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Sep 19, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Drink This Weekend Edition

Drink This Weekend Edition: Oktoberfest St. Louis at UCBC

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

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One of the world’s biggest beer parties kicks off this weekend in Munich as the Germans begin their annual Oktoberfest celebration. Lucky for St. Louisans, there is one among us who knows a thing or two about throwing an authentic Munich-style party: Urban Chestnut brewmaster Florian Kuplent, who hails from Munich. Urban Chestnut and Schlafly team up for Oktoberfest St. Louis 2014 this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21, at UCBC’s Midtown Brewery.

Oktoberfest St. Louis is two days of German food, music, and, of course, beer. Fill your stomach with bratwurst, currywurst and pretzels, then dance to music provided by the likes of Über Cool, The Deutschmeister Brass Band, Larry Hallar and more. UCBC Oktoberfest will also have some fun traditional Oktoberfest games. Flex your muscles (or your thumbs) and prepare for a round of Masskrüge (stein holding, pictured), Fingerhackeln (finger wrestling) and Baumstamm sägen (log sawing).

But this is Oktoberfest, and when hosted by two of our city’s best breweries, it’s all about the beer. Imbibe with at least six styles of German beers from UCBC and Schlafly, including Oktoberfest, Kölsch, Schwarzbier, Fest Bier (Oachkatzlschwoaf), Weissebier (Schnickelfritz), Zwickel and dunkel (Dorfbier).

No tickets needed for this awesome party, but buy a commemorative glass stein for $8 in advance or $10 the day of the event. Refills are $8 for a whole liter during the entire festival. Bring cash to cut down on wait times; UCBC will only have one stand accepting credit cards.

This is always one heck of a party– don’t miss it. Prost!

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of this event.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Bottled Southsider at The St. Louis Classic Cocktail Party

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

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If you’ve seized on the craft cocktail moment, feel like partaking in the bevy of locally produced Missouri spirits or simply plan to spend this relatively chilly weekend with a few warming cocktails, you need to step inside the wrought-iron gates of Lafayette Park. That’s where 13 Missouri distillers are convening for The St. Louis Classic Cocktail Party Saturday, Sept. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m., to usher in St. Louis Craft Spirits & Cocktail Week, which has dizzying lineup of events Sept. 13 to 21.

At Spirits of St. Louis Distillery (part of Square One Brewing), just down the street from the park, owner Steve Neukomm and his staff have been hard at work perfecting two bottled cocktails to debut at Saturday’s party. Neukomm and company will fill 6-ounce glass bottles with their scratch-made Southsider and La Paloma batch cocktails.

Both options are Spirits’ twists on distinctly canonical drinks, and the distillers are taking things one step further. The cocktails are pre-batched in sixth barrel kegs (they hold about 5.2 gallons), carbonated using a Perlini cocktail carbonation system and then piped into bottles.

The Southside mix wisely eschews its usual ginger beer for uncarbonated ginger syrup and uses Spirits’ JJ Neukomm’s single-malt whiskey and Angostura bitters. The ingredients marinate and intermingle until they are transformed into the full-bubbled final beverage. The result is a crisper and more mixed flavor to the cocktail than if it were prepared for you by hand at the bar.

“The whole drink is completely carbonated, so it has a better mouth feel,” Neukomm said. “They are going to be different than the cocktails you taste normally … It’s a newer way of looking at (them).”

The bottled cocktails have a slightly lower alcohol content than their bar-made counterparts, but don’t let that deter you; the JJ Neukomm whiskey, sturdy by any measure, maintains a central, if subtler, presence in the cocktail, while the ginger is dialed up and sweetened, as if somehow fresh-squeezed.

Tastes and full pours are available at the Classic Cocktail Party from each of the 14 distillery booths, using drink tickets available for purchase on site. Proceeds from the night’s festivities support the Arts Council of Lafayette Square and St. Louis chapter of the U.S. Bartenders Guild.

Keep the party going all week long during Craft Spirits & Cocktail Week. Mission Taco’s “cocktail takeover” will showcase locally produced spirits on a special cocktail menu throughout the week. On Sept. 16 at 5 p.m., The Gin Room at Cafe Natasha’s will host Gin Night, featuring both Pinckney Bend and Spirits of St. Louis.

Whiskey lovers can imbibe on Wednesday, Sept. 17, when The Whiskey Ring will offer a variety of samples from local distilleries, including Pinckney Bend, Still 630, Coulter & Payne Farm Distillery, Wood Hat Spirits, Dark Horse Distillery and Spirits of St. Louis. Beginning at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 19, Layla hosts a late-night happy hour showcasing local spirits, burgers, shawarma, and shakes. And on Saturday you have the pick of the litter, as each participating distillery will open its doors for tours. Be sure to call ahead since hours vary.

If you’re still thirsty after all that, end your bender week USBG’s Punch in the Park Sept. 21 from 1 to 5 p.m. The event will offer samples of eight different punches made with local spirits from eight bars. Finally, if you miss out on all this, hit the liquor store: Randall’s, The Wine and Cheese Place and Lukas Liquor will each offer their own specials throughout the week.

Additional reporting by Georgia Kaye and Grace Kennedy

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Susucaru 6

Friday, September 5th, 2014

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Like avoiding white attire, the notion of abandoning rosé after Labor Day is antiquated, to put it politely. If you must be convinced, we present a very different rosé: Susucaru 6 is floral, herbal, fruit-forward, toothsome, full-bodied, and as dry as they come.

Frank Cornilessen began making wine in Sicily in 2001, and he is leading the charge in natural winemaking; avoiding “all possible intervention to the lands we cultivate, including any treatments, whether chemical, organic or biodynamic, as these are all a mere reflection of the inability of man to accept nature as she is and will be,” according to his website.

He doesn’t irrigate his vineyards, nor does he add compost, herbicide or anything else, save for a cover crop of buckwheat and wildflowers. He ferments with only indigenous yeast. Perhaps most radically, no sulfur is added to the wines. He sterilizes his facility with ozone and uses sterilized synthetic corks on most bottlings.

Although he focuses on growing Nerello Mascalese grapes, he produces a limited bottling of rosé he calls Susucaru, which roughly translates to “They swallowed it,” or “They stole it,” which, as the story goes is what vineyard workers cried out when they saw all the grapes were stolen on the morning of the first harvest.

Although the grapes come from a single year’s harvest, they are not vintage-dated, but instead are numbered by production. The wine is made from a blend of red and white grapes including chardonnay, Cattaratto, Nerello Mascalese and more, and the result is otherworldly. Susucaru is for the adventurous; because it’s bottled without sulfur, you can expect to drink a different wine each time you pop a bottle. Sometimes there may be sediment; at other times, you may experience a touch of fizz. It’s evolution in a glass and terroir at its most intriguing.

On the nose, there are notes of rose petal, sour cherry and cinnamon. The wine is full-bodied on the palate with rose, cherry, charcoal and rhubarb, along with notes of coriander and occasional hints of juicy strawberry and savory orange zest. It has a broad, majestic tannin and an earthy, herbal, spicy finish with medium to medium-plus acid.

Susucaru 6 pairs well with dishes like smoked paprika-dusted trout, heirloom tomato salad and hard Alpine cheeses. Buy a bottle at The Wine Merchant in Clayton or try it at Bar Italia, The Crossing, Acero, Olio and Five Bistro.

 

-photo courtesy of Wines; Tasted!

Drink This Weekend Edition: Stouts for Strays at Craft Beer Cellar

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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It’s audacious, serving up stouts in August, especially since right now St. Louis is a special hell’s-kitchen kind of hot. If your now-desiccated beer palate is insistent on cider, Pilsner, saison, or anything else really, you’ll find almost all of it at Craft Beer Cellar in Clayton, where the Brothers Nickelson have amassed a dazzling variety of beer in clean, minimalist quarters for your guzzling delight.

There’s a lot to observe here, but this weekend you should start sniffing in the far back corner of the building, where the tasting bar is. The five taps, which usually rotate every week, are now pouring a collection of standout stouts, that thickest, darkest breed of beer usually reserved for the winter solstice and upper latitudes – think Oslo in February.

But co-owner Brandon Nickelson said calling stouts a winter-only libation is a misnomer. “Obviously you don’t want to drink one outside while mowing the lawn, but inside … It doesn’t matter when you’re drinking them, they’re still great beers,” he said.

Here’s another reason to sip a stout: it’s for a good cause, a week-long event Craft Beer Cellar is calling Stouts for Strays, during which proceeds from sales at the draft bar will be donated to Stray Rescue of St. Louis through Saturday, Aug. 30. We’re on the, ahem, tail end of this event, but there’s still time to drop in this weekend.

On tap right now are Evil Twin Brewing’s I Love You With My Stout, Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout, Sierra Nevada’s Narwhal, Great Divide Brewing’s Oatmeal Yeti and Southern Tier 2X Double Milk Stout. Served at a cool (not cold) temperature from the tap, each is a surprisingly bracing pick-me-up when sipped in the cool confines of the bar.

Nomadic Danish brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin has whipped up a fiendishly strong but complex stout weighing in at 12 percent ABV. Stone’s contribution, as with all its beers, is assertive (bordering on aggressive), especially with the dark malt flavors. It’s attitude in a glass. And the surprising best-in-show was the 2X Double Milk Stout, a sessionable, creamy brew that leans toward chocolate milk one hand and coffee on the other.

I admit: These beers aren’t bad for summer, somewhere between a beverage and a light meal. All except the 2X Double Milk Stout are available by the bottle, but it’s much more fun to sidle up to the bar, order a half-pint of each ($4), talk beer with the Nickelsons and imagine all the tails that are wagging thanks to your support.

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Sangria, Red or White

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

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Just in case you forgot what summer in St. Louis is supposed to feel like, it’s back with a vengeance. This weekend is going to be hot. Like triple-digit heat index hot. It’s time to quench your thirst with a classic summer sipper. Here, we set you up with sangria two ways, whether you like bold, fruity reds or delicate, floral whites.

For the red wine crowd, mix a robust Burgundy or cabernet sauvignon with brandy, triple sec, peach schnapps, blood orange and liqueurs, fresh fruit puree, citrus juices and club soda. Get the recipe for this powerful, fruity sangria here.

Not a red wine drinker? Go light and bright with a few bottles of dry Spanish white wine. Stir it up with apples, orange slices, lemons, limes, peach schnapps, orange juice, brandy, triple sec and sugar to sweeten the pot. Get the recipe here.

Drink This Weekend Edition: 2nd Shift Brewing’s Hibiscus Wit

Friday, August 15th, 2014

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2nd Shift Brewing brews can be divisive among hop aficionados and hop haters; the New Haven brewery has long been recognized as the one that makes “all those hoppy beers.” But in fact, head brewer Steve Crider has a knack for a broad array of styles, such as Hibiscus Wit, 2nd Shift’s take on a classic witbier.

Also known as white beer, witbier is a classic Belgian style known for its cloudy appearance and use of spices like coriander and orange peel in the brewing process. This practice actually comes from a much older method of brewing practiced before the widespread use of hops. The cloudy appearance comes from the large amount of unmalted wheat used in brewing.

2nd Shift’s unorthodox use of hibiscus flowers sets its witbier apart. You immediately notice the hibiscus’ signature pink hue when you pour the beer, along with a fluffy off-white head. Lively carbonation and a high level of wheat add a touch of tart crispness with gentle notes of lemongrass, coriander and citrus. Hibiscus Wit is a refreshing summertime beverage to pair with a mild, delicate cheese like Edam or a bright summer salad.

Hibiscus Wit can often be found on tap at St. Louis area beer bars like Bailey’s Range and Bridge; 750-milliliter bottles are available at better bottle shops.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Sundowner

Friday, August 8th, 2014

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We’ll take any excuse to pour ourselves a drink on a Friday, but when you declare a holiday to honor a spirit, well, that’s cause for at least two. National Rum Day is Aug. 16, and we’re testing new sippers this weekend to be adequately prepared for any upcoming festivities. While we have several rummy picks at hand in the Sauce Recipe Database, we’re always up for something new, and the crew at Butler’s Pantry obliged us with its Sundowner.

This spiced, fruity sipper is best served with lots of ice in a tall glass. The Sundowner gets its name for the British term used to describe drinks imbibed at sunset, typically to reward a long day of work. Granted, sundown isn’t until 8:05 p.m. today, but since we clock out at 5 p.m. (or a tad earlier), don’t judge if we indulge a little closer to the American happy hour.

Sundowner
Recipe courtesy of Butler’s Pantry chef Greg Ziegenfuss
2 servings

2 oz. ginger beer
2 oz. agave nectar
4 oz. Cruzan black strap rum
Juice of 1 lime
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Fresh grated nutmeg for garnish
Smoked paprika for garnish
2 lime wheels for garnish

• Combine the ginger beer, agave nectar, rum, lime juice and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, cover and shake vigorously about 20 times.
• Fill two tall glasses with ice. Strain into the glasses and garnish each with the nutmeg, smoked paprika and a lime wheel.

- Photo courtesy of Sara Ketterer/Butler’s Pantry

Drink This Weekend Edition: Jaffurs 2013 Viognier

Friday, August 1st, 2014

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The viognier grape can be quite troublesome. In fact, it was nearly extinct in 1965; only 8 to 30 acres were planted in the Rhone during that time. It has a notoriously low yield. It’s risky to plant at all; it’s more susceptible to powdery mildew than many other grape varietals. If harvested before the fruit is at its ripest, the grape produces low-acid wines with no character. But wait too long and winemakers have a hot, flabby, oily, off-kilter mess on their hands. So why would anyone gamble on viognier?

One whiff of the storied viognier from Château-Grillet should be enough to answer that question. It is the epitome of every viognier tasting note: not just white flower, but also lush gardenia and dewy honeysuckle. Not just orchard fruit, but also ripe peaches picked after a summer storm. It’s full-bodied but has lively acid, and the long finish lingers until the sun goes down. However, not everyone has the $100-plus that bottle can run. Thankfully, there are plenty of good viognier alternatives from the Rhone, Australia and the U.S.

We particularly like the wine coming from Jaffrus Wine Cellars in California’s Santa Maria Valley. Owner Craig Jaffurs makes just 850 cases of viognier, grown in his 159-year-old Bien Nacido Vineyard, and his winemaking style includes fermenting and aging the wine in a combination of stainless-steel and neutral French oak barrels.

The nose on this wine has bright, white peach character with subtle underlying tones of honeysuckle and lilac. The front palate is silky soft with hints of spicy herb and white pepper. This wine is incredibly balanced with flavors of apricot, honeydew melon and gardenia mingling with earth and garrigue. Although it’s fairly full bodied and lush, there’s ample acid on the incredibly long finish. Pair this one with hearty seafood dishes or spicier fare with an Asian flourish. Available at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton.

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 5 can’t-miss events to kick off St. Louis Craft Beer Week

Friday, July 25th, 2014

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year for local craft beer aficionados. St. Louis Craft Beer Week kicks off this Saturday, July 26 and culminates Sunday, Aug. 23. The sixth annual event celebrates the thriving beer community in St. Louis, and dozens of local breweries, beer bars, restaurants, distributors and retail shops are in on the action.

There are more than 80 events lined up for this year’s week of St. Louis beer love, including tap takeovers, beer dinners, a pop culture comedy/trivia mashup, keep-the-glass nights and even a beer-centric yoga session. There’s something for everyone, from the hardcore hophead to inquisitive beer nerd to the occasional sipper. This weekend alone features nearly a dozen events; here, your itinerary to get you in the STLCBW spirit.

1. The week starts where it does every year: 33 Wine Bar in Lafayette Square. The wine bar switches its focus to brews Saturday at 11 a.m. for B33r and Brats, with bratwurst from Mac’s Local Buys alongside a draft list we’re told will have a few must-taste surprises.

2. At noon, head to Six Row Brewing Co., for its Srawberry Braggot release. Braggot is an ancient drink that brews spices, barley malt and local honey with beer and mead. This is a limited release, so be sure to get there early.

3. Then, make your way to Three Kings Pub for dinner at 6 p.m. and sip a sour during the New Belgium Brewing Sour Saturday. Some of the best sour beers come out of this Fort Collins, Colorado brewery, and many of them will be on tap Saturday night, such as a 2014 La Folie, 2014 Transatlantique Kreik and 2013 Tart Lychee.

4. Once you’ve recovered from Saturday, get your barbecue on at Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.’s monthly UCBC Blues and Q, starting at noon at its Midtown brewery and Biergarten. This event features liter and half-liter specials, live music and barbecue from UCBC chef Andy Fair.

5. Finish your craft brew weekend at the aptly named Epic Beer Tasting at Craft Beer Cellar. Starting at 1 p.m., there will be 20 different beers to taste every two hours, including a special 4 Hands brew.  While you’re there, nosh on Strange Donuts, pretzels from Pretzel Boys and brownies from Pint Size Bakery.

And that’s is just the beginning. Click here for a full schedule of the week’s events and make  plans to enjoy some of the most creative, interesting beers in St. Louis.

Sauce contributing writer Eric Hildebrandt is also a member of the STLCBW planning committee.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Build-your-own mojito (a Boogaloo redux)

Friday, July 18th, 2014

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It’s mid-afternoon on a Friday, I’m sitting in one of the swings tethered around the bar at Boogaloo, and I’ve got major déjà vu. A sudden memory of a slim little title called Jungle Safari enters my head, one of those books in the Choose Your Own Adventure young adult series pioneered by Ed Packard. Boogaloo’s new mojito menu, unveiled earlier this month, demands a similar degree of reader participation, and there’s a nagging sense that we’ve seen something like this before…

Assuming you follow our Drink This Weekend Edition column religiously (c’mon, admit it), you’ll remember that Boogaloo rolled out the novel “build-your-own Manhattan” menu late last fall. This summer, they’ve shifted focus to the mojito.

“We like to keep to a very classic mojito style,” said bar manager Justin Mills as he mixed one up for me. If you’re yenning for the purist’s version of the drink, you can find it here, or you can branch out as wildly as you desire. The menu format is exceedingly minimalist (reminiscent, say, of Web 2.0 platforms), easy to navigate and forgiving of experimentation. Allow us to walk you through the steps:

Step 1: Pick your rum.
The most exigent decision here, naturally. Eleven rums are laid out in order of price and quality, starting with the well ($7), all the way to the venerable-sounding Plantation 20th Anniversary ($15). Possessing a middling acumen for rum at best, I went with the Plantation Grenada 2004 for $10.

Step 2: Pick your flavor.
This is where things get interesting. Choose from six flavor modifiers, all of which are combined with lime and thrown into the mix. (The default “Traditional” option is lime and lime.) Admittedly not a fan of cucumbers, I took a gamble on cucumber-lime for that refreshing botanical effect. Other options include ginger, orange, cherry and lemon.

Step 3: Pick your sugar.
Personal preference here: choose either granulated, raw cane or agave nectar as a sweetener, or a combination of all three, as Mills advised me.

Step 4: Pick your herb.
An aromatic garnish goes a long way, and the options are plentiful; the menu offers mint, chocolate mint, lemon balm, purple basil and pineapple sage. The purple basil, which Mills slipped into my finished glass, offered a lovely flash of deep violet for visual and gustatory appeal.

If my mojito safari were in choose-your-own-adventure format, I’ve ducked the crocodiles, tiger traps and headhunters and plumbed the inner sanctum of the mojito gods’ temple. Those notes of cucumber and basil are nasal, light and pleasingly brisk, even for someone who shies away from botanical flavors. Here’s a cocktail I could make short work of all summer.

True, not much can go wrong here – you’re combining sugar, lime, the burnt-molasses flavor of rum and fragrant herbs, all of which make delicious ingredients. Still, it’s fun to mix and match to your heart’s content, or, having quenched your mojito wanderlust, return again to the original recipe. And unlike those adventure books, no mistakes can be made, nor are fate or consequence any concern. Of the 990 possible mojito permutations available to you at the bar, you’re on track to select a winner. Give yourself a pat on the back, sip and enjoy.

 

 

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