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The Bee Sting Cocktail ~ Oh Honey!

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September Is National Honey Month!

A new mead and honey tasting room recently opened in our city. After tasting their delicious honey I want to put it in everything from hot tea to cocktails! OH HONEY! The Bee Sting Cocktail is my new favorite!

Bee Sting Cocktail new one

Bee Sting Cocktail

…honey makes this cocktail sweet and jalapeno gives it the sting!

Honey simple syrup (enough syrup for 3 cocktails)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup water

Combine honey and water in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat, stirring until the honey dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Bee Sting Cocktail:

Makes one cocktail.

1  jalapeño slice (about 1/2 inch thick slice)

1 ounce gin

3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ounce honey simple syrup

Jalapeno strip  or lemon twist garnish

Gently muddle the  jalapeño slice in cocktail shaker, add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with  jalapeño strip or lemon twist (or both!).

gin

Sunset Hills Gin, made in Virginia, is my favorite gin of the moment.  Light and delightful, it does not have a strong juniper taste.

Here’s the 411 about the Mead and Honey Tasting Room:

Blacksnake Meadery…from bee to bottle

https://www.blacksnakemead.com

The Hive (1116 A Main Street SW, Roanoke, VA) – Open year-round
(540) 597-8739
Thursday & Friday 5:00-8:00
Saturday  1:00-8:00
Sunday  1:00-6:00

mead bee hive

honey samples

Honey Flight

samples:  top left: Orange Blossom, top right Avocado

middle left:  Raspberry, middle right:  Buckwheat

bottom left:  Thistle, bottom right:  Wildflower

Orange Blossom and Wildflower honey are my traditional favorites to add to hot tea, so it was fun to taste some different honey made from some surprising nectar.

The most pleasant surprise was the avocado honey….YUM! Avocado honey is made by the bees from the nectar of the avocado blossom.  Rich, soft, creamy honey.  Perfect to drizzle over cheese as an hors d’oeuvre. Raspberry honey would also be a good choice for the drizzle.

Buckwheat honey is dark and delicious with molasses undertones. Buckwheat is not wheat, it is a fruit related to rhubarb. I would use this honey  for cooking and baking.

Thistles have prickly stems and leaves with a rounded head of purple flowers.  The thistle is the national symbol of Scotland. The flavor of this honey can vary depending on the variety of thistle blossoms that are the source of the nectar. It can be light and sweet or more earthy with cinnamon or anise undertones. Thistle honey is my new favorite to add to my hot tea.

honey drip

mead samples

My husband and I enjoyed a Mead and Cider tasting at The Hive. Our flight included:

Hoppy Bee Brew ~ tastes like a fizzy light beer, lots of Cascades hoppy flavor. The Hive recommends pairing this brew with burgers, earthy foods such as pasta with porcini as well as pizza.

Lime Bee Brew ~ Light, dry and carbonated made with lime puree.  The Hive recommends pairing this brew with Thai or Mexican dishes or other spicy fare.

Foggy Ridge First Fruit Cider ~ Crisp, fruity cider made from early season heirloom apples. Tart apple aromas and flavors.

Foggy Ridge Serious Cider ~ Dry cider with floral and apple aromas made with high tannin heirloom apples.

(Blacksnake Mead and Foggy Ridge Cider are both made in Dugspur, Virginia. https://foggyridgecider.com)

Meloluna ~ Blacksnake calls this their “honeymoon” mead (Latin, mel = honey; luna = moon). This sweet dessert mead has aromas and flavors of honey with hints of caramel. The Hive recommends pairing the Meloluna with your favorite dessert or a good cigar.

Ziggy Elman

This little 4 month old kitty just joined us in his new forever home. His name is Ziggy Elman (American Jazz Trumpeter). I will include a photo of his brother Artie Shaw in future blogs…he has not decided to come out from under the bed yet, a little shy.

Bee happy

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12 Things You Should Know About Dom Perignon

Bubbly happy thoughts for the weekend from the Grape Geeks!

The Grape Geeks

Ah, Dom Perignon, a classic and revered bottle of Champagne. It is always delicious and a perfect companion to celebrate a special occasion! But how much do we really know about it? Here are twelve interesting facts about Dom Perignon that you may not have read about before.

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Welcome Fall With Austrian Wines!

Austrian Wine Class

Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar

Roanoke, VA…September 13, 2017

Mr bills wine rep

Wine Representative Klaus Wittauer presents Wine from Austria.

https://kwselection.wordpress.com

http://kwselection.com

Klaus obviously loves Austrian wines…as he explained during our Austrian Wine Class:  Coca Cola wines you can buy anywhere. Real wines made by real people ~ with a story behind the wine is so much better!

mr bills bubbly

We began the evening with Leo Hillinger Secco Sparkling Pinot Noir.  Italy (much like Champagne, France protects the name “Champagne”) protects the name “Prosecco”, so Hillinger named this wine “Secco” to highlight the bubbles in the wine.

Class notes:  “Pink Ribbon”  100% Pinot Noir crafted into a sparkling rosé wine made in the ProSecco style. It has delicate aromas of fresh strawberries and red berries, which follow through on the palate. the flavors are beautifully balanced with a vibrant and refreshing dry finish.  Wonderful as an aperitif to begin a great dinner and  evening, pairs well with Sushi, or serve after dinner with fresh strawberries. Secco also makes a perfect toast!!  Hillinger donates to Breast Cancer Awareness and puts a little pink ribbon on the wine label. $23 range. 

Riesling mr bills

The first day of Fall is Friday, September 22, 2017 and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The  Josef Bauer Riesling Hengstberg 2015 is the perfect pairing for your Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings.  This was my favorite wine of the evening ~ well balanced with fruit and fresh acidity, light peach and apple notes…perfect for Fall sippin’.

Class wine notes: This is a wonderful dry Riesling from a family-owned estate’s terraced vineyards over Feuersbrunn, Austria.  Very ripe with lots of stone fruit aromas, full-bodied with a great balance of fruit and acidity. Great with white meat and fish dishes, light pastas, appetizers, especially smoked trout.  Austrian Rieslings are generally loved by sommeliers because they are high quality, pair wonderfully with food and are light enough to not ruin your palate before a meal.  $18 range.

 http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/buying-guide-the-wines-sommeliers-love  

Mr. Bill noted that Every day is holiday and Riesling fits with any holiday.  

mr bills riesling

Steininger Loisium Weingarten Grüner Veltliner is a very popular Austrian wine. On my notes I wrote “Crisp Apples!”…which matches the crispness in the Fall air outside.

Class wine notes:  Steven Holl – Kamptal Reserve. Named after the architect who built the Loisium museum. The label shows the original blue print of the entrance building, cellar world and Spa Hotel.  A single vineyard Veltliner with inviting fruit in the nose, exotic notes and fine ripe aroma of apples. The finish is complex and balanced with a long beautiful echo and the traditional white pepper.  $25 range.

These Grüner Veltliner grapes are grown in the vineyard that surrounds the Loisium museum and there is a hotel on the grounds.  How fabulous! Here’s a link to Loisium Wine & Spa Resort Langenlois:   http://www.loisium.com/en/langenlois/news-resort

mr bills red wine

Leo Hillinger HILLside 2014.  I found this wine to be low tannin and very sippable.

Class notes:  60% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 10% Zweigelt. This wine has explosive nose of plum, raspberry, sweet tobacco and vanilla. Big and full up-front with good spice, black pepper and a long pleasant lingering finish.  The Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 92 points.  There is just a hint of dark fruit. The palate lightens with expressive and finely drawn fruit.  There is pepper-tinged red cherry, fine notes of cranberry and red currant. The fruit here is beautiful and taut; there is freshness, tension and real elegance.  Tannins are supple and fine, and the body is unforced and fresh. $35 range.

Steindorfer Beerenauslese 2015.   Rich and honey laden with a touch of sweet petrol on the nose.  To my palate the petrol makes the wine a bit earthy which pleasantly offsets the sweetness of the wine, but does not detract from the sweetness of the wine…nicely balanced.  $30 range (half bottle). (This wine was not included in the tasting, but is one of our favorite ways to end a meal.)

mr bills wine representative

Just for fun…take a bunch of green seedless grapes, wash them and remove them from the stems. Place in a bowl and freeze the grapes. Use them in your white wine to keep your wine cold.  Red seedless grapes can be frozen and used to keep rosé wine cold.

Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Napkin Riesling

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Behind The Label

From one of my favorite wine bloggers…a Cava that is beautiful inside and out!

Talk-A-Vino

We eat with our eyes first – everybody knows that. We drink in exactly same way. While looking for the wine to buy, we always start from the label. Of course, sometimes we might be looking just for the specific producer’s name – but way more often than not, wine consumer is lured by the appearance of the bottle before anything else. We let the bottle speak to us.

Wine producers always knew the effect of the bottle appearance, and always tried to design attractive and appealing labels – think about Château Mouton Rothschild, for example, which started their “Artist” wine label series back in 1945. 20-25 years ago, the design, and most importantly, production capabilities were limited both in style and the cost. But not today- there are literally no limits to how creative the wine bottle design can get in today’s world. It is hard to tell what…

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The Friday Fizz: Three-Under-$30 (per bottle)

  • Never too early to plan for Champagne Friday…bubbly recommendations from Specs Fine Wine, beardalton, all under $30 a bottle.

SPEC's FINE WINE

I love Champagne and for me, every Friday is Champagne Friday. Still, I don’t always want to break the bank buying my Friday Fizz. Here are three of my favorites priced under (Ok, just under) $30 per bottle. You’re welcome.

LOUIS SACY Brut Originel, Champagne, NV     ($29.99)
A blend of 55% Pinot Noir with 30% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier aged 30 months en tirage (on the yeasts).     Gold-straw in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-light-bodied with fresh acidity. A yeast-fruit-and-mineral nose gives way to a crisp, fresh palate featuring citrus and a bit of red fruit accented by yeast and a sort of flinty minerality. Fresh and focused, it is best suited to be served as an aperitif or with the lightest seafoods. Perfect with oysters. With time in the glass, it layers in some richness and vinousity. BearScore: 91.

J.P. MARNIQUET Brut Tradition, Champagne, NV     ($29.99)
An…

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Balsamic Vinegar Pearls Bruschetta ~ Flavor Bomb!

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls…Bursting with flavor!  

balsamic container

balsamic caviar

Looks like caviar!

Available on-line…black,  white, lemon (yellow), white truffle and pomegranate balsamic vinegar pearls…

balsamic brushetta

Tomato Burrata Bruschetta with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

Burrata means “buttered” in Italian. I like to describe it as fresh cream and curd (like a fresh ricotta) wrapped in mozzarella cheese and it is fabulouso!

barrata cheese

These flavor bomb appetizers are so easy to prepare.  Spread burrata cheese on toasted French bread rounds (I purchased my toast rounds from Fresh Market).  Top the cheese with chopped fresh tomato and julienned fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.  Top with a few balsamic vinegar pearls.  Enjoy!

beets

Dinner this evening will include roasted fresh golden beets with baratta cheese sprinkled with  balsamic vinegar pearls.

bee

I found this little guy enjoying my pink Dragon’s Breath plant (Celosia) in the garden this morning.

dragon fruit

Speaking of dragons…we enjoyed slices of dragon fruit this morning for breakfast ~ tastes like pear and kiwi…yum!

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Vintage Champagne May Be a Dying Breed

Cheers to the Grape Geeks for sharing this interesting perspective on vintage champagne.

The Grape Geeks

In recent years sales of vintage Champagne have stagnated in favor of flashy new vintage labels. Is it purely a matter of younger consumers favoring labels with club cache, or merely that champagne consumers are unaware that vintage labels can in fact be more bang for the buck? Read more.

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