Sunday, October 29, 2017

Spooky Cocktails and Fun Finds

It’s Halloween week, which means it’s time for parties – and partying. Here’s a few things you’ll want to check out.

Let’s Get Monster Smashed…
It’s the perfect title for this book: Let’s Get Monster Smashed, Horror Movie Drinks for a Killer Time. It’s put together by Jon and Marc Chait, and the book is as colorful as the drinks.

It all starts with a great breakdown of liquors and liqueurs, everything from vodka to Lillet Blanc. You’ll also find a section listing all the tools you will need to make these deliciously monstrous drinks, as well as “Satanic Syrups” you need to know how to make.

I highly recommend adding this book to your bar. Here’s a few of my favorites: Monkey Brain (peach brandy, cream liqueur and grenadine), to drink during Faces of Death; Pazuzu’s Puke (brandy, dark rum, milk, vanilla sugar, green food coloring and corn flakes), to go with a night watching The Exorcist; and Big Fishbowl Punch (white rum, blue curacao, lemon lime soda and shark gummies), a perfect accompaniment to Jaws.

You can pick up a copy of Let’s Get Monster Smashed on Amazon (and have it delivered by Halloween if you get  Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial).

A little special rum…
Rum is one of those spirits that mixes well with anything, or with nothing at all. Casa D’Aristi released a collection of unusual rum-based liqueurs from Mexico that will add a little twist to your bar. I was able to sample three of them.

If you like black licorice with a hint of mint schnapps, give Casa D’Aristi XTA a try. While the anise stands out the most for me, it actually starts with honey from the Xtabentun flower, only found in the Yucatan, before the anise is blended in.

Casa D’Aristi Huana is rather hard to describe as there’s quite a bit of flavor in there. I wanted to say chocolate covered pineapple, and I wasn’t far off. The Guanabana fruit is a combination of strawberry, pineapple, and coconut.

The Casa D’Arista Kalani is my favorite. It’s a mixture of fresh coconut milk and pure Mexican cane rum. That said, it is rather sweet, so sipping it alone might be a bit too much, but all I would need would be some pineapple juice for a quick pina colada. Unlike other coconut rums, it has that rich milk feel that mixes well.

Check this out…
I’d like to give a shootout to The Uncommonwealth, who sent me this adorable tank top. Check out their website for more cute items.

Stick this in your bag…
You don’t have to worry if you get a stain on that shirt if you have Dryel in your bag. I really like this easy to carry stain remover with the little brush top. It’s a must for travel. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Lots of New Wine, Spirits and More

I had a lot of sampling to do this month and actually had to leave some for next month. It’s harvest season for wine, plus there are some great new spirits out there. Here are some of the things I loved this month.

A very special scotch from Glenfiddich…
What do you get when you blend together 20 single malt whiskies? Something especially delicious. Glenfiddich Project XX is a treat for any scotch lover. It’s full of vanilla and oak, with a bit of apple, and a cinnamon finish.

Try these wines…
I’ll never forget when I was in Burgundy, France, and we headed to Chablis to taste some of its namesake wine. It was the first time I had tasted true Chablis and I fell in love with the wine. The William Fevr Chablis brought that memory back. It’s buttery, but not heavy, has a touch of vanilla and a bit of lemon.

When I saw the “sweet” on the label of Aime Sweet Moscato, I saved it for dessert. That wasn’t necessary as this wine is less sweet than most moscatos. It’s an excellent summer sipping wine, with lots of tropical flavors and a touch of sweetness.

I also fell for the Chateau Rollan de Medoc Bordeaux. It’s my kind of red, not too heavy, light on the pepper with a burst of berries.

My friend Lisa prefers her reds drier, so she really appreciated the 2014 Meli Maule Valley Carignan, with lots of spice and dark berries.

Another Van Gogh to try…
It’s hard not to enjoy Van Gogh Vodkas. They really know how to bring flavors alive. This holds true for  Van Gogh Cool Peach. It’s bursting with peaches, but not too sweet. I could definitely sip this over ice, or in one of these cocktails…

2 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
2 oz. Iced Tea
2 oz. Lemonade
Add all ingredients to a tall glass filled with ice and stir well.
Garnish the cocktail with fresh raspberries.

Created by Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru
 1-1/2 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
3/4 oz. Elderflower Liqueur
3-4 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Created by Sue Pietoso, Mixologist at Jasna Polana, Princeton, NJ
2 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach vodka
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. sugar free sweetener syrup
1 oz. peach purée
2 basil leaves
1 oz. club soda
Shake all ingredients, except basil and club soda with ice.
Pour into a glass.
Top with club soda.
Garnish with basil leaf.

Big Red and Big Blue
I’m not a big soda drinker, but I was curious when I was presented with the opportunity to try Big Red and Big Blue. It turns out Big Red has been around a while and has quite a fan base among my friends. I too enjoyed the vanilla cream soda which, for adults, goes great with whiskey. As for Big Blue, there were a few who enjoyed it, but it was a bit too bubble gum-like for me.

Nothing like a good marinade…
Moore’s had sent me their buffalo marinade a few months ago and it was delicious on chicken. They followed up with a bottle of Zesty Garden Herb. I marinated boneless pork chops in it, then brushed more on during grilling. It was delicious. I could also see this on chicken, or even a grilled Portobello if you are looking for a vegetarian meal.