I Made Mulled White Wine with the Cooking Gift Set Co. Brewing Kit and It’s a Game Changer

Wooooo y’all, I’m super pumped to be writing this post! A couple of weeks ago, Cooking Gift Set Co. hit me up and asked if I wanted to give their Mulled Wine Brewing Kit a whirl and I was like, “HELL YES!” You know I love infusing spirits and making syrups and to have a product with allllll my fave spices in a kit was music to my Home Bar Grrrrl ears!

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In addition to good looking and perfectly sized packaging (I mean, look at this amazing packaging!) the Cooking Gift Set Co. Mulled Wine Brewing Kit comes with detailed recipes! Oh how I love a very specific recipe!

The recipes include Festive Red, Spiced Cider, Gløgg, Glühwein, and Lush White…

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…LUSH WHITE. Hold up a sec! “Lush White? MULLED WHITE WINE?” Yes y’all, MULLED WHITE WINE. Game changer.

Their recommendation was to use a Dry Chardonnay or Viognier but I wanted to try it with Chenin Blanc cause lately I’ve been on a Chenin Blanc kick. Typically Chenin Blanc is big bodied for white wines, kind of fruity, dry, and really pleasant.

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I read the Lush White recipe which suggested the use of dried orange peel, cloves, star anise, and crystalized ginger. I toasted the spices for a minute or two on low heat…

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…put the spices in one of the satchels from the Mulled Wine Brewing Kit, added 1 bottle of Chenin Blanc, 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup sugar, and a couple of lemon peels.

Then let it simmer, not boil, for around 20 mins (as per the instructions). After that I turned the heat off, covered the pot and let it sit for around 30 mins. (The instructions said to let it sit for 5 minutes but y’all know I can’t let something sit for less than 30.)

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Voila, I had just made the delicious Lush White Mulled Wine. And I’m talking SUPER DELICIOUS. The spices are so so nice, the balance is excellent with star anise coming through first followed by an undercurrent of earthiness from the orange peel, cloves, and ginger.

So, now what? What to do with Mulled White Wine?

Gurrrrrrl, first of all, you should just pour some in a mug with a cinnamon stick and “wooooo” yourself to paradise! Then maybe put on your fave winter movie and chill out on the couch.

But wait, there’s more! You may be thinking, “I know what this Mulled White Wine needs. It needs some Brandy.” Congratulations, you’ve literally just made Fortified Wine. Wine + Sweetness + Herbes/Spices + Fortification (aka some kind of spirit) = Fortified Wine. America, get on that shit.

Lush White Fortified Wine

  • 6 parts Lush White Mulled Wine
  • 1-2 parts Brandy, Cognac, Calvados, Apple Brandy, or Pear Brandy

When serving, I’d encourage freshly grated Nutmeg as a garnish.

If for some reason you didn’t drink all of your Lush White Mulled Wine and part of the bottle made it to the fridge, you can use the wine as a cocktail ingredient.

There were a lot of possibilities when trying to come up with a Cocktail worthy of the Lush White but my first and best thought was, “Gurrrrl, put it with Aged Rhum Agricole and Creole Shrubb.” Done.

Nöel in the Antilles

  • 3 oz Lush White Mulled Wine
  • 3/4 oz Rhum JM VO Agricole (or the Aged Agricole of your choice)
  • 1 barspoon Hamilton Petite Shrubb (or the Creole Shrubb of your choice)
  • Garnish: Star Anise

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrrrrrr. Strain into chilled coupe and garnish.


Holiday Cheers to y’all and if you want to order a Cooking Gift Set Co. Mulled Wine Brewing Kit, use the code HomeBarGirl and get 20% off if you order by Christmas Day! AMAZING RIGHT?

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Stirred Drinks with Rhum Agricole: Guadeloupe Martinez

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Howdy y’all! We’re continuing with the theme of “Home Bar Girl gets obsessed with things and can’t stop talking about them.” The current obsession: Rhum Agricole, the format: Stirred.

Today I’ve got my second Stirred Drink with Rhum Agricole: the Guadeloupe Martinez.

…aaaaaaaaaand it’s so tasty! I’m know i’m tooting my own horn here and I get that this might sound terribly conceited… but y’all, I think this drink is a HOME RUN. I say that because home runs only happen to me like three times a year and this is one of those times!

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Be sure to grab yer prettiest coupe for this drink cause you are going to want to savor every sip of the Guadeloupe Martinez.

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The goal of this Stirred Drink with Rhum Agricole was to put the silky, caramely, faintly funky, and wonderfully delicious Rhum Damoiseau VSOP with some equally as tasty ingredients. I was into the idea of doing a Martinez variation cause I am REALLY into Martinez variations.

Personally, I feel like there are two ways to go with a Martinez and those are: 1. Maraschino direction or 2. Orange Liqueur direction. The flavor of Rhum Damoiseau VSOP sort of screams “ORANGE” to me, so I picked some appropriate modifiers: Bonal Aperitif (I’m also obssessed with Bonal), a bit of Dolin Rouge vermouth to smooth things out, and a dash of Angostura Orange Bitters for extra Orange.

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Speaking of Orange, this Clement Creole Shrubb is super delicious with just the right amount of spices. I’m totally convinced that Rhum Damoiseau VSOP and Clement Creole Shrubb are best friends. BEST FRIENDS Y’ALL.

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I recently learned from the Liquid Intelligence book that one should chill their mixing glasses before use so as to create proper dilution without wasting too much ice to convert heat to cold. If you wanna get really geeky about properly building cocktails, I highly recommend getting this book.

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And now, without further ado, the Guadeloupe Martinez.

Guadeloupe Martinez

  • 2 oz Damoiseau VSOP Rhum Agricole
  • 3/4 oz Bonal Aperitif
  • 1/4 oz Dolin Rouge Vermouth
  • 1 barspoon Clement Creole Shrubb
  • 1 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange Peel

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrr til you just can’t stand it (or really about 50 rotations). Strain into chilled coupe, express Orange peel and garnish.

Now for a varition on this variation! I gave the Guadeloupe Martinez recipe to my gurl Shannon Mustipher for a Rhum Clement event she was hosting at Glady’s Caribbean and she made the following adjustments:

Martinique Martinez

  • 2 oz Rhum Clement Vieux Agricole (sub aged Rhum Agricole from Martinique)
  • 3/4 oz Alessio Chinato Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Dolin Blanc
  • 1 barspoon Clement Creole Shrubb
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange peel

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Santé and oh man, I really hope you enjoy these Rhum Agricole Martinez variations as much as I do!

If you, like me, can’t get enough Rhum Agricole, head over to The Sugarcane Press, hosted by the House of Agricole

 

Stirred Drinks with Rhum Agricole: L’Acajou

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Alriiiiiight, so I decided to take my Rhum Agricole obsession and turn it into a series of stirred drinks cause AUTUMN Y’ALL. Why does Rhum automatically have to be associated with Tiki drinks and Tropicals times? (Cause it’s damn good that’s why.)

Fore real though, I got a whole bunch of stuff from the House of Agricole (Clement, Damoiseau, & Rhum JM) and decided to make a series of drinks with aged Rhum Agricole. I am fully aware that this concept is a bit difficult to get one’s head around but trust me, these drinks are deeeelicious.

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So let’s talk about Rhum Agricole cause I’ve started teaching classes about this delicious category of Rhum but don’t think I’ve addressed it here on Home Bar Girl.

  1. What is Rhum Agricole? It’s Rhum made from freshly pressed Cane Juice instead of being made from Molasses (like most Rums you know) or another Sugar Cane byproduct.
  2. Why is it spelled with an “h”? Cause it’s French and that’s how the french do.
  3. Why does it taste super different from all the other Rums I know? Fresh Cane Juice makes Rhum taste like plants instead of tasting like caramelized or molasses sugar. Rhum Agricole is mega herbaceous, a bit funky, and has an unusually high level of Terroir. So much so that Rhum Agricole made in Martinique has an actual AOC designation from the french government, just like french wines do.
  4. Did I mention that Martinique is part of the French Commonwealth? It is. Colonialism.

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“So what’s the deal with this drink gurl?” Basically, I wanted to accomplish the following:

  1. I wanted to put Rhum Clement Vieux Agricole in a stirred drink. Based on all of the planty, grassy, rubbery, fruity notes in the Rhum, I knew it would go well with Giffard Banane du Bresil.
  2. Giffard Banane is basically like Banana Bread in a bottle. Carmelized banana, baking spices, deep toffee notes. This shit is like crack if crack was in Banana form.
  3. Fancy Tony’s bitters were given to me by Tony himself! Thanks Tony! They’ve got citrus, spices, allspice, and basically everything you want in Tiki bitters.

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I wanted the Orange oil to be happening but I didn’t want to put a peel in the drink cause I felt like the presentation would be too overwhelming. Overwhelming? WHUT…

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…Nutmeg. Yep. It’s that time of year. The time of year when I put Nutmeg in almost every single drink. No one wants to look at a drink with an Orange peel AND Nutmeg so we’re going to express the Orange peel and discard.

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The word L’Acajou means “Mahogany” en français and was a word used in advertisements for Rhum Clement Vieux Agricole back in the 1930s. Since this drink is the nearly the same color as mahogany, I’m using the word “L’Acajou” for this drink. Also, it sounds awesome. Say, “L’Acajou” fives times to yourself. Yeah gurl, you love it.

L’Acajou

  • 1 1/2 oz Rhum Clement Vieux Agricole
  • Heavy 1/4 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • Fancy Tony’s Tiki Bitters (sub Bittermen’s Elemakule Tiki Bitters or Angostura Bitters)
  • Garnish: Orange oil, freshly grated Nutmeg

Build in glass: Add Rhum, Banane du Bresil, Bitters, ice and stir. Express Orange peel and discard, grate Nutmeg on top.

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Hope y’all enjoy this and it gets your juices flowing for some really killer Stirred Drinks with Rhum Agricole! Santé!

Genever & the Flemish Martinez

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Ok, so y’all remember how I went to Belgium cause I was going to visit my brother and drink “all the Jenever?”  Well, dreams are one thing but reality is often so much better and WOW my mom and I had some really tasty stuff. We drank everything from “the Best Beer in the World” (Westvleteren, at the Sint Sixtus Abbey. Tears to my eyes!), to some of the best Gins I’ve ever had (and am actively trying to import to the USA), to incredible wines from my brother’s collection (cause we DeLunas are totally wine snobs), to yes, Genever.

Let’s take a lil photo trip shall we?

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The most idyllic sheep on earth y’all.

Flanders, the eastern part of Belgium, is home to a lot of agriculture and we all know what that means. Sheep, cows, pastoral landscapes, incredible cheeses and…Grains, y’all. It means grains.

Where there is a ton of grain and a good water supply, there can be a ton of spirit production.

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Don’t you love that Genever comes in a clay pot? So cool.

The earliest reference to Genever dates all the way back to the 13th C in Brugge, Belgium (Bruges for all you French speaking people). There is further mention of Genever production found in papers from the 16th C in Antwerp. The earliest reference to Jenever distillation in the Netherlands is from the 17th C, meaning that Genever was actually created in Flanders and not in Holland.

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This lovely photo is from the medieval city of Gent (Ghent for all y’all francophiles). These two buildings in the center of the photo are actually from the Middle Ages and still standing! Stunning architecture, no?

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There is also a fabulous medieval castle in Gent, Kasteel Gravesteen. Ohhhhh, so massive, so spooky.

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But the real reason I wanted to go to Gent was to drink at ‘t Dreupelkot, home of the largest selection of Genever in Belgium. With over 200 different types, I was freaking out like a kid in a candy store!

The fun thing about Genever in a place like ‘t Dreupelkot is that they have flavored versions too which are somewhat like liqueurs and maaaaaad tasty. The flavors shown above are Hazelnut, Kirsch, and one of their many Oude Graanjenevers. It was divine! I would drink that Hazelnut one errrrryday if I could.

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So this brings us back to an important point, what exactly IS Genever? Well, it’s a combination of neutral grain spirit, moutwjin (malt wine, aka distilled fermented barley malt), sugar, juniper, and other herbs. This delicious Fillier’s Oude Graanjenever 5 Jaar tastes something like a mix between malt Whisky and Old Tom Gin. It’s fabulous and I am definitely loving all of its supreme richness.

There are two main types of Genever:

  1. Oude is created in the old style with grains, malt wine, typically distilled in an Alembic still, and a higher amount of sugar than…
  2. Jonge is much closer to a neutral grain spirit and can be made with nearly any type of base (sugar beets, grains), some malt wine and sugar.

When served a pour of Genever, the barman typically fills the glass to the very top and it is customary to bend over and take your first sip from the glass. Then you raise your glass and say “Santé” or “Gezondheid”!

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…Buuuuuut, this is me, and who am I? “A gurrrrrrl making fabulous cocktails.” Mhmm. So, let’s put this glorious, malty, lightly sweet Fillier’s Oude Graanjenever in a cocktail!

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What could be more fitting for the grandfather of Gin than a Martinez variation? Nada, y’all. Nada!

Since our base spirit is Genever and not Old Tom Gin, I felt like Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao was the way to go instead of Maraschino. Equally as important was using two types of vermouth, so as not to overwhelm the drink with sweetness. Lastly, Boker’s Bitters cause they’re perfect in a Martinez.

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Stirrrrrr like you’re thinking about how 13th Century Belgium is about to give a sublime gift to your palate.

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Though this might not be the most adventurously named Martinez variation, it is accurate and like your history teacher probably said, “Accuracy is key.”

Flemish Martinez

  • 2 oz Filliers’ Oude Graanjenever 5 Jaar
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Rouge
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry
  • 1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
  • 1 dash Boker’s Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange peel rose

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrr whilst you think about the middle ages. Strain into chilled coupe and garnish.

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Cheers and may this post fill your mind with knowledge, a desire to visit Flanders, and a thirst for Genever! I know I’ll be going back as soon as I possibly can cause Belgium is a beautiful, tasty country!

 

MonteNegroni No. 2

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Happy #NegroniWeek to y’all! #NegroniWeekend? Either way, Happy Friday!

I’ve been working on this drink since I got back from Belgium cause I am in looooove with Copperhead Gin and it goes really well with Amaro Montenegro.

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Like, I’m so into this Gin that I bought it twice. The Juniper is there but there are also loads of Pine, Angelica, Cardamom, Coriander, and spice notes. It’s super smooth and I want to drink it all the damn time.

*WILL SOMEONE IN NORTH AMERICA PLEASE START IMPORTING COPPERHEAD GIN FROM BELGIUM? K thanx.

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But back to the point: Last year I made the first MonteNegroni and I loved it. This year I made it again but swapped out Copperhead for Plymouth Gin, Dolin Blanc for Carpano Antica…and then I thought, “Wait, this needs something else. Not a lot of something else, just a bit of something else…”

And then it hit me, “SHERRY!” I’ve noticed that 1/4 oz of Amontillado Sherry will really do magical things in a stirred drink. So here we are…I broke the rules again. Another Four-Ingredient-Negroni coming right up!

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Don’t forget to stirrrrrrrrrrr til the light of heaven shines down upon you and your heart smiles. 🙂 ❤

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MonteNegroni No. 2

  • 1 oz Copperhead Gin (sub any dry, Angelica forward Gin)
  • 3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc
  • 1/4 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • Garnish: Orange peel

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrrr until the skies open up and you see the light of heaven. Strain into a double Rocks glass over ice. Express Orange peel and garnish.

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Cheers and may your soul sparkle with the power of the MonteNegroni!

HBG Video: Gin & Orange No. 1

Hey y’alllllll! Welcome to my first cocktail video! My friend, the incomparable Julian Franco came over to my lil apt, and shot this video of me making Gin & Orange No. 1. Hope you enjoy and here’s the recipe!

Gin & Orange No. 1

  • 1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin
  • 1/2 oz Carpano Antica Italian Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • Two dashes Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange peel

Stirrrrrr & Strain. Express Orange peel and garnish.

Cheers!

Temple of Clarity

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Ahhhhhhh, a stirred drink. It’s been a hot second since I posted about a cocktail in a Coupe and now that Tiki The Snow Away is over, I’ve got one for y’all.

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Seriously, after a month of shaken and blended drinks, I feel like I almost forgot how zen it is to just STIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Yes, that’s a lot of “R’s” but I like stirring, it makes me feel relaxed.

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Here are yer cast of characters:

  1. Templeton Rye: I wanted the base spirit to be Rye cause I was in the mood. “No lie, she wanted Rye.” I’m really digging the smoothness and mixability of Templeton.
  2. Grand Marnier: I may have mentioned that someone gave this to me as a holiday gift, and I’m so into it! I’ve never had it in my Home Bar before, but the viscosity, spices, dryness, and depth of flavor in Grand Marnier is REALLY doing it for me.
  3. Amontillado Sherry & Dolin Dry: since I added Grand Marnier (sweet, Orange), I wanted to add things to dry it out and compliment. Both the Sherry and Vermouth are dry with the Sherry giving nutty, raisin, briney notes and the Dolin Dry doing that magical thing it does.
  4. Pernod Pastis: last but not least, a bit of Pernod Pastis gives an excellent boost of bright Anise to this boozy drink.

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Express and discard the orange peel, we just want the oil. No distractions in the Temple of Clarity.

Temple of Clarity

  • 2 oz Templeton Rye
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1 Barspoon Pernod Pastis or Absinthe
  • Garnish: Orange oil, discard peel

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrrrrrr. Strain into yer favorite chilled Coupe, express Orange peel and discard.

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Clear, simple, complex, rewarding. Cheers to you in this relaxing moment!