How to Order Wine like a Pro

ideas on how to order wineImagine it’s your first date in a fancy restaurant and the waiter will take your order and give you the wine list, but it’s your first time and you don’t know what wine suits you.

You have no idea on what to order, so you just choose whatever your finger points to. Of course, when your order arrives you can’t believe you ordered that wine. It’s certainly not your ideal wine, and so regrets happen.

Don’t worry anymore, Mike Peterson has written the article  How to order wine like you know how to order wine.  This will teach you on how to order wine like a pro, from basics to food/wine pairing and a script on how to order wine.

The basics of the wine selection process can be summarized:

The markup: All restaurants have massive price markups for their wines. They usually sell their wine bottles about double retail price. Restaurant wine prices and their markups have an inverse relationship so the cheaper the wine, the higher the price markup, and vice versa. There is one exception to this rule – the second-cheapest bottle on the menu. [Read more…]

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Shifting to Lamb

LambTurkey and ham are not the only meats fit for your holiday table. Lamb can be just as festive, and it has the added benefit of bringing new flavors to your celebration. Take a look at this lamb recipe and see how it can give your menu a welcome lift.

Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb

In the Serious Eats website, Managing Culinary Director J. Kenji López-Alt shares a truly scrumptious recipe for Slow-Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Rosemary, and Lemon. He says the recipe works because: “Slow-roasted boneless leg of lamb comes out extra tender with a crisp, well-browned crust and juicy pink meat flavored with garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest.

“Cooking at very low temperatures followed by a blast at high heat creates the ultimate contrast with pink meat that extends from edge to edge and a crisp brown crust. It also enhances tenderness.

“Par-cooking a rub made with garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, and anchovies ensures that raw, steamed flavors don’t last. Anchovies in the marinade bring out the meatiness of the lamb without overwhelming with any kind of fishy aroma.”

[Read more…]

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Light Cooking With Wine

Cooking With WineCooking with wine can wonderfully transform a simple fare into a rich and elegant gourmet. If you are not so adept at using wine when cooking, however, you may find the exercise a bit daunting. What rules must you remember to make a decent start? If you want your dish to burst with complex layers of flavors, start with a good wine. Julia Child once said, “If you do not have a good wine to use, it is far better to omit it, for a poor one can spoil a simple dish and utterly debase a noble one.”  

Aside from the flavors it can render your dish, wine is good to use because it is one ingredient that can make it less fattening. Elaine Magee, MPH, RD of WebMD Weight Loss Clinic shares some great insights in her post 6 Secrets of Cooking With Wine. She writes: [Read more…]

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Eggnog – A Drink for Christmas Fellowship

EggnogApart from the celebratory glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve, eggnog is the other drink that deserves a traditional place during the holidays. To the uninitiated, eggnog can seem like a strange drink; it is a rather sweet concoction that combines milk, cream, whipped cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and spirits.  For many, however, frothy eggnog served in a punchbowl represents the fellowship that friends and family enjoy every time the Yuletide season comes around.

The Eggnog Tradition

Eggnog is traditionally served in Canada during the Christmas season; in the United States some kitchens begin serving it from Thanksgiving till New Year. Although not all food historians agree on exactly where and when the tradition began, most concur that today’s drink probably had its beginnings in the medieval British drink called “posset”. This was an ale-like beverage commonly taken with eggs, and it was used mainly used for toasts. [Read more…]

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Wine on a Budget for Holiday Entertaining This Year and Onwards

Wine on a budgetMost people love Christmas. At a time when people live their lives in a flurry, life just seems too hectic. Christmas and occasions like these are real treasures that give people a wonderful opportunity to catch up on everyone who matter. To make these celebrations and reunions more fun and memorable, you’ll surely be working on a great spread on the Christmas table.

Do you know how you can step up the experience? Serve your foods with the right wines. You might have second thoughts considering that the best wines come with hefty price tags. If you are worried about having enough to last the holidays, consider arming yourself with some savvy tips to be able to buy enough (year-round), so they don’t wreak havoc on your budget.  

A worthy read is J.D. Roth‘s Wine on a budget: How to get good deals on wine posted in Get Rich Slowly. If you are like Roth who used the “shotgun method of buying wine” you must be buying bottles randomly. You may end up having a good stock of bottles in your wine rack that you won’t drink at all.   [Read more…]

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Cheese Facts to Remember During the Holiday Entertaining

CheeseWith the holidays fast rushing in, all you can think about is fun. Hosting parties and entertaining will all be a part of a merry season. If you care about making each of these a memorable one for your family, guests and yourself, having a delicious spread is a must. Not every entertaining need to be elaborate. With an array of cheese to grace your holiday table, preparing will be a breeze and the fun almost guaranteed.

So, how can you make your cheese plates more crowd-pleasing?  MartinJ of Serious Eats offers some great ideas in this blog The Best Cheeses for Holiday Entertaining. For a great start, MartinJ says: [Read more…]

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Drinks for Thought: The Practical Drinks for Thanksgiving

Practical Drinks for ThanksgivingExpenses during the holiday season can totally bust your budget, if you’ll not spend wisely. A savvy spender would think of the most practical ways to get the best without sacrificing the quality of the holiday experience that you and your family look forward to each year. A good nugget of wisdom is to know how to save money on the wine at the start of the season, which is Thanksgiving.

Given the stress that comes with all the preparations, your wine to uncork during the celebration can be the best reason why you may decide to get the best. But if the cost will bust your budget for the remaining feasts during the season, give its some thought.

The Secret

What can be the most practical drinks to have during Thanksgiving? Maryse Chevriere of Serious Eats shares some drinks for thought in the post How to Save Money and Drink Good Wine This Thanksgiving. She writes: [Read more…]

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Make Ahead Cranberry Cocktails for Thanksgiving

Cranberry CocktailsCranberry is one ingredient that will certainly find its way in your Thanksgiving table as a sauce to the traditional turkey. But aside from swamping the turkey with that sweet-tart-savory flavor, you can also boost the holiday cheer by making cranberry your official cocktail this Thanksgiving, if it isn’t yet.

Even those who aren’t a big fan of cranberry find these cocktails a real treat during festive occasions such a Thanksgiving.

Get it All Mixed in Advance: Tangy Cranberry-Black Pepper Shrub Cocktail

Thanksgiving officially marks the long holiday and the start of relatives and friends coming around for reunions or casual visits. At a time like this, who would like to be tied down in the kitchen making crowd pleasers – mixing drinks and preparing bites and platters of dishes? Get creative and prepared; foods and drinks that can be prepared in advance should be your allies this Thanksgiving.

Elana Lepkowski shares the Tangy Cranberry-Black Pepper Shrub Cocktail, a cranberry cocktail recipe you can prepare ahead of time for a fun party in Serious Eats’ Prep This Easy Thanksgiving Cranberry Cocktail in Advance. She explains why it can hold without spoiling for a while: [Read more…]

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What to Drink in Madrid

The words Madrid and wine bring on mages of sultry nights and wine. The famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, certainly indulged in his love for sherry in this city, but sherry is not the only drink available in Madrid. A visit to this lovely place should include a taste of the many drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) that Madrilenos love.

Worth Trying in Madrid

The list in Top Ten Drinks to Try in Madrid includes sangria, mojito, cana, tinto de verano, café con leche, black tea, vino tinto, horchata, sidra, and coca-cola. The article explains what makes each drink so popular. [Read more…]

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A Sip of Elderberry Wine

Few fruit wines can lay claim to being the title for a song or featured as a crucial item in a play and a movie. Elderberry wine can lay claim to both; Elton John sings about it, and it is the tool with which the Brewster sisters provide their victims with a deadly dose of arsenic. You would expect this wine to be as complex and as sophisticated as champagne. In reality, its taste and texture is somewhat similar to port, and it is one of the fruit wines that many produce in their own kitchens.

A Closer Look at the Elderberry

For centuries, the elderberry has been used for various purposes. Native Americans made use of every part of this plant, and it has been used as folk medicine for a variety of illnesses. In Winemaker Mag’s Taming the Wild Elderberry, Jack Keller says, Sometimes referred to as the “Englishman’s grape,” the common elderberry has been used to make wine for hundreds — possibly thousands — of years. By themselves, elderberries make a rich, flavorful wine, but they have long been added to other fruit and berry wines, including grape, to add color, tannin and complexity. [Read more…]

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