Sunday, January 31, 2016

Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day Finds

Super Bowl with Van Gogh…
 Van Gogh Vodka is ready for Super Bowl with a drink for each team. Although I haven’t tried the Acai-Blueberry Vodka yet (stay tuned for next month’s column), these sound good to

The Bronco
1 1/2 oz Van Gogh Oranje Vodka
3 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Club Soda

Pour vodka and juice into an ice-filled highball glass rimmed with blue sugar.
Stir and top with orange juice and garnish with an orange slice

The Panther
1 oz Van Gogh Acai-Blueberry Vodka
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
5 oz Lemonade
1/2 oz Triple Sec

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass rimmed with silver sugar.
Garnish with floating blueberries.

More Super Bowl from Big Mouth…
Now that your cocktails are set, you need to be prepared for the beer and wine lovers at your Super Bowl Event. Big Mouth has some great ideas for that and there’s still time for two-day shipping from Amazon.

Inflatable Football Cooler
I don’t care that football season is officially over this weekend, this is also going to be one of my favorite finds for the summer. What could be more fun than keeping your drinks cold in the inflatable (and floatable) cooler? I tried the Inflatable Football Cooler out on my kitchen counter and there was no leaking while all the drinks kept cool.

Bottoms Up Football Mug
If you are looking for a mug that will hold a lot, chill in the freezer, and clearly show what’s in it, check out the BigMouth Inc. Bottoms Up! Football Beer Mug .

Football Drink Kooler
Your beers and cocktails will stay cozy and cool in these game day “koolers.”

Spanish Wines…
I was only a teenager the first time I went to Spain, but, as it still is in most of Europe, it was normal for the waiters to serve wine to me. What I learned then holds true today – Spanish wines are some of the best bargains in the world.

Beronia Reserva 2010
This is a perfect example of what you can get for a little in Spain. This Rioja blend is as dry and complex as many I’ve found in Napa, but nowhere near the price. It’s a bargain at around $20 for anyone who likes a Syrah, or especially dry Pinot.

Villarnau Barcelona Brut Reserve Rose
Get ready to toast with your Valentine with this sparkling rose from Villarnau winery in Barcelona, Spain.  It’s perfectly paired with just about everyone and a good choice for those who don’t like their bubbly 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year, 2016!

Whether you are looking for celebratory drinks, gifts, or just ideas for the future – Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – you’ve come to the right place.

Reds for Your Table…
I’m not a big red wine drinker, but I’ve learned to recognized what makes a good red. Sometimes I even find one that I really want on my own dinner table. I found two that fit that category this month:

George Dubceuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2015
This wine is a meal in a glass. You’ll get the spice in the front and the fruit in the back, while it’s rich and jammy throughout. You could pair this with just about anything, but I prefer to sip and savor. Best of all, it’s under $15!

Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d ‘Abruzza DOC
I love to cook Italian food and I’m always in search for that Italian wine that will complement the meal. I opened a bottle of this Montepulciano (an Italian grape) and it worked perfectly with my Baked Ziti and Italian meatballs. It’s not too dry and full of fruit. The retail price is under $30.

For Celebrating…
I confess that Freixenet was my go to sparkler 20 years ago and I’m certainly not the only one. The company has been making this cava since the 19th century. The latest vintage works just as well as it did the first time I served it New Year’s Eve. Cordon Negro is their signature sparkling and it creates a nice balance between sweet, dry, and fruity. It’s also still about $12.

Something Sweet…
Leer Vineyards considers giving back as important as making wine. They have sustained three partnerships with charities: Special Kids Blend to donate to The Special Kids Foundation in Brentwood, California; Heroic Red and Valiant White for the Military Warriors Support Foundation; and CoCo Blend, which gives some of its proceeds to K9 Paw Print Rescue.

I tasted the Valiant White and Heroic Red. The white is a moscato, sweet and filled with flavors of apricot and peaches. The red is the total opposite, dry and tobacco like, with lots of pepper and a bit of fruit (it’s a blend of syrah, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon.

And Speaking of Charity…
I received a beautiful turquoise bracelet from World Vision and I highly recommend checking out their catalog next time you need a gift. This organization helps provide food for those in need, and stop exploitation of girls and women around the world.

If you don’t find anything to purchase, you can still make a donation at World Vision which goes directly to your choice of items, such as sending a girl to school, buying a goat for a family, or giving a fishing kit to someone who will use it to bring food to their kids.