Greetings gastronomes, many of you know Zambra for its creative and varied food menus, but Zambra’s beverage portfolio is pretty robust and diverse as well. Zambra has one of the few wine lists in Asheville that has previously received a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Zambra pours a good selection of craft brews, and on top of that offers a wide spectrum of craft cocktails and spirits. If you know Zambra owner Peter Slamp from the Asheville scene, you may have seen him drinking PBR or High Life, but this guy is a long time connoisseur of the cocktail and maintains one of the biggest libraries of whiskies in Asheville along with a large selection of original drinks.
Eating Asheville clients may well have sampled the famed Zambra Sangria(hit us up if you want the recipe), but there is a lot more to the Zambra potent potable portfolio than just sangria. While Peter may be the least attention-seeking restaurateur in Asheville(or the U.S.), a couple of his beverage designs were recently featured by Jon Ammons in Mountain Xpress, and they are good ones. Check out these recipes and head to Zambra to do some research before you try to make them at home.
Zambra has been slinging seasonal tipples for over a decade, and a favorite on its list has been owner Peter Slamp’s Autumn Sweater. Named for the Yo La Tengo song, Slamp says the drink was inspired a couple of years ago by a trip he made to a local tailgate market in search of fresh ingredients for a fall cocktail menu. “I tend to work backwards and start with the fresh stuff then come up with the spirits and mixers, etc.,” says Slamp.
The bounty of local apples and apple jams, jellies and butters seemed like a perfect fit for the drink’s base, he says, and he knew he wanted bourbon to be the spirit. “And from there it’s a balancing act — what is going to be sweet, what is going to provide the acid, bitter component, etc. After a lot of trial and error as a result of ratios and ingredients, I came up with the final result,” he says. “I tried to take it off the menu after that season and had so many requests we made it a permanent drink.” Slamp says his bartenders even persuaded him to put the drink on the menu at Slamp’s now-closed North Asheville restaurant, King James Public House.
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce Combier Orange liqueur
1/2 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 bar spoons local apple jelly
Dash of apple bitters
Fill shaker tin with ice and all ingredients; shake and strain over rocks or a large whiskey rock. Garnish with two apple slices and fresh grated nutmeg.
Long way around the sea
I am always a sucker for flips, fizzes and most any other creamy, egg-based cocktail, particularly around the holidays. Apple brandy is also always a good way to add some seasonal flair to most any style of tipple. This year, I’ve been making a spiced tea syrup to accompany the deep flavors of Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters. The cocktail is named after indie rock band Low’s Christmas tune about the three Magi taking the long route home in order to avoid Herod’s rage.
2 ounces Fair Game Apple Brandy
1/4 ounce Averna (substitute Fernet Branca if you prefer something drier)
1/4 ounce spiced tea syrup (see directions below)
Dash of Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
1 egg white
Dry shake egg white to froth before adding other ingredients. Fill shaker with ice and shake all ingredients until tin is frosted. Double-strain into a coup glass or martini glass and garnish with either a cinnamon stick or dust with grated cinnamon.
Spiced tea syrup:
1 cup demerara sugar
1 cup Earl Grey tea
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Add Earl Grey tea to a French press, then add clove and cinnamon stick before adding hot water. Once tea is ready, measure off one cup and pour into a pan. Add one cup of sugar and transfer the cinnamon stick from the French press. Heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and continue until it has turned dark brown. Strain and bottle. Refrigerate.