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Aug 31, 2015
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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: Boozy slushies on tap in Soulard

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

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{From left, the Voo Doo Brew and Brain Freeze at Trops}

 

Some weekends, we long for a perfectly balanced cocktail, a pint of obscure craft beer or a glass of elegant wine. And some weekends, we want neon frozen booze bombs served in plastic cups and sucked through a straw. This is one of those weekends.

Leave the coat and tie at home and sidle up to the bar at Tropical Liqueurs, where any cocktail you order comes boozed up and blended. Trops, as it’s known to University of Missouri students, recently opened at 1800 S. 10th St., in Soulard and serves up more than a dozen varieties of house-mixed, boozy slushies.

Mizzou alums will recognize the Tiger Paw from their Columbia stomping grounds. A riff on a fuzzy navel, peach and orange flavors dominate thanks to peach schnapps, pineapple and orange juices and Bacardi 151. The Voo Doo Brew is a sweet, tangy blast of banana liqueur, vodka, sloe gin, fresh banana puree and lemonade. If it’s a tequila kind of day, the Brain Freeze will oblige with tequila, Puerto Rican rum, gin, blue curaçao and lemonade.

Can’t decide? Mix and match. Combine up to three slushy flavors in one cup. The Silver Bullet, a basic mix of Everclear, lemonade and Sprite gives a tangy punch to any of the menu items like the sweet and fruity Sex on the Beach. Order your custom boozy concoction in a modest 12-ounce cup (holding around two to three shots of booze) to an innocuous-sounding extra-large. In fact, it’s a 44-ounce monster packing of eight to nine shots in one massive cup. If you really don’t want to remember the night, additional shots can be added for $2.

Grab your sunglasses, flip flops and a chair under one of the umbrella-covered patio tables or inside in the 40-seat bar, order a slushy and sip the weekend away pretending you’re at a beachside resort – or back in undergrad.

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: A taste of the Big Apple – and home

Friday, August 14th, 2015

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I just returned from a trip to New York City, a place I love for its crazy crowds, the rattle of the subway and really good bagels. I also had the chance to compare our wine scene to this bustling city and came away with a few observations:

1. St. Louis is home to more wine and spirits talent per capita. Our wine pros take training and certification very seriously, and they work very hard to earn titles. In my opinion, NYC has a lot of wine talent, yet some do not work toward certification as diligently as our hometown team.

2. NYC is home to more products. Every importer has a presence, and you can get pretty much any wine you desire (though it often costs more). While St. Louis has access to a lot of wine, I think we lack options when it comes to sherry, organic and kosher choices.

3. New York City has some amazing wine lists, especially in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, though STL is rapidly stepping up its game. Places like Elaia, Olio, Bar Italia and Bar Les Freres all pour some phenomenal wines (and I’ve got my eye on Reeds American Table, which has sommelier Andrey Ivanov overseeing the wine list). My wish: I’d love to see a wine bar like The Ten Bells in St. Louis – a loud, rambunctious atmosphere serving only hardcore natural wines and basic bar snacks.

Here, my two picks for this weekend – one from New York and the other, a hometown spirit:

2013 Fox Run Dry Riesling
This wine from New York’s Finger Lakes region is crisp and beautifully aromatic with notes of crushed lemon, apricot and stone. $20, available at Starrs

Lion’s Tooth Dandelion Liqueur
This local liqueur makes for incredible spritzes. Mix 1 ounce Lion’s Tooth with 2 ounces cranberry juice and 2 ounces seltzer, then pour over ice. $30, available at The Wine and Cheese Place

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Caipirinhas, 2 ways

Friday, July 31st, 2015

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I believe no home bar is complete without Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça. Unlike most rums made with molasses, cachaça is made with young sugar cane juice for an earthier, sour funkiness that is unmistakable. These flavors take beautifully to citrus, so it makes sense that Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha, is a simple mix of sugar and fresh lime. The recipe originates from an old apothecary remedy that called for lime, garlic and honey. Over time, rum was added and the garlic and honey were replaced with sugar to cut the lime’s acidity.

This cocktail is versatile, too. Don’t have limes? Try a cucumber or a more exotic fruit like cherimoya. You don’t even to use cachaça or rum; swap the spirit for vodka and you have a caipiroska. Try these recipes for a traditional Caipirinha and a riff on the classic with refreshing strawberry and cucumber – both perfect for a hot summer weekend.

 

Caipirinha
1 serving

½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup water
1 lime, quartered, divided
2 oz. cachaça
1 oz. fresh lime juice

• Combine the sugar and water in a saucepot and heat until sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.
• Place 3 lime quarters and ½ ounce simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add cachaça and lime juice, fill with ice and shake a few seconds to combine. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with muddled fruit and the remaining lime quarter.

Strawberry Cucumber Caipirinha
1 serving

½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup water
2 strawberries, stemmed
1 1-inch cucumber slice
1½ oz. cachaça
½ oz. fresh lime juice

• Combine the sugar and water in a saucepot and heat until sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.
• Place the strawberries, cucumber and ½ ounce simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add cachaça and lime juice, fill with ice and shake a few seconds to combine. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with the muddled fruit.

Kyle Harlan is bar manager at Mission Taco Joint and a member of the St. Louis USBG chapter.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Celebrate St. Louis Craft Beer Week

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

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It’s the most wonderful time of the beer lover’s year: The seventh annual St. Louis Craft Beer Week kicks off Saturday, July 25, a nine-day celebration of the best in the St. Louis-area beer community. This year, more than 130 tastings, festivals, release parties, tappings and pairings are scheduled from Oakville to Alton. It all kicks off Saturday with the sold-out Midwest Belgian Beer Festival, but fear not – there are plenty of other events to jumpstart your week.

The official Midwest Belgian Beer Fest After Party starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at 33 Wine Bar with a draft lineup featuring Perennial’s new Suburban Beverage and standouts like Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA. You can also raise a glass of Bell’s Brewing’s Sparkleberry, Deb’s Red or 2014 Third Coast Ale on The Loop at Three Kings’ opening night celebration Saturday at 6 p.m.

Drink plenty of water Sunday morning in preparation for Cans, Chicken, Cine, Ice Cream at 4 Hands’ new Container Bar outside the brewery. This all-day extravaganza starts and noon and features brews from 4 Hands and Bell’s, hot chicken brats from the Southern and Byrd & Barrel crews and made-to-order ice cream from Ices Plain & Fancy. As for the cine portion of the evening, grab a seat at 9 p.m. for a screening of Wet Hot American Summer. Looking for something indoors that day? Check out Craft Beer Cellar’s Beer Geek Fest from noon to 6 p.m., where a total of 24 breweries will sample, and new offerings debut every two hours.

For a sit-down affair, get tickets for chef Ben Grupe latest installation of his pop-up dinner series, Soigné. This family-style, multi-course meal features dishes like maple-braised bacon with heirloom tomatoes and semolina dumplings all paired with local offerings from 2nd Shift, 4 Hands and Perennial.

The party rolls through Sunday, Aug. 2. Here, some quick highlights of what’s in store throughout next week:

• Monday, July 27: Art Bar hosts Bits ‘n Chips, a night of Tallgrass beer flights paired with the finest Dorito flavors to munch while you play more than 7,000 video games.

• Wednesday, July 29: iTap Central West End hosts Strange Invasion II, when the Strange Donuts crew pairs their creations with some of St. Louis’ best local brews.

• Thursday, July 30: Get your tickets for a six-course Beer and Burger Pairing at Heavy Riff. Southern California food truck Grill ‘Em All will prepare six sliders to enjoy with six brews from Heavy Riff and Excel Brewing.

Check out the full list of St. Louis Craft Beer Week events here.

 

Editor’s note: Eric Hildebrant is vice president of St. Louis Craft Beer Week, and Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of this event.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Cucumber Delight at The Gin Room

Friday, July 17th, 2015

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Here’s my list of the best ways to stay cool during this weather. 1. Go to the library. It has books and air conditioning. 2. Lay on a tile or linoleum floor (be aware that Target employees will think you’re nuts). 3. Drink gin.

Hailing from a cave in Parkville, Mo., S.D. Strong Distilling’s Pillar 136 Gin is a citrus-forward spirit that is smooth and bright with characteristic botanical notes. The flavor profile lends itself well to The Gin Room’s Cucumber Delight, a bubbly, summery riff on a classic gimlet – traditionally gin, lime juice and simple syrup.

To start, St. Germain, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and cucumber bits are muddled together. In goes ice for a quick shake, then the Pillar 136 Gin. After another shake, the cocktail is poured right into the glass, ice and all. A splash of club soda and lime wheel garnish later, the simple, clean cocktail is ready to go.

The result is a cool as a cucumber. The bright lime and forward gin pair well with the floral notes of St. Germain, and the smooth cucumber adds just enough sweetness to balance everything out. The Cucumber Delight is a chill, fizzy gin cocktail that takes the edge off the heat and humidity of late July.

Can’t get enough gin? You’re in luck. St Louis Gin Week kicks off this Monday, July 20 and runs through July 25. Stop by The Gin Room Saturday, July 24 and meet S.D. Strong Distilling owner Steve Strong.

 

Editor’s note: Sauce Magazine is sponsor of St. Louis Gin Week.

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 Perfect Summer Rosés

Friday, July 10th, 2015

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Summertime and rosé. Trust me on this.

Rosé often gets a bad rap. It’s billed as an insipid, boring wine with little or nothing to it. So often someone tells me, “I prefer a wine with more meat/more oak/more sweetness/more dryness.” In fact, a good rosé can remind us of sunshine, summer and days spent outside with good friends. This weekend, rain or shine, try these three examples of excellent dry, crisp and clean rosés, perfect for an afternoon of backyard grilling.

1. Domaine Font-Mars Dino de Cleménce Rosé
This rosé is made of 100-percent syrah grapes from the Languedoc region of France and tastes crisp and clean with flavors of fresh berries and citrus. One of my best indicators of quality is if my wife and I finish the bottle. We finished this easy-drinking wine so quickly, I didn’t even notice until I reached for another pour and found an empty bottle. The moral of the story: stock up. $12, available at Parker’s Table

2. Calera Vin Gris of Pinot Noir
This rosé, made entirely of pinot noir grapes, holds clean scents of roses and strawberries that continue on the palate with a hint of orange flower and a slightly minty, chalky touch. It’s a dry, beautiful wine that’s enjoyable and affordable, yet it exudes the craftsmanship of a small, artisanal vineyard on California’s central coast. $20, available at Randall’s in St. Louis

3. Chateau Thivin Beaujolais-Villages Rosé
I love Beaujolais. Not that banana, bubble gum stuff that comes out in November, but the family-owned, artisanal bottles created by small wineries in towns north of Lyon, France. This 100-percent gamay rosé, made by those same wineries, is essentially made like a white wine with only 24 hours skin contact. Its fresh, red-fruit flavors and tart finish make it perfect for barbecue and al fresco meals, pairing well with everything from olives to fresh fruit desserts. $18, available at Parker’s Table

Drink This Weekend Edition: 2nd Shift Technical Ecstasy

Friday, June 19th, 2015

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It wasn’t hard to find area brewery employees at the St. Louis Brewers Guild Heritage Festival last weekend. You just had to walk over to 2nd Shift Brewing’s booth, where a gaggle of brewery workers and beer nerds were all waiting to try owner-brewer Steve Crider’s new Czech-style Pilsner.

You see, a Czech Pils is a very technical beer style. It takes a deft hand not to screw it up. The style’s delicate nature means any flaws in the brewing process stick out like a sore thumb in the finished product. But Crider, who is best known for his top-notch IPAs and foray into Brett beers, was tempted to try this ambitious style after experiencing them on their home turf, Pilsen in the Czech Republic. And so, Technical Ecstasy was born.

Brewed with Bohemian Pils malt and Saaz hops (the standard for a Czech Pils), Technical Ecstasy pours a stunning hazy straw color with an enormous dense white head, the hallmark of a fresh Pilsner. The hops’ floral, slightly spicy aroma immediately lures you in. The medium-bodied mouth feel produces a soft, crackery maltiness immediately followed by spicy, slightly grassy notes. At 5.4 percent ABV, Technical Ecstasy is extremely crisp and refreshing; this beer can stand alone or pair with anything from chicken wings to a delicate pasta.

Technical Ecstasy is now available in 750-milliliter bottles at locations like Bombay Wines & Spirits and Fields Foods, and draft pours will be available at larger craft beer bars in the St. Louis area. Grab a bottle this weekend to see what all the fuss is about before our area brewers drink it all up.

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Add fizz to hot summer nights with wine spritzers

Friday, June 12th, 2015

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We all have that friend, the one who means well but is clueless when it comes to wine. So what to do when they proudly gift you a bottle that, well, sucks? Here’s one use for those bottles during a hot, humid St. Louis summer – make a refreshing spritzer. All you need is 4 ounces cheap wine, 2 ounces seltzer and ice. Everything else is optional.

Red wine: Spritzers change subpar reds in the most astounding ways. Light wines become fizzy and fun, and big, overblown wines become drinkable after they’re diluted. You can add some fruit for flavor. I love orange and lemon slices for refreshment and added acidity. Berries work, too; they look spectacular and soak up all that wine for a boozy treat at the end.

White wine: Adding seltzer to whites can dilute any unwelcome oaky flavors and can balance overly sweet notes as well. You can doctor with simple syrup, too, for added sugar, or take a tip from a margarita and rim a glass with salt or amchur, a sour mango powder available at international markets.

So next time you get a bottle of wine you don’t quite love, don’t regift it to the next unsuspecting victim. Invite them over and make spritzers instead

Drink This Weekend Edition: Negroni Week

Friday, June 5th, 2015

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It’s that time of year again; bars the world over have stocked up on the Campari for Negroni Week, a celebration of that classic cocktail that also benefits the community. A Negroni – equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari garnished with an orange twist – makes for a satisfying start to any meal, and they’re made all the more so when you know that a portion of the proceeds from your cocktail are donated to a local nonprofit.

You still have through Sunday, June 7, to imbibe for a cause at more than a dozen St. Louis area bars and restaurants, many of which offer their own spins on this traditional aperitif in addition to the classic sipper. Enjoy Negroni Week specials at:

Absolutli Goosed

Brasserie

Cleveland-Heath

Death In The Afternoon

Eclipse Restaurant At The Moonrise Hotel

Element

Franco

Frazers

Layla

Juniper

Niche

Pastaria

Planter’s House

Sasha’s on Shaw

Small Batch

Taste

The Dark Room

The Gin Room at Cafe Natasha

The Good Pie

The Libertine

 

Have you already indulged in a Negroni Week cocktail or two? Where did you go and what did you try? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of The Negroni by Gary Regan.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Something for the Fire

Friday, May 29th, 2015

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Mezcal and sherry are as appropriate a pairing as Missouri float trips and inordinate quantities of alcohol. With that in mind, I present a fantastic campfire cocktail that can be prepared and enjoyed in a Solo cup. (Of course in less rustic circumstances, the drink can be made as shown.)

First, make a large batch before you leave for camp minus the lime juice. Citrus will lose its bite over time, so if it will be more than a few hours before the festivities begin, I’d leave it out of the batch and squeeze some limes as your friends start the campfire.

Once the drink is concocted, add the desired amount to your cup, throw in some crushed ice and use a locally foraged twig (now it’s a craft cocktail!) to agitate the drink. Hold the stick between your palms and move your hands back and forth as if you were a Scout starting a fire. This is essentially how you swizzle a drink. There is some science behind how long to swizzle, but in this situation just give it a good swig after a few seconds. If it is too boozy or sweet, swizzle more. If it tastes like the last watery sip of a nearly empty whiskey and soda, you’ve gone too far. Drink it quickly and try again.

 

Something for the Fire
1 serving

½ oz. lime juice
1½ oz. Pedro Ximénez sherry
2 oz. mezcal (I recommend El Buho and Del Maguey Mezcal Vida.)
3 dashes Angostura bitters

• In a serving glass, combine all the ingredients. Add crushed ice and swizzle about 15 seconds. Taste and swizzle a few seconds more if too sweet or boozy.

Matt Osmoe is a member of USBG St. Louis and a bar manager at Blood & Sand.

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