GSN Alert: February 22nd – National Margarita Day

69d0d254b7bc1eb5dc9af1b0782ea373The middle of February is a perfect time to be drinking Margaritas.  Why?  Because the flavor instantly conjures up the feeling of warmth, sunshine, and good times.  So, why not make some tacos, burritos or enchiladas and a mess of Margaritas this Sunday for dinner?

The Margarita has been around for about 85 years and although there are several legends as to its creation, I’m of the opinion that it is what was previously known as a Tequila Daisy.  The word “daisy” translates into “Margarita” in Spanish.  Why a daisy?  It was yet another of those old-school terms for cocktails along the lines of fizzes, eye-openers, flips, crustas, etc…

Anyway, the great folks at Casa Noble Tequila asked me to come up with an original take on the venerable Margarita using their Crystal Tequila.  So, in keeping with the summer weather theme, I decided to break out the grill and see what I could come up with.  This recipe makes enough for a party, so make sure to invite over some friends when putting this together.

Pina Margarita (makes six cocktails)
Ingredients
1 medium pineapple (about 3 pounds)
6 oz Crystal Casa Noble
3 oz Cointreau
3 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
House-made saline solution*

First, peel the pineapple and cut it in half lengthwise.  Then cut the halves into 1/2 inch thick pieces.  Put them on a grill that’s been heated to about 400°F.  Grill uncovered about four minutes per side.  Then remove and let cool for 15 minutes.

Take three pieces of pineapple and muddle in a mixing tin.  Add 1 ounce of tequila, 1/2 ounce Cointreau and 1/2 ounce lime juice.  Fill with ice and shake until well chilled.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Add a dash (3-4 drops) of saline solution.  Garnish with a chunk of grilled pineapple and a lime wheel and serve.

Saline solution
Mix 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 tbl mineral water until dissolved.  Either use an eye-dropper to dispense or store in an empty bitters bottle.

GSN Alert: 2021’s Love on Tap VIRTUAL Shore Craft Beer Celebration

Shore Craft Beer & OCDC invite you to participate in 2021’s Love on Tap VIRTUAL Shore Craft Beer Celebration! 
We will have exclusive content online to celebrate local craft beer. This content includes:
  • A video on the state of craft beer in Maryland – and nationally — by Kevin Atticks, the CEO of the Brewers Association of Maryland and Grow and Fortify.
  • A video discussion with the brewer at Heavy Seas.
  • A video discussion with Tom Knorr, founder and partner at EVO Craft Brewing.
  • A “Cooking with Craft Beer” lesson by the chef at Schooner’s using Backshore Brewing’s Jo Jo Starbuck beer.
  • A brewery tour and discussion with Eric Camper, brewery at Tall Tales Brewing in Parsonsburg
  • Another tour, this time hosted by Nate Todd, the head brewer at Backshore Brewing on the Boardwalk in Ocean City.
  • A tour of Crooked Hammock’s brewery in Rehoboth hosted by Steve and team.
IN ADDITION TO THIS EXCLUSIVE CONTENT, YOU WILL ALSO GET ACCESS TO…
  • Some exciting videos produced for the Ocean City Film Festival.
  • An overview video about the breweries on the Eastern Shore.
Then, there will be a live craft beer/food pairing cook-off at the Princess Royale which we will broadcast LIVE on YouTube and Facebook.   Some of your favorite local breweries are competing to be the best from 2-3. Get ready to vote for your favorite on the Shore Craft Beer App – Please make sure to have this downloaded before the festival!
You don’t have to leave the comfort or safety of your home to enjoy this exclusive content the weekend of January 26-28, but if you WANT to, you can come to the Princess Royale on 91st Street and the ocean and pick up some of the specially curated beers to go, stay for one of their happy hours, the EVO tap takeover, or brunch.
Go to https://www.shorecraftbeerfest.com/love-on-tap.html for more information and to book your hotel package!

Buy your hotel packages at one of our featured hotels throughout Ocean City.  These hotels are offering different packages, from credits at their properties, to free breakfast, and much more.  Each hotel offers something different to guests wanting to isolate at the beach.

Please remember to bring your computers so you can access the restricted virtual content available to all participants.

Download the Shore Craft Beer App to get all events and notifications to help you negotiate the weekend.

IF YOU CAN’T COME TO OCEAN CITY FOR THIS VIRTUAL EVENT, you can buy a ticket to access our virtual content.  Every ticket over $10 will get a branded mask mailed to you.

GSN Alert: Equiano Rum Celebrates Tom Bullock

Olaudah Equiano was an 18th century freedom-fighter, abolitionist, and author whose autobiography shaped history and whose spirit is honored with every bottle made of Equiano Rum. To celebrate Black history, Ian Burrell, the Global Rum Ambassador and Co-Founder of Equiano Rum is partnering with four Black bartenders to showcase cocktails using Equiano Rum, Tom Bullock’s “The Ideal Bartender” book and Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography. The bartenders were invited to attend a virtual masterclass with Ian to learn about the spirit, how to use it and why it’s unique.

Equiano then challenged each bartender to select a recipe from The Ideal Bartender, pick an inspirational figure in black history and create an Equiano version of their Tom Bullock cocktail, telling the story of why they picked that person. The cocktail needed to be mindful of Equiano and its tasting notes, the significance of Tom Bullock as well as the inspirational figure they’re spotlighting.

In 1917, Tom Bullock was the first African American bartender to write and publish a cocktail book which has since been republished in an exact copy of its original form, showcasing favorite pre-Prohibition cocktails with an introduction penned by Ian Burrell. The original foreword of The Ideal Bartender was written by George Herbert Walker, George W Bush’s great grandfather – in those days, a white man was needed to endorse a black writer. Equiano will continue highlighting people like Olaudah who challenged the narrative and the brand is committed to bettering the bartending industry of tomorrow and the black bartenders who help craft it.

Additionally, Equiano Rum started the Equiano Rum. Co Foundation to help, aid, share, and create awareness of various injustices around the world that Equiano, as a brand, can shed light on. During Equiano Rum’s inception in 2018, Co-Founders Oli Bartlam, Aaisha Dadral, Ian Burrell, and Amanda Kakembo pledged to donate five percent of global company profits to ground level freedom and equality projects, annually. In addition, two dollars from each bottle sold directly through the website are automatically added to the grant-giving fund. Equiano Rum Co. Foundation’s first ever 2021 grant recipient is Anti-Slavery International, an organization that works to eliminate all forms of modern slavery throughout the world.

Bartender: Sargent Black, Washington DC
Cocktail Name: ‘What’s The Deal?’
Inspired by: Louis Deal
Recipe: 2 Drops of Fire Water
Bar Spoon of Sfumato Amaro
.25oz Lemon Juice
.75oz Hibiscus Syrup
2oz Equiano Rum

Build in Highball glass over pebbled ice. Top with Soda.

Garnish with Fruits & smoked cinnamon

Here’s why: “Fashioned after the ‘Bliz’s Royal Rickey,’ created by the first published black bartender, Tom Bullock. This cocktail was inspired by the experience of 1890s black bartender, Louis Deal. Living in a “separate, but equal,” Cincinnati, Deal was praised for his work ethic and hospitality, yet faced a segregated bar community with patrons threatening to boycott daily until he was removed from the bar. Through the fire and the smoke, diversity and inclusion can only take place when we know what the “Deal” is.”

Bartender: Thandi Walton, Atlanta
Cocktail Name: ‘Soweto Blues’
Inspired by: Zenzile Miriam Makeba AKA Mama Africa
Recipe: 1 1/2 oz Equiano Rum
3/4 oz Aperol
1 oz Mandarin orange juice (fresh)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice (fresh)
1/2 oz Champagne syrup
1 oz soda/sparkling water
10 dashes of Angostura Atop

Shake all ingredients except for soda water and Angostura bitters.
Strain into an iced white wine glass add soda/sparkling water stir/
swivel with bar spoon. Add dashes of Angostura atop

Garnish with dehydrated blood orange slice and edible flower.

Here’s why: “Miriam Makeba is my inspiration because while she was exiled from South Africa in the late 50s, she continued to evolve and never forgot her roots. She will always be an image of strength, beauty and courage to me.”

Bartender: Kim Hunter, Texas
Cocktail Name: ‘Miss Kitt’
Inspired by: Eartha Kitt
Recipe: 1.75 oz Equiano Rum
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
.25 oz Agave Syrup
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
6 Raspberries

In a shaker, muddle 4 of the raspberries with the lemon juice. Add in
the agave syrup, yellow chartreuse & Equiano rum. Add ice and
shake vigorously for about 10 seconds, or until the shaker is very
cold. Double strain the cocktail into a coupe glass. Garnish with the
remaining raspberries & edible rose petals on a garnish stick. Cheers!

Here’s why: “This cocktail was inspired by the talented Eartha Kitt because she was much more than what we saw on the surface. Much like Eartha, my cocktail has layers that are unique, and it just works! Eartha showed us how delicate she could be while serenading the world with “Santa Baby”, just like the sweet and delicate raspberry. On the flip side, Ms. Kitt was fierce, strong, and quick to speak her mind on social and racial issues. She was not to be played with! Similarly, to Equiano rum and the spiced herbaceousness that yellow chartreuse lends. Just like Eartha, this cocktail will take your taste buds on a journey around the world!”

Bartender: J’Nai Angelle Williams, New Orleans
Cocktail Name: ‘Carlotta Highball’
Inspired by: La Negra Carlota
Recipe: 1.5 oz. Equiano rum
1 oz. muscat wine
3/4 oz. pear juice
1/2 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3 dash rhubarb bitters
grapefruit soda
Sage

Add all ingredients except soda to a highball glass. Add ice and stir to mix.

Top with grapefruit soda. Garnish with sage.

Here’s why: “La Negra Carlota was an enslaved Yoruba woman in Cuba. She led a slave rebellion at the Triunvirato plantation, where she burned down the slave master’s plantation and sugar mill. She helped spread the rebellion to other
nearby plantations, which amounted to a total of 5 by the end of the revolt. The planning and execution of slave revolts was seen as highly masculine and too violent for a woman to plan, making her an anomaly.”

“This cocktail is based after the Admiral Schley Highball, which has a whiskey base. I chose Carlota for this cocktail to challenge the masculine nature of the original cocktail name, asserting that gender plays no role in battle planning abilities, similar to how flavors are not limited to any cocktail style.”  

“I took this whiskey highball and made it lighter and more aromatic by adding rum, muscat wine, and bright fruit notes.”

“Admiral Schley was an admiral in the US Navy and the hero of the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish American War. I thought it apt that Admiral Schley’s life is so heavily documented – and the recount of his historic battle is incredibly detailed – while little is known about the details of Carlota’s life, and the description of the slave rebellion she spearheaded is full of most generalizations. This goes to show that history is written by the victors and people of power.”

GSN Alert: February 19th – National Chocolate Mint Day

IMG_7831-800One of the things I miss about traveling these days, are the chocolate mints that I would find on my hotel room pillow at the end of the day.  So, when I was challenged by Fratelli Branca to create a drink for National Chocolate Mint Day using Brancamenta, I jumped at the chance.
Brancamenta is the lesser known cousin to Fernet Branca.  Branca is heavily herbal, intense and is an acquired taste for most.  Menta on the other hand is nearer to creme de menthe, except that it is dark brown in color as opposed to green or clear.
In trying to recreate the flavor profile of milk chocolate and mint, I chose dark creme de cacao, heavy cream and Brancamenta for the recipe.  And as with the tiny treat of a small candy, I decided to make a shooter instead of a cocktail.  I think it’s a winner.

Cioccolato alla Menta Shooter
0.5 oz Dark creme de cacao
0.5 oz Brancamenta
0.25 oz heavy cream

Instructions: Carefully layer each ingredient in order over the back of a bar spoon into a shot glass.  When done properly, it should look like a miniature glass of Guinness stout.

GSN Review: Pickle Juice Chaser

Over 20 years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles beat all odds when they defeated the Dallas Cowboys in 109-degree heat — the hottest game ever played. The Eagles were a losing team and the game was expected to be a blowout, but the Eagles ended up beating the Cowboys 41-14. The Eagles’ secret weapon? They fought off muscle cramps with pickle brine. Inspired by this game, The Pickle Juice Company was launched the following year, spearheading a movement that, little did they know, would be at the forefront of a booming pickle trend years later.

The Pickle Juice Company is the maker of the first sports beverage on the market that disrupts the neurological signals that cause muscle cramps. The company’s current formulation took cues from key findings from Dr. Kevin C. Miller, a then doctoral student at Brigham Young University, whose interest was piqued by that famous Eagles vs. Cowboys game. Through his study, Dr. Miller found that pickle brine relieved cramps in just 85 seconds, 45 percent faster than drinking nothing and 37 percent faster than water alone.

Despite the familiar flavor profile, The Pickle Juice Company’s products differ greatly from jarred pickle brine. Comprised of vitamins, minerals and 10x the electrolytes of most sports drinks, the purpose-built beverage contains a proprietary grain of vinegar that is proven to combat muscle cramps at the neurological source. It is widely believed that muscle cramps result from an electrolyte imbalance, and that the best cure is to consume more sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. for relief. While electrolyte imbalance can play a role in triggering muscle cramps, the phenomenon is neurological, not physical. The Pickle Juice Company’s 100% natural formula engages the same neurological receptors in the brain that causes cramps, prevents those neurons from firing and combats muscle cramps. This scientific and multi-factor approach prevents muscle cramps in as fast as 60 seconds, quicker than anything else currently available.

The Pickle Juice Company’s entire product line includes the 8oz. and 16.oz bottles of 100% Natural Pickle Juice Sport, 2.5oz. shots and 1 liter boxes of its 100% Natural Extra Strength Pickle Juice formula, and 1 liter bottles of Pickle Juice Chaser.

GSN’s Thoughts: Of course The Pickleback is the reason we were sent a bottle of Pickle Juice for review. So, how does it fare compared to half sour pickle brine? There is less salinity and a softer dill flavor, which makes it more palatable as a shot. We tried it as recommended, shooting Irish whiskey, followed by Pickle Juice, and ending with a PBR. It does work, and the flavors still somehow make a natural and tasty progression. And hey, if you’ve had a hard day of physical labor, this might be what the doctor ordered to relieve those aching muscles. GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Pickle Power

GSN Review: Castle & Key Restoration Rye 2020 Batch #1

Castle & Key Distillery recently announced the launch of its Restoration Rye, the first whiskey from the Castle & Key team since its founding in 2014. The release pays tribute to the restoration of the historic property, which was once the iconic Old Taylor Distillery, originally built over a century ago. Alongside the Restoration Rye, Castle & Key will also release Roots of Ruin Gin and Sacred Spring Vodka, all of which will appear in newly designed bottles.

Restoration Rye, a name that speaks to the restoration of property, was released in two batches. Castle & Key’s strategy focuses on creating spirits with consistency of high quality, rather than consistency of flavor.  No whiskey release from Castle & Key will ever taste exactly the same.

The 2020 Restoration Rye release features two batches, both with unique flavor profiles. Batch #1 is created from a blend of 60 barrels, and Batch #2 is comprised of 57 barrels. During the blending process, barrels are grouped into pods with specific sensory profiles. Those pods are then blended together to achieve the unique, high quality flavor profiles.

GSN’s Thoughts: At 103 proof, there is plenty of flavor and body here. A softer and somehow root-like character mingles throughout the tasting, along with the typical rye spice. It’s the unusual root beer/sarsaparilla edge that keeps surprising. This is a slightly sweet, but very evocative rye whiskey, that begs for contemplation. We keep going back to this one, curious and intrigued. Well worth the experience. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Castle and Key

GSN Spirited News: February 16th 2021 Edition

Deep Eddy vodka has extended with a new Lime flavor. Retailing at $20 a 750-ml., the new entry is debuting nationwide next month, backed by trade and consumer media, social media, out-of-home displays, and retail point-of-sale support. In addition to Deep Eddy Lime, Deep Eddy Vodka’s portfolio includes Original Vodka, Orange, Peach, Lemon, Ruby Red, Cranberry, and Sweet Tea. 

Glass Revolution Imports has announced the U.S. launch for Bimber English Single Malt Whisky, set to debut in March. The importer will bring three single cask releases from Bimber’s Country Collection to select markets across the U.S. for a suggested price of $160 a bottle. The three whiskies all matured in different casks—ex-Bourbon, new American oak, and ex-Sherry—and are bottled at cask strengths of 59.1% abv, 58.6% abv, and 58.9% abv, respectively.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: February 16th 2021 Edition

Boonville, California-based Anderson Valley Brewing Co. has re-released its Summer Solstice ale. Clocking in at 5% abv, the seasonal brew is available on draft and in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans at retailers nationwide. Anderson Valley also offers Boont Amber ale and Blood Orange gose, among other beers.

DuClaw Brewing Co. in Baltimore has debuted Carob-Mel Sutra. A twist on a Belgian-style brew, the new beer has notes of carob powder, caramel, chocolate, and dark roast coffee. The 10% abv Carob-Mel Sutra is available across 19 states and Washington, D.C. in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans.

U.K.-based Big Drop Brewing is launching its non-alcoholic beers in the U.S. The company has partnered with Chicago’s Great Central Brewing Co. to debut its Pine Trail Pale, Galactic Extra Dark, and Paradiso IPA offerings in Illinois, western Michigan, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Six-packs of 12-ounce cans retail at $12. Each of Big Drop’s beers clock in at 0.5% abv or less.

Pennsylvania craft brewer Troegs has added a new brew to its year-round portfolio. Grand Cacao Chocolate Stout is a 6.5% abv beer made with chocolate malt, caramel malt, and roasted barley, then cold-steeped on Peruvian cacao nibs and natural vanilla with a splash of milk sugar. It’s rolling out now in 12-ounce bottles and ½ and 1/6 kegs across Troegs’ footprint, joining Perpetual IPA, Troegenator, Sunshine Pilsner, Haze Charmer, and DreamWeaver Wheat in the year-round lineup.

Arizona-based Four Peaks Brewing is introducing Rosé Our Way, a new beer brewed to mimic the flavors and appearance of rosé wine. It’s made with Mosaic, Hallertau Blanc, and Southern Passion hops, and cranberry juice, which adds tartness and color. Rosé Our Way (6.7% abv) is available now in bottled 6-packs throughout Arizona as well as in select parts of California, Nevada, and New Mexico. A spring seasonal, it’ll be available until early summer.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Alert: Passing Time: A Virtual Wine Tasting & Talk with former Miami Dolphins Quarterback and Hall of Famer Dan Marino and former NFL QB Damon Huard

The Dan Marino Foundation presents Passing Time: A Virtual Wine Tasting & Talk with former Miami Dolphin Quarterbacks Dan Marino and Damon Huard, hosted by Andrew Lampasone with Wine Watch, a unique wine boutique based in Fort Lauderdale.

  • Participants will get an exclusive opportunity to virtually Meet & Greet with Dan Marino and Damon Huard, co-owners of Passing Time Wine based in Washington State. Guests will hear from the NFL Quarterbacks about their award-winning wine and receive an opportunity to ask questions about football and life. 
  • Guests will also hear from Andrew Lampasone, owner of Wine Watch, and Chris Peterson, the Winemaker at Passing Time Wine.
  • Registered attendees will choose from two tier options: a Passing Time Trio set to include three bottles of fine wine (2017 Passing The Time Chardonnay, 2017 Columbia Valley Red Blend, & The Flagship 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon), and a chocolate tasting box from Hoffman’s Chocolates OR a Passing Time Duo, two bottles of fine wine (2017 Passing The Time Chardonnay, 2017 Columbia Valley Red Wine).
  • Wine packages will be shipped to individual registrants prior to the event date. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Dan Marino Foundation to help support its mission to empower individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.
  • The Marino family started the Dan Marino Foundation 29 years ago with a vision that has become reality, focusing on creating opportunities leading to employment and independence for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.             

SPONSORS:        Badia Spices, United Kronos Group, Hoffman’s Chocolates, Emeril Lagasse Foundation, and Wine Watch

WHEN:                 Thursday, March 18  5:30 p.m.  – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:               Virtual Event: www.DanMarinoFoundation.org/PassingTime  

DETAILS:              Individual tickets are $250 – $350

Limited tickets are available

Reservations must be made in advance by Thursday, March 11. 

About the Dan Marino Foundation:

Founded by Dan and Claire Marino shortly after their son, Michael’s, autism diagnosis in 1992, the Dan Marino Foundation has a long and distinguished history of life-changing programs and services, with the mission to “empower individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities”.  The Foundation has raised more than $84 million to create and support unique and impactful initiatives. For more information, please visit https://danmarinofoundation.org or follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

About Passing Time

Former Dolphin QB Damon Huard had to travel 3,000 miles away from home to learn about the fine wines coming from his home state of Washington. It was teammate and NFL Hall of Famer, Dan Marion, who went into his personal cellar to introduce Damon to Washington State wines during the 1997 season. Over the next decade, the formers QB’s conversation about wine evolved into a discussion about owning and operating their own winery upon Huard’s retirement and return to Washington State. Damon’s family has deep roots in the heart of Washington wine country, helping pioneer the valley into the agricultural powerhouse that it is today. “The vision of making a truly great Washington wine is one that Damon and I have shared for a long time,” said Marino, one of the most decorated quarterback in NFL history and a member of the NFL’s Hall of Fame. “Although there are more than 900 wineries in Washington State, we believe the industry is still in its adolescence and we want to be part of it as it grows into the world’s next great wine region.” Passing Time was launched with the 2012 vintage of cabernet and released in the spring of 2015 to rave reviews from wine critics and customers alike.

About Wine Watch

From 1998 to the present, Andrew has owned and operated the Wine Watch, located in Fort Lauderdale, and today, the Wine Watch features over 4,000 different selections and a floor to ceiling display of wines in 3,000 square feet of display area that is housed in a new location that is custom built to house over 30,000 bottles they have over 10,000 active customers with over $3,500,000 in sales annually for the last five years Wine Watch is one of the largest wine only retailers in the Southeast United States. 

GSN Alert: February 18th – National Drink Wine Day

February 18th is National Drink Wine Day, which is a day each year that celebrates the love and health benefits associated with wine. According to the consulting group BW 166, wine sales in the U.S. topped $72.2 billion in 2018, which was nearly a 5 percent increase over the prior year. Clearly, we are nation that loves a good glass of wine, and the more we learn of the health benefits, the more likely more of us will add a bottle to our grocery list.

“People were enjoying a good glass of wine long before the research showed that there are health benefits,” explains Blake Helppie, managing partner at Rosé Piscine, a rosé wine specifically made to drink over ice. “Now we can enjoy our glass of wine and feel good about what it is doing for our body, too. Rarely do we find something that we enjoy so much that also provides health benefits.”

Wine enthusiasts can rejoice as they celebrate National Drink Wine Day this year, because the drink has plenty of research pointing to the fact that it’s a healthy beverage to drink in moderation. What exactly is moderation? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate drinking is up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. One drink is defined as being four ounces of wine. Further, they recommend that number is not the average consumed over a week, but the amount consumed on any given day.

Most people who enjoy having a glass of wine with their meal love the taste, but they may not be aware of the way it’s helping their body. Here are some of the many health benefits that have been associated with making wine a part of your diet:

  • Heart health. The National Institutes of Health reports that studies have shown that adults who drink light to moderate amounts of alcohol may be less likely to develop heart disease than those who do not drink at all or are heavy drinkers.
  • Gut health. The April 2017 issue of the journal Current Opinion in Biotechnology included the research results of a study on the health benefits of fermented foods, including wine. The study found that fermented foods, including wine, provide health benefits well beyond the starting food materials, and contain living microorganisms of which some are genetically similar to strains used as probiotics.
  • Diabetes health. The April 2017 issue of the journal Endocrine reports that the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend a Mediterranean diet for improving glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes. It also reports that studies show that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a 20-23 % reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet is one that includes drinking wine in moderation.
  • Brain health. Research out of the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2018 found that drinking wine in moderation was associated with reducing inflammation and helping the brain to clear away toxins, including those that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“From the brain to gut to your heart, drinking a little wine has health benefits for most people,” added Helppie. “It’s nice to feel good about what you are drinking, whether with dinner, at a party, or at the beach. You can drink some wine and know you are doing your body good.”

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Chapel Hill Cocktail

Chapel Hill, located in North Carolina is perhaps where this old-school drink originated decades ago. In any case, this is an Americanized Sidecar, with French brandy being replaced with the ultra-American spirit, bourbon.  Simple, and yet tasty as heck.

If you do visit Chapel Hill, be sure to stop at The Crunkleton and tell them Gary sent you. You won’t regret it.

Chapel Hill
2oz Bourbon whiskey (we used 1.5oz of a 10-year-old)
0.5oz triple sec (we used Cointreau)
0.5oz lemon juice
Garnish: orange twist

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Add orange twist. (We also added a dehydrated orange wheel for visual appeal)

GSN Review: Lifevine 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon

Recognizing the hot topic around wine and health, LifeVine put its wines through rigorous testing with the Clean Label Project. With a goal to reduce contamination across all consumer products, the Clean Label Project™ uses data and science to reveal the true contents of America’s best-selling products. Products are tested in an accredited analytical chemistry laboratory for 130 harmful environmental and industrial contaminants and toxins. Results are published as Product Ratings. LifeVine Wines have been awarded the Clean Label Project Purity Award.

“Today’s consumers are more knowledgeable about what they want to put into their bodies. We know that fewer calories and less sugar in wine isn’t enough. In fact, our research revealed that 94 percent of wine drinkers are concerned about pesticides in their wines. Second only to the importance of higher antioxidants,” said Nichole Simpson, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing for IBG. “In response to this trend, we’ve developed a series of wines that not only deliver on taste, but also check important health and wellness boxes that millennials and GenX consumers are looking for in their beverages of choice.”

Lifevine wines are the ONLY Certified Pesticide Free wines in America. Their wines have been independently sampled and tested in an accredited analytical chemistry laboratory for harmful environmental contaminants and toxins and over 200 pesticides. They also contain zero sugar per serving and are lower in calories & carbs, in addition to being certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)

LifeVine Wine offers a California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and an Oregon Pinot Noir from the famed Willamette Valley.

GSN’s Thoughts: A dry and vanilla forward Cab Sauv that has a medium body. Fruit forward and clean, with a meaty and woody character. There’s an almost walnut or hazelnut-like flavor that adds a bit more of a tannic edge. The terroir of this wine is apparent, as it definitely has a more northern, inland quality than you will find in Central Coast wines. A perfect wine for celebrating with friends, enjoying over a meal, or winding down at the end of the day. It’s not every organic wine that succeeds, but this one does. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Lifevine Wines

GSN Review: Precision Botanical CBD Gummies & Tincture

Colorado-based Precision Botanical entered the market in 2019 as the only “Science First” CBD brand created by a team of U.S.-based neuroscientists, chemists and toxicologists. Precision Botanical products come from its own Oregon hemp farm and uses a commercial-level proprietary extraction of hemp oil that’s in the patent process. All products are third-party audited and certified for potency and purity.

Approximately 45% of the top 10 CBD brands’ products contain THC and third-party testing reveals that the top selling products are on average tested for fewer than 20 contaminants. In comparison, Precision Botanical tests all of its source material as well as finished products for more than 400 contaminants. This ensures Precision Botanical products are 99% pure, with accurate concentrations in each product and all are made with pharmaceutical-level precision. All of its products carry Clean Label Project Purity and THC-Free Certification.

Precision Botanical CBD products include its Soothe line. These topicals provide mess-free application and each one easily fits into a daily regimen. They contain functional, natural ingredients and were created for athletes by athletes. Other product lines offered by Precision Botanical include its Calm, Renew, Alert and Sleep lines of creams, tinctures, capsules, gummies and energy shots.

GSN was sent a sample of the CBD gummies, and a bottle of the Calm tincture.

GSN’s Thoughts: As with most CBD products, the experiences vary from person to person. We were one of the first to try CBD oil when it became available years ago, and so we will review the flavors of these products as opposed to their efficacy. The Calm tincture has a mostly neutral flavor, which is a huge bonus for those who have issues with the typical bitterness found in the majority of CBD oils. The base is safflower oil and that is the major takeaway here. The tincture can easily be added to a cocktail for an extra bit of relaxation without altering the overall character of the drink. The CBD gummies have a slightly tart lemon flavor which is quite good and you could easily consume the small bag in one sitting, but we don’t recommend it. These gummies can also be used as a cocktail garnish skewered on a cocktail pick and enjoyed at the end of the drink. Overall, both of these products are recommended for use in mixology for those looking to try something new. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Precision Botanical

GSN Review: Dhōs Gin Free Elixir

The adventure began over 25 years ago on the Ransom organic farm and distillery in Sheridan, Oregon where they pioneered the American craft spirits movement. Their motto is hands on production with ‘low tech’ – no robots or computers. The creation of Dhōs stemmed from a conversation at the distillery when someone asked ‘what if they could provide the craft cocktail experience, yet without any of the alcohol, giving people the freedom to drink on their own terms?’ With that, they tasted through the ‘virtual brands’ currently on the market and quickly realized that a grounding in actual craft spirits would be invaluable in creating a true quality craft spirit experience, without the alcohol.

Dhōs Gin Free has all the flavors of the classic spirit—juniper, natural botanicals, citrus, and spices; and is sugar free with zero calories

GSN’s Thoughts: The nose is grassy and herbal with a slight piney, rosemary-ish perfume. The initial taste has some juniper, which is quickly followed by a cooling mint, then followed by some gingery heat. None of these are overwhelming or overly pronounced, but they make for an interesting flavor journey. As things settle down after a minute, I’m reminded of an unsweetened herbal lozenge or black tea. Mixed with tonic water, these flavors still come through quite clearly, and the blend makes for an enjoyable non-alcoholic cocktail. But, Dhōs Gin Free will also work well with lemonade or even club soda with a lime twist. We like it. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Dhos Spirits