It was our long awaited girl’s night! We had plans to relax and savor some drinks and appetizers. Originally it was going to be at a ramen house, but because of “Unofficial” St. Patrick’s weekend our significant others talked us into saving it for another night. We began discussing new ideas when it hit me. My friend had never experienced the beauty and simplicity of my favorite spot downtown. I have to tell you what, the cocktails in Downtown Champaign are not cheap, but some of them are entirely worth it. One of those drinks luckily enough was created at my favorite spot, Big Grove Tavern. The name of the drink is The Fig-Horn. It’s made with figs, ginger beer, fresh lime, House-Infused North Shore gin, and ruby port. I am not one who normally drinks ruby port or gin (It reminds me of what the men in Downton Abby would drink.) but I’m so glad I gave this one a chance. The things I love most about it are the spice from the ginger beer and the subtle sweetness of the fig. The fig also turns the drink a lovely purple hue that’s very pleasing to the eye. After some discussion we headed over to “Big Grove”, as I affectionately call it.
When we got to the restaurant we found a prime spot at the bar, settled in and quickly ordered our drinks. I talked my friend into getting a Fig-Horn with me! She wasn’t totally sold on it but I told her it was worth it. While we waited for our drinks the bartender offered us some white truffle and sea salt popcorn. It was was salty with a hint of delightful sweetness. It was a wonderful snack before our drinks.
Our drinks were made quickly and just as I had predicted she loved The Fig-Horn! We both agreed we enjoyed the fact that the fig was sweet, but not too sweet. Next we ordered mixed green salad with goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette and a side of green beans. The mixed greens were fresh and crunchy and the goat cheese added a nice tang which mixed beautifully with that balsamic. The green beans were amazing! They were cooked perfectly and had a nice kick from the freshly ground black pepper. The almonds added some texture and a nice crunch. I’m definitely getting these green beans again…and again…and again!
After we finished our appetizers and drinks we thought about another cocktail. Sure enough my friend chose to have another Fig-Horn, while I chose the Citrus Chiller. The chiller is concocted by mixing Grey Goose vodka, Sauvignon Blanc, simple honey, fresh lime, and sage. I was especially intrigued by the sage. It ended up being a little strong for my taste and I didn’t really detect a lot of sage flavor, and sage a is strong herb. It was a pretty drink but next time I’ll stick with The Fig-Horn.
It was another entertaining girl’s night! Big Grove Tavern was the casual sophistication we were looking for. The bar is modern and sleek and capable of seating a big crowd. It’s a great place to people watch and soak in the urban atmosphere of downtown. We were sleepy and ready to head back home by 8:00 but we had a fabulous time and can’t wait to try the next new drink concocted by the bartender’s at “Big Grove”. Maybe next time we’ll make it till’ 10!
Big Grove Tavern
1 E Main St.
Champaign, IL, 61820