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Jul 05, 2015
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Drinking’

Drink This Weekend Edition: 2015 wine trends with Jon Dickinson at Parker’s Table

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

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{From left, Parker’s Table manager Jon Dickinson and Jon Parker}

 

The new year brings new talk of trends throughout the food and beverage scene, from those we eagerly anticipate to those we wish would just disappear already. I recently popped by Parker’s Table to chat with manager Jon Dickinson about what’s up next for the St. Louis wine scene – and picked up a few bottles for myself.

What trends did you see here in 2014?
We found an acceptance with consumers of wines outside the areas they were used to … wines from Hungary, Turkey, Greece … wines that are excellent, unique, historical, Old World, really cool wines that just (didn’t) have the exposure before.

Why were St. Louisans interested in these more obscure wines?
A new crop of younger sommeliers (is) getting really excited about obscure wines and actually putting them on restaurant wine lists … It’s a lot easier to get someone to try a cool glass of wine in a cool restaurant than it is to get them to invest in a full bottle. Having cooler glass-pour programs around town has been great in increasing consumer education, getting customers to … open their minds a little bit about wine regions St. Louis has not really seen before.

What can we expect in 2015?
People are getting more acclimated to high-acid wines, more food-friendly wines, understanding that wines and foods go together. The two can play off each other and create really unique flavor combinations.

Why are people interested in higher-acid wines?
People are just getting tired of the big, overdone style with high alcohol and massive oak flavors. They seem to be looking for wines that are more refreshing.

What wine resolutions did you make this year?
I’ve resolved to drink even crazier! Trying new things I haven’t tried before, new grapes, wines from new places, and wines made in unique ways.

Can you share a trade secret for choosing good wines?
Even if you don’t know the wine, pick an importer or two you like, and check the back label for that importer… (I like) Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Louis/Dressner Selections and Rare Wine Company.

Here, my two picks to get into Dickinson’s 2015 trends, both from a suggested importer:

1. Chateau Soucherie Anjou Rouge is a Loire Valley blend of cabernet franc and grolleau grapes that’s earthy and spicy, yet approachable and refreshing.

2. Kiràlyudvar Tokaj Furmint Sec is a delicious dry white from Hungary’s famed Tokaji region. It’s bright and crisp with a high level of acidity balanced by melon and lemon.

 

By the Book: Charles Phan’s Hot Buttered Rhum Cider

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

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Flushed and teetering slightly, I executed my final By the Book dish of the year more liberally than others, multiplying the yield by many times, swapping some ingredients, fudging others. If the writer’s occupational hazard is drinking, I’ll ration the danger by making my poison in batch form, thank you very much. Heaven forbid I drink alone.

The opportunity came to me at Sauce’s holiday party this past weekend, where my potluck contribution was a steaming jug of Hot Buttered Rhum Cider. The recipe for the festive concoction came from Charles Phan’s The Slanted Door, the cookbook inspired by his eponymously named Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco which happened to win Outstanding Restaurant honors at the 2014 James Beards.

Phan – who claims no professional culinary training – styles himself a home cook, and his recipes show it. Each dish is engineered in a straightforward single page of instructions opposite stark, colorful photography. Think uncomplicated dishes like halved lobster tossed in melted herb butter, an easy Vietnamese fisherman’s stew and a stout lineup of simple cocktails.

Mulled cider makes an amiable base for this drink, which masks (and yet is enhanced by) the flavor of the dark rum. For additional texture and richness there’s the spiced compound butter, a degenerately sugary concoction that I stopped eating with a spoon only because our party guests began to arrive. Into the drink the rest of it went, forming a soupy froth on top. The final product needed a few minutes to steep and recalibrate itself to unify the flavor. When it did, I simply left it on low for the roaring duration of the party, guests ladling steaming cupfuls for themselves throughout.

 

 

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The recipe outlines the proportion for making one serving, but it’s easily scaled up as needed. I again summoned my ancient Crock-Pot from a few months ago, using it first to mull the cider with spices, then to warm the finished batch of grog. Leave cider to mull for at least an hour in the slow cooker on high.

 

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Let the butter rest at room temperature for a few minutes so it can soften enough to cream with a fork or spoon.

 

 

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The finished batch totaled approximately three quarts, the mere dregs of which remained at party’s end. The recipe is quite customizable. Leave the mulling spices in or out, add more rum or butter as your palate desires. This is holiday time, people – you get to decide. Just make sure you don’t spill any on that nice sweater.

 

Hot Buttered Rhum Cider
Makes 1 cocktail

1½ oz. aged Haitian Rum, preferably Barbancourt 8 year
1 Tbsp. spiced compound butter (recipe follows)
6 oz. mulled apple cider (recipe follows)
Cinnamon stick
Clove
Star anise

• To prepare this drink put the alcohol, mulled cider and compound butter into a saucepan and heat until the butter has dissolved and the drink is steaming. Pour into a 10-ounce handled heat-proof mug. Garnish by floating a disc of orange peel studded with a clove, star anise and a cinnamon stick.

Mulled Cider
• We juice apples on a hydraulic press daily for this drink. Unless you have an apple press at home, you should find the best unfiltered apple juice available. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, Philo Apple Farm Bates and Schmitt makes a good one. Add apple juice to a pot with the skin of an orange studded with the clove, cinnamon stick and star anise. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Spiced Compound Butter
• Soften and cream 8 ounces of unsalted butter with a paddle in a mixing bowl. Slowly add 2 ounces of brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and allspice, a pinch of ground ginger, cloves and kosher salt. Scrape the sides to ensure that all of the spices are blended. Roll the butter into a log and wrap it in wax paper. Refrigerate.

Reprinted with permission from 10 Speed Press

What’s inside those glasses you clink with family, friends and loved ones during the holidays? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of The Slanted Door.

 

The Scoop: Alcohol delivery service Drizly arrives in St. Louis

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

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Remember those nights you wished booze could be delivered to your doorstep like pizza or Chinese food? Dreams are about to be fulfilled when Drizly, an alcohol delivery service company, launches its smartphone app and website in St. Louis tomorrow, Dec. 11.

The Boston-based company has partnered with St. Louis liquor retailer Randall’s Wines and Spirits to bring beer, wine and liquor delivery to customers and businesses. To shop, users download the free Drizly app on their iPhone or Android device or order on Drizly’s website. Once the beverage selection is submitted and paid for online, the order is fulfilled and delivered by a Randall’s employee in 40 minutes or less. Delivery drivers authenticate and validate IDs upon arrival.

Customers can choose from a wide selection of beer, wine and spirits, as well as mixers, bitters, juice and even ice. Everything costs the same as Randall’s in-store prices with an added $5 delivery fee. Delivery hours are the same as Randall’s store hours of operation.

Drizly will be available throughout St. Louis city and the surrounding communities, including: Ballwin, Boulevard Heights, Brentwood, Clayton, Creve Coeur, Frontenac, Kirkwood, Ladue, Manchester, Maplewood, Olivette, Princeton Heights, Richmond Heights, Rock Hill, Town & Country, University City and Webster Groves. Drizly founder and CEO Nick Rellas said he hopes to add more communities in the area. “As awareness grows, we’ll bring on more new retailers in suburban areas,” he said.

Rellas said he introduced Drizly to St. Louis after studying our city’s food and drinking culture, consumer use of technology and our sports culture. “It makes for a really great market,” Rellas said. “Randall’s is a fantastic retailer. You won’t find one as sophisticated as Randall’s. An overwhelming majority of their products are online. Randall’s is so tech-savvy that we’re able to do that.”

Drizly launched in Boston in early spring 2013. This year has seen expansions into New York, Chicago, Austin, several cities in Colorado, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington DC. “We went from one to 12 this year,” Rellas said. “You’ll see us in quite a few more cities by the end of next year.”

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Dandelion cocktails at Water Street

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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{From left, Water Street’s Bobby Burns, The Lion Who Came to Tea and a Dandy Lion}

 

“All the railroad men just drink up your blood like wine,” Bob Dylan croons over the speakers at Water Street in Maplewood. Here, Dylan recycles an old folk apercu, a surprisingly good fit for Gabe Kveton’s petite eatery in a still gritty industrial part of this burgeoning community, where railways crisscross the landscape like scars and the storefronts are a dim-lit miscellany of contracting firms, car rental lots and dining establishments.

While the warm environs of Water Street are an antidote to all that cold and dark outside, up the ante further with one of the bar’s craft cocktails made with Lion’s Tooth, the small-batch dandelion liqueur ginned up by Kveton, his sister and executive chef Maria Kveton and friend Bethany Holohan. Now that the first bottles perch on a shelf above the bar, Kveton said he plans to add Lion’s Tooth cocktails to the menu next week – though if you pay the bar a visit this weekend, he’ll shake up one by request.

“I haven’t seen a liqueur like this before with the dandelion flavor,” Kveton said. “The brandy base brings a little bit of sweetness to the dandelion root. Brings a bit of earthiness.”

While I had a nip of the liqueur neat, bartenders Christy Lucido and Brett Bell mixed up a pair of Lion’s Tooth cocktails (the recipes for which are available here) for me, explaining some of the lore as they went.

The recipe is a fairly simple infusion of dandelion roots with Crown Valley brandy. By itself, Lion’s Tooth smells almost like – there’s no other way to say it – a Band-Aid, that kind of invasively floral aroma you smell when rubbing out dandelions on your hand. This shouldn’t deter you, though. After all, the best Gruyere still smells like mold and kimchee like, well, nothing pleasant.

What matters is that first taste: the sweet fruitiness from the brandy, the delicious herbal notes and that strong rush of alcohol at the end to cleanse the palate. This is a versatile liqueur that destabilizes, then reunifies whatever it’s mixed with.

The Lion Who Came to Tea combines Jeremiah Weed sweet tea, Lion’s Tooth and a brace of lemon wheels for garnish – think a boozier, more botanical Arnold Palmer. The inevitably named Dandy Lion is a tart concoction of vodka, Lion’s Tooth, lemon juice and simple syrup upon, which floats a tiny skiff of a mint leaf. Like Dylan and his folk repertoire, Water Street’s cocktail program riffs courageously on old standards like sours, sangria, Collins and more.

Of course, there’s plenty else to explore on the rest of the cocktail menu, including the vintage cocktail of the week – which is currently a Bobby Burns, a smokier Manhattan that opts for scotch instead of rye, and a splash of Benedictine. Shelter from the storm? Yes, you’ll find it here.

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: I Don’t Want No Shrubs

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

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One of the most exciting things about creating cocktails is rediscovering old techniques and ingredients. Shrubs have been around since the Colonial period and were enjoyed by the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Martha Washington.

Consisting of vinegar, sugar and fruit, shrubs were originally used to preserve and incorporate fresh ingredients in the days before refrigeration. Now they add excellent flavor and dimension to cocktails. I Don’t Want No Shrubs combines a homemade apple shrub with rye whiskey, Benedictine and Velvet Falernum to create a sweet-yet-tangy, boozy, smooth drink that’s perfect to warm you on a chilly day – and it makes dealing with your crazy uncle just a little bit easier during the holidays.

 
I Don’t Want No Shrubs
1 serving

2 oz. Rittenhouse rye whiskey
½ oz. Benedictine
½ oz. Velvet Falernum
½ oz. apple shrub (recipe follows)
2 dashes Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters
Orange twist to garnish

• Combine the whiskey, Benedictine, Velvet Falernum, apple shrub and bitters in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until cold and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Apple Shrub

4 to 5 apples, cored and sliced
Sugar to coat
Apple cider vinegar

• Toss the apple slices in a bowl with enough sugar to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 day.
• Strain the sugar syrup into a measuring cup. Reserve the sweetened apples for another use or discard. Add an equal amount of apple cider vinegar to the sugar syrup, pour into a resealable jar and let sit 1 day. Apple shrub will keep up to 1 year.

 

Drew Lucido is a member of USBG St. Louis and bar manager at Juniper.

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

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