Monday, December 11, 2017

Enter your bid for the Great Pappy Van Winkle silent auction!
Madison Cellars is joining forces with Alzheimers Mississippi in an effort to raise money for dementia research. All the money raised stays in Mississippi.
Come by the store to fill out your contact information and bid for this once in a lifetime opportunity to score the entire line of Van Winkle bourbons.
Drawing will be New Year’s Eve 12-31-2017.
See store for more details..

Monday, November 27, 2017


Try our selection - always something new!

Where would we be without liqueurs? Well, there’d be no Cosmopolitan, no White Russian and no Kir, for a start – all classic cocktails that people keep on mixing. Liqueurs may be in the shadow of spirits; the second in line after some of the most famous brands, but we’d be lacking some great drinks without them. It may be the second ingredient to go in but, yes, sometimes it’s the liqueur that makes the cocktail. 

So they’re often overlooked, and frequently mistaken too. In the U.S. the word ‘liquor’ means any kind of alcohol, including beer and wine as well as any kind of spirit. A liqueur, on the other hand, is a spirit that’s sweetened and flavoured with fruits, herbs and spices – or indeed cream, coffee and chocolate. So get that one right or you could be in for an unusual-tasting drink!

However, like most classic forms of alcohol they also go back a long way. Some believe the liqueur is the direct descendant of herbal medicine. That could be true, although at the same time that spirits were invented, people may well have been quickly adding herbs, fruits and spices to the resulting liquid too. Some artisans would surely have had to disguise their not-yet-perfect distilling techniques with a few strong flavors.

It took a group of monks, however, with the time, inclination and space to grow and distil, to produce liqueurs on something resembling scale – that is a few 100 or so bottles. All those extensive walled herb gardens couldn’t go to waste! This was some time around the 13th century when just the monks and their visitors could enjoy the products of their distilling and cultivation. Moving into the 17th, we find liqueurs cropping up in recipe books, being valued for their culinary qualities as well as their sipping suitability.

Then 100 years later, the penny drops. The monks realise there is money and reputations to be made from liqueurs. They release their products beyond the monastery walls and people begin to snap them up. The secret is out: liqueur companies appear, flavoured with fruits, nuts and herbs. By the late 19th century the market for liqueurs is worldwide. The ‘crème de...’ (cream of...) description was commonly used in French name for fruit liqueurs, despite the fact none of them contain cream. There’s crème de menthe and crème de cassis, which are both delicious and popular.

Liqueurs aren’t only about taste however. They are also prized for their texture. Thanks to what is often a thicker consistency, liqueurs are used in layered drinks – Baileys, orange liqueur and coffee liqueur in a B52 for example. These drinks are about serving thick stripes of different colour liquids in a glass. It looks mighty impressive – and this heavier texture could be where the ‘crème de’ prefix comes from.

However ‘crème de’ was given a twist towards the end of the last century. A new kind of cream liqueur appeared, with a thick creamy texture, driven by the ‘Irish Cream Liqueur’ known as Baileys. It has since spawned new flavors, and a whole host of exciting drinks.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ice Cream Drinks

I remember sultry summer nights down at the Tastee Freez where they had dozens of milkshake flavors.  Dad was the landlord and we could hit him up for a trip there quite often.  I made it a mission to try each one on different visits.   Sadly, they seem to be down to only three on the regular ( plus apparently have moved out of Mississippi from what I can tell.

Reminiscing about some of the flavors and what would make them better?  Pete's wares, of course!

A TF flavor was definitely Grasshopper - because that freaked me out at 10!   Of course I had to try it, and liked it.



Place creme de menthe, creme de cacao, and ice cream into a blender. Blend until thick and creamy.
Pour into a 12-ounce glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint. (

Not sure how I felt about Rum Raison back then - sounds tempting now:  

Think rum raisin is a flavor only a grandfather could love? Think again. The secret to this milkshake is soaking the raisins in rum, then blending the softened fruit with vanilla ice cream that’s scented with cinnamon and orange zest. Take the shake over the top with a cloud of whipped cream and a sprinkling of crushed toffee.—Jessica Battilana
Makes 1
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 oz rum
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 4 large scoops vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped cream, for topping
  • Crushed toffee, for garnish
Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour the rum over. The raisins should be submerged in the rum. Let soak until the raisins are plump, about 30 minutes.
Drain the raisins, reserving the rum. Add to the jar of the blender. Add the milk, orange zest and cinnamon, and blend for 15 seconds. Add the vanilla ice cream and rum, and blend until smooth. Pour into a pint glass, and garnish with whipped cream and crushed toffee. Serve immediately.


Our friends who moved to Georgia would drive back with a whole pickup load of peaches.  We would eat out of hand, peel and all.  There are still good ones to be had I think.  Note: you can use unpeeled peaches if you'd like or just peel without blanching)

Boozy Peaches and Cream Milkshake

Servings: 1 large or 2 small milkshakes
Author: Jennifer Farley (
  • 2 large very ripe peaches
  • 1 cup full-fat vanilla ice cream
  • 1 ounce dark rum, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 
  1. Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit.
  2. With very clean hands, squeeze the juice and pulp into a blender (this will only work with a very ripe peach). Most of the skin will stay in your hands. Alternately, you can blanch and peel the peaches.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We have New Age White again!

The most exciting summer wines to come from Argentina are making quite a splash in the U.S. this year. New Age White (an effervescent blend of citrus-y Sauvignon Blanc and fruity Malvasia) and New Age Rose’ ( also effervescent with Argentina’s signature Malbec red grape and Merlot) add a distinctive Argentine touch when combined with various fruit juices for a South American Mimosa, Cosmopolitan or even New Age Sangria.
Yet, the most common way to enjoy New Age is on the rocks with a twist of lime or lemon. This highly refreshing drink is called the “Tincho” after the cocktails creator.

In Argentina, New Age is usually ordered by the bottle for a group of friends to enjoy. The well-chilled New Age White or Rose’ is brought to the table in an ice bucket, along with traditional “rocks” glasses filled with ice and sliced limes or lemons. The friends share the bottle and camaraderie together at the table. Common practice at traditional “happy hour watering holes” and night clubs in Argentina, this practice is catching on in the United States. (In the Mix)

Tincho - my summer drink!  ~  Jan

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer whites - Torrontes

Summer favorite - Crios with lime over ice.

Torrontes is a crisp white wine, produced almost exclusively in Argentina. Typically, the bouquet of a Torrontes wine will be aromatic, showing floral notes, often with citrus characteristics. The palate is crisp, ranging in body from light to medium, and is considered to be high in acidity. Citrus and floral characteristics will translate to the palate, though the citrus is not as prominent as say, a Sauvignon Blanc. As with any wine, the bouquet and palate, or scent and taste,  will be different depending on where it is produced, how it is fermented, and how it is aged.  Torrontes wines are meant to be drank young, and are not typically purchased to age. Torrontes is said to be the signature white wine from Argentina. It pairs nicely with seafood, cheeses, Mexican food, Thai food, and chicken.
It’s not known how Torrontes arrived in Argentina, or how long ago. Once thought to be native to Argentina, there is a bit of speculation where the grape originated. Citations on Wikipedia state “the Torrontes grape has been recently linked, genetically, to the Malvasian grapes, which originates in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is speculated to have come from Spain, perhaps by missionaries”.  However, torrontes genetic profiling done in 2003 links it to Muscat of Alexandria, which originated in North Africa,and Criolla chica, or the Mission grape.  While I find it fascinating that the origin of the grape can not be nailed down, and the debate ranges in writings by many wine geeks, I think I’ll instead pop a cork, or unscrew a top, and tell you a little about the wines from first  hand experience.
Speaking of first hand experience, have you had a Torrontes recently? Or ever? If so, let me know what you had, and what you thought of it! Where did it come from, and would you recommend it to others?
Last updated by at .

Monday, June 12, 2017

Origins: The Cosmopolitan

Cocktail historians Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller recently discovered the recipe for a gin-based drink called the Cosmopolitan that dates back to the early 1900s. But the Cosmo as we know it has been around for not much more than a couple of decades, and it’s one of the few classics that we can trace back to its creator. Well, sort of…
Three people can legitimately lay claim to creating the Cosmopolitan. Bartender Cheryl Cook came up with the original formula in 1985 when she worked at a bar called The Strand in Miami’s South Beach. She used “Absolut Citron, a splash of triple sec, a drop of Rose’s Lime Juice and just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink and topped [it] with a curled lemon twist.”
Not long after that, in New York City, Toby Cecchini, who was working behind the stick at The Odeon restaurant in TriBeCa, tweaked the recipe by replacing the Rose’s with fresh lime juice. Dale DeGroff did more or less the exact same thing at the famed Rainbow Room. Both of these joints catered to celebrities, and the drink really took off.
Cook dropped out of the bar scene for a while, but she contacted me in 2005 after hearing that I’d been trying to track her down. How did she convince me that she was the real deal? One sentence did it: “[It’s] merely a Kamikaze with Absolut Citron and a splash of cranberry juice.” Spoken like a true bartender.
See how to flame the orange peel.  Video


Contributed by: Gary Regan
  • 1.5 oz Citrus vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • .5 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 1 or 2 Dashes cranberry juice
  • Garnish: Lime wedge
  • Glass: Cocktail
Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Origins: Pina Colada

Piña colada means “strained pineapple” in Spanish, a reference to the drink’s fruity base.  (Mental Floss)
Further, according to (Hungry History):
One of the world’s most favorite mixed drinks, the piña colada, was born in Puerto Rico, but the identity of the bartender who first mixed up the iconic rum-based cocktail remains a point of contention. The Caribe Hilton, one of the premier luxury hotels in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan, claims the piña colada was first served up in its Beachcombers Bar in 1954 by bartender Ramon “Monchito” Marrero. Asked by hotel management to create a signature drink that captured the flavors of the island, Marrero reportedly spent three months experimenting with hundreds of combinations before perfecting his sweet, frothy concoction of rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice. After tasting one of the hotel’s piña coladas, Hollywood legend Joan Crawford reportedly declared it was “better than slapping Bette Davis in the face.” According to the Caribe Hilton, Marrero mixed up and served his creation at the hotel for 35 years until his retirement in 1989.
Another barman who served up drinks at the Caribe Hilton, however, has claimed that he invented the cool, creamy cocktail. Spaniard Ricardo Gracia told Coastal Living magazine in 2005 that a strike by a coconut-cutters union in 1954 prevented him from serving up the popular mixed drink of rum, cream of coconut and crushed ice in its traditional sliced coconut. Forced to improvise, Gracia poured the drink into a hollowed-out pineapple instead. When the fruit’s added flavor proved popular, Gracia said he added freshly pressed and strained pineapple juice to the rum and cream of coconut combination to create the piña colada, which means “strained pineapple” in Spanish.

pina colada
Ramon “Monchito” Marrero (Credit: Caribe Hilton)
Two miles west of the Caribe Hilton in the capital’s Old City, another San Juan hotspot stakes its claim as the piña colada’s birthplace. Restaurant Barrachina opened in the late 1950s and quickly gained renown for its paella. On a trip to South America, Spanish chef and owner Pepe Barrachina convinced Ramon Portas Mingot, a Spanish mixologist who wrote cocktail books and worked in the top bars of Buenos Aires, to leave Argentina and become head bartender at his Puerto Rican restaurant. As attested to by a marble plaque outside the eatery’s entrance, Restaurant Barrachina claims Mingot concocted the first piña colada inside its doors in 1963.
Some tie the development of the piña colada to the 19th-century Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresi, who was said to have boosted the morale of his men by giving them a pick-me-up drink of white rum, pineapple juice and coconut milk. However, the development of the modern-day beach cocktail would not have been possible until the 1954 invention of a key ingredient—Coco Lopez, a pre-made cream of coconut. Developed by University of Puerto Rico agriculture professor Ramon Lopez-Irizarry, who blended cream from the hearts of Caribbean coconuts with natural cane sugar, Coco Lopez quickly became an integral part of the island’s piña coladas. According to the “Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America,” Coco Lopez even supplied the Caribe Hilton with blenders and hired a piano player to perform while bartenders served up complimentary piña coladas to hotel guests.
Visitors to Puerto Rico returned home raving about the cocktail, and the “refreshing new rum grog,” as one Polynesian restaurant in New Orleans called the piña colada in 1968, began to appear at bars far beyond the island’s shores. The proliferation of electric blenders and tiki bar chains such as Trader Vic’s and Don The Beachcomber helped to spread the mixed drink around the world during the 1970s.
In 1978 the piña colada was declared the national drink of Puerto Rico, and the next year it was cemented into pop culture by a relatively unknown singer. Written and sung by Rupert Holmes, “Escape” became a number-one song in the United States in December 1979—making it the last tune to top the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1970s—and is best known for its iconic chorus: “If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.” In fact, the lyric became so memorable that the record company added a parenthetical tagline to the song title—“The Piña Colada Song.”
2 ounces rum
1 ounce cream of coconut
1 ounce heavy cream
6 ounces fresh pineapple juice
1/2 cup crushed ice
Mix rum, cream of coconut, heavy cream and pineapple juice in a blender. Add ice and mix for 15 seconds. Serve in a 12-ounce glass and garnish with fresh pineapple and a cherry.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Origins: Maitai

Invented at a bar in California in the 1940s, maitai means “good” or “nice” in Tahitian. (Mental Floss)  However,  maybe it means "the very best," as according to  Lost in translation?!

1 Serving

2 ounces rum
1 ounce triple sec
1 tablespoon grenadine
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon powdered sugar


  1. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake vigourously and strain into large glass 1/3 full with crushed ice.
  3. Garnish with cherry or a favorite fruit using a drink spear.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Origins: Mint Julep

As the bugle blows at Churchill Downs, horse racing fans and casual spectators across the country will be sipping a classic cocktail they may only drink once a year.
Derby day means mint juleps, a drink that, as Libertine Social partner Tony Abou-Ganim puts it, “even in Kentucky and in the South, people don’t drink (juleps), except for the Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.”
That’s a shame, “because it’s a drink that has a deep history, rooted in the South. And when made well, it’s a lovely expression of bourbon whiskey,” adds Abou-Ganim, author of “The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails.”

The first recorded mention of an alcohol-infused julep in the Americas was 1803. At the time, it was made with brandy or cognac, and favored by those who enjoyed a morning pick-me-up.
“It was classified as an eye-opener,” Abou-Ganim explains. “John Davis, who is quoted with the first recorded mention of the drink in 1803, said, ‘It’s a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians of the morning.’ ”
Despite having just four proper ingredients — bourbon, sugar, water and mint — the julep has traditionally reveled in the trappings of luxury: from the silver cup in which it’s served to the mountain of crushed ice that chills it (a rarity in the early 19th century). There are also unconfirmed tales that the modern drinking straw was invented specifically to provide access to every last drop of alcohol in a julep.

For those making juleps at home, Abou-Ganim offers the following suggestions:
■ “The drink has to be made with crushed or pellet ice.”
■ “I would always recommend a higher proof bourbon, to stand up against the dilution you get from the crushed ice.”
■ Because sugar doesn’t dissolve well in ice, use simple syrup made with a 1-to-1 ratio of sugar to water.  (Source)


Monday, April 24, 2017

Origins: Rob Roy

A Manhattan made with Scotch rather than Canadian whisky is a Rob Roy. It was originally introduced at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1894 to celebrate the Broadway premiere of an operetta loosely based on the life of the Scottish folk hero Rob Roy  (Mental Floss)

Rob Roy Cocktail (the Kitchn)

Serves 1
2 ounces of Blended Scotch Whiskey
1 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 lemon peel, for garnish

In a shaker filled with ice, add the Scotch whiskey, the sweet vermouth and the bitters. Stir to chill. Strain into a martini glass (or an equally alluring vessel) and top with a lemon peel.
Recipe Notes
Feel free to substitute orange bitters for the Angostura and an orange peel, like I did this week, in place of the lemon. It's equally as delicious.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Origins: Cocktail

The word cocktail is a bit of an etymological puzzle: Originally only a nickname for an animal that rears up when irritated, by the late 1700s it had become another word for a horse with a “cocked” or shortened tail. But how or why it then made the leap to alcoholic mixed drinks in the early 1800s is a mystery.
One theory claims it’s to do with the drinks making you feel energized and sprightly, like an energetic horse, while another suggests it’s to do with cocktails being popular at the races. Alternatively, the two meanings could be entirely unrelated—one equally plausible explanation is that cocktail might in fact be an anglicized version of the French coquetier, meaning “egg-cup,” which was perhaps once used to serve the libations.
(Mental Floss)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Origins: The Margarita

Marjorie King, a former Broadway dancer, the singer Peggy (i.e. Margaret) Lee, and Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a former German ambassador to Mexico are all touted as the possible namesake of the margarita cocktail. But in fact the cocktail might not be named in honor of anyone at all—margarita is the Spanish word for “daisy,” and so one theory claims the drink was simply a variation of an earlier Texan cocktail called the “tequila daisy.”

While there are endless variations, and frozen cocktails are dominant choices, here is the classic recipe.


    • 2 ounces tequila made from 100 percent agave, preferably reposado or blanco
    • 1 ounce Cointreau
    • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
    • Salt for garnish


Combine tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Moisten rim of Margarita or other cocktail glass with lime juice or water. Holding glass upside down, dip rim into salt. Shake and strain drink into glass and serve.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Origins: the Mojito

Although debate rages over the exact origin of the mojito, according to the Oxford English Dictionary it probably takes its name from mojo, the Spanish name of a Cuban sauce or marinade made with citrus fruit—a mojito is literally a "little mojo."   Mental Floss

Ha, Bacardi says:
Depending on who you believe, the mojito either came from the Spanish word ‘mojar’, which means to wet, or the African word ‘mojo’, which means to cast a spell. Anybody who’s ever tasted one will agree that it’s thirst quenching and spellbinding in equal measures.


4 lime wedges
12 fresh Mint Leaves
2 heaped tsp Caster Sugar
1 part soda water / club soda
Sprig of fresh mint


Take the lime wedges and sqeeze them in the glass. Gently press together the limes & sugar. Bruise the mint leaves by clapping them between your palms, rub them on the rim of the glass and drop them in. Next, half fill the glass with crushed ice, add the BACARDÍ SUPERIOR rum & stir. Top with crushed ice, a splash of soda, and a sprig of mint.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Origins: The Tom Collins

Tom Collins
(with starfruit and cucumber garnishes)

This refreshing summer drink owes its name to a 19th century hoax. In 1874, hundreds of New Yorkers heard some bad news while they were out on the town: a certain Tom Collins had been besmirching their good names. Although these people didn't know Mr. Collins, they were outraged that he would slander them, and they often set out to find the rascal. Of course, the root of the hoax was that there wasn't really a Tom Collins, but that didn't keep aggrieved parties from searching him out. To deepen the joke, bartenders started making the citrus cocktail that now bears the name, so when searchers asked for Tom Collins, they could instead find a thirst-quenching long drink. (Mental Floss)

Esquire Magazine tells a different story (who knows?) In any case, the Tom Collins has on its side tradition—it turns up in the 1877 Bon Vivant's Companion, by Jerry Thomas, the George Washington of American mixology—and simple elegance. Few drinks are as refreshing on a summer afternoon.And the name? Step one: A certain John Collins, a waiter at Limmer's Old House on London's Hanover Square, gets his name hitched to a drink with lemon, sugar, soda, and Holland gin. Step two: Some bright spark makes same with Old Tom gin and changes the name accordingly.


2 oz. London dry gin

  • 1 tsp. superfine sugar
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • Club Soda
  • Collins glass
  • Directions

    1. Combine the ingredients in a Collins glass 3/4 full of cracked ice.
    2. Stir briefly, top with club soda or seltzer, garnish with lemon circle, and serve with stirring rod.
    As for those cousins: To make a Gin Fizz, shake the gin, sugar, and lemon juice well with cracked ice, pour into a chilled Collins glass—no ice—and fizz to the top. To make a Gin Rickey, squeeze half a (well-washed) lime into a Collins glass full of ice, tip in 1 teaspoon superfine sugar, stir, pour in 2 ounces London dry gin, throw in the squeezed-out lime half, and top with bubbly water of choice. You may, if you wish, also add a dash of grenadine for color.
    The Collins treatment works well with other liquors: common are the Whiskey Collins or John Collins, which is self-explanatory, and the Rum Collins (light rum) or Charlie Collins (Jamaican rum), which are usually made with lime juice instead of lemon and to which a couple dashes of Angostura bitters are often added. See also the Brandy Fizz.

    The Wondrich Take:

    Along with its kissin' cousins, the Gin Rickey and the Gin Fizz, this classic formula hasn't been getting much exercise of late. Maybe the nasty tang of bottled Collins/Sour mix has poisoned virgin taste buds, depriving it of the young addicts a cocktail needs to survive. Or maybe it's just a sign of the swath tonic water has cut through summer drinks since its introduction back in the '30s.

    Friday, March 17, 2017

    Irish Cream for your celebrations

    Whether as a simple addition to your coffee, neat, or as part of a special cocktail, try our line of delicious Irish creams for St. Patrick's weekend.  Hmm, how about an Irish Cream cheesecake?!

    St. Brendan's

    34 proof

    Emmets Cream is a cream Liqueur from Ireland and has an alcohol percentage of 17%, which is around the average for a liqueur. The palate of this liqueur is characterized by Vanilla notes.

    Baileys Original Irish Cream is a cream Liqueur and has an alcohol percentage of 17%, which is around the average for a liqueur. The palate of this liqueur is characterized by Cream notes

    Carolans Irish Cream is a cream Liqueur from Ireland and has an alcohol percentage of 17%, which is around the average for a liqueur. The palate of this liqueur is characterized by Cream and Honey notes.

    FEENEY'S Irish Cream is a cream Liqueur from Ireland and has an alcohol percentage of 17%, which is around the average for a liqueur. The palate of this liqueur is characterized by Caramel, Chocolate, and Cream notes.

    Wednesday, March 8, 2017

    Origins: the Daquiri

    If you're an American mine employee stuck working in Cuba, what do you do? In the case of intrepid engineer Jennings Cox, you start creatively mixing drinks. The mixture of rum, lime, and sugar supposedly sprang to life in 1905 when Cox and some of his fellow Americans were hanging out in a bar in Santiago, Cuba. By mixing together these handy ingredients, the Americans found a tasty tipple, and it eventually worked its way back to the states. (Mental Floss)

    This source stresses quality ingredients and making your own simple syrup.

    Classic Daquiri
    1/2 ounces light rum

    3/4 ounce
    fresh lime juice

    1/4 ounce
    simple syrup

    1. Pour the light rum, lime juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
    2. Shake well.
    3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
    While I was aware Ernest Hemingway was fond of the quintessential tropical cocktail, I didn't know about his preferred variation and namesake.

    Hemingway Daquiri
    (AKA Papa Doble, Hemingway Special)
    2 ounces white rum

    1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur

    3/4 ounce grapefruit juice

    1/2 ounce lime juice

    1/4 ounce simple syrup

    1. Pour all ingredients cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
    2. Shake well.
    3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Friday, March 3, 2017

    Kir and Kir Royale

    This popular French aperitif of crème de cassis and white wine has long been a favorite in France, but it didn't get its name until after World War II.  Resistance hero Felix Kir, the mayor of Dijon from 1945 to 1968, was a huge fan of the cocktail, and whenever he entertained visiting dignitaries, he'd invariably serve them the drink. Kir did such a good job pushing the mixture onto his visitors that it eventually became inextricably linked with his personality, and that's why the cocktail bears his name today.  (Mental Floss)

    "This is a French drink that can be mixed to taste. Use Champagne with the same amount of creme de cassis, and it is a Kir Royale."  ( All Recipes )

    3/4 cup chilled dry white wine (such as a pouilly-fuissé)
    4 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons crème de cassis liqueur (classically made to a rich rose' hue)

    Mix & serve! 

    While we're at it, here's the scoop on crème de cassis liqueur:  Crème de cassis is a blood-red, sweet, black currant-flavored liqueur. It dates back to the 16th century, first produced by monks in France as a cure for snakebites, jaundice, and wretchedness.
    This cordial works well in pousse-cafés and some cocktails, but is most commonly mixed with just vermouth, white wine, or soda water. (The Webtender)

    Brings to mind:

    Monday, February 27, 2017

    Origins: The Manhattan


    The venerable Manhattan, a blend of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, is another cocktail that scores of people claimed to have invented. It likely dates back to the New York bar scene of the 1860s, but there are also some more intriguing (though almost certainly too good to be true) tales about its origins. According to one of these legends, Jennie Churchill threw a party at the Manhattan Club in 1874 to celebrate Samuel J. Tilden's victory in New York's gubernatorial election. An enterprising bartender created a new cocktail for the event, which he dubbed the Manhattan in the club's honor. Both of these characters would go on to bigger things. Churchill soon gave birth to a son, Winston, and Tilden made a presidential run in 1876. (Although Tilden won the popular vote, he lost out to his Republican opponent, Rutherford B. Hayes. At least the cocktail saved Tilden from obscurity.)  ~ Mental Floss.


    2 parts whiskey
    1 part sweet vermouth
    1 to 2 dashes bitters, such as Angostura
    Orange peel

    Real Maraschino Cherries, recipe follows

    1 cup maraschino liqueur
    1 pint sour cherries, stemmed and pitted (in a pinch, you can buy a jar of sour cherries in light syrup, and drain the syrup)

    Watch how to make this recipe.

    Place ice in a cocktail shaker. Add the whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Rub the orange peel around the rim of the cocktail glass. Strain the drink into the glass. Add 1 to 2 Real Maraschino Cherries and enjoy!

    Real Maraschino Cherries:

    Bring the liqueur to a simmer, and then turn off the heat. Add the cherries, stir, let cool, and then pour into jars. Refrigerate. Cherries will be tasty for months.

    Recipe courtesy of Ted Allen (Food Network)

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    Origins: the Bellini

    Brunch tomorrow?

    This delightful wine cocktail, a blend of white peach puree and Prosecco, has a well-established origin. Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Venice's beloved Harry's Bar, started mixing up the fruity tipples sometime between 1934 and 1948. The pink drink reminded him of the color of a saint's toga in a painting by Italian Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini, so Cipriani named his concoction in honor of the painter.  (Mental Floss)


    3 ounces prosecco sparkling wine
    2 ounces fresh white peach puree


    Mix and serve in champagne flute.

    Recipe courtesy of Tony Abou-Gawim (The Food Network)

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Origins: Martini

    Aficionados disagree, sometimes violently, on the correct ratio of gin to dry vermouth that makes a transcendent martini, and the debate over the true origin of the martini can be just as contentious. Some claim that it's simply a dryer version of an older cocktail called the Martinez; Martinez, California, the birthplace of this cocktail, thus stakes its claim to the title of birthplace of the martini. Others postulate that the drink's name simply comes from Martini & Rossi, an Italian company that's been exporting its vermouths to the U.S. since the 19th century. Still others claim that the drink was created by and named for Martini di Arma di Taggia, the bartender at New York's Knickerbocker Hotel, although there's evidence that the cocktail may have been invented well before he started mixing drinks.  (Mental Floss)

    Classic Martini  

    1 serving


    Pour ice, vodka and vermouth into a glass shaker. Shake and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with olives or lemon twist.   (Food Network)

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Origins: Margarita

    One of a series on classic cocktails.

    For National Margarita Day

    The Original Margarita

    The Original Margarita was the result of a chic socialite, Margarita Sames, mixing her favorite spirits together until she made the perfect drink while entertaining at home.  In 1948 in Acalpuco, Mexico, the Margarita was born, made with two of her favorites: Tequila & Cointreau.
    • 2 oz Blanco Tequila
    • 1 oz Cointreau
    • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
    Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice.
    Shake and strain into a margarita glass.
    Garnish with salt and a lime wheel.

    Monday, January 30, 2017

    Black Blends

    Delicious super-dark reds to warm the winter.

    True to its name, Gnarly Head Authentic Black opens with brooding aromas of black cherry, black licorice and vanilla providing a powerful entrée to this big, robust Petite Sirah-based blend. Dark and inky in the glass, concentrated flavors of boysenberry and dark chocolate are framed by hints of baking spice on the finish. Styled to stand up to the heartiest of dishes, boldly pair this full-bodied wine with venison chili, meat lovers pizza or grilled rib eye steak.

    Bota Box Nighthawk unveils rich aromas of raspberry, blackberry, caramel and hints of vanilla.  With lush flavors of deep berry, fig jam, dark chocolate, toasted marshmallow and baking spice, this smooth, full-bodied wine culminates in a juicy, lingering finish.  Available in 3L and 500ml sizes.