Yesterday, my brother treated a friend of his and me to the 812 Cafe in Richmond. Shade from the partially closed venetian blinds covered an otherwise light colored cafe and bar. The tables jammed together with people lent a cramped feeling to this otherwise comfortable atmosphere. Our party was given a table near the bar, and we soon ordered a round of Two-Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery. While waiting for the beer, I proposed that we have some appetizers; but, this request was immediately shot down by our generous host on the grounds that the main course would be enough. With the help of the extra calories provided by the beer, this turned out to indeed be the case. So, I can’t complain.
In short time, that round of Two-Hearted Ale arrived. Last year, my brother had offered me a bottle of Two-Hearted Ale. At the time, I did not find it very impressive, perhaps because it was served too cold or kept too long. Anyway, a beautifully tasting IPA met us at the table. The hops provided all the flavor with notes of lime, orange, and grapefruit. This melody of citrus rendered the beer very bitter to boot.
Having just finished a luxurious dinner, I find myself not in the mood to vent my spleen in regard to the present state of the James Bond franchise. In addition to a couple of glasses of Chardonnay, I has a Negroni for the first time and a twenty year old Tawny Port from Graham’s. The food at this Italian restaurant was superb, but my memory of these drinks holds first place.
As my little Mr. Bartender app informs me, the Negroni consists of 1 part Gin, 1 part Sweet Vermouth, and 1 part Campari garnished with an orange peel. This drink works wonderfully well as an aperitif, as one might guess from the presence of gin and Campari. The gin makes this a rather spicy drink, while the other two elements nicely balance out the spiciness with their sweetness and the orange peel adds some interesting complexity.