Category Archives: Party Ideas

The Bitter Peruvian

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The popularity of aperitif-based cocktails — those with Campari, Aperol, etc., such as the Negroni — shows no sign of abating anytime soon. And we’re good with that, as we very much like their balanced sweet/savory combination, and their grown-up (aka, bitter-ish) finish.

Our version here is modeled on these aperitif cocktails in that it has as its main ingredient “Baladin Ginger,” a bitters-based Italian soda that interestingly enough does not have ginger in it. (Oh those wacky Italians.) Rather, it’s made with natural brown sugar, lemon, herbs, bitters and orange zest – aromatics similar to those used in bitter liqueurs, minus the alcohol. We mix it with pisco – the Peruvian wine-based spirit – to create an easy-drinking, delightfully tart cocktail. It’s low in alcohol, and has a lovely bitter finish.
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INGREDIENTS
1oz pisco
1oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
1 bottle (100ml) of Baladin Ginger Italian soda
3 dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb bitters

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine pisco, lemon, and simple syrup over ice in a pint glass and stir gently to combine.
Top with Ginger soda and 3 dashes of bitters.
Garnish with lemon slice.

Cheers!
-Lilian

Wines to Pair with Braises, Roasts & Stews

They’re the mainstay cooking methods in winter kitchens, and the backbone of virtually all of the comfort foods we are genetically inclined to crave when the mercury dips below 32. Here are our picks for the wines that will match the rich, warming flavors these techniques will bring to your table.

2010 Chateau Magneau Rouge
Graves, Bordeaux, France
A particularly dry wine with only hints of fruit and a pronounced minerality that goes especially well with the flavor of roasted lamb.

2010 Domaine Bessa Valley
‘Petit Enira’
Ognianovo, Bulgaria
A sturdy red with a judicious amount of boastful red fruit that stands up just fine to the richest of roast beef dishes. It’s 100% merlot and it’s from Bulgaria (Bulgaria? Bulgaria!). Trust us, it’s a perfect match!

2014 Il Casolare (Verdicchio)
Marche, Italy
A white wine that is more savory than fruity with loads of flavor like roasted almonds, fresh herbs and sweet hay.  Great with herb-rubbed roasted chicken as the wine and chicken share many of the same flavors.

2014 Gia (Barbera/Dolcetta/Nebbiolo)
Langhe, Italy
Intense and highly appealing aromas and flavors that are a perfect match to the rich personality and creamy texture of Osso Bucco.

2012 Pujol Izard
Minervois (Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah)
Languedoc, France
A serious dish like short ribs requires a serious wine like this one.  Studded with intense flavors of dark red fruit with hints of black pepper, this full bodied beauty can stand up to the richest of ribs.

2014 Penya
(Grenache, Carignan, Syrah)
Cotes Catalanes/Roussillon, France
Silky and not too heavy, this blend from the South of France is a perfect match to your favorite Coq au Vin dish.  Perfect to cook with and great to drink!

2014 Terre Nere
Etna Bianco D.O.C.
Sicily, Italy
An interesting and rich white wine to go with a rich seafood, such as an oyster stew.
Definitely floral on the nose with a fresh and salty flavor profile that has hints of minerals, just like oysters!

2013 L’Argentier
(Cinsault)
Languedoc, France
A deliciously rustic wine that’s an ideal partner for cassoulet. Highly aromatic and medium bodied, this wine is perfectly at home with whatever your cassoulet recipe calls for.

2014 Astoria ‘Caranto’
(Pinot Noir)
Veneto, Italy
For a traditional Boeuf Bourguignon recipe, we’re shaking things up with a pinot noir from Italy. Perfectly balanced between light and heavy, the Caranto’s flavors make the beef sing while being heavy enough to not get lost.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!

Magnums for New Year’s!

 

No single bottle signals a celebration more emphatically than a magnum of sparkling wine. Filled with two bottles-worth of bubbles (12 glasses, give or take), 1.5 liter magnums make all occasions feel a bit more special. And their super-size glamour is perfect for the glittery festivities that mark many a New Year’s Eve party.

Having guests on the 1st? They’re terrific for New Year’s Day brunch, too. Each big bottle has enough bubbles for 17 or so mimosas & Bellinis, the latter of which couldn’t be easier to make: Simply pour 1oz of Stirrings Bellini Mix (all-natural, and our favorite) into a flute and top with 3oz. of well-chilled prosecco or other brut style. Serve and enjoy.

Bottles has many favorites at varying prices, from Mionetto Prosecco to Veuve Clicquot Champagne. When tied with a big red bow, they make an impressive gift for the host.

Be a hero – bring a magnum!

Happy 2016!

 

Wines for Winter Holidays

It’s official: Home entertaining season has reached its fever pitch. And because wine plays a key part in most winter occasions – from a romantic fireside dinner for two to a holiday open house for 100 – we selected 9 1/2  wines that are ideal for your table, under the tree, or for your host.

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NV Serafini & Vidotto “Bollicine” Sparkling Rose
Veneto, Italy
A medium weight sparkling rose tailor made for winter celebrations.The bollicine (Italian for bubbles) are crisp yet creamy and lead to brambly strawberry and toasty flavors. It’s a great bottle to pop open with hors d’oeuvres and makes a great gift, too.

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2014 Domaine Salvard Cheverny Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc)
Loire Valley, France
Crisp and lively, this sprightly wine is an ideal aperitif and pairs exceptionally well with shellfish (we’re partial to oysters). Open a bottle and start shucking! A super gift, it’s classic French label belies its gentle pricing.

DSC_0005 copy 2013 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay
Sonoma Coast, CA
A statement wine for your table or as a gift: Classic California chardonnay at its richest: creamy pear flavors accented with oak spice. It’s a dream of a wine, and pairs best with rich seafood: think butter-basted salmon or lobster ravioli.

DSC_9984 2013 Montinore Estate Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, OR
Pinot Noir’s savory, herbal and tart berry flavors, coupled with its light body style, were made for roast chicken, baked fish, braises, and other less demanding winter fare. It’s organic and biodynamic, too.

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2007 Aljibes Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc)
Tierra de Castilla, Spain
Herb-crusted roasts and the like will love the dark berry, spice and raisin flavors that flow from this Spanish beauty. And its high scores make it a great gift for your wine-loving pal who’s into that type of thing.

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2009 Haut-Corneau Graves
Bordeaux, France
This isn’t good bordeaux for under $20. It’s great Bordeaux and its coffee, chocolate and pepper notes will play nicely with duck and beef dishes. It’s our house-wine for the holidays – and at this price – can be served at an open-house for 50+ without breaking the bank.

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2012 Antigal Uno Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina
Smooth vanilla spice notes and luscious black & red berry fruit mean this bottle will be superb with rich roasts and aged cheese. Its bold packaging makes it an impressive gift, too.

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2011 Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
A Bordeaux blend, forward with blackberry, sage, and forest floor aromas. Its suppleness and medium-body style lend it to lots of winter foods — and it’s this versatility, coupled with its elegant packaging, that makes it an impressive gift for the host/hostess.

DSC_9993 copy2012 Fattoria di Lucignano Chianti
Tuscany, Italy
Serving lasagna, are you? The balanced tannins and acidity found in this Chianti will be molto perfecto. It’s great with other creamy casserole dishes, too, as well as with antipasti of all types.

&

…for our “1/2”: 2005 Fattoria di Lucignano
Vin Santo (375ml – half bottle)
If not now, when? Sweet dessert wines are ideal after big winter holiday meals, when the thought of another bite is too much to bear. A classic style, Vin Santo is thick with sweet dried apricot, honey and toffee notes and is lovely with blue cheese or biscotti.

Cheers & Happy Holidays!

Top 3 Holiday Kosher Wines to Please and Delight

Quality, delicious, well-priced kosher wine is available to us more so now than ever before – a trend we thankfully don’t see waning anytime soon. Below are the 3 we think would will be perfect on any winter table – kosher or not.

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2011 Savia del Sol Rioja, Spain $17.99

An excellent value and a great example of the power and elegance that can come out of Spain. Loaded with black fruit flavors like plum and blackberries and chock-a-block with chocolate, pipe tobacco and cedar. Great with rich dishes like puttanesca or roast lamb.

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2011 Arfi Winery ‘Gabriel’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Israel $21.99

Some of the best wine to come out of Israel, especially at this price. Aging in French oak barrels for 8 months leaves a wonderful balance of vitality and softness. Pair with any red meat dish, especially a rich beef stew.

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2012 Domaine La Ferrage Cote de Brouilly, France $21.99

A very charming lighter style red wine from the Beaujolais region of France. Silky texture and notes of red cherries and violets. This is a great wine for sipping with cheese and appetizers but would be excellent with roast chicken or salmon.

Happy Hanukkah!

Party Math: A Guide to Buying – and Serving – Booze

The good news is the party’s a raging success and your guests are having the time of their lives. The bad news is the party’s a raging success and you’re about to run out of booze. Here’s how to never let that happen again.

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Now that you have that down, ensure your party’s a smash by following these 8 Tips for Entertaining from team Bottles:

1. Don’t forget mixers & garnishes. Figure 1 liter of soda water/tonic/juice for every 3 guests; plan on 1 lemon/lime/orange for every 3 guests as well.

2. Have on hand at least 1 lb. of ice per person for storage & drink-making purposes. Which means your ice trays aren’t enough. Just go buy ice already, and put it in a cooler on the back porch. Trust us.

3. White wine is to be served chilled, not ice cold. Take your whites out of the fridge 10 minutes before serving. Most red wine is to be served a touch cooler than room temp. So don’t store it in direct sunlight, or, gasp, near the oven.

4. Worried about temperature fluctuations when buying cold beer? Fear not. Too much light and extreme heat (think noon heat in an un-airconditioned-car in August) are what will damage your brews. Subtle temperature changes are fine.

5. Always serve food alongside alcoholic beverages.

6. Place pitchers of water near the bar – and keep them filled.

7. Have a designated driver – or your Uber account – queued up for over-indulgers.

8. Reduce party stress by ordering your bottles in advance either in-store or via phone, and Bottles will deliver to your door day of!

Cheers!

 

 

Don’t Let Your After-Dinner Drinks Be An Afterthought

An easy and impressive way to elevate any meal – especially Thanksgiving Dinner – is to offer your guests an after-dinner drink, served alongside – or in lieu of – dessert. And all that’s required for this elegant and delicious end-to-a-meal is a thoughtful bottle choice (we can help with that), and clean glassware. Baking not required.

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Though there are many mixed drinks that are popular after dinner (ie. Irish Coffee), we’re focusing on one-bottle postprandial sippers: those that you merely need open and pour to enjoy. Here are the 4 styles we like to serve during Thanksgiving season.

1. Sweet Dessert Wine ranging from fruit-sweet (Sauternes, Moscato D’Asti) to sugar and nut-sweet (Madeira, Port). One small glass does a body good either by itself or paired with pungent cheese.

2. Amari bitter (and sometimes sweet) liqueurs originally produced to calm upset bellies. despite — or perhaps in light of — their at-times super-bracing bitterness, an increasing number of folks are enjoying Amari after dinner – stomachache or not.

3. Liqueurs / Cordials traditional european liqueurs made with flavors of almonds, coffee and mint (just to name a few) are now being produced in small batches by American artisans. these new bottles are an outstanding treat.

4. Bubbles popping a bottle of sweet (sec) or semi-sweet (demi-sec) sparkling wine is an elegant and festive way to put a celebratory cap on a merry holiday meal.

Call or visit the store for help in finding the perfect bottle to end your feast.

Cheers!

 

 

5 Spooky Bottles Guaranteed To Be The Hit of The Halloween Party

When it comes to Halloween parties for the adult set, nothing is more true than Ogden Nash’s apt aphorism:

Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.

We couldn’t agree more. Here are 5 bottles that will steal the spotlight off your neighbor’s sexy zombie costume:

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Battle Axe Malbec

An Argentinian malbec, with a round & fruit-forward start & a long, toasty finish.

belze_bigBelzebuth

Billed as ‘The Most Unique Ale in the World,’ it’s strong, spicy, & golden.

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Long Trail Limbo

An award-winning IPA, full of rich hop character, & the perfect drink to have on hand as you await the ending of your torments.

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Kah Reposado Tequila

No Halloween is complete without this devil of a tequila. Each bottle is hand painted & clocks in at 55% ABV.

pumpbig Uinta Jack be Nimble

A black pumpkin ale, as dark as a moonless All Hallows Eve, with a kick of bourbon from aging in barrels.

 

Come on in and we’ll help you select the scariest, booziest bottle for your trick or treatin’. Happy Halloween!

 

Champagne and Popcorn – Just in time for Oscar Night

Movie Night Party Idea - Popcorn and Champagne Pairings

Popcorn and Champagne … they go together like Harry & Sally. Like Bogie & Bacall. Like Harold & Maude: great alone, together sublime.

They’re the ideal pair because Champagne’s yeasty, toasty bready flavors crave the fat and salt of a perfectly popped and dressed bowl of popcorn. And then there’s all that texture: the crunch of the popped corn loves the fizziness of bubbles.

It’s a fine thing to do on these cold winter nights here in New England, and on February 22 especially, the night of this year’s Oscars. Make a big batch of stove top popcorn and pour a glass or two of your favorite sparkling wine. Grab a thick wool blanket and turn on the telly. Relish in all the glamour and shine and pop and fizz of the Oscars, and then give yourself an award, too, for making such a sublime and tasty popped production of your own.

Here are a few of our favorite popcorn and sparkling wine pairings:

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The Harry & Sally

Le Berceau Blanquette de Limoux
+ Popcorn with Salt and Freshly Ground Coriander Seed

This sprightly blanc de blanc sparkling wine from the Lanquedoc, made primarily from mauzac (a white grape), with just a touch of chardonnay and chenin blanc, has an apple-y pear liveliness to it that pairs beautifully with the citrusy coriander on the popcorn. We popped this batch in just the neutral oil, then topped with maldon salt (kosher is good too) and the coriander seeds that we crushed with a mortar and pestle. Melted butter not needed! (Though really, a little wouldn’t hurt.)

The Harold & Maude

Louis de Grenelle “Corail” Samur Rosé
+ Bacon Popcorn

From the Loire, this 100% Cabernet Franc sparkler bursts with wild strawberry and raspberry flavors — redolent of morning jam made with super ripe fruit — and finishes with a hint of yeasty goodness. What better to pair with this “breakfast in a glass” than bacon? We cooked off a pound of bacon, and used 4 tablespoons of the rendered fat to pop the corn. Once popped, we topped with 1/2 lb of the bacon, broken into pieces and of course, melted butter.

The Bogie & Bacall

Champagne Perseval-Farge Brut NV “C. de Pinots” 1er Cru
+ Brown Butter Popcorn with Coriander and Parmigiano Reggiano

This rich and full blanc de noir, made with 55% pinot noir and 45% pinot meunier, is full of dried fig, almond, toasted wheat bread and baked apple flavor, all delivered though a sparkling cyclone of tiny bubbles. To match its warm intensity, we served it with popcorn seasonings that are equally as round and deep.

First, we popped the corn in 2 tablespoons of neutral oil, 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once popped, we dressed it with brown butter, made by warming butter on a stove top until the milk solid have turned a warm brown (don’t burn!), and coriander seeds that we crushed by hand. We then topped with maldon salt (kosher is a fine replacement) and drifts of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. The toasty coriander flavors help draw out the brown butter, and the Parmigiano is regal enough to stand up to this true 1er Cru Champagne. Spectacular.

Enjoy the show!
– Cheers, Katie McManus

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Basic recipe for stove-top popcorn:

Supplies & Ingredients

– A heavy-bottomed pot, with a capacity of at least 3 quarts. This is key. Using a thin-bottomed pot will result in burned popcorn and a ruined pot.
– 4 tbsp fat. Neutral, high-heat oils, such as grape seed or vegetable work best, but for taste, we like to add in more flavorful fats. Use at least 2 tablespoons of the neutral oil, then supplement with butter, or bacon fat, or olive oil, or hazelnut oil or pumpkin seed oil or truffle oil. You get the picture.
– 1/2 cup of good quality corn kernels

Directions:

1. Add the fat to the pot and set over a medium flame. Once heated, add 3 kernels of corn and shake to coat. Put the lid on the pot. Here’s a crucial point: Leave the lid ajar to allow steam to escape. Doing this will give you big fluffy popcorn.

2. Once all 3 kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn and turn the heat to medium-high. Shake to coat them with the oil.

3. Once the popping resumes, drop the heat slightly, and continue shaking the pot vigorously over the heat, all while keeping the lid ajar, until almost all have popped.

4. Remove from heat, and pour the hot popcorn into a wide bowl to ensure even distribution of your seasonings, sprinkle with the toppings of your choice and toss with your hands.

The Ultimate Drink List for Your Super Bowl Party!

Looking for fun drink ideas for your Super Bowl party? Something that excites beyond the standard cheap beer? The pros at Bottles have created a game-day-ready drink menu that includes Washington state wines, New England craft beers, and crowd-sized cocktail recipes featuring craft spirits by New England distillers. We’ve even created a handy printable list for these items. Download, print it out, and stop by Bottles for everything you’ll need.

——> Download & Print the Drink List <——-

New England Cocktails spirits Looking for Super Bowl cocktail recipes?  Here’s our list featuring local New England spirits that can be made the morning of game day. Large-batch cocktails allow your guests to focus on what really matters — football, with no empty drink glasses! Nervous about ratios? We’ve done the math for you. You’ll need a large pitcher, punch bowl or swing top bottle to display your mixology handiwork, and don’t forget the ice. Give the bottle a quick shake as you serve these spirited Yankee cocktails over ice. Stop by Bottles for these stellar local spirits, grab your favorite pitcher and get pouring!

Rhody Russian:

Ingredients 1 bottle Loyal 9 Vodka 1/2 bottle of Dave’s Coffee Syrup 15 Dashes of Angostura Bitters 2 Liters Club Soda

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher or punch bowl. If making this ahead of time, add the club soda just before serving. Serve in glasses full of ice. Makes 15 cocktails Sons of Liberty Spirits Company is located not too far from Providence in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. They handcraft delicious, American Single Malt Whiskies and a line of premium craft vodkas. Drink local! Dave’s Coffee Syrup is also handcrafted in Rhode Island — coffee beans are hand-roasted in small batches, cold-brewed and simmered with natural cane sugar. An awesome addition to cocktails!

Issac’s Punch:

Ingredients (makes 15 cocktails) 3/4 Bottle of Bully Boy White Rum 1/2 Gallon of Apple Cider 7 1/2 oz Simple Syrup 7 1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher or punch bowl and serve in a glass over ice. Bully Boy is a Boston distillery that makes hand-produced, small batch spirits with loads of New England character. Learn more about Bully Boy Distillers >

Boston Cocktail:

Ingredients 3/4 a bottle of Greylock Gin by Berkshire Mountain Distillers 3/4 a bottle of Apricot Brandy 7 1/2 oz fresh lime juice 12 Dashes of grenadine

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher or punch bowl and serve in a glass over ice. Makes 15 cocktails. Berkshire Mountain Distillers (BMD) are the creators of Greylock Gin, which is the star of this cocktail recipe. Established in 2007, all BMD spirits are handcrafted in small batches in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Washington Wines wines For those Seahawks fans lurking in New England, we had to choose some wines for Washington. Here’s a selection of our yummiest Washington state wines in the shop!

Kung Fu Girl Riesling – Insanely refreshing and yummy!  Not your momma’s too-sweet Riesling — this one’s bone dry! Drink by itself or with something spicy like Buffalo Chicken Wings.

Vino Pinot Grigio – Wanna know a secret?  This wine is better than your Super Bowl guests deserve.  While they’re watching Katy Perry during halftime, sneak a glass in the kitchen.

Eve Chardonnay – A lighter style Chardonnay — polished with pretty pear, apple and cream flavors. Great with 7 layer dip!

Velvet Devil Merlot – Wickedly rich and smooth — perfect with your ribs or sausages.

Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon –  Dark and spicy with plum, currant and chocolate flavors. Scored 92 points from Wine Spectator! It may be the best thing from Washington (including the Seahawks).

Milbrandt Cabernet Sauvignon – Dark, velvety and complex with layers of dark fruit and dried savory herbs. A staff favorite! Pair with nachos and Seahawk Chowdah.

New England Craft Beers beers Go Pats! Some of our favorite craft beers for Super Bowl 2015, all made in New England! We’ve chosen a range of styles to please any crowd.

Cambridge Brewing Remain in Light – Made in Boston! A light, snappy, crisp pilsner.

Cape Ann Fisherman’s Navigator – A toasty, malty, warming brew from Massachusetts! Cape Ann’s winter seasonal doppel-bock.

Otter Creek Citra Mantra – From Vermont, and a hoppy, citrusy, and super refreshing Indian Pils Lager.

Newport Storm Wham! Bam! Van Damme – Powerful! Boozy! Malty!

P.S. Not sure how much beer or wine to get? Use our party math guide! 

Enjoy your parties!

Cheers!

The Bottles Team