Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Wide Range of Food and Spirits

I had lots of food and drinks to taste over the last month and it was time for a party.

Delicious Meals with Popkoff’s…
The email I received grabbed my attention with throwing a “Pierogi Party.” I love pierogis so I definitely wanted to try it out, but as soon as the freezer box came, I knew I had so much more.

Popkoff’s makes a selection of Eastern European frozen items, all quick and easy to make. While the basic premise is a pierogi-style dumpling, they are so much more.

I invited some friends over, melted some butter, made a marinara sauce, and had a lot of fun! No one went home hungry either.

The Pelmeni are a cross between ravioli and tortellini. The ones I received were stuffed with chicken and beef. The beef were very tasty and filled with meat. The chicken weren’t quite as flavorful.

Vareniki are almost identical to pierogis and Popkoff’s are delicious. The Potato Onion are my new favorite pierogis and the Farmer Cheese was excellent, sort of a sweet ravioli.

My Kind of Beer…
I’m not a big beer drinker, but I found some out of the ordinary choices that I’m more than satisfied with.

Moscow Mules have become quite popular and with them bars have made it a habit to stock ginger beer. I’m a fan of anything ginger, but I love the idea that Crabbies.makes ginger beers that have their own alcohol so you don’t need to mix the mule.

Their basic alcoholic ginger beer is terrific, and they also make good ones in orange and raspberry, though the raspberry is a lot sweeter than the norm.

More Ginger…
If you are like me and can’t get enough ginger, give the Big O a try. I admit to being skeptical when I first got the bottle. After all, what do you do with ginger liqueur? The answer --- just drink it! The Big O doesn’t need anything fancy. It’s flavorful, but not very sweet. Pour it over ice, into any cocktail you want to give a zip too, or just over a baked apple. It’s a must try, especially for the fall.

For Your Bloody Mary…
I’m not sure that I could find a lot of other things I’d like it in, but you can’t go wrong with Khortytsa Pepper Hot Vodka in a Bloody Mary.

It will spice up your drink before you even get to the tabasco.

More Great Sicilian Wines…
I’m never going to stop talking about the great time I had in Sicily and am happy to say the wineries I visited are still making wonderful, very affordable wines. Here’s three that arrived on my doorstep that you must keep in the house for any time of year.

2014 Tasca D’Almerita Grillo
This full bodied white has lots of flavor but from fruit not oak. It will go with just about anything you serve.

Donnafugata Grillo Sur Sur
This Grillo from Donnafugata is a bit lighter than the Tasca D’Almerita so it’s good for sipping without food. Bring it to a picnic, on your patio, or just serve it before dinner.

Donnafugata Nero D’Avola
This is my red. It’s bold and full of dark fruit, but not too dry. I love to sip this Nero D’Avola with any meal. It’s the perfect “meatballs and spaghetti” wine!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Best Day of the Year!

It’s hard to argue with me about what the best day of the year is. July 24th is not only my birthday, it’s National Tequila Day!

This year I received some appropriate presents in the mail and, of course, I had to give them a spin on this special day.

Three bottles showed up on my door from Herradura Tequila, Reposado, Anejo, and Silver. In case you don’t know, these tequilas are classified by how long they were aged in wood casks. The Silver is not aged, the Reposado was aged 11 months and the Anejo was aged for two years.

Aging tequila, as it does with wine, whiskey and other spirits, changes both the color and taste as it picks up a bit of the characteristics of the wood. In the case of Herradura, I preferred the Reposado. It didn’t have an overpowering oaky flavor, but did pick up the characteristics of vanilla and a bit of sweetness.

The Herradura Silver was my next favorite – tequila in its purest form – while the Anejo was a bit more for whiskey lovers, who would say they appreciate the finest things in life.

Herradura wasn’t the only one sending me birthday tequila. Sauza’s 901 Silver, co-founded by Justin Timberlake, has quite a story. It’s said to be triple distilled, from agave that is at least seven years old. It’s also gently extracted and steamed, to get out all of the flavors.


I confess that this all seemed a bit over the top to me. Although it’s hard not to trust JT, I had to try it for myself. The truth is, it’s the best 901 Silver is the best tequila of its kind I have tasted. 

It retains the agave fruit and goes down smooth as silk. I could sip this, preferably over ice, all night long.