Unique Champagne Food Pairings

05wine3-1415038061459-jumboAs they say – sometimes you need to take chances…

 

Oysters & Champagne, Caviar & Champagne  are some of the classics but booooring since we are now drinking more Champagne and not always have access to Oysters or Caviar!

Classic Champagne food pairings are great for starters, but what happens after you’ve we finished the same old tired combinations? It’s time to get unique and try some Champagne food pairings that can be enjoyed even when you are not wearing a tuxedo. Besides Champagne, there are a lot of great sparkling wine pairings listed below such as Cava, Prosecco, Franciacorta and American bubbly.

Fried Mushrooms

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It’s a little known secret that fried food and Champagne are best friends. Go for a Blanc de Noirs (a white sparkling wine made with dark grapes like pinot noir) with fried mushrooms. The earthiness in the mushrooms is complimented by the more rich fruity/earthy notes that you’ll find common in a Blanc de Noir. An affordable American Blanc de Noirs such Gloria Ferrer

Mac & Cheese

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One of the greatest favorite Champagne pairing  is homemade macaroni and cheese. There are a few important ingredients here for the perfect pairing; the right cheese, the right Champagne, and the right toppings. Don’t get carried away with a sharp cheese. Consider a softer creamery cheese with flavor such as smoked gouda. The Champagne needs to be acidic enough to cut through the cheese without being so strong as to ‘turn’ the cheese. Toppings can be used to fine tune the dish, from pancetta, to truffles, to toasted breadcrumbs. For example, if you were using the smoked gouda, toasted breadcrumbs would be a nice topping to add some crunch and dilute the cheese. Also, when making your mac & cheese use butter, a little cream and american cheese as a base and the flavoring cheese in moderation.

Butternut Squash Ravioli w/Brown Butter Sageunknown

This is a rich but delicate dish…both sweet and earthy as a result of the use of sage and roasted butternut squash. Because it is a slightly sweet dish, it’s important to find a bubbly with inherent sweetness. This classic Italian ravioli dish does wonderfully with Italy’s premiere sparkling wine called Franciacorta. Franciacorta is from Lombardy and actually uses many of the same grape varieties as proper Champagne such as chardonnay, pinot nero (noir) and pinot bianco (blanc). When made with added pinot nero, Franciacorta takes on fruity strawberry notes and a richness of flavor. Franciacorta still hasn’t exploded in the marketplace as much as Champagne so you’re likely to find excellent value from this region. The flavors tend to have slightly less acidity and more fruitiness than most Champagnes and the same toasty-almond character occurs with aging.

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

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Mmmmm…BBQ and Cava. Use a smoky BBQ sauce and avoid having sauce with too much spice. Pick a sparkling wine that isn’t too subtle so that the BBQ doesn’t overwhelm the delicate flavors. Think of a slightly spicy, tangy, smoky sauce on your chicken (or tofu if you’re a vegetarian!). Consider adding caramelized onions and just a few gorgonzola crumbles. Pair this sandwich with a bottle of Cava or Prosecco. Although most value cavas don’t have the delicate complexity of a Champagne, they work perfectly to balance the intensity of something simple like BBQ. chicken over pork or beef as the flavor of chicken is lighter than pork and beef, lending it to a better pairing with bubbles.

Vegetarian Red Bean Chili

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This is one of the first non-traditional Champagne food pairings  but  experiment with based on a recommendation.  The champagne  made my cheapo chili taste like god food(what does that mean? I don’t know but it sounds right). It’s the moment where you have your cheddar-cheesy chili bite in your mouth and then you wash your mouth out with it. Cava and red bean chili is a thing. Tell your friends.

DRINK PINK & SUPPORT BREAST CANCER

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Choosing pink & fighting Breast Cancer  is also  in the mind of the notable Spirits Companies.

Here are a few that will donate to fighting #BreastCancer

CLASE AZUL TEQUILA SPECIAL EDITION PINK BOTTLE SUPPORTING BREAST CANCER

Choose Pink and join the fight against breast cancer…1 Liter Special Edition Clase Azul Spirits joins the fight against breast cancer by making three thousand Special Edition PINK bottles, whose main purpose is giving life.

Proceeds from the limited edition run of 3000 bottles will support breast cancer awareness and research.

Clase Azul is an ultra premium, 100% Weber Blue Agave, Reposado Tequila. Clase Azul tequila is the perfect marriage between the finest Tequila and a beautiful handcrafted, hand-painted Talavera carafe.

ONLY 3000 PINK BOTTLES. A SPECIAL EDITION CONTAINING 1L OF CLASE AZUL REPOSADO WHOLE SOLE PURPOSE IS TO GIVE LIFE AND FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER. $10 DONATED FOR EVERY BOTTLE SOLD.clasa_azul_pink

PURCHASE CLASE AZUL REPO PINK TEQUILA

Chopin Vodka’s Pink Ribbon Bottle Supports Breast Cancer Awareness

Think Pink this October and support breast cancer awareness with the gift of a bottle of Chopin Potato Vodka.  Chopin, the leading artisanal craft distiller from Poland, has released a special bottle dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Over the last three years, Chopin has donated over $44,000 to support breast cancer research with the proceeds from the Pink Ribbon bottle, with another $15,000 donation planned for 2014.  The limited-edition bottle is a stylish way to give back to a great cause, while enjoying a beautifully crafted spirit from Poland’s leading family distillery.

Chopin Potato, a Gold Medal winner at the 2014 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition, has notes of vanilla with a rich, creamy mouthfeel.

Chopin Vodka is distilled from natural ingredients grown locally in Podlasie, Poland northeast of Warsaw. Every part of the Chopin process is done by hand – from picking, cooking and mashing, to fermentation, distilling and bottling.  Water is also harvested locally from a 300-foot Artesian well on the Chopin property. Each bottle contains only three ingredients – the highest-quality, naturally grown potato, yeast, and purified artesian well water.

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PURCHASE CHOPIN PINK

 

 

 

 

 

 

#makethedifference

BELVEDERE VODKA ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF A NEW RED LIMITED EDITION BOTTLE TO RAISE MONEY TO FIGHT AIDS

We have had a huge frenzy  over Belvedere’s latest news.

Belvedere, the world’s original luxury vodka, revealed their new RED limited edition bottle a few days ago  with 50% of profits going to the Global Fund, the leading financier program to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

In support of Belvedere’s partnership with (RED),

campaign ambassador, musician John Legend, has collaborated with one of our most celebrated artist Esther Mahlangu to design the colorful and bold bottle, inspired by the campaign’s four values: security, support, change and unity.

This limited edition updates Belvedere’s iconic bottle design with a uniquely (BELVEDERE)RED touch. Replacing the Belvedere Palace on the bottle, Mahlangu’s artwork is a striking and vibrant addition to the bottle. Security, support, change and unity are written on the back of the limited edition in Mahlangu’s handwriting signifying the collective sentiment for all those joining the fight against HIV/AIDS. As the campaign ambassador, John Legend’s signature is featured on the front of the bottle. The bottle is available on sale at select retailers around the world.

Esther Mahlangu joins (BELVEDERE)RED as a passionate supporter of the AIDS fight. As a famed South African artist, she was the first Ndebele artist to transfer her craft from the exterior of homes, as is tradition in their culture, to the canvas and eventually consumer products. She has been acknowledged with critically-acclaimed success for nearly thirty years, carrying on the traditional painting style of the Ndebele.

“You can be Sotho, Zulu, English, or French, blood is one color. (RED). We can overcome anything when we take it hand-by-hand. Together we can end this.” – Esther Mahlangu

WHAT? THERE IS A LOGO IN MY DRINK?

Branding and bars have long gone hand in hand. But the days when cocktail napkins, swizzle sticks, cardboard coasters and matchbooks were the last word in tactile advertising are over. In today’s distracted culture, cocktail bars need something a little flashier to chisel their names into the drinker’s consciousness. Bars are now  using stamped ice cubs  to remind drinkers where they are but I am sure after the 2nd drink you will not remember. ICE CUBE.jpg

 

 

 

 

How To Order Whiskey Like A Pro

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There’s something intriguing about whiskey that makes us revere it with awe — its name, after all, comes from the Gaelic uisce beatha, which means “water of life.” If it’s in fact the “water of life,” then let’s drink up! But before you lift that glass, you need to either A) buy the right kind of whiskey for your home or B) know what to order at the bar! There are several different whiskeys around the world and all are slightly different — made of different ingredients, and even given different names, like Scotch or Bourbon. So sidle up and find out what you should be looking for …

The Many Types

SCOTCH WHISKYS can only be produced in Scotland and are generally made from malted barley, distilled at least twice and aged for at least three years in oak barrels. Scotch typically has a smoky taste because peat (basically dirt) is used in the malting process.

There are two main types: single malt Scotch (made from malted barley) and single grain Scotch (made at a single distillery of malted barley and other grains, malted or unmalted).

Furthermore there are three blends: blended malt Scotch (a blend of single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries), blended grain Scotch (a blend of single grain Scotch whiskies from different distilleries) and blended Scotch (a blend of single malt Scotch and single grain Scotch).

IRISH WHISKEYS can only be produced in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and are aged for at least three years. Unlike Scotch whiskies, Irish whiskeys have a cleaner taste since peat is not used in the malting process. Most Irish whiskeys are distilled three times from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley and other grains. This produces a whiskey that is much lighter and more neutral than most others.

AMERICAN WHISKEYS are generally aged in new charred oak barrels. Some of the most popular American whiskeys include Rye whiskey, Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey.

  • Rye whiskey, is, as the name suggests, made from rye (at least 51%). It has a spicy, fruity taste. Originally cocktails like the Manhattan, Old-Fashioned, and Whiskey Sour were created with rye.
  • Bourbon is mostly made from corn (at least 51% by regulation) and has a sweet taste. Brands include Maker’s Mark and Wild Turkey.
  • Tennessee whiskey is straight Bourbon whiskey that is made in Tennessee. What differentiates it from regular Bourbon is that it’s filtered through maple charcoal before going into barrels for aging, which removes unpleasant aromas and flavors, giving the whiskey a cleaner taste. There are four brands: Jack Daniel’s, George Dickel, Collier and McKeel, and Benjamin Prichard’s (does not use the filtering process).

How To Serve And Taste Whiskey

Whiskey is really best served “neat“ in a snifter at room temperature with no ice. This type of glass with its particular tulip-like shape helps the drinker enjoy the aroma and flavor. The heat of your hands also helps bring out more flavors in the whiskey.

When you get your whiskey, smell it, but be careful not to inhale abruptly as the alcohol will deaden your senses — it’s best to leave your mouth open as you smell the whiskey. Watch the video below for exact tips on drinking whiskey.

If you order a whiskey “on the rocks,” which means with ice, it will be served to you in an old-fashioned glass. It’s also quite common to order whiskey with water, which some drinkers say helps bring out the flavor of the whiskey. It’s a good idea to taste the whiskey first before adding water to see if it’s even needed. Try to use spring water instead of tap water, which contains chlorine that may react with the whiskey.

Whiskey Terminology

Grain whiskey refers to whiskey made from grains other than malted barley that’s distilled in a continuous column still, which produces a light-tasting whiskey. Grain whiskey is usually mixed with malt whiskey to create a blended whiskey.

Blended whiskey contains both malt whiskey and grain whiskey. It’s the most common kind of whiskey available. Brands include Dewar’s, Johnnie Walker, Seagram’s Seven Crown, and Chivas Regal.

Single malt whiskey is made from a single malted grain, traditionally barley, that is made in one distillery. The term is most often applied to Scotch whisky.

Single barrel whiskey means the entire bottle came from one barrel of whiskey instead of a blend from many barrels. This term is most often applied to Bourbons.

Straight whiskey is a term used for an American whiskey that is aged for 2 years or more in new charred white oak barrels.

 

Virginia Black Whiskey

Rap star Drake has officially launched his Virginia Black whiskey brand, made in collaboration with Brent Hocking, the creator of DeLéon Tequila.

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With a shared passion for style, music, and the pursuit of taste; Brent Hocking, & Award-winning songwriter, rapper, and actor, Drake, have collaborated to bring you Virginia Black American Whiskey. Made from a personally selected collection of two, three, and four-year old bourbons, finished with a decadent profile. Aged for two years.

After attending the exclusive Trade tasting of Virginia Black pre release- I am happy to report it  is a rich, smooth bourbon available at a decidedly reasonable price (because its founders believe that “everyone should have access to glamour, swagger and soul”).

I wish they were both here but the bottle is!  Order your bottle online here to have it shipped.

 

SQUARE ONE ORGANIC SPIRITS COLLECTION

 

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This holiday season is off to a very merry start here at Mel and Rose as we are once again featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as the place to find this year’s spirit choice for Oprah’s Favorite Things. This is the fourth year in a row that the magazine has directed their fans to Mel and Rose to find Oprah’s favorite spirits.

Oprah turned her attention to American made vodka this year and Square One Organic Sprits, a boutique organic spirits maker, known for its sophisticated, multi-botanical approach to vodka based spirits, is an Oprah favorite. Made from 100% organic American rye, Oprah says: “…this is the vodka I use when mixing cocktails at home.”

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And she couldn’t pick just one from the Square One portfolio, she loved them all. That’s why she asked Square One to create this beautiful gift box with all five Square One Organic Spirits along with delicious culinary-inspired cocktail recipes. It’s a perfect gift for the foodie or aspiring mixologist in your life. This entire package, decorated with whimsical illustrations of the botanicals that infuse the spirits, has a personal touch for corporate gift-giving as well. We have the entire Square One Organic Spirits Collection gift pack, or you can pick a few of your favorites and purchase the bottles individually.

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