Category Archives: Cocktails

Rhum With A “Rh?”

DSC_214
J.M Rhum Agricole Gold. On sale through September 5th, 2016.

Type-o or marketing gimmick? Neither. Rhum with a “Rh” is a thing.

Rhum Agricole is as style of rum made with cane sugar that’s been cut, ground and pressed into juice, unlike rums without the “Rh,” which are distilled from molasses. Many consider Rhum Agricole – the term is french for cane juice rum – the purest expression of the spirit.

We love the J.M Gold because of its smooth elegance and multi-layered flavors of cinnamon, warm gingerbread, grass and hazelnut. J.M, the smallest rhumerie on the island of Martinique, makes its golden elixir from from plants cultivated on the steep slope of Mt. Pelée, the island’s active volcano. Hot stuff.

Given its beautiful, complex flavor it’s really best enjoyed on the rocks, while watching the sunset over the Atlantic.

When that’s not possible, consider using it in place of light rum in a riff on the classic Hemingway Daiquiri. The J.M and the maraschino liqueur dance beautifully together.

What’s even better? It’s on sale at Bottles thru September 5th.

Rhum J.M Agricole Daiquiri

Ingredients
2 oz Rhum J.M Agricole Gold
¾ oz freshly-squeezed lime juice
½ oz grapefruit juice
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp maraschino liqueur

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake and strain into a goblet of coupé filled with crushed ice (you can make crushed ice with a blender or food processor if you don’t own a fancy frozen drink/shaved ice gizmo).

Santé!

###

Pasote – The Rainwater Tequila

pasote_group

Pasote tequila, on sale at Bottles through September 5, 2016.

The agave plant usually gets the lionshare of attention when tequila lovers talk about flavor and aroma. But the type and quality of the water used during the distillation process also plays a big part in the how the beloved Mexican spirit smells and tastes.

Which is why Pasote Tequila, introduced to the market earlier this year, is so distinctive. It’s made with 40% rainwater that is collected on site at the El Pandillo distillery in the Jalisco Highlands. The additional 60% is natural spring water.

The rainwater character is most noticeable in the easy-drinking blanco, which has a wet mineral and wet grass aroma similar to the fresh smell of the air just before a summer rain. It’s a touch sweet, with a citrus and briney flavor.

The reposado, aged in American oak, is herbal, with notes of ripe coconut. The anejo, with its longer barrel aging, opens with aromas of sweet vanilla and coconut, and finishes with flavors of roasted oranges and spicy cinnamon.

Always suckers for strong label art, we can’t end without talking about Pasote’s custom-made bottles. The screenprinted artwork features a different warrior on each of the three bottles in homage to the ferocious Aztec fighters who celebrated their victories and sacrifices by drinking the sacred agave. The bottles are hand crafted by a family of glass artisans, and each has slight asymmetries and distinctive wave patterns visible in the glass.

All three styles are distinctive enough for enjoying alone on ice, and are also ideal for cocktails.

Enjoy!

###

 

SPRITZER 101

spritz_poster_web
They’re baaaack….

They’re fresh and fizzy and fun. They’re light and refreshing on hot summer afternoons.

They’re spritzers, and we’re such huge fans of them that we’ve decided to declare this season the Summer of Spritzers.

The spritzers we’re talking about are descendants of the wine drinks made famous (some say infamous) in the 1980’s. Back in that diet-crazed decade, some wine drinkers added ice and seltzer water to their glasses in order to tamp down the vino’s calories and alcoholic punch. Eventually, serious wine aficionados took issue with those alterations (sacré bleu!), and the spritzer fizzled out.

Fast forward to today, where we think that – especially in the summer – keeping drinks light and low-alcohol is a good thing. No, make that a great thing. We believe there’s no shame in adding soda water to your wine to lighten the potency and to add a lift! We believe there’s no shame in adding ice cubes to your glass, to keep the chill up and the power down! Especially when you use the right ingredients.

We hope you agree, and will join us in this Summer of Spritzers!

Herewith, our guidelines for making tasty spritzers that you can drink with pride.

Basic Spritzer Recipe:
Add equal parts fresh & fruity still white wine (see below for our picks) and soda water to a glass over a few cubes of ice and stir. Garnish, if you’d like.

Already have a bottle of fizzy wine – or just want to add more character to your glass? Just add juice, and/or a low-alcohol aperitif.

Best wines for spritzing:
Choose fresh & fruity whites and rosés such as riesling (dry and off dry), chenin blanc, gewurztraminer and gruner veltliner — essentially anything but chardonnay. If you want to start with bubbles, look for prosecco, lambrusco, cava, cremant d’alsace.
Best garnishes for spritzers:
For white wines, lemon, limes and grapefruit. For rosé, try fresh strawberries and cherries. Leafy herbs, such as mint and basil, work best for both.
Great additions:
Grapefruit juice, lemonade, St-Germain, Aperol, Cocchi Americano, Lillet Blanc & Rosé, Plymouth Gin
Helpful hints:
-Play with your ratios to suit your mood.
-To ensure optimal fizz, pour still ingredients first. Finish/top off with the bubbles.
-Be sure to use fresh soda water – no one likes a limp spritz!
Bottles’ Favorite Spritzers

The KaiserSpritzer
Add to a glass filled with ice 3oz of Gruner Veltliner, a big splash of St-Germain and 2oz of soda water. Stir, and garnish with fresh mint.

The Eastside Spritzer (aka Bottles’ House Spritzer)
Combine over ice in a tall glass 4oz of white wine, 2oz of soda water, a pinch of sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Stir and drink deeply.

The Aperol Spritz
To a rocks glass filled with ice add 2oz Aperol, 4oz prosecco and 2oz soda water. Stir, and garnish with an orange slice.

Enjoy your Spritzing!

###

Uncle Val’s Gins

VALS1
They’re really good gins with a really great story.

You see, it all started in 1895 when Samuele Sebastiani emigrated to the US from Tuscany. He settled in Sonoma, and within 10 years he opened the successful Sebastiani Winery which is still in operation today. This skill for producing high-quality, tasty beverages was inherited by his great-grandson August Sebastiani, who, decades later, created Uncle Val’s gin.

The line of gins – it’s among Bottles’ best-sellers – is named after August’s favorite uncle, Valerio Cecchetti, a retired physician from Lucca, Italy.  Uncle Val was not only a highly-respected doctor, but an accomplished cook with a passion for gardening. August modeled the gins after the fruits, vegetables and herbs that Uncle Val loved to grow in his garden and use in his cooking: juniper, lemon, sage, lavender and cucumber.

Each of the gins is produced in small batches, distilled five times, and filtered over stone to produce as smooth, clean and true a flavor as possible.

Uncle Val’s distinctive dark green, antique-hued bottles were inspired by bitters bottles produced in Italy in the 18th and 19th centuries. The labels, which are hand-numbered, feature some of Uncle Val’s more notable – and eccentric – sayings: “Eggs have no business dancing with stones.” “If the beard were all, the goat might preach.” “You cannot flay a stone.” Thankfully, the labels also include a translation of these colorful phrases.

The Gins:

VALS2
The Botanical opens with crisp aromas of sage and juniper. A first taste of lemon leads to a warm, spicy, lavender finish, with piney and cooling cucumber notes. We love sipping this gin with nothing more than a cube of ice and a pine needle or juniper berry picked from the in the backyard.

VALS3
The Restorative is based on savory, American-style gin. After distillation it’s infused with juniper, coriander, cucumbers and rose petals. When used in a martini, an olive will subdue the floral notes and accentuate the savory coriander and juniper. To enhance the floral notes, add a citrus twist.

VALS4
The Peppered is a big, spicy gin. It’s flavored with juniper, red bell pepper, black pepper and pimento, and is both terrific for sipping and for mixing for those who like big, bold drinks. It opens with a sharp salty-pepper flavor that evolves into a sour/sweet juniper and charred red pepper finish.

Each of the gins are distinctive as their back story. Come by and pick up a bottle today – they’re on sale – $5.00 off – thru August 2016!

###

The Caprese Cocktail

Listen, we were skeptical at first, too. Really skeptical.

caprese_web (1)

But then we remembered how much we love James Beard’s Drunken Cherry Tomatoes*, and just how much basil is in the garden already this season.

And that we can’t really resist cheese. Really fresh, really good mozzarella cheese.

And then we tried it. And loved it. And drank pitchers full of it on Father’s Day with la familia.

Don’t think we have to say much more.

Oh, except that our Square One Basil Vodka – ideal for this drink – is on sale through July 4th. And that you may want to double or triple up on the garnish. We did.

Cent’ anni!

The Caprese Cocktail

2oz Square One Basil Vodka
1/2oz tomato juice
1/2oz lime juice
1/2oz lemon juice
3/4oz agave nectar or simple syrup
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
Garnish: fresh, sweet cherry tomato, small mozzarella ball, salt & basil leaf

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve with a “Caprese Pick” or two: dredge the tomato and mozzarella ball in coarse salt. Skewer with basil leaf, and serve.

*aka an Adult Crudite: spear a fresh sweet cherry tomato, dip it in good vodka, run it through coarse salt and pop it in your mouth. Also serve it, as Mr. Beard reportedly did, with gin, and perhaps small bowls of other seasonings, such as cumin or hot pepper, ground or flaked.

###

Bottled-in-Bond: What it Means and Why it’s Important

What does “Bottled-in-Bond” mean and why should we care? Whiskey Professor and two-time Whiskey Man of the Year Bernie Lubbers visited Bottles recently to let us know just why. And we believe him. If you’re getting your dad a Bottled-in-Bond bottle of whiskey for Father’s Day, why not learn what makes it so special!

The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 laid out a set of regulations and standards for distilled spirits; more specifically it made the government the authenticator of a spirit’s quality. At the time, some whiskies were adulterated out of greed — things like iodine and tobacco were used for coloring or as flavoring agents. Folks wanted to trust that they were drinking the real deal, so the government stepped in.

When you purchase a “Bottled-in-Bond or “Bonded” bottle, you can rest assured that what’s in the bottle is just good old USA-made whiskey and time.

In order to be labeled “Bottled in Bond” or “Bonded” the whiskey must:

  • be the product of a single distillation season
  • be from one distiller at one distillery
  • be aged in a federally-bonded warehouse for at least 4 years
  • be bottled at 100 proof
  • identify the distillery in which it was made or the location where it was bottled

We have several Bottled-in-Bond bottles at Bottles – come by and let us help select the right one for you!

Here’s to Bottled-in-Bond!

###

What to Pair with Oklahoma!

If you haven’t yet moseyed on over to see Trinity Repertory Company’s  widely-praised production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”, do it now. Mosey now.

And while you’re there, sip on “The Farmer and the Cowman,” a cocktail we created with Curt Columbus, Trinity’s Richard L. Bready Artistic Director, to pair with this quintessentially American show.

trinity_farmer

“The Farmer and the Cowman”
Fill a tall glass with ice, add 1.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon and 5-8 dashes Fee Brother’s Rhubarb Bitters. Top with soda water and garnish with a wagon wheel of lemon.

And If bourbon’s not your thing, try one of “Curt’s Picks.” They’re the bottles that Curt – a true wine lover with an experienced (and wonderful) palate – chose to pair with the show.

trinity_oklahoma_wine-sm

 

Said Curt:

Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc is dry and crisp, without being overly sharp. Some sauvignons can be too grassy, and this one has really nice round fruit to it.  We had it last night with Asian food, and it was terrific, although it is a really great Spring sipping wine!”

The Charles & Charles is a stylish American rosé, crisp and fruity, with notes of ripe apple.  LIke all of the rosés I enjoy, it is not sweet, but is great with seafood, chicken and spring pastas.  Of course, it’s also fun to sit and sip on your porch!”

Enjoy the show – and if you enjoy the wine – visit Bottles, as 20% of each bottle purchased in store will be donated back to Trinity Rep through the duration of the production.

###

 

A Simple Michelada

Times are crazy. Keep things simple. Learn how to make a no-frills Michelada tonight. Thank yourself all summer.

michelada3A Simple Michelada:

Rim a tall glass with lime juice and salt.
(A pint  glass is traditional, and you can do this by running a lime wedge along the lip of the glass and dipping into a plate of coarse salt.)

Add a handful of ice cubes to the glass along with 3oz or so of tomato juice, and fill the glass with an ice-cold Mexican-style lager.
This year we’re using 21st Amendment’s “El Sully.”

Squeeze a fresh lime into the lager, and, if you like a touch of heat, splash with a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce. Sit back and enjoy.

###

Shanghai-Inspired Liqueurs

Made by the couple who own Cranston’s popular Cha Bai ramen house, the Cheongsam Tea Liqueurs had us at hello.

oolong2The two versions – currently produced in China but available only in Rhode Island – are hand-crafted with natural extractions of exotic whole leaf teas. They’re captivating and nuanced. And they’re really delicious.

Named after the traditional “Cheongsam” dress that was created in Shanghai in the 1920s, the liqueurs are meant to evoke the mystery and elegance of that time and place.

The Jade Oolong, made from jade green Ti-Kuan Yin oolong tea, has delicate notes of honey and orchid, and tastes like a grown up, elegant version of the hot tea Chinese restaurants in America have been serving for decades.

The Smokey Mist’s proprietary blend of black teas produces a complex though delicate slightly-sweet liqueur that is redolent of smoked pine needles, plums and apricots.

Both are excellent additions to a well-stocked home bar given their affinity with most spirits: they play well with vodka, rum and tequila, as well as with sparkling wine or soda water. We also recommend serving them just as they are, at home, after a dinner from your favorite Asian take-out.

For our cocktails, our drinks guru Lily Rogers chose to pair the Cheongsam liqueurs with gin in a simple yet versatile recipe. The combination of the herbaceous Sons of Liberty True Born gin with the slightly sweet tea liqueur and tart & minty lemon lends these Shanghai-inspired cocktails the feel of a sultry summer evening.

The two drinks below are identical, save for the liqueurs. The simple base allows these magical liqueurs to take center stage.

oolong1Shanghai, RI

10 lemon balm leaves
1.5oz True Born Gin
1oz Cheongsam Jade Oolong liqueur
1oz simple syrup
.75oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Lemon balm leaf for garnish

Tear the 10 lemon balm leaves and add them to a shaker. Add liquid ingredients, fill with ice and shake. Double strain into a chilled coupe. Smack the remaining whole lemon balm leaf between palms to release oils and float on top of drink.

Shanghai Summer

10 lemon balm leaves
1.5oz True Born Gin
1oz Cheongsam Smokey Mist liqueur
1oz simple syrup
.75oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Lemon balm leaf for garnish

Tear the 10 lemon balm leaves and add them to a shaker. Add liquid ingredients, fill with ice and shake. Double strain into a chilled coupe. Smack the remaining whole lemon balm leaf between palms to release oils and float on top of drink.

###

THE GRUMPY CUP

In our role as the Official Sommelier of Trinity Repertory Company we are reviving our very own “Grumpy Cup” cocktail to pair with theater’s world premier of Arnie Louis and Bob. The drink is a riff on the classic British “Pimm’s Cup” cocktail with the addition of Crabbie’s alcoholic ginger beer and St. Germain elderflower liqueur. Be sure to catch a performance of the show to see why we think the Grumpy Cup is the appropriate cocktail pairing.

grumpy-cup-600
THE GRUMPY CUP
Our own recipe!

Ingredients:
– 2 oz Pimm’s
– ½ btl. Crabbie’s Ginger Beer (or any other non-flavored, alcoholic ginger beer)
– Lemon Juice
Garnish: Lemon Wedge
Directions: Fill a glass with ice, pour over with Pimm’s, and top off with Crabbie’s. Stir. Squeeze lemon wedge.
*A bottle of Pimm’s makes about 15 Grumpy Cup servings.

Enjoy the show!

###