Friday, December 26, 2014

Wines to Ring in the New Year

By Liza B. Zimmerman


I have never been a big fan of going out for an extravagant meal to fête the end of the year. It is so much nicer to celebrate at home and drink indulgent wine with a nice roast or a stew. Last year we made guinea hen, paired with copious amounts of rosé Champagne, and previous years have included steak and the occasionally the obligatory turkey (forgive my lack of enthusiasm).

Regardless of what you eat, in or out, sparkling wine is always a great way to kick off the evening. I adore classic Champagnes like Gosset, as well as festive sparklers such as Lambrusco. There are also many other great bubblies, often at a more affordable price point, from which to pop the cork on New Year’s Eve.

The Gruet family in New Mexico also makes some sensational and classically well-balanced sparkling wines. They may be tied for some of my favorites with Cremant d’Alsace and from the Loire Valley. There’s no doubt that many cool-climate, French winemaking regions are putting out some dynamite bottles.

On the less expensive, but still so enjoyable side, are Prosecco and Cava. These Italian and Spanish versions, respectively, may not be made in the traditional Champagne style but offer great flavors to start a meal or pair with food.

What to Serve with the Meal
A little red meat as a main course is always a great way to celebrate a new year. Those bitter vegetables and slow-roasted squash won’t mind these pairings as well. A big, fruit-forward red is always a crowd pleaser.

California Zinfandels have the alcohol level and sweet tannins to break down some of the animal fat on a lamb shank or pork roast. American Bordeaux-style blends will also step up these synergies with more acidity and complexity if you are making a stew. In my mind, there’s almost nothing better than a paprika-infused beef stew on a cold night.

If you are focusing on a more vegetarian or less meat-focused, a lean red with higher acidity would be ideal. A little Chinon, or any bright red from the Loire Valley, would fit the bill. So would a pale and tight Austrian red such as Zweigelt or Sptäburgunder. Some of the truly Old World-style Pinot Noirs from Oregon might work as well.

To End the Evening
A little off-dry Moscato with bubbles wiggling their way up to the top of the glass is always a diving way to end an evening. The Rhône Valley’s Muscat Beaumes du Venise aren’t a bad finale either. Otherwise perhaps a little Fernet Branca to finish the New Year on the right foot?


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, December 15, 2014

Wines for Under the Tree

By Liza B. Zimmerman


Whether you fete your holidays by a tree, a Menorah or a Kwanza Bush, there are so many wines to enjoy. Joyful evenings are often best celebrated with a little bubbly. Most Proseccos and Cavas are showing better than ever at great price points, as are French sparkling wines from regions such as Alsace and the Loire Valley.

California makes an abundance of balanced and creamy sparklers, many from French houses and Oregon and Washington are also towing the line. Major corporate powerhouse Chateau Ste Michelle in Washington continues to produce some of the best sparkling wine for the price point. Lambrusco, from Italy, is rich in tannins, makes the tongue tingle and pairs so well with plates of holiday meats and cheeses you may want to lay out for appetizers.

Herbaceous Wines for the Season
With all the foliage that can deck the house as we move into the new year, wines with herbal notes almost put all the aromas in synergy. Crisp Sauvignon Blancs (some of us love whites when the heat is on or spend the last months of the year in warmer climes) has brambly notes. Some of my favorites are from the Loire Valley or Chile. Bordeaux is also making some smashing Suavignon Blanc-based wines, many blended with Semillon.

If you are serving cocktails for the holidays a dash of bitters in almost any drink does wonders for its aromatic profile. Many classic gins as well as Genevers also have abundant aromatics that can be touched off by just a hint of tonic, citrus or water.

Lush and Fat Wines for Feasting
If the end of the year is a time for you and your loved ones to pull out some stellar vintages and have an over-the-top celebration, may I suggest an older vintage from Tuscany or Piedmonte? Barbarescos always know how to bring to the party, while their lower-key cousins may keep it more understated and classic. Classic Tuscan wines and great Bordeaux are always great to serve and older vintages of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon can be exciting to taste if they have been well cellared.

Holiday celebrations are never bad times to break open those old bottles of Port and Madeira (your guests will be taking about your party for years to come). Later in the evening is also a great time to pull out those Magnums or even larger format bottles that put smiles on everyone’s faces. They could be Champagnes or classic reds. You could also wrap up the evening with great dessert wines—from Napa to Bordeaux there are abundant  choices—or even a little round of Fernet Branca to fortify the stomach for the new year.

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, December 8, 2014

Cocktail: Reckless Originality

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

There is a haunting quality of artisan eau de vie that brings me to the table again and again.  Perhaps that’s why you drink eau de vie after a meal.  It is a digestive and it is meant to help you digest a good meal. 

In the brilliant little book: The Craft and Culture of Artisan Schnaps, the author Kirk Ross brings you to the table filled with marvelous anecdotes about this most unknown way to finish your meal.   He calls it the Schnaps Culture and for good reason.  Schnaps is good for you because it has enriched the native habitat in both Germany and Austria. 

There is a rather long word for what Schnaps do for digestion in a cultural sense of the word.  It is called Verdauungsschnaps.   This long word simply means digestive Schnaps.  The word you may be most familiar with in English is the French word, digestif.  According to the author, this is the same thing. 

Verdauungsschnaps is the opposite of an Aperitif!  An Aperitif is meant to stimulate your appetite, whereas the Verdauungsschnaps is for after a meal.  In other words, you drink Schnaps after the work of eating is done and digestion needs to be stimulated.  To put yourself into the historical context for drinking such important liqueurs, you must first imagine a time without electricity or refrigeration.  That time is easily forgotten in the modern vernacular.  As Americans, we have forgotten the bad old days when water was poisonous and most food could kill you.  Products in the “bitters” world were originally used for water purification and also to heal the gut when food poisoning was not an uncommon affliction.   Most people walked around in a constant state of pain from eating rotten food.  This wasn’t a surprise with the lack of sanitation in kitchens and in the fields.  Vinegar based Shrubs were not used just for pleasure, they provided a marvelous way to rid the body of food borne illness.  The same holds true for Schnaps, except Schnaps are not metered out like bitters, drop by precious drop- they are imbibed in small thistle shaped glasses, packed full of alcohol and bursting with fruit flavors.  They are as much a part of the culture of Austria and Germany as the wines that grace dinner tables.  Schnaps are an essential part of enjoying a filling meal because they help you pass food through the digestive tract.  Very important indeed!

In 250 AD, St. Florian was born in the Roman city of Aelium Cetiumin.  His first and most famous task was to organize the local firefighting brigades.  (He is known to this day as the patron saint of firefighters)  The long and the short of his life are well known.  He was persecuted for his religion and ended up becoming a martyr for his cause, which created a need to celebrate his life in a holiday, known as St. Florian’s Day in Europe.  This day of heavy eating and drinking is traditionally finished with a few shots of Schnaps to help digest the heavy food.  Some of these foods include bread, eggs, lard and of course Schnaps!

Schnaps play into the word “religious experience” more often than not because many of these festivals take place in the colder months where a nice flask of Schnaps tucked into the pocket of a pilgrim offers powerful warming along with healthy digestion of the traditionally heavy foods.  Whatever the case may be for Schnaps, they are part of the social thread and have been popular for hundreds of years.  Schnaps are indeed a way of life and they are certainly part of the Germanic culture. 

Schnaps and their cousins- Eau de Vie are life giving potions because they work!  Schnaps are not about getting drunk, nor are they purely about digestion.  What they are- is a way of life.  Schnaps are cultural and because they are part of life, Schnaps are edified as essential in life itself. 

If you can find a copy of The Craft and Culture of Artisan Schnaps I recommend it highly.  Not as a mere metaphor for drinking, but as part of a greater good, the appreciation of life.  White Mule Press in Hayward, California is the publisher of this marvelous little book with just under eighty pages… That certainly makes it little!

One of my favorite Schnaps- or as it reads on the label, Eau de Vie is produced by Clear Creek in Oregon.  This magnificent “tree-spirit” is no more than a couple of ingredients.  Brandy, fresh off the still is infused with freshly picked buds of the Douglas fir tree, long known as a flavorful and colorful medicinal in folk practices.  The Douglas fir possesses magical qualities and flavorings.  It becomes essential when added to the classic Gin and Tonic, made with Barr Hill Gin from Vermont and something like the Q-Tonic water from Brooklyn, NY. 

The Douglas fir Eau de Vie is added drop by drop as if you are adding bitters to heal your aching belly.  This marvelous liquor can also be enjoyed alone in a snifter with a lemon zest coating the rim and a large hand cut ice cube. 

The combination of citrus to fir tree essence is most beguiling indeed. 

I also like to add an ounce or so of the Clear Creek Eau de Vie of Douglas fir to a portion of Casa Noble Reposado Tequila.  In this case the lightly smoky and citrus tinged Tequila is made slightly green and even more aromatic and haunting with the addition of the Eau de Vie. 

I suggest trying it soon because this is a most marvelous and complex way to bring the high quality of Casa Noble Tequila to an even higher level. 

Reckless Originality
Ingredients:
1 oz. Eau de Vie of Douglas fir
2 oz. Casa Noble Reposado Tequila
1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 oz. Jasmine Simple Syrup from Royal Rose in Maine
3-4 drops Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
Lemon Zest

Preparation:
Chill a Snifter with ice and water- when well chilled, pour out the ice and prepare your drink
To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice:
Add the Casa Noble and the lime juice with the Jasmine Simple Syrup
Cap and shake hard for 15 seconds or so
Rub the lemon zest around the rim of the pre-chilled snifter
Pour the Douglas Fir Eau de Vie into the pre-chilled snifter
Top with the Casa Noble Tequila and Jasmine Simple Syrup that you’ve shaken in the Boston Shaker
Garnish with another lemon zest, pinched over the top to reveal the citrus elements essential to this digestive. 
Dot a couple (or more) drops of the Bitter Truth Orange Bitters over the top to finish…..


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

Monday, December 1, 2014

Wine and Truffle Pairing

By Liza B. Zimmerman


What do you pair with the most expensive mushroom in the world? While truffles are grown all over the world, some of the best white ones come from the truffle market in Alba in Northwest Italy. What grows together goes together is never a bad rule and at a recent lunch in New York Celebirty Cruises’ executive chef John Suley paired a $20,000 hunk of mushroom with a handful of Piedmontese classics: Arneis and a 13-year old Barolo.

The funk and earthiness of Piedmonte reds always work well with the layered umani flavors of truffles. Barberesco would also stand up to the challenge, while it might be a spicier match, as would Dolcetto. Chef Suley will have time to play around with the pairings, as the remaining truffles will be featured on a handful of upcoming cruises.

Creamy dishes, like the stellar risotto chef Suley made at lunch, need those somewhat acidic wines to cut through the lushness of the truffles. Aged wines or those not too tannic to begin with would also be my first choice. Oftentimes the best pairings with Italian food are simple, notes Suley, so there’s no need to overthink it.

French Pairings
Truffles, more black than white, are also found in the South of France. So hearty and tannic wines like Cahors and Madiran will stand up to truffle-strewn dishes. Black truffles, according to Suley, are a little earthier. These classic Southwestern wines will also highlight the depth and intensity of meat-based dishes, such as veal cheeks or beef stew. I might also go well with a rougher grain like Polenta, which is generally served in cooler climes in Italy.

These rougher and more intense flavors of the black verisons can stand up to a younger wines with a more tannic flavor profile. Powerhouse Bordeauxs, Suley adds, are good for both black and white truffle pairings.


A California Twist
Truffles have been grown stateside for a number of years, in places like Oregon and the Napa Valley. Both the European classics and the up-and-comers are featured every year in the epicurican bacanal that is the Napa Valley Truffle Festival.

So a handful of domestic wines can also highlight the flavors of both black and white truffles. Chef Suley says in terms of Califonria wines, he would start with Pinot Noir and scale up into Pinot Noir. The funky, earlier Pinots from California with a more moderate alchol level would do the trick. A good example would be Heron’s delicate and balanced Pinot Noir with an alcohol by volume of 13 percent.

I often find California Cabernents’ tannins to be too strong to work well with delicate umani flavors that come from truffles. California Bordeaux-style blends, with the added softness of a touch of Merlot or the dustiness of a hint of Cabernet Franc can help soften the wine’s style so it supports, rather than overwhelms a truffle-inspired dish. Washington’s Cabernet Sauvignon and those coming out of Chile at a higher-price point would also do well with the aromatic profile that truffles lend to dishes.

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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cocktail: A Mere Pillar of Darkness

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Ireland is the country of all that green, bursting with emotion and sadness that wells up in your mind- even before you get off the plane.  I like flying into the West instead of directly into Dublin.  You see Dublin is a great city, but when I go to Ireland, I seek the hidden and the forgotten.  The places where all the great artists and musicians come from before they make their way into the city.  Sure Dublin has the best of everything, the best whiskey, the best food and certainly the best pubs.  But after living on and off in New York City over the years I’m well accustomed to the best of everything.  That doesn’t make me jaded, far from!  But what it makes me is thirsty for the people, places and things that haven’t gotten to the big city yet.  The places where time moves slower and flavor reveals itself through patience and fortitude.  You see my friends, in Ireland what is over the next hill is a discovery in itself and that for me is what travel is all about.  It’s that perfect wisp of sea air sensed just before you sip that carefully crafted Irish coffee, creating balance in your mind and in your thirst.

Irish whiskey is spelled with an e, just like American whiskey.  I wish I could tell you why, but I cannot.  It’s just one of those things I suppose.  And Irish whiskey tastes in many ways as sweet and sensuous as Straight Bourbon whiskey, the droplets flow down my throat, warming me along the way.  Not all whiskey can say that to me.   Traditionally I eschew most Scotch (too smoky for me!) and Canadian just doesn’t have enough oomph for my palate.  Yet Irish whiskey is the right interplay between sweet, savory and potent.

Teeling Irish Whiskey is something new in a field well populated with the big names in Irish whiskies.  This whiskey takes the lesser-known path of least resistance.  It drinks like the hidden Ireland is undiscovered.  It evokes emotions of the song and the smiles of Ireland’s residents.  Each sip takes a road yet undiscovered, each cocktail crafted connects that country to the flavor inherent to the less mechanization, more passion method of distillation. 

Teeling’s label says a bit about this new Irish whiskey that catches my eye.  The words no chill filtering means much to me, as do the words 6 Months in Rum Casks.  Now even the Irish are sharing in the used cask world.  In this case they use Flor de Cana casks.  Which probably began their life as casks for Bourbon whiskey.  Again the Rhumb line travels the world and with it casks with a noble heritage.  It’s become a bit of a pet project for the casks, their venerable history and me.   Also on the label it reads Small Batch.  I’m not sure what a small batch constitutes, but it does sound authentic. 

Tasting Notes:  A sweet molasses based rum nose breaks away immediately into sharply delineated grains and sweet/salty caramel.  There are a plethora of stone fruits coming into view, each enrobed in more of that salted caramel and finely cut pipe tobacco.  Late Fall flower oils across the back of my tongue gives way to a long and luxurious finish that drips down my throat in sweet rivulets.  There is sweet honey in there too, plus freshly cut grass and toasted breakfast cereal that marches down to the bottom of my belly warming me deeply!

It’s magical stuff!  If you like your whiskey on the sweeter side, you’re going to just adore Teeling.  I can tell you that it mixes like a dream and in an Irish Coffee, well- I’ll bet you can make one as fine as the ones enjoyed at the Shannon Airport on the Western reaches of Ireland.  Where time is slower and the fogs hang low over the cliffs.

Get yourself to this hidden Ireland, and don’t forget to drink your fill of Irish Whiskey- and make it Teeling if you please. 

My friend Josh Morton makes Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur in Brooklyn.  It’s authentic in every way. 

I was feeling cold inside the other night and wanted to make a hot toddy that spoke of the West Coast of Ireland from a fishermen’s perspective.  Traditionally Irish whiskey would be combined with hot tea and this cocktail for your mug is no exception, except that it will hold dark coffee instead of tea and Josh’s ginger liqueur is an augmentation to the brilliant Irish whiskey that says Teeling on the label. 

You must use a hand crafted stoneware mug to house this marvelous concoction of stomach warming (and healing) ingredients and force you into relaxation.

A Mere Pillar of Darkness

(Preheat your stoneware mug with hot water, and then pour out)
Whip your cream by hand to the liquid/soft stage.
You MUST NOT use that stuff from a can!

Ingredients:
Very dark coffee- steaming hot
2 oz. Teeling Whiskey
1 oz. Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
1 tablespoon of raw sugar (Demerara works)
3 oz. Softly whipped cream
Scraping of fresh nutmeg
Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Bitters

Preparation:
Pre-heat your mug with boiling water, pour out
Add the raw sugar
Add a good splash of the Teeling Whiskey
Ignite with a match so the sugar and the whiskey caramelize in the heavy sided mug
Spoon the heavy cream over to extinguish
Add the Barrow’s Intense
Add the remainder of the whiskey
Pour in the hot coffee
Spoon another tablespoon of the whipped cream over the top
Scrape some nutmeg
Dot with the Jerry Thomas Bitters

YUM.

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, November 20, 2014

Cocktail: Full of Light and Bustle!

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

What can I say about the combination of chocolate along with orange, spices and strong bourbon whiskey?  Well my friends it’s a match made in cocktailian heaven!  As a rule I don’t care for sugary sweet but this combination is anything but sweet.  It’s savory! 

Take the Kings County Chocolate Bourbon.  This is not made with massive amounts of sugar, nor artificial sweeteners.  It is chocolate, but only the husks- leaving the flavor profile intact, without adding anything that tastes like candy.  It’s most elegant in the glass and completely unique in the world of whiskey. 

Now I’m going out on a limb.  Traditionally I would refuse to talk about flavored spirits out of my overabundance of care for what I like and what I just don’t want to review.  For one thing, I would never review cake-flavored vodka.  I got some heat from a bunch of people on Pinterest the other day when I said something about someone’s idea of a craft cocktail…(chocolate cake flavored “vodka” mixed with a Starbucks Frappuccino, right out of the dairy case at the supermarket)… I suppose someone would say that the combination is pretty delicious, but I digress.  That is just not my topic!

But strangely enough I’m passionately attracted to the Kings County Chocolate Bourbon.  It has something to do with the quality of the chocolate.  You see the chocolate comes from Mast Brothers in Brooklyn.  You may have come across their ultra-high end, hand crafted chocolate bars at your local cheese shop or possibly at a wine store.   They are not just everywhere and for good reason.  They don’t make millions of bars like the big players in the chocolate scene do.   Their reputation for quality makes all the sense in the world.  They make chocolate for the artist in the stomach of each of us. And their chocolate stands alone in my mind each time a lozenge of it dissolves into my mouth.

Chocolate just goes magically with orange and spices.  I’m enthralled by the texture and pattern of this combination of flavors.  When I was growing up, my mom always had bittersweet chocolate dipped orange rinds around.  It was her thing and I knew not to go near them- or sneak a bite.  But years later I’ve begun to crave the tangy creaminess of the orange zest, enrobed in bittersweet chocolate and this gives me pause.  Why not combine orange liqueur like the Santa Teresa Rhum Orange Liqueur that is more rum than orange liqueur into the excellent mix of Kings County Chocolate whiskey and some hot chocolate?

Why not indeed! 

Simplicity rules the roost with this warming drink that is ½ relax and ½ invigorate.  The invigorating portion is from the fine Moonshine liquor in the Kings County Chocolate Whiskey and the relaxation is from the potent 40% by volume alcohol level held within.  There is just no messing around with this combination of spirits. Orange, chocolate, bourbon, hot chocolate… ahhhh how about some fresh nutmeg and the most marvelous German bitters to finish?

How about that indeed!

Full of Light and Bustle!
Ingredients:
2 oz. Kings County Chocolate Whiskey
1 oz.  Santa Teresa Rhum Orange Liqueur
4 oz. Hot Chocolate- the best you can afford- such as the chocolate from Mast Brothers?
Bitter Truth Spiced Chocolate Bitters
Fresh nutmeg

Preparation:
Melt the Mast Brothers Chocolate with a double boiler- slowly!
Pre-heat a stout ceramic mug
Pour out the water from the mug when it is good and hot- through and through
Add the Kings County Chocolate Whiskey
Add the Santa Teresa Rhum Orange Liqueur
Top with Hot Chocolate
Scrape some nutmeg over the top
Dot with the Bitter Truth Bitters
Offer one to your friend and then make another for yourself

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wines for Thanksgiving

By  Liza B. Zimmerman


Those holidays don't always have to be about turkey. It has never been my favorite main dish and I am excitedly talking to my new partners in crime about potentially serving Osso Bucco or lamb for the upcoming holiday.

If you have a tradition-bound crowd, lighter reds like Cabernet Franc and even Pinot Noir will work well with that turkey. Remember to brine it if you want the meat to be tender and flavorful.

You will want something will a little acidity to cut through the animal fat of the bird. If your stuffing has a lot of intense meat, on the sausage side particularly, you might even want to step it up to a more alcoholic, fruit-forward wine: such as a California Zinfandel.

Bubbles are always fun and festive for the holidays. The luscious fruit profile of Lambrusco paired with its acid structure makes it a perfect pairing for Turkey. It is the one of the Italians' go-to wines for holiday feasts, such as Christmas. Lini is a wonderful producer. For your guests with a sweeter palate, a sparkling Shiraz can also be fun.

A fairly round and somewhat herbaceous white might also do the trick, for those red-adverse at your table. The right white Rhône blends are pretty amazing with even meat-stuffed fowl. An aromatic wine, like a Kerner from Alto Adige would also fit the bill.

Go for Lamb
When I have been able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family in New York, we have long stopped making Turkey. We  roast lamb ribs,  while my mom and I fight over how long it should cook, and pair it with dusty wines like Côtes du Rhône and earthy wines such as Cahors. If you want to be more patriotic for Thanksgiving, go with a California or Washington State Rhône blend.

One year with even did a pig roast cooked in Coca Cola and onion soup mix: trust me it was fantastic! A dish like that works beautifully with an off-dry Riesling, think German  or Washington State more than Alsace.

A domestic Cabernet Franc (there are lots of dusty notes to them) would even work. If you are in an Italian state of mind Barbaresco pairs beautifully with all kinds of rich meats and gives them a peppery zing. Much of the pairing will depend on how you cook the lamb. I tend to cover it in rosemary and some kind of red wine reduction, which can work well with some serious and tannic--and even sometimes herbal--wines.

What I Would Pair with Osso Buco
I have never had Osso Buco--that delicious hunk of bone-in veal shank served in Italy--for Thanksgiving, but it might happen this year. It would be even more unorthodox than lamb. The layers of fat in this dense meat call for rich, structured wines with tannins.

As it is an Italian dish I would probably go local with the pairings: Sangiovese is always fresh and fruit forward. Dense Aglianico from the Italian South would step up the intensity of the match and Piedmonte' s flexible and food-friendly wines: like Dolcetto on the affordable side, and Barolo on the high end, work with everything.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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, November 13, 2014

Pairing Sonoma Wine with Food

By Liza B. Zimmerman


We are spoiled by the enormous selection of great local wines living here in California. Some of my favorites have long been those found off the beaten path: Paso Robles, Anderson Valley and numerous impressive producers in Sonoma County.

A huge shift in day to night temperatures can produce subtle wines, with balanced acidity that are often reminiscent of Old World vintages in Sonoma. I had the pleasure of dining at the Dry Creek Kitchen, chef Charlie Palmer's restaurant within the Hotel Healdsburg, where sommelier and writer Courtney Humiston is incredibly passionate about the local wines.

She is also lucky enough to have an all-Sonoma list to showcase with the restaurant's locally sourced  and French-influenced food. Scallops en croute and truffles shaved on dishes upon request: just say yes! If I can have a peanut butter-parfait afterwards for dessert then I will feel if I have flown across the Atlantic and back during lunch.

A Closer Look at a Diverse Growing Region
"Sonoma  County is a very large and geographically diverse region -- from coastal ridges to Redwood forests to volcanic mountain ranges -- which lends itself to many different grape varieties and wine styles," says Humiston.

"There are so many different micro climates and different grape varieties growing here, I have fun introducing my guests to wines they have never had before [or heard of!]. ... so I appreciate having such a wide range of wines to play around with." She adds that many of these wines manage to combine the incredibly food-friendly flavors of purity, freshness and vibrancy.

A Passion for Pinot
Pinot Noir is often the go-to wine in this region. It can range from big, corpulent and meaty to sometimes reminiscent of Burgundy. Hot days and cool nights make for some powerful Pinots that hit some high alcohol levels and even stand up to steak. I often find them better pairings for dense and intense red meat than the region's Cabernet Sauvignons, which can sometimes be green and a bit tannic.

Anything with truffles on it, such as those being served in many restaurants this fall, ups the pairing potential enormously with Sonoma Pinot Noir. The funk and earth found in both of them brings out layers of flavors in the other. "You smell some wines from the Sonoma Coast and  'it's like being in a forest'--pine duff and crisp fall air--they capture the terroir perfectly. "

Humiston confirms that, "Pinot Noir is commonly considered the go-to wine for pairing with food because of its great versatility." She is lucky enough to offer four pages of local options, of just this one grape, on her list at Dry Creek. The Valley is famous for all kinds of mushrooms, not just those brought in from France and Italy. So restaurants often feature, where legal, local mushrooms and hotels often offer foraging trips.

Not all of the region's Pinot Noirs are expensive either. Mark West is a great example of an affordable and food-friendly wine.

Sonoma also produces some impressive Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. Many have great ribbons of acidity and balanced alcohol, making them ideal pairing partners for all kinds of food parings.

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, November 10, 2014

A Conversation with Benjamin Mélin-Jones of Rhum Clément

By Antonia Fattizzi, Founder/President, Cork and Tin

A fourth-generation member of the Clément family of Martinique, Benjamin Mélin-Jones was raised with rum in his blood.  While growing up in Maine, he learned to stay warm through the cold winters with Rhum Agricole Vieux produced by his French West Indian cousins. His appreciation for the family business started at a young age when his mother used to reward him for a job well-done with either a little bit of Créole Shrubb over ice cream or sips of aged V.S.O.P. Rhum with other traditional French desserts. Ben has vivid childhood memories of how his uncle, George-Louis Clément, would hoist him up and hold his finger under the drip of pure Rhum Agricole Blanc, fresh off the still.

His mother always had a few bottles of the family rum in the liquor cabinet. As these exceptional rums were not available in the US, they were carefully guarded and rationed out only for special guests in their home. Because the Clément rums were regarded with such reverence, Ben was inspired to import and share Rhum Clément with American rum connoisseurs. As opposed to industrial rum distilled from molasses, Rhum Agricole is made from the finest selection of sugarcane, pressed to extract the most aromatic fresh sugarcane juice.

In 2005, Benjamin Mélin-Jones successfully re-launched Rhum Clément and established the importing and marketing company, Clément USA Inc. Clément USA later added to its portfolio by introducing Rhum J.M. from Martinique in 2008 and Rhum Damoiseau, the leading producer of Rhum Agricole in Guadeloupe, in 2013. The selections of rhums from the Clément, J.M, and Damoiseau portfolios make up the full spectrum of Rhum Agricole available in the US market, and serve all sorts of spirits enthusiasts whether one appreciates rhum neat or in cocktails.

1.  Ben, you had the good fortune while growing up to experience an entirely different culture from your hometown in Maine when visiting your mother's family in Martinique.  How were you inspired as a young adult to bring your family's rhums to the United States?
Frequent trips to Martinique when I was younger gave me happy and long-lasting memories. With each visit to Martinique, our travels awarded us more Rhum Clement in the liquor cabinet, which we served on special occasion throughout the year(s). I made my start in the beverage industry soon after school with a craft beer company in Portland Maine.  Next, I created an import company for Italian wine producers.  That experience gave me the idea to do the same with Rhum Clement. I knew this would be a project that I would be naturally passionate about.

2. What is the difference between Rum and Rhum Agricole?
A great majority of Rum in the world is distilled in a variety of grades of molasses, the industrial byproduct from sugar production. Rhum Agricole is distilled from fresh pressed sugarcane juice, before the sugar is processed. Rhum Agricole is truly distinctive within the Rum universe and is popular for its enticing floral aromas and earthy, vegetal, terroir driven flavor profile.

The rum category is about to be re-organized. Classifications will be drawn up as simply English, Spanish and French style rums. The English and Spanish rums are distilled from molasses, but of different varieties and grades, and are finished according to each region’s cultural tradition. Rhum Agricole falls into a category of its own, and is very much the flagship of French style rum.

3. Martinique is very famous for its Rhums Agricole.  But not to be forgotten is the archipelago of Guadeloupe, which is north of Martinique and boasts three rhum-producing islands.  What are the differences in the rhums from each area?
Guadeloupe makes Rhum Agricole just as Martinique makes Rhum Agricole. Martinique follows tighter regulations due to the AOC, but Guadeloupe Rhum Agricole is produced according to the same standards and does take an appellation. Guadeloupe uses different varietals of sugarcane than Martinique. Guadeloupe is slightly more arid than Martinique.

I find that the overall differences between rums from these two appellations is that Rhum Agricole from Guadeloupe has a savory flavor profile with rounded brown butter and some salinity and brininess throughout the character. Martinique Rhum Agricole has more of an overall crisp tropical grilled fruit flavor, with floral aromas and a grassy vegetal foundation.

4. Your most recent addition to the Clement USA Inc. portfolio was of Rhum Damoiseau.  What are the origins of the distillery?
The founder of the distillery that creates Rhum Damoiseau, Mr. Rimbaud, came from Martinique to
Guadeloupe around the turn of the 20th century and created the Bellevue Distillery in the village of Le Moule. In 1942, Roger Damoiseau purchased the distillery and created the brand Rhum Damoiseau.  Over the past 70 years, the family made necessary investments and transformed the tiny distillery into a producer of world-class Rhum Agricole.  Today Roger’s grandson, Hervé Damoiseau, runs the distillery.

5. Tell us about the Damoiseau products: VSOP and the Virgin Cane Rum. What is their distillation process like, and how do you prefer to consume each of them?
Virgin Cane Rum is crafted from the very best batches of Rhum Agricole from the Bellevue distillery. It rests for a minimum of 3 months in large oak vats to mellow before bottling. This rum has an uncanny brine forward character with a nice salty fat Iberico ham center. It is a great base spirit in any rum or white spirit cocktail.

VSOP is Rhum Agricole is aged in re-charred Bourbon barrels. This rum is one of those best bang for your buck rhums. I love it as a sipper, and it shines in old-fashioned and sazerac style cocktails.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Since 2003, Antonia Fattizzi has managed, marketed and sold boutique wines and spirits in the US market. Her passion for artisinal products propelled her to found Cork and Tin, which serves as a voice and a strategic partner for small and emerging brands. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cocktail: The Outlaw Manhattan

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Sitting in front of me is a glass of something that I’d never tasted before.  Something so intriguing and complex that my sense of taste will take hours to reset, if ever.  Because what I have in my hand defies my sense of rationality.   The aromatics are redolent through my nostrils… Do I sense the ocean?  Or perhaps is it the scent of quince, just fallen in the orchard?

Adam Ford, founder and creator of Atsby New York Vermouth poured me a sip from a chilled bottle that he brought with him.  Note I said chilled bottle.  Americans are-as a rule- not fond of chilling their vermouth.  This is too bad because that bottle of Martini and Rossi, left over from your parent’s rec room from the seventies is long gone, yet people still think it’s still viable in a cocktail.  It’s anything but. 

Throw out what you have lurking on top of your fridge and order a bottle of the Atsby New York Reserve Vermouth.  This will be a game-changer in the world of American made vermouth.  But rest assured this is not pretentious wine or wine with a silly name and a pretty label.  What Adam has captured is something that I’ve never tasted prior.  Sure, lots of people experiment with vermouth and there are some pretty righteous and venerable brands out on the market.  To the best of my knowledge no one is currently aging vermouth in the Untited States.  This is too bad because the magic that occurs within the cask (in this case, stainless-steel) is otherworldly. 

Tasting Notes for the Reserve Vermouth:
Freshly fallen quince gives way to salted caramel and sea salt slicked stones.  Minced pipe tobacco that is enrobed in cherry jam reveals itself across your tongue, giving off little puffs of smoke and char.  There is a persistency around my palate of maple sugar and exotic mushrooms, grilled over hard-wood charcoal.  The finish is luxurious and lengthy lasting several minutes or more.  All I can think about is the Atsby Reserve Vermouth woven into a cocktail with exceptionally fine whiskey. 

I’m quite fond of the drink known as the Manhattan.  Perhaps because Manhattan is such a short distance away, but light years in the cocktail idiom.  I can make a drink with the ingredients that I have at my disposal as fine as the most expensive bar in the world, without having to travel into the big city.  It’s really a toss-up.  Go into a cocktail bar and face ingredients, thrown together of an uncertain provenance, or make it at home, myself.  I think I’ll choose the latter.  

Manhattan Cocktails and their ilk require a robust whiskey.  It’s also too bad, generally speaking that many bartenders make their Manhattan’s with bourbon.  I feel very strongly about the quality of my whiskey in my Manhattan so I’ve chosen a very intriguing and hard to get whiskey from Barrell Bourbon. 

Barrell Bourbon batch #003 is crafted from a robust mash bill of 70% corn, 25% rye and 5% malted barley, so you can stop your complaints about your bourbon being too sweet in your Manhattan.  There are very few brands of bourbon that have more than 60.8% alcohol… This one does and it makes a rather potent cocktail so watch out for your feet, they will numb up very quickly. 

I recommend this product highly and you should do everything in your power to acquire a bottle of Barrell Bourbon directly. 

As in right now.  From DrinkupNY.com

Since I don’t have a bottle of the reserve yet, I’m fortunate to have a bottle of the original un-aged version of the Armadillo Cake from Atsby in my larder.  It will have to do until I can procure a bottle of the Reserve for my cocktailian experimentation.  Today I have in my bar a few ounces of Barrell Bourbon 002 chilling in a tall cocktail mixing glass.  The mixing glass is filled ¾ with ice and I’m just letting the rare whiskey cool down a bit.  I’ve added a portion of the Atsby Armadillo Cake to the mix and given it a stir.  Then I add about four or five shakes of the Bitter Truth Orange bitters to the mix, a further spin with my cocktail spoon and strained through a Hawthorne strainer into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.  I’ve cut a piece of orange peel with a paring knife because I want to feel the connection with my garnish and pinching it behind a lit match, the volitile oils spray across the top of my Manhattan.  Try it!

The Outlaw Manhattan
(for two persons)

Ingredients:
3 oz. Barrell Bourbon
1 oz. Atsby Armadillo Cake or Reserve Vermouth-pssst. Get the reserve when you can!!
¼ oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
4-5 drops Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
cocktail mixing glass filled ¾ with ice

Preparation:
Cool your favorite rocks glass with ice and water- pour out when fully chilled and frosty
To the cocktail mixing glass, prime with the orange bitters, add ice to ¾ filled
Add the Barrell Bourbon and the Allspice Dram
Add the Atsby Vermouth
Stir slowly and carefully.  This is not a race!
Strain with a Hawthorne Strainer into your pre-chilled glass
Pinch a peel of handcut orange zest behind a match, over the lipid pool in front of you.. sip sip sip… have another and relax. 

Yes, you can garnish with a cherry, but please do not use those artificially colored ones.. Find a Luxardo cherry or cure some yourself!

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.
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wines for the Fall Foliage: Red, Green and Yellow Wines Reminiscent of Leaves for the Holidays

By Liza B. Zimmerman


It is only after having lived almost a decade on the West Coast that I realize how much I miss the change of seasons back east: multi-colored leaves fluttering to the ground. In California is has been a constant brown (since the drought) all year long, and I remember when it used to be green.

It is wonderful to get back to my hometown of New York in the fall to see the autumn touchdown. So terms of wines to enjoy in the next couple of months, I will suggest some green, gold and red pairings. You can be in synch with the fall colors even if you can't see them from where you live.

Light Green with Herbal Hints
Portugal's Northern whites from the Vinho Verde region aren't really green. But they do have lovely ribbons of acidity and sometimes a little fizz on the palate. They also tend to be very well priced and are great food parings (think delicate seafood and stinky cheese). They are also a delightful way to start off an evening.

South Africa's reds have long been somewhat vegetal: and I say this with an enormous amount of affection. The country's Cabernet Sauvignons are particularly green and tannic--in a gratifying way that can evolve on the tongue--and the blends can be fruitier and more accessible. The blends often have lush upfront fruit as well., particularly if they have Syrah in them. Warwick and Vergelegen have long been favorites of mine.

Gold and Golden
Some of the Rhône Valley white wines have lovely, zesty oxidative notes. Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier all grow beautifully in this area, as do many wines from Washington State that use the same grapes.

The French are masters of dessert wines: should you want to amp up the heat on that color yellow. They can range from Muscat Beaume de Venise with tiny bubbles to unctuous Sauternes. Both wines pair divinely with caramel desserts or can be enjoyed on their own to finish off the evening.

Red and Orange
The pale colors of Chinon, one of my favorite wines in the Loire Valley, are a very clear red, but thankfully not orange. I have never been a fan of those oxidized wines from Northern climes--I won't name names--that have been such an object of fascination for so many sommeliers. They are frankly pretty unfriendly to food pairings and leave an unpleasant burst of acidity and bitter notes in your mouth.

Some of those rowdy, and somewhat tannic, Chilean and Argentine wines are great to enjoy on fall nights. Carmenere has long  been a favorite of mine, as well as some Malbecs and Bonardas from Argentina. Bodega Renacer makes some lovely wines. Don't forget France's Cahors when you are looking for big, thick inky wines to pair with a long-reduced beef dish.

Happy Fall.

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, October 30, 2014

The Four C’s of Corrected Coffee.

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer


Coffee, Calvados. Carpano and Creole Bitters. 
The Four C’s of Corrected Coffee. 

I have an apology to make.  For all of you who get up and go directly into work in the morning, I’m sorry.  Why? Because day drinking, especially morning drinking is one of my favorite jobs and you cannot do this is you work in an office. 

With the responsibility of being a spirits, food and wine writer- comes the task of editorializing the myriad of spirits that arrive at my door.  Sometimes daily.  That means getting up early and sipping.  Certainly not drinking because that would make for a very short day.  I’d be asleep by noon!

But sipping a morning cocktail disguised as a cup of coffee is something else entirely.  Something supernatural… It’s something luscious and dare I say erotic. 

You see, if we were in France- that we are not- but you get the idea that I’m trying to extrapolate here, drinking something like Calvados in the morning is very much an integral part of their social thread.  The older the men in the village- you do live in a small village, don’t you? The more likely they are to drink Calvados in the morning.  What is wrong with that?  Nothing at all!

They call this correcting the coffee and I’m all for it.  There is nothing like it for making that evening buzz from the night prior, extending well into the next day.  You see the art of drinking is more than just drinking; it’s part of the cultural heritage of a place.  We’ve lost that in our country.  If you are correcting your coffee at dawn you’re part of a very small number of people left in the world who agree with this action. 

That’s why I have a plan for you.  It involves a series of ingredients.  Don’t worry, there really isn’t a whole lot of alcohol in this morning drink, but what there is will catch up with you in a hurry if you’re not careful so you must set aside at least a few hours in the morning to really enjoy what I’m sharing with you. 

You see, I’m a professional.  When you are running with the bulls first thing in the morning it’s essential to not worry about who or what you will bump into along the way.   I think life is like that too.  Something about sensuality and flavor of these ingredients that are fortunate to unlock the keys that wind Big Ben. 

Calvados has a rich history of flavor that goes back hundreds of years.  Calvados is not like Cognac.  Cognac is made from grapes and Calvados is made of apples.  These are not your usual apple pie, sweet variety of apples, but they are apples that are extremely tart and some are almost bitter in their unique approach to taste.  Their texture is crisp against the tooth and overall they lend themselves well to the art of distillation.  Daron Calvados Fine Pays d'Auge, available at DrinkupNY is just irresistible when mixed with Carpano Antica Vermouth and good, strong black coffee. 

Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth is one of my very favorite Vermouth on the market.  The thickly textured sweet flavor is tempered somewhat by deeper notes of candied fruits and spices.  There are notes of saddle leather, Belgian Chocolate and freshly crushed mountain herbs in every sip.  Carpano Antica was made for pleasure and drinking a slug of it along with your Calvados and coffee is a fine way to begin your day.  Plus there is enough sweetness in every sip to more than add enough sugar- you won’t need to add any simple syrup to the drink. 
There are a couple of thing you need to do first when combining flavors of this high quality.  The first is to pre-heat your coffee mug and make sure that it is a good heavy weight ceramic one.

Many of my fabulous drinks need a bit of bitter to offset the sweet.  Balance is essential in these concoctions.  The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters seem to set your sails into the correct direction.  I’m hoping the wind will be favorable for your flavor driven trip down memory lane.  Just make sure that the waves don’t crash into your face!

Might Have Been A Flight of Fancy

Ingredients:
2 oz. Daron Calvados Fine Pays d'Auge
1 oz. Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
4 oz. Hot Black Coffee- extra strong please (no Dunkin’ Donuts quality please!)
4 shakes Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

Preparation:
Preheat your coffee mug with boiling hot water- set aside for a few minutes to heat
Pour out the boiling water
Add the Daron Calvados Fine Pays d'Auge
Add the Carpano Antica Formula
Add the Coffee
Adjust the sweetness if needed with sugar
Dot the Bitter Truth Bitters over the top for BALANCE… 

Sante’! 

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.
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wines for Halloween

By Liza B. Zimmerman


This classic American dress-up holiday is just around the corner. I would wager that it is as beloved by adults as it is by kids. During recent trips to costume stores—in preparation for a blow out wine country party—I saw as many grown-ups buying light sabers and sexy hamburger outfits as their kids were snapping up the princess dresses.

For those who are staying in for the evening, or heading back with sugar-hyper offspring in tow, I would say there are two ways to approach your wine pairings. Since the bulk of the scary/vampire wines that are released for the occasion haven’t usually been that high quality, I say you go the road of the toasty reds or wines to pair with whatever candy you can wrestle away from your kids. Even a little cider might be good to warm you up on a fall night. New York State makes some lovely ones that you could even serve warm or use as a component in a festive punch to put on the table to share.

Big, Hearty Reds
If I am sitting around a fire, or just want to enjoy something toasty and divine, nothing beats Nebbiolo-based wines from Piedmonte. They have that spice, complexity and kick. They are so easy to pair with food and so enjoyable without. I tend to like Barbarescos more as I find them a bit wilder in a sensuous way. Produttori del Barbaresco remains one of the top brands in the business and it is still so well priced! Conterno’s” Ceretta” Langhe Nebbiolo is also delicious.

Another favorite for easy sipping by fire—or space heater—is Zinfandel. The earthy,é dusty nature of many of these wines, combined with a lush fruit profile, make them great fall warmers. Some of the best, such as Sobon, are coming out of Amador Country and Paso Robles, respectively to the north and south of San Francisco. Bordeaux and Rhône blends also have a complexity that is perfect for easy sipping and pair so well with so many types of foods: a little beef stock, hot pepper or animal fat in your dishes will just make these wines soar.

Candied Wines for Those Sweets
Even if the kids can’t indulge, some sweet and fortified dessert wines will work well with a wide range of carmel- and nut-based desserts. An ice wine, such as Inniskillin’s from outside Toronto in Niagara-on-the-Lake, are perfect with ribbons of carmel or the crunch of walnuts and almonds (whether its Twix or crème brûlee just go for it). Mission Hill in the Okanagan Valley, a few hours outside of Vancouver, also makes some lovely ice wines.

Ports are going to work with chocolate-based treats, particularly somewhat austere Tawnies and the vintage Port if you want to indulge. Hungary’s intense and well-balanced Tokays are also desserts in an of themselves, as are Bordeaux’s Sauternes.

The biggest decision you should have to face on Halloween night is deciding which candies you want to pair wines with. Having a little flight in reserve of ice wines, Tokay, Port and Sauternes wouldn’t hurt your pairing potential.

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, October 23, 2014

Have you no remorse for your crimes?

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

This morning I had one of those experiences that made me crave a hot breakfast.   The air was still across the trees, unlike yesterday when the front came through.  The wind blew and blew, and the cold air streamed in from the north.  If I was on a sailboat, far out at sea, I’d reef the lines and put in for some heavy seas. 

One of the things that a cold morning says to me are three words.  Hot Buttered Rum.  Ok, four words.  Or maybe five.  Hot Buttered Rum, Sugar and Bitters- oops that’s six..  Six words. 

That’s because hot buttered rum is deeply ingrained into my personality.  It comes from spending time on sailboats with the vast ocean crashing over the bow of the boat.  Being helpless in the face of something bigger than myself or the 50 ton yacht I was in command of for the moment, the hot buttered rum is meant to do a very specific task.  It is meant to give courage and relaxation at the same time.

Thus my difficulty this morning.  So chilly was the air that all I could think of was hot Lapsang Souchong tea and Diplomatico Anejo Rum, some dark Moscovado sugar and a nice pat of salted butter.  Salted butter you say?  Yes.  This drink demands it. 

But do you need a yacht to be able to enjoy a hot buttered rum?  Probably not. You can have one right now.  Without being on a pitching sailboat.  Without seasickness.  Without every formerly dry piece of clothing icy cold and soaked.  You can have all the benefits without the trials of being out at sea. 

A large tumbler of Diplomatico Anejo Rum can provide all the sustenance an armchair sailor needs against lethargy and thirst.  Add to this mix a nice pat of salty butter to give the drink depth.  Then adjust the sugar to taste.  The base of course is good strong tea.  In this case I am using Lapsang Souchong tea.  It’s smoky and potent, the tea proves the point that base of this mug of courage is not the rum or the tea but both at the same time.  They require each other.  Fine rum like Diplomatico Anejo Rum requires only an open mind and a powerful thirst.  And some cold weather wouldn’t hurt.  See?  Rum isn’t only for the summer.  There are times that rum needs a bucket of ice cold salt water in the face of adversity to really bring out the qualities of the fun in your thick ceramic mug.

So what do you do to replicate the experience of being out at sea in an icy gale?  Well, you can employ the help of a friend who will douse you from head to toe in salt water while standing outside in the freezing weather, or you can just watch Moby Dick for the umpteenth time. 

Fetch me a hot buttered rum matey… yes.. I’ll make you one too should you desire. 

Tasting notes for the Diplomatico Anejo Rum:
Butterscotch and sweet charcoal give way to deeper notes of long cooked plum jam and toasted hazelnuts.  There is fire in there, enrobed in milk chocolate with a crisp finish of orange marmalade and salt slicked wet stones.  The finish is long and luxurious.  This is a fabulous rum and it begs your attention.  Even if you only use it for hot buttered rum!

I’ve been reading books on the sea lately and with good reason.  I love the sea and without living near it, my thoughts find themselves immersed into the waves, the salt and the fear. 

The fear of the unknown!

Have you no remorse for your crimes?
Ingredients:
2 oz. Diplomatico Anejo Rum
4 oz. Hot Lapsang Souchong Tea (really no exception for this)
1 tsp. Salted Butter
2-4 shakes Bitter Truth Spiced Chocolate Bitters
Moscovado (raw sugar) to Taste

Preparation: 
Preheat a stout mug with boiling hot water
Pour out water when the mug is very hot
Add the Diplomatico Anejo Rum to the mug
Add the Lapsang Souchong Tea
Add the sugar to taste
Top with the butter

YAR  PIRATES!!!! 

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.
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wines to Drink on Jury Duty

By Liza B. Zimmerman

My favorite part of doing my civic service has long been the great lunches I can have around courthouses. When I used to serve in Chinatown in Manhattan I loved popping out to Vietnamese food on Doyers Street and near Canal Street. Most of these places aren't known for their wines but you can bring whatever you like, generally for a minor BYOB fee.

The spicy and somewhat sweet flavors of Vietnamese food work so well with acidic and well-balanced white wines. Grüner Veltliner has long been a favorite of mine and Berger is a great value for a liter bottle (although you might want to invite friends to join you on your lunch break).

Fairly dry Rieslings are also divine with Asian flavors. I seek out wines from Alsace because it is easy to guess their sugar level: thankfully almost always pretty dry. In New York State, Dr. Konstantin Frank is a deserving icon, is making some beautiful versions, particularly from the Finger Lakes region. Washington State's wines, from both small and large producers, are also some great examples of the varietal.

Burmese Pairings
When I had to serve on jury duty in San Francisco I head to a little outpost of Vietnamese and Burmese places on Larkin Street. I had a great Chilean Sauvignon Blanc with my crunchy peanut- and garlic-inflected green tea leaf salad. The nuttiness of Burmese, often paired with less heat from peppers and sauces can call for wines with less sugar and greater and sometimes broader, quasi-oxidized flavors.

Chile and Bordeaux are great places to seek out these wines. Chile makes great single-varietal Sauvignon Blancs, while Bordeaux generally blends them with Sémillon. Neither area produces overly grassy wines, which I often find to be very unfriendly to food pairings.

Some of the Rhône blends: anything with Marsanne, Roussanne or Viognier can also work fantastically well with Burmese curries and sometimes Indian-influenced rice dishes. These are wines you can seek out from Eastern Washington, Paso Robles and even other regions close to the Rhône, such as the Languedoc.

If You Just Want a Hamburger
Not everyone wants a fancy meal during the middle of the day. Simple classics are also easy to eat at lunch, particularly if you want to catch up on email in a park and get some sun. So if you do just grab a delicious, charred and somewhat rare  burger and you can easily pair it with anything from spicy Cal-Ital to Iberian varietals. Cabernet Sauvignons work as do Zinfandels. Local bars are making better and better burgers--and even ribs north of the Mason-Dixon Line--so they are another great way to pass the time during that little reprieve that the judge gives you.

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, October 16, 2014

Cocktail: Sir Oliver Just Indicated

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I’ve been thinking about the classics of cocktaildom lately and one drink stands out as a virtual mind eraser.  It’s named the pink gin and probably for good reason.  The history of this drink dates back to the mid 19th Century.  Angostura Bitters, one of the original ingredients was being sold as a curative against seasickness.  Gin that had been aged in used whiskey and rum barrels found its way into the drinking class and something quite unexpected resulted.  Not only did the sweetness from the charred interiors of the cask drench the gin in soft textures, but also it made for a different type of cocktail altogether when mixed with the tropically scented bitters. 

Enter the Pink Gin. 
Was the first time that you heard of the pink gin in a James Bond movie?  If you said yes, then you’re late to the party.  The Pink Gin has been around for a long time.  Certainly before you were born!

The Pink Gin is certainly not a weak drink.  It is one part of barrel-aged gin to one part of aromatic bitters.  You can specify ‘in or out’ in means the bitters are inside the glass, out means the rim is moistened with the bitters.  Whichever way you choose, the Pink Gin is not for the meek.  It’s pretty strong and the tropical flavorings will make it “all too easy” to drink.

Barr Hill makes a barrel aged gin that I’m quite fond of.  They age their namesake gin, made from raw honey and grain in new American oak casks that have been charred on the inside to reveal the sweet flavors inherent to the wood.  I think that Todd Hardie makes some pretty righteous Tom Cat for this example of the Pink Gin.  What I’ve done to this version, the cocktail whisperer version is coat the inside of the glass with Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear Shrub. 

I love the pink color of the Prickly Pear.  It adds a certain dimension to the Barr Hill Tom Cat.  A Shrub, for those of you who do not know is made from sugar, fruit and some kind of vinegar.  The ingredients are combined and then aged for a period of time.  What results dates back to the Colonial Era, when refrigeration was unheard of and preserving food was necessary against foodborne illnesses. 

Shrubs like the Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear are just gorgeous, smacking of acidity and style.  They deserve your hard earned dollars.

I go crazy over the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters.  The classic version of a Pink Gin includes some form of aromatic bitters and a lemon zest.  I love using the Bitter Truth Lemon because it injects lemony goodness deeply into my version of the Pink Gin. 

You need some citric spark against the sweet and potent strength of the Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin.  It’s just perfect.  Trust me on this.

The lemon bitters are just what the doctor ordered.  I’m departing from the norm with a wide orange zest.  And don’t use a peeler.  Please be sure to use a pairing knife.  It’s important and using a knife teaches you patience that is essential to building a craft cocktail. 

Patience is what we are lacking in life, so start right now with your Pink Gin.

Sir Oliver Just Indicated (for one drink)
Ingredients:
3 oz. Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin
½ oz. Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
½ oz. Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear Syrup
Wide Orange Peel garnish- cut with a pairing knife, please!

Preparation:
To a mixing glass filled ¾ with large ice- to chill down/but not dilute!
Add the Barr Hill Tom Cat and the Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear Syrup and then stir to chill

To a pre-chilled Martini glass
(Is there really any other kind of martini- other than gin???)
Add the ½ oz. of the lemon bitters
Add the Barr Hill Tom Cat and the Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear Syrup to the pre-chilled glass

Give a quick finger stir…
Twist the orange zest over the top to release the volatile oils…
Serve.
(No, don’t finger stir if you are in a public place!)

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.
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cocktail: Rugged Fortitude

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I’ve got fall on my mind with luscious flavors of the season.  It’s got that snap in the air, the slight chill that deepens my thirst.  It happens every year at this time.  I just cannot help but want to stay warm.  Maybe this is because the weather has just been gorgeous outside.  Crisp, cool and quite refreshing.  Just like the types of cocktails that I like to drink. 

Last night however it was anything but cool.  It was downright cold, dipping into the upper 30’s!  And as much as I like a cool drink after being outside, ice just wasn’t on the menu for my chilled body!

I needed something warming and relaxing at the same time. 

It’s just after noon and this signals the perfect time for a day drink.  Hot chocolate is the perfect bet for warming me deeply, right down to my toes. 

In places like Germany, fruit liqueurs have warmed the bellies of their residents for hundreds of years.  When I drink fruit liqueurs, I like to dig deeply into the lexicon of my travels as a boy to places in Europe.  One of these places was Germany and I tasted many fruit laced liqueurs along the way.  In the fall months, pears come into view in the bars and restaurants.  Poire William or Williams Pear is popular as both a digestive and aperitif.  It’s also good just because you need a pick-me-up and a body warmer.  Pur Likor is such a product, woven from the finest fruits available along with spices and flavorings that speak to my boyhood.  When I opened the handsome, narrow bottle it was like breathing in my childhood.  This is so delicious and just what the doctor ordered when you are cold inside. 

I spent much time out sailing when I was in my twenties.  Invariably there would be circumstances when I got too much sun during the day, leading to a good case of seasickness and sun poisoning.  This was not a great combination for an aspiring sailor.  Usually my stepfather would pour me a large mug of hot tea.  Into this steaming mug he would add his homemade ginger liqueur and a healthy dose of rum.  He called it courage.  I called it fitness food.  Whatever it may have been the flavor profile stuck into my brain and filled me with deep inner warmth.

Ginger and alcohol do a couple of great things for me.  First of all the ginger cures seasickness and thealcohol makes it that I sleep better at night.  Barrow’s Intense is such a passionate product.  It is spicy ginger, combined with a secret combination of flavors that speak clearly to my stomach and my mind. 

When combined with the Pur pear liqueur and the final ingredient, a steaming mug of richly scented hot chocolate something otherworldly is born. 

Of course I cannot forget that bitters in the form of the Bitter Truth Spiced Chocolate bitters bring this entire mélange into balance.  Warming, spicy and sweet, the chocolate bitters manage to evoke the scents and flavors of fine German chocolate deeply into your hand-held body warmer.  You may not taste the alcohol, but it’s in there.  Trust me, it’s in there. 

These sumptuous flavors would form the basis for my cocktail.  I call it Rugged Fortitude.  The ingredients are very simple indeed but watch out.  There is booze in there, so no matter how easy they are to drink, there is a reason why you don’t have them for breakfast. 

Rugged Fortitude
(for two thirsty landlubbers)

Ingredients:
4 oz. steaming Hot Chocolate- sweetened to your taste
1 oz. Barrow’s Intense Ginger
2 oz. Pur Likor Pear Liqueur
2-4 shakes Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters
Freshly whipped cream
Pinch of freshly scraped Nutmeg

Preparation:
Pre-heat a stout mug with boiling water- then pour out
Add the Pur Likor and the Barrow’s Intense
Top with Hot Chocolate
Dash the Bitter Truth Bitters over the top
Finish with freshly whipped cream (Mit Schlag) w/fresh nutmeg scraped on top

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.
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com