Drinks with Pat

Pat Evans


A few weeks ago, I mentioned Cork & Fork at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Well, because I was intrigued by the event , Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, I reached out to Elizabeth
Schweitzer, the master sommelier at the Grand Hotel to chat about the hotel’s wine program and the event.

A reminder: The event is a gathering of some of the top female chefs in the country in
partnership with the James Beard Foundation.

Cool bartending classes
Spirits giant Pernod Ricard recently launched a new version of its bartender education program, BarSmarts. For $29, interested students get access to an array of mixologists to help teach tricks of the
trade and help improve bartenders’ resumes.

Bourbon month is off to a start
Bourbon month officially began Thursday, so that’s fun!

Grab a locally-made bourbon, like New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk Origin that was released earlier this year, Long RoadDistiller’s Straight Bourbon or Eastern Kille’s Michigan Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

You can also find some of the classics like Wild Turkey, Buffalo Trace or Old Forester.
And then there’s new brands on the market like Old Elk – we can dive into that later this month –  or one I will always bring up from my former home of Nevada, Frey Ranch.

Dinners galore!
On Wednesday, I ventured to Reserve for its special A Taste of Italy Dinner with Adam Fortuna.

It was an excellent event – although some of the dishes were a touch overcooked, but otherwise fantastic – and Adam was a gracious and educational wine host.

Reserve has regular dinners, so be sure to checkout what they’ve got in store next.

Likewise, Essence Restaurant Group (again, editor’s note: my sister is a partner, but it’s hard to cover GR food without mentioning this group) regularly hosts events at Grove and Bistro Bella Vita.

Bistro will host the Scacciadiavoli Wine Dinner Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.. The owner of the 128-year-old Italian winery, Iacopo Pambuffetti, is coming into town just for the dinner. It’s a nicely priced event at $125 (gratuity included) for the four-course meal.
The next day, Grove hosts the Farmer Dinner for $150 a person, an additional $50 for beverage pairings.

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