This week I attended the International Wine, Spirits, and Beer portion of the Chicago-based National Restaurant Show. Now, conventions can be a cheesy thing, but there are always a few diamond in the rough brands to make the experience worthwhile. Spirit-makers that come from far away or have small marketing budgets, can get in front of the right people.
While I enjoyed the Korean and Bulgarian wines, Greenbar Distillery from Los Angeles, was the standout. You may not be familiar with their spirits, but the Bar Keep line of bitters, you’ve probably seen. Not only does the distillery have a focus on sustainability, but they source local and keep it organic.
I particularly enjoyed the tequila-based cocktail they served at the show – made with their Grand Poppy Organic Aperitive (the poppy being the state flower of California), agave, and lemon. The Grand Poppy is sweet without being cloying, and the flower’s bitter notes harmonizes extremely well with the added citrus.
If you can find it, I urge you to try it. Unfortunately, it’s not currently available in Chicago (unless you have a wholesale account with Tenzing).
Below is some of their promo materials and here is what I believe to be the cocktail recipe:
The Grand Poppy Margarita
1 3/4 oz Iza Tequila
1 oz Grand Poppy Aperitive
1/2 oz lemon
1/4 oz Agave (if you sub simple syrup, use 1/2 oz)
Shake and strain up or into a salt-rimmed, ice-filled rocks glass.
On a side note: as we head to margarita season, experiment with the standard recipe by subbing out all or some of the Cointreau for sweet liqueurs like St. Germain, Maraschino, Chartreuse or Clement Shrubb. Also considering adding a little rose or orange water and fresh herbs like rosemary and cilantro.