Booze Muse

The art and craft of liquid inspiration

Untraditional: Shake Up Thanksgiving Drinking with Oddball White Wines

Wine is Poetry in a Bottle No Comments »
Photo: Tim Parkinson

Photo: Tim Parkinson

By Wendy Aeschlimann

Thanksgiving is maybe not the best time to go against tradition. Changing out your great aunt’s green-bean casserole or your mother’s sweet-potato-marshmallow dish could get you fired from the family. Still, Thanksgiving can be predictable and boring, comprised of discordant sweet, tart and savory flavors that are not easy to match with one type of wine. You just know the meal will be heavy with fat, butter and cream. Turkey, the star protein, is frequently bland and dry. And, alas, the dinner lasts for hours; if you drink too heavily, you’ll be snoozing on the couch by four.

Beaujolais nouveau arrives in stores about a week before Thanksgiving. (Funny how that works, right?) Bottles of this popular red usually find their way to the table. Instead of going with that lightweight red, we suggest serving an oddball white wine. Or two.

White wines have a pronounced acidity and citrusy, mineral notes that cut through fatty foods and accent a variety of flavors. White wine is also lighter on the palate so you can drink plenty without blowing out your taste buds. In addition, whites are usually more reasonably priced than reds. You don’t have to default to routine California Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay tends to be over-oaked and so can make turkey taste like wood. Sauvignon Blanc is too often horrifyingly tart. Both varietals—especially in less expensive price ranges—can be dull and one-dimensional.

By branching out to oddball whites, you’re likely to get lucky in even the under-$15-a-bottle range. Shebnem Ince of Perman Wine Selections (802 West Washington) is a sommelier who knows a lot about unusual wines. I asked her to pick a weirdo white wine in three price categories. After we get her suggestions in each category, I’ll suggest a few of my own. Read the rest of this entry »

Unconventional Drinking: “Working” the floor at The New York Bar and Wine Show

Brandy/Cognac, News and Dish, Tequila/Mezcal, Tips and Trends, Vodka, Whiskey No Comments »

Photo: Renata Baluk

By Ernest Barteldes

The New York Bar and Wine Show, an annual two-day convention that takes place at Midtown Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center, showcases what’s new in the beverage industry, from special registers wirelessly attached to bottles (to better control the drinks sold) to novelties like a Russian roulette-style game wherein a plastic revolver has a chamber that releases a shot of liquor to the lucky ‘winner’—if the ‘loaded’ chamber ends up in his or her hand (think bachelor parties and dorm rooms, if you’re wondering who would do this).

But the greatest attraction is, of course, the booze, and this year’s event had plenty, ranging from new liquor brands, international beers and wines to the latest ideas in mixology presented by different bartenders from all over the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Stantz-ing in Line: Dan Aykroyd visits the South Loop

Drinking Events (yes, redundant, we know), Vodka No Comments »

crystalhead1Of all the celebrities who endorse a premium line of liquor, Dan Aykroyd isn’t usually the first that comes to mind. Yet that doesn’t keep a few hundred of his fans from zigzagging through the wine section at the South Loop Binny’s. The SNL alum is promoting his new premium vodka Crystal Head, which comes in a skull-shaped bottle.

“There he is!” someone at the end of the line shouts as the crowd bursts into applause. Aykroyd smiles and waves at nobody in particular as he is escorted through the crowd.

While one fan dresses like Aykroyd’s iconic Elwood character from “The Blues Brothers,” other fans best remember him from his “Ghostbusters” days. Bridget Barnett is so enamored by Aykroyd that she kisses his hand when she gets to the front of the line. He returns the favor while he autographs a photo from the film. Read the rest of this entry »