Monday, April 20, 2015

Lamb Riblets, Robert Louis Stevenson Style

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer
Dark blue fruits define the framework of Otto’s Constant Dream, a brilliantly-made Syrah wine from New Zealand.  Bucketful’s of sumptuous sweet blue fruit erupt into bursts of aromatic cedar wood and a deeper backbone of tropical fruits and spices.  This is carefully made, yet highly thoughtful Syrah from the other side of the world.  Otto’s Constant Dream is made with passion and a serious- yet lighthearted approach to the Pacific Rim style of winemaking, which I just love to drink.  Notes of freshly ground peppers- tellicherry, pimento and gobs of sweet cream come into view spilling their deeply potent aromatics under my nose with driblets of long cooked stone fruits coating my tongue and lips thickly. 

Investors in this project named Otto’s Constant Dream; Melissa Monti Saunders, and her business partner, Chris Antista are Brooklynites.  They are the smiles and the vivacious personalities behind this gorgeous and tactile wine that ripples with tension and trickles with pure concentration.  When I sipped the wine I felt that I was drinking a fine Rhone wine, maybe even as good as the ones from the Hermitage mountain?  Who knows for certain if one wine even remotely tastes like another from around the other side of the world?  Reminds me doesn’t mean is like.  Oh well, The Terroir of Otto’s Constant Dream is purely New Zealand.  It has a marvelous molten accent and a full-bodied finish that makes me enjoy each drop as it rolls down my throat.  Of course wine of this caliber is hard to come by because they don’t make very much of it.  That’s good because DrinkupNY carries it. 

Otto’s also has a very creative label.  I like the use of the human brain and the colors they chose- very cerebral.   This is a philosophical wine but please allow me the honor of telling you that buying a bottle from DrinkupNY won’t break the bank on your path to enlightenment. 

Otto’s Constant Dream is also a highly food friendly wine and your just opened bottle, although that bottle cannot speak to you in commonly understandable words, just screams for barbecued and roasted lamb, root vegetables cooked to a turn, or a hearty fish stew with a deeply spicy tomato base. 

When I think of the foods that make it to the United States from the other side of the world, I think about New Zealand lamb.  I love to find myself eating food with this sumptuous New Zealand wine.  I love the uniquely salty flavor of baby lamb from a place that is just coated in a salty mist from the dark ocean that surrounds this nearly undiscovered place.   Lamb that grazed on the chlorophyll rich grasses that are soaked in sea salt comes to mind, lip-smacking riblets of succulently crispy baby lamb, quickly grilled over deeply glowing hardwood coals, then let rest on a plank until the juices pour out, clear with possibilities and zest.   This wine is also so very lovely with grilled root vegetables smeared with simple things like crushed lemon, parsley, garlic and olive oil with a dash of the Otto’s Constant Dream wine. 

I roast or grill the vegetables in a cast iron pan until they are just soft, then toss them in the freshly chopped garlic, toss with olive oil and then scatter parsley over the top.  Salt and pepper makes it done.  Adding an extra splash of your wine on top of your lamb, sizzling off the grill? 

Now that is dangerous indeed, take a chance and do it.

Food and wine is as important as conversation and pleasure.  They go hand in hand.  That’s the key to enjoying New Zealand wine.  You must get yourself into the mindset of pleasure.  Reminds me in many ways of drinking the spirit named Mezcal, mysterious and used for when life needs shaking up a bit. 

Lamb Riblets, Robert Louis Stevenson Style
5 pounds (or more) lamb riblets.  They must be New Zealand Lamb.  Nothing else will do!
3-4 whole bulbs of garlic, peeled and chopped finely.  DO NOT USE BOTTLED GARLIC.. it’s gross and bitter so throw this out. 
4 lemons, chopped without peels.. Save those for later!
1 cup of really good olive oil.  NO SKIMPING with oil that has been sitting in your kitchen window.
Kosher Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper
2-3 bunches parsley

Several bottles of Otto’s Constant Dream, in the fridge for about 15 minutes then opened

Poured liberally around the table.. Pour some more..

Add some wine to chopped carrots, parsnip, onion, shallot, celery, potatoes; you name it in your root veg mix and roast or grill in a cast iron pan 

Rub your lamb riblets with the chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper with lemon

Grill just off the heat, so not to burn on a charcoal grill.  Try using grapevines if possible to grill over or oak that has aged bourbon whiskey!

Remove from heat; let rest on a wood plank covered with some foil
Add to a large bowl, sprinkle more of the lemon, olive oil and garlic mix on top, a couple teaspoons is all you need
Chop the parsley and toss that all together

Adjust seasonings with whatever your heart desires!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com
Photo Credit: Chow.com

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Matching Italian Wine to Food

By Liza B. Zimmerman


Italy is my adoptive second country, so forgive me if I get my feathers ruffled when friends don't understand how to pair these beautiful wines with foods. The key  to enjoying many of the country's huge variety of reds, whites and dessert wines is understanding that they tend to run acidic, low alcohol and can be pretty tannic. These are all very much good things when it comes to food synergies.

Sean Diggins used to be the wine director at a great little Mediterranean restaurant called Gitane in San Francisco and now works for Italian wine importer Banville Wine Merchants. Given the number of indigenous, and hard-to-pronounce, grapes grown on this ancient peninsula, he concurs that it is easy to get confused.

However, Diggins notes that, "Whether one is looking for something light and crisp to sip while on the balcony, or something with a heavier, rich texture to go with gamey meats, or a sweetly sparkling treat, Italy has it and has it in spades." He adds that pairings often go back to what grows together goes together, as the same Italian regions that make great wines have a rich history of producing their own grains, vegetables, seafood and meat that work beautifully with their local wines.

A "regional approach to pairing is a great guide to any wine growing area in the world, but for me Italy has such diversity and breadth...[and an] almost endless possibility of flavors, textures, aromas and sensations."

Regions to Keep An Eye On
The Southern part of the country has long been a treasure trove of great value wines that pair beautifully with a wide range of foods. Islands such as Sicily and coastal regions like Campania, just south of Naples, have cool ocean breezes that moderate vineyard temperatures day and night to produce well-balanced wines and crisp whites that are great with seafood or as a aperitif.

In terms of Sardinia, Sicily and Campania, Diggins notes that, "their respective wines lend themselves to these briny, multi-textured gems from the deep. White grapes like the bright, crisp Vermentino from Sardinia, the citrus-like Inzolia of Sicily, or the savory Fiano of Campania all go fantastically with these coastal cuisines."

Falaghina from Campania is a beautiful go-to grape to pair with a wide range of lighter foods, especially salads and seafood. For heavier meats and roasts you might want to look to Brunello or Morellino from Tuscany. Soft tannins and big structure will also pair well with stews, as would any of the great wines of Piedmonte (including affordable Dolcettos and Barberas).

Diggins concludes that, "Using the template of regional wines with that particular regions foods as a guide is a handy way to help in selecting wines of anywhere to pair with food and fun. The diverse wines and food of Italy leaves open a lifetime of possibilities, but focusing on a few key regions will give you the confidence and pleasure to explore further."

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza 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.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Diver Scallops with Cava

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Cooking with the same wines as I drink is one of the hidden secrets of culinary arts.  But what about drinking and cooking with sparkling wines? These fizzy numbers are just marvelous when woven into dishes that call for the very best in the world.  The kind of fresh (never frozen) seafood like those sold at Metropolitan Seafood in Lebanon, New Jersey.  I bet that you’ve never tasted fish like this before and when washed down with a glass of theperfectly crystalline, fizzy wine, well there is magic in each and every sip.  If you are anywhere near this part of New Jersey on any given day, except for Sunday or Monday when the Hunt’s Point Fresh Seafood Market is open, well, it’s time to ice the bubbly! 

I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to spend a great deal of money on sparkling wine to enjoy a memorable bottle.  Take Spain for instance.  They make boatloads of passable fizzy wines in Spain.  However, very few are of excellent quality like the Cellar Vilafranca "Casteller" Cava Brut NV from Cataloniain Spain.  This lightly fizzy wine just screams out for thin slices of freshly harvested “Diver” Scallops that are seared in a stainless steel sauté panand then the pan is deglazed with a few splashes of the Cava and some shallots are added.  A bit of heavy cream can added be after the Cava reduces in volume. This thickness is added for depth and structure.  An ice-cold pat of butter will bring the flavors together, along with a tiny pinch of exotic saffron for color and character at the finish. 

This dish is so gorgeous and opulent, it smacks of the ocean as it coats your tongue.  The charisma and the salinity of the flavors move gently down your throat and into your memories of the greatest meals of your life.  That added burst of the sparkling wine will bring you into the complexities of this dish- just how delicious it really is with wine of this quality. 

Of course before I go much further, I must tell you how reasonably priced this wine is.  DrinkUpNY has it for just about fifteen dollars per bottle.  That is amazingly delicious, crisp- aromatic and very refreshing wine tastes as if lime and lemon zests have been injected into each sip.  There is salinity in the glass that gives the impressions of ocean-splashed stones and an added pinch of sea salt in every zippy sip.  Cooking with Cellar Vilafranca "Casteller" Cava is a joy because with the complex and assertive nature of the 40% Macabeo, 40% Parellada and 20% Xarello grapes, this is not your mom’s low-end “plonk” bottle of sparkling liquid that hurts you badly the next morning.  

Cellar Vilafranca is really worth the few bucks you spend for something that tastes much more expensive. 

Ingredients
Seared fresh, (never frozen) Diver Scallops with Saffron Sauce
1 pound Fresh Diver Scallops, Sliced into somewhat thin slices with a very sharp and narrow fish knife, you may want to put the scallops into the freezer for a few minutes for easier slicing
1-teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried Saffron in total  (A few precious Saffron threads per person are all you need)
1 teaspoon very thinly slices of shallot
¼ cup Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons Sweet Butter (I never cook with salted butter, you shouldn’t either)
Pinch of freshly ground Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
2 oz. Cellar Vilafranca Cava (per plate and definitely more for your glass!)
Stainless Steel (preferably with a copper core) pan

Preparation:
Heat your stainless steel pan to sizzling hot, drop a bit of water in the pan to test temperature, if it jumps around and beads, the pan is hot enough

Dribble the olive oil into the pan and slide the Diver Scallop slices into the sizzling hot oil

Do not touch for 1-2 minutes- and then flip with a stainless steel fish spatula and season with a touch of sea-salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Remove medallions of the Diver Scallops from the pan and keep warm and moist.  You may want to put a hot (clean) cloth that has been lightly spritzed with salted water on them and then into the oven at around 250 degrees.  Don’t cover them?  They’ll be like pencil erasers.  Hard rubber ones!

Add the Cellar Vilafranca Cava wine to the hot pan that you just cooked the scallop slices.  It’s going to sizzle like crazy, so now would be a good time to throw in those shallot slices.  Also add the Saffron threads at this time and sweat a bit in the liquid them to reveal their inner secrets.

Add the Heavy Cream- reduce until it looks “scary” I’m telling you as a cook now, you’ll think it’s reduced enough, but please, do it some more… you’ll know when it takes on a caramelized color, the heavy cream’s sugars cooking with the shallot and the saffron. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures right here.  But it’s not done yet, take a sip of your brilliantly made Spanish Cava and contemplate.  Do I feel lucky with this sauce?  Did it break?  (I hope not)

Add the Ice Cold Butter now and whisk it in small pieces- right into the hot cream sauce… there is a term for this… but I forget what it’s called, montes? Montay? oh well.  I was once a saucier in the restaurant business a few decades ago.  I trained my entire career to learn about soups, stocks and sauces.  They used to sayin New Orleans, your sauce is supposed to coat the back of a spoon.  And I, in my infinite wisdom would say, what kind of spoon?  A soup spoon?  A wooden spoon? What?  Metal?  Silver?  Uh?  No wonder I didn’t become a better cook.  I wanted to know which one.  Any one!

Reduce a bit more and pour the sauce over the warmed Diver Scallop Medallions, you could scatter some scallion threads over the top for a white, red and green motif. If desired of course.. … get some nice crusty bread for dipping that fragrant sauce, redolent with the saline punch of the scallops with the mysterious sweetness of the saffron and the warmth of the heavy cream.  Yum is correct. 

Serve on a pre-heated dish and garnish with pinwheels of lemon

Serve with an ice-cold glass of the Cellar Vilafranca Cava, open another one and chill a third, you’re going to need it to wash down this brilliant seafood and stimulate conversation…

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wines for Easter

By Liza B. Zimmerman


I have always lobbied for lamb at Easter but this year I got salmon. So I am hoping that for Orthodox Easter this coming weekend I might finally see a lam chop or two. Octopus and rabbit are also great dishes for the occasion. No matter what you eat, you should have fun with the wine pairings for the festivity and multi-course meal.

Italians generally begin any celebration with bubbles, how can you blame them? Prosecco is divine, Cava more affordable and Lambrusco or even sparkling Shiraz--if you like slightly sweet wines--are also perfect in cooler weather. Here's a field guide for what to serve with almost any Easter or Passover dinner.

Start Fresh and Light
If your guests aren't all head over heels for sparkling wines, a little Lillet or Martini Bianco on the rocks is a great way to welcome them. Artisanal and classic Vermouths, such as the classic Italian Punt e Mes, abound, and  are also superb simply served on the rocks. Or you can make a simple sparkling wine-based cocktail, such as a French 75 (the recipe is below). You can also top off a little Vermouth or Campari with a touch of bubbles to give it some evervescence.

For vegetable sides and lighter meats--pork, chicken or rabbit--you might want to serve some delicate, aromatic whites. French Sancerre, Spanish Albariño or white Rhône blends from anywhere from Washington to California and France will fit the bill. A little acidity and a touch of minerality will allow these wines to stand up to assertive vegetables: a note to artichokes and asparagus we love you but you are hard on the wine pairings!

Move to Bigger Wines
A slightly more tannic red will generally rise to the occasion of the second course. You may want to stay light-bodied and acidic with your wine choices. Less-heavy meats like pork, rabbit and chicken can go beautifully with Loire reds, Beaujolais Crus and far Northern Italian choices. Chinon, in my book, goes with almost anything and Jean-Maurice Raffault "Les Galluches" is a great bottle.

If you are going with lamb or steak, particularly if you are cooking it a bit rare you may want to go with something a bit more structured and tannic. Douro Valley reds are always up to the task, rowdy Piedmontese like Barolo and Barbaresco rarely fail and California Cabernet Sauvignons and even lower-alcohol Zinfandels can be great matches. Esporão is a great producer of both whites and reds from Portugal.

Smoky Madirans and  Cahors from Southern France can work with herb- and wine-rich sauces. The George Vigorous "Gouleyant" Cahors is a great wine for lamb and a super value. Earthy Pinot Noirs from Oregon and the California Coast could also be great matches for lighter preparations of meat dishes.

The bottom line is to have fun. Uncork a couple of bottles you have always wanted to try. Give everyone a glass or two (and put that dump bucket on the table). Reserve judgment and toast to everything joyful that comes to mind.

French 75
Ingrediants:
1 1/2 ounces of your favorite gin
3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice and a lemon peel
1/2 ounce simple syrup
ice to chill a glass
2 ounces dry sparkling wine--such as Champagne, Cava or Prosecco--chilled

Preparation:
In cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice and the simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for 25 seconds. Strain into a chilled flute and top with sparkling wine.

Curl a lemon peel and garnish drink with a twist.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza 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.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Roast Chicken with Kato Sauvignon Blanc

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer


Kato Sauvignon Blanc is one of those special wines that gets into my brain and bounces around, all day long.  Merely thinking about the Kato Sauvignon Blanc makes me salivate.  And when that happens, my thoughts move toward cooking with seasonal ingredients. Of course I’d rather just drink wine, although drinking wine while cooking makes for an easy sipper and a nice way to spend the day.  This is extremely elegant wine that tastes of wet stones, crushed oyster shells, sea salt slicked- wet grasses, smoke and fog and of course the tropical fruits of the Pacific Rim, exotic, salubrious, gregarious and utterly memorable. 

New Zealand wines as a rule are so utterly food friendly that you really cannot make a mistake with them from a culinary perspective.  Their natural acidity, balance of fruit to dryness and lip-smacking salinity makes my stomach’s eye fresh with possibilities.

Moving towards the warmer weather of spring makes me hungry for dishes like Roast Chicken.  A roasted chicken is one of those meals that either comes out perfectly, or serves as a terrible warning to never dine on one in a restaurant, ever again.  When I spend time out as a restaurant reviewer, I never order the most expensive items on the menu, nor do I fall for the specials of the day trap.  I seek food that translates the passion of the chef, and certainly not the ever empty-pocket of the restaurant owner.  Roast chicken is the direction of my spring palate and the brilliantly made, Kato- Sauvignon Blanc-New Zealand wine becomes more than a metaphor for eating seasonally with spark and flavor!

Ah ha!  But what is in season now?  Think spring vegetables to go with a perfectly roasted chicken.  Asparagus, Spring Peas, Garlic, New Potatoes, shallot… all are worthy for my very simple, roast chicken.  I just scatter them around a pre-heated cast iron pan.  Pre-heated? Yes. In a 450 degree oven.  Sure they will sizzle a bit, but that crust will fill your brain with possibilities.  Scatter some fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme; maybe toss some olive oil and orange peels in and amongst the vegetables.  New carrots?  Check.   Leeks?  Spring onions?  Absolutely.  So how do I do that again?

A perfectly lovely roasted chicken
Wash your chicken inside and out and dry as best as possible.  Zest an orange and a lemon and scatter the zests in and out of the bird.  Rub the bird well with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Stuff the carcass with halved lemons and oranges with garlic and shallots with fresh “French” herbs, rosemary, and thyme, sage, lavender.  Scatter some olive oil over the top of the bird with the aromatic herbs, also the new potatoes, vegetables…  Add ¼ cup of Armagnac and ½ cup of the Kato Sauvignon Blanc to the pan and be patient.  Please don’t open the oven door for at least 40 minutes- then without opening the oven, turn the temp down to 300 and roast until you can see clear juices running from the deepest part of the thigh when pricked.  Total cooking time for a 3-pound bird should be about 3 hours door to door. 

Sure you can baste if you like, but the bird will roast up beautifully without basting and it will be juicy and tender when sliced, which leads me to my next suggestion.  After roasting, let the bird rest, tented with aluminum foil out of the oven (or in a 200 degree oven) for at least 20 minutes before slicing.   The bird will be super tender this way.  I love roasting a couple sweet potatoes in with the bird and also smearing the roasted garlic on toast points with plenty of olive oil for dipping.   Drink some of your brilliant New Zealand wine and enjoy your perfectly roasted chicken with fresh herbs.  It will be a trip to an unknown world without a plane ticket!

For a cocktail accompaniment, you can burn some remaining fresh herbs into upturned cocktail glasses and make gin & tonics with French Herb Smoked Ice!

I really dig New Zealand wines and when you serve them with a French influenced roasted chicken, all will be most well.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com
Photo Credit: steamykitchen.com

Monday, March 30, 2015

Where are the Next Great Values?

By Liza B. Zimmerman


Land costs have become so prohibitive in parts of California, and other places in the world, that is often hard to find a well-priced bottle of wine. For better values I always advise that consumers look to regions where land and labor costs are lower. My two current favorites are Chile and Portugal.

Argentina on a marketing level has always been better at defining its signature style: gauchos, high fashion, big steaks and Malbec. Chile never had a legendary cuisine nor did it have a particular style of winemaking or varietal focus. What has been a disadvantage for producers is clearly a plus for the buyer, as Chilean wines offer amazing value. The climate conditions also vary widely in the country, which is another plus for the wine industry.

Casa Lapostolle remains a top-notch producer with great wines in the under-$15 category. It is also a beautiful place to visit. This country's signature grape is Carmenere, and its smoky and meaty taste profile make it well worth seeking out. It also tends to cost less as it doesn't have international recognition and consumers can worry about how to pronounce all the accents in its name!

Dreaming of Portugal
This Iberian coastal paradise has just woken up from a long slumber. When Port producers and grape growers decided to put aside part of their production for non-fortified wines they changed the fine-wine profile of the country. Dry reds, and whites, from the Douro, are among the country's best and some are fairly well priced.

When you start dipping into the lesser-known appellations like Lisboa--the growing region outside of the capital city--and the cool, green Northern areas, you can enjoy some fantastic wines. Vinho Verde has great style, signature fizz and pairs splendidly with seafood (and an afternoon on the front porch).

The Doural Red is a flavor-packed wine. Other regions to keep an eye on include the Dão and hot, tannic and rowdy Alentejo. White Port, if you like a hint of sweetness, is also delicious as an aperitif and is fun as a cocktail ingredient with a touch of tonic.

Other Areas to Look For
Argentina is making some top-of-the-line Malbecs, with fresh fruit and tar-like (yes in a good way) flavors that allow them to pair so well with steak (and lamb and other grilled delicacies). The country's Torrontés grapes are also being used in fizzy, simple and refreshing whites.

South Africa is another country to keep an eye on. Apartheid shut the winemakers off from the rest of the world for so long they are just coming into their own and benchmarking their products against the best in the world. The Bordeaux blends are stunning in this country--I would take them without the addition of Pinotage--as are the Sauvignon Blancs. Indaba, Mulderbosch and Warwick are all very consistent producers who make some deli

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza 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, March 26, 2015

Cocktail: Just across from Madness Street

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Absinthe has always had a sort of a bad boy reputation and without cause.  I suppose that this reputation has more to do with the high alcohol levels and less with the actual herbs themselves.  But should you drink more than your fair share of Absinthe, and then only trouble will befall you.  Take it easy with this stuff; you don’t need very much to have a grand time.  If anything, Mezcal has more potency- but that is another very misunderstood liquor for all the wrong reasons.

Artemisia-Bugnon Distillery "La Clandestine" Absinthe Superieure is not the stuff that your mom tried to warn you about.  She was talking about the absinthe that was artificially colored and flavored.  This product, the Artemisia-Bugnon Distillery "La Clandestine" Absinthe Superieure is one of the finest brands of Absinthe on the market today.  I think what I like most about it is the utter mixability of the spirits themselves.  They lend themselves to drinks like the salubrious Absinthe Frappe, or a Sazerac, done, just so.  Artemisia-Bugnon “La Clandestine” does things to my palate that most Absinthes cannot do.  It makes me hungry…  the “La Clandestine” is so very food friendly and it just screams for a plate of steamed mussels, the potent spirits danced over the tops of the mollusks, possibly steamed in Indian Spices, like a green Curry? Would this reveal their inner secrets, both the rhyme and the rhythm in cadence with each another? 

“La Clandestine” is like drinking a secret.  In this case, the secret is yours- and yours alone.  Ok, so you are not a day drinker, nor do you like to drink alone.  In this case may I suggest a refreshing punch?  I’m going to use the “La Clandestine” with Royal Rose “Rose” Simple Syrup and crushed ice with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters

It’s a simple cocktail.  Served with a splash of seltzer water to give the signature louche to the Absinthe.  I’m quite sure that rose flavored simple syrup will go a long way towards making the flavor balance sing in the face of the disparate ingredients.  But if the Middle East is my guide and Turkey as the go/to, this anise and wormwood scented mélange is most beguiling indeed!  “La Clandestine” is creamy in texture, herbaceous and vivaciously aromatic in the glass with a bit of cool water as well.  I just happened to enjoy mixing mine with Rose syrup from Maine and a touch of Lemon bitters for balance against the sweetness from the Absinthe and added simple syrup of roses. 

This is certainly going to bring out madness in sufficient enough quantities- so please be careful!

Just across from Madness Street
Ingredients:
1 oz. “La Clandestine” Absinthe
1 oz. Seltzer water
2 oz. grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed only!)
1.5 oz. Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
2-4 drops Lemon bitters (from the Bitter Truth)
ice ball

Preparation:
Pre-chill an Old Fashioned Glass with bar ice and water
Pour out when well chilled
Add one ice ball..
Pour over the Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
Add the “La Clandestine” Absinthe
Pour over the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Pour over the seltzer
Dot with the Lemon Bitters
Serve

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com
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