Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wines I'm Making: Bottled the 2011 Sangiovese Rosé (December 23, 2011)

Between bouts of late Christmas shopping and food shopping yesterday I found the time to bottle the 2011 Sangiovese rosé from our backyard grapes. I'm quite pleased. It's come out a nice medium-deep orange-pink and, based on some quick sampling while siphoning, it has good flavors and length. It will be a big improvement from last year's thin wine, made from grapes that just never ripened fully--even if it's not as good as the excellent (as good as any rosé I've ever tasted, if I say so myself) rosé I made in 2009. Just in time to open the first bottle tonight, on Christmas Eve, with friends and family. Now I need to design a label....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Miscellaneous: New Cocktail (December 21, 2011)

Cocktails have never been my thing, really. I've always been a wine drinker, but recently I've become curious and done a little research (the seed was planted several years ago when, driving on a whim across the country, I spent two nights at the ancestral Ohio farm of a college associate. He made us martinis on the porch. Then, this summer, I met up with my first college roommate for the first time in decades, in Seattle. He introduced me to the Zig-Zag Café and the wonderful and mysterious concoctions made there).

So far, a classic Manhattan is my favorite mixed drink, although I can appreciate a classic Martini as well (sorry, Mr. Bond--stirred, not shaken--and made using a good, distinctively flavored domestic gin--about one part gin to 1/2 part dry vermouth--none of that silly I'm-so-manly-I-need-no-vermouth routine; if you want straight gin, don't call it a Martini). When I say a "classic Manhattan," I mean a Manhattan made with rye (not bourbon), red vermouth, and Angostura bitters--nothing else--garnished with a real Marasca cherry (expensive, but tasty--the cherries, that is).

There are so many cocktails, though.... It becomes fascinating (and daunting) rather quickly. I wish I weren't such a lightweight. My experimenting is, of necessity, going at a measured pace. Tonight, trying a little alchemy, though, I hit upon a combination I rather liked. Try this: I call it a "Fertile Eve" (Eve because of the Calvados and apple connection, fertile because of the Grenadine, derived from pomegranates, traditionally considered a symbol of fertility).

Fertile Eve (by Colin Talcroft)
1.5 oz Calvados
3/4 oz Red Vermouth
1/2 teaspoon Grenadine
2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
Juice of a quarter lemon

Place ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon slice (squeeze the juice into the drink and drop the slice in the glass). You can adjust the sweetness of this drink. If it's too sweet for your taste made according to the recipe, use a little less Grenadine, a little more Calvados, and a add a little more lemon juice.

Try it. You might like it.
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