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Tia Maria Espresso Martini with Whitley Neill Gin

Shaken & Stirred: A Whitley Neill Gin Cocktail for National Espresso Day

We’re a bit late on our National Espresso Day cocktail highlight due to unforeseen forces but we’re determined to share a cocktail that brings so many memories. Using the South African-inspired Whitley Neill Gin (made with baobab fruit and Cape gooseberry), we wanted to honor National Espresso Day with a cocktail from our childhood. Don’t worry, there are no unfit parents in this story. We grew up with our very talented mom making homemade Tia Maria for friends and family. While we could not partake for obvious reasons, we knew it was amazing by the number of people who came over to enjoy and begged her to make some for them. So in honor of her and all things caffeinated, we’re sharing a Tia Maria Espresso Martini made with Whitley Neill Gin and inspired by mom’s Tia Maria recipe.

Whitley Neill Gin Espresso Martini Ingredients

Along with the previously stated baobab fruit and Cape gooseberry, the original Whitley Neill Gin boasts Coriander Seed, orange, and lemon. This British gin is slightly softer and much smoother than traditional gins but still boasts the traditional rich notes of juniper and citrus ingredients. It features a long finish with subtle fades of herbs, cocoa, and candied lemon peels; and a nose that is both citrus-sweet and peppery, with a distinctive floral aroma. The complete list of botanicals includes Juniper, Coriander Seed, Cassia Bark, Orris Root, Angelica Root, Sweet Orange, Lemon, Cape Gooseberry, and Baobab.

The below Tia Martia Martini we prepared is dairy-free, as Thanksgiving seemed to have cleared the shelves of cans of Evaporated Carnation Milk; nevertheless, it was still quite a delicious, one that coffee lovers will greatly enjoy.

Tia Maria Espresso Martini

Tia Maria Espresso Martini with Whitley Neill Gin

Whitley Neill Original Gin
3/4 cup espresso
1/2 cup Tia Maria (see recipe to make your own below*)
1/2 cup vanilla essence
1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar (go for light for less sugar)
Ice
Cocktail Shaker
Add all ingredients into your cocktail shaker. Shake and pour into a martini glass. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon powder to garnish (this works better if you’re adding milk).

*Tia Maria Recipe

Sugar
Water
Cinnamon sticks or Powdered cinnamon
Nutmeg
Clove powder
Instant Coffee
Angostura Bitters
Whitley Neill Gin
Evaporated Carnation Milk (optional)

Make a syrup using equal parts sugar and water and add in the cinnamon sticks or powdered cinnamon, grated nutmeg, and a little clove powder. Bring to a boil until the syrup is a little thick and a golden brown. Add coffee until you reach your desired level of strength; finish it up with two or three dashes of the original Angostura Bitters. Add ice to chill, add in your milk (optional), then pour in your Whitley Neill (a substitute for the traditional rum). Serve with or without ice, or use as a base for another cocktail as we did with our Martini.

Did you enjoy an espresso cocktail on National Espresso Day? Whether you did or not, we encourage you to add Whitley Neill Gin to your home bar.

Bread & Butter Wines Brunch

Brunch with Bread & Butter Wines and Chef Ashton Keefe

Growing up, there’s nothing we enjoyed more than watching with than our mom creating delicious treats in our kitchen. It was with total adulation that we watched her every move and of course the gift of participating was priceless. We watched our mom make the best cakes, bread, drinks, and much more; as you can imagine, this fueled our love of creating. This is why when we were invited to brunch with Bread & Butter Wines and Chef Ashton Keefe to bake bread, we were ecstatic.

Bread & Butter Wines Brunch Bread & Butter Wines Brunch

Although we were a little late, we jumped right into the breadmaking process with the approachable wines. The classic California wine company boasts easy-drinking wines with rich and lush fruit flavors. The entire breadmaking process brought back memories of helping our mom and how much fun we had creating delicious dishes in the kitchen.

Bread making Dough Rising

While we were waiting for our dough to rise and our delicious brunch by Chef Ashton Keefe, we learned quite a bit about Bread & Butter Wines. Throughout the day’s event, we enjoyed three of their varietals, Bread & Butter Chardonnay California, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir California, and their Rosé. The wines were wonderfully paired with the courses of our brunch.

Bread & Butter Rosé wine

Pre-brunch, and again with our starters, we started with the Bread & Butter Wines Rosé. This delightful rosé features generous aromas of fresh strawberry, green melon with hints of hibiscus and rose petal. Its rich texture is complemented with balanced acidity leading to a refreshing and supple finish. The event started with “welcome toasts” consisting of eggs and prosciutto toast and mushroom and ricotta toast. Our brunch featured Gem Lettuce Salad with Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon dressing; Harvest Panzanella with heirloom tomatoes, plums, fig, burrata and toasted bread; Vegetable Tart with eggplant, peas, parsley & eggs; Quiche with roasted zucchini and goat cheese with squash blossoms.

Bread & Butter Wine

The Chardonnay (shown above) opens with rich notes of vanilla bean and almond husk, reminiscent of a decadent crème brûlée. The creamy notes are balanced by a soft minerality and a hint of tropical fruit.  Those creamy notes continue to your palate where they are joined with bright acidity and well-integrated oak that leads into a long, creamy finish.

Bread & Butter Wines Brunch Bread & Butter Wines Brunch

The Cabernet Sauvignon expresses captivating aromas of mocha, ripe berries, violets, and blackcurrant with intertwining layers of subtle black pepper, toasted oak, and rich vanilla. This beautifully crafted Cabernet Sauvignon enters the palate with layers of ripe blackberry and chocolate-covered cherries. The round mouthfeel is accented by soft tannins and a little spice that weaves into a smooth, lingering finish.

Red Wine

The above Pinot Noir boasts juicy red fruit. Think cherries and raspberries with a touch of cassis. It features delicate hints of cedar and bay leaf to balance the sweetness of the fruit; this creates an enduring bouquet.  That luscious fruit bouquet continues onto the palate, where it’s joined by soft flavors of oak and savory notes. The rich mouthfeel is complemented by a long and beautifully smooth finish.

Bread & Butter Wines Brunch

For dessert, we had a Boozy Bread Pudding with Bread & Butter Chardonnay and berries. We love the idea of adding the heavy berry and subtle spice of the Cabernet as a component of this delicious dessert. As you can imagine, we were quite full after that hearty brunch and was excited to take our dough, along with a bottle of Bread & Butter Wines, home to bake in own ovens. Let’s just say, once we did, our fresh bread did not last very long.

Have you tried one or more of the Bread & Butter Wines? What are your thoughts on these easy-drinking California wines?

Knob Creek Bourbon

NYC Food & Wine Festival Preview Dinner with Knob Creek Bourbon

During the month of October, all foodies prepare to attend the NYC Food & Wine Festival, a 4-day festival, hosted by renowned chefs, restaurateurs, and culinary insiders. We had the pleasure of getting a preview from one of the participating brands. Our culinary journey highlighted the brand’s product as the main cooking ingredient. What was that ingredient? Knob Creek Bourbon!! Their local Grill Pro, Jason Baker, was back to give us an exclusive recipe he created exclusively for NYC Food & Wine Festival. We also enjoyed signature Knob Creek Bourbon cocktails and a behind-the-scenes look at how their bourbon gets its flavor.

Knob Creek Bourbon

It was a majestic evening of great cocktails, a delicious meal, and a mesmerizing process of the whiskey-making industry. We started off the evening with three Knob Creek cocktails, Rose on the Rye (pictured below), Kentucky Luau, and Smoked Rye Old Fashion; all of which will be available at the NYC Food & Wine Festival.

Knob Creek Bourbon

In addition to a taste test of Knob Creek sauces, the highlight of our exquisite dinner, which included Arugula Salad, Grilled Vegetables, Pulled Pork Sliders, Three Cheese Mac & Cheese, was the Grilled Chicken Thighs with Knob Creek Alabama White Rye Sauce. This wonderfully creamy and smoky chicken dish will be highlighted during the NYC Food & Wine Festival’s Titans of BBQ event at Pier 97.

NYC Food & Wine Festival Preview Dinner with Knob Creek Bourbon NYC Food & Wine Festival Preview Dinner with Knob Creek Bourbon NYC Food & Wine Festival Preview Dinner with Knob Creek Bourbon

After the amazing dinner, we got to see first hand how Knob Creek gets its flavor with two demonstrations; a live barrel rebuilding and charring demonstration, by one of their highly skilled Coopers. For those who don’t know, Coopers are craftsmen that make and repair wooden casks. Check out our Instagram post of the live charring, it’s an amazing thing to see.

Knob Creek Bourbon Wood Casks

What an amazing experience from an amazing bourbon brand! We advise you to attend the 2019 NYC Wine & Food Festival to partake in Knob Creek and Grilling Pro Jason Baker’s delicious offerings. You will definitely be happy you did. The NYCWFF takes place from Oct 10th – Oct 13th.

Labor Day Cocktails

Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy these Labor Day Cocktails

We hope those of you at home are enjoying your day off from work for Labor Day. Thanks to Unions and Union workers, we enjoy many workplace benefits. So, of course, you have to raise a glass or two to those who fought for weekends off, a 9-5 workday, and so much more. As Union workers celebrate the 137 years of these benefits and also get ready for what’s sure to be a huge workers rights battle, why not celebrate them with one of the below Labor Day cocktails.

Labor Day Cocktails

So as we say goodbye to summer, the last of our backyard BBQs, and visits to the beach. Make sure you remember those Union workers who thought for the right you have today and enjoy one or more of these Labor Day cocktails (responsibly, of course) to them.

The Best Cocktails for a Backyard BBQ:

WTF (Whiskey Tiki Foxtrot)

Labor Day Cocktails
1½ parts Fistful of Bourbon
¾ parts Mango juice
¾ parts Simple syrup
½ Lime Juice
2 dashes Burlesque Bitters (Tiki Bitters)
Combine ingredients and shake well. Strain over crushed ice into a Collins glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Peach Palmer
Labor Day Cocktails

1 part E&J Peach
1 part Iced Tea
1 part Lemonade
Shake, pour into a cocktail glass, add ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

The Best Cocktails for a Big Group:

SuperBloom Punch
Created by Mark Stoddard, Hendrick’s Gin Brand Ambassador

1 part Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice
2/3 part Hibiscus Tea
½ part Lemon Juice
½ part Lillet Rose (or Cocchi Rosato)
¼ part Simple Syrup
¼ part Crème de Cassis
1 part Sparkling Water
Combine ingredients in a punch bowl over a large block of ice and stir. Garnish with a combination of fresh berries & edible flowers.

It’s Just Peachy Punch
Created by Katie Auth, Distilled, NYC (Serves 8-10)


12 oz Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey
4 oz Aperol
8 oz grilled peach basil syrup
4 oz fresh lemon juice
Combine ingredients in a bowl or pitcher with ice, fresh basil leaves, lemon wheels, and grilled peach slices. Top with a dry Prosecco and a splash of club soda.

The Best Cocktails for a Brunch Party:

Iced Irish Coffee
Created by Tim Herlihy, National Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W.

Labor Day Cocktails

2 parts Tullamore D.E.W. Original
1 teaspoon Ground Espresso
2 teaspoons Demerara Sugar
3 parts Cold Brew Coffee
Fresh Cream
Combine whiskey and espresso in a small bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Strain whiskey through a coffee filter into a cocktail shaker. Meanwhile, stir sugar and 2 tsp. hot water in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add demerara syrup and cold brew to cocktail shaker; fill with ice. Shake until the outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with cream.

El Altiplano Verde (The Green Highland)


1.5 oz. Camarena Silver Tequila
1 oz. Fresh Kale & Cucumber Juice
.75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz. Agave Nectar
Top with Q Sparkling Lemon
Add ingredients (except Q Sparkling Lemon) into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake together to combine/chill. Strain into a highball glass encrusted with Chipotle, and top with Q Sparkling Lemon.

The Best Cocktail for a Dinner Party:

The Rhubarb Lift
Created by Allan Roth, Glenfiddich Ambassador

Labor Day Cocktails

1½ parts Glenfiddich 12 Year
½ part orgeat
½ part cream
½ part orgeat simple syrup
Club soda
In a shaker combine all ingredients except for club soda and shake for at least 10 seconds. Strain into a fizz or collins glass. Top with club soda from about six inches. Then add another splash of club soda from lower to help “lift” the head of the drink above the rim. Rhubarb syrup: In a saucepan, combine 12 ounces of water with 12 ounces of sugar and 4 cups of roughly chopped rhubarb over low heat. Keep on heat for 15 – 20 minutes stirring regularly. Strain and refrigerate. Keep up to one week.

The Drifter

Labor Day Cocktails

½ part Fernet-Branca
1 ½ part Zaya Rum
1 part pineapple juice
½ part simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a fluted Collins glass. Garnish with pineapple fronds and 4 drops of bitters.

What are your thoughts on these Labor Day cocktails? Will you be raising a cocktail to the Union workers?

National Red Wine Day

Wine Wednesdays: Celebrate National Red Wine Day with Archer Roose

It seems quite fitting that National Red Wine Day would fall on Wine Wednesday. Although you can enjoy the crimson-colored vino every day or the year, on National Red Wine Day, all rules are out the window. For those not in the know, red wine varietals include merlot, pinot noir, Bordeaux, cabernet sauvignon, as well as blends like shiraz. No matter your preferred red wine varietal, we here to help you celebrate beyond the day to honor red wine. If you are single, drinking in moderation, or can’t find or don’t own a corkscrew, we invite you to try Archer Roose red wines in a can.

National Red Wine Day

Did you know that red wine is number 1 on the list of top favorite types of wines? According to the NationalToday.com Red Wine Day Survey, 8% of Americans say wine is their alcoholic beverage of choice. And 12% admit to finishing an entire bottle of wine by themselves. While we do want you to enjoy as much wine as you can, we want to introduce you to the 250ML Can

[block]1[/block]Archer Roose Malbec

National Red Wine Day

A soulful 100% Malbec interpretation brought to you from the high altitude and desert climate of Mendoza, Argentina, the Malbec capital of the world. This classic Malbec features flavor notes of blackberry and cherry and a 13.5% ABV. A pack of 4 Archer Roose Malbec is available for $16.00.

[block]2[/block]Archer Roose Red Spritz

National Red Wine Day
A red wine lover’s answer to the question: “what do I drink in the summer?” This low-ABV, low-calorie dry sparkling red wine is best served chilled. It is a refreshing summertime accompaniment for a red wine lover’s charcuterie or backyard BBQ. Its flavor notes include dark fruit and subtle undertones of cocoa. The sparkling red wine is made from organic grapes, boasts only ninety calories, is gluten-free, vegan and only 6% ABV. A pack of 4 Archer Roose Red Spritz can be yours for $11.00.

Both the Malbec and Red Spritz ships nationwide from www.convivewines.com.

 

 

Perfect July 4th Sips

Red, White and Booze: Perfect July 4th Sips to Enjoy

Are you ready to raise your glass in a patriotic toast to celebrate America’s independence from England? No adult 4th of July celebration is complete without one or more delicious red, white, and blue cocktail to raise to old glory. Luckily we’ve got you covered with the perfect July 4th sips, a collection of patriotic cocktail options to enjoy while you party the day way.

Perfect July 4th Sips

We’ve got decadent libations from some of the most distinctive spirit brands, including Bacardi Rum, Facundo Rum, Tanteo Tequila, and Nosotros Tequila. We’ve even included a very patriotic cocktail from Miami’s Casa Tua Cucina at Saks Brickell City Centre. For those not currently enjoying Miami’s weather and beaches, you can create this drink (and all featured above) right at home thanks to the recipes below.

American Dream

American Dream Cocktail

2 oz. Blue Lavender Infused Gin
2 oz. Raspberry Sour Foam
1 oz. Lemon Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
1 Mint Leaf
Blue base: infuse the gin with dock anchan flower and dry lavader, add 1 oz of fresh lime juice and 1 oz of simple syrup, shake vigorously and pour on wine glass over ice.
Raspberry foam: fill the siphon with fresh strained raspberry juice, 2 egg white, 1 oz simple syrup. Charge the siphon with 1 cream charges. Spray in the glass. Decorate with a fresh mint leaf.

Bacardi Lime Frozen Daiquiri

Bacardi Lime Frozen Daiquiri

2 parts Bacardi Lime Flavored Rum
1 part fresh Lime Juice
¾ parts Simple Syrup
Lime Zest
Lime Wheel
Combine all ingredients in a blender with 2 cups of ice. Blend until smooth. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Red Rum Punch

Bacardi Red Rum Punch

¾ parts Bacardi Limon
¾ parts Bacardi Raspberry
¾ parts Bacardi Superior
½ parts Grenadine
2 parts Sweet & Sour
1 part Cranberry Juice
Garnish with Lemon Wedge or Mint
Pour all ingredients into a punch bowl that is filled with ice blocks. Stir. Garnish the bowl with lemon wheels and raspberries.

The NEO Fleur

Facundo Rum The NEO Fleur

1½ parts Facundo NEO
¾ parts Hibiscus Syrup
½ parts Cucumber juice
¾ parts Fresh Lime Juice
½ parts Martini Bianco
Add ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Serve in a chilled Champagne glass, and garnish with an elegant Cucumber twist.

Sweet Heat Margarita

Tanteo Tequila Sweet Heat Margarita

2 oz. Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz. Agave Nectar
4 – 5 Raspberries
Rim with Tanteo Jalapeño Salt
Shake, muddle and stir the Sweet Heat Margarita for a flavorful twist on the spicy margaritas you already love. The subtle sweetness will draw you in, and the spicy jalapeño will keep you wanting more.

Habanero Coconut Margarita

Tanteo Tequila Habanero Coconut Margarita

2 oz. Tanteo Habanero Tequila
1 oz Coconut Cream
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 oz. Agave Nectar
Garnish with Red
Coconut is a unique addition to a spicy margarita, adding the tropical flair that just feels right when you’re hovering around the grill on a steamy July afternoon. A dash of lime juice takes it over the top.

Chipotle Blueberry Margarita

Tanteo Tequila Chipotle Blueberry Margarita

2 oz. Tanteo Chipotle Tequila
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Blue Curacao
3/4 oz. Agave Nectar
Garnish with a Blueberry skewer
Blueberries pack in plenty of flavors without the sweetness overload you’d get from other fruits. Surprisingly low in sugar, the flavor plays nicely with Chipotle infused Tequila and Blue Curacao, combining for a blue that tastes as appetizing as it looks.

Nosotros Blood + Sand

Nosotros Reposado Blood + Sand

¾ oz Nosotros Reposado
¾ oz orange juice (preferably blood orange)
¾ oz Cherry Heering
¾ oz dry vermouth
3 dash vanilla extract
Shake and double strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with an orange peel and a cherry

We hope you have a safe time celebrating the July 4th weekend celebrations and partake in one or more of these perfect July 4th sips.

Jonathan Van Ness & Smirnoff Celebrate Pride w/ the House of Pride Event

What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riot than to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. With a long-standing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community, Smirnoff and Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness hosted a House of Pride event toasting to World Pride and Pride Month. The House of Pride event, which also celebrated Smirnoff’s 2019 “Welcome Home” campaign, featured a home-inspired, immersive pop-up experience features six insta-worthy rooms; each painted one of the colors of the pride flag.

The “red” room boldly stated “My Bed. My Business” and featured a giant bed with room for many; an orange room which featured a vintage kitchen; a yellow room which promised makeovers and playing dress-up; and a green room with a garden of Eden-like swing.

The event featured so many stunning drag queens who sprinkled utter fabulousness throughout the entire event. Forgive us for not getting all their names but once the Smirnoff started flowing…you know how that goes.

Numerous cocktails flowed as Fashion Designer and Celebrity DJ, Timo Weiland, kept the crowd moving with some of the most iconic songs by LGBT+ loved artists old and new. The “blue” room featured international cocktails, almost all of which were made with the classic Smirnoff 21 “Love wins” vodka.

As the event was underway, host Jonathan Van Ness made his entrance in epic pride fashion, arriving in a rainbow taxi. sipped on specialty Smirnoff cocktails while toasting to Pride Month and the LGBTQIA+ community with guests. Check out Jonathan Van Ness’ Welcome Home speech on our Instagram.

Jonathan Van Ness and Smirnoff celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and ongoing fight for equality with House of Pride pop-up on June 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Smirnoff)Driving home the global celebration of Pride, and Smirnoff’s Welcome Home campaign, were the bottles of Smirnoff vodka which boasted the word “welcome” in various languages including English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

The revelry continued well into the night as the Jonathan Van Ness and Smirnoff House of Pride event was the place to be. When we left, the party was still in full swing and the vodka cocktails still flowed.

Canard-Duchêne Cuvée

Canard-Duchêne Celebrates Summer with New Cuvée V Champagne

Nothing says Summer like a perfectly chilled glass of champagne on a hot day. Even better if it’s an exquisite Cuvée. We were incredibly excited to join Winemaker Laurent Fédou in welcoming the new Canard-Duchêne Cuvée V Champagne, created in honor of founder Victor Canard.

Canard-Duchêne Cuvée V Champagne

As they say, onwards and upwards; and that’s exactly what we did as we enjoyed a “flight” of Canard-Duchêne Cuvée champagnes like no other. Held at the unique and breathtaking location on Lafayette, we enjoyed a glass or more of different Canard-Duchêne champagne on every floor.

Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Champagne Event

Our journey started with the Charles VII Blanc de Blancs Brut, an aromatic white fruit varietal (pear and lychee) which boasts a soft golden hue and smooth palate.  Next up was the Canard-Duchêne Brut, the original style Cuvée. Much like a Pinot, it boasts an intense nose of fresh fruits.

Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Champagne Event

This golden-hued Cuvée is bursting with delicate bubbles and features buttery brioche and fruit notes. We continued on to the first rose Cuvée of the evening (and our favorite), the delicately sweet Charles VII Smooth Rosé. 

Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Champagne Event

Like perfection in a bottle, this delicate pink-hued rosé Cuvée boasts a fresh and slick palate with a fruity finish. You’ll love its sweet flavors of red berries with raspberry notes. Although we could have stayed on this floor for the rest of the evening, we had to experience the star of the event, the new Canard-Duchêne Cuvée V Champagne.

Canard-Duchêne Cuvée V Champagne Event

Boasting the boldest palate, the straw gold colored Cuvée V Champagne is fresh and vibrant, with a persistent and aromatic finish. It featuring a slightly toasted nose with pastry, baked lemon, and white floral notes. The gleaming champagne boasts a steady stream of tiny bubbles rising to the surface. The next stop in our “flight of Canard-Duchêne Cuvée” was the Charles VII Blanc de Noirs Brut.

Canard-Duchêne Cuvée

As you can guess, this varietal was more intense than its sister, the Charles VII Blanc de Blancs Brut. Its spicy notes add to its complex nose; while its aromas of pear and lightly candied fruits gives this golden-yellow champagne its mature palate. Our final and last Cuvée was the second of the two rosés, the elegant and powerful Canard-Duchêne Rosé.

Canard-Duchêne Rose Cuvée Canard-Duchêne Rose Cuvée

This bubbly rosé boasts an intense and fresh strawberry and raspberry nose and palate with subtle spicy notes. Its slightly rosy color has a beautiful pearl finish and lots of bubbles. We must compel you to add any or all of these six Cuvées to your must-drink list.