New-look City Cellar classy, friendly

The bar: City Cellar

The vibe: It’s a cliché, but it’s gotta be said - If you haven’t been the City Cellar lately, you haven’t really been to City Cellar. The classic CityPlace eatery and wine purveyor has gotten a gorgeous makeover, replacing its dark staid wood for a lovely bright white tile and a fetching open kitchen. It was always a nifty, atmospheric place for a glass and a bite, but now it’s friendlier and more accessible. Let that be a lesson - you can be classy and friendly at the same time.

The drink: The Blue Basil is plenty delicious, but when you read below at all that goes into it, you understand that it’s well-earned. (Seriously … the word “cheesecloth” is involved. We love when people do craft projects for our drinking enjoyment.) The secret is the blueberry syrup, homemade and not from a vat of blueberry-esque chemicals. Also, we like gin.

Other noteworthy libations: Besides more than 50 wines by the glass and a list of special drinks that changes daily, we fell in love with the Ginger in Pearadise, a fruity, spicy delight that features crystallized ginger as a garnish. Ginger is good for tummyaches, so consider this medicinal. Kindy. Sorta. Whatever. We don’t need an excuse.

Bites: Start with the cheese and charcuterie plate, available in two sizes (three or five pieces). You’ll find a dreamy, creamy selection of fromage paired with expertly cut meats, paté and more. We also loved the creamy fennel sausage and prosciutto di Parma-accented orechiette pasta and the Sicilian pizza.

Deals: City Cellar has reinstated its excellent Happy Hour deals, which feature half-off selected appetizers and pizza, and discounts on wines by the glass. And that’s seven days a week, 4 to 7 p.m.

Info: City Cellar, 700 S. Rosemary Ave., City Place. 561-366-0071


Recipe: Blue Basil

2 oz St. George Botanivore Gin

1 oz blueberry syrup (syrup recipe below)

.75 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

3-4 basil leaves

Splash of club soda

3-4 Fresh Blueberries

Lemon twist

In a mixing glass, muddle basil leaves, blueberry syrup and lemon juice. Add gin and shake with ice and strain into an old fashioned (double rocks) glass with ice, and top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a lemon twist in the glass, and few blueberries on a pick.

To make blueberry syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

1/2 pint of blueberries.

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot over medium high heat. Stirring occasionally to prevent sugar from burning on the bottom of the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, and then quickly reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp, and strain mixture through a fine sieve, or cheesecloth before storing in the refrigerator. To extend shelf life add 1 oz of vodka to syrup (optional)

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