahhh, another day, another dollar. At least the day is Friday, and for many, payday is around the corner. Cause for celebration, we say! As we are wont to do, we try to take advantage of what is wonderful and local…blueberries. The season has just kicked in. For your enjoyable consumption, the blueberry cosmopolitan. It is too beautiful and delicious to be denied. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

1/3 cup seasonal blueberries (available locally for your picking pleasure at Mead Orchards)
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or refined sugar)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice.
1 1/2 ounces vodka (we use Tito’s)
1/2 ounce triple sec 

In  cocktail shaker, muddle blueberries with agave nectar (or sugar) and lime juice. Mash thoroughly to ensure full blueberry flavor. Add vodka and triple sec, and fill enough ice to come to top of liquid. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Enjoy!

Hellloooooo Friday!

Lookiing for more blueberry cocktail recipes? Here’s another we provided to Lindsay Pietroluongo for her great blog,  “Lindsay on the Rocks”  for a blueberry margarita. There are no losers in this equation! Enjoy!

The Launch of Wine Weekly – Rosé

As you may know, our team is very involved in what we do. We are passionate about the whole dining experience. I believe that being passionate about food means being open; open to new experiences, new flavors, new pairings, and new ideas.

When Gigi Trattoria first opened, we were very much an Italian Trattoria, and our wines reflected that. For the first five years or so, our wine list was all Italian wines. Firstly, they reflected our menu at the time, and paired perfectly with our food. But, secondly, if I’m being honest, Italian wines were dead center in my comfort zone. They were what I knew, had experienced, and liked.

Well, Gigi Trattoria has evolved over time. We now incorporate many Mediterranean elements and ideologies in our menu, which has resulted in our evolution to “Gigi-Hudson Valley Mediterranean.” As our food progressed, I came to realize we needed to re-think our wine menu to better reflect and accompany the flavors and food choices on our menu. Part of that journey was my own experience in learning about Mediterranean wines, especially Spanish wines. I was pleasantly pleased to discover there are now a lot of amazing Spanish wines out there that offer great price performance!

We are really proud of our wine list now. It is a really thoughtful list that represents the best quality and value of Italian and Spanish wines. These wines are built for the food we serve. Wine shouldn’t overwhelm, it should partner with food. There is intrinsically something very complimentary about wines from the Mediterranean. We are also proud of the fact that we are able to pass on good value and quality to our customers. My hope in starting this weekly feature on our blog is to take our loyal clientele on a journey. A journey like the one I took, which will perhaps take them beyond their comfort zone, and give them the opportunity to explore new wines, new flavors, and new pairings.

Image Courtesy of italiaatavola.net

We’ll be talking about a different one from our menu every week, trying to expand horizons while helping you better understand our thought process and how we try to integrate our wines into the dining experience.

And to be clear, this won’t just be me, all of our staff will be participating; our managers, our servers, our bartenders, our chefs…Everyone is very much looking forward to bringing their insight “to the table.”

We hope you enjoy the feature. And, keep in mind, every Wednesday, we offer 30% of bottles in the Trattoria, the perfect opportunity to try something from our list that might have piqued your interest!

We thought we would kick off with a look at two rosé wines that we feature and provide you with some information about both.

 Rosé Bieler Pereet Fils, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, 2011: $30; Glass: $9

  • Classic pleasing warm weather Provencal rosé. Great for sipping and dining. Enjoy with our crispy calamari, seafood risotto or pasta, Gigi Skizzas™ or our antipasti platter with selections of vegetables, cheeses and cured meats.
  • Aroma: raspberry, bing cherries, wild strawberries, spicy minerality
  • Palate: medium body and notes of red berries, bing cherries, spice and no oak
  • Finish: long and refreshing
  • Varietals: 50% syrah, 30% Grenach, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Marramiero Dama Montepulciano Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy 2010 $10 gls/$32 btl

Cerasuolo – “Cherry Red”

  • Made mostly of Montepulcino grape
  • Cerasuolo can be a sticky term in Italian wine as it has a few different uses.  In general it means “cherry red” in color and can be used to describe the overall color of any rosato (rosé) wine. However, it has some more specific applications as well. First, there is a DOC Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo where the term is applied as part of the DOC to mean rosato that comes from Abruzzo. The Denomination of Origin “Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo” is reserved for wines from vineyards in the region composed of at least 85% Montepulciano. Blending grapes/other non-aromatic red grapes suitable for cultivation in the region of Abruzzo alone or together are permitted up to a maximum of 15%.(2)  Marramiero “Dama” Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo There are standards for color and for character in the DOC Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo as well:
  • Color – cherry/pink
  • Nose – fruity and intense with hints of spice
  • Taste –  bright, fruit driven but still dry

Which would you like to try?

Cin Cin!

-Laura

 

Staff Spotlight – Lisa Butenhoff

We love all of the wonderful staff that help to make Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market a success!  From CIA students to Brazilian natives, the Gigi family is fascinatingly diverse. We thought it would be fun to spotlight a member of our team every week to help you get to know them and what makes them so special, and so unique! We’re kicking things off by spotlighting our talented and personable bartender, Lisa Butenhoff.

Lisa has been with Gigi for over 7 years!  Thanks to her long stay with the Trattoria, she provides a familiar face to the customers.  She takes pride in the fact that she knows unique things about many of the customers, like their favorite tables (and of course, favorite cocktails.)

Not only is Lisa a soldier behind the bar, she has served in the US Marine Corps for nearly ten years,  and participates in drill once a month.  After a long day of early morning drills followed by a shift behind the bar, Lisa loves to have sushi take-out for dinner.  If she is dining at the Trattoria, her favorite menu item is the Rigatoni Buttera (without the peas.)

Next time you are visiting the Gigi Trattoria, be sure to order up a margarita from Lisa.  She loves the challenge of making the perfect margarita since so many people are picky about this particular cocktail.  But that is just Lisa, always looking to please the customers and give them a great experience.

One of Lisa’s fondest memories of being behind the bar at Gigi Trattoria was the night some bar guests challenged each other to a blind tasting of our Tawny Flagate Ports to see who could guess the vintage of the port.  “When customers are obviously here to have a good time, it makes it fun to serve them.”

When you are looking for the best margarita in Rhinebeck served by the best bartender, come into Gigi Trattoria.  Lisa would love to see you!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Spring Fling

We have all spent the last few days melting, sweating, trying to stay hydrated, and hoping for a break in the heat. For this week’s T.G.I.F. cocktail, we knew we needed something beautiful, chilly, and refreshing. Voila – the Spring Fling! Our head bartender, Lisa Butenhoff hooks us up, yet again!

 

Spring Fling

1 1/2  to 2 ounces Figenza Fig Vodka
1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces blood orange juice

 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lime. Enjoy!

 This is one of our drink specials right now at Gigi Trattoria, and one of the most popular at that! Beat the heat and stop in and order one!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Chamomile Sour

We figured we needed a particularly soothing cocktail for you this week. It has seemed to be a very long and arduous week.
While you might thing a drink with bourbon is too heavy for the season, our bartender, Josh Santonja, will tell you this is perfect for those rainy days or cool nights on the patio. It is one of our drink specials at Gigi’s Trattoria right now and people love it!

Chamomile Sour

2 ounces chamomile bourbon*
1 ounce yellow chartreuse
1 ounce honey simple syrup
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 orange slice for garnish
1 maraschino cherry for garnish

 

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, cover with ice and shake vigorously. Scoop ice into rocks glass and strain cocktail over. Garnish
with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice.

Variations:

Serve ‘up’ in a martini glass.

Go ‘old school’ and add an egg white to the mix before shaking vigorously.

**To infuse the bourbon:
In a large glass jar with a lid, add 5 to 6 chamomile tea bags to a quart of your favorite whiskey/bourbon. Put the lid on and set aside for at least 24 and up to 48 hours. Strain and store at room temperature or chilled.
covered.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Mojito

There is only a little bit of time left to get in your strawberry picking for the season. Our bartender extraordinaire, Lisa Butenhoff, decided to take advantage of the great strawberries we picked at Greig Farm in Red Hook to whip up this end of the week delight. All hail the Strawberry Mojito!

Just a fun bit of trivia about the mojito (pronounced mo-HEE-toe): A mojito, one of Cuba’s oldest cocktails, comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a little spell. Magical…Get muddling, people!

Strawberry Mojito

1 serving

4 medium-large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 mint leaves

1 teaspoon fine sugar
2 ounces Bacardi rum
½ ounce fresh lime juice

  In the bottom of a small cocktail shaker muddle the strawberries with the sugar and mint leaves. When blended, add the rum and the lime. Add just enough ice to cover top of liquid. Shake vigorously and pour into cocktail glass. Add a couple more cubes of ice if desired. Garnish with mint and strawberry.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Berry Rosado

Ahhh,  the coming of the weekend!  Two whole days away from the stress of flourescent lights, cubicles, and deadlines. This is certainly cause for the celebratory Friday cocktail (or two.) We asked the head bartender at Gigi HV, Lisa Butenhoff, for a festive and delicious drink we could make using fresh strawberries (that are so great right now), to help kick off the weekend. She suggested the Berry Rosado.  To say that people like this one is an understatement. When Gigi HV participated in the ‘Taste of Rhinebeck’, an annual fundraiser for Northern Dutchess Hospital,  she gave away about ten pitchers of this deliciousness. That’s a lot, when you consider each drink was only a few ounces! Luckily for you, you won’t be limited to just a few ounces, although some restraint will be in order!

 

   1 Serving  Berry Rosado

   1  1/2 oz Tito’s vodka
   1/2 oz  crisp, dry  rose wine
   Approx 3 to 5 strawberries (depending on size)
   1 tsp agave nectar (or refined sugar)
   Splash club soda
   1/2 oz lemon juice

 

 

 In  cocktail shaker, muddle strawberries with agave nectar (or sugar) and lemon juice. Mash thoroughly to ensure full strawberry flavor. Add rose wine and vodka. Shake vigorously. Pour over ice and top with club soda. 

You can intensify the strawberry flavor by infusing the vodka with strawberries (as we do at the Trattoria). Combine one liter of vodka with ½ pint of hulled, halved strawberries. Cap and let stand for 24 to 48 hours.

Lisa’s “virgin” version? Muddle the strawberries with a smidge of simple syrup or plain sugar and add to iced club soda or ginger ale.

BTW, if you’re too lazy or tired after your long week to ‘muddle’ through the recipe, you can always come in to Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and we’ll do the work for you! Or, if you’re in need of the strawberries, you can always pick up a pint or two at Gigi Market  in Red Hook. Happy Weekend!