How Well Do You Know Your Sparkling Wines?

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sparkling winesThink you know your sparkling wines? If you’re a fan of celebrations and all that goes with them, you’ve likely been exposed to the glorious sparkling cocktail concoctions often served alongside. From the familiar mimosa and the rare and delicious Bellini’s at brunch to the joyous Champagne toasts at weddings—and even the odd refreshing glass of Moscato after dinner—sparkling wines are present at some of the world’s most pleasant occasions. However, whether they’re flying solo or mixed into a tasty cocktail, all sparkling wines are not created equally.

Not All Sparkling Wines Are Champagnes

While many people refer to all sparkling wines as Champagne, a true Champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France. While some sparkling wines produced outside the European Union bear the name of Champagne, they’re not subject to the same production standards or regulations as European sparkling wines. Here’s a brief guide to the different types of sparkling wines:

  • Champagne.

    As mentioned, sparkling wines using Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes and produced in the Champagne region of France can legally bear the name of Champagne. Champagnes range from dry (Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, and dry) to sweet (demi-sec and doux) and often have notes of almond, orange, and cherry. Typically, they are around 12% ABV and have very fine, persistent bubbles due to the second fermentation they undergo in the bottle.

  • Crémant.

    Crémants can adhere to the same production methods as Champagnes. However, they are produced from a wider variety of grapes, including Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and others. Most are produced in Alsace, Burgundy, and the Loire Valley, but share many of the same properties as Champagnes.

  • Proseccos

    Proseccos are produced mostly in Veneto, Italy, primarily with Prosecco grapes. Prosecco is fermented a second time in a tank instead of in the bottle. This results in lighter bubbles that don’t last as long. Most Proseccos are sweeter than Champagne and can have tropical fruit, banana, vanilla, or hazelnut aromas.

  • Cava.

    Cava is the Spanish version of sparkling wine. It is produced almost exclusively in Catalonia. Most Cavas use Spanish grapes like Parellada and Macabeo, but some may add French grapes to the final mixture. Cavas have a distinctive sour taste, but can also have a toasty profile as well; Cava producers use the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle. So, its bubbles are similar to those of Champagne.

  • Moscato d’Asti.

    Sometimes referred to simply as Moscato, this sparkling wine is produced from Muscat grapes. They have been cultivated since ancient Greek and Roman times for premium sweetness. As a result, Moscato is much sweeter than the other types of sparkling wines. It has a lower alcohol content as well. The best Moscato d’Asti grapes are picked at peak ripeness. It results in sparkling wines that have notes of orange, peach, apricot, and rose.

Find the Ideal Sparkling Wine for Your Occasion

Whether you’re hosting a wedding, a mimosa brunch, or simply want a refreshing bottle of sparkling wine after dinner, it’s essential to choose the right bottle for your tastes. The experts at Payless Liquors can help you find a dry, sweet, or moderate sparkling wine of any variety in our extensive wine selection. Stop in or call ahead to find a new favorite today.

How to Stock Your In-Home Bar

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home barStocking your home bar with all the essential tools, glassware, mixers, and—of course—spirits will give you the ability to mix classic cocktails and invent new ones without rushing out to purchase missing ingredients each time the urge strikes. This checklist can help ensure you have all the items to make all the most essential drinks:

  1. Liquors. To make most classic cocktails, you’ll need a solid stock of basic liquors, including:

    • Vodka—used in more mixed drinks than any other spirit, vodka is necessary. Choose one affordable and one high-end vodka for your home bar.
    • Whiskey—as there are numerous types of whiskey, go with your preference. Choosing one great, sippable bourbon and one blended rye allows you the ability to serve whiskey on the rocks or in a cocktail.
    • Rum—white rum is most commonly used in mixed drinks, so choose one quality white and one darker or spiced rum to round out your home bar.
    • Tequila—most margaritas are made with tequila blanco, so choosing an inexpensive version for blended drinks and a top-shelf version for sipping is a good strategy.
    • Gin—although gin is a divisive spirit that seems to be either loved or hated, you should choose a quality gin to have on hand behind your home bar.
    • Liqueurs—these flavored liquors should be stocked according to your taste. However, starting with triple sec, Amaretto, and vermouth will allow you to make most classic cocktails.
  2. Mixers. Unless you’re serving your liquors straight up, you’ll need essential mixers to make your cocktails, including:

    • Juices—keep lemon, lime, tomato, orange, pineapple, and cranberry juice on hand.
    • Sodas—be sure to have a cola, a lemon-lime soda, and a club soda behind your bar.
    • Blended mixers—store-bought mixers like sweet and sour, grenadine, and even bloody Mary mix are helpful (you can make simple syrup yourself).
    • Bitters—one bottle of Angostura bitters should work for most cocktails.
  3. Glassware. While there are seemingly endless types of bar and beer glasses, you’ll need just a basic few to get started. Then, increase your bar glass selection as your mixology skills improve. Start with:

    • Beer glasses—the pint glass is the most versatile, however they can be used for mixed drinks, too
    • Rocks glasses—these short glasses are a staple for any drink served straight up or on the rocks.
    • Wine glasses—stock both red and white wine glasses, or purchase a medium-sized glass suitable for either.
    • Martini glasses—mixed drinks like Manhattans, martinis, and even the odd margarita can be served from a martini glass.

Bar tools. To make most mixed drinks, you’ll need a cocktail shaker, a durable mixing glass, a jigger to measure liquor, and a bar spoon to stir your mixed drinks. Also, most home bars include a beer opener, a corkscrew, and a cutting board and citrus knife or zester for garnishes.

Don’t worry if you aren’t able to check off all the items on this list right away. Simply begin with a bar stocked with your preferred liquors, and add spirits as you go. For more information about spirit selection, mixers, or equipment, inquire at your friendly neighborhood Payless Liquors.

tequila

Don Julio Tequila Drink Recipes For Any Occasion

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Tequila is most famous for being the prime ingredient in a margarita. However, this Mexican liquor made from agave plant is extremely versatile and can be used to make other delicious tequila cocktails. On National Tequila Day, ditch the salt and lime and try these drink recipes with a premium tequila like Don Julio.

Don Julio Blanco Margaritatequila

  • 2 oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
  • 1½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 oz Agave Nectar
  • 1 oz Soda
  • Lime Wedge for Garnish

Combine Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice, and agave nectar into a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake well, strain into a rocks glass over ice, top with soda, and garnish with a lime wedge.

Don Julio Blood Orange Palomatequila

  • 1½ oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • ½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • Seltzer
  • Chili Powder for Garnish

Combine Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice and fresh grapefruit juice into a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake well. Then strain contents into a glass over fresh ice. Top with seltzer. Garnish with chili powder.

Don Julio Lemonadatequila

  • 1½ oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
  • 3 oz Cold Water
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 8-10 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1-2 tsp Sugar
  • 10-15 Ice Cubes

Add lemon juice, mint leaves, and sugar to blender. Pulse a few times until mint leaves are chopped.

Add tequila and cold water and pulse again to mix.

Add ice cubes and blend into slushie. Pour and garnish with mint leaves.

Don Julio Rosa Primaveratequila

  • 1½ oz Don Julio Reposado
  • 1 oz Coconut Cream
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Muddled Strawberry

Add all ingredients in a shaker. Strain into rocks glass over ice. Garnish with half a strawberry.

Reserve Your Bottle Today

For a limited time only, Payless Liquors is pleased to offer bottles of Don Julio 1942 and Don Julio Real to our customers who truly enjoy fine sippable tequilas. Reserve your bottle at our East Street location and arrange for in-store or curbside pickup today.

 

 

Modern IPAs—What You Didn’t Know About One of America’s Most Popular Beers

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IPAIf you’re a beer enthusiast of any persuasion, you’ve undoubtedly heard of IPA by now. This hoppy, floral, slightly bitter brew has found its way onto the shelves of nearly every beer cooler in America—and is the star of many a craft brewery lineup. The IPA is often an object of scorn by beer traditionalists. They claim to dislike its relatively high alcohol content, bitterness, and often-extreme level of hops. However, the beer market tells a different story—IPAs make up a full 13 of the top 25 beers on Beer Advocate’s Top 250 Beers list.

What’s in an IPA?

IPAIPA is an acronym for India Pale Ale and is, of course, a version of the classic pale ale styles that emerged in England in the early 1700s. These old pale ales utilized malts roasted with coke (a coal-based fuel that produces practically no smoke), resulting in ales that were much lighter than the traditional dark, smoky ales of the region. Since the malts were lighter in flavor rather than color, the hops were able to become the star.

The IPA became popular over a hundred years later. British expatriates living in the east Indian colonies requested barrels of their favorite “bitters,” or pale ales, to get a taste of home. According to legend, brewers feared their beers wouldn’t make the journey without becoming too sour and flat. So, they drastically increased the alcohol and hops content in the hopes that the beer would be drinkable when it arrived. However, it’s now believed that this explanation is just a story, because other beers made the journey without this addition. Whatever the origin, an IPA is simply a lightly malted pale ale produced with more hops and, in most cases, more alcohol.

What’s With All the Lingo?

As the style became more popular in the US in the 1970s and ’80s, American breweries utilized American hops like Cascade or Simcoe in both their pale ales and their IPAs. The pale ales were already higher in alcohol and more hop-forward than the British pale ales that came before them. Common sense dictated that the IPAs should be even more so. By the time the style took off in the late ’80s and ’90s, there were so many different types of IPAs. Consequently, brewers had developed terminology to describe their unique brews:

  • West Coast IPA—these brews are more bitter, hoppy, and floral than the average American IPA.
  • East Coast IPA—this style is maltier and mellower, although hops still shine.
  • Double IPA—the Double IPA simply doubles the amount of hops included rather than the brewery’s traditional IPA.
  • Imperial IPA—the term was originally synonymous with double IPAs, but now can even include triple IPAs.
  • Hazy IPAs—also known as New England IPAs, these beers aren’t filtered and, as a result, are creamier and less bitter than other IPAs.
  • Juicy IPAs—usually a type of hazy IPA, juicy IPAs include citrusy hops and yeast esters to impart a fruity flavor.

Try a New IPA for National IPA Day

With the ever-increasing number of releases from craft and big-name breweries around the world, you’re more likely than ever to find the perfect balance of hops and malt. No matter which type of IPA appeals to you, August is an ideal time to start looking. The first Thursday of the month is National IPA Day. So, stop into a Payless Liquors location near you and find your new favorite IPA to celebrate.

How Don Julio Created Two of the World’s Finest Tequilas

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Don JulioMost of the world knows tequila best as a party spirit, with Don Julio being the center of attention. It’s the essential ingredient in a margarita and makes an excellent one-shot-wonder, to be consumed with a pinch of salt and a wedge of lime. So pervasive was this reputation that when some spirits drinkers were presented with the idea of a “luxury tequila,” they had trouble imagining a tequila drinker would want to sip instead of shoot.

Of course, Don Julio wasn’t the first truly fine tequila in the world—but it was the world’s first luxury tequila. Here, we’ll explore tequila production, which makes Don Julio so special, and present two genuinely outstanding examples of fine tequila.

What Is Tequila, Anyway?

Tequila is a type of mezcal—a spirit produced by distilling nectar from the agave plant. For a mezcal to earn legal classification as a tequila, it must be produced strictly from Weber’s blue agave plant and undergo production in Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, or Michoacán.

Harvesters remove the hearts, or pinas, from the center of the agave plants and roast them in special ovens to convert the starches into sugars. From there, the pinas ferment for about four days, and the liquid is distilled so that it reaches the required alcohol content. Then, the tequila is either aged in a cask of choice or bottled for sale.

How Don Julio Crafted Some of the World’s Finest Tequila

In 1942, Don Julio developed a procedure to produce higher-quality tequilas. Instead of packing as many blue agave plants into his fields as possible, Julio proposed giving each plant room to grow and mature fully. His passion for the spirit—as well as his unique dedication to quality over quantity—inspired a local businessman to grant him a loan, and Don Julio Tequila was born.

Julio selected only the best pinas for eventual fermenting. He developed a process that steamed each pina for a total of 72 hours for peak quality. When his luxury tequilas were finished, Julio chose to bottle them in a short tequila bottle. Tequila enthusiasts everywhere could share a bottle around the table instead of leaving them hidden beneath the table.

Don Julio’s Best—Don Julio 1942 and Don Julio Real

While each of Don Julio’s tequilas is something special, experts agree that two stand out above the others in this fine collection:

Don Julio

  • Don Julio 1942. Crafted as an homage to Don Julio himself, this añejo is aged 2 ½ years in bourbon oak barrels. Then, it’s distilled a second time in a stainless-steel pot still, producing a rich, sweet tequila. Tasters note that 1942 has a full, creamy palate with hints of caramel and spice and a long, spicy finish.

Don Julio

  • Don Julio Real. The crown jewel of the Don Julio selection. This tequila is worth the purchase based on the crystal and silver leaf decanter alone. However, the real treasure is found inside, with one of the world’s first extra-añejo tequilas, aged 3 to 5 years in American oak barrels. With tasting notes of coffee, vanilla, and wood, this supremely smooth tequila is one of the best in the world to sip neat.

Reserve Your Bottle Today

For a limited time only, Payless Liquors is pleased to offer bottles of Don Julio 1942 and Don Julio Real to our customers who truly enjoy fine sippable tequilas. Reserve your bottle at our East Street location and arrange for in-store or curbside pickup today.

“Uncle Nearest” – The World’s First African-American Master Distiller

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Uncle Nearest
Does the name Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green sound familiar? Ask anyone with a marginal interest in whiskey about the industry’s biggest names, and you’ll likely hear such legends as Jack Daniel, Evan Williams, and Jim Beam. While these brands are certainly the largest players in the industry – named for the real people behind their legendary spirits – there’s another whiskey name you may not know. However, efforts by author Fawn Weaver have led us to truly appreciate the contributions of the world’s first African-American Master Distiller – Nathan Green.

Who Was Nathan Green?

Born in Maryland circa 1820, Nathan Green’s life before whiskey is largely unknown. In fact, historians aren’t sure if he was born into slavery or became a slave at a later point. What is known is that Nathan was working in Lincoln and Moore County Tennessee on the farm of a preacher and distiller. He soon became the farm’s chief distiller, specializing in practices that would one day become known as the “Lincoln County Process”. It is a famed distillation technique many believe originated with the way West African slaves used charcoal to purify beverages.

The original Lincoln County Process involved using sugar maple charcoal to filter the whiskey. This results in a uniquely smooth, mellow product that was different from other whiskeys of the time. By the time a ten year old, white boy named Jasper Newton came to the farm to work, Green had gained notoriety for his process. The boy showed an interest in all the smoke coming from the rear of the property, was introduced to Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green, and the rest is history.

Uncle Nearest, Master Distiller

As Jasper Newton grew up on the Lynchburg farm, he learned all about the Lincoln County Process and how to make true Tennessee whiskey. After losing his father in the Civil War, Newton partnered with the farm owner, and eventually purchased the farm and distillery outright. The young man who became Jack Daniel continued to learn from Uncle Nearest. Now a free man, he was employed as Jack Daniels’ Master Distiller, becoming the first African American Master Distiller in the world. Uncle Nearest’s sons and grandsons continued to work with the Jack Daniels distillery long after it moved to its new Lynchburg location. Jack Daniels tours still credit him with creating the famed Lincoln County Process to this day.

Unfortunately, Uncle Nearest’s contributions to American Whiskey went otherwise unappreciated for decades. Author Fawn Weaver, some members of the Jack Daniel family, and Uncle Nearest’s descendants wanted to change that. What resulted was the 2019 opening of a distillery that bears the name of Uncle Nearest himself and pays homage to the Lincoln County Process.

Uncle Nearest Whiskey

Currently, the distillery produces three distinct whiskeys. They include Uncle Nearest’s 1820 Single Barrel Whiskey, 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, and 1884 Small Batch Whiskey. All three continue to receive platinum and gold awards and comprise the most awarded American whiskey or bourbon brand of 2019. After a century in the shadows, Nathan Green is finally getting his due – his part in the Tennessee whiskey story that includes Jack Daniel and Uncle Nearest in equal, mutual accord.

Uncle Nearest
Photo Credits: Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey

To reserve your bottle of Uncle Nearest Whiskey, contact Payless Liquors or complete our online ordering form.

The Long, Strange History of the Moscow Mule

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Moscow MuleOnce long forgotten, the Moscow Mule rose from the ashes of its status as a cocktail has-been to become a modern cocktail of choice. Now, it seems like practically every establishment has a slew of Mules on the menu – great news for those of us that enjoy this zippy all-season cocktail.

However, with the sheer amount of Mules available today, seemingly covering every fruit, liquor, and carbonated alternative known to mankind, we have a few questions. Where did this drink come from in the first place? What makes a mule a Mule? And – perhaps most importantly – how can we drink more of them?

The Original Mule

Liquor lore is full of coincidences, and the series of events that led up to the original Moscow Mule is no different. In 1939, the Smirnoff brand was a tiny, struggling vodka company that had just been bought out by John G. Martin for $14,000. To promote sales, Martin approached a number of business owners, including the owner of the Cock N’ Bull bar in Hollywood. Unfortunately, neither the vodka or the bar’s house-brewed ginger beer sold according to expectations and by 1941, both were desperate.

Depending on who you ask, either Martin or the Cock N’ Bull’s bartender at the time – a man by the name of Wes Price – got the idea to clear out the bar’s storeroom and push a concoction of ginger beer and vodka. Around the same time, Sophie Berezinski – a Russian immigrant – came to Hollywood with a stash of 2,000 copper mugs crafted at her father’s copper shop. The cocktail received both a name and a preferred vehicle, and the traditional Moscow Mule was born.

What Makes This Cocktail a Mule?

While the name “Moscow Mule” is attributed to the spicy kick of the ginger beer and the origins of the associated vodka, what truly makes a mule a Mule? After all, it’s possible to find mules made with all sorts of ingredients and a wide variety of liquors. Purists will tell you that a drink isn’t truly a mule unless it’s made with Smirnoff, Cock N’ Bull ginger beer, and served in a copper mug – but we believe variety is the spice of life.

To us, it’s the overall combination of ginger notes, the citrusy zest, the bubbly finish, and the punch of liquor that makes a cocktail a true Mule. If you can find a copper mug to serve it in (the copper really does add a unique taste and serve to chill your drink in a way glass just can’t match), all the better. To celebrate your newfound freedom to try all the mules you can get your hands on, consider these aptly-named alternatives:

  • Mexican mule – try using a splash of tequila instead of Smirnoff

  • British mule – take a break from gin, tonic, and lime and use your gin in this similar flavor profile

  • Caribbean mule – swap out your vodka for some dark, spiced rum

  • Irish mule – forego the traditional Smirnoff for your favorite Irish whiskey

No matter which Mule you’ve decided to start with, Payless Liquors has a wide selection of liquors and ginger beers perfect for your next Mule experiment. Stop in today, call ahead, or order online to ensure your selections are ready for limited-contact pickup.

summer beer varieties

Beer Can Be Seasonal, Too – Try These Six Summer Beer Varieties

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Choosing a beer for any occasion used to be simple – for the most part, Americans were limited to the light lagers and pilsners that were readily available at any corner store, regardless of season. With the eventual rise of imports, diversification of large American breweries, and the influx of smaller craft breweries in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, beer has become much more nuanced. In fact, as American tastes became more adventurous, beer brewing – and beer drinking – has taken on a seasonal component once only seen in wines and cocktails. However, there’s no reason choosing the perfect summer beer can’t be simple. Just think of what your taste buds crave during a long, lazy day in the sun, and you’ll be on the right track. If you’re still not sure, consider this list of light, easily drinkable summer beer varieties:

Fruit beers

This category consists of everything from the traditional German radlers (a mix of lemonade or citrus soda and pilsner) to the more diverse British shandies (ale mixed with lemonade) and every watermelon ale and blueberry stout in between. The hottest days of summer are the perfect time to try these easy to drink, often lower-alcohol, beers.

IPAs and pale ales

Pale, hoppy, a little bit bitter, but somehow still refreshing, pale ales and their India pale ale cousins truly come into their own in the summer. IPAs have a stronger hop profile than pale ales, but you can find both in hazy, filtered, and even citrus-centric varieties for summer.

Wheat beers

Many a brauhaus serves its traditional hefeweizen or Belgian wit with a tiny bit of fruit juice (typically banana or orange) at the bottom. American wheat beers are similarly hazy and have a unique bit of spiciness that lend themselves perfectly to an orange or lemon garnish. No matter which you choose, wheat beers of nearly all varieties lend themselves to some refreshing summer drinking.

Saisons

While sometimes marketed as a “sour saison” or similar, not all saison beers are sour. In fact, most are considered dry and pleasantly spicy with pale malts and very subtle hop flavor – and some even contain a hint of cucumber or fruit rind flavoring. Whichever you choose, these tasty brews are perfect for summer drinking.

Blondes

Perhaps the most classic of summer beer styles, blonde ales are lighter, easier-drinking, and more approachable than their darker counterparts. In addition, most blondes are brewed without a focus on citrus, fruit, in-your-face hops, or any of the other complex flavors you’ll find in other summer beers – making them a perfect crowd pleaser for the beach or barbeque.

Lagers and pilsners

Although there are numerous types of easy-drinking summer beers crafted especially for the adventurous crowd, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating a classic American or European lager. These brews are produced at a cold temperature with

fermenting yeast to produce the signature mild flavor. If you need something even lighter, grab a pilsner – a traditional type of lager with a paler color and spicier, more refreshing taste.

At Payless Liquors, we have an extensive selection of summer beers – from craft-brewed fruity varieties to the traditional American lagers you love. Alternatively, change up your summer drinks and ask about our wine and liquor offerings. Call ahead or fill out an online order form to ensure we have your favorite summer beer ready for curbside or in-store pickup.

cork a watermelon

How To Cork A Watermelon – Your Guide to Making Summer’s Most Refreshing BBQ Cocktail

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Watermelon is the official fruit of summer. Perform an internet search for cocktail ideas, however, and you’ll soon be inundated with suggestions for watermelon mint lemonade coolers, blueberry watermelon granitas, and the like. While each of these recipes likely results in a delicious, refreshing drink, when you have adult family members poolside or are partaking in a social-distancing neighborhood block party, the last thing you want to do is stand behind a counter and muddle mint leaves. Instead, we suggest taking the direct route: simply infuse your watermelon with liquor, slice, and serve. The process, known as “corking a watermelon” by some and “hairy buffalo” or “drunken watermelon” by others, results in a refreshing, flavorful treat that doesn’t even require a glass. Just follow these simple steps:

1. Select your watermelon. The average size of a watermelon is about 20 pounds and can be divided into 30 or so 1 ½ inch slices. Depending on the size of your gathering, you may need a larger or smaller melon. In addition, you’ll want a watermelon that’s a bit flat on one side for stability.

2. Select your liquor. Traditionally, a corked watermelon is made with vodka – we suggest a fun, fruity vodka to amp up the refreshing, fruit flavors. However, you’ll have just as much success with any plain or fruit-flavored white rum or tequila blanco. For larger melons, you’ll need a 1.75L bottle; 750mL should be sufficient for average-sized melons.

3. Prep your melon. Place your melon on a table, surrounded by towels to stop it from rolling, if necessary. Using your liquor bottle as a guide, trace a circle on the melon’s top using a permanent marker. Be sure to make the circle slightly larger than the widest part of the bottle’s neck.

4. Cut your hole. Using a sharp knife, cut around the circle you traced. Make certain to cut through the rind and into the top layer of watermelon flesh. Remove the circle and use a spoon to scoop out enough melon so your bottle will fit inside the hole.

5. Place your bottle. Open the bottle of liquor and quickly overturn it into the hole you’ve created in the melon. Push it in far enough so that it will stay securely in this position for several hours. If you find you need to widen your hole slightly with the knife, do so gradually.

6. Infuse your melon. Allow your melon to rest for 4 to 12 hours – the liquor will slowly seep into the watermelon flesh during this time. Depending on the size of your melon and liquor bottle, as well as the overall juiciness of the watermelon you chose, the melon may not absorb all of the liquor. If you have room in the fridge, this is an excellent time to

begin chilling your watermelon.

7. Chill and serve. Once the melon flesh is infused with liquor, remove the bottle and use a paper towel or cork – if you can find one that’s a similar size – to prevent liquor from sloshing out. Chill until cool, slice as normal, and serve.

Payless Liquors has a large selection of flavored vodkas, rums, and tequilas perfect for your next melon corking as well as an extensive beer and wine assortment for your everyday needs. Stop in or complete an online order form to schedule an easy pickup.

5 Boozy Iced Coffee Recipes You Don’t Want to Miss

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The current state of the world has undoubtedly increased our coffee consumption. It’s hard to get motivated while sheltering in place, but a big mug of java certainly helps. However, spring is here and temperatures are rising, so it’s time to move on to iced coffee drinks for the warmer months. With the popularity of quarantine happy hour at home, boozy iced coffee is the next logical progression, right?

Take a look at a few of our favorite iced coffee cocktails for the season and try a few at home. Some of these recipes may even amaze those strange folks who claim they don’t like coffee.

1. The Wanderlust Kitchen’s Boozy Iced Coffee

This one is pretty basic and very easily adaptable to any palate. To create this refreshing cocktail with a kick, you simply start with a cup of strong chilled coffee, add a shot of your favorite booze, and serve over ice. If you like cream in your coffee, add enough to suit your fancy.

2. Patrick Smith’s Espresso Martini

To create this martini, you will have to make a little demerara syrup. Simply combine equal parts hot water and raw sugar, stir until dissolved, and then chill. Mix a half shot of the syrup with a shot of vodka, half a shot of vanilla liqueur, ¾ shot of espresso, and ¾ shot of coffee liqueur. Shake the ingredients over ice and serve straight up in a martini glass. Top the drink off with a garnish of three coffee beans for health, happiness, and prosperity.

3. The Spruce Eat’s Vanilla Latte Cocktail

If you are a fan of fancy coffee drinks in general, this one may be for you. A twist on a traditional latte, this recipe is served cold and boozy – perfect for a spring afternoon. Start with a glass of ice and two shots of cream liqueur. Build the next layer with a shot of vanilla vodka, then top off with two shots of chilled coffee. Give it a stir and enjoy!

4. Dorda Cafe Cocktail

If decadence is your thing, this cocktail may find a forever home with you. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur is the base for this delicious beast. Start with an ounce and a half of that, toss it in a shaker with an ounce of espresso and a half ounce of amaretto, and ice. Shake until well chilled and pour over a glass of ice. For the final touch, top the drink off with steamed milk foam or whipped cream. This cocktail is every bit as rich and wonderful as it sounds.

5. The Cookie Rookie’s Tiramisu Martini

The concept for this cocktail comes from one of the most popular desserts ever. Its smooth, rich taste is nearly as rich as the last one, but certainly with its own unique properties. To construct this drink, mix equal parts Kahlua, Rum Chata, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, and heavy cream. Shake the ingredients on ice and pour into a martini glass. This tasty treat wouldn’t be complete without a garnish of whipped cream, chocolate shavings, ground coffee or cocoa, and lady fingers.

Payless Liquors is the only name you need to know when you are stocking up on ingredients for your coffee cocktails or just restocking your adult beverage inventory. We have everything you need. Please use our online order form to make your selections and schedule a social distancing pickup time.

sangria

Everything You Need to Know About Sangria

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Sangria is perhaps one of the most versatile and satisfying drinks to ever exist. Even for those who can’t develop a taste for wine, this wine-based creation seems to be a perennial favorite. One of the most wonderful things about sangria is that it is a pretty simple concept: wine, fruit, juice, and liquor combined in a variety of forms and amounts to make some of the tastiest and unique beverages at the bar. The vast selection of possible ingredients mean that this is an easy drink to make at home and to tailor to any season. The beauty of making it in larger batches means that you don’t have to mix a drink every time you are thirsty. Just keep it in the refrigerator and pour over ice!

Origins of Sangria

Sangria is a Spanish drink, named from the Spanish word sangre, meaning blood. A very basic traditional version of the drink consists of red wine, orange juice, and chopped fruit, which is blood red in color. The specific origins of the drink have been lost over the years, but many believe that it was created because the water in Spain was not potable at the time. If you can’t have water, is there really a better choice than sangria? The drink was first introduced to the states by Spain in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. Since then, it has not only gained popularity in the U.S., but in bars and restaurants around the world.

Variations of Sangria

There are really countless ways to make a good sangria. Some purists stick to wine and fruit, but things get really interesting when you factor in other variables. Fruit juices add a bit more sweetness, while any number of flavored liqueurs contribute not only to the strength of the drink but to its unique flavor as well. Some like the deep complexity of a heavy red wine base, while others prefer a light semi-dry Riesling, or any number of varietals in between. Finishing the drink off with a splash of club soda or sprite also gives it a little fizz, which always makes it feel like spring.

Our Favorite Sangria

It’s hard to choose just one favorite sangria recipe, as almost every variation out there is delicious. Our top choice at the moment is the Pretty in Pink Sangria. It is a perfectly refreshing choice for spring, easy to drink, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Start with two bottles of white zinfandel, and add two cups of pineapple juice, a liter of ginger ale, a can of frozen lemonade concentrate, and 20 ounces of frozen strawberries. The great thing is you can change things up however you like. Consider trying a dry rose, ginger beer instead of ginger ale, or your favorite juice in place of pineapple. Pomegranate would be a nice touch with this particular recipe. No matter what you choose, have fun. It’s sure to be delicious.

If you don’t have any wine on hand for your sangria, Payless Liquors is the best place around to pick some up. Use our online order form to make your selections, and you can pick them up social distancing style. While you’re at it, stock up on any beer and spirits you may need to make 5 o’clock a little happier during quarantine.

old fashioned

2 New Twists on an Old Classic: Spring Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipes

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The Old Fashioned is a cocktail that never seems to go out of style. One of the oldest known recipes for the drink is from a bartender’s guide published in 1862. The recipe in this book is similar to the “modern” Old Fashioned but was actually not a whiskey-based drink at all. The story of the recipe we know today dates back to 1880, when a bartender in Louisville, KY created the drink and took it on the road – right to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, to be exact. This is said to be the birthplace of the Old Fashioned. The cocktail is mentioned in other books and periodicals over the years, but the basic recipe has always remained the same.

In today’s competitive bartending scene, it seems like such a simple recipe would fall by the wayside, forgotten in the sands of time as artisan cocktail creations move to the forefront of the bartending world. But its classic ingredients and familiar taste never goes out of style. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t change it up a little and add a modern touch to an old school cocktail. Take a look at these two new versions of the Old Fashioned as you hone your bartending skills while social distancing.

1. Gin Old Fashioned

If you are not a fan of whiskey and bourbon or you’re simply looking for something a little lighter and more refreshing for spring, this twist on the classic recipe is going to be a game changer for you. It bears some resemblance to a classic Negroni, but the unique characteristics that compose an Old Fashioned really come through and make this new creation stand out from the crowd. Build your drink with a two ounce gin base and a splash of simple syrup. A splash of bitters and some muddled orange and lemon rind complete the drink, as you stir it up and pour it over ice to cool your warm spring and summer days.

2. Coffee Old Fashioned

This one is for the coffee connoisseurs out there. Espresso martinis are played out, and hot coffee drinks are more suited to chilly autumn nights than golden summer evenings. This cocktail will definitely change the way you think about the traditional Old Fashioned. Start with two ounces of coffee liqueur and add a few splashes of orange bitters. No need for sugar in this one, as the liqueur adds a touch of sweetness. Stir over ice and then pour into your favorite beverage glass or serve it straight up with a lemon twist if you prefer the feel of a martini. Either way, you are sure to love it!

When you need a few ingredients for new cocktails like these, Payless Liquors is your go-to spot. We have everything you need for happy hour, including a great selection of domestic and import beers and wines. Whether you’re still or quarantine or just like the convenience of easy pick up, we can help. Use our online order form to make your selections today and pick them up with minimal contact.

mixed drink

4 Sweet Mixed Drink Recipes – Equal Parts Spring and Quarantine

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The spring season is finally here. With it comes warm sunny afternoons outside with a nice sweet cocktail. The unusual days we’re living in have made things a little different than past years, as most bars and restaurants around the country are not open for sit-down service. Never fear, spring happy hour will just have to move to your backyard patio!

Perhaps you have tried some of the cocktails from our previous blog on drinks you can make for quarantine happy hour. If so, you know how fun and rewarding making your own adult beverages can be. Give these four new cocktails a try, as you enjoy the afternoon sun on the veranda.

1. Garibaldi

This classic cocktail is named in honor of Guiseppe Garibaldi, a 19th century Italian general, who contributed to the unification and creation of the Kingdom of Italy. The ingredients are simple and elegant: 1.5 parts Campari liqueur to 4 parts orange juice, served over ice. This one is easy to make, easy on the eyes, and easy to drink. The vibrant red is symbolic of Garibaldi’s freedom fighters, dressed in red, and the orange represents Sicily. This cocktail is one you can wow your friends with, while giving them a bit of a history lesson as well.

2. Ginger Beer Margarita

If you love the subtle bite of ginger beer, but you’re growing tired of the same old Moscow mule every time you have a cocktail, this drink is for you. There is nothing like an icy cold margarita on a spring or summer afternoon, and the ginger flavor is a perfect complement to the lime juice, salt, simple syrup , and tequila. This may quickly become your signature drink.

3. Grapefruit Martini

The spunky pink of a ruby red grapefruit martini practically screams spring. This martini is quick and easy to whip up. It satisfies the taste buds without overwhelming the senses. It is sweet, but not overdone, and tastes like a drink you would get at a 5-star restaurant. Simply combine 2 parts ruby red grapefruit juice with 1 part vodka, 1 part triple sec, and a tablespoon of sugar over ice in your shaker. Then, give it a hefty shake and pour it into your martini glass. You won’t regret it.

4. Fig and Bourbon Fizz

If you love the uniquely sweet flavor of ripe figs, try adding the zing of fresh mint. This simple addition means you’ve got a spectacular cocktail unlike anything else you’ve tried. Some would say it’s a twist on a traditional mint julep, but the unique flavor combination here really sets it apart. Place one fig, a small handful of mint leaves, and a few raw sugar cubes into your shaker and muddle them together. Add a shot of bourbon and shake until well chilled. Pour the mixture onto a glass filled with ice cubes, top off with a hefty splash of ginger ale, and enjoy.

No matter what your tastes are, Payless Liquors has you covered this spring. You can get the ingredients for these drink recipes, along with a vast selection of your other favorite wine, beer, and spirits while social distancing by using our online order form. Place your order today and get to mixing