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Boston Food & Drink Website|Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Bitters and Shrubs Class at ArtBar 

Fruit Cup Cocktail
I think it’s obvious by now that we are kind of obsessed with Troy Clarke’s cocktail classes at ArtBar.  Well, this one was my favorite yet! Joined by head bartender Elizabeth Powell, this class walked us through interesting ways to use bitters (i.e. in a martini, who knew?!) and how to make a shrub.

Cocktail novice that I am thought we’d be working with herbs like rosemary and sage for the shrub portion of the class.  Wrong! So what is a shrub, you ask? According to SeriousEats, it’s an “acidulated beverage made of fruit juice, sugar, and other ingredients.” I was too busy taking pictures to pay attention to Troy explain how to make a shrub at home, but you can read the article on SeriousEats, or better yet, stop in to ArtBar and ask Troy himself!

Vodka Fruit Cup

  • 1 oz mixed fruit berry shrub
  • 1/2 oz carpano antica
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz demerara simple syrup
  • Sparkling wine
  • Mint for garnish

Build in a collins glass, stir with ice, top with sparkling wine.  Garnish with mint.

Cocktail class is not complete without a round of passed appetizers.  These mac and cheese spring rolls have quickly become one of my favorites on their appetizer list, the bean dip was melt-in-your-mouth good and the pork cheek tacos were delicious and easy to eat.

Mac and Cheese Spring Rolls, White Bean Puree, Pork Cheek Taco

The second cocktail of the evening involved the proper making of a classic gin martini.  Troy instructed us to make two each (in half-portions): one with orange bitters and one without, in order to taste the difference.  I had no idea that you could but bitters into a martini.  And you know what, that’s the one I preferred! Try it for yourself next time you are making martinis at home.

Gin Martini

  • 2 dashes orange bitters (YES bitters!!)
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 2 oz gin

Stir with ice (yes, James Bond had it wrong for a classic martini), strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Jon and I will be at ArtBar’s next cocktail class on July 19th, where the focus is going to be beer cocktails. I have to say that I have always shied away from such concoctions on cocktail menus, so I’m excited to hear Troy and Elizabeth shed some light on this cocktail “genre” that has hit the ground running and becoming widely popular. You can visit ArtBar’s website for a list of their upcoming classes, as well as registration information.  Classes are $20 per person, and include a 10% discount on dinner if you stay to eat after class.  Maybe we’ll see you there!

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How do you prefer your martini?

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