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I’m As Comfortable As My Drink: A Basil Hayden’s Valentine’s Day Cocktail

Let’s discuss what real comfort is.  With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, some of us may choose to sit up in bed, gleefully watch and embrace it as it comes over the horizon. However, there are also those of us who would rather pull the covers over our heads and rouse ourselves from a too-long slumber well after the horizon, high noon and sunset has taken place.  For whatever motivates, thrills, ails, or annoys you about Valentine’s Day, take comfort in this fact. Whether you are with the one you love, searching for that one you love, crying over that one you love or in a great place not having to deal with love at the moment, there’s comfort to be had.  That comfort comes in a glass of Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Isn’t it funny how when we’re sad, we drink. When we’re depressed, we drink.  Lonely?  Pour me a glass! On the prowl? Fill’er up!  In love, ‘how about we share a glass’? Content, ‘then pour a glass to celebrate my life’.

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Comfort foods are supposed to be looked upon as enjoyable little fattening concoctions with not much thought given to waistlines and gym memberships.  So while they don’t consider certain pleasantries of life, they do still bear the moniker of comfort. That also makes me ask that if we don’t find little bits of enjoyment every now within the disciplines and abandonments in life, is it still living?

Dave, Basil and Toddy's Somalian Retreat

So for Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share my own Basil Hayden’s recipe for two memorable points of comfort I had this winter.  In late 2015 I enjoyed the most amazing hot toddy in Midtown and last month I had a delightful culinary experience with a Somalian tea in Harlem.  So when thinking of my profound bachelorhood this Valentine’s Day it made me realize that in the downtime between relationships while you’re getting to know yourself again, you find those times to teach, enlighten pamper and comfort yourself through discipline, introspection and of course dining.

I call this “Dave, Basil & Toddy’s Somalian Retreat”

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2 ounces Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Why:  It’s a great bourbon when spiciness and a full-bodied flavor profile that really enhances a toddy
1 Tablespoon of Coconut Sugar
Why:  I didn’t want it too sweet and I find that honey sometimes overpowers
1 cup of hot water
1 Fresh nutmeg grated to a pinch
2 -3 Cloves
1/4 – 1/2 Teaspoon of Cardamom
1 Fresh Cinnamon stick grated to a small pinch
Fresh Ginger grated to a pinch
2 Tablespoons of Milk
1 Lemon
Why: The presence of lemon & milk will curdle, so the lemon is here mainly for a little bit of the zest)
Black tea bag
Add the boiling hot water to a cup then add the Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.  Next add in your nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger.  Stir then add sugar, more or less to taste and milk and stir again.  Finally, run your lemon over your zester 2-3 times, throw in the grated cinnamon stick and the tea bag and you’re done.  (The tea bag is really just to slowly permeate through the toddy with an intensifying flavor/garnish).

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I’m no chef or mixologist, but I am an avid foodie and do relish in a nice flavor profile and I really enjoyed my Basil Hayden’s “comfortable” little mash-up of my favorite comfort drinks this season.  With whatever or whoever you’re doing this Valentine’s Day or this winter, may it bring you comfort enough to either land a screw or be just fine with screwing the 14th.

As always please remember to drink responsibly. 

Teeling Whiskey: Sample One, Choose All

Why does everyone usually bring a bottle to a holiday party?  Possibly it could be that it’s easier to choose a red or white than figure out who’s gluten-free or dairy-free.  Perhaps it may be a bit simpler to ponder an imported or a domestic spirit rather than gnashing your teeth over the GMO, organic, grass-fed and locally grown conundrums.  When did alcohol become the universal language?  Maybe it was when people became so intoxicated that they really didn’t care what anyone was saying as long and the ale was pouring.  Well, whatever the reasoning, that universal language seems to be spoken by all who want to have a good time and the desire to just sip a nice drink and lighten up. Which will certainly be the case when the Teeling Whiskey is flowing.

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While I could find problems within the universal language, I choose to find solutions.  Choosing one, as some would have it could be a taxing dilemma, so I say choose it all.  Just do it in doses.  That’s what Teeling Whiskey has done with their Trinity Pack.  Direct from Dublin comes Teeling Whiskey, that has been producing non-chill filtered, aged mature whiskey since 1782 (Yes, you read that correctly).

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My choice for an appropriate holiday sampler for your intended host or hostess, after their guests have gone the hell home, is the Teeling Whiskey Trinity Pack.  This pack offers Teeling’s classic in a neatly packaged handsome set that contains one 5CL bottle of their Single Grain, smooth and satisfying, Small Batch, unique and cultivated and their Single Malt, deep and robust Irish Whiskies.  This pack can give the taster a nice cocktail featuring each of the brand’s infamous patented recipes (or just sample them yourself and pick your favorite to give as a gift; either way you can’t lose).

Find the Teeling Whiskey varieties at your finer wine and spirit retailers and as always please remember to drink and share responsibly this holiday season.

Cookware Essentials for Easy Thanksgiving Cooking and Preparation

To say cooking thanksgiving dinner is a huge undertaking is an incredible understatement, especially if you don’t have the right tools. We could our first turkey class Thanksgiving and although it came out perfect, we absolutely did not have the right kitchenware and utensils to properly handle, carve, and serve our turkey. Thanks to some wonderful cookware and kitchen appliances from brands like All-Clad Cookware, and Bella Housewares, cooking for Thanksgiving will be a breeze. Today we share the latest in Roasters, Slow Cookers, and Cooking Utensils, the must-have cookware essentials for easy Thanksgiving cooking and preparation. Our list is sure to make your Thanksgiving preparations easier….you’re on your own when it comes to dealing with your family.

BELLA HO– USEWARES 18QT Turkey Roaster

Bella 18QT Turkey Roaster
The BELLA Turkey Roaster is the second oven you’ve always wanted on Thanksgiving. It roasts up to a 22lb turkey and has an 18QT capacity. Not only does it free up your oven for other parts of your Thanksgiving feast, it saves you a lot of back pain from the constant bending while checking on your turkey. A metal rack is included with the Bella Turkey Roaster for cooking convenience and the temperature may be set from 150 degrees up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

ALL-CLAD ROASTING PANS

[block]4[/block]All-Clad Stainless Steel Covered Roaster            All-Clad Stainless Steel Roti Combo                       All-Clad Hard Anodized Roti Combo

The All-Clad Stainless Steel Covered Roaster is ideal for roasting large cuts of meat and turkeys. It’s made up of heavy gauge 18/10 stainless steel which makes cleaning up a breeze and features large loop handles for maneuverability. This roaster features a unique rack with lifting handles for easy removal of large foods after roasting. This covered roaster also features a pressure release on the lid for easy removal.

The stainless steel All-Clad Roti Combos are ideal for turkeys and rib roasts. The V-shaped nonstick roasting rack elevates foods to generate even cooking and browning. Stovetop safe for pan gravies after roasting. The roaster comes with a set of 2 stainless turkey forks, ergonomically designed for comfort.

The versatile All-Clad Hard anodized Roti Combo is best suited for roasting large cuts of meat or whole poultry and boasts a nonstick v-shaped rack allows for even browning of meat and collection of natural juices in the pan for basting, glazing or a gravy base.

BELLA TRIPLE-SLOW-COOKER

Bella 3 x 2.5QT Triple Slow Cooker with Lid Rests

When all your stovetop burners are going, the BELLA 3 x 2.5QT Triple Slow Cooker with Lid Rests (in gorgeous rose gold – one of many available colors) adds much more needed cooking capabilities. No more waiting until something is done cooking to start on another. This triple slow cooker is perfect for entertaining family and friends. It boasts individual temperature control knobs to ensure that each meal is cooked just right while its non-skid feet help prevent spills.

ALL-CLAD STOVETOP SLOW COOKER

All-Clad d7 8 Qt. Slow Cooker

For those of you who prefer stovetop slow cooking (and has a free burner), you will love this innovative pot from All-Clad. This stainless steel beauty boasts seven-layer bonded-metal construction, offering doubly uniform heat conduction with 25% less weight than cast iron. Count on this kitchen-to-table cooker for perfect browning, caramelizing and slow cooking of everything from tender pot roast to hearty stews and braises.

ALL-CLAD COOKING UTENSILS

All-Clad Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils

All-Clad Measuring Spoons                                                                                                                                     All-Clad Potato Masher

When following recipes, precise measurements are key, especially if it’s a recipe you’re trying for the first time. The beautifully crafted stainless steel All-Clad Measuring Spoons set comes chained together to keep the entire set easily accessible. This set includes a 1/4, 1/2, 1 teaspoon and 1 Tablespoon measures. The rounded spoons are also conveniently designed to glide into small openings of spice jars and small containers.

No one likes lumpy mashed potatoes or sweet potato pies, with the All-Clad Potato Masher, you will easily mash vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, avocados and bananas.  Thanks to its thin slits which efficiently mashes while its high sides reach into corners of most bowls and pans, so food pieces don’t escape.

Once Again, It’s Whisky Weather: Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Ahh Fall weather is here!  The lovely crisp weather, the leaves beautifully changing color, the dressing in cozy layers once again and the oncoming excitement of the holiday seasons are here.  Then the alarm on your phone goes off.  Suddenly you realize that the crisp weather will mean the seasonal calling of the heating oil guy again.  Those so-called leaves mean you have to get out the old rake on what would’ve been a restful Saturday morning again.  The cozy layers may not fit after a couple of seasons in the closet so it’s time to go shopping again.  Finally, questions of ‘who’s house’, ‘who’s bringing what’ and ‘how many gifts do I have to buy this year’ creep in to make Thanksgiving more of a chore to feed the greedy and the December holidays a burden on your credit cards.

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There can always be positives and negatives with anything.  However, isn’t it quite interesting how a great cocktail can be the perfect remedy to commemorate a wonderful day or to salvage a horrible one?  So when faced with the annoying task of clearing the yard of a million acorns or grumbling that it’s too early for the seasonal cashmere to be on sale, find some way to cope with the inevitable.  Lemons make lemonade.

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Now save some of those lemons for a real cocktail.  While many attribute whisky to the South and Ireland, this cosmopolitan New York guy says whisky is year round, but especially relevant in the Fall.  Why?  Hot toddies!  They’re that deliciously soothing comfort food in drink form that gratifyingly sneaks up on you with its warm spicy and fragrant kick.  For my inaugural hot toddy of the season, I’ve chosen the wonderfully crafted Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.

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Four Roses has been creating their award-winning whiskies for over a century from their home in Louisville, Kentucky.  Their Small Batch Whisky is handcrafted from a combination of four of their select bourbons for a unique and distinct homegrown flavor hence the moniker of Small Batch.  The result creates an excellent hot toddy since Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky has a naturally spicy and woodsy flavor with a bit of sweet that when added to the ingredients for a hot toddy make a flavor profile that is very satisfying. Check out the simple hot toddy recipe using Four Roses Small Batch.  With each sip try not to take Fall and everything that will ensue from it so seriously.

Classic Hot Toddy

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 ounce Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

1 tablespoon honey
½ ounce lemon juice
cup hot water
Cinnamon stick or lemon wheel for garnish
Combined the first four ingredients into the bottom of a warmed mug.  If desired, garnish with the cinnamon stick or lemon.

Side note:  You’ll really be satisfied with using Four Roses Small Batch for your hot toddy.  The notes lend themselves so harmoniously to a spicy hot toddy.  Also, you’ll want to get the big bottle since a great hot toddy is so smooth and comforting, you’ll reach the bottom of the mug before you know it so better quadruple up on the ingredients and make a whole carafe.  You’ll thank me later!

Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky is available now at your finer liquor, wine and spirits retailers and as always please remember to drink responsibly.

SeaPak Introduces Shrimp Spring Rolls

Sometimes on rainy days, you don’t want to leave the house (most times you can barely leave the couch). So what do you do on a rainy weekend day when you don’t feel like cooking but you know not eating is not an option – you get some great, easy snacks ready of course. SeaPak, the #1 retail brand in the frozen specialty seafood category, has a delicious lineup of quick, simple and ready to heat-and-eat seafood snacks which now includes restaurant favorite – Shrimp Spring Rolls.

The new Shrimp Spring Rolls are handmade, crunchy and delicious with tender shrimp and crispy vegetables tucked inside. They bake to golden brown in less than 15 minutes. Eat them piping hot out of the oven of dip them in the delicious Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce that is also included. No need to worry about ruining your diet, one serving of three rolls contains only 170 calories and 9 grams of fat.

To try this box of deliciousness, click on the Store Locator to get a list of retailers near you.