Whisky tasting (Photo credit: Simon Varwell)
Today’s guest post comes from David Summers.
The development of the industry in fine whiskey has increased significantly over recent years, and with growing demand coming from the developing nations such as China, more high quality whiskey is being made than ever before. Because of the time and care that is required to produce the high quality single malts and bourbons that have been matured for between ten and twenty years, some of the biggest brands are experiencing shortages. The prices of the best bottles of whiskey also mean that it has become a symbol of affluence and sophistication, and the true appreciation of premium whiskey is something that is a great sign of personal success.
Choosing The Right Bottle Of Whiskey
There are so many different options for those who are choosing the right bottle of whiskey for them, from the young and delicate whiskeys through to the older peaty and smoky whiskeys that in some cases are aged for twenty years or more. This can be a bit of a minefield for those who are new to the experience of enjoying a good whiskey, so one of the best ideas is to try one of the many whiskey selections that are available. These provide the drinker with a good idea of the different flavors and types of whiskey that are available, and by using tasting guides will give people an idea of the kind of whiskey they should be looking for.
Storing And Preparing Your Whiskey
While Whiskey is a drink that can be served chilled or even at a very low temperature, many people will actually prefer to keep their whiskey at room temperature, as this allows the drinker to get the full flavor of the whiskey. In most cases, storing your whiskey in a cool dark cupboard is the ideal place to store your whiskey. Being able to savor the full experience of a good whiskey is vital when such bottles can be quite expensive, so it is worth buying a specific whiskey tasting glass which will allow you to swirl the whiskey around the glass to release the full aroma of the drink.
How To Drink Your Whiskey
The majority of people who choose to drink a fine scotch or bourbon will normally do so to savor the complex and varied flavors of the drink, so keeping it simple is certainly the best way to approach the drink. While some people can find that a few drops of water can open up a little more of the taste of the whiskey, it is certainly not wise to drown the whiskey or to mix it with anything else that will mask the taste.
Combining a whiskey with ice has long been a controversial topic among whiskey connoisseurs, as the ice will not only dilute the whiskey, but also cools it too much so that it masks the flavor of the whiskey itself. One interesting alternative is using whiskey stones, which are small ice-cube sized pieces of soapstone that do not affect the flavor in any way, but do help to cool the drink to a pleasant temperature.
David Summers is a part-time blogger and scotch whiskey enthusiast
A delicious-looking catered meal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This guest post comes from Alex White. It’s great advice for home cooks who would like to transition into catering.
You’ve been cooking for most of your life and have decided to start your own small business. You figured you may as well make some money off the time and energy you put into doing something you love anyway, right? What many fledgling caterers wind up doing is putting all their planning energy into the food and don’t think much about other logistics that can make a catered event go from amateur to professional with just a few basic elements. Here are some points to consider when planning your first catering gig.
Some cooks prefer to be alone while working in the kitchen — and that’s okay. Whether you are working in your own kitchen or have chosen to rent a professional facility, doing all the cooking yourself may be the best way to save money, particularly in the early stages of your business. However, you may want to consider hiring help for the day of your event. If you cannot afford the expense of paid help you can get a competent friend or family member to volunteer their time in exchange for some free food. Serving people can take a lot of time, which is a major reason having help at the event is key to your success. You may be responsible for setting up banquet tables and chairs, serving the food, and then the dreaded clean up. Even for a small group of less than 50 people, this can prove to be a lot to do in addition to all the cooking. So get however many extra hands as you can afford on the day of the event.
No one likes to be served cold soup — unless it’s meant to be cold like a gazpacho. However most people like for their hot food items to be served, well, hot. The temperature of your food can also affect sanitation, so you want to make sure you have the proper equipment to maintain the temperature of your food and drinks. Be sure to have heat candles or lamps on your banquet tables. Keep ice on hand for salads and other items containing ingredients that can spoil quickly if the temperature gets too high. You don’t want to have to go through the process of planning and serving a meal only to find that half of your guests were unsatisfied because of the temperature, or worse, made sick by spoiled food. These types of incidents will certainly kill your catering business before it even gets started.
Stick to recipes you know are a hit
Your first catering job is not the time to experiment on a new recipe. You want to knock your first job out of the park, so to speak, so that you can get referrals for more jobs in the future. You should already have an arsenal of recipes ready to go whether they be on index cards in the closet or filed away in your computer.
With the proper preparations, these early events are sure to be a success for your fledgling catering business.
Alex White is a food critic and an avid blogger.
Bottle of Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For a while, now, it’s been considered a faux pas to serve a heavy wine such as a rich Cabernet Sauvignon in the hottest months of the year. After all when it’s hot and humid outside do you really want to add more warmth and richness to your body? Thus, July brides are advised against serving heavy reds at their celebrations, and instead are often advised of serving the lighter Merlot wines, Rose wines, and chilled whites.
What happens, though, when you want to enjoy a succulent porterhouse steak during the summer months? The lighter wines just won’t stand up to the heft of the meal.
Over at Snooth, several suggestions were made as to great Cabs you might want to try during the summer (Cabernet Even in July!). I also thought that the Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon was an excellent summer choice.
What do you pair with heftier meals during the summer? While I enjoy salads, fish, chicken, and lighter fare during summer months, it’s also nice to have a steak and potatoes dish or a rich pasta dish on some of those nights when lettuce and tomatoes just don’t do the trick.