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Sake Day

Sake Day.  Sake Day?  Sake Day!  October 1st is international Sake Day.  The amazing Japanese drink will be celebrated around the world on October 1st.  There will be parties and celebrations to enjoy and savor the venerable rice based drink. Contrary to popular belief Sake is not wine, but rather is more similar to beer in its production method.  It is not fermented—but rather it is brewed, as it is starch that must become sugar to produce the alcohol. Sake is made with rice and as with virtually any alcoholic beverage there is a difference in the quality of the product.  Factors in the quality of sake are, the rice, the water, the terroir and the production methods.  The rice...

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Oktoberfest

“It’s the most wonderful time of year” Fade music.  When you hear these words many people may think of Christmas, but if you are a beer lover there can be no other time than the fall with so many seasonal beers and the annual beer celebrations that happen throughout the world.  The annual tradition started in 1810 when Bavarian Crown Price Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, marries Princess Therese Sachsen-Hilburghausen (pronouncing that should be a drinking game at Oktoberfest)  The royalty invited all of Munich to attend festivities and it was a smashing party.  The decision to repeat the festivities the following year gave rise to the tradition that we so love.  Over time, beer has become the...

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Gin

Gin has been a favorite British drink for centuries.  From it’s emergence in Holland in the mid 17th century to current times Gin has played a role in many historical events.  From its soothing effects on British soldiers before battle in the Eighty Years war against Spain in 1585, to the “Gin Craze” when there were over 7000 gin joints in London and England, to Winston Churchill enjoying a gin martini, Gin has been a part of the worlds history. Gin In America is enjoying a renaissance!  On these hot summer days, a gin and tonic is the perfect drink to slake your thirst.   The long tall glass filled with ice and a shot of gin, filled with delicious sparkling...

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Greek Wine

The fiftieth annual Greek Festival is coming up next weekend.  August 23-25th!  With that amazing display of Greek culture, culinary delicacies, and outstanding homemade Greek desserts, it is a good time to talk about the rich Hellenic history of wines, liquors, and beers. Greece has been making wines for centuries.  The History of Greece is rich in stories and plays glorifying the pleasures of wine.  The ancient Greeks even had their own God of Wine—Dionysius.  He would often come down from MT Olympus to share in the revelry of fine wine and food with the humans of Ancient Greece. Greece in modern times is quickly becoming well known for the beautiful wines being grown through the rocky mountain sides of...

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Cooking with Food

The greatest chefs in the world know that wine, liquor and beer add the flavors and zest that make good recipes great!  While I am far from a chef and can barely boil water, I have had the chance to try some outstanding meals and dishes made in all different ways! One of the favorites is Beer Can Chicken!  I do not know who invented the idea—but brilliance is sometimes anonymous!  The basic idea of beer can chicken is to slowly roast a whole chicken on your grill in a vertical manner.  You take the giblets out of your chicken and you put an open beer can inside the rear of the chicken.  You then use the two legs as...

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500+ Years of Drinking Have Proven That Single Malt Scotch is Darn Good!

Single malt Scotch whisky under Scotch Whisky Regulations made exclusively with Malted Barley, water and aged for a minimum of three years in in oak casks not exceeding 180 gallons.  These technical rules that basically ensure that Single Malt stays delicious.  Perhaps the best known style of Whisky in the world, Scotch has survived the various fads and tastes of countless generations.  It is a timeless spirit that has always had a tried and true flavor that Whisky lovers have grown to appreciate. While Whisky has been thought to be produced as early as 800 B.C, Single Malt Scotch as we know it has historical records dating to 1494 in Scotland.  Written in the  Exchequer Rolls, which reads “Eight bolls...

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Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of the battle in 1862 in Puebla. TheMexican army won a battle in a huge upset over French forces. Theexample set is the perfect backdrop to talk about the amazing beveragesthat come from Mexico. Of course you have to start with Tequila. Tequila is the most famous ofMexican liquors. Tequila has grown exponentially over the years asAmericans have discovered the great flavor and nuances that come formpremium hand made Tequila. We all remember in College when you dida shot of tequila at a bar to show our toughness and how we could“prove our manhood! It used to burn and hurt and not taste good at all.But now as we have matured, we know the...

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Minnesota Beers

The new mantra we keep hearing about is eat local or support your local merchants!  For the longest time Minnesotan’s were limited in what local beers they could drink.  But finally we long suffering Minnesota beer drinkers have some local choices!  Five years ago I was jealous of Wisconsin and their reputation as the beer capital of the Midwest and their numerous craft breweries.  Brands like Leinenkugels, New Glarus, Sprecher, Capital and more were invading Minnesota bars and liquor stores.  All are good tasting beers made with a local touch.  But as a life long Minnesota resident I watched as our local breweries struggled to maintain our state pride.  Minnesota stalwarts like Schell’s and Summit stood alone—but fought valiantly everyday...

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Irish Whiskey

Uisce Bethea—The water of Life!  This is an ancient Gaelic term coined by monks who moved into Ireland in the 7th century. These brilliant clergymen discovered one of Irelands greatest gifts to the world—Whiskey!  Virtually every country has a national drink, but Ireland has two!  Beer and Whiskey—the water of life! After the monks started making whiskey for a few hundred years, the English discovered its amazing flavors. Queen Elizabeth I even started shipping in barrels for her and her courts enjoyment.  However what happens when something gets really popular? Taxes! The English started taxing the same whiskey that Queen Liz loved! The Irish being enterprising and a having a small independent streak created Potcheen—the first Moonshine! Bunratty Potcheen is the first Irish moonshine...

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Irish

Slainte (slahn-che) is an ancient Irish word meaning Good health.  It is a perfect toast as you enjoy some Irish delicacies on St Patrick’s Day.  Last week I talked about a few of the great whiskeys from Ireland (the birthplace of Whiskey).  This week we have to talk about the other great treat from our Irish friends—BEER!! Guinness Stout is synonymous with Ireland and with great beer.  Stout is a style of beer that originated in the 16th century.  It was an offshoot of the famous porters of England.  Irish stout is brewed with hint of roasted barley to give it a smoother taste.   There are actually a few different Guinness styles available now.  All are made with the same...

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