February 24, 2011

Oscar's Week: Black Swan

In one of the best performances of the year, Natalie Portman’s startling character portrayal in the Black Swan is more than a psychological thriller. Toast her swirl of brilliance and insanity from White Swan to Black Swan, while drinking these cocktails to match. Begin with the White Lady in its classic and purest form and end with the dark and deliciously menacing Cointreau Noir in Black Ice.

The White Lady
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 2 oz. Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Lemon juice
Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Black Ice
  • 3 oz. Cointreau Noir
  • Ice cubes
Pour over ice and enjoy.

February 23, 2011

Oscar's Week: The Fighter

Oscar's Week rolls on and not without a punch! Today we're toasting two knock-outs, Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg in "The Fighter." In my opinion, anything related to Mark Wahlberg is delightful (especially if it involves no shirt and Studio 54, but I digress...)

Just like the movie, this cocktail, made with Dewar's 12, packs a punch but also evokes great passion. So, sit back and sip on these Blood & Sands as you watch the film duke it out for Oscar gold!

Blood & Sand
  • 2 oz Dewar's 12 Blended Scotch Whiskey
  • 1 oz cherry liqueur
  • 1 oz red (sweet) vermouth
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

February 22, 2011

Oscar's Week: The King's Speech

Continuing the flow of our cocktail glasses, we bow our hat to the King... well, the King's Speech! (and Colin Firth - isn't he just adorable? I digress...)

The King’s Speech
Raise your glass to Colin Firth’s Golden Globe and SAG victories with this decidedly British cocktail. Made with Earl Grey tea and Bombay Sapphire, the quintessential London Dry Gin, this cocktail is worthy of a King.

Bombay Sapphire Royal Tea
  • 1 oz. Earl Grey Tea Infused Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon
  • 1 oz. Egg white
  • ¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • ½ Rock candy
  • 2 Dashes orange bitters
  • Topped with a Bitter Orange
Combine gin, tea infused simple syrup and lemon juice in a shaker over ice, shake vigorously. Double strain into a tea cup. Beat espuma mix until thick and foamy, spoon into tea cup, on top of Sapphire mixture. Put a pinch of tea leaves in center, garnish with a stick of orange bitters rock candy on the side of the tea saucer.

February 18, 2011

And the Winner is...

You should know by now that every so often we throw a non-from-the-vine-bevi into the mix of our indulgences. That's because every WinoBee sometimes needs to deviate from their norm. In fact, we encourage expanding the palate, and hell, we fall culprit to it ourselves. It's nice to keep things eclectic, which is exactly our aim for all next week.

The Oscars are right around the corner (Sunday, February 27th) so we'll be using the next few days to lure you into a world of creation (ooh - we sound so "Inception" right now)... a world that's chock full of tasty cocktails, gold statue-worthy recipes and creative tips for hosting your own glammed out party -- all of which are sure to keep with the theme of Hollywood's Biggest Night!

Be sure to check back next week for all the fun, but in the meantime, we know ya'll will be getting your own Facebook-Tweeting-Blogging-FourSquaring-Tumbling-self on this weekend, so why not try whipping up one of these tasty lil' buggers to spawn some fun?

The Social Network
Created by Boston mixologist Scott Marshall of Drink, this coffee-infused cocktail is the perfecAdd Imaget bevi to fuel those long nights spent hacking into the Harvard computer network.

The All-Nighter
Build in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and stir. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

February 16, 2011

Kim Crawford Accessorizes Fashion Week

This week's been buzzing with all the hottest new styles during the infamous Mercedes Benz Spring Fashion Week in New York City. But the happenings on the runway weren't the only things catching fashionista's eyes. This year was all about the style you were sipping. Celeb and fashion icons alike (and me, tomorrow) all had the opportunity to grace the tents toting delish Kim Crawford Wines as their latest accessory. As the official wine sponsor of this year's festivities, Kim Crawford definitely got things buzzing... and we got the inside scoop for you!

Crowds came out in droves for the fashion week kickoff event of The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection fashion show at Lincoln Center. While guests sipped on glasses of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc out front in the lobby, celebs backstage, including Patti LaBelle, Dita Von Teese, Camilla Alves and her hottie mc-hottie boyfriend Matthew McConaughey sent their reps out to beg for bottles of the Pinot Noir to bring back to them. One bottle, two glasses each. Were they just trying to calm their nerves before the big event or were they actually wanting a true heart health day in honor of the cause?! A glass a day keeps the doctor away!

Other celebs made a bee line for the Wine Bar after the walking the catwalk including Eve, Taraji P. Henson, and Ann Curry, who, when asked about how she felt when walking the runway for the first time, said “I was petrified. Totally petrified. But I just kept telling myself ’I am here to love you all, I am here to love you all.” We love you too, Ann!

Fashion mega-superstar Christian Siriano toasted his new collection with Kim Crawford Wines and his two leading ladies, Gabrielle Union and Mena Suvari. Gabrielle Union rocked some killer shoes and sipped only on Pinot Noir all night while chatting away with an entourage of male friends (where was Dwayne Wade?) - while Mena Suvari stuck to the Sauvignon Blanc and “danced, danced, like it’s the last, last night of her life, life” a la Usher.

MR Patrick Duffy and Pat Cleveland, (the legendary and emblematic supermodel of the 70s and 80s, and the first African American supermodel to grace the cover of Vogue magazine) hosted fellow style gurus Patrick McDonald kicked off the week alongside notorious fashion character Lauren Ezersky and the infamous Anita Aarko at the Kim Crawford wine bar.

And tomorrow the biggest thing to hit the tents since Carrie Bradshaw... Lil' Miss WinoBee! Stay tuned for more Fashion Week fun!

February 14, 2011

Party Pairing Monday: Valentine's Fudge Pie

This pie may not be as pretty as boxed chocolates, it may not be as luxurious as cake, nor as sexy as melted chocolate with strawberries. But, this fudge pie is rich and delicious. Plus, it’s quick and easy to make, which leaves you time for, um, other romantic things. It can easily be made in the morning to be eaten in the evening after a dinner date, or can be enjoyed still warm from the oven.

From the Novice Nosher
I actually got this recipe from my boyfriend, who got it from his mom. So it has a special place in both my boyfriend’s and my hearts. It reminds me of the different kinds of love that exist: between girlfriend and boyfriend, mother and son, heck even mother and son’s girlfriend.

I don’t like to tweak much without the BF Mom’s approval, but I do like to add a little bit extra to give it my own touch. When I don’t have time to make a pie crust from scratch, I like to use a pre-made crust that can be found in the baking aisle. But I love to make a graham cracker crust that goes great with the chocolate in the filling. And to put on top of that fudge filling, I like homemade whipped cream, with a touch of vanilla. But Cool Whip can serve as an easy, time-saving and equally delicious creamy topping. I’ve included the recipes for the graham cracker crust and for the whipped cream, just in case you want to go that extra mile for your valentine.

Fudge Pie
  • 1 stick of salted butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 unbaked pie crust (or 1 pre-baked graham cracker crust)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients except for the pie shell in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Graham Cracker Pie Crust
  • I box of graham crackers (at least 24 crackers)
  • 6 tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Optional: cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice
Melt the butter. Crush the graham crackers in a bag with a rolling pin until it's in fine pieces. Measure 1 1/2 cups of the crumbs and pour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the sugar and the melted butter. Mix the ingredients together to blend, then transfer to a pie pan and press into it firmly. To pre-bake, bake it in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 350F.

Whipped Cream
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
DirectionsWhip the cream in a stand mixer until almost stiff. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until the cream holds peaks.
WinoBee's Pairing
It's Valentine's Day so anything goes, especially anything thats sensual (as I'm sure you saw from our featured pairings in Redbook last week - winky, winky!) So why not tickle your tastebuds with some SEX. Yes, SEX!!

M. Lawrence SEX is a brut rose made in Michigan (can you believe that?) and I just discovered it last night while serving at @TishWine's "Sexy Wines" tasting at VinoVino, but it was quite the hit. Made from 100% locally grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, you'll get a beautiful salmon color on the eye, sensual raspberry and strawberries notes on the tongue and a crisp finish.

Team it up with this Fudge Pie and you're guaranteeing the ultimate foodgasm!

Cost: $15/bottle

February 11, 2011

Valentines: Aphrodisiac Food & Wine Pairings

Whether you're in love, looking for love, or trying to get some love, Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to make magic happen! And there's no better way to do it than with sexually suggestive food and beverages that make you throw your inhibitions to the wind.

I'm serious! Studies show that alcohol levels can raise the testosterone levels in women, which coincidentally entices those who lack sexual interest and desire. Interest piqued? Then go ahead… light the candles, pop in a little Marvin Gaye and ensure where your night is headed with these de-lush-ious aphrodisiac food and wine pairings from your Lil' WinoBee, which were featured by Redbook this past week!

Wine is the perfect mood setter, and for the "romanticals" out there looking to get the night started with some sustenance, whip up some Sizzling Steak Kabobs and pair with a higher tannic red wine like Zaca Mesa Syrah ($20, BevMo.com). This red offers unique character that blends dark plum notes with deep espresso undertones, and its sure to land you more than one silky finish for the night!

Esporao Private Riserva White ($29.99, WineLibrary.com) offers honeysuckle attributes that pair well with any kind of shellfish, especially the richer ones like oysters, and we all know oysters are the most notorious aphrodisiac food. The zinc found in oysters controls progesterone levels which are said to have a positive effect on the lipido. Bow-chicka-bow-wow!

Wine and chocolate are a match all their own, but they may help you make your own love match. A compound in chocolate, called methylxanine, triggers the release of dopamine in the body often leaving you with a feeling of lovestruck. Try making your sweetie these Chocolate Lava Cakes and serve alongside a sparkling rosé, like Martini & Rossi ($13, Shopper's Wines) which combines an aromatic bouquet and palate of light florals and apricot.

Port Wine is said to be an aphrodisiac all its own, so in the case you have no time (or motivation) to whip up something romantic, simply grab a bottle of white port and some fresh strawberries and cream as studies say pairing the two may promote lovemaking.

February 10, 2011

Valentines: Get Your Cham-Cham On!

Hi wine lovers! Guest blogger Tara Daudani from BetterTV here with a fun twist on a romantic Valentine's Day cocktail.

At a party for Driscoll's berries last week, I enjoyed a delicious Chambord & Champagne cocktail. My co-worker Anne, who attended the event with me, cutely referred to the drink as a "Cham-Cham" though I've seen it called a Kir Imperial also. This twist on a classic glass of bubbly is one of the easiest cocktails to make. Just pour 1/4 oz. of Chambord Liqueur (or more if you want a more intense black raspberry flavor) then fill the glass with champagne and garnish with a raspberry or blackberry. Voila! A beautiful drink to toast with the one you love. Last night the cocktail was served with Korbel Brut ($9.99/bottle), but in my humble opinion, a Blanc de Blanc would be really good too.

To go along with our Cham-Chams, party-goers also decorated heart shaped cupcakes with those delicious berries. And let me tell you, the blackberrries were some of the best I've ever had! At the end of the event, host Cathy Riva gave all of us some homework: This Valentine's Day, pay it forward. She encouraged us to do a random act of kindness for a stranger this year. Whether it's helping someone in need, or paying for the person behind you in Starbucks. I can raise a glass to that!

February 8, 2011

Valentine's: A Romantical Rose - Sparkling Herdade Do Esporao

Ah, the week before Valentine's Day! Always a pressing time to figure out how your going to woo your wondrous. Our suggestion? Switch it up this year. There are only so many commercial chocolates and cards a girl or guy can get, so we're encouraging you to take it one step further... wining and dining!

All week we'll have the best tips for making your special day, well, special. Everything from wine suggestions to sexy pairings and mouth-watering recipes sure to land you some points... and then some! Bow-chicka-bow-wow!

And what better way to kick things off than by going romantical... romantical rose that is. Two words, Sparkling Rose by Herdade Do Esporao! I recently discovered this vineyard and have to say it stole my heart (no Valentine's pun intended). From the light effervescent bubbles to the beautiful light strawberry hue, thise wine surely resonates with all things L-O-V-E, and offers mild raspberry notes with a slight citrus undertone. On the finish, I almost had a "margarita-esque" taste which was delightfully surprising!

Cost: $19.99
Where to Buy: Lush Wine & Spirits
Pairing: Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!

February 7, 2011

Party Pairing Monday: Veggie Chili

Hey WinoBees! Guest blogger Lisa Mathias from The Novice Nosher here with a post-SuperBowl meal to make you melt!

To be totally honest, I enjoy the food eaten during the Super Bowl as much as the game itself (and the commercials!) but a lot of those delicious dishes we all tend to indulge on during a big game-- like nachos and pizza--can leave us feeling a little bloat and bulge after.

So if you enjoyed those greasy, guilty pleasures yesterday, take today to keep yourself satisfied while recovering. We'll consider this your "post-game" detox dinner. It's chili - with a vegetarian twist.

Don't let the word "veggie" turn you off - this chili packed with black beans that provide plenty of meat-like texture and will leave you feeling full from just a small bowl full. Plus, it has plenty of tart diced tomatoes and lots of the spice that makes regular chili irresistible. This version also has a bit of orange to add some nice acidity and freshness to balance its spicy kick.

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili with Orange and Cumin
(slightly adapted from Bon Apetit's test kitchen)
  • 2 large oranges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 15.5-ounce cans seasoned black beans, drained
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Cheese
  • Etc.
DirectionsGrate the peels of both oranges, you should get about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Juice the oranges. Heat the oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté 5 minutes. Mix in garlic and spices and mix to combine. Add beans, tomatoes, and about a 1/4 cup of orange juice. Decrease temperature to medium heat and stir often for 15-20 minutes, until fully blended and heated through. Stir in the orange peel. Add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup orange juice, according to taste (the orange flavor is actually strong, so if you want more spiciness or tomato-like flavor, use less). Then season to taste with hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Serve with cilantro, sour cream, or whatever toppings you enjoy!

Party Pairing from Your WinoBee
Pairing a wine with chili can actually be a pretty difficult feet considering all the robust flavors present, and the amount of spice the cook adds into the mix. For a mild chili, our top suggestion would be to go for a Pinot Noir or Syrah. We love '08 Stadlmann Pinot Noir for its ability to balance with the acidity of this chili. Plus, its certified organic in Austria, which flows with the style of this meal.

However, some like it hot! In which case, try teaming up your chili with a Riesling. This spice in chili can work against red wine by amplifying the tannins to a point of disappointed.

February 3, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday: Sack the brewskies, pass the vino

Beer and football go together like, well, beer and football. But sometimes making a sporting event as big as the Super Bowl more exciting could mean trading in a few traditional items on your party menu. Wanna be #1? Sack the brewskies and pass the vino.. get ready for WinoBowl Sunday!
  • Bubbles, not Bobbles! Sparkling wine, like Martini Prosecco ($16) offers gentle frizzante bubbles which deliver a spark on the tongue and light, delicate flavors that pair well with starters. They even come in mini bottles which are party portable. To add some flare, use helmets as ice buckets and keep your minis chilled!
  • Fumble-Free & Food-Friendly! Albariño from Spain is quickly proving itself an affordable white wine to watch in 2011. Martin Codax 2009 Rias Baixas Albariño ($12) is expressive with peach and apricot notes. It also gives intense green apple and lemon zest flavors that pair nicely with party starters like Chunky Guacamole with Chili-Lime Chips, a football staple not worth foregoing.
  • Gridiron Gruner! If you like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio, you'll love Gruner Veltliner. This Austrian wine is crisp and drywith green apple and lemon flavors, and an appealing acidity that cuts through salt and fat. Try 2009 Forstreiter Grooner ($10) alongside some game-night nachos!
  • Serve the Team!Grab a boxed wine like Duca del Frassino ($20) if your planning for a large group of people. Its a fun, fresh Italian blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Corvina and contains the equivalent of four bottles of wine. Because of its dark fruit andaromatic attributes, this wine is great with grilled meats like hamburger sliders. It also makes a great sangria base!

February 1, 2011

Wanna Be a WinoBee?

A few weeks back (I know, I'm slow on the uploading) I had the opportunity to chat with Robert Grgurev, Associate Brand Manager with Green & Black's chocolate, who is also currently studying oenology. What a perfect job to have - wine and chocolate, I'm SOLD!

Not only did Robert tell me that learning about wine is really about "tasting as much as you can" (I love having this as my justification) but that you should be able to build a foundation for wine in about a year. Just how do you do it? Check out more of Robert's tips below!