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Apr 20, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘Drinking’

6 Hot Drinks to Sip Right Now

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

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{Hot Mulled Wine can be served in a mug or in a classy martini glass as the bartenders at Atomic Cowboy did back in 2008.}

 

It’s not often we wish we lived in Alaska, but right now, the 37-degree weather in Anchorage sounds downright balmy. If we’re lucky, St. Louis saw 13 degrees today. We need a mug of something warm clutched between mittened hands, preferably in front of a fire – though we’ll settle for a Netflix marathon. Here, six hot drinks to keep you warm tonight:

1. Spiced Cider: Grab a jug of grocery cider and doctor it with bourbon, vanilla, bourbon, nutmeg, allspice and bourbon. Did we mention the bourbon?

2. Hot Buttered Rum: Continuing with that boozy theme, let’s add a little rum to our butter, shall we?

3. Pumpkin Buttered Rum: Add a little pumpkin purée from that extra can you never used during the holiday.

4. Hot Mulled Wine: A little sugar and spice to a bottle of Burgundy makes everything better.

5. Bittersweet Hot Chocolate: OK, fine. Not everything has to have liquor in it. Whip up a batch of our favorite hot cocoa and be generous with the puffy marshmallows.

6. Spanish Hot Chocolate: Though if you do add liquor, we recommend a Spanish flair with Licor 43.

 

 

By the Book: Molly Wellmann’s Southside

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

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Unlike many of my colleagues at Sauce, I’ve never been a big fan of gin. It doesn’t help that my first exposure to the spirit came when a server mixed up my vodka and tonic with my dad’s gin and tonic (ordered “easy on the tonic”). I’ve since tried it in other cocktails, but it always comes off too herbaceous, too floral, too … ginny. Apparently I’m more of a beer and bourbon girl.

So when Molly Wellmann claimed in her book Handcrafted Cocktails that she had a drink that could win over gin haters like me, I had to try it. Handcrafted Cocktails is the perfect resource for the wannabe bartender. The first two chapters are devoted to bartending tools and techniques (Yes, you do need to measure, and no, you do not shake a martini.), basic spirit recommendations and homemade mixers.

The rest of the book is divided into chapters based on when one should drink that particular cocktail: morning, afternoon, happy hour, dinner or after dinner. Some of the cocktails are Wellmann’s own creations while most are classic cocktails with the history behind them. Wellmann proves herself quite the history buff with her knowledge of Prohibition-era drinking, when many of today’s classic cocktails were born, including her gin-converting drink.

 

 

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The Southside, she explains, was created in Chicago during Prohibition, when local gangs made bathtub gin for speakeasies. The gin was so terrible that bartenders added sugar, lemon and mint to hide the taste. My thoughts exactly. Still, Wellmann said the Southside is perfect “to convince people gin can taste good (especially if you think you hate gin because you’ve only had gin and tonic form a bar gun).” Very well. Challenge accepted.

The ingredients seemed simple and not nearly strong enough to disguise the taste. I took a hesitant sip. And then another. And another, just to be sure I wasn’t missing something. This was actually good. The sharp gin I expected to assault my palate was mellowed by the sweet-sour punch of the triple sec and lemon, and the fresh mint actually enhanced pleasant herbal notes in the spirit. Touché, Wellmann.

 

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Southside
1 Serving

1½ oz. gin
½ oz. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ oz. triple sec
6 mint leaves

• Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass. Fill with ice and shake. Double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with additional mint leaves.

 Reprinted with permission with Betterway Home Books

What surprising cocktail or other beverage made you drink your words? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Handcrafted Cocktails. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Aspin, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of Tipsy Texan. Aspin, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Charleville Brewing’s Box of Chocolate

Friday, January 17th, 2014

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Since 2011, the new year has heralded the arrival one of the St. Louis area’s most decadent beers. Charleville Brewing has had a hit with its seasonal release, Box of Chocolate, since it first arrived bottled on the scene. The Ste. Genevieve brewery’s unique twist on the classic Belgian style known as the quadruple, or quad, has won fans at home and around the country. Brewed with Belgian chocolate and Belgian candy sugar, this beer has delicious complexity and subtle nuances.

You’ll realize how this beer got its name immediately upon pouring; it smells exactly like a freshly opened box of chocolates. But the best is yet to come. While the beer is a Belgian quad at heart, many layers of flavor remind you of all the different pieces in a box of chocolates. Think milk chocolate, cocoa powder, cherry, fig and even that piece with the delicious rum liqueur. Layers upon layer of chocolaty goodness beg to be explored. Despite clocking in at 10.5 percent ABV, Box of Chocolate remains medium-bodied and avoids being overly sweet, syrupy or alcoholic.

When it was first distributed, the huge buzz that began building caused the limited supply to immediately disappear from shelves. Luckily, Charleville has increased production to keep up with demand, and while still somewhat limited, you can find Box of Chocolate in the metro area’s better beer stores in 22-ounce bottles and on draft at beer bars and select restaurants.

 

 

By the Book: David Alan’s Corpse Reviver 3000

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

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As David Alan explains in his new cocktail book Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State, Texas isn’t one of those states with a clear entry-point when it comes to writing about cocktails and spirits. It doesn’t have a defining spirit like Kentucky or a storied history of fabled taverns like New York. It can’t quite claim the margarita, and Lone Star, its “national beer” isn’t even headquartered in the Lone Star State.

With that challenge in mind, Alan set out to create a really great cocktail book ranging from Alan’s own creations to homemade syrups and cordials to classic cocktails with new and regional twists. Alan also includes brief interviews with big names in the Texas cocktail biz, such as Tito Beveridge of the oh-so-awesome Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Paula Angerstein, creator of Paula’s Texas Orange, an orange liqueur I’m hoping becomes available in St. Louis sooner than later.

Tipsy Texan is broken down into categories based on how people drink: Light, Bright, and Refreshing; Big and Boozy; and Sweat, Creamy, and Desserty.

 

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Even though Big and Boozy seemed to fit wintery weather, I chose to shake up the Corpse Reviver 3000 from the Light section, as I was battling a cold at the time and figured I could use some reviving. I also rarely experiment with absinthe.

As Alan relates in his introduction to this cocktail, Corpse Revivers were once a category of drinks that we now call “hair of the dog.” He includes this great bit from Harry Craddock from his 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book: “Four of these taken in quick succession will unrevive the corpse again.” In Alan’s Corpse Reviver 3000, he replaces gin with absinthe and uses St. Germain in the place of Lillet for what he calls, “a Corpse Reviver of the future.”

 

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If you don’t like the anise/black licorice smell and taste of absinthe, there’s still a slight chance you’ll like this cocktail. Citrus hit my taste buds first; the absinthe came after and wasn’t super strong. However, the longer my drink sat, the stronger the taste of absinthe became. My advice? Drink this guy quickly, and if you have it in you, chase it with another – but don’t make it four, unless you’re looking to unrevive your corpse again.

 

Corpse Reviver 3000
1 Serving

¾ oz. Tenneyson Absinthe Royale or other blanche absinthe
¾ oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
¾ oz. orange liqueur
¾ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Orange “coin” for garnish

• Combine the absinthe, St. Germain, orange liqueur and lemon juice in a mixing glass and shake vigorously with ice to chill.
• Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the orange “coin.”

Reprinted with permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing

What’s your go-to hair of the dog cocktail? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Tipsy Texan. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Lindsey, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of Craft Cocktails at Home. Lindsey, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

Drink This Weekend Edition: Detox drinking at the Four Seasons

Friday, January 10th, 2014

For your new year’s resolution, you vowed to eat healthier, work out more, drink less, etc. But if you’re anything like me, 10 days after all of this well-meaning resolve, you’re back to your old habits. Cielo bar and restaurant manager Cory Cuff recognized this conundrum and decided to create a series of “detox/antioxidant cocktails” for the new year, so people could feel a little less guilty about what they were drinking.

Rather than creating lo-cal sippers that skimp on flavor or ones loaded with gross sugar substitutes, Cuff relies on tea. Not only are both of these cocktails well balanced and delicious, they make you feel healthier just by drinking them. Dangerous – and genius.

 

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Cielo bartender Ryan Gore created the Earl Grey Chaos, which consists of Broker’s gin infused with black pepper and Earl Grey tea, limoncello, lemon juice and some simple syrup. The drink is shaken and served with cubes of frozen Earl Grey. It has pepper on the front, but is quickly balanced by the floral tea, finishing with the taste of lemon. In the words of Cuff: “This isn’t your grandmother’s Arnold Palmer, let me tell you that!” This is the perfect cocktail if you’re fighting a cold but don’t want to stay home on the couch. If you want your drink to taste more like tea than a cocktail, just let your ice cubes melt – if you have the patience or willpower.

 

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The Commodore Gambi Elixir, created by Cielo bartender Blair Schrautemeier, features Meyer’s dark rum shaken with cinnamon-plum tea, rosemary, thyme, Amaro Nonino, Luxardo maraschino, lemon juice and simple syrup. Herbal, aromatic and not too sweet thanks to the Nonino, this is a cocktail that even the non-rum drinker will enjoy.

 

 

By the Book: Kevin Liu’s Something Fruity, Not Too Strong

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

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If you’re the kind of person who peppers the bartender with questions, chats up the liquor store guy about new spirits, and has a growing collection of shakers, OXO measuring cups and vintage barware, then Kevin Liu’s new book, Craft Cocktails at Home, should be on your shelf.

Liu explains at the outset that his self-published book “began as an attempt to document some of the exciting things happening with cocktails from 2008 to 2012. I was inspired by the cocktail blog of three PhD students who were thinking about drinks in ways that completely changed my view of what a cocktail was.” In the course of his research, Liu came to understand cocktails as “a vehicle for embracing the mindfulness it takes to execute any ‘craft.’”

The 250-page, 65-recipe book is filled with above-average tips for at-home mixing and includes ambitious projects like building a cold-smoker or making a universal temperature controller for fast infusing that will delight cocktail geeks and engineers alike. In addition, Liu explains the science behind processes such as dilution, carbonation, foaming agents and aging cocktails that can be helpful to the professional bartender who doesn’t have a chemistry degree.

 

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In looking for a recipe that would appeal to the masses, I flipped through the section titled “Drinks to Convert the Cocktail Novice.” The Craft Strawberry Daiquiri piqued my interested because it called for strawberry preserves. I settled on Something Fruity, Not Too Strong because it’s made with just four ingredients: sparkling wine, homemade grenadine, elderflower liqueur and lemon juice.

Liu says you can make homemade grenadine simply by microwaving pomegranate juice for 10 minutes. Well, after 8 minutes in the microwave, the juice started to boil over with red splashes all over the microwave. At that point, I reread the recipe and realized that Liu called for microwaving on medium – not full – power. Since I rarely use the microwave, it took a few minutes to figure out how to change the power settings. Even so, it took a total of 30 minutes to reduce the juice to syrup. I think I could have done it faster on the stovetop.

 

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Homemade grenadine at hand, elderflower liqueur and lemon juice measured and at the ready, it was finally time to put the Boston shaker to work. The recipe does not explicitly say to add ice, but considering Liu’s scientific discussions about ice and dilution in an earlier section, I assumed he wanted me to add ice. So I did.

The result is a well-balanced drink. It’s not overly sweet nor acidic nor boozy. And the formula stands up to other combinations I experimented with, particularly when substituting blood orange liqueur for elderflower liqueur. That version, with its deeper flavor and color, felt spot-on for winter.

Liu accedes there are many aspects to cocktail-making that he is still trying to understand and improve upon. Craft Cocktails at Home reminds me of Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation, published in 2003, and how much he honed those ideas when he published The Art of Fermentation in 2013. I hope Liu continues hacking away with cocktail science and sharing the results with curious cocktailians.

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Something Fruity, Not Too Strong
1 serving

1 oz. sparkling wine
1 oz. homemade grenadine*
½ oz. elderflower liqueur
1 oz. lemon juice

Shake all ingredients except the wine. Strain into a coupe glass. Top with sparkling wine. Twist the oils of one lemon peel over the glass and discard the peel.

* To make the grenadine, pour 2 cups POM brand or similar quality pomegranate juice into a Pyrex measuring cup and microwave on medium for 10 minutes, or until the syrup reduces to 1 cup.

Special thanks to Planter’s House for its donation of sparkling wine and elderflower liqueur for use in this recipe.

What is the most memorable cocktail you’ve ever tasted? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a SIGNED copy of Craft Cocktails at Home. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Anna, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of I Love New York: Ingredients and RecipesAnna, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Three Value Reds

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

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The holiday spending hangover is here. While you experience pangs of regret over your empty bank account, you might as well have a glass of wine in your hand. In that spirit, we kept things simple this month with a small handful of value wines. Each pick greatly exceeds its price tag, and since much of the wine-drinking public gravitates towards reds in cold weather, we picked three great ones to sip as temperatures plummet. Cheers!

1. Chateau D’Oupia, Les Hérétiques, Vin de Pays de l’Hérault, France: $8

This is a perennial value favorite for us both. It’s also our favorite wine to stick in someone’s face and say “Guess the price!” Made from 40-plus-year-old Carignan vines, Les Hérétiques is a medium-bodied wine that delivers copious blue fruit aromas and flavors, as well as hints of black olive and garrigue. The palate is silky, and the acidity is well integrated, yielding a refreshing, highly-drinkable quality. Available at The Wine and Cheese Place.

2. Stephane Ogier, Syrah d’Ogier, 2011, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, France: $16

This is a nervy, vibrant, pure syrah. The color is ruby with violet inflections. The nose opens with beefy, iron notes, followed by tangy raspberry, blackberry and hints of smoke-laced damp earth. The wine is relatively linear and crisp on the palate, with more zesty berry, iron and smoke, plus hints of violet. The tannins are under control, and the acidity is quite firm, making this an excellent food wine. We can drink this all day and night. Available at Five Bistro

3. Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso DOC, 2011, Sicily, Nerello Mascalese/Nerello Capuccio blend, $23

When we talk about Sicilian wines, there’s one producer we always come back to: Tenuta delle Terre Nere. Both of us became acquainted with this wine before we became acquainted with one another, and we shared our first bottle together just after Christmas. We noted a lighter shade of red in the glass, but on the palate, it’s more medium-bodied with tannic structure that neither disappeared under nor overwhelmed burrata with tomatoes and a main course of Italian sausage.

Tart black cherry hits on the nose and front palate, with lots of thyme, black pepper, and a final sweep of intriguing eucalyptus. The finish is quite long and echoes the thyme with some tart red plum. This is a pretty, high-acid red that pairs well food, but don’t be afraid to drink it on its own. Available at Starr’s

 

 

Matt Berkley’s Top 5 Cocktails of 2013

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Matt Berkley works some odd hours as Sauce’s Nightlife critic. In 2013, he spent many a late night] sipping crafted cocktails around St Louis on a hunt for the very best. Here, Berkley names his top five cocktails of the year: 

 

No. 5: Smoke and Fire from Mission Taco Joint
Hellfire bitters set off hints of peach and serrano syrup in this refreshing, mezcal-laden masterpiece.

 

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No. 4: The Rattlesnake King at The Fortune Teller Bar
Smooth-drinking W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7-year-old bourbon is reinforced with a hit of apple brandy and fresh orange.

No. 3: House Manhattan at Gamlin Whiskey House
Robust oak and sweet vanilla flavors mingle in the Knob Creek Single Barrel whiskey that was handpicked for this standout take on a classic Manhattan.

 

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No. 2: Pimm’s Cup at Bar Les Frères
This easy sipping, warm-weather drink is fashioned with fresh cucumber and sprigs of mint.

 

And my No. 1 cocktail of 2013 is…

 

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Beetnik Margarita at Atomic Cowboy
Fresh beet juice substitutes for lime juice in this potent little drink. My exact words in September: “Though I’m indifferent to beets, beet juice and actual beatniks, I love this drink. It’s a savory-sweet monster of a cocktail with a surprisingly tangy kick and a healthy wallop of tequila.”

And an honorable mention goes to moonshine cocktails from Hendricks BBQ. Subtle and smooth at first, these white whiskeys cocktails serve delightful a knockout punch of rich flavor.

-Bar Les Frères and Atomic Cowboy photos by Jonathan Gayman

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 2nd Shift Brewing’s Katy

Friday, December 20th, 2013

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As the year winds down, I think of the great beers I tried in 2013. Some were classics that have been around for years, and others were new. With such a variety of local, national and imported beers now available in St. Louis, it’s a great time to be a beer fan, and the momentum of the local craft breweries in the region seems unstoppable.

One of the smallest of our area’s breweries is 2nd Shift Brewery located just west of St. Louis in New Haven, Mo. It’s hard to talk about 2nd Shift without talking about its head brewer, Steve Crider. His free spirit shows up in many of his beers and on his label descriptions. Crider also puts out one of the most delicate and refreshing beers on the market. 2nd Shift’s Katy is simply described by the brewery as a “Brett Beer.” Brett, or brettanomyces, is a wild yeast strain added to some beers to give it just a touch of delicious funk.

Katy is aged for three months in white wine barrels. Along with the light funkiness from the Brett, the barrel adds some dry, wine-like notes of white grape skin. Its spritzy effervescence makes Katy that much more enjoyable. Very light, slightly funky and refreshing, Katy is a beer everyone can get into.

Quite simply, Katy is one of my favorite beers of 2013. Local beer blogs, message boards and social media platforms were buzzing with just how beautiful this beer is. And yet, with 2nd Shift’s small size, it’s still one of the area’s best-kept secrets. Find Katy in 750-milliliter bottles at better bottle shops and on draft at beer bars throughout the area.

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

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Adding Champagne to your drinking regimen

Friday, December 6th, 2013

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With Christmas and New Year’s Day just around the corner, we thought we’d forsake our aversion to the obvious and talk Champagne for a moment. Instinctively, we wince when speaking of Champagne under celebratory pretense; Champagne should be sipped not only on special occasions, but as often as possible – for dinner on a Tuesday, on a Sunday afternoon on the couch, at the beach to take the sting out of a sunburn.

That said, there is nothing wrong with drinking Champagne during the holidays. Think of your Christmas bubbles as the first step toward working Champagne into your regular drinking regimen. And while you’re getting started, you might as well drink excellent Champagne.

And while we’re on the topic of excellence… During the past year, St. Louis has seen a heartening influx of high-quality wine portfolios, making available wines that previously had to be purchased online (or not at all). One of the most recent additions to the St. Louis market is a selection of gorgeous wines from the Le Serbet portfolio, brought to this state by Pinnacle Imports. While Le Serbet specializes in Burgundy, they also have a particularly stunning cache of Champagne.

Three of our favorite Le Serbet Champagnes tasted come from two producers, Jose Dhondt’s Vielles Vignes Blanc de Blancs 2008, and Godmé’s Reserve Brut 1er Cru and Rose Brut Grand Cru. Both Dhondt and Godmé are growers, and the wines they produce are known as grower Champagne (often colloquially called “farmer fizz”). This necessitates a slight caveat.

Grower Champagne means the people who grow the grapes make the wine. They are present and active throughout the entire process, and consequently, the wine made is personal and diverse, expressing the land and the winemaker. With big houses that purchase massive quantities of grapes from myriad sources, production is entirely impersonal, and more often than not, this shows in the quality of the wine.

If you must have an excuse to drink Champagne, then the holiday season has arrived. And if you start with one of the wines below, you may soon start finding lots of excuses.

Jose Dhondt Vielles Vignes Blanc de Blanc 2008
A stunning wine opens with brioche and sandalwood notes that unfold into yellow fruit, green herb. and mineral. The palate is broad and deep with great intensity. Exceptionally long and complex, there is some real power here.

Godmé Rosé Brut Grand Cru NV
Strawberry and apple right up front. Notes of plum skin and apricot on the palate. Exceptional structure and backbone, with lots of high-toned Pinot Noir qualities, perhaps owing to a small percentage of this wine being made with Pinot Noir vinified still. An elegant tomboy, polished, powerful, and classy.

Godmé Brut Reserve 1er Cru NV
This wine drinks great right out of the gate. Hard apple and ginger notes on the nose are backed by baking spice and a hint of roasted hazelnut. The palate shows very good concentration, with spicy apple and pear wrapped around a sizzling spine of minerality.

Daniels Blake-Parseliti is wine director at Little Country Gentleman, and Lauren Blake-Parseliti is Five Bistro‘s beverage program coordinator.

 

 

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