Cocktailing with Calvados

Cocktailing with Calvados

As a bartender I'm embarking on a new challenge: trying to make delicious drinks with only a few ingredients, without sacrificing depth of flavor. Inevitably, during a service I'll be told "make me whatever you think is good", or something to that effect. More and more lately, I've been reaching for Calvados when this happens. It's funky, it's nutty, it's fruity, and it serves as a wonderful substitute for gin in the classic Negroni cocktail (equal parts with sweet vermouth and Campari). So what is Calvados? Well, it's essentially apple cider from Normandy that's been distilled. First, the harvested fruit is pressed and fermented to get to the point of cider. After the cider is distilled, we have what's called an eau-de-vie. After a minimum two years of aging in oak casks, it can legally be called Calvados. Some of the best Calvados I've had have been in the 6-15 year age range. These are great for sipping as well as mixing.  Next time you head down to your local Vine Arts to add a bottle to your collection, consider Calvados.  For a great cocktail base, try the Pere Magloire VS ($46 all-in).  If you are looking for something a little more special to sip on, the Pierre Huet 8 year old Calvados, a young a fruity apple brandy fermented in 100 year old oak barrels, is a great place to start ($85).

It's Fall, Motherf***er!

It's Fall, Motherf***er!

...Excuse my language.  Anyone familiar with comedian Iliza Shlesinger’s comedy special “Freezing Hot” will surely understand the reference.  You see, as she so aptly puts it, “girls love fall.” When we applied to be girls, we walked up to the girl counter, and when asked “What’s your favourite season?” We emphatically replied, “It’s fall, motherf*cker!”

Fringe Bourbon!

Fringe Bourbon!

The season of patios and bellinis is over people!  While it breaks my heart that I can no longer enjoy a gallon-sized fish bowl of peach sex in the sun, I look toward the horizon. The future holds a season full of pumpkin spice, wool sweaters and bourbon. Straight, pure, unadulterated bourbon. While bellini’s hold a special place in my heart, a couple of ounces of corn-dominant, American oak aged whiskey fills me with joy. Like most people, when bourbon comes to mind, my first thought is of when I slammed a bottle of it while at a river party when I was 16 years old. My second thought is Kentucky. Kentucky is to bourbon as Burgundy is to Pinot Noir. While Kentucky holds the record for production at 95%, there is a common misconception regarding where it can be made. Many think that Kentucky is the only state it can be distilled in but, in fact, it can be cooked up anywhere in the States. For whiskey to be bourbon, it has to meet a few requirements. It must be 51% corn. It must be aged for some time in new American oak, the length of which is not regulated. Only water can be added post ageing, whereas scotch may see some caramel colouring added. Lastly, as of 1964, it can only be produced in the United States. While Kentucky may be the hub for bourbon there are distillers elsewhere making some insanely good product and just like there can be exceptional pinot noir found outside of Burgundy, exceptional bourbon can be found outside of Kentucky.

Perfect Pairings: The Takeout Edition

Perfect Pairings: The Takeout Edition

As the so called “seasons” turn, the appeal of staying cozy indoors increases. Takeout dining after a long week of work can start to really hit the spot. Here at Vine Arts we get asked for pairing suggestions, especially for takeout cuisine such as Chinese food, Thai food, or Pizza, almost daily. These queries are a lot of fun because according to the rules of pairing, there are classic match-ups we can suggest, but we are also given the opportunity to find some fun pairings that might be a little off the beaten path.

New Wines From BK

New Wines From BK

They’re back! The (Aussie) spring release of one of our favourite, exclusive producers is back in stock and we’re ever so excited about it. Brendon and Kirstyn Keys established their Adelaide Hills winery in 2007 after learning from winemaking masters around the globe. With the idea of wine making as an artistic expression in mind, BK Wines focuses on making subtly nuanced wines from the best quality fruit, with a minimalistic approach in the cellar. Fruit is sourced from tiny vineyards that express the unique characteristic inherent to those particular plots of vines and where Brendon can have great control over how the grapes are grown. BK’s wines are the perfect alignment of minimal intervention & maximum quality; they are natural & balanced!

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!