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Something to Drink

TAVOLINO’S

Knobbin’ for Apples Who doesn’t love fall in New England? The air gets a touch cooler, the leaves turn gold, and it’s time to go apple picking. It’s a great transition period before the cold of winter. For foodies and beverage people, it’s the transition from lighter dishes to heartier fare, for wine drinkers the transition to more robust reds, and for cocktail drinkers the switch from vodka and gin to bourbon ( at least it is for me).

Written by Richard Beams Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Rich Beams has been a bartender for 20 years at places such as Tweeds Pub, Jillians, Holiday InnWorcester, Nuovo, and is currently The Grill on the Hill at Green Hill Golf Course. He is also an instructor at DrinkMaster Bartending School in Worcester, Framingham, and Boston. With his passion and knowledge for wine, Rich has written many articles sharing his thoughts and suggestions. He is currently a member of The Taste of the Nation comittee.

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Foodies of New England

The course of my day had led me to Westborough around dinner time, so I stopped at Tavolino’s for a bite to eat. I knew to expect a few things when I got there—outstanding food, stellar service, and a great wine list. What I didn’t expect was how creative their cocktail list would be or that I would find a cocktail that I would just have to write about: Knobbin for Apples, a wordplay on the fact that they use Knob Creek Bourbon, a high-quality, small batch 9-year-old whiskey. This drink is a muddled cocktail, which is a little bit more labor intensive than a regular cocktail. Muddling involves putting the garnish in the glass first, and then mashing it up with a muddler (much like a mortar and pestle) and then building the drink around it. It shows a real dedication to quality to put a drink like this on your menu. The cocktail starts out with some diced apples and some cranberries in the glass. They are then mashed up, releasing the essence of the fruits. The glass is then filled with ice and a magical combination of 1 oz. of Knob Creek Bourbon, ½ oz. of Apple Pucker Schnapps, a quick squeeze of honey, and a little splash of cranberry juice. When it was served to me, the first thing I noticed is that it looks like fall in New England in a glass, with the color from the whiskey and the cranberry juice and the pieces of apple and cranberry floating around. Even better than that, it tastes like fall. The whiskey gives it a solid backbone and warms you up just a touch, but the Apple Schnapps, honey, fruit, and juice provide just enough sweetness to balance and smooth out the whole cocktail. Even if you’re not a whiskey drinker, you will enjoy this cocktail. From the first taste, I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and my students about this cocktail, not only to enjoy it, but to see how a great cocktail is created. By the way, the things I did expect when I walked in did not disappoint. The wine list was impressive, the service was great, and the food outstanding (I even ate the asparagus that was on my plate, which is a first). And now I know that I can expect a great cocktail when I go there, too. I’m going to plot out more of my days to end up in Westborough to have a nice meal and go Knobbin for Apples at Tavolino’s.

Foodies of New England Fall 2012  
Foodies of New England Fall 2012  

Diners. Gluten-free Fall Classics.Farm to Table.

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