Appalachian Spring, ca 1880 with High West Distillery

For our next whiskey dinner on April 19, we welcome High West Distillery. High West is one of our favorite boutique distilleries anywhere, making an interesting collection of aged rye whiskeys, plus silver oat and rye whiskeys, with the kind of artisinal passion that we like to see in our suppliers because it’s how we approach our cooking.

I thought it appropriate to pair the High West’s mountain whiskeys with traditional Appalachian fare since Appalachia, itself with a long history of distilling, was at one time the mountain range known as the West. It’s a common misconception that Appalachia has always been riddled with poverty, but that wasn’t always so – true, mountain life was always hard and involved a lot of work, but until the extractive timber and coal industries descended on the mountains after the Civil War, it was possible to prosper in a very unique way if you were willing to do the work, and many folks did. With this menu we are trying to recapture that time when Appalachia was a community of small farmers and homesteaders, and ate well from some of the richest country in the world.

This is not a menu for picky eaters; bring your greatest sense of adventure with you as we sample some of the greatest delicacies of the Appalachian traditions including ramps, cornflower, pokeweed, sorghum, morels, and Cherokee sweetmint. This is the beautiful food that sustained Appalachia for generations.

Back to dinner. We always try to provide a lot of value and this may be the best deal we’ve ever offered. These ingredients aren’t cheap since we can’t go out and forage them ourselves, plus we will work tirelessly to pull this off, and time is money. We can’t call some big distributor and tell them to bring us suckling pig ham, pokeweed, clabbered cream, sourwood honey, et al. I go out and personally find the raw ingredients from small producers and foragers. The clabbered cream we make ourselves from our regular weekly shipment from Kilgus Farmstead. The smoked suckling ham we will be serving will be dry-cured for 6 weeks, then smoked for three days. It comes from a young Gunthorp Farm hog of the duroc breed. The morels will be from an old and dear friend in deep southern Indiana, spoonbread from local heirloom cornmeal and Anson Mills heirloom grits, the sorghum taffy home made from a 19th-century heirloom recipe. The list goes on. Please join us for a very special evening. Call for reservations, 773-275-5725

Appalachian Spring with High West Distillery

Thursday April 19, 2012
Reception 6:30 Dinner 7:30

  • Pan-fried morel mushrooms with hominy grits, pan gravy, and wild watercress

  • Traditional lard biscuits with Blue Ridge Mountain sourwood honey & clabbered cream

  • Spoonbread with crackling, wilted ramp & cornflower salad

  • Suckling pig ham poached in cream, poke sallet, pinto beans, and German potatoes

  • Rhubarb pie with Cherokee sweetmint ice cream

  • Sorghum Taffy

$50 per person includes tax, gratuity and pours of select High West whiskeys. For reservations call 773-275-5725