Provisions: Mussels, Beer and Bourbon

A local chef and mixologist share simple, straightforward summer recipes. Part 1 of 4.

The first in a series of four summer recipes, featuring fresh, seasonal food and drink.

Since food is best when shared, we decided to sit down with a couple friends from the other side of the counter, and put together some recipes for the summer season. Our standards: we wanted food that was seasonal, tasted incredible, and was simple to cook.

Timmy Malloy, chef at Local’s Corner, does it every day, and he welcomed us in his kitchen with open arms. Complimenting the offering, Vince Toscano, manager and mixologist at Rye, offered to concoct some liquid enhancements to our time together. 

Timmy’s approach is refreshingly genuine: buy food from people you know, stick to what’s fresh, and cook to accentuate the food’s natural flavors.

The recipes are designed to use ingredients that are easily accessible (check your local farmers market, or we'd recommend sourcing from Whole Foods, if possible), and mussels by the pound are affordable. They’re written to be followed easily, and nothing requires expert culinary acumen. We just wanted to share something we enjoy, from our table to yours.

Chef Timmy's rule of thumb is, cook with what you drink; drink with what you cook. So when Almanac Beer Co. dropped off a few cases of their honey saison, chef Timmy acted accordingly, taking the light, sweet beer to open up the flavors of some local mussels.

For a cocktail, Vince mixed a classic summer libation, the Basil Smash. He used the warmth and richness of a good bourbon, then cooled the flavors with the lightness of lemon and basil. The result was the taste of the season—nothing too heavy, but still full of flavor. Served before the meal, it prepped the palate for the mussels. Finished afterward, it offered a sweet conclusion to the dining experience. 

Mussels with Local Beer, Peppers, Fennel and Toast

  • 1 pound Mussels*

  • 1 bottle Beer (we used Almanac Honey Saison; sub: a honey ale)

  • 1 Spanish Onion, large dice (sub: yellow onion)

  • 1 head Fennel, large dice

  • 3 Sweet Italian Peppers, cut in rings (sub: any sweet pepper)

  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Oregano, chopped

  • 3 cloves Garlic, rough chopped

  • 1/4 cup Butter, unsalted

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Red Chili Powder

*Timmy Tip: When picking mussels, make sure they’re closed. If they’re open, they’re already dead, and they’re drying out. You can ask the seafood counter to give you a small bag of ice to help transport them home, which will keep them cool and ensure their freshness.


Make sure mussels are clean (beard removed and dirt and barnacles removed from shell). Cover the bottom of a stockpot with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) on med high heat. Wait until oil just begins to smoke, then add onions, fennel, peppers, oregano and garlic. 

When vegetables have started to brown slightly, season with a small amount of salt. Add Mussels and stir to mix all ingredient together. Add half the bottle of beer and immediately cover.

After 1-1:30 minutes check to see if mussels have opened. When 90% of the are open add butter, stir to mix, and cover again until all mussels are opened. When all are opened, sprinkle with a pinch of chili powder, spoon out mussels into a bowl, then pour broth over top.

Sprinkle a little more chili powder over top and then serve with crusty toasted bread (we used a seeded sourdough). 

Bourbon Basil Smash

  • 2 ounces Breaking & Entering Bourbon (sub: your favorite bourbon)

  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon

  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup* 

  • 4 basil leafs (save one for garnish) 

*For simple syrup, add equal parts sugar and hot water, then cool. 


Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, then strain over crushed ice. Add Basil leaf for garnish.

For more, visit Local's Corner and Rye.

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