Posts Tagged ‘Cocktails’
Talk Tequila to Me
Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

With Memorial Day weekend just a moment away, we are gearing up for summer with one of our favorite warm weather spirits, tequila.  This week JBE will be joining with our friends at The Wine Rack in Louisville for a tutorial in all things tequila.

On my last visit to Mexico, I toured a small tequila distillery and saw the behind the scenes process for making this beloved spirit of Mexico.  Flavor profiles are as unique to regions as they are to bourbon in the bluegrass.  I recommend visiting a distillery if you have the chance and tasting as many different tequilas as you can to discover what your favorite is.  So move past your college memories of a night gone wrong on tequila and step into the delicious world of agave with us.

Tequila 101

Tequila is a spirit that is distilled from the agave plant.  Your tequila should be 100% agave with no added sugars for the fermentation.  This will be listed on the bottle.  There are several different ages of tequila and each have distinct flavor profiles.  Tasting tequila is much like any other spirit, best served neat in an appropriate glass with sips, not shots.  When you order a shot of tequila out at a bar or restaurant, there are a couple of ways to order.  One way is just neat in a shot glass and it is served room temperature and “naked”.  The other is “dressed”, which is when the tequila is served cold and with a lime.  However you order it, these are your options for tasting.

Tequila Blanco or Silver Tequila

This tequila is at least 70 proof and is bottled without aging.  It is best for cocktails and mixed drinks and has a clean, sweet flavor from the agave.

Tequila Reposado or Aged Tequila

After distilling, this tequila is placed in oak barrels for at least two months.  The aging gives the tequila a golden color and adds the flavor of the oak.  It is a great tequila for sipping neat or on the rocks.  It is also good in cocktails where a stronger flavor profile is needed.

Tequila Anejo or Extra Aged Tequila

Much like the reposado, this tequila is also placed in oak barrels to age.  Anejo is aged at least one year in the barrel.  The barrel gives this tequila a lovely golden caramel hue and is smooth sipping with a smoky profile.  Served best neat or on the rocks, it is to be enjoyed much like a good sipping whiskey.

Extra Anejo or Ultra Aged Tequila

With a minimum three years in the barrel, this tequila is the most robust of the others.  Best served on the rocks or neat with a drop or two of water to open the tequila up and release the flavors.

Margaritas and Cocktails

The most common way to have tequila is through margaritas.  We love a good margarita at JBE, but cocktails are where our passions lie.  The recipe below is our version of a Paloma and is a favorite for those hot summer days when the porch is calling.


1.5 ounces grapefruit juice
1.5 ounces good silver tequila
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2-1 ounce Grapefruit Soda or Tonic Water

Equal parts Kosher Salt and sugar for rim

Rub a wedge of lime around the rim of a highball glass and dip in salt and sugar mix. Fill glass with ice. Place first four ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain contents over ice, finish with grapefruit soda or tonic water and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Tequila Slush

There is little we love better at JBE than an adult slush.  It is the very best batch cocktail and if there happens to be any leftover, it goes right back in the freezer for later (that doesn’t happen very often). This recipe is our favorite for those hot days at the beach in your insulated cup or poolside with friends.

Cucumber Mint Slush

3 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped
Juice from 5 limes, zest from 2 of them
2 Tbs fresh mint, minced
1 cup Honey Syrup*
3 cups Tequila
Tonic Water
Mint for Garnish

Place cucumbers, lime juice, & zest into a blender. Process until smooth (this may need to be done in batches). Press puree through a fine mesh strainer, catching juice in a 2 quart plastic container with a lid. Be sure to press on solids to extract all juice. Add honey syrup and tequila and stir. Freeze. Scoop into glasses. Finish with tonic water and stir. Garnish with mint.

*Honey syrup is made with 3/4 cup honey and 1 cup hot water.

We would love to see all of you for the tasting event this week.  Stop by and have a cocktail with us.  Happy Summer, friends!

The JBE Guide for Holiday Gatherings
Thursday, December 15th, 2016

The season is upon us, friends!  It is a flurry of presents and wrapping paper, baking and menu planning and the breathless anticipation of family and friends arriving for visits, meals, and cocktail parties.  Planning plays such an important part to keep you out of the kitchen and with your people.  Here are JBE’s suggestion for a fool proof gathering every time!

Plan Ahead
Have the menu and shopping taken care of as early as possible.  This will help keep it low key on the day of the event.  We all know the dreaded fourth-time-I’ve-been-to-the-store run.  Keeping an organized list of ingredients you will need as you menu plan will help the day run smoothly.
Batch Cocktails
A specialty cocktail is a great way to make any event shine a little brighter.  Choosing a cocktail that can be made in batches is even better and keeps you from continually having to mix drinks all night.  We recommend the Mulled Wine recipe below for something warm and wonderful (and easy on the alcohol for those that are driving).
Mulled Wine
1 Bottle Red Wine (Merlot or Zinfandel recommended)
1/2 Cup Sugar or Simple Syrup
1 Orange, sliced in rounds
1 Lemon, sliced in rounds
1 1/2 cups water
1 large tea ball of mulling spices *
Place all ingredients in a crock pot on low heat.  If you are in a hurry, turn to high and then turn down just before it starts to simmer.  As the evening goes, if it starts to get stronger, feel free to add hot water 1/4 cup at a time to the pot.  The tea ball is the quickest and easiest way to add the mulling spices.  They could also be wrapped in cheesecloth.
*Mulling spices are cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and orange peel.  These can be bought pre-mixed or you can make your own.
Low Maintenance Menus
If you are serving dinner, braised meats are a great way to cut down on your kitchen time and make the house smell amazing throughout the day.   Slow and low for roasts and ribs makes for fall-off-the-bone goodness for higher fat cuts of meat.  If you are serving hors d’oeuvres, finding as many do-ahead recipes as possible will help keep the last minute push to a minimum.  Regardless of your menu, think about each recipe and the time it will require for the day of the event.
Consider Hiring Help for the Evening
If you have a labor intensive meal planned with lots of guests, it might be worth it to consider hiring out some things.  Sometimes you just can’t bear the thought of loading one more old fashioned glass into the dishwasher at midnight after everyone is gone.  Dish rental is super affordable and will prevent you from having to do dishes at the end of the evening.
Also consider hiring a caterer for one or more dishes for the meal.  Even if they only do one dish, they will have staff available for hire for the evening to help keep the food stocked and the dishes cleared.  I find that guests also love to be utilized as extra hands.  Thinking about what specific things you will need help with will make the evening run smoothly and guests will love helping make the magic happen.
If you decide that it’s all just too much, JBE is thrilled to come and help you plan your perfect event.  We can handle everything and allow you to enjoy your guests to the fullest.  Contact us for more information.
  Relax and Enjoy Your Guests
At the heart of it all, the evening should be about spending time with those that you love.  Even if the casserole is overdone and the turkey is underdone, laughter and community (and good wine) make up for a multitude of sins.  Being with your guests is the most important factor in the event equation.  Grab a glass of something good and jingle those bells, friends!
We want to wish each and every one of you a blessed holiday season filled with love and laughter.  We hope that you are able to connect with friends and family, both near and far, and that you are all able to have some time to simply enjoy one another amidst the chaos.  We look forward to being with you in the New Year and lots of exciting new adventures to announce in the coming weeks!