Belated New Year’s Eve Beverages

WW: Here we are, writing a beer and wine blog, and we haven’t even discussed what we were enjoying for beverages on New Year’s Eve, which, if the fullness of the shopping carts in the liquor store that evening were any indication, is a national drinking holiday.

Beer Man and I enjoyed a delicious Sparkling (Champagne) Cider from Harpoon Brewery. This is a brew they make only around the holidays and it is one of our favorites. Harpoon’s regular cider has improved slightly over the years, but it is still very light- more of an alcoholic apple juice than a real flavorful hard cider. Combine their cider with champagne yeast and everything changes. It’s effervescent and dry, hits the tongue with a sparkle and is just a joy to drink. It is still somewhat light in flavor, but the champagne yeast adds a really nice quality to the overall experience, without making it taste like strange champagne.  It also makes you feel fabulous pretty quickly, despite its fairly low alcohol content (4.4%) because the bubbles speed up absorption (this is why all champagne tends to get you feeling really happy more quickly than most other alcoholic beverages of equal abv).

All in all, this is a drink I would recommend heartily to anyone who loves a nice hard cider and has something they want to celebrate!

Beer Man made a drink of his own to kick off the evening…

BM: My own creation — Buckwheat Maple Manhattan. So here on Beer Man and Winey Woman we’re not just all about beer and wine. Hard cider is more than welcomed, as are spirits. Not the mythical kind that haunt you or make you think that your dead relatives are watching over you somehow…..but the yummy, alcoholic kind. Anyway, I digress…..

So for New Year’s Eve, I made myself a Manhattan. It’s a drink I recently (re)discovered on a recent weekend escape that brought us to the Mt. Washington Hotel. Inspired by the awesome Manhattans that their bartenders were making, I decided to break out my old bottle of bitters, my newly acquired Scotch Rocks (soapstone cubes you keep in the freezer and replace ice with), and my “good ‘ole Yankee ingenuity” to try my hand at mixology. I came up with something I’m calling the Maple Buckwheat Special (MBS) (#1, since I’m sure I’ll keep experimenting). I took one measure of Catskill Distilling “Otay” Buckwheat whiskey, two measures of VT Gold vodka, a dash(-ish) of bitters, and a splut of VT Maple Syrup, directly from the bottle, and stirred them together. The result was nothing short of awesome. The syrup cut the harshness of the high-test alcohol, and the buckwheat, which is great on it’s own on the rocks, offered a perfect flavor to compliment the sweetness of the maple. While I did manage to forget a cherry (rookie mistake), the drink made me quite happy, and I think has inspired my inner mixologist to continue experimenting with Manhattans, as well as drinks in general.

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