Cheers: Gin, bourbon events abound in Detroit

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The Detroit City Distillery has declared this summer the “Summer of Gin,” and I’ll have to agree with them. The botanical spirit is perfect for warm weather, and it pairs great with lighter mixers like soda or tonic, but just lime juice and ice will do.

Detroit City Distillery will host the finals of its summer ginsmith competition on Monday.

The Eastern Market distillery has been hosting a ginsmith competition to coincide with the Summer of Gin, and the final event of the battle is Monday. The winners from five weeks of competition will head to a final mix-off where the best cocktail made with DCD’s small-batch gin will get the glory.

The five finalists are from four popular bars and restaurants. James Down and Will Lee represent Selden Standard, Paul Fradeneck is from Honest John’s, Chas Williams is from the Oakland and David Martinez comes from the Last Word in Ann Arbor.

Attendees can taste each bartender’s creation ($8 per drink) and keep the balance with a menu of steamed buns from Chef Jonathon Kung ($4 and up). The winner will be chosen by the patrons, as well as a panel of knowledgeable judges.

The party starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Detroit Distillery, 2462 Riopelle, in Detroit. There’s no cover charge.

Firebird Tavern gets private barrel of Woodford Reserve

On Saturday, be one of the first to taste a unique blend created for Detroit.

The owners of Greektown’s Firebird Tavern have purchased a private label barrel of Woodford Reserve Bourbon.

To celebrate the second anniversary of the Firebird, owners Owen Burke and Tony Piraino went to the Woodford Reserve distillery in Kentucky to chose their own blend of the product.

Customers can try Firebird’s Woodford Reserve starting at 9 p.m. Saturday in the upstairs bar at their Greektown restaurant at 419 Monroe. The blend will be on special for $6, after Saturday it’s available for $7.50, while it lasts.

Deliciously brief

■Congratulations to Bill’s in Bloomfield Hills. The restaurant celebrated its first anniversary, and general manager Lea Schofield was named 2015 Restaurant Manager of the Year by the Michigan Restaurant Association.

■The newest Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern will open Sept. 28 at in a 4,900-square-foot space at 50570 Gratiot in Chesterfield Township.

Food & beverage events

Passport to wine at Andiamo Sterling Heights: Wines from New Zealand will be paired with four courses of small plates, such as roasted leg of lamb served over creamy polenta. 7 p.m. Thurs. $59.95. 14425 Lakeside Circle, Sterling Heights. (586) 532-8800.

Chef Sean Force at Yemans Street: Force, the executive chef of Ocean Prime, will prepare a five-course meal featuring walleye with black garlic, mussel, cauliflower and egg. 7 p.m. Fri. $65. 2995 Yemans, Hamtramck.

Cider Dayze Festival at Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill: This first festival features some of Michigan’s best hard cider makers, plus craft beer, bands and games such as barrel races, apple bobbling, beer stein hold and more. Sat.-Sun. $35 one day, $55 both days. $5 shuttle from Ferndale available. 17985 Armada Center Road, Armada.

Fourth anniversary at the Oakland: Guest bartenders — including Kaytee Querro from Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails — will mix up signature drinks to celebrate four years of craft cocktails in Ferndale. Food from Chartreuse and kegged cocktails is also available. 6 p.m.-midnight Sun. No cover. 201 W. Nine Mile, Ferndale. (248) 291-5295.

Dark Horse Brewing dinner at Selden Standard: The Selden Standard outdoor patio is now open, and the Cass Corridor restaurant is hosting a multicourse beer dinner featuring Marshall, Michigan’s Dark Horse Brewing Co. 7-10 p.m. Mon. $100. 3921 Second, Detroit. (313) 438-5055.

Yalla Eat! in Dearborn: Tour Warren Avenue in East Dearborn by foot and learn about the Arab-American shopping district there. Tours, which run 2.5 hours, include food samples, a tote bag and free admission to the museum. 1 p.m. Tues. 10 a.m. Sept. 5, 1 p.m Sept. 8 and 10 a.m. Sept. 12. $20, $15 Arab American National Museum members. Super Greenland, 12715 W. Warren, Dearborn. (313) 582-2266.

Chef Reva Constantine will create a four-course dinner for guests at the Dining in the Dark event.

Dining in the Dark at Great Lakes Culinary Center: Chef Reva Constantine will create a four-course dinner for guests to enjoy while blindfolded. Ticket prices includes a welcome craft cocktail, meal and an afterglow with photos of the menu and discussion with the chef. 7-10 p.m. Sept. 10. $60. 24101 W. Nine Mile, Southfield. (248) 286-3102.

Farm-to-Table Food Fest at Community House: This outdoor street festival features food from well-known chefs from Metro Detroit, plus beer, wine and spirits and children’s activities. 4-8 p.m. Sept. 12. 380 S. Bates, Birmingham. $25 in advance, $30 at the door (includes tastings and one drink ticket), $5-$10 for ages 3-12. 380 S (248) 644-5832.

Motor City Brew Bike Tour from Traffic Jam & Snug: This 11-mile bike tour covers Detroit’s post-prohibition brewery history. 10 a.m. Sept. 13. $33, $10 bike rental. 511 W. Canfield, Detroit.

Detroit Restaurant Week: Participating Detroit fine dining restaurants offer fixed-price meals for $35 for three courses. Restaurant list to be announced. Sept. 18-27.

Grape Expectations fundraiser at Colony Club Detroit: A wine pairing dinner and fundraiser for Kids-TALK Children’s Advocacy Center. Live entertainment and a silent auction featured. 6-9 p.m. Sept. 24. $125, $800 for a table for 8. 2310 Park, Detroit. (734) 785-7705 ext. 7087.

Whiskey Experience at Eastern Market: Hosted by the Butter Run Saloon in St. Clair Shores, this whiskey-tasting event benefits the Luella M. Harden Foundation. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 2. $100, $130 VIP ($20 discount for early purchase). 2934 Russell, Detroit. (586) 675-2115.

Melody Baetens