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Pedro’s Festivus Holiday Rumtini!! December 20, 2007

Filed under: cocktails,mixology,tasting — liquorandlibations @ 5:53 pm

So although we’ve been slack at posting since the summer, our dear friend Pedro has asked that we share his holiday miracle cocktail – Pedro’s Festivus Holiday Rumtini. Pedro’s sheer enthusiasm for tasty beverages is the inspiration for this fantastic twist on eggnog. He’s made it tastier and more fresh than you’ve ever had it before. Take time to pull out the shaker and a juicer (or in his case an improvisation with the garlic press) and enjoy. Pedro also cautions that all quantities in this recipe are approximate and that you should experiment at will.

And now, the ladies of Liquor and Libations bring you…

Maui_fall 2007 065

PEDRO’S FESTIVUS HOLIDAY RUMTINI !!

Ingredients:

– 4 ounces dark rum – nothing too acidic.The poorer the country and better the packaging, the better.
– 6 ounces fresh squeezed (sweet) tangerine. In the boxes. Yumtini !! I use my garlic press. If it’s clean it won’t affect the taste.
– 6 ounces festive holiday nog. Soy nog can work also for vegerans and anti-lactite hermaphrodites.
– 1 splash of lime cordial. Sweet.
– 1/4 cup fresh strawberries. Or not fresh. Sweet.

Shake heartily in a martini shaker (perhaps shrink quantities by 80%, add 19 of your favourite albums of 2007, and voila! Pedro’s Festivus Holiday Rumtini.

Hope you all have a fabulous holiday season with those you know and love.

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ice cider & Desperados: An Eat Vancouver roundup June 13, 2007

Filed under: events,local,tasting — liquorandlibations @ 12:19 pm

eatvancouver.jpgThis is a little later than I’d hoped, but here is a quick recap of Eat Vancouver. The event was a rousing success – Vancouver’s BC Place stadium was packed with people eating, drinking, collecting copious samples and watching celebrity chefs all while trying to avoid the sea of people and strollers.

We wandered around the whole exhibition, but ended the afternoon at the tasting pavilion and beverage stage. Two things that really caught my eye were Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider and Desperados tequila flavoured beer. The ice cider was very tasty, a little too sweet for me (not surprising considering the sweetness of ice wine), but had a great rich flavour. The tequila flavoured beer was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It was a lot better than I thought, but I can’t say I’ll be drinking it regularly. It did inspire me to start thinking of tequila-beer cocktails, so maybe something good will come of it.

One of the highlights for me was a man on the beverage stage opening champagne bottles with a large machete-like knife. I thought he was crazy until I was searching around Wikihow today and found this fantastic post on how to Open a Champagne Bottle with a Sword, which promises you will:

Amaze everyone at your next social function with le sabrage, or opening a bottle of Champagne with a sword. Napoleon’s officers did it — you can, too! Teaching yourself to “behead” a bottle of champagne isn’t hard, but takes a little practice (and a case or two of cheap bubbly) to perfect.

Sounds exciting, and may just be an idea for my next camping trip – I think a few rounds of practice outdoors might be in order before my next social function.pekka.jpg

One final note on Eat Vancouver, congrats to friend of l&l Pekka Tavela, pastry chef at A Kettle of Fish, who placed third in the Belcolade Chocolate Competition. Yay Pekka!

 

Music Goes Better with Wine May 30, 2007

Filed under: events,general,tasting,wine — liquorandlibations @ 2:59 pm

The Gorge amphitheatre on the Columbia river in central Washington state is touted as one of the best outdoor concert spots in the States and it deserves the reputation. Visually stunning with excellent acoustics and room for 20,000 people the Gorge hosts prime music festivals such as Sasquatch, which recently took place on the Memorial Day weekend.

A mere five hour drive from Vancouver, the Gorge is an excellent reason on its own to inspire a roadtrip. But the icing on the cake is the fact that along the way you can visit some of the many excellent wineries that have been cropping up in Washington state over the last decade, making it the second largest wine producer in the USA after California.

At about the same latitude as the Bordeaux region in France, Washington has many areas suited to wine growing but the one best explored on the way to the Gorge is the Columbia Cascade region. Heading east from Everett through Stevens pass, the road travels through snow capped peaks and lush forests on to rolling sagebrush hills ideal for vineyards.

 

3 BottlesIn the Lake Chelan region Tsillan Cellars is the winery of choice. Designed and developed by Dr. Robert Jankelson, the winery provides “an unmatched venue to enjoy the Italian art of living enhanced by fine wines.” Sounds good to me! Try the ’03 Bellissima Rossa, a Cab Sauv, Merlot and Cab Franc blend which won the double gold at the 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Don’t miss Leavenworth, the cutest little Bavarian Village in the state. Try the boutique Eagle Creek Winery, full of old-world European charm to prepare your taste buds.

To round out the trip, be sure to visit the easily accessible Chateau Faire Le Pont in Wenatchee (only an hour from the Gorge). The name means “Bridging the Gap” and refers to when a holiday falls mid-week but you continue right through to the weekend. We should adopt this motto more often! Not to be missed, the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Pinot Noir, and the new 2003 Tre Amore.

 

For more information check out www.washingtonwine.org.

Happy road trip!

 

For the Locals – Eat Vancouver! May 22, 2007

Filed under: beer,events,local,tasting,wine — liquorandlibations @ 5:00 pm

eat_vancouver.jpg

This weekend marks the annual Eat Vancouver festival. Billed as the “Everything Food & Cooking Festival” this year also includes a beverage stage highlighting beer, wine, sake, coffee and more. While the Food Network celebrity stage will definitely be a big draw for many people, for those of you already sick of “Vancouver’s Own Iron Chef Rob Feenie” (and if I have to see him on one more White Spot commercial, I definitely will be), then check out the tasting areas.

The drinks stage promises you will:

Enjoy some of the best wines, beers and spirits from British Columbia and around the world, offered for tasting by the vintners and producers themselves. Sample, compare and ask questions directly from those who know.

The Grapes & Hops Presentation Stage, located right inside the Tasting Pavilion and hosted by Vancouver’s own Wine Diva, Daenna Van Mulligan, will feature an impressive lineup of seminars, food pairings and wine tasting’s with celebrities drawn from the world of wine and beer plus culinary and mixology experts.. The Presentation Stage is located right in the Tasting Pavilion and provides comfortable seating. Master of Ceremonies Daenna will host writers, chefs, vintners, wine experts and a host of other presenters from across the country.

We’ll be checking out the Wine, Beer and Spirits tasting pavillion on Saturday and promise to report back on our best bets.

 

tonic taste test May 15, 2007

Filed under: general,tasting — liquorandlibations @ 1:54 pm

tonic.jpgI’ve been drinking tequila and tonic ever since I went to Mexico last fall. After bringing back two giant bottles of tequila I started to substitute it for many other spirits in my favourite mixed drinks – tequila instead of rum in mojitos, tequila instead of whiskey in the Mexican lemonade, so I was intrigued by Married With Dinner’s recent tonic taste test when making tequila and tonic. Since I also enjoy a gin and tonic fairly regularly, I know that while good quality spirits are necessary, a good tonic can make all the difference. Married with Dinner had four tonics to test with, two mass market entries – the ubiquitous Canada Dry and Schweppes tonic waters, as well as two boutique tonic waters – Fever Tree and Stirrings.

“The results were interesting. Canada Dry was the clear loser with a Two Tongues Stuck Out in Disgust rating; “Overly sweet and chemical-tasting,” said our panel. Our tasters were also a bit disappointed by the Stirrings tonic. It had the advantage of tasting like natural product, but was nearly as sweet and oddly fruity as the Canada Dry. The second mass-market entry, Schweppes, fared better, although it brought out the boozy, horse-blanket nature of the tequila. The overall winner was the Fever Tree tonic, which balanced sweet and bitter and added welcome herbal notes.”

After finding a tonic recipe in Imbibe Magazine, I’ve been searching for quinine to make my own homemade tonic. It’s one of the main flavour components of tonic, but seeing as it’s a malaria remedy (and Canada doesn’t exactly have malaria outbreaks anymore) it’s not readily available. Once I’m able to make my own tonic, we’ll do a liquor and libations tonic tasting comparing mass market to homemade to see whether it’s worth the time, effort and taste to make your own.

 

Summer is on the way! April Tasting Highlights April 23, 2007

Filed under: beer,tasting,wine — liquorandlibations @ 9:44 am

T.S. Eliot was on the mark when he penned ‘April is the cruelest month’. The worst part of April in Vancouver is the false sense of security you get that summer is on its way. Merciless trick! After months of jonsing for warm enough weather to elicit some joie d’été, we couldn’t resist the urge to guzzle these picnic and patio appropriate wines and beer. Who knew effervescence would be the theme of the month?

Tasting Highlights

Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato D'Asti Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato D’Asti 2004, 2005
$16.06/375ml
For the second year in a row (hooray for new traditions), we had this bright, aromatic and lightly effervescent dessert wine with Easter brunch. It is adorably yummy, with notes of peach, honey and melon. While I love it at brunch or early on a sunny afternoon (feels happily indulgent), it also makes a nice aperitif if your tastes lean towards less sweet dessert wines because it has some musky notes. Nivole Moscato D’Asti hails from a single vineyard in the commune of Canelli located in Asti province where the moscato bianco grape dates back to 17th century. Anyways, why bother blundering through more description when the name ‘Nivole’ meaning “cloud” in the local dialect so nicely encapsulates this airy, tantalizing wine.

Blanche de Chambly beer
$11.76/6x341ml                                                                                                                                                                  This tasty, triple fermented white beer from Quebec’s Unibroue brewery will definitely be representing at our 2007 croquet season – special shout out to the Eastside Croquet Club! Citrusy with subtle spicing, light and effervescent, Blanche de Chambly is not as sweet as Hoegaarden and maybe that’s why it seems more refreshing. What can I say, Unibroue makes some great stuff … besides, have you seen their label art? Their designs are fit to be airbrushed on the side panel of 1970’s van. Awesome!

Fantasy Art Van

Pouring the Banrock Sparkling Shiraz and GabbyBanrock Sparkling Shiraz
$16.99/750ml We picked this up as a novelty one Friday after work. While the lightness of sparkling and fullness of red wine seem contradictory, in practice it wasn’t bad. Fizzy and sweet with robust plum and blackcurrant flavours, this sparkling red was interesting to try but definitely not for everyone. That being said, it would be tasty with summer picnic fare like sausage, baguette and an assortment of cheeses; alternatively, it may also be nice with dessert, particularly something of the chocolate persuasion. I must admit the cherry colour, tingly-on-the tongue froth is pretty fun too. If you’re not turned off by the notion of a bubbly red, it’s worth trying, but be warned the 14.0% alcohol content may give you, ahem, a little more buzz than you bargained for.

 

wine school in the comfort of your home April 11, 2007

Filed under: tasting,wine — liquorandlibations @ 5:13 pm

As we mentioned before, a couple of us ventured out to the Vancouver International Wine Festival in March to try our hand at tasting. Wine events are a great way to sample a host of different options, ask questions, learn what you like and taste wines that aren’t readily available in your local liquor store. While we will continue to cover any wine and drinks related events that come to town, we also want to explore home tasting, as it’s something anyone can try.

Hosting a tasting party is a great idea – for a bridal shower, supper club, or even on a Thursday night, and there are many companies that will host parties for you, or even send a sommelier to your house to guide you through the tasting. Another option is to join a tasting group, check out Upcoming.org for one in your city, or make wine tasting a regular affair and order a mixed case of wine from your local specialty shop.

Eric Asimov of the New York Times wine blog The Pour suggests that tasting wine at home regularly and making notes on what you are drinking is a great way to democratize wine, allowing you to learn while you taste.

Too often, we treat wine as something that can only be understood and enjoyed by connoisseurs, and therefore enjoyment of wine has to be preceded by a knowledge and understanding of wine. This partly accounts for the reason that people feel they must apologize for knowing little about wine, in a way that they would never feel about most other subjects, whether poetry, art, baseball or bread baking. In most areas of life, people feel free to dip in and experiment. If they find pleasure and they have time, then they pursue further knowledge. Why not wine?

I agree, the best way to learn about wine is to try new things, and not feel embarrassed about asking questions. Going to a wine store and asking for a recommendation may end up leading you to a new favourite and keeping your eye on wine blogs like Asimov’s will also give you a new idea about what to try.