Cocktail Recipe - Peychaud's Punch

 The Peychaud's Punch

The Peychaud's Punch

This is a bright, refreshing cocktail recipe that's easy to execute at home and is sure to leave your guests with a pep in their step!

Peychaud's Punch

  • 1.5 oz Peychaud's Aperitivo
  • 1 oz Rum (amber or white)
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz simple Syrup
  • Splash of soda water
  • Mint sprig

Combine the first four ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Top with a splash of soda water and garnish with a mint sprig. Enjoy!

Goodbye Summer, Hello Whiskey

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Scotch is a big topic, and one that I, as someone with most of my formal education in wine rather than spirits, find quite intimidating to write about. However, I truly believe Scotch, like wine, is best enjoyed without snobbery and best spoken about by whomever happens to enjoy it. I accidentally became interested in Scotch. In a wine course I took a few years ago, the small spirits section of the program left little impact on me. Honestly, I was there to learn about wine, so being tested on spirits felt quite like that annoying science elective you pushed to your last semester of university and so you take astronomy thinking, “I like stars,” then you end up having to learn a bunch of physics formulas which were the exact reason you’d pursued an Liberal Arts undergrad to start with. You know?

 

Anyway, Scotch. The one spirit that made me think, “huh, interesting,” of the many we tried in that course was a Scotch. It was the Springbank 15 year. I’d never heard of Springbank or Campbeltown. Honestly for a girl with about as much Scottish blood you can find in a third generation Canadian, I was deeply ignorant. But that ounce of Springbank 15 year literally converted me in one sip. For me, Scotch has a complexity that I do not have the palate to pick up on in other spirits. I love it. It reminds me so much of wine in terms of the depth and layers you can experience from even a moderately priced bottle. Certain Scotch Whiskys, like really good wines, take me on rambling tangents because I can never quite say enough to really convey my love.

 

I recently returned to Scotland (on a much more mature, yet equally booze-filled trip) with my partner in tow. Funny enough, what we imagined would be a wet spring trip, turned into a much more Canadian-type affair. Our arrival coincided with the treacherous “Beast from the East,” a violent blizzard that stalled every causeway, delayed food deliveries, and essentially shut the country down for several days. We, used to spring snow and blizzards, felt it was all a little dramatic...until we tried to pull a U-turn in our rented Vauxhall. Due to the uncharacteristic weather everything was closed, thus no mainland Whisky distilleries for us. We spent most of our trip on the Isle of Skye (if you like landscape-filled roadtrips, drive there from Edinburgh). We then had the chance to stop by the famed Talisker and sipped a few of their offerings, which was lovely and I was left filled with the feeling that I was tasting the flavours of one specific place. Afterward we headed up the hill to The Oyster Shed in Carbost to eat the freshest seafood selection off of a wooden barrel while overlooking the cold, rugged coast line, shivering. A seriously perfect experience. Our Scotch highlights, however, mainly occured in the cozy guest houses and lodges in which we stayed. Honour bars and giant whisky selections paired with roaring fire places were truly the epitome of perfection for me.

 

As the weather here at home turns, Scotch comes to mind. There is simply no cozier feeling than a warm blanket, a friendly face or two, and a dram of really tasty whisky on a cool autumn night. Grab a bottle of one of the following to wistfully salute the passing of summer and warm your spirits as days start getting chillier.

 

Springbank 10 Year, Campbeltown - $83.50

I’ll start with my favourite distillery. Campbeltown has an enormous history in the production of whisky. However, this once hub, has fallen from 34 working distilleries to just 3. Fortunately for us, Springbank stuck around and continued to make some of the most traditional whisky out there. While most distilleries buy at least a portion of their malt, Springbank does all their own malting on site. Springbank Distillery makes three different Scotch single malts that are unique in taste and style; Hazelburn (free of peat and friendly), Longrow (the peatiest and most traditional), and Springbank (lightly peated and elegant). The Springbank 10 Year holds phenomenal value. It is slightly peaty and distinctively briny. Pears, vanilla, citrus, and cinnamon are punctuated by a salty tang that I particularly crave. The whisky finishes dry and is light despite its bourbon and sherry cask finish and developed flavour profile. Please, just enjoy!

 

Auchentoshan Three Wood, Lowlands - $83

Auchentoshan is located not far from the apparently rough and tumble town of Glasgow (which I find remarkably friendly and enjoy tremendously, even above my beloved Edinburgh). Heralding from a hard working, no frills area of the country, this whisky is brasher and bolder than the average. If you’re a Bourbon drinker who wants to transition into Scotch, this may be a good place to start. Aged in ex Bourbon, Oloroso, and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, this Scotch is lively, smooth, and richly flavoured. Think notes of toffee, chocolate, and dried fruit. This whisky is completely unpeated, making it a very smooth and sweet dram. Enjoy this gutsy Scotch when you’re feeling a little brazen.

 

Ardbeg Grooves Limited Edition, Islay - $147

Created in honour of Ardbeg Day 2018, Ardbeg Grooves is aged in mature red wine cask that have been well-charred, thus causing grooves in the texture of the barrel. On the smoky side of things, which is traditional for both Ardbeg and Islay, “Grooves” is mellowed by the time spent in the deeply charred casks. Treacle and toffee are balancing agents for the campfire and salt water that provide the backbone to this deliciously curious whisky. Inspired by the 1960s, Ardbeg throws it back to Islay of days gone by, citing “peat & love” as their inspiration. In 2015, Ardbeg celebrated 200 years of whisky production and can claim some of the earliest female distillers (circa 1853) as their own. If you like smoke and fire in your Scotch, then you’ll certainly enjoy this dram. Perhaps pair it with the last backyard bonfire of the season and a couple of s’mores for good measure.

 

5 Wines to 'Fall' For

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With the falling temperatures you might be finding yourself bidding farewell to your summer fling with rosé and light and crisp whites, finding yourself craving something with a little more texture and warmth.  Here at your friendly neighborhood wine shop we have plenty of eligible wines for you to settle down with as we move into the colder months. Here are some of our top picks for the upcoming season.

 

Mongarda Col Fondo Prosecco - $30 (all-in)

Most of us, if not all, have had our fair share of Prosecco - a light, crisp, easy-going sparkling wine with a vivacious personality. Like any wine, Prosecco has its moments where it's the perfect companion, but as we prepare for the inevitable hibernation period you are probably looking for something that is better suited to cozy up with on the couch. Look no further than a "Col Fondo" to keep you feeling warm and fuzzy this Autumn. Italian for “with the bottom”, Col Fondo is a prosecco that sees a secondary fermentation in the bottle and is left with its sediment.  Filled with orchard fruit notes and a luxuriously moussey bubble, Mongarda’s biodynamic Col Fondo is cloudy, funky and floral.  The perfect bottle for making a chilly night in a little more special.

 

La Petite Lune Bordeaux Blanc - $30

While you likely enjoyed a few glasses crisp, fruity New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs or maybe even a mineral, zesty Sancerre this summer, it's time for all of you Sauvignon Blanc lovers to turn your attention elsewhere - Bordeaux Blanc. Generally comprised of varying combinations of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle, Bordeaux whites can range from light and fresh to rich and creamy. La Petite Lune’s Bordeaux Blanc falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. In order to balance out the acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon is added to the blend in order to add more body and an oily character. Still lively and tropical, it is balanced by softer notes of stone fruit and is the perfect wine for perfect, warm fall night. 

 

Cooper Hill Pinot Noir - $36.50

Light reds have a place in our glass all year round. Just because they aren’t big, juicy and bold doesn’t mean that they can’t rise up to the occasion on a cold night. Cooper Hill’s Pinot Noir is from one of the pioneering Willamette Valley wineries, Cooper Mountain. Here they use biodynamic practices on their 100% estate grown and produced Pinot Noir beautifully crafting a wine that is both elegant and powerful. Oregon Pinot Noir is more rustic and down to earth than their Californian counterparts a little further south. Bright red cherry accompanied by dark berry and spice fill the glass leaving you with a well balanced red that makes the perfect accompaniment to a maple glazed cedar plank salmon.

 

Fabien Jouves You F#&$ My Wine? - $32.50

If you assumed by the label alone that this wine is making a bold statement you assumed correctly. “You F#&$ My Wine?” is a blend of Malbec (Cot) and Jurançon Noir from Cahors in Southwest France. Here in Cahors, Cot rules all. Jurancon Noir, however, has experienced a dissimilar level of fanfare and attention. “You F#&$ My Wine?” is a poke at the French AOC laws’ refusal to include the lesser known but equally loved Jurançon Noir in Cahor Wines.

Unlike Cot’s brother, Argentinian Malbec, this wine is significantly less fruit forward and rich. At 12.5% alcohol “You F#&$ My Wine?” is a more subdued and elegant example of what this grape is capable of. The addition of Jurançon Noir lends its jovial, easy-drinking character to make this a delightfully refreshing representation of Cahors. Jouves’ commitment to biodynamic practices ensures that this wine is a terroir-driven example of what this region has to offer. This cuvee is an earthy red filled with notes of fresh black plums and the fragrant artemisia plant. Bright, persistent acidity and silky tannins epitomize the regality of Cot in Cahors.

 

Le Piane "Mimmo" - $46

This Italian gem comes from the vines of the commune of Boca, Piedmont’s hidden treasure. In 1988, a man named Christoph Kunzli, along with a friend became captivated by the region and its wines after meeting one of the last of Boca’s winemakers, 80 year old Antonio Cerri.  Kunzli quickly asked to purchase the winery from Cerri, and now as winemaker at Le Piane, aims to carry on Antonio’s legacy and to keep the magic of Boca alive.

"Mimmo" is a blend of Nebbiolo, Croatina, and Vespolina planted on the Volcanic soils of Boca’s south facing vineyards. These vines are planted in the Maggiorina system that is unique to this area and trained upward forming a crown. "Mimmo" is a charming and elegant red with the classic red berry, floral, and earthy notes classic to the wines of Piedmont. This beautifully structured wine has excellent potential for ageing, but is also the perfect accompaniment to a warm fall dinner.
 

Keeping Portland Weird

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If you’ve ever chatted with anyone about Portland, read anything about Portland, or seen anything about Portland, you’re probably familiar with the phrase. Having now visited this city famous for its culinary appeal, world class craft breweries and beautiful outdoor spaces, I have a deeper understanding of why it’s so important to Keep Portland Weird.

My first ever trip to the city was to take part in the 31st annual Oregon Brewers Fest, which traditionally takes place over the last weekend of July, Thursday through Sunday. It is held outside, along the Willamette River in the Tom McCall park. Eighty (yes, 8-0) different breweries come to the festival, each with one beer to showcase for all four days. In a beautiful display of organization and 30 years of practice, the festival runs like a well-oiled machine. Four large refrigerated shipping containers are filled with kegs and rigged with draught lines that are punctured through one side of them. The lines are then run down to a set of old-school insulated plastic coolers that have been outfitted with draught taps. A volunteer pulls a pitcher full of their assigned beer, and from that pours tasting sample and pints for thirsty festival goers.

Luckily, great beer was not just confined to the festival grounds. Portland proper is currently home to 58 breweries, and 84 in what’s considered the Portland Metro Area. Of those breweries, here are some of our favourite stops:

Cascade Brewing and Barrel House Cascade is pretty widely agreed to be at the top of the heap for “New World” sour breweries, the number one house of sour worship in North America - and for very good reason. All the sour ales they produce are barrel aged and vintaged like wine, and can be aged further in bottle just like wine. Most of their beers include a fruit of some kind, such as the Peche Fume - a smoked grain beer aged with peaches. Or classics like their Blueberry Sour, which is included in our upcoming Portlandia beer tasting on September 8th. There’s no such thing as “subtle” in the Cascade world, and yet it’s strangely easy to find yourself at the bottom of the beer list and wondering if it would be acceptable to start again back at the top.

If ever you should choose to visit Portland, and in turn decide to stop into the Upright Brewing tasting room, a word of advice: do not arrive before they open. Not because you’ll have to defend yourself against a volley of ridicule for your eagerness, but because it is shockingly difficult to find until the small A-frame sandwich board is placed on the sidewalk in front of the mix-use building. Upright specializes in classic Franco-Belgian saisons, and it is well worth the hide-and-go-seek to enjoy their incredibly refined ales in the basement-level taproom while a collection of oddball records is played and the brewery dog does hoop-jumping tricks on the floor.

Disclaimer: I have not actually stepped foot in the Gigantic Brewery taproom. But this is only due to their large shaded patio, the +38 degree heat, and the fact that right beside the brewery sits a food truck that serves up the classic comfort plate-lunch dishes of my Hawaiian Island upbringing - and that food truck’s food is allowed on the aforementioned patio. Also I had a chivalrous travel companion who offered to bring my beers to me. But! Gigantic is known for their high-quality tried and true styles, as well as some unusual ventures into experimentation. I can certainly attest to the perfection that is a Gigantic Brewing Kolschtastic alongside a hearty portion of mochiko chicken.

The city of Portland certainly has much more to offer both tourists and locals than just it’s dizzying list of grain-based, fizzy boozy beverages. Too much to be discussed in just one article. But all of what it has to offer comes together in one strange soup of creativity, passion, and quirk. If ever there was a city where the so-called misfits of the world could gather in harmony, it would be Portland - and there is a special kind of beauty in that. But maybe that’s just the beer talking.

 

Drop it to the Flor

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Considered by many as the world’s greatest wine bargain, sherry has made a huge comeback over the last few years, and just so happens to be the perfect tipple for fall!

Like port made in nearby Portugal, sherry is a fortified wine made primarily from a grape called Palomino in Southwestern Spain.  After fermentation, the base wine is fortified with grape spirit to increase final alcohol content.  The wine is then aged in barrel, developing a layer of what is called 'flor' – a film of yeast that forms on the top of the liquid, protecting it from excessive oxidation.

There are several different types of sherry, but they tend to fit into three main categories.  Fino and Manzanilla are the driest.  They are light, delicate and have a slight salty flavour and sometimes a slight nuttiness.  Amontillado and Oloroso sherries are slightly richer, darker and nuttier as they are exposed to more oxygen than their lighter counterparts once the flor has died or because flor has never developed at all.  The last category of sherries are the sweet sherries.  The most well-known is PX, or Pedro Ximenez named after the grape it is made of.  They are extremely rich, nutty and raisiny-sweet, and are nothing like the cream sherry your grandma kept in the back of her cupboard.

Sherry is also a perfect accompaniment to food!  Try a manzanilla or fino with cheese and olives, or an amontillado with Iberico ham, paté or Jerusalem artichokes.  The richer types of sherries such as Oloroso do well with nuts or strong flavouried cheeses, and sweeter sherries such as Pedro Ximenez is absolute perfection with a brownie, or poured over ice cream.

Sherry also makes the perfect base for a delicious cocktail, especially for those who don't want something too sweet.  We asked our boy Chad, cocktail wizard and master of the "modern dad" fashion wave, to share his favourite sherry cocktail recipe that is easy enough for you to make at home, and will definitely leave you singing "hey baby give me some more - ooh drop it to the flor".    

Drop it to the Flor

  • 1 1/4 oz Amontillado Sherry
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz Amaro (We recommend Amaro Lucano or Averna)
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake vigorously and double strain into a Fifth & Vermouth coupe glass.  Enjoy!

*To make honey syrup take equal parts honey to water and warm on the stove in a saucepan until honey dissolves into the water.  Can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

 

Wine Club September 2018

Wine Club September 2018

Summer has come and gone and the kids are headed back to school. To ease everyone back into some cooler weather, we've brought together an interesting batch of wines. From a German Liebfraumilch that turns back the clock, to a Nebbiolo inspired by Thomas Jefferson, these wines will certainly intrigue and delight. As always, do let us know if you have any questions or would like to know more. Enjoy!

For the Love of Lager

For the Love of Lager

I know what you’re thinking... MORE IPAs?! Why would anyone think the world of craft beer needs more IPAs?  It’s already saturated with resin-y, pine tree and citrus pith flavoured options in any level of ABV or IBU anyone could want!  And you would be right. But! Necessity being the mother of invention, the thirst for something different appeared.

First things first, let’s talk hops.  Hops are the little green papery cones whose fragrant and delicious oils are used to flavour, bitter or balance, and preserve beer.  They are one of the 4 ingredients listed on the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law) of 1516. So basically, they’re incredibly important to the brewing of beer.  Almost every beer on the market uses hops, but only some of them aim to showcase them.

GinCraze: Getting basic with botanicals

GinCraze: Getting basic with botanicals

Mother’s Day is coming up quickly this year, and this is the year that we beat the Italians at the game they know best, showing their Mammas how much they adore them.  One in three Italian men are reported to see their mothers on a daily basis, over two-thirds of millenial Italian males still live at home, and Mother’s Day in Italy, or “La Festa Della Mamma”, is a huge event, a day for celebrating with family and indulging in food, and a few too many cocktails.  Now you may not be ready to move back in with your parents or maybe you can’t afford to take the women in your life all the way to a little villa in Italy to celebrate the big day, but we have you covered.