Grappa

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This week for our Thirsty Thursday blog we are hopping on a plane and landing in beautiful Italy. Here we will sample a drink known as Grappa, and learn about the history of it’s production. Let’s get right into it shall we, so much to drink, I mean learn, so much to learn.

Grappa is a grape based brandy with an alcohol content between 35-60%. It is similar to wine in the fact that depending on the grape used to make it the flavor profile changes. It is made by distilling the skins, pulp, seeds and stems or the leftovers from wine making. Grappa, like many other European alcohols, is now regulated by the European Union if it is to be called Grappa. What that means is to be called Grappa it needs to be produced in Italy, the Italian part of Switzerland or San Marino. It has to be produced from pomace (the leftovers from winemaking) and the fermentation and distillation must occur on the pomace with no added water.

It’s history, like many other alcohols, is confusing and disputed. Some sources trace Grappa back to the 1st century A.D. There is a legend that Egyptians distilled it in the 2nd century in a town in Italy called Bassano del Grappa. Although historians claim the technology was not available at that time to be able to do such a process. Jumping forward a few hundred years to the 1300s and 1400s water as a coolant was created allowing for a correct distillation process. This process was actually used until about 50 years ago, when technology caught up with the distilleries and new more advanced ways were now used.

So, what this means is if you want to try this grape brandy it is time to book that trip you’ve always wanted to take to Italy. Sure you can get Grappa here, but half the experience of drinking these types of alcohols is the setting. Which means it’s time to call Ambassador Travel at 920.236.7777

 

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For Pete’s Sake

sake-bottles.jpgHappy thirsty Thursday everyone! We are only one short day away from the weekend, Yay! No matter what your plans are I hope they include relaxing and sitting down with a cold one, or maybe even our featured drink of the day–Sake.

Pronounced sock-ee, this Japanese beverage is a rice wine made from fermenting polished rice. If you frequent Japanese establishments like sushi or hibachi restaurants you may be familiar with the drink. Although it is a rice wine, it is actually made more like a beer than a wine. Because it is produced by brewing rather than fermenting. It is also much stronger than both beer and wine at about 18-20% alcohol by volume.

In Japanese sake can be used as a general term for alcohol where the english term sake is normally called nihonshu. If you are traveling to Japan to try this traditional drink then look for the word Seishu, as that is what sake is labeled as in Japan. Sake is the national beverage of Japan and thus served at ceremonies like weddings. It is generally warmed and served in a porcelain bottle, you sip out of a small porcelain cup. You will find this same procedure done here in the U.S. at Japanese restaurants as well.

The history of sake is unclear because the alcohol making process in Asia predates the record keeping process. The first reference to alcohol in Japan is in 3rd century writing. So we at least know that sake is thousands of years old.

Sakes come in a variety of flavors often flavored with fruit, flowers, herbs and spices. You can learn about the different profiles or make ups of different sake’s by reading the label. There are 3 indictors that will help you determine the type of sake that it is. Look for the words Nihanshu-do, San-do and aminosan-do. Nihanshu-do will tell you the sugar and alcohol content of the sake. San-do gives you the concentration of acids, and aminosan-do will tell you the sake’s savoriness.

Want to try sake in it’s native land? Then it is time to give us a call her at Ambassador Travel 920.233.7777

New Year, New Drink

Ok people, we all know this is the time of year when resolutions are strong and we truly believe that the next 365 days are going to bring a newness to our lives. Well we are here to make your resolutions happen for you! Today, as it is Thirsty Thursday, I am sharing a great article I found on, wait for it–The 15 Healthiest Cocktails. Who says you can’t enjoy some of your favorites and still shed the pounds for your big trip, not us! So if you are planning on heading to warmer climates with a trip you booked with us at Ambassador and want to continue sipping your favorite drinks, this list may help! So grab a limoncello champagne, hit the gym and prepare for your big trip to Italy! Good luck and remember, we never judge 😉

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15 Of The Healthiest Cocktails: http://www.thethings.com/15-of-the-healthiest-cocktails-how-to-make-them/

 

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777 | ambassadortravelltd.com

 

Fernet

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Hello all and welcome to this week’s installment of our Thirsty Thursday blog. I have been trying to feature drinks from all over the world lately and today we are traveling to Argentina. This week’s featured drink is Fernet and cola. So lets learn a little bit about this beverage and where you can sample it yourself.

Fernet is an Italian spirit. It is made from a variety of herbs and spices depending on the brand. It is often served in Europe as a digestiv, which we learned is an after dinner drink in previous blog posts. Fernet’s it typically 45% alcohol and is said to smell like black licorice flavored listerine. Which, you can assume then tastes a bit like minty black licorice. And although this spirit comes to us from Italy it is one of the most popular drinks in Argentina.

During the late 19th and early 20th century parts of South America saw a large number of Europeans moving to places like Argentina. With them, they brought of course their cooking and culture, but specifically Fernet. Argentina consumers over 35% of all the Fernet sold world wide. Over 3 million liters are drank in Argentina annual. The most popular brand of Fernet in Argentina is Fratelli Branca.

The spirit is commonly mixed with coke, which is then called a Fernadito or simply Fernet and cola. This drink ws invented in Cordoba, Argentina in the mid 80s and spread to Buenos Aires in the 90s. It has only continued to grow in popularity since then. If you want to try the drink state side, head over to San Franscico. The bay area actually consumers 25% of all Fernets sold in the United States.

Looking to travel to Argentina to try this drink out for yourself? Then it is time to call Ambassador Travel at 920.236.7777

Serbian Slivovitz

191331-slivovitz-main.jpgHello everyone and welcome to our Thirsty Thursday blog. Today we are taking you on a journey throughout central and easter Europe to learn about a plum brandy known as Slivovitz. Let’s get started!

Slivovitzs is a fruit brandy made from damson plums. It is produced throughout central and eastern Europe in Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. The word Slivovitz comes from the Slavic word for plum, which is fitting becuase like I said above it is made using damson plums. It is produced both commercially and in homemade versions. And it’s origins are rooted in countries that were formally part of Yugoslavia.

Although you can find this drink widely throughout central and eastern Europe we are going to focus on it’s Serbian form today. Slivovitz or Slivovica, as it is known in Serbia, is the country’s national drink. And quite fittingly plums are the national fruit of Serbia so it makes sense. Production and consumption of Slivovitz is part of age old tradtions throughout the country. Meals in Serbia generally begin and end with a plum product. Slivovitz is an apertif so often times the drink will be served at the start of a meal. The plum brandy is also used at celebrations of rites of passages. You will defintely find it at births, baptisms, marriages and even funerals. Aside from it’s tradition in cultural events, Slivovitz can also be found in a variety of folk remedies dating back hundreds of years. Serbia is the largest experoter of Slivovitz in the world and the second largest exporter of plums. Slivovica is generally drank driectly from the leather wrapped bottle or served in a chilled shot glass.

Ready to try this fruit brandy in a traditional setting? Then it is time to call Ambassador Travel at 920.236.7777

Egg Nog

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It’s that time of year again, time to bring out the creamy frothy drink we all know and well some of us love–Eggnog. Nothing says holidays like adding a little bourbon to our cream am I right? Like other Thirsty Thursdays we are going to dive into how Eggnog came to be, learn a little bit about the history and what it takes to make this festive beverage. Let’s jump right in shall we?

Eggnog is typically associated with the United States and Canada and it is drank from around the American Thanksgiving to Christmas. It is also know as milk punch or egg milk punch. The nog typically symbolizes that there is alcohol in the drink, although it can be served non-alcoholic as well. Eggnog consists of milk or cream, sugar, whipped eggs and brandy, rum or bourbon. You can buy eggnog pre-made in both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions and many people make their eggnog from scratch. I will be attempting to do so this weekend at my holiday party, stay tuned as I have never sampled it before and will know one way or another if I am full of Christmas cheer or scrooging it up.

Moving on, let’s talk about the history of the beverage. Like many cases there is no real definite place in history where we can pinpoint eggnog surfacing in the U.S. or Canada. It has been found in writing in 1775 in Maryland by a Jonathan Boucher poem about the drink itself. He mentions the term eggnog and this is one of the earliest accounts of the drink in written history. The term “nog” itself is debated as either a strong beer from East Anglia or a Middle English term for a small wooden carved mug. The drink itself could have come from a beverage known as posset, which was a medieval European beverage that monks drank with hot milk. It was used as a cold and flu remedy and in the 13th century eggs were added to the drink making it strongly resemble today’s egg nog.

Although eggnog is associated most with North America other countries around the world drink versions of it as well. In Venezuela and Trinidad there is a drink known as Ponche Crema that is also drank around the Christmas season. In Germany they drink something known as biersuppe which is an eggnog made with beer. And in Britain there is a similar beverage that is made with milk, eggs and sherry. So although we enjoy this festive spirit this time of year we share it with much of the world in different variations.

Want to sample different forms of eggnog from around the world? Time to call Ambassador Travel to book your next getaway, where to next?

 

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777 | ambassadortravelltd.com

 

White not so Russians


white-russian1Sometimes going into Thirsty Thursday I am here to debunk what are thought be cultural drinks, and are simply American made with fancy names. Today is just that day. On a regular (daily) basis I learn so much about what I am writing about. Today again is one of those days. I thought I would continue our Russian theme this week by featuring a White Russian. I was hoping to find out that this popular creamy beverage had a rich culture in the Motherland, but I was sadly mistaken.

White Russians consist of vodka, coffee liqueur (most popularly Kahlua), and cream or milk. This came out of the popular drink the Black Russian in 1949 in the United States. A White Russian is a Black Russian with creme. Neither have anything to do with the former soviet state, they are just named Russians because their primary ingredient is vodka.

Even though you won’t be pairing this drink with pickled herring it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in its creamy deliciousness. Follow the recipe below:

1 ½ Ounces Vodka

¾  Ounces Kahlua

¾ Ounces Heavy Cream

Old Fashion Glass

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled Old Fashion glass, sip and enjoy.

Which Signature Cocktail are You?

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Happy thirsty Thursday everyone. After a long year I am marrying the man of my dreams this weekend, so I thought it would only be appropriate to feature a post about wedding cocktails. One of the hottest trends right now is designing a signature couple cocktail for your wedding reception. For those wanting a destination wedding, places like Sandals offers a signature cocktail maker through their prized WeddingMoon program. For everyone else I have found a solution to figuring out what wedding cocktail you are meant to serve on your big day. Follow this link: http://www.playbuzz.com/weddingwire10/what-wedding-cocktail-are-you

And take the quiz to find out just what type of wedding drink would best suit your big day.

Although I do not have a signature cocktail for my wedding I did take this quiz and it suggested my signature cocktail be champagne. For any of you who know me this is incredibly accurate so I assume all of you will take this quiz and know it is spot on.

For more information on destination weddings or honeymoons please call Ambassador Travel at 920.236.7777

EM-BAR-we-GO

FLORIDITA

Now that Americans are officially allowed to travel to Cuba, the door to the mysterious world loved by so many including famed writer and drinker Ernest Hemingway, are now being opened. With this new world of opportunity brings out so much culture that generations of Americans have never had the opportunity of experiencing. Like I have said in many many posts before, culture often relies heavily on food and drink. Cuba is by no means any exception to that rule.

As I was scanning the internet for something to write about for our wonderful Thirsty Thursday post I came across an article about a man named Philip Greene who not only loved Hemingway, but wanted to scour his work in able to recreate all of his favorite drinks. One drink in particular was is his go-to while in his beloved Cuba. Now I wanted to go a step further and find out why Hemingway drank Daiquiris while in Cuba, so I did a little research. Apparently Daiquiri is the name of a beach and iron mine in Santiago, Cuba. It was invented during the Spanish-American war and centers around rum, citrus and sugar as well as other sweeteners.

Now for any of you that know anything about Ernest Hemingway, then you won’t be surprised that his Daiquiri is actually a double. Because if Hemingway was famous for his writing, then he was infamous for his drinking.

PAPA DOBLE DAIQUIRI
MAKES 1 DRINK

3 ¾ ounces white rum

2 ounces fresh lime juice

2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice

6 drops maraschino liqueur

Ice

Blend all ingredients well with ice, and serve in a large chilled goblet.

Now you know the drink to drink while in the newly opened land of beautiful beaches and drinks reminiscent of days past. If you are interested in learning more about Cuba please give us a call 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com to request an appointment with one of our excellent travel consultants.

It’s worth a shot

bourbon-month-ftr.jpgNow generally on our Thirsty Thursday blog feature I like to take you all over the world to find out where some of our favorite or future favorite drinks are created and served, but today we are staying right here in the good old U.S. of A. This patriotic beverage comes straight from the south and is a favorite of many domestic and international spirit lovers–Bourbon.

Bourbon is an American whiskey, which has been distilled in this country since the 18th century. Although when we think of Bourbon we often think of the south, specifically Kentucky, it can be distilled anywhere in the U.S. With that being said 95% of production does take place in Kentucky alone. The history of this grain beverage is, like most alcohol histories, disputed. The most accepted story country wide is that Kentucky Baptist Minister Elijah Craig first aged whiskey in charred oak casks, which inevitably gave the beverage it’s reddish color and unique flavor profile.

More debates lay in where the name Bourbon actually comes from. The word itself is from the French Royal dynasty. Thomas Jefferson named Bourbon County, Kentucky after the family because of the French help during the Revolutionary war. So the real back and forth is whether Bourbon is named after Bourbon county in Kentucky or after Bourbon Street in New Orleans. To me it seems like it would be the former, but hey, who am I to decide history.

According to the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, Bourbon made for U.S. consumption must follow the following guidelines. First it must be produced in the United States. Like I said above it does not have to be made in Kentucky or the South, but it must be in the U.S. Second it must be made from a grain mixture of at leases 51% corn. It cannot be distilled to more than 160 proof or 80% alcohol by volume. It must enter the barrel for aging at no more that 125 proof or 62.5% alcohol by volume. And finally it must be bottled at 80 proof or 40% alcohol by volume.

When it comes to Bourbon there is no set time table for how long it must be aged, UNLESS it is being labeled as Straight Bourbon. If it is labeled as Straight Bourbon it must follow the guidelines from above as well as be aged for a minimum of 2 years, and have no added color, flavor or other spirits.

Now  you don’t need to travel necessarily to drink Bourbon, but let’s be honest the real culture of the drink was established in Kentucky, so to be a true connoisseur of the beverage it’s time to make your way to the Bluegrass State. For more information on traveling to Kentucky or the American South, please give us a call 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com to schedule an appointment today!