Crystal Ball

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Cheers to another Spring Menu cocktail recipe! This one from You & Yours Distilling Co. can only be described as what would happen if Ken tried to make Barbie an Old Fashioned. It’s light and airy and feminine but gets straight to the point.

I love that it combines two trends I’m loving at the moment – “up, on a rock” and “a little extra on the side.” I’m into cocktails served up AND on a rock for a couple of reasons: I think the aesthetic is cool and unexpected and I like that using a coupe coupled with a touch of dilution from the ice makes a direct-style cocktail just a touch more delicate and approachable. On top of the ice/garnish situation, serving the drink with a little extra cocktail on the side – so you can top yourself up at your leisure – is genius IMO because it allows the drink to be presented in one way, yet you’re not missing out on enjoying a full cocktail. These two cocktail trends combined provide a lovely, sensuous and subtly drawn out imbibing experience. Scroll down to snag the recipe.

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Crystal Ball  |  Makes 1 cocktail.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Add all ingredients (except salt spray) to a mixing glass. Stir for 15 seconds and strain over a large ice sphere in a coupe and spritz a few times with salt spray. Garnish with a grapefruit peel placed around the inner rim. If there is leftover cocktail remaining in the mixing glass, serve it in a small tasting glass or snifter on the side, and refill the coupe at your leisure!

*Grapefruit cordial: Bring one part fresh grapefruit juice (strained) and one part white sugar to a boil. Let simmer for 15 minutes and cool. Keep mix refrigerated.

**Lemon oleo: Peel 2-3 lemons and combine peel and 1/2 c sugar in a container. Let rest 4+ hours overnight, then drain off lemon oil and store oil in a sealed container.

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Review of the Week Vol. 3 {A Juicy, Salty Red Blend from Australia}

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Welcome back to Review of the Week: A fun little post series where I share something I loved recently so you can enjoy it too!

This week I’m introducing you to a stupid delicious wine we picked up at Vino Carta last week… After a bit of a rough day for both Luke and myself, we decided to lift our collective spirits with a glass of wine (or two) before heading home to cook dinner. We love stopping into Vino Carta in our neighborhood on a casual week night. Their selection of natural and biodynamic wines is robust and constantly changing, with a wide variety of price points. And their staff are so knowledgeable. All we have to do is walk in and say three words (“easy, mid-week red” or “sassy, warm-weather white”) and the spot-on suggestions come at us like machine gun fire.

This particular evening we were looking for something juicy and easy-drinking, but a varietal or blend we don’t drink all the time. We were between two bottles – a pinot noir from our fave, Santa Lucia Highlands (something we drink a lot) and this random Amy Atwood selection we’d never seen before but sounded really good. Without hesitation the gal on duty pointed us towards the Amy Atwood red blend and we immediately heeded her advice.

We’d intended on just having a small glass and heading home, but ended up enjoying the whole bottle over stories of all the fires we’d put out that day and alternating giving the other a pep talk, lol. It was so utterly drinkable and well balanced, I took the empty bottle home so we could remember what pure joy we’d just drank. I kept saying it tasted like a strawberry fruit snack spritzed with sea water. You know that unspeakably juicy & addictive quality that characterizes sweet things like fruit snacks, Gushers and Starbursts? THAT IS THIS WINE! We couldn’t stop.

Here’s a snap of the info on the back if you’re interested in picking up a bottle! Just ask the gals at Vino Carta and I’m sure they’ll point you in the right direction. This would be a great girls-night-in or casual dinner party pick! Happy drinking! :)

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Be sure to check out previous ROTWs: A Ginger Turmeric Cappuccino and Mexican-inspired Gin & Tonic.

A Weekend with Family in Palmetto Bluff, SC

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When my mom told my brother and I that she was surprising us and our significant others with a fun weekend trip for our birthdays late last fall (my brother and I were born 8 days apart – albeit with almost 8 years in between), and that she wasn’t going to tell us where we were going until the plane landed, I knew almost immediately where she was taking us. I kept it to myself, knowing she was bursting with glee to keep it a secret from us. However, I just knew she was taking us to South Carolina. She frequents the gorgeous southern state pretty often for tennis retreats and girls’ trips and I’ve repeatedly mentioned to her how badly I’d been wanting to visit a specific part of the state – Palmetto Bluff and the surrounding area.

Sure enough a few months later when our plane landed in Atlanta, GA and our driver announced we were just a short 45 minute drive away I knew I’d guessed correctly! When we pulled up to our home for the weekend – a gorgeous rental property on the Montage Resort grounds – I was giddy. Even though it was dark by the time we arrived and impossible to see the beautiful scenery, the cool, crisp air and sound of the cicadas buzzing around our back porch was almost a direct dose of bliss.

Our first day we woke up to the most beautiful morning and enjoyed coffee on our screened in porch while the guys played a round of golf. Us ladies were happy to relax and read before meeting them for a late breakfast. After we fueled up on mimosas and southern fare at Buffalo’s, we took a walk down the wharf for some more fresh air. I don’t know what it is – maybe living somewhere with one season year round – but I just couldn’t get enough of the crisp late fall South Carolina air and gentle breeze. You could have chained me to a chair outside by the water all weekend and I would have been a happy camper!

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After taking a survey of the water and surrounding natural scenery, we hopped on bikes and went for a long bike ride to see the rest of the property. Palmetto Bluff has several trails and little lakes and picnic areas so you can bike all day and never see the same thing twice. We stopped a few times along the way for photo ops of course!

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After our long ride we were thirsty, naturally, so we decided to grab a cocktail at the main Montage lodge. They have a bar, restaurant, spa, pool and gorgeous water feature with an adjacent patio, which is where we plopped ourselves for the next hour or so. We sipped on gin & tonics and rosé while we caught up and watched the gators float in and out of sight (yikes).

Time flew by and before we knew it, it was time to head to our first scheduled group activity – a visit to the Palmetto Bluff Shooting Club! Because you should always get a little buzz on before handling rifles! (Just kidding, don’t try this at home, lol).

Our time at the shooting range was definitely the highlight of the trip for me! I don’t have the best eyesight and despite being born and raised in the great state of Texas, I’d never shot a gun of any kind prior to this trip, so I didn’t know if it was going to be my thing… well, I was wrong. It’s TOTALLY MY THING! I had so much fun learning how to shoot the clays from each launch point and seeing who could hit each clay first (a little sibling/significant other competition is always interesting lol), I didn’t want to leave! I enjoyed it so much, I’ve vowed to head out to one of the shooting clubs here in Temecula on my next free weekend at home! I think I have a new hobby y’all, lol.

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When we returned home from shooting it was more porch time, albeit this time with a bit of champagne instead of coffees. Before we knew it it was time to get ready for dinner! All dressed up and ready to go, we headed into town to a local steakhouse that was phenomenal! I wish I could remember the name but I’ve Googled repeatedly to no avail. I promise to update if it comes to me :)

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The next morning we hopped back on our bikes in search of some breakfast and another walk down the wharf before it was time to meet my mom’s friends for a little boat ride! Some friends of hers live in Palmetto Bluff and were sweet enough to take us out for the day. We got a wonderful tour of the Bluff and adjacent waterways, before anchoring up in a little spot out of the wind and enjoying some conversation over a cold glass of white wine. Gradually we all decided it was time for lunch, so we cruised up and tied up the boat in front of Skull Creek Boathouse on Hilton Head Island for some fried shrimp po’ boys and crab cakes. Deliciously full and a little buzzed (always), we hopped aboard and made our way back home for some down time.

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Eager to soak up every minute of South Carolina, Luke and I jetted off by ourselves and opted for some more exploring by bike. After a stunning ride through a canopy of trees – and a few more photo ops – we stumbled upon a nice quiet little corner of Palmetto Bluff with newer homes, a gift shop, a grab and go restaurant and a gorgeous oyster shell-stucco’d bar (that wasn’t open unfortunately) and just took our time puttering around and perusing the tiny village. Just across the way, we found a small pond and with a tiny dock and just sat for a while, which was glorious. Well, funny story, I sat. Luke paced, as he was a little spooked by potential gators! HAH. Don’t tell him I told you that.

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Once Luke had enough of gator watch, we rode back to the house to grab our swim suits and meet my mom at the pool for a sunset cocktail and a dip!

Pretty tuckered out from two full days, we were all feeling a low key evening so we rode our bikes to a sweet little bistro, the Canoe Club, also on property and dined on a wonderful last meal together.

Luke and I had a superrrrrrr early flight the next morning as we were heading straight to Panama but luckily my mom, brother and his girlfriend all had another morning before flying back to Dallas. Lucky dogs!

All in all, I could just move to South Carolina right about now. I love the weather, the scenery, the vibe, the people, the FOOD!, and pace of life so much. I felt so at home there somehow when we visited in Charleston the year before last, so I have a feeling we’ll be spending a bit more time there in the coming years.

What about you, have you visited South Carolina? Did you love it? What other parts of the state should we explore? Please tell me in the comments below! Xo

Oh Snap! A Snap Pea & Sunday Gin Sour

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New cocktail menu tastings are DEFINITELY in the top five when it comes to things I get to do for my “job” at You & Yours Distilling Co. and our most recent spring menu tasting did not disappoint. In fact, I think this Snap Pea Sunday Gin Sour, the “Oh Snap!,” by our tasting room manager, April, might be one of my favorite cocktails ever presented at Y&Y.

Fresh juiced snap peas lend a gentle but invigorating jolt of grassiness that compliments our bright and citrusy Sunday Gin just flawlessly. And the frothiness from the egg white and bit of complexity from a dash or two of peach bitters and fresh mint send it totally over the top. I think it might even be the new Bunny Foo Foo! 😉#ifyouknowyouknow… keep scrolling for the recipe or better yet, sign up for one of our March Cocktail Classes to learn how to make it from April herself!

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Oh Snap! Makes 1 cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Sunday Gin
  • 1.5 oz snap pea + honey mix (see recipe below)
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 dashes peach bitters
  • 1 small sprig of mint
  • 1 egg white, separated

Directions:

Add all ingredients (tear mint before adding) to a cocktail shaker WITHOUT ICE and dry shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds. The longer you shake, the frothier the cocktail will be. Then add ice and shake a second time. Double strain directly into a short rocks glass and garnish with a single snap pea.

Snap pea + honey mix: Combine two parts fresh juiced snap peas with one part honey simple syrup (1:1 honey to water, heated gently until fully dissolved). Keep mix refrigerated.

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2019 Travel Plans & Bucket List

I had so much fun writing last year’s post around this time last year so I thought I’d share this year’s travel plans too. If you’ve been to any of the locations, or are planning trips of your own, please share your recs!

Distillerista-2019-Travel-Plans{ luggage essentials: Senreve Maestra bag in noir, Away The Bigger Carry On in navy, Longchamp Overnighter in gunmetal and a Scottish Fold stowaway 😉 }

Spring…

  • March – We’re contemplating a quick snow trip before its too late in the season – thinking of meeting some friends in Park City, UT mid-March. TBD, but I hope we can swing it!
  • April – The trip I’m MOST excited for this year is definitely when we head back to The Bahamas in mid-April. The Bahamas are so special to us for tons of reasons – I’ve been traveling there with my family for twenty+ years, it was the first vacation Luke came on with me and my family when we officially started dating, it’s where we got engaged, spent my birthday and it’s where we’ll be getting married next year! I can’t wait to head back to do a bit of wedding planning and a looooot of relaxing.
  • May – We’ve been promising to take my mom to Santa Barbara for YEARS so this Mothers’ day (which always falls on or around her birthday) I think we’re finally going to pull the trigger! It’s one of our all-time favorite spots to travel to for a long weekend – see my past trip recaps here and here.

Summer…

  • June –  SO excited for this… we’re headed to Europe! I haven’t been back in almost 5 years, which feels a little crazy. And I’m doubly excited as we’re doing something a little different this time, a rail trip through Scandinavia! We’ll be starting in Denmark, making our way through Olso and the fjords of Norway before ending the trip in Sweden. Then to top it off we’ll hit London on our way home to catch up with some friends and spend a few days in my very favorite city!
  • July – Hopefully making time for a trip to NYC with girlfriends to scope out my wedding dress. (!!!)

Fall…

  • October – Can’t wait to celebrate Luke’s 35th birthday (he’s a Halloween baby) in JAPAN for the Rugby World Cup! I can’t imagine a better collision of Luke’s favorite things – rugby, travel, yakitori, lollll …the list goes on. And perhaps a quick couple of nights in Hong Kong before we head home as well – it’s been at the top of his bucket list for ages.

Winter…

  • No plans beyond the fall just yet, but since we spent the Holidays down under last year, I’m looking forward to nice quiet holidays at home this year.

And not that the year is leaving us much room for additional travel, hah, but here’s a short list of where I’d like to go this year if we get the chance!

  • New England – Been dying to take a fall road trip through NE for years now, especially since we have dear friends in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island and I have family in Maine… Maybe this will be the year!
  • Montana – Cough, cough @Luke. Montana is at the top of my list and as such, I’ve been promised a trip for quite a while now. I think it’s high time he paid up, don’t you?!
  • Canada – I have only been once, to Victoria a loooong time ago, and there are so many parts of the country I’d still love to explore.
  • Oaxaca – high, high on our list. Perhaps we can tack it on to a return trip to Mexico City! One of our favorites.

What about you, where are you traveling this year?!

Review of the Week! Vol. 2: El Jardin’s El Conquistador G&T

Welcome back to a new series here on Distillerista! Each week I’ll be sharing a shorter format post reviewing one thing I tried over the previous week. It may be a cocktail, a non-alcoholic drink, a product, a spirit, or a recipe. Just a little something I enjoyed and wanted to share so you can too!

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This week is the first of what is sure to be many in a category of these reviews: a You & Yours Distilling Co. cocktail menu placement featuring one of our spirits! This week it’s a gorgeous Spanish-style Gin & Tonic featuring our Winter Gin, AKA my version of a London Dry style of gin.

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The ‘El Conquistador‘ at El Jardin in Liberty Station is everything a Gin & Tonic should be: gorgeous to the eye, intoxicating to the nose and perfectly bright and balanced on the palate. Complimenting our Winter Gin is Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water, then it’s all garnished with aromatic orange zest, eye-catching star anise pods and lemon balm and fennel fronds from the Chef’s own garden. As delicious as it is beautiful! Be sure to get to El Jardin to try one quick, as Bev Director Eliza and her team are about to overhaul the cocktail menu for spring and a new Sunday Gin cocktail will be taking the Conquistador’s place!

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Cheers! And be sure to check out last week’s Review, a gorgeously creamy “Dirty” Ginger Turmeric Cappuccino.

Styles of Gin 101

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Ever wondered what the difference is between Gin & Genever? Or thought to yourself, “What the hell is Old Tom Gin?” Well, I’m here to help! Here are my ultimate Cliff Notes on the five most popular styles of gin you’ll find out in the wild. 

Genever – The original gin, or more accurately, the spirit modern-day gin was born from. Less dry and spicy, with a lighter botanical profile than London Dry. Also not as clean or sharp as London Dry. Usually distilled from grain, specifically malt, so it has a more robust, cereal-like foundation. Often combined with neutral grain spirit to balance and infused with herbs and spices, including juniper. Kind of like a gin, but not quite. You can find all kinds of Genevers, some unaged, some aged for months, up to several years. 

London Dry – This is your traditional, modern-day standard for gin. 98% of the time, when people think gin, they’re thinking of a London Dry style gin. London Drys are juniper forward, piney, usually slightly spicy, very dry, and often have anise or licorice notes. They’re clean and sharp on the pallet and can have quite overwhelming flavor profiles. This is what makes gin such a great cocktail ingredient, as their punctuated flavor profiles can hold up to other bold flavors.

Old Tom A hybrid between Genever and a London Dry and my favorite style! Will often be distilled from a grain base in lieu of neutral spirit, like Genever, to give it that maltiness, but given a robust botanical profile more like that of a London Dry. Very often either A. barrel aged and/or B. post-sweetened. 

American- / Western-style – Both of these terms are kind of a catch-all for any gin that’s not necessarily juniper-forward. The Beverage Alcohol Manual (a federally distributed document and every distiller’s bible) simply states that a gin is any spirit predominately flavored with juniper, so as you can tell, this give distillers enormous creative freedom when creating a gin. These terms can describe floral gins, citrus gins, spicy gins, infused gins, or any gin that uses a lighter hand when it comes to juniper berries.

Sloe Gin – A gin or gin liqueur that’s usually lower in ABV and characterized by the flavor of sloe berries. Most often the product of a post-distillation maceration of sloe berries and some sort of post-sweetening to tame the tartness of the sloe berry. Lovely warmed up a fire!

Review of the Week! Vol. 1

Welcome to a new series here on Distillerista! Each week I’ll be sharing a shorter format post reviewing one thing I tried over the previous week. It may be a cocktail, a non-alcoholic drink, a product, a spirit, or a recipe. Just a little something I enjoyed and want to share so you can too!

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This week I’m sharing a non-alcoholic bevvy! I’m trying to cut back my caffeine consumption to one coffee a day and since I typically always have a morning coffee at home, I’m always looking for interesting non-coffee based lattes or specialty tea drinks when I’m out and about at a coffee shop. This past weekend after perusing our local farmers’ market, it was a bit chilly out and we were feeling a nice warm coffee before heading home.

We ducked into Frost Me Gourmet, a relatively new little cafe and bistro in our neighborhood and I immediately lit up when I saw the ginger turmeric cappuccino! It’s essentially a warm infused almond milk beverage that can be served “dirty,” if you prefer, that is with a shot of espresso. I opted for dirty but with a decaf shot and it was delicious! Perfectly frothy and creamy (as almond milk sometimes has trouble with), with just the perfect amount of earthy and warming spice from the ginger and turmeric. Just the thing for a chilly winter morning!

Negative Calories: The Celery Cocktail You NEED in Your Life this January

We recently did a staff Q&A for our weekly feature series on the You & Yours Instagram and one of the questions asked what “What is your favorite cocktail from the Winter Menu?” Mine is hands down the Negative Calories. Technically a carry over from our fall menu (it’s that good!), the name ‘Negative Calories’ is a play on celery’s guilt-free nature and although the cocktail may not actually be calorically negative, it is just about as healthy as a cocktail can get. It’s fresh, herbaceous, a touch savory, and incredibly, incredibly invigorating! If you haven’t tried one yet, I suggest you make your way to the tasting room immediately. Not local to San Diego? Recipe below!

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Negative Calories. Makes 1 drink.
Ingredients: 
  • pinch sea salt
  • large torn basil leaf
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz celery syrup (2:1 – fresh celery juice : simple syrup)
  • 1.5 oz Winter Gin

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake all ingredients until very cold. Double strain into a stemless wine glass and garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

 

2019 Goals & Projects

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When I posted the photo above to my IG detailing one of my favorite big-picture productivity hacks, I asked if you guys would like a blog post detailing a bit more about all the You & Yours-related 2019 goals and projects we have on our plates this year. I got a couple of yes’s so I decided to put finger tips to keyboard and give you a little glimpse into what our team will be working on in 2019. I’m curious, which project are you most excited for?!

1. Y&Y KITCHEN… No secret here, we’ve been working on building a kitchen into our 1495 G Street space for quite a while now. We got dealt a super disappointing hand in late 2017 when we heard the landlord had rented out the space adjacent to the tasting room without consulting us first. I.e. where we had planned to put the kitchen, barrel storage and additional private event space. So we had to go back to the drawing board. Thankfully, 2018 brought us the warehouse (see #2!) we’re expanding into early this year, so we’re now able to move some things out of our jam-packed production floor in order to make room for a small kitchen. We hope to offer our small menu (which we’re working on with one of our favorite chefs! stay tuned!) of Southern-inspired small plates by early spring!

2. WAREHOUSE… If you’ve taken a distillery tour any time in the last year, you know our production floor is getting TIGHT. I mean, very, very, very crowded. Every morning our production manager has to pallet jack everything out into our two staff parking spaces in order to work in the distillery. Not ideal. Thankfully construction is well underway at 367 15th Street (just a few blocks from our original location) and we should be occupying the new headquarters by late March. In addition to acting as ground zero for all things canned cocktail production, this new warehouse location will be used for storage, spirit production overflow and private tastings. But perhaps my favorite part of the build out? Actual work space! Had to build myself a corner office, obviously! 😉 

3. DISTRO – ADDITIONAL STATES… 2019 is ALL. ABOUT. THE DISTRIBUTION for our team at You & Yours. We get inquiries every day asking for our product in other states and we’re beyond ready to expand outside of California. We’re working several angles and potential partnerships at the moment and hope to launch at least three additional states by the end of the year. We’ll keep you posted!

4. CANS – EAST COAST… Speaking of, if all goes well, East Coasters can sip on our canned cocktails in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts this summer! If you happen to live in those states, start hassling your local liquor store owners and grocers now! 

5. BEER GARDEN… If you saw our canned cocktail announcement you may have caught that we’re gluttons for punishment and have decided to build an outdoor beer & wine garden on the lot behind the new warehouse. Yeah, not like we have anything going on at all… but we love East Village and feel really passionate about continuing to improve the neighborhood, and therefore feel a concept of this kind would do a lot of good for the area. More details to come but we hope to welcome guests by late summer this year!

6 & 7. [REDACTED] Unfortunately I can’t share much about these projects just yet, but one may involve a game-changing partnership and the other mighttttttttt be our second tasting room location! The suspense!

8. BLOG MORE!… I say this every year but I want to deliver more consistent content here on Distillerista. I truly do love to sit down and write about spirits, distillers, hospitality, our travels, our plans and projects, and, of course, all things Y&Y. It’s just that at the end of the day, taking time to write blog posts doesn’t feel the most productive use of my time, considering all we want to accomplish this year. BUT it’s something I really enjoy and it actually relaxes me, so I’m hoping to bring you more blog posts this year, if only for those reasons alone! What you would like to read about or learn here on Distillerista this year? Your wish is my command.

Last but not least, what are YOUR 2019 goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!