Category Archives: Reviews

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

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

Market-Fresh Mixology Book Giveaway

Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Occasion - Bridget Albert with Mary Barranco

Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Occasion – Bridget Albert with Mary Barranco

Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Season is written by award winning mixologist Bridget Albert with Mary Barranco. Market-Fresh Mixology inspires readers to shop local farmers’ markets, use their own home garden ingredients and personal pantry items to make fresh, creative cocktails.

The book emphasizes the use of the freshest, seasonal ingredients. Some of these ingredients might seem a little unusual for cocktail use; zucchini, radish, beet, caviar, etc. But the book also includes a wide variety of more common cocktail fruit choices such as berries, watermelon, apricot, pear, etc. The recipes and ingredient choices reflect a “green” living movement that carries over into the cocktail and bartending genre.

Bridget Albert with Mary Barranco - photo credit: Larry Fox

Bridget Albert with Mary Barranco – photo credit: Larry Fox

Bridget Albert points to the Spiced Beet Cocktail as her favorite from the book. This spring cocktail is described as a sophisticated, balanced blend of bold, spicy flavors.

Spiced Beet Cocktail

1 beet (peeled & sliced)

Juice of 3 pressed Limes

2 bar spoons Brown Sugar

Pinch of Ground Ginger

1-1/2 ounce Silver Tequila

1/2 ounce Mezcal

1 ounce Fresh Sour

Beet Leaf Garnish

Add sliced beat, lime juice, brown sugar and ground ginger to sauté pan. Cover and simmer on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, until beets are tender. Stir occasionally. Remove beets and allow liquid to cool.

Place tequila, mezcal, 2 ounces cooled liquid, fresh sour and ice to cocktail shaker. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with beet leaf.

Bridget Albert Market-Fresh Mixology book - photo credit: Larry Fox

Bridget Albert Market-Fresh Mixology book – photo credit: Larry Fox

Market-Fresh Mixology does have wide appeal with its creative use of fresh ingredients. However, not every recipe can be followed exactly by every home bartender. For instance, Carrot Chic calls for freshly juiced carrot juice using an electric juicer. Not everyone will have access to an electric juicer. Though not ideal for freshest use possible, bottled carrot juice is available at grocery stores so it is still possible to make Carrot Chic if the recipe interests you. By the way, it looks delicious and someone on her Facebook fan page commented that the Carrot Chic cocktail “was the hit of the party…”

Bridget’s book separates recipes by season and includes a list of the best fruits, vegetables and herbs for each season as inspiration. Allow her original drink recipes to inspire you to get more creative in the kitchen and behind the bar.

Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Season Book Giveaway

Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Occasion - Bridget Albert with Mary Barranco

5 books to give to readers! – Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Occasion – Bridget Albert with Mary Barranco

Bridget Albert and Agate Publishing have generously provided The Intoxicologist with five books to share with readers. Since the book is about inspired and inspiring fresh cocktails, the giveaway will be based upon the same thing. Bridget outlines a few unusual ingredients as “Season’s Best” for spring:

artichoke, asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumbers, dandelion, greens, fiddlehead ferns, lettuce, morels, papaya, pea pods, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, watercress, zucchini

Which of these spring season’s best ingredients would you find most intriguing in a cocktail and why? Leave your comments at the bottom of this post. Winners will be chosen from comments by random drawing.

I am excited to see which ingredients inspire you most and super excited to send a Market-Fresh Mixology book to 5 lucky readers! Thanks for participating! ~ Cheri

Leave your email address in the comment form. Email address will not be published, but it is the only way I have to contact winners. Contest is open from March 25 to March 30, 2014 midnight CST. Contest is only open to U.S. residents over the age of 21. International friends may enter and win, but the prize will be sent to a person of your choice with U.S. shipping address. See additional Giveaway Policy information.

Bridget Albert currently designs cocktails and trains bartenders throughout the Chicago area, while teaching at the Academy of Spirits & Fine Service on behalf of Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois. She has appeared on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America among many other television programs. Follow Bridget’s fan page on Facebook and bookmark her website.

Review copy and copies for giveaway provided by representatives Agate Publishing, Inc.

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

Latini

Latini Tequila Cocktail

Latini Tequila Cocktail

Although Margaritas are the most popular tequila drink out there, tequila deserves variety in the cocktail world. Mixologists and bartenders have created delicious cocktails with tequila. Ditch the sour mix and premade slushy machine Margaritas. Go for some good ole fiery charm in your drink.

What makes this cocktail so special is the syrup. The syrup is a little citrusy with fiery pop! It takes a little extra effort to make start to finish, but it is well worth the time. There should be approximately 3-1/2 cups of Latini syrup. Each cocktail only uses 1-1/2 ounce of syrup. That’s a lot of sipping pleasure for your syrup making time.

The Latini contains wonderful spicy kick that lingers long. The cocktail hints at charmingly sweet, yet its peppery spice complements the sweet for perfect balance. This is a definite keeper to add to your list of must try cocktails

Latini Cocktail Recipe

Latini tequila cocktail

Latini

1-1/2 ounce Reposado Tequila

1-1/2 ounce Latini Syrup*

1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

Orange Twist

Place liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to chill. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Twist fresh orange peel over the cocktail to capture its essential oils in the drink. Drop in the cocktail.

*Latini Syrup

2 cups Water

3 ounces Fresh Lime Juice

1-1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

4 Guajillo or New Mexico Dried Chilis

3 Orange Wheels – sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 ounce Vodka – optional

Place all ingredients (except vodka) in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or double strain using a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof container with lid. Allow to cool. Add 1 ounce vodka as preservative if desired. Refrigerate syrup while not in use.

El Diamante Del Cielo Tequila Review Notes (2009)

This recipe is from a lost review post from 2009. Cielo Reposado Tequila representatives provided me with a review sample. Cielo Brand Manager, Alec Hopmayer, recommended the Latini cocktail. All opinions are my own.

El Diamante Del Cielo Reposado Tequila displays a bit of vanilla in the first sip. It is not until the second or third sip that the magnitude of the succulent vanilla hits squarely across the palate with divine lusciousness. Cielo Reposado Tequila leans more toward smooth savory smoke than peppery spice. It is mild, yet deeply satisfying. The finish is long, creating an easy sipping experience. Perfect for winter evenings by the fire or summer evenings lingering on the deck.

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