It’s finally here, you guys. It’s FALL! I think we can all agree, no matter where you live in the world, FALL IS THE BEST. Even Los Angeles is feeling the cooler nights, spice and woodsmoke in the air, and the cozy factor is turnt UP. It may not be full on sweater weather here, but my fave ponchos are in full rotation.
When I moved from New York to Los Angeles a few years ago, I realized how much of a seasonal drinker I was. Relocating to a place that is sunny all year round had me craving lighter, sparkling, lower alcohol concoctions more and more. My first year in La La Land also had me really missing the dramatic Autumnal feelzzz the northeast is so famous for. But by the next year I started to detect the seasonal shifts that I hadn’t when I first got here. And my palate adapted as well.
What I love about this Argentine Yerba Mate Harvest Spritz that I created especially for the season, is that it is a combination of all that. My initial leanings towards lighter, sparkling and lower alcohol drinks when I first moved here, along with my cravings for all things autumn.
The smokiness of the Argentine Yerba Mate tea, along with the autumnal sweetness of the apricot brandy and maple syrup is complemented by a seasonal punch of hard apple cider. It really is sparkling harvest in a glass.
The addition of Argentine Yerba Mate tea adds an earthiness and slightly tannic quality to the overall flavor as well as a little kick of caffeine – something we all could use a little more of during these darker days! Not to mention, this tea native to South America contains a boost of antioxidants (more than green tea!) and a slew of other health benefits like vitamins and minerals that are extremely beneficial during the onslaught of flu season! You can find Argentine Yerba Mate brands in specialty tea stores and in select Whole Foods Markets across the U.S. You can also purchase Argentine Yerba Mate on Amazon.com.
Instead of cozying up with a hot cup of tea, how about mixing up this easy fall sparkler, throw on a poncho, and celebrate this most beautiful, fleeting time of year!
Argentine Yerba Mate Harvest Spritz – served over ice
2 oz Argentine Yerba Mate Tea, cooled
1 oz Apricot Brandy
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Maple Syrup
Dry Sparkling Hard Apple Cider
Garnish: apple wedge
In an ice-filled shaker, add the cooled Yerba Mate, apricot brandy, lemon juice and maple syrup. Shake well until chilled. Strain into a highball or mason jar filled with ice. Top with dry sparkling hard cider and stir. Garnish with apple wedge.
This post was sponsored by National Institution for Argentine Yerba Mate
Listen to Episode 38: Bertoux Brandy with Jeff Bell
Brandy is having a moment. Well, it’s had many moments over the years but it’s definitely having a moment again.
Brandy, a spirit created by distilling wine, dates back to the beginning of distillation. It also plays a pivotal role in American history. It was once a fundamental part of daily life during the Colonial era, was extremely popular into the 18th and 19th Centuries, and during the The Golden Age of cocktails was THE go-to spirit for crafty libations. The idea of aging whiskies in America was even inspired by brandy. The very first Bourbon in the states was put into charred oak barrels to mimic the taste the brandies coming out of France. But then Prohibition came along and the brandy industry was nearly all but destroyed in the states. And even when this current golden age of cocktails rose up, and out of favor spirits were suddenly in vogue again, it failed to totally bring brandy back to its original heyday. But with American consumption of Cognac on the rise, continued interest in classic craft cocktails, and brandy distilleries once again dotting our country, brandy is having a moment.
On the Bit by a Fox Podcast this week, our guest is veteran bartender Jeff Bell from legendary drinking den PDT in New York City. Jeff is the consulting master blender of an exciting new American born brandy called BERTOUX Brandy. It recently launched in New York and here in California where I caught up with Jeff at their recent launch party. Coming off of my visit to Cognac, this was great timing to introduce you listeners to all things brandy and prep for our Cognac series coming up soon.
This week’s featured cocktail is a Sidecar with specs from Jeff Bell
Bertoux Brandy Sidecar
1.5 oz of Bertoux Brandy
3/4 oz of Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Simple syrup
lemon wedge, granulated white sugar
To sugar a rim on a coupe glass, swipe a lemon wedge around the top edge of the glass and then dip into a sugar filled saucer to coat the rim with sugar. Place all cocktail ingredients into an ice-filled shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass with sugared rim.
Listen to Episode 37: Nightcap with Kara Newman”
This week’s podcast guest has been a long time coming – New York-based spirits and cocktail writer, Kara Newman. Kara is the Spirits Editor for Wine Enthusiast and is the author of multiple cocktail books including the forthcoming little gem: Nightcap: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening – available October 16th.
I caught up with Kara at the recent BevCon drinks conference here in LA – her very first visit to LA! – and we might have indulged in a few nightcaps of our own at my place in the middle of the day. Whoops!
This week’s featured cocktail is the Open & Shut. This is a Scaffa cocktail, a room-temperature nightcap, shared by Chicago bartender Julia Momose in Kara Newman’s Nightcap: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening.
Open & Shut
1 1/2 oz Amaro Lucano
1/2 oz of Cognac
Combine Amaro and Cognac in a rocks glass with no ice, and stir. Garnish is optional, a lemon or orange peel is nice. In Julia Momose’s words: “Simply build in the glass, retire to bed, sip, and ease yourself into slumber.”
Listen to Episode 36: Peruvian Pisco with Romina Scheufle”
Pisco. What exactly is this South American spirit that has been all abuzz in the cocktail world in recent years? Its history goes back to the 16th century, but it’s still largely undiscovered by the average American consumer. Other than the Pisco Sour, many wouldn’t know how to order it, what to look for when purchasing it or how to properly drink it. We’ve discussed Pisco before and we’ve even had some recipes featuring Capurro Pisco on this very blog. But for this week’s Bit by a Fox podcast, we do a little deep dive into the subject with some major help from a friend…
This week’s guest, pisco expert Romina Scheufele, helps us to understand why this spirit is so special. Her family has been in the pisco making business for 5 generations, over 100 years; She is President & CEO at Capurro Pisco, her family’s artisan pisco from Peru – so she may know a little something about this Peruvian brandy.
For this week’s episode, we decided to feature one of the most popular cocktails in Peru, the Chilcano,
In an ice-filled highball glass add 2 Oz. pisco, top with ginger ale, squeeze some fresh lime juice, give it a stir and enjoy!
Listen to Episode 35: Maker’s Mark with Rob Samuels”
I’ve written quite a bit over the years about Kentucky bourbon brand Maker’s Mark, and created many a cocktail recipe with their whisky on this very blog. I’ve even had the opportunity to visit the distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, walk the storied Maker’s Mark campus, and meet the family behind it all. It’s hard to think of a time before this historic bourbon made its mark on America and the world.
Maker’s Mark is so iconic with its squared bottle dipped in red wax and that consistently familiar flavor profile; It is recognized and beloved the world over. Apparently, not without a shaky start.
According to Rob Samuels, who currently runs the company, it took a good 30 years for the billion dollar brand to turn a profit.
He should know. His grandparents (Bill Samuels and Margie, pictured below) started Maker’s Mark in the 1950s when American whiskey was at an all time low, his father Bill Samuels Jr. helped to usher in this country’s bourbon boom, and for the last 8 years, Rob has been leading the brand into the next generation as COO.
For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast, I caught up with Rob (pictured below with a Bit by a Fox Podcast pin!) at the recent BevCon conference here in LA and he gave us the super insiders take to all things Maker’s Mark, the Samuels Family and Kentucky bourbon.
This week’s featured cocktail is the signature drink for Kentucky horse race institution, Keeneland.
1 1/4 oz Maker’s Mark
splash Orange liqueur
splash Ginger ale
splash Fresh squeezed orange juice
Rocks glass and ice
Fill rocks glass with ice, add the bourbon, orange liqueur and fresh orange juice, top with ginger ale, give it a stir and garnish with an orange wedge.
Listen to Episode 34: Amaro Liqueur with Brad Thomas Parsons
Amaro, the Italian bitter liqueur, has been used as a digestive in Italy and produced for hundreds of years, and has had a resurgence due to the craft cocktail revival. And yet, outside of Italy and this niche-y industry, the Amaro category is still fairly unknown, and often misunderstood. To be fair, the category can be confusing to even seasoned spirits experts. James Beard award winning author and spirits & bitters expert Brad Thomas Parsons to the rescue!
In our deep dive into all things Amaro in this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast, we discuss what exactly makes an Italian bitter liqueur an Amaro, and whether or not Campari, Fernet Branca or Jagermeister fall under that umbrella.
This week’s featured cocktail recipe is the Negroni Sbagliato from BT Parson’s book – Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. lightly sparkling wine
Garnish: orange slice or peel
Combine vermouth and Campari in an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with sparkling wine, stir to combine and garnish.
Author and cocktail photos: Ed Anderson
Listen to Episode 33: Sother Teague “I’m Just Here For the Drinks”
After a two week break on the Bit by a Fox Podcast, we are coming back in with a bang! Our guest this week is Sother Teague – a greatly admired veteran barman, teacher, and cocktail expert. He is the Beverage Director at the New York bitters and amaro haven Amor y Amargo, Wine Enthusiast’s Mixologist of the Year in 2017, co-host of the ‘Speakeasy’ podcast on Heritage Radio Network…and he’s just added published author to his long list of accomplishments.
His first book I’m Just Here For the Drinks: A Guide to Spirits, Drinking and More Than 100 Extraordinary Cocktails is coming in hot just this week. We talked about how this book came to be, his circuitous road from the being a chef to getting behind the stick, and ultimately knocking it out of the park at every turn.
This week’s featured cocktail recipe is a Negroni variation from Sother’s book I’m Just Here For the Drinks:
1.5 oz London Dry Gin
.75 Amaro Montenegro
2 dashes of Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
Stir all the ingredients over ice until well chilled. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
Now that we’re in the dog days of summer and more than half way into our first season of the Bit by a Fox Podcast, we’ve decided to take a wee two week break for summer holiday!
This is the perfect time to sip on a cocktail or two, and catch up on allllll those Bit by a Fox Podcast episodes you might’ve missed along the way. We’ve been recording every week since January and we’ve built up quite the library of boozy episodes. I KNOW some of y’all have a missed a few.
During this week’s shot sized episode, I suggest some of our top episodes so far, and I read (and comment, naturally!) over some episode suggestions that we got from our recent late bloomer launch party. And for the first time ever, we turn to our listeners for future episode suggestions. Take a listen, go back into our archives and throw out any ideas YOU think would make the podcast even better!
The photo above by photographer, David Parise is part of a series of photos taken of vintage Barbie and Ken dolls and I’ve recently become OBSESSED. Check out more of his work and purchase one of his prints at BarbieAndKenPhotos.Com
Listen to Episode 31: Tam O’Shanter and the Great Wall of Scotch”
This week we’re exploring one of the most fascinating restaurants in the country, the legendary and whimsical Scottish-themed restaurant the Tam O’Shanter.
Tam O’Shanter, Ryan Tanaka 2018
Tam O’Shanter is the oldest continuously operated family run restaurant in Los Angeles, now in their 4th generation, and it’s considered to be one of the first themed restaurants in the country. Built in a distinctive Storybook style in 1922 by Hollywood set designer Harry Oliver with some help from movie-studio carpenters, the Tam is Old Hollywood meets Scottish pub meets…Walt Disney – who was a key player in the Tam O’Shanter history books.
Tam O’Shanter, Ryan Tanaka 2018
To get the inside scoop on their nearly 100 year history, I interviewed John Lindquist, the GM of Tam O’Shanter. The second half of the episode is devoted to Tam’s infamous Scotch collection. Upon walking in the door, you are greeted with the Great Wall of Scotch, an immense display that holds about 200 of their 400 plus bottles of single malts and blends from distilleries around the world. For the second half of the episode, I spoke with Martin Ridell – the in-house Tam O’Shanter Scotch ambassador who knows a thing or two about the water of life.
This week’s featured recipe is one of Martin’s favorite Scotch-based cocktails, The Scottish Goodbye:
The Scottish Goodbye
Scotch Whiskey (Martin recommends Teachers Highland)
Mist of Laphroig
Garnish: lemon twist
Stir all the ingredients over ice until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Give it a wee mist of Laphroig. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Brunch is the most important meal of the day. That’s the saying, right?!
It truly is a very important weekend occasion…especially when you spend half your day doing it! My favorite is getting together with friends for a late breakfast and then stretching it out to the late afternoon/early evening, so it really does live up to its name and covers two meals of the day. It’s economics, people. They don’t call it brunch for nothing!
You know what restaurants don’t like from their brunch guests, however? People who linger for half the day. I know from experience. I’ve gotten my fair share of side eye during multiple shift changes over the years.
That’s why hosting at home with friends is no-brainer. You also have more control over the food and drink…and for this theme loving gal, it couldn’t be more perfect. This past weekend I hosted a Provençal themed brunch with strawberry crepes & crème fraîche, fresh fruits and cheeses and a delightful (and luckily very large) bottle of Mathilde Chapoutier “Grand Ferrage” Côtes de Provence Rosé.
This time of year, a nice chilled bottle of crisp, dry rosé is a perfect complement to brunch with friends.
I fell in love with Provençal style rosés last July when I spent a few weeks in the region. Frankly, they drink it like water there, but it’s like a BILLION times better than water. It is also such a great food wine. I’m not gonna lie – the strawberry & crème fraîche crepes were definitely one of my most inspired pairings.
My rosé choice for this past weekend’s brunch was the namesake of creator and owner, Mathilde Chapoutier, daughter of renowned winemaker Michel Chapoutier. Made in sunshine-y Côtes de Provence, Mathilde created a rosé she would want to drink – dry and bright with stone fruits of peach and apricot, but elegant and round with a silky mouthfeel.
Honestly, it went perfectly with our delicious spread and disappeared faster than I anticipated. Ladies get thirsty during brunch!
I love that the compass rose on the label symbolizes Mathilde’s love of travel and her on-going quest to visit the world’s greatest wine regions. Same, girl, same.
Here’s to transporting your brunch to the south of France with a little jeuge and a bottle of Mathilde Chapoutier “Grande Ferrage” Rosé. Santé!
This post was sponsored and fueled by Mathilde Chapoutier Rosé. All opinions are my own.