Friday Happy Hour: Chin Up Cocktail

If you don’t know David Lebovitz, now is the time to check him out. He’s a Chez Panisse alumni and his accolades are numerous and impressive (for example: Named Top Five Pastry Chefs in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle).

He’s written a number of cookbooks, and though his credentials are intimidating, his recipes and style of cooking are not. In his words:

“I use basic, honest ingredients; fresh fruit, good quality chocolate, real vanilla, and pure butter. I don’t believe that baking (or cooking) should be out of reach to people and strive to share recipes that are do-able for a majority of cooks and home bakers.”

In 2006 he packed up and moved to Paris, where he’s been doing his thing and writing yet another cookbook called My Paris KitchenAs fellow Americans abroad, his observations on life and food are not only insightful, but often witty and hilarious.

Anyway, his blog is also really impressive, and though being a pastry chef, he clearly loves cocktails too, and I was pumped to find this recipe for a Chin Up.

We’re building a distillery here in Barcelona and have been playing with barrel aging our gins, so when I read this recipe, I simply had to try it 🙂

Cheers!

Friday Happy Hour: Chin Up Cocktail via David Lebovitz

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of cucumber
  • Tiny pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • 60 ml (2 oz) Corpen Barrel Aged gin
  • 15 ml (1/2 oz) Cynar
  • 15 ml (1/2 oz) dry white vermouth (we used Murcarols)

Instructions

  1. Muddle one slice of cucumber with the salt in a mixing glass.
  2. Add the gin, Cynar and vermouth, and fill the mixing glass full of ice. Stir until cold.
  3. Strain into a chilled stemmed cocktail glass and float a VERY thin slice of cucumber slice on top (too thick and it will sink).
  4. Drink and enjoy!
http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2017/07/14/friday-happy-hour-chin-up-cocktail/

A Weekend in Terra Alta Wine Region

An hour into our drive, we’re already discussing our hypothetical country home. Nothing fancy. Just a modest converted farmhouse with exposed-stone walls and vaulted brick ceilings. And a little land to plant vegetables, and raise chickens and bees, and eat dinner al aire libre in the summer. I don’t ask for much.

Terra Alta Wine Region | Traveling To Taste

This happens every time we venture into the Catalan countryside. The rolling hills and blissful quiet make me momentarily forget that I love living in vibrant, noisy Barcelona. I remember what it’s like to see stars and hear crickets, and I’m ready to give it all up… at least for an occasional weekend.

Last Saturday, we rented a car and hightailed it out of town for an overnight trip to the Terra Alta region. About two hours west of Barcelona, and an hour inland from Tarragona, it’s still surprisingly wild wine country. You can drive for miles without encountering anything except vineyards, and the occasional house or village.

Wine Tasting | Traveling To Taste

Terra Alta isn’t far from the better-known Priorat or Montsant regions. Its wine is gaining a solid reputation (this Wine Enthusiast article gives a good overview), but it’s still very affordable. Most of the wine we loved had a price tag of less than 10 euros a bottle.

We had less than 36 hours in the area, but we managed to visit three wineries and eat three fantastic meals, while still feeling lazy and unrushed.

Getting There

You’ll need a car to explore the region. We’ve had positive experiences renting with Sixt, and this time we picked up the car at their location near the port (much easier than the chaos at Sants train station).

We visited three towns in the region – Batea, Gandesa and Vilalba dels Arcs. It takes about 15 minutes to drive from one to the next.

Where to Stay

Batea

Celler Piñol, a family-run winery offering organic wines, rents out four apartments above its administrative office, and around the corner from the cellar. We made our reservation through Booking.com. Our one-bedroom apartment was spotless, and featured a full kitchen, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and an interior patio – plus a welcome bottle of white wine. The town is tiny, so you can easily walk to other wineries, and street parking is free and plentiful.

Practical info:

Wineries to Visit

 

As with most wineries in Catalunya, you need to make reservations in advance for tours and tastings. I started sending emails on Monday for Saturday and Sunday appointments, and several places said they were either fully booked or unavailable at those times. For our next trip, I’ll plan with a bit more lead time.

Batea

 

Celler Piñol

The winemaker, Juanjo, had a weekend busy with family engagements but still found time to give us a private tour of the cellar. The space looks small from the street, but it actually extends far back, and down a few flights of stairs. The garnatxa blanca grape reigns supreme in Terra Alta, and my favorite wine from Celler Piñol was the l’Avi Arrufi: 100% garnatxa blanca from old vines, aged in barrels for seven months. Refreshing and light, but with a slight hint of oakiness.

Practical info:

  • Tours by reservation (he didn’t charge us for ours); Juanjo speaks Spanish, Catalan and English
  • Address: Av. Aragó, 9, 43786 Batea
  • Phone: +34 977 43 05 05
  • Email: info@cellerpinol.com

LaFou Celler

LaFou only opened in 2007, but the Roqueta family has a winemaking history that dates back to the 12th century. The winery is in a restored 18th-century home on Batea’s main square, and the tour leads you through the traditional and modern production areas. The tasting was in a lovely garden courtyard, and our guide, Joan, poured us generous samples of a white and two reds. We sat with a big chatty group of retirees from a nearby town, and the charming gentleman next to us wheedled a few extra pours for us all. My favorite here was the garnatxa blanca, Els Amelers, named after the almond trees planted among the vineyards.

La Fou Celler, Batea | Traveling To Taste

Practical info:

  • Tours by reservation (cost: 8 euros per person); they offer tours in Spanish, Catalan and English
  • Address: Plaça Catalunya 34, 43786 Batea
  • Phone: 34 646 85 02 77
  • Email: visites@lafou.net

La Fou Celler, Batea | Traveling To TasteLa Fou Celler, Batea | Traveling To Taste

 

Gandesa

Celler Cooperitiu Gandesa

I would recommend visiting this spectacular catedral del vino for the architecture alone; it’s a bonus that the wine is good. Our guide, Pilar, brought the winery’s history to life, describing how the residents of Gandesa – men, women and children – built it over the course of a year, from 1919 to 1920.

Celler Cooperatiu Gandesa | Traveling To Taste

Celler Cooperatiu Gandesa | Traveling To Taste

The Modernist architect, Cèsar Martinell, was a protege of Antoni Gaudí, and he designed a simple, functional and beautiful space using the limited resources the town had. We had the opportunity to taste four or five different Celler Gandesa wines, and I was impressed by the price-to-quality ratio. We bought several bottles of the garnatxa-macabeu blend, Somdinou, “a young wine produced with grapes from old vineyards” for around 5 euros a bottle.

Celler Cooperatiu Gandesa | Traveling To Taste

Celler Cooperatiu Gandesa | Traveling To Taste

Practical info: 

Where to Eat

 

These are all small towns, with only a few restaurants in each (Gandesa had the most options), so it’s wise to do a bit of advance planning.

Vilalba dels Arcs

Nou Moderno

After reading glowing TripAdvisor and Google reviews of Nou Moderno, I made a Saturday lunch reservation, but I was a little nervous that it was going to be overly fancy or pricey. We were pleased to find it was neither. The staff was warm, and there was a 12-euro menú del día, even on a Saturday. It included three courses (without drinks); a bottle of house-made white wine was an additional 12 euros. There was also a 20-euro tasting menu with a few more courses, but we weren’t quite up it.

Highlights:

The gazpacho was one of the best I’ve tasted; heavy on fresh tomatoes, and light on vinegar. The grilled meats were simply prepared but flavorful. The flan was super light and creamy; even Brian liked it, and he’s not usually a big fan.

Practical info: 

Gandesa

Sibarites

It was a happy accident that we ended up here on Saturday night. Our first choice in Batea was inexplicably closed when we arrived at 9:30, and the only other place serving food – packed during the Barça game – turned us away. We were starting to feel a little panicky, knowing that late dining options in rural areas can be few and far between. But Brian did some expert speed Googling (likely imagining the hangry monster I would become in an hour or two) and found Sibarites, which looked promising and was open till 11.

At this point, I would have been happy with some decent patatas bravas and chorizo, but we lucked out with Sibarites. Gourmet menu, fun ambiance, friendly staff. We each ordered the 20-euro menu, which included three courses and wine.

Highlights:

I don’t know where Sibarites’ octopus carpaccio has been all my life; thinly sliced, incredibly tender and generously coated in olive oil. Melt-in-your-mouth good. And then, fickle as I am, I forgot all about it when the beef cheeks arrived. The waitress told us it had been slow-cooking at very low heat for something like 30 hours. It fell apart when you got near it with a fork. We also licked the plates clean with both desserts: coconut ice cream, fresh fruit and ginger; molten chocolate cake with orange sorbet.

Practical info: 

Restaurante El Chef

El Chef is a casual restaurant around the corner from Celler Cooperatiu Gandesa, and we popped in for after our tour. Once the plates arrived, we realized we probably have ordered two instead of three… but I have no regrets. Each was between 6 and 9 euros, and a glass of house wine was only a euro.

I can’t resist buttery, garlicky escargots (caracoles or cargols here). These were plentiful and satisfying. The fideuá (thin noodles cooked in broth) with seafood was also good.

Practical info: 

Our whirlwind adventure in Terra Alta was just enough to give us a taste and leave us wanting more. We’ll be back for Round 2 soon.

 

Photo credit: Flickr/ angela_llop

 

Friday Happy Hour: Shrub Bramble – I guess that makes it a “Schramble?”


We’ve gone off the deep end with shrubs. I’ve talked about this once already, and now we’ve got about six in the refrigerator, with many more on the way. They really are lovely with just ice and sparkling water, but it’s Friday, and we’d like a little something that’s appropriate for happy hour.

So here we present you with a Shrub Bramble, which lends itself to being called a “Shramble” if you like silly names. This recipe replaces the lemon juice that is normally in a Bramble with a lemon shrub. The shrub we used is mostly lemon with bit of lime and uses white wine vinegar, which is subtle and allows the citrus to shine though. Like any shrub in a cocktail, this lemon adds a depth and complexity to one of the main flavors.

The Bramble has a whole history that goes along with it, that I won’t do justice if I attempt to recount. If you want more info, check out the explanation from the guys at Gin Foundry and Dillford’s Guide. We started with the Dillford’s recipe and adjusted to our taste.

With that said, drink up!

Friday Happy Hour: Shrub Bramble- I guess that makes it a “Schramble?”

Ingredients

  • - 60ml (2 oz) Corpen Gin
  • - 20-30ml (1 oz) Lemon Shrub (use your judgment based on how strong/bitter your shrub is)
  • - 15ml (1/2 oz) Simple Syrup
  • - 15ml (1/2 oz) Crème de Mûre or Crème de Cassis

Instructions

  1. Add gin, lemon shrub and simple syrup to a shaker full of ice.
  2. Shake until cold
  3. Fill old fashioned glass with crushed ice
  4. Pour contents of shaker over ice
  5. Retop with crushed ice and drizzle with crème de mûre or crème de cassis
  6. Garnish with a lemon wedge, blackberry and/or mint sprig.

Notes

- Every shrub is a little different, feel free to tone up and the shrub and tone down the simple syrup for more bitterness.

http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2017/05/26/friday-happy-hour-shrub-bramble-i-guess-that-makes-it-a-schramble/

Chicken Noodle Soup

I have a terrible cold right now, which means I will be a terrible person for at least three more days. I’ve also given it to Brian because I’m just generous like that – and who wants to wallow in feverish self-pity alone?

Of course all I want to eat is chicken noodle soup, because it’s the only thing that will make me feel better (It’s science.) And none of that salt-bomb canned stuff with soggy noodles. I want homemade chicken noodle soup.

Chicken Noodle Recipe | Traveling To Taste

Well, you can see the conundrum.

So I made a big pot of this soup to last us a few days. It tastes way better than canned – but doesn’t expect miracles from a cook who can barely get out of bed. I’m filled with rage when I see ingredients like “finely chopped parsley” in a chicken soup recipe (It’s 5 p.m., and I just managed to shower. You seriously expect me to have parsley right now?).

Adjust the following “recipe” (if you can call it that) to your circumstances. Send the healthiest person in your house to the grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken and all of the NyQuil. Skip all the vegetables if you don’t have any, or throw in a bag of frozen veggies right before the noodles are done. Whatever it takes to get this soup in your belly.

Feel better.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Serving Size: 6

Ingredients

  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off and shredded into pieces
  • 8 cups (2 quarts/ almost 2 liters) chicken broth
  • Dry pasta (I used 1 cup corkscrew noodles)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried oregano, crushed red pepper and/or poultry seasoning (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, cook the onion in oil for a few minutes until it starts to soften. Add the carrots and celery; cook for another 5 minutes, until they are slightly more tender. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
  2. Add chicken broth; simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to get tender. Season with salt and pepper (and other herbs and spices, if using).
  3. Add noodles and chicken pieces, and cook till noodles are al dente.
http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2017/05/09/chicken-noodle-soup/

Friday Happy Hour: Pomegranate Shrub Vodka Soda

It’s official. I’m in love with shrubs.

What is a shrub, you ask? Well, there are certainly others who can explain it better than I can, but the basics are this: fruit + sugar + vinegar. Sounds strange, yes, but the roots of this drink go all the way back to the Romans who used it as a way to preserve fresh fruit. It’s a really interesting combination of sweet and sour, and even if you are skeptical, worth a try.

Anyway, a friend made some pomegranate shrub and gave us a small bottle when we were in New Orleans in December. We hadn’t really done much with it until recently when the weather started getting nice.

Shrubs can be used to make both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, which makes them pretty versatile in application, and there are TONS of recipes online about how to make them (our friend referenced this one).  Most of these recipes say they are “fantastic additions to cocktails” but don’t really go into the details about what cocktails, what proportions or anything really.

So we started with the most basic recipe. The pomegranate shrub we have is delicious when added to sparkling water, so why hide that amazing flavor with something fancy? This a a simple vodka soda with shrub added. Vodka is the definition of neutral, so try ANY flavor shrub with this recipe.

Cheers!

Friday Happy Hour: Pomegranate Shrub Vodka Soda

Ingredients

  • - 45 ml (1.5 oz) Pomegranate shrub
  • - 60 ml (2 oz) Vodka
  • - Squeeze of lime
  • - Slice of lime for garnish

Instructions

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice
  2. Squeeze lime into glass
  3. Add vodka and shrub
  4. Stir
  5. Garnish with lime wheel and enjoy!
  6. (wasn't that easy?)
http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2017/04/28/friday-happy-hour-pomegranate-shrub-vodka-soda/

Friday Happy Hour: Oaked Negroni

We love a good Negroni. It’s a classic, and it’s one of those simple recipes that uses equal parts of three ingredients; in this case gin, Campari and vermouth. Add an orange peel as garnish and you’re done. So simple.

Some die-hard Negroni fans feel like any departure from the classic proportions is sacrilege, but that hasn’t stopped an endless number of variations. I’ll be the first to admit that Campari is an acquired taste, and not everyone’s cup of tea. Equal parts of everything usually ends up leading to a Campari-forward cocktail. While many love this bitterness, there are many variations out there that tone it down by dialing back the Campari.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I love anything that has been put in a barrel, so when I started seeing barrel-aged Negronis, I had to try them. What can I say, they are also delicious.

My one criticism is that the barrel treats all of the ingredients equally, and depending on your gin, may end up muting some of the botanicals that make it unique. So we ran some tests using oak on the Campari only.

We used toasted wood chips, not a barrel (yet) and a ratio of 1g to 100ml. We tried a light toast and a heavy toast, and four days was plenty to get some of the nice oak characteristics and a hint of sweetness from the caramelized sugars in the wood.

Between the two, we preferred the light toast, but the possibilities are endless, so check your local homebrew store and experiment for yourself to find the combination you like. As a rule of thumb, the more surface area the wood has (chips vs. chunks vs. larger pieces of oak, aka “dominos”), the faster it will impart those oak flavors. It is possible to “over-oak,” so you’ll just have to taste it every day or two.

Enjoy!

Friday Happy Hour: Oaked Negroni

Ingredients

  • - 45 ml (1.5 oz) Corpen Gin
  • - 45 ml (1.5 oz) Oaked Campari *
  • - 45 ml (1.5 oz) Vermouth
  • - Orange peel for garnish

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice.
  2. Pour into old-fashioned glass, over ice.
  3. Garnish with orange peel.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes

* = Use toasted oak chips of your preference in ratio of 1g:100ml for 2-4 days.

http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2017/04/21/friday-happy-hour-oaked-negroni/

Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Veggies

If you want to offend an Italian, refer to polenta as “Italian grits.” I’m guessing. I’ve never actually had the guts to do this, after getting burned making a similar wine faux pas a few years ago:

Me: I love Primitivo wine. I think it’s made from the same grape as Zinfandel, which we produce in my hometown in California!

Primitivo Winemaker: **look of disdain/horror** We have been making Primitivo wines for thousands of years. It is not the same as this Zinfandel.

Me: …… [nods/ hangs head in shame/ holds out empty glass for more]

But really, polenta – long a staple in Northern Italian cuisine – is just coarsely ground cornmeal. Just like grits. Depending on where I’m living and what’s available at the store, I use Italian polenta and American cornmeal interchangeably. Both are easy and affordable to prepare. Both make a rich, hearty porridge when cooked in liquid. And both absolutely benefit from generous helpings of butter, salt and cheese.

Roasted Veggies

In wintertime, I love to serve polenta with braised short ribs or some other meaty sauce. But as the weather gets warmer, polenta is an ideal base for lighter vegetable-based dishes. This version combines simple roasted spring veggies with creamy, cheesy polenta. I advise making extra for leftovers.

Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Veggies

Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

    Fresh vegetables*, cut into 1-inch chunks:
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 8 oz/ 226 g snap peas
  • 16 oz/ 453 g button mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 small zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Polenta:
  • 1 cup polenta, or coarse-ground cornmeal
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 oz/ 170 g goat cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan + extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sauce
  • 16 oz./ 453 g jarred or homemade marinara sauce, heated

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/ 204 degrees C.
  2. Place vegetables in 2 roasting pans: the asparagus and snap peas in one pan, and the rest of the veggies in another (the first pan might not take as long to cook as the heartier vegetables). Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until veggies are lightly caramelized and tender.
  3. Meanwhile, start the polenta. In a saucepan, bring the water to boil over medium heat. Add a dash of salt, then slowly pour in the polenta, whisking to break up lumps. Let polenta cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and thick and starting to pull away from the edges of the pan (around 20 minutes). Stir in butter, goat cheese and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon the polenta onto plates or shallow bowls. Top with marinara sauce, roasted veggies and grated Parmesan.

Notes

*You can vary the veggies depending on what you have, and what’s in season.

http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2017/04/04/goat-cheese-polenta-with-roasted-vegetables/

Friday Happy Hour: Cherry-Infused Brandy Manhattan

This recipe is a bit of a happy accident. Last year I was experimenting with cherries to make our own garnishes for cocktails. Someone had left some brandy at our place after a party, and I thought I’d play with this forgotten bottle.

The process was simple: Buy some fresh cherries (the sweet kind, not the bitter/sour kind), remove the stems and the pits, put them in a jar, and fill the jar with brandy so the cherries are completely submerged.

Leave the jar in the refrigerator for some period of time (days, weeks, months), and that’s it. Super easy.

The problem was when I tried the cherries after a few weeks. WAY too strong with brandy and not enjoyable as a garnish for anything. The alcohol in the brandy had also pulled the color out, so they resembled green olives more than cherries. Again, not good for a garnish.

Honestly, then I forgot about them. They lived in the back of the refrigerator for months. It was only recently that I realized what I did have was a nice cherry-infused brandy, which was much more interesting than the cherries themselves.

So, what to make with cherry-infused brandy? How about a Brandy Manhattan?  It is sometimes also called a Metropolitan, which causes some confusion. There is another version of a Metropolitan cocktail out there, that is a cousin of the Cosmopolitan and includes vodka, lime juice and cranberry juice. I am not talking about this drink.

As the name would imply, this lovely drink uses the same ratios of a regular Manhattan, but with brandy in the place of Rye.

Cheers!

Friday Happy Hour: Cherry-Infused Brandy Manhattan

Ingredients

  • 60 ml (2 oz) Cherry-infused brandy
  • 30 ml (1 oz) Sweet vermouth
  • 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters (or other savory bitters)
  • Garnish with a Maraschino cherry (the real kind, like Luxardo or Amarena)

Instructions

  1. Chill glass
  2. Mix all ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice for 20-30 seconds
  3. Pour into chilled glass, add garnish.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes

If this is too much brandy for you, you can tone it back to 45 ml (1.5 oz).

http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2017/03/24/friday-happy-hour-cherry-infused-brandy-manhattan/

Barcelona Day Trip: Craft Beer Tour & Tasting at Cervesa del Montseny

It’s no easy feat wrangling a group of Barcelona dwellers for an early (read: before 1 p.m.) excursion outside the city. If I were to suggest a 9 a.m. start time for, say, a day of hiking, I’m not sure how much enthusiasm I’d receive/have. But change that into a day of tasting local craft beer, and voilà! We all learn how to use alarm clocks on a Saturday.

Cervesa del Montseny: Catalan Craft Brewery

Cervesa del Montseny – a microbrewery about an hour by train from Barcelona – offers Saturday morning tours that are well worth the journey. Montseny is one of the earlier Catalan craft breweries, opened in 2007, and it produces an eclectic and well-balanced selection of beers.

Brian and I have visited twice – once on our own, and once with a group of friends – and both times we were impressed with the friendly, knowledgeable guides. The Saturday tours are only offered in Spanish or Catalan. I spoke with Ferran at the brewery, and he said the guides would do their best to help anglophones understand during the tour (and if you’ve ever visited a brewery or know how beer is made, you’ll be able to follow along just fine). If you have a large group, it may be possible to arrange a private tour in English; contact Montseny.

Tour & Tasting Info

Tours are held most Saturdays at 11 a.m. Look at the calendar on the Cervesa del Montseny website, and click on the day you’re interested in to see if there are spots available. If there are, you can send a reservation request through the web form. Tours tend to book up a few weeks in advance, so plan early.

Worth the early Saturday wake-up call @cervesamontseny

A post shared by travelingtotaste (@travelingtotaste) on

The visit takes about 1 ½ to 2 hours; the price is 13 euros, which includes a tour of the production facility, generous pours of several beers, and snack platters of meat, cheese and bread. After the tasting, you can buy beer to bring home – mixing and matching bottles to create your own sampler.

Visit Cervesa del Montseny | Traveling To Taste

At our last tasting, we tried the Blat (a citrusy wheat), the Malta (a pale ale), the Negra (a stout), the Lupulus (a hoppier pale ale), the Aniversari (an IPA) and a Mala Vida (one of a trio of imperial stouts). If you’re lucky, you might even get a sample of one of their seasonal beers. Their Castanya (a brown ale made with chestnuts) is available for a limited time in the fall, and it’s my favorite.

Visit Cervesa del Montseny | Traveling To Taste

How to Get There

Take the R3 Rodalies train from Barcelona to the Balenyá-Tona-Seva station (not the Balenyá-Els Hostalets station, which is the one right before you get off):

The R3 leaves from six Barcelona stations:

  • Barcelona-Sants
  • Barcelona-Plaça Catalunya
  • Barcelona-Arc de Triomf
  • Barcelona-La Sagrera-Meridiana
  • Barcelona-Sant Andreu Arenal
  • Barcelona-Torre del Baró

Google Maps will tell you to walk 13 minutes on a roundabout route to get to the brewery. Ignore this, and carefully cut across the tracks to get there in two minutes. I am risk-averse, and I watched Fried Green Tomatoes a lot growing up, so this makes me nervous every time. But you can literally see the brewery from the station, and it’s more dangerous walking on a busy road with no shoulder.

Cervesa Montseny walking map

The current Rodalies schedule has you taking the 9:11 train from Catalunya, arriving a bit early at 10:27. There isn’t another train that will get you to the tour on time, so grab a cafe and wait outside the brewery with the rest of the eager beer enthusiasts.

PSA: Barcelona Beer Festival 2017 is this weekend!

Cervesa del Montseny will be there (it won best artisan brewery in the Barcelona Beer Challenge there last year). BBF is in a new location this year in La Farga in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, and it’s supposed to be much more spacious.

Carrer Barcelona, 44, 08901 L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona

  • Friday, March 24, 2017 (11:00-23:00)
  • Saturday, March 25, 2017 (11:00-23:00)
  • Sunday, March 26, 2017 (11:00-21:00)

Access:

  • L1 metro red line
  • R1 Rodalies train

Friday Happy Hour: Bijou Cocktail

A couple of weeks ago we went on a green Chartreuse kick, and did some experimenting with a variety of cocktails. One that stood out was the Bijou (“jewel” in French), which combines gin, green Chartreuse, sweet vermouth and a dash of orange bitters.

I’ll credit this Esquire article for our original inspiration, and pointing us to the original, very old recipe by Harry Johnson, first documented in the late 1800s. (Here’s a link to digital version of  Harry Johnson’s 1882 New and Improved (Illustrated) Bartender’s Manual and a Guide for Hotels and RestaurantsThis recipe is on page 129).

The original recipe has equal parts of the principal ingredients, but most modern versions have tweaked the ratios. A couple of days later we played with these ratios ourselves and definitely preferred ours more gin-heavy and dialed-back on the Chartreuse. The one we settled on was closer to this version from Imbibe Magazine.

Chartreuse is a lovely and complex liqueur that touts 130 different plants and flowers. In laymen’s terms, this means it will likely overpower an herbal/flowery gin. We used one of our Corpen gins that is more earthy to complement, rather that compete with, the herby flavor of the Chartreuse.

Friday Happy Hour: Bijou Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 45 ml (1½ oz) Corpen gin
  • 22 ml (¾ oz) green Chartreuse
  • 30 ml (1 oz) sweet vermouth (white)
  • 2-3 dashes orange bitters
  • Lemon peel

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass.
  2. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
  3. Squeeze lemon peel express the oils and discard.
  4. Garnish with a cherry.
  5. Enjoy!
http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2017/03/17/friday-happy-hour-bijou-cocktail/