There are people with good taste. Then there are people who are good tasters. Shannon Steele, roaster and brew specialist at Passion House Coffee, has a preternatural skill at discerning flavors in coffee and, as I have found lately, her skill translates equally well into the world of food – she recommended a cookbook that I had dismissed wrongly which turned out to be fantastic – and gin – she recommended a wonderfully aromatic French gin. Continue reading
A week ago, we moved into our new home and while there are many positives to the place, a huge surprise was the presence of a lilac bush next to our home. I grew up with a lilac bush in my backyard and the smell is among my favorite. My plan was to give my partner a lilac bush to celebrate our closing, but discovering the bush during our final walk through relieved me having to buy lilacs for her. Continue reading
Part of eating seasonally and crafting food is that there are times when what you are eating, or in this case drinking, you have had to wait long enough for it to be ready that you are enjoying the final product long after the raw materials are out of season.
I have reached a state of life, between age, parental status, and fitness goals, that I do not drink far as much as I used to, so when I drink, I tend to have a bourbon with a rock and not something fancy with multiple twists and what not. While I do not appreciate the cocktail scene when included in a restaurant setting, I can appreciate a well crafted cocktail. As much as I can appreciate the cocktail, as I mentioned earlier, my consumption is basic, but I do have a love for a Sunday afternoon soda water and bitters break. Continue reading
In the past few years, my beverage tastes have edged from wine to bourbon to beer and, now, to coffee. I still imbibe and still have far too big of a collection of all of the above than I need, but I love good coffee most of all – especially bright, acidic coffees. Maybe it is that, after having children, my body’s clock has to get used to starting, as a great friend calls it, “in the fives”, but I think that because coffee is the drink that you can make at home, have while out, and enjoy a varieties of flavors and aromas, it has reached that status that eclipses the status of caffeine delivery vehicle.
In Chicago, the coffee scene has improved measurably over the past 3-4 years. With emerging roasters, Dark Matter, Ipsento, and Passion House, joining Intelligentsia as super-high quality roasters in town, there is no excuse to line up at Starbucks to buy beans. None. The trick is that, in Chicago, we have a short summer and I like to spend as much time outside during the summer as possible. Drinking blazing hot coffee is 80 and 90 degree temperatures does not hold the same appeal as sipping that same coffee on 40 degree fall or winter days. This is where iced coffee comes into play. Continue reading
This is not a project that you decide to undertake and a few hours later, you are finished. This project started in January and wrapped up last night. However the relative ease of turning citrus rinds and industrial strength liquor into a delicious homemade liqueur is amazing and the most important skill – patience – is something that I am working on.
Limoncello is usually all over Italian restaurants and we have had our fair share in that environment, but we first had really good limoncello on a trip to Italy when we visited the South where there are roadside stands with Citrus that is seemingly bigger than soccer balls. Continue reading
There is plenty of time wasted each day looking at Twitter or other social media sites, but sometimes there is a big payoff. This is one of those times. Ellen Malloy, butcheress, founder of Restaurant Intelligence Agency, and font of energy, had tweeted about one of her creations that she refers to as a Canadian tradition. Rye Whiskey infused with Maple Syrup. Continue reading
If you visit Door County, Wisconsin during the Thanksgiving time, one drink that you will likely find floating around in miscellaneous bottles is Cherry Bounce. Cherry Bounce is typically a homemade cordial. Depending on where you are from, the liquor could be brandy, cognac, bourbon, etc., but in Wisconsin, Brandy is king. Combine the liquor with the great cherries grown in Door County and a little time, you will be in business.
The drink, when aged, is really smooth and the tart cherry flavor really gets you without being a giant cherry bomb. It was a really good pairing with goat cheese. I was surprised. It was terribly good with chocolate cake and separately with almond ice cream. I was not surprised. My favorite version of this was one that instead of using only brandy, I combined brandy and bourbon in equal parts. Continue reading