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Nov 27, 2015
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Drink This Weekend Edition: Devil in a Blue Dress at Frazer’s

Friday, November 27th, 2015


{From left, Vanity and Devil in the Blue Dress}


Spend Saturday shopping small on Cherokee Street, then take some of that hard-earned holiday green over to Frazer’s Restaurant and Lounge in Benton Park, where bartender Terry Oliver has rolled out the winter cocktail menu. While the Negroni-esq Vanity entertains with a mirror “garnish,” we go for the Devil in a Blue Dress.

Starring Four Roses bourbon infused in-house with blueberries, this sipper starts with spice from cinnamon syrup, then turns slightly floral and sweet from the blueberry bourbon and lavender. Vanilla liqueur enhances the naturally smooth notes in the Four Roses, and barrel-aged bitters and lemon juice lend depth and a dry finish. Poured over hand-chunked ice, this layered cocktail is the perfect way to celebrate and relax after a long day of buying local.



Drink This Weekend Edition: Fresh hop beers at Llywelyn’s Pub

Friday, November 20th, 2015



Amidst the pumpkin beers and holiday cheer, one thing remains undeniably bitter. No, I am not a Scrooge. The onset of fall means another hop harvest is upon us, which means I’m talking fresh hop IPAs here, folks.

Using hops hours to days after they are picked rather than dried and in pellet form allow for purer aroma and flavor to come through. Often described as juicy and ripe with citrus and mild dankness, fresh hopped IPAs are full of pine, grass and zest. Their bodies remain light to medium to support the beautiful hop expression.

This Saturday, Nov. 21, Llywelyn’s Pub in Webster Groves celebrates the most recent hop harvest with a tap takeover displaying a plethora of fresh hop IPAs. Rumor has it they are tapping approximately a dozen for imbibers to tastily explore. Here, my three suggestions for exploring the vast flavor profile differences that hops exhibit best when consumed fresh.

1. Deschutes Chasin’ Freshies (65 IBUs) is a straw-colored, light-bodied IPA with zesty lemon on the aroma and pine and subtlety sweet citrus on the palate. Hops used change every year; note the Bravo and Lemondrop for the 2015 season.

2. Great Divide Fresh Hop (55 IBUs) is a caramel-colored, light-bodied, slightly dank pale ale ripe with bright citrus on the palate and a slightly bitter and grassy finish. Appearance is caramel in color. Hops used are a Pacific Northwest Coast variety.

3. Left Hand Warrior IPA (60 IBUs) is a coppery, medium-bodied IPA with loads of grapefruit and floral notes on the aroma followed by citrus and pine on the palate. Hops used are Centennial and Colorado Wet Cascade.


Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 wines to demolish your Halloween candy stash

Friday, November 6th, 2015



Maybe your kids recently went out in a silly outfit and came back with a mountain of candy. Perhaps you overestimated the number of trick-or-treaters you thought would come to your door and have picked at that bowl of sweets all week. Either way, it’s time to finish them off this weekend, grown-up style. Invite some friends over and pair Halloween treats with a few great bottles of wine. Here, my favorite three candy and vino pairings:

1. Kids tend to inhale milk chocolate or cookies-and-cream mini bars and leave behind the dark chocolate pieces. For more mature palates, dark chocolate pairs perfectly with a Giribaldi Caj Barbera d’Alba. Rarely does a pairing elevate both the wine and the food but in this case, the chocolate and wine sung together in perfect harmony. $20, available at Lucky’s Market in Ellisville

2. Sometimes you get those overly sweet-sour candies everyone hates (I’m looking at you, Nerds.). These silly candies go great with a somewhat tart frizzante wine – I recommend finding a bottle of vinho verde. The Aveleda Casal Garcia Branco vinho verde has slight fizz and sweetness and a tart finish that perfectly complements a box of crunchy little Nerds. $8, available at Randall’s Wine & Spirits in St. Louis

3. OK, technically, caramel apples aren’t candy, but this treat is everywhere right now. While I love apples, I wasn’t a huge fan of this dessert until someone convinced me to try it with an oloroso sherry. It worked beautifully. The nuttiness in a bottle of Lustau Don Nuno oloroso will highlight the complexity in the caramel, and the acidity will match well with the apple. $30, available at Starrs
Ben Wood has more than 10 years experience in the wine industry. He currently works as shop manager of Cork & Rind. 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 brews to find at STLBG’s Halloween Party

Friday, October 23rd, 2015




When the air turns crisp, October in St. Louis parallels the seasonal change in the beer world, enticing us to switch to spiced beers, malty-yet-clean German lagers and ripe hops fresh from harvest. The St. Louis Brewers Guild is celebrating festive fall beers tomorrow, Oct. 24, at its Halloween Party from 1 to 5 p.m. in Lafayette Park, where costumed adults will trick-or-treat at more than 35 breweries represented at the festival in the heart of the city.

Here’s what’s not in the heart of the STL: Several outstanding STLBG members who will pour at this year’s party. Sample a selection their brews this Saturday, then organize an excursion to savor their beers later this autumn. Here, my three picks from non-STL city breweries to try:

1. Mark Twain Brewing Co. from Hannibal, is bringing its Wet-Hopped IPA, brewed with Cascade and Columbus hops grown on brewers Cat Golden and Dave Alley’s family farm in Tennessee. Look for a pungent grapefruit aroma, lots of citrus and a little pepper on the palate. Bonus: This beer is an STLBG Halloween party exclusive.

2. Mark Twain is also bringing its Maple Pecan Brown. Boasting 30 pounds of roasted pecans and local maple syrup, this beer is deceptively more robust than the 4.7-percent ABV suggests. Look for a little pecan nuttiness, subtle maple sweetness and a whole lot of roasted malt.

3. Located just across the river in Alton, The Old Bakery Beer Co. is bringing its Sweet Potato Chai Ale in advance of its official release on Oct. 31. Brewed with 75 pounds of sweet potatoes, seven different spices and Goshen Coffee, look for cinnamon and clove spiciness, creamy sweet potato and coffee for a “dirty chai” flavor profile.





Drink This Weekend Edition: Milk Stout Brings All the Boys to the Yard No. 2 at The Fortune Teller Bar

Thursday, October 15th, 2015



Signs summer is officially over: The flip-flops are in the closet, and 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout is on the shelves. The Fortune Teller Bar bar manager Kristin Denis is combining the seasonal brew, a new whiskey and Fernet in her autumnal cocktail, My Milk Stout Brings All the Boys to the Yard No. 2.

This year’s version includes Carbondale craft distillery Grand River Spirits’ Baby Bourbon Whiskey, which is aged six months in small barrels for an oaky, sweet profile. Also in the shaker is Fernet Lazzaroni, a relatively new bitter Italian amaro, and house-made chile simple syrup.

Garnished with orange peel, the cocktail has a malty beer nose, a full mouth feel and is a creamy sip with notes of chocolate, citrus and a subtle nuttiness. Welcome, fall. We’re glad you’re here.



Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 ciders for wine lovers

Thursday, October 8th, 2015



Ciders are a classic fall weather choice. They’re made from fruit that’s perfectly in season – pears and apples mostly – and are perfect to drink right now. While cider is typically the provenance of beer producers and drinkers, wine lovers will find unique, interesting flavors to tempt their palates. Here, three of my favorites from around the world, all available locally.
1. Quebrada del Chucao Sidra Espumante is made from apples grown in a 60-year-old Chilean orchard. It starts notes of forest floor and wild grass on the nose. It’s crisp and clean with pure apple on the palate and is amazing with soft cheese like Camembert.
$15, available at Cord & Rind

2. Bonny Doon ¿Querry? is a nontraditional a blend of pears, apples and quince. Crisply acidic but with an unmistakable quince flavor, this is just off-dry and is delicious with sushi, spicy Thai food or pho.
$9, available at Total Wine in Ballwin

3. Christian Drouin Poire is a rare Normandy pear cider from a house normally known for Calvados. This delicious gem has a pronounced pear note, followed by melon and citrus and just a hint of hay or grass. It’s a little on the sweet side, so try it with fruit tarts and other desserts.
$15, available at Starrs


Ben Wood has more than 10 years experience in the wine industry. He currently works as shop manager of Cork & Rind.

Drink This Weekend Edition: 4 Hands Cherokee Street

Thursday, September 17th, 2015




Spend the last few days of summer with Cherokee Street in hand. No, not the famous street housing antique shops, Mexican restaurants and crazy hip bars. I’m talking about the limited-edition Kölsch beer 4 Hands Brewing Co. made specifically for this burgeoning neighborhood.

Hailing from Köln, Germany, Kölsch beers are refreshingly crisp and bitter on the palate with a clean, slightly fruity finish. It’s a light style that doesn’t linger on the palate. Traditionally served in a 6-ounce Stange glass, Kölsch beers are best enjoyed cold and fresh.

4 Hands totally nailed its rendition of this German beauty. Pouring a beautiful golden color, Cherokee Street is thirst quenching and delicious. Citrus dominates the front palate, and it finishes clean and fruity with notes of fresh pear. And it wouldn’t be a 4 Hands beer without some serious hop addition. Here, the brewers dry-hopped Cherokee Street with Galaxy hops, allowing for even more citrus and mild dankness to come through on the aroma.

Cherokee Street was made available to all bars on its namesake street that serve draft beer, so anticipate finding it at most Cherokee watering holes like Art Bar St. Louis, The Fortune Teller Bar and others. You can also find it on draft at the 4 Hands tasting room, and it’s the beer 4 Hands will pour as a guest at Urban Chestnut’s Oktoberfest next weekend, Sept. 25 to 27. Get out, find a patio on Cherokee and enjoy these last few days of summer.

P.S. Digging the Kölsch? Check out Urban Chestnut Bap and Schlafly Kölsch. You are welcome.


Katie Herrera is the tasting room manager at The Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 Asian-inspired cocktails at Lu Lu Seafood & Dim Sum

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Drawing on flavors and traditions of her native China and its surrounding nations, co-owner Julia Li has unveiled a cocktail menu at Lu Lu Seafood & Dim Sum, the first such menu for her family’s University City restaurant. Li brought on bartending veteran Rob Somerscales, who has shaken and stirred his way from Hawaii to Florida in the last 20 years. Seeking to match the cocktails to the flavor profiles of the restaurant, the menu features mixed drinks that emphasize Asian twists on recognizable favorites. Here, our three picks to sip with dim sum this weekend.




1. The Jade Mule is a riff on the Moscow Mule that adds peach liquor and peach bitters to the classic vodka, ginger beer and lime libation, resulting in a bright, subtly fruity drink.




2. Lychee comes to play in the martini pool when it joins Bombay gin, lychee nectar, a hint of rose water and a tawny port drizzle. The faintly botanical and fruity cocktail is balanced, slightly sweet and smooth.




3. The light, easy-drinking Buddha Smash washes TY KU soju over muddled strawberries and mint for a delicate, fresh drink that enhances the natural sweetness of the berries.


-photos courtesy of Julia Li


Guide to Drinking 2015: Trendwatch – Beer

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015


Grapefruit Brewgeist
This could be the year of the grapefruit. Early warnings surfaced in 2014 with the popular rise of Steigl’s grapefruit-inflected Radler. Not far behind, Leinenkugel and Illusive Traveler debuted sweet-tart grapefruit shandies as an alternative to the traditional lemon. Ballast Point added grapefruit peel to its IPA recipe, creating the Grapefruit Sculpin, and Magic Hat threw parties across the country this summer to celebrate its grapefruit Electric Peel IPA. Pink purée recently found its way into Schlafly’s fermentation tanks, where it was dry-hopped with Citra to create the Dry-Hopped Grapefruit IPA. This powerful fruit even brought together Side Project Brewing’s Cory King with Vermont-based Hill Farmstead Brewery and other breweries to collaborate on an Austrian-inspired citrus beer.

Barrels of Fun
You can find just about anything aged in a bourbon barrel these days. But finding the actual bourbon barrels? That’s trickier. Local breweries are now experimenting with different spirit barrels to coax new flavors from their brews. 2nd Shift’s Steve Crider just bottled his second batch of Hibiscus Wit, aged in neighbor Pinckney Bend’s gin barrels, and has plans to pop some Gose into a tequila barrel soon. Halloween comes early at Excel Brewing, with Bruja, a seasonal Imperial pumpkin ale aged in tequila barrels for up to a year. Side Project Brewing has an Imperial milk stout napping in a barrel that housed rum, and the crew at 4 Hands plans to celebrate the brewery’s fourth anniversary in January 2016 with a wheat wine that’s been aged five months in Caribbean rum barrels.

Pints on the House
Local breweries have long partnered with area restaurants to create custom beers. Now some entrepreneurial restaurants are taking house beers in-house. Last December, Peel Wood Fired Pizza opened its second location in O’Fallon, Illinois with a brewery and a tight portfolio of house brews. Death in the Afternoon will soon pull pints from Upper 90 Brewing, located in DITA’s basement, which is brewing exclusively for the Citygarden eatery. Meanwhile, former brewmaster of Six Rox Brewing Co., Evan Hiatt, will take up the mantle of house brewmaster when Pappo’s Pizzeria opens its third location in the former Six Row home this October.



Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 wines cued up to the perfect track

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Wine pairs wonderfully with food, and as a guitarist, I’ve found certain bottles pair quite nicely with music, too. Here, three bottles to drink this weekend – and three tracks to play while you sip:



1. The Rolling Stones are rock gods, and The big bold flavors of this killer Big Table Farm pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley go perfectly with the energetic Stones’ track, Sticky Fingers. Enjoy hints of smoke, wood and rock ‘n’ roll.
$42, available at Cork & Rind



2. Like all jazz musicians, saxophonist Charlie Parker has had a huge influence on me. His rich melodic palate and incendiary rhythmic freedom created some of the most complex, bouncy jazz around. Download the remastered version of Charlie Parker with Strings, The Complete Master Takes and note how Parker’s saxophone floats like bubbles over a pillow of musical complexity – just like Champagne. Dig this great record with Pierre Moncuit Blanc De Blanc Hugues de Coulmet.
$48, available at Parker’s Table



3. Some times that three-minute radio format (or a single glass of wine) is not going to cut it. You need something longer, more brooding, something that develops in richness over time. You need classical music. Gustav Holst’s The Planets musically interprets the seven planets known at the time of its composition (1916). At nearly an hour long, Holst’s masterpiece requires a bottle you can ruminate over. Try a sweet wine from the Roussilion in southern France. The 1970 Domaine de Rancy Rivesaltes – a sweet amber nectar stunning in its richness and complexity – is an ideal wine for listening and pondering the universe.
$135, The Wine & Cheese Place


Ben Wood has more than 10 years experience in the wine industry. He currently works as shop manager of Cork & Rind. 


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