Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sandeman Sandeman Sour

Being a Booze Blogger can sometimes be a funny thing.  We make drinks that inspire people to imbibe, and I’ve always wondered how frequently people make my recipes at home.  Perhaps I’ll never know, but I do know that my husband has a discerning palate, and he is a critical quality check in my creative process.  He tastes everything.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.

This is a cocktail that I was thinking about for a while – how to make a twist on a New York sour with port that would make a completely original cocktail.  It was the port itself that inspired this cocktail, namely the Sandeman Tawny Porto 10 Year, which has a soft, sweet, nutty flavor.  I wanted to play on that nut-forward flavor, so I swapped out the simple syrup for homemade Orgeat syrup.  Orgeat is extremely thick so I cut it with half water, and swapped the whiskey for Tawny Porto.  I topped the cocktail with Sandeman Founder’s Reserve, the sweet and fruity port most similar to a Cabernet typically used for the float in a New York Sour. 

My husband/critic had the genius idea to add an aromatic garnish on top – finely grated toasted almonds to give the drink another layer of nuttiness, and I added dried mint flowers from the garden. 
This sour might just be my favorite yet – a lovely montage of two of my favorite ports with a tiki, nutty twist.  My critic was pleased with this cocktail, and promptly demanded another.  Happily, I obliged and mixed up two more.

I hope you enjoy this cocktail as much as I do.

Sandeman Sandeman Sour
Created by Gastronomista

2 oz Sandeman Porto Tawny 10 Years Old
1 oz Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Porto, reserved for floater
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat Syrup
½ oz Water
1 Toasted Almond for Garnish
Dried Mint Flowers for Garnish

Shake Tawny 10 year, Lemon Juice, water and Orgeat with ice.  Strain into a chilled low-ball glass with a king cube.  Pour the Founder’s Reserve over the back of a bar spoon to float the port on the top of the drink.  Using a micro plane, finely grate a toasted almond on the top of the drink, and finish with dried mint flowers.

Orgeat Syrup

1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar

In a food processor, pulse almonds until coarsely ground.  In a pot, boil sugar, water and almonds until fully mixed.  Line a sieve with cheese cloth and place over a large bowl.  Pour the almond mixture into the cheesecloth and let sit.  Occasionally squeeze the cheese cloth to extract more of the syrup.  Transfer the syrup to a non-reactive container and store in the refrigerator. 


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

Friday, December 1, 2017

Alto Adige Wine Region, The Land of Delicious Pinot Grigio

I have some pretty terrible associations with Pinot Grigio: bad gallery openings, architecture school, and horrible first dates (read, being in my early 20's and not knowing what to order).  No Longer, dear readers, no longer!

I'm pleased to report that I have found an amazing wine making region that produces the most delicious Pinot Grigio, the Alto-Adige region in Northern Italy.  The vineyards are located in the foothills of the Dolomite mountains, meaning, warm days and cool nights that yield wines that have higher acidity, are more herbaceous, and have a bright and fruity tartness to them.

While some people prefer to learn about wine through the grape varietal, I so much more prefer to do deep dives into wine making regions.  When I have learned about a new wine that I like, I will read up on it on websites such as Wine Folly, learning as much as I can about the soil type and the wine making styles that are common to the area.  This helps me understand why I like a particular wine, and this knowledge very often inspires me to try similar wines, and embrace new favorites into my wine repertoire.

I have tasted quite a few of the Pinot Grigios from the Alto Adige region, and my hands down favorite is the Tramin Pinot Grigio Unterebner 2015 by Cantina Tramin, a gorgeous white wine that has aromas of honeyed apricots, melon, and toasty oak, and flavors of dried pear, apricot, white flowers, honey with bright vegetal notes and an dry, oaky finish.  This "richly styled" Pinot Grigio is silky and viscous, and it is dry but full bodied.

I love drinking this wine before dinner, served with freshly cut vegetables, but it would also pair beautifully with a roast chicken and a seasonal salad.  I love the idea of drinking this wine in the summer, but it has a lot of flavor and complexity making it delightful year round.  I love finding wines that are surprising and so easy to fall in love with, and this is a wine that I'm excited to share with my friends!

I never thought I would say this, but I really like Pinot Grigio!  Seems as though I just had to find the right one!  Now, to drink my way through the region....

Tramin Pinot Grigio Unterebner 2015 - $27


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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

9 Reasons to Drink Rosé for Thanksgiving

Everyone gets alllll excited about light and "drinkable" red wines for Thanksgiving, but honestly, I'm not buying it.  I'm still stuck on rosé.  Maybe it's all the warm weather or maybe it's escapism, I'm not quite sure, but I do know that I will be serving the pink stuff Thanksgiving and I'm not sorry about it.

Rosé pairs beautifully with all different types of food: sweet, salty, savory, and I'm coming to the conclusion that rosé just might be the perfect wine to serve for a fall feast.  In fact, while researching for this story, I realized that most rosé has recommended pairings of chicken and turkey.  Coincidence?  I think not.

The more I think about it, the more I think this will be a great idea - rosé is wonderful to drink during the day (while cooking), during cocktail hour (paired with cheeses and veggie appetizers), and during dinner (paired with turkey and a hedonistic mix of sweet and savory foods).  AND, if you're drinking rosé all day/night, there is no worry of red wine teeth cursing your family photos forever...

Have I convinced you yet?  Good. 

In that case, let me get started on my 9 reasons to drink rosé this Thanksgiving:

1/ Gérard Bertrand Cuvee Thomas Jefferson Crémant de Limoux Brut Rose 2014, France - $17
70% Chardonnay, 15% Chenin, 15% Pinot Noir

Start your evening off with bubbles, because every holiday should start with bubbles.  In fact, bubbly wine is believed to have originated in Limoux, France, an especially cool area where exceptional sparkling wines are made.  Today's version of the Gérard Bertrand sparkling rosé has a bright salmon color with bright flavors of freshly baked berry tart.

2/ Jaillance Cremant de Bordeaux Rosé, France - $16
100% Merlot

Continue with bubbles and pop a bottle or two of Jalliance Cremant de Bordeaux Rosé, a delightful wine that pairs well with savory meats such as turkey or duck.  This wine is vinified using the Methode Traditionelle, meaning that it goes through a secondary fermentation in the bottle, giving it more complexity and layers of flavor.  The wine has a beautiful salmon color and flavors of strawberry, red currant, and spice with nicely balanced acidity.

3/ SAVED Magic Maker Rosé 2016, California - $20
Pinot Noir, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Orange Muscat, Sangiovese

Sometimes you can judge a bottle by its label, and the SAVED wines are just as tasty as they are design savvy.  The SAVED Magic Maker Rosé is a Provence style wine (read, light pink and bone dry) and is made from fruit sourced from the Santa Maria Valley to Monterey.  This gorgeous rosé has flavors of white peach, tangerine, strawberry, and green apple, and pairs well with everything from vegetable-forward side dishes to dessert.  

4/  Château Tassin Bordeaux Rosé 2016, France - $10
100% Merlot

Chateau Tassin is located in an old medieval town, Rions, based on the Latin word Riucium, or "built on rock", a beautiful estate that overlooks the Garonne River.  This rosé has a bright salmon color, is bright and dry with flavors of plum, ripe citrus, cherry, and strawberry jam.  This is a great wine to sip while cooking all the way through the savory meat dishes that Thanksgiving has to offer.

5/ La Moulinière Bordeaux Rosé 2016, France - $12
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

La Moulinière rose is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and produces pale pink colored wine that is light yet fruity wine.  This rosé has aromas of white flowers, red berries, and mint, with crisp flavors of ripe red fruits and a touch of spice.

6/  Muga Rioja Rosado 2016, Spain - $15
60% Garnacha, 30% Viura, 10% Tempranillo

If you follow me on social media (if you don't, you should) you already know that I am obsessed with Muga Rosado.  It might be my favorite rosé of all, and has set the standard for all rosé in my life:  dry, salty, and bright and citrusy with flavors of stone fruits, grapefruit, and bright minerality.  I plan to drink a lot of it for Thanksgiving this year, and so should you.

7/ Meiomi Rosé, California - $21
Pinot Noir

Meiomi Rosé is made from grapes sourced from Monterey County, Santa Barbara County and Sonoma County, and is a rich and fruity wine that pairs perfectly with Turkey & Chicken.  The wine is dry with a well-balanced acidity, with flavors of watermelon, orange peel, stone fruits, and light minerality.

8/ Sterling Vintner's Collection Rose 2016, California - $14
Syrah & Tempranillo

Sterling Winery makes some pretty delicious wines, and their rosé is an especially lovely fruit-forward wine that begs to be served with flavorful, rich poultry dishes (read, turkey with a side of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce).  On the nose it has aromas of strawberries and rhubarb, with flavors of cherry, strawberry pie, pink grapefruit, and orange blossom.

9/ Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2016, France - $14
Southern Rhone Red Blend

Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé is a wonderful pairing for Thanksgiving as its dominant flavors are cranberry and red currant.  Which means, you can have a bite of turkey, a bite of mashed potatoes, a sip of wine, and basically have Thanksgiving in your mouth in one bite.  Could there be anything better?  I think not.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Cocktail Friendsgiving with G.H. Mumm Champagne

This year I'm starting a new tradition - Cocktail Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving Eve.  It's a perfect night to get together with some of your favorite people, drink a few cocktails, pop a few bottles of bubbly, with the luxury of having the entire next day to nurse your hangover with turkey, gravy, and football.  Genius, I say.

Just like any Friendsgiving, my boozy version is based on the flavors of a thanksgiving meal; sweet, savory, and autumnal.

Start the evening out with an aperitif, a glass of cold G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Champagne.  There is truly nothing better than a glass of champagne at the beginning of cocktail hour; bright, effervescent, with flavors of peach, pineapple, apricot, honey, and vanilla caramel.  Nothing.  Better.

For extra holiday flair, make a wine bucket out of frozen cranberries, a beautiful display that plays double duty by keeping your bubbly cold!  Don't forget to make a new one for Thanksgiving - it will be sure to earn you extra points at the dinner table!

For the first cocktail I'm serving an herbaceous cocktail made with Träkál (an apple and pear brandy based spirit infused with the essential oils of herbs, berries, and botanicals found only in Patagonia), triple sec, Peychaud's Bitters, and topped with champagne.  Träkál has a unique flavors of anise, mint, red summer berries, sage, lemon, orange, and a bright spicy finish - it's incredibly savory - and all those bright fruity flavors of the spirit pair beautifully with the fruit forward flavors of the champagne.  Garnish this cocktail with apple slices and a sprig or two of fresh herbs to compliment the cocktail.

Created by Gastronomista

1 oz Träkál
1/2 oz Triple Sec
Top with G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Champagne
4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a low ball glass with fresh ice.  Garnish with apple slices and fresh herbs.

The second course is based on a cocktail I had many years ago, a cocktail created by the one and only David Wondrich.  The cocktail is called the Corn Goddess, and was one of those cocktails that blew my mind early on in my booze blogging days, it was sweet yet savory, and was made with unexpected ingredients - tomatoes and corn.  Yes, you read that right, corn.  I modified the recipe a little bit by adding a bit of fresh chili to the recipe to give it a bit of kick - just add more or less chili to the mix based on your preference for spice. And of course, top it off with a bit of Champagne, because Friendsgiving.

Modified by Gastronomista

1 oz Gin
1-1/2 oz Campari
2 T Fresh Corn Kernels
2 Cherry Tomatoes Cut in Half
1/4 Sliced Chili Pepper
Top with G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Champagne

In a cocktail tin muddle the corn, tomatoes and chili pepper.  Add gin, Campari, and ice, and shake until chilled.  Strain into a cocktail coupe, top with champagne and garnish with a fresh sage leaf.

My final course in my cocktail Friendsgiving is a simple champagne cocktail made with cranberry bitters and topped with sugared fresh cranberries.  (Pro Tip: candied cranberries are insanely delicious and addictive.  Make a whole bag and set them out for snacking).  I wanted to make a cocktail that had the bright, sweet flavors of cranberry without being too syrupy, something that would taste fresh at the end of this cocktail flight.

Cranberry Champagne Cocktail
Created by Gastronomista

1 small sugar cube
10 dashes Cranberry Bitters
4 oz G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Champagne

Thoroughly coat a sugar cube with Cranberry Bitters, and place at the bottom of a champagne flute.  Top with Champagne, add a few fresh cranberries, and rest a cocktail pick with three sugared cranberries on the top of the glass.

Sugared Cranberries
Recipe from My

2 Cups Fresh Cranberries
2 Cups White Sugar
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Superfine Sugar

Heat sugar and water in a pot until the sugar has dissolved.  Let cool.  In a non-reactive container combine fresh cranberries with the simple syrup, and place in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, roll the cranberries in sugar and let dry for one hour.

Finish off the evening with a few more glasses of champagne, takeout (because who wants to cook the night before Thanksgiving?!), and a few laughs before you have to be on good behavior for Aunt Mildred.

Styling Notes:

Champagne: G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon
Champagne Flutes: Lehmann Glass Jamesse Prestige
Cocktail Coupes: Ralph Lauren
Low Ball Glasses: CB2
Mixing Glass: Analogue Merchantile
Jigger & Mixing Spoon: Parched Penguin
Vase: ACV
Coasters: Ikea
Ice Mold: Crate & Barrel


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

Share This!