Archive for ‘DRINK’

April 27, 2014

Drinking Italy


Vineyard Fields in Tuscany

On the way home from our trip, Alan and I did a little math and figured out we drank at least a case of wine during our trip. We had a bottle with dinner each night, several wine tastings and a few lunches included a glass of Chianti. I did realize fairly soon into the vacation that if I wanted to enjoy the rest of the day and evening, opting for water was a better choice for me at lunchtime.


Wine tasting at Banfi

Most all of the wine we drank was absolutely delicious. Italians take their wine very seriously. They are happy to help you select a bottle and often, the wine list in a restaurant is literally a book. We learned a lot about the wine making processing visiting the Banfi winery, Casa Emma in Chianti and a wonderful winery called il Paradiso di Frassina in Montalcino. We brought wine home to enjoy from all three places. Though I scored a bottle of Casa Emma’s Vin Santo, rather than wine. Vin Santo and biscotti is my new favorite dessert. Dip the biscotti into the Vin Santo and enjoy!


Vin Santo & Biscotti from Casa Emma

Our wine tasting at Banfi ended with a nap. We must have tasted 20 wines. By the end of the tasting I realized I’m such a cheap date. I enjoyed their inexpensive Chianti better than the 2004 Brunello. We did find a wonderful Brunello at il Paradiso di Frassina to ship home, along with a wine he called 12 Grapes. Delicious.


Barrels of Brunello in the cellar at Castello Banfi


Wine barrels in the cellar at il Paradiso di Frassina

I made sure to photograph the bottles we loved most, so I could share them. We tasted a lot of great wines! I know the photos of the labels will serve as a helpful reference to search for the same wines here in the States. I could write a blurb for each one below to tell you it was smooth, easy to drink, etc. Just trust me, these were all delicious.


As I pulled together these wine photos, I realized that all the bottles below are Chianti Classico. I know that some of them are available here in the States. Though the first bottle was one of my favorites and is only available in Italy. We actually found the winery in Radda, an area in Chianti, but they were closed the day we were there. I would have shipped home a case. Sigh.





The bottle below was the only white wine we drank on the trip. We had it at Pierluigi in Rome, and it was a perfect match with our seafood dinner.


Here are a couple of dessert wines we enjoyed. I’m looking forward to opening the bottle of Vin Santo we brought home from Casa Emma. I just need to find some reasonably good biscotti.




December 24, 2013

Orange Crush Cocktail


I love a good cocktail. I only get to enjoy one on the weekends, but that’s because I fight the urge to make something snazzy to drink during the week. Maybe I should have lived in the 1950’s? Didn’t they have cocktails every night? The whole Mad Men thing? The obedient wife pours her man a scotch when he walks through the door after a hard days work?


This definitely wouldn’t work for us. For starters, Alan never sleeps in his shirt and tie, and we don’t even own a bed tray.

If you’ve followed me, you might remember that I’ve been on a quest to find my signature cocktail. I’ve wanted to fall in love with a mature or shall I say, old-fashioned cocktail that I could be proud to order and would actually enjoy. My college friends are so cool. We went to dinner a couple of weeks ago and they strolled up to the bar and ordered Manhattans. Impressive!

For the New Year I’ve decided to give up on my quest and accept that my love of good rye whiskey and vodka is enough to offer lots of cocktail options. I should mention that I tried to make the Sazerac my signature cocktail, but surprisingly most bartenders don’t know what it is. What’s up with that? It’s a classic!

I wish I could remember where I found this cocktail. It does fulfill the few requirements I have. Not too strong, not too many ingredients and not too complicated. If you don’t like orange flavor, don’t bother. It’s intensely orange and a bit on the sweeter side. A friend mentioned making it in a pitcher to serve for the holidays. Genius! This definitely would make a perfect last-minute cocktail to serve to your guests.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year!




  • 1 1/2 ounces Orange Vodka
  • 1 ounce Rose’s Lime Juice
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • Orange Slices

Put all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled glass. Serve with a slice of orange. Delicious!

* The original recipe called for this to be enjoyed neat. I prefer it with a couple of ice cubes.

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