If there's one thing to enjoy about winter (besides the frigid temperature, black ice, and thermal underwear), it's gathering with friends inside and consuming the kinds of foods and beverages that are mostly off-limits during the summer months.
Since winter get-togethers often lead to having some leftover red wine, why not use the last pour to make yourself a glass of Claret Punch the day after the party. This is an easy-to-make, tasty cocktail that packs a PUNCH. Think of this as the winter version of Sangria. Here's how to make the drink:
• 6 oz. red Bordeaux (or other Cabernet/Merlot blend)
• Splash of sherry
• Splash of Grand Marnier
• 1 tsp. confectioners sugar or simple syrup
• Slice of orange
• Slice of lemon
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour, unstrained, into a tall glass. Serve it with a straw. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
If you're having a party and want to make a full recipe in a punchbowl, use the entire bottle of wine, a couple generous pours of the sherry and Grand Marnier, and add the sugar to taste. You can also extend the volume and give the punch a little bit of a kick by adding a liter of club soda. Slice up a full lemon and orange, and leave the wedges in the punch bowl.
For more delicious cocktail recipes and information on exciting wines visit: http://www.bottlenotes.com/
The Noble Grape has two terrific tastings this week. On Wednesday, Phil from Vino et Spiritus and Beivuma Inc. will be in the shop sampling out a few special wines from his portfolios, then on Friday, James from Maverick Wines will be pouring his favorite wines. The wines being tasted on Wednesday will include Balan Prosecco, Primosic Pinot Grigio, Injuste Red Blend, and Casa Gran del Siurana GR-174. Casa Gran del Siurana GR-174 is a blend of Garnatxa, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Samsó, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. GR-174 is the name of the path that crosses Priorat, Spain, which consists of a small pocket of black hills of volcanic origin where red wines of superb quality have been made for over eight centuries. The vineyards are scattered among eleven valley towns, and are terraced or planted on steep slopes. The bedrock, called llicorella, consists of reddish and black slate. The climate is more extreme than most continental areas. There are cold northern winds, and the warm Mistral blows in from the east. Summers are long, dry and hot, although the temperature may fall to zero in winter. Cherry red in color, Casa Gran del Siurana GR-174 possesses intense and fresh floral aromas, with a mint touch. In the mouth it is fruity, round, and complex. A fine structured wine, well balanced and elegant. A true delight for a brisk evening.