Abita Abbey Ale – News Flash

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Having recently been to New Orleans, when I came across an Abita I hadn’t yet had in BevMo, I had to check it out.

The Abbey Ale is an 8.0% Belgian dubbel, and, like most of Abita’s brews, was very tasty. Sweet and a little funky like the dubbels I’m used to, it also had nice spice notes (they say cloves on the bottle, which I couldn’t name but seemed to fit), and it was easy to drink despite the high alcohol content. Whether that last point is a point for or a point against is up to you. It was a nice dark color as well, looking very regal in our chalices. It didn’t have as big of a head as I was expecting, but it was still bubbly so I didn’t mind.

It was also pretty cheap, so definitely check it out. Only downside is that it only comes in 22oz bottles, which are a little less manageable than more normal sizes. And, what’s more, every bottle gives 25 cents to St. Joseph’s Abbey, which is presumably some nice monks in New Orleans? I have chosen not to research, in case I find out it isn’t…

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Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned – News Flash

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I saw this drink over at ToGatherCuisine and thought it sounded delicious. He’s got all sorts of good stuff on the blog, so definitely check it out.

I tested out his pretty original take on an old fashioned, with the unique twist of allowing the fruit to make its own simple syrup! Sadly, I found it wanting, but I’m pretty sure this was either my fault or the pineapple’s fault, not the recipe. Notes to follow.

It’s a pretty simple recipe, copied below in its entirety.

Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned Ingredients

Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned

  • 4 oz. bourbon. (Bulleit was [his] weapon of choice)
  • 1 slice of fresh pineapple, 1/2 inch thick.
  • Using an indoor grill pan or an outdoor grill, grill the pineapple for 3 minutes on each side over medium to medium-high heat. Add the slice of pineapple to a shaker filled with 1 cup of ice. Muddle for 20-30 seconds, leaving only a few cubes of ice still frozen.
  • Add the bourbon to the shaker and shake for a few seconds, just enough to incorporate the pineapple and the alcohol.
  • Pour the contents of the shaker into a tumbler filled with ice through a strainer, making sure none of the pineapple chunks fall into the glass.
  • Enjoy while cold!

Tip: While using an outdoor grill with charcoal and/or wood will add another layer of depth and smokiness to the drink, just make sure to clean the rack your pineapple will be resting on well before grilling the fruit. The last thing you want is remnants of the burgers you grilled floating around in your glass.

Pineapple GrillingMixing Gif Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned

Tasting Notes:

BN: I really wanted to like this, but it wasn’t sweet enough and was too watered down. I think therefore that was some issue with my ratio of ice to pineapple, or the fact that maybe I didn’t grill the fruit for long enough to really pull out those caramel-y sweet flavors. Maybe it needed to be fresher pineapple — I’m not sure how good the one I had was. Alternately, maybe canned pineapple would be syrupy enough.

Also, I think this would be an even better recipe with the inclusion of bitters, a) for Old Fashioned’s sake and b) because bitters make everything better. I will try this again, maybe in the summer when I have more grilling confidence, because I love the idea, and I think I just didn’t do it justice. But wrote about it anyway.

PiC: I don’t like Old Fashioneds very much in general, and this one didn’t really have much taste which was too bad because I do like pineapple.

Grilled Pineapple Old Fashioned Hero

Kopke Fine Ruby Port – News Flash

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I think I like port now.

That’s the main conclusion I’ve drawn, after trying this very nice Kopke Fine Ruby Port, as well as the Port Wine Sangaree from a few weeks ago.

My first experience with port was about 10 years ago now, on a cold Christmas Eve night in Aberystwyth, Wales. It was included in a prix fixe meal as an after dinner drink, and I was super excited (for some reason), but when it came I hated it. Syrupy, too sweet, too alcoholic… I just wasn’t having it. A disappointing end to a delicious meal. And so, as a first impression, it was a poor one, and since then I’ve assumed that I didn’t like port. But now more and more I feel like it was probably just bad port.

Anyways, back to the Kopke. We received this as a part of the PiC’s Cheese of the Month subscription from the Cheese Store of Silverlake (if you’re in LA, check them out!) and it was a great choice. Just looking at the bottle,  I loved the design – it almost looks like a fake wine bottle from a cartoon or something (I pictured seeing XXX on the other side, like a big jug o’ alcohol). When we poured it, it was a beautiful deep ruby color. Apparently, and I just learned this, ruby port is aged in stainless steel, so doesn’t oxidize or change color (unlike tawny, etc., aged in wooden barrels).

Tastewise, it was very nice, fruit-forward and not too sweet or alcoholic tasting. Paired perfectly with the cheese that we had, and you could sip on this for a long time without getting tired, or it turning saccharine. A very fine ruby port. (See what I did there?)

It seems to retail for around $14.99, and a bottle would last you a fair amount of time (you wouldn’t want to drink it all in one sitting).

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¡Tepache! Pineapple Cider – Boozy Newsie News Flash

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Been a while since one of these, but the Boozy Newsie News Flashes are just quick reviews of drinks, places, events, anything that I’ve experienced recently. Here’s the latest!

I’ve had a lot of ciders, of varying types (hard, sparkling, regular, pasteurized, raw and probably dangerous…) and my favorite is still the fresh-from-the-press bottles you can get at Russell Orchards in Essex, Massachusetts. Not trying to be hipster and know about niche places — mainly it’s right near where I grew up.

Until a few weeks ago, though, I had never had cider made from anything but apples and a few pear versions. Until Reverend Nat came along with a pineapple one. Technically, it’s Padre Nat, just like Trader’s Joe’s Jose / Giotto / Ming / etc. variations for its foreign foods.

Called ¡Tepache!, exclamation points included, you’re instructed to mix 2:1 with a light beer (for best results). We tried both that concoction (¡Tepache!-Tecate is a mouthful) as well as drinking it neat, and it was definitely an interesting experience.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: The cider was very sweet and light orange in color, with only a hint of carbonation. It wasn’t as acidic as pineapple juice is, but still had a good flavor of the fruit. Honestly, it tasted a little more like juice than it did cider or beer. I suppose that’s why they want you to mix it. Putting it together with a can of Tecate we had laying around somewhere, it added the right body and bubbles to the drink, without overpowering the pineapple flavor. It tasted like an unusual shandy, and I liked it, though I’m not sure I would have it again. It could be good for mixing in other combinations, but by itself it didn’t really have the right kind of oomph that I would be looking for in such a drink.

PiC: I definitely liked it better with the Tecate, but it was a little too sweet without it. It should taste more alcoholic.

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The Silverlake Craft Beer & Cocktail Expo – Boozy Newsie News Flash

On a rainy day back in April, I visited a new event held in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, showcasing local bars, restaurants, and breweries, and what they had to offer in the line of food and drink. This had a pretty awesome lineup, and I both ate and drank too much… What better way to relive those memories than to tell you about it!

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The host of the event, the 4100 Bar, had two house cocktails. On the left, the gin-based one, with TRU organic gin, cucumber, basil, lemon, and sugar. On the right (I got a little carried away drinking it before we took the picture), the scotch-based cocktail – scotch, agave, ginger, lemon, topped with Island single malt (I believe it was Oban but I don’t quite remember). Both of these were good, although the gin one pretty much just tasted like lemonade, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Next, we braved the outside tents in the surprisingly powerful rainstorm.

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The Thirsty Crow offered up a classic Old Fashioned, nicely mixed and not too sweet, including a real Maraschino cherry and juice (not the bright red stuff) and a ton of bitters, just the way I like it.

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Next stop was Angel City Brewery, where we “sampled” (full glasses) their IPA and West Coast Wheat. Angel City tends to be a little hoppy for me — I know, I know, I should appreciate the bitterness, but I don’t — but I imagine if you like that sort of thing you’d be happy with these.

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The Black Cat was churning out these nicely spicy cocktails — Ancho Reyes ancho chili flavored mescal, Lillet, grapefruit, lime, and a pinch of salt on top. Depending on the sip, the salt was a little strong but the flavors were great.

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Malo had not only some delicious cocktails (we didn’t have three, I swear) but also amazing, seemingly deep-fried tacos and chips. The cocktails had Mexican Squirt soda, simple syrup, lime, grapefruit juice, tequila, and a pinch of chili salt, and were called “The Paloma.” Yay for names! I blacked out from how good the tacos were so I don’t remember what was in them, specifically.

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We also got far too much to drink from Golden Road, a brewery I love. The 329 was an easy-drinking, not too flavorful lager, and the IPA was, well, an IPA. Sorry I can’t be more specific about that, but so it goes.

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Doubling up at this point, Akbar had a Moscow Mule (left) that included the surprising addition of Chinese bitters, which apparently just tastes like anise. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not, which is usually the case with anise-flavored liqueurs. Mohawk Bend, my favorite restaurant of all time, had essentially a vodka lemonade with California poppy bitters. I was sad that you couldn’t taste the bitters very much, as it sounded like a cool touch.

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After all the alcohol, we needed a break — and Garage Pizza delivered. I know this is a drink blog, but this pizza was great, so you should go there. Perfect balance of grease and cheese.

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The Virgil was giving out “The Caravan,” with rye, lemon, ginger, honey syrup, and angostura bitters on top. Nicely sweet and easy to drink.

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A very similar-looking drink was made by Barbarella, with Makers 46, chipotle honey syrup, lemon syrup. Nicely spiced and the lemon cut the honey well.

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Charcoal BBQ gave out some delicious pork ribs, pickled cauliflower and normal pickles. We went back later in the day and told the chef we really liked the pickles and he dumped out literally the entire container (at least a quart) onto a plate for us. This was slightly excessive, but we still ate it.

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The last drink of the day came from El Condor, which gave out a perfectly normal but perfectly good margarita. Sampled this with some good old Mexican coke (or cola, in this case).

And then for the sad part of story. Apparently there was a pizza-eating contest at this event but SOMEONE (who will remain nameless) did not inform me of this fact until it was too late and it had already begun. Now how will I claim my pizza eating crown? I suppose I wouldn’t be able to compete with at least the beard of the winner (last picture) so it’s okay.IMG_4579 IMG_4600 IMG_4616

Your Older Brother – Boozy Newsie News Flash

Da Cocktail

Hi everyone! The News Flash is a new type of post I’m inaugurating, where, instead of describing a cocktail I created, I post a quick review of a cocktail (or other alcoholic beverage) that I’ve come across, whether at home or on various travels. This first one is one of set of bottled cocktail mixers I received as a gift some months ago. It’s from a company called White Whale, which seems to, so far, only make the three types of mixers I got. Presumably, more are coming. They’re super simple, with the ingredients and processes you need right on the bottle. The design’s nice and clean, and it’s quick to make, which is great. This particular one contained primarily lemon and — the weird part — Siberian fir. Here it is.

Your Older Brother Ingredients

Your Older Brother

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Your Older Brother cocktail mixer
  • lemon zest for garnish

Stir with ice, strain into a coupe or similar glass, and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Tasting Notes

BN: Well, I was not the hugest fan. The Siberian fir was certainly not as strong of a taste as I was worried about, but it was still a peculiar one. A little too herbal for me, maybe (remember how I don’t really like gin?). But, it mostly tasted like lemonade, with a little alcoholic aftertaste. So, 5/10. Enjoyable, but I wouldn’t have it again too often.

PiC: I don’t hate it. It’s like a less sweet, more alcoholic version of a vodka lemonade. It could use a little bit more flavor, though, the smell is better than the taste. The taste is a little weak, though we’ve had them for a little while I guess. But I don’t hate it! You could probably use it for something a little more interesting, I think.

And I may! If I do, you’ll hear it here first. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

Your Older Brother