Archive for the ‘Beverages’ Category

Meet ‘n’ Greet a Celebrity ‘Shiner

Friday, September 5, 2014
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Don’t expect free-flowing samples to be passed around, but here’s your chance to meet and greet celebrity moonshiner Jim Tom Hedrick …

Jim Tom HedrickThe TV personality will be in Marmet and Beckley this Wednesday to promote the release of his signature unaged rye, the first in series of “Legends” moonshines to be produced by Sugarlands Distilling Company in Gatlinburg, Tenn. The partnership with Sugarlands marks Jim Tom’s pursuit of going “legal” to make his brand of ‘shine available to the public for the first time.

Jim Tom with be on hand to sign autographs at King Cut Rate Liquor (9913 MacCorkle Ave.) in Marmet from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 10, then at CJ’s Liquor (2152 Harper Rd.) in Beckley from 3-5 p.m. later that same day.

Both events are free and open to the public.

 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark … Beer, That Is!

Monday, March 17, 2014
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Many people steer clear of drinking “dark” beers like stouts, porters or black ales because of their ominous color, fearing they are too heavy or strong..

But there’s no reason to be afraid of the dark. A beer’s color is not necessarily an indicator of its body, calorie content, alcohol level – even taste.

So if you plan to hoist a pint for St. Patrick’s Day tonight, keep in mind these three commonly held myths surrounding dark beer – as debunked by Julia Herz, publisher of CraftBeer.com and craft beer program director at the Brewers Association

 

Myth 1: All dark beers are rich and heavy.

Dark beer color comes from the barley and rising temperatures of heat. Color is not an indicator of weight or body of a beer.

Myth 2: Dark beers have more calories than paler beers.

The toasting is the reason that the beer is darker. The color of the beer has nothing to do with the calories it contains.

Myth 3: All dark beers are higher in alcohol.

Many dark beers are the same alcohol level of paler beers – some event lower. Color is not an indicator of alcohol levels of any beers, of any style.

 

If you’re looking for some Happy Hour inspiration, CraftBeer.com has also put together a list of local, American Craft Beer to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

And if you’re in need of some St. Patrick’s Day recipes (I’ve got the Corned Beef and Cabbage simmering on the stove as we speak), CraftBeer.com also offers more than 70 recipes that call for Stout to help you out.

Parkersburg’s North End Brews Now in Charleston

Thursday, September 12, 2013
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After stopping by several times, I finally wrote a pretty nice review of the new B&D Gastropub in Kanawha City, a bar-and-grill kinda’ place that set up shop in the old Murad’s location.

In addition to some pretty good pub grub, one of the coolest discoveries I made was stumbling upon the fine microbrews crafted at the North End Tavern & Brewery in Parkersburg.

Although I’ve heard of the place, I’m much more familiar with the likes of Bridge Brew Works and Mountain State Brewing Co. and just haven’t had the opportunity to sample North End’s fine creations. That all changed with the opening of B&D, currently the only place in Charleston to carry them.

All North End beers are hand-crafted on site from all-natural ingredients, including the finest barley malts, cereal grains, hops, yeast – and pure West Virginia spring water. Styles range from Belgian ales and Czech pilsners to British porters and light American lagers.

On the dark side, there’s a rich and frothy porter with roasted chocolate and black patent malts, or you can lighten things up with a crisp golden ale. There’s also a berry wheat (with West Virginia blackberries) and an aggressively hopped IPA bringing five select American malts and five unique American hops together in a bold blend.

But the best by far is Roedy’s Red. North End’s flagship brew is a classic American amber with bold hop and malt characteristics. Traditional two-row and caramel malts create its unique body while Warrior and Amarillo hops give personality to its aroma and finish. This amber ale (think a “hoppy” Killian’s) has won statewide competitions, including several People’s Choice Awards.

I can see why. It’s a beauty!

Enjoy a Gourmet Feast in a Gorgeous Farm Setting

Thursday, May 30, 2013
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If you love great locally sourced food, fine wine and good company – all enjoyed against a backdrop of sweeping views of West Virginia’s rolling farmland – have I got an event for you!

Tickets are still available for the June 10 “Friends of Food” gourmet farm feast at beautiful Swift Level Farm in Lewisburg. Join other diehard “foodies” (and me!) as we celebrate West Virginia’s culinary heritage and local farm products for an unforgettable evening at one of the most beautiful and idyllic settings in the state.

Some of our region’s finest chefs will team up to serve a “New Appalachian” feast paired with featured wines from the Wine Shop at Capitol Market.

Cocktails will start at 6:30 pm, with dinner served at 7:30 pm. Seating will be in tables of eight, and tickets are $100 per person.

You can order yours now – and take a look at the entire mouthwatering menu – here:

http://castironcookoff.com/Friends-of-Food-at-Swift-Level-fof.htm

Charleston’s Best Eats? The “People” Have Spoken!

Monday, May 13, 2013
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A few weeks ago I wrote about the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau’s efforts to honor local employees, restaurants, businesses and hotels in conjunction with National Tourism Week.

After weeks of the public nominating – and then voting on – their favorites in a variety of categories, winners are being announced TONIGHT during a reception at the Charleston Civic Center!

In the food-related categories, honors go to …

  • Favorite Restaurant – Pies & Pints
  • Favorite Specialty Drink – Sangria, Lola’s
  • Favorite Food Dish – Black Bean Pie, Pies & Pints
  • Best Restaurant Employee – Dana Mindrescu, Marriott
  • Best Frontline Ambassador – Aaron Clark, Bridge Road Bistro

Congrats to all!

Juleps & Bourbon: Talk Derby to Me!

Thursday, May 2, 2013
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Mint Julep

The classic Mint Julep

Pour yourself a Mint Julep and put on your fanciest hat. “The most exciting two minutes in sports” is less than two days away!Much more than a horse race, the Kentucky Derby is a social EVENT — one of the most watched and celebrated sporting events of the year.

And since food and drink play a starring role at any such gathering, here are a few tasty Derby-inspired treats to dazzle guests at your soiree. A not-so-simple cocktail of ice, bourbon, sugar and mint, the iconic Mint Julep is a must. For a sweeter treat, mix up a homemade cream liqueur “sipping cream” with bourbon, coffee and chocolate. Or how about some Boozy Butter-Bourbon Cupcakes?

Yes please!

Boozy Butter-Bourbon Cupcakes

8 pre-made vanilla-frosted cupcakes
1/4 stick of salted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup of Marker’s Mark Bourbon
1/2 tsp. salt

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the powdered sugar, salt and then bourbon. Stir well. Using a turkey baster or icing pump, inject filling into bottom of each cupcake and serve.

Dessert Sipping Cream 

1 3/4 cups Makers Mark bourbon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 – 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
2 Tbsp. quality chocolate syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to a blender, mix and serve.

The Perfect Mint Julep

1 liter Maker’s Mark bourbon
Lots of fresh mint
Distilled water
Granulated sugar
Powdered sugar

  1. To prepare the mint extract, remove about 40 small mint leaves – wash and place in a small mixing bowl. Cover with 3 ounces of Maker’s Mark and soak 15 minutes. Gather the leaves in a clean, soap-free piece of cotton cloth and vigorously wring the mint bundle over the bowl of whisky. Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times. Then set aside.
  2. To prepare the simple syrup, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and one cup of water in a cooking pot. Heat to dissolve the sugar. Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool.
  3. To prepare the mint julep mixture, pour 3 ½ cups of Maker’s Mark into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher. (Pour the remaining whisky from the liter bottle into another container and save it for another purpose). Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the Maker’s Mark.
  4. Now begin adding the mint extract a tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture. Each batch of mint extract is different, so you must taste and smell after each tablespoon is added. You may have to leave the room a time or two to clear your nose. The tendency is to use too much mint. You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste – generally about 3 tablespoons. When you think it’s right, pour the whole mixture back into the empty liter bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to “marry” the flavors.
  5. To serve the mint julep, fill each glass (preferably a silver julep cup) half full with shaved ice. Insert a sprig of mint and then pack in more ice to about an inch over the top of the cup. Then, insert a straw that has been cut to one inch above the top of the cup so the nose is forced close to the mint when sipping the julep.
  6. When frost forms on the cup, pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice and add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to the top of the ice, then serve.

The Best Part of Wakin’ Up? Sing it Loud!

Monday, February 25, 2013
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Want to go down in the history books as one of the greatest TV commercial jingle composers of all time?

Here’s your chance …

From Johnny Cash’s soulful spin to the upbeat melody of Rascal Flatts, many musicians have put their spin on the catchy little “The Best Part of Wakin’ Up” jingle for Folgers. Composed by Leslie Pearl, the original jingle debuted in 1984 and has since been used in countless advertisements in country, R&B, a cappella and gospel versions.

Now the company is searching for the next great rendition.

Folgers and award-winning musician and songwriter Gavin DeGraw invite anyone with an affinity for music to submit their own version of the iconic jingle – “The Best Part of Wakin’ Up is Folgers in Your Cup” – by March 6, 2013, for a chance to win $25,000.

Individuals and groups of six or fewer are encouraged to submit original video entries through March 6 on www.folgers.com/jingle.Entries will be judged based on creativity/originality, musical performance and adherence to the creative assignment. The top 10 finalists will have their entries posted online for a nationwide vote from May 15 through June 19, 2013.

Go, Charleston, go!

West Virginia Gin Comes Up Short at ‘Food Oscars’

Saturday, January 26, 2013
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You may have read earlier this month that an up-and-coming West Virginia distillery was nominated as a national finalist in the prestigious Good Food Awards.

Considered the Oscars of the industry, the Good Food Awards reviewed nearly 1,400 entries before selecting Lewisburg’s Smooth Ambler Greenbrier Gin as one of only 184 finalists from 31 states to make the cut for this year’s ceremony.

The awards were handed out last week and, alas, Smooth Ambler didn’t win. But as they say at the Oscars, it really is an honor just to be nominated among such great company.

Smooth Ambler’s gin was nominated based on product quality (as judged through blind tastings) and their approach to environmental and social responsibility. It was West Virginia’s only finalist, although 14 honorees come from a Washington, D.C.-anchored “food shed” that covers West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Although I’m not a gin aficionado by any means, I have sampled Smooth Ambler and have to say it’s pretty special. Earning a score of 91 (and comments like “it really sings” and “it’s perfect”) by American Craft Spirits, Greenbrier Gin blends its juniper base with citrus and black-pepper spice to create a crisp, smooth and luxurious finish.

To learn more, visit www.smoothambler.com and www.goodfoodawards.org.

Leftover Eggnog? Make Tasty Scones, French Toast!

Thursday, January 3, 2013
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So here’s the thing …

I love a mug or two of eggnog this time of year. A sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg on top (maybe) and a splash of rum, whiskey or brandy inside (definitely).

The holidays just aren’t the same without it.

But after a few days, I’m pretty much over it until next Christmas. I mean, the stuff is pretty heavy – like drinking melted ice cream – and there’s only so much abuse your arteries can take.

So what to do with your eggnog leftovers?

I shared an awesome recipe (below) for Eggnog and Dried Cranberry Scones a few weeks ago. And here’s another idea: Eggnog French Toast. Oh yeah.

For breakfast Sunday morning, I soaked a couple thick slices of whole grain bread in a bath of whisked eggs, eggnog (instead of milk) and a dusting of cinnamon. Then I cooked it up in a skillet just like regular French toast. Man, was it good!?


Eggnog Scones with Dried Cranberries

3 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1 cup eggnog
1/2 cups dried cranberries
grated rind of half an orange

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl. Add butter and stir until the mixture forms coarse crumbs, leaving some large crumbs. Add dried cranberries, orange rind and eggnog, and stir gently until the dough pulls together and no dry parts remain in bowl, being careful not to over-mix.

2. Gather dough and knead a few times to make a cohesive mass. Roll out to a thickness of 1 inch and cut into triangles or desired shape. Place on lightly greased baking sheet.

3. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar before placing in oven. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. Serve warm.

Makes 24 scones. Recipe from Shelburne Inn & China Beach Retreat in Seaview, Wash.

Interested in Wild Turkey? Ooh, Yes, YES! … Oh.

Saturday, November 17, 2012
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So, how’s this for a bait-and-switch?

The National Wild Turkey Federation recently called to ask if I’d be interested in learning more about Wild Turkey.

Heck yeah, I said, suddenly craving a cocktail. But they meant actual wild turkeys.

Oh, alright.

The domestic, farm-raised turkeys most Americans eat on Thanksgiving Day, they say, are nothing like the wild turkey feasted on by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. So here are a few facts about the tasty game bird enjoyed during that first feast:

  • Wild turkeys, now almost 7 million strong, were almost extinct in the early 1900s.
  • Wild turkeys can run up to 25 mph. Just how fast is that? Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest-known human, only averaged 23.35 mph during his world-record 100-meter run.
  • Wild turkeys rarely weigh more than 24 pounds while domestic turkeys regularly grow to more than 40 pounds.
  • Wild turkeys, which have as many as 6,000 feathers, can fly as fast as 55 mph. Most domestic turkeys are too heavy to fly.
  • Wild turkeys have much sharper vision than humans and can view their entire surroundings simply by turning their head.
  • Wild turkeys can make at least 28 different vocalizations, with gobbles heard up to one mile away.
  • Wild turkeys roost (sleep) in trees, often as high as 50 feet off the ground.
  • Wild turkeys were argued by Benjamin Franklin to be a more appropriate choice than bald eagles as our national bird.