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Sep 19

From my amateur bar tending recipe book

By Angela L.

Hello all,

In my spare time I like to come up with my own recipes for drinks. This is a recipe that I came up with while waiting for my Italian dinner to finish baking. I thought about some of the key ingredients that are in a lot of Italian drinks or foods for example vanilla, lemon, and white wine. What I came up with was something called Italian Sparkle.  Its light, has a hint of vanilla, and it adds to any dish.

The Italian Sparkle

¾ bottle of dry white wine
1 ½ oz of Ginger Ale
10 oz of club soda
1 ½ oz of Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup
¾ oz of lemon juice
2 oz of Apricot Brandy

Mix in chilled pitcher
Chill champagne flutes or wine glasses
Garnish the flutes or glasses with lemon slice

Serves – 8 champagne flutes


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Posted by Angela at 11:31 am in Cocktails, Dinner and Drinks, Recipes | Permalink | Comments ()
Jun 30

Guest Post: Giacomo Fascio’s Rosso Cervo Cocktail

While Kevin & I are in Alaska, we've asked some friends and
colleagues to post on their wine loves, wine experiences and more. For
this post we welcome Jay Erisman, our favorite instructor from The Party Source EQ Center and quite the wine and spirits expert. He tries to put a positive spin on our dislike of the new Jim Beam Red Stag.
Thanks Jay!

Bourbon drinkers have offered mixed reviews of the latest from Jim Beam: Red Stag Black Cherry Infused Bourbon. I tend to lean to the thumb-down end of that spectrum. (Although Red Stag is rather subtler than I expected, and not quite the Robitussin swill some have described. And it is clearly aimed at the Beam-and-Coke crowd, who may like it just fine.) But the appearance of the drink led me to wonder: how good could cherry and Bourbon be?

For help, I asked my first-call cherry masters, the Luxardo family of Torreglia, Italy. The Luxardos are responsible for the great maraschino cherry liqueur–a requisite ingredient in any bar–as well as a host of other cherry products, including whole amarena cherries and a syrup made of real maraschino cherry juice (that's "mara-skeeno," and marks the true and original cherry of that name, not the little artificial radioactive-red fruits endemic to American liquor cabinets). A cocktail of good, strong Beam Bourbon, layered with amarena syrup and the extra bitter Punt y Mes vermouth leads to a cherryish but quite complex cocktail, with a nice thickness that could even work as an after-dinner sip. Serving it on the rocks with a splash of soda cuts the richness if you like.

Giacomo Fascio's Rosso Cervo Cocktail

45 ml (1.5 oz) Jim Beam Baker's Bourbon
15 ml (.5 oz) Luxardo Amarena syrup
15 ml (.5 oz) Punt y Mes

Combine in a shaker with ice and stir for 20 seconds. Serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with three Luxardo Amarena cherries, and pour a floater of Sazerac Rye on top.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:30 am in Cocktails, Guest Writers, Recipes | Permalink | Comments ()
Jun 25

How to Host a Beer Tasting

A few days back, Michelle and I hosted a beer tasting for a few friends and I learned a few tips. The full review of the beers tasted along with recipes will follow later, but here's a quick list of what I learned.

  1. When hosting a tasting try and pick foods that pair with multiple selections.
    The beer we served had different flavor profiles and I found a few items that matched with multiple beers. A few examples were a selection of stinky cheeses from Cork and Bottle, a nice salty prochuttio, mini quiches and a lean meat like buffalo or lamb. The stinky cheeses were able to hold up to a few of the hoppier beers and the lean meat (buffalo) worked with a few of the more herbal beers. However, having multiple different flavors of food allowed people to try different flavors along side the beer to how food changed what they were drinking.
  2. Try to prepare food that can sit in a crock pot or warming plate.
    This is something I have learned for all parties. The worst feeling is having to stay in the kitchen waiting for food to finish cooking and missing the socialization that was the reason for the gathering in the first place. Most of the food I listed above was able to sit out the entire time everyone was here. I planned for the last dish to finish about 5 minutes after the party was supposed to start which seems to work well for when most of our friends arrive.

  3. All sizes of beer can be shared.
    Most of the bottles I had were 750 ml bottles shared across 5 beer drinkers and 1 person who was just sampling. The origonal plan was for a total of 8 people and each of those bottles had enough with lighter pours that we could have easily served 10 or so. Later in the evening, I broke out a few 12 oz bottles that I had and those were also easily shared with the entire group. I was surprised as I thought that the smaller bottles would not have enough to share, but everyone poured enough to taste and there was still plenty to share.
  4. Remember to relax and enjoy the evening.
    As a know beer lover and someone who tries to make sure that there is something for everyone, this is one of the tougher things to remember. If a pairing does not work like it should, treat that as an excuse to discuss why you picked the flavors and figure out what may have worked better. This time, I made the mini quiches with a Kahill's Irish cheese with Guinness. My thought was the stout in the cheese would complement a few of the darker beers that we tried. It was a less than perfect pairing as the dark beers were porter styled and the quiche worked better with a few of the lighter IPA styles instead. I did not expect that, but the egg mixture offset the cheese more than I expected. It was not what I intended, but I learned something from the experience and had a great time discussing why something worked and figuring out why it did not.

Overall, the evening was a great success and I am working on getting notes and recipes put together for a future post. Any other suggestions on how to host a beer pairing party? Tips or tricks that I don't know about?

 – Kevin

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Posted by Kevin at 7:38 am in Beer, Beer-Guy.net, Recipes | Permalink | Comments (3)
Jun 16

Make Your Own Sangria

Recently, a girlfriend asked me for a Sangria recipe. I gave her three. I think Sangria is a wonderfully yummy summer beverage. It doesn't require (should never use) expensive wine and it's fun to make. Not only that, but the soaked fruit is sort of a fun bonus that you can't get when you buy pre-made Sangria in a bottle.

Image Credit

Alternatively, I also recommend a Sangriatini – one of my favorite drinks that can easily be made by the glass instead of by the punch bowl.

But back to that punch bowl … here are three versions I like to make for summer parties: red, followed by pink and white after the jump. The red version – Sangria Rouge – is my favorite.

Oh, and Sangria goes great with Paella!

Sangria Rouge
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup OJ
1/3 cup lemon juice from concentrate
1/3 cup lime juice from concentrate
2-750 ml bottles of medium-dry red wine, chilled (burgundy or 3 Thieves jug wines work well)
Fruit slices: Orange, peach, plum, other fruits

1. In pitcher or bowl, combine sugar and juices.
2. Stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Cover and chill.
4. Just before serving, add wine and fruit.
5. Serve over ice.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:00 am in Recipes | Permalink | Comments (2)
Dec 17

Love that Eggnog


We went to Arnold's last night for a showing of Every Christmas Story Ever Told!! by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. It's my favorite show they offer all year, showcasing my favorite performers in the company. It's also completely unrelated to Shakespeare and a wonderful homage to Rankin-Bass, Charles Schultz, a Christmas Carol, and It's a Wonderful Life. Think of it as a Reduced Shakespeare sort of play – but with all the Christmas specials you know and love (with a little Sarah Palin thrown in for good measure).

While at Arnold's, Kevin had some of their famous eggnog. I have no idea how they make it at Arnold's, but it's quite the popular drink. As Kevin put it, "that's how eggnog should taste."

He's referencing eggnog we had the night before. Because I'm trying to get healthy, we have been buying Silk (soy milk) instead of regular milk. This time, we took a chance on the Silk Eggnog. Kevin added bourbon to his; I added brandy. Neither one of us was overly thrilled. In fact, I couldn't even finish mine. So I recommend passing on the soy milk eggnog this year, in case you're curious.

I've always been partial to brandy in my nog, and Kevin swears by bourbon. A late-night History Channel special (Christmas Unwrapped) told me differently the other day. Eggnog is made with rum. Apparently, "nog" is derivative of "grog," which meant any drink made with rum. I'm going to start using "grog" in my everyday communications, I think.

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Posted by Michelle at 10:27 am in Recipes | Permalink | Comments (1)

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