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Everyone loves a classic. From a cozy cardigan to a juicy can-barely-get-your-hands-around-it cheeseburger to a gin & tonic. These things have become part of our landscape and will never go out of style. Because of their familiarity, they are simple and comforting, and we love them.

This notion is part of the premise behind RKF Kitchen, Chef Rachel Klein’s latest venture. Just entering the construction phase in Needham, the restaurant will focus on American comfort food. You know, those feel good dishes that captivate our taste buds and take us back to mom or nana’s kitchen and instantly make us feel all fuzzy and happy; instantly make us feel comforted.

Knowing this, we were more than game to participate in a tasting to try the selection of potential wine and cocktails for the restaurant’s beverage menu.

Let us first say, we really dig our gig. Held at Chef Klein’s business partner, Francesco Melandri’s home, the location alone sold us on the invite. Imagine a beautiful Friday afternoon on a roof deck overlooking Boston Harbor; but, then upon entering and seeing array after array of wine bottles, all open and begging to be tasted- well, hello!? Not a job we would refuse!

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The mission of the event? From the seemingly endless wine bottles, embrace seven reds and seven whites to print on the menu; and additionally, sample potential cocktails. In concordance with menu, the concoctions developed by RFK Kitchen with Consultant Jean Marie Manning (pictured below) are also based on the premise of playing off the classics. Nothing too ostentatious; maybe a twist here and there. But, generally, these drinks rely on the standards we have all come to respect, and then use those standards as the foundation on which to add a little more “spirited” fun.

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Cocktail Hour

First up is RFK’s Spring/Summer Gin & Tonic. G&Ts truly are classics, and this one is definitely going into our book as a favorite. Doesn’t it just look so refreshing? Trust us, it is. Made with Botanist Botanical Gin, rosemary, peppercorns, and tonic water, we loved how clean it was, yet with just enough kick to get our mouths excited for more. Not to mention how inviting it looks. Imagine enjoying this beauty on a hot summer evening. We’re all over it! 

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Next up is the Electric Avenue, which you can see in Kimberly’s hand, as she checks out the view.

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Before we delve into what makes this hot pink soiree in a glass, we just have to say we are obsessed with the name! Come on, try out a Pandora station based on that Eddy Grant number! We did and the first song that came up was Kung Foo Fighting. Can you say good times? So, let that be an indication of how much fun this drink is. As for what’s in it, Casimigos Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, Prickly Pear Puree, agave nectar, and orange and lime all make this one tasty drink. But honestly RFK, you had us at the name. 🙂

Our favorite drink had to be the Raspberry Mule. Why our favorite? Well, first of all, who doesn’t love a copper mule mug? Secondly, it sort of tasted like a gingerbread cookie, and you can’t beat that. But don’t let that gingerbread man fool you, as he often tries to do. This beverage packs a serious punch with it’s combination of Kettle 1 Vodka, Marie Brizard Sirop De Framboise, Ginger Beer, & lime. 

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The fourth cocktail we were lucky enough to sip was the Boulevardier, a close cousin of the Negroni. Mixed with a ¾ oz. Bulleit Rye Bourbon, ¾ oz. Punt E Mes, ¾ oz. of Campari, a Dash of Lemon Juice, and orange wedge, this cocktail was all business. And, it was one board meeting from which we did not shy. In fact, we looked at it squarely and showed it who was boss. 😉

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 Our take? The spin on these classic cocktails were a hit! We can’t wait to see which ones land themselves a staring role in the cast of bar beverages. We know there are a few other ringers who will make it into the spot light. You’ll just have to wait and see and then try them for yourself!

Wine Time

The second part of the event was to nail down which wines would get to show their stuff at the Needham location. There were so many options on that Friday. We narrowed it down to five of our favorites for this post.

Attemes Pinot Grigio 

This crisp wine is from Northern Slovenia and is of the clean, mineral-driven style. Vibrant and expressive. We hope to see this white wine on the menu.

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Donna Fugata Grilo

From Scicly, this lovely white wine is also is done in a crisp mineral style. The wines invited to this tasting party were chosen because they would best pair with Rachel’s cuisine. We loved both of these white wines!

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Charles Heidsieck Champagne

As a smart cheese shop keeper once told us, champagne is the navy blazer of cocktails. meaning it goes well with everything! This Heidsieck champagne is not an exception. Made in the flamboyant style (40% is made from reserved wines of chardonnay and pinot noir) creating a richness that makes this brut reserve a dependable navy blazer. We loved it!

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Andre Brunel Cotes Du Rhone

This red wine brings with it a historical tradition of hundreds of years of wine-making true to the form of its location. A granache with richness, depth, and spice, this wine could easily be enjoyed chilled on a beach. In fact, the summer isn’t that far away. So definitely take note of the label!

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Lucente Super Tuscan

The pretty little grapes for this Merlot and Sangiovese blend are grown in a clay-based soil, which makes sense for the grapes given the geographic location. The wine is bold and forward with a fruity and juicy style. You’ll find that the boldness of this easy flowing wine is off set by a gorgeous velvet finish. We give it two big thumbs up!

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We hope these pictures and descriptions have whet your appetite, and that you’re now “thirsty” to learn more about what RFK Kitchen has in store! We’re pretty excited to keep tabs on the restaurant as they start to build not only the physical location, but also the excitement over a restaurant that will have fun features like a kid-friendly brunch. Yes moms, you read that correctly- mimosas for you and french toast for your kiddos! So, keep your eyes on the blog and Instagram for more updates on the restaurant’s progress!

A big thanks to Rachel Klein, Francesco Melandri, Nicole Russo, and the RFK Team for allowing us to participate in this drink tasting. We’re definitley looking forward to what else is in store!

Until then hauties…

stay hydrated!

Love, Kim & Jess 🙂

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