Vail Valley Seasonal: Spring forward with summery cocktails
VAIL, Colorado In 1784, Benjamin Franklin proposed an idea to make better use of daylight by moving one hour from morning to the end of the day. It was over a century before Great Britain formally accepted the concept of daylight saving time. The United States followed in 1918, with a congressional act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the nation.Theres been close to a century of confusion since the concept was adapted. Laws changed constantly. Following the World War II, states made their own laws some observed, some didnt and each decided their own start and end dates. Imagine the scheduling challenges of interstate travel!President Richard Nixon implemented the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973, mandating a standard throughout the United States. Still, the start and end dates continued to fluctuate. Finally, in 2005, a new energy policy act was passed standardizing daylight saving time to start the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday of November.Todays Americans eagerly anticipate the longer days of springtime. We tune up the bicycle, clean off the patio furniture, and fire up the outdoor grill. The original idea for daylight saving time may have been to save energy, but savoring a later sunset with a refreshing beverage is the true delight. Avondales mixmaster Brian Harker welcomes spring with a list of new seasonal cocktails. Theyre as colorful as their names are tempting.Dazzle your friends with a pitcher of fresh flavors, he suggests. After a sunny day on the mountain, relax on the deck and treat yourselves to something new. Try a Purple Passion, which features citrus and blackberries, or maybe the Mission: Sidecar it tastes like a Fig Newton in a glass. Visualize yourself in the tropics while you sip a Riviera: light, refreshing pineapple and Campari.Great cocktails deserve tasty snacks to nibble, says Jeremy Kittelson, executive chef at Avondale. If youve been outdoors all day, here are some quick and easy refreshments. A big bowl of truffle popcorn will wake up taste buds. For a little spice, the pepitas can be made ahead and kept ready.Its safe to say our snow days are not over, but daylight savings unofficially marks summer time. Get out on your bike, or conserve some energy by kicking back with an Avondale-inspired cocktail. Strawberry Fields2 medium strawberries2 teaspoons fine sugar (Turbinado)3 dashes rhubarb bitters3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice3/4 ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur2 ounces 10 Cane RumMuddle sugar, strawberries and bitters in a pint glass. Add remaining ingredients with ice and shake. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of strawberry.Purple Passion1 orange slice1 lemon wedge1 lime wedge3 blackberries1/2 ounce simple syrup2 dashes Peychauds Bitters2 ounces rye whiskeyCombine fruit in a pint glass and muddle. Add syrup, bitters, rye and ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a blackberry.Mission: Sidecar1 dried mission fig (halved)pinch of cinnamon3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice1/2 ounce simple syrup1/2 ounce Cointreau2 ounces cognacMuddle fig, cinnamon, and simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients. Shake and strain into a sugar-rimmed snifter.The Riviera2 ounces dry gin1 wedge fresh pineapple3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice3/4 ounce Campari1 ounce simple syrup1 ounce egg whiteMuddle pineapple in a pint glass. Add all additional ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a wedge of pineapple.Truffle Popcorn6 Tablespoons unsalted butter1 teaspoon white truffle oil3 Tablespoons vegetable oil1 cup popcorn kernelsSalt and freshly ground pepper to tasteMelt the butter with the truffle oil in a small pan. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan. Add the popcorn kernels and cover tightly. Cook over moderate heat, shaking the pan constantly while the corn pops. When the popping stops, remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the truffle butter over all and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once. A perfect match with the Mission: Sidecar.Spicy Pepitas1/2 pound raw pumpkin seeds2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika1/2 teaspoon hot paprikaLarge pinch cayenne pepperKosher saltPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, stirring once, until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large shallow bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat. Add the two paprikas, cayenne and salt and toss again. Let cool before serving. May be kept in an airtight container for up to three days. A great complement to The Riviera.Sue Barham is the marketing director for Restaurant Avondale and Larkspur Restaurant. Avondale recently opened in The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. The restaurant features a West Coast inspired, seasonal menu and the chefs use time-honored cooking methods, such as slow roasting and braising, to create simple dishes rich in flavor. The wine program focuses on small production wines to compliment the straightforward cuisine. For more information, visit http://www.avondalerestaurant.com.