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/// LIBATIONS


HOW TO SPRUCE UP A CHEAP DRINK


products. This delicious amalgam turns a $3 bottle of gas-station chardonnay into an almost magical, fruity dessert wine. Chilled and drunk straight or mixed with ice and soda, infused wine, or ratafia is a fabulous way of using summer produce and saving money for the carnival. Ratafia can be made with almost any produce,


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wine, spirit, and sweetener. Mixing and matching flavors can be very rewarding. A good place to start is with whatever is beautiful and plentiful at the Fulton St. Farmer’s Market. June might see strawberries and rhubarb, while plums are great later in the summer. Vegetables, carrots and beets can make wonderful infusions as well. Pick an herb or spice or an aromatic like vanilla or ginger to give your concoction a bit of nuance, and experiment freely with the type of spirits used to stabilize the mixture. Brandy is lovely with cherries, while gin could sing with herbs and white wine. The warning for assured success: cheap wine is made delicious with this treatment. Undrinkable wine is merely made even fouler; avoid the white zin at all costs! n


Ratafia. PHOTO: JUDY CLOWNEY


HE ART OF TRANSFORMING cheap, low-quality ingredients into special treats is common among all people, at least until recently, when cheap, low-qual- ity ingredients began to be transformed mostly into cheap, low-quality end


by Lydia Clowney | lydia@revuewm.com


LIBATIONS EVENTS


BAR DIVANI WINE SOCIAL: SAUVIGNON BLANCS


June 8, 6:30 p.m. $15-25


Bar Divani’s wine socials are always a hit, and June 8 is sure to be no dif- ferent. With Sauvignon Blanc as the featured varietal, this is sure to be one cool, crisp night. Price of admission buys six tastes of fine whites, and of course, a lively conversation.


26 | REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2011


COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH: SUPERCOSMO


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HE BLUE WATER GRILL IS an extremely tempting place come happy hour. With sangria and other drinks priced at $1.99 and appetizers


to match, it can be hard to let one’s eyes wander to the signatures. Try it, though, and be rewarded, as they are well worth the mark- up. The SuperCosmo is one of the Grill’s summer specials, and it’s as superlative as its name. Purported to be not just delicious but also full of antioxidant-rich “super foods,” the SuperCosmo is packed full of fruits and berries from the vodka to the liqueur to the juice to the garnish. Bartender Nick Kerr emphasized that for a drink like the SuperCosmo “to be so healthy and refreshing is a win-win combo,” and suggested the best


place to enjoy one is out on the Blue Water Grill’s waterfront patio. All claims to health- fulness aside, the SuperCosmo is an excellent summertime cooler. Far from saccharine, this variation on the Cosmopolitan theme is a fruity, lightly sweet drink for people who don’t like fruity, sweet drinks. Its faint, linger- ing tannins provide a refreshing balance to its juiciness, and the sweet and tart flavors are nuances rather than scene stealers. The SuperCosmo’s ingredients read like a par- ticularly exotic Snapple bottle; mangosteen, blueberry, pomegranate, and the previously mentioned açai berry. The fruits combine to a deep, aubergine translucence as alluring in its icy glass as a cold sprinkler on a hot day. Simply garnished with fat, fresh blackberries, the SuperCosmo is refined and invigorating; an update as good as the original. n


The SuperCosmo is available at the Blue Water Grill for $7.50. 5180 Northland Dr NE, Grand Rapids


PHOTO: DAVID CARSON


RECIPE FOR RATAFIA A clean growler from your local brewery works very well for the


initial maceration, and can hold two batches at a time.


1 C. cut fruit, herbs, vegetables 1 bottle cheap wine (red or white) ¼ C. liquor ¼ C. sweetener (or to taste)


Optional: small amounts of spices, vanilla, tea, or other compli- mentary accent


In a very clean container, combine fruit, wine, spirits, and sugar. Allow to macerate, refrigerated, for about two weeks, of however long you can stand it. Strain carefully through a coffee filter and store under refrigeration in clean wine bottles. Soft fruits and herbs infuse quite quickly, some- times in as little as a week. Harder fruits like apple and pear, as well as some spices and vegetables, can take longer and might not reach full flavor for three weeks.


OTHER SUGGESTIONS: • 1 bottle sauvignon blanc, 1 C. diced cucumber, 1 stalk rosemary, ¼ C. agave syrup, ¼ C. gin


• 1 bottle merlot, 1 C. cherries, ½ vanilla bean, scraped, ¼ C. sugar, ¼ C. brandy


• 1 bottle white wine, 1 C. chopped pear, 4 quarter-size pieces of ginger, ¼ C. honey, ¼ C. vodka


• 1 bottle red wine, 1C. chopped plums, ¼ t. nutmeg, ¼ t. cinnamon, ¼ C. honey, ¼ C. brandy


SCHEDULE | DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE


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