Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pork and Clams: Portuguese Style

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I have this thing about fresh seafood.  It must be the very freshest for me, as I demand only the very best that money can buy.  Whenever I think about fish, it isn’t the kind that has rested in a freezer case- packaged in colorfully printed shrink wrapped-cryovac portions- sometimes for years before serving.  Nor is it prepared in a boil in bag directly from the microwave like many chain-type restaurants serve, calling this fresh fish.  They certainly have audacity for even calling this product; fish.

Whenever I travel to places that are famous for their seafood, I get hungry and thirsty!  Usually at the same time.  I’ve been doing a lot of book and cocktail events up in New England, so my sense of urgency only gets more profound as the weather (and the water) gets colder.  Oysters and clams just taste more vibrant with ample salinity come the colder weather. 

One of the places that I like to go to for the very best quality seafood that is somewhat close by if you live in the northern NJ or NYC/BK area, is named Seabra’s Marisqueira. 

I’m a huge fan of this restaurant- with free parking available both next door and across the street. (Hint: bring five bucks with you to tip the attendant)

This attractive restaurant, looking more like the authentic seafood restaurant located in Portugal, was established in the late 1980’s.  It is family owned and operated.  They have been serving brimming plates of absolutely the very best fresh seafood available to the market every day since then. 
They travel to the fresh seafood market in Hunt’s Point daily to ensure that the quality of their offerings say that this fish has never, ever been frozen.  You really can taste the difference in quality and texture.   I recommend this place very highly and gave them three stars when I wrote restaurant reviews for NJ Monthly Magazine.

http://njmonthly.com/articles/restaurant-reviews/seabras-marisqueira/

Wine also tastes better with seafood that screams of the cold and unforgiving ocean.  One wine in particular from the island of Australia, the Yalumba "The Y Series" Unwooded Chardonnay is perfectly geared to this kind of food.  Flavors that speak clearly of the frigid depths of the sea.  This wine is not a ‘butter-bomb’, nor is it all fruit-forward that most of all that you taste is cloying gobs of sweet glycerin and stewed fruits...  It speaks a language of citrus zest rubbed on sea-salt slicked slabs of wet slate.  It’s a most profoundly delicious wine at a very reasonable price. 

At DrinkupNY a wine for under fifteen bucks is a very good deal indeed.  And you can rest assured that the Yalumba drinks like more rarified wines, some costing three times as much. 
It does not have a lick of oak!  Stainless steel all the way!  Screams for seafood. What else do you need to know except open your checkbook and buy a case!  And because it is un-wooded, this wine will be as delicious today as it is a year from today. The Yalumba is both fresh and refreshing because it is not tainted by the curse that seems to plague many Australian wines, some costing much, much more.   And that is the curse of over oaking wines. 

Fresh Seafood for this wine should include a dish made famous at Seabra’s named Pork and
Clams.

What they do is impossibly simple, yet brilliant with wines that speak a certain crispness across the palate. 
I’m pretty sure that you’re not going to find Australian wines at a Portuguese restaurant, so put yourself into the very capable hands in this restaurant.  And if you are preparing this dish at home, by all means chill down a bottle of the Yalumba Y Series wine and relax yourself for a while.  Cheers!

Pork and Clams- Portuguese Style...
Ingredients
First you must marinade the pork butt for at least overnight...this is my marinade which I deciphered from eating at Seabra’s so many times.

2 pounds’ Berkshire (richer flavored) pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 bulbs garlic, peeled and smashed
2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup Yalumba Y-Series Chardonnay- go ahead, have a glass or two while you prepare this dish!
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, unstrained
1 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil (essential)
1 tablespoon Hot Spanish Paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 bay leaf

To Sautee the pork...
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons bacon fat or duck fat
2 cups chopped Spanish onions
4 tablespoon freshly minced garlic (NEVER used pre-peeled garlic cloves, it’s obscene and just lazy to use that awful stuff)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock (roast bones, add water, boil with aromatics and simmer)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato concasse’  boiled, peeled and de-seeded
5 pounds clams, in the shell, well purged and scrubbed (chill in the fridge overnight with cornmeal just covered with salted water, they’ll purge all the sand very nicely, leaving a non-gritty clam for your tasty cooking!)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Place the pork butt cubes into a large non-reactive container with a lid. In a food processor, combine the all the marinade ingredients except for the Bay leaf. Blend until smooth and pour over the pork. Close the container and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Add the Bay Leaf separately to the marinade container and remove before cooking. 

Place a large Le Creuset type Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and bacon or duck fat to the pan. Drain the pork from the marinade and set aside the marinade. Sear the pork pieces in the hot fat in batches, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn and do the same again so all sides are nice and crusty. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you finish all the pieces.
Add the onions to the hot fat in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 4-8 minutes. Add the crushed garlic to the pan and cook for 50 seconds. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute. Do not let the flour burn!

Add the chicken stock and the tomato paste- with the salt and reserved marinade to the pan and stir to combine. Stir constantly until simmering uniformly. Return the pork to the pan, simmer and then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to quite low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender.  I cook mine at least 2 hours if not more. Add the tomato concasse’ and clams in their (well-scrubbed) shells to the pan, stir to combine and cover. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the clams open, stirring occasionally, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the temperature to low, and sprinkle with the Italian parsley and serve with your Yalumba Y-Series Chardonnay in chilled glasses. 

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Warren Bobrow is the creator of the popular blog The Cocktail Whisperer and the author of nearly half a dozen books, including Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktail and Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails- his most recent book.

He's also written about cocktails for Saveur and Whole Foods/Dark Rye, Total Food Service, Eater, Serious Eats, Foodista, Distiller and Beverage Media among other outlets.  He’s taught the fine art of social media and food writing at the New School in New York and at the Institute for Culinary Education. Warren has also taught at Stonewall Kitchen in Maine.

Bobrow was a 2010 Ministry of Rum judge and was the only American food journalist asked to participate in FĂȘte de la Gastronomie, a nationwide celebration of French cuisine in Burgundy.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wines for the Super Bowl

By Liza B. Zimmerman

Given that the next big game will be held outside of San Francisco, drinking California wines would only be appropriate. Since the weather is likely to be divine, as it mostly is in California in the winter, a touch of sparkling might pair well with going to the game (or watching it on TV). That could be an austere Champagne or a fizzy Prosecco.

California is home to so many lovely Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay-based varietals as well. Many of the state's Rhone blends and roses are superb as well, such as the Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare rose is a blend of primarily Grenache and Mourvedre.

Sometimes it is fun to taste friends blind at halftime with a lineup of semi-known varietals. I once played around with a dozen fruit-forward and sublimely tannic Cape Blends from South Africa during the Super Bowl a few years ago in New York, but this could be done with Napa Cabernet Sauvignons, Coastal Red blends, Monterey Pinots or inventive whites.

The key is just to get each guest to bring a wine, within the theme, and then cover it up with silver foil or a Mylar bag (and put numbers on them with a big black marker). Everyone can taste and compare notes during commercials and if you are the host you can keep the cheat sheet at the ready and give hints if you like. Their real identity can also be a fun point of post-game discussion if your friends' team doesn't win.

Pairing Wines with Super bowl Foods
So everyone loves fried chicken. Even in San Francisco, which is reported to be one of the country's healthiest cities, we eat it by the bucket if it is suitably crispy. This kind of rich, intense fried food needs a wine with good acidity. So a sparkling wine or a cool-climate white, such as a German Riesling or Loire Valley white would pair beautifully.

Guacamole, even if it's home made, will need a richer, more intense wine. However it should be something not too tannic. A Bogle vineyards Merlot or even a lighter-bodied Pinot Noir, such as Heron--and those from many other regions in Italy--would do the trick. If you have the budget, those Russian River and Sonoma Coast Pinots would work beautifully as well.

If you want to do Taco Salad, a favorite in my family all-year round, you will need a more robust red. Something with a handful of tannins and a higher alcohol structure, such a the Broadside Margarita Vineyard Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel, will be compatible with the meat and spice of those taco chips. Big reds from the slightly hotter Sierra Foothills or Amador County will usually be a fit.

It you are putting that meat on the grill, think of pairing it with intense, high-alcohol reds that will step up to the sweetness in BBQ sauce or catsup on that burger. They can be simple, fruity and affordable: particularly if you are drinking them in a backyard. The Sobon Estate "Fiddletown," Zinfandel has long been one of my favorites for its richness and length. It has enough tannines to get out there with some of the most tender BBQ ribs or pulled pork in town. Enjoy that game!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pairing Pugliese Wines with Food

By Liza B. Zimmerman


The Southern region of Puglia, often called Apulia in English, is located on the Adriatic Sea and forms the heel of the “Italian boot.” It has long produced well-balanced whites and soft, fruit-juicy reds that pair well with so many meat and pasta dishes. It is also becoming an emerging region for roses made from the region's two star red grapes: Negroamaro and Primitivo.

This area also produces some of the best value wines coming out of the Italian Peninsula today, thanks to lower land and labor costs than in other regions of the country. The intense red grapes of Puglia were long secretly used to give color, tannins and acidity to wines made in the north (although few producers would like to discuss it). Tuscans have long joked about cars with Pugliese license plates parked outside of local wineries during harvest season.

Signature Style
Given much of the growing region's proximity to the sea, Puglia's wines tend to have great minerality and balance, according to wine producer Luigi Rubino of Tenute Rubino, one of the country's most modern producers in terms of fruit and oak use.

He also thinks that some of the country's best-priced wines have been produced in Puglia in the past decade. Major improvements in wine making techniques and quality have also been achieved without attendant price increases in that time period. Those have gone hand-in-hand with greater investments in the region as much of the land is still fairly affordable, compared to other Northern and Central Italian regions.

Pairing Possibilities
The simple red-fruit flavors of the region's reds, such as the Botromagno Primitivo, and soft tannins make them appealing with a wide range of meat pairings. Everything from a grilled burger to ribs marinated in a sweet and even a hot tomato sauce will make these wines zing.

According to Rubino, given Primitivo's tannin structure when it ages, it can be particularly lovely with aged cheeses and braised meat and stews. Don't be afraid to experiment with any number of meats from oxtail to short ribs. Almost anything with a hint of tomatoes or a sweeter sauce—even with a hint of spice—will pair beautifully with this varietal.

An aged Negroamaro will work well, according to Rubino, with a range of pastas with red sauce as well as well as wild game. He adds that wild boar and deer are sublime pairings. This grape also makes some fresh, intense and fruit-forward roses. They have much more in common with what I call the “rowdy roses” of Bordeaux than the salmon-pink versions from Provence in France.

Puglia also produces some notable white wines, particularly Malvasia, which can run from fairly dry to pretty sweet. The drier versions, which often have other indigenous grapes in them, such as Greco in the Botromango Gravina, work beautifully with a range of seafood dishes.

Rubino also likes the fresh acidly of the grape with dishes such as swordfish and scampi. He also adores it with sushi and I couldn't agree more, as long as it's fairly dry.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Korean Pot Roast with Zinfandel

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer


It’s finally gotten really cold outside.  It’s so cold that your tears seep from your eyes when you crack your front door, even before you walk outside into the bracing wind.  Your tears become frozen into icy daggers.  Your cold-cracked and bleeding fingers are tired of being shoved into gloves that just don’t keep your fragile digits quite warm enough for more than a few minutes at a time. 

By about noon, your stomach is already calling to you about what you could possibly eat to warm yourself deeply, from head to toe.  For this kind of cold weather there are the usual chicken potpies and uncertain bowls, brimming with oily slicks of steaming hot soup. 

What I require for frosty weather sustenance is a hearty glass of intensely flavored red wine to wash down an all day-cooked slab of beef, rendered low and slow to maximize the mineral and beefy intensity of the meat.

Sobon Estate "Hillside" Zinfandel is better wine than you should be drinking at a price that will not break the bank.  DrinkupNY stocks this marvelous slurp of black fruits, crushed gravel and brioche toast in every sumptuous sip of wine.  Zinfandel is bigger and meatier than your more feminine Pinot Noir and dare I say, those blush wines that are usually uncomplicated quaffs of sugary liquid.  Real Zinfandel like the Sobon Estate bears neither resemblance in color, nor the intensity of flavor to that the Madison Avenue marketers created with White Zinfandel wine. You know that stuff that hangs on in the realm of cheap, sugary and uncouth.

 Real Zinfandel wine is magnificent stuff, possessing deep Terroir and a sensation of riche.  Zinfandel is thick across the tongue and it coats the palate.  Zinfandel is your go/to for long cooked meats. 

Pot Roast, Korean Style. 
I’m a huge fan of Korean food. The people of this country seem to bring their passion for the very best in life-even to the simplest of foods like this pot roast.  There is quality and nostalgia in each life-giving sip of broth- this is not high volume canned stuff- but it is the culmination of many thousands of year of cooking techniques, many of which you cannot easily duplicate in the home kitchen, but this following method makes easy work of your hard to find time in the kitchen.

Ingredients       
 ¼ cup peanut oil      
1 cup homemade beef stock
1/4 cup full strength soy sauce
1 cup raw sugar or raw honey
12 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon Chinese sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly crushed ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper sauce
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon freshly crushed peppercorns
5 pound boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cornstarch (essential to dissolve in stock)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 cup Zinfandel wine                                                                       
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Process
Heat a dutch oven to just under smoking.  Add about ¼ cup of peanut oil. Add beef. Brown on all sides.  Add the sugar or raw honey, sautee.  Add the garlic, sautee some more.  Add the red pepper sauce, the peppercorns and the Zinfandel wine to deglaze.  Add the onion and the cornstarch.  Cover and slow cook for at least eight hours.

Sprinkle with both sesame oil and green onions right before serving with copious glasses of your Zinfandel wine.   Serve soy sauce at the table for additional salting if necessary. 

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Warren Bobrow is the creator of the popular blog The Cocktail Whisperer and the author of nearly half a dozen books, including Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktail and Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails- his most recent book.

He's also written about cocktails for Saveur and Whole Foods/Dark Rye, Total Food Service, Eater, Serious Eats, Foodista, Distiller and Beverage Media among other outlets.  He’s taught the fine art of social media and food writing at the New School in New York and at the Institute for Culinary Education. Warren has also taught at Stonewall Kitchen in Maine.

Bobrow was a 2010 Ministry of Rum judge and was the only American food journalist asked to participate in FĂȘte de la Gastronomie, a nationwide celebration of French cuisine in Burgundy.
Photo Credit: KoreanBapSang

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wines for New Year’s

By Liza B. Zimmerman

I can drink bubbles all year long. They are great on their own and pair beautifully with almost anything but steak, although a little tartare would go well with some sparkling roses. You don’t really need a reason to drink bubbles, but New Year’s celebrations do certainly provide a good excuse.

One of my favorites is Billecart-Salmon rose; it is a stunningly lush and elegant wine. Another, more affordable, choice is the Canard-Duchene NV Brut Rose with its lovely cherry notes. Dry Lambruscos are also so delicious and pair wonderfully with all kinds of sausages and sliced meats that you might like to snack on before a meal. Cantina di Sorbara "Nicchia" is a lovely choice and being low in alcohol, at eight percent, it is a great way to start off an evening.

Going White for the Holidays
This winter has been unseasonably warm in New York so I have been drinking a lot of white wine. Those from cool climates, such as Riesling, remind me of places with snow. Cave Spring Estate Riesling is a gorgeous example of what can be made in Canada, in the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario. This stunner has just a hint of residual sugar and great mineral notes.

Gavi, with its steely elegance, from Piedmont has long been a favorite wine for me. The Broglia "il Doge" reminds me of cozy dinners of rich agnolotti, a local stuffed pasta, on my visits to the regions. The Loire Valley’s classic Pouilly Fumes and sea-salty Muscadets are also perfect for this season. Any of these lovely whites would be great with both hard and soft and stinky cheeses to open or conclude a meal.

Hearty Reds
A big Spanish or French Grenache blend is great for the holidays. These blends rich and intense and tend to open up in beautiful layers. Alvaro Palacio’s big, tannic and iconic “Les Terraces” from Priorat will take on the biggest cuts of meat and make your Cabernet Sauvignon-loving friends fall in love with Spain.

Some of my other favorite wines, with a hint of Grenache, are the unendingly rich gems from the Rhone Valley. Kermit Lynch’s Cotes du Rhone is an affordable treat with a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mouvedre. Yann Chave’s Crozes-Hermitage is even more complex and is 100 percent Syrah. These wines can stand up to the richest stew, think oxtail or beef bourguignon. Or they would be great with a rich pork shank or any meaty cut of beef.

To end an evening there’s nothing better than a rowdy and spice-filled Nebbiolo. I would take Barbaresco any day for its rougher edges over Barolo. A little Dolcetto, the daily wine of the Piedmontese, always hits the spot as well. Whatever you choose the most important part is to in enjoy in good company. Happy New Year!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wines for Holiday Meals

By Liza B. Zimmerman

My family and I have never been big fans of turkey. We have always gone for the lamb, a nice steak or a pork roast. So here’s a primer on what to serve with all of these potential holiday dishes. Regardless of what you serve as the main course, a bottle of bubbly is undoubtedly the best way to kick off a meal. A little Prosecco or Duval-Leroy Champagne could never hurt.

My mother always makes gravlax for the holidays to start the meal and the oiliness of the fish makes it a hard-pair-item. Light reds such as a Chinon or a—somewhat--low-alcohol Pinot Noir such as Lioco Hirsch from the Sonoma Coast can sidle up to the smokiness of the salmon.

Get the Lamb On
A rack of lamb looks as gorgeous as it tastes. The gamey flavor of the meat naturally pairs with a somewhat feral: read “stinky wine.” Rhones are my favorites with lamb. Perhaps a Crozes-Hermitage such as Yann Chave. Another earthy choice would be the reds of Piedmont. From Barbera to Barbaresco and those lovely ever-day-drinking Dolcettos. The sweet red fruits in many of these wines would also pair well with duck, with a hint of stewed fruits: think some dried apricots or prunes.

Other wild game, such as venison, would also be great with the some of the funkier-smelling wines of the world, such as the Bodegas Renacer “Punto Final,” Malbec.

Work the Crock Pot
The 1950s invention has become one of my favorite toys. I used it to stew oxtail and stuff cuts of beef. The sauce on the dish is the essential pairing component. With a tomato-based one you might want a simple Sangiovese, from tomato-rich countries (primarily Italy, with a splash of California and Argentina thrown in there). Bonarda might not be bad either.

If you put anchovies in your stew, as the Italians love to do, you might want to go with a slightly more tannic wine such as a Primitivo from Puglia or even an Amarone. A somewhat corpulent Sonoma coast Pinot Noir or Syrah might also work: trust me.

Roast a Steak or Go Classic
A beautifully rare steak with a hint of pan-sizzle crunch on the outside deserves a big wine. Soft tannins are going to be key so an aged Napa Cabernet Sauvignon or a softer Sonoma Valley one might work. Red Douro blends are among my favorites as well: there is so much subtle structure in the blend of grapes. The Doural Red is a lovely wine and a bargain pairing.

If you are going to envelop it with butter you may even want a richer wine, such as Bordeaux blend (leaning to the Left-Bank more tannic and Cabernet Sauvignon-based style).

If you still want to make that turkey or another bird you could mix up the pairings. A mineral-focused white, such as Vermentino or some of the white Rhones, can step up to a fatty bird. Another, even less-orthodox idea might be an esoteric grape such as Kerner from Alto Adige in Northeastern Italy.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jaan Paan Liqueur: Drink Jaan. Love Life.

By Catherine L Luke

There is a word in the Hindi language that means life and love.  It is a term of endearment- a unisex expression of warmth and good feelings.  The word is jaan.  A tangible equivalent of jaan’s warmth and friendship is paan.  Paan is derived from the betel leaf, plucked from vines in South and Southeast Asia.  Combined with various spices such as cardamom, anise, clove, coconut, and candied rose petals, it is a very popular type of snack that is meant to be chewed; think of it as an ancient form of chewing gum.  Herbal and peppery, it offers a great spectrum of flavor.  Paan has been enjoyed in South and Southeast Asia for over 4,000 years.  In many cultures, offering paan is symbolic of love, respect, and friendship.

A completely unique product that embodies these sentiments has entered the spirits scene: Jaan Paan Liqueur.  Merging the ancient and traditional flavors of the East with more modern, upfront flavors of the West such as maple, vanilla, cardamom, and citrus, Jaan Paan Liqueur offers something for everyone. 

Toronto-based Raj Djanhal is the creator of Jaan Paan Liqueur.  A Project Management Consultant with a passion for being original and creative, Dhanjal had long been drawn to culinary ingenuity in cooking, fermenting, distilling, and mixology. 

The inspiration for Jaan Paan was born from a paan liqueur that was on the market several years ago.  It was a roughly executed product that didn’t have staying power in the international market as its flavors were too harsh.  That liqueur is no longer available, but it served as a muse.

Djanhal began to create his own paan liqueur at home.  It worked wonderfully, but was a kitchen recipe tested only on family and friends.  Seeing the overwhelming praise from this original test market, Dhanjal took things to the next level by working with a local food technology company to develop a scalable commercial product.  His product found success, delightfully delivering the experience of paan in a versatile style.  Djanhal says that when you add Jaan Paan to cocktails and food, you are adding life to the flavors and revitalizing them to create a whole new experience.  Relatable yet exotic, the mystique is in the explosion of flavors in your mouth.

The process of what we find in the bottle was several years in the making, including much R&D, market research, and focus group studies.  Though, Djanhal points out that considering the historical roots of the core ingredient, you could say it was 4,000 years in the making.  Jaan Paan has not only been very well received in the Canadian market, but has been widely sought and lovingly shipped to international admirers.

Since its launch, Jaan Paan Liqueur has also received numerous accolades from mixologists, celebrity chefs, and industry aficionados.  It has won top awards in spirit competitions around the world.  In addition, Jaan recently launched two new products: Jaan Ginger Liqueur and Jaan Spiced Vodka.  More exciting products are in the works for 2016.

As of very recently, and just in time to gift to loved ones, we are lucky enough to have Jaan Paan Liqueur readily available in the States.

Visit www.DrinkJaan.com for more product information and recipes.

Drink Jaan, Love Life!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Catherine lives in Brooklyn, and has worked in the wine industry in Napa Valley and NYC. She is certified by the WSET, as well as the school of "wine in real life".  Understanding the patchwork of little-known Italian regional wines, dishes, and customs excites her most of all. She (sometimes) muses on her blog GrapesofCath.