Interview with Little Bitte

ARTIST INTERVIEW

Willa Van Nostrand of Little Bitte Cocktails

NOVEMBER 5, 2018


Chattman Photography

We want to have a drink with Willa Van Nostrand, especially if she’s the one making the drink. Mixologist,  owner of Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails, singer/ songwriter, art curator, and infusively charming company, Willa is the total package. Okay, the total dream. We Insta-stalked her beautifully curated delicious photos (not to mention that topknot of hers) for about a year before calling her up and asking her to host a workshop at Ode. We met up in Quonquont orchard, where we got to play dress up and traipse around with Willa, eating apples whilst sipping her mango margarita. Even listening to her describe a drink will make your mouth water. Here’s a little sneak “sip” of what’s in store for our “Guide to Gatherings” workshop at Ode, this Thursday, Nov. 8, from 6-8pm. Foodie-Guru Victoria  Accardi will accompany Willa with cheese and sweet bites. There are a few spots still open, so give us a call or stop by the boutique to sign up! Cheers!

How did you get your start in bartending and mixology?
I grew up on a small herb farm in Massachusetts with my mom, a midwife & herbalist—and my dad, a minister & bartender. I’ve always been pretty obsessed with food, so beverage was a natural extension.  I worked in a bunch of bars through my late teens and early 20s, but really found my niche living in Italy for a year when I was working with cordials and Amari like Campari, Aperol, and Fernet Branca. Even when I was working at the family dive bar, I’d bring in my own edible blossom bouquets to garnish cocktails. Folks would start requesting the drinks I made for them, and that’s how the business was born.  Before I knew it, I was doing a bunch of parties and weddings and shopping for insurance. Business, how romantic!

Describe the perfect sip:
The perfect sip is clean, sumptuously tart
and leaves you wanting another sip.
The perfect sip is insatiable.
The perfect sip is usually Champagne,
generally a very dry margarita,
and most often: a flute of sparkling rosé.
On friday nights, it’s a dirty martini with fancy queen olives,
in Italy, a spritz,
a voluptuous red wine.
Cognac, forever– aged off the vine.

What’s your spirit cocktail?
If mezcal is my spirit “spirit, ” then The Division Bell is my spirit cocktail (Mezcal, fresh lime, Aperol, maraschino cherry liqueur) for its astringency, appetizing pop of color, light bitterness, and smoke. It reminds me that I’m alive and every breath, sip and bite matters.

On top of being a business owner and expert mixologist, you are a singer in a band. What’s the music/style? Who’s in your band? Where can we see you perform?
Ah, Singing! My first love. I make my own music as Willa Van Nostrand and I’m in a band “The Van Nostrand Sisters” with my Sister Glenna and her partner, Ken Linehan, who’s fabulous. There’s an ever-evolving cast of characters, but it’s most minimally the 3 of us on stage. We make folk music, I write most of the songs and the band gives them life! Lots of harmonies, and our voices do that magic sister thing that sisters can do: very sweet, goofy, upbeat, folky? Dare I say, country? We dance around a lot and wear vintage dresses and costumes. We are working on recording our album and we don’t have any shows booked currently because we’re not letting ourselves play out until we finish the album. We usually play small clubs & venues, folk festivals, friends house shows in the woods, art spaces…. You get the idea. We love playing so if you have something in mind, don’t be a stranger. Record’s almost done!

Hold on, you have an art gallery? Explain!
Yes! I own a small storefront gallery called World’s Fair Gallery at 268 Broadway in Providence. We opened in 2010 as a site-specific gallery, and now we’re at home on Broadway. We curate shows inspired by taste, gustatory and aesthetic. For each show, we pair 2D & 3D artists with folks who make ceramics or handblown glass vessels. For the opening reception of each show, we pop-up and make cocktails that were designed for the artwork and the glassware. This business model works in a way that I can travel and install art pop-ups and bars in galleries and art fairs. I am really excited about World’s Fair and can’t wait to share more artwork, beautiful vessels and beverages with the world.

Best moment from a wedding:
Last summer we worked this insanely gorgeous wedding out near the beach in Tiverton, Rhode Island. The whole thing was romantic and candlelit with colorful lanterns hanging from the trees. After we broke down the bar, we were standing around having a shift drink and we all let our hair down (you know, the ‘Bitte bun’ up-do has to come down sometime). We looked like a group of mermaids on the lawn. The groomsmen called to us from the dance floor á la Romeo up to Juliet’s window: “Angels, sweet women, where have you been? It’s time to dance!”
I melted a little, we giggled a lot, and then got out of there as quickly as we could because we knew better! We had to bail before the midsummer night’s dream enchanted us all.

I also cried last week at a cranberry bog during the bride and groom’s first dance at sunset. Does that count? I end up crying at a lot of the weddings that I work because they’re so beautiful and touching. Once you work with a couple on their wedding for a year, you can get pretty emotionally attached.

Shaken or stirred?
Stirred! It’s traditional to stir a martini. “Stir spirits with vermouth, shake juice!”
But I say, if you’re the one drinking it — do whatever you want!
If you ask me to make you a cosmo, I’ll make you a damn good cosmo.
If you ask me to shake your martini, I’ll shake the living daylights out of it.
That’s what hospitality is about.

If you could have a drink anywhere with any one person, where and with whom would that be?
I’d have a cigar and a glass of Cognac with Gertrude Stein in Paris during her Expat salon years.

What’s the “garden” element of your tagline “craft cocktails from garden to glass in New England”?
All of our edible blossoms and fresh botanicals are organically grown, local or sustainably sourced. For the first 5 years of Little Bitte, my mom and I grew all of our botanicals. Now, we source our blossoms, fruit, and herbs from about 25 local growers.

Favorite toast?
To high winds and mermaids!

What’s essential for the perfect gathering?
Making your guests feel comfortable. Good lighting, enough food and drink for your guests, and their friends you didn’t know they were bringing along.
And ice! 2-3 pounds per guest to be specific.

Happy Spring!!!

happy-spring-bitte-gif

Now this is the kind of ‘snow’ we can get behind: edible blossom confetti! Raise a toast to the vernal equinox today, we made it!!!!

For your sipping pleasure:

Poli Spritz

1 1/2 oz Poli Miele

1/2 oz lemon

1/2 oz rhubarb syrup

top with Prosecco

 

Cheers!

Little Bitte

Little Bitte Featured in Vogue!

Why Providence, Rhode Island, Should Be Your Next Weekend Getaway

For now, I bounce from coast to coast, but I plan to die in Providence. I was student at the Rhode Island School of Design more than a decade ago, and the magic of that jewel-box of a city still pulls on my heartstrings. It’s the Victorian homes, industrial buildings, the charmingly gruff New England personalities, and concentration of Italian American markets that have kept me coming back. The town is divided by the Providence river, separating the posh, College Hill area to its east, and the grittier, fast-developing downtown, Olneyville, Federal Hill, and Atwells to the west. Most tourists will cling to the picturesque, colonial Benefit street, with its gas lamps and pristine mansions, but that’s only a tiny sliver of what the city has to offer. This place has chutzpah. It’s the blue collar dive bar and the Ivy League, it’s Mayflower meets crust punk. What other city’s most beloved mayor was a convicted felon and the face of a popular line of packaged red sauce? R.I.P Buddy Cianci…..

…. For smaller grassroots galleries, World’s Fair Gallery is a tiny storefront next to the Columbus Theater that mounts thoughtful shows with local artists. It’s run by the owners of Little Bitte cocktails, a craft cocktail company that often pops up around town.

Full Article Here

WE’RE SO EXCITED!!!

❤ Little Bitte

 

Happy Friendsgiving!

 

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There are a couple of traditions I gleefully look forward to every November:

#1. An entire weekend devoted to activities in front of the wood stove playing cards & board games with my BBC favorites in queue. Hot toddies, cider, popcorn, the whole nine yards….

#2. …. FRIENDSGIVING!

Friendsgiving dinner is different every year. This year I joined a group of beautiful new friends and we documented our afternoon together at Phones Wright house in Bolton, MA. I debuted a few of my new favorite holiday recipes during cocktail hour and they were a hit!!  Here are a couple of recipes to test out on your friends & family over this holiday….

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The Flannel Shirt

1 1/2 oz Bourbon Whiskey

1/2 oz Amaro Cynar

1/2 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth

3 dashes Smoked maple bitters

Garnished with brandied cherries + fresh herbs

Preparation: Pour bourbon, Cynar, sweet vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass, add ice and stir for 15 seconds. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass or over rocks into a mule mug for slow, relished sipping. Garnish with Luxardo cocktail cherries, fresh sage and nasturtium blossoms. Cheers!

Tasting Notes: Smooth, aromatic & bittersweet

The Orchard

1 oz Vodka

1 oz fresh pressed local cider

½ oz spiced ginger cordial

Top with dry Sparkling wine

Preparation: Add vodka, cider and ginger cordial to a bar tin, add ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, top with bubbles and garnish with edible blossoms and fresh herbs.

La Pom (Mocktail)

2 oz Fresh pomegranate juice (½ of the fruit, juiced)

4 oz with sparkling water

Top with 2 drops of orange blossom water

Preparation: Add juice to a collins glass filled with ice, top with sparkling water,

orange blossom water and garnish with a wheel of lemon and edible blossoms.

Many thanks to my dear Friendgiving pals,

Photography Above: Meredith Jane Photography
Event Planning & Design : Kate Murtaugh Events + Design and Kelly Golia Events
Venue: Phineas Wright House
Additional Photography: Madeline Rose Photography
Floral Design:  Field & Vase and Weatherlow Farm
Cocktails: Little Bitte
Rentals: Borrowed BLU
Stationary: Lilliput Design Studio
Calligraphy: Molly Grace Makes
Makeup: Sarah Lord and Jocelyn Mariah Makeup
Hair: Tada Style
Accessories: Wool and Whiskey

Little Bitte

Making Spirits Bright – Little Bitte at Newport Vineyards

 

making spirits bright

Join Little Bitte for Making Spirits Bright: Cocktail + Truffle Making Class at Newport Vineyards on December 7th!

Add a little Newport Vineyards to your holiday season and make your spirits bright as Willa from Little Bitte & Executive Chef Andy Teixeira will take you on a cocktail-creating and truffle-making journey. This is one of our favorite evenings of the year!

Thursday, December 7 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Register for Tickets Here

$42 per person

Toasting the Twenties at Blithewold

Bitte in the Greenhouse
photo by Caroline Goddard

SAVE THE DATE!

Join Little Bitte at Blithewold: A Toast to the 1920s
Wednesday, December 6
6:00 to 8:00 pm

Join us for a festive evening of artisanal 1920s-inspired classic cocktails with a holiday twist!

Willa Van Nostrand, certified mixologist and owner of Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails, will demonstrate how to make and serve specialized recipes featuring small-batch spirits, cordials, haus bitters, fresh pressed juices and edible blossoms. Guests will enjoy nibbles to accompany the cocktails and will take home inspiration for their own holiday soirées, using the highest-quality ingredients to make the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing cocktails imaginable.

1920s-inspired attire welcome!

This is a prix fixe selection of hors d’oeuvres, therefore, we cannot easily accommodate food allergies and preferences.

$50 member $55 Non-Member

Click Here to Register!

Workshop 9/28 – Colorful Centerpieces and Fiery Sips!

bitte-weatherlow-sips.jpg

We’re excited to announce our next workshop Colorful Centerpieces and Fiery Sips celebrating Fall Equinox with Weatherlow Florals at Weatherlow Farms on September 28th, 5-7pm

Join us in the barn to build your own bouquet & learn how to make 2 new signatures featuring autumnal ingredients from the harvest. Both the arrangements and drinks will feature edible flowers and herbs, all grown and foraged at the farm, including dahlias and amaranths and ornamental herbs. $75 includes all materials, drinks, and bites.

Register Here

💎@christinechitnis

 Little Bitte