Monthly Archives: April 2011

Royal Wedding wines

Cork Savvy published a piece I wrote about what to drink while watching the Royal Wedding.  You can check it out here.

I guess at this point, it’s what to pair with the re-runs.

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Drinking on the job

I’m losing a day in the air, so I thought this could hold you over.

Earlier this week, The LA Times reported that French riot police were protesting a ban on drinking on the job.

French riot police. AP photo by Laurent Cipriani. Appeared in The Guardian. Their dark blue armored uniform has led to the nickname RoboCops.

Some highlights from the article:

*The Interior Ministry ordered the crackdown last week after several officers with the CRS, whose motto is “Serve,” were pictured swigging from beer bottles while deployed last fall at a student demonstration.

*Article R4228-20 of the French Labor Code, which bars the consumption of hard alcohol in the workplace, does allow public and private employees to enjoy about an 8-ounce glass of wine, a small beer or a glass of apple or pear cider while on duty. The rule was reiterated in an official directive to public workers in 1989.

*Even packed lunches issued to CRS officers deployed in their trademark navy blue vans and buses come with a small bottle of beer or wine.

*Police union boss Mangione told Le Parisien: “Decisions such as this should be based on studies of the real negative effects. There are none. This ban should be withdrawn.”  He added, “We are being turned into priests, but without the communion wine.”

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Pinots, a van, an anniversary, and a kangaroo

Quite a bit has happened since my last post.  My tasting group met and we each brought a Pinot Noir from 2 different hemispheres. 

We ended up with Pinots from California, Burgundy, Switzerland, Italy and New Zealand. A few folks had the same idea of bringing Pinots from Central Otago because it is the most southerly wine region in the world. Even with a Premier Cru Burgundy in the mix, the group favorite was a 2006 Staete Landt from Marlborough, NZ.

As per usual, Chris cooked for us.

Grilled pork tenderloin with beluga lentils, bacon and ramps. We thought the dish was a good representation of our spring - a lot of brown with finally some green coming through!

Noah and I went upstate for Easter weekend to visit friends and family, and more importantly, to bring our vanagon back to NYC.

A new transmission, body work to remove the rust spots, and a winter spent in a garage - she's like new and ready for the 2011 camping season!

On April 23, 2009, I posted my first entry here at A Thirsty Spirit.  Thanks to all of you who are still reading.

Tomorrow, I’m off to Australia.  As promised, I’ll have plenty more to say about Wine Australia’s Sommelier Immersion Program.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to avoid any situations like this.

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Salon, part deux

This past Sunday was our second Salon.

Dave Martin, from the first season of Top Chef and Jason Littrell, from Death and Co., discuss "New American Classics".

I generally do not care to have cocktails with food.  Before, after, or on their own, absolutely, but the complex flavors and high alcohol content make cocktails a challenge when it comes to pairing with food.  Dave and Jason did a fine job of making me reconsider.

1st course: Salad of Roasted Beets with Candied Walnuts, Gorgonzola, Watercress and a Roasted Shallot and Brown Sugar Vinaigrette. 1st cocktail: The Drink with No Name; Courvoisier VS, ginger and cinnamon syrup, lemon, Old Fashioned bitters. The fresh ginger component of the cocktail was my favorite - it was spicy enough, without overpowering the other ingredients. The sweetness of the Cognac and cinnamon complemented the candied walnuts and the earthiness of the bitters was a great match to the beets.

2nd course: Dave's Sage and Applewood Bacon Mac with Irish Cheddar and Cream. 2nd cocktail: North Garden; Laphroaig Scotch, Laird's Bonded Applejack, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Demerara Syrup and Angostura Bitters. Two things to point out regarding this cocktail: it's pretty much all booze and the Islay Scotch imparts a good deal of peat smoke. After having a bite of one of the richest macaroni and cheese dishes I've ever had, I was happy to have such a strong and smoky cocktail. In fact, the mac made this cocktail taste like apple juice and enabled everyone at my table to lick their ramekins clean.

I didn’t get a great photo of course 3: Coca Cola Braised Boneless Lamb Shoulder with Sweet and Sassy Smokehouse Rub and Roasted Poblano Sauce.  3rd cocktail: Gold Rush; McKenzie Bourbon, honey syrup and lemon.  This dish had a lot going on – it was sweet, it was spicy, it was earthy and Jason was wise to pair it with a simple, refreshing cocktail.

Arguably the prettiest and most surprising cocktail of the afternoon was the La Vie en Rose: Nolet's Gin, St. Germain, Raspberry Syrup, Egg White and Cream. All of the acidity was supplied by the raspberry syrup and the combination of egg whites and frothed cream gave the cocktail a silky density. It smelled and tasted like a sweet old lady's perfume (in a good way).

La Vie en Rose's partner was Homemade Lemon and Vanilla Sponge Cake with Fresh Berries and Whipped Mascarpone. The dessert brought out the raspberries in the cocktail and was (thankfully) a light way to end the tasting.

See you on July 10, when we’ll be pairing Jim Meehan’s original cocktails with Aaron Meicht’s orginial compositions.

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“Earl’s a Pearl”

Super big ups to Adam, Corey, Mike and the rest of the Earl’s crew!

NY Mag’s Underground Gourmet gives Earl’s Beer & Cheese a glowing, 3 star review.  “Some of the best (and cheesiest) bar food in town.” “As fine a convergence of food and setting that this precinct has seen since Rao’s.”

Yeah, baby.

photo by Danny Kim for NY Mag

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Filed under Alcohol in the News, What my friends are up to

Camp Swampy-tini

My mother-in-law recently mailed me this cartoon as part of a homemade postcard.  She describes it as “sort of a tough guy/Swedish/Italian/Southwest drink recipe.”


Filed under Cocktails

Pouch wine

I got an email today that Martin Scott is now carrying wine in a pouch.  I will report back once I’ve sampled it, but fingers crossed that it’s tasty.  Here’s an introduction video from their website:


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Scratch n Sniff

We’ve been serving Bourillon-Dorleans ‘Coulee d’Argent’ Vouvray Sec by the glass at L’Ecole for a long time.  Hand-harvested grapes, from 30+ year old vines, it’s consistently tasty each vintage – notes of apple, pear, and passion fruit, with great acidity, flinty mineral notes and some creaminess on the palate. 

Recently, we noticed a new feature on the label:

My iphone does not take stellar close-ups. Recent deliveries have included orange label stickers, stating, "scratch this label and smell the terroir of Vouvray".

Marcella demonstrating proper technique. Hopefully, she finds this photo as amusing as I do. It really does smell like flinty clay!

Hopefully, the scratch and sniff concept will work out better for the Domaine than it did for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company in the 1980s.

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The joy of the search engine

WordPress has some analytics, which allow you to see how many folks are visiting your site, as well as how some of them got there.  One of my favorite things is to see what is being typed into Google, etc. that then directs people to my blog.  Once in awhile, it’s a gem like this:

haus wifes loves cleaning the haus. especially after several gins

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Craft American Vodka Tasting Notes

Scrolling through today, I noticed a web component to my article that appeared in the March issue.

Photo by Anna Stockwell for

Victoria, Ethan and I made tasting notes for close to 20 different American vodkas and our favorites are featured on the site.  In addition to the Hibiscus Rose Vesper, I submitted these recipes as well:

Vintner’s Fizz
2 oz. Vintner’s Vodka
1.5 oz. St. Germain
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 egg white (equivalent of 1 oz.)
Pinch of salt
Barspoon of superfine sugar
1 oz. seltzer

Combine all ingredients except for seltzer and dry shake.  Add ice and seltzer and shake again.  Strain into chilled martini glass.

Celery Cider
1.5 oz. Organic Nation Vodka
2 oz. apple cider
Dash simple syrup
Pinch of celery salt
3 dashes celery bitters
Juice of one lime

Combine all ingredients over ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass over ice.  Garnish with a celery salt rim.

Unnamed Coffee Deliciousness
2 oz. Vermont Gold Maple Vodka
1 oz. espresso
1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. heavy cream

Combine all ingredients over ice, shake and strain into chilled martini glass.  Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Bottoms up!

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