Archive for January, 2011

Public House Infusions!

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

We are so excited for these! I’d say we’ll start serving towards the end of next week. After the Corsair tasting. they will be offered as chilled shots or with soda water. We have Meyer lemon/mint, kumquat/black pepper, Ginger/cardamon vodkas, and jalapeño/cucumber tequila!

The Last Word

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Thursday’s cocktail at the Public House is one of my all time favorites. Bitter and sweet and beautiful!! Chartreuse is made by monks is one of those liqueurs that has a gazillion herbs resulting in a very complex flavor. A little goes a long way!

1 oz Gin
1 oz Greene Chartreuse
1 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1 oz fresh lime juice

Pour gin, Chartreuse, liqueur, and juice into a mixing glass. Add ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Recipe from Speakeasy, the Employees Only bar recipe book.

Corsair & The Bitter Truth

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Mockingbird, Downtown Wine and Spirits, and the Public House are super excited to host Corsair Artisan and offer up some awesome cocktails featuring their “micro batch craft spirits” and bitters from The Bitter Truth. These are some amazing products and are all available at Downtown Wine and Spirits and will eventually be a fixture at the Public House.

From Corsair (Be sure to check out their site. It has a ton of great information.) we will feature the Vanilla Bean Vodka, Wry Moon Unaged Rye Whiskey, and Gin Head Style Gin in the following cocktails:

Wry Moon Manhattan – Corsair Wry Moon Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
Rosemary Gin & Tonic – Corsair Gin, Rosemary Simple Syrup, Lime, Tonic Water
Vanilla Bean Cocktail – Corsair Vanilla Bean Vodka, Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters

Because these guys make small batches they are able to experiment and refine the flavors of their spirits. So far I’ve only tasted the Gin but it is super clean and smooth and lovely. Over the holidays I mixed it with a splash of Dimmi and a few dashes of the Bitter Truth Aromatic bitters.

Which leads us to the bitters for the eve. As the craft of creating and perfecting cocktails has swept the coasts in the past 5 years, so have the availability of bitters. One of my dearest and most inspirational food friends exposed me to a selection at her Italian market out in Sacramento CA about 3 years ago and I have been a convert ever since. From Rhubarb, to Whiskey Barrel, to Celery, bitters are like little dashes of flavor brightness for your cocktails.

The Bitter Truth bitters are part of this flavor revolution. These guys are based in Germany and produce 8 kinds of bitters plus a handful of experimental bitters produced for exclusive hotels or bars. They have some great recipes on their site but the best way to start working with bitters is to taste a few dashes in Champagne or chilled Vodka (I really just like anything with Champagne, it’s probably not the best way to a get a real sense of the bitter flavors since Champagne is not neutral, but it is the fastest and easiest way to make an awesome cocktail!) Once you’ve tasted you can start experimenting with different ideas!


February 2, 2011
6:00 – 8:00 P.M.
The Public House

There is no admission, flights of the cocktails will be available for purchase and Corsair will be there to answer any questions about the distillery, the distilling process, and their spirits.

New York Sour

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

From the Employees Only Speakeasy book! Come taste it at the Public House on Thursday!

According to their book: “The origin of this cocktail is shrouded in mystery, but it is icertain that it was served at several New York City speakeasies in the late 1920s…Think of it as the Prohibition-era Cosmo…”

1 3/4 oz whiskey
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz Malbec

The whiskey, lemon and simple syrup are shaken in a shaker and poured in a rocks glass over ice. The Malbec is floated on top of the drink.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tasting

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

We’re super excited that Avanti Savoia is partnering with us on the Olive Oil tasting. They will be providing the other 2 oils to round out the tasting platter.

Scroll down on this page to read about Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the way Avanti finds the oils they carry. My favorite part: “We do know that this evergreen is one of the world’s oldest cultivated trees.  Olives are a member of the family Oleaceae which includes flowering plants such as forsythia, lilacs and jasmines.  To the Greeks it was far more than simply a food; although olives and olive oil were one of their main sources of dietary fat.  The oil of the olive was also employed for body care, soap making, fuel for lamps and a host of other uses.  Besides as part of their regular (and healthful) diet, olive oil was surrounded by an aura that was medicinal, mystical and even magical.  It was the source of great power, wealth and influence.”

The oils that Avanti will be tasting us on are:
Cassini Gran Cru Extra Virgin Olive Oil 500ml has a very fine taste, with note of artichokes, lettuce, and a hints of basil and parsley, with a fruity  after taste with mellow hints of ripe white apples, pine nut and dried fruit, harmonic bitterness.

Marcinase fruttato intenso Extra Virgin Olive Oil has ample vegetal notes of artichokes, wild thistle, chicory, mint and rosemary, with a spicy after taste of black pepper, dried fruit and a distinct almond finishing, bitterness is difinite and pungency is present.

Our special guest Lorenzo Caponetti will be bringing Casa Caponetti’s Olio Extravergine Di Oliva Da Agricoltura Biologica

January 24, 2011
6:00 – 8:00 P.M.
The Public House
No admission, charge only for the tasting platter

Event Hosts:
Avanti Savoia
Mockingbird Events
UT Organic & Sustainable Crop Production Program
Slow Food Knoxville

Charlie Jennings

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

One of the thing that interests me about food is, well, all the interesting people doing interesting things with food both at home and in business. Over the next few months Mockingbird will send questions to different food people for different reasons.

Charlie Jennings is a former co-worker of mine. His blog CharlieTuna is one of my favorites. Below he talks about his food experiences.

Name: Charlie Jennings
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Occupation: Concert Promoter

What do you remember about eating growing up?
As far as eating out goes, it was McDonald’s hamburgers, pizza, chicken nuggets, “Japanese” food or Outback Steakhouse on a special occasion, and so on.  I still get those things occasionally for the nostalgia…not so much the nutrition….

I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house on my dad’s side of the family until I was about 15, so the food I ate there is really strong in my memory.  A few highlights were cubed steak, chicken & dumplin’s, biscuits, pork schnitzel, and all sorts of awesome side dishes, especially the green beans.  My mom’s mom’s cooking is equally vivid in many ways, but a little more recently.  Both families resided in upper East TN and served “country cooking,” but my grandmother on my mom’s side serves a “cleaner,” slightly healthier country cooking.  You know, olive oil in the beans instead of butter, but with equally great flavor.  They have a farm in Joneborough, TN, so I’ve had a lot of great farm-fresh vegetables there.  I loved (and still do) their corn, Cherokee purple tomatoes, potatoes, Asian pears, Concord grapes and more.

Of course, I remember my mom’s food.  I loved her spaghetti and red meat sauce, chicken and rice casserole, Christmas jam pasty, and all sorts of other stuff.  I still enjoy all of that today.

I miss some of the unique food spots in Bristol area…Blue Circle hamburgers, Ed’s Pizza Parlor, Ridgewood BBQ, and others.

How did you get into food and cooking?
There’s many things I credit with it, but I imagine it has a lot to do with food being a key part of holiday celebrations with both sides of my family and watching food TV when I was younger.  There was once a show on TLC, I think, called Great Chefs of the World.  It was a 3 part show, if I remember correctly, that featured a dish from three different chefs from different parts of the world, mostly Europe.  I watched if after school, I believe.  Then, in the early to mid-90s I started watching the Food Network in its early stages.  That’s when it was just Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, and others cooking in a kitchen in their white chef’s jackets – no B.S.  It was more instructional than entertainment. That’s changed, obviously.  Julia Childs, Graham Kerr, and Martin Yan were still on Public TV at the time, so I watched those, too.

Favorite album(s) to cook to?
I am still working on a kitchen audio solution, honestly, but it’s usually something ambient or jazzy or soulful, not my longtime favorite type of music, i.e. heavy metal, but something more soothing.  Metal takes too much of my attention.

Three-four restaurants you want to eat at this year.
I want to go to Blackberry Farm.  I am hoping to do that for my birthday.
I’d like to go to one of the new hot spots in Atlanta, maybe Miller Union or Holeman & Finch.
There’s some great new places in Vegas getting excellent press, so maybe one of those.
And then there’s a handful of places in Knoxville, like Chez Liberty or Kaya Korean, that I’ve said I would go to but haven’t yet.  I usually stick my standards.  I need to expand locally.

Favorite kind of dining experience?
My favorite dining experience, unquestionably, is food and service quality, presentation, and creativity at the level of fine dining, but served in an unpretentious, comfortable environment.  L’atelier De Joel Robuchon is the epitome of this, in my opinion.  (Other favorites are Restaurant Iris in Memphis and Town House in Chilhowie, VA.)

Other than that, it’s just good food, no matter where it is served – on the side of a road, like a taco truck in California, or in a shopping mall, like the Asian restaurants in Vegas’ Chinatown.

Favorite kind of cooking experience?
It’s definitely cooking in my kitchen with a bottle of wine open and with really good ingredients that came from the store that day.  If I’m being lazy, I like things I can prepare quickly on high heat, either on a grill or in the oven, but if I am fully committed, then I like something involving more technique, like a risotto or homemade pasta and red sauce.

Corsair Tasting!

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

I’m SO excited about our first venture into cocktails at The Public House!!!

February 2 from 6:00-8:00 join The Public House, Downtown Wine and Spirits, & Mockingbird Events for a tasting of Corsair Artisan Distillery and The Bitter Truth bitters. Jason Ingram from Corsair will join us. Meet the makers and enjoy some creative cocktails!

We will have a flight of cocktails created by Downtown Wine and Spirits:

Wry Moon Manhattan – Corsair Wry Moon Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
Rosemary Gin & Tonic – Corsair Gin, Rosemary Simple Syrup, Lime, Tonic Water
Vanilla Bean Cocktail – Corsair Vanilla Bean Vodka, Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters

The tasting is open to the public, cocktails will be sold in flights, no advance tickets are necessary. Tell all your drinking buddies!