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What are you doing for Mother’s Day?

If your mother likes rum and/or other spirits, check out Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman. Yes, I know it’s 3 hours away. But it IS on the way to Las Vegas, so…now that you know that…

Anyway, this weekend, on Saturday, May 13, Desert Diamond Distillery is hosting a BBQ & Barrel roll-out in celebration of Mother’s Day. DDD distills some really tasty rum, and a new barrel of it is on its way out of the barrel room. They also make a very good vodka that you’ll want to check out while you’re there.

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Here’s the building you’re looking for. It’s really near the airport.

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They have tours available for just $5 per person if you’re 21 or over, and free for those younger. You can see their gorgeous still and learn how rum is made. Of course, those younger than 21 cannot participate in the tasting…

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Be warned: You’re going to like the tasting. These folks make good stuff! They’ll pour you a flight including everything they make for $10, and that includes a shot glass and a nice conversation with someone who actually participates in making the rum. Quick tip: Try the Agave rum, which I’m told is an excellent topping for ice cream. You will not be sorry!

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Head up next weekend with mom, and/or any time! Kingman is a welcoming town with some interesting options for visitors, not the least of which is Desert Diamond Distillery.

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Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

What?! Why is that perfectly good wine in an iced tea pitcher?? Tsk, tsk…

Well, because it’s more than just wine. Yes, the wine itself is perfectly good, and quite good for drinking as is, despite its low price. However. our friends in Spain had a good idea. That idea was adding fruit and a few other things to wine, and it resulted in a tasty treat. It would probably be delicious in Spain, but while you’re hanging out at home paying off debt or maybe saving for that trip to Spain, you can make for yourself with just a few ingredients.

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Now, I read a recipe for sangria, but I didn’t have all the ingredients the recipe called for. Plus, I’ve never been one of those people who even CAN follow the recipe to the letter. I always say to myself, “Yeah, but what if I substituted lime for lemon, or cayenne for jalapeno?” Well, at any case, I didn’t have rum. Well, I do have rum, but it’s a special rum from a friend, and I’m saving it for a special occasion, and I didn’t think sangria made from inexpensive wine would be a good use of the rum. So, I used vodka. The recipe said 4 shots of rum, I had about 1/5 of a 750ml bottle of vodka, so I dumped it unceremoniously into the pitcher.

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Probably much to my mother’s chagrin, I like my alcohol. And I can tell you that Smirnoff is pretty dang good vodka. I’m not terribly picky about vodka; there’s not a whole lot of flavor to the stuff I generally buy, but that’s because I know I’m going to be mixing it, usually with fruit juice. Frankly (sorry, expensive vodka makers) there’s no point in buying amazing vodka to mix with anything. The flavor of good vodka is easily washed out by just about anything you’d mix it with. So save up for the good vodka for another project.

 

Next, they called for an orange, sliced. A sliced orange sounded absolutely amazing, and I really have to try that next time I make sangria. But I didn’t have an orange today, so…

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Lime is one of my favorite things in life. Sadly, I didn’t have fresh limes, either, but I did have this lime juice. I know, the purists may be horrified, but this stuff is going to sit in this pitcher overnight with other ingredients before it’s done. I’ll buy both oranges AND limes next time. I added about 1/4 cup of lime juice. Now, the idea of sangria is wine and fruit. We’ve added lime juice, but wait…here comes another of life’s pleasures…

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Frozen berries! Yes, you absolutely can use entirely fresh fruit for this project. It will be good if you do! But again, this stuff is going to sit overnight in a pitcher in my fridge. I added about 2-3 cups of frozen berries. I have a 3 quart pitcher here so I had the room for a lot of berries, but also I LOVE berries, so I heaped them in. And then…

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That’s Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon. As you’ve likely noticed, none of the ingredients I’m using here are the “good” (thanks, Barefoot Contessa!) version. They’re not bad ingredients. They’re just not the most expensive. Because (I can’t say this enough), they’re going to sit overnight, getting all mixed together and drunk on Yellow Tail wine and Smirnoff vodka, and melding and mixing and happifying. I poured myself a glass after the sangria had been sitting for a few hours, and tested the progress with my dinner, homemade tacos with fresh spinach, salsa and tomatoes, made by my husband who loves me.

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It’s not quite ready yet. It’s pretty good, but by tomorrow it will be amazing. The taco was amazing. I think I’ll take a recipe of this sangria to my sister-in-law’s house for our monthly game night next time. It’s gonna be yummy. Please share your favorite wine, sangria, sangria recipe or any recipe in the comments! Until next time, happy tasting!

 

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Wine Events around Our Fair State

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With the arrival of Spring comes fun wine events! Check out the upcoming events at Pillsbury Wine Company. Pillsbury has a tasting room on Main Street in Old Town Cottonwood, and if you like wine it’s definitely worth a visit!

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The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always happy (and I do mean happy! Such nice people!) to talk to you about what makes their wine special, which of their wines go well with the food you want to prepare, and they will, if asked, even suggest which wine you might like based on your tastes. They have fantastic chocolate and wine pairings that make great gifts (think Mother’s Day, Easter) and wine gifts and accessories, all in a warm, comfortable, friendly setting.

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Plus, as you’ll see on their events calendar, they travel to many areas of the state. Check them out here.

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Posted by on April 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Seaglass Sauvignon Blanc

So, have you been trying any wine? Have you tried anything new? I found this great wine I want to share with you. It’s called Seaglass Sauvignon Blanc. Do you know what a sauvignon is? I don’t. But it’s okay, because I don’t have to know what sauvignon means to enjoy the wine. If I’m really curious, I’ll Google it. I know Blanc in some form usually means white. And this is a white wine. So there you go!

I chose this bottle because I liked the picture on the label. 20161101_195323I don’t believe I’d tried Sauvignon Blanc before I tried this wine. I like it. The first thing I noticed when I tasted it is that, to me, it smelled a little bit like a garden smells, especially a tomato plant, or those on-the-vine tomatoes you can get in the produce section. I realize it may be weird to talk about wine smelling like tomatoes, but it’s only a little, and it’s the plant, not the fruit. So it’s not like you’ll pick this up and think “Eeeeeeww! Wine mixed with pizza!” Trust me, it tastes good.

Part of the reason for this smell, I learned recently, is the terroir. And what, you may ask, is terroir? Excellent question. Terroir refers to the climate, the soil, the amount of sunlight, and other gardening factors that give wine grapes their distinct characteristics. And one of the characteristics the grapes that made this wine have is that they have this really earthy, garden-y scent.

I learned about terroir in a really cool little winery in Elgin, Arizona. A future post will detail that trip, because it was really cool and you’ll want to know about it. The host at this winery is great. She was swamped-there must have been 20 people standing at the wine-tasting bar, and she was answering all of our questions and helping us make selections she thought we’d like. She hit the nail on the head with us, and she took the time to explain what that earthy scent/taste was in one of the wines…terroir. She showed me a great book, Terroir: The Role of Geology, Climate, and Culture in the Making of French Wines by James E. Wilson. Even though the title says terroir refers to French wines, it applies to all wines…how could it not? Though there are some who believe terroir is a myth (see Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing by Mark A. Matthews), so do your research and see what you think.

Other than the earthiness, there’s a buttery taste (I know, also sounds weird, but it’s good!) similar to the one in chardonnay. It has a lot of tropical fruit scents/flavors, and it’s not too bitter, and not too sweet. Try a glass while you’re doing your research on terroir. Put it in the fridge and get it cold first. It’s really good that way.

Oh, and not to spoil all your fun, but I did look up sauvignon. It’s a type of grape. Now we know!

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Wine-It’s really not all that complicated.

I know…it seems like it’s complicated. I know this because I’ve been to the grocery store, and I stood in the wine aisle next to a man having a near-panic attack over trying to find a good wine. He was on his cell phone, and the woman he was talking with suggested a particular brand. He searched desperately, and at this point I felt so badly for him that when I saw the brand, I pointed it out to him. He gave me a much more grateful smile that was required, and went on his way, taking his anxiety with him. Winehobo is here to help you avoid that whole situation, and to show you how easy it is to enjoy wine.

First, let’s get you started with some basic tools. This first tool  is a corkscrew.

20161016_133230-1This corkscrew is my favorite. It looks used because, well…it is. Used. A lot. It has three important parts. These are probably NOT the scientific names for the parts, but that’s okay:

  1. The knife. This is what is used (at least by me) to cut the foil that is usually covering the cork. It makes it a little easier to remove the cork. It’s not necessary, so if your corkscrew doesn’t have the knife, it’s still okay. But if you do have a knife on your corkscrew, unfold the knife all the way, put the teeth side toward the foil near the top of the bottle, put your thumb on the back, not-sharp, smooth side of the knife and run it around the foil all the way around the bottle. I turn the bottle with my other hand to make it easier. Take the foil off, and fold the knife back into the apparatus.
  2. The corkscrew. Yep, that’s the really important bit. If you don’t have the knife, just jab the corkscrew through the foil. This is the fun part-put the tip of the corkscrew on top of the cork, press, and turn. When it’s screwed in all the way…
  3. The Pry Bar. See that funky-looking bottle opener/lever thing on the end opposite the knife? We’re going to work with that now. You’ll notice the entire apparatus rocks back and forth when the corkscrew is screwed into a cork. This is a good thing…tilt the apparatus so that the the pry bar is balanced on the lip of the wine bottle. My corkscrew (and many others) have little “feet,” if you will, to assist with this purpose. Then…
  4. PULL! Using the leverage provided by the little feet on the end of the pry bar, and knowing that the corkscrew is embedded in the cork, put your non-dominant hand over the feet to stabilize them, and pull up with your dominant hand. You’ll feel how to make it work at this point.

You did it! Great! Now that the bottle is open, you’ll want to actually enjoy the wine. You’ll need some tools for that. The first one is this:

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Yep. You’ll need a glass. Now, here, at least for me, it’s always been easy to get derailed by this question: Which glass should I use? There are flutes, goblets, snifters, wine glasses, stemless wine glasses, hock wine glasses…and on and on. Heck, there are even breathable wine glasses. And…oh, dang. Did I really forget to move that red Solo cup when I took this picture for my blog?

Nope. I didn’t. If you want to enjoy wine, you can do so in any and all of these glasses, and frankly also in juice glasses, and any other glass (or cup) you might have. The point isn’t to get worked up about whether you’re serving in the “correct” glass. If you pour the wine into some sort of glass, drink the wine, and enjoy it, then…well, you’ve succeeded in enjoying wine.

But, before we go too much further, I want to show you the final two tools I wanted to talk about today:

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The orange thing on top is, simply, a stopper. If you don’t finish the bottle of wine, you can (and I have, many, many times) just stick the cork back in the bottle. It generally works best if you do stick it in upside down. But, these are an inexpensive way to keep your wine fresher than just leaving it open on the counter, and in case your cork breaks during the removal process. It’s certainly not necessary to have a stopper. But you can, if you like.

And the silver thing on the bottom is a wine aerator. This is used with red wines, and you stick it in the top of the bottle where the wine comes out, and pour the wine through it. Why? Well, it helps to smooth out some of the harshness that can be in red wine. We’ll get into words like dry, sweet, tannins, and a lot of other descriptive words in later posts. But, if you’re trying a wine, and you think it tastes kind of harsh, try an aerator. It can’t hurt, and it might help you to taste things you wouldn’t normally taste while you’re trying to deal with what we’ll call “harshness,” for now anyway. But you absolutely do not NEED one.

Do you know what makes a wine good? If you like it, it’s good. That’s the big secret. There are books, and ratings, and scores, and all kinds of information out there. But really, if it tastes good to you, it IS good. So hit your favorite grocery store, pick a bottle, and start experimenting. If you have found a particular wine you like, let me know in the comments. I’ll be making some recommendations about wines, places to drink wine, any new tools I find, and who knows what else, in the coming posts.20160903_201951

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in Uncategorized