I hadn't eaten in 10 hours, so when I got the text inviting me to Twelve Mile Limit for their Saturday-night-only barbecued ribs, I hauled it. I've long been a fan of this neighborhood bar's masterful craft cocktails; now a kicked-up kitchen (a growing dinner menu, free-meal Mondays, and weekend brunch) has further broadened its appeal.
To satisfy Saturday's raging hunger, I ended up sampling much of the menu, including the half-rack of rich, smoky ribs (only $5 with any other food order), and loaded tots (an indulgent mashup of crispy taters, pulled pork, mac and cheese, roasted Brussels sprouts and adobo slaw).
Twelve Mile's Wealth of Nations cocktail pairs well with the feast, slashing through its strong flavors with gin, tonic liqueur, triple sec and verjus.
Cole Newton wrote the recipe to showcase Bittermens' artisanal tonic, a quinine-loaded liqueur that's 40 proof. By adding alcohol, Bittermens lets tonic's bitter qualities blossom, without the typical sugary staleness.
On its own, the tonic liqueur is vibrant and floral; in the Wealth of Nations, Cole pairs it with Monopolowa, a Viennese dry gin triple-distilled from potatoes, all of which makes it a softer, lemon-creamy spirit that elegantly boosts the tonic.
A splash of triple sec and California verjus (the pressed juice of unripe grapes) bring a tarty sweetness and gentle crisp that balances the drink.
And the name? That, too, emphasizes the tonic: Wealth of Nations is the title of economist Adam Smith's classic, capitalism-defining book. "I wanted a name," Cole says, "that evoked the age of British colonialism; the age that gave birth to tonic water as an anti-malarial drug to protect white people in tropical colonies, and by extension the gin and tonic."
On Saturday, Oct. 27, his joint celebrates its two-year anniversary with a costume party (costume-wearers get their first drink free); the party starts at 9 p.m. Come hungry!
Twelve Mile Limit, 500 S. Telemachus, 488.8114. The barbecue comes courtesy of Chris Shortall, a veteran chef who expertly smokes the ribs, brisket, pork and chicken at Twelve Mile. Chefs Mackenzie Smith and Nicholas Viking Christian, of coffee pop-up Destroy All Coffee, serves up brunch on weekend mornings; Debbie Does Doberge has added lush Salty Balls (moist cakes dunked in chocolate) to their line of doberge desserts.
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