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Bar Blips: Summer Blues? Fall in Love With September

Posted on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014


We’re all mourning the end of summer. Maybe you didn’t catch enough rays poolside, log enough time in your flip flops or drink enough cocktails with umbrellas.  Fret not, because September at Metropole is chock-full of events to help bring out of those end of summer blues. I love summer, but moving to Cincinnati from Los Angeles (where there are no seasons), has made me a believer in fall.  I’m talking about fall like you’d see in the movies, where you bundle up in a comfy scarf and sip warm apple cider as you walk along lanes full of trees changing color and end your afternoon at a cozy bonfire. People really do that, right? I am not embarrassed to admit there are pictures of me from my first fall in Cincinnati where I am throwing brittle orange leaves over my head like a deranged mad woman who obviously had her pumpkin spiced latte spiked with a touch too much whiskey (oooh that sounds delicious!).  Point being, while I am incredibly sad to see summer coming to a close, I am so thrilled for fall, especially with the exciting September we have lined up! So let’s celebrate the beginning of fall together and allow us to fill your social calendar with some entertaining and delicious liquid diversions:


The  first amazing thing about September is that it is Bourbon Heritage Month. I know there are some out there who don’t go near bourbon, with perhaps the attitude that bourbon is too fiery and bold, like the liquor version of a ghost pepper.  But naysayers I say to you, “think twice!” Expanding your cocktail horizons is kind of like dating; if you haven’t found a bourbon you enjoy, you haven’t met the right bourbon. Allow us to be your cupid and we’re sure we’ll find  your bourbon soul mate.  This month we’ll be beefing up our cocktail list with a separate all bourbon menu, twists on classics mixed with some innovative flavors. For bourbon purists out there, we’ll also be offering 4 different bourbon flights. Compare and contrast different mash bills, different distilleries, and different proofs and you may even manage to find some new favorites!  If you’re a food geek, perhaps your bourbon love connection will happen during our Fork and Bottle dinner series September 14-20th, where we’ll be pairing a spirited 4 course menu with unique bourbon cocktails.


We are so thrilled  to be a  part of the very first Cincinnati Food & Wine Classic, September 12-13. If you haven’t heard all the buzz about town the CF&WC is, “a celebration of the Midwest as a longstanding destination for  food, beer and spirit excellence.” There will be demos, panels, grand tastings and very fancy VIP after parties! Saturday afternoon I will be part of a demo with Chef Michael Paley where we will be pairing cocktails with bites and give you tips on how to throw the perfect cocktail party! If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, what are you waiting for?
> Purchase tickets now


Our Sunday School series has me feeling smitten like a lovesick teenager! If every class we took in school ended with a cocktail, I think we’d all have our doctorates!  Sunday School will be an interactive demonstration where I’ll stand up in front of you lovely people and do my best impersonation of a cocktail professor. I’ll gush about my favorite spirits, tell you stories of failed cocktails, and show you how to make the stellar cocktails that make the cut. I’ll share the do’s and don’ts of the cocktail world that I’ve learned along the way: like never try to make a sweet potato shrub…but maybe you already knew that.   There is so much to learn, and so many ways to push those cocktail boundaries, so let’s get after it together!
> Here’s a sneak peek into our first lesson


One of the things I’ll be talking about at Sunday School is inspiration. Where do all these cocktail ideas come from? Sometimes I’ll have an idea and it will turn into a composed cocktail almost immediately.  Sometimes I will make a Frankenstein cocktail out of an original idea and it will only have remnants of what the idea started out as, but I’ll still cackle like a mad scientist when it all comes together. There are times when I’ll have an idea and the cocktail actually turns out better than I could have ever imagined. And then there are the times when the opposite is true, where I will have some crazy wacky idea and it will fall completely flat.  The best way to get inspired is to do a lot of research. I read a lot, but more importantly, I try to expose myself to different flavor profiles by trying new things.  Luckily I love to both eat and drink, so when I taste something new that just makes me all giddy inside, that is the emotion I want my cocktails to evoke. Whether a cocktail reminds someone of a familiar flavor that is tied to a beautiful memory, or when someone experiences a flavor combination they’ve never had before, that is the glittery stuff happiness is made of.

One of the cocktails we’ll be making at Sunday School is one that was inspired by a recipe for a Swedish ice box cookie, which is a delicious butter cookie with caraway and raisins. Join us in class to learn more about my inspiration and process of converting cookie to cocktail. Since this cocktail is like a catchy 90’s tune sung by a sassy group from Sweden that you can’t seem to get out of your head, I give you:


1 1/2 oz bourbon
1 oz Byrrh
1 oz apple caraway syrup

In a mixing tin combine all ingredients, add ice. Shake very well. Pour mixture into a rocks glass. Garnish with two apple slices. Imbibe!

Now I would love to give you the recipe for the apple caraway syrup, you’ll just have to come to the Sunday School class to get it. I’m a wascally wabbit I know, but I am so excited to have this opportunity to share all the fun new recipes I’ve been dreaming up!

So as sad as I am to say good bye to my bikini and sunglasses (okay, and also bottles of Rosé)  it’s time for me to bid adieu to Summer, because Fall already has my heart! I hope to see all your lovely and thirsty faces at the bar and at our events. And maybe if you invite me to your cozy, fall  bonfire…


Your neighborhood bartender,

Catherine Manabat