You’re drinking on Valentine’s Day anyway, might as well drink what I tell you

Valentine’s Day. A day of love or heartbreak, a day of happiness or sadness – no matter how you feel about this day, it can only lead to one thing – drinking.

No, I don’t mean you should get blasted and cry into your beer, although maybe that’s what you’re into, and if so, just don’t drive or drink too much over your limit. I love you and care about what happens to you. What? No, sorry, I already have plans for Valentine’s Day.

What I mean is that inevitably, Valentine’s Day leads to drinking. Whether that means beer and pizza with Netflix and chill, or wine at a fancy restaurant, there’s an element of boozing with your loving.

The key, of course, is to find something great to drink with whatever you’re doing. I am here to recommend a handful of options so you can celebrate properly on this wonderful, terrible day.

Wine

sedaraWine is an essential component of Valentine’s. The best part about wine is that you can drink it no matter what you’re plans are. Dinner plans? I’ll have wine with that. Out for drinks? Try a wine bar. Staying in for dinner? Wine please. Galentine’s day? Umm, wine, obviously.

I recently received a bottle of Donnafugata Sedåra 2014, a Sicilia Doc Rosso (for free, full disclosure) and I have to say, it impressed. Tart and fruity but gentle, it struck me as a versatile red for any occasion. In other words, no matter what your dinner plans – pizza, pasta, steak, or even barbecue – pour yourself a glass of this.

I also believe it would pair very well with chocolate, so while you’re gazing into your lover’s eyes and shoving desserts like chocolate covered strawberries or chocolate truffles into each other’s mouths, wash it down with some Sedåra.

But wait, what about hanging out with the girls? Yes, it will also work nicely for that. Your friends will be impressed that you have scored an Italian wine, and you will all enjoy the soft tannins and strawberry and plum notes.

Donnafugata Sedåra 2014 is not only a great choice for all your needs on Valentine’s Day, it’s also affordable. Approximately $18 a bottle, it won’t break the bank, allowing you to impress your date with wine AND something sparkly (hint, hint, Adrian).

Sparkling Wine

Just get whatever you can afford, yeah? No seriously. Sometimes that expensive stuff isn’t as good (or is only as good) as the mid-range option, and unless one of you cares about labels, get whatever is best for you. (Or, if you want to be tricksy, make your own label with you and your lover’s name on it, and they’ll think it’s so sweet, they won’t care you bought a $5 brut from Walgreens. PS, don’t buy a $5 brut from Walgreens unless that’s all you can afford.)

Beer

I don’t know about you, but I say, pull out some stouts on V-day. There are so many different stouts available that you are bound to find one that works for you and whoever you’re spending time with on V-day. Chocolate stouts, coffee stouts, oatmeal, dry, imperial, sweet, and all the nitro stouts you can think of pair well with chocolate, girl’s night, guy’s night, red meat (is that the same as guy’s nights?), and just chilling at home or at the bar. It’s also cold. SO cold. What warms you up better than a lovely dark beer with a smooth finish? Not even the love of your life, no matter what day of the year.

Cocktails

What is more romantic than a classy old fashioned? I challenge you to find something better. An old fashioned is meant to be sipped, served with a cherry, and makes the drinker exude confidence. Enjoyed by both men and women, with any whiskey you choose (although Bulleit Rye is my personal favorite), it’s the perfect drink for any date, going out or staying in.

Whatever you do, whatever you drink, try to have a nice time. Don’t overdo it, don’t over think it, and whatever you do, don’t take it too seriously. Cheers!

Why We Celebrate National Beer Day

The Cullen-Harrison Act was enacted in Congress on March 21, 1933 and signed by FDR the next day. The act legalized 3.2% abv beer, and wine with similarly low alcohol content. The law went into effect on April 7, 1933.

In 1919, when Prohibition was signed into law, many people assumed that the definition of “intoxicating liquors” would not include low alcohol beer and wine, therefore, making it legal to manufacture and sell. It is likely that if this had been the case, prohibition may have been a more successful endeavor (notice I said MORE Successful, not ENTIRELY successful). However, the general public, and possibly many “dry” supporting politicians, were misled. After the passing of the amendment, the Volstead Act was written, and it defined “intoxicating liquors” as anything higher than .05% alcohol, thus making the standard 3.2% beer illegal. The public was both aghast and disappointed, and President Wilson actually vetoed it, although for separate reasons entirely from making 3.2% beer illegal.

When the depression hit, the people began to push for legalization of 3.2% beer. Many people felt that it was their right to enjoy a drink after a long day of hard labor or looking for jobs. FDR and the democrats used the promise of beer legalization to their advantage in the 1932 election, and were successful. The Cullen-Harrison Act was enacted in Congress on March 21, 1933 and signed by FDR the next day. The act legalized 3.2% abv beer, and wine with similarly low alcohol content. The law went into effect on April 7, 1933. April 7 has henceforth been celebrated as National Beer Day.

beer legalized

repeal day 2

Summer time is a good time for drinking

Tomorrow is the beginning of summer and I am excited! It’s been a great spring so far – a bit rainy, but perfectly mild – and I expect that summer will continue the same way. Great summers come with one of my favorite things – drinking outside. I love sitting outside at a bar, restaurant, or patio, sipping on beer, sangria, or a refreshing cocktail, and chatting with friends, or staying quiet and just enjoying the world around me. Life is just better with a drink and some sunshine.

Along with drinking outside comes farm fresh brunches and day drinking. Bloodies Mary with just picked garnishes, mimosas with freshly squeezed orange juice, mint for your mojitos that the bartender sent you back to grab from the vine yourself – these are just a handful of reasons that summer day drinking is the best.

Pool or beach side, summer brings us classic and new takes on margaritas, pina coladas, and daiquiris. These drinks bring us to a tropical state of mind and keep us their all day, weekend, or even summer long.

And the beers! Oh, the beers of summer are the best, aren’t they? IPAs, wheats, kolsch, sour ales, and saisons make the summer nights so much more tolerable, bringing your spirits up and cooling your body down (and rocking your pallet all the while).

No matter how you drink your summer, it’s going to be a good one. So fill up your cups, and go enjoy. I’ll be with you all the way.

Cheers!

The Moscow Mule

Moscow MuleWhat happens when a group of businessmen from complimenting companies sit down for a drink? Well, if it’s 1941 and their companies sell ginger beer and vodka, the Moscow Mule is born.

The story is legendary. Jack Morgan, president of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock ‘n’ Bull Restaurant, John G. Martin, president of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc, and Rudolph Kunett, president of Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein’s vodka division, sit down for a drink at Chatham Bar in New York City. As with any good boozing story, the guys were thinking and talking business, and before long Martin and Kunett started to wonder out loud how their vodka would pair up with Morgan’s ginger beer. Ice, mugs, lemon, ginger beer, and vodka were summoned, and, after a five count, the gents took down the mix, and were happy with the result. It needed a name though, and, after four or five rounds, they had a good one – The Moscow Mule.

The highball caught on and made its way to the glamorous Hollywood set, where it would remain a favorite to this day. Since its origin, the lemon has been replaced with lime, and it is now properly served in a copper mug, but other than that, the recipe has remained the same.

Who says a bunch of businessmen can’t come up with good ideas?

The Moscow Mule

Ingredients:

2 oz vodka
1 oz fresh lime juice
4 oz ginger beer

Pour vodka and lime juice into ice-filled copper mug or highball glass. Add ginger beer and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.

The Negroni

NegroniThis week is Imbibe Magazine and Campari’s Negroni Week. Like many other days and weeks that celebrate specific cocktails, this one is meant for appreciation of the classic apertif, but it is also for charity! Participating bars around the country will give a portion of their Negroni sales to the charity of their choice. Campari will then throw in an additional $10,000 to the charity of the establishment that raises the most money.

So what’s the big deal about the Negroni? Let’s take a look.

History

Count Camillo NegroniBack in Florence, Italy, somewhere around 1919, bartender Fosco Scarselli was ready to serve one of his regulars, Count Camillo Negroni, his favorite drink, the Americano. That day, Count Negroni stopped him and asked that he kick it up a notch, and replace the soda water with gin. To differentiate the drink even more, Scarselli added a twist of orange as a garnish. It became Negroni’s signature drink, and so after him it was named.

The Ultimate of the Old Recipes

As a cocktail, the Negroni is not complicated. With just three ingredients – gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, it’s easy for anyone to learn, perfect, and then, if they choose, experiment. Many bartenders will make their Negronis differently for each season, changing up the gin or the vermouth. It’s the original, though, that people rave about. Complementing flavors of sweet, bitter, and boozey make it popular among all whose lips touch it – classic cocktail enthusiasts and new drinkers, women and men, young and old. It is the ultimate of the old recipes.

The Negroni

Ingredients:

1 part gin
1 part Campari
1 part Sweet Vermouth*

Build in a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a twist and/or slice of orange.

*Many recipes call specifically for Cinzano Rosso, but any similar vermouth is acceptable

 

Beach Drinks: The Pink Slip

beach cocktail
It’s been a cool spring so far, but that doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about the beach. Before you know it, the humidity is going to climb, the sun is going to beat down and begin the torment that can only lead to two things: the beach and cold cocktails. Together, the two are what make summer bearable, so why not enjoy them together? This year, we will tip our hats to the combination in our summer beach cocktail series.

This week, we feature a bubbly pink cocktail made with rum, cranberry juice, and champagne. An excellent drink for summer, the Pink Slip can (and should) be enjoyed with friends as you relax in your beach chairs and gaze at the water.

The Pink Slip

Ingredients:

1 part coconut rum
1 part cranberry juice
Champagne

Chill ingredients. Combine coconut rum and cranberry juice in a glass*. Top with champagne. Enjoy!

*Tip: Prepare the coconut rum and cranberry juice before heading to the beach, and just add the champagne to individual glasses as you pour! Saves time and room!