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Posts Tagged ‘Gabe Kveton’

Drink This Weekend Edition: Dandelion cocktails at Water Street

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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{From left, Water Street’s Bobby Burns, The Lion Who Came to Tea and a Dandy Lion}

 

“All the railroad men just drink up your blood like wine,” Bob Dylan croons over the speakers at Water Street in Maplewood. Here, Dylan recycles an old folk apercu, a surprisingly good fit for Gabe Kveton’s petite eatery in a still gritty industrial part of this burgeoning community, where railways crisscross the landscape like scars and the storefronts are a dim-lit miscellany of contracting firms, car rental lots and dining establishments.

While the warm environs of Water Street are an antidote to all that cold and dark outside, up the ante further with one of the bar’s craft cocktails made with Lion’s Tooth, the small-batch dandelion liqueur ginned up by Kveton, his sister and executive chef Maria Kveton and friend Bethany Holohan. Now that the first bottles perch on a shelf above the bar, Kveton said he plans to add Lion’s Tooth cocktails to the menu next week – though if you pay the bar a visit this weekend, he’ll shake up one by request.

“I haven’t seen a liqueur like this before with the dandelion flavor,” Kveton said. “The brandy base brings a little bit of sweetness to the dandelion root. Brings a bit of earthiness.”

While I had a nip of the liqueur neat, bartenders Christy Lucido and Brett Bell mixed up a pair of Lion’s Tooth cocktails (the recipes for which are available here) for me, explaining some of the lore as they went.

The recipe is a fairly simple infusion of dandelion roots with Crown Valley brandy. By itself, Lion’s Tooth smells almost like – there’s no other way to say it – a Band-Aid, that kind of invasively floral aroma you smell when rubbing out dandelions on your hand. This shouldn’t deter you, though. After all, the best Gruyere still smells like mold and kimchee like, well, nothing pleasant.

What matters is that first taste: the sweet fruitiness from the brandy, the delicious herbal notes and that strong rush of alcohol at the end to cleanse the palate. This is a versatile liqueur that destabilizes, then reunifies whatever it’s mixed with.

The Lion Who Came to Tea combines Jeremiah Weed sweet tea, Lion’s Tooth and a brace of lemon wheels for garnish – think a boozier, more botanical Arnold Palmer. The inevitably named Dandy Lion is a tart concoction of vodka, Lion’s Tooth, lemon juice and simple syrup upon, which floats a tiny skiff of a mint leaf. Like Dylan and his folk repertoire, Water Street’s cocktail program riffs courageously on old standards like sours, sangria, Collins and more.

Of course, there’s plenty else to explore on the rest of the cocktail menu, including the vintage cocktail of the week – which is currently a Bobby Burns, a smokier Manhattan that opts for scotch instead of rye, and a splash of Benedictine. Shelter from the storm? Yes, you’ll find it here.

 

A tour for your taste buds: StL Culinary Tours offers intimate experience for food enthusiasts

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Looking for a unique way to experience the local culinary scene? Check out StL Culinary Tours, a brand new business that offers guided tours of gems from the St. Louis food scene. Guests of the tour will enjoy an intimate evening of food and drink in the company of chefs, beverage experts, artisan food producers and local farmers. The newly launched tour company is a project by self-proclaimed “culinary evangelist” Beth Huch in response to what she calls the region’s growing appreciation for all things culinary.

The first guided tours – scheduled for October 4 and 18 as well as November 1 and 15 – will showcase Maplewood’s culinary scene. At the boutique shop Vom Foss, guests will enjoy a craft cocktail, learn about innovative oil and vinegar pairings, and leave with two of their favorite oils and vinegars in hand. Moving on to Italian restaurant Acero, guests will enjoy dinner and wine in a private dining room where chef Adam Gnau will create appetizers, pasta dishes and entrees. The tour culminates at the cocktail lounge Water Street Cafe, where brother-sister team Gabe and Maria Kveton will prepare dessert and a nightcap for guests. Each tour begins at 6 p.m. and is limited to 10 guests.

Subsequent tours are being planned for downtown St. Louis, Clayton, Webster Groves, Central West End and Chaumette Winery. StL Culinary Tours also offers private, corporate, alumni and group tours, as well as gift certificates. For more information, including pricing, or to reserve your spot on a tour, visit the company website.

Drink This Weekend Edition: The Grand Dame of cocktails puts on a fashion show at Water Street

Friday, January 20th, 2012

012012_dtweGin is the original mixable spirit (and the most mixable, in my opinion). While a martini, a Negroni or even a simple gin and tonic are time-tested showcases of the sprightly, juniper-forward liquor, there are many more gin cocktails worth checking out, which is exactly what I did recently at Water Street, located at 7268 Manchester Road in downtown Maplewood.

The restaurant’s menu includes a section called “The Classic Ladies,” with Lady Gin taking multiple walks down the drink runway. Offerings include the Pink Lady, White Lady, Green Lady and Blue Lady. Among the four drinks, Pink Lady is perhaps the most commonly known: Gin wears a dress dyed pink from grenadine and a frothy white collar of shaken egg white. A splash of tart lemon juice could have turned her runway sashay into more of a snappy saunter, but the citrus is kept in check by sweet Calvados. Not all Pink Lady recipes call for the French apple brandy, but the one published in Henry McNulty’s Vogue Cocktails – the vintage bar book that Water Street owner Gabe Kveton reaches for most often – does.

The White Lady, my favorite among this Grand Dame parade, is simply a more casual, dressed-down version of the Pink Lady: Keep the gin, lemon and egg white, slip off the grenadine, put on Cointreau. If this mild-tasting cocktail is gin wearing nothing but a slip, she’s perfectly poised about going public in undergarments. As for the herbaceous Green Lady, I like to think of it as gin wearing gardening attire. After all, she’s hanging out with Green and Yellow Chartreuse and lemon juice.

Gin, grenadine, egg white. Gin, grenadine, egg white, lemon. Gin, egg white, lemon, blue Curacao … or Chartreuse … or Cointreau. See the Grande Dame on display at Water Street. She puts on a fun, tasty fashion show.

The Scoop: Water Street adds to downtown Maplewood drinking and dining scene

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

121510_cafeGabe Kveton has long held hopes of operating a cocktail bar. He’ll get his wish when he opens the doors to Water Street at 7268 Manchester Road, next to Acero, scheduled for February. Water Street, nostalgically named for Kveton’s father’s now defunct publishing company, will be both cocktail bar and café, with a focus on local, organic fare.

The 1,200-square-foot venue will initially only keep dinner hours, serving small plates, appetizers, paninis, house-made pastries and, of course, coffee drinks. Cocktails on the menu will include both signature and classic potions – some that call for Kveton’s own house-made infusions, grenadines and limoncello.

Running the cocktail bar and café means that Kveton will be leaving his post as manager and server at I Fratellini, where he’s worked since the Italian restaurant opened in 2001. He’s excited for the new venture. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a while,” he said. “This spot opening on Manchester and my ideas – the timing seems really right.”

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