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Stocked holiday liquor cabinet

Holiday Liquor Cabinet: How to Properly Stock

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’Tis the season yet again, and as we prepare to gather and make merry, let’s be sure not to skimp on the holiday liquor. Knowing what to have on standby is crucial to creating the perfect drink.

 

A well-stocked home-for-the-holidays offers drink selections that are both diverse and accessible, with a mix of classic crowd-pleasers and exceptional choices to prominently feature holiday and deep-autumn flavors.

 

The Holiday Liquor Cabinet

 

A liquor cabinet that can hold up through Thanksgiving and well into the New Year is important. Nobody wants to break their holiday groove to make an emergency run to the liquor store in their Christmas pajamas. So, make sure you have the following liquors available for guests at a minimum.

 

  • Rum—Try a spiced rum for warm wintertime vibes. You can’t go wrong with Captain Morgan or Sailor Jerry’s. Mixes well with nog and in hot mixed drinks.

 

  • Whiskey—Make sure you have something on hand for the whiskey connoisseurs at your holiday gathering. Irish whiskeys and bourbons can both hearken back to the memories of a traditional country Christmas. Try exploring offerings from Jameson or Knob Creek.

 

  • Vodka—a simple, clean vodka is a must-have for guests who want mixed drinks. It’s the most versatile and adaptable of the liquors. Try Svedka or Smirnoff, both of which also offer flavor-infused vodkas that might spark your holiday creativity.

 

  • Peppermint Schnapps—for those candy-cane-themed mixers or shooters, of course. Try spiking your hot cocoa.

 

  • Brandy—Brandy is another drink that can go well with egg nog, but it’s also a favorite for just sipping around the fire. Rémy Martin XO is a staple, but in some households, it’s a Christmas tradition to acquire a bottle of Spanish Brandy, or Brandy de Jerez, which owes its unique qualities to being derived from Spanish sherry.

 

Hearty Winter Beers

 

It’s not all about liquor. The beer-drinkers at your holiday festivities also deserve consideration. Stock up on a crowd favorite like Budweiser, with their annual holiday-themed cans, but think outside the gift box as well.

 

There is no shortage of craft brewers putting out seasonal brews each year. Try to have choices in at least three categories. Grab a lager, an ale, and round out the offerings with a porter or stout because you’ll want to have something hearty and dark on hand this time of year.

 

  • Bell’s Brewery—Christmas Ale
  • Tröegs Brewing—Mad Elf
  • Revolution Brewing—Fistmas
  • Sierra Nevada—Celebration Ale
  • Samuel Adams—Winter Lager
  • Leinenkugel’s—Snowdrift Vanilla Porter

 

Mull-Worthy Wines

 

Mulling wine is a fun and easy way to add some warmth and holiday spice to your celebration. You simply simmer a dark wine at low heat and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, oranges, and whatever other herbs or spices you like, infusing it with that magical Christmastime flavor. Don’t boil it. Set your heat too high, and you’re likely to burn away alcohol content.

 

  • Merlot
  • Zinfandel (not white)
  • Garnacha/Grenache

 

Mixers and N/A

 

Don’t forget your nog, sparkling juice, ginger ale, and cola. Head to your nearest Payless Liquors and stock up on holiday cheer.

Red wine

3 Red Wines for October

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Summer grapes are on their way out. As fall sets in, it’s time to turn to different red wines that complement the vibrant harvest foods and unmistakable autumn atmosphere.

Syrah 

Syrah is a popular red wine that has been successfully produced in many regions throughout the world. It is full-bodied, fruity, and just a little spicy (in a way that pairs well with fall flavors).

While browsing Syrah wines, you may also encounter Shiraz wines shelved nearby. Syrah and Shiraz actually refer to the same grape. Wines produced in cooler climates tend to be called Syrah, and winemakers in Australia and other warmer areas more often market their wine as Shiraz. Syrah is usually considered a leaner, more elegant, almost savory wine, while a Shiraz will tend to be fruitier and less subtle.

Some producers age their Syrah in oak barrels, which can imbibe it with tones of vanilla and additional spice. Other notes common to many Syrah wines are smoke and pepper.

Syrahs to watch for:

  • Lismore Estate Reserve Syrah – South Africa
  • Les Jamelles Syrah – France
  • Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Syrah – Italy
  • Weingut Ziereisen Gestad Syrah – Germany
  • Tensley Colson Canyon Vineyard Syrah – USA

Barbera 

Barbera is a darker red wine originating in Northern Italy. Barbera is the third most produced grape in that country, and has been around for a long time—it’s at least one thousand years older than the popular Cabernet Sauvignon.

While Barbera’s dark color may make it appear overly bold or intimidating, most wine drinkers actually find a good Barbera to be a very light and accessible wine. It is known for its fruity flavors and aromas, and is often described as having hints of cherry, strawberry, and blackberry.

This complex fruit flavor makes it a great wine to pair with the transition from summer (strawberries) to autumn (blackberries). A good Barbera will be dark, complex, and warming, while still being bright and fruity enough to leave you feeling refreshed instead of overstuffed when paired with a fall feast.

Some excellent Barbera options:

  • Fratelli Alessandria Priora Barbera d’Alba – Italy
  • B. Burlotto Aves Barbera d’Alba – Italy
  • Giacomo Conterno Cerretta Barbera d’Alba – Italy
  • La Spinetta Vigneto Gallina Barbera d’Alba – Italy
  • Domini Villae Lanata Lo Zoccolaio Sucule Barbera d’Alba – Italy

Pinot Noir 

No secret or surprise here. A good Pinot Noir is a go-to fall wine for many households, and its enduring popularity comes with good reason.

Pinot Noir is considered on the lighter side of red wines, and this makes it very food-pairing friendly. It is an extremely versatile table wine that complements the wide varieties of seasonal produce, mixed flavor profiles, and spice-forward dishes that come to your table in the fall months.

The most sought after Pinot Noirs come from the Burgundy area of France, but Oregon, California, and several countries in South America have also been producing very high end Pinot in recent years.

Pinot Noirs to try:

  • Gary Farrell Russian River Pinot Noir – USA
  • Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir – New Zealand
  • Zorzal Eggo Filoso Pinot – Argentina
  • Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir – Chile
  • Ata Rangi Pinot Noir – New Zealand

White Wine Honorable Mention: Semillon

If you’re looking for a white wine instead of a red, consider Semillon for your fall table. Semillon is known for its thick finish, zesty profiles, and being rather bold as whites go. It stands up well to intense fall flavors.

Some solid Semillons:

  • Matias Riccitelli ‘Old Vines from Patagonia’ Semillon – Argentina
  • Château Coutet, Sauternes – France
  • Tyrrell’s Wines Vat 1 Semillon – Australia

When you’re stocking up this fall, remember that Payless Liquor is your one stop shop for all your seasonal red wines. Stop by or place an order today!

wine party

How to Host a Wine Party

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Do you have friends who are wine enthusiasts? Or maybe, like me, they’re your favorite people to go shopping with because they know the most about what they want. Either way, hosting a party where guests can try different wines is sure to be a hit! But how do you make it super easy on yourself? We’ve got some tips for making entertaining easier.

  1. Know Your Wines

The main idea is to try new wines, learn something and have fun. To start learning about natural wine, one should read some books on it for a better understanding of the concept.

  1. Have a Variety

When party prepping, make sure you have enough wine for your guests to sample five varietals of red and white wines. A standard tasting pour is half a regular serving size so that’s why we recommend 5 different types/varieties.

  1. Incorporate the Seasons

Have fun with seasonal decorations! To set the stage for your summer wine tasting party, get simple greenery. For a wintertime get-together, brownie points if you incorporate extras like berries or pine cones!

  1. Organization is Key

When hosting a party or other get-togethers involving drinks, it is important to have the right supplies in order to make sure everyone enjoys themselves fully! Trays are perfect because they offer another way of displaying drinks while also being able to hold them all together when you need that function too.

  1. Give out Party Favors

Host a bottle swap at the end of your night. This is where you exchange bottles with friends to try new wines and make sure everyone has wine for their next get-together. To go above and beyond, wrap each bottle in an entertaining tea towel that will be useful as party favors!

The next time you’re planning a party and want your guests to be able to try different wines, make it easy on yourself. Pick up your favorite wine from Payless Liquors before they sell out so you can have all the best drinks on hand. No matter what kind of wine enthusiast your guest is or how many people are coming over, we’ll have something for everyone.

autumn wine pairings

Wine to Pair with Autumn Foods

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Picking wine to pair with the fall food season can be overwhelming. You want something that will complement your meal and you need a wine that is easily accessible. This blog post will break down some of the best wines for your dishes this season. 

When pairing wines with fall foods, you want to focus on the color of food and temperature. For lighter-colored wines, match it with lighter-colored dishes that are cooked at a lower heat while darker colors go along better when paired up against heavier wine or grilling something.

Rose Pairings

All year long, rosé wine is a great choice for dinner parties and can pair well with all sorts of meals. One such variation that transitions from the summer to fall season seamlessly is grenache rosè. It’s one of the fruitiest varietals but also contains just enough tannins and acidity to match up against autumn cuisine. 

With fall dishes in mind, cabernet sauvignon rosé has a unique acidity that pairs wonderfully with spicy food. As these wines are big and bold, they pair well when you have time to enjoy them over the course of your evening – whether it be before or after dinner!

White Wine Pairings

Although chardonnay is a staple in the wine industry and has immense popularity, we believe viognier deserves just as much recognition. This unique white grape variety possesses honeysuckle qualities that make it stand out from other wines such as chardonnay or riesling. The key to choosing which varietal-style of this grape you like best depends on your desired taste profile: do you want something lighter? Then go for dryer styles; if richness and sweetness are more appealing then sweeter varieties fit the bill!

While the summer heat still lingers, enjoy an ice cold glass of Bordeaux Blanch. This white wine is made with two incredible grapes that are mixed together to create a denser yet acidic beverage which makes it perfect for fall foods.

Red Wine Pairings

Pinot noir is one of the best wines to pair with fall foods. It’s bright acidity, complexity and rich fruity character pairs nicely with just about any food pairing- it’s a highly versatile wine!

Deep zinfandel is a perfect fall wine for those who love sweet potatoes. These smooth wines can have hints of smoke and dark fruits, while others lean towards earthy with less fruit-forward flavor. Depending on which bottle you grab, you can pair it like one would pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon type flavors that complement its own unique taste profile.

The deep tannin-filled red you’ve been waiting for, this is the Bordeaux rouge. For meals filled with hefty meats and heavier palates (think potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms), go for a strong red wine to pair perfectly with rich meat dishes.

You want to be able to pick up a wine in the store and know you’ll love it. If this sounds like what you need, we can help! We have curated our list of best wines for fall that will not only complement your meal but also be easy accessible at Payless Liquors! Pick up one today!

mulled wine

Warm and Toasty: Mulled Wine for Christmastime

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Nothing screams holiday cheer like a good cup of mulled wine. This soothing blend of warm wine, fruit, and spices has been around for centuries, and for a good reason. Its spices, heat, and alcohol content warm the drinker from the inside out, making it an ideal wintertime holiday drink.

Mulled Wine: A Festive History

The phenomenon of mulled wine began with the Roman Empire as a way to keep warm during the winter. They also believed, as did many at the time, that the spices in mulled wine helped ward off illness and disease. Though mulled wine soon became popular throughout Europe, the only place that the drink truly stuck around during the Middle Ages was in Sweden. The Swedes adopted the Roman tradition and made it their own over the next several hundred years. In the late 19th century, after years of Swedish culture and holiday cheer, mulled wine began to be associated with Christmas. It’s not surprising, then, that the association and popularity grew from there.

Making Your Own: Choosing Your Wine

Mulled wine isn’t very hard to make, but it does require a variety of ingredients. The first of these ingredients, you may have guessed, is wine. One upside to this beverage is that it doesn’t require fancy or even good wine. An inexpensive bottle will do just fine once it’s combined with the rest of the components. Red wine is overwhelmingly the most common type of wine to use, but it is certainly possible to make it with white wine if you wish. Chardonnay is a good bet for a white.

Choosing Your Spices

A nice aspect of mulled wine is that you are free to experiment as you wish. Don’t like an ingredient? Skip it. Really like cloves? Add extra. It’s really up to you what your mulled wine tastes like. Here’s a pretty standard (but delicious) blend of spices to use:

● Cloves

● Cinnamon sticks

● Cardamom

● Allspice

● Nutmeg

Other Ingredients

Aside from spices and wine, you’ll need some fruit and some liquor. Orange or tangerines are a must-have to achieve that familiar taste, but if you’re feeling extra fruity, it’s delicious to add apples or lemons as well. The fruit you choose should be fresh and thoroughly washed before use. Brandy is commonly used for the liquor, though rum and vodka can be used if you prefer. Approximately ¼ cup of liquor per bottle of wine should suffice.

The Final Step

Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, making the wine is a breeze. Cut the fruit and put it with the wine and spices into a pot; simmer on low for about 30 minutes. Prefer to walk away and forget? Put the ingredients in a slow cooker on low achieves a similar effect. If you prefer not to strain the spices before you drink, wrap them in cheesecloth before putting them into the pot.

Warm yourself as the Romans did with some mulled wine this holiday season. Payless Liquors is here for all your mulled wine needs. Order in advance for guaranteed supply on this and all of your 2020 holiday drinks!

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!

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.

Sparkling Reds

Sparkling Reds – the Ultimate Late Summer Wine

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As the end of summer looms ever closer, you may be quickly tiring of the sparkling wines you found appealing earlier in the summer. If that prosecco or moscato d’asti just isn’t doing it for you as the weather cools, we have an alternative. With their light body but slightly more substantial taste, sparkling reds are a great choice for late summer.

The Old Sparkling Reds

Sparkling red wine in and of itself is far from a new idea. Sparkling reds were big a few decades ago – mostly in the late 70s and 80s. Varieties such as lambrusco and sparkling shiraz found their place in many American wine glasses; however, they eventually suffered a terrible reputation. Viewed by wine critics as fruity, sticky-sweet, and a dime a dozen, the once-beloved sparkling red slowly fell out of favor in America. It was replaced by a variety of other imports and locally produced reds. Meanwhile, multiple varieties of sparkling reds continued to undergo their natural evolution in the areas of the world that had been producing them for centuries. The unfortunate result? Nearly an entire wine-drinking generation lost their taste for sparkling reds – even the high-quality varieties produced in Europe – entirely.

The New Sparkling Reds

Today’s modern sparkling reds have an opportunity to win back the favors of the American wine drinker. Significantly less syrupy, effervescent instead of cloyingly carbonated, and available in a much broader range from dry to sweet. Sparkling reds are better than ever. If you’re looking for an ideal, late summer wine, start with one of these varieties:

Late Summer Wines

● Lambrusco. Lambrusco was once the epitome of the sweet, syrupy sparkling red in America. It has a long and storied history in Italy. Made entirely of any one of four varieties of lambrusco grapes produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The modern Lambrusco has managed to keep many of its original qualities, while also undergoing a transformation of sorts. The result is a wide range of Lambruscos, from the sweet fizzy reds perfect for an after-dinner drink to the dry, secco Lambruscos that pair well with most appetizers.

● Sparkling Shiraz. Shiraz is the signature grape of Australia and results in wines of all colors and flavor profiles. Sparkling reds crafted from the shiraz have always been a tradition in the country, but the style is undergoing a renaissance similar to Lambrusco. More and more sparkling shiraz’s are being aged in oak barrels or produced in ways that give them a bit more body than other sparkling wines – a perfect complement to their black fruit-forward flavor.

● Red Moscato. If you enjoyed the sweet sparkling reds of the 70s and 80s, there’s no need to fret- many quality wines continue to be produced that capture that essence with a nod to a finer flavor profile. One example is the Red Moscato produced by Risata, maker of America’s most popular Moscato D’Asti. Similarly light and sweet, but with a good deal more depth of flavor, Red Moscato is perfect to sip with food or as an aperitif.

If you’re on the hunt for a more satisfying late summer wine, these sparkling reds could be just the ticket. Stop by your local Payless Liquors to see what’s in stock, or reserve a bottle of one of these new favorites for pickup. Start your late summer tradition with Payless Liquors.

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.

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.

wine

New to Wine? Here Are 3 Tips for Finding a Wine You Love

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Wine is one of the oldest and most celebrated alcoholic beverages on the planet. It’s found throughout history in virtually every part of the world in some form or another. Today, there are so many wine varieties available that it can be overwhelming for someone who is new to wine to find one that’s perfect for his or her palate. If you’re interested in getting into wine, you should have some idea of how to start finding your favorite variety.

  1. Consider Your Favorite Foods and Flavors

Throughout history, people have consumed different types of wines with different types of foods to enhance and complement their flavors. While most people know that red wines complement red meats and rich foods and white wines pair better with poultry, seafood, and lighter fare, you can take this deeper and find a wine that complements your other tastes when it comes to food and drink.

For example, how do you take your coffee? If you prefer a creamy, silky latte over bitter black coffee, New World wines such as Merlot, Shiraz, and Malbec could be great entry points for you into the world of wine. If you prefer bold and bitter black coffee, Old World wines such as Bordeaux reds, Aglianico, and Sangiovese are probably more your speed.

  1. Refining Your Wine Tastes

As you develop your taste in wine, you should probably find one or two reds and one or two whites you prefer. When it comes to white wine, you can define your taste more easily by thinking about what you typically like to drink with your breakfast. If apple juice and sweetness is more your preference, sweet white wines like Moscato and Riesling could be perfect for you. If tart grapefruit juice is your style, then reach for a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Verdejo.

Next, think about the flavors you prefer for desserts. Is something sweet and creamy your preference over sharp and tart fruity flavors? Then you will probably want an oak-aged white wine like Pinot Blanc or Oaked Chardonnay. If you love the acidity of lemon sorbet, then reach for a bottle of white wine with higher acidity like Pinot Grigio, Albarino, or German Riesling.

When it comes to choosing your favorite reds, the two most prominent factors in red wines are acidity and body. If you prefer fruity flavors and tartness over creamy flavors, then a bold and acidic red wine will probably hit the spot for you. If you want something more earthy and bold, a red wine with a strong body will feel lusher in the mouth.

  1. Remember that Your Tastes Will Change Over Time

If you look at a wine tasting list at a local winery, you may see more than 100 different varieties of wine and feel completely lost. It’s unreasonable to expect to learn everything there is to know about every variety of wine, so instead of focusing on specific grape varieties or brands, start thinking more about the types of flavors you want to enjoy.

Once you try several varieties of wine, you will start to develop a pattern in your wine preferences and generally have an easier time selecting the one you want at the time. Your preferences will change over time, but there are so many different wines available that you’re sure to find something that hits the spot. Contact Payless Liquors if you’re looking for something in particular; we’ll be glad to help you find the perfect wine for you.

Fun Ways to Cook With Wine

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If you like to cook with wine or want to learn how to successfully use wine in your cooking, there are many ways to learn. Recipes for dishes with wine in them abound. If you are savvy in the kitchen, a little trial and error can also produce some spectacular results. One important thing to remember is that the quality of wine you use affects the quality of the dish you create.

Some choose to cook with leftover wine, which isn’t a terrible idea, as long as the wine hasn’t gone bad. Others opt for “cooking wine” that they find at the grocery store. This, on the other hand, IS a pretty terrible idea. There are so many wonderful, affordable wines on the market that you can use in your cooking, there is no need to use this inferior product.

If you are new to cooking with wine, try your hand at these recipes to get started.

Red Wine Spaghetti With Olives and Anchovies

  • 2c + 2 Tbsp Fruit Forward Red Wine
  • 9 oz Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • 2 oz Can of Anchovies
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Sliced Garlic Cloves
  • ⅔ Cup Pitted Olives
  • ½ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup Chopped Parsley
  • Sea Salt

Bring 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp of water to boil, along with ¾ cup of the wine. Add a teaspoon of salt and cook your spaghetti on this mixture for 7-8 minutes. Drain, but save 1/2cup of the liquid. Drain the oil from the anchovies into a pan and add the olive oil. Sauté garlic over low heat. Chop the anchovies and halve the olives. Add pepper flakes, tomato paste, liquid reserved from the spaghetti, and the rest of the wine to the garlic. Bring to a boil and add the olives and anchovies. Simmer for a few minutes, add the spaghetti, and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Toss with ¾ of the parsley, then serve with the remaining parsley as a garnish.

White Wine Garlic Chicken

  • 4 6oz Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 6oz Sliced Baby Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • ½ Cup Dry White Wine

Use a meat mallet to pound the chicken breasts to ½ inch thickness and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil on medium and cook chicken breasts 5-6 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from the pan and add mushrooms, cooking on medium high for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, stir for 30 seconds, then add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes and serve over the chicken breasts.

Get the Right Wine for Your Recipe

Cooking with wine isn’t strictly for those old traditional French dishes we think of, like Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon. It can be used in a variety of sauces, glazes, soups, and even ice cream. For a great selection to choose from for your next venture into cooking with wine, visit us at Payless Liquors and pick up a few bottles. Just remember to save a glass to drink while you’re cooking!