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Cocktail O’ Clock: The Scarecrow’s Lean

scarecrows-lean-cocktail

Thanksgiving is a time for cooking, sure, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s also a time for… drinking. While a bottle of cheap wine always does the trick, sometimes you want something a little fancier to wow the family and friends. This cocktail from The Honeymoon in Houston is the perfect mix of sweet, savory, and just elegant enough to impress your crowds of holiday guests. Bottoms up!

 

The Scarecrow’s Lean

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Endless Spirits: The New York Sour

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I over-did it this year. Pumpkin beer is beginning to get old. Sad, I know – it’s not even Halloween yet. I’ve been seeking out other booze drinks to help satisfy my thirst and I think I found an alternative that I can still call a holiday drink: The New York Sour. I first tried this drink last Christmas season and it was AWESOME. Gives you that warm feeling you want in the cold months, sweetness of the whiskey and wine, along with the tart touch of sour mix. Plus, it looks pretty….well pretty I guess. Your friends will be impressed.

The New York Sour is a whiskey sour with a splash of red wine on top. No worries, if you are not a whiskey drinker, this cocktail will still impress even you. The wine adds a surprisingly refreshingly sweet flavor to the drink that balances everything out quite well. That being said, it also doesn’t take away from the classic tastes of the whiskey sour. The best way to explain the first sip is a feeling of jubilation. Yes…I believe that accurately describes a drink that provides the satisfying sweetness of whiskey, the tartness of the sour mix, and the sweet refreshing crispness of red wine. Here’s how to make your own:

 

New York Sour

2 ounce Whiskey (of your choice)
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1/2 – 1 ounce dry red wine

Pour whiskey and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice. Shake, shake, shake the shaker until frosty on the outside. Pour the mixture into a fancy glass (include some of the bits of ice). Pour wine over a spoon, impress friends, and drink up!

bbq oven beef brisket

Texas BBQ Beef Brisket… In the Oven!

bbq oven beef brisket

 

October is a very important month. And I’m not just talking about the month of Halloween, the month of scary movies, or the month when it’s socially acceptable to cook/eat any and all things pumpkin related. No, October is also Texas Wine Month.

And yes, Texas does make wine! Even if you don’t live in Texas or in a place where Texas wines are readily available, as far as I’m concerned, you can still enjoy your favorite glass (or bottle?) of vino with special pleasure this month; any excuse, right?!

The Texas Beef Council shared one of their favorite brisket recipes with us, along with some Texas wine pairings to go with it. This brisket is ultra easy because it can be made in your oven. So no worries if you don’t own a smoker! This is a perfect recipe for your next gameday, just pop that sucker in the oven first thing in the morning, and by the midday football matches you’ll have more delicious, tender red meat than you can shake a stick at. And since the recipe is from the official council that represents all things Texas and beef, you know the recipe is legit.

Curious about what the Texas Beef Council recommends serving with your beautiful brisket? They say…

·         Brennan Vineyards 2014 Texas Tempranillo

·         Duchman Family Winery 2012 Montepulciano

·         Spicewood Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Claret

Hey – I’ve done some wine tasting at Duchman and their reds are generally very good, so I’m in full favor of this list. Don’t have Texas wines where you live? I’m thinking your favorite Tempranillo, Montepulciano, or Cabernet will do the trick! Don’t like wine? First of all, what’s wrong with you, and second of all, you can cheers with a beer, I won’t be offended. (Well, maybe a little bit. Wine is the best.)

 

Oven Texas BBQ Beef Brisket

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Labor Day Cocktail O’Clock: Shandy Slushy

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Just because summer is unofficially coming to a close doesn’t mean it’s time to stop drinking frozen cocktails! (We’d generally argue it’s never time to stop drinking frozen cocktails, but that’s a whole other story.) Take a long, hot gander at The Shush, an off-menu drink offered at El Original TX-MX In Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, where tipplers in the know can slurp on either a grapefruit or lemon slushy shandy, saying goodbye to the last hot-ish days of summer in style. Read on for both recipes.

 

Lemon Shush

4 Servings

Ingredients

– Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy (1 bottle)

– 3 oz. of fresh lemon juice

– 3 oz house made honey syrup (see below)

– A dash of bitters

 

Honey syrup ingredients:

– 3-5 cubes of fresh pineapple

– Lemon zest to taste

– 3 oz. of honey

– 54 oz. of crushed ice

Muddle fresh pineapple then add lemon zest and honey. Bring to a boil on a stove and let it cool to room temperature.

 

Slush Directions:

Break down crushed ice as much as possible so the carbonation of the shandy won’t dilute the slushy.  Blend till smooth. Combine all ingredients, except shandy. Add the homemade honey syrup, water and lemon juice. While those are blending, add shandy base.

Garnish with a dash of bitters and lemon wedge.

 

Grapefruit Shush

Serving size 4

Ingredients:

– Traveler Grapefruit Shandy (1 bottle)

– 3 oz. of grapefruit juice

– 1 oz. of lime juice

– 2 oz. mint simple syrup (see below)

– 54 oz of crushed ice

 

Mint simple syrup ingredients:

– 3-5 pulled mint leaves

–  2 parts water

– 1 part sugar

Combine mint leaves with 2 parts water and 1 part sugar. Bring to a boil and then let it cool to room temperature.

 

Slushy directions:

Use crushed ice to be broken down as much as possible so the carbonation of the shandy won’t cause it to separate or dilute. Blend till smooth. Combine all ingredients (except shandy). Add the mint simple syrup, water and lemon juice. While those are blending, add Shandy. Garnish with a ruby red grapefruit wedge.

Garnish with grapefruit wedge and mint sprig

Endless Beer: Flying Dog White Peach Saison

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Flying Dog’s Brewhouse Rarities series typically takes a standard style of beer and either amps it up, or puts a twist on it. The White Peach Saison is their latest addition to what is becoming quite the collection of rarities. Flying Dog looks to offer a “sweet, yet tart” version of a Saison. The brew meets the challenge with a balance that at least reminds me of a peach cobbler a la mode. Cheers.
BHR_WhitePeachSaison_Bottle

Tasting Notes

Aroma: Peaches and subtle pepper

Appearance: Very light orange with haze. Light white head.

Mouthfeel: Very light and crisp with little to no lingering until it hits your throat.

Taste: Sweet peach up front, complimented by sweet, subtle caramel of the malt. Pepper/spice taste typically found in the Saison yeast comes up afterward. Sweet flavor reminiscent of a peach cobbler a la mode.

Overall: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert – this is a refreshing and tasty brew. The sweetness of the malts and white peach provides a flavor that could go with anything from pecan pancakes to peach pie. Hops are present in the suds, but the peaches are definitely the star without taking away from the Saison style.

ES Rating: 4.5/5 Suds

 

 

Endless Pairings

Cheese: Havarti with salted almonds and dried apricots

Appetizer: Mushroom, goat Cheese, and balsamic flatbread

Entree: Pineapple glazed salmon with zucchini fries and arugula salad

Dessert: Peach and pecan crepes with chantilly cream

Top Ten Beers to End Your Summer

Summer is coming to an end. Teachers and students must return to the dreaded school year, people start to give up on visiting the beach/lake/river, and discussions center around when the pool will close. Sad face. With all this doom and gloom, the only way to try to squeak out the last few bits of summer are of course through alcohol. We took a look at the ten best beers to remind of the summer. Enjoy.

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10. Victory Summer Love

Summer love lends a refreshing, crisp taste to a beer without losing the actual flavor of beer. For me, shandies may tend to be too sweet. The ABV is low enough to day drink without compromising taste.

 

Unholy

9. Coppertail Unholy

Based out of Tampa, Coppertail brewed an American Trippel that sticks to the traditional style of a trippel with tasty hops throughout. This is a drink to have on the porch in the evening as the day cools down and you realize the summer is ending. The high ABV makes this a great summer night cap.

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8. Dogfish Head Namaste

Namaste is one of my go-to summer beers. It’s a low ABV plus a very refreshing beer with strong taste of summer (orange, lemongrass). PLUS, it can be mixed with another beer on our list. Delish.

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7. Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin

Ballast Point Sculpin has been a tradition in our summer beer exchange for a few years now. But once they starting coming out with additional flavors of the Sculpin, we couldn’t help but try out the others. Pineapple is my favorite, and it sticks to the theme of summer. Pineapple juice flavor is strong, yet you still think you’re drinking beer.

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6. Founders All Day IPA

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Endless Beer: Flying Dog “Heat Series” Carolina Reaper Peach IPA

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YOWZA! Apparently the folks at Flying dog take all of their series very seriously. The heat series seeks to provide a brew with serious heat to it without destroying the taste of the beer. Some “hot” or spicy beers provide the heat that is promised, but the flavor of actual beer is gone. These beers typically end up in our chili. However, this particular brew provides the heat that is promised while also giving the sweet and refreshing taste of a peach IPA. You will break a sweat while drinking this refreshing brew – weird…right? Good sipping beer and makes for great conversation at a party.

 

CarolineReaper_12oz_BottleTasting Notes

Appearance: Light golden with good carbonation. Light head with off-white color.

Aroma: Sweet, sweet peaches with a hint of vanilla and very subtle hop aroma.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light – typical feel of an IPA.

Taste: First, a sweet taste of straight-up peach juice with just enough of a hoppy taste to let you know that it is an IPA. Immediately following the first sip as the suds go down, heat hits the back of your throat. The heat lingers throughout the entire drink, but the sweet peach flavor continues with every sip.

Overall: The heat of the beer is not as overwhelming as a typical spicy beer – it is much more balanced and does not burn your tongue as some hot sauces do. The heat stays with you throughout the drink, but it does not take away from the peach flavor of the overall brew. You’l break a sweat, but the other flavors keep you wanting more!

ES Rating: 4/5 suds

 

 

 

 

 

Endless Pairings:

Cheese: Sweet Honey Goat Cheese with Blueberry Preserves

Appetizer: Bavarian Pretzel with Cheese Sauce

Entree: Grilled Sirloin with Green Beans and Twice Baked Potato

Dessert: Blueberry & Peach Cobbler served with Vanilla Ice Cream

Cigar: Nat Sherman Timeless

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