Start The Summer Right With These Tastebud Ticklers
Happy 4th of July, wine lovers! Now THIS is something to really toast to. What’s on your 4th of July menu? We’re curious and excited to find out what our blog readers and social media followers are up to. And since the summer season is in full swing, it’s the best time to share some great summer cocktails & food pairings. We’ll get the ball rolling with some of our favorite tastebud ticklers this season: Beat the summer heat! Try these summer tastebud ticklers!
Watermelon Tequila Teaser
Summer season is watermelon season! And one of the best ways to enjoy this uber refreshing fruit is by whipping up an awesome watermelon tequila teaser. For this cocktail, you’ll need to pick out the seedless variety, puree it, and strain the juice through a sieve. We recommend setting a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and straining the watermelon juice. Grab a small saucepan, put in water and sugar and simmer. Stir over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, let cool. Next, combine the sugar syrup with some lime juice, blueberries and mint leaves. Then add the watermelon juice and tequila – chill and serve!
When you get down to it, it’s just all about making your good, old-fashioned lemonade taste fancier and better. It’s super easy to make, too! Just combine the Limoncello, gin and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until chilled for at least two hours. When serving, press thin lemon slices against the inside of each glass. Make sure you stir the limoncello mixture before pouring it in your ice-filled glasses. You can also add two ounces of club soda into each glass if you want then top it off with a mint sprig.
Allergies aside, how can one refuse summer cocktails infused with fresh strawberries and lemons? Strawberry-lemon mojitos are quite the summer favorite, but here’s a little bit of a twist in preparing this tastebud tickler. First, muddle the lemon wedges with whole strawberries and mint leaves. Use a cocktail shaker for this. Pour in the rum and add lots of ice. We recommend a molasses or sugar-based rum for a yummier taste. Next, add the lemon juice and sugarcane syrup. Shake well then strain into highball glasses filled with more crushed ice. To enhance the visual appeal, garnish your glasses with strawberry halves and mint sprigs.
So what’s your favorite summer tastebud tickler? Share your recipes with us! ^_^
More Summer Wine Indulgence!
What better season to indulge in extensive wine tasting activities than the lazy, hazy days of summer? Thanks to the beautiful, warm weather, even just relaxing on the patio or balcony with a glass or two can be something to look forward to every day. So we’ve lined up a little list of more summer wine selections for you winos to enjoy. Let us know what you think and what else should make the cut!
Lip-smacking Sauvignon Blanc
Now there are plenty of labels to choose from when it comes to this favorite summer white, but for this season, we recommend you try out one that has a crisp and bright taste with hints of fruit flavors such as lemon, lime, and grapefruit. 2014 vintage is one of our favorites because some even carry a dash of sweet melon flavor. Kick things off with a Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough – very much recommended for its full, round taste with pear and tropical fruit touches.
Who would turn down a glass of wonderful Rose, especially during the summertime? They are one of the most versatile wines you can serve and one of the easiest to pair off with your summer munchies. Roses can come either in the standard demure flavors or more full-bodied ones such as those with bursts of raspberry and citrus. If you’re a little more adventurous, try the 2014 vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon Rose – the ones with a mix of tangy plum and raspberry.
No doubt about it, your Reds will still make it into the summer wine list this year. While Reds like your Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignons may normally be too heavy for those days when it can be a real scorcher, they will still pair off perfectly with barbecued or grilled food. Steer clear of overly oaked and extracted reds and go for those with spicier and minty accents. Reds with hints of dried chili pepper, black cherry, or plum will go great with your grilled steaks.
Wine Cellar Inspirations: Our Favorite Christmas Wines
Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa’s coming in just a few days with tons of presents for those who have been “nice” this year. And for the true-blue winos out there, we’re pretty sure what you guys asked from the big guy in the red suit. What else but wine, wine, wine! As far as Christmas wine go, we’re also certain that you guys have your own list on what you’d want to pop open on your tables this year. We drew one up as well so check out our Christmas wine recommendations and see if your favorites made the cut:
Let’s start with the Reds…
Christmas won’t be Christmas without a splash of red here and there. It’s one of the traditional colors of the season, after all. Of course, we’d also want reds on our dinner table, especially when we’re serving turkey, roasted pork, spiced ham, and/or meatloaf. At the cheaper end of the budget would be a Squinzano. It’s not the most popular red, but it’s getting there. The wine is made from ninety per cent Negroamaro and ten per cent Sangiovese. It has a spicy oak taste, slightly sweet-sour, and tastes of both fresh and dried fruit at once. But we also love a good bottle of Carmenere-Merlot which would be dynamite with pork belly and roasted veggies. Then again, there’s good, old Malbec which can really bring out the richness of the flavors on your Christmas table.
Pour on the Pinot!
Ham will definitely on the menu come Christmas eve. So what would we be pouring alongside that? Experience tells us that whether they are baked, smoked, or honeyed, hams beg for wines with a dash of sweet. A German Riesling with a touch of residual sugar, made lighter in style and a bit lower in alcohol, is one of the popular pairing choices. Riesling comes with plenty of food-friendly acidity and crowd-pleasing palate appeal. But this year, we’re going to pour on the Pinot instead. Why so? Good Pinot Noir has subtle tannins that make for an easier going pairing profile. It’s a crowd-pleaser, apart from a palate one. If you’re going to be having a variety of tastebuds over for dinner, Pinot is the bottle you’d want to pop open.
And move on to the Whites…
Naturally, the Whites also have to have a place on the Christmas dinner set-up. For those of you who prefer your whites over the reds, we recommend the ever reliable Sauvignon Blanc to accentuate the fruity taste of your dishes. However, you can also go with the Chablis, specifically a light and refreshing chablis like the Simonnet-Febvre that is reminiscent of gentle lemons with a hint of smooth limestone. Then again, if you want to opt for something to go with the salmon or other fish or poultry dish on your table, a bottle of Chardonnay will wrap things up fairly nicely.
Style with Sauvignon Blanc!
If we have our reds, then we’re certainly lining up the whites this Christmas eve as well. Turkey will also be on the menu and this savory dish deserves a suitable partner. Sauvignon Blanc is a time-tested favorite pick for turkey and savory sides. This white wine will bring its own herbal tones to the table, enhancing one’s turkey dinner experience. Note that it will also go well with duck compared to reds, particularly if you’re serving one with a fruity type sauce.
And throw in some Sparkling ones as well!
Sparkling wine is a MUST for the Christmas table, especially with the ladies around. For some reason, sparkling wine is immensely popular with the female persuasion. A bottle of Pignoletto, specifically grown in Umbria and Emilia Romagna, is in order. This sparkling wine is frothily fine-bubbled, very light and slightly sweet. Nonetheless, there might be more than just a few of you who wouldn’t want to pass up the Proseco. A bottle of especially crisp and whistle-clean Proseco like the Conte Priuli will make a smash hit at your dinner table.
Bring on the Dessert Wines!
Naturally, the meal won’t be complete without an array of lip-smacking desserts to end Christmas dinner with an extra “ho” to the “ho, ho, ho.” And for us, dessert won’t be complete unless there’s the right wine pairing for it as well. You have to be careful though not to overdo the sweetness intensity on the palate. Ice Wine is one of our favorite picks, especially with bite-sized truffles and other chocolate-covered goodies. If you’re serving cheesecake, tortes, or other similar cakes, the Moscato d’Asti will make for the perfect wine partner.