Akvavit

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Welcome to this week’s installment of our Thirsty Thursday blog. This week’s featured drink comes to us from Scandinavia and is known as Akvavit. Let’s learn about this liquor and where it comes from.

Akvavit or aquavit is a flavored liquor that is produced in Scandinavia since the 15th century. It is the most popular drink in Denmark and is also drank in Germany, England and parts of the U.S. with large Scandinavian settlements. It’s distinctive flavor comes from it’s main spice caraway. It is also made with cardamom, cumin, anise, fennel, lemon and orange peel, some varieties even include dill. It is generally 40% alcohol by volume and must have at least 37.5% alcohol by volume to be called Akvavit by the rules set by the European Union.

This drink is very popular in Scandinavian culture. It is generally drank at weddings and holiday celebrations. It is an aperitif and generally sipped from a small shot glass accompanied by a dark beer. It is similar to vodka, as it is distilled from grains or potatoes. It is then flavored with the spices listed above.

The earliest reference to Akvavit in Scandinavian culture comes from 1531. In a letter from the Danish lord of Bergenshus to the Roman Catholic Archbishop the lord references the archbishops illness with suggestions on the healing powers of Akvavit. Although these so called healing powers were a bit over exaggerated by the lord, it can aid in digestion, especially of rich foods. Which is why it is most often drank at large lunch meals on Easter and Christmas.

Are you ready to try this beverage yourself? Time to call us here at Ambassador Travel today!

 

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777 | ambassadortravelltd.com

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At the Waters Edge B n B

A fall getaway can be the perfect time to enjoy great weather, a peaceful retreat before the cold winter months and a weekend away before the holidays. The At Waters Edge

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include private bath, fridge, microwave, seating area, WiFi, as well as decks and chairs. Each room was decorated with the owner’s love of design and art in mind. And will have you feeling like you are at the cottage for the weekend.

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possibilities for relaxation are endless. For more information on the At the Waters Edge BnB, please contact us.

 

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777 | info@ambassadortravelltd.com

Creme de Menthe

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Happy September 14th everyone, or as us here on the Thirsty Thursday blog call it, National Creme de Menthe day! That’s right, today is a day to enjoy this minty drink, whether you prefer grasshoppers or sipping on the digestif on its own. But before we begin the celebration let’s learn a little bit more about the drink, and shockingly, unlike most of our alcohols featured on the Thirsty Thursday blog, it’s past is in no way disputed. Maybe it was just mint to be (ok i’ll stop).

Let’s travel all the way back to 1885 France. Here a young distribution pharmacist, Emile Gifford is hard at work learning the digestive effects of mint. Gifford starts to distribute his creation to patrons of the Grand Hotel in Angers and it so well receive it becomes something that is later mast distributed. Creme de Menthe is French for mint cream. It is made with dried peppermint or Corsican mint leaves soaking in grain alcohol for several weeks. It is filtered and sugar is added. The green color comes from the soaking of the leaves for several weeks. Today you can find it both with it’s original green color and a clear version, both taste similar.

Creme de Menthe can be served alone as a digestif or in mixed drinks like a grasshopper. It is used in cooking as well for things like mint chocolates. One fun fact about this beverage is that it is the traditional final alcoholic drink served to mobsters before going off to serve time in jail. So before you hit the big house get yourself a shot of Creme de Menthe. Now that you know the history, you can go out and enjoy National Creme de Menthe day!

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777 | ambassadortravelltd.com

Basic Beverage

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Now that fall is in full swing I have finally given in to my own urges and decided to write this week’s Thirsty Thursday blog on the drink that truly reigns in the fall season–Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL for the people in the know. Yes this over commercialized beverage has become a social media star and a true icon for our society and the millennial generation and you know why? Because even as much as I hate to admit it, this drink is delicious. I am a true pumpkin lover of course, who doesn’t love fall? But I wouldn’t write about this drink if I didn’t at least sample 1 or maybe several each fall season. So let’s learn a little bit more about it’s history and rise to the top.

PSL’s are a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, steamed milk, and espresso. Place in Starbucks cup and top with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice and you have just created one of the most iconic drinks ever poured into a cardboard cup. But where did this legendary beverage come from? It turns out Starbucks started developing this drink back in January of 2003. They were looking to expand their seasonal drinks and tested out a range of new flavors. Although their pumpkin spice mixture did not fall at the top of the list, they decided to stick with it because, at the time, there was nothing else on the market like it.

After several months of development they decided to test the final recipe (which by the way didn’t include any pumpkin) in the fall of 2003. Their test markets were Vancouver and Washington D.C. Because the drink exceeded they expectations, out performing their classic holiday drink like peppermint mocha and eggnog latte they decided to go full steam ahead (puns intended). From 2003-2015 their have been over 200 million PSLs sold, bringing in over $80 million a year. Their was a significant spike of 234% from 2008 until 2012 as popularity continued to grow. The latest change came to the drink just last year when after an outcry from the people Starbucks added actual pumpkin to their drink recipe.

So now you know a little bit about this famous, or rather infamous drink. I may be dreaming about one right now and can potentially see a Starbucks from my window, so now I will leave you to dream about them too.

Want to travel to the original Starbucks location in Seattle, Washington? Time to give us a call here at Ambassador Travel!

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777| ambassadortravelltd.com

Caipirinha (kai-pir-in-ya)

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So if you are a lover of our blog you may recognize this drink because we have featured it before, but this article is pretty cool about the history of Brazil’s Caipirinha. Shout out to Travel Planner Brittany for sending me this cool article that I can share with all of our followers. Happy thirsty Thursday everyone, check out this article and let the flavors of Brazil inspire your next destination!

Article: https://www.gadventures.com/blog/caipirinha-brief-history-brazils-famous-cocktail/#.V-qtTcBX040.facebook

Intersted in trying this beloved cocktail? Want to know more about Brazil? It’s time to call us here at Ambassador Travel Ltd.

 

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777| ambassadortravelltd.com

 

Calling All Wine Lovers

Ok wine lovers I have a special treat for you today. We are sharing an article by CNN on the 11 undiscovered wine regions. If you are looking for a lovely libation spot that isn’t overrun with tourists this is the list for you. Of course we all know if you want good wine we could head to Tuscany, Napa or Champagne, but some of the worlds best wine comes from places around the globe you may have never even heard of–including a local favorite–Door County Wisconsin. So, take your time, peruse the article and call us today to make your next vacation all about the Vino.

Inle Lake region, Myanmar

Aythaya Wine Estate is one of the only two wineries in Myanmar.

Myanmar possesses only two wine estates, both located near Inle Lake, famous for its Intha fisherman who row standing up with one leg while manipulating their conical fishing nets.
A 30-minute drive from the lake into the Shan mountains is the Aythaya wine estate, opened in 1999.
Wine tasting takes place in the Sunset Wine Garden restaurant, where the sun drops over the vineyards for an otherworldly feel.
The Red Mountain Estate opened in 2002, and is the only other winery in Myanmar.
Its 400,000 plants were imported from France and Spain after experiments to determine which would grow best in the hilly region.

Kakheti, Georgia

Located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, Georgia is not known for succulent peaches, but for its grape varieties.
Georgia, the country (not the US state) is one of the world’s oldest winemaking regions.
Archaeologists have found evidence of wine production from 6,000 BC, which has earned it a place on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Kakheti is Georgia’s most famous wine region: highlights include sipping wine at Pheasant’s Tears  in the quaint hilltop town of Sighnaghi.
Rather than producing wine in wooden barrels or steel containers, Georgian-grown grapes ferment in clay jars known as qvevri.
The resulting sweet taste is pleasing and distinct from the usual palate of Western wines.

Brda, Slovenia

The 72-square-kilometer (28 mile) wine region of Brda sits along the Italian border and has been described as a “mini Tuscany” — even the cuisine is influenced by Italy.
An hour’s drive from Ljubljana, most of the vineyards are small, family-run operations, and almost all offer some combination of wine tastings, tours, meals, accommodation and wine sales.
Best way to experience Brda?
A slow, multi-course meal on a terrace overlooking the vineyards.

Douro Valley, Portugal

Douro might be the world's most beautiful wine regions.

Northern Portugal is home to the Douro region and is the birthplace of port wine.
There has been wine production in the region for more than 2,000 years.
The new Six Senses hotel — the group’s first in Europe — presents a renovated 19th-century manor house set high on a hill overlooking the Douro Valley and the river below.
Its highlights include panoramic views while lounging in the pool, or leisurely strolls through the property’s organic garden.

Okanagan Wine Region, Canada

Situated in British Columbia and a 4-hour drive from bustling Vancouver, the Okanagan Wine Region is the perfect place to do a bike tour through a vineyard.
The Fairview Trail Network is a 6.2 mile loop that begins at Tinhorn Creek Winery, where it’s possible to bike through the vineyards and Fairview Townsite, a former Gold Rush town.
Afterwards, enjoy wine tasting at a number of vineyards with a view of lovely rolling hills.

Finger Lakes Region, New York

The Finger Lakes Region of New York State is a 9,000 square mile picturesque landscape of waterfalls, gorges, rolling hills, and miles of shoreline encompassing 11 glacial lakes and one Great Lake.
Visitors can try one of the four wine trails in the Finger Lakes region: the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Seneca Lake Wine Trail, Keuka Lake Wine Trail, or Canandaigua Wine Trail.
White wines are the main draw, as the Finger Lakes has burst onto the scene with its tasty Rieslings.
The region has more than 100 wineries and is the largest wine-producing region in the US east of California.

Franschhoek, South Africa

Leeu House, an exclusive boutique hotel,  is a new addition to South Africa's Franschhoek wine region.

Located 45 minutes from Cape Town, Franschhoek is gearing up to be South Africa’s next great wine destination.
The valley was originally known as Olifantshoek (Elephant’s Corner) after the huge herds that roamed the area, and is now a premier vino destination in the Cape Winelands.
The new Leeu House is an exclusive boutique hotel with six of the rooms opening to private gardens, and guests can enjoy a complimentary tasting of the Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram offers a hop-on hop-off tour that passes by pretty vineyards with stops at several wineries.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

With its rich volcanic soil, Tenerife, the largest island in the Canaries, produces tasty red and white wines.
The island offers grape varieties that were wiped out from mainland Europe during the Phylloxera epidemic in the mid-1800s.
It also has many vineyards for wine tasting including Bodega Monje  in the North of the island, and Bodega Frontos  in the southern part.
The red Listan Negra is similar to a hearty Spanish wine while the white Listan Bianco is a dry, crisp wine that complements the island’s fresh seafood and shellfish.

Marche, Italy

Percorino is the prominent grape in Offida, home to traditional estates like Ciu Ciu.

Perched in central Italy, Marche offers a beautiful landscape next to the Adriatic Sea, minus the heavy tourism of neighboring Tuscany or Umbria.
Every year, about 18 million bottles of its famous wine, Verdicchio, are sold globally.
In the small town of Offida, Pecorino is the most important grape.
Estates like Ciù Ciù have thrived and maintained a sense of local tradition.

Healdsburg, California

Instead of following in the footsteps of the oft-mentioned Napa Valley vacation, one alternative is to visit northern California’s emerging wine scene in Healdsburg.
Located one hour north of San Francisco, Healdsburg celebrated 40 years of the Wine Road organization last year, where 200 wineries are dotted along the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys.
The aim behind the Road’s establishment was that decades ago, Napa was the only place to have tastings in the region and Californians wanted some variety.
Guests can join the husband and wife team, Herald and Kirsten Jones, that lead the Wine Country Walking Tours in downtown Healdsburg and taste some of the area’s wines.
They lead the tour with a fun twist on wine tasting while visiting several tasting rooms like Williamson Wines and Stephen & Walker.

Door County, Wisconsin

The “Cape Cod of the Midwest” is the affectionate term given to the wholesome, tranquil lakeside destination of Door County, Wisconsin.
The Midwestern locale has eight wineries that are part of the Door County Wine Trail.
One of the oldest in Wisconsin, Door Peninsula Winery, opened in 1974 and is one of the largest producers in the state.
The area is known for its fruit wines, particularly with locally grown tart cherries.
The Orchard Country Winery produces a number of estate wines from grapes, cherries, apples and other fruits that they grow on their 100-acre farm near Fish Creek.
Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777| ambassadortravelltd.com

Miami Vice

202873-612x450-miamivice_new.jpgWe have explored tons of drinks named after cities on our Thirsty Thursday blog, like the  Long Island Iced Tea, Champagne and Manhattan, but today we are bringing you a new one– the Miami Vice. This deliciously chilly cocktail will get you in the mood to relax on the sunny shores of the Florida coast and maybe fight crime.

What you’ll need: ice, rum, pina colada mix and strawberry daquiri mix. Blend ice, rum and pina colada mix and pour in glass. Mix daquiri mix with ice and top glass. Simple and delicious.

So how did this delicious cocktail get it’s name? The Miami Vice is named after the 80s crime series with the same name. Is this making you nostalgic for putting away criminals all while wearing dress shoes without socks? If so I think it’s time to que up the dvd player and check out some rerunds all while sipping this delicious beverage!

 

Ambassador Travel | 920.236.7777 | ambassadortravelltd.com

When Life Hands you Lemons

shutterstock_84128584.jpgIf you haven’t booked your warm weather vacation yet, now is the time. Need a little inspiration? Keep reading! Today’s Thirsty Thursday will feature everyone’s favorite– the margarita. A traditional margarita is made with tequila, triple sec and lime or lemon juice. The rim is often trimmed with salt. The drink can either be shaken with ice and strained into a glass with ice. This type of margarita is known as on the rocks. It can be blended, often called a frozen margarita and lastly it can be without ice and this style is known as straight up. Margaritas are served in many different style of glasses, but traditionally they are served in what is known as a eponymous margarita glass, which just so happens to look like an upside down sombrero. Ole!

Now that we know how to make this deliciously refreshing cocktail, lets learn a little bit about it’s history. Of course like every drink there are several claims to fame. Some say it was invented in Acapulco, Mexico, Houston or Galveston Texas and a handful of other Mexican cities. I am just going to go over two of the most widely accepted origins of our vacation favorite. One account claims that in 1938 bartender Carlos Herrera created the drink at he Rancho La Gloria between Tijuana and Rosario Mexico. It was said that he made the drink for dancer Marjorie King who had sever allergies to almost all liquor except for tequila. This drink then made its way up to wpid-photo-20140618203227.jpgSan Diego and La Jolla through friends of Herrera.

A second account claims the drink wasn’t invented until October of 1941. Don Carlos Orozco bartender at the Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada Mexico was experimenting with many different cocktails. One night Margarita Henkel the daughter of the German ambassador came into the cantina. Orozco had her try one of his newest creations and since she was the first to try his concoction he named it after her.

Regardless of what story you believe the most important thing is that the margarita was invented and we get to have them whenever we want. And sure you could make one at home or go to your favorite Mexican restaurant, but we all know a margarita tastes so much better when you’re lying on the beach under the warm Mexican sun.

Looking to book that Mexican getaway now? I know you are, so give us a call 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com to schedule an appointment with one of our Mexico/Caribbean experts.

Champagne Fun Facts

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Let’s start this post with my favorite champagne quote, “Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

Ok lets dive into the facts.

  1. Champagne was created on accident by a monk in the 17th century named Dom Pierre Perignon. You can still buy this brand of champagne today and it is seen as some of the best in the world.
  2. Champagne is the same as sparkling wine, but to be called champagne the grapes must be grown in the champagne region of France. Although many other countries give champagne a run for it’s money in terms of taste and quality because of this rule, they are often much cheaper.
  3. Champagne has been known to help prevent memory loss (at least long term, because if you have ever drank too much, then you know short term memory loss can ensue)
  4. Marilyn Monroe once took a bath in champagne and it is reported that it took around 350 bottles.
  5. If you are a tennis fan, then you will enjoy the fact that over 28,000 bottles are served each year at Wimbledon
  6. Afraid of spiders? You are more likely to be killed by a flying champagne cork than by a poisonous spider.
  7. Have you always wanted to build one of those iconic champagne towers? Here is how many glasses you’ll need: Base level–60, 1st level–30, 2nd level–10, 3rd level–4, top with 1 glass.
  8. Vintage champagne has nothing to do with the age of the bottle. Vintage just means that all the grapes used to make that particular bottle came from the same year.

 

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777 | ambassadortravelltd.com

Cerveza

Craft-Beer1.jpeg“In what language does Cerveza mean beer?” If you guessed Spanish then you would be correct! Many of your probably already knew this because a lot of your have traveled to Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries while on vacation. I thought it would be fun to go along with this blog post to find out the Top 5 best selling beers in Mexico. Honestly this list surprised me, so lets see what’s on it.

  1. Bohemia: This light beer is unlike many other light beers served in Mexico and throughout the world because it is a full flavored light beer. Not a water that has a beerish aftertaste. This is great for any real beer lover looking to enjoy a light ale that will still pack a punch
  2. Negra Modelo: This is the best selling dark beer in Mexico. It is a German style dark that is still light in flavor with excellent bitter chocolate notes.
  3. Dos Equis: This Amber ale is one of the Dos Equis variety that is available year round. It is a vienna style lager similar to Sam Adams Boston Lager or Newcastle Brown Ale.
  4. Corona Familia: Unlike what we think of when we think of Corona, the Familia is a Amber ale from the Corona family. More flavor than Corona extra due to it’s dark bottle and less likelihood of becoming skunky.
  5. Victoria: Another Amber ale that is full bodied and from the Vienna style of lager.

It was quite surprising to me how many Amber ales were on this list. Not just because I love anything that has my name in it, but just because when I think of drinking beer in Mexico it definitely doesn’t make me think of a heavy brown lager. But that is why we have this great blog, to inform the masses!

Want to try these best selling Mexican favorites right in Mexico? Time to book a trip with us here at Ambassador Travel!

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777 | ambassadortravelltd.com