Shooting Vodka

Yesterday, some of the NCB Staff took a jaunt about 25 minutes south of our offices in downtown Cleveland for a photo shoot for our June cover at Creekside Restaurant & Bar in Brecksville, Ohio. (And yes, being a Cavs fan, this was the highlight of my day. But we’re moving past that here in Cleveland…until our hearts are broken in July. Thanks, LeBron. But I digress.)

It was great for Associate Editor Alissa, Art Director Rob and Managing Editor me to be out and about — talking to our readers and connecting face to face rather than via phone or e-mail. The bar has a heavy focus on vodka, and head bartender Tom Huffer successfully creates his own infusions — an absolute rarity here in the Cleve. They are doing some of the most creative things I’ve seen in the area lately, including a Cocktails & Chocolate late-night menu, to be unveiled soon, that utilizes the Creeksides’s on-premise bakery to create some seriously delicious-sounding cocktails.

And the place is doing well, too: Owner Matt Harper says the Mother’s Day brunch this year was up 12 percent over last year, with so much overflow that guests were actually sitting in the bar stools instead of at tables — a boon for the bar side of the business (who can resist a cocktail when its ingredients are staring you down?). The featured cocktail of the day for moms was the Strawberry Dream Martini, in which Huffer actually infused an infusion — Finlandia Tangerine with strawberries — and added fresh strawberry puree.

It all sounds delicious (and it was, too. But just for a sip, I swear — I was on the job!), but it doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t sell it, and that’s where Huffer, Harper and GM Mark Murray really shine. But to learn about that, you’ll have to check out the June issue.

In the meantime, I want to hear from you. What are you doing that’s creative with vodka? How successful have you been? Have any fun recipes? And just how mad are you at the Cavs? Oh wait, sorry. That’s for another time, another magazine. Let us know — we always want to hear from you.


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