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6 Cocktail Trends for 2017

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Colorful cocktails trends 2017

  1. Mood Cocktails

    Mood cocktails are drinks with personality or emotion and is perhaps the strangest trend for 2017. Bars may soon be doing away with the traditional menu and listing drinks by mood – red to stimulate confidence, yellow for friendship, and black for discipline. Some bars are using aromatherapy by adding scents such as cut grass and smoked pine to evoke nostalgic feelings. Others are creating interesting nostalgic-based menus based on record albums, astrological signs, conspiracy theories, and even color swatches.

  2. Theatre in a Glass

    The best mixologists have always understood the importance of theatre, without going over the top. In 2017 you’ll be seeing more and more theatre in the glass, as drinks makers seek out ever more exciting ingredients, like the butterfly pea flower, which is ph sensitive and will change the color of a drink when mixed with citrus, or the Szechuan Button, an edible flower that delivers an electric hit.

  3. Health Conscious Coctails

    Drinking alcohol is obviously not the healthiest decision one can make but some bartenders are starting to add healthy ingredients — from nutrient-rich veggies to fermented kombucha to trendy activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is said to have detoxifying properties and to dye it a trendy jet-black.

  4. Garnish It!

    Today, most top mixologists recognize that cocktails, at the end of the day, are about fun. The craft cocktail movement was once associated with hidden speakeasies, many of which had an enormous sense of importance about their craft where the entire focus of the experience was on painstakingly designed drinks. Adding a culinary twist to classic cocktails with unique ingredients like roasted grapes, salt-roasted plantains, smoked tomato water, puréed red pepper, snap peas, corn, or even pickling brine to create either sweet or savory culinary cocktails. Today’s mixologists seek acknowledgement for their craft and understand designing for the social media impact of one of their cocktails posted on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.

  5. Latin Influences

    Cocktails are no longer just tequila’s domain to instill a Latin influence. Think South American-inspired cocktails like a Caipirinha using mezcal, cachaça, jalapeño-infused cachaça, serrano chili syrup or pisco. Thanks to the introduction of mezcal, bartenders and consumers have been eager to get their hands on more obscure Mexican spirits like bacanora and sotol. South American and Caribbean spices such as chili powder, Jamaican jerk, and smoked paprika are now popping up in unique and savory creations.

  6. Fermented Cocktails

    Signature cocktails developed out of fermented beverages like coconut kefir, Kombucha, and ginger beer for creations like the new range, especially when combined with lemon, limes or mandarins. On top of being delicious, fermented food and drinks are full of enzymes, vitamins, and probiotics that do wonders for your health. You can also expect more health-conscious cocktails in general — drinks made with everything from leafy greens to chia seeds to activated charcoal.

9 Food Trends for 2017

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Healthy Sushi Burger

  1. Dine-out is Out and Dine-in in In

    Dine-out only food businesses will increasingly be offering delivery only options and brands. UberEats, the food delivery brand for Uber, is making it easier and easier for high-end restaurant meals delivered to straight to your home, hot, ready to eat!

  2. Faux food

    We’ve reached a tipping point for vegetables. Millennial are pushing animal protein to the side of the plate … or entirely off it. With the rising prices of animal protein products, concerns with hormones, and healthy diet concerns, more and more option will find its way into restaurants and grocery stores, and the creation of whole new food product brands. Venture capitalists have begun investing in food companies that are developing vegetarians-based foods that taste like animal proteins, or close facsimiles.

  3. Seaweed Savior

    Expect to see many more food options, including faux foods discussed above, using seaweed and a major ingredient. Seaweed is not only healthy and abundant, its umami flavors are exactly what is needed to boost animal protein-like flavors in vegetarian foods.

  4. Sweet and Spicy is In!

    While our appetites for spicy dishes continues to grow, it is expanding to the realm of sweet things. Think chili and chocolate. Or, jalapeño with honey, stuffed sweet potatoes with Sriracha, Thai chili lime mayo, and grilled watermelon gazpacho.

  5. Food Porn Continues to Grow

    The #foodporn hashtag will continue to grow eyeballs in 2017. Obsessed by chocolate, keen on coffee and mad about prawns, gourmands from around the world share their photos on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Think frankenshakes, chocolate cookie dirt, multi-layer stacked burgers, and ooey gooey cheesy dishes.

  6. Rethinking Pasta

    Noodles made from chickpeas, quinoa, rice flour, flax seed and lentils are still gaining popularity (reminder, they’re gluten-free). For the “zoodle” fans out there, spiralized veggies will continue to own the spotlight, along with other exciting plant options, like kelp noodles.

  7. Africa is the New Ethnic Cuisine

    America’s growing multicultural population is behind the charge for more international food. Relatively under-explored in the United States, African flavors and ingredients increasingly pop up on menus across the country. So savvy foodies are adapting menus to include more dishes rich in whole grains, beans, vegetables and exotic African spice blends from the second-largest continent in the world.

  8. Wellness Tonics

    Forget sugary, vitamin-infused waters—new hyper-functional, ultra-healthy, virtually medicinal beverages are about to flood the market. Tonics with botanicals that have roots in alternative medicine will be popular in 2017. Whether you’re in need of an energy boost, focusing your thoughts, or quality shut-eye, there’s a drink for that—no specialty store required. The most popular ingredients include kava, holy basil, apple cider vinegar, medicinal mushrooms, and maca and ashwagandha. Experience turmeric tonic or cayenne infused Chili Mocha to fight inflammation and free radicals.

  9. Fermentation is In

    Fermentation has fascinated chefs for years as they’ve tried to uncover new ways to create naturally complex flavors with nuanced textures and bright fresh colors. While home chefs have dabbled in rotting foods, the home kitchen hasn’t yet really broken out into mainstream but it will in 2017. Restaurant chefs will likely play into the growing notion that older, bubbling, cultured, and fermented foods are better for your health, for flavor, and for planet earth.

9 Wine Trends for 2017

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Wine Trends for 2017

  1. A Year for Sparkling Wines

    Millennials are important in driving the growth of sparkling wines. And, they aren’t limited for consumption only on special occasions only.

  2. Interest in Chilled Wine Won’t Cool

    More and more reds, especially lighter-bodied ones, are being served cooled. A major trend in chilled wine is growing with fruit-forward styles such as Beaujolais and grenache. Chilling these wines brings out the wines’ brightness and spirit. Will this be the year of ice added to red wine?

  3. Wine By the Glass to Increase in Popularity

    Red, white, rose – why not all three. Consumers like to experiment and they prefer to pair a wine with each course and for each individual’s taste.

  4. Demand for Organic, Biodynamic Wine to Increase

    In general there will be a huge demand for organically grown food. The idea remains same for wines as well, there will be a demand for natural wines meaning the grapes which are grown without use of chemicals and not harming the ecology of the soil. Given the aspirational attitude of Wine consumers, Small batch/Single Vineyards/Single Barrel type of exclusive wines will drive a lot of interest.

  5. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon Will Continue to Dominate Sales

    However, there is a trend toward more diversity. French wine sales are up 23 percent and there are excellent wines available at competitive pricing, particularly from the southwest, Beaujolais Cru Gamay, sparkling Cremants, Languedoc Roussillon and Provence rose and white wines, like Petit Manseng. Others to consider include Spanish white Albariño, Cava and Rioja wines, Chilean and Argentinian reds and South African Chenin Blanc and Syrah. We are also likely to see more East Coast wines from New York, Virginia and Georgia available in Riesling, Viognier and French and American hybrids.

  6. The Wine Slushy to Rule this Summer

    For the summer, wine slushies, a take off from Sangrias, are a perfect recipe. Blending wine, fruit, and ice into a refreshing frozen drink.

  7. Bourbon Barrel Wine

    This is a current trend of 2016, and will definitely be something you’ll continue to see in 2017. Barrels that once held bourbon or whiskey are being refurbished and used to age wine. The oak barrels are charred for aroma and flavor. Adventurous wine drinkers are recommended to try it, which means more people are learning about this type of wine. The popularity of bourbon barrel wine is continuing to increase, and will definitely be a topic to talk about in 2017. So will you take a walk on the wild side and try this type of wine?

  8. Drinking Out Vs. Drinking In

    On-premise wine sales are on a decline, while off-premise wine sales are growing. People want to drink wine by the at home, rather than spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine while they’re out, where the price of a bottle can exceed the cost of the entire rest of the meal.

  9. Coming Out for Canned Wine

    One of the most surprising trends to hit the wine industry in quite some time is that of canned wine. In the past year alone, the sale of canned wine has nearly doubled, largely due to the millennial influence. Reds, whites, sparklers and everything in between can be put into a can without issue, and the end result is a convenient, portable and usually very affordable option that’s tailor-fit for the beach or for entertaining. In many ways, cans help to protect wine, as they don’t allow any light in and are even better at preventing oxidation than traditional corked bottles. There are a handful of cans out there right now, but 2017 will see an explosion of new entries to the market.

A Definitive Guide to Pairing Wine with Vegetables

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Wine Pairing with Vegetables

If you thought pairing wine with fruit is challenging, pairing a wine with vegetables is even more so.  Many vegetables have, such as asparagus and artichokes, and particularly green vegetables, have particular chemicals that interact poorly with many wines.  In addition, there can be an enormous difference between a raw vegetable and one that is roasted.

Check the table below for some of the best wine and vegetable pairings.

VegetablesWhite WineRed Wine
ArtichokesMuscadet, Sauvignon BlancBourdeaux
AsparagusGrüner Veltliner, Riesling, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc
Bean, lentilsSyrah (Shiraz), Merlot, Chianti Classico, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Côte du Rhône
Bell PeppersBeaujolais
Brussels SproutsRieslingPinot Noir
ChardPinot GrisGamay, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese
ChiliesZinfandel
CornChardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Eggplant, AubergineDry RoséChianti, Syrah
HummusAlbariño, Chenin BlancMerlot, Pinot Noir
KaleRiesling, Sancerre
Gamay
MushroomsDry Sherry
Pinot Noir
OlivesFino sherrySparkling Brut Rosé
OnionsGewürztraminer, Pinot Gris
Roasted/Grilled VegetablesViognierMerlot, Syrah, Zinfandel
SpinachChampagneGamay
TomatoesSauvignon BlancSangiovese
TrufflesChampagneBarolo, French Burgundy, Syrah
ZucchiniBeaujolais, Sangiovese

A Definitive Guide to Pairing Wine with Fruit

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Friut platter and wine

Pairing wine with fruit can be challenging but a great pairing can create an absolutely phenomenal experience.  Some pairings are pretty obvious like strawberries and champagne.  Others, much less so such as apples and a Cabernet.

The chart below makes the process of choosing a great pairing easier.

FruitWhite WineRed Wine
ApplesAsti Spumante, Champagne, Chardonnay, White ZinfandelCabernet
ApricotsChenin Blanc
AvocadosAlbariño, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
BananasGewürztraminer, Madeira, Sauternes,Sauvignon BlancMerlot
BlackberriesMuscat, Riesling, SancerreChâteauneuf-du-Pape, Sangiovese, Rioja, Tempranillo, Zinfandel
BlueberriesAsti Spumante
CherriesMuscatPinot Noir, Port
FigsSherryChianti, Port, Syrah
GrapesChampagne
GuavaRiesling, SancerreRioja, Sangiovese
KiwiRieslingFleurie
Mangos Vouvray
Barolo, Barbaresco, Bardolino
MelonsIce Wine, Muscat, VouvrayBarolo, Barbaresco, Bardolino
OrangeOrange Muscat
PeachesAsti Spumante, Champagne, Chardonnay, Sweet Rieslings from Germany or AlsaceBeaujolais, Bourgueil
PearsAsti Spumante, Chardonnay, White ZinfandelBordeaux
PineappleIce Wine, German Riesling, Sauterne
PlumsBeaujolais, Bordeaux, Bouscueil, Merlot, Tempranillo
StrawberriesChampagne, Ice Wine, Sweet Muscat
TomatoesSauvignon Blanc
WatermelonRose Champagne

 

 

Best Dessert Wine Pairings

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Dessert wines are often over-looked yet can truly enhance your epicurean experience.  A few simple guidelines should make it a fun exercise! The golden rule for pairing wine with with desserts:  The wine should be sweeter than the dessert.    Then, match the flavor intensity of the dessert with the flavor intensity of the wine.

Firstly, back to the golden rule for pairing wine with desserts – the wine should be sweeter than the dessert. Secondly, match the flavor profile of the dessert with the flavor profile of the wine. Here are more specific tips:

  • PX (Pedro Ximénez) – this is a luscious Spanish dessert sherry wine made from dried grapes.  This wine is so sweet with strong flavors of raisins and molasses, it can simply be poured over vanilla ice cream.  Pair with bread pudding, white or dark chocolate desserts, and orange flavored desserts.
  • Sauternes – Sauternes are characterized by a balance of sweetness with the zest of some acidity. Common flavor notes include apricots, honey, peaches but slightly nutty.  Try a Sauterne with Creme Brûlée, apple tart tatin, peach pie, or an English Trifle.
  • Ice Wine – Or, Icewine, are refreshingly sweet with high acidity.  They typically have a medium to full body with a long lingering finish. The nose is usually reminiscent of pear, peach,  dried apricot, citrus,honey,  figs, caramel, and green apple. Riesling style Ice Wines, which are quite common, can be paired with key lime pie, lemon tarts, fruit tarts,  or fruit-based creme brûlée.  Or, drink all by itself.
  • Tawny Port – A Tawny Port with it slightly sweet yet nutty, caramel flavors pairs well with fruit cakes, mince pies, and eggy pastries including custards and flans.
  • Ruby Port – Try a Ruby Port, which has fruity notes and easy tannins pairs well  with a decadent but not too sweet chocolate dessert.  It goes with a chocolate cake with a raspberry sauce, or a dark chocolate fondue,  or a simple chocolate brownie.
  • Late Harvest Zinfandel – Find dried cherry and chocolate notes in Late Harvest Zinfandels.  These dessert wines go well with of course chocolate and chocolate desserts.  Also try it with cheesecakes, cherry pies, and carrot cakes.

One last rule of thumb – leave room for dessert!!!

Dry Aging Beef at Home

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Different Cuts of BeefDry-aged steak has superior flavor and texture over non-aged beef, but it’s expensive. Prime cuts of beef may cost upwards of $20 per pound with dry-aged beef as much as 25% to 50% more per pound. Is it possible to dry-age steaks at home?

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When is a Cup of Flour Not a Cup of Flour

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Measuring Dry Ingredients

Accurate measurement of ingredients is critical for most baking. Being off by a little or a lot, can cause disastrous results. Yet, individual measuring techniques, whether using the scoop and sweep method or using a spoon to fill a measuring cup can cause a deviation in the amount of an ingredient from a recipe by as much as 25% or more, even if measured by trained professionals. That is a sure path to failure in any recipe.

The only no fail technique to measuring dry ingredients is to go by weight.

Ingredient Ounces   Grams  
1 cup all-purpose flour 5 142
1 cup cake flour 4 113
1 cup whole wheat flour 5 1/2 156
1 cup granulated sugar 7 198
1 cup packed brown sugar 7 198
1 cup confectioner’s sugar 4 113
1 cup cocoa powder 3 85

Best Coffee Brewing Tips

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Best Coffee Brewing Tips

For perfect coffee, here are tips to ensure ideal extraction and flavor.

1. USE FILTERED WATER

A cup of coffee is about 98 percent water, so if your tap water tastes bad or has strong mineral flavors, your coffee will too. We found that the test kitchen’s tap water masked some of the coffee’s complexity, compared to coffee made with filtered water. Don’t bother buying bottled water—just use a filtration pitcher. Continue reading

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