A Toast to Guido’s Fresh Marketplace

A big thank you to everyone who came out to Guido’s Fresh Marketplace for our December Cocktail Demo Days! The Allium bartenders were very happy to geek out over their favorite classic recipes. The belle of the ball turned out to be Cocchi Americano, an Italian aperitif that we served on the rocks with a wedge of blood orange (Guido’s sold out of their stock).

Here are some of our favorite images from the demo days…


Nancy Thomas, founder of Mezze Restaurant Group, sharing her love of Cocchi Americano


Billy the bartender stole the show with his sours + fizzes, converting many guests into egg white-cocktail enthusiasts!


In case you missed out (or sampled too many cocktails to remember ingredients or instructions), check out the two recipe cards below for details on how to construct some great classic cocktails at home.




31578_10151317957494600_569784924_nDolin vermouth never goes out of style


Something Sour, Something Sparkling, Something Classic… What will you be drinking on New Year’s Eve?!

Still figuring out your New Year’s Eve plans? Mezze Bistro + Bar (413.458.0123) and Allium Restaurant + Bar (413.528.2118) have the answer! Both restaurants are still accepting reservations for the special night — coming soon! We’ll be serving up festive additions to the regular menu and since we’re open at 5 pm, you’ll have plenty of time to fuel up before heading to that glamorous late-night party. Give us a call for more information, or visit Open Table to make a reservation.

Whether you’re hosting a raucous house party to celebrate the world avoiding apocalypse in 2012, cozying up in front of the fire to peacefully welcome 2013 or ringing in the New Year accompanied by some amazing farm-to-table cooking at Mezze or Allium… one singular burning question remains…



Sure, there’s something undeniably classic about popping a bottle of champagne as the ball drops in Times Square. But what to sip during the countdown? Or in the wee morning hours, with your dancing feet surrounded by confetti?

Here are three great options to diversify your holiday beverage plan:

A note about sours: the classic recipe calls for egg and citrus to be introduced to the spirit. The ingredients are first shaken “dry” (meaning, without ice) — this step allows for the egg white to emulsify, creating the iconic frothy texture that’s associated with sours. Since you’re probably burnt out on eggnog by now (thanks, Christmas), the Aperol Sour will put your leftover eggs to good use. Since Aperol is an aperitif, this light bittersweet cocktail will get along famously with hors d’oeuvres. It almost tastes like a very refined, adult version of orange cream soda. Incorporating egg into your bar regimen may sound intimidating, but if you already know how to separate an egg and shake a cocktail, you’ll do just fine.

3 oz Aperol
0.75  oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
1 egg white

Add all ingredients into a shaker glass, cap and dry shake without ice vigorously for 10 seconds.  Fill shaker with ice and shake another 10 seconds. Strain into a collins glass with ice.

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These cocktails honor the effervescence and celebratory quality of champagne, but also add another dimension of flavor that’s exciting and somewhat unexpected. Sparkling cocktails are wonderfully drinkable, and pretty universally appealing. Since each cocktail only uses 1 oz. of the corresponding liqueur, a single bottle can go a long way. These sparkling cocktails are incredibly simple to assemble which makes them an easy choice while hosting a large group (and a friendly option for the novice bartender).

Kir Royale: 1 oz. Mathilde Cassis liqueur topped with sparkling wine

Sparkling Pear: 1 oz. Mathilde Pear liqueur topped with sparkling wine

Elderflower Cocktail: 1 oz. St. Germain topped with sparkling wine

This drink is elegant, period. Which is a little surprising, considering it’s named after a cannon. Legend says that it packs a punch that’s comparable to being hit with the intensity of a French 75 mm field gun.  The French 75 offers another chance to incorporate the sparkly stuff but this time its livened up with dry gin and lemon juice, plus simple syrup for a little sweetness. If cocktails wore clothing, this one would be rocking something tight, vintage and glittering gold.

1 oz London Dry Gin
0.5 oz simple syrup
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
3 oz sparkling wine

Fill shaker glass with ice and quickly add gin, simple syrup and lemon juice. Shake to chill (10 seconds.) Strain into a coupe glass or champagne glass. Pour 3 oz of sparkling wine on top. Garnish with a lemon peel.

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If you’re looking for a little more than a recipe to follow, we’ve got your covered. The Allium bartenders will be in residence at Guido’s Fresh Marketplace in Great Barrington again on Saturday, December 29, from 12 – 2 pm, offering demonstrations and tastings of all the above cocktails (as well as the Negroni and the Hemingway Daiquiri!)

Luckily, Guido’s has everything you’ll need to create a fabulous cocktail menu featuring something sour, something sparkling or something classic for your New Year’s Eve shindig. And just in time! Please feel free to chat up the Allium bartenders about their favorite recipes and taste, taste, taste.


If you decide to mix up any of the cocktails featured here, please share your pictures and stories with us by e-mailing or post to Allium’s or Mezze’s Facebook pages directly. We’d love to see what you’ve whipped up for the holidays.

Have a very happy and safe New Year’s Eve and a wonderful New Year!

VINTAGE: A Cocktail Party Inspired by Classic Cocktails + Vintage Style

This holiday season I’ll be harkening back to the past for inspiration. I’ve always loved clothing and furniture from distant ages, spending years sorting through piles at antique malls, charming vintage boutiques and garage sales. Objects designed and constructed in the past usually have far more staying power than modern-day products. I love the concept of giving new life to something that was created long ago, and the simplicity of passing well-made items down throughout generations. With so many beautiful old things in the world, it’s hard to rationalize always purchasing the brand new. 210 The appeal of vintage style absolutely translates to the bar. Classic cocktails offer a connection to history and highlight well-made ingredients. Also, who wouldn’t want to fantasize about the glamour of days gone by? The music was lively, the drinks were strong and the ladies looked great!  This year, I’ll be serving the Hemingway Daiquiri to anyone who will let me get near them with a cocktail shaker. Here’s how you can follow suit:

The Hemingway Daiquiri

2 oz. White Rum

3/4 oz. Lime Juice

1/2 oz. Grapefruit Juice

1/2 oz. Maraschino Liqueur

1/2 oz. Simple Syrup

Shake and strain over ice into a rocks glass.


The Hemingway Daiquiri. Photo by Angela Cardinali.

If you’re a vintage fan like myself, visit allium restaurant + bar (42 Railroad St., Great Barrington) this Wednesday for a special cocktail party. We’ve teamed up with two amazing local shops, griffinGB (177 Main St., Great Barrington) and VINTAGE (1695 North Main St. Route 7, Sheffield), who have decked out the allium lounge area with beautiful vintage furniture and goods.


Decked out lounge at Allium Restaurant + Bar, thanks to GriffinGB and VINTAGE

Come for the classic cocktails and stay for a vintage fashion show (featuring clothing from both stores and fabulous models from our local community) and retro tunes from DJs Adam Post and Scott Clark. Here are all the details: VINTAGE: A Cocktail Party Inspired by Vintage Style + Vintage Cocktails Wednesday, December 19th at 7:30pm at allium restaurant + bar (42 Railroad St., Great Barrington) with special thanks to…




Griffin New Logo


that coat!- at griffinGB


December Cocktail Demo Days at Guido’s in Great Barrington

The act of multi-tasking is an undeniable saving grace during the wild winter holiday season. Luckily, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace has everything on your December grocery list covered. Where else can you pick up organic produce, free-range chicken, beautiful flowers for the holiday dinner table and an arsenal of homeopathic remedies to cure your post New Year’s eve “cold”?  In addition to gorgeous fruits, veggies and natural foods, Guido’s also carries a wonderful selection of beer and wine suitable for any celebration (find beer + wine in the Pittsfield location, and travel down to Great Barrington if you’re looking for spirits as well).

Photo by Angela Cardinalli

If you’ve been hoping to elevate your holiday beverage offerings this year, you’re in luck. Allium Restaurant + Bar is teaming up with Guido’s Fresh Marketplace in Great Barrington to offer demonstrations on classic cocktails that are perfect for holiday entertaining. Allium bartenders Walter, Billy and Adam will be stationed throughout the GB store mixing up aperitif-based cocktails, classic cocktails and sours, collins + fizzes for your sipping pleasure. They’ll be sharing all of the necessary techniques, advice about ingredients and tips for stocking your holiday bar.

This year, embrace the virtue of multi-tasking (shopping, drinking and learning… wow, we really outdid ourselves this time!) Join Allium Restaurant + Bar’s special guest bartenders at Guido’s Fresh Marketplace in Great Barrington for December Cocktail Demo Days on Saturday, December 15th and Saturday December, 29th, from 12pm-2pm. For more information, visit the December Cocktail Demo Days event on Facebook.



Behind The Bar: Shake, Stir, Classics, Sours

As more people become curious about the food on their plates (where it comes from, how it’s prepared and why), curiosity naturally spreads to the contents of their glass. Enter the craft cocktail. Beautifully constructed and drinkable, a classic cocktail honors the integrity of its ingredients while providing a connection to history and a sense of ritual.

Take the Negroni, for instance. Bitter and aromatic, the cocktail made its debut in 1919 when Count Negroni (an Italian nobleman) requested gin in his Americano instead of the standard club soda. Mary, bartender here at Mezze Bistro + Bar, counts the Negroni as one of her favorites to make (and drink). “The campari brings out the bitterness of the citrus, but the sweeter aroma stays… it actually smells like a big glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice,” she explains. Refreshing and perfectly balanced.

1 oz. gin
1 oz. campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth

Stir, pour over a chunk of ice + garnish with orange peel. It’s that simple!

With simple techniques and a small collection of essential ingredients, dynamic cocktails like the Negroni are within reach for even the most amateur mixologists.

We’re offering a chance to become a master of the classic cocktail, just in time for holiday party season! Join us for Behind the Bar: Shake, Stir, Classics, Sours – a small, hands-on cocktail class at allium restaurant + bar in Great Barrington — on Wednesday, December 12th at 7:30 pm.

We’ll advise on how to stock your bar with booze, mixers and garnishes for entertaining at home. We’ll suggest the essential tools to make great cocktails and will demonstrate mixing with different methodologies — stir/shake classics, sours, fizz, rocks or up. The class will whet the palate with aperitifs and aperitif-based drinks and will be followed by recipes and hands-on mixing of six delicious cocktails.

The cost is $40 per person, with limited space available. Reservations are required by phone or email. We hope to see you there!

42 Railroad Street, Great Barrington


One of our many gifts to you this holiday season is an introduction to the wonderful David Gold. David joined the Mezze Bistro + Bar team this fall after working up in Pownal, Vermont with our friends at Mighty Food Farm. He’s basically the real person manifestation of “farm-to-table”.  Enjoy learning about David and don’t be afraid to say hey if you run into him pouring your glass of water or perfecting a table setting.

NAME: David Gold


OCCUPATION: Busser, farmhand


TITLE OF YOUR FUTURE BIOGRAPHY: Have you ever transcended space and time? (Definitely a reference to I <3 Huckabees)



IDEAL WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Summer backpacking adventure

HIDDEN TALENT: Near-photographic memory for associating philosophical passages with their spatial orientation in physical text.

WHAT’S ONE THING YOU ALWAYS HAVE IN YOUR FRIDGE?: After this past summer, carrots

DREAM TRAVEL DESTINATION: Currently New Zealand, but I wouldn’t say no to Iceland or Norway

MOST PRIZED POSSESSION: Currently chapstick

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?: Food systems theorist

NAME ANY 5 PEOPLE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO ARE INVITED TO YOUR FANTASY DINNER PARTY: Foucault, Marx, Barack Obama, Jesus, Hegel. Well, I would find it entertaining, anyway.


WHY THE BERKSHIRES?:  All the outdoor activities I could want and the best, freshest food available anywhere. Yes plz.


Hey friends!  This post is the first in a series that will help you get to know some of the folks behind the scenes here at Mezze Bistro + Bar.  I’ll be profiling all of the employees that are willing to endure this hard-hitting survey, full of extremely important intellectual questions. First up is Mary!

NAME: Mary Susannah Vaughan

HOMETOWN: Lenox, Massachusetts

OCCUPATION: Hospitality Engineer (editor’s note: You can find Mary serving, bartending, and generally rocking the front of house here at Mezze)


TITLE OF YOUR FUTURE BIOGRAPHY: Mary Susannah Vaughan Cortez


WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING TONIGHT?: The Newark- I need something to warm the cockles of my heart.

IDEAL WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Eating brunch and drinking coffee.

HIDDEN TALENT: Unicycle riding


DREAM TRAVEL DESTINATION: Vietnam- I’m really interested in the French influence there.

MOST PRIZED POSSESSION: Sarcasm and my Kitchen Aid mixer. Intangible and tangible.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?: I want to own my own farm-to-table bakery.

NAME ANY 5 PEOPLE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO ARE INVITED TO YOUR FANTASY DINNER PARTY: My great great grandmother Winifred Stone (she wrote hilarious letters to my grandfather while she was studying at Oxford and he was living in Maine). Jon Stewart. Kai Ryssdal. Mary Frances Kennedy Fischer. My grandmother Celia Vaughan.

FAVORITE MEZZE DISH (PAST OR PRESENT): Panko crusted pig trotters.

WHY THE BERKSHIRES?: I’ve always felt magnetically  drawn to the place of my birth…. Berkshire Medical Center.


It’s Party Time!

Put away the rolling pins and aprons this year and let us take care of all the hard work.  Mezze Catering is the perfect choice for holiday parties, events and gatherings of all sizes (think delivery!). Give the catering department a call at 413.458.8745 for a price quote and availability.

Cultural Cocktails for 2012

Mezze Restaurant Group is offering a Cultural Cocktails Menu this season to honor the arts community in the Berkshires.

We’re thrilled to be working with Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Clark, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, MASS MoCA, Shakespeare & CompanyTanglewood and new to the menu this year… ArtBerkshires.

The Cultural Cocktails Menu will be available through the end of August. All drinks will be offered at Allium Restaurant + Bar in Great Barrington and Mezze Bistro + Bar in Williamstown.

Stop in and raise a glass to the rich cultural experience of our region!

Austrian Dinner at Allium with Chef Gerhard Schmid

An Austrian Evening at Allium:

With Honorable Guest Chef Gerhard Schmid,
Chef Dan Hardy + the Allium Kitchen Team

Wednesday, April 25 at 6:30 pm

Please join us the evening of Wednesday, April 25 as we welcome Guest Chef Gerhard Schmid to lead the Allium kitchen team and create an authentic and delicious four-course meal featuring traditional dishes of Austria. We will be sourcing a veal calf from a local farm and will create all menu items from scratch.

Four-Course Menu:

Schwammerl Ragout mit Servietten Knoedel
Mixed Mushroom Ragout on a Dumpling in Napkin

Rindsuppe mit Griessnockerl
Beef Consomme + Farina Gnocchi

Wiener Schnitzel, Erdaepfel Salat, Happerl und Vogerlsalat
Viennese Veal Cutlet, Potato Salad + Boston Mache Salad

Wiener Apfelstrudel und Linzertorte mit Schlag Obers
Viennese Apple Strudel + Linzertorte Chantilly


Four-course dinner begins at 6:30 pm

$35 per person (not including beverages, tax + gratuity)
Austrian wine pairings will be available for an additional cost per person.

Reservations requested as seating is limited.
Please call Allium at 413.528.2118 to reserve seats.

Chef Gerhard Schmid

Most renowned for his award-winning culinary career, Chef Schmid has been a distinguished visiting chef at the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University where he taught classical French cuisine for eleven years. As a participant in the Culinary Olympics, he personally received three gold medals, one silver medal and, with the national team of four, won the Grand Gold Prize (first place) for the USA in 1968 against 21 nations.

Chef Schmid’s work has been awarded four stars by the Mobil Travel Guide and featured in many publications including Yankee Magazine, The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, The Springfield Republican, Dallas Morning Star and numerous international travel books. He has cooked for distinguished guests including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, the Shah of Iran and various American celebrities such as John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Norman Rockwell, Arthur Fiedler, Barry Manilow plus many famous Tanglewood musicians during his illustrious career.

Chef Schmid opened hotels for Sonesta in Hartford, the Sheraton Boston Hotel, was the “experimental chef” for the first Hyatt Hotel, the Watertower Hyatt Hotel in Chicago and experimental chef for Americana Hotels and Sous Chef at the Ritz Carlton in Boston. He and his wife, Lilliane, owned the Gateways Inn in Lenox in the late 70s and 80s, and the Devonfield Inn, formerly known as Haus Andreas in Lee, from 1980-1994. They currently live in New Marlborough, Mass.