Monthly Archives: April 2010

What does John know?

John Hansell, editor and publisher of the Malt Advocate, pens a blog with the same title as this post.

Yesterday he announced the impending release of McKenzie Bourbon.

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Filed under Events, Spirits

G is for glassy winged sharpshooter

Yellow eyes, red veins, piercing, sucking mouthparts: what's not to love?

The glassy winged sharpshooter is a leafhopper from the insect family Cicadellidae.  Originally from northeastern Mexico, these little buggers have migrated to the U.S. where they spread Pierce’s Disease, a bacterial infection that kills grapevines.

Voracious eaters, they spread bacteria from plant to plant by inserting their needle-like mouth parts into the xylem of the plant.  As they’re eating away, they deposit waste, often dubbed “leafhopper rain”, which can give the leaves and fruit a whitewashed appearance. 

Fantastic name for a fantastic pest.

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Filed under Alphabet Soup, Wine

Give them the Finger Lakes

At the beginning of the month, I had a post about wine on tap.  Intrigued about the supplier for the Riesling at Terroir, I did some research and came across this:

I found this on Dr. Vino’s blog.  It’s worth scrolling to the bottom of his post to see how fired up some people got about this t-shirt design.  Lenn from the New York Cork Report states the Riesling is being made by Lamoreaux Landing.

I also learned that the wine is represented locally by Skurnik.  The kegs are 20,000 ml, just over 26 bottles.  Argon is used to protect the wine from oxidation inside the keg.  I’m waiting to hear back on what else is required for installation.  If it’s just a matter of making room in the low-boy, we’ll make a go of it.


Filed under Wine

Wildberry fizz

A San Francisco bartender by the name of Ernest P. Rawling wrote the following about a fizz in his 1914 Rawling’s Book of Mixed Drinks:

“…the next in favor is surely the Fizz – the long drink par excellence.  At any time or in any place where the tongue and throat are dry; when the spirits are jaded and body is weary; after a long automobile trip on hot and dusty roads; it is then that the Gin Fizz comes like a cooling breeze from the sea, bringing new life and the zest and joy of living.”

We’re using vodka, we’re serving it up and we’ve added an egg white, but after sampling it, you’ll find the zest and joy of living, too.

Some old fizz recipes call for powdered sugar. We call that superfine today. One barspoon is all you'll need for this recipe.

Wildberry Fizz
2 oz. Vintner’s Wildberry Vodka
1.5 oz. St. Germain
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 egg white (this is the equivalent of 1 oz.)
pinch of salt
barspoon of superfine sugar
1 oz. seltzer water

Combine all ingredients except seltzer over ice and shake vigorously.  Add the seltzer, shake some more and strain into a chilled martini glass.

The egg white, seltzer and shaking-it-like-you-mean-it contribute to the beautiful froth on top.

This cocktail is fruity, tart, floral and light as air.  Some folks are sensitive about raw eggs in drinks, but I’ll let the NYT tell you what happened at the Pegu Club a few months ago. 

Guess we’ll be listing a raw egg warning on our cocktail menu at L’Ecole.  I’ve tasted the pasteurized egg whites in cocktails side by side with non-pasteurized egg whites and there’s a noticeable difference.

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Filed under Cocktails

Thirsty hits the 1 year mark

It was a year ago today that I posted my first blog entry.  A big thank you to all of you following me along.

Cheers to warm weather, cold drinks and more blog posts!

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Pass the spit bucket

This is not always a glamorous job. Those red spots everywhere are not spilled wine, but spit from folks who either missed the bucket or made its contents splash out.

Today was the Louis/Dressner portfolio tasting and even though they were strict with the RSVP list, there was still plenty of pushing, prodding and spit bucket mishaps. 

Fortunately, their wines were good enough to distract me from the occasional elbow or splash back.  Some highlights: Jean-Paul Brun, Terres Dorées (if you think Beaujolais wines are silly, you haven’t had any made by this man), Matthieu Baudry (stellar wines from Chinon in the Loire Valley), Eric Texier (Rhône Valley wines, including a Côte-du-Rhône made with 80% grenache and 20% white grapes – look for this by the glass soon at L’Ecole). 

The wines that blew my mind, however, were from Radikon.  Located in Friuli, close to Slovenia, they vinify their white grapes as if they were making red wine; over 90 days of skin maceration and a minimum of 3 years aging in large Slavonian oak.  Their current releases for their white wines are from 2004.  My tasting companion summed it up by saying that the whites tasted like a salami sandwich.  Meaty, rich, round and salty; I had to agree.

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Brandy milk punch

I can’t say it’s the most appealing name and I’ve tended to avoid cocktails with milk ever since my parents casually mentioned they’ve gotten “into trouble” after consuming White Russians.  On the other hand, the nutmeg reminded me of a Painkiller from the Soggy Dollar Bar and I’ve had New Orleans on my mind recently after seeing the first few episodes of Treme.  I like how the bartender gets a little breathless after shaking his drink.

The Brandy Milk Punch

1 ½ ounces brandy
1 ounce simple syrup
½ bar spoon high quality vanilla extract
A couple ounces of Half-and-half
Cubed ice
Grated nutmeg

Pour brandy, simple syrup, vanilla extract and half-and-half into a pint glass. Add ice to a shaker and shake the concoction until well mixed and frothy. Add cubed ice to a rocks glass and, using a strainer, pour the mixture into it. Top with a bit of grated nutmeg.

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Get schooled on summer sippers

think pink

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love pink wine.  Crisp, refreshing and easy to drink; it’s the wine I crave the most once the temperature begins to rise. 

Whether you’re a rosé drinker or a skeptic, you should join us at The FCI on Monday, May 17th from 6:30-8:30 pm for Rosé Wines: Summer Sippers

You’ll learn how rosé is made and how to pair it with food for the ultimate picnic. 

No white zinfandel will be served.


Filed under Lessons, Wine

Let the bittering begin

On Sunday we decided to make bitters.  Watch out, Regan and Peychaud.

A trip to "Dual Specialty Store" on 1st and 5th yielded half of our ingredients.  If you've never been here, go!

A trip to "Dual Specialty Store" on 1st and 5th yielded half of our ingredients. If you've never been here, go!

A trip to Bowery and Vine for Wray & Nephew’s White Overproof Rum yielded the other half.

We're experimenting with roots, barks, spices and rums. Specific recipes to follow, pending a taste test in a few weeks.


Filed under Spirits

F is for foxy

Drawing courtesy of robotkatsen's flickr stream. Not what we're talking about here, but still awesome.

You may be a cute little heartbreaker, but the foxy I’m referring to today is a pretty negative term that folks use when a wine has aromas more like animal fur than fruit or flowers.  The odor may also come across as grape-y, candy-like or similar to tiny wild strawberries. 

Studies have shown it might be caused by methyl anthranilate and/or o-amino acetophenone.  This is a little much for a Friday afternoon, so just know that it is commonly associated with grapes in the Vitis labrusca species, and the Concord grape in particular.  Concords are widely planted in New York State and are best known for their role in Welch’s grape juice. 

Earlier harvesting or longer cask aging has been shown to reduce some of Concord’s foxy characteristics.

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Filed under Alphabet Soup, Wine