Food, Wine, Good (and Evil) Spirits

summerdrinks.jpgI haven't met an herb I didn't like. Right now in my garden have more than a dozen varieties of herbs growing. I have different uses for all of them. Some I love to use when roasting meats or vegetables, like rosemary and sage. I put parsley and mint in my salads. I also use mint in my teas. I use cilantro in guacamole, which I make almost every week. And of course I have a bush of basil for when it comes time to make homemade tomato sauce.

This year I've tried growing Greek basil and Thai basil with great success. My stir-frys and Thai curries are so much better with the addition of Thai basil, which has an anise-like flavor. For years I've been growing lovage, a perennial herb that grows four feet tall every year. Its flavor is a lot like parsley and celery combined, and its tall stalks look much like celery except that they are hollow like bamboo. You might have come across lovage used in a Bloody Mary but not have known what it was. The stalks make very nice straws.

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cocktail fznlemonade vodkaI am not a big drinker. It’s rare that I finish a glass a wine at dinner and I rarely order a “cocktail”. With that said, when I do invite friends over for dinner, I like to have a little cocktail on hand for those that simply want one.

Seeing a lot of fruit infused vodka on Pinterest sparked my interest to create a red, white, and blue cocktail for the 4th of July. Seeping the blueberries in the vodka for 36 hours, creates the most amazing scent. For lack of a better word, the smell was intoxicating.

When I do indulge in a cocktail (I much prefer to eat my calories), it’s generally something slushy, fruity, and not overly alcoholic. Grabbing the last of the Meyer lemons from my tree, I made a huge batch of Molly’s raw honey lemonade. Making something slushy was what I was craving. Tossing the lemonade and some ice in the blender, this frozen lemonade and blueberry cocktail was created.

I wanted to use the blueberries as garnish, but didn’t want them simply floating in the glass. Grabbing a handful of small wooden sticks, I skewered them and then put them in the freezer for about an hour. After the fact, I thought how yummy these would have been if I would have sugar coated them.

Freezing fresh, organic, summer berries and fruit from the farmers market is my newest obsession. I see many more fruit and vodka combos in my future.

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The-Best-MojitoThe mint growing in my garden is prolific. I'm really bad about getting out there and thinning it so it pretty much takes over. I don't mind though, I love sprinkling it over summer fruit and mixing it into iced tea and water in the summertime. As far as I'm concerned I could never really have enough mint, I find it's uses endless.

Between the prolific mint and a recent trip to Mexico, (where Mojito's were flowing) and a slight suggestion for a mojito party, when we returned to the states...the Best Mojito Recipe was born.

Up until now, I was a mojito drinker, not maker. I'm not sure why, but it's something I left to the bartender. So I did a lot of research and read a lot of comments about certain recipes. Mojito's are a finicky drink and can quickly go from refreshing to medicinal tasting, when the ingredients are not balanced. As a winemaker I'm always concerned with balance in wine, in food and cocktails. I found that specific ingredients make a difference for varying reasons.

I hope you give my version a try.

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holidaypunchTired of being the host and the bartender at your party?  This is the perfect solution...a festive drink your guests can serve themselves.

When's the last time you brought out the punch bowl?  They are hip now and back in style....very retro and not to mention look beautiful on a table.  If you don't have one, get yourself over to Goodwill...they have shelves and shelves of vintage ones they are dying for you to take home.

This drink is a very fun way to start of your party.  This punch along with some bottles of wine will keep you concentrating on the meal while your guests help themselves to some cheer!

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From the Huffington Post

hair_color_chart.jpgThey say the eyes are the window to a person's soul, but I disagree. I'm pretty sure it's the hair. Seriously.

For the sake of this article, I'm going to go ahead and admit that I judge people, and I judge them by their hair. I'm not saying everyone does this, I'm saying I do this, and I'll go ahead and tell you why.

You can judge a person on their shoes (Louboutins or Converse?), or what they wear (Armani or Anthropologie?), and that's fine. And hey, you'll probably get somewhere with that, maybe by going a little deeper and analyzing how they wear something: Does she mix Versace with vintage? Are her jeans skinny or flared? And just how flared and how expensively distressed?

All important factors. They might tell you how much money (or credit card debt) she has and if she lives on 73rd or somewhere between Bedford and Lorimer, but what they don't tell you is how much fun she'll be three-beers-deep on a girl's night out. What will? Her hair.

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