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Drink Thu Oct 17 2013

Deconstructing Fall's Best Cocktails: The Knee High Stocking

Chicago's top mixologists show you how to make their favorite fall drinks.

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Embeya's "progressive pan-asian cuisine" earned it top billing as one of America's best new restaurants, having the dish of the year, and claiming the best new chef. Sure, at this point they could phone the rest in, but they also happen to be doing some seriously amazing stuff behind the bar. This fall, Beverage Director Danielle Pizzutillo created an intriguing cocktail that combines sweet plums with sour vinegars and sakes for a flavor as bold and unusual as you'll find in their award-winning dishes.


Danielle starts by vaccum-compressing sliced plums toplums.jpg extract the most concentrated juice possible for an intensely sweet plum simple syrup. She then adds a tart apple vinegar gastrique made with spices and sugar, and a splash of cognac (because, why not?). Finally, in goes a sake infused with preserved plums-- a Southeast asian delicacy that tastes like a Sour Patch Kid gone haywire. Never one to pass up a delicacy, I took the opportunity to taste one, and after the initial flailing, face-contorting reaction to the almost unbearable pucker, it reminded me of a prune gummy bear.

preserved plums pack a punch

The vinegar and preserved plum flavors in The Knee High Stocking are well balanced by the fruit, and the drink is not "sour" in a whiskey sour way. However, they do create a noticeably kombucha-like effect--refreshing and a little astringent--a cocktail that you suspect might be cleansing you from the inside. And in a month when we feel like we might drown in cloves and cinnamon, here's to a seasonal drink that doesn't try to be a pumpkin pie. Cheers!

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Danielle was kind enough to break down her signature cocktail for Gapers Block readers. And just in case you didn't get a cryovac machine for Christmas last year, never fear, she's adapted it for a home kitchen.

The Knee High Stocking

1.5 oz Pierre Ferrand Cognac
1.5 oz Preserved Plum Sake
.75 oz plum gastrique*
.5 oz lemon

Shake with ice and pour into a collins glass. Garnish with plum and lemongrass.

*Gastrique:

1 cup apple vinegar
3 cups sugar
1/2 pound sliced plum
4 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks
1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp allspice

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and reduce by half.


photo credits Brad Snyder

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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