Now Open: Detroit’s Gold Cash Gold

Gold Cash Gold, Detroit’s latest venture into the cocktail/foodie scene, opened to the public last Saturday just in time for Noel Night. Housed in a former pawn shop of the same name, Gold Cash Gold is just a few doors down from established Michigan Avenue favorites such as Slows Bar B Q and The Sugar House. The stained glass panes in the entryway carry throughout the bar and main dining room; just don’t forget to look up as the detailed wood patterns make it one of my new favorite ceilings of Detroit.

The host and hostess greeted us with smiles and were more than happy to direct us to the bar while we waited a few minutes for a table to open up.

Sidewinder Watch

Sidewinder Watch

Boom Box from Gold Cash Gold

Boom Box

I started with the Boom Box, featuring bourbon, ginger-fennel syrup, orange bitters and Vernors (Detroit’s ginger ale of choice since 1866). Garnished with a fresh sprig of fennel, the Boom Box is a nice take on a bourbon buck. The house-made syrup balanced the sweetness of Vernor’s.

Dad’s Trophy is a reimagined smoky Manhattan, featuring rye and Zucca, an Italian apertif similar to vermouth. The kicker in this drink is the Laphroaig rinse- one of the peatiest islay single malt scotch whiskys. For the non-scotch drinkers, Laphroaig can be described as smelling like a crocodile smoking a cigar, a burning hospital or a band-aid.  NB: Laphroaig’s #opinionswelcome campaign fully embraces that they are an acquired taste. I’m not a scotch person myself, but since the amount is so minimal, it merely provides a scent of smokiness but the flavor of the drink is untouched.

The Sidewinder Watch was beautifully presented in a coupe garnished with a star anise. With black rum, autumn shrub, sourwood honey and lime it felt almost like a rum sour with a spicy finish. It wasn’t too overpowering so even if you’re not a fan of lime, I’d recommend giving this a try since the shrub and honey help sweeten the edges.

After we migrated from the bar to our table, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner. Since this blog focuses on libations, I’ll let the foodies give the low-down on the farmhouse fair; however, I must pass along this pro-tip: Get the farmer’s bread and the fried chicken. Save some marmalade butter for the cornbread- you won’t be sorry!

Gold Cash Gold
2100 Michigan Avenue, Detroit

Bitter, bubbly and herbaceous: The Raven’s Club is in pursuit of the perfect cocktail

I had never been to the Raven’s Club before, despite many years gallivanting down Ann Arbor’s State Street. Primarily known for their cocktails TRC is finding their place in the ever changing restaurant scene in a city mixed with college students, townies and a slew of transient imbibers. My preconceived notions of TRC being strictly a highfalutin speakeasy were quickly extinguished when beverage director Zack proclaimed “to hell with pretentiousness”. He’s been there since the beginning when TRC opened their doors in 2011 with the goal of “creating the bar I wanna hang out in”. After an evening at TRC, I wanna hang out, too!

Zack’s passion for cocktails was energizing- he explained his love of using great American spirits like bourbon and gin. He was most excited about the Vieux Carre, named for the French Quarter in New Orleans, which they blend in five gallon batches of rye, sweet vermouth, cognac, benedictine, aromatic wine and Peychauds bitters. Draught cocktails can be tricky to pull off, but I found the Vieux Carre to be quite balanced. I could tell it was a little strong for the others in the group but as a lover of the brown liquor, I thought it was great.

In addition to perfecting large batches, TRC is also paying attention to the little details that can make or break a cocktail. They make their own bitters, ginger beer and tonic, which Zack insists should be “bitter, bubbly and herbaceous”. I tried the Five Parts with Two James, a grapefruit and gin concoction garnished with a surprisingly aromatic grapefruit peel. It was indeed refreshing and felt like a burst of spring, despite it being a rainy autumn night.

With over a hundred whiskies available, including two dozen bottles of rye, I’m sure I’ll be back to try what else Zack and the gang have in store. Check them out yourself:

The Raven’s Club
207 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Whiskey Business tasting event coming to the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market 11/7/14

Whiskey Business

Tickets are still available for Whiskey Business this Friday, November 7 at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. For $50, you get a cup and 10 tasting tabs to sample over 100 whiskey brands from around the world. If 10 samples isn’t enough for you lushes, consider the VIP option at $70 which gets you 15 tasting tabs with the bonus perk of getting in an hour early for a meet and greet with your favorite whiskey peddlers.

The whiskey list includes distilleries from around the world, but also includes some local-ish craft spirits from Two James, New Holland and Grand Traverse. We’re crossing our fingers that Two James will bring their new Johnny Smoking Gun!

Additional servings can be purchased when you run out of tabs; food will also be available for purchase.

Last year’s event sold out so get your tickets before they run out and see for more info.

What: Whiskey Business
Where: Royal Oak Farmer’s Market
When: Friday, November 7, 2014 (VIP admission 6:30pm; general admission entry 7:30pm)
Tickets: $50 general admission; $70 VIP