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Sep 24, 2014
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Drinking

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.

Extra Sauce: Homemade Amaretto

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

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In August, Dan and Anne Marie Lodholz, the husband and wife duo behind The Weekend Project, showed you how to use every last bit of your peaches and cherries, all the way down to the pits. Today, they’re sharing a recipe for one more boozy way to get the most from your end-of-summer stone fruits: amaretto.

In addition to macerating the lovely floral and herbal notes of fruit and spices with vodka and brandy, the Lodholzes also create a double simple syrup and a caramel syrup separately. This method allows drinkers to sweeten their amaretto exactly to their tastes.

Need a refresher on how to crack open those peach pits to get at the seeds? Click here and follow the instructions in the Peach Pit Tincture recipe for steeping, roasting and cracking those bad boys open.

Amaretto
Makes about 2 quarts

5 cups sugar, divided
3½ cups plus 2 Tbsp. water, divided
4½ cups vodka
1½ cups brandy
½ cup roasted peach seeds
½ cup peach pits pieces (remains of broken pits from removing seeds)
3/8 cup chopped raw almonds
2 Tbsp. anise seed
2 Tbsp. fennel seed
½ cup cherries, pitted and chopped
½ cup peach slices and scraps
½ cup apricot chunks
4 whole cloves
1 Tbsp. mint leaves
2 allspice berries or ¼ tsp. ground allspice
Almond extract

• To make the double simple syrup, bring 1½ cups water to a boil in a heavy saucepan and slowly whisk in 3 cups sugar until it is dissolved. Once the liquid is completely clear, remove from heat and let cool. Store the simple syrup, covered, in the refrigerator up to 6 weeks.
• To make the caramel simple syrup, bring 2 cups water to just below a boil in pot over high heat. Meanwhile, pour 2 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons water into a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Gently swirl the saucepan until the water is incorporated into the sugar and it begins to turn an almond color, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the almost-boiling water until well incorporated (Use caution, as the mixture will steam.). Remove from heat, pour into a container with a lid and let cool. Store the caramel simple syrup, covered, in the refrigerator 4 to 6 weeks.
• To make the amaretto, pour the vodka, brandy, peach seeds, peach pit pieces, almonds, anise seed, fennel seed, cherries, peach slices and scraps, apricot chunks, cloves, mint and allspice into a large pitcher. Mix and then divide the mixture evenly between 2 quart-sized mason jars. Seal and shake.
• Store the jars in a cabinet for 4 weeks, shaking every couple days to agitate the ingredients. After 3 weeks, open the jars and smash the fruit with a wooden spoon. Seal again and place back in the cabinet. Let the jars rest the last 4 to 5 days of maceration so the ingredients can settle.
• Line a fine mesh strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and pour the liqueur through the strainer into a large pitcher. Discard the solids.
• To bottle, mix 1 cup amaretto liqueur with ½ cup double simple syrup, ¼ cup caramel syrup and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Pour into clean mason jars and serve with additional syrup.

 -photo by Michelle Volansky

Guide to Drinking 2014: Trendwatch – Part 2

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

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Did you miss Part 1 of our Trendwatch? Click here for more about the latest trends in the beverage world, part of our annual Guide to Drinking.

 

5. Drinking Weed: Some people mow down dandelions. Others eat them. And then there are those who use the plant for booze. Following the national trend of using foraged ingredients for housemade elixirs, The Fortune Teller Bar on Cherokee Street has concocted a house-made dandelion tincture that adds vegetal tang to a reverse martini called Summer Switch No. 2. Meanwhile, look for the release by mid-October of Lion’s Tooth, a dandelion liqueur made with dandelion roots and Crown Valley brandy. The liqueur is a collaboration between Water Street in Maplewood and the Ste. Genevieve distillery.

6. The Spirit of Korea Takes Flight: Soju, the best-selling alcohol in the world, is making a splash in the Gateway City. The Korean spirit distilled from rice is traditionally consumed straight, but from London to NYC to San Francisco, bartenders are mixing the low-alcohol liquor into everything from aperitifs to slushies. Locally, The Purple Martin bar manager Joel Clark prepared herb-steeped soju for a multi-course Asian-themed dinner held this summer at the Fox Park bar and restaurant.

7. Day Beer Believers: Brewers have answered the call for beer that you can drink and drink some more. It’s out with the double and triple IPAs and in with sessionable suds. We’re familiar with Schlafly Sessions IPA and Founders All Day IPA, but in the last year, we’ve also seen Stone Go To IPA, Goose Island Endless IPA, Lagunitas DayTime IPA and Boulevard Pop-Up Session IPA arrive on the scene.

8. Choose Your Own Booze Adventure: Has it been years since you had your nose in a Choose Your Own Adventure book? Time to join the adult version of that club. Lots of bars around town are offering build-your-own cocktails, and no matter your poison, there’s a drink adventure in store for you. If gin is your thing, build your own G&Ts at The Gin Room at Cafe Natasha’s. At Bar Italia, you can have your spritz – a classic northern Italian combination of amaro and prosecco – just the way you like it (and if you head there during happy hour for 5 O’Clock Spritz, you’ll get free plates of antipasti). At Boogaloo, they’re still building mojitos your way through September; then it gives way to a maze of Manhattans. Finally, at Cielo, you can build your favorite cocktail using its house barrel-aged spirits.

9. Alpine Aperitif: Génépy, the alpine herbal liqueur reminiscent of green Chartreuse, has jet-setted from French ski resorts to St. Louis bars. For a taste of the French liqueur, head to Small Batch and order Bright, which features genepy with rye whiskey, house-made wormwood bitters, lemon and cava. At Taste, you’ll get génépy when you order Gimme Samoa, a combination of rum, cognac, génépy, crème de cacao, pineapple and lime juice. Meanwhile, bartenders at Planter’s House are génépy-happy with drinks like Eight is Enough and Unusual Suspects.

 

 

 

 

Guide to Drinking 2014: Trendwatch – Part 1

Monday, September 15th, 2014

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1. Cherry Bomb: Cherry is the lush’s fruit of the moment, and choices abound. There’s Kasteel Rouge cherry beer, St. Louis Kriek lambic, Original Sin cherry cider, Berentzen wild cherry liqueur and Montelle Winery cherry brandy, winner of a best of class and a gold medal in the distilled product category at the recent 2014 Missouri Wine Competition. Mikkeller’s one-off lambic Spontan Cherry Frederiksdal is long gone, but beer lovers can look forward to the December or January release of 4 Hands Cuvee Diable, a barrel-aged version of its sour cherry saison, Prunus.

2. The Art of the Tonic: You can stop for a housemade soda at loads of bars around town. For a different journey, jump on the artisan tonic train. Among Juniper’s mocktails, dubbed “sparklers,” you’ll find the option of a house tonic syrup doctored with dashes of nonalcoholic plum, grapefruit and cherry bitters topped with fizzy sparkling water. Meanwhile, in Lake Saint Louis, the bar crew at BC’s Kitchen has taken a page from the cook’s book by whipping up à la minute gin and tonics with the help of a soda siphon. Finally, at The Gin Room at Cafe Natasha’s, home to a number of house tonics, tonic-making is such an art that they are offering tonic-making workshops beginning Sept. 24.

3. Strange Syrups: If you think the flavor wheel for vodka is out of control, take a look at the current syrup spectrum. Among the wild and whacky scratch syrups claiming space behind local bars, we’ve seen smoked corn at Juniper, Sriracha-honey at Cielo and toasted celery seed-fennel syrup at Taste. House syrups are also getting pumped into boozy (or not) snow cones at newly opened Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.; with chef-owner Kevin Nashan as the mad scientist behind this project, there’s no telling what offbeat syrup might get cooked up.

4. Coffee and Tea Get a Green Card: Coffee and tea have migrated onto cocktail menus in the last few years. But now it’s official: they are citizens of the cocktail menu. You’ll find tea taking up residence at Cielo (in Earl Grey Chaos, a combination of an Earl Grey-black pepper infused gin, limoncello, lemon juice and simple syrup served on Earl Grey ice cubes), at Juniper (in Tennis With Hemingway, a mixed drink that uses tea syrup with gin and yellow chartreuse) and in the tea cocktails at newly opened MaryAnn’s Tea Room in the Central West End. Java addicts who need a jolt of caffeine in more than their morning brew can get their fix with cocktails featuring cold-brew coffee at Planter’s House, Taste and Small Batch. And this month, those riding the latest wave in the coffee world will want to hit up Blueprint Coffee for its debut nonalcoholic coffee cocktail menu.

Don’t miss Part 2 of Trend Watch tomorrow, Sept. 16!

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Guide to Drinking 2014: 10 Reasons to Drink with Femme Ferment

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

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Close your eyes and picture your friendly local brewer. Odds are he’s a young male sporting a beard to rival Jason Motte’s. In fact, that same guy can be found populating craft beer bars, breweries and festivals around town, sipping pints with his like-minded fellows. Beers and bros go hand in hand, but a handful of beer-slinging and -brewing St. Louis ladies are pouring themselves a pint and declaring their love for their favorite beverage, too. The misconception that women don’t like beer, or aren’t involved in its production, is what prompted Katie Herrera, Libby Brown, Kristen Chalfant and Colleen Kirby to launch Femme Ferment, an organization dedicated to promoting the role of women in the local craft brewing scene. Since launching in May, Femme Ferment has popped up at the St. Louis Brewers Guild Heritage Festival, participated in St. Louis Craft Beer Week and created its first collaboration beer with Charleville Brewing Co. It all started with a monthly get-together filled with shop talk, beer nerdiness and laughter. Here are 10 reasons why anyone – lady or gent – should drink with Femme Ferment:

1. It’s the third Tuesday of the month, and there’s not a glass of wine or vodka cranberry in sight.

2. When you can’t decide what to drink next, ask the woman to your left. Or right. Or behind the bar. Really, anyone within earshot can guide you to the perfect pick.

3. When one person orders a sour beer, everyone clamors for one. Especially if that sour is New Belgium’s La Folie.

4. Most of the women you meet are named Katie, Kate, Catelyn or a variation of that trendiest of ‘80s baby girl names.

5. The petite Katie behind the bar is also the only person her friends trust to properly tap kegs at parties.

6. Members are as dedicated as mail carriers. Despite that many in the Femme crew caught the same cold last month at Great Taste of the Midwest beer festival in Madison, Wisconsin, their August happy hour took place as scheduled.

7. Wedding diets may exclude dessert, but never beer.

8. Nearly every woman present is a bar manager, bartender, brewer or other industry pro, and someone can spout off the ABV, IBU and brewing technique of just about everything on tap.

9. Those bearded guys often swing by during happy hour for a pint, too, and everyone gives each other some good old-fashioned ribbing – in the most loving way, of course.

10. You left the bar with invites to four upcoming beer festivals you’ve never heard of and are already tagging your photos of the night with #3TFF (translation: Third Tuesday Femme Ferment).

-illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

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.

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