Monthly Archives: October 2010

Some Spooky Cocktails for the Halloween Weekend

We’ve all seen the Vampire wines and the other Halloween themed wines that have themed names.  But what if you just want a plain great, unique cocktail to serve at your party this year?  We have found a couple wine and beer based recipes that will fit perfectly into your theme and your weekend.

BLACK VELVET

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz Champagne
  • 4 oz chilled stout

Prep:

  1. Pour the Champagne into a beer mug, pint glass or Champagne flute.

BLOODY-TINI

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz acai juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • Champagne
  • lime wedge for garnish

Prep:

  1. Combine Acai juice and fresh lime with fresh ice in a cocktail shaker and shake.
  2. Strain into a chilled martini glass and top with champagne.
  3. Serve with a fresh lime wedge.

BLOOD RED SANGRIA

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bottle of “blood” red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja reds, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
  • 2 Cups ginger ale or club soda
  • 1 Orange cut into wedges
  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • Dash of grenadine syrup (optional, for darker “bloodlike” color)
  • Gummy worms, gummy bugs, or spooky hard candy eyes
  • For extra Halloween fun, you can freeze those plastic spiders in spooky shaped ice cube trays for the ice mix-ins.

Prep:

Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon and orange into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda, grenadine syrup, ice and gummy candy just before serving.If you’d like to serve right away, use chilled red wine and serve over lots of ice.

Addition ideas: sliced strawberries, peaches, handful of fresh blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, a shot or two of gin, brandy or rum, or olives for “eyeballs.” You might also consider adding black plastic spider rings to the stem of the wine glasses for further “effect.”

THE BANSHEE – RED MULLED WINE

Ingredients:

  • One bottle of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot or a Spanish red)
  • One peeled and sliced orange (keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
  • One peeled and sliced lemon (keep peel to add zest to taste in cooking pot)
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or honey can be substituted)
  • 2/3 cup brandy or cognac
  • 1/2 cup water

Prep:

Combine all ingredients in either a large pot or a slow cooker. Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar has completely dissolved. When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have blended well it is ready to serve. Ladle into mugs (leaving seasonings behind), garnish with a blood orange segment and perhaps black plastic, Halloween spiders and enjoy!
FALLING LEAF FIZZ

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Vodka
  • 4 parts of sparkling wine
  • Dash of simple syrup
  • 1 heaping teaspoon pumpkin butter
  • Pinch of pumpkin pie spice
  • dried apple chip for garnish

Prep:

  1. Place Vodka, pumpkin butter, spice and syrup in the bottom of a champagne glass.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Top with sparkling wine and garnish.

CANDY CORN

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Moscato wine
  • 3/4 oz. home-made citrus peel grenadine syrup (recipe below)
  • 3 candy corns for garnish

Prep:

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake very well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with 3 candy corns.

The Beers of Autumn

Ahh, the beers of Autumn. The weather breaks its summer swelter, it’s time to move to something a bit darker to accompany the hearty and rustic meals on menu. With butternut squash and wild mushrooms, pumpkin pie and apple tarts, the aromas of sage and ginger, cinnamon and cloves, food friendly beers are becoming increasingly popular with traditional holiday meals.

It seems that every brewery these days are making some sort of pumpkin or fall spiced brew. Rightly so, as autumn beers are the most popular of all the seasonals. From Late Harvest to Autumn Maple, Apple and Pear Cider, Oktoberfest Marzens and Pumpkin Spice, there is a beer for ever fall meal. But where to start, and how to pair?

If you are sticking with traditional turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, you will find that the variety of flavors that can be found in this meal are at all ends of the spectrum. From savory to citrus, sweet and spicy, many find it a difficult task to pair an appropriate wine for the occasion. Luckily, beer is here to save the day. An Oktoberfest Marzen pairs wonderfully with the diverse flavors that come along with this meal. Try Paulaner Oktoberfest, light in body, full in malty flavors, it won’t overpower anything,  but is still big enough to hold its own – $10.80 for a 6 pack. If you are looking for a beer that will pack some bigger flavors, try Dogfish Head Pangaea. It has a warming ginger tone, but a light crisp finish that will cleanse your palate  – $10.50 for a 750 ml bottle. For those of you that prefer a lighter, Champagne-y style beer, go for a cider. Ace Joker Cider $4.50 for a 22 oz bottle, pairs fabulously with a pork roast slow cooked with Granny Smith apples and rosemary. Serve it in a Champagne flute and impress your guests.

If you have ham with orange glaze on the menu, try a Weizen such as Franziskaner Hefeweizen, spicy and light with notes of citrus, coriander and clove – $10.80 for a 6 pack. If you prefer a bolder ham with perhaps a mustard glaze, try a darker styled weizenbock or dunkel weiss such as Julius Echter Dunkelweiss, – $3.50 for a 22 oz bottle. The smooth malts will cut the acidity in the mustard, and with the low hop content it won’t leave you with a bitter aftertaste in your mouth.

For the prime rib, roast tenderloin and brisket lover, try a Scotch ale, a Porter or a heavy German Dopplebock. Spaten Optimator is one of those big, scary dark beers (my favorite!), and be careful of the alcohol content at 7.2%. Certainly not a slugging beer. Perfect for beef with a good amount of peppery flavors or whole peppercorns – $10.80 for a 6 pack. If you choose a rich, dense gravy, Rogue Mocha Porter will do the trick – $13.50 for a 6 pack.

And on to dessert – pumpkin pie, pecan pie and gingerbread cookies go famously with a pumpkin spiced beer. Try Dogfish Head Punkin – $9.90 for a 4 pack. If you simply want beer for dessert, try Southern Tier Creme Brulee (tastes just like burnt cream) $9.25 for a 22 oz and Southern Tier Pumking (tastes like biting into pumpkin pie crust) $7.50 for a 22 oz –  a side of vanilla bean ice cream will suffice.

Most of these beers are seasonal and they do sell out. The next time you can get your hands on these fall specialties won’t be until next year, so grab them while you can and enjoy the holidays!

Craft Beer in a Can?

Is it true? Can it be possible? Craft beer in a can?

I know what you are all thinking. Isn’t a can reserved for the inferior yellow beers? Think again. Oskar Blues, a small brewery located in Lyons, Colorado are doing things a little differently. In 2002, they began hand-canning their Dale’s Pale Ale, becoming the first craft brewery to can their beer.

In the days of yore, cans would instill a metallic taste on your icy cold beverage. These days brewers are lining the inside of the can with a water based coating which prevents the beer from touching the aluminum and keeps the flavors pure. There are plenty of other benefits of a can including recyclablity, portability, as well as keeping the beer fresh by eliminating the damaging effects of light and oxygen. Cans weigh much less than bottles, so from a shipping standpoint, cans are more cost effective. From a recycling standpoint: “A recycled aluminum can generates 95% less pollution than one made from scratch and requires 96% less energy” declares Oskar Blues Brewery.

The best part about these craft beers in a can – they are an easy tote-along to the pool, the beach, on the boat, the chairlift, the golf course, and on your next camping trip. Light and unbreakable, they dare to go where no bottle will.

Old Chub has been one of the flagship beers of the Oskar Blues Brewery, winning honors and awards for its malty goodness and smoky aroma. Old Chub walked away with a Gold Medal in 2008 and 2010 at the World Beer Championships and is ranked “Top Rated Scottish Ale” by Beer Advocate. 971 reviews on Beer Advocate have rated Old Chub with an A- for excellence.

Old Chub Scottish Style Ale — an 8% ABV, semi-sweet dark beer with luxurious flavors of coffee, chocolate and a kiss of smoke. $2  for a 12 oz can

Wine Review: Abiouness Rose of Pinot Noir

Although the wine business is mostly fun and games, this month we are turning a bit more serious in the name of a great cause.  This October, Breast Cancer Awareness month celebrates its 25th anniversary and it seems at this point everyone is on board.  NFL players are wearing pink cleats, pink ribbons are a dime a dozen, and there are more events to attend this month than you can count on two hands.  Is it all necessary?  Breast cancer is still the second most common cancer in women and in 2006 alone almost 200,000 women were diagnosed with it… in sort, yes.  So we are going to add one more charitable item to your to-do list this month:  drink pink wine. Decanted will donate 10% of our total sales of all pink (rose) wines sold this month to local Naples breast cancer support group, Bosom Buddies.  Want to get involved more?  Attend one of our events, a Rose tasting at Decanted on October 14th or a ‘Girls Night Out’ event at Salon International on October 15th.

And on to our review of the week…which is of course, pink.

Abiousness Rose of Pinot Noir, 2009Abiouness Rose of Pinot Noir

There is nothing more elegant that a perfectly made Pinot Noir from the Carneros region in Napa County.  Abiouness Rose of Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot made from a blend of the vineyards used in their single vineyard Pinot Noirs:  Stanly Ranch and Hudson Vineyard.  Most roses begin by the juices from the grapes sitting with their skins in a stainless steel tank for anywhere from a few hours to a few days (the longer the time, the darker the color); the grapes in used in Abiouness are exposed to the skins for one day before the juice is transferred into a neutral (used) French oak barrel.  The wine is left to ferment until all of the yeast consumes the natural sugar from the wine, which is the secret in making a dry rose rather than its sweeter, less enticing cousin.

What is left is a wine well balanced and complex.  The wine is remarkably Pinot while retaining the characteristics of a Rose….light of the palate and crisp on the finish with a flavor reminiscent of watermelon.  A little heavier in style and flavor than a traditional Provence rose, the Abiouness displays strong typical fruit characteristics of Pinot Noir:  strawberries, red raspberries and a touch of tart cherry with a balance of green earth and terrior.  You can almost taste the crisp, cool Carneros breeze!

Served best seafood, salads and light pasta dishes, the heaviness of this wine also make it suitable for heavily spiced dishes like Thai or Japanese or even with turkey or duck.  With only 106 cases produced, there’s not much to go around so maybe go with Tapas to try it with a bit of everything!

Our rating, 2 out of 3 stars.

Check out more information on this wine OR see our full selection of Roses for this month.