Favorite Winter Warmer of 2020: Hot Chaga Mulled Cider!

Hot Chaga Cider
Hot Chaga Cider photo by Angel Tucker.
Mug by Adrian King for Little Bitte.

Greetings from the warm cocoon that is our lovely cocktail studio on the westside of Providence! We’ve gotten an number of requests to share our favorite hot drink of 2020 (so far) and we’ve settled on one. Introducing: The Hot Chaga Mulled Cider, an elevated hot cider toddy fortified with a nourishing chaga infusion, a hint of birch syrup and a healthy glug of rum. Dress your mulled cider with any warming spices you have on hand! We love whole clove, allspice and cinnamon to draw in the heat. If you can’t find Birch syrup, a hint of maple will do just the trick. Apple cider sweet enough for you? You can skip the birch syrup and maple entirely!

What’s Chaga?

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), “the king of medicinal mushrooms,” is a parasitic fungus that grows on white and yellow birch trees in the Northern Hemisphere. The sterile conk forms on the bark and has the appearance of a torched marshmallow or burnt charcoal. The irregularly formed conk is harvested, dried and grated in order to be steeped in hot water to make a medicinal tea that’s good for the immune system because of its anti-viral, anti-microbial and (wildly enough) anti-fungal properties. Note: do not boil the chaga, this could compromise the stregnth your infusion*

Are there other benefits of Chaga?

Yes! The mushroom is said to fight inflammation, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and generally slow the aging process. Chaga is a wonderful ingredient to have in your winter cocktail arsenal because it keeps well in the pantry and it’s easy to brew. The grounds can be re-steeped 2-3 times, making it a very efficient ingredient in the kitchen!

Hot Chaga Cider

2 ounces Anejo Rum

(We love Diplomático Rum Reserva Exclusiva)

6 ounces apple cider

2 ounces chaga infusion*

1 teaspoon whole mulling spices such as cloves, allspice, star of anise

cinnamon stick for garnish

1/4 ounce of birch syrup or maple syrup (optional)

brandied cherry for garish (it’s so festive!)

Chaga Infusion* Simmer 2 teaspoons of chaga powder in 1 cup of water for a minimum of 15 minutes, fine strain the liquid through a strainer or coffee filter and refrigerate the mushroom solids for your next batch. For a more potent large format elixir, simmer 4-5 chunks of chaga in 1 liter of water on the stove for up to 5 hours, cool to room temp, strain tea into a clean jar and refrigerate up to 2 weeks for future use. Reheat the tea as you need it.

Preparation: Add cider and spices into a medium pot on the stove and simmer for 15 minutes. In a smaller separate pan, boil chaga and strain into your hot cider batch, retaining the solids for future use. Once your spices have infused for at least 20 minutes, pour spirit, syrup and chaga infusion into a large mug and top without cider. Garnish with additional whole spices and a cocktail pick with a Luxardo cherry that has been rolled in brown sugar (for fun).

Brew up a cup for yourself and serve to friends and family in the spirit of good health and wellness.

Cheers! ❤ Willa + Little Bitte

Happy Spring!!!

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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

This Aperol Cocktail is Perfect for Spring!

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The Aperature – a cocktail made from Aperol, gin, and blood oranges – helps usher in spring while saying goodbye to citrus season.

In my early twenties, I lived in Florence for a year on a street called Via degli Artisti with a wonderful painter named Fiorella, a sandy blonde with a scratchy voice and a deep affection for card games, rum, and cigars. We were a 10-minute ride on our rusty bicycles from the heart of city, and a brisk five-minute walk from the main market near Santa Maria Novella. The first warm sunny days of spring always remind me of Fiorella and how she would wake up each morning, fling open the kitchen doors, and step onto our tiny terrazza to water the scented geraniums on the railing. She’d come back into the kitchen and fresh squeeze two glasses of blood orange juice by hand, one for each of us.

The fruits Fiorella juiced were called Moro oranges. Grown in Sicily, they tasted more like fresh raspberries than any kind of orange I had ever tasted, with flesh ranging from deep orange to dark burgundy. I lived for these oranges and those mornings when Fiorella made me sit down with her for breakfast.

As I wait here at home for the flora of the season to pop, I scan my imagination for ways to conjure spring. I keep a keen eye on the oily green rhubarb leaves peeking out of the soil in my raised bed. I visit the micro clusters of lemon balm daily – but it’s still too soon to pick it. And the asparagus nowhere in sight. And so I find solace in fresh oranges at this time of year – so sweet and so abundant – though I know that the harvest must be on its last legs. Clementines and minneolas will slowly but surely trickle out of season, soon to be replaced with the awe of artichokes, fiddleheads, and fresh nettles.


One of my favorite epiphanies from my time in Florence came in the form of a cocktail. I call it the Aperture, as it’s proverbial widening of the lens, if you will. It’s a marriage of two of my favorite classic drinks, the Aperol spritz (a quaffable mix of the bitter aperitif, prosecco, and soda water) and the Negroni (equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth). Every café in Florence serves their own version of a Negroni during aperitivo (cocktail hour), complemented by a bowl of olives or nuts, or sometimes a bigger spread of cured meats, cheese, and crostini topped with anything from fresh seafood to tiny slices of hotdog. (During aperitivo, anything is possible.)3-blood-orange..jpg

The Aperture’s soft, fruity notes come from the blood orange juice, which adds a lush texture and depth to the spritz, mellowing any sharp edges from the gin and fortifying the citrusy notes of the Aperol….

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The Aperture Recipe

❤ Little Bitte

For Fiorella, my Italian queen.

Hot Toddies + Tipsy Tea with Little Bitte

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Adding amaro liqueur to this botanical tea blend creates a warming hot toddy that’s perfect for sharing with friends as winter turns to spring.

I had always hoped that high tea would catch on in America the way it’s revered in the U.K.: English tea served in a pretty cup flocked by diminutive sandwiches, scones, and clotted cream. But it wasn’t until college when I was working in a tea house that realized that I could begin my own ritual of taking tea whenever and however often I wanted. Eureka! The endless imaginary tea parties of my childhood finally came alive.

I oscillate between perky peppermint blends and bold blacks, sometimes with milk or honey or both. And when I have company in the afternoon, I love to break out the botanicals and customize a hot toddy for the occasion – I’ll take any excuse to have a tea party. The beauty of the toddy is its simplicity. Choose a base spirit, such as rum, whiskey, scotch, or cordial, add a sweetening agent and hot water, and you’ve got a deliciously warming libation.

The true alchemy of the Ruby Tea Toddy is that the aromatics of the amaro fortify the floral botanicals of the tea: Lush hibiscus notes pop with the astringency of orange peel; lavender tempers the sweet essence of mint leaf and chamomile with a most sensual balance, a light herbal smack to the palate. This tipsy tea is a botanical daydream. It’s the perfect libation for inviting your gal pals over. Assemble a sumptuous snack to celebrate one another, as well as your daily feats, flops, and the pleasures of everyday.

❤ Little Bitte

Green Cocktails for Saint Patrick’s Day

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We’ve been perfecting our favorite green cocktail for Saint Patrick’s Day – the recipe is tinted naturally with our famous emerald honey syrup made with matcha green tea powder & a hint of spirulina. How’s that for healthy sipping? Cheers!

2 ounces Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 ounce Emerald honey syrup*
Top with your favorite ginger beer
1 shamrock for garnish
Emerald honey syrup*
Pour 4 ounces of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of match green tea powder & 1 teaspoon of Spirulina and whisk together. Add 4 ounces of honey and dissolve into the solution. Cool, bottle and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Preparation: fill your bar tin with Irish whiskey and honey syrup. Shake over ice, pour into the coupe, top with ginger beer and garnish with a shamrock.

Spring Cocktail Workshop

March 16th | Floral Necklaces + Cocktail Workshop

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The Local Bouquet Studio

Thurs. March 16, 2017 | 6:00-8:00 PM | $75.00

Floral Necklaces + Cocktail Workshop

Join Willa Van Nostrand from Little Bitte & Mary Kate Kinnane from The Local Bouquet for a evening filled with spring blooms + botanical craft cocktails.

Learn how to design a floral necklace filled with locally grown flowers, foliage and plants, the perfect accessory for a girl’s night out! While at our studio, freshen up your cocktail skills with a hands on tutorial with Little Bitte! Learn 2 new botanical cocktail recipes and the best ways to garnish them— the perfect addition to any upcoming dinner party!

Light refreshments will be served throughout the class and all materials and supplies will be provided. Each attendee will be able to take home their own floral necklace as well as the cocktail recipes.

#ohyesitsladiesnight

Little Bitte Sunshine

This Turmeric and Gin Cocktail Is Like Sipping Liquid Sunshine

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 Turmeric, honey, and grapefruit add a sweet, earthy flavor to Little Miss Sunshine, which uses a botanical gin as its base spirit.

I crave sunshine in the winter. No matter how many hikes in the woods, walks on the beach, trips to the park, prances through the snow – I still want that placating light and heat of the sun… How does one truly sip in the sun during winter, despite the grey skies and winter blues? Fresh citrus and turmeric help immensely, and Little Miss Sunshine, our latest cocktail concoction, is an homage to the sun when we need her most.

It’s no coincidence that the Latin name for grapefruit is citrus x paradisi, or rather,

citrus = paradise, delivered as it is in a lovely yellow-orange rind. Broiling grapefruit is an exciting way to add a bit of caramelized sweetness to the fruit. I coat the flesh with a teaspoon of honey (instead of sugar) for added floral notes and broil it until I see a bit of char for visual drama and smoky notes, about 5–8 minutes depending on your oven.

Little Miss Sunshine deserves an aromatic, woodsy gin like St. George Terroir, which is infused with Douglas fir, bay laurel, wok-roasted coriander, and a hint of citrus. Solo, Terroir feels like sipping in a verdant forest, then discovering a sunny clearing full of wildflowers. Yes, this gin is that botanical. I round it out with turmeric-honey syrup for another dash of spicy, earthy sweetness…

Read the Full Story and Recipe Here