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Mar 31, 2015
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Drinking’

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.

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

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: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rested Rye

Friday, July 11th, 2014

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I recently had the chance to talk – and taste – Tennessee whiskey with Chris Fletcher, the first assistant master distiller for Jack Daniel’s. Fletcher has his own family history with the storied No. 7 brand (his grandfather was Jack Daniel’s master distiller for more than 30 years), but he also shared the history of Jack Daniel’s and its newest offering.

What makes Tennessee whiskey unique from its bourbon cousins is what is known as the Lincoln County Process. The whiskey is passed through charcoal filters, which results in pronounced fruit flavors and minimal graininess. Fletcher said Jack Daniel’s produces its own toasted, charred barrels in which to age its products, and it claims to be the only whiskey maker to control this aspect of the process.

Jack Daniel’s also has a long history in St. Louis, dating back to its first gold medal awarded in the 1904 World’s Fair. It’s even rumored that the iconic Old No. 7 on the label pays homage to the No. 7 train that transported Tennessee whiskey from St. Louis to the Western frontier.

Today, Jack Daniel’s offers several limited and special-edition products in addition to its original spirit, including its just-released Tennessee Rested Rye. After its charcoal filtering, the 70-percent rye rests in new white oak barrels for two years. The result is a solid rested whiskey that pulls strong banana flavors with hints of black pepper. While it can be sipped neat or on ice, it’s best appreciated in a classic rye cocktail like a Manhattan (recipe here) or a Sazerac (recipe here).

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rested Rye is available at Randall’s Wines & Spirits in St. Louis, North County and Fairview Heights, Illinois, locations.

-Image courtesy of drinkspirits.com

Drink This Weekend Edition: Syrah and albariño from Bonny Doon

Friday, July 4th, 2014

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Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm is a man of terroir. When he speaks about the land in central California where his grapes grow, it’s as if he’s possessed by it. There’s reverence and reserve in his voice. He chuckles when he recalls starting out in the early 1980s, naively thinking he would produce pinot noir (or, as he refers to it, “the heartbreak grape” for its notably fickle nature) before deciding to run with Rhone varieties instead. It’s these wines that made Bonny Doon into the producer it is today and that earned him the nickname “Rhone Deranger.”

Grahm focuses on the earth, the difficult climate and what the grapes and terroir are trying to express. His grapes speak loud and clear, conduits for the sun and soil where they thrived before becoming wine. Here, our two picks from Bonny Doon to drink this weekend:

Bonny Doon Le Pousseur 2012 Syrah
This medium- to full-bodied syrah possesses a smoky bouquet of mint, herb and dark black cherry. On the palate, you’ll find notes of fig and black plum, more mint and sandalwood. Le Pousseur has more vibrancy that often seen in New World syrahs, with a nice balance of fruit and earth. Enjoy with grilled game or braised pork. Available at The Wine and Cheese Place in Rock Hill.

Bonny Doon 2013 Albariño
This wine begins with lemon and sage on the nose and continues on the palate with lime, melon, herbs and lots of salinity. It’s a very dry white with precise acid. Drink this with light shellfish dishes or grilled chicken and summer vegetables. Available at Parker’s Table.

 

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 8-Bit Pale Ale

Friday, June 27th, 2014

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Great beer label design is its own art form today, meant to intrigue and entice you from shelves filled with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of brews. Some you just can’t ignore, like the pixelated, video game-style graphics on a bright orange can of 8-Bit Pale Ale from Kansas’ Tallgrass Brewing – and you shouldn’t ignore the brew inside, either.

Tallgrass bills 8-Bit as a “Hop Rocketed pale ale.”  This method sees brewers cycle a batch of beer through a stainless-steel vessel filled with their choice of hops just before canning to extract extra hop oils, which add to the aroma and flavor profiles. 8-Bit’s spin in the Hop Rocket with Galaxy hops creates a unique American Pale Ale with a tropical melon note. Pair that with a malty, almost honey-like body, and you have a truly balanced beer.

If pouring, 8-Bit is a slightly golden amber color with a thick, frothy white head; if no glass is allowed at your venue, 8-Bit is great straight from the can, too (See more great craft beers in cans here.). At 5.2 percent ABV, drink this one with a burger off the grill and prepare for a great night. 8-Bit is available at most craft beer shops and many grocery stores.

What I Do: Jacqui Segura

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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No cocktail connoisseur is more dedicated to promoting the culture of the artisan beverage than Jacqui Segura, aka The Cocktail Ambassador. She took a breather from her frenzied schedule – holding down a day job in e-commerce and raising four kids – to talk about her favorite cocktail, hosting events for imbibers and what she misses seeing behind the bar.

When did you become The Cocktail Ambassador?
September 2012. About two years earlier, I’d met (bartender) Matt Seiter. The only thing I drank at that time was Ketel One and tonic. (I) jumped whole hog into this cocktail list he had. They used to joke that I was their ambassador because I would go around to the tables at Sanctuaria and try to understand why every person there was not trying to finish this list and drink these amazing cocktails.

What’s your favorite cocktail?
Negroni. I love the simplicity and its tolerance for mistakes.

What’s the stupidest cocktail you’ve ever had?
We went to New Orleans. I had a hurricane. I remember getting headaches. It was so syrupy and sugary and powdery and red.

What are your favorite haunts in St. Louis for a cocktail?
It’s so hard for me to separate bartenders from the haunts. I’ll follow Ted (Kilgore) anywhere. Kyle (Mathis) has done an outstanding job keeping the bar program at Taste going. I like Tony (Saputo) and Seth (Wahlmann) at Eclipse a lot. I think they’re always doing creative things.

Are you going for the bartenders or the cocktails?
I go for the cocktails, but I’ve had enough cocktails that I know who I can rely on to provide consistency. There has to be (enough) trust with the bartender that I can say, “I’d like to do a cognac drink tonight.” And that they know me well enough to help me push forward in a new area.

How does Boozy Book Club work?
I choose a book that’s cocktail- or spirits-related. I recommend people read it ahead of time – that’s just a recommendation, not a requirement. I find a bar to host us. The book club meetings are all about “tasting” the book. I don’t want them to know that they’re actually learning something. I don’t want to make it a lecture.

Why did you organize the Drink Like a Lady event series in March?
This craft cocktail community is heavily male-dominated. I wanted to involve the women bartenders in St. Louis. And then I extended it even further: Can I challenge these women bartenders to use women-produced spirits in the cocktails they’re creating? That was the extent of the instructions that I gave bartenders. From there, they could do anything they wanted.

Would you call the event a success?
My expectation going into that was I was going to give out 30 passports. To hear that Mandi (Kowalski at Planter’s House) sold over 300 of her Fujiyama Mama (cocktail) – I’m like, “Wow!” Next year, there’s no reason to limit it to St. Louis. I’m going to do a passport for Kansas City, Chicago and St. Louis.

What cocktail trends excite you?
A return to simple, core ingredients – three to four (of them). You really have to think about the quality of the ingredients. There’s one (trend) that’s gone away and I’m like, “Come back!” – the theater of preparing a cocktail. I love that. Part of my concern with places going to bottled cocktails and cocktails on tap and quick-dispensing things is that you lose the theater. I’m paying anywhere from $10 to $15 for a cocktail. I want a floor show with it.

What do your kids say about your hobby?
I had to fight less with them and more my image of what parents did. The idea of taking one evening a week and saying, “At 8 o’clock on Wednesdays, I am going to be someplace doing what I want to do” was a big step for (my husband and me). We were like, “Now, if you say you want to go to the gym and do yoga, that’s OK. Going to the bar to drink, that’s not OK.” I worried about that for about two weeks, then I was so over it.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 World Cup beers from St. Louis breweries

Friday, June 13th, 2014

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{2nd Shift Brewing’s iBallz}

The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicked off yesterday, June 12, giving soccer-loving St. Louisans and even casual fans reason to celebrate. Our city’s passion for The Beautiful Game and our love of beer collide more than ever before this year; three local breweries have created beers specifically for the tournament. Whether you’re part of St. Louis’ “Soccer Mafia” or just along for the ride in Brazil, these beers are sure to have you raising a pint to your favorite national team.

The Civil Life Brewing Co.’s Goal!Den Ale: It’s fitting that our city’s first “soccer beer,” Goal!Den Ale, was first brewed for one of our city’s best soccer bars, Amsterdam Tavern in 2012. At 5 percent ABV, this easy-drinking golden ale is a perfect complement to the game. The light-bodied, straw-colored brew has nice bready malts, a touch of spicy hops and a fluffy head. Goal!Den Ale is available exclusively at Amsterdam Tavern and at The Civil Life.

4 Hands Brewery’s Nelson Sauvin APA: Every year, International Tap House embraces the homebrewing community by hosting a competition at its Chesterfield location. This year’s winner, Patrick Strohmayer, had the opportunity to collaborate with 4 Hands Brewery to brew a beer for iTap’s World Cup festivities. The result was Nelson Sauvin APA. The hops give the brew a tropical note – think grapefruit, passion fruit or tangerines.  But a nice malt characteristic gives this American pale ale balance and plenty of dimension. You can find this 5.2 percent ABV brew at all iTap locations, Amsterdam Tavern and at 4 Hands Brewery.

2nd Shift Brewing’s iBallz: If there’s one thing you need to know about 2nd Shift Brewing’s head brewer Steve Crider, it’s that he loves hops. But the folks over at iTap wanted something hoppy, yet sessionable, something hopheads could drink a few of while they enjoyed the game. Enter iBallz, what Crider calls a “bisected IPA.” At 4.3 percent ABV, this brew showcases hops in all of their glory. Unlike some session IPAs that lack body, iBallz, won’t leave you feeling as though you’re sipping hop water. Try this brew at any of iTap’s St. Louis locations.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Fox Run Riesling

Friday, June 6th, 2014

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{Fox Run Vineyards in New York’s Finger Lakes region}

 

As more people come around to the wonder that is riesling, their gazes fall not just on Germany and Austria for drinking options, but also on the U.S. And though upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region might not first strike one as America’s Middle Mosel, both riesling neophytes and grizzled Pfalz fanatics do themselves a disservice if they ignore this region. Simply put, nowhere else in the U.S. produces better riesling than the Finger Lakes.

Scott and Ruth Osborne, owners of Fox Run Vineyards in the Finger Lakes, recently paid a visit to St. Louis. After working at several winemaking facilities in California, including Byron in Santa Barbara, Scott Osborne found that his oenological dispositions skewed toward cool-climate wines, and he made the move east.

Fox Run produces six rieslings, two chardonnays, a cabernet Franc and a lemberger, all grapes that benefit from cool climate conditions at the Finger Lakes. Of all the wines we tasted, the Lake Dana Vineyard “12” 2010 Riesling (available at Vom Fass) stole the show. It displayed exceptional balance and proportion with notes of spiced pear and hard apple, as well as a whiff of vanilla custard. The finish was long, crisp and citrusy. For those familiar with German riesling, the “12” displayed the sweetness of a Kabinett, and the acidity kept it clean and fresh. We know some people run screaming from the notion of sweetness in wine; however, many big name California chardonnays have substantially more sweetness than this riesling.

While “12” was our favorite, each wine we tasted displayed balance and precision, as well as purity of fruit and minerality, particularly in the whites. All had moderate levels of alcohol. We recommend Fox Run wines across the board, but keep your eyes peeled for “12” and these two other rieslings, as well:

Fox Run 2013 Dry Riesling
Spicy white fruit on the nose plus some white flowers, peach and nectarine pit on the palate, and finishes with an impression of sappy extract. Available at Parker’s Table

Fox Run 2012 Semi-dry Riesling
Tart green apple and wet stone on the nose, firm but not overpowering acidity on the core-fruit and tangerine-driven palate, and finishes with more crushed stone tones and citrus hints. Available at Extra Virgin, an Olive Ovation

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