S&C is becoming a fan of Jason Wilson’s Spirits column in the Washington Post’s Food Section. This week, he gives us the low-down on misunderstood Tequila – and, as a bonus, we get some excellent drink recipes.
I’m sharing it here, because it is better than any research I could do on the liquor. Jason Wilson went on an agave pilgrimage, to see first-hand the life cycle of tequila’s base ingredient. He visited distilleries, sampled agave pulp – all to understand tequila’s complex characteristics. But, he also wants to refine tastes, and change drinkers’ perceptions of the spirit (i.e. those that think tequila is only good for the 21st birthday shot, it’s a low-quality liquor, and it should only be mixed with pre-made, sickly sweet bottled mixers).
Tequila isn’t quite as complex as wine, but there are geographical areas (Jalisco highlands and lowlands) to note, and there are three basic types to understand: blanco (pure), reposado (rested), and añejo (aged).
I’m far from an aficionado, but I whole heartedly support the notion that if you have good ingredients available, (a) use them, if resources allow, and (b) if you use them, do not, under any circumstances, drown them with overpowering, artificial mixers. I’m actually a bit of a snob when it comes this point. I promise you – you can make a better cocktail without those bottled mixers. And by better, I still mean easy, simple, and affordable. Take a look at these recipes: Paloma is more popular in Mexico than a margarita (grapefruit tastes better with tequila than lime); Sangrita is a spicy drink that literally translates “little blood,” and, the Tamarind Margarita is a sweet and spicy frozen drink. Sounds delicioso!
posted by Ms. S&C
Below are some of my latest finds in shoes, cocktails, and things related.
- S&C is a big fan of lists, rankings, critics’ picks, recaps, etc. Footwear News has another great slideshow highlighting the top 50 styles that have stood the test of time. We’re talking about shoes that are timeless. Classics. Icons. Make sure you check out the photo captions and find out a little more about Converse All Stars, Dr. Martens, Timberlands, and Manolo Blahniks, of course.
- Be on the lookout for shrubs the next time you are ordering specialty cocktails. They are all over the cocktail/mixology blogs these days. Everyone is realizing that fresh, local produce (in this case, fruit) has a place in drinks too. Shrub is a vinegary fruit syrup that was commonly prepared and drunk during the colonial times. To make your own homemade shrub, bring 1 cup white or champagne vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 2 pints fresh berries, and up to a half cup of water to a boil. Stir. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and bottle. My good friend, JD, just gave me a bottle of raspberry shrub prepared locally in PA — glad that I now have some good uses for it. Here are a few recipes worth checking out:
Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: What shoes/cocktails do you consider iconic? Post a comment below.
Stop what you are doing and immediately check out today’s Washington Post Food Section – the Tomato Issue. They have unveiled the winners of their annual Top Tomato Contest, and made my heart swoon. While the recipe for Bloody Mary Tomato Mousse! was not an entry in the contest (appears in The Gastronomer column), I just know it is a winner.
This beautiful layered concoction has made my heart skip a beat. I can’t think straight. I’m at a loss for words, and I have no idea what shoes I would wear with it.
Summary, recipe ingredients, and directions are here. Fresh ripe tomatoes, lemon, hot pepper sauce, vodka — all my faves. I may even add the basil oil that appears in a separate recipe. While it seems a little time intensive, I am certain it is worth it. I was going to make white wine sangria this weekend, but plans may have very well changed.
Here are the latest headlines on shoes, cocktails, and things related.
- S&C said fish pedicures were all the rage! Even NPR has picked up on those flesh-eating skin specialists, and reported that Yvonne Salon has had over 6,000 customers try the treatment. The customers appear happy and the fish are staying well fed. They have apparently doubled in size over the past few months on the steady supply of human skin.
- You heard it here — floral prints are huge! Over at Footwear News you can check out the garden party that is Spring ’09. Precious petals, rosette embellishments, vibrant colors…View the slide show of beautiful, beautiful shoes. I wish I could snag a picture of those Beverly Feldman floral-print slingbacks. Instead, get a head start on next year’s fashion-forward styles over at Endless, like these by Guess. (Note: there not paying me highlight them–I just really like their selection.)
- GQ features the 20 best cocktails in America and where to go find them. It looks like you’ll need to travel to Louisville, KY, for the best Manhattan and Block Island, RI, for the best gin and tonic.
Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: I’m thinking about adding an advice column to the blog. Readers can email with questions like: “How do I justify an exorbitant price tag on the shoes I love?” -or- “I’m hosting supper club, what cocktail do I serve, that all guests would like?” -or- “And, what shoes do I wear?” What do you think? If you’d like to see it, post a comment below.
Because S&C cares about shoes, she cares about feet. I’m personally overdue for a pedicure, and I know that if I’m hopping into those Gisella sandals soon, these puppies need some work. A friend passed on WUSA9’s segment about an unorthodox pedicure method that is all the rage. Yvonne’s Hair Salon in Alexandria, VA, offers the same flesh-eating fish pedicure as seen on Ugly Betty (episode where Wilhelmina discovers that Daniel Mead’s father finds soft feet irresistible and she goes to the extreme). Anyway, these tiny but hungry Garra Rufa, or “Doctor Fish,” eat the dead skin off your feet in about a half hour, leaving them silky smooth.
The Telegraph in the UK also reported the story, indicating that these toothless fish nibble away at dead skin but leave healthy flesh untouched. And, advocates say it is a natural alternative to using the potentially unsanitary razors, clipper or pumice stone.
Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: natural, or going too far?