Tag - Thirsty Thursday

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Time To Talk Beer
2
Beer glassware (101) by Peter Moeller
3
Secrets Of A Bartender
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Can This Bloody Mary be your wingman?
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Chocolate Martini Recipe – Get Her Drink On!

Time To Talk Beer

Beer

So this blog is a really fun way to pass along stuff I find interesting, fun, and helpful.  Lately I have spent a great deal of time writing about eating right and getting in shape.  I still say EAT RIGHT AND GET IN SHAPE.  However, I have neglected one of my favorite topics, beer!  Let’s take a big step back and peek into my only vice shall we.

Live Global, Dial Local, Drink Around Here

I may have that saying wrong but I am certain there is local beer near you (thus the term local).  No matter where you live there is a brewery somewhere close by.  I have a warm spot for Schell’s in New Ulm. schell's beer I also and new warm spot – The Mankato Brewery.  My apologies to those who do not live here, I get that this blog should be big picture and not about what happens in my little village, but you can figure it out.  Try, just try to put yourself at your locally brewery and open your mind up to the experiences that come with small breweries.  Let this be an example of how things can go.

Beer Flights

beer2I just read an article on Esquire or some equally as snooty site about craft beer.  I often scoff at the fashion advice and “trend of the day” writing but, this guy was spot on.  I witnessed it first hand.  He made an impassioned plea to quit asking for samples.  His point was simply that time is wasted and there is a basic truth is being ignored.  It is beer!  You cannot tell from a sip, buy the damn beer and drink it.  If you don’t really like it, don’t buy it again.   You don’t see people asking to sample the steak, or have a thimble of scotch.   Back to my observation.  This cozy brewery offers 4 – 6oz samples with a cool little carrier for $6.00.  You just got your samples.  I am sure it is a break even at best for the home-town-hop-team.  The idea is for the common slob to try a mitt-full of beer and look like you are not a knuckle-dragging mouth breather.  Here is what is sitting in my craw:

…. this woman and her friend in front of me, IN FRONT OF ME, insisted on little sample cups of beer  and stood there chatting:

“oh, did you try the blah blah blah nonsense?”

“no I didn’t, what is it like?”

“I don’t know, they say it is an amber beer, it looks brown to me?”

“oh really, I am a mouth breather, what does that mean?”

“it means people hate us.”

This crap went on for, what seemed like eternity.  Meanwhile, in the real world, a line of us were growing impatient waiting to BUY BEER and support these blokes.   Finally I was overcome with common sense, mixed with  testosterone, and stepped between them and ordered a beer.  No one cheered, no one even gave me the nod, but I knew deep down they muttered the word hero.    On a side note, I saw the aforementioned crazy woman ranting about her beer later as she stormed off to the biffy.  I hate to say it, but I knew that would happen.  You can lead them to the beer but cannot make them emotionally stable.

The point of that story is DON’T BE THAT PERSON!  Have  tiny bid of common sense and spend a few bucks.  If you are too cheap to buy a beer, don’t waste the precious time of a small business.  Go to Sam’s Club and get the 72 pack of whatever water/beer is on sale, go home, and bathe in it.  Get out of the way.

The Cool Stuff

Here is what is almost a fun as drinking beer, looking at swag.  These small breweries often have the best stuff;  hats, glasses, live music, space for events, stainless steel things, and fun people.  Saturday was the third trip to this establishment for me.  I have not had a bad day gathered about the bar yet.  The beer is cold and fresh.  The staff members who pour my libation have been unreasonably pleasant and patient.  I think they need to be patient.  One day a group of men were there on bikes.  These are vintage bicycles, not motorcycles, bikes.  They ride bikes all over the state and visit beer.  That my not be exactly the goal of this rag-tag bunch of oddities, but I am certain is was crazy old dudes on bikes.  The bar keep gladly explained the mission and hopes of the brewery for, what was probably, the 50th time that day.  Gladly they marshaled on, preaching about beer and, well beer.  Hopefully these men left with a smile on their face.

mankato brewery

The really cool thing about a business entrenched in a local market is the humanity they bring to the ecosystem.  The brewery is open to hosting events and fundraisers.  My most recent visit was a local Pride group raising money for the upcoming parade.  The brewery had a stage, power, tables, and a tolerant spirit that bodes well the future of the business.  It is important to be part of something bigger than money and a product.  I will stack up local businesses like this against corporate events any day of the week.  I may be off topic, but you can do more with less, when the people who are making the world a better place live right in the very world they serve.

Back On Topic

I would be remiss if I did not mention the beer.  I always struggle with this part since I am not a beer judge.  I know what I like and what I mostly like.  I have read all sorts of beer reviews that have categories and grading scales and science behind them.  I am not quite at that level.  I went to a winery in California called Concannon a few years ago.  It was quaint and perfect when you drove up.  I was with a guy who had never really consumed wine that was not in a box or refrigerated.  It was a lucky day for all of us when we stumbled up to the tasting table and started a conversation with the wine dude.  This guy explained the history of the place and gave his background.  He was a retired high-power lineman from Montana.  He was the Glen Campbell song!  When my co-worker opened a vein and confessed his fears about looking foolish at the winery his words were met with kind understanding.  This old guy simply said that there are four kinds of wine:  red, white, good and bad.  If you find something you like, drink it.  Simple and true, loved it!  That is how I feel about the beer I drink.  My favorites are Haymaker and Duly Noted.  Both are pale ales, my current beer of choice.  I like my beer like my women, cold and bitter.  I also had a porter and some more traditional ales.  All was well,  I was drinking beer and listening to live music.  Two tipsy thumbs up to the day.

You may not like all of the beers they sell.  Just buy one and drink it.  After you are done, buy something else…  please.

The next beer message will brought to you by the good people at HOME BREW!Home Brew

Let’s Go!

 

Beer glassware (101) by Peter Moeller

beer glasses

I was sitting in a beautiful 19th hole the other day.  Unfortunately, for the celebration of life of a friend, rather than because I had just gotten my ass whooped, on literally one of the nicest golf courses in the world.  I ordered a Hopalicious on tap, and a good friend/bartender poured my beer in a frosted glass.  On my second beer, I asked her to use the same glass.  She said “Are you sure ….you don’t want a frosted glass?”.  I graciously and respectfully declined(she is an old school pro to the peak of perfection), and enlightened her as to why frosted glasses are as good an idea as a “jump to conclusions mat”.  The exchange prompted me to share some tips on glassware usage, etiquette, and whatever else I see fit to relate to the topic.

Colder Isn’t Always Better

A beer glass should be around the same temperature as the aiming juice you pour in it.  Have you ever been in a solid beer joint and seen the little sprayers bartenders rinse pints with right before they pour you one?  Those gadgets serve two purposes.  They rinse your glass one final time, and they chill it to the same temperature as the beer about to be held.   Most often the chill they water with the same glycol system that chills the beer ensuring they are within a few degrees of each other.  That’s why they exist….it’s a real thing…

 It is cruel to the beer and your taste buds

Shocking your beer is generally a poor idea. Frosted glasses turn your beer into a beer slushy.  Just like what happened to my Hopalicious.  I had thoughts of Dairy Queen, and an under-privileged Eskimo’s nut sack… The freezing cold caused the flavors to shut down in every ingredient in the beer.  Grains, hops, and yeast esters, all misrepresented…It also separated some of the beer from the alcohol, which causes other significant flavor changes.

Using a room temperature glass is a better plan. The “beer vs. glass” temperature battle will end quickly enough, with minor damage inflicted on the innocent bystanders known as flavors and aromas.  At home you can be an o.c.d. snob like me, and rinse your glass in cold water for a second.  Don’t bug your bartender with such petty things.  Believe me, they have better things to do;  like play Trivia Crack, or pour MY beer, or make some ass-clown a Golden Cadillac.

You Still Have Rights

The exception to not bothering your bartender about your glassware, is if it is not sufficiently and properly cleaned.  This is a very important aspect of your beer vessel, and nobody should have to drink from a dirty glass. If you can physically see dirt and grime in your grail, you’re probably drinking in a shithole, and you pay for sex.

Lipstick around the rim, chemical smells, and residue are more common, but are the bar’s problem, not yours. Ask Dirty Beer Glassthem to fix it. Beer should be enjoyed, not tolerated. Lipstick happens. It’s like an eyelash in your food. People aren’t perfect, and sometimes some lipstick marks get past the best of us. The chemical smell is usually sanitizer, and a good rinse will eliminate it. Residue can be a little trickier. The easiest way to spot it is to look at your carbonation bubbles. What should happen, is tiny little bubbles cruise in streams from the bottom to the top throughout the beer, some sliding effortlessly along the sides of the glass to be released into the head of the nectar. When residue is left on the glass, large carbonation bubbles will form on it, and make your glass look super funky…… This pic is a good example….Get a new beer!

 

peter moellerAbout The Author:

Pete goes all in as he defends his title as beer master.  His beer knowledge is only rivaled by his skills in the boudoir.  We all know he is from Wisconsin so I suggest y’all better listen.  When he is not terrorizing sheep he is drinking, drinking beer and thinking about how to make your life better.  God bless you Peter…

 

 

 

Secrets Of A Bartender

Drinks

I have been a long-time bartender and feel obligated to tell you, it isn’t hard.  I know the kid with the baseball hat and stern look seems like an expert but, his barely hidden angst is based on his desire to trick you into thinking he is a booze savant.  He is a nice kid, he is trying, but truth be told his job is more logistics than it is making great drinks.  Ladies and gentlemen, I humbly offer you…the secrets of bartending.

How to be a bartender

I absolutely understand that you are not looking for a second job that keeps you awake with drunk idiots until 2:00am.  I am talking about getting some liquor cred in your crib when entertaining.  There are a few different schools of thought on this.  You can try to be a full bar and impress people with your vast knowledge of all things booze.  That is a fools errand both economically and in terms of keeping inventory fresh.  A good bartender has a handful of key mixes and knows how to sell it.  Steer your guests toward the drink you own, the drink that has a cool glass, proper garnish, and consistent delivery.

Get your game-plan set up

It is important to have a plan.  This is not just advice tied to making a drink.  This is how you survive a fire in your house.  This is how you master the wing-man experience.  This is how you defeat ninjas.  This is how you entertain friends when they come over.  Have a plan.

The game plan for you is a couple cool drinks made out of core liquors.  If you want to spread out your options you need a Whiskey plan, a Vodka plan, a Rum plan, and the sneaky little Tequila plan.  I have enlisted some help from friends all over the Internet.  Sit back, read, bookmark, and make these drinks kids.

Whiskey

Let’s pick some categories –  our friends at BuzzFeed want you to take whiskey to the next level.  Learn your whiskey.  We have discussed this so don’t make me come over there.  I will pull this car over…

Whiskey is my favorite drink.  Here are some great options for you.  You cannot make them all, but you can get really good at making a couple of them!

Go grab the ingredients and make some beautiful cocktails.

 

Vodka

Image:Make Low Calorie Vodka Drinks Step 2 Version 2.jpg

Let’s take a subtle turn with the Vodka.  A wink and a nod to those trying to stay in shape.  A site that is all things to all people, wikiHow, has a few tasty little drinks that will keep her in her tasty little dress.  You also need to feed the liver occasionally without feeding the rest of the body.

Rum

Paradise  LIGHT RUM MALIBU, BLUE CURACAO, PINEAPPLE JUICE, GRENADINE Instructions pour grenadine & light rum over ice, layer (pour slowly over an upside down spoon) malibu and pineapple & layer blue curaçao on top.Rum is so versatile and, it reminds everyone of the coolest vacations.  Rum is in all of the good stuff, fruity and delicious.  This link is to Pinterest and contains a huge pile of fun drinks.  These drinks may be the opposite of the last groupings of Vodka.  There is tons of sugar in rum and is not good for your diet.  That is ok, not every drink is designed for utility, some are just to drink.  Rum has so much potential to be creative and fancy.  You get to be fancy, nice!

 

Tequila

Sure, traditional margaritas are yummy and all, but you can do much more with tequila.Oh Tequila you rascal.  Things are going great, you are drinking a few cold beers with the crew and then…Tequila.  For some reason we are drawn to late night tequila shots like pre-teens to a former Disney-Star/Pseudo-Singer concert (a tortured analogy but I like it).  It is the way to end the night.  I actually have mad props for the tequila shot to end the party.  It is so much better than the endless list of Scooby-Snacks or Snake-Bites or any shot du jour that comes along.  Tequila is manly and dangerous (thus manly, but we covered that).

Shots are easy – so here are some non-shot drinks.  If you want to get girly there is no better way to start the Cosmo.  The best thing is you may be able to link to articles about “finding her O” or “bedroom secrets”.  That is free bonus people, just another viewblender service.

And the chaser

I know this article did not build your bartending resume enough to test out of bartending school, but it is a start.  The key is finding a couple items in the links above and learn them.  You don’t need hundreds of ingredients or cutting edge equipment.  Just add your flair, some personality, and smile when you make drinks.  I do know this, people hate  it when you are dick.  That is a poor attribute of a bartender, especially your home bar.

Drink up

Let’s Go!

 

Can This Bloody Mary be your wingman?

Bloody MaryThere is something beautiful about a well crafted Bloody Mary.  If built correctly all of your senses are impacted.  If your Bloody Mary is plain and uninspiring it is time to get a check-up from the neck-up.  This drink can help you on all fronts, your liquid wing man if you will.  Come over here, sit down and let’s discuss core drink #3 – The Bloody Mary.

How To Crank Up Your Bloody Mary

First you need to find your why…

The Bloody Mary is an experience as much as it is a drink.  Local Bars often offer free breakfast with a Bloody Mary (you pay a pile for the drink but, the concept is sound).  I recently had a couple of drinks where the server brought me a frosty glass with ice and booze in it and sent to me the Bloody Mary Bar.  This was cool because I had dozens of solids to choose from along with a few great liquids.  Both of these situations hit the “business” why.  Your why is probably a little different.  I like to create an experience with my drink.  It is as much fun to discuss the recipe as it is to drink the results.  I want my friends who have one at my house to remember the moment.  A good buddy of mine  tries a different mix and blend every time he makes one.  His “why” is to experiment and create.  Your why may be as simple as you are tired of appetizers and this is your offering when guests are waiting on the meal.  Whatever it is, the Bloody Mary is so much cooler than cheese and crackers.

The Mix

There are hundreds of pre-mixed Bloody Mary offerings.  It is super fun to randomly buy some, and try some.  There are two solid camps that Bloody Mary mixes seem to fall into.  The thick, robust dark mix that is smoky and almost beefy.  This most often what you get when your neighbor makes their own mix. Many of the bottles at the liquor store fall into this category as well.  The other option is the lighter, sweeter mix that generally uses less worcestershire sauce or leaves out  the beef stock.  I buy mixes based on the coolness factor of the label or the fact that they are on the end cap marked down 90%.  It has helped me figure out my go-to mix.  I have ended up with Zing Zang as my hands down favorite pre-mix.  I like sweet and tangy so this hits the mark.  For me the only time I even think of bloody mary mixaltering the recipe is when I crave a little horseradish.

My homemade mix was wildly popular at my bar (back in the day, I no longer have it sadly).  Here is what used to be a closely guarded, yet not so secret, recipe

The Hair of The Dog Mix

bloody mary mix1/2 gallon container of Clamato Juice – I know, Clamato.  When you add some of the key ingredients it tames down the “clam” nuances.

1 1/2 Ounces of Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice – I had experimented with pickle juice but liked this better – but feel free to alter away

1 1/2 Ounces of Worcestershire – I am no chemist, but I think this is the fluid that tames the clam   1 Tablespoon of celery salt  1 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper – or none if you are a giant baby.

The Vodka

I have gone on record about my decision-making process on Vodka.  It matters if the Vodka is the key flavor, or if you drink a significant amount of the liquid spuds.  The mix has so much flavor that no one should have any way of telling if you used Grey Goose or Karkov.  I will give on the way you may feel the next day, but anyone who says they can taste it is delusional.  The most important part of this is where you apply the heat.  I am a firm believer that the spice factor of the drink should be infused in the Vodka, not the mix.  When I order a Bloody Mary I expect the same flavored drink no mater what the heat content.  The heat certainly has flavor and will alter the way it taste.  By adding it to the vodka you will minimize the impact.  Take a big decanter and fill it with a bottle or two of vodka, cut up a bunch of hot peppers, and let it absorb.  Now you have a plan!  If four people want spicy drinks and two chumps want mild you are covered.  The only variable is which vodka pour; heat or no heat.

Garnish

If it is green, made of cheese, or made of meat it belongs in your drink.  Any slap-monkey can pour liquid into a glass.  A gifted slap-monkey can make it sing.  This is your signature on the painting, the beard that makes your face manly, the sweet hood-scoop on your 87 Monte Carlo, so do it with panache.

The Rim

bloody maryDon’t  put a straw in this drink, unless you are worried about your lipstick, this gem is supposed to hit your lips with flavor.  I mix salt, black pepper, celery bloody marysalt, and cayenne pepper together for my rim.  Slide a lime wedge around the edge of the glass until it is good and wet, then get the savory grains of flavor on that rim.  Some people prefer just salt or even just celery salt.  Those are a little mundane I fear, but hey, it’s your drink.  If you are making a large number of drinks regularly then grab a “rimmer” and keep it in a cool dry place.  There are multiple layers in the rimmer allowing you to have different seasonings for different drinks stashed away.   You can also get some pre-made rimmers that are cool and have funky combinations.

The food

Shrimp is classy, a beef stick is woodsy, veggies are hip, olives are classic, cheese is mandatory…  Do you get the drift?  This step is based on your budget and your willingness to finish the job.  I started with the multi-sensory explosion that this drink represents.  You touch the cold glass, you see the bright colors, you smell the seasoning, you hear the crisp crunch as you dive into the garnishments (I know this isn’t a word but is should be) and the taste is out of this world.  The ingredients that you hang on the glass and dip into the drink are all designed to build up that experience.  Choose wisely… or just wing it!  Much like your mix, the ingredients are part of your look.  Cucumber, pickle, olive, stuffed olive (even better), pickled asparagus, shrimp, cheese, onions celery, blah, blah, blah.  Go get what you like.

Enough drama – let’s drink

Now that you have the foundation you can drink it!  As you experiment, remember the worst-case-scenario is that you get stuck drinking your flaws!  Take this drink to the top of your “go to” drinks.  Your martini, your smooth guy whiskey-on-the-rocks, your favorite beer, and now your breakfast drink.

Let’s Go!

Chocolate Martini Recipe – Get Her Drink On!

chocolate martiniWe have been together now for a few weeks and I think we can be honest with each other.  We have focused almost solely on how to build up your swagger.  Now it is time to unleash that feminine side and let her have the stage.  This recipe is a little bit of a lie because quite honestly none of these motives are pure.  This drink is designed to please her taste buds certainly, but it has the primary function of elevating your status.  We call it a win-win.  How about we try and get her drink on!

The Perfect Chocolate Martini

There are endless martini recipes floating around the ether with an equally endless number of ingredients you need to have to make them.  I have a book of Martinis at home that can take you down any liquidy road.  One of these delights calls for toasted marshmallow on the entire rim…you need flame and liquid marshmallow to do this.  An exceptionally obscure drink requires  a plum and a candied pear slice.  All super cool drinks but I have to be sure my “customer” likes those particular garnishes.  Here is what I know, women love chocolate.  This is almost as universal as that nine minutes of post-alarm, snooze-button sleep is the greatest sleep you will ever have.  You may have to step up a notch financially on this one but the liquor does not spoil and the results will hopefully bring you a healthy return on your investment (wink-wink, nudge-nudge, do you ya know what I mean).

The Recipe

1 1/2 Ounces of Chocolate Infused Vodka – there are many options out there.  If you don’t have and infused vodka you can drop a 1/4 ounce and add more of the other ingredients

1/2 Ounce of Carmel Bailey’s

1/2 Ounce Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

A chocolate sauce to decorate the inside of the glass

Some kind of chocolate to garnish

As always fill the martini glass with Ice and Water to chill it or put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Fill a Martini Shaker with ice along with the liquor.  Empty water from glass.  Gently swirl the chocolate sauce in the glass for effect and garnish the rim with the chocolate.  Pour the contents into the glass and serve.  BOOM – so delicious, so smooth, no bite, chocolate goodness, grateful taste buds, and gentle “mmmmmmms” of approval will follow.

The Options

Hot and sweet martini1Some sweet little variations can completely change this drink.  One of my favorites is using an Absolut Peppar or spicy infused vodka.  Drop the Bailey’s and use just the Godiva.  Rim the glass with shaved chocolate and crushed cayenne pepper.  It is surprisingly tasty and amazingly feisty.  Perhaps this can be a test used to measure creativity in your drinker?  Be careful not to make it an inferno.  This is supposed to have some kick but not kick you off the bar stool.

Try swapping Carmel for Mint!  Use a frozen snickers and a cheese grater to make the rim for the glass.  There are four of five different Godiva varieties – go for it.  Just keep in mind the main idea behind this drink is to be smooth and gentle.  This is showing your smooth and gentle side.  You can unleash the whiskey man later!

Always Remember

You must know your budget, audience, and your vibe.  This drink is specialized and costs a fair amount to stock the ingredients in your house.  Also remember that with great drinks comes great responsibility.  Do not serve this if you don’t want your date to melt and stare dreamily into your eyes.  Certainly don’t serve 3 or 4 if you are not ready for dreamy to become steamy.  I also recommend this is not an every time you drink offering.  It has brutal quantities of sugar and calories that can wreak havoc if you don’t have a plan to burn that energy.

Add this to the repertoire, you will thank me and she will thank you.

Let’s Go!

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