Monday, November 29, 2010

Top Ten - Other Wines

So like I had mentioned before, this is an unusual list of everything out of the ordinary.  Bubbly, pink, and so many more; they'll all be here and in a sweet fashion.
One or two I can expect to probably never see again and some, even though my favorites, I might not pick up again just because of its availability or price.
So here we go!

#10 - Gekkeikan Sake
A very inexpensive and easy to find Sake, Gekkeikan is to Japan what I believe Bud Light is to the United States.  You really can find it everywhere and it won't bust your wallet open when you do.  Just to note, one of my favorite ways to drink is in a Sake Bomb!  It's simple and fun but you do need a few friends to help you drink it.  First, pour a glass of beer (preferably an Asian brew like Tsingtao) and place two chopsticks across the top of the glass.  Put a small shot glass of heated Sake on top of the chop sticks and have everyone bang on the table while building up for the bomb, "Three..... Two.... One.... SAKE!!!!"  Drink as quick as you can and the infusion of hot and cold, mild and strong will completely blow your mind in more ways than one.

#9 - Aveleda Casal Garcia Rose Vinho Verde
Vinho Verde, for those unfamiliar with it, is a slightly sweet and sparkling white wine from Portugal.  Most people know about one in particular called Famega.  Aveleda is known strictly for their Vinho Verde's and the Rose was one of their first I was able to try.  I was more than pleased by it too!  Very powerful pops of strawberry and peppermint really make this wine into a nice Aperitif as opposed to a table wine or dessert wine.  Pretty cool little beverage if you're still making that transition from Amateur Alcoholic to Enlightened Drunk.

#8 - Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry
Growing up I thought that Harvey's was a one of a kind wine and no one else made anything like it.   I was wrong.  But to this day, I still find Harvey's a crowd pleaser when it comes to Sherries.  Some will claim other sherries are too dry and others too sweet but ever though this little number is about a sugary as a diabetic coma,  it still maintains that proper balance of smooth and savory.  Not necessarily one of my favorites to drink, but more than so to serve.

#7 - Babcock Identity Crisis Shiraz
A weird one of the wine world.  I usually don't dive into Shiraz nor blush wines when I look for a dry summer drink but somehow this caught the best of both world's by making a truly unique wine.  People have panicked before exclaiming in confusion, "OMG!  A White Syrah?!"  Yes and no.  Unlike a usually "white" red wine, this is bone dry and lacking fruit, making it drink like a white wine, but sustaining some serious red body.  If you are at all familiar with the Champagne process of Blanc de Noir, it produces a similar flavor and color, but without the bubbles.  A seriously good find but extremely rare.

#6 - Taylor Sparkling Burgundy
Now before you freak out on me, I have nothing against inexpensive alcohols even though I occasionally pick on Pabst Blue Ribbon.  This is a holiday favorite of mine because it is one of the only true sparkling red wines that I know about.  I think Arbor Mist has one but then again that shit really isn't wine.  Back on topic!  Taylor Sparkling burgundy is such a smooth refined beverage that it really makes you reminisce of a deep blood colored Ruby Port.  Heavy flavors of black cherries and raspberries come alive but smoother hints of plum and grape come about too.  The sparkling effect in it is really just a plus.  Another good wine for beginning drinkers who aren't ready for the heavy stuff yet.

#5 - Homemade Strawberry Wine
Okay, this one is kinda cheating but then again why should I have to narrow down every single review to a label or vineyard or brand?  Some of the best wine I've tasted was made in some local backyards (and sheds).  I'm not one to brag on myself but two things I make right in this world are Gumbo and Strawberry Wine.  The taste is phenomenal and there is more than one flavor present in the wine.  Depending on what grade of yeast and how much sugar you decide to add if any, you can get a wide variety of flavors spanning from lemon zest to coriander to slate and even some heavy bites of hops!  If anyone wants a recipe along with some instruction on how to make this wonderful beverage, I'd be more than glad to do so!

#4 - Florio Dry Marsala
This is a pretty common item at my bar namely because of its versatility with food.  pretty much anything Italian can pair well with it except for...... Chicken or Veal Marsala!  The one thing that may seem obvious is a definite no-no.  Two much sweet with too much sweet; you should really use a Sangiovese or something along that line.  But Florio's Dry Marsala is a nice little blend of butterscotch, Toffee, and almond flavors that are really a pleasant surprise in a dessert wine.  Not too overbearing with alcohol or acidity, it makes great as an aperitif as well.

#3 - 2003 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port
This is one of those premium wines I'm always crying that I can't afford.  Even though it's about $23 per 375ml bottle, it's still a bit too much for a dessert wine.  I guess it would be equivalent to paying about $12 for a slice of cheesecake.  But what I truly love about it, is that you can taste every little note in the bottle, as if every grape shoved into this bad boy had its own unique taste.  Unlike the LBV Ports to come out of Portugal, this one is a little easier to come across.  Truly one of the finest wines in its category, the 2003 vintage received an astounding 98 points by Robert Parker.  Other wines with this rating are easily priced upward into the $300-400 range for a 750ml bottle.

#2 - Beringer and Sutter Home White Zin
Honestly can't stand either one, but during the summer they keep me in business.

#1 - Ménage à Trois Rosé
This might have been a little more than obvious on my part.  but it's not made like you would think.  Most people assume since Folie à Deux is famous for their Zinfandel used in the red blend, that they use the same method for making White Zinfandel, but this is far from the truth.  The Rosé is actually a summation of Merlot,  Syrah, and Gewurztraminer.  The Merloy and Syrah get a 24 hour soak in cold water to allow some of the red to seep into the juice and all three are blended into this wonderful little concoction.  Not a bad drink considering they sell it everywhere and it pairs well with everything from Burgers to Asian food.

Well I hope you enjoyed my list of oddities in the wine world.  And if you are really interested in the homemade wine thing, I can easily make an update this week with all the knowledge you need to be making some serious brew in your back yard.

Bon Boire!

Top Ten - Wines!

This one is going to be tough.  I mean really tough, because I spend a good 75% of my day at and away from work recommending wines to people.  And I don't necessarily recommend them according to my preference but by judging what theirs might be.
For me personally, releasing a top ten list of wine is going to be a huge challenge and I more or less will list a few that might not need to be on the list.  And of course I'm going to miss a few that need to be on here as well.  I wish i could just do like a Top 50! But that's more typing than my laziness will permit me to do.

Instead I'm going to make a few lists....
Top Ten Reds
Top Ten Whites
Top Ten Champagnes/ Others

"Others?  You mean blush?"
Nope!  Well, yeah, but there are other wines that would be considered others:  Ports, Marsala, Sherry, Fruit Wines, Blush, Sake, and I guess you get the point.

Stay tuned!  I will have the first up by 8pm tonight!

Update Tonight

Hey everybody!
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  I know I sure did.  We had a supersized grilled turkey with all the trimmings and then some.  And my wife whipped up a sweet potato soufflee that was to die for.
I'll have an update for you all later tonight on a zinfandel I tried yesterday and Hopefully even later tonight I'll have the first part of the long awaited top ten wines posted too!

Hope to see you then!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Top Ten Beers - Part Two

<<NEW POLL!!! GO VOTE!!!>>
Lately I feel like I can burn through a case of each of these on any given day, so I think it's time for a much overdue update.  This is the second half of my Top Ten list of my favorite beers.  In the can, bottle, or barrel; all of these wonderful brews are worth it down to every last drop. 

#5 - Gordon Biersch Heffeweisen
A microbrewery based out of California, Gordon Biersch is working its way across the country in forms of on location microbrew restaurants and just recently they have begun a bottling process.  My first taste of REAL beer came from these guys when they opened near Harrah's Casino in New Orleans.  I was 15.  They brought out a sampler tray with six beers on six coasters.  Each coaster described the beers and you drank them.  The one I was instantly taken with was the Heffeweisen.  Although not my favorite type of beer, it was at the moment the first beer I drank and knew that this was what beer should taste like.  Aroma was full on wheat and hoppy, and the taste was strongly influenced with gentle fruit and surprisingly enough bananas.  The description on the coaster said that Heffeweisen beer was originally designed for kings, and this statement could not be any truer for I felt like a king at that moment.  Unfortunately, this is one I can't get in the bottle, but it's definitely worth the trip down to the city to get it on tap!  Follow them on Facebook, and you can receive a coupon for free Garlic Fries!
Pairs perfectly with gourmet pizza and Asian stir-fry.

#4 - Rogue Dead Guy Ale
A seriously good beer.  Very refined and smooth, doubly so when poured on tap.  The brewers over at Rogue have been doing their thing and doing it well in almost every style of beer on market.  Gaining critical acclaim from their wild brews like Yellow Snow IPA, Chocolate Stout, Mocha Porter, and Iron Chef Morimoto's Imperial Pilsner.  Their Dead Guy Ale, however, is the shining star of their flagships beers.  The superior quality of which has been modified into other brews like the Double Dead Guy and the John John Ale (which is infused with whiskey that was distilled with Dead Guy's wort!) This would have easily been a little higher on the list if not for the price, it can reach nearly $7 a bottle or $8 a pint in some places.  It has become the standby for me when I go out with the guys.  We normally go to the Barley Oak, an old fashioned tap house on the Lakefront that supplied nearly hundreds of beer.  Even with all that variety, I somehow end up getting the same damn thing every time....  It's either this, or #2 on this list.
Pairs great with grilled sausages and sauerkraut.

#3 - Abita Strawberry Lager
This sounds a little sketchy to people from the outside, but within the Greater New Orleans area, everyone knows that this once a year brew is so good that you'd kill for it.  Made with just hops, malted barley, yeast, spring water from the Abita Springs, and fresh Pontchatula strawberries.  Every year, I can expect to sell about 250-300 six packs a month for the three months that its actually available.  It's just that big of a deal.  Likewise, this one would be higher, not because of the price, but the availability sucks.  The quality is well worth it though. Underneath the beautifully sweet strawberry taste is a rich plethora of light malts and gentle hops.  If you're ever in the area, check it out.
Drink with Fried Chicken and Red Beans

#2 - Abita Andygator
I've mentioned it in one of my past blogs but its worth mentioning again.  This beer hands down rocks.  A Helles Dopplebock that is a cool balance of malt and hop with an intense bit.  Very fragrant of rye and grains of paradise, it drinks with the smooth flavor of wheat and berries.  A serious beast that will grab you by the feet and keep dragging you down with it; one sip will have you craving a second bottle long before you even finish the first.  A pint bottle filled with 8% ABV of pure goodness.
Pairs well with Buffalo Wings, Cheese Fries and any kind of bar food in general.

#1 - Abita Amber and Abita Turbodog.
I'm just a sucker for Abita.  Living so close to the brewery has given me the opportunity to drink beer so fresh that it will bring tears to your eyes.  But of their main line of fine brews, these two stand out the greatest of all. The Amber is brewed in the tradition of a good quality German Marzen, and Turbodog is killer ale brewed with extra dark roasted malts.  I swear if I had a kegerator at home, either one of these would always be on tap for me.
Best to drink with Jamabalaya, Gumbo, and Crawfish Boils!

Hope you're not too hungover from Thanksgiving to kick back a few brews.  I'll be working on the wine list soon but in the mean time I have a few new wine to share with you along with some more cocktail recipes that are to die for.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Reasons to Drink

1-10 : This: http://www.divacup.com/

That is all.

p.s.: I want my memories of the past ten minutes erased.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you're all having a great one!
I'm celebrating with lots of turkey, sweet potatoes, beer and family!
Also some food for thought, what do you guys think about a Sweet Potato Vodka?
Should we try and make it?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top Ten Beers - Part One

I can guarantee that I won't be able to make an update on the wines until after Thanksgiving.  This week has been completely insane.  But the good news is that I'm finally able to make my post about my Top Ten Favorite Beers of all time.  Some you may have heard of and I know I've mentioned one or two here before.  They should be easily available in your area unless you live in one of those third world countries like Nebraska.
So grab your favorite beer and enjoy with me while I burn through my list of one of mankind's greatest inventions.

#10 - Young's Double Chocolate Stout
I am not one for Stout or Porters.  This is probably one of the only exceptions I make because it isn't as heavy as some of the other options out there.  One really strange thing about Young's though, is that I always prefer the can to the bottle.  Not only is the price a factor ($1.99 per can / $5.99 per bottle, both 16oz), but for some odd reason the taste is actually superior.  The roasted chocolate malt is kinda a foreign thing to some people but more or less, it is a dark or raw cocoa taste as opposed to a Hershey bar.  This is a pretty good pub drink and pairs perfectly with loaded French Fries or Buffalo Wings!

#9 - Shiner Bohemian Black Lager
From Shiner, Texas, Shiner Bock is one of the great beers I got to grow up close around and the other beers in the Shiner line have caught my attention as well.  The Commemorator Ale was released as their 100th anniversary brew and was phenomenal, but unfortunately like all goods things, it came to an end.  The Shiner Black Lager however is one I could always rely on.  First brewed in 2006, the Shiner Black has become one of their flagships beers alongside the Bock, Blonde, Heffeweisen, and current year Pilsner.  Like most Schwarzbiers of its type, the Black Lager has great robust sweetened coffee and dark bitter chocolate.  Most people fail to see the difference between Black Beers and Stouts and Porters, but the answer is in the hops and complexity of the malted barley.  All in all Shiner Bohemian Black is a damn good beer that is easy to grab in the South and great with any type of spicy BBQ.  Not half bad at a crawfish boil either!

#8 - Grolsch Premium Pilsner a.k.a. Grolsch Premium Lager
It's hard to say whether or not this is a Pilsner.  According to the formula and craftsmanship, it is; but then again it cannot be classified as a true Pilsner because it hails from the Netherlands as opposed to a true Pils which hails from Pilsen, Czech Republic.  This is good news because typically I hate Pilsners!  Grolsch is one of those nostalgic beers to me.  Some people's daddy would give them a sip of Budweiser or Old Milwaukee or something, but mine gave me Grolsch.  Famous for its green bottle and hingetop design, this is the ultimate lager in a few senses.  The mild balance of hops and malts are pleasing and light, but the lager was originally designed with preservation in mind.  Being able to seal it for a later date, this really is a TRUE lager.  Pilsner or Lager, either way, this is a good brew.  Great with vegetable dishes and soups.

#7 - Dos Equis Ambar Lager
sometimes you need to take a break from Domestics and European beers.  Believe or not, there are other places in the world that make beer too!  Dos Equis is a pretty common beer, especially if you eat at Mexican restaurants every other day like I do.  It is an awesome beer on tap with just a slight twist of lime.  And obviously it pairs well with any kind of Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine.  Medium bodied, mildly hoppy, and a good toasted aftertaste.  Not much can be said about this great Mexican beer, but at least its all good.

#6 - Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat
Flying Dog is known fairly well for its nice balance of serious and downright insane.  But these guys really do a great job of brewing beer to the truest of traditions and styles.  Made of German Perle Hops and gentle white wheat (and Munich Malt as well), it is a deep wheat beer that drinks with the smoothness of a sweet tea.  The quality of beer that Flying Dog produces is fine enough to where its leftover wort is sent over to a  distillery in Colorado where a new frontier "Bourbon" is being pumped out at $50 a liter.  A good summertime beer that is just as easily adaptable to any season.  Pairs well with grilled chicken and fresh salads.

That's about the extent of content I can bring you for right now but i promise after Thanksgiving I will not only bring you the second half of my beer list but I'll start up the wine list too.  Hang in there with me.  This whole "work" thing is messing up my drinking time....

Bon Boire!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Possible Update Tomorrow

Sorry guys but between school and work I'm pretty much dead.  Pulled an overnight for the first time in nearly four years and it was not too forgiving on me.  The one good thing I can tell you is that I actually tried this year's Beaujolais Nouveau!  It's not half bad, and it actually holds a match against last year's vintage.

For those of you unfamiliar with the wine, it is the French grape Gamay and is cultivated in the appellation of Beaujolais, known pretty much only for its early harvest wines.  According to French law, it is not to be released until the third Thursday of November and it is the first wine released in the French vintage, making this the first available 2010 vintage.

This year's vintage is not half bad.  Pretty much like a Diet Pinot Noir with a little extra sweetness.  As crazy as that sounds, one sip will have you agreeing 100% with me.  Really strong notes of blueberries and sage, and for only about $8.99 it's worth a shot.  I also kinda like the label this year!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Top Ten!!!

I promised my friend Lacey (who I made the Frilly Lace Panties cocktail for) that I would do this list.  her suggestion was that i do my favorite beers but since I've been depriving all of you of wine reviews, I need to throw in a few good products.  Hope you enjoy.  here are my Top Ten lists of my favorite things to drink!

Top Ten Spirits

#10 - Pearl Flavored Vodkas
Available in such a crazy array of flavors, Pearl has really left a mark on me.  Distilled six times for an unusual smoothness, this Canadian vodka distilled primarily from wheat is a perfectly acceptable substitute for some of those higher end products.  The good news is, it will only run you about ten bucks.  Available in Pomegranate, Blueberry, Plum, Coconut, Caramel, Cucumber, Citrus, and Orange.

Electric Leninade
1½ oz Pearl Pomegranate Vodka
3 oz Lemonade
½ Blue Curaçao
Splash of Grenadine Syrup
Twist of Lemon

Shake vodka, lemonade and curaçao over ice and strain into a martini glass.  Drizzle in grenadine and add a twist of lemon for garnish.

#9 - Midori Melon Liqueur
A wonderful mixing product that's a little hard to get use to at first, Midori was one of the hottest beverages in the past year.  The Midori sour and Emerald Martini became hits along the Gulf Coast in all the casinos, rapidly becoming a favorite amongst drinkers young and old.  The flavor is hard to pin, most thinking it's a mock watermelon, but the real flavor is Musk Melon, a slightly less sweet variety of Honeydew available in Japan.  A must have for any modern bar.

Midori Sour
2oz Midori Melon Liqueur
3oz Sweet and Sour Mixer

Mix in a glass with ice, stirring gently.  Top with club soda or tonic water.

#8 - Maker's Mark Bourbon
Some of the finer drinks I enjoy are not widely available and some are not even heard of in some areas.  One thing I can rely on is Maker's Mark to be nearly everywhere I go and for a reasonable price.  A nice smooth whiskey that's good not only for people being introduced to drinking, but for the well experienced as well.  Strong notes of honey and vanilla make it a great drink for before, during, or after dinner.  Or you could do what I do and do all three.  Best to drink neat or on the rocks.

#7 - Illy Espresso Liqueur
For years I've known that Illy has made premium quality espresso products (some half pound containers go up to $15 each!!!) but I only recently stumbled upon a liqueur that they produce.  Unlike most of it's competitors, this is not your usual coffee flavored alcohol, but it tastes just like espresso.  Unsweetened, black, and aromatic are gross understatements of it's true nature.  It is a raw and untamed beast of flavor that shines with bitter chicory-like qualities and a truly beautiful roasted notes.  It's a hard fine but absolutely worth it.

Cappucino Martini  
2oz Illy Espresso Liqueur
2oz Steamed Milk
2oz Milk Foam
1oz Vodka (Optional)

This is nearly impossible if you don't have an espresso maker at home, but you can do it but slowly heating milk in a pot and skimming some of the foam off.  I would highly suggest not using any real espresso in this because of the added caffeine.  Optional ingredients for taste: whipped cream, sugar or other sweeteners, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, or any other crazy shit those people at Starbucks push on you.

#6 Cruzan Coconut Rum
Believe it or not but there are other coconut rums besides Malibu out there.  And honestly, Malibu comes from Canada.  Not saying Canada is bad or anything, but I don't remember what their last coconut season was like....  What's cool about Cruzan is not just the fact that it comes from a place where coconuts actually live, but it's a lower proof drink that you can consume straight.  It's a little on the sweet side but that's not a bad thing either now is it?

Saint Punch
16oz Monster M-80 Energy Drink (Yellow Label, Pineapple Flavor)
2-4oz Cruzan Coconut Rum

This is such an easy cocktail.  But for the love of God don't drink more than one of these a week....  When I was packing the house, I made that mistake a few too many times and couldn't get the toaster to stop spreading lies about me.  The easiest way to make it is brass monkey style!  Drink it down and add more liquor.

#5 - Magellan Iris Gin
I think one of the most disappointing things in adulthood is finding out that Bombay Sapphire is not actually blue.  Magellan is a gin not only for people suffering from the Bombay shock but for those who truly enjoy some unique gins.  Very floral and light, it's best served simply with tonic and lime.  It's beautiful translucent blue color will draw you in instantly but its taste and superior quality have keep you going.

#4 - Meukow Cognac, Azul Tequila, and Amaretto di Amore
These three belong in such a special category together because they hold a place in my heart.  Amaretto di Amore is the liqueur of choice of my lovely wife and Meukow Cognac brandishes a puma across the label, an animal related to an inside joke between my wife and I.  Azul Tequila is also a beverage that my wife got me on her last trip to Mexico and to my knowledge is not available in the States.  I highly suggest trying to obtain a bottle but it might cost you a trip down South.  More or less I keep the cognac around for sentimental reasons but the taste itself is astounding.  A little spicy and sweet and is very pleasant on the nose. For you Cognac enthusiasts out there, it may not be your thing, but this is my blog :P.

Casa Noble
2oz Azul Reposado Tequila (or other)
½oz Grand Marnier Orange Cognac
Lime Quarter

Pour tequila and triple sec into a rocks glass over ice. 
 Twist the lime quarter and drop it in, giving it a gentle swirl.

#3 - Kraken Black Rum
A truly sinister beast composed of spiced rum as black as night and liquid AWESOME.  This is without a doubt the single best spiced rum I have ever drank.  Rum and Coke, Mojitos, Rum Runners, and many other rum-based cocktails are given a whole new life due to this amazing spirit.  At 94 proof it is sure to give you a slight kick but the strong essence of blackstrap molasses and plethora of spices with keep you coming back to face the Kraken man to beast.

Grand Ilse Iced Tea
1½ oz Kraken Black Rum
2oz Sweet Tea Vodka
Lemon-Lime Soda
Mint Leaves to garnish

Pour rum and sweet tea vodka over ice in an iced tea glass and fill with lemon-lime soda.  Add mint leaves and stir gently.

#2 10 Cane Rum
Another amazing drink, this time from the island of Trinidad, 10 Cane is amazing yet conflicting.  What is so strange about it is that in all essence, it is technically a Cachaça (a Brazilian rum) which is distilled from straight cane juice instead of molasses as is most rums.  The difference between the two besides not coming from Brazil is that 10 canes is slightly aged in new oak barrels until a soft cloudy yellow color is achieved.  It bares its name from the traditional method of binding sugar cane in batches of ten stalks at a time, which is nice because the sweetness of it convinces you that all ten of those canes were packed into this bad boy.  Hands down, this makes the best Mojito on the planet.  Well, maybe not.  It's all in the method, but Hell, this rum will definitely enhance it a few notches.

10 Cane Mojito
3oz 10 Cane Rum
1 oz Lime juice
1 oz Sugar or Simple Syrup
About 24 mint leaves 
Club Soda

First muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a shaker with cracked ice, lime juice, and sugar.  Make sure that it is muddled very well, you want all that yummy menthol to leak and saturate into the ice.  Add the rum and shake until the shaker is frosted.  Pour everything into a tall glass and top with club soda.  Just to note:  This particular recipe is a double so grab a big glass, maybe 16oz.  Also, a good rule of thumb is make sure the mint leaves are, well, about the size of your thumb.

#1 - Bulleit Bourbon
If you didn't see this one coming then you obviously don't know me well enough.  I drink this stuff like my life depends on it and it is one of the best things to ever come out of Kentucky.  I used to drink Woodford Reserve whenever I wanted a super premium drink, and one day out of the blue, someone turned me on to this wonderful spirit.  It now holds a special place in my heart for two reasons:  A very close coworker of mine gave me one last Christmas, and I actually have a hand-signed bottle from Tom Bulleit, the mastermind behind this drink.  With the smoothness of a rye whiskey, and the intense aroma and oak of some of the finest red wines, I can guarantee everyone that this will always have a common stock in my bar. Drink neat, on the rocks, over poured over a few freshly picked berries.

Well that's all I have for tonight guys!  By Monday I should have the beer and wine lists up as well.  Right now I think I'm going to go over to my bar and mix all of these together and see what happens.

Bon Boire!

Getting Set Up!

So I finally have my classes and finances straight for college, and things with work slacked up just a bit, so I should be able to do more posts and hopefully on a near daily basis.
no promises but tonight I hope to release a list of my top ten favorite of each category: Beer, Wine, and Liquor.  Along with some short reviews, cocktails, and serving suggestions.

Hope to see y'all tonight!

Bon Boire!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Current Events

Still no word on Beaujolais Nouveau...  And it come out at 12:01am tomorrow!!!  So how am I supposed to know what to tell you guys about it if I don't know what it tastes like?!

I think I'm just going to be waiting silently and calmy at my store until it actually arrives and drink one straight off the truck.  It's driving me insane.  The good news is, that if I wait until about mindnight, I might be able to catch the Leonid Meteor shower that's supposed to go down tonight!

But just to let you know, today is also national unfriend day, so it's also a good time for me to go and weed out my Facebook list of people I don't give a damn about.  "My ex-girlfriend's lesbian lover's step-brother?  DELETE."

Adapting To The Times

I'm pretty sure all of you are aware that I live in Louisiana since I think I've mentioned it in almost every post I made.  Well this one is no exception.  The one downside to living in the greatest place on the entire planet, is that 73 degrees in November is considered the daily low.

Luckily, it WILL get colder sometime between now and April, and I have to prepare for that.  But what about all those summer cocktails I love so much?  And all this premium rum I have on hand, is it to go to waste?

Fret not fellow alcoholics, for I have a plan.  We simply tone our drinks to make them Holiday-like.  For instance, take that rum and use it in a creamy drink, or turn your favorite frozen summer drink into an unchilled martini or some sort.  Here's two examples of cocktails I will be fooling with over the next two months or so.

Piña Colada - Martini Style
1½ oz Pearl Coconut Vodka (or Cîroc Coconut)
1½ oz Bacardi Coconut Rum
2 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice
Cinnamon Stick for Garnish

Shake ingredients except for cinnamon over ice in two shakes and then strain into a martini glass.  Should come out very light and slightly cloudy.  The logic behind using the specific brands here is that the Pearl Coconut and Bacardi Coconut are both 80 proof and will hold a high alcohol amount after mixing.  You can sweeten it by adding a maraschino cherry but this simple recipe if done correctly will be perfect for those winter months.

1½ oz Absolut Vodka
3 oz Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice
 3/4 oz Triple Sec
Lemon Slice for rimming

You can actually just turn this into a shot by reducing the portions down, but this is a pretty versatile cocktail that is well to drink anytime of the year.  The recipe itself is the exact same for a Margarita except of course for the main spirit being change.  What's so interesting about it though, is that is really is a good stepping stone for those of you who haven't given up the summer and beach lifestyle for the snow and Christmas Carols just as of yet.

And just a little except food for thought, who amongst you have actually ever drank Four Loko?  I have just been recently required to pull all products off of my shelves and it's becoming a nationwide thing REALLY quick.  Here's a little news article I recently stumbled upon: Four Loko Bans.

Monday, November 15, 2010

College Life Is Going To Kill Me

So this might not count as a real review or anything but I guess I can at least try to spice it up a little.  All day I've been working on getting stuff in the new house straightened out and doing stuff with school.  Fortunately I've managed to make my schedule for next semester and lock in my classes before they became full.  Another fortunate thing is that with all this additional stress I'm going to endure in the spring, much liquid assessment will be required.  There are some special brews that come out locally only available in Spring and of course there are all those wonderful cocktails perfect for the beginning of the warmer months.

Right now, I'm just waiting for the Beaujolais Nouveau to come out so I can do a review on that.  Chill, drink a beer, and put on some early 90s industrial rock.  NIN - Sin,  this is a good example.

Here's another drink cocktail to get you quickly into the holiday spirit.  I made it for a close friend of my wife and I, and the egg white may seem a little odd, but it makes a creamy softness that cannot be replicated by any other measure.

Frilly Lace Panties
• 1½ oz Pearl Pomegranate Vodka (or Smirnoff Cranberry Vodka)
• 1 oz Heavy Cream
• ½ oz Rumpleminz 100 proof Peppermint Schnapps 
• ½ oz Grenadine Syrup
• 1 Egg White

Fill in a shaker with cracked ice.  Shake vigorously until well incorporated and frothy.  Pour into a poussé-café glass or a martini glass rimmed with red sugar.  Garnish with cherry if desired.

Bon Boire!

Update Tonight

Later tonight I will have an update, just a few cocktail recipes and ideas that you might want to use for the upcoming holidays.  Thursday, Beaujolais Nouveau becomes legal for sale in the US and I will be able to review it for you.  Haven't heard much on this year's vintage, but last year was supposedly the best vintage in seventy years. 

Feeling a little sick again but I think I might skip out on the Theraflu and whiskey.  Louisiana Satsumas are in season right now and loaded with good nutrients so I think I'm going to eat a few of those today.
Also, here's a cocktail I whipped up last year with the lucid fruit.

•3½ oz Satsuma Juice (or Orange juice if not available)
•1½ oz Premium Vodka
•2-3 mint leaves lightly coated in sugar

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with mint if desired.

Also, I have posted a poll to the left side of the page.  I'm curious of whether or not you think I should use a point scale to rate the beer and wine reviews on here, or should i just keep doing what I'm doing?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Few Good Beers Part Two

Hope I'm not rushing into this one a little too quickly but I've got a few more I want to tag on after these anyway.  But I have found a good selection of some beers that are available in 22oz bottles.  Unlike the last post where everything was local, these will be domestic but should be available in your area as well!  It took some time for me to choose the right ones for today but I hope you'll enjoy as much as I will!

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

The first thing the pops into my head every time I even see this bottle is the theme from Speed Racer.  It makes me want to get behind the wheel of a stockcar and just peel out and go crazy.  But I'm not going to do that since drinking and driving is not only dumb but against the law.  Instead, I like to sit back in my sofa, put on a good movie and pretend like I'm James Bond or something.
Racer 5 is a really good example of what an IPA should taste like: extra-hopped, bitter yet fruity, and tough.  Now I'm not saying it's a hard thing to swallow, but being in a 22oz bottle it is really meant to be enjoyed like a wine, over a long period of time.  Take your time enjoying this beer because a joy ride should be worth your while.  Hopefully this one will be a little easier for you to obtain than some others posted here, and it is a definite must for beer enthusiast everywhere.
Retails for about $5.99 per 22oz bottle.

Rogue Chipotle Ale

Now before you freak out about the ingredients, I am going to clarify that it is made out of real smoked jalepeños.  In addition to that, Rogue is already famous for its great line of ales and specialty beers (including a Pilsner that was hand crafted for Iron Chef Morimoto!) What is so magical about it is that the chipotle peppers actually give the beer more body and texture than they do flavor.  But it goes with out saying, the flavor is smoky and spicy, much like a Shiraz if you're into the whole wine world.  The head that is produced from pouring looks toasted and smoked, a great introduction to the beer about to follow.  A real treat for those of you looking to try something different and it more than greatly pairs well with soft creamy cheeses and cheap drive-thru Mexican food.  
Retails for about $6.99 per 22oz Bottle.

Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale

One of my personal favorites as far as domestic ales go.  not only because it's strong and flavorful, but the price is impressive for a craft beer of its caliber.  Stone is a little on the eccentric side, and Arrogant Bastard is not shy at all when it comes to its bold flavor and even bolder attitude.  Everything from the label to its cap and its shipping boxes describe it as a beer that boasts, "You're not worthy..." or "You're too cheap."  Very thick and creamy body, heavy taste of oak and smoke along with gentle hints of coffee and raw chocolate, and an aroma strong enough to wake the dead.  Overproofed at about 8-10% abv, and just bitter enough to make you pucker.  Not a beer for those, "who enjoy those sissy yellow beers,"  but more for those into a darker Belgian style ale.
Retails for about $3.99 per 22oz Bottle

Abita SOS Wheat-Pilsner

A newer beer from my favorite local brewery, SOS just recently came out after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  It initially was promoted as a "Charitable Pilsner" and donated 75¢ per bottle to the recovery of the coast.  A very interesting blend of wheat beer and pilsner, it shines with a very smooth and light body which is accompanied by a bittersweet aroma and taste.  Pretty decent beer for those of you who enjoy Pilsners and lighter Heffeweisens like Erdinger Crystal.  Personally not my favorite in the line, but it was worth a try.
Retails for about $3.99 per 22oz Bottle.

Abita Andygator Dopplebock

Abita has a great selection of crafts and reserves when it comes to their beer, but Andygator is the granddaddy of them all.  This Helles Dopplebock is a whopping 8% of pure malty bubbling goodness.  Pays great homage to the old belief of beer being "liquid bread" and like the bottle says, it is meant to be sipped, not gulped.  A wonderful array of fruit and wheat flavors in this monster really tie in the entire brew, making it a perfect drink for nearly any time of day.  Including 6am at the boat launch.  By far one of my favorite 22oz beers out there, not too mention its label pretty much describes its fierce nature.  You'll hear me mention Abita many times throughout this blog, but I still think Andygator may be one of their best.  Buy a bottle if you can.  Try it if you dare.
Retails for about $4.99 per 22oz Bottle.

Well that's all I have for you today!  I might do a third follow up on beer reviews if you want, but I'll still do individual brews as time goes on.  Good luck finding these and happy drinking!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Few Good Beers Part One

Like I promised here is the long awaited "Few Good Beers" I've been talking about.  Just to start off I'm going to  brag about my rich heritage and wonderful homeland by reviewing local beers!  If there is one MAJOR reason to come down to New Orleans and the surrounding areas is to try the most amazing beer on the planet.  We have New Orleans Lager and Ale (NOLA) in the heart of the city, Lazy Magnolia out of Kiln, MS; the home of Brett Favre, Covington Brewhouse and Heinerbrau in Covington, LA where I live, and Abita which is not only my personal favorite beer but it's also just a few short minutes to my east from my house!

So sit back, grab your favorite brew and get ready to open your mind and start buying plane tickets.  You'll want to be here in time for Mardi Gras this upcoming March and I'll let you know exactly what to grab while you're here!

New Orleans Lager and Ale Co.  Hopitoulas India Pale Ale

First is NOLA.  Previously available on tap only, it is now conveniently sold in draft packs in stores locally for around $34 for a 5.7 Liter package.  The one beer that really stands out in the crowd with these guys is the Hopitoulis IPA.  What the Hell does Hopitoulas mean you ask?  Well NOLA is located on the corner of 7th street and Tchoupitoulas (pronounced CHOP A TOO LUSS) St. in New Orleans, and like the name implies, the taste is much like walking down a street paved with hops.  You get all the good bittersweet fruitiness that you would find in such IPA's like Sierra Nevada's Torpedo without having the ultra thickness that comes with it.  The best part is, it's always on tap in the comfort of your own home!  If there is one beer on this list you can absolutely not get anywhere else but NOLA, it is NOLA draft Hopitoulas IPA!

Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Ale

Sorry for the lack of picture but the best way to image Southern Pecan is sparkling coffee with no cream or sugar added!  Solid black with nearly no visibility and the creamy foam head is much like the nutty white top on freshly brewed espresso.  The taste is almost exactly what the name implies, and even though it is brewed in Mississippi, the pecans are grown here in Louisiana!  It is fresh and crisp but has some serious depth and complexity as far as a beer goes.  Much like Samuel Smiths or other nut brown ales, it holds a very serious bold taste of roasted pecans and hazelnuts, but the smooth refreshing taste of a lighter lager.  You can usually find this brew for about $7.99 per 6 pack (12oz bottles)

Lazy Magnolia is also the mastermind behind another wonderful brew called LA 31 Biere Pale but is brewed under the name Bayou Teche.  Since they have their own blog, I'll leave the good news up to them on that one. But it is another great beer that you cannot pass up!

Covington Brewhouse Pilsner and Bock
This one I'm going to keep kinda short because not too much can be said about these two.  Recently released in 2010, I've only tried each a few times.  Unfortunately I wasn't too impressed with either one.  The Pilsner was seriously lacking in flavor and body and had me craving a Miller Lite.  The Bock on the other hand was very packed with a heavy boiled-peanut type flavor.  Not the most desirable when it comes to beer.  I would love a second opinion of these two and just hoping that I may have come across a bad brew....  Retails for about $8.99 per 6 pack (12oz bottles).

Abita Pecan Harvest Ale

I know what you're thinking, "Another Pecan beer?"  And the answer is, "YES!  ANOTHER PECAN BEER!!!"  You don't understand!  Pecans are the best thing since sliced bread down here.  And we make sliced bread with pecans too!  A little different from Lazy Magnolia's brew, Abita's Pecan Ale has a little more bitterness to it because of it retaining so much of it's natural hoppy flavor and is a little bit more smoky due to its heavy infusion of the pecan's natural oils.  A great beer to drink with any kind of boiled seafood or creamy cheeses..  Another great brew from my favorite brewery on the planet.  Be sure to pay attention for the second half of this update to come in just a few short days for a follow up on Abita's other brews.  Also retails for about $7.49 per 6 pack (12oz bottles), about 50 cents cheaper than the normal line.

Hope you enjoy!  And ever more so I hope you all can find some of these great beers out towards you!  If not, let me know, we'll see what we can do!

(Just to note, used all photos without permission from the owner)

Falling Behind

Sorry for the lack of updates again but the OND season is killing me.  The bright side is that I'm almost halfway through it but Thanksgiving and Christmas are heavy days for us.  I'll have an update later tonight, hopefully before 8pm.  And I know you're gonna love it!  It's the long awaited "A Few Good Beers" post, and it will be more than definitely worth the wait!

In the mean time, here's a fun stencil for you guys to try at home!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port 1980


I have a really short review on a wine I tried today that up until this moment has really escaped me.
Tonight was date night for my wife and me, and we went over to a little place in Mandeville called Cafe Lynn.  What's so interesting about it is not just the formal European style foods with the subtle notes of Cajun flare and familiarity, but that the location was previously a Burger King.  Dinner was exceptional but dessert was the spotlight this evening.  We shared a creme brulee but I ordered a featured wine of the night, a 25 year old port called Smith Woodhouse.

Although I could not find the exact bottle on the website (and the retaurant was too dark to take a picture with my cell phone) I thought that this phenomenal drink was worth mention.  The color of the majestic port is a very opaque nearly cognac colored red that fades into gold towards the glass.  The nose and taste are nearly identical only with very minor differences.  Dark honey was very evident, alongside blackberry and fig.

Not for your average wine consumer, and definitely not a drink consumed before dessert.  At eight dollars per three ounce glass, you can expect to pay anywhere from $70 to $90 for a 750ml at retail price.  Here's a list on wine searcher.com that can help you find it:  Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port 1980.

I don't blame y'all for not buying one if you don't want to....  Just take my word for it.  It was pretty damn good.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Short Review of Blends Part Two

Alright!  Big update here guys, so pay attention!
First off I would like to thank Dee Jey for answering my Theraflu question right.  I actually put Bourbon in my Apple-scented medicine last night but Jack Daniels is close enough.  If you're thinking, "Hey!  You asked vodka or rum!  Not whiskey!"  Well you're absolutely right.  I didn't.  But you should know by now that Bourbon is always the right choice.  So once again props out to Dee Jey for guessing right and be sure to check out his profile.  He's got some cool stuff on there.

So down to business.  I've selected a few good red blends from some interesting parts of the world for this one. Places you wouldn't typically start looking for a red blend, namely because they are not blended in the same nature as other reds.  Two of these are just shy of being declared Cabernets, one could be declared a single varietal, and yet another falls into the whole appellation-named wine trends (like most French wines, they don't claim the varietal, but the AOC).

Charamba Red 2007

Not to be confused with the Ribera del Douro of Spain, whose dominant grape is Tempranillo, Charamba is slightly sweet wine from Douro,Portugal, home of the fortified Port.  It is named for the native folk dance and music style and contains the four major grapes used in Port making:  Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional.  The result of this is not unlike a lower alcohol, less sugary version of a classic LBV Port. It has such an interesting amount of flexibility, since it can be served either room temperature or chilled, as a table wine or dessert, and with or without food.  It starts with a smooth sweetly nose of honeysuckle and hibiscus leaf with a heavy thick undertone of raspberry and plum.  The body, too, is much like a Ruby Port but slightly less bulky.  It really only has one major difference than a typical port, and that is the lack of Aguardiente, the neutral grape spirit used to stop fermentation hence fortifying the wine.
This is a nice pickup for anyone looking for that good LBV Port taste without draining your wallets or overloading your taste buds.  It also sets at a nice 13% alcohol by volume, a whole 7% below the legal minimum for a Port.
Retails for about $8.99.

Carlos Basso Dos Fincas
Cabernet - Malbec 2007
Malbec - Malbec 2007

These two I chose to do together but unfortunately I cannot upload my photo of the Malbec - Malbec, because my phone is stupid.  Just imagine the same thing, but black label.

Carlos Basso was introduced to me a while back but I was skeptical to try it until recently.  I do love both varietals with great extremity, but I have always thought to keep them separate or to never serve them back to back.  But people, including myself, fail to realize the similarities between these two wines and thanks to this blend you can see what harmony they make.  It is very fragrant and tasteful of both varietals, popping with notes of tart berries, cocoa and spice.

Now the Malbec - Malbec is a real winner here, being their two best selections of Malbec from two adjacent plots, blended together to make an exceptional wine.  There really isn't too much to say for the second except that it taste similar to the Cab - Malbec blend, but obviously presents the Malbec in a more dominant manner.

Both are available for about $11.99.

Peirano Estate "The Other" Red 2005

A wine as sexy as the label implies.  It really does have many allusions to the label in some pretty accurate adjectives.  The body is long and slender, the hair alluding to the essence is contained yet given some freedom, the flavor is tempting and teasing with a wide and curvy bottom, and it is alluring and revealing yet retains some mystery to it.  Being from Lodi, Peirano really pushed out some good desert-bred wines that have a good old world amount of attention paid to them, but still have the lively spirit of the modern age.  Some younger generation wine drinkers like myself will even swear that Lodi will be the new Napa with its ever increasing popularity and above standard quality.  "The Other" is no exception to this belief, in the sense that it can take a dry grape such as Cabernet Sauvignon and blend it with two sweeter varietals, and produce such an amazingly balanced wine.  The oak, tannin, and acidity are all well controlled and no varietal dominates the other.  The Syrah essentially makes a bittersweet bridge between the Cab and Merlot, tying the two so well together.  Another must buy wine for those of you wanting to stay domestically with your collection, but would still like to think outside the box.
Typically retails for about $12.99

Have any questions or requests, just let me know!
And as always, enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Guess who got a bad case of the flu?!

I feel like death....  No real update today so I am just going to ask your opinion instead.
What mixes better with Theraflu, rum or vodka?  p.s.: It's apple-cinnamon flavored.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Need to Get Back To Work!

For those of you have have been down with my blog and supporting me throughout (I love you...), you've known that my wife and I were in the porcess of getting a house.  Well I am proud to say that not only are we signed and all, but we are completely moved in.  And despite the place looking like a preview of the next episode of hoarders, it is a dream land.

I promise I'll have an update, hopefully by tomorrow, but for right now just sit tight!
Here's just a glimpse of what I have coming:

  • A Few Good Beers
  • Red Blends Part II
  • Beaujolais Nouveau - What it is and is it worth it?
  • Thanksgiving Spread
  • Winter Whites
  • Perfect Christmas Wines and Spirits (Including upcoming gift packs!)
  • A Brief History of Sparkling Wine
  • Curing the New Year Hangover
  • And many more recipes!!!
So just to fill in for all the time I have missed on, let me indulge you all with a little story.

Turtle Bay Blues

Back before my wife and I were even dating, we were the best of friends. So good, that we wanted to hook each other up with some of our friends.  We meet at a bar on the cleaner part of the French Quarter called Turtle Bay, and the bartender looks like David Bowie.  Not in a bad way, but like in a Labyrinth kind of way.  She really seemed to know what she was doing, and between the drinks and the bar food, this placfe was definitely worth the stop.  She gave us a super sweet Long Island Ice Tea, and a double neat bourbon.  After a few drinks, Crystal (my wife) and I are a little tipsy.  Considering that her friend was already in a relationship, and mine turned to have other interests, we decided to keep on drinking and eventually took the whole crew barhopping.
We came to one great bar, a few streets over on Bourbon St.  The place was amazing, I've never been in it before and was shocked that I could ever pass up such a clean and nice place.  While the girls are in the bathroom, Clay (my friend) and I are waiting by a column for them to get out.  As we're waiting, a guy comes up and asks, "Hey, can I get you guys a drink?"  Not thinking (cause I was already off) "No thanks, bro.  I'm straight..."  He responds, "YOU COULD HAVE JUST SAID NO ASSHOLE!!!"

Then it dawned on me.

The cheap drinks, the loud music, the assless chaps....

"Clay....  I think this is a gay bar."
"Really?  What makes you think that?"
"Those two dudes making out could be a clue, but I'm not a hundred percent sure...."

I felt so bad for that guy.  But hey, it's just the way I talk.
If anyone wants to offer me a drink, I would gladly accept it any other day, but right now, no thanks bro, I'm straight.