Category Archives: Reviews

Liquor & spirit reviews, cocktail & drink recipe reviews, bar reviews

Halloween Party Shots & Small Bite Pairings

36 Halloween Shots & Shooters - Shots are miniature tasters to pair with small bite appetizers. Download eBook and take recipes on the go.

Do you know what I love about Autumn? Halloween! I am not a huge fan of scaring myself silly, so no haunted houses and clown horror movies for me. But I do love decorating for Halloween and throwing a big Halloween party. It’s just super fun. I’m also all about planning ahead.

Introducing 36 Halloween Shots & Shooters eBook

36 Halloween Shots & Shooters eBook contains 36 original, adapted and popular shots ideal for scaring up a devilish Halloween party. A full color photo of the exact drink is included with every recipe. Photography and text: Cheri Loughlin Design: Concierge Marketing

This year I’m even more excited about Halloween, because I get to introduce my new Halloween recipes book, 36 Halloween Shots & Shooters. The eBook is filled with 36 drink recipe with matching full color photos so you know exactly what the drink looks like. Each drink has been tested and has a short flavor description.

Why shot recipes for parties instead of Halloween cocktails? Plain and simple; they’re fun! They also make terrific miniature tasters to pair with appetizers and small bites. Perfect for parties! Shots are no longer reserved for the younger set. Shot tasters are for the young at heart who enjoy sampling lots of flavors.

Party Shots and Small Bite Pairings

Pumpkin Pie to Die for pairs wonderfully with Pie Crust Cookies sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar - 36 Halloween Shots & Shooters by Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist LLC

Pumpkin Pie to Die for pairs wonderfully with Pie Crust Cookies sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar

The Pumpkin Pie to Die for shot pairs deliciously with easy pie crust cookies sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Check out The Ultimate Pie Crust Guide for an experimental journey toward the perfect pie crust.

My adaption of the Banshee shot pairs nicely with miniature waffle cones filled with an assortment of diced fresh fruit and pecans. The Cupcake Project has a terrific Waffle Cone recipe if you’d like to try your hand at making your own.

Poison Apple and Spiked Caramel Apple both pair deliciously with Crunchy Pecan Granola - 36 Halloween Shots & Shooters by Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist LLC

Poison Apple and Spiked Caramel Apple both pair deliciously with Crunchy Pecan Granola

The Poison Apple and Spiked Caramel Apple shots are both totally yummy paired with Crunchy Pecan Granola from PinchOfYum.com.

Pair either the Blood Shot or Vampire Killer shots with a fresh mozzarella ball, cherry tomato and fresh basil leaf on a miniature kabob. Provide a small dish with mixture of olive oil or chili oil and aged balsamic with salt and pepper for dipping. I’m also a fan of the Caprese Bites with cheese tortellini and basil pesto from GarnishWithLemon.com.

These are just a small handful of shot recipes and small bite food pairings that would make the perfect serve at your next party. But you don’t have to wait for a party to start sampling these delicious recipes. Download 36 Halloween Shots & Shooters today and start sampling! Don’t forget to take your eBook with you on the go so you can be the life of the party.

All content ©2014 Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist. All Rights Reserved. Chat with Cheri @Intoxicologist on Twitter and facebook.com/Intoxicologist or str8upcocktails@gmail.com

Broken Shed Vodka

Broken Shed Vodka is a product of New Zealand.

Broken Shed Vodka is a product of New Zealand.

Broken Shed Vodka is a product of New Zealand. The company announced their launch into the United States market in June of 2012. This vodka is four times distilled from natural whey product. Whey product is the excess sugar or watery part generated from milk production after curds form. This is a gluten-free vodka, free of additives. Broken Shed is blended using two of New Zealand’s purest water sources from the North and South Islands; Central Otago and East Tamaki.

Tasting Broken Shed Vodka

This vodka tastes clean with very little burn. There is just a smidgen of black pepper in the lingering taste.

Broken Shed Vodka tastes clean with very little burn. There is just a smidgen of black pepper in the lingering taste.

I like to sample vodka in a straight Martini. Broken Shed Vodka does come through with their claim to smooth taste and texture. This vodka tastes clean with very little burn. There is just a smidgen of black pepper in the lingering taste.

Broken Shed Vodka Cocktail Recipes

Broken Shed Vodka is gluten-free, free of additives

Broken Shed Vodka is gluten-free, free of additives

There are more interesting recipes to sample with this vodka. The two recipes below are from their “Middle Earth Cocktails” category.

Negroski

3-1/2 ounces Broken Shed Vodka

1 ounce Campari

1/3 ounce Sugar

2/3 ounce Ruby Port or Spiced Otago Pinot

Citrus Twist

Place ingredients in a mixing tin with ice. Stir for at least ten seconds or until well chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass or strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon, orange or grapefruit twist according to preference.

Middle Collins

2-1/2 ounces Broken Shed vodka

1 ounce New Zealand Sauvignon Wine

1/2 ounce Lemon juice

1/2 ounce Vanilla Sugar

Limonata

Kiwi Wheel and or Lemon Grass Spear

Build liquids in a highball glass over ice. Top with Limonata. Stir briefly. Garnish with kiwi wheel and lemon grass spear.

Broken Shed Vodka

Sample provided by representatives of Broken Shed Vodka.

All content ©2014 Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist. All Rights Reserved. Chat with Cheri @Intoxicologist on Twitter and facebook.com/Intoxicologist or str8upcocktails@gmail.com

Introducing Barefoot Bubbly Prosecco

Prosecco is best served chilled. Barefoot Bubbly® Prosecco “offers vibrant aromas and flavors of pear, apple and peach with zesty lemon finish.” – Barefoot Wine & Bubbly tasting notes. Varietal: Glera grapes grown in the Prosecco region in Northeast Italy. Alcohol Level: 11% Suggested Retail: $10

Barefoot Bubbly Prosecco

As luck would have it this little gem arrived on an appropriate day of the week; Wine Wednesday. I’m looking forward to chilling and pouring in my glass for a relaxing evening tonight!

Barefoot Bubbly Prosecco Tasting Notes

Prosecco is best served chilled. Barefoot Bubbly® Prosecco “offers vibrant aromas and flavors of pear, apple and peach with zesty lemon finish.” – Barefoot Wine & Bubbly tasting notes.

Varietal: Glera grapes grown in the Prosecco region in Northeast Italy.

Alcohol Level: 11%

Suggested Retail: $10

Charmat Method

Barefoot Bubbly Prosecco is made using the Charmat method rather than the classic method. This means fermentation occurs in an autoclave or large pressurized container rather than in individual bottles. This method speeds up the fermentation process and it is said that the natural fragrance of the grapes are better preserved as well. The Charmat method is excellent for Prosecco since it preserves the fresh aroma of the grape.

Prosecco Cocktails

Mimosa

Pair this Prosecco with fresh summer fruits, light salads or spicy appetizers. But don’t leave it at that. Prosecco and signature cocktails go hand in hand. Try a classic Bellini with fresh peach puree and lemon juice topped with Prosecco. Top off a Buck’s Fizz or Mimosa with Prosecco or add in apricot liqueur or orange liqueur and make the Valencia or French Mimosa sparkle and shine with this little goodie. Another terrific classic to keep in mind is the Aperol Spritz with Aperol, Prosecco, a splash of soda water and orange slice.

Keep your cocktail simple and summer sipping fun and flavorful!

Barefoot Bubbly® Prosecco sample provided by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. Find wine recipes created by Cheri Loughlin for Barefoot Wine & Bubbly on this site and at BarefootWine.com and by following Barefoot Wine on Facebook.

All content ©2014 Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist. All Rights Reserved. Chat with Cheri @Intoxicologist on Twitter and facebook.com/Intoxicologist or str8upcocktails@gmail.com

Omaha Beer Fest 2014

West O Beer – West Okoboji, Iowa Smoked Red, American Amber / Red Ale, 6.5% This was by far my favorite beer of Omaha Beer Fest. The dark flamed red color carries through to the deep flavor structure of the beer. It’s full bodied, smoky with a bit of nut, dark chocolate and caramel rolled into one. The hint of espresso sharpness is just enough to wave and say hello, mix and mingle and balance all the flavors in this incredibly delicious beer. Smoked Red is a wish list must have!

West O Beer – West Okoboji, Iowa

A friend and I attended the 4th annual Omaha Beer Fest a couple of weekends ago. There were hundreds of craft beers, of which I was only able to reasonably taste a fraction. Though volunteers generously poured 2 ounce sips, I limited myself to an ounce or less, except a few I truly enjoyed. There was one incredible standout that I will definitely hunt down for purchase. Thank you West O Beer! Your Smoked Red is incredible!

A big thank you to my friend for attending with me and holding my glass for photo ops! We have completely different taste in beer which was super cool. She introduced me to one that tastes like Fruity Pebbles. Who knew?!

Omaha Beer Fest 2014

Omaha Beer Fest 2014

If you didn’t get a chance to attend Omaha Beer Fest 2014, stay tuned. Hopefully you’ll get a chance next year. In the interim, gear up for Omaha Crush for wine lovers. It happens Saturday, August 2, 2014. There’s still time to purchase tickets, so make plans to attend.

Omaha Beer Fest 2014 Beer Tasting Notes

West O Beer – West Okoboji, Iowa

West O Beer – West Okoboji, Iowa Smoked Red, American Amber / Red Ale, 6.5% This was by far my favorite beer of Omaha Beer Fest. The dark flamed red color carries through to the deep flavor structure of the beer. It’s full bodied, smoky with a bit of nut, dark chocolate and caramel rolled into one. The hint of espresso sharpness is just enough to wave and say hello, mix and mingle and balance all the flavors in this incredibly delicious beer. Smoked Red is a wish list must have!

West O Beer – West Okoboji, Iowa
Smoked Red,

Smoked Red, American Amber / Red Ale, 6.5%

This was by far my favorite beer of Omaha Beer Fest. The dark flamed red color carries through to the deep flavor structure of the beer. It’s full bodied, smoky with a bit of nut, dark chocolate and caramel rolled into one. The hint of espresso sharpness is just enough to wave and say hello, mix and mingle and balance all the flavors in this incredibly delicious beer. Smoked Red is a wish list must have!

http://westobeer.com/

Zipline Brewing Co – Lincoln, Nebraska

Zipline Brewing Co – Lincoln, Nebraska Oatmeal Porter / 6% Zipline’s Oatmeal Porter ranked somewhere between my second and third favorite of the beers sampled at Omaha Beer Fest. I loved the espresso and chocolate notes of this beer. It is easily sippable with creamy, smooth feel and just enough bitter to take notice.

Zipline Brewing Co – Lincoln, Nebraska
Oatmeal Porter

Oatmeal Porter / 6%

Zipline’s Oatmeal Porter was quite possibly my second favorite of the beers sampled at Omaha Beer Fest. I loved the espresso and chocolate notes of this beer. It is easily sippable with creamy, smooth feel and just enough bitter to take notice.

http://www.ziplinebrewing.com/

Boulder Beer – Boulder, Colorado

Boulder Beer – Boulder, Colorado Shake Chocolate Porter, Porter, 5.9% In a word; delicious. Third favorite perhaps. This is dark chocolate with hints of bitter cacao nib smoothed out with creamy sweet caramel and espresso. Just look at the wonderful color and you know you’re getting full bodied, decadent flavor.

Boulder Beer – Boulder, Colorado
Shake Chocolate Porter

Shake Chocolate Porter, Porter, 5.9%

In a word; delicious. Third favorite perhaps. This is dark chocolate with hints of bitter cacao nib smoothed out with creamy sweet caramel and espresso. Just look at the wonderful color and you know you’re getting full bodied, decadent flavor.

http://www.boulderbeer.com/

Deep South Barrels

Deep South Barrels Just as I had favorite tasting favorites, this was by far my favorite giving and gifting idea favorite. Barrel aging cocktails is popular in bars, restaurants and for home cocktail enthusiasts. Deep South Barrels makes this possible in large and small quantity. They even personalize the barrels. Their display was quite impressive and drew quite the crowd at Omaha Beer Fest. I know it’s a bit early to start thinking about holiday gifts, but something like this makes a fantastic gift for the liquor enthusiast on your list. It’s also something to keep in mind if you’re looking to age your own spirits or cocktails to give as gifts when holiday season comes around.

Deep South Barrels

Just as I had tasting favorites, this was by far my favorite giving and gifting idea.

Barrel aging cocktails is popular in bars, restaurants and for home cocktail enthusiasts. Deep South Barrels makes this possible in large and small quantity. They even personalize the barrels. Their display was quite impressive and drew quite the crowd at Omaha Beer Fest. I know it’s a bit early to start thinking about holiday gifts, but something like this makes a fantastic gift for the liquor enthusiast on your list. It’s also something to keep in mind if you’re looking to age your own spirits or cocktails to give as gifts when holiday season comes around.

http://www.deepsouthbarrels.com/

Blue Blood Brewing Co – Lincoln, Nebraska

Blue Blood Brewing Co – Lincoln, Nebraska 1335 Wicked Snout Farmhouse Ale, Saison / Farmhouse Ale, 6.4% The yeast does the hard work to produce the flavors one expects from this Farmhouse Ale.

Blue Blood Brewing Co – Lincoln, Nebraska
1335 Wicked Snout Farmhouse Ale, Saison / Farmhouse Ale

1335 Wicked Snout Farmhouse Ale, Saison / Farmhouse Ale, 6.4%

The yeast does the hard work to produce the flavors one expects from this Farmhouse Ale.

http://bluebloodbrewing.com

Founders Brewing Co – Grand Rapids, Michigan

Founders Brewing Co – Grand Rapids, Michigan Dirty Bastard, Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, 8.5% This is a beer with attitude. It has gorgeous garnet color to lure you in and rich peaty smoke too keep you coming back for more. It’s all hopped up on flavor. What more could a girl ask for in a beer with a name like that?

Founders Brewing Co – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Dirty Bastard, Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

 

Dirty Bastard, Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, 8.5%

This is a beer with attitude. It has gorgeous garnet color to lure you in and rich peaty smoke to keep you coming back for more. It’s all hopped up on flavor. What more could a girl ask for in a beer with a name like that?

http://foundersbrewing.com/

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse – Loveland, Colorado

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse – Loveland, Colorado Little Red Cap, Dusseldorf Altbier, 6.3% This little red head is malty with bready notes and chocolate. It’s creamy and smooth and goes down clean and easy. She’s a hint sweet, full of charm and doesn’t pull any punches.

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse – Loveland, Colorado
Little Red Cap, Dusseldorf Altbier

Little Red Cap, Dusseldorf Altbier, 6.3%

This little red head is malty with bready notes and chocolate. It’s creamy and smooth and goes down clean and easy. She’s a hint sweet, full of charm and doesn’t pull any punches.

http://www.grimmbrosbrewhouse.com/

Lagunitas Brewing Co – Petaluma, California

Lagunitas Brewing Co – Petaluma, California Little Sumpin' Sumpin', American Pale Wheat Ale, 7.5% Golden color with a bit of sunshine misting the glass. This is a nice refreshing summer beer with delicate, smooth rather than bitter finish. Great for wheat and IPA fans.

Lagunitas Brewing Co – Petaluma, California
Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, American Pale Wheat Ale

Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, American Pale Wheat Ale, 7.5%

Golden color with a bit of sunshine misting the glass. This is a nice refreshing summer beer with delicate, smooth rather than bitter finish. Great for wheat and IPA fans.

http://lagunitas.com/

Millstream Brewing Co – Amana, Iowa

Millstream Brewing Co – Amana, Iowa Blitzen, Baltic Porter This was part of the Brewmaster’s Extreme Series beer, winter 2013. Dark color, rich and creamy with lovely roasted malted flavor.

Millstream Brewing Co – Amana, Iowa
Blitzen, Baltic Porter

Blitzen, Baltic Porter

This was part of the Brewmaster’s Extreme Series beer, winter 2013. Dark color, rich and creamy with lovely roasted malted flavor.

http://millstreambrewing.com/

There were so many more beers and ciders that I did not have a chance to sample. Who could with that many on tap with so little time?! This is merely a sample of a few that I tasted, found interesting and wanted to share. Check out the Omaha Beer Fest website for information on the participating breweries and vendors. And be sure to attend next year!

All content ©2014 Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist. All Rights Reserved. Chat with Cheri @Intoxicologist on Twitter and facebook.com/Intoxicologist or str8upcocktails@gmail.com

Irony Wine What’s Your Story Wine Cork

What's Your Story Wine Cork

What’s Your Story Wine Cork

A while back I let you in on a wine cork photo project I have been working on. The photo project has been a little hit and miss lately due to cocktail development projects and a book I am currently writing, but that’s all good. Many emailed, messaged me on Facebook and someone left a comment asking about what wine the “What’s Your Story?” cork came from. I couldn’t remember and couldn’t track it down.

Irony Wine What's Your Story Wine Cork

Irony Wine with the “What’s Your Story?” Wine Cork

Luckily a #WineWednesday shout out to Twitter friends garnered a correct answer within minutes. A huge shout out thank you to my friend Dan Bliss (@Blisser on Twitter) who is a Google search hero. As soon as Dan tweeted me the answer I made a bee line for the liquor store like an excited 21 year old at midnight with a fresh ID.

The What’s your Story wine cork comes from Irony Small Lot Reserve wines. Their wines include Cabernet Sauvignon (the one I purchased), Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Apparently the “What’s Your Story?” cork isn’t the only clever cork in Irony’s bottle neck. Nikki Cassandra has a cork posted with the words, “What Occasion doesn’t benefit from a little Irony?”

Irony Wine What's Your Story Wine Cork

I encourage you to take a look at the Irony wine website and read the about page to discover for yourself why the family chose the name Irony for their wine. Pick up a bottle at the store and give it a whirl or swirl in your glass while you’re at it.

What’s Your Story?

"What's Your Story?"

“What’s Your Story?”

I love wine corks with clever quotes, sayings or drawings. What clever wine corks have you seen and what wines do they come from? Share your comment at the bottom of this post.

All content ©2014 Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist. All Rights Reserved. Chat with Cheri @Intoxicologist on Twitter and facebook.com/Intoxicologist or str8upcocktails@gmail.com