Vina Croatia: A Croatian Wine Region Tour in Midtown

Croatia may be a country known for its gorgeous coastline and striking Game of Thrones–inspiring structures, but its vineyards and wineries, steeped in tradition and history are also a huge part of its charm and appeal. Its dramatically diverse regions from the Alps to the Danube provide a variety of wines that can please every type of oenophile. Recently, a dinner held by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce at Midtown’s Brasserie 8 ½ gave us a taste of what the Croatian wine region has to offer.

Ten flights of wines from light whites and a rosé to deep full-bodied reds were expertly paired with a citrus shrimp appetizer, a choice of filet mignon or a rack of lamb, and warm pear with maple ice cream.

The introductory wine came from the Istria region— where the cold of the Alps mixes with the warmth of the Mediterranean, producing interesting wines such as the 2016 Kozlovic Malvazija (not pictured). It is a dry golden white with notes of fruits and spices and a slight hint of saltiness – which poetically sums up the melding of the coast and the mountains.

The next wine we tasted is a must for every rosé lover. The Erdutski Rosé is made from the Pinot Black grapes of the Slavonia region and has a warm blush pink color. It’s a refreshing medium body selection with a hint of cherries.

Staying within the Slavonia region, our next white wine on the Croatian wine region tour, the Vezak Graševina was a fine example of Croatia’s principal grape variety, the Graševina. The color of this dry white echoes the colors of the golden fields that are characteristic of the Croatian valleys. Its flowery aroma mixed with a fruity bouquet with a slight mineral aftertaste will compliment a seafood meal or a white meat platter.

A different take on the Graševina came in the form of a 2016 Riesling from Vina Antonovic. This wine is an earthy blend of green apples and floral blossoms with a similar mineral taste (albeit a little sweeter than the last white); this seems to be the recognizable trait of the Slavonia region and the Croatian Danube.

 

To say that the next white wine was blessed with the sweetness of citrus, peach, and roses would not be a stretch. The Žlahtina sv. Lucija (not pictured), named for the church of St. Lucy on the island of Krk, is a golden mix of yellow-greenish hues that pair well with meat, fish, rice, and polenta dishes. It certainly enhanced the taste of our rack of lamb.

The Miraz Graševina has won multiple awards for its dry but creamy taste. The vineyard’s wine fermentation process includes extensive supervision and temperature control. Smooth and full-bodied with deeply aromatic notes, this white wine with an enchanting green-yellow hue goes well with just about everything from poultry, to seafood, and pasta dishes.

During the second half of dinner, we were introduced to some very fine red wines. First up was the award-winning Dingač Berba 2015 from Dalmatia — a region known not only for those firehouse dogs but also for the Plavac Mali grapes. The variety is grown in the sun-drenched slopes and coasts of Dalmatia and produces full-bodied reds. This black dry wine had a berry aroma with a hint of a chocolate aftertaste. It brought out the spices in our main course but can also be enjoyed with mature cheeses.

The next Croatian wine region red wine was another award-winning Plavac, the Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru. The grapes, organically grown in the picturesque slopes of the island of Hvar, come from 35 to 50-year-old vines. The wine is then aged in French barrique barrels for two years and 6-12 months in the bottle. It’s a dry red with hints of leather, pepper, chocolate, and prunes. Its earthy quality is best paired with steaks and lobsters or both for a delectable surf and turf option. Depending on how big of a company you are having or how much you can consume (no judgments), there is small, medium, and large bottles available.

The third red wine was the Ivan Dolac Barrique, named for the aforementioned French barrel it matures in, 1also hails from Hvar. It’s a dry robust wine with a berry and almost floral aroma. It’s smooth and easy on the palette and makes a nice compliment to any roast game or grilled fish.

The final Croatian wine region wine of the night was the Kabola Muškat Momjanski, a perfect ending to our Croatian wine introduction. It went well with our warm pear and maple ice cream dessert. It’s a refreshing and medium-bodied white with notes of peaches, rose, and honey with a slight mineral quality that gives it a lingering taste. This is our pick for an ideal summer wine.

You can tell a lot about a country by its wines. The wines were a spectacular representation of the different regions that make up such a fascinating country. From the Mediterranean to the Alps, each wine embodied a distinct characteristic specific to the climate and the area they came from. Based on what we’ve tasted, we’re ready to spend a lot of time in Croatia! Are you excited to visit the Croatian wine region?

Truly Refreshing: Truly Spiked and Sparkling Water

Let’s face it, enjoying a cocktail or two is always fun, but it does tend to leave you a little dehydrated. After we enjoy a few cocktails, we always find ourselves reaching for a glass of water to combat the decrease of our body’s natural anti-diuretic hormone (we all have it….it’s why you go to the restroom more often). This is changing! We were recently introduced to a new light and refreshing low-calorie, clean and simple spiked sparkling water. Yes, we did say spiked sparkling water. Say hello to Truly Spiked and Sparkling Water, a spiked sparkling water with a little kick…or rather, a buzz.

When trying to diet or just eat and drink healthy, alcohol is usually one of the first things added to your “can no longer enjoy anymore” list, but with Truly Spiked and Sparkling Water, there is no need to make that sacrifice. Truly Spiked and Sparkling Waters are just 100 calories and 2 grams of carbs per serving, gluten-free and made with simple ingredients, with nothing artificial – no artificial flavors or sweeteners of any kind. It is the is the lowest-calorie and lowest-carb spiked sparkling water available at only 5% ABV. This is a great alternative to light beer because it has fewer calories and carbs than beer. It’s also a great alternative to the heaviness of cocktails or wine, plus it’s better for you than beer, wine or cocktails.

Truly Spiked and Sparkling Water comes in eight truly refreshing flavors – the above newest flavor Wild Berry (a mix of California strawberries, raspberries and Marion blackberries that brings a hint of the natural sweetness and juiciness of fresh picked berries); Colima Lime (a slightly tart taste with a crisp, subtle sweetness); Pomegranate (a crisp and refreshing drink with a hint of juicy pomegranate); Grapefruit & Pomelo (citrusy, tart and tangy with a hint of sweetness from the Pomelo fruit);  Lemon & Yuzu (a refreshing delight of juicy lemon tartness and fragrant Yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit); Sicilian Blood Orange (a refreshing, sweet, mellow and delicious taste from the exotic cousin of the traditional orange); Blueberry & Acai (sweet and tart blueberry mixes with the exotic and antioxidant-rich Brazilian acai berry); and Raspberry & Lime (a thirst quenching blend of the ripe sweetness from California raspberries and the crisp citrus twist from lime.

Believe us when we say this is TRULY the refreshing go-to sparkling water for those who love staying balanced but also love a good time. The Truly Spiked and Sparkling Waters are available in 6-pack slim cans, 12-pack slim cans, and 16 oz. cans. Get your favorite flavors at Whole Foods, Target, Rite Aid, Fresh Direct, Trader Joes, Fairway, and Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts. Are you ready to be truly refreshed?

You’re Invited to Celebrate National Gin & Tonic Day with The Botanist

Hey Gin lovers, did you know that tomorrow, April 9th, is National Gin & Tonic Day? To honor this highball cocktail made with gin and tonic water, Botanist Gin invites you to partake in one of many unique Botanist Gin & Tonic drinks available at a few choice locations across New York City.

On April 9th, stop by any of these four locations and order yourself any of the following Gin and Tonic drinks, made with Botanist Gin (please note these drinks are not complimentary; price depends on the bar):

    • Monarch Rooftop – 71 West 35th Street (Midtown West)
      • Featured Cocktail: Botanist & Fiery
    • Rochelle’s – 205 Christie Street (Lower East Side)
      • Featured Cocktails: Empire Botanist & Tonic, Texas Botanist & Tonic, South Beach Botanist & Tonic
    • Misirizzi – 36 East 4th Street (NoHo)
      • Featured Cocktails: Empire Botanist & Tonic, Texas Botanist & Tonic, South Beach Botanist & Tonic
    • Drink – 768 Franklin Street (Crown Heights, Brooklyn)
      • Featured Cocktail: Botanist & Tonic

If you find yourself unable to attend one of the above locations, we’ve provided you with a few unique Botanist Gin & Tonic drink recipes you can create and enjoy at home to celebrate National Gin & Tonic Day.

The Elder’s Tonic

The Botanist Gin – 1.5 oz.
Tonic Water – 4oz.
Grenadine – .25 oz.
Lime Wheel
In a cocktail glass, add The Botanist Gin and Grenadine. Add ice and top with Tonic Water. Garnish with 1 lime wheel

Fruit of Thyme

The Botanist Gin – 1.5 oz.
Tonic Water – 4 oz.
Slim Ruby Red Grapefruit Wedge
Sprig of Thyme
Squeeze grapefruit wedge into a cocktail glass and leave it. Add The Botanist Gin, then ice. Top with Tonic Water. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

Poached & Tonic

The Botanist Gin – 1.5 oz.
Tonic Water – 1 bottle
Bosc Pear – 1 slice
Cinnamon Quill
Press Bosc Pear into a cocktail glass and leave in a glass. Add The Botanist Gin, then ice. Top with Tonic Water. Garnish with a Cinnamon Quill.

M & B & T

The Botanist Gin – 1.5 oz.
Tonic Water – 4-6 oz.
Fresh mint leaves
Press mint in a glass and leave in a glass. Add The Botanist Gin, then ice. Top with Tonic Water. Garnish with a mint sprig.

The Cure for Winter Weariness: Bom Bom Premium Caribbean Rum

Since the warmer seasons are clearly not getting here fast enough, we are finding ways to enjoy the warmth, vibe, and essence of the warmer seasons now. When we think of summer, we think of laying on the beach soaking up the sun while enjoying a delicious rum cocktail. Nothing says summer like rum, which is why we highly recommend adding these two Bom Bom Premium Caribbean Rum flavors into your winter weather-weary lives. Founded in 2016 by Food Scientist Kevin Mowers and Eva Maria Janerus, these will have you shaking your Bom Bom.

Join us in saying hello to Bom Bom Premium Caribbean Rums, the award-winning premium cream liqueurs. The must-try creamy rum liqueurs are available in two flavors – Coco Mochanut and Nilli Vanilli. Both of which can be enjoyed hot, cold, on the rocks, frozen or mixed in cocktails. Bom Bom, what we can best describe as a creamy rum punch and summer-in-a-bottle, means “Good-Good” in Portuguese and also slang for “My Sweetie” in Spain.

Bom Bom Coco Mochanut is a delicious, all-natural, gluten-free, and kosher silky-smooth blend of chocolate, coffee, coconut and Caribbean Rum. At 18% ABV, it has a slightly higher alcohol content than Baileys’ 17% ABV. Shortly after its 2016 launch, it received 94 Points from the International Review of Spirits making it the highest rated in the category. Bom Bom offers a variety of Coco Mochanut cocktail recipes to warm you up or cool things down.

Bom Bom Nilli Vanilli is a delightful vegan, all-natural, gluten-free, dairy-free blend of almond milk, cookie flavors, and Caribbean Rum. At 14% ABV, it is slightly higher than RumChata (13.75% ABV) and Baileys Almande (13% ABV). The Beverage Tasting Institute awarded Nilli Vanilli a “Best of 2017” seal in their International Review of Spirits. The award was given in the cream category, which is a true testament to the wonderful flavor of this drink because the product is made with almond milk and contains no cream or dairy. We’ve already elevated our evening chai drink with a splash or two and can testify to the absolutely delicious result.You can also find a variety of Bom Bom Nilli Vanilli cocktail recipes to enjoy.

Both Bom Bom Premium Caribbean Rum flavors are currently available in 750 ml sizes and retail for $19.99-$21.99. They are currently sold in ten states at more than 1,000 liquor stores, restaurants, resorts, and bars.

Celebrate Adulting with Nipyata, the Original Booze Pinata

We all have our days when we just can’t be an adult and wish we could go back to being a kid. One of our favorite things to enjoy when we were younger was attending parties and nothing got a party going like fun party games. One of our favorite party games, bursting open a candy-filled pinata of course! And while as an adult our tastes for candy has decreased, we still love the act of freeing the hidden treats from inside pinatas. Don’t you wish there was a party pinata made exclusively for adults where you can release the stress from adulting, have as much fun as a kid, and get rewarded with adult treats? There is, it’s called Nipyata, the Original Booze Pinata.

Fellow adults, what you’re looking at above is the Stay Classy Burrito Nipyata, one of many customizable booze pinatas! The Stay Classy Burrito Nipyata is a fan favorite and perfect for those who want to revisit their childhood with the classic pinata. Nipyata, the Original Booze Pinata currently has 29 variously themed booze pinatas from Christmas, to Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, major birthday milestones, and 4th of July, just to name a few. Each Nipyata shape can hold between 10 and 50 nips. You pick your poison by choosing from Nipyata’s wide selection of spirits.

 

The Stay Classy Burrito Nipyata, like all of the Nipyatas, include Nips (mini plastic bottles) of delicious booze (you select your favorites and number of nips you want). Nipyata’s standard assortment of booze includes Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s, Deep Eddy Vodka, Smirnoff Vodka, Jose Cuervo Silver, Jose Cuervo Gold, Captain Morgan’s Rum, Bacardi Rum, Margaritaville, and more (some of which are shown above). Nipyatas also include an assortment of various candy, such as Skittles, Starburst, Gummy Lifesavers, Dots, Dum Dum Lollipops (20 – 25 packs), customized phrases and messages attached to each nip that you can customize, 20 feet of hanging twine, a blindfold and super strong pinata smashing stick.

What do you think of Nipyata, the Original Booze Pinata? Could your next adult get-together use some boozy pinata fun?

Finish Your Day Sparkling: Half-Seas Sparkling Canned Cocktails

There are days when a well-crafted cocktail is worth the wait and anticipation. Then there are days when you want to enjoy a well-crafted cocktail as quickly and easily as opening a can of beer. For those extra stressful days, we just want to pop open something delicious, perfectly chilled, and quick. Luckily Half-Seas sparkling canned cocktails is the answer to those “I need a drink STAT!” days. The refreshing effervescence of these delicious canned cocktails is an added bonus to its incredible taste and convenience.


We are very happy to introduce you to Half-Seas sparkling canned cocktails, created by Seattle bartender Miles Thomas. The company that created every bartender’s favorite, Scrappy’s Bitters, now has three “true” ready-to-drink canned cocktails. The Bramble, Daiquiri and Paloma sparkling cocktails are made with real spirits, rather than malt or other fermented alcohols, and a touch of effervescence for craft cocktail quality to enjoy anytime and anywhere.

The canned cocktails are balanced, refreshing, and simple while delivering a unique beverage experience through champagne level 30psi carbonation level; a unique trait for canned cocktails that cannot be recreated at a bar. As three commonly recognizable drinks, these new sparkling canned offerings are quality craft cocktails. Half-Seas sparkling canned cocktails are made from the finest ingredients including premium spirits such as White Rum, Tequila, and Dry London Gin.  These premium spirits are the bases for the bitters, mixers, modifiers and pure cane syrup.

  • As one of the most popular cocktails in the world, the Daiquiri’s ingredients of rum, water, lime, and sugar is replicated in this sparkling variety. Half-Seas elevates this classic drink, known as the British sailor’s “grog” of the 1700’s, with an added twist of bubbles sure to be a favorite for cocktail connoisseurs.
  • The Bramble is a cocktail created in 1980’s London and the original brings together dry London gin, berries, and citrus. The Half-Seas Bramble pays tribute to that original recipe with the added touch of effervescence.
  • The Paloma, the well-known tequila-based drink of Mexico, is more globally recognized than the margarita. Half-Seas takes this traditional cocktail a step further with its own all-natural grapefruit soda, for a personalized touch and delicious twist.

At 12% alc/vol in 200ml cans, these cocktails are close in proportion and strength to a cocktail you can enjoy at a bar. A 4-pack of these refreshing and convenient canned cocktails retails for $16.00-$20.00. The Half-Seas sparkling canned cocktails are perfect to welcome and celebrate the Spring and Summer seasons. What are your thoughts on the Half-Seas sparkling canned cocktails?

Enjoy these St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails from Milagro Tequila

Why you may assume all St. Patrick’s Day cocktails are typically made with Whiskey, we’re seeing more and more crossover with different spirits. Today we’re sharing St. Patrick’s Day cocktails from Milagro Tequila. We know what you’re thinking, “Irish cocktails made with a Mexican spirit?”  Yes, and they are delicious! Milagro’s National Ambassador, Jaime Salas, has crafted some great St. Patrick’s Day inspired cocktails that will make you dance an Irish jig and probably shout, “kiss me, I’m Irish”, even though these libations are not made with traditional Irish spirits.

Today we present three curated cocktails. One cocktail whose name means shamrock in Spanish and is the perfect alternative to whiskey this St. Patrick’s Day! A tangy margarita that is a perfect drink to help get you Irish stepping on the dance floor! and a round of spicy shots that will make you feel like you have the luck of the Irish.

Del Campo Cocktail

1 ½ parts Milagro silver
½ part lime juice
¾ part celery juice
½ nopal (optional)
1 part pineapple juice
½ part cilantro or parsley
Chicharron Salt Garnish
With a half lime, rinse around the rim of a rocks glass and salt with Chicharron salt. Separately, combine all ingredients and shake well. Strain and mix over fresh ice into the salt-rimmed glass.

“This cocktail was inspired by the Mexican “green” juice served during a typical breakfast in Mexico. It’s refreshing vegetal and tropical notes along with the savory notes of the chicharron awaken the senses.” – Jaime Salas

El Vocho Cocktail

4 parts Milagro Reposado
2 part Pineapple juice (tinned)
10 mint leaves
10 cilantro leaves
1 small jalapeno slice
In four shooter glasses, pour Milagro Reposado neat, Blend all other ingredients together. Strain and pour into four separate shooter glasses.

Trebol Cocktail

2 parts Milagro Silver
1 slice tomatillo
1 part lime juice
4 cucumber slices
1 pinch cilantro
1 slice jalapeno
1 pinch salt
Blend all ingredients without ice. Shake and strain into a tall glass with ice. Garnish with cucumber.

What are your thoughts on these St. Patrick’s Day cocktails from Milagro Tequila? Could you enjoy these non-traditional St.Paddy’s Day cocktails?

Captain Morgan Introduces Watermelon Smash Rum Shot

Although spring is mere weeks away, Captain Morgan already has us thinking of summer. The famed rum company is introducing the newest addition to its shot family with Captain Morgan Watermelon Smash Rum Shot. What better two things that celebrate the summer season better than rum and ripe, juicy watermelons? Thankfully we don’t have to wait until the summer months to enjoy the sweet and refreshing rum drink. What makes Captain Morgan Watermelon Smash so incredible? Not only does this limited edition rum it taste like a watermelon, it looks (and smells!) just like one too.

Similar to the LocoNut Coconut Shot, which they launched last year, the Watermelon Smash Rum Shot’s packaging resembles a watermelon and produces the sweet aroma of ripe watermelon when you scratch the bottle.

The explosively delicious, watermelon-flavored rum shot is arriving just in time for backyard cookouts and pool parties. The Captain Morgan Watermelon Smash blends Caribbean rum with ripe, juicy watermelon flavor that’s synonymous with summertime. It’s best enjoyed as a chilled shot, but you can also indulge in the flavorful Watermelon Smash in a variety of delicious cocktail recipes. We’ve included a few choice recipes you can enjoy below:

Watermelon Mojito


1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Watermelon Smash
0.5 oz. Captain Morgan White Rum
0.75 oz. lime juice
0.75 oz. Simple Syrup
Club soda
Mint leaves
Muddle mint leaves, simple syrup, and lime juice in a highball glass. Add ice, top with club soda and garnish with watermelon and mint leaves.

Watermelon Spritzer


1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Watermelon Smash
0.75 oz. club soda
0.75 oz. lemon-lime soda
Pour ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon.

Chilled Watermelon Smash Shot

1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Watermelon Smash
Pour 1.5 oz. of Watermelon Smash into a shaker with ice. Strain into a shot glass and serve.

So pay attention all you watermelon fans out there, if you’re pinning for the sweet taste of summer, grab a bottle of Captain Morgan’s Watermelon Smash (50 proof, 25% ABV). It is available now at a suggested retail price of $15.99 for a 750 ml bottle.