This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of that unsinkable ship – the Titanic. Prior to it’s sinking, it was certainly a good time with lots of food and plenty of booze consumed. The menus from the first and second class dining rooms are nothing but impressive. I can only imagine what drinks accompanied them. Folks back then knew how to throw them back. Poking around on the internet, I found that the ship carried cases upon cases of Champagne, wine and spirits. I would imagine that a good time was had by all until the ship went down.
One of the most dreaded days of the year is rapidly approaching – April 15, otherwise known as Tax Day. Since April 15 falls on a Sunday this year, we get a day of reprieve with April 16 being Tax Day. I can think of no other day that is as hated, reviled or feared as Tax Day. Just writing this article about it makes me cringe.
I didn’t know much about Four Roses Bourbon other than that my friend Ingrid really, really likes it! We recently received a bottle of the Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon with the identification of Warehouse DS and Barrel 3-1I. Apparently, each of the Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon bottles come marked with their barrel identification and warehouse storage location. I thought that was pretty cool as bottles from different barrels can conceivably taste pretty different. It would be fascinating to track down a number of these bottles and do a taste test!
Another pick from Trader Joe’s. This wine was purchased for $9.99, a steal for a Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley, which is near Santa Barbara California. For those of you who remember, this region was part of the Sideways journey. I am pretty picky about Pinot and this is one of the growing regions that I think produces some of the best Pinot Noir in California. My fave is Russian River and the Santa Maria Valley isn’t far behind.
According to lore, Drambuie is fit for a King. In fact, it was allegedly invented by a Prince of Scotland who would have been King of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland if his insurrection has succeeded. We are speaking of Prince Charles Stuart, whose lineage included many of the Kings of Scotland and a few in England after the two countries united under James Stuart in 1603. In 1745, Charles sailed to Scotland and with the aid of the Scottish Highlanders, a fierce bunch of men, began their quest to retake Scotland for a “Scottish King”. During this period, there was much strife in England and Scotland. In Scotland, it was the Highlanders versus the Lowlanders, who had benefited the most from the merger of England and Scotland. The Highlanders wanted to be left alone with their Scotch and were no fans of the heavy taxes levied on their fine beverage.
Mr. Burke was very particular and fastidious in his instructions. This trait shines through in his instructions from eating while drinking, whether those drinks are wine or cocktails, to the number of shakes or stirs to execute the perfect cocktail. According to Mr. Burke, cocktails should accompany appetizers and he provides a number of appetizer recipes. Interestingly enough, a number of these recipes call for anchovies, something that most Americans wouldn’t touch with a ten foot poll in the 21st century but that are so delicious if you give them a try.
I lucked into Cadenhead’s. Staring at their board of scotch whiskies, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Instead of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it was Rachel and the Whisky Shop. I was in awe and yet overwhelmed. I was paralyzed by the choices and requested help. In my second stroke of luck that day, Mark Davidson, the Manager of Cadenhead’s, assisted me. Mark was one of the most informative scotch experts I have met. He spent almost an hour with me explaining the different styles and distilleries and I felt like we barely scratched the surface (as that is just what we did). Seriously, I could have talked to him all day and it left me with an overwhelming desire to return to Scotland, if only to spend more time with Mark. Check out Mark’s Scotch site at www.jollytopertastings.co.uk.
f you want to break out of your wine rut and try something fun for Easter, we have the wines for you. And, don’t feel like you can only drink these wines for Easter. Feel free to drink them all year. These wines aren’t your standard fare but they are fun, flirty and funky. These wines are approachable – they don’t need to age in your cellar (or your dark closet) for a few years or decades to be at their best. You can grab them at the wine shop and drink them the minute you get home. In other words, low maintenance.
We don’t want to commit sacrilege but we have the perfect wine for both Passover and Easter or maybe a joint celebration if you reside in a household that celebrates both. But, we will warn you that these may not be the wines for your Passover if you want Kosher wines. But, trust us. Whether you have never heard of Gruner, may have heard it in passing or consider yourself a Grunerphile, this wine will make the perfect perfect accompaniment to matzo ball soup, roast chicken, ham or turkey. We know, we have tried them out.