Category Archives: Party Ideas

How to Spike Store Bought Eggnog

If it isn’t the most asked question at Bottles this time of year, it’s the second for sure: “How do I spike the carton of eggnog that I just bought at Eastside Marketplace?” Here’s where we come down on the matter:

What To Use to Spike:
Brandy is the most traditional, but we love a mixture of dark rum and Cognac. Some folks will add to that duo a third spirit: bourbon. We find that the trio is a bit too boozy – the ‘nog gets lost. But if you like that sort of thing, go for it.

Because you’re using the spirit as a mixer, there’s no need to break out the most expensive bottles on your bar (unless of course you want to – it is the holidays after all). Dark rums we like include The Real McCoy 5 Year, Privateer Amber, and Ed Hamilton 86 Proof. Great Cognacs that would work well, and won’t break the bank are: Pierre Ferrand Ambre, Germain-Robin Craft Method and the Marie Duffau Napoleon (an Armagnac). 

How to Spike:
We recommend a ratio of 1 part spirit to 5 parts prepared eggnog. Which means if you buy a one-quart container of ‘nog, use 6.5oz of spirit, total. We top each glass with a grating of orange peel, which adds a vibrancy to all of that creamy richness, as well as a short dash of freshly grated or powdered nutmeg.

Enjoy your eggnog – and Happy Holidays!

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Bottles’ Hot Spiked Cider

Cider Drinking. It’s a rite of passage for us New Englanders. It pairs well with football watching, apple picking, pumpkin carving and post leaf-raking relaxing. Bottles’ go-to version is a grown-up affair, made strong with a slightly-boozy cider and a few drops of allspice dram*. Fill a thermos of the warm concoction before heading to the game, or let it simmer in a crockpot when your house is full of friends.

We’ll be making a great big batch of it in-store on Saturday, October 15th for you to enjoy, alongside crazy good cider donuts from Greenville RI’s Appleland Orchard. We hope you can make it in, between 1-3pm, for a Bottles’ taste of fall!

*Allspice dram is a slightly bitter, strongly spiced rum-based liqueur. It’s infused with the allspice berry, which lends the spirit warm, winter-spice nutmeg-y/cinnamon-y flavors. St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram is a Bottles’ best seller.

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Bottles’ Hot Spiked Cider
Yields ~ 4 cups

1 btl (22 oz.) Doc’s Original Apple Cider
1/4 cup (2 oz.) St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
1 cup (8 oz.) apple cider (non-alcoholic)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) water
1 diced apple
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Have fun with these ingredients, and adjust to taste. You could add maple syrup or brown sugar for sweetness, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom for pumped-up spice, or more dram for a more bitter-herbal flavor.

Stovetop method:
Simmer the chopped apple in allspice dram until the dram begins to reduce and thicken. Add Doc’s (or another hard cider of your choice), non-alcoholic cider, cinnamon stick, and water. Turn heat to high, stirring often, until liquid is just about to boil. Set to a simmer and cook uncovered for at least 15 minutes. The longer it simmers, the richer the flavor!

Crockpot method:
All of the ingredients can go in at once with your crockpot set to low for 3 hours or high for 1.5 hours.

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The Caprese Cocktail

Listen, we were skeptical at first, too. Really skeptical.

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But then we remembered how much we love James Beard’s Drunken Cherry Tomatoes*, and just how much basil is in the garden already this season.

And that we can’t really resist cheese. Really fresh, really good mozzarella cheese.

And then we tried it. And loved it. And drank pitchers full of it on Father’s Day with la familia.

Don’t think we have to say much more.

Oh, except that our Square One Basil Vodka – ideal for this drink – is on sale through July 4th. And that you may want to double or triple up on the garnish. We did.

Cent’ anni!

The Caprese Cocktail

2oz Square One Basil Vodka
1/2oz tomato juice
1/2oz lime juice
1/2oz lemon juice
3/4oz agave nectar or simple syrup
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
Garnish: fresh, sweet cherry tomato, small mozzarella ball, salt & basil leaf

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve with a “Caprese Pick” or two: dredge the tomato and mozzarella ball in coarse salt. Skewer with basil leaf, and serve.

*aka an Adult Crudite: spear a fresh sweet cherry tomato, dip it in good vodka, run it through coarse salt and pop it in your mouth. Also serve it, as Mr. Beard reportedly did, with gin, and perhaps small bowls of other seasonings, such as cumin or hot pepper, ground or flaked.

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A Simple Michelada

Times are crazy. Keep things simple. Learn how to make a no-frills Michelada tonight. Thank yourself all summer.

michelada3A Simple Michelada:

Rim a tall glass with lime juice and salt.
(A pint  glass is traditional, and you can do this by running a lime wedge along the lip of the glass and dipping into a plate of coarse salt.)

Add a handful of ice cubes to the glass along with 3oz or so of tomato juice, and fill the glass with an ice-cold Mexican-style lager.
This year we’re using 21st Amendment’s “El Sully.”

Squeeze a fresh lime into the lager, and, if you like a touch of heat, splash with a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce. Sit back and enjoy.

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So, You’re Having A Seder

A Wine Buying Guide

Don’t let your guests’ wine glasses run dry. Follow our handy guide to ensure you have enough for the 4 cups of wine for each of your Seder guests.

Our math is based on each Seder participant having 4 cups of wine, each containing 3.3oz.

Bottles is stocked with a huge selection of delicious wine from all over the world that just happens to be Kosher for Passover. Call or visit the store to let us help you select the best for your Seder table.

Don’t forget: we offer generous case discounts, 5% back on every purchase, and statewide delivery!

A special thanks to Rabbi Barry Dolinger of Providence, RI’s Congregation Beth Sholom, who double checked our information to ensure that it’s all …well… kosher. Thank you Rabbi Barry!

Happy Passover from your friends at Bottles.

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Three Whites & a Rosé for Easter

Springtime celebrations, Easter being among the first this year, call for sprightly wines that revive our taste buds after a winter of more weighty flavors. In spring, we look for zing and zest, bright fruit and floral aromas to match the young season’s flavors of lamb, fresh greens, ham and fish.

Here are the three white wines, and one of the many rosés we have in store, that are perfect for your Easter and spring celebration tables.

drpaulyDr. Pauly Bergweiler, Dry Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Proof positive that not all rieslings are sweet. Gobs of ripe peach flavors with an unbelievable amount of zingy freshness will make your taste buds sing with glee! The good Dr. pairs really well with ham, lamb and spring-y vegetable side dishes.

joseJosé Pariente, Verdejo, Rueda, Spain
Perhaps the best white wine to come into the store in a long time.  Ethereal and sublime, this falls under a “sensation” rather than a wine.  A slam dunk with ham or anything else that marries salty and sweet.

firesteedFiresteed, Pinot Gris, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Fun and light but expressively zesty with flavors of ripe lemon/lime and fresh melon. Mouthwatering and enticing, this will be right at home with any spring dish, especially first-of-the-season asparagus, ramps & fiddleheads.

rosatoTintero Rosato, Red Blend, Langhe, Italy
A wine that is as fleeting and beautiful as spring flowers.  Bright, tart and lively with zippy acidity & a peek-a-boo raspberry flavor that weaves in and out of a mouth-watering, fresh citrus zing. If that isn’t enough to convince you, it’s also Frizzante — just a touch fizzy! A great picnic wine, and a terrific way to kick off Easter dinner!

Next week we’ll share our picks for the top reds to go with ham, lamb and the glorious springtime weather.

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Drink Your Chocolate

Skip the chewable chocolate this Valentine’s Day and give your sweetie the sippable sort. We’re crushing on a few bottles made with real chocolate and genuine skill, those that are good enough to be enjoyed year-round.

Meletti Cioccolato
Thick, dark, creamy, this Italian liqueur is pure pourable decadence. It’s made in Italy with milk and Dutch chocolate, sugar and alcohol, and is intensely rich and smooth with a balanced sweetness. We’re crazy for the Cioccolato any way it’s served: cold & neat (think adult pudding pop), warmed, over ice cream, or as a mixer in any number of cocktails.
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Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
This full-flavored dark beer made with chocolate malt and real chocolate is luxurious without being overtly sweet. It’s certainly a satisfying treat on its own, but for something special, consider combining it in a frosty mug with vanilla ice cream and bourbon for the ultimate grown-up float.
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Nickle Creek Decadence
A Rhody original, from Foster! This beautiful bottle, reminiscent of Port, has warm flavors of cherry and plum that make way for a dark, bittersweet chocolate finish. It’s a delicious way to end a romantic dinner.
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Cheers and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Super Bowl Party Pairings

So your team hasn’t made it to the big game. So what. We can think of at least one reason why this could be a good thing: You now have more time to pay attention to the food on the table and the drink on the bar than the action on the field. And sure, yes, ok, your standard suds will be just fine with traditional game day fare. But put in a touch of extra effort, people – it’ll make game day that much more delicious.

Here are the brews we’ll be drinking when watching the two teams vie for their big fancy rings.

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Smokey Sausages with Doppelbocks. The German beer’s big, strong and dark maltiness is a natural fit with the smoky meaty flavor of cocktail sausages & pigs in a blanket. We’re reaching for the  Weihenstephan Korbinian Doppelbock for its figgy, nutty roastiness.

superbowl_snacks_chili

Bowls of Chili with Big IPAs. A classic marriage of a hot-spicy chili with the hop-spicy IPA. We’re going for the sticky, hoppy, bold Lord Hobo Boom Sauce IPA.

superbowl_snacks_wings

Buffalo Wings & Blue Cheese Sauce with German Pilsners. The crisp, floral and refreshing German pils will balance out the wings’ addictive cheesy, spicy goodness. And the classic Bitburger Pilsner fits the bill for us every time.

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Potato Chips & Onion Dip with Saisons. Nothing’s easier than ripping open a bag of chips and dipping them into a can of good old creamy, herbal onion dip. Nothing, that is, except cracking opening a bottle of a saison, whose herbal and spicy notes will balance that creamy dip. Allagash Saison, anyone?

Enjoy the game and may the best team win!

The Bitter Peruvian

BITTER_PERUVIAN
The popularity of aperitif-based cocktails — those with Campari, Aperol, etc., such as the Negroni — shows no sign of abating anytime soon. And we’re good with that, as we very much like their balanced sweet/savory combination, and their grown-up (aka, bitter-ish) finish.

Our version here is modeled on these aperitif cocktails in that it has as its main ingredient “Baladin Ginger,” a bitters-based Italian soda that interestingly enough does not have ginger in it. (Oh those wacky Italians.) Rather, it’s made with natural brown sugar, lemon, herbs, bitters and orange zest – aromatics similar to those used in bitter liqueurs, minus the alcohol. We mix it with pisco – the Peruvian wine-based spirit – to create an easy-drinking, delightfully tart cocktail. It’s low in alcohol, and has a lovely bitter finish.
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INGREDIENTS
1oz pisco
1oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
1 bottle (100ml) of Baladin Ginger Italian soda
3 dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb bitters

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine pisco, lemon, and simple syrup over ice in a pint glass and stir gently to combine.
Top with Ginger soda and 3 dashes of bitters.
Garnish with lemon slice.

Cheers!
-Lilian

Wines to Pair with Braises, Roasts & Stews

They’re the mainstay cooking methods in winter kitchens, and the backbone of virtually all of the comfort foods we are genetically inclined to crave when the mercury dips below 32. Here are our picks for the wines that will match the rich, warming flavors these techniques will bring to your table.

2010 Chateau Magneau Rouge
Graves, Bordeaux, France
A particularly dry wine with only hints of fruit and a pronounced minerality that goes especially well with the flavor of roasted lamb.

2010 Domaine Bessa Valley
‘Petit Enira’
Ognianovo, Bulgaria
A sturdy red with a judicious amount of boastful red fruit that stands up just fine to the richest of roast beef dishes. It’s 100% merlot and it’s from Bulgaria (Bulgaria? Bulgaria!). Trust us, it’s a perfect match!

2014 Il Casolare (Verdicchio)
Marche, Italy
A white wine that is more savory than fruity with loads of flavor like roasted almonds, fresh herbs and sweet hay.  Great with herb-rubbed roasted chicken as the wine and chicken share many of the same flavors.

2014 Gia (Barbera/Dolcetta/Nebbiolo)
Langhe, Italy
Intense and highly appealing aromas and flavors that are a perfect match to the rich personality and creamy texture of Osso Bucco.

2012 Pujol Izard
Minervois (Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah)
Languedoc, France
A serious dish like short ribs requires a serious wine like this one.  Studded with intense flavors of dark red fruit with hints of black pepper, this full bodied beauty can stand up to the richest of ribs.

2014 Penya
(Grenache, Carignan, Syrah)
Cotes Catalanes/Roussillon, France
Silky and not too heavy, this blend from the South of France is a perfect match to your favorite Coq au Vin dish.  Perfect to cook with and great to drink!

2014 Terre Nere
Etna Bianco D.O.C.
Sicily, Italy
An interesting and rich white wine to go with a rich seafood, such as an oyster stew.
Definitely floral on the nose with a fresh and salty flavor profile that has hints of minerals, just like oysters!

2013 L’Argentier
(Cinsault)
Languedoc, France
A deliciously rustic wine that’s an ideal partner for cassoulet. Highly aromatic and medium bodied, this wine is perfectly at home with whatever your cassoulet recipe calls for.

2014 Astoria ‘Caranto’
(Pinot Noir)
Veneto, Italy
For a traditional Boeuf Bourguignon recipe, we’re shaking things up with a pinot noir from Italy. Perfectly balanced between light and heavy, the Caranto’s flavors make the beef sing while being heavy enough to not get lost.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!