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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

TIP OF THE DAY: Olive Oil Martini

olive-oil-martini-foodista-230

A slick of olive oil may seem unusual atop a
Martini, but it adds a nifty layer of texture
and flavor. Photo courtesy Foodista.com.

 

Many people enjoy an olive or two in their Martinis. Whether you do or you don’t, try an Olive Oil Martini.

It’s a relatively new concept developed by the Chile Olive Oil marketing folks, to create a new cocktail experience and showcase the high quality of olive oils from Chile.

A drop of top-quality extra-virgin olive oil is floated atop the drink, adding a bit of fruity olive oil flavor and providing a balm-like slick to the lips.

You can use any premium EVOO you have to mix up a special Father’s Day cocktail. Simply mix your favorite Martini recipe, and float a quarter-teaspoon of oil on top.

Or, try this fusion of a Martini and a Margarita (via the Cointreau), a recipe from Chile Olive Oil:

 
RECIPE: CHILEAN EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL MARTINI

Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 orange segment
  • 3-5 fresh basil leaves
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce Chilean Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the orange segment and basil leaves in a cocktail shaker.

    2. ADD vodka, vermouth, Cointreau, simple syrup and olive oil; then add ice and shake well.

    3. STRAIN into a martini glass and float a drop of Chilean extra virgin olive oil over the top.

     

    ABOUT OLIVE OIL FROM CHILE

    Chile’s unique geography provides valleys to successfully grow any olive cultivar under optimal growing conditions in a Mediterranean-like climate, with cold rainy winters and hot and dry summers.

    The country grows Arbequina, Arbusana, Barnea, Coratina, Empeltre, Frantoio, Koroneiqui, Leccino, Manzanilla, Picual and Racimo varieties. The summer heat lets the olives reach optimum maturity, with great fruit expression.

    Because of the quality imparted by the climate, the country produces extra virgin oil exclusively. There are no oils that have to be classified in lower rankings such as Virgin or the generic Olive Oil. (See the different types of olive oil.)

    Streamlined New World production enables the olives to go from tree to oil in less than twenty-four hours—important to preserve the qualities that enable the oils to be classified as extra-virgin. The olives are picked, cold-pressed and bottled right at the orchard, delivering great freshness.

     

    olive-and-co-chile-230

    There are scores of Chilean olive oil brands available in the U.S. Photo courtesy Olive Oil & Co. | Chile.

     

    As a result, Chilean oil has become well known around the world for its quality, racking up awards in internationally recognized olive oil competitions.
     
    EXTRA VIRGIN VS. VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

    Extra Virgins are the fruitiest, finest, most olive-y oils, and are priced at a premium. “Fruity” means that the oils have pleasant, spicy fruit flavors characteristic of fresh ripe or green olives. Ripe fruit yields oils that are milder, aromatic, buttery and floral.

    To be classified as Extra Virgin, the olive oil must have low acidity—a maximum free acidity of 0.8%. Anything higher is simply “virgin” olive oil—good enough for cooking but not for savoring.

    Chilean extra virgin olive oils have acidity levels as low as 0.2%! Discover more at ChileOliveOil.com.
     
    KNOW YOUR OLIVE OIL

    Check out these olive oil terms.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tequila Cupcakes

    hornitos-prohibition-LaBamba-tequila-cupcake-230

    Tequila cupcakes: something different for
    Dad. Photo courtesy Hornitos Tequila.

     

    For Father’s Day, Prohibition Bakery in New York City, which specializes in baking with booze, has created a special cupcake, featuring new Hornitos Black Barrel tequila (more about it below).

    Called the La Bamba cupcake, it features all the mixings of a perfect cocktail but takes the form of a high-end mini-cupcake. Inspired by one of Hornitos signature cocktails, the La Bamba has a full taste that highlight’s Hornitos Black Barrel and is topped with icing and a pinch of salt. Look closely and you’ll find all the ingredients of a conventional cocktail.

    RECIPE: TEQUILA CUPCAKES

    Ingredients For 48 Mini Cup Cakes

    For The Cake

  • ½ cup ginger beer
  • ½ cup butter, unsalted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or full fat plain yogurt
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 4/5 cup sugar
  • 7 tablespoons minced ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  •  
    For The Frosting

  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ box of confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ cup añejo or extra-añejo tequila
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  •  

    For The Garnish

  • ¼ cup coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne or chili powder
  •  
    Preparation

    For The Cake

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F.

    2. BEAT eggs and sour cream in an electric mixer.

    3. COMBINE flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in another bowl.

    4. COMBINE ginger beer and butter in a small saucepan and heat until butter melts.

    5. SLOWLY POUR ginger beer/butter mixture while the mixer is running. Slowly add the dry goods to wet and beat until incorporated. Add minced ginger.

    6. FILL lined cupcake tins 2/3 with batter. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on a cooling rack.

     

    For The Frosting

    1. BEAT butter with paddle attachment of an electric mixer until fluffy.

    2. TURN dial to low speed and add the confectioner’s sugar.

    3. SLOWLY STREAM in the tequila and lime juice, and beat until smooth.

     

    For The Garnish

    1. COMBINE salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Toss until fully mixed.

    2. FROST cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with cayenne salt.

     

    hornitos-black-barrel-230

    Limited edition Hornitos Black Barrel tequila. Photo courtesy Hornitos.

     

    ABOUT HORNITOS BLACK BARREL TEQUILA

    Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila is a limited release that provides a very different tequila experience. The nose is distinctly whiskey-like, with a complex layering on the palate of wood, fruit and spice.

    The goal was to create a super smooth, 100% agave tequila, uniquely triple-aged to deliver complex whiskey notes. Tequila traditionalists may question the approach, but those seeking the new and different will likely be delighted.

    First, Black Barrel is aged in American oak barrels for 12 months (typically they are used Bourbon barrels), like a traditional añejo tequila (see the different types of tequila).

    Adding to this complex flavor, the Black Barrel is then moved to deeply charred American oak barrels for four months. This aging adds caramel flavors and the richness, golden amber color and smoky notes traditionally found in whiskey.

    For the last leg of the triple aged experience, the tequila is aged in specially-toasted American oak barrels for two months. This imparts a creamier, vanilla character that adds depth and complexity, and rounds out the smoothness of the body.

    Yes, you can drink shots of Black Barrel while enjoying the cupcakes.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cucumber Water, Cucumber Vodka

    cucumber-herb-water-230

    No more bland water at the table. Photo by
    Maria Bacarella | IST.

     

    When warm weather brings a bounty of fresh produce, we want to fresh produce it everywhere—including in our water glass. While any fruit or vegetable can be infused into a glass or pitcher of water, we especially enjoy cucumber and fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary.

    The simplest addition of a slice of cucumber and an herb sprig turns a nondescript glass of water into a special drink. You can layer on flavors as you like: a slice of lemon, lime or apple, for example.
     
    HOW TO MAKE CUCUMBER WATER

    1. ADD half a cucumber, cut into 1/8″ slices, to a two-quart pitcher. If it’s a waxed cucumber, use a carrot peeler to remove most of the waxy peel before slicing, but leave some decorative “stripes” by peeling the cucumber vertically, leaving long strips of peel at 1″ intervals.

    Variation: Look closely at the photo and you’ll note that both slices and strips of cucumber were used. Although it’s easier to eat the slices, the combination of slices and strips adds visual interest.

     
    2. CUT a lemon and/or lime into 1/8″ slices, removing the seeds. Add to the pitcher, along with sprigs of fresh rosemary or other favorite herb.

    3. FILL the pitcher with water. Refrigerate for 4 hours or more to chill and let the flavors infuse. When you’ve drunk up all the water, you can refill the pitcher and re-infuse the same cucumber and lemons, although you’ll get a lighter infusion.

     

    CUCUMBER VODKA

    Summer also reminds us that it’s time to break out the cucumber vodka. It’s a trending (and welcome) flavor, produced by organic distillers such as Crop Harvest, Prairie, Rain and Square One, as well as conventional brand such as Effen, Pearl and Skinnygirl.

    (Note to gin lovers: Gordon’s makes Crisp Cucumber Gin, but you may have to get someone to bring it back from England. We haven’t been able to find it in the U.S.)

    To make flavored vodka, natural flavor essence is added to the distilled vodka (which can be made from a variety of grains, including corn, rye and winter wheat). The fresh aroma of cucumber is a result of the same process used to capture the aromatics of flowers and other plants in natural fragrances.

    We love what the essence of crisp, cool cucumber does to vodka. Cucumber vodka gives a contemporary spin to familiar cocktails like the Bloody Mary, Gimlet, Tom Collins and Vodka Tonic. We drink Square One cucumber vodka straight up (and our food bucket list includes arranging a taste test with the other brands).
     
    CUCUMBER VODKA COCKTAIL RECIPES

    These recipes are courtesy Prairie Organic Spirits.

    Garden Cocktail

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces cucumber vodka
  • 2 one-inch cubes seedless watermelon
  • 1 diced lime (bitter ends removed)
  • 1 ounce agave nectar
  • 1 cucumber slice
  • Salt
  •  

    bottle-cocktail-squareone-230

    Cucumber adds a crisp touch to vodka. Photo courtesy SquareOne.

     

    Preparation

    1. LIGHTLY salt the rim of the glass.

    2. COMBINE all ingredients in a shaker. Shake with ice and pour into a rock glass over ice. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

     
    Cucumber Mary

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces cucumber vodka
  • ½ cup tomato juice
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 1 thick cucumber slice, notched
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE vodka, tomato juice, lemon, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a shaker.

    2. SHAKE with ice and pour mixture (including ice) into a highball glass. Add cucumber to the rim of glass and serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPES: Cocktails With Black Olives

    dirty-martini-black-olives-califripeolives

    Make a Dirty Martini with black olives instead
    of the green ones. Photo courtesy
    CalOlive.com.

     

    Many people enjoy olives in their Martinis, or a Dirty Martini made with olive brine. But these are green olives, typically stuffed with pimento.

    Why give black olives (ripe olives) the cold shoulder? Here are some recipes from California Ripe Olives to inspire entertaining. Try them for Father’s Day!

    BLACK OLIVE MARTINI

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce black olive brine
  • 1 teaspoon dry vermouth
  • Garnish: 4 black olives
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, olive brine and dry vermouth. Shake for several seconds to mix, then strain into a Martini glass.

    2. Garnish with a pick of black olives and serve.

     

    A michelada is a Mexican “beer cocktail,” combining beer, lime juice, and assorted seasonings: chiles, sauces and spices. This recipe adds tequila: a perfect fusion for a lover of both tequila and beer.

     

    RECIPE: BACK PORCH BEER COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 1 Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 silver (blanco) tequila
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce black olive brine
  • 1/4 ounce homemade sweet and sour mix (recipe)
  • 1 pinch prepared pico de gallo (fresh salsa—here’s a recipe)
  • 5 ounces Mexican beer
  • Garnish: lime wedge and black olive
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, lime juice, olive brine, sweet and sour mix and pico de gallo.

    2. SHAKE for several seconds until well mixed. Strain into a chilled glass and add beer. Garnish with a lime wedge and one black olive.

     

    Back-Porch-Beer-Cocktail-califripeolives-230

    Something different: beer, tequila and Mexican seasonings. Photo courtesy CalOlive.com.

     
    BLACK OLIVE BLOODY MARY

    Ingredients For 1 Cocktail

  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce black olive brine
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 2 drops hot sauce
  • 1/4 ounce Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 6 ounces tomato juice
  • Garnish: 4 black olives, 4 spicy green beans, 3 pickled carrots*
  •  
    *You can buy pickled vegetables make your own with this pickled vegetable recipe.
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all of the ingredients except for the garnishes in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for several seconds to mix well.

    2. STRAIN into a new glass with or without ice. Garnish and serve.

    Here’s a photo of the cocktail.

    Find more olive recipes at CalOlive.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Coconut Water Ice Cubes

    coconut-water-DeasySetiawatiWidjaja-DRM-230

    Coconut water with coconut water ice cubes
    and a lychee garnish. Photo © Deasy
    Setiawati Widjaja | DRM.

     

    If you enjoy coconut water—or the flavor of coconut in general—you can add a subtle touch of it to your favorite beverages via coconut water ice cubes.

    Use them in juice, iced tea, ginger ale and lemon-lime sodas (and of course, in coconut water itself). It’s an easy way to add a little something-something while cooling your drink.

    Or, try them in a cocktail, like this one, which builds on the ingredients of a Mango Margarita:

    Ingredients

  • 3 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1 oz clear orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh mango
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a blender. Cover; blend until smooth.

    2. ADD coconut water ice cubes; blend until smooth. Pour into glasses; garnish with mango or lime slices. Makes 4 drinks.

     
    TO MAKE COCONUT ICE CUBES

    Simply pour 1-1/2 cups of coconut water into standard ice cube tray and freeze.

    For extra fun, buy some silicone ice cube trays in fun summer shapes, and freeze cubes into flowers, stars, suns, trees and sea life.
     
    MORE ABOUT COCONUT WATER

  • Coconut Water Overview
  • Types Of Coconut Water
  • Coconut Water Health Benefits
  • Coconut Water Nutrition
  • Reviews Of Coconut Water Brands
  •  
    MORE TASTY ICE CUBES

    Make tea ice cubes, coffee ice cubes, lemonade ice cubes, etc.

    When they melt, they don’t dilute your drink.

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: What’s A Kir? What’s A Margarita?

    It’s a teaching moment: When is a Kir not a Kir? Or a Margarita not a Margarita? Or a Martini not a Martini?

    Every drink made with vodka is not a Martini, every drink made with Tequila is not a Margarita. Yet, each week we are sent a mis-named recipe that only serves to misinform.

    Capricious cooks and mixologists, professionals and amateurs alike, give names to their recipes through ignorance or selfishness; for example, “We need a cocktail for St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s call this drink an Irish Kir.”

    An omelet is not a frittata. Both are beaten eggs with mix-ins. But for an omelet, the egg is cooked and then folded over the filling, while a frittata blends the mix-ins with the egg and cooks it like a crustless quiche, on the stove top or in the oven.

    Since much of our mission is education that you can imagine the consternation this causes.

    Here’s that “Irish Kir” story. Why didn’t we publish it around St. Patrick’s Day? We wanted to take a moment to note that regular or “royale,” it’s a delightful summer drink.

    So, let’s start at the beginning:

       

    Kir_cocktail-wiki-230

    A Kir is a combination of blackcurrant liqueur and white wine or sparkling white wine. The color is red. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.

     
    WHAT’S A KIR?

    Kir is a drink that was created by a major of Dijon, in France’s Burgundy region. For an apéritif, Félix Kir (1876-1968) added a splash of cassis (blackcurrant liqueur, a specialty of Burgundy) to Aligote, a local white wine.

    The “Kir,” as it was known, became very popular and led to eight different variations, the best known of which, the Kir Royale, substitutes Champagne for the still wine.

     

    green-sparkling-volcano-cocktail-blog.relishinteriors-230s

    Champagne and apple schnapps can be
    called lots of things, but not a Kir Royale.
    Photo courtesy RelishInteriors.com.

     

    THE PROBLEM

    We received a pitch from Benjamin Steakhouse Westchester for a St. Patrick’s Day cocktail called the “Shamrock Kir,” made of Champagne and Apple Pucker. Huh?

    It’s a recipe for a Champagne cocktail, but has nothing to do with Kir, the distinguishing feature of which is blackcurrant liqueur.

    Not to mention, a kir made with Champagne is a Kir Royale—so mis-name your cocktail an Irish Kir Royale, at least! Would any responsible person argue the facts otherwise?

    Said the email:

    “Add ½ oz of Apple Pucker or other apple schnapps to a Champagne flute and top of with Champagne or another sparkling wine. Those of you going to Benjamin Steakhouse Westchester and ordering the drink should be sure you’re getting authentic Champagne and not a less expensive sparkling wine.”

    Those of you going to Benjamin Steakhouse Westchester should ask why they call this drink a Kir of any kind, instead of a “Sparkling Shamrock,” for example.

    The teaching moment:

     

    The publicist who sent this pitch, her client, and all supervisors involved, clearly don’t fully grasp what they’re writing about. Would they call a yellow cake with chocolate frosting a chocolate cake?

    Ignorance isn’t bliss: It’s aggravating! To all those involved: You have the Internet at your fingertips. There’s no excuse not to do your research.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Whiskey-Infused Chocolate Truffles

    If Dad loves chocolate and spirits, this may be the ideal Father’s Day gift!

    The Oregon Distiller’s Collection from Moonstruck Chocolate is nine-piece collection of truffles infused with spirits from five of Oregon’s finest craft distillers.

    The spirits are infused into chocolate ganache and hand-piped into hand-painted chocolate shells. The collection is a parade of deliciousness:

  • Bendistillery Crater Lake Pepper Vodka Truffle: A ganache of ivory and dark chocolate is infused with the spirit. A blend of five different sweet and hot chiles creates a balance of flavor and spice; in an ivory chocolate shell.
  • Bull Run Distillery Pacific Rum and Cola Truffle: A blend of dark and milk chocolate ganache is infused with the rum and cola-flavored spirit to mimic the classic cocktail; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • Bull Run Temperance Trader Bourbon Whiskey Truffle: A dark and milk chocolate ganache is infused with this popular whiskey, creating sweet and smoky notes with a hint of fruit and butterscotch; in a dark chocolate shell.
  •    

    craft-distillers-230

    A gift box of spirits-infused truffles. Photo courtesy Moonstruck Chocolate.

     

  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Apple Brandy Truffle: The spirit is blended into a ganache of ivory and dark chocolate, featuring notes of grass, apple and spice; in dark chocolate shell.
  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Pear Brandy Truffle: A blended milk and dark chocolate ganache is infused with the pear brandy; in an ivory chocolate shell.
  •  

    moonstruck_craft_distillers-goodstuffnw-230r

    Each individual flavor can be purchased
    separately, too. Photo courtesy
    GoodstuffNW.com.

     
  • House Spirits Distillery Krogstad Aquavit Truffle: The aquavit is blended into an ivory and dark chocolate ganache, creating a warm blend of chocolate, star anise and caraway flavors; in a milk chocolate shell.
  • House Spirits Distillery Coffee Liqueur Truffle: The strong, freshly-brewed coffee flavor of the liqueur infuses a blend of milk and dark chocolate ganache; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • House Spirits Distillery Aviation Gin Truffle: This milk and dark chocolate ganache is infused with the gin, delivering a bouquet of botanical flavors, with top notes of citrus, anise, cardamom and lavender; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • Rogue Ale Dead Guy Whiskey Truffle: A blended ivory and dark chocolate is infused with the whiskey, creating delicately sweet notes, a rich malt complexity and a warm peppery finish; in a milk chocolate shell.
  •  
    Who could resist? The nine-piece sampler is $20.00. The flavors can be purchased individually in boxes of 20 pieces for $50.00.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHISKEY & WHISKY

    Check out the different types of whiskey in our Whiskey Glossary.
      

    Comments

    FATHER’S DAY: Pairing Food With Single Malt Scotch

    Ready for an evening of fine food and Scotch? On Thursday, May 29, Empire Steak House in New York City will show why single-malt Scotch pairs well with every course. A five-course classic steakhouse menu will be paired with leading single-malt Scotches, in a tasting led by Master of Whisky* Spike McClure; $150 includes five courses, five single malt scotches and a hand-rolled cigar.

    You may not be able to attend the event, but you can create something similar at home. How about for Father’s Day? Empire Steak has shared their menu and Scotch pairings with us. We’ve included pairing notes notes from Spike McClure, plus tasting notes on the single malts courtesy of Master Of Malt.com.

    Each region of Scotland produces different flavors, and each distillery within a reason likewise. As with any wine varietal, different bottlings have flavors that pair better with particular foods. McClure’s top five favorite pairings for steakhouse cuisine and single malts:

  • Talisker 10: with fresh clams, fresh oysters, chorizo sausage, barbecue
  • Oban 14: with white fish, chicken, Swiss cheese
  • Cragganmore 12: with duck, mushroom risotto, Gouda cheese
  • Glenkinchie 12: with Parmesan cheese, asparagus, bitter greens, chicken
  • Dalwhinnie 15: with chocolate, cake, pudding, ice cream
  •    

    dark-rum-rocks-liquor.com-230

    From the first course to the last, the right single malt replaces wine at dinner Photo courtesy Liquor.com.

     
    *Master of Whisky is not an official industry certification, but a term given to global brand ambassadors by Diageo, the world’s largest producer of spirits. More information.
     
    THE MENU

    Course 1: Raw Seafood Bar

  • Little Neck clams and fresh oysters on the half shell
  • Scotch Pairing: Talisker Storm (Region: Isle of Skye)
  •  
    Scotch Tasting Notes
    The nose shows initial brine and banana. The palate is thick and mouth-coating with wood smoke, brine, some tin and chilli heat too. Red chile peppers appear in the finish, along with oak dryness and a hint of embers. The smoky, “maritime” character pairs well with seafood.

    Course 2: Fish & Seafood

  • Grilled Chilean sea bass with pan seared scallops, with steamed spinach
  • Scotch Pairing: Oban 14 (Region: West Highland)
  •  
    Scotch Tasting Notes
    The nose is rich and smoky. Medicinal notes are quite evident along with seaweed and other notes of the sea that pair with fish and seafood. The palate is robust, with notes of cut hay and wood smoke, along with citrus and a smooth sweetness. The finish is long, with notes of fruit and oak.

     

    scotch-cheese6.19336.768

    Serve Scotch instead of wine with a cheese
    course. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk
    Marketing Board.

     

    Course 3: Poultry

  • Grilled chicken with linguine and white clam sauce, with sautéed asparagus
  • Scotch Pairing: Cragganmore 12 (Region: Speyside)
  •  
    Scotch Tasting Notes
    The nose is aromatic, redolent of florals (heather), fruit salad, smoked almonds and stemmy hay. The palate is rich with notes of honey, stone fruits, berries, chestnuts, walnuts and almonds. The finish is ofgood length and smoky, with a delicate peppery spice.

     
    Course 4: Beef

  • USDA Prime dry aged New York sirloin steak, with German potatoes
  • Scotch Pairing: Lagavulin 16 (Region: Islay)
  •  
    Scotch Tasting Notes

    This sought-after single malt has the massive peat-smoke that’s typical of southern Islay; it stands up well to red meat.

     
    The nose is reminiscent of Lapsang Souchong tea, with notes of iodine, sweet spices, mature sherry and creamy vanilla. The palate is very thick and rich: malt, sherry and fruity sweetness with powerful peat and oak. There’s a long, spicy finish with figs, dates, peat smoke and vanilla.
     
    Course 5: Dessert

  • Chocolate ice cream with wafers (substitute dessert: cheese plate)
  • Scotch Pairing: Dalwhinnie 15 (Region: Highlands)
  •  
    Scotch Tasting Notes
    The nose is aromatic with toffee, fruit salad, nectarine and custard; along with floral notes of apple blossom and honeysuckle and a touch of smoke. A semblance of manuka honey and vanilla encourage pairing with dessert. The palate is malty with gentle smoke and a touch of spice. The finish is long and malty, with flavors of almond and walnut.
     
    WHISKY VS. WHISKEY

    In Ireland and the United States, the word whiskey is spelled with an “e,” while the British, Scots and Canadians opt to drop the “e.”

    Scholars can’t determine why the “e” was dropped in Scotland. One theory is that the Irish made whiskey first and pronounced it with a broad “e.” When the Scots began to make it, they dropped the “e” to differentiate their product.
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Strawberry Margarita Jello Shots

    We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with these Margarita Jell-O shots, created by Good Cocktails.com.

    Mix up some strawberry Margarita Jell-O (yes, with tequila) and pour into hollowed-out strawberry cups.

    Refrigerate, garnish with a small slice of lime, and serve.

    It’s delicious and fun. Here’s the recipe.

     

    strawberry-jello-shot-goodcocktail-230sq

    A strawberry serves as the shot glass. Photo courtesy GoodCocktail.com.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Create The Best Sugar Rim

    red-sugar-rim-eljimador-230

    Red sanding sugar makes a sweet, colorful
    cocktail or mocktail rimmer. Photo courtesy
    El Jimador Tequila.

     

    Here’s a fun idea for Mother’s Day or any other celebration: a custom glass rimmer for cocktails or mocktails. You can buy rimmers in tins, but it’s almost as fast to make your own.

    We owe this tip to Seattle’s Best, which served us a coffee Martini with a sugar rim at a recent event.

    Wow, we said: How did you get the sugar to really stick on? Our own efforts to create the ideal flavored rim were not as successful.

    The answer: Dip the rim of the glass in maple syrup, not water as we’ve been doing, to create the glass rimmer. Do it in advance so the syrup can dry.

    We substituted agave for the maple syrup, which held just as fast and firm and is even better when you don’t want to add maple flavor.

    Sanding sugar is available in numerous colors, and the technique also works with a chocolate rim, a shredded coconut rim, a sprinkles rim or whatever look and taste you like.

    You can be creative in your blend, adding anise, cinnamon or other spice to the base ingredient.

     

    And you can do it with savory rims, blending celery salt, chili powder or sea salt with just about any herb or spice that adds complementary flavor to the drink.

    Here’s the recipe we tasted from Seattle’s Best:

     

    RECIPE: SEATTLE’S BEST COFFEE MAPLETINI

    Ingredients For 4 Drinks

  • 1 cup brewed Signature Blend No. 4 Seattle’s Best Coffee, chilled (or coffee of your choice)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus extra for decorating the rims of the Martini glasses
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla-flavored vodka
  • 1-1/2 cups ice
  • Colored sugar, ground chocolate or ground coffee beans mixed with sugar
  •  

    chocolate-rimmed-jimador-230sq

    Make a chocolate rim with ground chocolate or cocoa and sugar. Photo courtesy El Jimador Tequila.

     

    Preparation

    1. BREW coffee one hour or more before serving and cool to room temperature, or chill in the refrigerator. (Note: You can brew and refrigerate the coffee days in advance.)

    2. COMBINE the brewed coffee, half & half, maple syrup and vanilla-flavored vodka in a large glass or martini shaker. Fill with ice, then shake or stir until the ingredients are well-combined.

    3. MOISTEN the rims of four martini glasses with maple syrup and dip in sugar to lightly coat.

    4. STRAIN the cocktail and pour into the prepared glasses.

      

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