COLD NIGHTS AND WARM TODDIES

By Aaron Walters

With colder temperatures (FINALLY) upon us, I thought it appropriate to talk about a few of my favorite warming, winter cocktails. 

My top three, in no particular order, are Snap! Hot Chocolate, The Barenjager Toddy and the Peppery Ginger Apple Cider. Any of these will definitely knock the chill off during those cooler evenings.

First up is the:

Snap! Hot Chocolate

For this cocktail I use Art in the Age's Snap! liqueur. It is an all-natural organic concoction of Blackstrap molasses, clove, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla and Rooibos tea. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp. dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1.5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 oz Snap

DIRECTIONS

Put all dry ingredients into saucepan and add 2T of the heavy cream. Whisk together over low heat until fully incorporated then add the remaining dairy ingredients. Continue whisking until it reaches a low boil. Remove from heat and whisk in your Snap. Pour up and enjoy!


Up next is the: 

BARENJAGER TODDY

One of the quintessential cold weather drinks, the toddy is a mainstay classic. Here we simply swap out the honey for Barenjager Honey liqueur. This liqueur is imported from Germany and is absolutely delicious all on its own; however, when mixed with your favorite bourbon it becomes almost transcendent!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sachet black tea (I prefer Twinnings selection of breakfast teas)
  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon (substitute a Scotch like Glenlivet if you prefer) 
  • 1 oz Barenjager
  • lemon wedge
  • cinnamon stick
  • boiling water

DIRECTIONS

Place the bourbon, Barenjager and cinnamon stick in your favorite mug. Add boiling water and your tea bag and steep for 2-4 minutes. Squeeze the lemon wedge and stir with the cinnamon stick. Sure to cure what ails you...even if nothing ails you at all!


Peppery Ginger Apple Cider

Lastly, a deliciously spicy twist to the traditional Apple Cider. The Peppery Ginger Apple Cider is a unique take on cider to say the least. If you are a fan of ginger and spice and everything awesome this is the cider to carry you through those wintery nights! Here we use Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur. This is one of the most versatile liqueurs I've had. You can use it year round. Now, for the end all be all Apple Cider recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz apple cider
  • 4 oz of Knob Creek Bourbon
  • 3 oz Domaine de Canton
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 4 Luxardo cherries
  • freshly cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Bring cider and bourbon to a simmer in small saucepan. Stir in ginger liqueur and add lemon juice to taste. Divide cherries between 2 heatproof glasses or mugs and pour in cider combination. Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.

None of these recipes will disappoint and all are guaranteed to warm you up and make those chilly nights far more enjoyable!

Cheers!

IF YOU LIKE THAT, TRY THIS.

By Jesse King

Hey guys, if you have been really good this year then I bet you have (or will soon get) some gift cards to your favorite wine and spirit shop. This is a great opportunity to step outside of the box and try something new and exciting!  Remember, even your favorite tried-and-true beverage had to be tested the first time.

If Cognac is your jam, enjoying product mainstays like Hennessy and Courvoiser, you might like Armagnac. Both are French brandies distilled from grapes (albeit different grapes). Cognacs aim to keep consistency among spirits while older brother Armagnac likes branching out with different kinds of flavors. Le Marque and Larressingle are two wonderful examples that might just make you a convert!

Everybody loves margaritas and Triple Sec is in most recipes. In addition to the 'Rita, Triple Sec is super important to any home bar. However, have you thought about upgrading to a nicer orange liqueur? A little pet peeve of mine is when someone wants a bottom shelf product because "it's just going to be mixed anyway." Well, if your mixed drink is two thirds crap mixed with one third crap you will have 100 percent crap in a glass. Treat yourself and your guests this year, and see what a difference a couple of extra dollars can make. I suggest Mathilde, Cointeau, or Grand Marnier. Liqueurs like that demand you try a bit in a glass by itself first to see how wonderful "Triple Sec" can really be.

Ok, this is going to be a challenge but I'm up for it! Jagermeister has been popular forever. Everybody loves it. It’s a sweet herbal liqueur best enjoyed ice cold in a shot glass. As you grow older and more mature or simply look at Jager with feelings of nostalgia and nausea, consider trying a bottle of one of my favorite things in the world, Amaro. I describe Amaro to people as Jagermeister without the sweetness. It's spicy, it's herbal, it's absolutely luxurious on the tongue. You can use Amaro in a variety of cocktails as it plays very well with whiskey for starters, and you can use it as a digestif to settle your stomach after that big holiday meal. (It works, no kidding!) I recommend the lovely cola notes of Ramazzoti, or the beautifully crafted Montenegro, bursting with floral notes and smooth as silk on the palate.

Finally, we come to Tequila. I remember many nights (and occasionally not remembering a few) enjoying Tequila Blanco. This is because Blanco is great for shooting; it has spent little time in oak barrels so it is a pure expression of the spirit. If this is what you are used to, then why not live a little and get some Reposado and Anejo in your life.  Buy the aged versions of your favorite go-to Blanco to see how time in barrels have affected your juice. Of course, you can still shoot Reposado or make Margaritas with Anejo (it'll be a damn good 'Rita!) but I suggest enjoying these new versions neat or on the rocks to truly see what makes them unique. Most Tequila brands offer all three, but for a place to start I enjoy the differences between Don Julio, and Tres Generaciones.

Come see me and our knowledgeable staff for more recommendations on how to celebrate more this holiday season!

All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price.

MY NEW FAVORITE: KETEL 1 VODKA

By Mark Bradham

At a recent tasting, to my delight, I discovered vodka that satisfied not only my taste buds but my love for history as well. Out of all the selections, Ketel 1 was my number one pick because of its ease to sip and for delivering both crisp, balanced flavors and a soft finish.

This ancient-recipe vodka was voted “#1 Best Selling Vodka” by Drink International.  It is the use of carefully selected European wheat and a combination of modern and traditional distilling techniques that result in Ketel 1 enjoying a consistently strong presence in the market. Unique fragrance, flavor, mouth-feel, and finish define Ketel 1; the fragrance shows freshness with hints of citrus honey. Savor the crisp, lively tingle and feel the signature softness coat your tongue. Allow the long finish and subtle flavors to remind you, “This is vodka at its best.”

Ten generations of Nolet Family experience go into every bottle. The Nolet Distillery in Holland, was founded in 1691, and has remained in the Nolet family ever since. Ketel 1 is named for the coal-fired copper still that was originally used for distillation. Ketel 1 time-honored traditions have stood the test of time, and to this day Ketel 1 is still distilled from 100% wheat in copper pot stills. This distilling technique produces the incredibly smooth vodka. After distillation, Ketel 1 is filtered over loose charcoal, and rests in tile lined tanks until ready for bottling.

You will be pleasantly surprised when you compare the price of Ketel 1 to the other top shelf vodka choices in the store. The Nolet Family has managed to keep the price below the competition while producing a superior vodka.

Try Ketel 1 and you will come to the same conclusion. Ketel 1 is the best value in the Vodka market today.

Cheers

Mark Bradham