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Tropical Summertime Spritz 

Summer is upon us (finally) again! And what better way to celebrate the hot weather than a new spritz in your cocktail repertoire? 

This month I made a coconut fat-washed Campari as a base for a unique, crushable spritz to liven up your warmer months. The most involved process is not that involved, so don’t get nervous. 

Get yourself some unrefined coconut oil and for every four and a half ounces of Campari, add two ounces of the coconut oil. I’d recommend starting small with four-and-a-half ounces of Campari in case you don’t like the final product. If that happens, you haven’t wasted much alcohol. 

First make sure the coconut oil is liquid, which just means submerging its vessel in hot water for about ten to fifteen minutes. Once the coconut oil is liquefied, marry it with the Campari. Seal the liquid in a glass jar and allow it to sit at least four hours at room temperature. Next, put it in the freezer overnight. The longer you allow it to freeze, the more the coconut flavors will pop. I personally recommend twenty-four hours in the freezer. 

When you remove the jar, you will see the coconut oil solidified on top of the Campari. Remove the coconut fat and fine strain with a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to make sure none of the coconut fat remains. The result is a coconut forward, slightly bitter Campari. Yummy! 

The rest is even easier:

Coconut Campari Spritz

4 ounces seltzer water 

1 ½ ounce coconut fat-washed Campari

¾ ounce pineapple juice

½ ounce simple syrup

1 orange wheel, sliced about ¼ inch thin

Add all ingredients but the orange wheel to a highball glass, top with ice and roll between glass and half a shaker

Garnish with the orange wheel pressed against the glass, held in place with a straw

The coconut fat wash really mellows the Campari’s natural bitterness, which is only further pushed to the end of the palate by the pineapple juice and seltzer. This is a subtle, tropical and ever so slightly bitter spritz. If you’re a fan of an Aperol Spritz or an Americano, I’d recommend trying this at home.

Happy fat-washing! 




PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE MOTIF 2022 RI DRINK AWARDS

Sunday, August 14 from 6-9pm at R1 Indoor Karting, 100 Higginson Ave, Lincoln, RI 02865
Yes, there will be food trucks!

Our Beer & Spirits Awards are still new — 2021 was their first year. We asked our eats & drinks writers, and the planners of most local beer fests and the bartenders at a number of local craft-focused pubs, but the biggest contributors to these nominations were the brewers themselves. We asked each brewery to let us know their three favorites, and if they felt like it, three favorites from among the work of other locals. Amazingly, brewers were at least as likely to recommend others as to tout their own stuff. The sense of community and respect for other brewers was really remarkable, and it was clear that for most in this local industry, the shared love of great beer or spirits forged a bond stronger than any competition.

After we got all those nomination, we did a whole bunch of math, conferred with our writers, and you can see the results here. And yes, every place makes IPAs, so we let that category fill to the brim. If you were a nominator and don’t see something you sent in, we apologize – they couldn’t all get in.

This year, we’re following the same basic formula, and we’re looking for nominations again. If you’re a brewer, distributor or buyer, please send your nominations to publisher@motifri.com

These events are celebrations of crowd-pleasing art forms. Once the ballot is up — in early July — please vote! Take a look around at the other nominated goodies – maybe find inspiration for your next sampling night or meal.

Pick your favorites, please, but the emphasis isn’t on who wins, it’s on recognizing how much amazing food and drink is being produced right here in our own backyard.




French 75: but make it art 

In honor of this month’s art theme, I thought I’d take things literally. I chose to utilize a product from Collective Arts, which is a distillery and a brewery operating out of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. While they have been brewing beer for nearly ten years, they only recently started distilling, beginning with a dry gin and a “one off” gin, distilled with rhubarb and hibiscus. 

And Collective Arts does more for art than have the word in its name. They support artists by rotating the designs on their beer cans to showcase different work from different people. This makes their cans as interesting, fun and cool as their contents! 

I chose to use their rhubarb and hibiscus gin, so that means that if you’re interested, get it while you can — this bottle won’t be available forever! You can find bottles right now at Nikki’s Liquors on Branch Ave in PVD. 

This month’s cocktail is a play off of a French 75: a lovely, refreshing gin-based cocktail that is perfect for this warmer weather. 

To make this, you will need about a teaspoon of dried hibiscus petals and twice as much of your choice of sugar (granulated, raw, whatever you like!). 

Combine the hibiscus petals and sugar and muddle until the hibiscus petals break up and become small, nearly as small as the sugar grains if you can. Mix the hibiscus and sugar thoroughly. Pour evenly onto a small plate. 

Collective 75

1 ½ ounce Collective Arts Rhubarb and Hibiscus Gin

¾ ounce lemon juice

¾ ounce simple syrup 

1 lemon wedge, scored

Hibiscus petal sugar

1 ounce cava (dry sparkling wine)

Run lemon wedge around the rim of a champagne flute to make it sticky. Discard lemon wedge. 

Put the flute upside down in the hibiscus sugar and rotate so that the sugar and petals stick to the rim. Place right side up. 

In a shaker with ice, combine the gin, juice, and simple syrup. Shake and strain into the champagne flute. Top slowly with cava.

The hibiscus sugar rim will have tart notes, like cranberry, and will be a sweet, tangy prelude to this dry sparkling cocktail. On the palate, the drink will be light with juniper-forward, summery notes from the Collective Arts gin and dry bubbles from the cava. 

Cheers to art! 




Puppy Love: A Lovely February Libation

This February, in honor of Black History Month, I decided to create a cocktail that utilized products from a local black-owned distillery. I chose White Dog Distilling in Pawtucket. 

White Dog Distilling has a variety of products including a selection of whiskies of various ages and rotating seasonal options of flavored moonshine. Right now, they have cherry moonshine for sale, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to mix this tasty spirit with their signature Puppy Bourbon.

I started by making my own chai syrup. Here is the recipe:

Chai Syrup

¼ ounce sugar

¼ ounce hot, filtered water

1 teabag of chai-flavored tea (decaf recommended)

Combine sugar and water and stir until sugar is dissolved

Add teabag and allow to steep about ten minutes before removing

Now we can get on to mixing the cocktail, which I call Puppy Love, for the bourbon used and the time of year. 

Puppy Love

1 ½ ounces White Dog Distilling Puppy Bourbon 

½ ounce White Dog Distilling Howling Cherry Moonshine

½ ounce chai syrup

1 orange swath 

1 match

Add all ingredients but orange swath and match to a mixing glass with ice, stir and strain over one 4-ounce ice cube in a rocks glass

Light match and hold orange swath over it, over the drink, express orange swath over flame; oils from the swath will make the flame get bigger over the drink

Repeat and discard orange swath

This cocktail is a play on an Old Fashioned and is great for these cool, wintery nights. If you like rich, cherry flavors with your whiskey, you’ll enjoy this drink. 

White Dog Distilling is located in Pawtucket and has a gorgeous, safely spaced bar featuring local artwork you can purchase, tasting options, house-made cocktails (using 100% house-made ingredients), and even cocktails to go. Follow them on social media (@whitedogdistilling) for updates on the opening of their new production facility, which will be open to the public by appointment only for tasting tours.

White Dog Distilling, 560 Mineral Spring Ave, Pawtucket, whitedogdistilling.com, @whitedogdistilling




For the Festive Drinker

It’s that time of year to get cooking, get traveling, and get shopping! And while lots of people can be easy to shop for, some prove more difficult. That person can often be the alcohol enthusiast, as the world of cocktails, wine, and beer get so big so fast! So what do you get for the home bartender, or just plain lover of alcohol? I reached out to a few local shops to see if they’re doing any gift packages for the holidays, this is what I found out!

Campus Fine Wines

127 Brook Street

Campus Fine Wines is doing holiday wine packs to bring to a party, give to a friend, or easily stock your own bar for guests! They have two options for packs consisting of six bottles of wine which include red, white, and bubbles! All these wines are small production and low intervention. You’re bound to impress your friends and family with these hard-to-find wines!

Holiday Vax’d Pack $100

Holiday Boostah Pack $150

Stock

756 Hope Street

This adorable shop for all things cooking and bartending will have their shelves stocked with various cocktail books, glassware, and of course bar tools for you to choose from. And while they always have the materials, the staff is well adept at putting together personalized gift baskets for you. From the perfect shaped ice to a variety of shakers, mixing glasses, and jiggers, Stock has you covered!

And of course, books are always fun! Here are some cocktail books I recommend, which Stock is selling right now:

The Art of the Japanese Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig from PR powerhouse Hanna Lee Communications. This is on my personal wish list! I can’t wait to get my hands on it! I’d recommend it for the more advanced home bartender, someone who will hunt down rare ingredients and make time to make their own syrups. 

For beginners, Stock has The Curious Bartender Cocktails at Home by Tristan Stephenson. 

So whether you’re looking for gifts or just looking to stock your own shelves, local shops have you covered! Happy shopping! 




Becherovka Green Toddy: A Drink to Warm You Inside and Out

It’s my favorite time of year! I love the cooler weather, the flannel, the beanies, the way that strong and stirred drinks overtake bar menus… 

I also love hot drinks, and I feel like the genre deserves a little more attention than it generally gets. So I set out to make a hot matcha drink this month. I wanted to create something that you could enjoy on a cool fall day, with a burst of caffeine for some end-of-the-day energy. And if it’s unseasonably warm as things tend to be nowadays, you could certainly do this cold. 

Let’s talk first about Becherovka. Becherovka is a product of the Czech Republic. The recipe involves twenty different herbs, wine distillate, and water from the western region of the Czech Republic. The recipe is all natural, unaltered since 1807, and a highly guarded secret. One of the most popular drinks of the country, this spirit doesn’t disappoint.

Tasting wise, Becherovka has nice warm, cinnamon, and orange zest notes. It’s a great substitute for Fireball, if you want something similar but better quality and more flavorful with warm herbal notes this winter. It also does well to enhance a Manhattan! 

Green Toddy (Serves 1)

  • 8 ounces milk (oat will do well if you’re dairy free)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered matcha tea 
  • 1 ½ ounces Becherovka 
  • Whipped cream
  • Your choice of colored sprinkles or sugar

Place the milk in a small saucepan and heat on low until it becomes frothy at the edges. Remove from heat and whisk in one tablespoon of matcha tea powder. Whisk until powder is dissolved and the milk is slightly green. If you want this cold, just add the matcha to cold milk and whisk until dissolved. 

In a mug, pour the Becherovka and top with the match latté you just made. If you’re making it iced, I recommend serving this in a highball with ice. Now top with whipped cream and garnish with your fun sprinkles! 

This is going to be a very comforting drink. The funk of the matcha is balanced with the creaminess of the milk and whipped cream. The Becherovka hits at the end: evoking cinnamon, clove, orange, and all those lovely fall spices! Just when you think it’s going to burn like whisky, it mellows out. This cocktail drinks fast and easy and the matcha will give you some caffeine for finishing off your day! 




Mixing it up for Oktoberfest : A Cocktail Recipe

Oktoberfest is a time for celebration of all things beer, and that includes beer cocktails. I was charged with the task of making an Oktoberfest beer cocktail for this issue, and I was very excited to receive this challenge because I love a beer cocktail.

The term ‘Shandy’ is a British term for a lager or pilsner mixed with anything nonalcoholic from lemonade to ginger-ale. The term ‘Radler’ is German and is a lager mixed with lemonade. Radler translates to ‘cyclist’ named for the customers of the Bavarian bar that invented Radlers in 1922.

Oktoberfest beers can technically be any style of beer, it’s just about when they’re consumed, which is the last two weeks of September leading up to October 1st.

In America, most Oktoberfests are Märzens, which is a lager named for being brewed in March and let to rest during the summer. This makes them an ideal candidate for Oktoberfest beers, hence their rise in popularity for Oktoberfest in both Germany and America. Märzens are amber in color with a sweet maltiness.

In Germany, tastes evolved to lighter lagers for Oktoberfest, but they still produce Märzens for the American market. If you grab any Oktoberfest off the shelf in America, German or American, it’s likely a Märzen.

Festbiers (translation: ‘festival beers’) on the other hand are Oktoberfests beers because they are brewed for the festival. However, they have strict parameters. They must be lagers and they must be made with specific malts. So all Festbiers are Oktoberfests, but not all Oktoberfests are Festbiers.

I wanted to be as true to the German tradition as possible, so I started this cocktail development with a Radler as inspiration. I went with Festbier for my beer to mix with, choosing the Allgäuer Festbier, a German product.

The Allgäuer is a delicious malt-forward lager with a crisp bite and no sweetness, which I love. The flavor profile lends itself to a lot of interesting combinations.

Festy Radler

6 ounces Allgäuer Festbier

1 ounce Domaine De Canton (a French ginger liqueur)

2 dashes lemon juice

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 king cube (4 oz cube)

Add the Domaine De Canton and the king cube to your glass. Add the lemon juice and Angostura and then top with the Allgäuer Festbier.

This drink is going to go down easy. It drinks like a gingery lemonade and it’s easy to forget that there’s alcohol involved.

Cheers to Oktoberfest and all things beer!




Ming River Tiki

It’s been a wild year and a half with lots of misinformation and unnecessary violence, including the horrifying rise in hate crimes against people of Asian descent. Misunderstanding, misplaced blame and anger have showed the ugliest side of many people in this country. That’s why I chose to create a cocktail that would highlight just a couple of the beautiful things coming out of Asia using the national spirit of China: baijiu, and soju, from Korea, to create a split-based tiki-inspired cocktail. 

Baijiu translates to ‘white spirits’ in Mandarin and is usually distilled from sorghum, though it also can be made from rice, wheat, corn or millet. Just like other spirits, production methods differ with the region and style. The flavors have quite a range, and I chose Ming River Sichuan, which comes from the oldest operating distillery in China — it’s 400 year old! Baijiu itself is roughly 5,000 years old.

Soju hails from Korea and is distilled from rice. Haven’t heard of soju before? You’re in the minority: Soju is the best-selling liquor in the world. It is often referred to as the ‘Korean vodka’ because of its similar flavor profile. This is good news for mixing: soju will go with most mixers, just like vodka!

Class adjourned — here’s a recipe using both spirits! 

Ming River Tiki

2 ounces coconut water

1 1/2 ounces baijiu (Ming River Sichuan recommended)

1 ounce orgeat

1/2 ounce soju 

1/2 ounce lychee syrup 

1/4 ounce Carpano Botanic Bitter

Dash lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon white sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon butter

Melt butter in a small pan and add sesame seeds, stirring until browned. Remove from heat. 

Add coconut water, baijiu, soju, and lemon juice to a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass over a king cube. Gently pour Carpano Botanic Bitter over the top so that it creates a thin floating layer. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top for garnish. 

The flavor profile is going to be tiki flavors with the creamy orgeat and the mango notes from the baijiu with the subtle fruity sweetness from the lychee. This all meets a slight bitter balance with the Carpano. 

Cheers to well-crafted spirits from Asia and all over the world! 




Served with a Twist: Sober or sober curious, mocktails are here to stay

As more and more people recognize the health benefits of not drinking (sorry guys — it’s delicious but not good for you), the mocktail revolution gains momentum every year. So whether you’re the DD, doing Sober September, or done with alcohol for good – your options are more vast than ever. 

Where to Go

I went to Persimmon on Hope Street, which offers a house cocktail menu that can be served either alcoholic or nonalcoholic. If you want your drink nonalcoholic, you simply request it be “neutral.” I started with the neutral Amity Island Cooler: a raspberry forward delight that had the look and taste of summer. It was jammy and citrusy, and had surprising hints of cinnamon. The complexity of this mocktail is nothing short of impressive. Next, I ordered the neutral Mai Tai and was very curious about how this traditionally boozy cocktail would be presented without the booze. The mocktail was pineapple-forward, bright and citrusy, and very pretty.

Persimmon’s cocktail menu concept is not only respectful, refreshing and inclusive, it’s delicious! I highly recommend them for food and drink (whether neutral or not!). 

Making Your Own

But you can’t dine at Persimmon every night. So I took the opportunity to try a couple nonalcoholic spirits by Seedlip, a distillery in LA. I chose the Citrus and the Herbal, and neither disappointed! It was hard to decide between the orange and lemon-forward notes of the Citrus or the fennel, dill and lime pith profile of the Herbal. Something about that Citrus called to me, though. It needed to be made into a nonalcoholic cosmopolitan! 

My grandmother loves a good cosmo, so I made this in her honor. I hope she likes it, though she may be disappointed there’s no vodka.

Not Your Nana’s Cosmo

1 ½ oz Seedlip Citrus Nonalcoholic Spirit

¾ oz lime juice

½ oz simple syrup

¼ oz cranberry juice

1 edible flower 

Add all ingredients, except the flower, to a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a coupe. Garnish with floating edible flower.

This is going to be more tart than a classic cosmopolitan because the Seedlip Citrus brings the lemon notes that aren’t usually present in a cosmo. A classic cosmo has vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice. The Seedlip in my recipe takes the place of the vodka and the orange liqueur (it can do it all!).

So whether you’re sober for September, a day or for life, the options on liquor store shelves and on forward-thinking menus like at Persimmon are more plentiful than ever. Go forth and explore, enjoy and drink as much as you want! 




Corks and Rec: Wines to take you from September scorchers to fall’s first frost

As the proverbial sun sets on summer in New England, there’s a certain calm in the air. The rhythmic “thwap” of damp towels swaying in the breeze while slung over decks and porch ledges will soon be replaced with the sounds of school buses motoring by and “Happy Halloween!” being sung in unison door to door. But as this season changes, so do our tastes. We’re mid-way between needing the crispy, thirst-quenching bevys of summer and the oh-shit-it’s-a-blizzard fuller-bodied wines of winter. So here we are: Your perfect picks for fall wines. Settle in and let’s get it started. 

September Scorchers 

There’s a unique flow to everything in New England, including our weather transitions. Rigid seasonal changes? We don’t know her. Even as the temps start to fall, we still have those September scorcher days. Enter: Pseudonimo. This Portuguese pet-nat will have you puckering that pout with its slight effervescence and mouth-watering acidity. Up-front notes of passion fruit and lemon zest make this a great fall wine to have on deck for these warmer days ahead. The Pseudonimo’s medium-bodied heft caters to food pairings like fresh seafood or salads with a lemony vinaigrette,  but it by far pairs best with good times and even better friends. 

Cool Weather Cutie

Spooky time is one of the things I look forward to the most in the fall. The mere sound of a twig snapping or breeze blowing by has you looking over your shoulder praying Jason isn’t standing behind you with blood lust in his eyes and his dirty ass machete in tow. But the scary sounds of leaves rustling in the dark pales in comparison to the joyful pop of a cork being pulled from a newly opened bottle of Amity Vineyard’s White Pinot Noir. This Oregonian beaut isn’t the pinot noir you’d typically find gracing the dinner tables across the globe. Amity Vineyard gently presses the grapes to reduce the amount of tannins imparted on the wine. The final result is pale gold hues and notes of nectarine, pineapple and orange blossom. The inherent structure from the grapes themselves make this the perfect choice for pairing with heftier fall meals like creamy soups and roasts. 

Frigid Fall Fave

As the crispness of the weather starts to change to out-right cold AF nights, we could all use something to warm us up. And no, I’m not talking about your Tinder date. Gran Sasso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is the bees knees. Juicy red and black fruit notes, like perfectly ripened plums with hints of cassis, envelop your palate. Smooth tannins and restrained acidity keep this Italian stallion balanced in all the right ways. Try the Gran Sasso on those frigid fall evenings to warm your cockles and help stop you from turning the heat up before you promised yourself you would. Pair this bad Larry with anything from pizza to a full-on Thanksgiving-style feast.