Thinking out loud over here

I’ll start by saying this… 2020 has been wild and is shaping up to get even more sideways. Being a parent in a COVID world is nuts but throw in your revenue stream being bars and restaurants and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a mental breakdown. We’re fine. I’m fine. Staying positive gets harder everyday but we’ll make it through.

The beverage industry is in a really odd spot. You’ve got imported spirits and wines stuck on boats waiting to be checked in at borders, outages, and shortages. More so than normal and not just because some spirit category is hot right now. But amazingly, new trends are developing everywhere with bartenders, mixologist, and restauranteurs getting extremely creative with to go cocktail programs. Not to mention all the spirit companies jumping in with ready to drink cocktails in cans. The creativity of this industry is really flourishing under unprecedented times. And there’s another thing happening.

Seeing an industry band together to lift each other up is epic. Companies are donating to out of work hospitality works which gives me hope. I’ve see restaurants offering family meal to furloughed servers and bartenders a couple of times a week. I’ve seen local companies donate money to funds specifically for said workers in our local communities.

With that, I’ll say this… the bartenders and servers that are out there working right now are risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones to provide service to their customers. A lot of them have to because that’s just the way it is. They have to work. They rely on tips to make a living. That being said, people should respect that. Respect that sacrifice. Wear a damn mask and comply with the ordinances that are imposed on the business to safely operate. It’s our new normal as my wife tells me all the time. I wish I had all the money to tip every server and bartender just for clocking in but I don’t. As Glassjaw titled one of my favorite tracks from the Worship and Tribute record, “Tip Your Bartender.” ….and wear a mask.

Sippers: Herradura Silver Tequila

I’ve long heard the name Herradura mentioned but hadn’t tried it until recently(within the last year). As it turns out, Herradura is part of Brown-Foreman(Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, etc.) and it’s part of the portfolio of spirits I sell. When I started this job and was looking through our portfolio, I saw Herradura and got super excited. So here’s what I learned:

Herradura Silver is actually aged in American White Oak. Most sliver or blanco tequilas are bottled right after distillation. Legally they don’t have to be aged but can be aged up to 2 months to be designated as “Silver.” Herradura Silver is aged right up to the Reposado time line. What that time aging in oak does is and several layers of complexity to the Tequila and also gives it a slight tint which is why it looks different than other silver Tequilas.

This Tequila has a unique white pepper, vegetal Agave flavor. Those flavors are what makes this a great cocktail Tequila and a favorite of mixologist everywhere. You can easily enjoy this Herradura Silver in a traditional Margarita but…

Instead, try this super easy cocktail out. It’s easier to make than a Margarita and is much tastier:

Herradura Horseshoe Paloma

2oz Herradura Silver

0.5oz Lime Juice(fresh, not concentrate)

Q Mixer Grapefruit Soda

Recipe: In a highball glass, rim the glass with a lime wedge then salt the rim. Fill with ice, then add Tequila then lime juice. Finish by topping with Q Mixer Grapefruit soda. Garnish with a lime wheel if you’re feeling fancy.

That’s a great and easy cocktail but I like to enjoy it in an Old Fashion glass with a large ice cube and a big ole orange swath. The orange essences plays so well and adds a kind of synergy to the white pepper and vegetal agave flavors.

Missing the orange swath because I got trigger happy with the photo.

If you are a Tequila fan or becoming one, try this one out next time.

Don’t Celebrate, Just Drink Champagne

A lot of people think that Champagne is only a celebratory beverage. Personally, I think a small victory Tuesday morning, is worth celebrating with bubbles on Tuesday evening. That being said, I’m going to say something you need to hear: It’s okay to drink sparkling wine anytime you want!

So let’s shed some light on sparkling wine.

First of all, I’m sure you’ve seen the word “Brut” on a bottle of bubbles. Basically, that can let you know how dry the wine inside is. From driest to sweetest it goes like this: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux. So if you like it really dry and crisp, go with Brut. If you like it kinda dry with just a little bit of sweetness, grab a bottle of Extra Dry. Side bar: I always thought it was weird that Brut was drier than Extra Dry. Maybe next time they make laws, they’ll ask me what I think. They won’t.

Not all sparkling wine is Champagne. It can only legally be called Champagne if it is from Champagne, France. That’s right kids, Champagne is actually a place in France right next door to Paris. “Well, what do they call sparkling wine that comes from France thats not made in Champagne?” Glad you asked. They call that sparkling wine Cremant and it usually comes from the Loire Valley or Burgundy and is pretty damn good.

The rest of the wine world has their own names for the sparkling wines they produce.Some of the more popular ones outside of France are Italy’s Prosecco or Spain’s Cava. Both have more attractive price points than Champagne. Usually $9-16.

torre-oria-cava-brutI’m personally a fan of Torre Oria Cava Brut ($8.99). Delicious in flavor and price. Torre Oria is crisp and easy. It’s dry but not bone dry. If you’re into fresh bubble guzzling without dropping a lot of money, this is your winner. It’s also a perfect ingredient for Champagne cocktails like a Man-mosa. A Man-mosa is a cocktail my friend Kevin showed me whilst day drinking in Austin, TX a couple years back. I may or may not have tweaked the recipe. Day drinking and cocktail experimentation can make details a bit fuzzy. For a tasty treat, add a shot of your favorite gin or vodka to your Mimosa and there you have it. I prefer gin, it adds a nice botanical freshness to breakfast.

I should let you know, I’m not hating on Champagne. Some of my favorite wines I’ve ever tasted are full-blooded Champagne. Like Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose ($100). Seriously, Dionysus kissed the vines in that beautiful soil of northeastern France and made one of the finest sparkling wines in the world. Light and elegant with subtle, seductive raspberry flavors.Billecart-Salmon-Brut-Rose

 

There are other countries producing some great bubbles. These days, South Africa is killing it. Look for Graham Beck Brut or the Rose. They make it the same way they do in Champagne. And of course Cali does a bang up job with stuff like Domaine Carneros Brut.

Since I can’t afford to drink Billecart Rose on a regular basis, I’ve had to find some lower tier juice thats delightful and affordable. I hope this sparks an interest in bubbles for you.

If you need suggestions on wine for the holidays, have any other wine questions or need day drinking tips, email me at beardandbarrel@gmail.com.