Monthly Archives: July 2010

Free booze this week

Finger Lakes Distilling has two upcoming events at Union Square Wines & Spirits. From their website:

Event Date: Friday, July 30, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Description of tasting:
Join USQ and Finger Lakes Distillery’s Selena Shannon for a look at their Vintner’s Wild Berry Vodka! Master distiller Thomas Earl prides himself on the fine elixirs created on Seneca Lake, be they whiskey, gin, eau-de-vie, liqueurs or vodka. Marrying the skills of vintner and distiller, Thomas Earl has created one beauty of a vodka- Vintner’s Wild Berry Vodka starts with a grape neutral spirit distilled from the estate’s local grapes. The distillate is infused with pounds of native strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries before a final distillation to further refine and balance the vodka. This hand-crafted spirit might well pass for a vibrant eau-de-vie from the likes of Massenez or Riesetbauer but stop by and sip for yourself! Selena will be showing the Vintner’s Wild Berry Vodka both neat and in a summer cocktail just in time for the dog days of summer!

Admission to this tasting is free, and no reservations are required!

If you can’t make it Friday, stop by on Saturday:

Event Date: Saturday, July 31, 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Description of tasting:
Few cocktails can capture the feeling of summer like the Gin & Tonic. The trinity of ingredients- the squeeze of lime, the bite of quinine, the juniper-fueled expression of spirit- encapsulate the essence of refreshment on a hot NYC day….anyone thirsty? Stop by the salon for USQ’s Summer Sereis: The G&T Invitational! Featured producers include Europe’s Bulldog Gin, Boudier Saffron Gin, and Old Raj Gin, domestic spirits from Farmer’s Organic Gin, Ransom Old Tom Gin, Death’s Door Gin, Aviation Gin, Junipero Gin, and the Finger Lakes Distillery’s Seneca Drums Gin!

Admission to this tasting is free, and no reservations are required!

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Filed under Cocktails, Events, Spirits

This beer will not touch my lips

It’s not the fact that the beer has 55% alcohol or that it costs over $700 per bottle, rather it’s that I’ve had a long and unpleasant history with squirrels.

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Filed under Beer, Videos

J is for jiggle

I hope you don’t get the wrong idea based on my previous post.  The jiggle I’m referring to here is from gelatin.

Did you ever eat these when you were a kid?

In the NYT this week, Pete Wells reminisces about some of his favorite childhood food moments – Tang, Kool-Aid, Jell-O,Bac-Os – and gives us an upgrade he dubs “wobbly wine”.

Image courtesy of the NYT

Recipe: Spiced Rosé Gelatin With Peaches
2 cups rosé wine

1/4 cup sugar, to taste

1 1-to-2-inch length of cinnamon stick

Zest of 1 orange, with as little pith as you can manage

5 peppercorns

2 envelopes gelatin

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 white or yellow peaches, each sliced into 16 wedges.

1. In a nonreactive saucepan, add 1½ cups of the wine, along with the sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat and cover the pan.

2. After 20 minutes, pour the remaining wine into a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let sit for 3 minutes. Strain the spiced wine into the bowl and stir well for 2 or 3 minutes, until the gelatin is entirely dissolved. Place the bowl inside a larger bowl containing ice water, or put in the refrigerator.

3. When the gelatin is as thick as the white of an egg, 30 to 45 minutes later, put the lemon juice in a wide-bottomed bowl and add the sliced peaches, stirring as you go to coat the peaches with the juice. With a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to the bowl of gelatin and fold them in gently. Divide the gelatin and peaches into 4 wineglasses, cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 or more hours. Serves 4.


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Nice (wine) rack

Last week the New York Daily News featured this sports bra that holds up to 25 ounces of liquid and gives a surgery-like lift of up to 2 cup sizes.

Photo from the NY Daily News. What do you think Camelback would say?

You can purchase one of these babies from Baron Bob.  If you’re in the market for a mooning gnome, poop soap or a dog buddha statue, this Jersey-based site will be your one-stop shop.

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Breathalyzer before buying

I never anticipated that buying wine would have anything to do with homeland security technology. 

Pennsylvania is testing out vending machines for wine.  The bottle of Korbel I spied in the video doesn’t instill much confidence, though I’m all for making it more convenient for folks to buy and enjoy wine.

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Filed under Alcohol in the News, Videos, Wine

Asimov enjoys a McKenzie rye Manhattan

Granted, the Diner’s Journal post on July 16th focused primarily on vermouth, but it’s always exciting to get a mention in the New York Times!

ABC Kitchen Rye Whiskey Manhattan

  • 1 1/2 ounces McKenzie rye whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce Carpano Antica vermouth
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashion bitters
  • 1 teaspoon brandied cherry juice
  • 3 brandied cherries, for garnish.
  • Combine ingredients in a glass shaker with ice. Stir for 30 seconds and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with cherries.

My favorite quote, “Of course, what makes this particular Manhattan so good is not merely the vermouth, but the combination of superb ingredients in it.”

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Filed under Cocktails, Spirits

How lieblich

In preparation for an upcoming nerd conference (this year’s is in DC), I’m nerding out.  Here’s something I’m sure you’re all desperate for – an Austrian residual sugar chart!

Austrian Term English Translation Amount of Residual Sugar
Trocken Dry Up to .9%…provided that the total acidity is no more than .2% less than the residual sugar content
Extra Trocken Extra Dry Up to .4%
Halbtrocken Semi Dry Up to 1.2%
Lieblich “Charming” Up to 4.5%
Süss Sweet Over 4.5%

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Filed under Wine

We got an upgrade

We’ve been submitting L’Ecole’s wine list to Wine Spectator since 2007 and this year we got bumped up to their second-tier award.  Here’s what their website says:

Best of Award of Excellence
788 winners
Our second-tier award, created to give special recognition to restaurants that clearly exceed the requirements of the Award of Excellence. These lists typically offer 400 or more selections, along with superior presentation, and display either vintage depth, with several vertical offerings of top wines, or excellent breadth across several wine regions.

Who else has this award you may ask.  Oh, Jean-Georges and Gramercy Tavern.  You know what they didn’t get, though?  A green highlight, indicating a good value list.

For an upgrade on this iPhone shot, pick up a copy of the August edition, available now.


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The best way to take your vegetables

Multiple Mary-s

Frank Bruni’s Tipsy Diaries article was about the Bloody Mary this week. 

It was great to see folks moving beyond plain-old vodka as the base.  Bruni found everything from gin to rye to whiskey to oatmeal stout.

Celery and lemons aren’t exciting enough anymore, either.  House-pickled vegetables are taking over; radish, asparagus, kohlrabi, the list goes on.

One of my favorite bases for the Bloody Mary is unaged corn whiskey, a.k.a. white dog, and I was surprised that none of the bars he visited have caught on to how well the corny-goodness matches the sweet-tart tomato.

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Filed under Alcohol in the News, Cocktails

I is for Incisa della Rocchetta

Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, of the Italian winery Tenuta San Guido, was the inspiration behind the “Super Tuscan”.  Not officially recognized by Italian wine law, these wines emerged in the 1970s as a result of restrictive wine laws, and decreased quality of and demand for Chianti. 

By the late 1960s, Chianti was suffering from overproduction, poorly situated vineyards, sub-par varietal clones, and over-dilution with white grapes.  Not wanting their wines to only be purchased for their straw-covered bottles, some producers thought they could do better by ignoring the wine laws.  Instead of the traditional Sangiovese-Canaiolo-Malvasia-Trebbiano blend, producers began experimenting with Cabernet Sauvignon and other varieties. 

Incisa della Rocchetta made Cabernet Sauvignon from vines sourced from Château Lafite in Bordeaux and aged his wine in French-oak barriques, as opposed to the old, large-format Slavonian oak, which was common at the time.  He called it Sassicaia, dialect for place of stones, and his production was tiny.  Fortunately, his cousin Piero Antinori (the head of another centuries-old winemaking family) got wind of what Mario was up to and created Tignanello, the first well-known “non-Chianti Chianti” (thanks, Karen MacNeil). 

Piero’s younger brother, Lodovico Antinori, went on to make Ornellaia, sourced from grapes planted right next to the ones used in Sassicaia.  Many other producers have since followed suit.  To this day, these three Super Tuscans are rich, juicy, incredibly sought-after, and go to show what can happen when you combine the right grapes with the right site.

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