Archive: Wine and Spirits

Bourbon Cherry Lemonade? Heck Yeah!

I’ll make this snappy because the cocktail I’m about to share with you is so marvelous that I don’t want to keep you at your desk. In fact, I’d like you to walk away from your computer and start mixing RIGHT NOW (after all, it’s Friday). Seriously, if I could come up with a way to pour a batch of Donald Link's Bourbon cherry lemonade through your wireless router, I would, and you would all thank me very much and beg me for a refill, please Madame. Bourbon still life. (Kim O'Donnel) As a bourbon purist -- neat, with a waterback -- I’m a bit taken aback by my new-found love for a bourbon-y cocktail, but unlike an Old-Fashioned and even a Manhattan, this backyard party in a glass is spunky rather than syrupy, and dare I say it, refreshing. Link’s recipe calls for sweet cherry juice, which is not...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 15, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Wine Cork Recycling and a Bigger Conversation

So I’m wandering through the wine section of a Whole Foods Market in Seattle, and I bump into a collection box for wine corks. “Help Put a Cork in Global Warming,” is the headline on the take-home literature perched on top of the box. The note is from Jim Bernau, founder of Oregon-based Willamette Valley Vineyards, which is leading the charge on “Cork ReHarvest,” a cork recycling and awareness campaign. (Kim O'Donnel) In addition to Whole Foods, where the collection boxes are stationed, Willamette has partnered up with the Rainforest Alliance (which offers a Forest Steward Council certification system for cork stoppers). Willamette Valley is the first winery to receive such certification, in 2005. This project comes on the heels of another pilot program, ReCork America, which launched in northern California last fall. Sponsored by Portuguese cork manufacturer Amororim, ReCORK America has also partnered with Whole Foods, on a regional...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 4, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Year in Wine: Highs, Lows, Bargains & Holiday Picks

As I mentioned a few weeks ago in this space, I’ve been on a mission of sleuthing out cheap wines, particularly with holiday entertaining in mind. For an extra hand, I sought the advice of Steven Kolpan, a wine professor at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y. Lucky for us, Kolpan shares our love for cheap wine, which is given special treatment in “WineWise,” his latest book, co-written with CIA colleagues Brian Smith and Michael Weiss. Wine expert Steven Kolpan. In addition to his cheap thrills, below, Kolpan reviews the year in wine and -- extra bonus -- serves up some tasty sipping ideas to go with some of your favorite holiday dishes. Steven, Can you share your top three picks for great value, at any price? Vintage and “Prestige” Cava from Spain -- extraordinary bubbly for under $25 (most under $20). Some to try: “Reserva...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 5, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

Kitchen 'Rithmetic: Cheap Wine

When it comes to wine, how low can you go? As part of its recent Cheap Living Guide, New York Magazine tipped its hat to cheap wine as a way to enjoy the good life on fewer dollars. Instead of a $1,350 bottle of 1985 Krug Brut, they argue, you can sip on a $13 bottle of New Mexico-produced Gruet sparkling Brut instead and be sitting just as pretty. (My vote also goes to Cristalino Brut Cava, a Spanish sparkler that goes for about 8 or 9 bucks.) The most effective cost-cutting measure, however, would be to give up liquid grapes altogether, but here at Casa Appetite, we believe that a little vino goes a long way in the life-is-good department. And hey, the holidays are just around the corner; we’ll need to stock up on a lil’ cheer to entertain and get through the most stressful wonderful time of...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 13, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Eco-Vino

I'll be honest: Despite the greening of my pantry, I've been slow to embrace organic wine. After a less than tasty experience a few years ago with a bottle of organic red from a California winery that shall remain nameless, I've been swearing off the stuff because it either hasn't been up to snuff or is just too darned expensive. Mendocino Wine Company's Paul Dolan. A recent run-in with a 2007 bottle of "Sustainable White" by Parducci Winery has me revisiting the eco-vino issue and I'll tell you why: The wine is delicious and under 10 bucks a bottle. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Tokai and Viognier, "Sustainable White" and its sibling, "2005 Sustainable Red" are part of a year-long partnership with Whole Foods, where it's sold exclusively between $8 and $9.99 through December. To be clear, the "Sustainable" sibs are not certified organic (95 percent organic grapes...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 13, 2008; 09:24 AM ET | Comments (12)

Honey, There's Beer in My Batter

As home cooks, we're told to cook with the same wine we like to drink. Why not apply the same argument to beer? In the spirit of beer-food pairing in today's Food section, I set out to put this theory to the test. Beer-battered veggies, with a glass of red rice ale to wash it all down. (Kim O'Donnel) Earlier this year, I shared my love for the line of Hitachino Nest beers, particularly the Red Rice Ale, one of the few things I've found to marry well with spicy noodles and curries. But I wondered: Would my favorite pinky-rose ale work as well in my mixing bowl as it does on my tongue? When Food section editor Joe Yonan challenged me to think about how I'd cook with my favorite beer, I immediately leaped to the idea of onion rings. The free association quickly followed: Beer batter. Red rice....

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 11, 2007; 09:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Japanese Beer Here!

Kim walks into a bar and orders a beer, sucks back a frosty mug and says, "Ah, that's good. Gimme another." Yeah, drinking beer for beer's sake is something I'm not likely to do. Occasionally, I'll get a hankering for a cold brewski on a hot day, but otherwise, I stick to wine for everyday quaffing. Beer inevitably makes me feel sleepy and bloated. A Hitachino Nest hat trick. (Kim O'Donnel) However, when food is added to the equation -- particularly spicy fare -- beer takes on new meaning. Last June, while traipsing around New York, I had a palate-changing, food-beer pairing experience. We were at Momofuku noodle bar slurping up lunch and at the server's suggestion, washed it down with a bottle of Hitachino Nest red rice ale, from Japan. The handiwork of Kiuchi Brewery, a company that's been making sake since 1823, the unique red grapefruit-colored brew is...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 4, 2007; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (3)

Weekend Spinach and Wine

Local spinach is here! I was thrilled to feast my eyes on the leafy greens Saturday morning at Arlington Courthouse farm market. I picked up a bag at the stand operated by Gardener's Gourmet of Westminster, Md., and quickly drove home to whip up a spinach-cheddar omelette, served on a slice of thick country white bread from Baltimore, Md.-based Atwater's Bakery. After the recent E.coli spinach scare that swept the nation's supermarkets, it was reassuring to buy spinach as Mother Nature ordered: locally AND seasonally. Join me in a bowl of Maryland spinach salad! Help. I've fallen in love with a wine and I'm hopelessly smitten. The trouble started when I was in Portland, Ore., this summer while checking out Vino Paradiso wine bar one night before dinner. On the wine list by the glass was Aglianico (pronounced "AHL-YAHN-EE-KOH"), a red wine from southern Italy that I had yet to...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 9, 2006; 12:47 PM ET | Comments (2)

Sipping Oregon

If you can make it to Portland, you're practically in Oregon wine country. Just another 35 minutes going south on Highway I-5, and you're at the northern tip of Willamette Valley (say Wih-LAM-it), Oregon's largest wine-producing area, known for its cool climate, watery influence (Willamette and Columbia rivers, Pacific Ocean) and LOTS of pinot noir. The amazing view from Amity Vineyards. (Kim O'Donnel) Our first stop was home base, a bed-and-breakfast called The Inn at Champoeg (say SHAMPOO-EY), a private home-turned-inn in the farming town of St. Paul. Perched on a knoll on the edge of Champoeg State Park, the inn offered a respite and quiet that otherwise doesn't come easily in an urban jungle. Birds were the audio, fir trees were the visual. There are 127 wineries and tasting rooms listed on the area guide/map produced by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, which means wine-tasting possibilities beyond your wildest...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 29, 2006; 01:49 PM ET | Comments (5)

Neat Blue, Not Stirred

Assuming that you drink alcohol (and I apologize if you don't and feel left out), I have a question: Have you had a sip of blue yet this summer? By blue, I mean "Stoli Blueberi," the latest flavor from Stolichnaya vodka. "Blueberi" joins the party with its other infused siblings including "Vanil," "Razberi," and "Strasberi." Gina Chersevani, the bar minx at Rasika, recently turned me onto the stuff when I couldn't decide on a cocktail. My entire party couldn't get over the intense blueberry flavor. It was enough to spur me into action and pedal over to my nearest liquor store. After a few rounds of the stuff with a few different tasting partners, the consensus is that "Blueberi" is just what the cocktail doctor ordered. Like plain vodka, the blue stuff is best served chilled. I've tried it with sprigs of mint and club soda on the rocks as...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 20, 2006; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Using Your Senses

Ah, the weekend. At last, some time to catch up with ourselves, break out of autopilot work mode and use our physical senses (remember those?) to appreciate what's around us. SIP Hightail it to Ashburn, Va., this weekend for the ninth annual Old Dominion Beer Festival, where more than 100 beers from 50-plus mid-Atlantic breweries will be on tap. May I suggest a leisurely pace with those suds, perhaps with an intermittent snack and plenty of water to keep things hydrated? If the answer is no to beer, what about wine instead? From store tastings to vineyard tours, here's how to get your grape groove on in Washington. LOOK One of the new arrivals at local farmer's markets this week is summer squash -- yellow, zucchini and pattypan. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look for a vegetable that resembles a miniature space ship, sort of round, with...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 23, 2006; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

Drinking Pink

As soon as the temperature climbs above 65 degrees, my internal wine-o-meter changes, too. Does that mean my sipping gravitates from red to white? Well, yes and no. For me, summer is all about the pinks and corals and wild salmon hues of the wine world, a time for sipping on Rosé. Not to be confused with pinky jugs of syrupy sweet white zinfandel, Rosé is an interesting mix of both grape worlds. Although made from red grapes and starts off being made like a red, it ferments like a white AND drinks like a white. Rose ready for back-porch sipping Here's how the Rosé process works: Red grapes get crushed, and just as with red wine, the juice and skins are kept together - but only temporarily - in order to extract pigments, resulting in those cool colors. The juice and skins are then separated, and the juice is...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 12, 2006; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company