Wine Pairings

Wine Pairings To Enhance Your Holiday

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Few things are as classic and traditional as Christmas dinner. Whatever main dish your family serves, it is undoubtedly the same meal you’ve had for as long as you can remember. Varying from the menu would bring Christmas disaster rivaling the Griswold family Christmas of 1989. Even though you wouldn’t dare change your recipe, there are still a few ways to help take your menu and Christmas cheer to the next level, the primary of these being wine pairings.

Why Wine Pairings Work

Though wine pairings can seem complicated, it’s nothing more than basic science and common sense at play. When drinking wine with a meal, the flavors in the wine and food co-mingle to make a unique taste. Because wine tannins can sit on the tongue long after you’ve taken a sip, it’s entirely possible to ruin an entire meal with the wrong wine. It sounds scary but fear not. The basics of wine pairings are quite simple; the most basic rule of thumb is to pair wines and foods based on flavor strength. If you are eating something light or sweet, pair with a light and sweet wine to complement. If your dish is rich and heavy, look to a strong wine that can hold its own against the onslaught of flavor.

Appetizers

The appetizers’ specifics might vary, but in general, your appetizer wine search should begin with a wine that has a low ABV. Lower-alcohol wines generally run sweeter and pair well with light bites. For appetizers containing meat, such as pigs in a blanket or charcuterie, look to a Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Sauvignon’s lighter sister) for your starter wine. If you’re going vegetarian for the first course, or if you’re feeling extra festive, look for a Prosecco or a Cava to begin the night.

Main Courses

For red meats like prime rib and ham, look to a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon. If you prefer a turkey or chicken route for Thanksgiving, look to a Tempranillo or Merlot. A main dish from the sea? Stick with your favorite sparkling wine to round out the palette. Vegetarian meals will benefit from a Riesling or a Pinot Grigio.

Sides

Obviously, “sides” encompasses a fairly diverse category, but some basic estimating can be done to accommodate a wide range of side dishes. Creamier, rich sides such as mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese, and vegetable sides such as brussels sprouts or asparagus do well with a nice Chardonnay. If red is your preference, a Pinot Noir would also pair nicely with most sides (and can hold up to some lighter main courses as well).

Dessert

To end your meal, no matter the dessert fare, you can’t go wrong with a port or a sherry. Ports come in both red and white and are a wonderful way to cleanse the palate after a big meal. However, do keep in mind that chocolate is difficult to pair with wine (strangely enough), so if you have a largely chocolate dessert, it might be best to look at a different form of booze or coffee.

Now that you know the ropes, don’t let an off-kilter wine pairing downgrade all your days of planning and cooking. The experts at Payless Liquors can help you find the perfect selection of wines for your holiday celebrations and answer any questions you might have about your specific meal and its best pairings. Stop in today!

holiday cocktails

5 Holiday Cocktails to Wow Your Dinner Guests

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We’ve all heard the songs about how “Christmas comes only once a year” and how it’s the “most wonderful time” and all that jazz. While it’s true that Christmastime is magical for so many, it’s also a time full of traditions, which can make hosting a little bit daunting. Of course, as a host, you want to honor the expectations of the time of year, but providing guests with an outstanding experience is a natural aspect of having people in your home. A simple way to put your gathering over the top is through the use of cocktails. Providing top-quality, unique holiday cocktails honors the magic of the season while adding that little bit of edge that every host seeks.

The process of providing these drinks doesn’t have to be complicated. There are endless options of pre-batched cocktails for larger parties, unique options for the adventurous, and fun and sweet cocktails for those who want to drink their dessert. In short, there’s a cocktail for everyone.

1. Homemade Eggnog

This recipe for homemade eggnog is perfect for folks who love the traditional drink. It’s sweet, creamy, and absolutely delicious while avoiding the need for preservative-pumped boxed nog. The portions are already locked down for a large party, making this an ideal choice for the Christmas party purist.

2. Mulled Sangria

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s easy to daydream of beach climes during the winter months. This recipe is ideal for those who want to blend their love for beach drinks with their love of Christmas. Boasting fresh dark fruits such as pomegranate and cranberry, this cocktail keeps it fruity and bright without feeling out of place for the season. The mulling spices push it over the top into the ultimate cozy winter drink. Plus, it’s ideal for a premade batch. What’s not to love?

3. Cinnamon Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Boy, oh boy, it’s hard to get cozier and more midwestern than a good Old-Fashioned. This pre-batched version packs an extra-festive punch with cinnamon and rosemary, making this drink a perfect complement to turkey dinner and pumpkin pie. If your gathering is smaller or not particularly bourbon-crazy, it’s an easy drink to make by the glass as well.

4. Vanilla Chai White Russian

If you love spice but don’t want to put in the time to make a pie, this cutie’s for you. Boasting all the creaminess of eggnog without the actual eggs, this drink checks all the boxes of an ideal Christmas beverage: sweet and spicy, chilled but warm-tasting, and oh so very unique. If you want to serve it with pie, we won’t tell.

5. Buddy the Elf Cocktail

There’s no denying it; this cocktail is sweet. If you, like Buddy the Elf, love to indulge around the holidays (or all the time, we don’t judge), this cocktail is definitely for you. Boasting heavy cream, maple syrup, molasses, and candies to top, this baby makes all your childhood dessert dreams come true while satisfying the very adult need for booze at Christmas. Win-win.

Payless Liquors is stocked and ready to help you serve up these fabulous cocktails. Check out our online form to order your ingredients today and rest easy knowing that the holidays’ boozy aspect is covered.

Visit the Bulleit Woody

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Bulleit Bourbon is a household name for a reason. With a recipe dating back to the early 19th century, bourbon drinkers know Bulleit is smooth and spicy. It is a taste that’s entirely unique to the brand. Though the liquor itself is timeless and unchanged, the Bulleit brand is always finding ways to stay relevant. The most recent of these endeavors being the advent of the Bulleit Woody. It’s a vintage-inspired teardrop camper designed specifically to serve up Bulleit Bourbon.

Bulleit Bourbon

Though the Bulleit recipe dates back to 1830, the company began in 1987 to revive the old family rye bourbon recipe. This unique blend of traits poises Bulleit to be a modern, viable company in the 21st century. Meanwhile, giving it the foundation of a timeless recipe with hundreds of years of development. Though its classic bourbon is still the most popular, the company has since developed other products. They offer a complete line of barrel bourbon, select blends, and ryes. Its core set of liquors has an incredible range of uses. The centuries of experience has allowed the company to develop tried and true recipes for its products, ranging from Whiskey Sours to Bourbon Swizzles to Old-Fashioneds.

The Woody Design

Though it looks like a classic camper at first glance, the Woody is anything but ordinary. It features boasting artfully chosen wood exterior (more on that in a bit) and retro, white-rimmed tires. This camper hits you in the face with nostalgia at first glance. This first glance is enough to make anyone swoon. However, upon further inspection, it’s clear that this little camper is more than swoon-worthy. While the inside lounge area has the feel of a Kentucky cigar club, the real selling point is the outside. The back of the camper pulls out into a full-service bourbon bar. It is complete with ice-well and a shiny mirrored backsplash. It gives the bar that 1940s feel that was hitherto incongruous with the outdoors. This baby camper brings a speakeasy feel to picnics and tailgate parties, something that we didn’t know we needed until now.

The Devil Is in the Details

Having a classy bourbon bar on wheels is appealing enough. But, what makes the Woody so devilishly attractive is the meticulous thought that designer Brad Ford put into its every component. Bulleit Bourbon influenced the iconic color of the Woody itself. The inside ceiling is lined with repurposed bourbon barrels. Even the seemingly unrelated aspect of the interior leather was chosen to fit the smell, feel, and ambiance of the Bulleit experience. Bulleit bourbon inspired every minute detail of the Woody. It has made it a completely unique and must-see attraction.

See It for Yourself

Bulleit Woody

Bulleit WoodyBecause there are only two Bulleit Woodys in the world, experiencing one for yourself is a rare treat. Luckily for you, Payless Liquors is hosting a Bulleit Woody event on November 13 and 14 at its store in Indianapolis. Stop by to see this excellent piece of bourbon-inspired art for yourself, and taste some of the fantastic bourbons that Payless has to offer.

Winter Beer

5 Great Cold Weather Winter Beer Styles to Try

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With the fall season passing, it’s time to bring in winter beer. With the popularity of craft beers and the competition for unique flavor profiles, many breweries have developed holiday beers with a strong seasonal component. Even traditional mass-production breweries have gotten on the bandwagon. These unique beers gain attention from beer lovers around the country. The fall season is almost over as Thanksgiving passes, but the winter season is close at hand, and that means winter-weather brews to please nearly any palate. If you haven’t tried these types of beer, give them a chance this winter. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

1. Barrel-Aged Beers

The big steel tanks that you see at most microbreweries are the cauldrons they create their concoctions in, but if you want a truly unique taste, try one of these beers aged in wooden barrels. This process is usually done with stronger-flavored beers that can stand up to the notes of applewood, oak, and hickory that are imparted on the brew by the barrel itself. These beers are popular in the winter because they also have notes of bourbon, vanilla, and caramel.

2. Porters and Stouts

These beers can be looked at as cousins, as they are both dark, heavy brews with a full, roasted flavor. There are many varieties to choose from, and everyone has a favorite. The beers naturally tend to have coffee and chocolate notes, so winter is a popular time for brewers to add these ingredients to the brew for a heavier flavor that is perfect for the season.

3. Imperial

Imperials will keep you warm in the winter months with their high alcohol content, but be sure not to have too many, unless you plan to hibernate the next day. Russian Imperial Stouts are popular choices, and they offer a malty, dark fruit flavor profile that goes great with chocolate.

4. Bocks and Doppelbocks

Bocks are a type of beer that has been documented back to the medieval days. However, many believe they were made long before that. Doppelbocks are enhanced by a fuller body, malty flavors, and a higher alcohol content than a standard bock known for the smooth taste that it derives from being bottom-fermented for an extended period of cold storage.

5. Winter Warmers

These ales are sweet and malty, with a nice balance of hops. Some brewers make them with a bit of spice that is perfect on cold winter nights. Do you know the carol “Here We Go a’ Wassailing,” but never knew what that last word meant? Wassail beers are usually a type of winter warmer. So, now you know what to drink before you head out caroling with the church choir!

Even if you are a creature of habit, it’s a great idea to go out on a limb and try a different variety of beer occasionally. You may find a new favorite that you would never have expected. Payless Liquors has a vast selection of beers for the winter season, and all year long. Stop in and see us today, and we’ll help you pick the perfect brew.

Thanksgiving Cocktails

4 Thanksgiving Cocktails That Are Sure to Please Your Palate

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Thanksgiving is almost here, and it’s time to start preparing for the festivities with Thanksgiving Cocktails. If you are hosting family and friends for the occasion, you know that you must have all the usual suspects—turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and succotash, but don’t forget the drinks. With the stress of preparing a huge meal and entertaining, you’re sure to need a few. However, keep in mind that you need to have a great selection for your guests, too. On your trip to the liquor store, you should pick up a nice selection of beer and wine, but you can avoid the expense of stocking up on every variety of spirits by including a holiday cocktail on your menu. Consider these popular ideas.

1. Apple Pie Sangria

You will want to prepare this one the night before so that the flavors can fuse properly. Start with two cinnamon sticks, a few diced red and green apples, pears, and an orange cut into wedges. Pour a bottle of your favorite white wine over the fruit, then add a cup of caramel vodka, three cups of apple cider, and a quarter cup of simple syrup (made by boiling one part water with one part sugar), allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon to taste. Serve with a cinnamon stick garnish.

2. Cranberry Margarita

This is an easy concoction that is sure to get rave reviews. Mix a cup and a half of cranberry juice, ¾ cup tequila, ¾ cup lime juice, and a half cup of Cointreau. Serve over ice in glasses that are rimmed with salt or sugar. Garnish with some cranberry and lime, and wait for the compliments. Keep an eye on your guests, though. These go down easy!

3. Apple Cider Mimosa

If your Thanksgiving “dinner” is more of a brunch event, as it is in many families, this twist on the classic is sure to be a hit. You’ll need champagne flutes for the true effect, but the only ingredients you need are apple cider and champagne. Pour the cider (as much or as little as your guest would like) in the flute, and top off with chilled champagne!

4. Low-Stress Mulled Wine

Many mulled wine recipes get a little complicated and time consuming, but this one is quick and easy and doesn’t require an extensive shopping list. To make this delicious holiday favorite, pour a bottle of Syrah or Beaujolais into a large saucepan, add four shots of brandy or bourbon, four star anise pods, orange peels, and two teaspoons of sugar. Cook over low heat until warm, but not boiling, then let stand for 5 minutes. Serve the warm cup of goodness in a mug with a cinnamon stick garnish.

Don’t wait till the last minute to do your Thanksgiving beverage shopping. Remember that you need to get the beer nice and cold, and you will want all the ingredients on hand for your signature cocktail of the day. Payless Liquors has everything you need to create a memorable occasion for your loved ones. Stop in today and cross this task off your list.

Eiswein: The Secrets Behind the World’s Most Collectible Wine

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Eiswein

Eiswein, often known as Ice Wine outside Germany and Austria, is not simply a sweet treat to enjoy with your dessert. It is a highly collectible German wine made from frozen grapes (typically Riesling). Popular vintages are highly sought after and can command a hefty price tag. So, other than being sweet, what makes these wines unique? Ever wondered why Eiswein is different from other wines? Didn’t know whether you should try it? Well, consider these facts about this palate-pleasing libation.

Why Is it Hard to Make Eiswein?

It takes a very specific type of climate to produce Eiswein. The summer days must be warm enough to support a bountiful harvest of grapes. But, an early winter frost is necessary to freeze them before they linger too long on the vine. Eiswein is typically produced in the Rheingau, Pfalz, Rheinhessen, and Mosel regions of Germany. It is a tricky process. The grapes must stay on the vine much longer than they do for a typical harvest season. Growers need to protect them from disease, rot, insects, and birds while they await the winter freeze.

As soon as temps hit 19 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the winery must gather its staff and pluck all the grapes from the vine early in the morning before sunrise. The hilly terrain in which they grow is covered with shale, which only adds to the difficulty of the harvest, and in the old days, many winemakers didn’t have presses that were strong enough to crush the frozen grapes. This is still difficult to do, which produces a low yield, and bottles are coveted the world over.

Why All the Fuss?

With such a complicated growing and harvest process, many people wonder why winemakers don’t simply freeze the grapes to make the wine. The reason is that nature needs to take its course. The grapes need to remain on the vine long enough for extra sugars to develop within them. Then on that first frosty night, when the cold air moves in, the water content in each grape freezes, but its sugars do not. As the frozen grapes are gathered and immediately pressed, the sugar and other solids are used to make the wine, as the frozen water is pressed out. The point is to get as much flavor as possible into the wine. The flavor is in the solids and sugars, not in the water.

The team working for the winery also must work fast. The grape’s cell walls are broken down when they freeze. So, they begin to rot as soon as they start to thaw. If this happens too quickly, all the work is for naught, and the wine is worthless.

Wine may or may not be your thing, but Eiswein falls into a category all its own. If you are looking to try something new or add an element you have been missing from your liquor cabinet or wine cellar, visit Payless Liquors today and browse our selection.

10 Interesting Alcohol Facts That Are Sure to Surprise You

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You may not think about it every time you crack open a beer, shake up a cocktail, or pour a glass of wine, but alcohol has played an enormous role in our cultural experience for 10,000 years. Humans have cultivated the production of beer, wine, and spirits as staples for celebrations and rites of passage, essential cooking ingredients, medicinal tonics, and enjoyable beverages when we need to unwind. So, is it any surprise that there are hundreds of quirky alcohol facts that many people don’t know? Read up on some of this surprising information and share it with friends the next time you get together for drinks.

Alcohol Facts

10 Interesting Alcohol Facts

  1. The ancient Romans are responsible for the term “toast”.  Now it is a term to describe raising a glass to good health and fortune. However, in the days of Old Rome, they dropped a piece of toast into the wine.
  2. Francis Scott Key’s poem that became our beloved national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” wasn’t sung until it was set to the tune of a popular drinking song.
  3. How many bubbles are there in a bottle of champagne? Funny you should ask—the general estimate is that there are 49,000,000 bubbles. This would be a fun alternative to “guess how many jellybeans are in the jar” at your next family reunion.
  4. You will find a cloud of alcohol in the depths of space with a density to produce 4 trillion beverages. Imagine standing beneath that cloudburst!
  5. The pressure in an average car tire is 30 PSI; it is 90 PSI in champagne bottles. Therefore, the cork shoots out of the bottle at about 55 miles per hour. Its signature celebratory “pop” is a staple of New Year’s Eve parties, but sadly champagne corks kill about 24 people every year.
  6. Tired of having to settle for just a handle of vodka? Until 1885, the only size you could buy was a 12.3-liter bucket. Why did we ever downsize?
  7. Now that we’ve established the number of bubbles in a bottle of champagne, how many grapes do you think it takes to make a bottle of wine? According to winemakers, it takes between three and 10 bunches, or 600 to 800 grapes, depending on the size and varietal.
  8. Have you ever heard the shortest sentence that contains all the letters of the alphabet? Most people think it’s “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.,” but we bet that you haven’t considered “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs!”
  9. Are you a gin drinker who is interested in using some slang from the 1800s? Well, the next time you order, try monikers like “Mother’s Ruin,” “King Theodore of Corsica,” “Parliamentary Brandy,” “Royal Poverty,” or “Ladies’ Delight.”
  10. When visiting Scotland, be sure to try Snake Venom Beer. However, you may not want to have more than one. At 67.5% alcohol, that snake is sure to bite you back!

If these facts don’t help you win your next round of trivia, at least they were fun to read. And maybe they made you thirsty. When you need to stock up on wine, beer, or liquor, Payless Liquors has everything you need. Come by and check out our great selection today.

3 Halloween-Themed Cocktails to Turn Your Night From Tricky to a Treat

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Halloween-Themed CocktailHalloween-themed cocktails are what everyone needs this spooky October. Halloween is a favorite time of year for many Americans. However, current lockdown policies in place throughout the country may make it feel like you may not be able to enjoy Halloween the way you would prefer this year. It’s important to stay upbeat and to connect with your family and friends during difficult times, so do your best to have a safe and enjoyable gathering if you have festivities planned for the Halloween season this year.

One of the best additions to any Halloween party is a good party cocktail. This year, try one or two of the following Halloween-themed cocktails that are sure to refresh and delight the guests at your Halloween parties.

The Apple Butter Old Fashioned

Halloween-Themed Cocktail
Photo Credit: Tieghan Gerard from Half Baked Harvest

The Old Fashioned is one of the most time-tested cocktails that has seen countless iterations and interpretations over the years. If you’re looking for a touch of class and timelessness with your Halloween party this year, the Apple Butter Old Fashioned is an excellent option for your party’s drink of choice.

Rim a glass with coarsely ground sugar if you like, and then start the Apple Butter Old Fashioned with one-quarter cup of apple cider, the juice of half a lemon, a dash of orange bitters, a tablespoon of apple butter, and two ounces of your favorite bourbon mixed in a shaker cup. Strain into a glass over ice, top with a float of ginger beer, and garnish with cinnamon and apple slices.

Jekyll & Gin

Halloween-Themed Cocktail
Photo Credit: Candace Braun Davison from Delish

If you have ever enjoyed a Gin Daisy, you’ll love this color-changing take on it. The Jekyll & Gin appears pink under normal light, but under a black light, it glows an eerie white. If you’re planning a glowstick party, you will want to add this Halloween-themed cocktail to your menu.

Start this delightful mix with three ounces of your favorite gin, one-half ounce of lemon juice, and just a teaspoon of Grenadine mixed in a shaker with ice and then strain into a glass with ice. Top with tonic water and garnish with a glowstick—perfect in any black-lit party venue.

Jack-o-Lantern

If you’re all about presentation but not too keen on pumpkin-flavored cocktails, this Jack-o-Lantern could be the perfect option for this year’s costume party. You’ll need some old-fashioned glasses, orange slices, and a few pieces of lime peel to complete the look of this perfect Halloween cocktail, but the extra work garnishing will be worth it.

Make your Jack-o-Lantern by combining an ounce of orange juice, half an ounce of orange liqueur, and one and a half ounces of cognac in a shaker cup over ice. Strain over fresh ice into an old-fashioned glass and then top with ginger ale. Poke a piece of lime peel into the center of an orange slice and float it on top to create miniature pumpkin-shaped cocktails.

 

Make the most of Halloween this year by creating a memorable experience. As the country reels in the face of lockdown restrictions, a safe place to enjoy the Halloween season with friends is a welcome comfort for just about anyone. If you need to supply your costume party this year, Payless Liquors can help you find the finest alcohols and mixers you’ll need for cocktails that are sure to please. Contact us today to see what we have available.

Bradshaw Bourbon Might Be Your New Favorite

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Terry Bradshaw has released his own Bradshaw Bourbon. Terry Bradshaw is one of the most well-known figures in professional football and American entertainment history. Known for having some of the most powerful arms in NFL history, Bradshaw led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl Championships in 1974, 1975, 1978, and 1979. He also set many NFL records and was the first quarterback to win three and then four Super Bowl Championships. The NFL inducted Terry Bradshaw into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1989, and he began a new career as an entertainer in the early 1990s.

Whether you remember him from his glory days of the Steelers or enjoyed his sports analysis as a host of Fox NFL Sunday, Terry Bradshaw is the only NFL player to have a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star. He continues to be one of the most noteworthy members of the modern football world. Now he’s started a new venture to bring Bradshaw Kentucky Straight Bourbon to Americans.

Introducing Bradshaw Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Bradshaw Bourbon

Terry Bradshaw loves good bourbon. He has invested in his line of professionally crafted Kentucky Straight Bourbon, distilled in the heart of Kentucky’s Bourbon Country and supervised by a third-generation bourbon distilling master. Bottled at 51.9% to honor Terry’s pass completion record, this bourbon is much more than just a licensed novelty bottle.

Bradshaw Kentucky Straight Bourbon has a robust, complex, and satisfying flavor profile from start to finish. Off the sip, you’ll detect notes of coffee, leather, banana, vanilla, and the unmistakable aroma of a campfire. The tasting notes include cinnamon, vanilla, coconut, and baking spices followed by a rich finish complete with wood, butterscotch, and vanilla tones.

Bradshaw’s Cocktails

If you’re interested in picking up a bottle of Bradshaw Kentucky Straight Bourbon of your own, there are many ways to drink it. The Terry Bradshaw is the most straightforward way to enjoy it; pour it over ice in a rocks glass and enjoy.

For a more involved cocktail with Bradshaw Kentucky Straight Bourbon, try the Playmaker Whiskey Sour. Start by adding two ounces of Bradshaw Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Then add three-quarters of an ounce each of lemon juice and simple syrup to a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and then strain into a rocks glass over ice, garnishing with a cherry or lemon wedge. The complex and robust flavor profile of it offers an incredible spin on the classic Whiskey Sour.

Bradshaw Kentucky Straight Bourbon is one of the best new additions to the American bourbon market. Enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or mixed into your favorite cocktail. It offers authenticity and the care and attention of a true American icon and bourbon lover.

Where to Find Bradshaw Kentucky Straight Bourbon

If you’re ready to pick up a bottle of your own, Bradshaw Kentucky Straight Bourbon is headed to store shelves this year at an introductory price of $39.99 for a 750 mL bottle. Payless Liquors can help you find a bottle of your own easily and conveniently when you contact us online.

What Is the Toast the Trees Program?

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Toast the Trees

Environmental responsibility is a more pressing concern for modern businesses than ever. There is an increasingly expanding consumer market that prizes sustainability, environmental awareness, and eco-friendliness from the brands with which they do business. Companies in all markets are paying attention to this focus on environmentalism. And, that includes distilleries and breweries across the nation.

One of the best examples of brands taking sustainability seriously is Angel’s Envy, a distillery specializing in bourbon whiskey. The Angel’s Envy team has developed a program that aims to give back to the environment and help preserve it for years to come. While many companies have adopted similar environmentalist policies and programs, Angel’s Envy has a distinct impact on both the environment and the whiskey industry of the United States.

The Link Between Whiskey and Oak

An often overlooked yet crucial component of the creation of bourbon is white oak. Distillers will store their whiskey in white oak barrels, to optimize flavors and richness. This method creates the best whiskey. The natural flavors in this wood give bourbon its distinct taste. Different types of whiskey require different types of oak. The two most prevalent oak woods used in the whiskey world are American white oak and European oak.

Bourbon is the American take on whiskey, and bourbon requires American white oak barrels for optimal aging. Scotch whiskey and Irish whiskey tend to use European oak barrels. Many whiskey distilleries have developed filling and refilling policies to conserve their barrels and to optimize the flavor of their whiskeys. When an oak barrel is filled the first time, the whiskey inside absorbs the most flavor from the wood during aging. After so many years, the whiskey will absorb less flavor, and the distiller will need a new barrel. It’s easy to see how the whiskey industry has a significant impact on the supply of oak barrel lumber.

What Is the Toast the Trees Program?

The Angel’s Envy Toast the Trees program aims to replace white oak trees cut down for whiskey barrel manufacturing. They, instead, plant more trees than are cut down. For more than six years, Angel’s Envy has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation and Green Forests Work. Together, they raise money for the mass planting of new white oak trees across the country. Angel’s Envy has a vast network of retail and service partners. They are  ready to provide customers with fantastic experiences in exchange for their support of this sustainability program.

If you’re looking for a whiskey experience that you can feel good about, Angel’s Envy Toast the Trees program is something you should investigate. The distillery is sponsoring cocktail hours and other specials at locations across the country. They are also sponsoring a social media campaign to drive environmental awareness and encourage participation in the program.

The team at Payless Liquors wants to help you connect with the Toast the Trees program this year. We provide a wide selection of fine bourbon whiskeys, including those produced by Angel’s Envy. If you are interested in trying one of these world-class bourbons for yourself and contributing to the Toast the Trees social media campaign, contact Payless Liquors today to find out which Angel’s Envy products we have in stock.

3 Pumpkin Beers To Try This Year

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Pumpkin Beers

Fall is just around the corner, and everyone is bracing for another wave of pumpkin-flavored … everything. While pumpkin flavors help create enjoyable fall-themed variations of many popular foods and beverages, pumpkin-infused beers gained a bad reputation. Every autumn, breweries across the nation attempt to cash in on the pumpkin craze that takes hold. The reason behind pumpkin beer’s bad reputation may be due to too many breweries jumping on the pumpkin-flavored bandwagon. Additionally, they are not devoting the proper time and care to develop robust, flavorful, and enjoyable pumpkin beers.

That trend has shifted now, and many different pumpkin beers are both enjoyable and perfect for fall weather. Respected online beer review hubs like Beer Advocate have even developed their rating categories for pumpkin beers thanks to the innovation of the breweries behind these brews. As you prepare for fall, the following top-shelf pumpkin beers could change your mind.

Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Beers
Cigar City Brewing

This product of Ft. Collins, CO, has earned a world-class rating of 95 on Beer Advocate. It is the perfect addition to your October costume parties. Beer lovers have rated Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale as a well-spiced and full-bodied pumpkin beer with notes of Jamaican allspice, Ceylon cinnamon, nutmeg, and Zanzibar cloves. It’s a well-balanced beer that clocks in at 8.5% ABV. If you like a full complement of robust fall spices to accompany the flavor, this is the pumpkin beer for you.

Elysian Brewing Company Punkaccino

Pumpkin-spiced lattes have inspired a wave of food and beverage products aiming to capture the unmistakable blend of pumpkin and coffee. In the race for the best pumpkin coffee-infused beer, Punkaccino is a strong contender. It’s earned an outstanding rating of 92 on Beer Advocate, with drinkers reporting a pumpkin pie and spice aroma and subtle coffee undertones in a creamy, smooth body. Punkaccino has an ABV of about 6%, and it’s perfect for pumpkin and coffee lovers alike this fall.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Pumpkinator

Pumpkin Beers
Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Pumpkinator from the Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Texas is a must-try. If you are interested in trying yet another world-class pumpkin beer, this one’s for you. With a rating of 95 on Beer Advocate, Pumpkinator is 10% ABV, making it one of the strongest pumpkin beers on the market with a complex and enjoyable flavor profile. Some reviewers think it is pumpkin pie in liquid form. Others report aromas and flavors reminiscent of roasted pumpkin and autumn spices. One thing they can all agree on is that Pumpkinator is one of, if not the best pumpkin beers made in the US.

These three are just a couple of the most highly rated pumpkin beers on the market. With the explosive popularity of microbrews today, you’re sure to see a slew of new pumpkin beers. As the fall season rolls in, Payless Liquors can help you get the pumpkin beers you want. Contact Payless Liquors today to learn more about our beer services and the pumpkin beers we have available.

Keep the Football Spirit Alive With These Fresh Takes on Tailgating Cocktails

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Tailgating Cocktails

As we inch closer to another football season, it’s time to learn how to make tailgating cocktails. Sadly, we must deal with the bleak prospect that some local football may not happen as planned this year. Still, it’s important to keep the football spirit alive no matter what league you’re watching.

Traditionally, of course, the tailgating drink of choice is none other than inexpensive beer. However, this being the season of change, we’ve decided to roll with the punches and provide you with a list of alternative cocktails that truly honor area teams. Try these cocktails for your next tailgate experience:

Boilermaker

Built to honor none other than the Purdue Boilermakers up in West Lafayette, this relatively simple drink is perfect for a tailgate party. All you’ll need are two ingredients any self-respecting tailgater should have readily on hand:

  • 1 lager beer, poured into a mug
  • 1 ½ oz bourbon (preferably Wild Turkey) poured into a shot glass

Then, simply drop your shot of bourbon into your beer and race to the finish!

Hoosier Heritage

While this drink was designed to incorporate Indiana heritage and regional ingredients, IU fans can appreciate the name as well as the unique autumn flavor. You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ oz Knob Creek bourbon
  • ½ oz maple syrup
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz apple cider
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Pour syrup into a cocktail shaker and muddle with rosemary. Add ice and remaining ingredients, shake well, and strain over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of apple.

Return to Glory

Developed to depict the heritage of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their return to a storied football program, the Return to Glory is as tasty as it is descriptive. Gather these ingredients:

  • 2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 2 oz ginger ale
  • ½ oz Peach Schnapps
  • Splash of orange juice

Pour ingredients over ice in a tall glass. If desired, garnish with an orange slice and toast to the Fighting Irish’s return to glory.

Blue Stampede

Aside from smaller, more regional programs, the NFL may be the area’s one remaining hope of a full-scale football schedule this year. As a result, we’ve included this recipe crafted specifically for Indianapolis Colts fans – signature blue color and appropriately named tequila (Herradura means “horseshoe in Spanish) aside. We adore this play on a margarita. You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ oz Herradura Blanco (or other white tequila)
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz agave nectar
  • ½ oz blue curaçao

Pour all ingredients over ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a martini or cocktail glass.

Tailgate Tea

If your team isn’t well-represented in Indy (or if football is delayed once again), there’s no reason to fret. This Tailgate Tea is a crowd-pleaser we’d be happy to sip anytime, football or no. Gather these ingredients:

  • 1½ parts Svedka Strawberry Lemonade
  • 1 part tea
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • ½ part fresh lemon juice
  • Splash of Corona Extra

Pour the first four ingredients into a tall glass filled with ice. Top off with a splash of Corona Extra, stir, and enjoy.

No matter what happens with this year’s football season, Payless Liquors is here for you. Stop in to see how our wide selection of beers, wines, and spirits can help you stock any social distancing tailgate party. Alternatively, call ahead or place an online order for pickup any night of the week.

What Makes a Bourbon a Bourbon?

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What Makes a Bourbon a Bourbon

Bourbon. It’s potentially the one alcohol America can truly claim as its very own. At the very least, it is considered by many to be the quintessential American whiskey. It’s true that this sippable, caramelly, oaky, spirit is unique from other whiskeys. However, many Americans don’t know what makes a bourbon a true bourbon.

We’re here to clear that up, once and for all.

Bourbon Is Not Synonymous With Whiskey

You may have heard the saying before – all bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbons. So, what does the phrase actually mean? Whiskey is a spirit that is distilled in many regions of the world. The most notable are from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. They are from the fermented mash of different types of grains.

Styles of whiskey vary throughout the world, especially in which types of grains are used in the process. For example, Scotch whisky is mostly crafted from fermented barley, while Canadian whiskey is often made from a blend of grains. As a whiskey, American bourbon is also made from fermented grains, but the recipe – and process – is unique to its production and required by law.

The legal requirements bourbon producers must adhere to in order to label their product as so include:

  • American production. To be labeled a bourbon, a whiskey must be produced within the US. However, other whiskeys can be produced anywhere.
  • 51% corn mash. While most other whiskeys can use any combination of fermented grains, bourbons must consist of at least 51% corn mash.
  • New, charred-oak barrels. All whiskeys are aged in oak barrels, but a bourbon is aged in a never-before-used, charred barrel to help lend the signature flavor.
  • Distillation limits. It must be placed in barrels at no more than 125 proof and distilled to no more than 160 proof.
  • No additives. While you might find a whiskey with added caramel and vanilla notes, true bourbons cannot have any flavor or coloring additives.

Other Fine Print

Aside from the name on the label of your favorite bourbon, you might notice a few other terms, including:

  • Straight is aged for at least two years. It’s likely longer than four if you don’t see an age specified on the bottle.
  • Aged left to sit for longer periods in charred barrels take on a bit darker color and more of the flavor imparted by the oak and char – namely vanilla and caramel notes.
  • Single barrel is a batch that is sourced from only one of a brand’s many barrels – as opposed to most bourbons, which are blends of multiple barrels to produce a uniform flavor across the entire line.
  • Small batch might be straight bourbon or may simply be a smaller batch than usual, blended from multiple barrels.

For more information about bourbon or any other spirit, ask the knowledgeable staff about the wide selection of bourbons at your nearest Payless Liquor location. Take a moment to pick out key phrases from the label to know what toexpect. Together, you can take a moment to find your newest find.