Tag Archives: Alcohol

{ Mulled Red Wine with Amaretto }

WD-10-Mulled-Wine

Last week I had the opportunity to visit London, and I was awestruck by the number of street vendors selling mulled wine and hot cider–not mention awestruck by the number of Brits consuming these boozy concoctions irregardless of the time of day! I was determined to try as many different varieties of each during my 9 day stay, and given the dominant role that alcohol plays in English society, there were plenty of opportunities for me to warm up with a cup of spiced and spiked goodness!

At Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, I was able to double fist German sausages and mulled wine, in between playing over priced amusement games. I took a fond liking to the sour cherry wine and the amaretto wine, but set out to replicating the latter on this snowy afternoon in the States. I used Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine recipe as the foundation for my technique, but also added the apple cider element of Ina Garten’s recipe. The amaretto was a touch of my own, inspired by the street vendors in London and the result was a fabulous, soul-warming Holiday beverage. I will be making this on the many chilly nights that are yet to come!

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{ What You’ll Need }

  • 1.5 L bottle of red wine (I used Robert Mondavi Merlot, but many prefer a dry red)
  • 2 oranges, peeled and juiced
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • Amaretto, for garnish (you can also use brandy!)

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{ What You Do }

In a stock pot over medium high heat, combine the sugar, cloves, lemon peels, bay leaves, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, and orange peel and juice. Add just enough red wine to cover the sugar and spice mixture and allow to boil for 4-6 minutes, until the sugar mixture is thick and syrup-like (see NOTE #1).

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Add the remaining red wine, apple cider, and star anise and reduce the heat to low. Allow the wine to heat through, but don’t let it get too hot or the alcohol will burn off. Once heated, ladle into mugs and garnish with orange wedge and splash of amaretto! (see NOTE #2)

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*NOTE #1: This step is very important as it develops the flavor of the mulled wine. You want a flavorful rich syrup, so let it reduce down. You don’t want to over-heat the wine mixture once you add the remaining wine or it will burn off all the alcohol content–and who would want that?!?!

*NOTE #2: If you have leftover mulled wine, ladle it into Mason Jars and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Just reheat prior to serving.

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Filed under Bars, BYOB, Cocktails, Markets, Recipes

{ Kendall’s Hard Apple Cider }

Spkied Cider

My alcohol of choice is whiskey….on the rocks. But every now and then I am tempted to have something a little more fun; a “fancy cocktail,” if you will. Chocolate Martinis and Cookies N’ Creamtinis are not exactly what I have in mind though. I like to stay in the bourbon & whiskey family and far, far away from the whipped cream and flavored vodkas. I mean I want a cocktail after all, not a day’s worth of calories in a martini glass.

When my mom brought home fresh apple cider from the incredible Solebury Orchards in New Hope, I was determined to make a spiked cider cocktail with it. I grabbed the Maker’s Mark, a knob of ginger, some fresh lemon, and got to bartending. The result was an amazingly delicious, not too sweet, cocktail that captured all the flavors of fall. I originally served the drink in a martini glass, but after I got my blog photo, I decided that it was better enjoyed in a short glass over crushed ice. Once I took away the feminine glass, my dad agreed to have a sip and then proceeded order his own.

This is an awesome party cocktail for the holidays, and a great new way to enjoy apple cider!

{ Ingredients }

  • 3/4 cup apple cider (I love Soleburry Orchards Cider)
  • 1/3 cup bourbon (I use Marker’s Mark!)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 sliced of fresh peeled ginger
  • 2 slices of apple, for garnish

{ Directions }

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the cider, bourbon, lemon juice, and ginger. Shake to combine. Strain the cocktail into 2 short glasses filled with crushed ice and garnish with apple slices.

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Filed under Cocktails, Recipes

{ Panettone Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce }

If I were to make a list for the culinary wonder’s of the world, Panettone bread would certainly be somewhere near the top. A sweet bread, dotted with soft raisins and candied citrus fruit peels, Panettone is best-known for it’s uncanny ability to stay fresh over great lengths of time. I always receive at least one during the Christmas holidays, but usually I don’t around to eating it before anytime before Easter. I often joke that in the event of a nuclear apocalypse, only three things would survive: Twinkies, roaches, and few ribbon-wrapped panettone loaves. Hence, hell on Earth.

Although there is no hope for making Twinkies more palatable, panettone can actually be quite delicious when used in other recipes. It makes a great base for stuffing, a flavorful bread for French toast, and of course, a delicious bread pudding! The fruity flavors of the bread naturally infuse whatever dish you are making, so you don’t have to do as much work seasoning the food. I recently decided to try this bread pudding recipe from Giada de Laurentiis because I saw that it came with a warm Amaretto sauce drizzle. It sounded over the top on Food Network, and it certainly did not disappoint!

I used about 1 1/2 pounds of cubed panettone bread, and made two bread puddings from it. I also doubled the Giada’s recipe for the Amaretto drizzle because it sounded like the best part of the dessert, and I wanted to make sure that there was enough to soak up each bite. I will post the recipe with my modifications below, but you can also view the original by clicking HERE!

Now if only a doctor could put the secret ingredient from Twinkies and panettone into my moisturizer, it might help extend the shelf-life of my face!

{ Ingredients }

For the Bread Pudding:

  • 1 ½  pounds of panettone bread, crusts trimmed, and cubed into 1″ pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of whipping cream
  • 2 ½  cups of whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar

For the Amaretto Sauce:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

{ To Make the Amaretto Sauce } Bring the cream, milk, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. In a small bowl mix the amaretto and cornstarch to combine and then whisk the into the cream mixture.

Simmer over a medium-low heat until the sauce thickens (stirring constantly), for about 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm, if serving the same day.

NOTE: The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just warm over low heat before serving.

{ To Make the Bread Pudding } Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ baking sheet. Arrange the cubed panettone in the dish.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar to combine.

Pour this custard mixture over the panettone cubes, using the back of a wooden spoon to press the cubes into the liquid. It is important that they are very well submerged. Allow the bread to soak for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Bake until the pudding puffs and it set in the center, about 45 minutes (depending on the size of the dish that you chose to use). Allow to cool slightly.

Spoon the bread pudding onto a plate and drizzle with warm amaretto sauce. Enjoy!

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Filed under Baking, Recipes

The Black Horse Tavern ****

215.579.6152
101 South State Street
Newtown, PA 18940

CHECK OUT THE MENU!

Happy Hour--a time, usually between the hours of 6-8, when drinks are offered at reduced prices, encouraging co-workers to mingle outside of the office setting.

This is what Happy Hour used to be–back in the 1990′s when people had jobs and could afford to keeping purchasing cocktails long after the drink specials had ended. But with the unemployment rate ticking ever higher, the definition of Happy Hour is changing: it is no longer only a place for the over-worked to release steam, it is also a valuable networking tool for the unemployed to try to find work. And bar/restaurant owners are recognizing this paradigm shift caused by the economic recession, offering better drink prices, extending discounts to include menu items, and even beginning their Happy Hours earlier in the day (before the 9-5er’s are released from their cubicles).

As an unemployed college graduate (or stay-at-home-daughter, as I prefer to say), I recognize the valuable opportunity that Happy Hours provide for networking (and budgeting) and I try to make it out to one each week. Of course, I also need to vent my frustrations of failed interviews and wasted cover letters!

Right now my favorite Happy Hour hands-down is The Black Horse Tavern in Newtown. They do it all right:

  • Starts at 5 pm, ends at 7 pm (Mon-Sat)
  • $3 drafts, $4 wines, and $6 martinis
  • 1/2 price menu items
  • Trivia on Friday nights (for free drink prizes–I won one last week!)
  • Free bar food available during Happy Hour (usually their delicious flatbreads!)

In my opinion, it’s the best deal in town and like all good things, it draws a consistent crowd. Aka: If you get there after 5 pm expect to sip your delicious martini while standing! They have an extensive speciality martini list, but I recommend the Grapefruit Bubbling Cosmo with Ruby Red Vodka, Cointreau, Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice, all topped off with a splash of Champagne. It has a perfect blend of citrus without tasting artificial.

As far as bar food goes, YOU MUST GET THE TRUFFLE FRIES!!! They come topped with Parmesan Cheese and Belgian Aioli and they are to die for!

I also really like the flatbreads at this place. The Margarita is very simple but delicious made with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, oregano, olive oil, and spicy marinara sauce. It’s tasty finger food that is easy to share, and I’ve got to admit that it is better than some of the pizza places I’ve tried in these neck of the woods.

Last but not least, I also tried the Caesar Salad with crisp hearts of romaine and a garlicky brioche crostini, dressed to perfection with a Caesar drizzle. It was a great portion for like $4, which is definitely recession-approved pricing!

Although I have only been to the Black Horse Tavern for Happy Hour, I hear from my neighbors that the kitchen also makes fabulous burgers and steaks for dinner. In fact, one of my neighbors said it was one of the best steaks that he has had in years (and this guy is a credible foodie in my book!).

Bottom line: if you are looking to avoid the rather pretentious cougar scene at La Stalla, and you want better bar grub than Isaac Newtons can offer, head to The Black Horse Tavern! You won’t be disappointed.

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Filed under Bars, Cocktails, Philadelphia Restaurants

{ Dewar’s Birdie – A perfect summer cocktail! }

“The proper drinking of scotch is more than an indulgence: it is a toast to civilization, a tribute to the continuity of culture, a manifesto of man’s determination to use the resources of nature to refresh mind and body and enjoy to the full senses with which he has been endowed…”

-David Daiches,  Scottish Scholar

And to that, I reiterate the wise words of Mr. Ron Burgundy: I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch!! Here is goes down, down into my belly…

It always comes as a bit of a surprise to people when they see a young 22-year old girl drinking a glass of scotch on the rocks, but it is undoubtably my drink of choice (along with Margaritas–and I can sense your eye roll, but hey, I need to maintain some level of femininity). I’m not really sure how I acquired a taste for the spirit since my father doesn’t drink it, but I like that it doesn’t make me pass out (vodka) or become mean and bitter (gin). Of course, I also love the slight nod of respect that each male bartender gives me when I place my order. They seem to find something sexy about a girl that rejects fruity cocktails and fancy garnishes for a stronger, malted beverage that is decidedly masculine in nature.

And for years, thats exactly what scotch has been: a gentlemen’s drink. A drink closely associated with  men in their 70′s that have humidor cigar collections and wood-panelled “libraries” filled with leather bound books. And nowadays, expensive scotch is the drink choice of younger business men looking to assert their financial success by drinking 20-year-old malts, and telling everyone at the bar about it! But good scotch doesn’t have to be expensive scotch, and it doesn’t have to be a man’s only drink.

This summer, Dewar’s put out a line of innovative cocktail recipes that can help ease anyone into the delicious smoky flavor of scotch….especially women. I’ll admit that I was hesitant to try some of these recipes at first because mixing scotch with other alcohols seemed like a strange concept, but I was really pleased with the taste of this Dewar’s Birdie cocktail, which has hints of raspberry, almond, and citrus. It is defintely a feminine way to drink scotch, but I’ve seen muscle-heads sipping on Mai Tai’s by the pool before so I would’t be surprised if your man steals a couple of sips!

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • 1 1/2 part Dewar’s White Label Scotch
  • 1/2 part Disaronno Originale Liqueur
  • 1/2 part Chambord Liqueur
  • 3/4 part fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 part ginger ale
  • Wedge of lemon or lime for garnish
  • Ice

{ To Make } Combine all ingredients, except ginger ale, in a shaker glass filled with ice and shake for 10 seconds.

Pour into a short glass filled with ice.

Top with ginger ale and lemon/lime garnish.

Enjoy immediately!

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Filed under Cocktails, Recipes