Over the last few years, I have started to drink a lot less beer than I used to. Maybe it is because what it has started to do to my waistline lol. Either way, every now and then I do enjoy a good beer, especially when it is something new and different. That is how I came across this gem, forget that it has an 8% abv, how can you pass up a beer called Biggie S’mores?!?! This beer comes from a local Virginia Distillery based out of Charlottesville, and I am a huge supporter of local food & drink. The historical backstory of this brewery, from the name itself, to all of their beers is really great, especially if you into history. We are here to talk about drinks though, not history (you can check it yourself at threenotchdbrewing.com). When the weather is a bit cold out, I am really looking for a roasty, malty, darker beer like a porter, or in this case a stout. It has a smooth chocolate taste, and using 80 boxes of graham crackers per batch, the name does not disappoint. Get that fire lit, turn on your favorite tv show or movie, pop a bottle and ask yourself…..how ya livin Biggie S’mores! Cheers!!
Keeping with the “local” theme for one more week, I want to tell you all about this little moonshine distillery out of Richmond, Virginia. I used one of their spirits in a post a few weeks back, but did not really talk about the spirit itself (full disclosure, I do do some brand ambassador work with this particular company. You can check out more about them in my “Affiliates” section or go straight to their website belleislecraftspirits.com). They really do make a quality product that is great on its own or in a cocktail. They have a variety of flavors, all with their own uniqueness that makes each one stand out. Even if I did not work with them, this product would still be on my radar BECAUSE it is so well made and delicious. I will get more into the other flavors as we progress, but for today it is all about the Ruby Red Grapefruit flavor. You can easily drink this on its own, or with soda water and a lime, and it will blow every other grapefruit flavored spirit out of the water! I put this little cocktail together on my menu at Myron Mixon’s. It is pretty simple, with a light, clean, crisp flavor profile.
- 2 oz Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit Moonshine
- 1.25 oz Thyme Syrup
- .75 oz Lime Juice
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin, add ice, and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a thyme sprig
To make the thyme syrup:
Bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil. Add in 2 oz of fresh thyme, turn off heat, cover pan and let steep for 8-10 minutes. Strain and store in a clean bottle. Refrigerate after use. Will keep for up to one week.
Another local yocal post! This vineyard holds a special place in my relationship with my wife Candiace. She always thinks that I am unable to keep a secret, and or surprise her for any special occasion. She is always wrong when it comes to this, I could give countless examples, but for sake of time, I will give you this one. It was our 1 year anniversary (of dating), and of course she thought I forgot and did not plan anything for us to do. Of course I had the ENTIRE day planned out, and one of those things was a trip to this lovely vineyard. We got a tour of the entire facility, and got to sample some really great wines. This week, I’m drinking a little “lesser” known varietal called viognier. This is one of my favorite varietals to drink. For me, it starts with a slight tart crispness, almost like a sauvignon blanc, but then finishes with this nice smooth roundness, almost like a chardonnay. It is a truly versatile grape. It is delicate enough to enjoy with oysters or salad, but can also stand up to a cream delicious pasta dish as well. Give it a try the next time you are out looking for something new. Cheers!
The best part of making a mulled wine (aside from drinking it) is the aroma that it will fill your house with while waiting for it to be made. The beauty of this drink is that you can get as creative as you like with the flavors that you want to use and it is super simple to make. As far as choosing which style of wine you want to use, it is really personal preference. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that a certain brand or style of wine is bad, or not good. You are the one that is drinking it, and if YOU like it, that should be all that matters. That being said, some pointers for choosing your wine for this particular drink. If you are looking for something a little lighter in body and more fruit forward, you may want to look at a pinot noir. If its spice you are looking for to complement the wide array of spices you added to your mulled wine recipe, maybe choose a malbec. If it is body and some complexity you seek, try a cabernet. The possibilities are really endless, and it is all up to you. Let’s get a pot, your wine, and spices and get this started. Cheers!
- 1 750mL bottle of wine
- ½ cup of B&B
- 2 cups of apple cider
- ¼ cup of honey
- 1 orange zested and sliced
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 5 cloves
- 4 star anise pods
- 5 whole allspice
Using a medium sized saucepan, over a medium heat, add in all ingredients. Bring mixture up to a slow boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Let cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Serve warm and garnish with a clove studded orange slice
Name credit for this cocktail goes to one of the talented hosts of the Designated Drinker Podcast, Louise Salas. If you enjoy beverage culture, I highly recommend giving this a listen. Louise and Gina (the other host/barkeep) grab up some of the most interesting and talented people in the beverage industry and chat about drinks. I have been lucky enough to have been asked to be on this show three times now and it is always a lot of fun. Last year I was grateful to be asked to actually CREATE a few drinks for their holiday episode, and this is one of the cocktails I came up with. Since we about a year to the day of when this episode aired, what better time to reprise this soon to be holiday “classic” ha ha ha, besides, it is also a great way to get rid of that last can of cranberry jelly you have leftover from Thanksgiving. Cheers!
Over the Hill and Through the Woods
- 2 oz Rosemary infused Belle Isle Moonshine
- 1 teaspoon of cranberry jelly
- ½ oz of fresh lime juice
- 1 egg white
- 2 dashes of cranberry bitters
In a shaker tin, add all of the above ingredients. Dry shake (without ice) for about 30 seconds. Add ice and sake for another 20-30 seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a piece of rosemary
To make the Rosemary infused moonshine
Place 2 large rosemary sprigs into 1 750mL bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine. Let sit for 24 hours and then remove rosemary.
This past week I happened to be covering a bar shift at Myron’s (yes this happens often, so come see me) for one of my bartenders. This couple came and sat at the bar, I asked if I could get them something to drink, and the girl immediately asked for a Manhattan. Now, when I first was maturing and making the switch from only beer to trying liquors, I went with the training wheels approach and started by drinking Manhattans to develop a taste/tolerance for bourbon. So when this woman ordered her Manhattan, it brought back those days, and suddenly gave me a craving for a really good one! As soon as I got home from work that night, I mixed up this little variation that I have been drinking every night since! Cheers!
- 1.5 oz Bourbon
- 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
- .25 oz Amaretto
- 3 dashs of Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
In a mixing glass, add all of the above ingredients. Add ice. Stir until the outside of the glass becomes cold to the touch. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
I am always up for trying now only new foods, but the occasional diet as well (they only last about a week or so becomes I just love food, and want to eat what I want when I want), so I have paleo a try. This was actually one of my favorite dishes that I tried, and it was super simple. It’s literally just some shredded chicken drenched in buffalo sauce, some diced sweet potatoes, broccoli, onion, bacon, and then topped with some onion and scallion. Mix it all up and throw it in the oven for a bit and you are good to go!!!
When I am looking to just drink something straight, rum is usually my go to. I say usually, because if I am out at some of the “divey” bars I like to go to that are close to home, their rum selections is not always that great, and I can always fall back on a bourbon. Rum is generally made from sugarcane, sugarcane juice, or molasses so it carries with it a natural sweetness that I really enjoy. One of my favorite rums is from Nicaragua called Flor de Cana. They have several “vintages’ available in their lineup all at a really approachable prince point. I find that their 7yr rum is great to use in cocktails or on its own. I ALWAYS have the 12yr version in stock at home and drink it straight up or with just 1 ice cube to give it a slight chill. Now this one here……wow! I just had this for the first time and it is amazing, the only problem is that is not available in the United States I don’t think, I have never seen it. I was lucky enough to get my hands on this one because one of my groomsmen’s wives mother lives in Nicaragua, so being the great guy that he is, he scooped me up one. When I tell you that this is some of the smoothest liquor I have ever drank….it is just so velvety soft and rich. Even though it is a little on the pricey side (if you can get your hands on it) this is the type of liquor you want to share with friends. Don’t be greedy and hoard it for yourself. Enjoy it and create some memories around it! Cheers!
Gina Chersevani, host of the Designated Drinker Show, discuss newcomers Chris Bassett and Candiace Dillard’s entrance to the hit show: Real Housewives of Potomac. Tune into Episode 30 of Gina’s show and see what she had to chat about here.
Chris Bassett’s Rickey cocktail at Trademark makes the Top 50 list in the Washington, D.C. area. PX, Vinoteca, Tryst and Sixth Engine also have spots on the list. Check out who else’s Rickey made the cut here.