Gingerbread Man Old Fashioned

Top 10 Holiday Cocktails

Ah yes, here we are. The red cups are back, people are crankier than ever, and our bank accounts are draining the same day we get paid. So how do we cope celebrate? Alcohol and parties! Yes, we all gather to celebrate the holidays and drink our sorrows away. Well, this year, impress your colleagues, friends, and family with some new cocktail recipes. You’re welcome.

10. Candy Cane Affogato

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Ever since I had my first Affogato on a cruise, I will always order it when on the dessert menu. But now, this?! Not only do I get my espresso with my ice cream, but there’s a bit of booze and minty freshness. Sign me up.

9. Wine Me Up Santa

I got a massive bottle of red wine for our recent holiday party. Well, a day later and there is still at least 3/4 of the bottle left. Knowing it would “go bad” in a few days, I drank the rest of the bottle myself. Next time, I’ll be offering these at the party. Unless I’m feeling like drinking an entire bottle of wine again.

8. Gingerbread Man Old Fashioned

Gingerbread Man Old Fashioned

I’m a whiskey fan. Go to drink is typically a Whiskey Sour or just drinking it straight. I’m always looking for other cocktails to make than the Whiskey Sour. Well, here we have it – Gingerbread Man Old Fashioned. I’ll be having this one tonight. Cheers.

7. Hot Buttered Whiskey

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At my super-classy holiday party, I was tempted to serve buttered rum. Only thing was that the party just started and I didn’t feel like bringing another Crock Pot up from the basement. You can use this recipe with rum or whiskey. I suggest whiskey.

6. Candy Cane Martini

Some like to keep it simple. While this certainly is not for the lightweights, it will get the job done.

5. Haute Hazelnut Cocktail

A few years back, I fell in love with Rumchata. This version of Bailey’s is very similar. I mean, I could probably even have this drink with breakfast.

4. New York Sour

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First time I had this drink was at Keen’s in New York City. I always ask if the bartender knows how to make this. if they say no – then I go with beer. Otherwise, I go for this every time.

3. Hot Peanut Buttered Rum

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The POV in D.C. offers this up as their spin on buttered rum. Start with peanut butter infused rum with hot cinnamon tea, butter, and of course a bunch of whipped cream on top.

2. Punched Up Punch

Organic Punch 5

Take yourself back to the days of college, grain alcohol, and Kool Aid. Now class it up a bit and you have this drink made with Brazilian Cachacaliqueur, ginger infused acai spirit, organic tea syrup, lime and passion fruit juice. Originally found at Poste in DC.

1. Purple Snowflake Martini

 

I mean…if you want glitz and glam at your holiday party. Here it is. And it has plenty of booze too!

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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Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

Summer Food & Wine Pairings with Michel Schlumberger

Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

I recently spent a GLORIOUS long weekend in Sonoma County, California. What was I doing there? WINE TASTING, obviously! I guess some people go to Sonoma to ride bikes or shop or something, but for me it’s 100% wine, 100% of the time. One of the many highlights I enjoyed on this Sonoma wine weekend was an afternoon at Michel-Schlumberger winery, where we toured the grounds and cellars before settling into the best part of the winery: a five-course food and wine pairing in their beautiful back garden.

Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

Before each course, the chef came out and introduced his course, which wine was paired with it, and why. Educational and delicious! I loved every bite and sip. Let’s recap together! You just might find some inspiration for your upcoming summer cookout… there’s so much more to backyard BBQ boozin’ than just beer.

Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

Course 1: Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Cup with Toasted Peanuts paired with NV Brut
Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

Why a sparkling wine with this shrimp course? The crisp brightness of the brut pairs well with the delicate flavors found in both shrimp and Vietnamese seasonings. Sparkling whites can also stand up nicely to spicy food, and this shrimp definitely had a kick to it!

Course 2: Bruschetta with Grilled Peaches, Ricotta, Toasted Pecans, and Estate Olive Oil paired with 2013 Gold Collection Chardonnay
Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

 

So this might not look like much from the photo, but this bruschetta was phenomenal. Peaches and soft cheese are always a great combo, but the toasted pecans and the kiss of olive oil really added a roundness to the dish. This particular chardonnay boasts a smooth, full, creamy body that can stand up to the richness of the olive oil. The fruity notes of the chardonnay ties in with the light, sweet peaches as well.

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Trader Joe's Boxed Wine

Newsflash: Trader Joe’s Now has BOXED WINE

Trader Joe's Boxed Wine

The headline says it all. Maybe the most important headline of your/my/OUR lives.

According to a smug, boxed-wine loving friend, this Trader Joe’s boxed wine has been a thing for awhile now.

But I just found out about it. So I figured a lot of you didn’t know, ether.

Well, it’s here, and it’s more than adequate. I LOVE YOU TRADER JOES. Thank you and good night.

Endless Pairings: Emeril’s Chophouse

Emerils

While it’s clear we that love craft beer here at ES, we do not play favorites. Which is why we took advantage of an opportunity to attend a four-course wine pairing dinner at Emeril’s Chophouse at Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA.  The event was based on South American Wines (from Chile) and some fall-themed foods. My expectations for this event were pretty simple – learn more about wine (how it’s made, how to choose a wine for particular meals, what’s so special about Chilean wine?), have some great food that I couldn’t have otherwise, and taste wine that truly complements the food I’m eating with the wine. Rather than boring you with my oh-so-important and attention-worthy opinions of every course, I’ll give you the cliff notes version.

First, let’s talk about my educational expectations. Whenever I go to these kinds of events, I want to leave knowing more than I did when I first arrived. The woman in charge of the “educational” aspect of the event was a very well-versed representative from Southern Wine. She did a great job of explaining why she chose Chilean Wines for this event (it is under-represented and often under-rated) and giving a good run-down of the people that made the wine. Something that I appreciated was learning about what the winemakers intended for the wine, what kind of grapes they picked, and why they picked a particular region. For instance, when drinking my favorite wine of the night (Ritual Pinot Noir) I learned that the grapes are pressed with the berries still in a bunch. When this occurs, more pronounced tanin flavors come through in the wine (which is something that I look for in a dry red).  The one thing that was missing from the education aspect of the event was that she really did not discuss why she chose the particular wine for each course. Like I said – she gave great information about the wines, but not as much about why the wine was chosen for the courses.

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BeatBox Booze

The Best/Worst New Invention for Your Summer 2014 Drinking Agenda

BeatBox Booze

Cool, look, a new stereo system!

No, wait, it’s just sugary pre-made cocktails in a candy-colored boombox packaging. Who needed wine in a box when you can have “wine-based cocktails” in a Beatbox? I was too afraid to purchase and taste-test for myself when I saw these at my local HEB, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pretty curious. If these aren’t 100% horrible, I could see myself ironically bringing some to a summer pool party this year.

The three flavors I’ve seen, ranked from most to least offensive:
3. Blue Razzberry Lemonade (“raspberry” spelled with not one, but two Zs!)
2. Box A’Rita (you can’t make a real margarita with wine, come on now)
1. Cranberry Limeade (it’s the one that sounds least like Guy Fieri named it, so I have to give it my thumbs up)

Someone out there has tried these, right? Y’all know my affinity for funny/novelty cheap packaged booze. Tell me if the joke is worth it.

Battle of the Corkscrew…Part I

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VS.

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Since we’re now grown up, we took a different route for New Year’s Eve. Fancy-shmancy dinner out, then drinking at home with some friends. Of the elite, mature, grown-up group was ML and her main squeeze. Fiancée and I have gotten to know them pretty well, and lucky for them we now live closer together. We even popped his Brazilian steakhouse cherry. But I digress. The most you need to know is that he likes to talk smack. And THIS is where it begins.

As we were all getting ready to leave, he says “OH, look at you—an electric wine opener, you must think you’re effing fantastic.” (of course I may/may not/may be exaggerating here) The electric wine opener was a gift from the future sister-in-law and we were looking forward to trying it. Our feelings were demolished, the solid relationship we’ve created with ML’s squeeze was emotionally damaged and we were highly offended. How dare he. Words were thrown across the room and finally, we realized—this calls for a battle.

Which wine tool would work better? The classic wine key that they use at the restaurants and has taken most of us years of college to realize how to actually use? Or is the electric opener that literally requires you to push one button? I’ll let you decide before I explain the “part I” piece. Judges…see below:

Yes…it looks like the hand-cranked wine key won. However what you don’t see is my foil cutter owning it. Also, ML’s squeeze has had years of practice when he was a waiter in a restaurant. This was my first time. See, the problem was that I repeatedly hit the “down” button and then the “up” button. I thought once the cork went down, you hit the up button. Turns out you hold the down button until the cork comes out. The up button is only to get rid of the cork. Therefore, we need another battle…now that we both know how to use our weapons. There WILL be another battle. And I WILL win. Get your favorite wine key…I’m comin’ at you, brah.

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