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Italian Aperitivo and the Aperol Spritz

Italian Aperitivo and the Aperol Spritz

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Drink | 0 comments

After spending over a month traveling in Italy, I must say the Italians definitely know their food and drink. I first learned about the Aperol Spritz and aperitivo in Modena, which is one of the most amazing towns in Italy for food. Heck, Chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana is located in this small Northern Italian town and is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 restaurants in the world! So, what exactly is aperitivo? It’s the time before dinner when Italians meet up with friends and family for a drink and light snacks. Aperitivo gives you a chance to socialize and nibble as the dinner hour approaches. Although it’s more popular in the north of Italy, you’ll find aperitivo throughout the country. Common foods served during aperitivo include olives and potato chips, however, some places are more elaborate with fresh pizza, cold cuts, savory pastries or even fresh mozzarella. Here’s one of my plates during aperitivo along with an Aperol Spritz. Friend and renowned Italian pastry chef Luca Balboni who I visited while in Modena explains, “Drinks during the aperitivo time usually include a bubbly wine or a bitter drink like an Aperol Spritz.” The carbonation and bitter taste of the Aperol Spritz is meant to “open” the palate. Plus, this drink is perfect before dinner because it has a low alcohol content of around 11%. Best of all, the Aperol Spritz is easy to prepare so you can host your own Italian aperitivo time at home. Just follow this simple recipe below. Aperol Spritz Ingredients 3 parts prosecco 2 parts Aperol 1 part soda water 1 orange slice Directions Pour all ingredients over ice in a wine glass and top with a slice of orange. Cin cin! Post originally from...

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Recipe: A Menshevik Ménages à Trois

Recipe: A Menshevik Ménages à Trois

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Drink | 0 comments

As an ode to Brooklyn and the borough’s amazing local producers, I recently visited Lofted Coffee in Bushwick to concoct a new spin on the traditional White Russian cocktail — A Menshevik Ménages à Trois. Located in a loft off Varick Street amongst Bushwick’s many warehouses, Lofted Coffee roasts high-quality, sustainable coffee. As co-owner Tobin Polk prepared a fresh pourover, operations manager Aric Carroll showed me around the 1000-square foot loft. Potted plants, old briefcases and coffee equipment lined the shelves, and the aroma of freshly ground coffee filled the cozy room. Charlie, Lofted Coffee’s friendly cat, even played amongst the burlap bags of coffee beans sitting on the wooden floor. Aric Carroll is also assistant distiller of Industry City Distillery, an experimental distillery located in Brooklyn’s Industry City. The distillery’s Industry Standard Vodka is a beet sugar vodka distilled on equipment the team designed and built in Brooklyn. This vodka is perfect in our new version of the White Russian because it has hints of vanilla and a touch of spice. By using Industry City Distillery’s Technical Reserve (think a classier version of Everclear) and coffee grounds from Lofted Coffee, Aric created a Lofted Coffee Technical Reserve Extraction. Along with Industry Standard Vodka, this coffee extraction is the perfection addition to the “A Menshevik Ménages à Trois” cocktail — a Brooklyn spin on the classic White Russian. You can easily create this cocktail at home by following the recipe below. A Menshevik Ménages à Trois Ingredients 1 tsp Fine and Raw chocolate espresso bar (chocolate from a local Bushwick producer) 1 large ice cube 10 mL water 20 mL simple syrup 30 mL Industry City Distillery’s Industry Standard Vodka 10 mL Lofted Coffee Technical Reserve Extraction (see directions below) 1 cup half and half or milk Lofted Coffee Technical Reserve Extraction Directions Grind 70 grams of Lofted Coffee and place into a bowl. Pour Industry City Distillery’s Technical Reserve over the coffee grounds and cover. Let sit overnight, and then strain. Place the strained extraction in a bottle and set aside. Cocktail Directions Finely shave Fine and Raw’s chocolate espresso bar and place shavings in the bottom of a glass. Place large ice cube in the glass. Pour water,...

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Carakale: Jordan’s First Microbrewery

Carakale: Jordan’s First Microbrewery

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Drink, Travel | 0 comments

After traveling for about two months, I’ve realized just how spoiled I am in New York City. The craft beer scene is incredible in the Big Apple and I can go out every night to drink something new. I spent the majority of my trip in the Middle East, where I discovered that bars are sometimes hard to find and so is quality alcohol. Sipping tea with mint and smoking waterpipe at a cafe is common. However, while traveling in Amman, Jordan, I went to a local bar popular amongst expats and locals who partake in alcohol. Here, I tasted Carakale, a delicious craft beer from Jordan’s first microbrewery. Carakale is “bringing the tradition of beer back to its roots in Mesopotamia where beer was discovered over 7 centuries ago.” This new microbrewery is certainly putting Jordan on the map because the “Man Behind the Beer,” Yazan Kardsheh, sources top quality raw ingredients. Karadsheh returned home to Jordan after spending years working in the beer scene in Colorado and enrolling in the Master of Brewing program at the University of California, Davis. The name Carakale is a tribute to the rare species of cat, Caracal, which can be found from Jordan down through the Rift Valley into Africa. Karadsheh has come long way since his first job cleaning kegs and returned to Jordan in 2009 to build Carakale from the ground up. The microbrewery is located in the hills of Jordan’s Fuhais Canyon, and distributes to numerous bars throughout the country. The majority of the bars I went to in Jordan always carried Carakale’s flagship beer, the Blonde Ale. This straw-gold Blonde Ale is a perfect introduction into the world of ale, and starts off with a hint of toasted malt character followed by a hint of bitterness and a clean finish. The Blond Ale is especially delicious paired with peanuts, which are always served at bars in Jordan. Other craft beers in the Carakale repertoire include the Winter Ale, Whiskey Ale, Pale Ale and Mocha Stout. If you find yourself traveling in Jordan, sipping on a Carakale Blonde Ale will not disappoint. I’m looking forward to seeing how this brewery will impact the craft beer scene in the Middle East and beyond. Cheers to Yazan Kardsheh for turning his passion for craft beer into...

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Introducing VINEBOX: The First Wine by the Glass Subscription Club

Introducing VINEBOX: The First Wine by the Glass Subscription Club

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Drink | 0 comments

Do you love trying new wines? I have some great news for you! VINEBOX recently launched on September 15th as the world’s first wine by the glass subscription club. With VINEBOX, you can discover elegant wines from around the world — without booking a plane ticket. Curated by a team of expert sommeliers, every VINEBOX includes three hand-selected tasting vials. The vials are each equivalent to a perfectly measured 100ml glass of superior wine from internationally-renowned vineyards across France, Spain and Italy. By introducing these signature vials, VINEBOX is restoring the tradition to winemaking, and highlighting vineyards around the world that are not typically accessible without spending a fortune. With both the wine novice and connoisseur in mind, VINEBOX specialists have crafted an accessible tasting notes menu, along with detailed varietals and regional breakdowns, for effortless use. So, how do you join? Simply go to www.getvinebox.com and become a member. Members can discover wines and refine their palate by subscribing online for $35/month. By focusing on unique wines, unparalleled quality and member preference, VINEBOX will deliver a truly personalized flight each month. Make sure to share your VINEBOX experiences and let me know which wines you love. Cheers! (Post originally from...

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Fall Perfection: NeverSink Spirits Apple Brandy Pie

Fall Perfection: NeverSink Spirits Apple Brandy Pie

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Drink, Eat | 0 comments

Fall has finally arrived! Yes, that means pumpkin spice lattes are back. But I’m more interested in pie and brandy. Impress your friends with this recipe for Apple Brandy Pie. Because I love drinking and my Grandma Barbara Baughman, I decided to add a little brandy to her French Apple Pie recipe. But not just any brandy — NeverSink Spirits‘ unaged apple brandy made from 100 percent New York State apples. Based in Port Chester, NY, this new distillery is serving up something quite special. NeverSink Spirits has their own orchard with over fifteen varieties of apple trees. Some are bittersweet/bittersharp, some are “crab” cider apples, and some are heirloom dessert apples.  Their unaged apple brandy uses a blend of apples grown directly from their orchard, which creates several layers of flavors like cut green apples, spice, vanilla, woods and pear. Because the apple brandy is so flavorful, this pie recipe only calls for the addition of a little cinnamon. Apple Brandy Pie Recipe Ingredients  3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup plain flour 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Pinch of salt 4 apples, peeled and sliced thin 1/4 cup apple brandy 1 unbaked pie shell Directions Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and apples in a large bowl. Pour filling in an unbaked pie shell. Topping Ingredients 1 cup plain flour 1/2 cup butter (softened) 1/2 cup brown sugar Topping Directions Mix flour, butter and brown sugar together in a bowl. Using your hands, break apart small one inch pieces and sprinkle the crumbles on top of the pie filling. Bake at 400 degrees F for 50 minutes. Now, all you need is some of Bobby Flay’s Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream to top it all off! I hope you enjoy this special treat and the cooler season ahead. Cheers! Post originally from...

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Durham Distillery Launches Products with North Carolina ABC System

Durham Distillery Launches Products with North Carolina ABC System

Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in Drink | 0 comments

Founded in 2013, Durham Distillery is a craft gin and liqueur distillery located in Durham, North Carolina. The company produces premium gins leveraging a differentiated two-step manufacturing process combining time-honored gin making traditions with techniques borrowed from modern chemistry to create spirits that are both classic and contemporary. Yesterday, Durham Distillery announced the arrival of their products in the North Carolina ABC system. Owned by Melissa and Lee Katrincic, Durham Distillery launches with two innovative varieties of premium gin and three varieties of flavored liqueurs. The gins are packaged and sold under the brand name CONNIPTION, and the liqueurs under the brand name DAMN FINE. The distillery will officially open its downtown Durham location for public tours and tastings starting October 1. Durham Distillery is unique in the U.S. craft distilling industry because it is rethinking how to make great gin. Their small-batch gin distillation begins in the 230-liter custom-designed German copper pot still and includes foundational gin ingredients, such as juniper, coriander and cardamom. The vapor infusion method used by the Durham Distillery, as opposed to the standard maceration techniques, produces a cleaner, crisper premium-tasting gin. Added to the base are a variety of delicate botanicals; all vacuum distilled at room temperature to retain integrity and flavor profile. Durham Distillery’s CONNIPTION gin brand products are American Dry (44% ALC/VOL, 750 ml) and Navy Strength (57% ALC/VOL, 750 ml). They retail for $33.95 and $38.95, respectively. Durham Distillery’s line of premium liqueurs, DAMN FINE, are available in coffee, mocha and chocolate flavors, and are made with ingredients sourced from local area favorites, Slingshot Coffee Company and Videri Chocolate Factory.  Gluten-free with no artificial flavors or sweeteners, each 375 ml bottle (16-17% ALC/VOL) retails for $23.95. Cheers! I hope you’ll pay a visit to the new Durham Distillery location when they open in October...

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