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Ode to Chambord

The Many Reasons to try Chambord
Ode to Chambord

Chambord is a huge favorite of mine. It’s delicious, it’s fantastic and it’s fit for a queen.

And so, today I wanted to devote some time to sharing with you how magnificent this drink is.

To begin with – it’s a raspberry liqueur…Yum.

It tastes good with so many things and is appropriate for so many occasions. In the summer, make a frozen smoothie using Peach Schnapps and Chambord (this recipe is located in our blog). I promise you this is something you will enjoy!

For New Year’s, add some to your champagne and make that New Year’s toast extra special.

In the evening, add it to a glass of chilled white wine. For dessert, pour it over some vanilla ice cream or a piece of cheesecake.

When you’re cold, add some to your hot chocolate and snuggle up by the fire.

Chambord makes a nice gift to a special lady, a fun treat with a bridal party and an awesome addition to a girl’s night out.

Ladies, treat your inner royalty to Chambord-infused treat!

 

Thankful for Tequila Turkey

Tequila Turkey recipe
Thankful for Tequila Turkey

I’ve always known that Tequila is awesome. It warms you up when you are cold and it cools you off when you are hot. (Hello, Frozen Margarita!) Did you know Tequila is also a must-have in your kitchen for creative cooking?

Tequila-inspired recipes vary from meat dishes to salads to desserts. Have you ever tried Tequila ice cream? (If you haven’t I highly recommend you visit Litzy’s on Sonterra Blvd in Jarrell and try some. It’s amazing.) Tequila pork chops, grilled peach and mozzarella salad infused with tequila, tequila lime pie, and margarita cupcakes barely scratch the surface of tequila-infused recipes floating around the internet. Tequila is especially good with chicken and turkey. The flavors truly do complement each other.

This Thanksgiving, we found a fun Tequila turkey recipe to share. Check it out – we hope you enjoy!

 

Tequila Turkey

Ingredients

  • 5 California (dried Anaheim) chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 ¾ cups chicken brother, divided
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp tequila
  • Salt
  • 1 (14 lb) turkey, giblets removed and reserved
  • 1/3 cup apricot reserves
  • 2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Dried apricots, California chiles, fresh cilantro, for garnish

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  • Place chiles and 2 cups chicken broth in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then turn off heat. Let the chiles stand for 5 to 10 minutes to soften.
  • Mix ¾ cup of chicken broth, melted butter and tequila in a small metal bowl. Season with salt. Using kitchen flavor injector, inject mixture into thighs, breast and legs of turkey. If mixture solidifies, place the bowl over a gas burner or in a warm oven until the butter melts.
  • Place the turkey on a rack set in a large roasting pan. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey body. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and place giblets in pan.
  • Transfer the chile puree to a medium saucepan. Rub about 1 cup of chile puree all over turkey (reserve rest of sauce at the end), working some of it between the breast and the skin. Season the turkey generously with salt and pepper.
  • Add 1cup broth to the roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes
  • Reduce the over temperature to 350 degree F. Continue roasting the turkey until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 2 hours longer, basting every 20 minutes with drippings. Cover the turkey loosely with foil if it begins to brown.
  • Transfer the turkey to a platter, reserving the pan juices and allow to rest while preparing the sauce.
  • Strain the pan juices into a large heavy saucepan and discard any solids. Spoon the fat from the top of the liquid and discard. Add the remaining chile puree to the saucepan and stir until well combined. Boil over high heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Garnish the turkey with dried apricots, dried chiles and fresh cilantro. Serve with the chile puree alongside.
  • Enjoy!

 

 

 

Cooking with Spirits

Thanksgiving Recipes
Cooking with Spirits

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of all time. A holiday based on recognizing all of the good in your life, celebrating it by eating homemade, delicious food and drinking lots of fine wine and spirits – Awesome. Plus you have the added bonus of spending the day (hopefully not at work) with your loved ones.

Thanksgiving is also a time that many of us bust out the pots and pie dishes for their annual use and try to channel our inner Julia Child or Emeril Lagasse.

Once a year I become a master baker and only pies from scratch will do. I bake pumpkin, knead dough and grate the nutmeg all in an effort to add a little something special to the final product.

Did you know that adding vodka to your piecrust recipe makes your crust flakier? Have you ever added bourbon to your pecan pie recipe? The caramelly sweetness of the bourbon complements the pecans perfectly and adds that extra special something to an already delicious treat.

Liquor also makes a great glaze for your meats. Tequila glazed turkey or bourbon and orange glazed ham are both delectable options for a main meal.

Then there are fun concoctions like Fireball Pumpkin Pie, Bourbon-Bacon-Brussels Sprouts and Cointreau Cranberry Sauce.

Liquor can be a great ingredient in the kitchen. If cooked, the hardness of the alcohol dissolves and leaves behind a wonderful flavor. When mixed into cold dishes, it adds both flavor and a little extra kick to be enjoyed by the adult crowd.

This year we’ve compiled some fun recipes to share. So, as you dust off those pots and become a master chef – try something new. Try cooking with spirits.

Apple Delicious

Bring on the Fall
Apple Delicious

The best thing about Apples is that they are good with everything. They are delicious by themselves, fresh off the tree. Apple Pie feels like fall on Thanksgiving, but feels like American Independence with a scoop of ice cream on the 4th of July.

From stuffing to salads and pig roasts to turkey, apples are as diverse as they are delicious. So it only makes sense that Apple spirits are as well.

Crown Royal, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam and Evan Williams each have their apple line.

Effen Vodka out of Holland makes a fantastic green apple vodka. Smirnoff, and a few others also have their own line of apple vodka.

Of course, many of us are familiar with DeKuyper’s Apple Pucker! This is a staple in most Apple-Tini recipes.

Another drink that is popular and as delicious as it sounds is Apple Pie Moonshine. Midnight Moonshine and Sugarland’s Shine each make a really nice one.

Whether you’re a whiskey, vodka or moonshine kind of person, we hope you will enjoy the oldest recorded fruit in history and sip some apple this fall.

 

Pumpkin Spice and all that's nice

Bring on the Fall
Pumpkin Spice and all that

The fall has finally come to Texas! Time to get out the sweaters and the Pumpkin Spice.

Everything about pumpkins feels like fall doesn’t it? They make the perfect fall décor both carved, painted, or plain. And they are delicious – toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, and pumpkin pie!

Between soccer practice, gymnastics practice and a Fall Festival every weekend, it’s hard to find the time to bake. So instead, I plan to enjoy the pumpkin spice with a warm and relaxing mug of Pumpkin Spice Bailey’s and Coffee or a Pumpkin Pie Martini (on the October evenings that are in the 70s). 

Making the coffee is super easy – just pour yourself a half a cup of your favorite coffee (better to stay away from flavored coffee though) and then fill the cup up the rest of the way with Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice. If you want to get fancy you can even make some Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice whip cream for the top!

For the warmer evenings, I will be springing for the Pumpkin Pie Martini - another easy drink to make and oh, so, delicious. Mix 1.5 oz of Smirnoff or Burnett’s Whipped Cream Vodka, 1 oz of Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Liqueur and a half oz of Rum Chata. Shake and serve. For a little fancy sparkle – rim your glass with cinnamon sugar and sprinkle a little on top.

 

So let’s raise a glass to this cooler weather and sip a little Pumpkin Spice. October is busy enough – relax a little and save the Pumpkin baking until November. Let’s bring on the fall!

Kentucky Bourbon

National Bourbon Heritage Month
Kentucky Bourbon

Many folks would argue that the birthplace of Bourbon is Bourbon County, Kentucky and that if it isn’t distilled in Kentucky, it isn’t the real deal. Now, let’s be honest – Kentucky is home to several great bourbons.

Although Texas and Indiana also distill a few outstanding bourbons, today we’re just going to focus on Kentucky and the variety of fine Kentucky bourbons you can find at Town Center Liquor, here in Jarrell, Texas.

When shopping for bourbons there are really three kinds – the classics you know and love, the rare classics you know and love to find and the lesser-known you need to try!

Starting with the classics – Woodford, Elijah Craig, Maker’s Mark, Weller, Buffalo Trace, Larceny, and Evan Williams. Yes, we carry each of these and we carry them in multiple sizes.

In addition to these well-known bourbons, we work diligently to ensure we can provide our customers with a selection of allocated or rare bourbons like Angel’s Envy, Elmer T. Lee, E.H. Taylor, Hancock’s Reserve, Blanton’s and Eagle Rare. These bourbons are called rare for a reason, so the quantity of each in our store will vary on any given day. However, rest assured, even if we are out of one or two of these brands, we almost always have a few of these on hand.

When it comes to the lesser-known Kentucky bourbons, there are plenty and there are plenty here to try. Our favorites of these lesser-knowns are Old Charter, James Pepper 1776 and Heaven Hill Old Style Bourbon. Old Charter is made by the same people as Blanton’s and has a great, quality taste. Each of these are good, quality bourbons. We hope you will give them a try.

Kentucky – we want to raise a glass to you for everything you have done to enhance this fine American Spirit. We are Texans and we love everything about Texas, to include Texas bourbons, but even here in the Lone Star State we acknowledge that when it comes to bourbon, Kentucky – you done good.

Bourbon…The American Spirit

National Bourbon Heritage Month
Bourbon…The American Spirit

September is recognized as the National Bourbon Heritage Month, a month that recognizes the official “American Spirit.”

What is it that defines the “American Spirit?”

In looking into the history of Bourbon, I discovered that the story of Bourbon is similar to so many stories in our history highlighting Americans who followed their American dream, and fought with their American spirit.

Many of the original settlers in this country came here from Europe and brought with them a tradition of distilling whiskey. As they worked hard to carve out their life in the new world, they realized that corn was a stronger and more abundant crop than rye in the new land and began distilling with corn instead. Thus, the American ingenuity that defines so much of history was at the very birthplace of bourbon.

The first time this new drink is recorded as bourbon, is in Bourbon County, Kentucky, an environment seemingly perfect for distilling the beverage. Over the years, Bourbon has played a significant role in much of our nation’s history. During the Civil War, President Lincoln used taxes on Bourbon to support the cost of the war, while in the South; distilleries were shut down for materials needed to support the Army. Prohibition slowed the bourbon industry significantly, but determined distillers continued to make undocumented moonshine. When Prohibition came to an end, Bourbon sales taxes were used to help pull the nation out of the Great Depression. During World War II, distilleries halted their bourbon operations to support the war effort, instead distilling a much higher proof alcohol that could be used to make ammunition, anti-freeze and numerous other items needed by the military. After the War ends, production picked up again.

In 1964, Congress declared Bourbon a “distinctive product of the United States,” giving it special trade protection in the international marketplace.

After this the industry experienced a bit of a downfall, but with advertising like, “It tastes expensive…and is,” Maker’s Mark not only stayed afloat, but also helped reinvigorate the nation’s love for bourbon.

Since 2009, Bourbon sales have increased more than 40% as Americans fall in love all over again with this unique American spirit.

Bourbon is a drink that was born with this nation, and like our country has gone through ups and downs, through war and peace and continues to refine itself. Its history is defined by hard work, ingenuity and greatness – it is a true American Spirit.

 

Long Island Ice Tea

Long Island Ice Tea

I’m one of the many people in this state that will tell you, “I’m not a native Texan, but I got here as soon as I could.” And it’s true, I love the great state of Texas, but that doesn’t change my roots. And as the saying goes, you can take the girl out of New York, but you can’t take the New York out of the girl!

This recipe is a classic and a shout-out to my New York roots. Whether you’re in New York, Texas or anywhere else, this is a great drink to relax with.

Now for you true-Southerners, don’t be fooled by the name. This is a good drink, but it tastes nothing like your Sweet Tea.

Secondly, before you start mixing, let’s make sure you are prepared to relax with this drink and don’t need to drive anywhere. It’s a good one, but it’s strong one too.

Okay, fill your shaker or glass with ice. Next mix together ½ shot of vodka, gin, rum, tequila and triple sec. Add one shot of sweet and sour mix and stir (if you have a shaker, then shake!)

For those of you who don’t traditionally drink gin, Seagram’s is a pretty standard gin and will work well in this recipe, but I would recommend going with Texas Still Gin – it’s an excellent gin and locally distilled. Plus it will add a little Texas sass to this Yankee drink!

Bacardi is the big name in rum, but Don Q Crystal would work just as well and would be a little less expensive.

There is absolutely nothing Yankee about tequila – I would recommend you try Coa tequila, Lunazul or Espalon. These are all very good tequilas, affordable and will help southern-ify your drink!

Once mixed, pour everything into your glass and then top it with a splash of cola. The cola just provides a tiny bit of flavor and a little bit of color to the drink. Garnish your drink with a lemon and if you’re a displaced Yankee like me – toast those Northern roots and then take a sip and enjoy a nice, cool drink in the Texas sun!

Ingredients:

½ oz vodka

½ oz rum

½ oz Gin

½ oz tequila

½ oz triple sec

1 oz sweet and sour mix

1 oz cola

1 lemon slice

Directions:

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple sec, and sour mix over ice; cover and shake. Pour cocktail into a Collins or hurricane glass; top with splash of cola for color. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Frozen Peach Raspberry Dream

Frozen Peach Raspberry Dream

This is one of my all-time favorite drinks and it’s perfect for the summer. The frozen mixture of peach and raspberry, combined with champagne is brilliant and worthy of a celebration. This drink is sweet, it’s bubbly and it’s delicious. Ladies – this one’s for you.

First you will need a blender – this is really meant to be a frozen drink, so don’t skimp on the blending! Combine everything but the Chambord.

Cook’s is a pretty standard Champagne, it’s cost efficient and it has a good taste that will work well in this drink. Next, when you’re looking for Peach Schnapps – DeKuyper’s is a good option. This drink is a great drink for a Texas summer day, so I would recommend a Texas vodka to go with it like Deep Eddy, Western Son or Tito’s, but any vodka will work. If you’re unfamiliar with peach nectar, just grab a can of Jumex and it will do the trick.

Blend until smooth.

Pour your frozen drink into a fun frozen drink-worthy cup. Next pour a shot of Chambord on top. Garnish with a peach slice or a few fresh raspberries and maybe a Hawaiian umbrella.

Cheers!

*If you want to make a fun drink for the kids – substitute peach schnapps for peach juice and the champagne for sparkling white grape juice. To add the raspberry flavor on top, either use a raspberry syrup or fresh raspberries.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen sliced peaches.

2 ounces champagne.

1 ounce peach schnapps.

1 ounce vodka.

4 ounces (1/2 cup) peach nectar.

2 or 3 ice cubes.

1.5 oz Chambord

 

Directions:

Combine one cup of frozen sliced peaches, two ounces of champagne, one ounce of peach schnapps, one ounce of vodka, four ounces of peach nectar and two or three ice cubes. Blend for thirty seconds or until smooth. Pour a shot of Chambord on top and enjoy.

Mojito

Mojito

There is something so refreshing and classic about a Mojito. I love a good Mojito, but don’t make them too often because this drink is a little tricky to perfect. I recommend taking your time when making this drink to ensure it’s perfect. You don’t want to go overboard on the sugar or the mint – you want just the right mix for your taste buds. And you definitely want to take the time to make fresh-squeezed lime juice.

Fill up your shaker with ice and pour in your rum. I would recommend either Don Q rum or Bacardi. Interesting fact about these two – they are both distilled in Puerto Rico!

Before adding your mint leaves, you should gently mash them in a muddler. If you don’t have a muddler, break them up by hand, but don’t shred them. The mint leaves only need to be slightly bruised to release the essential oils needed to make this drink perfect. Next - mix in your lime juice.

Now, add your sugar. Here I would be careful. A good Mojito can easily be ruined with too much, or too little sugar. The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of sugar, but I would recommend adding to taste. Check as you’re adding so that you can get the exact right amount of sweetness for you.

Shake well and serve over ice and top of your drink with a splash of club soda. This recipe is designed to make about six servings. Garnish with a lime.

And remember - don’t rush making this drink. The difference between an okay Mojito and an amazing Mojito is up to you.

Enjoy!

 

*If you want to make a Mojito mocktail for the kiddos too, I recommend mixing limeade and club soda and serving on ice.

 

Ingredients:

Ice

6 ounces light rum

12 mint sprigs, or spearmint, 8 roughly broken apart

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 tablespoons sugar

Club soda

4 slices lime

 

Directions:

Place ice in beverage shaker then add in the rum, 8 broken up mint sprigs, lime juice and sugar. Shake well and serve over ice in a high ball glass. Top off each glass with a splash of club soda.

Garnish each with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint.

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