THE NIBBLE BLOG Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.



Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

TIP OF THE DAY: Create A Special Christmas Mocktail

Ocean Spray Mocktail

strawberry-mint-lemonade-asweetpeachef-230

A fun mocktail is a treat for non-drinkers. Top photo courtesy Ocean Spray. Bottom photo courtesy ASweetPeaChef.com.

 

If you serve alcohol at parties, you’re bound to have some non-drinkers, designated drivers, and probably, drinkers who shouldn’t have another.

Most hosts address the need with soft drinks and mineral water. But special occasions merit an extra step: a holiday mocktail.

It’s easy to make it look and taste interesting, and those who can’t drink will feel special.

For your Christmas mocktail, we suggest something red and green: a red- or rosy-hued drink with a green garnish.

  • Determine on the proportions, e.g. 2 parts cranberry juice and 1 part soft drink.
  • Decide if you want to serve a tall or short drink.
  • Consider a low-calorie option: The juice and soft drink ingredients both have diet versions, which will be especially appreciated by calorie-counting guests.
  •  
    CHRISTMAS MOCKTAIL #1: CRANBERRY GINGER

    Ingredients

  • Cranberry juice*
  • Ginger ale
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: stemmed cherry†, lime wheel or mint leaves
  •  
    CHRISTMAS MOCKTAIL #2: CRANBERRY ORANGE

    Ingredients

  • Cranberry juice*
  • Orange soda‡
  • Garnish: stemmed cherry†, lime wheel or mint leaves
  •  
    You can make the drinks a deeper red color with grenadine.
    _____________________________________________
    *Our favorite cranberry juice is Knudsen’s. Ocean Spray has several 100% juice flavors: plain or blended with blueberry-blackberry, cherry, grape, orange, pomegranate, raspberry, etc. Use 100% juice instead of “juice cocktails” or “juice drinks,” which are typically sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

    †The best maraschino cherries by far are the all-natural (and kosher-certified) Tillen Farms Merry Maraschino Cherries. They are “maraschino red” in color but taste great—nothing like the traditional varieties. The company also makes Bada Bing Cherries, with the deep burgundy hue of bing cherries. If you buy multiple packs online, use the extras as stocking stuffers.

    ‡San Pellegrino Aranciata (orange) and Aranciata Rossa (blood orange), and Boylan’s Orange, are the only ones we’ve found that use sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. San Pellegrino is less sweet and more elegant; Boylan’s is conventionally sweet.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: A Flavored Shots Party

    Pinnacle Peppermint Bark Vodka

    Plastic Shot Glasses

    TOP PHOTO: Pinnacle Vodka has 40 flavors, including holiday flavors like Peppermint Bark and Pumpkin Pie. BOTTOM PHOTO: One-ounce, colored shot glasses are the way to go. Photo courtesy Party Essentials.

     

    Looking to do something different for a holiday get-together with friends? While there’s always a holiday drinks menu, here’s an idea that requires no mixing: flavored shots.

    The flavored spirits category is “on fire,” according to Liquor.com. a website for industry professionals. You can now find flavored bourbons and ryes*, in addition to the pioneer category of flavored vodka and the flavored tequilas† that followed vodka’s success.

    Now before the angry comments begin, let us emphasize that this is not a lets-get-loaded shots party. It’s a responsible let’s-taste-some-flavored-spirits-straight opportunity. The novelty for many people is tasting flavored spirits outside of a mixed drink.

    In fact, sipping from a shot glass is our favorite way to enjoy flavored spirits. And for planning purposes, four different flavors are about as much as people should have in an evening, even with designated drivers. While a standard shot is 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) for 80 proof distilled spirits, take it down to 1 ounce.

    What if people want more than four ounces? Flavored club soda or spritzers.
     
    WHERE DO YOU GET THE SHOT GLASSES?

    You can buy clear one-ounce plastic shot glasses or two-ounce shot glasses. They can be washed and reused for another occasion.

    But if you’re serving vodka or tequila, since the sprits are clear, we think colored shot glasses are all-around better. Not only are they festive, but you can color-code the pours.

     
    WHAT FLAVORS SHOULD YOU PICK?

    Your options are based on what spirit you choose. Pinnacle, for example, has more than 40 flavors of vodka. There are large numbers of flavored tequilas, and the numbers get smaller with whiskey.

    For vodka, you can choose four different fruits from the many options, or make the party more holiday-focused with specialty flavors like Pinnacle’s Caramel Apple, Peppermint Bark, Salted Caramel, Whipped Cream and Chocolate Whipped Cream.

     
    But wait: There’s also Cookie Dough, Pecan Pie Vodka and Pumpkin Pie.

    Pinnacle doesn’t make a cranberry vodka, but other distillers do, including Bear Hug, Deep Eddy, Smirnoff and Sobieski.

    And then there’s what your local liquor stores carry—or don’t.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHOTS AND SHOOTERS

    Both shooters and shots are served in shot glasses. Shots are 100% spirits; shooters are mini-cocktails, combining spirits and/or liqueurs with non-alcoholic mixers.

    Traditionally, both are consumed in one gulp, but we recommend breaking with the tradition of chugging. Chugging is for people who want to make a certain statement; sipping is for people who want to taste what they drink.

    As always, plan ahead for designated drivers and don’t forget the plain or flavored club soda for in-between.
     
    _______________________________________
    *Flavored bourbons include Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon and; Red Stag Black Cherry, Hardcore Cider, Honey Tea and Spiced; and Wild Turkey Spiced Bourbon. Flavored ryes include Pow-Wow Botanical Rye (saffron and orange peel), Even Dewar’s has Highland Honey Scotch. And Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn produces the makes chocolate whiskey. Also look for Bird Dog Maple, a best-seller, and Canadian Mist Peach, among others.

    †There are numerous flavored tequilas: almond, banana, chile, chocolate, coconut, coffee, lime, mandarin, mango, pear, pomegranate, strawberry and watermelon. Check out these.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Holiday Drinks Menu

    What’s on the cocktail menu for the holidays? Egg nog and sparkling wine are perennial favorites.

    But offer guests holiday drink menu. Here are some of the beverages we serve, all with a holiday theme.

    HOLIDAY BEVERAGES

    Wine

  • Instead of white wine, make a Cranberry Kir: white wine with a splash of cranberry liqueur. It’s our own adaptation of the popular French drink, Kir (white wine plus blackcurrant liqueur).
  • Instead of plain red wine, make mulled wine with holiday spices. You can serve it warm or chilled.
  •  
    Seasonal Beer

    Turn to craft breweries for seasonal beers and ales. Many craft beers are only distributed regionally, but here are some we’ve found in wider distributions (check your local shelves for options):

  • Christmas ale: Anchor Brewing, Great Lakes, Rogue
  • Chanukah beer: He’Brew Chanukah Beer
  • Pumpkin ale: Buffalo Bill’s, Shipyard and all of these
  • Winter ale: Blue Point, Blue Moon, Samuel Adams
  •  
    Cranberry Cocktails

  • Cranberry Martini
  • Cranberry Mojito
  • Cranberry Tequila Comfort
  •  
    Eggnog Cocktails

    In addition to all kinds of variations on traditional eggnog recipes, there are also eggnog cocktails which have fewer calories than straight eggnog (which is perhaps the most caloric beverage on earth).

  • Eggnog White Russian
  • Eggnog Martini
  •  
    Ginger Cocktails

  • Ginger Martini
  • Ginger Joy (with pear liqueur)
  •    

    Cranberry Cocktail Garnish

    Egg Nog Cocktail

    TOP PHOTO: A cranberry and mint leaf garnish works for any cocktail. Photo courtesy Sarah’s Joy. BOTTOM PHOTO: Egg nog is less caloric in an eggnog cocktail. Photo courtesy Selvarey Rum.

     

     

    Cranberry Kir

    Cranberry liqueur plus white wine makes a
    Cranberry Kir. Use sparkling wine and it’s a
    Cranberry Kir Royale. Photo courtesy Drink
    Skinny.

     

    Chanukah Cocktails

  • Blue Chanukah Cocktail (think of it as a vodka Margarita; you can substitute tequila)
  • Chocolate Gelt Cocktail (chocolate vodka plus Goldschlager)
  •  
    Warm Drinks

  • Hot Buttered Rum (Rum Toddy)
  • Glogg
  • Mulled Wine
  •  
    Non-Alcoholic Drinks

  • Cranberry seltzer: Canada Dry, Polar Ocean Spray Sparkling Cranberry
  • Cranberry soda: Cape Cod, Sierra Mist (Regular and Diet), Sprite Cranberry (Regular and Diet)
  • Cranberry tea: Bigelow, Republic of Tea, Stash (caffeinated and herbal are available; serve hot or iced)
  • Mulled cider (make it without alcohol, stir in the spirits for those who want them)
  •  

    Serve responsibly! Always have attractive non-alcholic options for guests who should be cut off.

      

    Comments

    GIFTS: Wine & Spirits

    Liquor stores are filled with gift sets and specials for holiday gifting. Champagnes packaged with flutes, Cognacs with snifters, tasting kits (a box of smaller bottles of different expressions), “keeper” bottles with holiday designs and limited editions (Absolut Electrik, anyone?) all vie for your attention.

    We received scores of pitches, but here’s what caught our eye (in alphabetical order).

    DeLEÓN TEQUILA: CUSTOM-ENGRAVED BOTTLES

    You may or may not know that Sean “Diddy” Combs is the co-owner of the DeLeón tequila brand, which he acquired along with Diageo, his partner in Ciroc vodka.

    His part is to give DeLeón a similar sheen, making it the luxury vodka (he drinks it on the rocks). The packaging is gorgeous, the empty bottles demand to be repurposed. But that’s not all:

    Bottles of DeLeón Platinum ($55) and DeLeón Reposado ($65) can be custom-engraved with your personal message. It is engraved on the back of the bottle facing the front, so it can be seen whenever the giftee looks at the bottle. You have 10-25 characters on two lines in 14 point type, or 10-30 characters on 3 lines in 10 point type.

    Each bottle comes beautifully wrapped and accompanied with custom drink stirrers and a personal note from Mr. Combs. Start composing those messages, then head to ReserveBar.com.
     
     
    DIY: HOMEMADE GIN KIT

       

    DeLeon Tequila Bottles

    DIY Gin Kit

    TOP PHOTO: Engrave a message on the back of the DeLeón tequila bottle. BOTTOM PHOTO: Make homemade gin with this kit from DIY. And homemade tonic water, too.

     

    How much fun is this? The Homemade Gin Kit (photo above) lets you transform a generic bottle of vodka into your very own home-blend of gin in 36 hours. The kit contains everything you need—except the vodka—to make a like craft distillery-like gin in just 36 hours.

    It’s $54.95 at Williams-Sonoma.com (online only). You can combine it with a DIY Tonic Water Kit, $24.95.

     

    Chandon 2015 Limited Edition Bottle

    Jose Cuervo Rolling Stones Bottles

    Sam-Adams-Utopias-230

    TOP PHOTO: Pop the cork of limited edition
    Chandon Champagne. MIDDLE PHOTO:
    Rolling Stones fans will want these
    commemorative tequila bottles from Jose
    Cuervo. BOTTOM PHOTO: Samuel Adams
    Utopias, beer aged to a cognac-like state.

     

    MOET ET CHANDON: CHANDON LIMITED EDITION HOLIDAY BOTTLE

    Celebrating its third year of limited-edition holiday bottles, the 2015 bottle is white with gold script phrases like “Nonstop Fun” and Bestie Wishes.” It’s available at retailers nationwide, or online from Chandon.com.

    The suggested retail price is $24 for a 750-ml. bottle, $288 for a case.

    Not grand enough? For $449 you can give a Dom Pérignon 3-Pack: three bottles of the The King of Champagne’s 2005 vintage, with an engraved glass ice bucket.
     
     
    JOSE CUERVO TEQUILA: ROLLING STONES LIMITED EDITION BOTTLE

    Jose Cuervo has released two limited edition tequila bottlings of Especial and Reserva de la Familia. They commemorate “the pivotal role that Jose Cuervo played in fueling The Rolling Stones notorious 1972 North American tour” (dubbed the “Tequila Sunrise Tour”).

    For those who don’t know their Stones legends, the tour kicked off with a party at The Trident bar in San Francisco. According to an article in National Geographic, Mick came up to the bar and asked Bobby Lozoff, inventor of the Tequila Sunrise,for a Margarita. Bobby suggested a Tequila Sunrise instead and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Both bottles feature the iconic Stones “lapping tongue” logo and a limited-edition label. The Special Edition Rolling Stones Jose Cuervo Especial has a suggested retail price of $16.99.

    The Ultra Premium Rolling Stones Reserva de la Familia Collectors Edition—the private Extra Añejo tequila reserve of the Cuervo Family—has a suggested retail price of $149.99.
     
     
    BOSTON BEER COMPANY: SAMUEL ADAMS UTOPIAS

    What’s a $200 Samuel Adams like?

     
    It’s a rich, uncarbonated beer aged in wood barrels, known for its extraordinary flavor profile.

    Like cognac, it’s is a blend of previous vintages. The complex aroma has notes of wood, toffee, cocoa, raisin and maple; on the palate there’s molasses, earthy wood, dates, and toffee.

    Utopias a limited edition, limited release brew. Only 15,000 bottles are made each year. It’s packaged in a ceramic brew-kettle-style decanter.

    This year’s batch is 28% ABV, and is best enjoyed at room temperature, as a two ounce pour in a snifter.

    At a suggested retail price of $199, you probably can’t give it as a gift to all your beer-loving friends; but connoisseurs of craft beer will really appreciate a taste. Buy a bottle and invite them for a sip.

    Here’s where you can find it.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cranberry Sangria

    For the holidays, we like Cranberry Sangria. In addition to making pitchers of it to serve at Thanksgiving and Christmas, we keep a pitcher of Sangria in the fridge for daily apéritifs and impromptu visitors.

    In the first recipe, tart cranberry juice is pared with a sweet wine and orange liqueur. It takes only 10 minutes to make this recipe, from McCormick. The result: a flavorful, well-balanced holiday refreshment.

    Plan ahead: November 20th is National Sangria Day. Here’s the history of sangria.

    RECIPE: SPICED CRANBERRY SANGRIA

    Ingredients For 6 One-Cup Servings

  • 1 orange
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) sweet white wine, such as Moscato or Riesling
  • 3 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur*, such as Grand Marnier
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  •    

    Cranberry Sangria

    Steep orange slices studded with cloves, plus cranberries and cinnamon sticks, in sweet white wine and tart cranberry juice. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     
    *Here are the different types of  orange liqueur.

    Preparation

    1. CUT the orange into 8 wedges. Press 2 cloves into each wedge. Set aside.

    2. MIX the wine, cranberry juice, cranberries, liqueur, cinnamon sticks and vanilla in large pitcher until well blended. Add the orange wedges.

    3. REFRIGERATE for at least 3 hours before serving. Serve straight up or on the rocks.
     
    RECIPE: HOLIDAY SANGRIA WITH RUBY PORT

    This recipe also celebrates the flavors and colors of the season—with cinnamon, clementines and cranberries. They compliment the rich red-fruit flavors of Ruby Port (there’s more about Port below). The recipe was developed by Sandeman, using their Founders Reserve Ruby Port.
     
    Don’t worry about buying a bottle just for this recipe. Port is delicious served alone at the end of any dinner, with the cheese course (especially blue cheeses and washed-rind cheeses). or accompanying a rich chocolate or caramel dessert or candy.

    Serve Ruby Port with a side of salted or smoked nuts, and with smoked meats. The next time you make barbecue, serve Ruby Port on the rocks with a twist of lime!

     

    Sangria With Ruby Port

    Keep a pitcher in the fridge. Photo courtesy Sandeman.

     

    Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto or other Ruby Port
  • 4 ounces cinnamon schnapps† (Goldschläger is relatively easy to find)
  • 3 clementines, quartered or sliced
  • 6 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 18 ounces sparkling clementine juice or clementine soda‡
  • 6 ounces cranberry juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • Ground allspice to taste
  •  
    †Cinnamon schnapps is also delicious in coffee, after dinner drinks, atop vanilla ice cream, and so on. You can also make cinnamon simple syrup.

    ‡San Pellegrino and Izze make clementine sparkling drinks. Otherwise, substitute orange soda.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the Port, cinnamon schnapps, clementine pieces, cranberries, cranberry juice and cinnamon sticks in a large pitcher. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

    2. TO SERVE: Add the sparkling clementine juice/soda and sprinkle allspice on top, to taste.
     
    PORT VS. PORTO & TYPES OF PORT

    Porto (sometimes written as Oporto, “the Porto”) is the second largest city in Portugal. Located along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal, Porto was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Port wine is produced in the region.

    Port is made in several expressions: Crusted, Colheita, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), Ruby, Single Quinta, Tawny, Vintage, Vintage Character and White. Here’s an explanation of each type of Port.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Cranberry Vodka

    Should you change your vodka for the holidays?

    Some vodka producers make seasonal flavors. Pinnacle Vodka, for example, has a portfolio of holiday flavors that include Caramel Apple, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie and Peppermint Bark.

    Finlandia, Skyy and Smirnoff make cranberry vodka. Maybe you’ll be luckier than we’ve been in finding it. So here’s another option:

    Infuse your own cranberry vodka with real cranberries, instead of the extracts used to make commercial flavored vodka. Serve it—or bring it as a house gift—on Thanksgiving, Christmas and in-between.

    Generally when making infused vodka, the flavors should blend for four weeks or longer; but this recipe lets you do it in just 3 days.
     
    TIPS

  • Pass by the cheap stuff and use quality vodka. For $10 to $15, you can buy Denaka, Luksusowa, New Amsterdam, Pinnacle, Sobieski, Smirnoff or Svedka.
  • Why not spring for pricier vodka? If you’re making the vodka as a gift and want to impress, use the recipient’s favorite brand or other prestigious label. It won’t necessarily make better-tasting cranberry vodka, but will please the status-oriented.
  •    

    Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

    An easy holiday cocktail: cranberry vodka and ginger ale on the rocks. Photo courtesy SarahsJoy.com.

  • Create a hang tag for the neck of the bottle, with the name of the product (straight or fanciful), year made, and any other information.
  • If you’d rather showcase your vodka in a clear wine bottle, you can hand-paint a label and add decorations. The bottles run about $3 apiece.
     
    RECIPE: HOMEMADE CRANBERRY VODKA

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
  • 1 fifth good quality vodka
  •  

    Bowl Of Fresh Cranberries

    Just add vodka. In three days you’ll have
    cranberry vodka. Photo courtesy Good Eggs |
    San Francisco.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, tilting and swirling the pan occasionally. Lower the heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).

    2. REMOVE the pan from the heat. Stir in the cranberries and set the pan aside for 2 hours.

    3. TRANSFER the cranberry mixture to a large covered bowl, jar or canister and add the vodka. Retain the bottle to refill with the finished product. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 days, stirring occasionally. If you don’t have room in the fridge, keep it in a cool, dark place.

    4. STRAIN the vodka into a large pitcher, reserving the cranberries. You can use them to garnish drinks.

     
    5. USING a funnel, pour the vodka back into the original bottle. Place the bottle in the freezer until ready to serve. Keep the reserved cranberries in the freezer, but defrost them prior to serving (they defrost quickly).
     
    To Serve

    Serve cranberry vodka:

  • Shots
  • Straight up or on the rocks
  • As Cranberry Martinis, with just a splash of vermouth
  • In other cocktails or punch
  •  
    Top with a few cranberries to garnish.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Serpent’s Bite Apple Cider Flavored Whisky

    Serpent's Bite Bottle

    Good enough to tote in a flask. Photo
    courtesy Spirits Marque One.

     

    Flavored shots are trending, and our favorite this season is Serpent’s Bite Apple Cider Flavored Whisky.

    It does for whisky what so many distillers have done for vodka: infuses a delectable layer of flavor.

    And Serpent’s Bite is the flavor of fall. It will appeal to fans of whisky and hard apple cider alike. It’s very smooth with a fine balance of sweet, crisp apple cider flavors with the whisky. The latter is distilled from corn and rye, which are blended during distillation and then infused with the apple cider flavors.

    Serpent’s Bite was made to be enjoyed in a neat shot, straight up with a slice of apple, or in a mixed-based shooter.

    At 35% ABV/70 proof, it’s a bit less alcoholic than your typical shot.

    It’s available in 50 ml (MSRP $1.89), 750 ml (MSRP $15.99) and 1 liter bottles (MSRP $18.99).

    If you want to know anything else about it, too bad. The only things on the one-page website are links to Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter feeds, the latter promoting the hashtag #BiteTheNight.

     
    Perhaps the only thing to say is: It tastes really good and would be a swell gift for the right folks.

    Spirits Marque One, producer of Serpent’s Bite, is part of Constellation Brands, the holdings of which comprise the world’s largest producer of wine, including Manischewitz and Robert Mondavi. Other alcohol brands among the hundred-plus include Corona beer and Svedka vodka.

     

    WHISKY VS. WHISKEY

    Whisky is the Scottish spelling of whiskey. The alternative spelling was chosen to differentiate the national product from Irish whiskey.

    The “whisky” spelling is used in Canada, Japan and Wales, as well as Scotland.

    In the United States, a 1968 directive from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms specifies “whisky” as the official U.S. spelling. However, it allows the alternative spelling, “whiskey.”

    Most U.S. producers prefer to include the “e,” as do we. Without it, it looks like something is missing.

    And another reason to keep the “e”: Irish whiskey predates Scotch whisky. Check out this brief history of whiskey.

    Ironically, distillation was discovered in the 8th century in Persia—a country that has not permitted the sale and consumption of spirits since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

     

    Serpent's Bite Shot

    Take a sip, bite the apple. Photo courtesy Spirits Marque One.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Liqueur Day

    It’s National Liqueur Day, so celebrate with a shot of your favorite.

    But first, what is liqueur?

    Pronounced lih-CUR in French and lih-KYOOR by some Americans, it’s one of a group of after-dinner drinks that also includes eau de vie, cordial and schnapps.

    Most people—including American producers and importers—use these terms interchangeably. But there are differences:

    EAU DE VIE, CORDIAL, LIQUEUR & SCHNAPS:
    THE DIFFERENCE

  • Schnaps/schnapps, a generic German word for liquor or any alcoholic beverage, is more specific in English, where it refers to clear brandies distilled from fermented fruits. The English added a second “p,” spelling the word as schnapps. True Schnaps has no sugar added, but products sold in the U.S. as schnapps may indeed be sweetened. As one expert commented, “German Schnaps is to American schnapps as German beer is to American Budweiser.”
  • Eau de vie is the French term for Schnaps. American-made brands labeled eau de vie (“water of life”) are often heavily sweetened, and have added glycerine for thickening.
  •  

    liqueur_glass-bourbonblog-230

    You can drink liqueur from any glass, but this is one of the classic liqueur glass shapes. Photo courtesy Bourbon Blog.

  • Liqueur is an already distilled alcohol made from grain which has already been fermented, into which fruits are steeped. It is sweeter and more syrupy than a European eau de vie or schnapps.
  • Cordial, in the U.S., almost always refers to a syrupy, sweet alcoholic beverage, a synonym for liqueur. In the U.K., it refers to a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink or the syrup used to make such a drink. Rose’s Lime Cordial, a British brand, is called Rose’s Lime Juice in the U.S. so Americans don’t think it’s alcoholic.
  •  
    EAU DE VIE, “WATER OF LIFE”
     
    The distillation of alcohol may have taken place as early as 200 C.E., possibly by alchemists trying to make gold (the history). Because spirits were initially intended to be medicinal, “water of life” was a reasonable name for distilled alcoholic preparations.

    The Russian term zhiznennia voda, which was distilled down (that’s a pun) into “vodka,” also means water of life (the literal translation of vodka is “little water”).

    The Gaelic uisce beatha, pronounced ISH-ka BYA-ha, too, means “water of life.” The pronunciation evolved into the more familiar term, whiskey.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Ginger Beer

    Ginger beer is not alcoholic, but a stronger, spicier version of ginger ale. There are lots of cocktails made with ginger beer, the most famous of which are:

  • Dark And Stormy: ginger beer and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum (a black or dark rum).
  • Moscow Mule: ginger beer, lime juice, vodka (trivia lovers, it was the first vodka cocktail created in America, and is also called a Vodka Buck).
  • Other Mule Drinks: There’s quite a selection, from a Kentucky Mule with Bourbon to Swedish Mule with Aquavit (the different types of mule drinks).
  • Black and Tan Mocktail: a mix of ginger ale and ginger beer (after the Black and Tan beer cocktail, made from a blend of a pale ale or lager with a dark beer).
  • Ginger Beer Mojito: a mocktail or cocktail of ginger beer, fresh lime juice, fresh mint leaves and—for the cocktail—white rum (recipe).
  •  
    We far prefer the heft and sizzle of ginger beer to the more pallid ginger ale.

    You can buy ginger beer in grocery stores, or you can easily make your own. Here’s a shortcut recipe from Chef Jamie Oliver, no fermenting required.

       

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/dark and stormy marcussamuelsson ps 230

    The Dark and Stormy is named for the “storm cloud” effect created by pouring dark rum into ginger beer. Photo courtesy MarcusSamuelsson.com.

     

    Ginger beer goes well with all spicy or highly-seasoned foods, as well as foods with sweet glazes and sauces, like barbecue or glazed ham. Find recipes below.

    WHY A MULE?

    Mule and buck are old names for mixed drinks made with ginger ale or ginger beer, plus citrus juice. They can be made with any base liquor.

    Some experts claim that a Buck is made with ginger ale, while a Mule uses the spicier ginger beer.

    Why buck? Why mule? That answer is lost to history, but here’s a detailed discussion.

    A bit of cocktail history: The Moscow Mule was invented in 1941 by John C. Hublein, importer of the than-not-well-known-or-popular Smirnof vodka. Here’s the history

    A Dark ‘n’ Stormy is traditionally made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum. Ginger beer was brought to the Caribbean by the English colonists, and full-bodied dark rum was first made by the Gosling family in 1860. It wasn’t a big jump to combine the two (one historian notes that Bermuda is only 20 square miles).

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/goslings ginger beer diet 230

    Avoid refined sugar and save calories with Gosling’s Stormy Diet Ginger Beer. It’s sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. (Stormy is the name of the seal mascot. the ginger beer is also available in the conventional sugar-sweetened form). Photo courtesy Gosling’s.

     

    GINGER BEER VS. GINGER ALE: THE DIFFERENCE

    The main differences between today’s ginger beer and ginger ale are the sweetness and spiciness. Ginger beer is less sweet than ginger ale and has a sizzling ginger kick. The spicier ginger beer provides a bite to cocktails, while the lighter ginger ale provides more sweetness and effervescence.

    Historically, both were fermented. Today only ginger beer is fermented, a reason for the higher price. Here’s more about fermented soft drinks.

    According to an enlightening article by Bill Norris, mass-produced ginger-based soft drinks began to appear in the U.S. by the mid-1800s. Back then, the ginger flavoring extract was aged in oak barrels for four years before use!

    Ginger ale was the most popular soft drink in the U.S. until the 1930s (Coca-Cola first was bottled for distribution in 1899 more).

    These early ginger ales were closer to what we now call ginger beer, described as “powerfully spicy.”

    Canada Dry ginger ale was introduced in 1907; the “dry” style prevails today. It gained favor around the time of Prohibition (1920-1933). Dry ginger ale has a more mellow ginger flavor and is easier drinking—what most Americans seek in a soft drink.

     
     
    COOKING WITH GINGER BEER

    Create a spicy, lightly sweet sauce for meat and poultry with a base of ginger beer. Try:

  • Corned Beef In Ginger Beer (recipe)
  • Ginger Beer And Tangerine Glazed Ham (recipe)
  • Grilled Chicken In Ginger Beer Sauce (recipe)
  • Pork Tenderloin With Pears & Ginger Beer Sauce (recipe)
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Apple Sangria

    apple-sangria-230

    Ready for a glass? You can use red and
    green apple slices, in addition to the
    strawberries, for extra color. Photo courtesy
    U.S. Apple Association.

     

    It’s so hot here today (87°F) that we can’t get into fall recipes. But this Apple Sangria recipe is a compromise, turning the most popular fall flavor into a refreshing drink.

    There are actually two recipes below: the first, sangria with Calvados and sparkling wine; the second, a mocktail.

    The first recipe makes eight 8-ounce servings or ten 6-ounce servings. If you don’t have Calvados (apple brandy), you can substitute plain brandy or Cognac.

    RECIPE: APPLE SANGRIA

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Calvados
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 5 cups apple juice or cider, chilled
  • 1 medium crisp* apple, cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 2/3 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup halved white or red seedless grapes
  • 1 750-ml bottle extra-dry chilled Cava (Spanish white sparkling wine) or Prosecco (Italian white sparkling wine)
  • Ice
  • Preparation

    1. MIX the Calvados and brown sugar in a large pitcher until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the apple juice, apple, strawberries and grapes. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

    2. ADD the sparkling wine just before serving and gently stir (you don’t want to break the bubbles). Pour into ice-filled glasses.
     
    *Crisp green apple varieties include Crispin/Mutsu, Ginger Gold, Granny Smith, Newtown Pippin. Crisp red apple varieties include Braeburn, Cameo, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Jonathan.

     

    APPLE SANGRIA MOCKTAIL

    This recipes makes eight 8-ounce, or ten 6-ounce, servings of non-alcoholic sangria.

    Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 cups apple juice
  • 1 medium crisp apple (such as Crispin or Honeycrisp) cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 2/3 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup halved white or red seedless grapes
  • 1-1/2 cups club soda, chilled
  • 1 bottle (25-1/2-ounces) non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider, chilled
  • Ice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the apple juice, apple, strawberries and grapes. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

    2. ADD the club soda and sparkling cider just before serving and gently stir. Pour into ice-filled glasses.

     

    crispin-mutsu-nyapplecountry-230

    The Crispin apple, also known as Mutsu, has a green skin. Honeycrisp apples have a red skin. Photo courtesy New York Apple Association.

     
     
    THE HISTORY OF SANGRIA

    Around 200 B.C.E., the conquering Romans arrived in Spain and planted vineyards. They soon discovered that red grape varietals produced the best wine in the local soils. While some was enjoyed locally, the majority of the wines were shipped to Rome.

    The locals created fruit punches from the wines and called these drinks sangria after the Spanish word for bloodletting.

    While sangria was drunk in Spain for more than 1,000 years, it didn’t arrive in the U.S. until 1964—at the Spanish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York. It was quickly adopted by Americans.

    Since January 2014, the use of the word “sangria” on bottle labels is restricted by the European Union. Only sangria made in Spain and Portugal can be sold under that name.

    Sangaree, a fruit and wine punch from the West Indies, is the same drink. The name is an archaic English term for sangria.

    December 20th is National Sangria Day. Here’s more about sangria.

      

    Comments



    © Copyright 2005-2016 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.