Thursday, October 31, 2013

Treat Yourself With This Tricky Cocktail

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 6:07 AM

In my household, Halloween is always a little problematic. Since we live near Belmont, we never know if this will be one of those years when a bunch of college-age trick or treaters will decide to visit our street and raid our candy bowl, or whether it will be just a few neighborhood kids or vanloads of cute children bused in from over on Edgehill. We try to stay prepared with an adequate stash of candy, but we also don't want to get stuck with lots of leftovers that we will invariably eat ourselves over the next week.

Add to that the fact that we have two high-strung poodles who go berserk every time the doorbell rings (sorry, UPS man), and Hallow's Eve turns into an evening where we sit around on the couch with one hand on a dog's collar and the other wrapped around a stiff drink.

So this year, I was pleased to discover a new fall cocktail from my friends at Tullamore that I intend to use to steel myself against the holiday. Tullamore has always been a favorite of mine, and the town and distillery have a fascinating history. Tullamore is located about and hour from Dublin and Galway and was the site of the world's first air disaster, as a hot air balloon fire in 1785 burned down most of the town. The town was rebuilt, including the construction of a distillery in 1829 right where the balloon went down.

Daniel E. Williams is the namesake of their most famous product, Tullamore DEW. His earliest days in the distillery were spent shoveling malted barley, and he slept in the hayloft during the nights. In 1887 he became general manager and ultimately owner of the distillery. After developing his (literal) signature product, he proudly marked every bottle from the Tullamore Distillery with the initials D.E.W.

Tullamore D.E.W trades on "the power of three." Three natural ingredients, three varieties of grain, three distillations and a blend of all three types of Irish whiskey — pot still, malt and grain. This forms the first triple-distilled, triple-blended Irish whiskey that is both complex and exceedingly smooth.

It also serves as a fine base for this great fall cocktail, the Apple Dew. Find yourself some good fresh squeezed apple juice or cider and mix up a few to enjoy while you wait for the doorbell to ring.

Apple D.E.W.
2 ounces Tullamore D.E.W. original
pressed apple juice
lemon wedge

Optional twist: Try adding a dash of Angostura bitters for a hint of warm apple-pie spice notes.

Into a tall ice-filled glass add the Tullamore D.E.W.
Top up with pressed apple juice.
Garnish with a lemon wedge.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Promised Land All-Natural Dairy Products Show Up at Publix

Posted By on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 7:31 AM

I'm probably not the best person to comment on milk. I grew up a 100 percent Purity guy with delivery to the door. As I got older, I progressed from whole milk to 2 percent to nonfat, so now whole milk tastes like pure butterfat to me. So when the folks at Promised Land Dairy asked if I wanted to try some of their products, I warned them that most of the milk I drink is spooned into a cup of coffee.

Still, they persisted, since they have recently launched at local Publix stores. So I gave them a try, and now I know what I've been missing. I do occasionally get the chance to enjoy local artisan milk, but I just never seem to be in need of any when I encounter Cruze Farm or Hatcher Family Dairy products. The convenient availability of Promised Land's all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free milk varieties might just get me to up my intake.

Of course, just drinking whole milk after a half life of nonfat is a real treat, but when you get Promised Land's more exotic flavors like Cookies-and-Cream and Peaches-and-Cream, these rich milks are like dessert for breakfast. And they're also a great substitute for the non-dairy creamer I've been known to resort to.

Promised Land's chocolate milk is a relatively high in calories and fat content, but dang, I just couldn't help myself and finished it straight from the bottle as a recovery drink after a run. And then went for another run the next day to burn it off. ... A reduced-fat version of their chocolate milk has about half the fat and a third less calories, but I didn't try that out. You gotta splurge somewhere.

So how about you Bitesters? Have you tried Promised Land yet? Do you have another favorite brand of milk that doesn't require a trip to a farmers' market or a dairy to get it?

If you'd like to learn more about these products, Promised Land's Gordon Kuenemann is going to be going on Talk of the Town tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 24. The broadcast is from 11-11:30 a.m. He'll be talking about Promised Land and will be showing how to make a "Midnight Craving Chocolate Banana Pudding."

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Friday, September 20, 2013

On the Popularity of Moonshine

Posted By on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Over at Knoxville's Metro Pulse, there's a fabulous piece on the newfound popularity of moonshine and whether the new stuff has the mystique of the 'shine from the days when it was illegal.

But for all the new fervor surrounding licit, commercial moonshine, for all the exotic flavors and varieties cropping up at liquor stores and bars, there are a couple of nagging fundamental questions that keeping reasserting themselves, like rude barflies that just won’t go away: Can a product variously steeped in traditions of outlaw defiance, danger, backwoods ingenuity, and rugged individualism truly be mass-produced, bottled, taxed in a proper government-inspected distillery? And can the mystique that surrounds it, and in some part fires the public’s appetite for it, keep sales afloat when the once-furtively passed mason jar becomes standard issue on shelves at liquor stores?

Well worth reading.

And a good excuse to watch this again ...

Well the G-men, T-men, revenuers, too
Searchin' for the place where he made his brew
They were lookin', tryin' to book him
But my pappy kept a-cookin'
Shh, white lightnin'

(h/t to @CariGervin for pointing it out)

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oktoberfest Beer Okportunities

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 7:45 AM

You can't really use a calendar to determine when the Oktoberfest beers and events will start rolling around. Traditionally the big celebration in Munich is scheduled for the two weeks leading up to Oct. 1, but the exact dates and duration can move around a bit, depending on when the first Sunday falls.

Regardless of the exact dates, many beer lovers look forward to the release of Märzen-style beers from many of their favorite brewers. One which I'd never sampled before this year was the Shiner Bock Oktoberfest from the Spoetzl Brewery, which has been bringing Bavarian-style brews to Texans and the world for about a century. Their Oktoberfest beer surprised me by actually being a little more malty than some other domestic Oktoberfest brews from places like Sam Adams. The caramel and Munich malts lend a toasty aroma to the beer, and it has a lovely amber color in the glass. The finish of hops is noticeable, but certainly not overpowering like some U.S. beer makers seem to prefer. I found it to be a very approachable beer, and it's available in cans or bottles around town if you'd like to give it a try.

If you're in the mood to sample a wide selection of Oktoberfest beers (and get the tee shirt), head to one of the local Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom locations (Cool Springs and Murfreesboro).

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Imbibe Magazine Lauds Nashville's Liquid Culture

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 7:44 AM

It's not just Nashville's restaurant scene that is getting all the national attention of late. Imbibe magazine is one of the main organs of the beverage industry, and they have recently pointed their swizzle sticks at Music City.

In a long, exhaustively researched article, Nashville food writer Jennifer Justus (formerly of The Tennessean profiled some of Nashville's best mixologists as well of plenty of folks who prefer to just be called "bartender." The regular hot spots like The Patterson House, Holland House, No. 308, and the newer Music City Tippler garner more well-deserved adulation in the piece, but Justus also spotlights some of our city's best restaurant bars.

City House, Rolf and Daughters, Husk and surprisingly Paradise Park Trailer Resort all make the list of notable dining and drinking destinations. The largest part of the article is dedicated to an in-depth profile of No. 308 co-owners Alexis Soler and Ben Clemons. They have a great back story and are certainly worthy of the attention.

The entire article is available to read online here, or you can look for Imbibe on local newsstands. (You can look for it, but you probably won't find it ...)

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bartender Ben Clemons of No. 308 Wins Bombay Sapphire Contest, Advances to Nationals

Posted By on Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Kennedy, Clemons and Gumper
  • Kennedy, Clemons and Gumper
There are a lot of bartender contests in the market, but the one that local mixologists probably consider the most prestigious is the Bombay Sapphire World's Most Imaginative Bartender competition. The regional finalists of this competition are invited to compete in the National Finals in Las Vegas and also are profiled in the "Man of the Year" issue of GQ magazine.

Now in the seventh year, the Bombay Sapphire contest is the largest competitive cocktail program in North America, with events in 37 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Since another sponsor is the U.S. Bartenders Guild, technique is also judged in addition to imagination, appearance, aroma and taste, so winners have to be precise with their pours as well. Many of the past winners have moved on to open their own bars or moved on to positions in brand management around the country.

All this is to say that the 17 local bartenders who gathered at The Tippler last week to compete for the title, really, really wanted to do well. I was fortunate enough to be one of the judges, along with two Bombay representatives, Gary Hayward and Scott Mayer, and Kevin Brauch of Iron Chef America and The Thirsty Traveler on television. We had a front row seat as mixologists from such local favorite bars as 1808, Anthem, Virago, Lockeland Table, Sambuca, Cork and Cow, Hard Rock, No. 308, The Tippler and others mixed up creative cocktails featuring the exotic botanicals of Bombay Sapphire.

From up close, we could see that there were some definite nerves among a few of the competitors as hands shook and ice cubes flew out of the glasses while they stirred up their creations. Knowing that we had 17 cocktails to get through in the first round and three more in the finals, we had to use our noses a lot and take small sips to make the tough decisions. Trends we noticed were a lot of recipes that featured lavender and violet flavors, which are nice accompaniments to the aromas and tastes in Bombay Sapphire.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You Ought to Know Nashville Drinks Up at Blackstone and Jackalope

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM

The fledgling Web series You Ought to Know Nashville got down to whistle-wetting this week with a segment on two local brewery favorites: Blackstone and Jackalope. As with previous segments — last week's Station Inn/Stone Fox episode garnered notice from PBS — the format pairs a more established locale with a more recent upstart. And the tone is conversational and laid-back, as both sets of brewery owners walk you through a bit of their history and process. There's a bit more info on the shoot over at host Heidi Jewell's blog Under the Guise.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Barbecue Guru Carey Bringle Set to Introduce a Tennessee Bourbon Under the Peg Leg Porker Brand

Posted By on Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Carey Bringle, the veteran pitmaster who opened the Peg Leg Porker barbecue restaurant in the Gulch earlier this summer, is getting ready to introduce a very interesting product under the Peg Leg Porker brand — Tennessee bourbon.

That’s right, bourbon — not whiskey — from Tennessee. My colleague Steve Cavendish got all the details from the Porker’s mouth. Bringle said he’s been wanting to add bourbon to the Peg Leg portfolio for some time, and friends at liquor distributor Best Brands helped him find the right supply of bourbon to purchase and bottle under the Peg Leg name.

Bringle said it’s 90-proof, straight bourbon whiskey made in Tennessee, checking off various points that qualify it as a bourbon. The product is 51 percent corn, aged six to eight years in new oak barrels that have been charred.

Not being a fan of Tennessee whiskey, Bringle touts the smoothness of this bourbon, which he said fits in with the “men’s lifestyle brand” he’s cultivating under the Peg Leg Porker name.

It’s a limited run that will amount to about 6,000 bottles; SpeakEasy Spirits is doing the bottling. The bourbon will be introduced next month at Best Brands’ holiday trade show, with statewide distribution planned

A version of this story ran in the current (and final) issue of The City Paper and online in the Nashville Post.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Esquire Names Five Best Dive Bars in Nashville — Do You Agree With the List?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Esquire magazine's Eat Like a Man blog has bestowed honorifics upon a group of establishments it deems the "Five Best Dive Bars in Music City."

The list — Dino's, Melrose Billiards, Santa's Pub, Springwater and Fran's — doesn't contain any surprises, but Esquire enriches the piece with some funny and informative commentary from J.P. Harris. He's known as one of the city's true honky-tonk heroes — I'll Keep Calling, the record he released last year with his band The Tough Choices tied for Best Country Album in the Scene writers' picks in Best of Nashville 2012.

(Harris is also a carpenter of some renown who knows the nitty-gritty of creating a good hangout. His work building the record bins at new East Nashville shop Fond Object helped earn him the nickname "the hipster Bob Vila.")

Take a slug of the full story here, and if you wish, add a dash of your own opinions here in the comments.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Tap That Craft Beer Crawl This Sunday

Posted By on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Don’t ever say that we here at the Scene and Bites don't care about your personal safety. The biggest problem with a good old-fashioned pub crawl is that you can’t actually crawl from bar to bar unless you’re in Five Points, Hillsboro Village or Lower Broad.

So we’ve come up with the solution — the Tap That Craft Beer Crawl. Jump on the bus at any of five excellent Nashville brewpubs this Sunday, starting at 1 p.m., and we’ll carry your happy butt from place to place until you end up where you started. (Hopefully, you’ve arranged your own drop-off and pick-up details, right?) Your ticket includes beer at each brewery, a custom Nashville Scene growler, plus fun and games on the buses as you travel.

A portion of the proceeds will go to SoundForest.org.

The participating bars are Yazoo, Jackalope, Blackstone, Hops + Crafts and Rock Bottom. Tickets are $45, but click here for a deal while it lasts. It goes without saying that this is a 21-and-older event, but we’ll say it anyway. Hop on and get your hops on!

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