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Tastemakers: Hilbert‘s Money/ 231 Harvest Signiture Cocktail

Rick Coates - August 30th, 2010
231 Harvest Signature Cocktail
The Evening with Mario Batali in Traverse City a few weeks ago attracted
2,000 guests who dined on Batali recipes prepared by the chefs from The
Cooks’ House and Epicure Catering. While the food was exceptional and the
culinary teams are to be commended for preparing 10 recipes to perfection,
equally impressive was the 231 Harvest Signature Cocktail introduced that
Sam Porter of Porterhouse Productions, producer of the event for the
National Writers Series, invited world-renowned mixologist Bridget Albert to
create a signature cocktail for the Traverse City region. Albert
is the author of “Market-Fresh Mixology” a cocktail book that focuses on
using local farm market offerings and seasonal fruits for its 100 recipes.
She has also won several bartending and cocktail competitions around the
world and top restaurants and hotels enlist her talents to develop
cocktail menus.
The 231 (our area code) definitely made a splash and attendees were given
copies of the recipe to take home. Since that evening I have stopped at a
handful of establishments only to get a blank stare when trying to order
the cocktail. So unless the eateries, nightclubs and lounges of the area
get behind this drink it will not become the signature cocktail for the
231 region. As a public service, here is the 231 Harvest Signature Cocktail
as designed by Bridget Albert:

11/2 oz Grand Traverse Wheat Vodka
2 oz Northwoods Lemonade
2 bar spoons of Drunken Harvest Berries and juice*
Northwoods Cream Soda

In a 10 oz Ball jar (this was cool, but a tall cocktail glass will do) add
vodka and lemonade, add ice fill with cream soda and top with drunken
harvest berries, squeeze juice from one lemon wedge over the top, stir and
To make the drunken harvest berries, use blueberries or equal parts mixed
berries, and pour equal parts of Michelle’s Miracle Cherry Concentrate and
PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur over berries, cover and let rest over night,
store in fridge when not in use.
This cocktail will take a little sales effort at first, but once ordered,
patrons will be back asking for it. Speaking of coming back, Sam Porter is
currently working on Albert’s return to the region to work with
bartenders, restaurants and others on the art of developing cocktails during a weekend workshop, details soon. Cheers! -- Rick Coates

Hilbert’s Honey

A few years back I came across James Hilbert at the Traverse City Farmers’ Market, hawking his honey products. His family has been raising bees and making honey in Northern Michigan since 1887. Although his father Larry told me previous generations of Hilbert’s were hobbyist beekeepers, the current generation has turned it into a full time occupation. Hilbert’s is located on Five Mile Road in Traverse City, but they have millions of bees busy at work at hives throughout Northern Michigan.
Speaking of busy, these bees hit the road to Florida in November and then later in the winter to California before they make their way back to Traverse City in April for the cherry blossom pollination. Hilbert‘s is traveling bee farm and the family heads to Florida with the hives in a semi-truck. Business is growing and the family plans to expand their production facility in 2011. Honey is growing in popularity as “nature‘s sweetener,” and it has several health benefits including smooth skin, boosting energy, weight loss, allergies, antioxidants among others.
While the Hilbert’s sell their honey at the Traverse City Farmers’ Market as well as at their Five Mile Road production facility, most of their products are shipped and sold elsewhere under different labels.
My personal favorite is their “creamed honey” on toast or English muffins. Their Honey Comb is equally as nice on hot biscuits at dinner time.
Even the Obama’s have enlisted a beekeeper at the White House“ the “first” bees reside near First Lady Michelle Obama’s garden. The First Lady serves the White House honey almost daily to her family; it is served to guests of the President and she even gives it away as gifts.
For more information on Hilbert’s Honey seek out James at the Traverse City Farmers’ Market or call their farm at (231) 938-9032b -- Rick Coates

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