I hosted a wine tasting recently with a focus on whites and sparkling wines. So I thought it might be nice to see what recipes are out there for drinks that use sparkling wines (champagne, cava, prosecco, spumante, etc. . . ) as a base. Probably most everyone knows about mimosas and bellinis. But I am looking for something a little bit different from even a sparkling sangria (which will probably be my fall back).
Now my booze cabinet isn’t the most well-stocked, but I do have a couple of mixers that I could use, plus there are some things that I have already stocked in the refrigerator. So here’s what I have:
Mixers, liqueurs, syrups, etc: Midori, raspberry liqueur, cranberry mix, sour apple mix, Angostura bitters, rhubarb syrup, mint syrup, Apple Pie liqueur (luv this stuff. it really does taste like boozy apple pie!), and sugar cubes.
Booze: Appleton VX, Appleton 12-year-old, Pisco, Cachaca (actually two types), Bison Grass vodka, Apple Jack, Yukon Jack, Bulleit Rye, and Woodford’s Reserve.
I am not using my good Appleton rum (If you are ever lucky enough to try some 30-year-old Appleton, by all means get it. Exquisite stuff! Too bad the oldest available in Michigan is the 12-year-old.), the vodka, or my bourbon. No sense in wasting those on something that may or may not work. Plus, no sense in using a bottle of Krug in making champagne cocktails. I am using prosecco from Cupcake Vineyards. Not a bad wine, especially for the price — about $8!
So for this first post I did find some recipes for a couple of traditional cocktails. I apologize for the picture; the cocktails looked a little ominous for some reason. One of them is just a Classic Champagne Cocktail. I guess it’s been around forever. The other one is called Nelson’s Blood. Now if you don’t know the story behind the name, it’s not a pretty one, but more on that later. . .
- 1 sugar cube
- 5 oz. champagne
On a plate, place the sugar cube and splash on a couple of dashes of the bitters in order to soak the cube. Now transfer the cube to a champagne flute and top off with the champagne or sparkling wine. The sugar cube has lots of nucleation points for the sparkling so this will be extra bubbly (think about sodas and Mentos, but not as violent. . . if you don’t know what I’m taking about, click on this).
For the Nelson’s Blood:
- 1 oz. Tawny Port
- 5 oz. champagne
In a champagne flute, pour in your Port. Now top it off with the champagne. I do confess though — the pic does not have port in it, but some of the Appleton VX instead. Although most recipes I found just have the port and sparkling in it, there are some which have rum. These are more complex and have better ties to the provenance of the drink. So here’s a cultural nugget and a little bit of history. . .
Picture it — Trafalgar, 1805. . . The British fleet has just scored another victory against the rival French, but the victory would cost Admiral Horatio Nelson his life. Admiral Nelson was a war hero beloved all over England and a burial at sea would just not sit well with folks back at home. The problem was that getting him home could take possibly months. So to keep his body, er. . . fresh. . . it was preserved in a casket of brandy where it was essentially pickled.
It has been reported that since he was so beloved by the people and admired by his crew, some of the sailors aboard Nelson’s ship secretly stole a sip of the pickling brandy to hopefully take in some of his qualities. So this has given life to numerous concoctions paying homage to him. Check out this one which has brandy (to symbolize his “preserves”), tawny port (to symbolize his spilt blood), rum (because he was a sailor), and blood orange juice (since he died just off the coast of Spain). Tasty!
Just a quick post today about this great national holiday. A couple of quick things to point out: 1) I don’t make my own mustard. 2) I don’t really have a recipe that uses mustard (although my dry rub recipe does have some dry mustard). 3) I love mustard, as you can tell from the mustards that I have in my refrigerator, not counting the Blue Cheese Mustard from Stonewall Kitchen that was just polished off the other day. I totally recommend that mustard by the way. But I digress. . . we all probably have some kind of mustard in our kitchen. It’s a part of our everyday lives!!!. . . for the most part. . . maybe.
But back to the holiday. . . if you are somewhere near Madison, WI, you should pop on over to the National Mustard Museum in Middleton and celebrate at the festival. Mustard from everywhere will be there — from Kaua’i, HI to Beaverton, OR to Clearwater, FL. Unfortunately I can’t make it but I did have to order my very own 20th Annual National Mustard Day (NMD) T-shirt! It sounds like a fun time and it looks to be a very well attended event. So go celebrate everything mustard and eat a couple of free hotdogs. Looks like they have some mustard custard to top everything off!
Does anyone have a recipe out there using mustard?
As a side note — today is also National Root Beer Float Day! I am working on a cake to celebrate!
Daisy says, “Happy August everyone!” If you thought that August is a slow month for national holidays, you’d be wrong. Not only is it National Catfish month, but this country celebrates a whole bunch of things ranging from raspberries to mustard to toasted marshmallows (I just found out that it is also National Peach Month, too). So grab a root beer float and a bag of trail mix cuz it’s August! Here is what we have to look forward this month:
3 National Ice Cream Soda Day (or June 20th)
4 National Chocolate Chip Day (or May 15th)
5 International Beer Day (just found this out!)
6 National Mustard Day (check out the Mustard Museum!)
7 National Raspberries ‘n Cream Day
8 National Frozen Custard Day
11 National Raspberry Bombe Day
15 National Lemon Meringue Pie Day
17 National Vanilla Custard Day
18 National Ice Cream Pie Day
19 National Soft Ice Cream Day
20 National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
22 National Pecan Torte Day
24 National Peach Pie Day
26 National Cherry Popsicle Day
27 National Pots de Creme Day
31 National Trail Mix Day
Happy July everybody! Lots of stuff going on in July, much like every month. Of course, there’s the 4th of July for us in the States, but there’s also Canada Day on the 1st (it’s like the 4th of July. . . . but Canadian!). And there’s Bastille Day on the 14th. Guess lots of people went independent this month. I think it’s because of the heat.
There’s lots going on in the world of food, too. Month-long celebrations include: National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Picnic Month, and National July is for Blueberries Month!
Here are some days of interest:
1 National Gingersnap Day
4 National Barbeque Day
5 National Apple Turnover Day
6 National Fried Chicken Day
7 National Strawberry Sundae Day, National Macaroni Day
9 National Sugar Cookie Day
10 National Pina Colada Day
11 National Blueberry Muffin Day
12 National Pecan Pie Day
17 National Peach Ice Cream Day
20 National Ice Cream Day
21 National Creme Brulee Day
22 National Penuche Day
23 National Vanilla Ice Cream Day
25 National Hot Fudge Sundae Day
26 National Bagelfest
28 National Milk Chocolate Day, National Hamburger Day
29 National Lasagna Day
30 National Cheesecake Day
31 National Raspberry Cake Day
That’s lots of “national holidays”! As always, I will try to keep these in mind when trying to post stuff on the blog, but I really don’t have any experience working with penuche 🙂
I am a big fan of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The natural beauty of the place is remarkable. And if there’s one place that I have a particular fondness in the U.P., it’s the Keweenaw Peninsula (well, there and the Soo Locks / Sault Ste. Marie). The Keweenaw is the northernmost tip of the state (here’s a link to the Convention & Visitors Bureau). It’s not the easiest place to get to, especially from the opposite corner of the state over here by Detroit. I’d equate it to driving from Miami, FL all the way to Pensacola, FL. It’s roughly the same distance, but to get to Copper Harbor (which at the very tip of the Keweenaw) you don’t have some nice fancy interstates to take you anywhere. The closest thing would be US – 41. Interestingly enough, US-41 ends / starts at Copper Harbor. The other end?. . . it’s in Miami, FL.
But here are a couple of events happening in the next couple of weeks that would be fun to attend. Coming up on July 1 – 2 in Calumet is PastyFest 2011 (I already ordered a t-shirt. The mascot is awesome!). What better way to celebrate Independence Day that with a Pasty Festival? And the following weekend (July 8 – 9) is the Copper Country Strawberry Festival in Chassell. As an aside, this area used to be copper mining country, hence the name and the pasties. Pasties, with a history dating back to 18th century England, were a standard lunch that miners took down into the mines. They are a meat and vegetable filled turnover with a pastry crust. It was portable and it could be warmed up on the lamp that miners had on their helmets. Some pasties had even had a built-in dessert of fruit on one end of the turnover. How cool is that?
So if you’re in the area or if you want something fun to do, check out these festivals. It’s a nice weekend trip and I’m sure there’ll be lots of good food.
Happy June everyone! It’s a lovely day here in SEMI, especially since it was mid-nineties hot here for the past couple of days. Just wanted to give everyone a little heads up on what we can celebrate this month.
This year, Father’s Day and Juneteenth are both on the 19th. But culinarily speaking, June is: National Candy Month (here’s a nice nutritional link from Kansas State University’s Dining Services), National Dairy Month, National Fresh Fruit and Veggies Month, National Papaya Month (which is also in September for some reason), and National Iced Tea Month to just name a few. Here are some days of interest:
1 Hazelnut cake day
2 Rocky Road day
3 Chocolate Macaroon day
7 Chocolate Ice Cream day
9 Strawberry Rhubarb Pie day
12 Peanut Butter Cookie day
14 Strawberry Shortcake day
22 Chocolate Eclair day
26 Chocolate Pudding day
I will try to keep these in mind for this month’s postings. I still have to post some things for National Hamburger Month and National Salad Month which was last month. Maybe I’ll save them for next year.
Well, it’s May and you know what that means. Lots of things apparently. First of all, all those April showers have brought in the May flowers. But since it still feels a little chilly up here, maybe those flowers will come in June.
So what’s in store for this month? There’s Cinco de Mayo, which is not the Mexican Day of Independence (that’s in September). Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, too. Culinarily speaking, it is also National Hamburger Month, National Barbeque Month, National Salad Month, and National Chocolate Custard Month, just to name a few. There are a whole jumble of National ____ Days which I could do stuff on, but that’s really no different from any other month. So this will be the some of the various themes that I’m going to try to focus on this month. Stay tuned!
I had the good fortune of being able to attend a reading by author Josh Kilmer-Purcell at Schuler’s books in Lansing yesterday. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Josh, both he and his partner Brent Ridge, MD are the subject of the reality documentary on Planet Green called The Fabulous Beekman Boys. It details the transition and struggles that two urbanites go through trying to develop a thriving business out of their farm called the Beekman. They have a whole slew of artisanal products, including goat milk soaps (which are fabulous, of course!) and cheeses made with the help of the goats on the farm. The products are available on their Beekman 1802 website, but according to Josh, they are out of the Blaak cheese and won’t have any more until June-ish so get on the wait list now!
The Spartan alum and ex-drag queen has authored a couple of books, two of which have been on the best-seller list. At Schuler’s, he did a reading from his most recent book The Bucolic Plague (here’s a link to the an online review from the New York Times) and he talked about a dinner that he and his partner Brent had with Martha Stewart (Dr. Brent was VP of Martha Stewart Healthy Living before the Beekman needed some full time attention). You’ll have to buy the book in order the get the whole story. But it was nice to hear about it straight from Josh, well maybe not straight…
He was so genuine and personable, like someone you’d known for years. I’m sure if we’d met while he was at Michigan State we would have been best friends! Of course, I was there long after he was gone; I think he said he graduated in ’91 whilst I graduated in around 2000 . Always with the poor timing. . . Anyhoo, I’m so glad that I got a chance to be there. And the turnout was great given that there was only a week or so to plan the event. I just wish that I could have remembered all the questions that I had to ask. I did happen to remember them on the drive home, and came up with a couple of new ones. Again with the poor timing. . . But, thanks to Josh for coming back to the E.L. and sharing a little bit of yourself with us. And thanks for the fabulous model walking.
Just wanted to say a “Happy National Glazed Ham Day“! Not exactly sure how that came to be, but who doesn’t like a nice glazed ham? Well, vegetarians, I guess. . . And vegans. . . And those with certain religious obligations. . .