August 30, 2004

Booze Blogging
Posted by Dale Franks

Even though I'm not a heavy drinker by any stretch of the imagination, there are certain things that I simply have to have around the house, when it comes to booze. But, why blog about it? Well, first, because sometimes, you need to have a little break from public policy. Second, because The Lovely Christine is out of town this weekend, so I have nothing else to do but get lit, which, to be frank, I am doing this evening with a vengeance. (Sleeping alone is very unpleasant. It's even more so when the one you usually sleep with is the best thing that's ever happened to you in your whole life, and she's not there.)

One of the best things about living in Escondido, CA, is that one of California's historic wineries, the Ferrara Winery, is located here. The Ferraras are the oldest active grape growing, winemaking family in San Diego County, supplying wines to California since 1932. Now, the thing about the Ferrara winery is that they offer two products that are unavailable everywhere else in the world: California Nectar da Luz and Almond da Luz.

The Nectar da Luz is a ported wine that has been kind of…uh…brandy-ized (18% alcohol by volume). It has a sweet initial taste that's almost like pure clover honey that fades to a robust port aftertaste almost like that of a dry sack sherry. It's really indescribable, and indescribably good. It is just the perfect after-dinner aperitif. It's even more perfect if you pour it over strawberries and vanilla ice cream. That's a dessert you can't stop drinking eating.

The Almond da Luz is an amaretto-flavored version of the Nectar da Luz. The flavor is like that of a fine amaretto liqueur, but, again, with the full-bodied aftertaste of a fine port. If you ever happen to be in the San Diego area, and you can get to the Ferrara Winery, I promise you that you will not regret picking up either of these two products. The Ferraras still run the winery as a family business, and Mamma Ferrara will most likely be in the wine store, and will be happy to let you have a free taste of the products, after which, you'll probably sprain your wrist with the speed at which you reach for your wallet.

For those of you who cannot get out to San Diego, I have another recommendation for you. If you are one of the elite members of the sake aficionado community, you will want to go try to pick up a few bottles of Sho Chiku Bai Nigori Sake . Nigoro sake is produced the way sake first appeared when it was brewed for the Imperial Court in Kyoto as well as for most of its 2,000 year history. It is coarsely-filtered and the sweetest of all types of sake. It is especially delicious with very spicy foods. The bottle should be shaken each time before pouring due to the high rice content that settles in the bottom of the bottle. It is available from Takara Sake USA, and comes in 12.7 oz. bottles. If you like sake, this very traditional brew, with its slightly sweet, robust flavor, will be a must-buy on your shopping list.

Of course, it goes without saying that you should--unlike me, this weekend--drink responsibly.



Dale, even though we've never met I love you like a brother. But I've gotta say that your taste in liquor is a little... yeah. I can't think of another word for it. It's a little girly. Where's the rye? Where's the stuff that Gary Cooper would drink from a dirty glass?

Me? My bar consists of a bottle of Maker's Mark (I buy about one bottle a year, or maybe even every year and a half; real heavy drinker over here) and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. If vodka is called for, i.e. I'm dating a girl who likes cosmopolitans, it's gonna be Grey Goose.

That modest collection satisfies my hard-liquor needs completely.

Posted by: Jeff Harrell at August 30, 2004 01:02 AM

When I get lit, and it also usually corresponds to when my wife goes out of town, I like to drink some fine Trappist style Ales, like Chimay or Warsteiner, and believe it or not, Oatmeal Stouts like Youngs or Samuel Smith. There's also something called Old Nick which is really good.

But if I need to make it fast, or if I need to pack in/out light, Maker's Mark is a great way to go too. I've never really been a great taster for wine; a gallon jug of E&JG tastes as good to me as the $30 per bottle stuff.

Posted by: pdq332 at August 30, 2004 08:06 AM

The Glenlivet, straight up, with a water back, is my usual hooch. But who needs a recommendation for that? I'm talking about premium ports, here.

Port is girly? And, since when is sake girly?

Posted by: Dale Franks at August 30, 2004 08:36 AM

This Portuguese lady takes umbrage at the idea that Port wine is girly. I just wish it came in a dealcoholized version so that I could drink it.

Posted by: Wacky Hermit at August 30, 2004 01:15 PM

Hmmmm... "supplying wines to California since 1932"

And here I thought the 21st amendment was ratified in late 1933... *lol*

Posted by: Chrees at August 30, 2004 04:14 PM

Okay, okay. I withdraw my earlier remarks. Port is not girly. It is, however, a little bit snooty.


Posted by: Jeff Harrell at August 30, 2004 09:55 PM

Snooty? Man, a good Grahams LBV on a cool night just before bed ... sleep like a baby.

Port was found on the captain's table of every English fighting ship in Nelson's fleet. The Duke of Wellington is as much renowned for saving Portugal (and its supply of Port)from Napolean as he is for Waterloo.

Snooty ... why its the drink of warriors!

That being said, I'm going to go have a little Trappist Ale and save the port for another night.

Or a marzan.

Or a ...

Posted by: McQ at August 30, 2004 10:08 PM

Port was found on the captain's table, but the crew drank rum. ;-)

Posted by: Jeff Harrell at August 31, 2004 07:35 AM