Monthly Archives: December 2010

Craft distilleries featured in NYT today

Finger Lakes Distilling got a great mention in an article in today’s dining section titled, “Just Don’t Call it Moonshine“.

The McKenzie Bourbon and FLD Cherry Liqueur were also used to cap off the evening at last night’s Finger Lakes Christmas at The James Beard House.

Oh, what a year it has been.  Happy Holidays, everyone!

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M is for Marechal Foch

A cluster of Marechal Foch grapes. Note the small berry size.

Marechal Foch, pronounced mar-esh-shall-fosh, sometimes with an accent (Maréchal) or just referred to as Foch, is a French hybrid grape. 

It was developed in Alsace by Eugene Kuhlmann, but its parentage has been disputed.  Some cite Goldriesling (v. vinifera) as one parent and a North American varietal (v. riparia or rupestris) as the other.  Others claim the North American parent to be Oberlin Noir, a Gamay-riparia cross, which was once commercially cultivated in Burgundy. 

Regardless, the resulting grape is winter hardy, ripens early and produces red wine ranging from light-bodied and Beaujolais in style to sweet, fortified and port-like.  Once, it was widely planted in the Loire Valley and now it is still popular in Canada and New York.  It can also be found in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and the Willamette Valley.

He made the cover of Time magazine in 1925 and had a cultivar named after him.

The grape is named after French marshal Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929), who played a key role in the closing of World War I.  As supreme commander of the Allied armies, he accepted the German request for an armistice.  Once the war was over, he claimed to have defeated Germany by “smoking his pipe”.

“‘How did I win the war?’ Foch will say chaffingly to André de Marincourt, many months later. ‘By smoking my pipe. That is to say, by not getting excited, by reducing everything to simple terms, by avoiding useless emotions, and keeping all my strength for the job.'”
Frank H. Simonds, History of the World War, Vol. 5, Ch. 3, III. Doubleday, Page & Co., 1920.


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“I’m a 91 on that”

I cannot define a perfect wine. 

This is a teaser video for James Suckling’s new website.  Note the intense synthesizer background.

Does it make you want to check out his website?

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Put your Christmas tree to good use

Before your Christmas tree dries out, make some Evergreen Simple Syrup:

Combine 1 cup of water with 3/4 cup sugar and bring to a boil. Add a handful of fresh pine needles from your Christmas tree and boil for 3 mins. Strain and cool before combining in cocktails.

Brian brought this syrup when he visited a few weeks ago and we started brainstorming about cocktails.  I’ve experimented with pine flavor before, and decided that this time around an herbaceous gin might be a perfect fit.  Keeping in the holiday spirit, we opted for cranberry as the fruit and acid lift. 

I’m especially pleased that my title stuck.

Twigs and Berries
2 oz. Seneca Drums Gin
1 oz. Evergreen Simple Syrup
1 oz. White Cranberry Juice
Dash of Angostura Bitters

Stir the above ingredients over ice and strain into chilled martini glass.

Pine-y refreshment under the Christmas tree.

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“I deserve to get drunk”

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I attended a train-the-trainer workshop for TIPS, a group that focuses on responsible alcohol sales and service.  Part of the curriculum was this stand-up routine from Bill Cosby.  It was a nice distraction from the other films, which consisted primarily of bad actors sipping food-colored water in bars and restaurants with décor from the 1980s. 

I realize that this is the second video I’ve posted featuring Mr. Cosby – must be a holdover of good feelings from watching the Cosby Show as a kid.

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Bitters to go

Leave it to the ever-traveling Germans to come up with a way to have classy cocktails on the go.

Today’s Times clued me in to this adorable kit.  Tasting notes from the company’s website:

CELERY BITTERS: Very complex and exotic. The initial flavor of celery is dominant, leading into a complex palate with aromas of lemongrass, orange peel and ginger.
OLD TIME AROMATIC BITTERS: Classically bitter and tangy. Combining the aromatics of cinnamon, cardamom, anise and cloves, it reminds one of gingerbread.
ORANGE BITTERS: The aroma of bitter orange peel is in the foreground, complimented by the spicy flavors of cardamom, caraway and nutmeg.
CREOLE BITTERS: The complex combination of flavors hints upon spice, bitterness and cardamon with a subtle floral finish that evokes the flavors of Creole cuisine in New Orleans/Louisiana.
CHOCOLATE BITTERS: Deep chocolate notes are supported by classic bitter flavors and accented with a hint of spice. Plays perfectly with most dark spirits, rums and tequilas.

Noah and I had recently been discussing saving airplane-sized bottles and filling them with booze from home in order to have a tastier tipple while in the air.

What a perfect stocking stuffer!

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