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Nov 01, 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: 8 fall cocktails to shake on Halloween night

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

The jack-o’-lanterns are carved, your costume is ready, and the candy bowl is stocked. Time to kick off Halloween with a toast. We’ve got eight perfect sippers for All Hallows Eve, whether you’re dressing for a ghoulish night out or hosting a spooky soiree of your own.

 

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{Odd McIntosh}

Apples and fall go together like pumpkin and pie. Shake up a round of Apple Cider Martinis with cider and rum, or Odd McIntoshes with ginger and applejack. Of course, you can always combine bourbon, cider and ginger beer and declare yourself Mr. Autumn Man (or Ms. Autumn Woman).

Sick of cider? Try a boozy, apple-free Fallspice Cocktail with bourbon, Aperol, orange juice and grapefruit bitters.

 

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{Pumpkin Buttered Rum}

 

If your Halloween night  means traipsing through the neighborhood monitoring a pack of trick-or-treaters, warm your bones and regain your sanity with hot Spiced Cider or Pumpkin Buttered Rum.

 

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{Amsterdam Punch}

Hosting this year’s costumed festivities? Pull out a big bowl and fill it with bloody red Vampire’s Punch or the less gruesome but equally delicious Amsterdam Punch, loaded with baking spices like allspice, cloves, anise and cinnamon.

If cocktails aren’t your thing, you can’t go wrong with a St. Louis favorite: pumpkin beer, and we’ve got 17 local options to choose from.

Looking for more fun Halloween ideas? Click here to find out how to make your own taffy ghosts and candy bars, and click here for some of our favorite pumpkin desserts from Pumpkin Mousse Shortbread Bars to gluten-free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

 -Odd McIntosh photo by Brian Fagnani; pumpkin buttered rum photo by Jonathan S. Pollack; Amsterdam Punch photo by Jeff Cardin

Drink This Weekend Edition: It Doesn’t Get Better

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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The Bee’s Knees is a classic gin cocktail with origins in Prohibition, when booze was terrible (yes, even gin) and extra ingredients were added to cover up the taste of the inferior spirit. The result included a deliciously easy cocktail called The Bee’s Knees. I winterized it with barrel-aged gin (I use Smooth Ambler), which mellows out the cocktail and adds a malty component. You can find whiskey-barreled Woodside honey and gin barrel-aged bitters at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton.

It Doesn’t Get Better
1 serving

½ cup whiskey-barreled Woodside honey
¼ cup hot water
2 oz. barrel-aged gin
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Fee Brothers gin barrel-aged bitters
Lemon twist for garnish

• In a small bowl, stir together the honey and hot water until dissolved to create a honey syrup.
• Fill a Boston shaker with ½ ounce honey syrup, the gin, lemon juice and bitters. Shake and strain into a coupe. Garnish with lemon twist.

Natasha Bahrami is a member of USBG St. Louis and co-owner of Natasha’s Cafe and The Gin Room.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Perennial and New Belgium’s Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

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Collaboration beers between St. Louis brewers are nothing new, and we’ve been fortunate enough to try a number of tasty beverages brewed between friends. However, Perennial Artisan Ales recently took collaboration to a new level by partnering with craft beer industry veteran, New Belgium Brewing.

This brew came about thanks to the friendship between the Perennial crew and New Belgium’s Lauren Salazar, who happens to be a fan of Perennial’s stouts. It makes sense, then, that the partnership resulted in the Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout, part of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series. To put the craft beer giant’s size – and the collaboration’s significance – into perspective, New Belgium produced more of this one beer than all the beer Perennial makes in a year.

Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout pours as a rich, pitch-black masterpiece with a head that puts off the delicious aroma of baker’s chocolate and dark fruit esters. The creamy mouth feel makes this beer a decadent treat, and the slight salty touch complements the sweet chocolate, a combination that sets your taste buds firing. Weighing in at 9 percent ABV, this one is sure to keep you warm this fall and winter.

Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout can be found at most beer bars and bottle shops, along with the tasting room at Perennial. In addition, you can hang out with the fine folks who collaborated on this beer tonight, Oct. 16 at SoHa from 4 to 6 p.m. and at Bridge from 7:30 to 9 p.m., where they’ll pair small plates with beers from both breweries. Tomorrow, Oct. 17, Salazar and Perennial brewmaster Phil Wymore will hang out at iTap’s Central West End location from 3 to 6 p.m.; join them to try a number of New Belgium and Perennial beers, including this fantastic new collaboration.

Eric Hildebrandt is the moderator and ambassador for STL Hops. Find him on Twitter at @EricSTL6.

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 2013 Hugl Grüner Veltliner

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

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As the weather gets cooler, many wine drinkers opt for richer, redder wines than they’ve imbibed in the last months of summer. Yet some days – and drinkers – still call for white. On unseasonably warm autumn afternoons, we reach for Grüner Veltliner.

Grüner is a white grape variety native to Austria. It can produce wines that range from light and flirty to rounder and more serious. It’s an ideal white for cool-weather drinking, as it pairs well with the heartier fare consumed during chilly months.

Although there are many fantastic producers out there, the Hugl family makes one of the best values available. Husband-and-wife team Martin and Sylvia Hugl practice green harvesting, the act of harvesting immature grapes before the official harvest to encourage the vines to develop the higher-quality grapes still on the vine. They also use cold fermentation, usually fermenting the wine around 50 to 60 degrees, which preserves the aromatics of the wines more effectively. The result is a complex, intense white that’s infinitely food friendly.

On the nose, the Grüner Veltliner holds lime curd, white pepper and notes of tart pear. On the palate, it is silky with refined acid. Yellow plum, lemon zest, melon and intense mineral make this wine a no-brainer for rich or spicy dishes.

The 2013 Hugl Grüner Veltliner is available at The Wine & Cheese Place in Clayton and Creve Coeur.

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Co-pilot

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Co-pilot at Eclipse Restaurant

Sitting next to him in a stool at Eclipse Restaurant’s bar, it wasn’t hard to get bar manager Seth Wahlman to chat about drink-making, especially the delicate strokes involved in making seasonal cocktails. For one thing, the ingredient list is constantly evolving: in vogue this fall are sage, rosemary, dark rum and anything that can be mulled. Wahlman and his team suffer no shortage of ideas on this stuff, and you can trace their thinking by perusing Eclipse’s fall cocktail menu.

If every good bartender has a theory (see the Kilgore method), Wahlman’s is a three-tiered rubric for a balanced beverage: At the bottom are dark, robust flavors – baking spices, honey and the like; those in the middle are bright and fruit-forward; floral and citrus flavors pop at the top.

“If you can fill in all three of these, you’ve got an interesting drink,” Wahlman explained. I strained to imagine what it looks like when the three flavor profiles work together. The rungs of a ladder, perhaps? A pyramid? A symphony?

The best illustration of Wahlman’s philosophy might be the Co-pilot, a variation of the sidecar. Shake together Aperol-flavored falernum, Calvados (apple brandy) and lemon juice, then garnish with a St. Germain-infused apple slice, which floats on top like a kind of capstone.

While Wahlman mixed one up he recited the lore surrounding the Calvados sidecar, an easy variant of the classic cocktail that is often “discovered” by novice bartenders taking their first steps with creative mixing.

“With newer bartenders, they always add Calvados and say, ‘Look what I made!’” Wahlman said. He wasn’t being condescending – another barkeep next to him even nodded knowingly. But it’s become a bit of an old saw in the industry, the bartender’s equivalent to, say, a guitarist’s learning to play “Stairway to Heaven” – not exactly a stroke of genius anymore, but a personal milestone, a leap forward.

The Co-pilot, then, is a stylized homage to the sidecar and the journeyman’s apple-brandied rendering of it. Take a taste, and here’s what happens: the moody notes of anise and molasses clash, then harmonize with the bright apple flavors of Calvados. The shrill taste of lemon arrives last, at the back of the tongue, to provide a bracing wave of tartness that refreshes the palate for the next sip. If it isn’t quite music, it’s certainly a pageant of unalike flavors that have reordered themselves, shrugged off their differences and linked elbows. Plus, the combination of apple and rum is a dead ringer for autumn.

Elsewhere on the menu, similarly odd couplings abound – like gin and coffee, which are deftly united in The Ironic Tonic. The cocktail combines local Pinckney Bend gin with house-made coffee syrup, infused lemon juice and tonic water. The truly adventurous should observe the interplay between Amaro Nonino and a rolled slice of coppa (a meat garnish!) in the Chaz.

Can we call this fine lineup of reinvented drinks a symphony? Maybe. You’ll have to face the music and decide.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Oregon’s Bounty

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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As summer berries turn to fall apples and pears, I like to adjust simple, classic cocktails to introduce fall’s best flavors. This Oregon’s Bounty is a take on a classic Tom Collins. I’ve adapted the recipe to use Ransom Old Tom gin; it’s malty base and crisp herbal notes create a richer mouth feel than its sister, London Dry. It also pairs well with pear liqueur and a homemade honey syrup. This cocktail gets its name from the use of Ransom and Clear Creek spirits, two Oregon-based distilleries; both the gin and the pear liqueur are available at Lukas Liquor.

Oregon’s Bounty
1 serving

1 cup honey
½ cup hot water
1 oz. Ransom Old Tom gin
1 oz. Clear Creek Pear Liqueur
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish
Thyme sprig for garnish

•In a small bowl, stir together the honey and hot water until dissolved to create a honey syrup.
• To a Boston shaker, add ½ ounce honey syrup, the gin, pear liqueur and lemon juice. Add ice and shake briefly. Strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with the lemon twist and thyme sprig.
• Store the remaining honey syrup, refrigerated, up to 1 month.

Justin Cardwell is a member of USBG St. Louis and general manager at BC’s Kitchen.

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.

 

 

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