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SAGE in a side-by-side taste test at The Gin Is In

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Wheeler’s Western Dry Gin from Santa Fe Spirits captures the essence of place through the use of many botanicals native to New Mexico, and of importance to New Mexico heritage. For example, the Osha root[known to Native peoples' as Bear Root, so-called as legend says it was discovered by observing a bear consuming it] is a local medicine, historically used for aches. Then take the Cholla cactus, whose blossoms are reputed to have a faintly “cucumber” like flavor. Throw in sage [the aroma of the desert] and juniper, each individually distilled, then combined, and you have a distinctly New Mexican gin.

Tasting Notes

Vividly and powerfully aromatic, at even first blush, bright sage, with a wet sagebrush after a spring rain aroma, leading you into some deeper juniper notes, with earthy depth in the lower notes. Very bright and inviting, though it could easily be mixed up from aroma along with Art in the Age’s Sage Spirit, but more on that later.

The palate offer a significantly more complex bouquet or notes to unravel. At first, a touch of a floral lift, with a stab of sage oil, the mid-notes are richly complex with at first vegetal, crisp, green notes, then some sweeter, spicier hints. You get some crisp, recognizable juniper here, before a hint of citrusy sweetness giving way to a long sage note that dominates the finish. Crisp and bright. Although there’s no doubt that sage is the leading note here, the other botanicals compliment and round it out nicely.

Comparative Sage-Spirits studies

I decided to try Wheeler’s Gin in a side by side neat taste test with Art in the Age’s Sage spirit. Since I had the latter for a project I was working on around botanical spirits, it was worth comparing. While both compliment the sage with other botanical notes, it’s interesting how the fennel and rosemary lift in Sage, largely dominant in the finish, parallel similar balance and complexity in the gin. Whereas Sage has stronger Sage note up front and in the middle, Wheeler’s juniper, angelica, and coriander offer a spicier, definitely gin like, but more balanced middle note.

I quite like both spirits, but side-by-side, it’s very clear which one is a gin, and it also helps highlight the way some of the more traditional gin compliments can be used to color in the lower notes of a spirit.

Anyway, let’s get back to the cocktails.

Cocktails

At first, we mixed it up in a Dunhill’s Special. For those of you unfamiliar with this century old cocktail, it’s composed of equal parts Vermouth, Sherry and Gin. Add a dash of curacao, stir and strain. The nose was sweet sherry and brown sugar. The palate was wonderful and complex: safe up front, citrus in the middle, ripe grapes, cooked cherries and then lemon as the low notes unfolded with a touch of creamy richness. The sage note was lovely, and very complimentary.

We then put it to test in a 4:1 Martini. The Sage works beautifully side by side, adding a badly needed bright list to the darker herbal characters of the Vermouth. Hardly traditional, but very good as its own sort of cocktail.

We then tried it in a Gin and Tonic with Liber and Co.’s Tonic Syrup (). Surprisingly quiet at first, with cinnamon, nutmeg, sage and cloves in a bright spicy flourish. It has that nice bright sage-note quality, though this time complimenting it with a fresh floral lift, enhanced by the tart sweetness of the syrup.

Finally, we tried Wheeler’s Gin in a Gimlet. A little bit of the earthy spice complimented the acidic notes from the lime. There was a tart, puckering, citric acid punch, with sage again dominant on the finish. Quite nice.

Vitals

 

Price:  $32 /  750mL
Proof: 80
Origin: 
  New Mexico, United States
Availability:
 New Mexico and Online
Rating:  People who don’t like  it will probably say “too much sage” and not “enough juniper.” Fans of contemporary style gins will find that the sage, while certainly the star, isn’t singing alone. The balance here elevates Wheeler’s Gin above other strong, single-note contemporary gins. It’s a bold statement of a gin that rather than tossing out all the rules, uses the traditional gin formula as a stepping stone towards something new, and quintessentially “New Mexico.”

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Comparative Sage-Spirits studies 

“The Bad Apple” Cocktail with Art in the Age SNAP is a hit at FEED Supper

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As you know, this past Sunday we hosted our FEED Supper, and what a blast it was. We hosted over 30 people with a family style feast in a backyard home in Los Angeles, and created a menu that was both easy to pull off for a big group. Our feast featured a mix of some of our favorite flavors: from sautéed butternut squash to barbecued salmon. Everything was inspired by bowls: so you started with your base (quinoa or rice) and just kept layering – from black beans to feta cheese to my favorite garnish, cilantro.

And we couldn’t resist but make our favorite lentil, feta and bruschetta dip! It’s always a party hit.

Libations were flowing, including this delicious cocktail ‘The Bad Apple‘ stirred up by the team at Art In The Age and mixed with a yummy ginger juice from Juice Served Here.

We set the scene with decorative accents in our favorite color palette (oranges, yellows, peach) to keep it bright and fresh, including this lovely table runner from Anthropologie, similar to this one.

A huge thank you to everyone who attended, supported, and helped us surpass our donation goal!

 

xo, Sabrina Soto

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OUR FEED SUPPER: A SUCCESS! 

“Spiced Pumpkin Carriage” Cocktail with SNAP at One Raw Bite

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Everyone is pumpkin crazy anymore. It is pretty much pointless to deny it any longer- you need more pumpkin in your life. I think our current obsession might be because all the kids who grow up loving Halloween. So we reach and grab things vaguely related to Halloween that are more adult- like horror movie marathons. Or costume runs in graveyards. I feel like we clutch to pumpkins because of jack o’ lanterns. Maybe not. But I am not going to stop eating them.

I thought I would take it up a notch and make a drink just for vegans with pumpkins: The Spiced Carriage. There are two secrets to the cocktail- homemade pumpkin spice syrup and SnapSnapis a spirit made by Art in the Age of Reproduction. They have several spirits that are inspired by old practices or traditions from American settlers. Snap has the perfect mix of spices that give the drink an extra depth. You can buy it online with Hi-Time Wine or you can search their store locator.

 

Alexa came down to visit, and I knew I had to give her this cocktail. I also wanted to brainstorm names. I haven’t been too creative with food names, and cocktails usually have names that are more fun. Alexa came up with “The Spicy Ginger (Babe)” but my husband voted for my more fairytaled themed “Spiced Pumpkin Carriage”

I think I can safely say this is sort of like a Pumpkin Spice Latte in cocktail form. Okay there isn’t any coffee elements to it, but has that similar creamy and warm pumpkin feeling to it. Though I am now seeing that I could of put in a little Kona and gotten some yummy results. Oh well. Maybe next year…

 

You’ll have to turn on the stove to make this cocktail. Well, you don’t have to, but if you want it to taste the best you should. I made a custom syrup for this drink, which can be used in coffee, or to sprinkle on top of desserts. Below is the recipe and you totally will want to make it ahead of time.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup rice milk
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree.

Instructions

  • Put sugar and rice milk in a small pot and bring to boil, dissolving all the sugar.
  • Add all spices and pumpkin puree and cook for 5-10 minutes on low heat.
  • Let syrup cool for another 10 minutes and strain through a cheese cloth to separate the spices from the syrup.
  • Store in refridgerator

What if you don’t want to make a homemade syrup? Just look around on Amazon- there are tons of vegan pumpkin spice syrups. Just look for syrups that are clear and always check the labels. Some clear syrups still have some milk present in it, so you can never be too safe. But I recommend making your own syrup. It is really rewarding.

Now for the REAL recipe:

Spiced Pumpkin Carriage

Serves 1

A pumpkin spice cocktail using Snap and Whiskey

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Pumpkin Spice Syrup (2 tbsp or 1/8 cup)
  • 1 ounce Bullet Rye Whiskey (2 tbsp or 1/8 cup)
  • 2 ounces Snap Spirit (4 tbsp or 1/4 cup)
  • 2 ounces sweetened Rice Milk (4 tbsp or 1/4 cup)

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker or jar. Shake until mixed.
  • Pour into an old fashioned glass and place a big ice cube in drink.
  • Enjoy
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Spiced Pumpkin Carriage 

Art in the Age joins local PA artisans for Starlight Pumpkin Dinner

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The Starlight Pumpkin Dinner is the third in a harvest dinner series hosted by Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast in West Chester, PA. Guest will enjoy an evening of socializing with fun, creative, fellow foodies while they enjoy the amazing menu put together by Triple Fresh Catering. Local artisans including the Farm at Doe RunArt in the AgeInspired BrewsJackalope Heart, and Juniper & Dash come together to create a unique experience that will leave guests hungry for more and a phone full of Instagram­able moments.

Hosted by Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast {699 West Rosedale Avenue West Chester, PA 19382} on Thursday, October 16th, 2014 from 6:00­9:00pm. Early bird tickets are available through October 6th at $65 per person. Regular priced dinner ticket is $75 per person. Cocktails begin at 6pm with a variety of harvest pumpkin hors d’oeuvres. Then sit on the patio and enjoy a cheese board from The Farm at Doe Run, soup, salad, entree, and dessert.

These dinners have been a great way for people to come together with common interests and tastes. The past two, Strawberry Moonlight and Twilight Peach, were met with such enthusiasm we knew the series needed to continue. A fun reason to get out and enjoy the lovely Fall season and enjoying delicious food.

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Starlight Pumpkin Dinner Features a Pumpkin-Centric Harvest Menu 

“Lose Your Prohibition Punch” with Art in the Age’s SNAP

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Lose Your Prohibition Punch
(serves several cocktails)
2 cups Twelve Five Rye
1/2 cup Art in the Age Snap
1/4 cup Yellow Chartreuse
1 cup homemade Gala apple puree
1/2 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. brown sugar simple syrup
Shake, serve up.
Add nutmeg to taste.

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Lose Your Prohibition Punch 

Art in the Age SAGE Cordial from Tasting Notes NYC

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Art in the Age SAGE Cordial

If you’re stuck in a cocktail rut consider swapping out your standby gin for the new Sage Cordial from Art in the Age. Check out the video above to hear wine and spirits consultant Laura Mooney talk about what makes the production of Art in the Age unique and see her recipe for a fresh garden cocktail.

Sage Cordial

Ingredients:
1 oz Sage Cordial
.5oz St Germain (or simple syrup, I just really like St. Germain)
2 sprigs of mint (one to muddle, one to garnish)
3-4 slices of cucumber
1 lime

 Directions:
Add sliced cucumber, 1 sprig of mint (finely chopped) and St. Germain to shaker. Muddle. Add Sage Cordial and freshly squeezed juice from half of the lime and ice. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Strain into rocks glass filled with ice (one large ice cube also makes a great presentation). Garnish with a slice of cucumber and sprig of mint. Sip outside on a nice day.

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Beard & Bonnet blog creates Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce with Art in the Age SNAP

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Who doesn’t love finger food? I have been developing recipes for a series of posts on B&B in December featuring party worthy tapas when the idea for a finger food inspired stuffing recipe came to mind. Yep, I turned Thanksgiving stuffing into a bite sized, portable treat perfect for entertaining guests, kid’s lunches, or just sitting around on the couch watching holiday movies.  Ladies and Gents, I give you Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers!!! Did you just hear the Hallelujah Chorus in your head? I totally do every time I say those 3 little words.

I used my falafel recipe as a base for these little poppers then added in onion, carrots, celery, fresh herbs and spices to make them reminiscent of my favorite holiday side dish.

The cranberry jalapeno dipping sauce isn’t mandatory with these little bites, but it really does drive home the whole Thanksgiving dinner in one bite concept when you combine the two. Be careful though, because these babies are addictive…my kids ate an entire batch in no time!

 

Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers (gluten free and vegan)

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water to cover by 3 inches for 24 hours then drain and rinse well.
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and peels removed
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped carrot
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped celery
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley
  • scant ¼ cup chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Grapeseed oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Alternate between the machine running constantly and pulsing, stopping to scrape the sides, until the mixture is all uniform in size. You want the consistency to be grainy not smooth.
  2. Use a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon measure to scoop up a small amount of the mixture. Roll it in between the palm of your hands to make a compact, round ball. Proceed with the rest of the batter, lining all of the stuffing poppers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet until there is no chickpea mixture remaining in the food processor.
  3. Pour the oil into a high sided skillet or dutch oven to a depth of 3 inches and place it over medium high heat. Place a thermometer in the oil and heat the oil until it registers between 360°F and 375 °F.
  4. Meanwhile, line another baking sheet with paper towels or brown paper grocery bags to drain the cooked stuffing poppers after they have cooked.
  5. When the oil is to temperature, drop one popper at a time into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. The oil should sizzle and bubble around each popper and the popper should hold together perfectly. Cook until the poppers are golden brown, about 1½ – 2½ minutes; remove from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and place on the paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. Sprinkle the tops of the hot poppers with salt. Repeat the process with the remaining poppers until all of them have been cooked.
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature with dipping sauce.

 

Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce (Gluten Free and Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 1 8 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Snap liquor or Grand Marnier

Instructions

 

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes.
  2. Allow the cranberry sauce to cool then blend with an immersion blender until smooth. This recipe makes almost 2 cups of cranberry sauce.
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Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers with Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce (Gluten Free and Vegan) 

Author Warren Bobrow’s “No Bigger Than A Needle’s Eye” cocktail featuring Art in the Age RHUBARB, at DrinkUpNY

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I refuse to let go of summer in my glass.  Even if the calendar reads fall, the term Indian summer resonates within my thirst.  On these days that sometimes approach summer-like temperatures it’s nice to know that we can slip into fall with a certain gracefulness and liquid driven poise.

Take the brown liquors for example, like bourbon and rye.  Although I rarely stop drinking them in the summer months, the fall and winter season allows for more robust drinking opportunities for heavier and richer flavors.

As a rule I drink iced tea year round and this refreshing ingredient acts as an antidote to dehydration.  Iced tea, in my opinion is perfectly suited as a base or as a finishing agent against mediocrity in a glass.

That’s not to say that making a cocktail without tea is boring, far from- but with the mint patch still pumping out tender green leaves, it’s my responsibility to use them.  In a few short weeks I’ll be forced to use something from the supermarket, without provenance or candor.  The soil in the garden will be too cold to force mint up from the earth and drinks will take on another perspective impossible to duplicate with mundane, store bought ingredients.

So pick your mint now, wash it well and then try immersing some in a pitcher.  Fill the pitcher with tea bags of your choice and cool spring water.  Set into the sun, cover and let steep for the whole day.  Cool overnight in the fridge, if desired and use over the next few days.   I seem to prefer green tea, you should use what you like.

 

Art in the Age, the Philadelphia based collective of neo-rationalists are not only in the advertising and marketing business, but they are also in the spirits business.  One of my favorite products that they handcraft using USDA Certified Organic ingredients is known simply as Rhubarb.  This slightly pink peppercorn tinged tea rolls in at a hefty 80 Proof so it is no drooping daisy in your glass.  Rhubarb when made into a health-based “tea” (concentrate) purportedly has been known to offer powerful healing in every sip.  I just think Rhubarb lends itself easily to Moroccan mint tea in a cocktail.

I’ve been rather fond of Templeton Rye as of late in mixed drinks of all types.  I am intrigued by the flavor and it tastes good to me.  It’s also wonderful with Mexican Coke- try it!

Quite by accident I added a couple ounces of this spicy, cinnamon tinged rye whiskey to a glass of Moroccan mint-iced tea and a drink was born!  Soon thereafter I found that the tangy qualities of the Rhubarb “tea” from Art in the Age took the Rye whiskey and the mint tea to another level entirely.  I sweetened the tea with raw honey simple syrup and finished the drink with the Bitter Truth Orange Bitters.  A few splashes of seltzer water made this cocktail into something elegant and memorable- all with simple ingredients!

I suppose it just goes to illustrate that a simple glass of mint iced tea can take on many different perspectives

 

from mild to robust depending on the length that you steep your tea.  My idea of real iced tea is not bitter in any way- but flavor driven.  In the summer months I make my tea with a lighter tea, like green tea or white tea.  The fall months gets an application of Jasmine tea or possibly an Indian style tea.  When the winter season comes calling, my iced tea is built from a base of Lapsang Souchong or Irish Breakfast style tea.  Whatever type of tea that you prefer to use is up to you.  Even herbal tea based on the core ingredient of mint is ok- it will just change the drink in whatever direction you should choose to go to.

I suppose that Moroccan Mint tea would work as well should you choose a lighter flavor profile for your cocktail.  Whatever your perspective, your ingredients should be chosen with care along with what I consider to be the most important ingredient, the ice!

Please, choose your ice carefully!   I know it sounds obsessive, but that’s just what I think.  And if you prefer another type of rye or even the sweeter country cousin, bourbon, please experiment with that too!

My friend Joy Stocke- founder and publisher of the internationally renowned literary magazine, Wild River Review is my influence for this east meets west approach to the deeply cooling, Moroccan mint tea.

It’s so easy to make, but please don’t wait too long because once it gets cold outside, your mint patch will be a memory until next year!

(Sure you can make it with store bought mint)

 

No Bigger Than A Needles Eye

Ingredients: for two thirsty friends or just yourself if you feel particularly debauched

1.5 oz. Templeton Rye

1 oz. Art in the Age Rhubarb tea

4 oz. Moroccan Mint Tea (2 firmly packed cups of well washed peppermint leaves without the stems to -4 cups green tea- steep the mint in the green tea overnight in a cool place, strain out the mint and sweeten to taste with honey)

1 oz. Seltzer (or fewer, just a splash really)

4-5 drops Bitter Truth Orange Bitters

Mint, carefully washed (No Grit!)

 

Preparation:

In a couple of tall glasses, fill with 2×2 cubes or hand cut ice if you have the time

Add the Templeton Rye

Add the Rhubarb tea 

Top with the Moroccan Mint Tea

Finish with the seltzer- just a splash!

Drip the Bitter Truth Orange Bitters over the top

Garnish with fresh mint

 

 

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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Cocktail: No Bigger Than A Needles Eye