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1000 Stories Wines: An Evening With Bob Blue And Red Wines

On a typical rainy Spring evening in New York, I was ushered to the back of Fine & Rare restaurant at 9 East 37th Street, to a grand table and intimately introduced to a wonderful collaboration of wine and spirit for the palette in the form of 1000 Stories Wines. On any night, a lot can be found nestled in the little nooks and crannies of the city streets. Delightful little eateries with locally-sourced specials, goodnight kisses had under the awnings of Old-World high-rises and the little peeks of west and eastside sky-line pushing their way through the dusky fog.

It was on such an evening in classic New York fashion that I found myself tucked behind a beautifully arranged table for sixteen at the wonderfully hidden restaurant.  The restaurant can usually be found offering up cool live jazz-infused acoustics to go with your pappardelle Bolognese and burrata heirloom tomato salad.

1000 Stories is a line of exquisite and well-executed wines that distinguish themselves from the lot as they are aged in whiskey barrels.  The fineness of the grape meets the distilled beauty of the whiskey in 1000 Stories Wines and creates broad flavor profiles that pull from the diversity of the loveliness of Zinfandel and Bordeaux grapes and merges them with the lingering and definitive essences of oaky, sweet and herbal whiskey.

On that evening, winemaker and co-founder of 1000 Stories Wines, Bob Blue gave a verbal soft-sell of how the brand came to be and then walked us through an exclusive tasting of the brand’s renowned line-up together with one of its latest, The Prospector’s Proof.

We started the pre-dinner tasting with a 2016 Zinfandel Batch 42, a peppery full rounded fruity wine then moved onto 2016 Zinfandel Batch 52, a wine sourced from grapes all over the Californian Redwood and Sanel Valleys that carried a welcomed depth that grapes from this Mendocino Region are recognized for. Then onto 2016 Zinfandel Batch 54 which was smoother yet carried a delightfully weighted depth while being soft and satisfying on the palette.  The 2017 Gold Rush Red was strong and full-bodied with its mélange of intense and bold grapes from the California Hills.

Finishing off the bunch was 2017 The Prospectors Proof Cabernet Sauvignon, another bold wine with the spiced pop of vanilla and fragrant herbs from the whiskey barrels. With each wine, it was important to note the presence of the grape characteristics and the presence of the whiskey attributes working together. With the lesser-bodied wines, the sharp higher tannin zinfandels in their various aged stages allowed hints of the whiskey notes to carry through more while the Gold Rush and Prospector’s Proof carried weights that created a harmonious intermingling of full flavor. Altogether, it was an evening of wine lessons that, when combined with better wine understandings, left us all with our favorites and a greater appreciation for brands like 1000 Stories Wines; brands that have found a way to make a wonderful staple even better. It was a delectable evening filled with continuous delights. We’ll end with some of the decadent desserts we enjoyed.

National Hot Toddy Day

National Hot Toddy Day: Warm Up From the Cold Winter Weather

The winter season always promises many cold and wet days. On those days, you’re may find yourself opting to stay home as close to your heater as possible. There’s nothing like spending a relaxing evening at home except if you complete the warm and cozy night with a hot toddy. In celebration of National Hot Toddy Day (January 11th), we’re sharing four great hot toddy recipes to enjoy at home. Let the mugfuls from Tullamore D.E.W., Fistful of Bourbon, Facundo Eximo Rum, and Havana Club Añejo Clásico Rum warm you up from the inside out as you stay away from the cold, rainy winter weather.

You may remember we highlighted one of these hot toddy recipes on My Life on and off the Guest List during the start of the holiday season. We hope you enjoyed it then and we definitely hope to raise a mug or to now. Do you know what’s wonderful about hot toddies, besides their delicious tastes? They can help relieve the symptoms of the cold and flu, making it perfect to enjoy now. Without further ado, please enjoy these drink recipes in celebration of honoring the hot toddy.

Hot Toddy, created by Tim Herlihy, National Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W.

National Hot Toddy Day

2 parts Tullamore D.E.W. Original
.25 parts lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
Top with boiling water and a clove-studded lemon
First, warm a mug with hot water, then discard water and combine ingredients above. Stir before serving, garnish with lemon.

Fistful Toddy, created by Charlotte Voisey, William Grant & Sons Director of Brand Advocacy

National Hot Toddy Day

2 parts Fistful of Bourbon
2 parts hot water
1/2 part mint simple syrup
½ part fresh lime juice
1 bar spoon crème de cacao
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine ingredients in a mug. Garnish with a large sprig of mint and freshly grated nutmeg.

Rooibos Toddy

National Hot Toddy Day

1 part FACUNDO EXIMO
1 1/2 parts Hot Rooibos Tea
1/4 part Ginger Syrup
1/4 part HUM Liqueur
Lemon wedge or wheel, for garnish
Method: Combine ingredients in a Hot Toddy Glass. Stir gently until syrups are properly diluted. Garnish with a Lemon wedge or wheel.

The 8th Day

National Hot Toddy Day

Bacardi

1 1/2 parts HAVANA CLUB Añejo Clásico Rum
3 parts Chai Tea
1 3/4 parts coconut milk
1 part simple syrup or 1 tbs White Sugar
Method: Prepare Chai Tea. While the tea steeps, warm coconut milk over medium heat, do not boil. Combine ingredients in a high temperature resistant mixing glass, adding rum last and stir. Serve in an Irish Coffee Cup or preferred glass coffee cup, and garnish with a cinnamon stick

With these hot cocktail recipes, you’ll be all set to enjoy this delicious and toasty drink. If you have a favorite hot toddy recipe you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below.

Comsi Comsa Apple Dry: NEW Dry Sparkling Apple Wine

Did you know that grapes are not the only fruit that can be fermented to make a delicious wine! You may remember we introduced you to Sauvage’s Comsi Comsa Sparkling Apple Crisp Wine, and Comsi Comsa Oak Aged Apple Wine. We’re more than happy to present to you the latest launch in Sauvage’s sparkling wine range, Comsi Comsa Apple Dry. A dry version of their delicious sparkling apple wines.

Comsi Comsa Apple Dry is a medium-bodied, dry apple wine with a pale gold color. It boasts a crisp, refreshing, clean, and elegant taste that you will absolutely enjoy. The beauty of Comsi Comsa Apple Dry is that you can drink it any time of year. Don’t let the fact that it is made of apples make you think it’s only to be enjoyed during the fall season, Apple Dry is wonderful year’ round. Like it’s predecessors, Comsi Comsa Apple Dry is made in the classic champagne style from all natural ingredients. It is produced with a variety of apples sourced from local New York State farms, boasts persistent bubbles, has little to no residual sugar, and a 12% ALC/VOL.

Comsi Comsa Apple Dry is very much like a brut champagne. It is a sparkling wine that is dry to the taste; like its name, is “like a bubbly and like a cider.”

The best way to enjoy Comsi Comsa Apple Dry is served chilled. It is perfect as an apéritif and is a compliment to virtually any meal, thanks to its balanced acidity. Like Comsi Comsa Apple Crisp, Comsi Comsa Apple Dry is all natural, gluten-free, and kosher. This dry varietal is available now in 750ml bottles across the five New York City boroughs.  You can find the Comsi Comsa range of sparkling wines at 55th Wine & Spirits, 67 Wine & Spirits, W & J WInes, Cabrini Wine & Spirits, and many more locations.

 

 

Rom-Coms and Skinnygirl Cocktails for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is almost here and for many singles, there are no romantic dates planned, no flowers being delivered, and no heart-shaped box of chocolates. For many of us, all we have to look forward to is a night in possibly torturing ourselves with romantic comedies, non-Valentine’s Day-affiliated chocolates, and most importantly, cocktails. Seeing as some of us singles tend to overindulge in chocolates and cocktails during holidays like Valentine’s Day, we present to you the pairing of Skinnygirl Candy and wine and of course, some low-calorie Skinnygirl Cocktails for Valentine’s Day.

Skinnygirl-Cocktails-Valentines-Day-www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com

If you’re like us and happen to be “low keying it” on Valentine’s Day, maybe watching your favorite romantic comedies on Netflix, grab one or two of these cocktail recipes as you’re watching Shopgirl look for love, laughing at the infamous deli scene or drooling over vintage George Peppard, you’ll have the perfect cocktail to enjoy this Valentine’s Day!

Cocktails at Tiffany’s

Cocktails at Tiffany's

1 part Skinnygirl® Cucumber Vodka
1 part DeKuyper® Triple Sec
2 parts grapefruit juice
Flower for garnish
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, pour and garnish with a flower.

You’ve Got Martinis

You've Got Martinis
2 parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
Splash of dry vermouth
Fresh olives for garnish
Shake liquids with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with fresh olives.

When Vodka Met Cranberry

When Vodka Met Cranberry

1½ parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
2 parts cranberry juice
½ part fresh lime juice
½ part DeKuyper® Triple Sec
Lime for garnish
Pour all ingredients in a shaker, shake and strain into glass. Garnish with lime.

If you’re looking to keep it simple, try some low-calorie decadence with a Skinnygirl’s wine and candy pairing. These wine and chocolate pairings are a match made in heaven, so toast to the perfect duo with these Skinnygirl Wine and Skinnygirl Candy:

  1. Pair Skinnygirl® Cabernet Sauvignon with Skinnygirl Dark Chocolate Almond Truffles
    • Why it works: Chocolate with higher cocoa content works well with Skinnygirl® Cabernet Sauvignon as it highlights the mature tannins and bright acidity
  2. Pair Skinnygirl® Pinot Grigio with Skinnygirl Milk Chocolate Covered Almonds
    • Why it works: The almonds emphasize the rich, crisp flavors of Skinnygirl® Pinot Grigio and refresh the palate

Are you one of the singles spending Valentine’s Day alone? What are your plans for the day, do you celebrate, lament or ignore it? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Iowa Takes The Reigns: Templeton Rye Whiskey

It should come as no surprise that I love a good cocktail.  I’ve been to some great venues in the city for (and written about) thought-provoking, complex and layered drinks that walk the line between ‘superb evening’ and ‘life-changing night out’.  What I find just as interesting as the rinds, the zests, the infused this, the pickled that, and the other dizzying array of garnishes are the complementing secondary alcohols. The liqueurs, the syrups, the dash of aperitifs and the splashes of digestifs all in the name of mixology harmony are just wonderful to experience and pinpoint as they blend with the star. For with all the glad tidings in a highball or flute, it’s the star that begins it all.  It’s the star that steals my heart (not to mention my taste buds). This star is Templeton Rye Whiskey.

templeton rye

So it was that time of year for a Friendsgiving in Brooklyn which meant some very important decisions.  Of course, I was bringing a spirit as part of my culinary participation, but what spirit should I choose.  I had a lovely Kentucky bourbon whiskey and a bottle of Templeton Rye Whiskey, the pride of Templeton, Iowa. Well, I brought both to the affair and clearly one was the star.

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Templeton Rye Whiskey, the host-appointed star, captured that title for this very simple reason.  The presence of the rye takes away that sweet notes that can sometimes define the flavor of a bourbon whiskey.  Now while preference is always in the tastebuds of the beholder, on this day with all the sweet cranberries, candied yams, sweet potato and pecan pies and ambrosia salad remixes, the smoother rye-based Templeton offered up a more round and mellow flavor for a distinguished and crisp finish.  Interestingly enough, I enjoyed my glass of Templeton Rye neat and easily sipped away at delightful bursts of subtle spiciness with an herbal grain-like under-note as I laid back with a full belly and great cocktail in hand.  How also wonderfully fitting that Templeton Rye Whiskey also serves as a great digestif as well.

Templeton Rye Whiskey is available now at your finer Wine, Spirit and Alcohol retailers and as always please remember to drink responsibly!

 

The Revered Old, The Delicious New: Makar Glasgow Gin

Are you currently doing what I’m doing?  Are you begrudgingly going into the deep recesses of your closet to pull the Fall/Winter items to the forefront of your everyday rotation? Perhaps you can’t seem to let go of that favorite tank top or perfect sun-bleached khaki short but, let’s face it, Fall is here.  Now figure for a sec that you discovered buried behind your treasured summer linen suits and shirts, a delightful but surprisingly forgotten gem of an article of clothing that somehow became lost over the years.  For me, it was a pair of full cut trousers that my dad had made for me back in college.

Rendered by a pair of older masterful hands, my dad had made those trousers tons of times, but never in the fabric I brought to him. I picked out a crisp yet beautifully fluid Super 150’s taupe gray wool gaberdine.  Having only making these pants in thicker worsteds and twills, my dad and I arrived at a nice collaboration of the full cut I wanted, and I also got a lesson in a classic trouser cut in modern fabric.  The result was superb and my underlying lesson learned was that sometimes it’s better to have the knowledge and inspiration of an older learned hand to produce a combined great experience of modernity and a revered classic. That’s how I felt when sampling Makar Glasgow Gin.

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Here we have a brand new, under a year old gin that’s elegant, refined, crisp and bottled beautifully. The Glasgow Distillery Company was inspired by one of Glasgow’s original distilleries founded in Dundashill, Scotland in 1770.  What Glasgow Distillery took for their Makar Glasgow Gin was the focus on an intense and sophisticated flavor profile through small batching and a recipe of key local ingredients to ensure a unique and modern taste experience achieved via the way of time-honored tradition.

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The result?  Makar Glasgow Gin is a really great gin to cap off my official ‘Month of Gin’ series.  The melange of notes come together to create this juniper-led dry gin that is fresh and dare I say, sexy.  How can something taste sexy?  Well, take, for example, how I sampled this gin.  Simple, clean, over the rocks with just some orange zest.  When you taste a drink with an intricate flavor profile you have to pat attention to the subtleties.  That’s what makes it a sexy gin.  The subtleties are discreet, tease the taste buds and trigger synapses in the brain that case connections with the familiar and the pleasant as far as the notes go.  The citrus pop of the lemon peel, the herbal soothing of the angelica root & rosemary, the fragrant woodiness of the cassia bark and the coriander seeds and then the beautiful contradiction of the black pepper and licorice make a tantalizing and soothing cocktail.

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Since I’m waxing a bit of nostalgia, I think I’ll slip on those handsome trousers and fix myself another drink.  Sleek, sexy and complex with nods to classic, cultivated and familiar; that’s the modern way to drink.  Makar Glasgow Gin is available now at your finer wine, spirit and liquor stores and here at bespoke spirits.net, and as always, please remember to drink responsibly.

The Sartorial Spirit: Tanqueray Bloomsbury London Dry Gin

So for no other reason than that I was a bit on tequila overload this summer, I hereby dub this October the ‘Month of Gin’.  Why gin?  Well, why not?  Let’s chalk it up to the fact that this colder weather sends me back over to ‘that’ side of my closet again.  You know that side where all the flannels, chunky knits, down-quilted this, Harris Tweed that and double-faced wools live.  The overcoat has a place off of its seasonal hanger again and my fedoras and driver caps can comfortably perch atop my head again without fear of sweat. In other words, it’s the classic time for what really says menswear to shine.  A man can’t step out in a handsomely tailored overcoat, spongily cozy cable knit sweater, perfectly cropped grey flannel trousers and this season’s coveted camel Chelsea boot and not feel like the ultimate gentleman. So my gin-dubbing exists since nothing a gent can hold in his hand beside an attaché or cashmere-lined gloves, says more gent than a perfect gin cocktail.

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Many gins exist, but if I have peak double-breasted lapels and long-wing brogues on the brain, then it stands to reason that the benchmark of gins lies in the hands of London’s own Tanqueray.  A perfect dry gin, this world-class staple has served to become the gentleman’s gin.  This year it has gone on to tantalize blokes with Tanqueray Bloomsbury London Dry Gin.

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Part of what makes  special is its history.  This recipe was originally crafted by  in the 1880s who improved upon his family’s recipe with added elements, the biggest of which being Italian berries, coriander, angelica and classically juniper berries.  The result, named after the city where Charles’ developed the recipe, is a smooth and crisp flavor with a hidden pop of sweetness.  However, the dry low-key tartness of the gin is preserved to create a flavor profile that is familiar with a twist.  The underlying notes of coriander and angelica usher in a fresh, dare I say slightly herbal, flavor that balances perfectly with the berries without sacrificing the essence of the gin.

Part of what makes Tanqueray Bloomsbury London Dry Gin special is its history.  This recipe was originally crafted by Charles Waugh Tanqueray in the 1880s who improved upon his family’s recipe with added elements, the biggest of which being Italian berries, coriander, angelica and classically juniper berries.  The result, named after the city where Charles’ developed the recipe, is a smooth and crisp flavor with a hidden pop of sweetness.  However, the dry low-key tartness of the gin is preserved to create a flavor profile that is familiar with a twist.  The underlying notes of coriander and angelica usher in a fresh, dare I say slightly herbal, flavor that balances perfectly with the berries without sacrificing the essence of the gin.

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For my sampling of this delightful gin, I kept it nice and easy which allowed me to experience the true heart of the flavor.  I enjoyed Tanqueray Bloomsbury London Dry Gin with a a touch of soda and a combination of Meyer lemon and lime zests.  It was very soothing and delicious and quite distinguished in its finish.  So distinguished in fact, I slipped on a herringbone topper and enjoyed the rest of my glass while flipping through my Fall Mens September issues.  Hey, it’s what gents do!

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Tanqueray Bloomsbury London Dry Gin is a Limited Edition offering and available now at your finer wine, spirit and liquor retailers worldwide. Will you Tanqueray tonight?