Tag Archives: Drinks

{ Mulled Red Wine with Amaretto }

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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

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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{ 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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{ Do It Yourself Sangria }

In the spirit of all this Spanish food blogging, I have decided to post a DYI Sangria recipe. This is NOT my own recipe, but I think it is better than any of the other ones that I have made in the past. Therefore, I will humble myself and post the better recipe for you, which was created by our family friend, Tara Green. The nice thing about this particular sangria recipe is that it isn’t too strong, so you can enjoy it throughout duration of the evening (without needing a foot on the floor at bedtime). After my recent trip to Barcelona, I am pretty cautious when it comes to the potency of Sangria–the bartender at Taller de Tapas had me singing “La Vida Loca” after just one glass!

This recipe is easy to make, but the key to making any sangria truly delicious is patience. The drink originated in coastal Spain centuries ago to make young and bitter wines more palatable. So the longer the wine soaks with the fruit and juice, the better the drink tastes (especially the case when using cheaper wines!!). If you’re making it for a party, then make it the day before so all of the flavors develop. Tara allows at least 8 hours for this recipe to sit in the refrigerator, but suggests 24 if you think far enough in advance. Also, remember that the fruit needs to soak in the rum in one container and the wine and fruit juice need to soak in another container before they are combined for serving!

{ Ingredients }

  • 2 bottles of red wine (Merlot or Cabernet)
  • 3 cups of peach/mango/orange juice divided
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of pineapple rum (or pineapple coconut – Malibu)
  • Diced fresh fruit; any combination of kiwi, pineapple, peach, pear, apple, orange, lemon, and strawberries

{ To Make SangriaCombine the wine with the 2 cups of the fruit juice and sugar. Cover and let refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours, preferably 24.

Dice up the fruit and combine with the rum and remaining 1 cup of fruit juice. Cover and refrigerate minimum of 8 hours, preferably 24.

To serve, combine the fruit and rum mixture with the wine mixture and stir.

**If you want to make the sangria less intense, then you can strain and add the fruit, discarding the rum. On the other hand, if you want to give your Sangria an extra kick and a nice final note, you can top it off with a splash of club soda or sparkling wine (Cava is great!).

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