Wine Wisdom: Add These Regions Less Traveled to Your Bucket List

 

Fresh off the Barn at Blackberry Farm’s win of the 2014 JBF Award for Outstanding Wine Program, Andy Chabot, the restaurant’s food and beverage director, tells us about his favorite less-traveled wine regions. 

 

Paso Robles, California
I imagine that Paso Robles is what Napa was like in the ’70s: farm country, plenty of incredible wines, and friendly winemakers who open their doors to visitors. A nice bonus is that local restaurants sell many of the area’s hard-to-find wines.

 

Chablis, France 
A quick trip from Paris, this is a fantastic region for white-wine lovers. It’s not overly touristy, and there are some very fun restaurants and hotels with great wines. All seven of the Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis sit together in a bowl like an amphitheater. 

 

Tokaj, Hungary
The traditional Aszu Tokaji wines from this region in northeastern 
Hungary are among the world’s finest dessert wines, but... Read more >

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Happy Hour: Sherry Bloody Mary

bloody mary

 

Few classic cocktails are more storied than the Bloody Mary, which is reportedly celebrating its 80th birthday this year. With roots stemming from the Russian Revolution and Prohibition, its original name and recipe have long been disputed—but one thing is clear: it's a beloved brunch tradition, hangover cure, and one of the most ubiquitous libations in America today.

 

This weekend, spice up your cocktail routine with a unique twist on the zesty tomato-infused treat. Created by Leo Robitschek of the Bar at the NoMad Hotel, our 2014 winner for Outstanding Bar Program, this sherry-anchored Bloody Mary doubles up on veggies by featuring beet juice along with the classic tomato juice. This inspired variation is perfect for adding a little spice to your Friday evening happy hour ritual—and for reviving you again in the morning if you happened to get a little too carried away. 

 ... Read more >

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Happy Hour: Mr. Beard's Citrus Cooler

Mr. Beard's Citrus Cooler

 

It’s Friday afternoon, which means you officially made it through another week! Celebrate this weekend's Summer Solstice with our latest Happy Hour cocktail, Mr. Beard’s Citrus Cooler. This recipe comes care of Beard House staff member Victoria Jordan-Rodriguez, who has been making a version of the drink every summer for years. “The base is strong,” she explained, “but the Perrier really lightens it up. And if you don’t add the soda water, the base can be made in the morning and marinate until you want to drink it. Mr. Beard didn’t make this recipe, but I like to think that he would have enjoyed it!"

 

We sampled Victoria’s refreshing cocktail this past week at the launch party for JBF’s Taste America®, where it was a hit with the All-Star chefs and guests alike. It’s the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness, so mix up an entire pitcher’s worth. Tomorrow... Read more >

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Happy Hour: Letter of Marque

Clover Club tiki cocktail

 

We know you’re itching to shut down your computer and unwind for the weekend, ushering in the blissful two-day respite with a Friday evening cocktail. Get into the spirit of summer with a tropical tiki libation; one of our all-time favorites is the Letter of Marque cocktail served at Julie Reiner’s Clover Club in Brooklyn. Created by bartender Ryan Lilola, who keeps a stash of coconut cream and tiki gear with him anytime he's behind the bar, this concoction is a clever homage to an unusual tradition. 

 

“A letter of marque was essentially government-sanctioned piracy, a document that let privateers get away with acting like pirates,” he explains. “Considering that tiki was founded on escapism, this drink was a ticket for our guests to escape their daily grind and get a little rowdy." 

 

The... Read more >

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Wine Wisdom: Sustainable Winemaking with Merry Edwards

Merry Edwards on sustainable winemaking

 

2013 JBF Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional Award winner Merry Edwards is a longtime champion of sustainable winemaking. We caught up with Edwards (who is also curating the wine pairings for our gala this fall) to discuss her pioneering work at her eponymous Russian River Valley property.

 

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JBF: Can you give us a specific example of how a sustainable practice in your vineyards ultimately affects the quality of your wine?

 

ME: We use organic mushroom compost, a by-product from our neighbor, Gourmet Mushroom, as a supplement. In some vineyards, we apply the material on a vine-by-vine basis. It evens out the vines’ growth, giving us consistent vine size and ripening. Much of our farming energy is focused on this end result.

 

JBF: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced when implementing green practices at the winery?

 

ME: We wanted to operate... Read more >

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Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations from Terroir’s Paul Grieco

Paul Grieco, winner of the 2012 JBF Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

 

With so many flavors on offer at Thanksgiving, the task of finding a bottle that plays nicely with all of them can make us even grouchier than our in-laws. Thankfully, we’ve enlisted Paul Grieco, who won the 2012 JBF Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional, to do the pairing for us. His suggestions, which range from values to splurges, will take you from stuffing to turkey and back to leftovers.

 

Hirsch Zöbing Riesling 2009 ($24)

"Because nothing needs good, bracing acidity and crunchy terroir like a plate full of turkey and all the fixings."

 

Argyros Assyrtiko Santorini 2009 ($20)

"This Greek wine’s salty tang and bright, lively flavors make it the perfect palate-mate for stuffing and sweet potatoes."

 

Jean François Ganevat Les Chalasses Marnes Bleues 2009 ($65)

"When the aromas of... Read more >

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Six Bitters to Have on Hand This Summer

 

During these most idle of summer days, we need a damn good reason to abandon our towels and mindless reading. A nicely mixed drink is one acceptable excuse. To ensure that our August libations are of the low-effort, high-reward variety, we turned to Brad Thomas Parsons—author of the JBF Award–winning Bitters: A Spirited History Of A Classic Cure-All With Cocktails, Recipes, And Formulasfor suggestions for unconventional bitters that will add instant pizazz to whatever we're sipping poolside. - The Editors

 

Bartenders love to describe bitters as the salt and pepper of the bar, but I like to think of them as an entire spice cabinet of liquid seasonings. They play a pivotal role in bringing balance to well-made cocktails, and every serious home bar should have three essential bitters on hand: Angostura, Peychaud’s, and an orange bitters. While this trio will allow you to craft a multitude of classic and... Read more >

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Q & A with Roman Roth of Wölffer Estate Vineyard

 

For more than ten years, the postcard-perfect Wölffer Estate Vineyard, located on Long Island’s South Fork, has hosted our annual summer tasting, Chef & Champagne® New York. We caught up with head winemaker Roman Roth to discuss his favorite summertime wines and what’s on the way from Wölffer’s cellars.

 

JBF: What are your favorite wines to drink in the summer?

 

RR: Dry Rosés, Riesling, or white blends are perfect for the beach or the pool. Our barrel-fermented (but not overoaked!) Perle Chardonnay is a perfect match for fresh-caught local striped bass.

 

JBF: It’s no secret that Rosé is a popular choice for summer. What do you like to eat with it?

 

RR: I love cured salmon, sushi, and fresh salads with Rosé. It also goes great with barbecued chicken or grilled octopus.... Read more >

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Spirited Artisans

 

After states lifted Prohibition-era distilling bans a few years ago, craft spirit producers started to crop up in cities all over America. Jamie Feldmar reports on the comeback of the urban distillery.

 

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Move over inner-city farmers, rooftop beekeepers, and backyard chickens. It’s time to meet the latest urban industry: moonshine.

 

Well, not exactly; it’s legal. In recent years, a growing number of craft spirit producers have been building aboveboard distilleries in city centers, eschewing wide-open spaces in exchange for the opportunity to connect directly with their customers. Inspired by the do-it-yourself philosophy of the local-food movement, they’re injecting that same spirit into, well, spirits.

 

During Prohibition (1920–1933), moonshiners illicitly distilled corn mash into low-grade liquor with a smell and taste so strong it’s a wonder anyone wanted to smuggle it at all. After the repeal it became... Read more >

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Tastebud: Another Round

More than a decade ago I saw the cocktail future while vacationing with friends in Tokyo. I was led through back alleys of Ginza and into unmarked elevators in Shibuya to swank bars where tuxedoed bartenders—they weren’t called mixologists yet—shook, swizzled, and stirred delicious drinks into the wee hours of the morning. Most memorable among them was Bar Tokyo, where four white-jacketed bartenders serviced six stools and the free snacks included transcendent sashimi and other beautifully plated amuse-bouches fitting of our $600-plus tab. And then there was the subterranean Alcohall, where I first saw blocks of ice chipped by hand into the perfect crystalline spheres that rotated in our glasses as we drank.

 

The origin of the Japanese ice ball, as it has come to be known, was based on the logic that minimizing the surface area of ice in a drink will minimize melting and therefore dilution. It’s also totally cool. There are inexpensive molds that help you achieve an icy orb, but most have the problems of trapping air in the water as it freezes, which increases melting, and/or produces an unsightly seam. That explains the gadget every cocktailian covets: the... Read more >

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