Monday, December 3, 2018

Mionetto MioMosa Party

Prosecco has quickly become one of my favorite bottles to always stock in my fridge.  It’s great to sip on its own, it’s an essential ingredient in a spritz, and it’s absolutely divine in a MioMosa (see what I did there, wink wink). 

When one thinks of a mimosa, the first thing that comes to mind is brunch, an association that is difficult to argue with.  The other association is orange juice, but a great prosecco like Mionetto works well with different kinds of juices.  I usually go to the store and stock up on a range of juices: pear, apricot, and mango to name a few.  

I like to set out a big bowl with ice to chill the bottles and juice in carafes so that guests can try different combinations as they wish.  

PRO TIP: Set up a separate table to get the guests moving and out of the most valuable space in your home: your kitchen.

I recently discovered that Mionetto makes the most adorable individual serve bottles of prosecco – which a great for picnics, cocktails on the go, or for sipping at parties.  Just pop one open, add a straw, and maybe a splash of juice and you’ve got a great party-ready cocktail.   

I’m really enjoying playing with different seasonal juice combinations and am really into adding garnishes that add another layer of flavor.  Jalapeno Mango Mimosas, Peach & Tarragon, Strawberry Basil… the possibilities are endless.  I am curious about green juice mimosas, perhaps that is the next mimosa frontier…
On that note, let’s pop some bottles and get this mimosa party started!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mionetto Prosecco. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Apple-y Prosecco Spritz

I’ve been really inspired by all the fresh apples that are in season right now, and even at the small market in our town, we’ve been getting a great selection.  Honeycrisp (my favorite for snacking), Fuji, and those gorgeous Pink Pearl apples that have a green skin and bright pink flesh. Oh my, I’ve been in heaven.  


I wanted to create a sparkly apple spritz in celebration of apple season, based on the King’s Landing recipe in the new Death & Co Cocktail Codex book (which you should buy if you haven’t already).  I’ve topped this apple-y beauty with the elevated Prosecco, Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore made from Glera grapes grown in Valdobbiadene, Italy;a region that now has its own DOCG classification.  This specific Prosecco adds another layer of flavor to this cocktail, a bright, crisp, fruity flavor of apple and pear.  I wanted to add a bit more spice, so there’s a dash of star anise; as well as a bitter kick, to help balance out the sweetness.  This beautiful number is sure to be on repeat throughout the holidays! 


Apple-y Prosecco Spritz

1-1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth Infused with Star Anise
1 oz Pear or Apple Brandy
¼ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Campari
3-1/2 oz Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore

Build in a large glass over ice.  Garnish with a lemon wheel and a few apple slices

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Santa Margherita Prosecco. All opinions are 100% mine. 
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ice Cream Maker Frozé

Yes, I know fall is upon us - but trust me - you're going to want to bookmark this recipe for next summer.  It's ah.mazing.

I recently saw that you can use your ice cream maker to make cocktails, which was quite frankly an epiphany in my mind.  Why you ask?  Because frozé is absolutely one of my favorite things about summer, and I hate making it in a blender (it's always a mess).  AND, this is a two ingredient recipe, which means it is easy!  Victory!

I'm using Rosé Aurore Côté Mas, a beautifully crisp, mineral forward rosé from Provence, which is delicious on its own, but also makes a mean Frozé.  I highly recommend this gorgeous rosé, and it comes in a one liter format, which means there are two extra glasses in each bottle!  

I could wax on and on about how much I love this Frozé recipe, but instead I'm going to get to the point and give you the recipe:

Ice Cream Maker Frozé

1 One Liter Bottle of Rosé Aurore Côté Mas
1 Can Grapefruit Soda

Add the entire bottle of rosé and the grapefruit soda to your ice cream maker.  Turn on and let run for approximately 60 minutes until frozen.  Serve and garnish with fresh fruit.  

Pro Tip: Freeze the cylinder overnight to ensure that it is sufficiently chilled for Frozé preparations.  

Finally, a Frozétastic video for your viewing pleasure:

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The French Ministry of Agriculture. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Ginger Pinot Blanc Spritz

This summer I have been working with the French Ministry of Agriculture to feature some of the products the organization represents, specifically cheese and wine (I know, my job is tough...).  Fortunately for me, all of the products they have sent for me to try out have been delicious - all the wines have been inspiring to say the least.

I wanted to try out making a few cocktails with these gorgeous French wines, and one of my favorites so far is the Ginger Pinot Blanc Spritz, made with Trimbach Pinot Blanc.  I found a lot of crisp pear and apple notes on this flavorful wine, so I wanted to pair it with ginger and mint to give it a bit of spice and herbal sweetness.  I'm really into this spritz, it's a great cocktail for sitting outside on a fall day - bright and refreshing with a hint of fall flavors.

Trying out a new format: Video!  Leave me a comment if you like this new recipe format!

Ginger Pinot Blanc Spritz
Created by Gastronomista

2 oz Trimbach Pinot Blanc Wine
1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Top with Ginger Soda

Garnish with a lime wheel and a sprig of fresh mint.


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The French Ministry of Agriculture. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

French Wine and Cheese - Is There Anything Better?

I have a serious question for you: is there anything better than wine and cheese?  Yeah, I didn't think so.

One of favorite things about visiting France is enjoying the fresh bread and local cheeses that are usually served with seasonal fruit and a delicious glass of wine.  France does a few things exceptionally well, and I have to say, cheese and wine are two of them.

Fortunately, we don't have to travel to France to enjoy some of their best products, these agricultural products are shipped all over the world!

For this post I have partnered with the French Ministry of Agriculture to pair some of my favorite French cheeses with a selection of wines they have introduced me to.  I never cease to be surprised with the quality of French wine, and unsurprisingly, these wines are no different - complex, drinkable, and all wines that pair beautifully with cheese.

For this post I wanted to create a few decadent scenes that embody the French joie de vivre with references to French art and architecture throughout the ages.  I hope you enjoy.

Champagne Guilleminot Brut Prestige with Saint-André 

In my opinion, one of the most decadent and delicious cheeses out there are triple crème cheeses, which are a more intense version of a brie.  Saint-André is a perfect triple crème cow's milk cheese that pairs beautifully with the Champagne Guilleminot, which has flavors of toasted brioche, spices, and candied nuts.  Serve with seasonal fresh fruit, such as plums, pulots, and currants and fresh baguettes.  

Château Bonnet Red with Président Unsalted Butter 

Another one of my favorite things about France is the butter.  Oh, my the butter! I always overdo it with the bread and butter when I'm there, because it's so delicious!  I'm a salt addict so I like to sprinkle salt on my buttered bread, which pairs beautifully with a glass of red wine from Bordeaux.  Château Bonnet might become my new house wine because it is so drinkable - it is light and refreshing while at the same time, full of complex flavors of vanilla, ripe fruit, and a slight smokiness.  Food helps bring out the flavors in this wine (like most European wines), the creamier the better.  The Château Bonnet Red is made from a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and is harvested from 17 year old vineyards with clay-limestone and clay-siliceous soil that gives this wine a nice acidity and minerality.  

Château Bonnet White with St. Agur Blue Cheese

It is unsurprising to learn that St. Agur is the number 1 blue cheese in France, as it is hands down one of the most delicious and memorable cheeses.  I often refer to St. Agur as a gateway cheese: its creaminess helps people learn to love the spiciness of blue cheese, a first love for many.  As they say, the first cut is the deepest.  St. Agur pairs well with many different styles of wine, but lately I have been loving it with the Château Bonnet White, a crisp and refreshing wine that is perfect for summer.  The wine is made from 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon, and 15% Muscadelle, and has flavors of peach, meyer lemon, with a gorgeous floral note.

Of course, the true pleasure of cheese is putting out a gorgeous spread of a variety of cheeses, different types of breads and fruit and tasting each one with a different wine.  The possibilities are endless, and they are all delicious.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The French Ministry of Agriculture. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Monday, September 3, 2018

1888 Rum Over Coconut Water Ice

I know I've waxed on about how much I love 1888 Rum before, but I'm here to do it again.  Not only because I love this rum that drinks like a whisk(e)y; sweet while at the same time dry and incredibly complex, but because I am now armed with a new way to serve it.  

See I'm a bit fussy about adding water to rum, very often the flavors of a rum are so good at bottle proof, and I don't want to mess with it (1888 is one of those bottles).  But, if you want to slightly chill it then you are getting into the whisky stone territory, which make me nervous since I source vintage crystal for my home bar.  

The 1888 team suggested that I try the 1888 poured over a coconut water ice cube, which is a genius way to serve an aged rum, in my opinion.  Not only does the coconut water ice chill the rum, but it slowly creates new flavors as the ice melts.  Every sip is a little bit different, and as the proportion of rum to coconut water changes with each sip, so does your understanding of the rum.  

Best of all?  It's incredibly easy to do.  Just fill up an ice maker with coconut water (one of my favorite mixers, btw), and let it freeze overnight.  Pour 1888 over that gorgeous coconut-y ice cube, and enjoy. 

I love this as a party idea - just prepare bags of ice cubes ahead of time - or as a new way to enjoy rum at home.  No garnish necessary, or add a piece of fresh coconut to make this serve extra tropical. 

Genius, I say.  Genius.  

1888 Rum Over Coconut Water Ice

2 oz 1888 Rum
1 Coconut Water Ice Sphere

Pour rum over a pre-made coconut water ice sphere.  Stir and serve.

Optional Garnish: Fresh Coconut

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1888 Rum. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Gastronomista in Imbibe Magazine!

Exciting news!  I was recently featured in Imbibe Magazine, sharing some of my favorite places to drink (and eat) in the Vail Valley.  If you ever come to Vail - for skiing or a summer escape - make sure to bookmark this link (you can thank me later).  Or better yet, send me a note and I'll meet you for a drink ;)

My father moved to Vail in 1972 when there were only 400 people living in the town.  I spent much of my childhood in Vail, and I moved to the mountains by myself as a teenager to pursue ski racing.  Even at a young age I fell in love with this quirky mountain town and the people who live here.  Even to this day, a day of skiing at Vail mountain is one of my all time favorite things, and I continue to be astounded by the majestic beauty of this valley.  After 16 years on the East coast, my husband and I moved back to Colorado, and it has been wonderful to be back in my home town. Of course there are things I wish I could have brought with me from Brooklyn (ahem, pizza and my besties), but even amongst the overpriced resort town places we have found some incredible people making some damn good drinks (and food to go with it).

The best part of living in Vail?  Being able to catch a powder day on a Tuesday, trail running after a long day of work, and skipping the after-skiing traffic back to Denver on I-70.   From coffee to beer to tacos, these are my favorite spots in Vail.

Read the whole article here>>

Monday, July 9, 2018

Campari America Spirited Connections Interview Series: Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Continuing the Gastronomista Campari America Spirited Connections Interview series, this month is a conversation about mentorship with one of the best in the business, James Beard Award nominee and Spirited Award recipient, Jeffrey Morgenthaler.  He is someone who has been a personal mentor to me from afar (unbeknownst to him!), and I'm sure he has been for others.  But the luckiest ones are those who learn from him while "in the trenches", the up-and-coming bartenders lucky enough to be mentored by him every day.  Envy is an understatement.

Many, many moons ago, I started this website and stumbled into the cocktail world.  In a rather unexpected career twist, I found myself with an insatiable curiosity to learn more about the cocktail industry: the people, the products, and how to do it myself.  I took some pretty bad photographs, I made some really disgusting drinks, but I started meeting some amazing people.  I also started scouring the internet for more information, desperate for more guidance about exactly what this world was all about.

Somewhere in the early years, I discovered Jeffrey Morgenthaler's website.  I learned how to make ginger beer, I made my own oleo saccharum for various punches, I made countless Amaretto Sours to his specs, and started my own pocket recipe book (mine however, is red).  Later, when Morgenthaler released The Bar Book, I raced through the pages, picking up practical tips that most bartenders learn on the job, but I, an island onto myself, learned through written word.

I have always appreciated Morgenthaler's no-nonesense mentality towards simplicity, staying true to the cannons of cocktails, and always being in pursuit of doing things better.  He approaches bartending and bar management with a particular rigor that is uncannily familiar to me - after all - he too studied architecture.

Morgenthaler has mentored countless people in the industry, at his own bar and in the community at large.  It's fair to say that through his books and his website, he feels like a mentor to me as well, a feeling that I'm sure so many bartenders and writers can relate to.  So needless to say, it was a tremendous honor to spend a few hours with him at his bar in Portland (yes, I might have fanned out a little bit).  This was not the first time I met Morgenthaler, and I hope not the last.  He is warm, welcoming, and incredibly funny - a consummate host.  His laugh is loud and dominates the room, as does he.  And as for his Old Fashioned, it is perfect.  Don't even bother arguing.

Without further ado, Jeffrey Morgenthaler:

Gastronomista: Jeff, it is a huge honor to host you in my Spirited Connections Interview series with Campari America.  Your blog has been such a huge source of inspiration for me, and an invaluable resource during my cocktail self-education.  It’s fair to say that you have been a mentor to me (via the internet) for years, and I cannot thank you enough for sharing your wisdom with cocktail enthusiasts like myself.  

Speaking of mentorship, I would love to discuss how mentorship has impacted your career, both as someone learning a craft and as someone passing along your knowledge. 

Morgenthaler: Aw, thank you. Sharing what I’ve learned has always been the most important thing to me as a bartender, and it always makes me so happy when I hear that my knowledge has helped someone else. It’s nice when someone "gets it". So many people think that sharing my knowledge is just me trying to “promote my brand”, whatever the hell that means, and it’s like, hey, I’m genuinely just trying to help.

Gastronomista: Why did you start your website, and how has it changed your opinions on giving back to a community and teaching others?

Morgenthaler: I originally started it because I wanted to learn how to install the blog software on my web server. I was just messing around. And then I started sharing recipes from the bar on there, just for our regulars who came in and might want to make the drinks at home. I realized that people all over the world were coming to the site looking for cocktail information, and it just kind of grew from there.

Gastronomista: Why do you think it is so important to pass along your learnings behind the bar? 

Morgenthaler: I learned to tend bar in a pretty small town: Eugene, Oregon. We had some great, truly great bartenders there that I would watch from the other side of the bar. But there weren’t a lot of people doing cocktail stuff, not like the sort of stuff we do now. So I had to learn from people who were willing to share their knowledge in books and online. I’ve never forgotten how important that was to me, and I want to do the same for other people who might not have access to formal training or a selection of world class bars they can visit in their own town.

Gastronomista: Do you have any particularly gratifying memories of your mentors, and those who have been lucky enough to study under you?  What has been the greatest takeaway?

Morgenthaler: I was trained at my first bar by a woman named Nancy Bertini. Nancy was a lifer, I think she’d been at The Tiny Tavern for twenty years when I got there. She was matronly, kind, fast, and very firm with the sometimes rough clientele. She worked happy hour, and I was the closer. So we saw each other probably four or five times a week for four years. I learned a lot about being organized and managing a busy room from her.

Later on, I worked for Stephanie Pearl-Kimmel at Marché, and she was one of the early followers of Alice Waters. I learned a lot about culinary technique, consistency, and service in her restaurants. I could still spend hours sitting at the chef’s counter and watching the line cooks work. It’s always been mesmerizing to me.

But the greatest feathers in my cap are when people that I’ve gotten to work with over the years go on to run their own programs, and mentor people on their own. I can’t take credit for anyone’s success because I always hire people who are going to be great with or without my help. But it’s just so awesome to see people you’ve worked so closely alongside go on to do great things. And most of them have.

Justin Pike manages the bar at Tasting Kitchen in Venice, California. It’s one of the most consistently acclaimed bar programs in Los Angeles. Andrew Volk owns the Portland Hunt + Alpine Club in Portland, Maine. Food and Wine named him as one of the best bartenders in America, and they’ve been nominated for Outstanding Bar Program by the James Beard Foundation.


Gastronomista: In my opinion, The Bar Book is one of the most important reads for people learning about the cocktail industry – it covers essential techniques, tools, and tricks of the trade.   What makes your second book, Drinking Distilled, (congratulations!) – different, and how do you hope that it will be received by cocktail enthusiasts?

Morgenthaler:  Thanks! I’m hoping to reach more than just cocktail enthusiasts with this one. It’s geared toward people who simply enjoy a cocktail, people who enjoy a bar, or enjoy hosting a party at home. Cocktails are such a small part of what makes up the bar and entertaining world, and I have lots more to say about those other things.

Gastronomista: This series is sponsored by Campari America, would you be willing to share your favorite recipe made with Campari America products?

  Our Cynar Collins at Pepe Le Moko is probably my current favorite. Here’s the recipe!

Cynar Collins
Created by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

2 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (2:1 Sugar:Water)
2 oz Soda Water

Combine Cynar, lemon, and simple syrup with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled. Add soda directly to shaker and strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Campari America. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. 

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