Thursday February 22, 2022
The Mardi Gras Guide
This Week: We explore the classic cocktails of New Orleans and what drinks pair best with classic Creole & Cajun dishes!
Fried Oyster Po Boy
We suggest enjoying some crisp bubbles with a crispy Po Boy — Champagne or a French Cremant in honor of New Orleans' French roots. Our pick would be the Brisebarre Cuvee Millesimee Sparkling Vouvray ($28.99). The roundness provided from the Chenin Blanc will balance the cayenne infused Oyster breading. If you're feeling like a beer, grab a light and refreshing Kolsch; we love the Utepils Kolsch ($10.99).
Creole Seafood Gumbo
For a spicy Gumbo, you want to create balance with your pairing. The higher the alcohol, the spicier your food will be perceived; tannins in red wine will also 'turn up the heat'! For a white wine option, you can't go wrong with an off-dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc — but there's a lot of fun to be had with aromatic varietals such as Viognier! We love the organic Viognier from Paul Jaboulet ($17.99) — the fruit & floral notes will tame the spice! If you're feeling a red wine, we'd suggest something fruit-forward and less tannic, like the Foillard Beaujolais Village ($32.99). For a beer pairing, we suggest trying something a little radical, like Headflyer's Kingfield Coffee Stout ($12.49), to offset the powerful seasoning.
Cajun Jambalaya
For a heafty, meat-laden Jambalaya we suggest pairing a rich and powerful red wine that can go toe-to-toe with this flavorful dish. The Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz ($21.99) makes a lovely partner to Jambalaya with layers of dark fruits, violet florality, and a hefty dose of spice. For a beer pairing that really accentuates the smokiness from the andouille sausage, we would suggest Bad Weather's Ominous Double Brown Ale ($11.99).
Classic Cocktails of New Orleans
New Orleans has a great history of incredible tasting cocktails. A couple of our favorites are Sazeracs and Hurricanes. One goes back to the late 1800's and the other is the signature drink of Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans.

Let's start with the Sazerac. Sazeracs are a play on an Old Fashioned. Pretty simple and very delicious.

2 oz Rye Whiskey
.25 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
Rinse of Absinthe
In an iced-rocks glass, add .25 oz of absinthe to rinse. In a mixing glass add rye, simple syrup and bitters, add ice and stir. Pour ice out of the rocks glass then strain cocktail into the glass. Garnish with a lemon peel. Cheers!
Pat O'Brien's Hurricane

Now for the Hurricane. This one has a ton of ingredients and is festive and yummy.

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Gin
1 oz Light Rum
.5 oz Overproof Rum
1 oz Ameretto
1 oz Triple Sec
.75 oz Grenadine
Grapefruit juice
Pineapple juice
In a tall, hurricane glass, add all spirits. Fill with ice 3/4 full then add equal parts grapefruit and pineapple juice until it is full. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Then you are all set for your New Orleans celebration!
Staff Picks: What to Drink This Week
Things our staff thinks you should drink.

2020 Bodegas Puiggros 'Impressionant' Garnacha Blanca Amphora Orange Wine - $31.99
Since 1843, the Puiggros family has been producing wines from their own vines in the Odena region of Catalunya, Spain for family and friends. Over generations they came to realize that their vineyards and techniques were something worth sharing. In 2008 they took their wines to market and we are lucky enough to get them here in Minnesota! The Impressionant is a small production, skin-fermented Garnatxa Blanca from a gorgeous vineyard full of limestone and clay, at 500 meters above sea level. The wine spends nearly six months in clay amphora before bottling with no fining or filtering. Aromatic in the glass with lots of texture on the palate. Dried apricots, peaches, white flowers and orange zest with a little grip on the finish. This wine would pair with all sorts of cuisine but I will be pairing it with my longing for spring!

2020 Arendsig 'Inspirational Batch 3' Chenin Blanc - $28.99
This rich Chenin Blanc from South Africa's Robertson wine region is dangerously delicious. Arendsig is a minimal intervention (certified sustainable) winery that makes terroir driven, single-vineyard wines. This Chenin Blanc is positively luxurious — the texture is silky and round with flavors of golden pear, ripe pineapple, honey & almonds. This wine spends 10 months in neutral French barrels and makes a beautiful alternative to California Chardonnay at the dinner table. At under $30, you'd be crazy not to snag a bottle... or case!

2019 Janvier Coteaux du Loir Rouge 'Cuvee du Rosier' - $26.99
This charming red wine from the Loire is made from 100% Pineau d'Aunis. Pineau d'Aunis, a varietal that has been brought back over the last few decades from the brink of extinction, makes for a savory red wine, light in color, with notes of pepper and red fruit. This cuvee has pretty aromatics of raspberry leaf, white pepper, and black cherry fruit. These aromatics are confirmed on the palate with a high-toned mineral note. Try this quaffable bistro red with bratwurst or steak frites. 

Joe Gambino's King Cake Rum Cream - $32.99
When creating Joe Gambino's King Cake Rum Cream, the bakery called upon over 100 years of tradition and the legendary New Orleans flavors of their King Cake. Starting with an aged Caribbean-style rum, it is mixed with Wisconsin cream and blended with cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices. The nose is rich, with scents of baking spices, banana bread, vanilla and whipped cream. Taking a sip transports your mouth to a bakery in the Big Easy, filling your mouth with rich cream, nutmeg and flavors of freshly baked King Cake. Spice up your morning coffee, liven up your King Cake frosting, or sip straight over ice and enjoy a little piece of New Orleans.

The King Cake Bomb
1 oz rum
1 oz Gambino's King Cake Rum Cream
1 pint stout (we like the NOLA Brewing Irish Channel Stout)
Combine the rum and King Cake Rum Cream in a shot glass. Fill a pint glass halfway with the stout. Drop the shot glass into the pint glass and chug.

With Mardi Gras and St. Patricks Day right around the corner, take a little of the celebration home with you and try the King Cake Bomb!

2020 Los Amigos Rogue Vine 'Grand Itata' Red Wine, Itata Valley, Chile - $22.99
There are some wonderfully expressive and terroir-driven organic and natural wines coming out of Chile, lately. This Rogue Vine 'Grand Itata' red wine from Los Amigos, Leo Erazo and Justin Decker, is a great example. From vineyards of very old bush-trained vines, grown on steep granitic hills only 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean, this wine consists primarily of the light and bright Cinsault grape, with a dash of Pais (Mission grape, here in the United States).
Strict organic viniculture has always been the friends mantra. Hand harvested and fermentated with native yeasts in old barrels, the wine isn't filtered or fined and sees only minimal sulfur. The result is a beautifully aromatic wine of rose petals, red raspberry, and strawberry with just a hint of earthy forest. The palate is of light and lifted cherry and currants unencumbered by tannins. The finish is bright, racy, and very satisfying. Cinsault is very versatile in pairing with food. Try it with spicy Indian vegetarian recipes or grilled salmon.

D. George Benham's Sonoma Dry Gin - $36.99
When you think of Sonoma County you're typically not thinking about gin. Yet, this gin definitely deserves to garner some intrigue from martini and gin lovers alike. This gin succeeds at blending both a traditional London dry-style and a citrusy contemporary American-style we're seeing pop up more frequently. The botanicals aren't too crazy but still gives the gin some refreshing life to it — juniper, coriander, chamomile, peppermint, Buddha's Hand citrus, star anise, etc. The nose has notes of juniper, citrus, and light ginger throughout. Those citrus and ginger notes follow through into the palate with mild juniper, mint and the back end. This gin isn't very hot but very clean and refreshing. I'm not usually one for a martini but something about this made me want to make one and it was absolutely superb. If you enjoy typical London drys, I highly recommend giving this a try for a bit of a twist on a classic.

VERY IMPORTANT: Furry Friends That Visited This Week
Cheers everyone!
-The Team at North Loop Wine & Spirits