Authors Posts by Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

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By Bob Lipinski

“Irish diplomacy is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to making the trip.” (Irish saying)

Bob Lipinski

Before you begin cooking the corned beef, you will need some good old-fashioned pants-slapping music. Naturally, the Irish Rovers or Clancy Brothers would be a great choice. Now, the best songs to listen to include “The Unicorn,” “The Orange and the Green,” “Goodbye Mrs. Durkin,” “Black Velvet Band,” “Donald Where’s Your Trousers,” “Bridget Flynn,” “Lilly The Pink,” and “Harrigan.”

To help celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, here’s the scoop on corned beef.

The term corned beef has nothing to do with American corn, but rather an English term from the seventeenth century, for curing and preserving a brisket of beef in salt, which at one time was in the form of pellets (or grains of salt), called corns. Today “corning” is the term used to describe the process of curing a brisket of beef by steeping it in a pickling solution.

Here’s what I use to cook corned beef. Photo by Bob Lipinski

Corned beef, a staple of all Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations, is generally cooked by steam, although some cooks prefer to boil, bake or even microwave it (ouch, when you see the electric bill.) I have found that steaming the corned beef in a tall pot used for steaming clams minimizes shrinkage, maintains moisture and cooks in less time than other methods. Be certain the bottom of the steamer pot is filled with water, plus the pickling spices, which are often packed with the corned beef. (You can use a tablespoon of pickling spices, available in the supermarket if needed.) Do not trim off any fat pre-cooking; it adds to the moisture. Cook according to the package or your butcher’s advice. To keep the corned beef tender after cooking, let it rest for five minutes before serving. Now, remove any excess fat. To avoid stringy, cooked meat, be certain to slice against the grain.

Between the Irish music, the parade up Fifth Avenue and eating chunks of Irish soda bread, I enjoy beer on Saint Patrick’s Day. Everyone has their favorite and the most popular Irish beers are Beamish, Galway Hooker, Guinness, Harp, Murphy’s, O’Hara’s and Smithwick’s. However, my favorite is Guinness Foreign Export Stout, available only in four-packs. Guinness Stout is relatively low in carbonation and should ideally be served at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you prefer wine, my suggestions for white wines are chenin blanc, gewürztraminer, pinot blanc, riesling and sylvaner. Red wines are barbera, Bardolino, Beaujolais, Chianti and pinot noir. Equally fine is rosé, white zinfandel and a blanc de noirs sparkling wine.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com.) He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or bkjm@hotmail.com.

“I drink Champagne when I win, to celebrate … And I drink Champagne when I lose, to console myself.”

 (Napoléon Bonaparte I, 1769–1821, French General and Emperor)

By Bob Lipinski

I love “bubbly” … sparkling wines that dance on my tongue, revealing their subtle or bold flavors. Some are crisp and quite dry, while others are off-dry or even sweet. Virtually every country makes them and they are available in all sorts of style and prices. I would like to share with you some champagne and sparkling wines that I’ve recently tasted, which are worth purchasing.

Champagne

NV Ruinart “Blanc de Blancs” (Champagne, France). Clean and crisp with hints of brioche, citrus and celery. Quite dry, with a long, pleasing aftertaste.

NV André Jacquart Mesnil “Brut Nature” (Champagne, France). Green apple and citrus aromas with subtle flavors of pears and nuts. Very dry and palate cleansing.

2008 Pol Roger “Brut” (Champagne, France). Straw-colored with an aroma of biscuits, butter and citrus. Dry, with flavors of spices, toasted bread and green apple.

2006 Taittinger “Comtes de Champagne” (Champagne, France). An aroma of red apples, wheat and citrus. Medium-bodied with flavors of green apple, orange and spices.

1995 Charles Heidsieck “Blanc de Millénaires” (Champagne, France). Bouquet of toasted bread, citrus and green apple. Medium-bodied and dry, with delicate pear and apple flavors.

Cheeses that pair nicely with champagne are Beaufort, Boursault, Camembert, Carré de l’Est, Langres and Maroilles.

Prosecco

NV Bortolotti “47” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, DOCG, “Extra Dry” (Italy). Wow… what a long name! Medium-full bodied with bouquet and flavor of peaches, apricots, flowers and a hint of coffee.

NV Terre di San Venanzio, Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG “Brut” (Italy). Medium-bodied with a floral bouquet of stone fruits, apples and citrus. Dry with hints of fennel and ginger.

NV Nino Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG “Brut” (Italy). Lovely bouquet of apricots, wild flowers and citrus. Off-dry with hints of almonds.

Cheeses that pair nicely with prosecco include Asiago, Bagozzo, fontina, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino and Asiago Pressato.

The next two wines are slightly effervescent or as the Italians call them, “frizzante.” They are best served with panettone, fruit-based desserts or some Robiola de Roccaverano, a goat’s milk cheese from Piedmont. Two other recommended cheeses are Aostino and Gorgonzola.

Coppo 2015 Moncalvina Moscato d’Asti DOCG (Italy). Straw-colored, with greenish reflections. Floral notes along with peach and pear overtones. Semisweet with some citrus for balance.

Michele Chiarlo 2015 Nivole Moscato d’Asti DOCG (Italy). Intensely aromatic and fruity, suggestive of sage, grapefruit, apricot and meringue.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com.

In the UK and Europe, the term Swiss cheese has no meaning.

By Bob Lipinski

“What is a harp but an oversized cheese slicer with cultural pretensions?”

— Denis Norden, English comedy writer

“Swiss cheese” as we know it doesn’t really exist. It is a generic term often used in North America for any type of cheese, regardless of where it comes from, as long as it has a pale-yellow body and is literally full of holes or “eyes,” with a rubbery texture. And this holds true for both imported and “domestic” Swiss cheeses.

Most of the time the cheese is actually Emmentaler from Switzerland or Jarlsberg from Norway. In the UK and Europe, the term Swiss cheese has no meaning and asking for a “pound of Swiss cheese” would be the equivalent of saying, “I’d like a pound of Italian cheese” in Italy, whereby Italians would ask, “Which Italian cheese?”

Switzerland produces more than 450 varieties of cheese (mostly from cow’s milk) and they are not all called “Swiss Cheese.” Emmentaler, a cow’s milk cheese comes from the Emme Valley (near Bern), Switzerland, where it has been made since the fifteenth century. It has a pale-yellow exterior with large shiny holes and a natural edible rind; light yellow interior and is wheel-shaped. It is firm to very firm; with an almost elastic, smooth, plastic texture and slightly oily. Emmentaler is mild to full-flavored, with a sweet, fruity, nutty flavor. A younger and milder version is known as Baby Swiss. Genuine Swiss Emmentaler has the word “Switzerland” stamped all over the rind.

By the way, the holes in the cheese are produced by carbonic acid gas bubbles during fermentation or bacterial activity, which generates propionic acid and causes gas to expand within the curd also creates the holes. The bubbles are unable to escape, which is responsible for the “hole” formation ranging from pinhead size to dime or quarter size. They are sometimes made mechanically for appearance sake. Before serving the cheese, allow it to sit for 30 minutes to one hour at room temperature, which will soften the texture, release the aromas and maximize the flavor.

Now my wine recommendations:

2015 Torre Santa La Rocca “Bombino Nero” Rosé (Italy): Salmon color with an intense fruity bouquet of cherry, strawberry and melon. Dry and quite flavorful; citrus, orange and raspberries abound. Great for Sunday brunch.

2012 Château Prieurs de la Commanderie (Pomerol, Bordeaux): (80 percent merlot/ 20 percent cabernet franc). Bouquet and flavor of black cherry, plums and cedar. Medium-bodied, quite smooth and very easy to drink now or in a few years. I think of lamb chops rubbed with rosemary.

2014 Komodo Dragon “Red Blend” Columbia Valley, Washington: Quite dark with a full bouquet and flavor of black currants, black cherries, chocolate and licorice. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, coffee and vanilla. Pair this with a porterhouse steak.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

A mug of eggnog sets the tone for the holidays

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinksi

When I think of “winter drinks to warm me up,” my thoughts immediately run to sitting in a ski lodge after a day on the slopes watching the snow fall through a large picture window, while snuggled in front of a roaring fire with a warm drink in my hand.

Let’s forget the slopes for a moment and pretend you’re home; perhaps just after finishing shoveling snow, relaxing and needing something to remove the chill and warm your bones. I have just the remedy for you.

Cocktails or drinks served warm or even hot have been with us for hundreds of years; some made in the U.S. and others take their history, tradition and ingredients from far off lands. Below are some of my favorite beverages to “take off the chill.”

Eggnog: A rich, nonalcoholic dairy beverage made with egg yolks, cream and sugar and generally served during cold weather. The alcoholic version includes brandy or rum as well. The word “eggnog,” first used around 1775, is probably a corruption of “Egg-and-Grog.”

Mulled wine: (United States) A sweetened and spiced red wine drink to which sugar, lemon peel and spices such as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon are added. It is then heated by a loggerhead and served very warm to hot. A type of mulled wine made in Austria and Germany is “glühwein.” Below are several types of mulled wine drinks … Bishop, glögg and Negus.

Bishop: (England) One of the many versions of a mulled wine popular with undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is made with port wine, sugar, spices and an orange stuck with cloves. The drink is then heated and served warm. It is a traditional beverage in England and northern Europe.

Glögg: (Nordic countries) A traditional hot-spiced drink similar to hot mulled wine usually consumed during the cold weather. It is made from a combination of aquavit or brandy, red wine, cardamom, cloves, sugar, raisins, almonds and other ingredients. Glögg is served warm in glasses containing a small cinnamon stick, raisins, currants or almonds.

Negus: (England) A hot wine (generally port or sherry) drink often sweetened and flavored with various spices, named after Colonel Francis Negus (1670–1732), an English military officer.

Hot buttered rum dates back to the 1650s in New England

Hot buttered rum: A cocktail consisting of dark rum, brown sugar, cloves, butter and boiling water, dating back to the 1650s in New England.

Hot toddy: (England) A drink dating back to the 1700s consisting of brandy, whiskey or other distilled spirits with hot water, sugar, lemon juice, cloves, cinnamon and other spices. Toddy is derived from the Hindu word “tari” used for the sap or juice of a palm tree. This sap was often fermented to create an alcoholic beverage. If you can’t find a hot beverage while out on the slopes, then perhaps look for a Saint Bernard dog, usually identified with the carrying of a small keg of brandy or other distilled spirits around its neck to give relief and warmth to stranded skiers.

Happy Holidays!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

A scene from the 2016 documentary, 'Burgundy: People With a Passion for Wine,' one of Bob Lipinski's top picks for the holidays.

By Bob Lipinski

My annual list of books (and video) to purchase for the upcoming holidays covers a multitude of topics, genres and authors. Some are current, “just-released” publications and other are “golden oldies” that are a “must read.” They are available in most bookstores and online.

Bob Lipinski
Bob Lipinski

“The Italian Slow Cooker” (2010) by Michele Scicolone. Finally, a book that combines the fresh, exuberant flavors of great Italian food with the ease and comfort of a slow cooker. Scicolone, an authority on Italian cooking, shows how good ingredients and simple techniques can lift the usual “crockpot” fare into the dimension of fine food.

“The Italian Vegetable Cookbook” (2014) by Michele Scicolone. Scicolone shares 200 of the best vegetable recipes gathered from talented home cooks, chefs, produce vendors and vineyard owners throughout Italy. A cherished few of the recipes are family specialties, passed down by her grandmother.

“Burgundy: People With a Passion for Wine” (2016-DVD) by Rudi Goldman. A colorful mosaic of extraordinary stories about people whose lives revolve around the culture, challenges and pleasures of wine, winemaking and French gastronomy in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. A must see video; it’s that good!

“101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” (2015) by Bob Lipinski. It covers the basics of each major whiskey category and countries of origin. Also covered are history, definitions, slang terms, classic cocktails, drinks of American presidents and famous people and whiskey-infused quotes.

“The 24-Hour Wine Expert” (2016) by Jancis Robinson. This best-selling author has penned a 112-page book that strips away the nonessentials and concentrates on what’s really important in learning about wine. Easy to read style with drawings and down-to-earth material that can be read in 24 hours.

“Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (2015) by Bob Lipinski and Gary Grunner. Background on more than 130 Italian cheeses paired with wine, cheese and fruit combinations, glossary of terms, phonetic pronunciation, regions of origin and so much more.

“Friends of Wine” (2013) by Michael Belardo. Friends of Wine represents Belardo’s personal collection of photographs taken through the years of people in and associated with the international wine business. Great photos!

Now for my “booze” recommendations to drink while reading:

Mayfair London Dry Gin (England) 86 proof. Juniper-filled bouquet along with lemon and rosemary. Medium-bodied and full of flavor with subtle hints of lemon, orange peel and a delicate creaminess in the finish. Superb gin … one of the best I’ve tried lately.

Lighthouse Gin (New Zealand) 84 proof. “Batch Distilled from 100 percent Sugar Cane.” Heavy juniper-perfumed bouquet with tones of sage, pine and citrus. Herbal tasting with hints of peach, orange, lime, lemon and pine, Quite smooth with little burn.

McCarthy’s Single Malt Whiskey (Oregon) “pot distilled” (Peat Malted Scottish barley). Aged three years. 85 proof. Medium-full peated nose (reminds one of Laphroaig) with smoke and leather. Flavors of citrus, orange, leather and black pepper. It’s not a Scotch, but pair it against a smoky one.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

By Bob Lipinski

Laird’s is America’s first and oldest commercial distillery. Records indicate that William Laird, a County Fyfe Scotsman, settled in Monmouth County, N.J., and produced applejack as early as 1698. In 1780, Robert Laird, a Revolutionary War soldier who served under George Washington, established Laird’s Distillery (License #1) in the tiny community of Scobeyville, N.J.

Applejack is an 80-proof brandy made from apples such as Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome, Winesap, Fuji, Stayman, Pippins, Granny Smith, Gala, Macintosh and Jonathan. It is estimated that about 7,000 pounds of apples are needed to make one 50-gallon barrel of apple brandy and about six pounds are needed to make one 750-ml (25.4-ounce) bottle of 80-proof applejack. Laird’s also makes a 100-proof apple brandy labeled Jersey Lighting, which is made from about 20 pounds of apples! By the way, applejack was originally distilled from frozen fermented apple cider, a process called jacking.

Laird’s 80-proof applejack is a blend of 35 percent apple brandy and 66 percent neutral grain spirits. Under U.S. law, it must be aged for two years, but Laird’s is aged for a minimum of three years in charred oak barrels. It is dry and full of deep, rich apple aroma and flavor. Very smooth in the mouth with a caramel finish and an ultra-smooth finish (meaning no burn).

Jersey Lighting is a term dating back to the mid-1800s for applejack, which was made in New Jersey. The brandy is clear in color with an unmistakable perfumed aroma of cider followed by a rich, dry apple taste, subtle, yet full of flavor. I like it either in a brandy snifter or sometimes on the rocks while listening to relaxing music. Applejack is also perfect for hot apple drinks and cocktails, such as Jack Rose and the Pink Lady.

The Jack Rose Cocktail (see recipe below) was supposedly named after “Bald Jack” Rose, a gangster who turned state’s evidence after the killing of Herman Rosenthal in a bar in Times Square in 1912. The Pink Lady Cocktail (see recipe below) was named after a play in 1911 of the same name and starring Hazel Dawn. In 1944, the Pink Lady enjoyed a revival in the play “Happy Birthday” in which Helen Hayes danced on the bar top after several drinks, including the Pink Lady.

Laird’s applejack is excellent for basting or creating a glaze for your turkey and is an essential ingredient for stuffing, which is generally made with apples. Simply add 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup applejack to your stuffing prior to cooking. That’s it… “Here’s to Apples.”

Jack Rose Cocktail

INGREDIENTS: 2 ounces applejack

1 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce grenadine

DIRECTIONS: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Pink Lady Cocktail
Pink Lady Cocktail

Pink Lady Cocktail

INGREDIENTS: 1-1/2 ounces gin 1/2 ounce applejack 1/2 ounce lemon juice 1/4 ounce grenadine 1 egg white

DIRECTIONS: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

Prior to the 14th century, vodka was used mainly in perfumes and cosmetics.

By Bob Lipinski

“I never have more than one drink before dinner,” said Bond. “But I do like that one to be very large and very strong and very cold and very well-made.” — James Bond, “Casino Royale” (when referring to a martini)

Vodka is an alcoholic beverage distilled at or above 190 proof and bottled at not less than 80 proof (except in the case of flavored vodkas). According to the U.S. standards of identity, U.S.-made vodka must be “without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” However, no federal regulations require vodka to be entirely without aroma or taste; therefore, some vodkas display distinctive characteristics in aroma and taste.

Vodka seems to have first appeared in either Russia or Poland around the twelfth century, when it was known as zhizenennia voda (water of life) in the Russian monastery-fort of Viatka. The word vodka comes from the Russian word for water, voda, or the Polish word wódka — in Polish the w has a v sound. The suffix “ka” was added to the root word centuries later. By the fourteenth century, vodka began to be used as a beverage; formerly, it was mainly used in perfumes and cosmetics. The early vodkas were strongly flavored and therefore it became a common practice to add herbs, spices, and fruits to mask the sometimes harsh, raw taste. Vodka is generally made from grains — barley, corn, rice, rye, wheat — although sugar beets, grapes, maple syrup, molasses, plums, potatoes, and sugarcane can be used. Actually, vodka can be made from virtually any ingredient that contains starch or sugar.

I like vodka served directly from the freezer Arctic-cold, served in Y-shaped glasses or ryumochki (small shot glasses) and downed in one gulp. A vodka martini, with plenty of ice, some dry vermouth and olives gets me going. By the way, vodka won’t freeze because of the high alcohol level and it will be instantly at the right temperature for mixing your favorite cocktail without melting the ice cubes.

Everyone has their favorite vodka brands and I’m no exception. I especially enjoy Boru (Ireland), Luksusowa (Poland), Monopolowa (Austria), Moskovskaya (Russia), Stolichnaya Elite (Russia), Zubrówka (Slavic Countries) and Zyr (Russia). I recently tasted three new vodkas, which I will certainly add to my list: Mayfair Vodka, made in London, England, is a refreshing aroma, with citrus and anise hints; incredibly smooth, well-balanced finish. The second is Leaf Vodka, which is made from two unique waters. Both are refined and quite smooth with “no burn.” Leaf Alaskan Glacial Water (80 proof): Hints of white pepper; floral, roses; nice smooth aftertaste. Leaf Rocky Mountain Mineral Water (80 proof): Aroma of vanilla, fruity and herbal; great texture and clean finish. The third is Khortytsa Platinum (Ukraine): Lemon- clean aroma with hints of citrus and orange peel; ultra-smooth tasting.

Drop me a line and let me know your favorite.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written ten books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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Brie is a very versatile cheese and pairs nicely with a multitude of wines. Stock photo

By Bob Lipinski

“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”  — Charles de Gaulle, 1890–1970, President of France, 1962 speech

According to popular legend, Emperor Charlemagne supposedly first tasted Brie in around 774 at a monastery and fell in love with its creamy flavors and inviting texture. There are stories that put Brie’s beginnings several hundred years earlier, but those cannot be proven.

At the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) a jury of ambassadors each brought a cheese from their respective countries for a judging. France’s statesman, Talleyrand, brought Brie and after a vote, the conference delegates proclaimed it the King of Cheeses.

Brie, which is a double-crème, cow’s milk cheese is made in the French province of Brie, in the department of Seine-et-Marne, northeast of Paris, although it is also made in the United States and other countries. Brie is similar to Camembert (France), Coulommiers (France), Crèma Danica (Denmark) and Paglia (Italy).

The term Brie covers a small family of cheeses, which carry the name of the town or village where they are made. The finest Brie is generally considered to be Brie de Meaux while another variety is Brie de Melun.

Prior to aging, the small or large wheels of cheese are washed with a salt brine, then rubbed or sprayed with a culture of pure-white mold spores. After that, the cheeses are taken to the curing room for many months of aging. Brie has a thin, edible, white rind, with a creamy yellow interior.

When Brie begins to get old, the white rind turns brown and an odor of ammonia can be detected. Its texture is soft and smooth, almost honey-like, but definitely not runny. It is mild to pungent tasting with hints of mushrooms, cognac, heavy cream, nuts and even truffles. After one hour or so opened at room temperature, Brie becomes runny with a buttery and earthy flavor and is quite spreadable. It is sometimes flavored with herbs, peppers and mushrooms.

I generally serve Brie at room temperature, and for guests, with the aid of a sharp knife, I remove the top rind and immediately brush the cheese with lemon juice. Next I spread a thin layer of apricot or peach preserves, followed by raisins previously soaked in white wine, in the center. Spread slivered almonds or pecans in a circular fashion around the raisins. Place in a 425 F oven for approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with crackers.

Brie is a very versatile cheese and pairs nicely with a multitude of wines including some reds — Beaujolais, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, merlot, pinot noir and zinfandel. White wines include chardonnay, chenin blanc, Gewürztraminer, riesling and sauvignon blanc. Let’s not forget Champagne and sparkling wines.

Two New York State Finger Lakes wines I recently paired with Brie were:

Standing Stone 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon: Bright ruby colored with aromas of wild cherry, red candy and spicy blueberries. Should develop into a stunning wine.

Standing Stone 2014 Dry Vidal: Vidal is a white French hybrid of Ugni Blanc and Rayon d’Or, developed in 1929 by Jean-Louis Vidal. The wine has an aroma of grapefruit, kiwi and peaches. It has plenty of acidity, which keeps it clean and crisp tasting. Definitely one of the best dry Vidal wines I have encountered!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

By Bob Lipinski

‘Drink wine in winter for cold, and in summer for heat.’

— Henry G. Bohn 1796–1884, British publisher, ‘Handbook of Proverbs,’ 1855

For centuries wines have been bottled in glass containers (bottles) and enjoyed by millions of drinkers, novices and connoisseurs alike.

Over the past few decades, wineries have sought alternative containers for consumers to enjoy their red, white and rosé (blush) wines. Some of the ideas are: aluminum cans similar to a six-pack of beer, aluminum bottles, single servings of wine in a plastic glass, plastic wine bottles, bottles made from cardboard (plastic lined), Tetra Pak cartons (they house tomato sauce), AstraPouch (Capri Sun) ceramic bottles (Lancer’s Rosé) and yes even in a paint can!

By far, the best alternative package for wine is the “bag-in-the-box” or BiB for short. BiB packaging refers to a food-grade, plastic bag hidden inside a cardboard box fitted with a tap for serving and a handle for transport. The BiB was invented by U.S. chemist William R. Scholle in 1955 for the safe transportation and dispensing of battery acid. In 1965, the idea was patented and became the Wine Box thanks to Thomas Angove (1918–2010), a winemaker from Renmark, South Australia.

BiB comes in various sizes, including 1.5-liter (2 bottles), but the 3-, 4-, and 5-liter containers are the most common. It easily fits inside the refrigerator and is ideal for dispensing a single or multiple glasses of wine. BiB is ideal for the outdoor locations where glass may not be appropriate or accepted — swimming pools, outdoor concerts, picnics, barbecues, sporting events, parks and beaches.

Once opened, BiB can easily last several weeks before a replacement is needed. In years past, the quality of some offerings was low-end, appealing to the “jug drinkers.” However, the past few years has seen not only the quality dramatically improve but also the offerings. You can purchase cabernet sauvignon, merlot, Shiraz, Riesling and many others.

Two of my recent favorite brands are Archer Roose and Bota Box:

Archer Roose Sauvignon Blanc (3-liters) Central Valley, Chile: Aroma of stone fruit and kiwi is followed by a crisp, clean flavor of tropical fruit, and lemon, with hints of tartness.

Archer Roose Carmenère (3-liter) Maipo, Chile: Full bouquet and flavor of spicy plums, black raspberries, cherries and black pepper. Medium-bodied with subtle flavors of mint, herbs and dark chocolate.

Archer Roose Cabernet Sauvignon (3-liter) Maipo, Chile: Deeply colored with a bouquet and taste of black currants, blackberries and cherries. Medium-bodied with flavors of chocolate-cherry and spices.

Bota Box Chardonnay (3-liter) California: Bouquet and flavor of baked bread, pineapple and apples. Off-dry with just the right amount of citrus to keep it interesting.

Bota Box 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (3-liter) California: Aroma and flavor of melon, mint and orange blossoms. Light-bodied with plenty of flavor.

Bota Box 2014 Night Hawk Black (3-liter) California: Ruby-colored with a luscious bouquet and off-dry taste of blackberries, cherries and jam.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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Limoncello is the perfect summer cocktail.

By Bob Lipinski

“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”  — G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

If you’re like me, you probably enjoy cocktails year-round and perhaps you may even have a favorite one or even two. When I entertain specialty, cocktails abound replete with fancy names, a multitude of ingredients and compliments. I thought I’d share with you some of my homemade cocktails that will satisfy even the pickiest palate. However, in order for the cocktails to smell and taste authentic, the brands and measurements listed below must be followed.

Key Lime Pie Cocktail 

This cocktail smells and tastes just like Key Lime Pie!

2 parts Cruzan Vanilla Rum

1 part pineapple juice

1/2 part Rose’s Lime Juice Splash Sprite (not diet)

Mix or shake the first three ingredients with ice, add Sprite, quickly stir and enjoy.

Bourbon Margarita

Use the same ingredients as you would for a margarita, except substitute bourbon for tequila and rim the glass with sugar instead of salt.

Tom Collins

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade

1 (6-ounce) can of gin

2 (12-ounce) cans of lemon soda

Several sprigs of mint

Blend the first two ingredients, then stir in the soda and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Piña Colada Martini

Equal parts of…

Cruzan Pineapple Rum

Cruzan Coconut Rum

Shake with ice and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a wedge of fresh pineapple.

Sours

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade

1 (6-ounce) can water

1 (6-ounce) can whiskey (any type)

Blend with plenty of ice and serve in a chilled glass. Top with a cherry. Bob’s Blender Margarita Use the same ingredients for your traditional margarita, except substitute fresh lemon juice for the lime juice and before cutting the lemon, zest the outer skin and add to the blender. The cocktail will be slightly tart with an incredible aroma and flavor of fresh lemon.

Limoncello

1 dozen large lemons

1-liter bottle 80-proof vodka

2 cups white sugar

3 cups cold water

Peel thin strips of lemon, avoiding the white pith. Macerate the peels in vodka for two weeks. Strain the liquid removing the peel. Make simple syrup by dissolving sugar in water over medium heat. Once the syrup is cooled, add it to the lemon-infused vodka. Mix and allow to settle for 24 hours, then chill and serve.

Cheesecake Cocktail

Smells and tastes exactly like cheesecake!

2 parts Cruzan Vanilla Rum

One part each of pineapple juice and cranberry juice

Blend or shake with ice and serve in a cocktail glass.

Vodka Punch

12 ounces of 80 proof vodka

2 (6-ounce) cans of frozen lemonade

2 cans of orange juice (use empty lemonade cans)

1 bottle seltzer (33 ounces)

1 bottle ginger ale (33 ounces)

1 can (16 ounces) pineapple chunks, drained

24 pitted maraschino cherries, drained

Mix the above ingredients with a wooden spoon, add ice cubes, chill and serve.

By the way … I’ll be over later for a vodka martini, “shaken, not stirred!”

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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