August 22, 2011

Cocktail Corner: Citrus & Solitude

Bombay Sapphire recently hosted their “Most Inspired Bartender” competition in New York City at Tribeca Rooftop, and joining the festivities this year as a judge was the beautiful, Selita Ebanks.

The model, actress and budding mixologist took her judging duties seriously – asking the bartenders questions and scribbling detailed notes about each cocktail. Her favorite drinks were those that had a little sweetness and a little spice, which she said reminded her of her upbringing in the Caribbean. So impressed by some male bartenders’ shaking abilities, Selita was overheard saying that she wished some of the bartenders could make their drinks shirtless! We're with you, girl!!

The winning cocktail? This yummy Citrus & Solitude from Sean McClure of craft which we re-created this weekend at our #WineDown.

Citrus & Solitude

  • 1 1/2 oz. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE
  • 3/4 oz. BENEDICTINE Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh Shibori yuzu juice
  • 1/4 oz Simple syrup

Directions: Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain over a 2" ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

August 16, 2011

Happy Rum Day!

It's National Rum Day and in honor, we're bypassing glasses and going straight to the pitcher with this delicious summer cocktail created by The Cocktail Guru, Jonathan Pogash. Bottoms up!

The Panamanian Soother (serves 8-10)

  • 1 1/2 cups Ron Abuelo AƱejo

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  • 1 oz agave nectar

  • 1 pack blueberries

  • 12 sage leaves

  • 2 bottles Diet Ginger Beer

Preparation: In large pitcher, muddle the berries and sage together. Then add remaining ingredients with ice and stir very well.

August 13, 2011

Keepin’ “Chile” During the Hot Summer

Summer time is one of the most social seasons of the year -- with outdoor happy hours, rooftop parties and dinner gatherings galore! Often that also translates into excess calories that leave the bikini line in a bulge... but, August is the month it doesn't have to!

With the rise of "skinny" cocktails (our waist lines thank you, Bethenny Frankel!) there's no better time to revamp your seasonal libations than now -- National Chile Harvest kickoff month!

Fact is, chiles are not only a key ingredient in decadently spicy foods and beverages, they also offer many positive benefits to the body. According to my dear friend (and mentor), Pat Baird, RD, registered dietitian and nutrition consultant, "Chile peppers are a good source of most B vitamins, particularly B6, and are high in potassium, magnesium and iron. Chiles also contain special plant nutrients (phytochemicals) that protect cells from damage, and maintain overall health.”

For me? Well, you know I’m never going to forego a cocktail on an evening out and about (and we know they are in plethora), so it's all about checks and balances. That’s exactly why I opt to trade in more sugar-clad Pina Coladas and daquiris, which are high in calories, for something a little more saucy! You'll not only reap the benefits of the chiles themselves, but the spicy attributes will make you sip slower and avoid frequent 'refill' stops at the bar.

I’ve scoured some of the top bartops and spoke to prominent mixologists in the country to identify the hottest August sips. Thirsty yet? Whip up some of these chili-infused finds:

Hot Lips
By Manny Hinojosa, CORZO Mixology Specialist
• 1 1/2 oz. Corzo Silver
• 2 oz. fresh press pineapple juice
• 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
• 1/2 oz. Natural agave nectar
• 2 slices of Serrano chile (muddled)

Preparation: Slice chiles and add to a shaker. Muddle using cocktail mixing whisk or spoon. Add tequila and let sit for a few minutes to let the spice infuse into the liquid. Add agave, pineapple and lime juices ice and top with ice. Shake well and strain into a well-chilled martini glass.

Red Chili Martini
By: Eugene Mardell of the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa
• 2.5 oz of tequila
• 1 tsp. of Mango chile puree
• Splash of fresh lime juice (to taste)
• Cayenne salt to rim
Preparation: Place in shaker over ice, shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with small, red chile.

Red Ice
By Stacy De Fino, WinoBee
*Makes 4 glasses
• 1/4 cup Haagan Daas Mango Sorbet
• 1 tsp fresh lime juice
• 1/2 tsp of lemon or lime zest
• 1/8 tsp chile powder (or muddled Serrano chiles)
• Lemon wedge (to garnish)
Mionetto Prosecco

Preparation: Using an immersion blender, mix sorbet, lime juice, zest and chile powder. Spoon mixture into a champagne flute. Fill with prosecco and stir lightly until ingredients are well meshed. Lightly rim lemon wedge in additional chile powder. Add lemon wedge to side of champagne flute to garnish.

As seen on “Good Morning Connecticut” on 8/13/11
Video compliments of WTNH-ABC

August 8, 2011

Food Network Launches Entwine

Here come the bride and groom... and in my case, they come in the form of a huge, flavor-bleeding flank steak and robust Cab! Ah, now that’s my kind of wedding - because food and wine, after all, is the perfect marriage.

And much to my agreement, a strong union has just been formed as the empire of all-things-grubbing, Food Network, has finally joined the ranks of lushes (like myself) nationwide. That’s right, Food Network has ventured into the wine making business and I couldn’t be more excited.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the launch party for new Entwine, a collaborative effort between the Food Network and Wente Vineyards of California. Sergei Kuharsky, General Manager & New Business Chief for Food Network, mentioned that this effort was focused on the fact viewers are intimidated by the world of wine (gee, I couldn’t agree more!) and how naturally they wanted to make it easier and accessible for viewers by creating food-friendly styles of wine that people could understand (amen!).

In fact, with Entwine, Food Network takes all the fear out of sipping by labeling each of their four wine varieties with easy terms that even the least seasoned wine enthusiast can understand, like licking raspberry jam off the back of a spoon. We likey!

Even Chef Anne Burrell (a WinoBee fav - see here) of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” and “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef,” joined the fun and shared her most prized wine tips!

"Go out and do research,” Burrell advises. "Go out to dinner, eat food, buy wine, drink wine. Decide what you like. Wine doesn’t have to be scary. When you go to a resturant, ask the people who are selling wine to help you. The more you drink it, the more you experience it, the more comfortable with it you’ll become... Let’s cook and enjoy the process of getting to dinner, and while we’re doing that we’ll try some wine."

And try some wine I did - with four varieties to select from, my glass was optimistically half full for most of the evening! If you don’t believe me, just look at the picture on the right!
  • Chardonnay -- apple and citrus notes that team up with citrus-bathed scallops, as the acidities balance one another out. Without the pairing, this wine may seem a little too tart.
  • Pinot Grigio -- a refreshingly, crisp wine with accents of green apple, lime and honey. Piggyback it with some kimchi grilled cheese for a little punchful pizzazz.
  • Merlot -- my favorite and just as the bottle says, like licking raspberry from a spoon. Pairs delightfully with pork loin tapas topped with tomato jam. The sweet and savory mix is a combination to win palates, tummies and hearts.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon -- a colorful blend of herbs, spice and dark fruits that pairs nicely with a Mediterranean beef slider infused with olives, nuts and raisins - the mixture of earth and sweet bring to life all the flavors housed in this little bottle of Cab.
All bottles retails for about $12.99, making it a great value wine for the everyday WinoBee. For more, scope out our video of Sergei, Anne and Karle Wente here: