An advance copy of Matt Lee and Ted Lee's latest cookbook, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, landed on my desk a few weeks ago, and I was so charmed by its clever, minimalist cover that rather than tossing it atop the teetering pile of new releases that regularly threatens to take over my desk, I kicked my heels up and gave it a thorough browse. Or at least, that was the plan; instead, I found myself stopped in my tracks on page 34, where the genius Lees present a recipe for kumquat-infused gin—and a selection of inspired cocktails in which to use it. Keep reading »
From SAVEUR Issue #154
In 1997, beer enthusiast Don Feinberg wrangled some Belgian yeast from overseas pals and opened Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York. The Belgian-style brewery is now owned by Flanders-based Duvel Moortgat, and its seasonal release, Art of Darkness ($12.99/750 ml), is made with enough barley, wheat, and oats to put any Belgian tripel to shame. But despite its 8.9 percent alcohol content, it's a buoyant brew. A dose of dextrose helps the yeast carbonate the beer, and two fermentations—one in the tank and a second in the bottle—add even more effervescence. Light on the tongue and boasting malty bread, earth, and fennel flavors, which are balanced by herbal hops and black cherry-flavored yeast, it's a big but lithe companion for chocolate, cheesecake, and other rich sweets.
From SAVEUR Issue #153
When my husband opened the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966, the Napa Valley was still depressed from Prohibition. You could buy land for $1,000 an acre. So with Napa's first new winery, Bob injected hope. He was so positive and generous. The other vintners came to him for advice. Or maybe they needed a truck, a few tons of grapes, or even money. He helped them all. He always said that the more good wine that came out of Napa Valley, the better it was for him. Today some vineyards go for $300,000 an acre. Keep reading »
I celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday in my favorite, old-fashioned way: with red wine, cheese, steak and potatoes, and chocolate mousse at home in my kitchen with my man. It's hard to beat such simple pleasures. We couldn't quite finish that whole bottle of red though, and I bought more chocolate than I needed for the mousse, so this weekend I'll be combining the leftovers into an unexpected dessert drink that SAVEUR test kitchen director Kellie Evans showed me how to make. I never would have thought of pouring wine into my hot chocolate until Kellie made it for us here in the office one cold winter day, but a little bit of red wine lends unique, full flavor to my favorite hot drink. Made with bittersweet chocolate and balanced with a pinch of salt, it's a perfectly decadent but not-too-filling and not-too-sweet way to end a meal or warm a chilly afternoon. See the recipe »
From SAVEUR Issue #153
In each sip of this sunny dessert wine from the Napa Valley an almost cotton candy sweetness gives way to a damp-forest undercurrent that blooms into sensations from fruity to dry, lush to acidic. It's so complex, you've got to wonder at the magic that produced it. As it turns out, the wine is made by leaving plump sémillon and sauvignon blanc grapes to shrivel on the vine, where the scourge of other vineyards, the mold botrytis, or "noble rot," takes hold of them, concentrating sugars and imparting a unique richness. The result is a libation we love as an apéritif with salty charcuterie, as well as with cheese or a tart at meal's end.
We just celebrated our fourth year together, my husband Andy and I. Our first date was on a cold evening in midwinter, a night where I was introduced not just to the idea of falling in love with Andy, but to a new drink: whiskey on the rocks. I'd avoided whiskey before then, but for some reason that night, the spirit surprised me with its pleasantly smooth taste. As Andy and I became inseparable, whiskey cocktails became a recurring part of our routine, and even now I love to browse through cocktail menus in search of new flavors and presentations for our favorite spirit.
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Earlier this week the SAVEUR office played host to Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, who treated us to a tasting of his fine hop-forward ales. Sam's been crafting brews with unconventional ingredients since 1995, and has developed a method of continual hopping—inspired by the way restaurant chefs use pepper and other spices—that's resulted in one of the world's strongest IPAs (the bracing 120 Minute), and many other beers we love. Keep reading »
Having grown up in Cincinnati in the 1980s, I watched my beloved Bengals make it to the Super Bowl twice, in 1982 and 1989. As you might recall, they lost (very narrowly, mind you) to Joe Montana and his San Francisco 49ers both times. Like most football fans, I am irrationally belligerent toward rivals, so the entire experience left me with decades of bitterness and anger toward the 49ers, the city of San Francisco, the colors scarlet and gold, streetcars, Better Cheddar crackers (with their cursed "sourdough baked right in"), and even—taking a very homonymic view of things—the state of Montana itself.
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I make no bones about not loving tequila in general, but when British barman Mark Drew stopped by the SAVEUR office the other day, toting a few bottles of Herradura tequila with him, he made a good case for me to become inclined toward the stuff. The open-tank fermentation process that Herradura has been using for nearly a century and a half employs the naturally occurring yeasts found in the orchards surrounding the tanks, a process that accentuates the tequila's earthiness and lends it complex flavors of orange, rose, and mint. The green-hued, relatively young silver tequila, the mildly aged reposado, the añejo, and the caramelly "selección suprema" extra añejo—which gets three years of oak-barrel aging—are made in a facility where all the byproducts are recycled or purified, a surprisingly sustainable way of distilling for such a big-name brand. Keep reading »
From SAVEUR Issue #153
Back in the States after a year of studying wine at L'Université de Bordeaux, I was worried. How would I quench my thirst for the French region's pricey reds on a limited budget? I craved their restrained sweetness, elegant structure, and long-lasting pleasure. Lucky me. Bordeaux's two most recent vintages—2009 and 2010—hit the weather jackpot: Sunny days, cool nights, and rain at just the right times helped ensure excellence—and lots of affordable wine. Keep reading »