Monthly Archives: April 2011

My First Gin Concoction

Well, I promised, and now I deliver.  I have created a Gin drink!  I knew I wanted to get some kind of aperitif (wiki definition is a drink before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to mix with it, and I wanted it to be versatile enough I could use it in multiple cocktails, and so I finally decided on Aperol, which is a kind of Italian bitter orange-y, rhubarb-y aperitif, similar to Campari, but a little sweeter.   I went with Death’s Door Gin, as I had tasted it and liked it, plus it is made in Wisconsin from organic products by a company that supports local ingredients.

My new Orange Betty drink that is calling my name.

Orange Betty

  • 1 1/2 ounce Death’s Door Gin
  • 3/4 ounce Aperol
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 3-4 dashes bitters
  • Orange Peel Garnish

Fill a short glass (practically over the brim) with ice.  In a larger glass, combine all ingredients except orange peel and stir with a spoon.  Pour into ice-filled short glass and garnish with orange peel.  Give drink a nice little swirl in your hand to chill and come together.

My Notes:

  • To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil on the stove.  Let boil 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 15 minutes.  Transfer to container to be stored in fridge for a couple weeks.
  • For the brand of gin, use whatever you want.  I’m sure once I’m done with this bottle, I’ll try another brand.  I think it goes without saying, though, to not use the cheapest gin you can find.
  • I used Angostura bitters.  I would have tried some different ones, but it was all the liquor store carried that I was at.  I’m going to keep my eye out for some more exciting ones, though.
  • I think this cocktail would be great with the addition of some sort of herb, too – possible thyme or mint.
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The Hub’s Birthday Weekend = Lots of Breweries

My good friends in St. Louis planned the most fun day for my husband’s birthday – Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour plus a pub crawl of four smaller local breweries, then off to an (upscale) BBQ joint.  The hub’s about burst from contentment and happiness.  Here’s a quick run-down:

ANHEUSER-BUSCH BREWERY

At the giant Anheuser Busch Brewery, we first did a “beer school” to learn about different beers, food pairings, and proper pouring techniques.  From there, we started the actual brewery tour – which is free!  The brewery is beautiful and huge.  You get to see the Clydesdales,  the beer brewing area, the bottling plant, and some of the grounds.  It is unbelievable the amount of beer that place produces.  Definitely worth checking out.  Plus, you get two free beers at the end. Score!

Giant tanks of beer at AB Brewery waiting to be bottled

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Perfecting the Ultimate Burger – Round One

My goal is to make the most ultimate, mouth-watering, who-cares-if-I-have-a-napkin-to-wipe-the-ketchup-off-my-face-it’s-so-good burger this summer.  I felt good about Round One, but I think there is always room for improvement, so this summer I’ll be documenting my burger escapades.  I think a really great burger is the sum of it’s parts.  It’s not just about the meat (which is very important), but also the bread and the fixings.  For today’s, I’m doing a bacon cheddar burger with pickled onions and a sweet and spicy ketchup. As a side note, when I went to the butcher store to get the meat and the bacon, the guy behind the counter asked me if I bought bacon every time I came in.  I’m not sure what it says about me that the butcher has noticed the large quantities of bacon I buy…

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Nashville – Music City USA

The Hubs and I just had an AMAZING trip to Nashville, TN including lots of food, booze, and live music – I really need nothing else in life! We decided to go when we saw one of our favorite bands was playing there on a Thursday night and to just make a long weekend of it.  I’m not sure what was better though – the bands, the food, or the adult beverages.  Here’s the rundown: Continue reading

Shrimp and Grits Ain’t Just for the South

I lived in the South (South Carolina and Georgia) for about three years, and soon found upon my arrival that they make certain foods there that were completely new to me, yet caused me to wonder how I could possibly ever live life with out them again.  These included pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, and shrimp and grits.  Obviously, health concerns are not much of a factor to me.  The creamy grits, the salty bacon, the perfectly cooked shrimp – heaven!  And to top it off, it is a dish that is equally acceptable as either breakfast or dinner.  You can’t go wrong!

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It Really IS Incredibly Delicious

So, to all my fellow Springfielders (or anyone planning a visit to the glorious Land of Lincoln), I want to make sure anyone who is not aware yet, that we are lucky enough to have one of the best bakeries in town I have ever been to, here or anywhere.  If you have not been to Incredibly Delicious before, stop what you are doing right now and go.  Well, not really, because they actually have somewhat limited hours and about a third of the time I go they end up being closed I have a total fit (what, me, over-react? never!)  They seem to close by 5 on weekdays and 3 on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.  I suppose I could check the website to verify…

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Hail Caesar!

I love Caesar Salads. I love them creamy, cheese-y, and extra anchovy-y.  I kinda take pleasure in serving it to people who have a minor freak-out when they realize (for the first time) that Caesar dressing is made with anchovies and they come to terms with the fact they just ate anchovies.  But, the truth is, anchovies are delicious.  I use them in so much – just slathered on some toasted bread as a snack , as a base for sauces, pizza, and of course Caesar dressing.

I made Caesar Salad this weekend, but did a bit of a short-cut.  I had worked in the yard all day and was tired and just could not get myself to make the mayonnaise from scratch.  But, a little Hellman’s will do just fine in a pinch!

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