News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Meaden & Moore

Metro RTA

Hospice of the Western Reserve


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Social Issues




Craft cocktails with locally-sourced fruits and spices
Liqueurs and infusions made with what's fresh
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Current Julep - Bourbon, Current Purée, Mint
Courtesy of Dave Hridel
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Eating locally-grown produce is now in fashion.  And what’s local is what’s in season. So Northeast Ohio’s top chefs work with small farmers to offer asparagus in spring and squash in the fall.  But something new is bubbling up. For today’s Quick Bite, WKSU’s Vivian Goodman uncorks the latest development in the farm-to-table movement: “farm-to-bar."
farm to bar

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (5:08)


(Click image for larger view.)

We’re in Cleveland’s Gordon Square Arts District at Spice Kitchen and Bar with Dave Hridel.

And don’t call him a mixologist. 

“I like the term bartender because it is about tending to the needs of the guests.”

Tall and cool as a mint julep, he engages and accommodates his customers.

 “Exposing them to a new product, a new spirit, finding out what flavor profiles they like and really kind of on the fly constructing something or tweaking something that we have on the menu.” 

Hridel makes craft cocktails with locally-grown fruits, herbs and veggies. The bar and Spice’s restaurant and catering service pick what they need when they need it from a roof garden and a 12-by-50 foot greenhouse in the parking lot. Plus, the owner has 1,000 heads of garlic in his Broadview Heights front yard.   

Executive Chef Brandon Walukas says it’s all about seasonal cooking in Spice’s kitchen. “Absolutely. Whatever’s fresh and available. ”

That’s the guiding principle of all three businesses taking up the whole northwest corner of W. 58th and Detroit. The building has housed about ten restaurants over the years,  but since January,  it’s been Spice of Life Catering; Spice Kitchen and Bar; and Spice Acres, an urban gardening initiative. All are owned by Ben Bebenroth, a former Marine helicopter mechanic with culinary training who grew up in Strongsville. 

He’s a dedicated urban gardener who wants everything to come from local sources.

“ Even when we were stocking the bar. Things like Absolut Citron, things like that, nothing against Absolut--we love you guys -- but it just didn’t fit for us. We said, ‘Hey we can make citrus vodka.’ We really wanted to capitalize on all things seasonal, as much local as possible.” 

Bartender Hridel soaks apples from Rittman Farms
in Jim Beam for five days to create his signature spicy bourbon.

He also makes his own tinctures, bitters, and infusions.

 “Various liqueurs that we make in-house as well. We’ve done some Vinda orange before. We’ve made a pear and apple liqueur by just taking the local apples and pear with some sage, wine, vodka, a little sugar, and let that sit for a month. And you really kind of come up with almost a digestif-aperitif kind of a lighter-in-alcohol kind of cocktail.”

One of his bolder inventions involves tarragon, one of his favorite flavors.

 “That anise, almost absinthe kind of a Sambuca, liquorishy flavor. And we did the Tarragon Wild, which was a gin-based cocktail, with fresh tarragon, tarragon syrup, an egg white, heavy cream, and a little citrus.”

Lately, many patrons who want to drink what’s in season call for Hridel’s “Fall in Manhattan.”

“So what we’re going to do here is take three ounces of our house-spiced Jim Beam -- which is apple, cinnamon, clove and vanilla -- add that into our mixer. Then, I love this Antiqua Formula. This is a delicious Vermouth. And then a couple dashes of our cranberry bitters."

With the fruit and the spice, it goes down smoothly.

 “You get the flavor. You know you’re drinking the bourbon. But you don’t get the burn necessarily.”

That’s Dave Hridel of Spice Kitchen and Bar.

The bartender may be even closer to his ingredients in future spring and summer seasons.

Beb Bebenroth plans to expand Spice’s rooftop garden into a lake-view bar.

And that’s today’s Quick Bite. Next Friday we learn what regional chefs whip up quickly for themselves at home.  


Related Links & Resources
Spice website

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook






Stories with Recent Comments

Could University Circle developments ripple into East Cleveland?
Outsiders are so far off the beaten path and you all need to attend the meeting being held today 8/31/15 Cleveland Public Library, 1:00 PM. http://44112news.co...

ResponsibleOhio leader says the state is trying to set Issue 3 up for failure
Ohio suppose to believe that a group of investors were united under one cause to legalize marijuana.Once legal they all of sudden turn into 10 different compani...

Terry Pluto: U of A's new athletic director has the toughest job in town
It is a hard sell. The Students do not want to go to the football games and they do not want to pay for the program. They have a lot of student loan debt and t...

Akron considering the future of the B.F. Goodrich smokestacks
This BFGoodrich alumna says, "Thank you, Dave Lieberth!"

State creates panel to look at Ohio charter school sponsors
It is more than disturbing that charter schools, which seemed like a good idea years ago, have begun to cripple public school education.

DEVO mural in Akron is now on display downtown
The installation is not at the former site of Chili Dog Mac. CDM was one block north on the other side of Main St.

New report shows growth in white collar jobs for Northeast Ohio
Unfortunately, there are fewer jobs in comparison to the number of professionals applying for them. I have been had a full time job since June 2012. In order to...

Advocacy group: Ohio could lead in clean energy
Ohio Legislators, You are supposed to be our leaders but you're not taking us where we want to go - where we need to go!

Campaign for and against marijuana legalization begins
Cannabis legalization needs to happen as soon as possible! But not if it gives monopolies to a selected few to grow and sell the herb. Responsible Ohio's mono...

Heinen's in downtown Cleveland sponsors a contest for food entrepreneurs
Love that this took place right here! What a way to support local. Thank you Heinens! Love this quote, as a small local biz, I agree, it's big!! "To be a small...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University