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Archive for the ‘Drinks & Cocktails’ Category

Cocchi VermouthIn my house, no gathering with friends and food is complete without vermouth. On hot summer days, I love an Americano on ice to cool off and prepare my palate for cooking and eating. On chilly winter evenings at the end of a long meal, I love a darker style vermouth to settle a full stomach. Even as a wine lover, vermouths are some of my favorite drinks. Their complex, layered herbaceousness have just the right balance of bitter and sweet. Today, I wanted to talk about two of my favorite Italian vermouths: a classic dark vermouth from the House of Cocchi, one of the original Torino vermouth makers; and the other, a limited production white vermouth from chemist-turned-vermouth producer Mauro Vergano. (more…)

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Nikolaihof Elderflower SyrupJust in time for the steamy weather – our shipment of Nikolaihof elderflower syrup has arrived from Austria. Many of you have seen this syrup on our shelves before and, I hope, have had a chance to try it. Nikolaihof makes stunning Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings but now is the time for a taste of their heavenly hollerblüten or elderflower syrup.

Nikolaihof, in the beautiful Wachau region along the Danube, is the oldest wine estate in Austria and is now run by the Saahs family. The earliest known reference to winemaking on the estate dates back to 470 AD, and the Saahs still use a wine cellar built by the Romans. The entire estate is run according to biodynamic principles. As a result, the Saahs plant and harvest according to the moon calendar and use only homeopathic treatments for the grapevines and other plants. (more…)

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This week we’re highlighting one of our favorite French liqueurs, the inky black currant flavored Crème de Cassis de Dijon. These sweet little bottles of crème de cassis are made in Burgundy by Briottet, a company run by the Briottet family in the town of Dijon since 1836.

Briottet Crème de CassisBriottet makes their crème de cassis with only “Noir de Bourgogne” black currants. The word “crème” signifies that the liqueur is made from macerated, real fruit rather than flavorings and, the addition of the name Dijon means that the currants (“cassis”) used were grown only in the commune of Dijon. These currants are picked quickly at their peak ripeness and are immediately immersed in alcohol where they macerate for 3 months. Sugar is then added to balance out the tart flavor of the currants – it also makes the liqueur syrupy. Upon completion, crème de cassis has about the same alcohol content as port. (more…)

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