Pork Chops with Pickled Peppers, Peanut Butter Pie, Kouign-Amann, Cannoli Crullers...
Welcome to The Lowdown, an all-new, expanded edition of what I’m drinking, eating, reading, writing, watching, and listening to. It is also a space to spotlight a few of my favorite things. This paid subscriber exclusive is sent out on select Fridays.
Today’s LAST CALL dispatch is free to all readers thanks to the generous support of Forthave Spirits.
Aaron Sing Fox and Daniel de la Nuez, the founders and co-owners of Brooklyn’s Forthave Spirits, have expanded their Single Batch series of limited-edition botanical spirits with the release of Forthave Spirits THREE Amer. “With the Single Batch line, we revisit the spontaneity and inspiration of our first experiments,” says Fox. “It provides us the freedom to discover new flavors and aromas, play with different types of macerations, distillations, aging, and more.”
Born in the tradition of the bittersweet French digestif, amer, the inspiration for THREE began in the summer of 2018 by adding Seville orange peels and cinchona bark to botanical distillations of elderflower, rose hips, and hibiscus and allowing these to macerate for several years. Once the herbs were filtered out, the blend was then sweetened with slowly caramelized sugar lending a candied richness. The result is an amer with the expected level of bitterness and a rich, burnt sugar sweetness along with notes of orange zest and baking spice.
Five years in the making, THREE is special-edition release limited to 2,700 bottles.
Try it neat, as an Amer Bière, or in a classic Brooklyn cocktail—check out the featured recipe below.
ESPN or Something (Grand Army)
Last week Grand Army launched their new Fall/Winter themed menu based on the 2004 cult classic Mean Girls, and, as always, I was the first one outside the door when they opened. I’ll admit the “Burn Book” themed drink names and the outfits the staff and many guests were sporting went over my head, but the only time I’ve watched the picture was in theaters in 2004. But the millennial kids in their tiaras and Regina George-inspired cut-out tank tops were all having a blast. I tried a few of the new drinks and so far the ESPN or Something—a refreshing highball made with Cognac, rainwater madeira, yuzu, orange wine, and soda water—was my favorite. I also dug a bambino-sized serving of the Hump Day Treat, a frozen number made with vodka, blanc vermouth, aloe, raspberry, and lemon. And you can “make it FETCH” by adding an Aperol float for $2. The new menu features 10 Mean Girls-inspired cocktails as well as two spirit-free offerings.
Vintage Bonomelli Elixir Camomilla (Grand Army)
Whenever I meet up for a drink with Faccia Brutto Spirits founder Patrick Miller he usually has an old and dusty bottle of something interesting to share, and that was the case when I last saw him at Grand Army for the launch party for his new Faccia Brutto Centerbe Giallo Riserva. This time he pulled out a bottle of 1960s-era Bonomelli Elixir Camomilla, an herbal liqueur from chamomile tea producer Bonomelli based in Zola Predosa, Bologna. I mean, look at that label. Come on, right? But the contents inside the bottle were even better. Six decades had transformed its original sugared sweetness into a mellow, burnt honey profile. So good.
Last Sip Negroni (Dante West Village)
I recently wrote about the new Last Sip Negroni at Dante on a previous dispatch (“A Tale of Two Negronis”) so you can get the fully story there. Inspired by celebrated Italian chef Massimo Bottura’s famous dish, The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna, the Last Sip Negroni richness is meant to evoke those last few bottom of the glass sips of a Negroni. And it’s garnished with a half-rim of “Campari Dust.” Try it at Caffe Dante on MacDougal or Dante West Village.