Toast Tuesday: Hopped Cider


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I’m mostly back on track this week, #42 in our Year of Drinking Adventurously.  I’ve had hopped cider before, even one that our author mentions in particular.

Our guide

Our guide

Somehow I managed to find a hopped cider here in Memphis.  It’s like the universe was looking out for me.  I love ciders, and as I suggested to Meg last week, the Pacific Northwest is producing some of the most amazing, flavorful ciders.  Which makes perfect sense; they are in apple country.

Our author points out that calling cider “hard cider” is an American thing.  Just one more thing we can thank prohibition for.  When producers weren’t able to make cider and began selling fresh, unfiltered apple juice as cider, the moniker stuck.  Even once prohibition ended.

This week, I had Tieton Cider Works Dry Hopped Cider.  According to their website, this is a dry cider, and I would almost agree.  I found the hops… unfindable.  There was really no discernable hop flavor that came through.  It had a flavor of granny smith apples with a hint of malt, and almost no lingering flavor.  It would be a good sipper for a hot summer day, even at 6.9%,  and paired very nicely with my spicy green coconut curry soup.


Our author refers to Reverend Nat’s, which makes outstanding ciders.  A few of which even made the journey across the country with me and has since made it’s way into my belly.

I’m not generally a fan of hoppy beers, so when I had a hopped cider, this was a game changer.  The one that made me rethink hops was Anthem Hops.  It has a good hops flavor, and is a slightly dry cider.  It has been three years since I’ve had this cider and it has stuck with me.  If you can get your hands on any of Anthem’s ciders, do so.  They are wonderful.

As usual, since I did not do my homework far enough in advance, I missed an opportunity for another road trip.  I will be revisiting this chapter in the near future.  Please stay tuned.

Here is to another wonderful week of ciders and whatever the universe happens to put in your glass.

Being Thankful


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There are times when we feel alone and that the skies can’t get much darker.
Then someone reminds you they care.
A call, a note, a smile

Do not forget everything we do impacts someone or something.
It’s hard to not let other’s poor behavior impact us.
We must rise above. Be the light that shines. We are the change.

Sitting in the sunshine
I am renewed
I have the strength of those around me
To help me up

I’m thankful everyday for the good people I have in my life and that I, in turn, have the means to help others.

Toast Tuesday: tasty fail


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This week in our Year of Drinking Adventurously, I didn’t even crack the book. I knew this was a fail and didn’t even try.

I had a HORRIBLE week at work last week, with Friday being the topper. I always say there’s no such thing as a bad Friday and this one put that to the test.  The best thing about this particular Friday was that I didn’t have to go back to the office for 5 days. FIVE. Whole. Days. Ahhhhh

The other thing that saved this Friday was the leisurely, and ridiculously indulgent dinner I had out that night at my favorite restaurant, Hog and Hominy. Their poutine is the best thing on the menu and a staple of any visit. We had short ribs, a pizza, and threw in a salad just to appear healthy. All of this was accompanied with lovely Mezcal cocktails. Dessert was lemon meringue pie and 4 flavors of gelato.

The following day, my indulgence continued when I made French toast for early breakfast; only to go to a morning meeting for beer and donuts at Memphis Made Brewing a little later. I chose a delicious dark, malty beer to at least pretend I was still having coffee at 10am.


When I walked back to the car, I realized I had parked right in front of a truffle shop. Nondescript storefront that I wouldn’t have noticed if there weren’t an A frame sign out that said something about macarons. Upon entering the macron left my mind and I focused on the beautiful array of tiny colorful chocolates. I picked out four to share with a friend before our walk a little later.  All I can say is well worth the extra laps. The most interesting (and tastiest) was the blue cheese and white chocolate.


I now just need to figure out a way to stop eating everything in sight. I keep asking myself why stop when everything is so wonderful and tasty?! Well, I’m off to the gym now since I’m still working all that off. Be sure to see how Meg did this week.

Toast Tuesday: Spanish Cider


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I had started on a post this week to tell you of my failings, but that has been tabled.  This is what a dork I am.  I actually put each of the 52 weeks of drinking adventurously on my calendar.  Every Tuesday I get a pop-up to remind of the week’s topic… well actually it pops up on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday.  Because I have scheduled these particular dates, whenever I stumble upon a store that has  good selection, I peruse ahead.  Little did I recall, I had done this for this week’s Spanish cider; that is until I looked at the back of the fridge and said what’s THAT bottle…

Our guide

Our guide

If you are counting, this is week 40 in our Year of Drinking Adventurously.  This week has taken us to Spain for the apple harvest.  This is one thing I truly miss about living in Oregon, getting the season’s fresh harvest of apples… there really is nothing like it.  I had no idea that there was a region of Spain that was perfect for growing apples.

I’m not going into the history or all the different regions and types.  Let’s hope Meg covers the history, like she normally does.  I’m just going to tell you I enjoyed a natural Spanish cider.  Natural is a traditional cider, in that it is still (no bubbles) and unfiltered.  The cider I had was subtly sweet, as our author described, but had a mouthfeel more akin to a dry white wine.  It was quite nice.  I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy a still cider, as most of the ones I have had and enjoyed up to now have been bubbly.



It’s hard to shop for a Spanish cider when you don’t speak Spanish and normally shop based on pretty labels.  I’ll grant you though, the cork is really stinking cute and if I had to shop on that alone, I would have gotten this bottle.


Have a wonderful week and a terrific Tuesday!

Toast Tuesday: No Filter


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No Filter?!  Those who have spoken to me… ever… know I have no filter, but around here, I try to keep things kinda respectable.  Kinda, don’t be getting too excited.

Week 39 in our Year of Drinking Adventurously is actually about coffee beer.  Coffee. Beer. Come on, it’s not as bad as all that, despite what my dinner guests thought.  I’ll encourage you to reflect back on the Dublin Iced Coffee I made during the Irish Whisky week.  That was a lovely blending of Guinness and strong cold brewed coffee.

Our guide

Our guide

This week though, we are tasting the natural marriage of coffee and beer in the bottle, as it coincides with International Coffee Day on September 29th.  There really is a holiday for everything.  Our author touches on how beer and coffee have taken a similar trajectory of coolness over the last few years.  Having been in Portland for most of that time, I had front row seats for the show.

I think my first coffee beer was Rogue’s Mocha Porter, many moons ago.   I’m certain the first time I tried it, I didn’t fully appreciate the marriage.  Now, I have a whole different beef with the coffee beer… it’s a downer with an upper.


This week, I found Southern Tier Brewing’s Mokah. I seriously thought about having this with my coco pebbles on Sunday morning, but I refrained, and broke it out for Sunday dinner with some friends.  A couple of the folks did not care for it, but I found it drinkable and would probably enjoy it better at a different time.  It really tasted like a nice rich mocha and had the essence of fresh pulled espresso.

Meg and I have both mentioned this before, but some of the weeks and their drinks do not suit the weather.  This would be another one of them.  While the weather in either Portland, Oregon or Maine is a moderate 60-70’s, here in Memphis, we are still in the 90’s.  This is not weather conducive to a heavy, dark stout.  I think I’ll revisit this one over brunch some Sunday Morning when we at least have to wear pants.

One other thing I’ll mention that I experienced this week that I find wholly inconceivable with a) the weather and b) it’s not even October… Christmas!! It is way, way, way too soon!  Where has our year gone?


Coloring outside the lines


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As a kid I didn’t mind coloring outside the lines. I’d always make a line and try to stay in it, but it never seemed to work. Now, I’m all about lines and lanes. I want you to stay in your lane on the road. I want you to drive the right way in a parking lot and not cross sideways to take a short cut.

I like things to be just so… Since I’m not a terribly good artist, crazy sister got that gene, the whole 901Rocks! happiness scavenger hunt has been a bit of a challenge. I’m trying to embrace coloring outside the lines and know that the goal is to make someone happy and not create a Van Gogh masterpiece.

I had the girls over the other night and since then my dining table has been art central. Waking up slowly with my coffee and paint has been fun this weekend. I’m just doodling and let whatever happens happen. If I happen to go outside the lines, then it was meant to be.


Enjoy your beautiful Sunday.

Toast Tuesday: the Senate got it right


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I completely blew off the official assignment in my Year of Drinking Adventurously.  There are a couple reasons, chief of which, I don’t care for this week’s beverage: the Michelada.  The short version is, and the only version here this week so we’d better hope Meg did her homework, a beer bloody mary.  In theory this could be good, but for me, just doesn’t work.

Our guide

Our guide

When I heard on a booze-loving podcasts that September was National Bourbon Heritage Month I immediately decided that was my homework assignment.  I discovered that in August 2007, Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky sponsored a bill that was passed by unanimous consent, a resolution designating September 2007 as “National Bourbon Heritage Month”.

For some reason, the fine folks of Kentucky missed the part where it said September 2007 is designated and their governor keeps signing a bill each year saying we still recognize National Bourbon Month.  So who am I to disagree, especially when they say things like:

  • More than a half-million visitors are making the pilgrimage to Kentucky every year to learn about the art and science behind the world’s best Bourbon
  • Bourbon is a thriving $3 billion economic engine that generates more than 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll topping $700 million and $166 million in tax revenue every year.
  • Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 315 percent in the last 16 years, with 1.8 million barrels filled in 2015, the largest production year since 1974.
  • There are 6.7 million barrels of Bourbon currently aging in Kentucky warehouses, the highest inventory in 40 years with a tax-assessed value of $2.4 billion, up 135 percent in the last 10 years.

No wonder Kentucky loves their bourbon.  It’s working for them!

I celebrated National Bourbon Heritage Month with a cocktail I found in Southern Living Magazine.  Their recipe had ingredients in tablespoons and not ounces, so I don’t even feel like I’m stealing anything but the name.

Shoo-Fly Punch
2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
1/4 ounce simple syrup (or more to your taste)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
a dash of bitters
ginger beer

Add all ingredients except ginger beer in a 16 ounce mason jar and stir.
Add crushed ice and top with a couple ounces of ginger beer.
Sit on the porch swing and savor.


Toast Tuesday: the sorta fail


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This week is a sorta fail. Sort of because I’ve had cachaca before, and can even tell you about the first time I had it. This week in my Year of Drinking Adventurously, per my norm, I waited until the last minute and came up short.

Our guide

Our guide

I was out for happy hour last week with a friend and asked if they had cachaca. The bartender looked at me as if I had just spoken to her in Russian. Which, I have become accustomed to since I got here. So yesterday I pulled up the cocktail menu for one of my local favorites and was delighted to see they had a cachaca cocktail on the menu. I was sad when I realized they closed 30 minutes before I was going to get there. I skulked next door to their sister restaurant, which also has fabulous cocktails, but had no cachaca. Oh well. Fail.

Only sorta fail… Because I finally got my Mezcal!


I enjoyed a lovely cocktail called Future Days. The drink called for a black pepper garnish, but since I’m allergic, I had her hold that. The bartender said it only added aromatics and wouldn’t change the flavor of the drink. I found the drink a little sweeter than I’d normally enjoy, but I asked her to add a dash of Angostura bitters when I was about halfway through, and found that gave it a better balance for my pallet.


A wonderful way to end a Monday, even if with a fail.  I made myself feel better about my failure by having Hog & Hominy’s poutine.  I’m sorry, but the Canadians truly came up with the most perfect comfort food; french fries, gravy, and cheese curds.  Thank you o’ Canada.

Now run along and see what Meg did.  I certainly hope she saves us this week.  If not, there better be some really good embarrassing story.

Toast Tuesday: Malort


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I had some time off scheduled and when trying to figure out what to do with it, I looked at a map and my Tuesday challenge book They Year of Drinking Adventurously and decided I had time for a road trip.

Our guide

Our guide

Our author has taken us to some crazy places and had us drink some ridiculous stuff (pruno?!), but this next one was do-able.  Malort is a bitter liqueur with Swedish roots akin to absinthe.  It gets it’s name from it’s primary ingredient; wormwood is malort in Swedish.  Sweden was one of the few countries that never banned absinthe and the Swedish immigrants who came to this country brought with them this bitter liqueur.

A fellow by the name of Carl Jeppson made his living during prohibition by making alcohol for “medicinal purposes.”  By the time prohibition came to an end, the Swedish community of Chicago knew to ask for Jeppson’s Malort by name at their local tavern.

Fast forward to today.  Jeppson’s Malort is still a staple in Chicago, but have moved their production to Florida.  A few local distilleries have begun making their own versions.  I did some research in advance of my road trip and found a website that has a malort map! This made my scavenger hunt a little easier.

Via the map, I found Owen and Engine.  I went in early on a Sunday afternoon and was thankful the place was not very full.  I sat down at the bar and told the bartender, Luke, what I was up to.  He was excited when I told him I needed a cocktail, dealer’s choice.  He made me one that they were still finalizing before putting on the menu.  It was a tasty riff on a Salty Dog with lime juice, pamplemousse liqueur, house infused tarragon vodka, malort, saline, and peychauds.   Another thing Luke served me was the Malort shot, which is tiny, simplified version of my cocktail.  Also, quite good.

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Luke also let me taste Jeppson’s Malort and the local Letherbee’s Besk.  It being sunday, and I was in a rush to get to my next stop before they closed, I didn’t get a chance to get a bottle of Besk.  But it will be on my bar soon.  Both are strong bitter liqueurs, but the Besk, has a softness and wonderful finish that lasts.  Malort’s finish lasts, but you can’t wait for it to go away.  Maybe good for indigestion, but not something I can recommend on it’s own.

Luke made this week’s challenge one for history books.  So if you are reading this, Luke you are awesome!  Now run along and see what Meg did.  I’m fairly certain this week was a skip for her, so see what she came up with.

Enjoy your Tuesday, whatever you may be drinking!