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May 15

La Fée Verte … Absinthe Comes to Kentucky

Absinthe, the spirit that was banned a century ago, is back, legal, and making its local debut on Thursday night at the Party Source. Often with a green hue, it’s often known as The Green Fairy.

Absinthe originated as a “remedy” in the late 1700’s in Switzerland. It contains wormwood, green anise, and fennel. It was brought to popularity by Henry-Louis Pernod, who opened the first absinthe distillery in 1797. In 1805, they were producing enough absinthe to open a second distillery in France called Maison Pernod Fils.

In the 1840s, absinthe was given to French troops as a malaria treatment. When the troops returned home, they brought with them a taste for the green spirit. By the 1860s, most French restaurants and clubs had the 5 pm l’heure verte, the green hour. I like to think this is how Happy Hour originated.

All social classes enjoyed absinthe, but the drink became associated with bohemian artists and poets, such as Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Baudelaire, and more. Remember the scene in the beginning of Moulin Rouge with the floating green fairy? It makes more sense now, yes?

Absinthe was banned shortly before the movement towards prohibition. There were rumors (inaccurate) that it made you crazy, depressed, suicidal, even murderous. Of course, it didn’t – at least not any more than other spirits. Bans on absinthe began in 1905 in Sweden and continued internationally until France finally banned it in 1915.

Absinthe preparation is almost a ritual. Called la louche, it involves draining a thin cold line of water over a cube of sugar into the glass of absinthe. The sugar is generally sitting on an absinthe spoon, which is a beautifully decorated slotted spoon.
Absinthe fountains (for the perfect stream of cold water), absinthe spoons, reservoir glasses, and more will all be  available at The Party Source, starting now! Tonite, you can come to an absinthe “party”, starting at 5 pm, where you can learn about la louche and try two different types of absinthe.

Absinthe can also be used in cocktails. One of the most famous is Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon, which is a mixture of iced champagne (replacing the water and sugar in la louche) and absinthe. A dash of absinthe can be used effectively in a Manhattan and in the distinctly New Orleans style Sazerac.

The Absinthe Party at The Party Source starts at 5 pm tonight and is free.

The Party Source Absinthe site

The artwork used in this article is in the public domain.

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Posted by Michelle at 7:01 am in Spirits | Permalink | Comments ()
May 13

Restaurants Affected by Gas Prices Too

Let’s face it. As gas rapidly heads towards $4/gallon, we’re spending less money on eating out and more on feeding our cars.

We’ve all seen the results of the fuel price hikes in our own lives, and if you’ve paid attention, in the grocery store. There is no better time than now to become a locavore, with the price of fuel being added in to the price of your cereal, your milk, your eggs, your veggies, and anything else you’re not picking up locally.


Photo by Carly & Art

 It’s affecting local restaurants in the same way. According to this article on WLWT.com, it’s changing everything from lunch prices and availability to whether or not new restaurants will succeed.

Some restaurants, such as Sully’s, have cut alcohol and labor costs during the lunch rush to draw more customers.“It’s not as much of a rush anymore,” said shift manager Demirus Williams. “Normally, right now, it’s Friday, we would be packed by now.”

Boi Na Braza has already cancelled their lunch options. (That was an awful lot of food for lunch anyway.) McCormick & Schmick’s is counting on the summer convention season, as I’m sure are many of the downtown locations, especially since the Broadway Series wraps up it’s season soon. Without the theatre crowd, there isn’t a lot of draw to fire up your fuel-eating SUV and head downtown from the north suburbs.

Oceanaire, a high-end seafood chain opening across from Nada and the Aronoff, is opening soon to this uncertain environment.

Restaurants are also suffering from fuel surcharges levied by vendors. When a restaurant, such as McCormick & Schmick’s or Oceanaire, has to ship in fresh a large portion of their food, they are going to be affected by the growing transportation costs.

Me? I’m going to try to stick to eating local – whether shopping at Findlay Market or eating at Chalk or NuVo (locavore-centric restaurants).

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Posted by Michelle at 6:01 am in Cincinnati, Restaurants | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 09

Cincinnati Featured Wine Events 5/9 – 5/15

Hopefully the weather will clear up and we’ll have a beautiful weekend. Kevin & I will be wrapped up in wine all weekend, judging the competition for the Northern KY Wine Festival. The Festival itself isn’t until June 7, but the judging happens ahead of time.

As I will each week, I’ve spotlighted a few events that tickle my
fancy. Enjoy a Lobsta Bake downtown at City Cellars on Saturday in their new expanded tasting room. On Tuesday, learn about pairing wine and chocolate from Bill Sands & Jaren Whalen, Chef from Chalk, at the Midwest Culinary Institute. On Wednesday, attend a wine dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s featuring Rodney Strong Vineyards. The Party Source, as usual, has a fun and eclectic lineup throughout the weekend, ending with A Taste of Germano’s on Monday evening.

It’s worth mentioning that for the next month, Germano’s has their own recurring wine tasting event with light antipasti each Friday night, 6 pm, for $25. The Whole Foods in Rookwood has now officially joined the Friday night tasting fray as well.

For the full list of Cincinnati tastings, refer to our Google Calendar on this page.  For
information on what’s going on in Dayton, you can
refer to Mark’s blog at Uncorked.

Tell the retailers we sent you, and happy tasting!

The Friday Cincinnati image is from Brent Moore, via a CC license on Flickr.

Map IconFriday Interactive Wine Tasting Map

Map IconSaturday Interactive Wine Tasting Map


Featured Events

Friday, May 9
Columbia Center
Wine Tasting Fundraiser for Madisonville Education & Assistance Center
3500 Columbia Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45226

$30, 7 pm
Reservations required.

Saturday, May 10
City Cellars
Lobsta Bake
908 Race Street
Cincinnati, OH
5:30 – 8:30 pm, $75
Reservations required.

Tuesday, May 13
Chocolate: Savory to Sweet Wine & Chocolate Pairing
Midwest Culinary Institute 
3250 Central Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45223

Learn the art of pairing wine and chocolate with Jared Whalen and Bill Sands
6:00 – 9 pm, $65
Reservations required.

Wednesday, May 14
McCormick & Schmick’s
Rodney Strong Vineyards Wine Dinner  
21 E. Fifth St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202

6:30 pm, $68.95
Reservations required.

Thursday, May 15
3rd Thursday Wine Walk
O’Bryonville Business District
Madison Road
Special retail hours, complimentary wines and refreshments at participating merchants.
5-8 pm

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Posted by Michelle at 7:55 am in Weekly Cincinnati Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 07

WBW #45: Old World Riesling

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday is hosted by Tim at Winecast and focuses on Old World Rieslings. What is Old World? Well, Tim wanted us to pick a Riesling from Germany, France’s Alsace region, and Austria. We were happy to discover a German Riesling chilling in our storage fridge.

2005 Leitz Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Spätlese 

Leitz is located in the Rheigau region of Germany. I had the chance to meet Johannes Leitz last year, and I was impressed. This is a young winemaker, with the profession running through his veins. He’s incredibly personable and loves to share his wines. Here’s what Jancis Robinson has to say about Johannes:

Young Johannes Leitz is now one of the absolute superstars, not just of the Rheingau but of German wine in toto. By taking an analytical look at the small Rüdesheim estate he inherited when very young he has steadily improved wines into some of the most thrilling by reducing yields, using ambient yeasts, imposing stringent hygiene so that the wines can be fermented at a snail’s pace on its lees.

This Riesling is a Spätlese, which refers to grapes that are selectively picked at least 7 days after the main harvest. Because such fruit is riper than the grapes from the main harvest, it contains more sugar and produces wines that are rich and sweet. The natural sugar must attain around 19-23% sugar by weight.

This wine was named for a donated Magdalene cross in a village that had been racked by the plague in the 17th century. The grapes are grown in loamy, garden-type soil. This wine has a lot of minerality and balanced acidity, thoroughly refreshing. We had the Magdelenenkreuz with some good ol’ American fried chicken, and it complemented the meal wonderfully.

I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. It’s a great patio wine – crying out for a perfect early summer evening.

Our review:

Thanks to Tim for hosting for the third time around!

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Posted by Michelle at 12:00 pm in WBW | Permalink | Comments (4)
May 07

Three Innings and Lunch

I’m not really a baseball fan, but I love to go to games. I like the people watching and the sun. Plus, if you sit by me, a foul ball is guaranteed to come your way. It just happens like that, and since I care not, I tend to get squished in the skirmish to grab the ball.

The Reds are launching Three Innings and a Lunch today, with the game against the Cubs.

Under the promotion, sponsored by the Business Courier, the Reds
will sell tickets for $15 that include a $10 voucher for food at Great
American Ballpark. Fans essentially get lunch plus a $5 ticket.

The deal covers any $14 ticket in the View level, which makes up
nearly the entire upper deck. Despite the name, fans aren’t just
limited to three innings, although the promotion is aimed at downtown
workers who may just want to stop by for a few innings, said Michael
Anderson, Reds public relations manager.

The promotion is only valid for four other afternoon games and is not valid on July 4. Buy tickets here.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:01 am in Cincinnati, Entertainment, News | Permalink | Comments ()

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