Apple Cider Manhattan

October 24, 2014 Cocktails  No comments

This cocktail is a fun fall twist on the classic Manhattan, adding in some fresh apple cider from Kimmel Orchard in Nebraska City. The sweet and tart Apple cider picks up the sweetness of the vermouth and spices of the bitters while giving it a nice rich red caramel color. I made this with Cut Spike Single Malt Whiskey, a very smooth drinking locally distilled whiskey that really popped with the apple cider, but I think a nice spicy rye would go very well in this cocktail.  Very smooth drinking, this would be a great cocktail on a cool fall evening by a fire.

Apple Cider Manhattan

1.5 oz Whiskey or Rye (I used Cut Spike Single Malt Whiskey)
.75 oz sweet vermouth
.5 oz lemon
.5 oz simple syrup
1.5 oz Fresh apple cider
2 dashes bitters

Half way fill a shaker with ice. Pour ingredients into shaker and shake. Strain into a chilled glass, or if you prefer over crushed ice.

Enjoy!

 

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Bar Vdara

October 22, 2014 Las VegasReviews  No comments

BarVdaraWhen people think of Vegas, they think of the bustling loud casinos and clubs, but occasionally you find quiet corners where you can sit back and relax and enjoy a quiet drink.  One of those corners is Bar Vdara, located in the lobby of Vdara Hotel and Spa across from the Market Cafe.  Vdara is an all suite non gaming resort located in the City Center complex behind Aria, and offers a slight respite from the busy strip.  Bar Vdara features a large airy bar area and a fun shaded outdoor seating area featuring large swings and a fun reflecting pool.  The space is inviting and not your typical dark hotel bar stuck off in the corner. We had a comp for a free cocktail, so we stopped in in the late afternoon for a quick drink. Being a cocktail aficionado, Bar Vdara held an interest for me as the cocktail menu was well put together and the cocktails on their social media accounts had looked really good. The menu featured a number of specialty cocktails and a section of classics with a twist.

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Oakville Grocery – Oakville, CA

October 20, 2014 Napa ValleyReviews  4 comments

During our second day of wine tasting in Napa Valley, we stumbled upon the very adorable Oakville Grocery. Located in the small village of Oakville, California on State Road 29 (the main drag through Wine Country.)  The grocery looks almost just like it did when it was started in 1881, the building has vintage hand painted ads and signs and wooden benches underneath a front porch. The oldest continually operated grocery store in California, Oakville Grocery has been renovated over the years, but the charm of the original old grocery store is apparent despite the modern touches.

Oakville Grocery is a popular stop for tourists seeking provisions for a picnic and locals popping in for a quick bite.  Entering the store you are overwhelmed by the shelves offering local goods, artisan cheeses, meats, jams, locally produced olive oils, specialty candies and other prepared goods.  An extensive selection of local wines, microbrew beers, juices and sodas are stored at the back of the

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Apple Cider Float

October 18, 2014 CocktailsRecipes  No comments

We were looking for a quick and easy dessert to quell a sweet tooth craving when we came up with this.  We had some great fresh cider from the orchards in Nebraska City, so we decided to use the cider to make a float.  Combining vanilla ice cream, apple cider and a bit of ginger ale or ginger beer (if you are feeling like an adult twist!) the float combines to make a sweet and creamy treat.

Apple Cider Float

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
6 oz apple cider
6 oz ginger ale or ginger beer

Enjoy!

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Bobby’s Burger Palace – Las Vegas

October 12, 2014 Las VegasReviews  No comments

On our recent trip to Vegas, we had a free afternoon which lead us to wander along the strip.  All the walking made us work up an appetite and having late evening dinner reservations, we decided to drop in and sample a “snack” at the fairly new Bobby’s Burger Palace. Bobby's Burger Palace is the latest location in Bobby Flay's expanding chain of casual burger restaurants. Located in the Crystals shopping area in front of the Mandarin Oriental, the restaurant is a combination of open and colorful modern and a classic lunch counter from the 50s. The main dining area featured long U shaped bars and large family/community dining tables.  The social tables puts you right next to other diners, making the experience a very public dining experience.  Large windows facing the strip allow lots of light in and a view of the busy Strip outside.  A patio outside along the Strip had scattered tables available for outdoor dining, but no umbrellas so during the heat of the day, shade would be hard to

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ad-hoc Yountville, CA

September 26, 2014 Napa ValleyReviews  No comments

When traveling to the Napa Valley, one of the greatest attractions besides the wine is the concentration of great chefs and restaurants. Foremost amongst these chefs is Chef Thomas Keller, who owns one of America's most iconic restaurants, The French Laundry. Located in Yountville in the heart of the Napa Valley, The French Laundry is a destination restaurant that food lovers from around the world put on their bucket list to visit.  Sadly, we were not able to get reservations for this very exclusive 16 table restaurant while we were visiting.  For those who missed out on The French Laundry, Chef Keller has two other options diners in Yountville can try, Bouchon and ad-hoc. We had previously dined at Bouchon in Las Vegas, so we decided to try ad-hoc.

Located on the main street in Yountville, ad-hoc and it's sister location addendum are Keller's casual modern dining options. Initially conceived as a temporary cafe in 2006 where Keller could live his dream of having a burger and

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Peach Basil Gin Fizz

September 13, 2014 Cocktails  No comments

When a case of fresh Colorado peaches found its way into our kitchen, we knew we would have to find a way to come up with some great drinks that incorporated peaches.  One of the cocktails we tried was the peach basil gin fizz, a spin on the classic gin fizz cocktail.  Adding the peaches to this classic sweet and sour cocktail adds a nice sweet summery flavor that compliments the herbal flavors of the gin.

The Peach Basil Gin Fizz

2 oz Broker's London Dry Gin
2 oz peach syrup
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup.
1 egg white
3 basil leaves

Muddle the basil leaves, lemon juice and simple syrup in the bottom of a shaker.  Add in the gin, peach puree and the egg white.  Give a dry shake (shake for about 10 seconds with no ice in the shaker.)  Add ice and shake for an additional 30 seconds.  Strain into a chilled glass.

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Watermelon Strawberry Smash

August 24, 2014 CocktailsRecipes  No comments

The hot days of summer are perfect for growing watermelons, and with our summer finally getting enough sustained heat to ripen the local watermelons it was time to bust out the watermelon cocktails. I experimented with a couple of different combinations before I settled in on one I liked, which combined watermelon, strawberries, basil and mint. Classic summer flavors combine to make a cool, sweet and refreshing that is perfect for enjoying on a hot summer evening.

Watermelon Strawberry Smash

2 oz Broker's Gin
2.5 oz watermelon Puree
1.5 oz black pepper strawberry syrup
3 basil leaves
3 mint leaves
1 dash bitters
.5 oz club soda

Puree 2.5 cups of watermelon, a dash of salt and about 1/8 tsp lime juice in a blender and strained the puree to remove any remaining fibers or seed remains.   The puree should have a bit of a thick creamy texture to it.

Place the basil leaves, mint leaves and bitters into a shaker with the watermelon puree.  Muddle

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The English Affair

June 27, 2014 Cocktails  No comments

This cocktail is a spin on Brett Elser's  London's First Love Affair, which was the winning entry for the Southern region of the Broker's Gin Bowler's Cup cocktail contest.  Since I didn't have all the ingredients on hand (oregat syrup) I decided to change things up a bit and modify the recipe.   Refreshingly sweet with a nice creamy texture from the egg, the fresh mint and lemon balm open up the aromatics of the gin.

The English Affair

2 oz Broker's London Dry Gin
.25 oz Amaretto
.5 oz simple syrup
5 mint leaves
3 lemon balm leaves
.75 oz lemon juice
1 egg white

Place the leaves into a shaker and gently muddle them to release the oils.  Add in the remaining ingredients and shake without ice for around 30 seconds.  Add ice to the shaker and vigorously shake for another 20 seconds.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

 

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The Roquette

June 16, 2014 CocktailsRecipes  No comments

Our garden has produced a bumper crop of arugula this year so we have been trying to find new creative uses other than just salads. I came across this cocktail on Epicurious which is a version of the classic gin cocktail the gimlet, which usually featured gin, lime and mint, but instead substitutes arugula.  The aromatics and citrus notes of the Broker's Gin pairs well with the spicy bitter bite of the arugula and the rich sweetness of the honey syrup.  A splash of lime juice gave a tangy finish to the drink that made it clean and refreshing.

The Roquette

1 cup of baby arugula leaves
2 oz honey simple syrup
2 oz fresh lime juice
4 oz Broker's London Dry Gin

Place the arugula, lime juice and honey simple syrup into a cocktail shaker.  Muddle the leaves into until the arugula is crushed.  Add the gin.  Fill the shaker with ice cubes.  Shake quickly to chill and then strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with baby arugula leaves or arugula flowers.

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