Saturday, April 30, 2016

Celebrate with Spirits…

It’s the season for graduations, weddings, and summer parties. As much as I love a good cocktail, they are work. If you are hosting an event, here are some things you might want to pick up. All they’ll require is a little ice – if you want—and are filled with fruit.


Cruzan Blueberry Lemonade Rum
The possibilities on this flavorful rum are endless, but you can keep it simple with a little ice tea, lemonade, or water if you don’t want to work too hard. You’ll love this latest favor from Cruzan, Blueberry Lemonade Rum.

Plantation Pineapple Rum
Make a quick pina colada, or just enjoy it is as. Plantation Pineapple Rum is as juicy as the ripe fruit.

It’s difficult to find liqueurs that are full of fruit and not just sugar. That’s why I love the collection from Mathilde. I sampled Peach, Framboise (Raspberry), and Pear. 

I don’t think I could pick a favorite – they were all great. Best of all, none of them are heavy so you can just add a little ice, water, or soda, and bring it out to your poolside lounge chair.

Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
Forget what the label on this bottle says, there’s nothing dry about it. It’s perfect to keep on hand for a mixer or a sipper. The flavor on the Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao is mostly orange, not to bitter not too sweet. Keep them in your fridge for a chilled treat.

Alize Peach Vodka
This tasted much more like a cocktail in itself than a vodka. The bottle went pretty fast when I put it down in front of my friends. After the tasting, we put one ice cube in the glass and enjoyed. One interesting note on the Alize Peach Vodka, the coloring is natural, from the cochineal, but it certainly doesn’t look or taste like it has bugs in it.

Mercer Malbec 2014

Mercer Wine of Washington has quite a collection. I sampled one this week that has something for everyone. The 2014 Mercer Malbec can be match your barbecued steak to a tea, with just a hint of smoke and a whole lot of jammy fruit. On the other hand, if you’re like me and prefer to bring out that dark berry mix, keep it cool and enjoy the sip. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Gluten Free Treats and Special Spirits

The variety of items for this months is quite wide! I think there’s something for everyone, so keep reading.

Gluten Free…
I had the opportunity to review a box full of gluten free food. I turned to my friend, Stacy, who can’t eat gluten, but before I turned everything over to her, I kept some Garden Lites Blueberry Muffins to myself.  I’m glad I did because they are delicious! They are made with zucchini, but you’d never know about this nutritious ingredient. I'm anxious to try some of their other flavors

As for the other items, here’s Stacy’s full report on her favorite items:

Garden Lites Blueberry Muffins-You can keep them in the freezer, individually wrapped, so you can take it to work and zap it for 30 seconds in the microwave. It is warm and moist. It has a pretty good consistency since it is vegetable based, like zucchini bread. The Garden Lites Veggie Blueberry Muffins are not dry and "crumbly" like so many gluten free items. I enjoyed these!

Snackin Free
Laura Savinovich was desperate to find some tasty foods which were free of artificial ingredients, dairy, gluten, grains, peanuts, soy, and yeast, so she decided to make them herself. Snackin Free is the result.

Paleo Granola-Crunchy, but could use other ingredients to add to the flavor, such as fruits.
Nacho Chips-The texture is odd for these as chips, but the spicy finish might  be good crushed as a crumb crust for chicken.
Cheddar Crackers- These have the same odd texture as the chips, but because these are nut based they are high in protein and lower in carbs, so that is definitely better than regular chips.
Pasta Sauce-This is good with a dark rich color and snappy flavor, very much like a good tomato paste. It would be good as a pizza sauce, but season to taste as a pasta sauce.

Special Spirits…

Smithworks Vodka
It turns out music isn’t Blake Shelton’s only talent. Blake knows vodka too. The country music star is touting Smithworks Vodka.

Like Shelton, Smithworks is a product of America’s Heartland. It’s made from corn harvested in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas, and water from Lake Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Smithworks Vodka is smooth and corn sweet, making it easy sipping or blending, if you are looking for a cocktail mixer.

Boulard Calvados VSOP
This spirit is the best of both worlds as an apple brandy and a fine after dinner treat. Boulard Calvados VSOP is aged at least four years and bears resemblance to fine cognac, with the hints of vanilla, oak, and even tobacco, but the apple is an unexpected addition.

At 80 proof this isn’t going to be something that becomes your go to drink, but it’s an easy sipping way

Greek Mastiha Liqueur
This liqueur is probably the most unusual I have ever encountered. It’s one that should not be dismissed at first smell, as the nose of Mastiha is nothing but evergreen trees. Get past your sense of smell and give it a sip, cold or over ice. It’s sweet and licorice like, a bit like Sambuca, but not as sticky.

Greek Mastiha Liqueur is definitely not going to last long on my bar – even though that initial smell had me running for my Christmas ornaments!