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Archive for 2010

COCKTAIL RECIPE: True Grit & Bourbon

While Rooster Cogburn never missed a drink, we’re not certain that he’d cotton to mixing his whiskey with cinnamon schnapps and gold flakes.

That’s more than a bit too fancy for the whiskey available in either rural Arkansas or the Indian territory that became Oklahoma.

And nobody in Charles Portis’ novel, True Grit—or any of the filmed versions—was looking for gold.

But we’ll let that pass, because Wild Turkey has created a charming Old West cocktail that assembles the ingredients—the gold, the grit, the sarsaparilla and the whiskey—into a cocktail honoring the American West.

They named this cocktail after the tough lawman in the novel:

See “True Grit,” then drink it. Photo
courtesy Wild Turkey.



  • 1-1/2 ounces Wild Turkey 101
  • 1/2 ounces Goldschläger, cinnamon schnapps laced with gold flakes (which is a beautiful liqueur to drink straight up or mixed with vodka or blanco/plato/silver tequila, as well, with gold flakes swirling in clear liquid)
  • 4 ounces sarsaparilla or any root beer*
  • Coarse salt (provides the grit)*Here’s a fun fact: From 1820 to 1910 (much of the time period covered by Charles Portis’ novel, which ends in 1928), sarsaparilla was registered in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for syphilis. (There is no scientific research to substantiate this claim.) Sarsaparilla is a trailing vine with prickly stems, native to Central America. Oh, and Rooster’s given name was Reuben.


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TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Flavored Water

While anise water won’t overtake mint water,
it’s one of our favorites. Photo courtesy

We’ve written before about adding berries, citrus slices, cucumber slices, mint and other herbs to create a pitcher of infused water. It adds considerable flavor with negligent calories.

You can also make flavored water with extracts. McCormick’s, available at most supermarkets, has the widest retail selection:

  • Fruit Flavors: Banana, Lemon, Coconut, Orange, Raspberry and Strawberry
  • Herb Flavors: Anise, Cinnamon, Mint
  • More Flavors: Almond, Maple, Rum


We make mint water every day. The recipe: 8-10 drops of mint extract per 16-ounce bottle of water (use a clean medicine dropper).

We like a very flavor-forward water. If you’re not certain how strong you like it, start with 6 drops and keep adding until you reach your preferred threshold.

But lately, we’ve been playing with other recipes, including combinations (banana rum is a favorite). But our most favorite discovery: anise water. If you love the flavor of anise (or licorice), try it.

And let us know your favorite combinations.

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Cooking Video: Low Calorie Cocktails


You can still enjoy a few drinks on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, without breaking the calorie bank.

Registered Dietician Elizabeth Somer provides tips that help you to “drink this, not that,” to borrow a phrase from the popular book by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding.

In fact, the book series that includes Drink This, Not That, Eat This, Not That and Cook This, Not That will help jump-start your New Year’s diet.

But back to our weekly cooking video: Spend a few minutes with it and you’ll be mindful of which drinks are highest in calories and which alternatives are just as satisfying. Or as we see it, trade off drink calories for a piece of pecan pie or cheesecake.

  • Enjoy these low-carb cocktail recipes at your Christmas dinner, New Year’s party and throughout 2011.
  • Find more food and drink videos in our Cooking Videos Section.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: OXO Salad Spinner

    Stop using paper towels to dry off your salad greens.

    You not only use an unreasonable amount of paper towels (non-green greens, as it were); but you also unnecessarily crush delicate greens such as basil and mint.

    Instead, use the OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner to dry your lettuce and herbs.

    What separates the OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner from its competitors is the ease and versatility of use.

    • The OXO Salad Spinner uses a pump style method for spinning the basket rather than a crank or rope.
    • This means you can operate the spinner with only one hand by simply pushing down on the pump.


    Dry your salad without wasting paper towels.
    Photo courtesy OXO Good Grips.

    • There is also a non-slip ring on the bowl to make sure it stays put while you’re drying your salad leaves.


    The 6-quart bowl is deep, so you can toss your unwashed greens into it and fill it with cold water. This lets any sediment sink to the bottom while your salad floats to the top.

    Then when you’re ready to spin, simply slowly lift the basket out of the water, pour out any dirt and spin. If you’re in a bind, the large bowl also acts as a serving vessel. You can dress the salad and put the entire bowl out for display.

    Last year, another brand of salad spinner won a major industry award. We rushed to buy it. Alas, the pull-cord broke within eight weeks.

    Our OXO gets the thumbs up!

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    RECIPE: Holiday Cranberry Sauce

    It’s easy to make from scratch. Photo
    by M. Sheldrake | IST.

    Whether you’re planning a duck, goose, ham or turkey for Christmas, make your own delicious cranberry sauce as a side. It’s easy, and tastes so much better than store-bought.



    • 1 pound frozen or fresh cranberries
    • Juice of 2 navel oranges
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons honey (more if needed)
    • ¼ cup Bourbon (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 jalapeño, finely minced

    1. Wash cranberries under cold water and place in a sauce pan with brown sugar, cinnamon stick, half the orange juice, salt, jalapeño and bourbon.

    2. Bring mixture to boil on high heat, then maintain a simmer on low heat. The cranberries should pop and break down.

    3. When the orange juice has reduced by half (about 5 minutes), add the second half of the orange juice. If the orange juice reduces too quickly before the cranberries fully break down, you can simply add water, about 2 tablespoons at a time, until the cranberries pop and resemble jam.

    4. Strain the mixture through a strainer, to separate the skins and stems. Push the mixture through with the back of a spoon.

    5. Place back in pan, stir and taste. If the sauce is still acidic, add honey 1 tablespoon at a time. You may not need all the honey.

    6. Add a few drops of lemon juice to brighten up the cranberry sauce.

    7. It’s ready to serve!


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