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.
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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

Green Belt Cocktail

Cocktail O’ Clock: The Green Belt

Green Belt CocktailIf there’s one thing Austin likes to do in the summertime, it’s DRINK. When you’re dealing with hot-ass 100 degree sun on a daily basis, what else can you do?! Luckily alcohol brands realize our dire need for a cold cocktail, and there’s lots of fun, booze-focused festivities here on a pretty regular basis.

Take New Amsterdam Vodka, for example. They’re hosting the It’s Your Town party this Saturday, focusing on street art plus vodka (two things I can totally get behind). New Amsterdam Vodka says, “we’ve partnered with local street artist Bradford Maxfield to create seven original pieces of work for It’s Your Town, including a larger-than-life mural inspired by the nightlife and music scene of the city.”

I’m into it!

New Amsterdam Vodka was nice enough to share one of their Austin-focused signature cocktails with us. If you don’t live in the Austin area or can’t find Juiceland or Topo Chico near you… feel free to substitute with your favorite cold-pressed green juice blend and favorite sparkling water (La Croix, anyone?). It won’t be quite as Austin-y, but I guarantee it will still be delicious.

The Green Belt

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Endless Simmer Beer Trade

Beer Trade: Try Something New

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Whoever said “let’s make America great again” doesn’t know about the American ingenuity of craft beer drinkers. One of the best things about craft beer is that we all love to share. We’ve mentioned the great beer exchange, but let us not forget about beer trades. Typically between two people, a beer trade will consist of a set of parameters and a deadline for each person to meet and ship out a selection of beers. Beer trades allow us beautiful beer people to not only partake in a diverse amount of beers that we may not otherwise purchase, but to also try beers that are well outside of your geographic bounds.

One of my co-workers would bring up which beers his brother sent him from California in exchange for some local beers from the Northeast. He would brag about the most recent batch of Pliny or a small microbrewery in San Diego. Finally, it hit me: my wife has a cousin in Seattle. After a few texts, we set up a trade of our own from PA to Seattle and back. Success.

Of course, I am not the founder of the beer trade. This has surely been going since the dawning of craft beer. When visiting in Tampa, I was given business cards of fellow beer lovers to arrange a trade. They went on about how they are a member of a network that posts the beers in their cellar and then offers are made. I’m sure there are a bunch of networks out there (in addition to just arranging through personal relationships), but what appears to be a more exclusive network is The Beer Exchange.

At the Beer Exchange, you are required to create an account before even perusing through the options. First things first, provide your cellar, or inventory. From there, you can post what you have for trade, what you want and what is not for trade (your means of bragging about beer to people who care). For those fantasy football fans – think of this as your waiver wire. Finally, you can manage who your friends are and provide feedback through star ratings as well as providing actual reviews. This is a social network for beer people. WIN.

Even reddit has a beer trade thread. Obviously since it is on reddit, it’s a big deal. I will be trying my hand at the online beer exchange, however I personally think the easiest way to go is to trade with your personal friends. Find a friend in a far away land and pony up the bill to trade some suds. Let’s make America great again…one beer at a time.

Happy National Watermelon Day!

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Tomorrow, August 3rd is apparently National Watermelon Day…a holiday I’ve been personally pre-celebrating pretty much every day for the past three weeks or so. Fresh watermelon is pretty much my favorite thing about summer, but this year I’ve also noticed a plethora of watermelon drinks on the market. One of the tastier ones I’ve sampled is Sparkling Ice’s Strawberry Watermelon fizzy drink, and for the holiday occasion they’ve offered up this fabulous recipe for filling your watermelon with…what else? Watermelon!

Pomegranate Watermelon Summer Slush

Ingredients:
1/2 Personal-size seedless watermelon, chilled, cut & cubed (about 5 cups)
1/3 Cup Sparkling Ice Strawberry Watermelon
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 to 2 Cups ice
Small watermelon wedge, spear of blueberries a few pomegranate seeds (optional for garnishes)

Directions:
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Garnish as desired and serve in a hollowed-out watermelon shell for a fun “fish bowl” inspired drink.

Oh, and if you’re not liking this whole “mock” thing….sub in some hard stuff!
Sparkling Watermelon Vodka Lemonade

Ingredients:
3 Cups seedless watermelon pieces
3 Lemons, juiced
1/2 Cup Vodka
1/4 Cup Fresh Mint
2 Cups Lemon Lime Sparkling Ice

Directions:
In a blender, puree the watermelon and lemon juice, strain through a sieve into a drink pitcher. Add mint, vodka and Lemon Lime Sparkling Ice, then stir. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh mint.

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