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what to serve with sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade on polenta

I'm serving a Mediterranean menu and the above is my appetizer. Later we'll have grilled lamb with tomato-fennel vianigrette, grilled eggplant, corn with feta and mint. I like to offer a cocktail but will also have wine available.

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  1. I was asked to supply a cocktail for a Greek meal. I substituted ouzo for absinthe in this:

    2 to 2
    by Stephan Cole, The Violet Hour, Chicago, IL

    1 1/2 oz Aperol
    1 oz Absinthe, Lucid
    1 oz Lemon juice
    1/4 oz Simple syrup
    1 ds Orange bitters, Regans' orange bitters
    1 twst Orange peel (flamed, as garnish)

    Shake, strain, straight up, cocktail glass, garnish

    www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

    4 Replies
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      I'd have to buy three of those ingredients and might never use them again. Can you recommend a cocktail that is more mainstream? I am uncertain how to pair food and drinks together. For instance, do I want something light or bold when I have a dish with bold flavors? Something acidic to cut the richness? Something light and refreshing like a French 75?

      1. re: EvergreenDan

        My thinking was that the bright, tart flavors would go well with what you're serving, and ouzo would put you in a Greek mood.

        For a mainstream cocktail that everyone will like, try a classic:

        by Ritz Hotel, Paris

        2 oz Cognac
        1 oz Triple sec, Cointreau
        3/4 oz Lemon juice
        1 twst Orange peel

        Shake, strain, serve up in sugar rimmed glass. Garnish with orange peel.

        www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

        1. re: EvergreenDan

          The Sidecar sounds great. Just wondering if I can substitute Grand Marnier for Cointreau. If I should "save" that for an afterdinner drink, which is a better choice for my liquor cabinet, Triple Sec or Cointreau?

          1. re: EvergreenDan


            Cointreau is a premium brand of triple sec. Triple sec is based on a neutral spirit base. Grand Marnier is based on cognac, and would be perfectly fine for a Sidecar. You might taste the cocktail to see if you need to adjust the amount of lemon a bit.

            If you would drink Grand Marnier straight, it might be more useful in your liquor cabinet because you could use it to substitute for triple sec. If not, Cointreau is called for in many, many more recipes.

            If you want to research ingredients more, I recommend www.wikipedia.org, www.cocktaildb.com, and of course Kindred Cocktails.
            www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community.

        2. an easy way to pair food and drink is region -- you're going with a (delicious-sounding) Mediterranean menu, so lean toward Mediterranean cocktails and wines.

          A good-quality chilled rose would be spectacular with your meal.

          For a cocktail, stay with the sunny flavors -- ouzo, pastis, citrus, maybe even limoncello? -- you could even do something with citrus and mint -- think Mojito, but use ouzo or even vodka in place of the rum.

          You could even drift across the Adriatic to a Campari and soda (or Campari and orange).

          1. I think a Negroni would be perfect.

            1. I recently had a shakerato for the first time - just Campari with an orange wedge, shaken hard and strained into a cocktail glass. It's a perfect aperitif, and works well with the Mediterranean theme.

              If you want a true cocktail, an Americano would work well. Or for something a bit stronger, pikawicca's suggestion of a negroni is a good one.

              4 Replies
              1. re: alanbarnes

                Definitely Campari or Cynar. I love Americanos.

                I was thinking Campari and soda as a light aperitivo. Or, Campari and lemonade (awesome summer patio drink. Cynar can be substituted for a slightly less bitter flavor, OP.

                1. re: invinotheresverde

                  Continental Europe tends to pour a lot of Campari and orange juice, too. Very refreshing and *gorgeous* in the glass.

                1. I've decided on the French 75, since I have a lot of champagne glasses (having 15 for the party) and I cn make upt he gin/lemon juice/simple sugar in a big batch and the champagne on ice. Thanks for the ideas!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mary_228

                    French 75's may also be made with cognac, which I prefer. I've made French 75's for parties. Take care with the lemon juice. It really shouldn't be squeezed more than a few hours ahead, and I would not mix it with the other ingredients until just before the guests come. For 15 guests, make sure you have a good lemon squeezer -- pliers-type or better, or have a good hand surgeon for carpal tunnel. Enjoy and let us know how it turns out.

                    www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                      I'm planning to use cognac as well. I didn't know about not mixing the lemon juice in too early, or even squeezing them ahead for that matter. Thanks for the tips! And I do have a good squeezer such as the one you described. I seem to use it every night, practically.

                      1. re: mary_228

                        Okay. You mentioned gin above. Must have been a thinko. I do it all the time. :)