Old Tom Gin Tasting

Started with a small life savings and a fistful of credit cards, the Ransom distillery in Oregon is barely 13 years old. The name refers to the amount of money founder Tad Seestedt needed to become self-employed. Ransom’s Old Tom Gin was developed in collaboration with spirits historian and Brooklyn resident David Wondrich as an attempt to recreate a slightly sweeter, richer style of gin that was popular before prohibition. Produced in small batches by combining a malted barley spirit with corn spirits infused with botanicals, its distinctive color comes from a period of barrel aging. Intense juniper meets candied citrus, earthy cardamom, spicy coriander, and a bourbonish caramel – truly a one of a kind spirit!

On Thursday, April 15 from 6-8pm in the Brooklyn wine store, we’ll be sampling Old Tom Gin in a pre-prohibition Income Tax Cocktail. After the tasting, stop by Greenlight Books across the street. Their comedy cavalcade starts at 7:30 pm!

Income Tax Cocktail

1 1/4 oz gin
3/4 oz orange juice
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz sweet vermouth
dash Angostura bitters

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for approximately 15 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass.

Greene GrapeOld Tom Gin Tasting
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Taste Valençay & Rosé

Tonight, Friday, April 9 from 5-7pm join the folks from Fort Cheese at the Brooklyn wine store as they taste Valençay goat cheese paired with Christian Lauverjat Sancerre Rosé 2009, both from the Loire Valley in France.

Valençay is a classic mold-ripened chevre with a distinctive pyramid shape. The texture is smooth and dense with notes of lemon and an all together clean flavor. A natural pair for Valençay is a sauvignon blanc but we think the minerality of the Lauverjat rosé provides some of the same complementary citrus notes that marry well with the cheese. Plus Valençay and rosé rhyme! Made from pinot noir grapes, Lauverjat Sancerre rosé’s pleasing peachy pink color and stony, refreshing palate make it a perennial wine store favorite.

Remember with any receipt from Provisions of $10 or more, you take 5% off your wine purchases!

Greene GrapeTaste Valençay & Rosé
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Sombra Mezcal Tasting

Join us tomorrow, Thursday, April 8 from 6-8pm in the Brooklyn wine store to sample Sombra Mezcal straight and in a Shady Margarita (recipe below). Remember, every Thursday in April you can sample a spirit and a cocktail at The Greene Grape!

Opening a bottle of Sombra Mezcal transported us Proust-madeleine-like to camping as a youth . . . our parents weren’t big cocktail drinkers but the smoky aroma of Sombra evokes the campfire smell that lingers after a night of toasting smores and hotdogs. Always an element in scotch whiskies, smoky flavor appears more and more in cocktails at establishments like Fort Greene’s own No. 7 Restaurant which currently features a spring cocktail combining mezcal, lime juice, maraschino liqueur and floral elements.

A natural pair to the flavors of barbeque, we’ve floated Sombra on a regular margarita, which gives the drink an additional earthy dimension. Of course mezcal marries well with tequila – both spirits derive from the piña, or heart of the agave cactus. The difference is that before distillation, the piñas for mezcal are roasted in rock pits, infusing the resulting spirit with essences of smoke.

Shady Margarita

1.5 oz Sombra Mezcal
.75 oz lime juice
.5 oz grapefruit juice
.75 oz agave nectar

Shake and strain over ice. Garnish with small grapefruit slice.

Greene GrapeSombra Mezcal Tasting
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Akiko’s Cookies

A japanese pastry chef, Akiko experiments with typical japanese flavors and ingredients in the more western cookie format. She calls these “sweets for adults” and it’s true, our kids didn’t much care for them. Which makes them the perfect cookie in our book – one a parent can eat alone, in silence. Though it is nice to share, it is also nice not to have to.

We’re most fond of the Kagoshima, made with green tea and shochu, a sweet potato vodka, because it is so unique – and makes a great tea break even if you don’t have time to make tea. The Aphrodite contains more traditional cookie flavors like chocolate and macadamia nuts. The cookies are individually wrapped in brown parchment paper and they can be rebaked in the oven in their individual wrappers for a fresh-baked treat.

Akiko will be in the store sampling the cookies from 2-4pm on Easter Sunday! Enjoy!

Greene GrapeAkiko’s Cookies
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Have with Ham, Have with Lamb

We hope you join us tonight, Friday April 2 from 5-8pm in both the Brooklyn & Manhattan wine stores to taste our annual staff picks for your Easter spread – a red, white and rose for ham and a red for lamb. Like lamb and ham, these wines are not just for Easter anymore.

Leth Gruner Veltliner 2008

Lean and balanced, this Austrian Gruner Veltliner is a versatile food wine that goes particularly well with ham and other pork dishes but is often overlooked in favor of our cheaper pop-top Gruners. Its minerality and subtle fruitiness will mingle nicely with the saltiness of the ham. This is a dry white, with flavors of white pepper and a hint of white flowers.

Chateau de Roquefort Corail Rosé 2009

We just got in the new vintage of this store favorite – the only rosé we carried through the winter. The bright strawberry and raspberry fruit of this Provençal rosé will provide a nice counterpoint to the saltiness of the ham while the lively acidity will quench your thirst and cleanse your palate of the fattiness of the meat, making you crave the next savory bite. The vineyards are located just over the ridge from the famed (and accordingly-priced) Bandol region.

Friedrich Becker Estate Pinot Noir 2007

A pure, juicy, elegant wine with taut balance, this is the perfect red wine to enjoy with ham. Unlike a bigger, more tannic red, this light-bodied wine with red fruit essences will harmonize with the dish rather than overwhelm it. Often overlooked because it is German, this is Mike’s favorite pinot at this price.

Paul Autard Cotes-du-Rhône 2008

Bored with Bordeaux? Though the standard pair for lamb is Bordeaux, this year Mike recommends a Côtes-du-Rhone – and in particular our Paul Autard 2008. Grenache provides structure and body and Syrah gives an earthy undertone that will complement flavorful, rich lamb meat. You’ll find plum, cherry, and lavender supported by very firm tannins. This is a big wine.

Manhattan will be tasting Stift Goettwigg Messwein 2008, Fleur de California Vin Gris 2009, Friedrich Becker Estate Pinot Noir 2007 & Chateau Haut Lignieres Le 1er Faugeres 2007.

Greene GrapeHave with Ham, Have with Lamb
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Taste McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix & Tito’s Vodka Thursday

Join us for a spirit tasting every Thursday in April from 6-8pm in the Brooklyn wine store. For our first event, April 1, we’re cracking open some jars of spicy Bloody Mary Mix from local pickler McClure’s and mixing it with Tito’s Vodka. Perfect for Easter brunches, McClure’s mixes spicy pickle brine with tomato paste, tomato juice, cucumber juice and spices to create a unique vegetable juice great even on its own.

McClure’s pickles and the mix are available at Provisions. The pickles are across from the cheese counter and the bloody mary mix is in with the juices and cocktail necessities across from the cold beverage case.

The rest of the cocktail schedule is:

Thursday April 8 – Sombra Mezcal

Thursday April 15 – Ransom ‘Old Tom’ Gin

Thursday April 22 – Canton Ginger Liqueur

Thursday April 29 – Pitu Cachaca

Greene GrapeTaste McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix & Tito’s Vodka Thursday
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Easter Egg Hunt in Fort Greene Park

Hop on over to Fort Greene Park with your little ones on Saturday, March 27 for an Easter egg hunt! Organized by Parents Around the Hill and co-sponsored by the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, this community event is free and features a guest appearance by the Easter bunny, crafts for kids, an Easter parade and more! Festivities start at 11 am. To participate in the hunt, there is a suggested donation of ten filled plastic eggs per child. Details on where to drop off eggs and guidelines for egg content can be found here. In case of rain, the event will be postponed until Saturday, April 3.

Greene GrapeEaster Egg Hunt in Fort Greene Park
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Thursday Cocktail Series in April

They say April showers bring May flowers. And if you spend your rainy April Thursdays attending our cocktail demonstrations, you may see your mixology skills bloom just in time for summer. Every Thursday in April from 6-8pm, the Brooklyn wine store will have a different spirit expert on hand to teach you how to make cocktails at home. So come sip ‘n’ study. The events are FREE.

April 1 – Titos Vodka & McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix – Try a vodka made in Texas, taste the new bloody mary mix from famed pickle maker McClure’s (available at Provisions) and put some drawl in your Cosmopawlitan

April 8 – Sombra Mezcal – This smoky spirit takes your tastebuds a step up from tequila. Try it straight and learn how to make your margarita a Margarita 2.0.

April 15 – Ransom ‘Old Tom’ Gin – What better day to learn how to make an Income Tax Cocktail? Gin is crucial for summer slings, fizzes, rickeys and sours. Old Tom is sweeter than the London dry style and drier than the Holland style which is why it is known as the ‘missing link’ of gins.

April 22 – Canton Ginger Liqueur – Honestly we’ve never had a cocktail that couldn’t be made better with a bit of Canton added. For May’s Sakura Festival, you can serve it in ginger cherry blossom cocktails but it also spices up classic mojitos or margaritas.

April 29 – Pitu Cachaca – Muddle through mixing caipirinhas with a classic cachaca.

Greene GrapeThursday Cocktail Series in April
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First Goat Cheese of Spring

We’re thrilled to have some rounds of the first goat cheese of the season from Blue Ledge Farms in Vermont. Join us on Wednesday, March 17 from 5-7pm at the Brooklyn wine store to sample this cheese along with Valencay, a french goat cheese, both paired with our Sauvignon Blanc from Yellow + Blue wines. The wine will be poured by the founder of Yellow + Blue, Matthew Cain!

Goats naturally produce milk after they kid in February, which means that one of the first harbingers of spring for us is the first arrival of these fresh goat cheeses. Lake’s Edge is mold-ripened goat’s milk cheese, aged three weeks in a 1.5+ lb wheel. This cheese is wonderfully tart and creamy. We’re especially thrilled to taste it paired with wine as it was named one of “100 Best” Cheeses by Wine Spectator magazine in 2008.

Greene GrapeFirst Goat Cheese of Spring
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Italian Wine Tasting Tonight 6-8pm!

Come try two Italian wines from the Malvira vineyards and meet the winemaker tonight from 6-8pm in the Brooklyn wine store.

The name Malvira translates roughly to ”facing the wrong way.” Rather than sloping to the south and therefore getting the most sun exposure throughout the day, the original vineyards of the winery sloped north. Today the winery, which was founded in the 1950’s by Guiseppe Damonte, has corrected the problem and has a number of vineyards facing the more desirable southerly direction. The winery is still in the Damonte family, with Guiseppe’s two sons involved in the day-to-day viticulture and vinification.

Malvira’s Langhe Nebbiolo plays the baby brother to the traditional Barolos and Barbarescos in the area. It is an austere, serious red wine with violets and tobacco on the nose. The palate is medium to full-bodied with gripping tannins and dark fruit and spice.

The white, an Arneis from Roero, is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve the grapes’ fresh and fruity style. Citrus can be found on the nose and apples and fresh lemon is prevalent on the palate. Enjoy this with lighter dishes like chicken and seafood or younger cheeses.

Purchase Online:
Malvira Langhe Nebbiolo 2002 (Brooklyn)
Malvira Roero Arneis 2007 (Brooklyn)

Greene GrapeItalian Wine Tasting Tonight 6-8pm!
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