You are what you eat & drink


Shrek Poo

Shrek Poo

I love avocado milkshakes. Half an avocado, lots of ice and milk. into the blender.

Drink it until the pain hits, right at the base of the skull. Brain Freeze! Oh why do I do it.

Last week I made them for my kids when they visited.

Emmylee’s immediate response, “I’m not drinking that, it’s Shrek poo!” Sigh, that’s an eight year old for you.

I showed her the avocado skins and finally convinced her to try it. She liked it. Now they’re called Shrek poo!

Interesting Question

Followed a new Tweeter today. This was the first tweet that I saw at the top:

chatelle_napoleon_brandy_25088An interesting question.

My immediate response is brandy!

Now perhaps I am a boring old fart with no imagination, so I was perplexed by the question; maybe I am just a stick-in-the-mud traditionalist that has never considered anything outside the brandy box.

But I see that rum and whisky also get a mention on google. One link even suggested Southern Comfort.

To me there are some traditions, that to break them leads directly to purgatory, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Things like sherry in a trifle or other than a brandy sauce with a Christmas pud are just not tampered with. Just think, a Brandy Alexander without brandy, the mere thought takes me beyond redemption.

So you can imagine my surprise when I read this tweet.

Egg Nog, needs brandy to be an Egg Nog.

Sherry is Making a Come Back

Sherry sales are booming. Well, everyone loves an underdog

Not so long ago, people wouldn’t touch sherry with a barge pole – but old friends have a habit of returning

Everyone for sherry? Photograph: Patrick Ward/Corbis

Amid the nostalgia-fest that is Christmas, news has broken that sherry – which many people will forever associate with that disgusting sweet liquor they sipped as a child from auntie’s glass when no one was looking – is suddenly terribly fashionable and selling like hot cakes. But to the sophisticates among you, this will be no revelation. In fact British appreciation of pale, dry sherries, which are nothing like the stuff granny served in dainty, cut-glass schooners, has been bubbling up for a decade, largely thanks to the rise in very good tapas restaurants.

Wednesday’s report points out that, along with sales going through the roof (M&S’s figures are already up a third on last year’s), specialist sherry bars are now popular: 35 opened in London alone over the past three years. This isn’t a bunch of students ironically knocking back a “blue-rinse” tipple – it’s young professionals sampling fine sherries in elegant wine glasses, which allow drinkers to appreciate the camomile and coastal aromas of their manzanilla.

What a turn-around – it isn’t that long ago that no one would have touched sherry with a barge pole…

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And on Coffee…


Coffee, Pinot Noir, or Both?

Single Origin Coffee Aged in a Pinot Noir Barrel? Only in Portland

[Photo: James Holk]

I know, I know. We’re all thinking the same thing. Portland found one more thing they could infuse with booze? This time, a beautiful single origin coffee from El Salvador, aged in an oak Pinot Noir barrel? Sure. But think again: beyond gimmick and Portlandianism, to a subtle, thoughtfully conceived coffee roasted by Southeast Portland roaster Water Avenue Coffee, balanced and still very much a coffee beverage.

Water Avenue partner and roaster Brandon Smyth came to the unusual idea—coffee beers are sometimes aged in oak barrels, but not coffee coffees—through winemaking.

“A long while back, when I was still roasting at Stumptown, I was making my own wine. And you can either go out and buy a barrel, which is pretty expensive, or you can add oak powder to wine. And I was making a red wine and I was tasting it before and after I put the oak in there, and what I expected was the oak to tasty oaky, to taste woody. But it actually brought out a bunch of berry, fruit flavor! So I thought, oh man, that’d be cool to try that with some coffee.”

Smyth originally dropped the oak experiment on some Sumatran coffee beans, post-roasting, and found the final brew fruity and “more burly” but overall a bit extreme. His next move was to try aging green, unroasted coffee beans for a short time in a barrel used for making red wine. But it’s not as easy to find a good used wine barrel as you might think—Smyth says one vintner was “so confused by what I was asking and what I was planning to do with it that he thought I was a crackpot.” But when he finally came into possession of a decommissioned Pinot Noir barrel from Oregon vintners Crowley Wines, he knew he just had to use the right coffee. “I opened it up and it just smelled amazing,” Smyth said. “Like cherries.”

Luckily, Water Avenue already had a coffee called El Manzano from El Salvador in their repertoire—a coffee with whose farm they’ve had an ongoing relationship, and which offers flavors of apple, dark berries, caramel and chocolate, while still maintaining a sunny acidity. It’s also a pulp natural processed coffee, meaning the freshly harvested coffee undergoes its drying period with the fruit’s mucilage still on the bean, which can result in sweeter and fruitier flavor in the cup.

“I thought, it’s a pulp natural, and the fruit flavor it had had a lot of red apple to it,” said Smyth. “There’s a certain crispness to it that I felt if you were going to add anything to it, that clarity of that coffee would only bring it out more. The barrel’s not going to cover anything up that would actually be detrimental to the flavor,” said the roaster.

“To me, those fruits that come out, the cherry from the barrel work really well with the red apple from the Manzano. I also feel like having a little bit of pulp helps the coffee absorb the flavor. Pulp naturals age really well, they have a lot of that pectin on the bean that helps protect them from the environment.”

And the results are vivid: a balanced coffee whose intrinsic apple and cocoa flavors and the delicate oak and cherry additions exist in harmonious parallel. You can separate them out in your brain—but in a way that is more likely to surprise and make you rethink tasting than anything else.

Water Avenue has already gone through 300 pounds of the 13-day-aged coffee beans, and they expect to be able to age another 500 pounds before they think the barrel flavor will begin to fade—then again, Smyth doesn’t really know when that will happen, because he’s never tried this before. What’s next?

“I know a guy down here who’s a cooper making cedar barrels, so we’re going to do a cedar one which might be interesting. I don’t want to get too far into it because, while it’s interesting and it’s fun, I’d like to have one thing going on, or all of the sudden, are we flavoring coffee? Is it just manufacturing it, or a certain kind of gimmick,” mused Smyth. “I don’t want to get too weird.”

About the author: Liz Clayton

Source: Serious Eats


It’s… um, Halloween

Here’s some ideas for Halloween drinks, follow the links for recipes and instructions.

Link Blessed Mom

Punch Bowl – Link Blessed Mom


Goblin Mimosa – Link The Stir

Swamp Juice - Link Best Birthday Wishes

Swamp Juice – Link Best Birthday Wishes

Pina Ghoulada - Link Today's Every Mom

Pina Ghoulada – Link Today’s Every Mom

Spooky Shooters - Link Party Delights

Spooky Shooters – Link Party Delights

Withes Brew - Link Social Vixen

Withes Brew – Link Social Vixen

Witches Brew - Link The Street

Witches Brew – Link The Street

Brain Hemorrhage Shot - Link Style Estate

Brain Hemorrhage Shot – Link Style Estate


Nearly all the above inks have multiple drinks and cocktails.



WTF is Cold Brewed Coffee?

Rummaging through my google box this morning I discovered cold brewed coffee, which piqued my interest.

Reblogged from Brewed Daily

What is cold brewed coffee?

Cold brewed is a coffee term that has been popping up more and more frequently, even though there are plenty of cafes – including the chain Seattle’s Best – that have been offering up cold brewed coffee for quite some time now.

Cold brewed coffee is just what it sounds like: coffee that is brewed cold, not hot. To make it, ground coffee beans are placed in cool water and left to sit in a cool place for around 12 hours to brew.

Cold brewing produces a milder and sweeter cup of coffee than simply refrigerating coffee that is brewed hot. You don’t get the harsher, more bitter notes of coffee that are often brought out after chilling hot-brewed coffee. Cold brewed coffee will keep very well for several days in the refrigerator after it has been made, and it is easy to make a big batch and keep it on hand.

As with regular coffee, you will want to experiment with the ratio of coffee grounds to water to get a concentration that you like, but err on the side of using too much coffee. Not only are you not rising adding bitterness to your drink by doing this, but you can always water down a cold-brewed coffee concentrate with a bit of extra water before serving if it is too strong.


Hmmm, have to try that.

Wot, no grog?

Dry bars: will they be the next big thing?

Alcohol-free cocktail bars are springing up across the country, but can they lure punters away from pubs and clubs?

Dry bars serve colourful non-alcoholic cocktails. Photograph: Alamy

The drinks look good: vibrant reds and greens; fresh mint and crushed ice bursting from the glass; petals; a rim of salt. The drinks taste good, too. But there is something missing. The soporific burn of alcohol. As anyone coming to the Redemption bar in east London is warned on arrival, these drinks are dry. Although if you didn’t get the warning, you could work it out from the names of the cocktails (“mocktails”). Here’s a “mock-jito” – muddled fresh mint and lime – or a “coco-rita”, based on coconut water.

Redemption is the brainchild of Catherine Salway, the former group brand director of Virgin Media, who left two years ago “to pursue my own idea – something that was disruptive and socially conscious”. She hit upon a dry bar when she was meeting a friend with “a bit of a drink problem” and couldn’t think where to go. “There are coffee shops and juice bars but there wasn’t anywhere that felt like you could have a proper night out.”

Salway is not the first to start an alcohol-free bar. In Liverpool, the Brink opened in 2011, as a social enterprise to help those recovering from alcohol addiction. The past year has seen turnover rise by 50%, says its manager, Jacquie Johnston-Lynch, who describes her customer base as “50% recovery community, 50% a combination of Joe and Josephine Bloggs who come in because they love the food – students, grannies out for lunch, business people, musos.”

Johnston-Lynch says she is now “helping a number of organisations around the country to set up their own places” through an offshoot called Brinky Business. She mentions a four-storey venue in Newcastle, soon to open, and plans for a place in Cardiff. Salway herself believes “there is a market for five to 10 Redemption bars across the UK over the next five to 10 years.” Her research tells her that 75% of Londoners under 30 would visit an alcohol-free bar, and she is trying out the concept in the hipster heartland.

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Le binge drinking

French language police call time on ‘le binge drinking’

Culture ministry commission approves use of new phrase, beuverie express, which translates as ‘fast drinking’

A glass of French red. The scale of binge drinking in France remains largely unknown. Photograph: Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Images

As long as it was seen as nothing more than an antisocial Anglo-Saxon habit, le binge drinking remained just that: an English term. As a sign of the changing times and the reported spread of the practice in France, however, the country’s language police have decreed an official new term.

As of now, binge drinking does not happen in France. Instead, anyone consuming large quantities of alcohol in a short space of time with the intention of getting drunk is engaged in beuverie express.

The phrase, which translates literally as “fast drinking”, was given the official approval of the culture ministry’s general commission of terminology and neology on Sunday. The commission defined the term as “the massive absorption of alcohol, generally in a group, aimed at provoking drunkenness in the minimum amount of time”.

Le Monde further qualified “massive absorption” as “more than 4-5 glasses in less than two hours”, but failed to elucidate how big a glass or of what.

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So, beuverie express is a more socially acceptable option…

For me it doesn’t matter what it’s called, the practice is abominable.


The Life of Coffee



Weird, really weird soda


Coffee and qahwa: How a drink for Arab mystics went global

The Arab world has given birth to many thinkers and many inventions – among them the three-course meal, alcohol and coffee. The best coffee bean is still known as Arabica, but it’s come a long way from the Muslim mystics who treasured it centuries ago, to the chains that line our high streets.

Think coffee, and you probably think of an Italian espresso, a French cafe au lait, or an American double grande latte with cinnamon.

Perhaps you learned at school that the USA became a nation of coffee drinkers because of the excise duty King George placed on tea? Today ubiquitous chains like Starbucks, Cafe Nero and Costa grace every international airport, and follow the now much humbler Nescafe as symbols of globalisation.

Coffee is produced in hot climates like Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, Vietnam and Indonesia, and you could be forgiven if you thought it is a product from the New World like tobacco and chocolate. After all, all three became popular in Europe at more or less the same time, in the 16th and 17th Centuries.

In fact, coffee comes from the highland areas of the countries at the southern end of the Red Sea – Yemen and Ethiopia.

Although a beverage made from the wild coffee plant seems to have been first drunk by a legendary shepherd on the Ethiopian plateau, the earliest cultivation of coffee was in Yemen and Yemenis gave it the Arabic name qahwa, from which our words coffee and cafe both derive.

Qahwa originally meant wine, and Sufi mystics in Yemen used coffee as an aid to concentration and even spiritual intoxication when they chanted the name of God.

By 1414, it was known in Mecca and in the early 1500s was spreading to Egypt from the Yemeni port of Mocha. It was still associated with Sufis, and a cluster of coffee houses grew up in Cairo around the religious university of the Azhar. They also opened in Syria, especially in the cosmopolitan city of Aleppo, and then in Istanbul, the capital of the vast Ottoman Turkish Empire, in 1554.

In Mecca, Cairo and Istanbul attempts were made to ban it by religious authorities. Learned shaykhs discussed whether the effects of coffee were similar to those of alcohol, and some remarked that passing round the coffee pot had something in common with the circulation of a pitcher of wine, a drink forbidden in Islam.

Coffee houses were a new institution in which men met together to talk, listen to poets and play games like chess and backgammon. They became a focus for intellectual life and could be seen as an implicit rival to the mosque as a meeting place.

Some scholars opined that the coffee house was “even worse than the wine room”, and the authorities noted how these places could easily become dens of sedition. However, all attempts at banning coffee failed, even though the death penalty was used during the reign of Murad IV (1623-40). The religious scholars eventually came to a sensible consensus that coffee was, in principle, permissible.

Coffee spread to Europe by two routes – from the Ottoman Empire, and by sea from the original coffee port of Mocha.

The port of Mocha

Both the English and Dutch East India Companies were major purchasers at Mocha in the early 17th Century, and their cargoes were brought home via the Cape of Good Hope or exported to India and beyond. They seem, however, to have only taken a fraction of Yemeni coffee production – as the rest went north to the rest of the Middle East.

Coffee also arrived in Europe through trade across the Mediterranean and was carried by the Turkish armies as they marched up the Danube. As in the Middle East, the coffee house became a place for men to talk, read, share their opinions on the issues of the day and play games.

Another similarity was that they could harbour gatherings for subversive elements. Charles II denounced them in 1675 as “places where the disaffected met, and spread scandalous reports concerning the conduct of His Majesty and his Ministers”.

A century later Procope, the famous Parisian coffee house, had such habitues as Marat, Danton and Robespierre who conspired together there during the Revolution.

At first, coffee had been viewed with suspicion in Europe as a Muslim drink, but around 1600 Pope Clement VIII is reported to have so enjoyed a cup that he said it would be wrong to permit Muslims to monopolise it, and that it should therefore be baptised.

Austrian coffee drinking is said to have received a big boost when the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 was broken, and the European victors captured huge coffee supplies from the vanquished.

Perhaps that is why, to this day, coffee is served in Vienna with a glass of water – just like the tiny cups of powerful Turkish coffee with its heavy sediment in Istanbul, Damascus or Cairo. Is this just a coincidence, or a long forgotten cultural borrowing?

Viennese cafes serve it with a glass of water

The beverage we call “Turkish coffee” is actually a partial misnomer, as Turkey is just one of the countries where it is drunk. In Greece they call it “Greek coffee”, although Egyptians, Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, Jordanians and others do not seem to care overmuch about the name.

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On this day in 1886…

Reblogged from: Slice the Life

Dr. John Pemberton Brews The First Batch Of Coca-Cola- This Day In 1886

On this day in 1886 Dr. John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia. Today there are vending machines selling Coca-Cola in every country except for North Korea and Cuba.


Beef consomme and vodka recipe

Served hot from a flask or with ice, the meaty bullshot is long overdue a revival

Bullshot …”It’s Marlon Brando in The Wild One”. Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian

This classic mix of beef consomme and vodka has managed to acquire an undeservedly tweedy reputation in Britain. It is often drunk hot, poured from a Thermos on crisp winter walks – the steam rising and mingling with the cloudy breath of walkers holding out their cups for a dose.

But served over cracked ice after dark it is a more dangerous beast. Bullshot was probably invented in the 50s in the US, by someone with a twisted mind. Meat and alcohol. In a glass. With pepper. Oh yeah, and chilli.

It’s Marlon Brando in The Wild One. It’s Shane McGowan on an experimental day. In the early 70s, Malcolm McDowell drank it while publicising A Clockwork Orange. He “bundled in against the cold in a leather jacket,” recorded one journalist, “[on his face] the beginning of a smile that never quite finished, he sat down and ordered a bullshot – bouillon and vodka.”

I first had it in a dive bar on a snowy evening in New York in the late 80s – the first time I was ever alone there. As the vodka flush hit my cheeks, I was momentarily James Dean. And then I caught a glimpse in the back-bar mirror of a chubby English schoolboy with a fake ID holding his cigarette like a square.

Bullshot is best mixed with homemade broth, but don’t let this stop you – it still tastes great with consomme from a can. There are many variations. If you have it heated, I think it needs a little dry sherry in the mix to give it more body. Some people add orange juice, as well as lemon, to the mix.

I like it strong, cold and straight, with a lot of Worcestershire sauce, a good squeeze of lemon and a little more vodka than given in the recipe that follows.

Make your own bullshot

Serves 1

90ml beef consomme
45ml vodka
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
A squeeze of lemon
Black pepper

1 Mix all the ingredients together, adding Tabasco and black pepper to taste.

2 Shake with cracked ice and strain into a highball glass with extra ice. This drink is supposed to be more boozy than a Bloody Mary but if you would prefer a slightly weaker version, simply add an extra 50ml of the consomme.



Around the World in a Glass


Sunday Art Fare

Karen Eland is an Oklahoma artist who not only drinks coffee but uses it as paint; and she doesn’t stop there she takes it a step further by adding the unexpected into classic masterpieces such as Michelangelo, Matisse and Picasso.  How? – She adds a cup of coffee!

Disgusting Drinks

Why I don’t drink Decafe

It sure tastes like dirt

Crazy Pepsi









…and there’s more….

Vietnamese Coffee… an oxymoron???

Many brands, but this is considered the most popular

If somebody had asked me yesterday about Vietnamese coffee, I would have blinked more than twice and wondered if they were pulling my leg.

Today I read an article in The Guardian, that Vietnam does indeed produce coffee, and is only second to Brazil in world production.


The French colonials introduced coffee there in 1857, so it’s not new. Despite many ups and downs including a 1900s glut of poor quality beans and then the Vietnam war and the scorched earth policy, the industry has recovered. There are many concerns of an environmental nature, but you can read about those on the link above.


And you can try the recipe on Cà phê sũa dá – Vietnamese Iced Coffee my post from yesterday.

So you can see that indeed Vietnamese coffee is not an oxymoron.

Cà phê sũa dá – Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Doesn’t Always Work

Sometimes when I am thinking of a post, I don’t have any idea what I will post about. I often throw something into the Google mincer and see what comes up.

It doesn’t always work.

My original thought was ‘wine’. Then I got to thinking, ‘what countries are not known for their wine’. That’s how I got to write ‘Laos wine’. Not a grand idea.

Snakes predominantly

It seems that any wine from Laos has creepy crawlies in it; snakes, scorpions and the like. Not my cup of tea at all.

Apparently it is a rice wine, but my liking of sake does not extend to additional reptiles and insects.

But the good news is… they have beer, and there doesn’t seem to be a snake insight.

Beer, no snakes

There are other brands, but Beerlao Lager seems to be the prominent one. They also have stout and light beers

Too Much Stuff – Not Enough Fizz

Pre-Post Blurb

Often when I sit here staring numbly at a blank screen, I have absolutely no idea what I am going to post. Some call it writers block, I call it having no idea what I am going to post. While I was undergoing this metamorphosis between having no idea and having an idea. I glanced back at some previous posts and realised that lately I have had too much stuff and not enough fizz.

Gaudy Bauble

So, I looked up the Great God Google “Fizz”and found this gaudy bauble staring at me.

Fizz Diamond

Now that I have the image in place, I am going to discover WTF Fizz Diamond is. At the moment I have no idea.

Well, so far no luck, that was a design page.


Hmmm, next site was in Russian.


Found this: Estonian brewery Tartus new cider-based cocktail, Fizz Diamond, is to be the first brand to use Rexams glittering new Sparkle varnish on its cans.

Well, now we know about the glittery can.

And… Fizz Diamond will be available in bars, shops and clubs in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Well, that’s it. It’s a cider-based fruit drink. There appears no further product info on the web, great marketing ploy.

Post-post Blurb

Blogging is such fun, not always successful, but fun. You have your “Fizz.”


From the International Scene


One of the smaller countries of West Africa, in fact it is the western-most of the African countries. In the past one of the French African colonies the capital city is Dakar.

Dried Hibiscus Flowers


The national drink is Jus de Bissap (pron beesap), while technically it is more a tea than a juice it is made from dried hibiscus flowers Hibiscus sabdariffa.  Every busy street, train station, bus depot, and stadium will have its bissap vendors selling the drink. The dried flowers can be found in every market.

To make the tea is very simple. Hibiscis flowers, mint leaves, honey (if you want a sweetener) and an option of a vanilla pod.

Jus de Bissap

You can also use options of any citrus fruit, pineapple juice, etc; there are many variations.

It can be served hot as a tea, or chilled.

Like many countries who have/had their national drinks, Senegal has sadly opted for the conversion to pervasive brands like Coca-Cola that are considered to be much more in vogue.

“What happened is that when I went back, I discovered that people were basically abandoning bissap – a red drink made from the hibiscus plant – because for them, if you’ve made it now in this world, you drink the western brands.” – Magatte Wade, after having studied in France and moved to the US. You can read more of her interview on BBC’s African Dream.

Bissap is produced for consumption around the world.