Monthly Archives: March 2012

Friday’s Feature Cocktails: Margarita Madness!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the Margarita has morphed itself into a fun, flavorful and versatile cocktail, capable of taking on a variety of different flavor profiles. While Hiram Walker’s consumer cocktail contest, The Quest, marches forward with its “Margarita Madness” competition, I thought it appropriate to provide a few more Margarita recipes that may be the muse for your own unique cocktail creation. These recipes, and many more, can be found on Hiram Walker’s website:


  • 1½ parts Premium Tequila
  • 1 part Hiram Walker® Mango Schnapps
  • ¼ part Hiram Walker® Triple Sec
  • ½ part Lime Juice

Shake or blend with ice into salt-rimmed margarita glass.


  • 1½ parts Premium Tequila
  • 1 part Hiram Walker® Peach Schnapps
  • ¼ part Hiram Walker® Triple Sec
  • ½ part Lime Juice

Shake or blend with ice into salt-rimmed margarita glass.

If you are 21 years and older and would like to enter for a chance to win an Apple iPad®*, we encourage you to visit Hiram Walker on the web at or and upload a recipe to the Margarita Madness competition by May 5, 2012 (otherwise known as the greatest Margarita holiday of the year!). No purchase necessary. The official rules and regulations can be found on the Hiram Walker website and Facebook Fan Page.


** This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook® or Apple, Inc.®.

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Welcome Spring With Margaritas!

Hiram Walker seeks out creative twists and flavors to the traditional Margarita - such as this Watermelon Margarita - in this chapter of "The Quest - Margarita Madness".

Spring has officially sprung and with it comes the reemergence of Margaritas on bar and restaurant drink menus. The Margarita continues to stack up as the most popular cocktail ordered in the US and is served in a variety of styles, flavors, sizes and glassware.

In its search to find the country’s* greatest cocktail creations, Hiram Walker’s third chapter through “The Quest” focuses on Margaritas and invites consumers to submit their own original Margarita recipe for a chance to win an Apple iPad®**.

Using a wide selection of the brand’s liqueurs and schnapps, entries to Hiram Walker’s “Margarita Madness” are being accepted now through one of the biggest Margarita holidays of the year, May 5 or Cinco de Mayo. Consumers will be invited to create fun and flavorful Margarita recipes that feature at least one of the following all-natural ingredients: Hiram Walker® Triple Sec, Hiram Walker® Peach Schnapps, Hiram Walker® Pomegranate Schnapps, Hiram Walker® Sour Apple Schnapps, Hiram Walker® Blue Curacao and the all new Hiram Walker® Watermelon Schnapps.  A panel of independent judges will select a winner from all valid entries in accordance with the judging criteria.

To enter the competition, consumers 21 and older can visit Hiram Walker on the web at or and upload a recipe to the Margarita Madness competition by May 5, 2012. No purchase necessary. The official rules and regulations can be found on the Hiram Walker website and Facebook Fan Page.

So let the madness begin and submit your recipe before its too late!


*Contest is not open to residents of California and Utah
** This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook® or Apple, Inc.®.


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Wine Blogging Wednesday #75: Single Vineyard: Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling

The Jacob's Creek Steingarten Riesling signFor Wine Blogging Wednesday #75, Single Vineyard wines, I wanted to write a special post that I haven’t yet had the chance to write, despite the fact I am writing of an experience that occurred nearly two years ago. Truth is, I’d had tasted the Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling a few times before, but on this particular day the wine was elevated in my mind in a way few others have managed. That is, of course, because I was sipping this Riesling as I was overlooking the Barossa Valley atop a special platform in the Steingarten Vineyard.

Me having a glass of Steingarten Riesling in the vineyard

At the time I was just 23 years old with under a full year of experience in the wine business and had little to no opportunity to visit any wine regions. Luckily, I’m an opportunist. I was already planning a trip to visit my boyfriend, Geoff, who was studying in Australia at the time and decided to peg on a few extra days to explore wine country. After all, if you’re going to fly half way around the world, you might as well do everything you can, right? In full disclosure, Jacob’s Creek was then and is now a client of ours, but that make the trip even more compelling.

Geoff and I were scooped up from Adelaide the morning of April 28, 2010 by our guide who drove us to Jacob’s Creek. On the way we passed several kangaroos, a few emu, and hundreds of vines. The views were absolutely breathtaking and unfortunately neither pictures nor words do them any justice…but I’ve included a couple in this post just in case. We had no idea where we were going, really, and I can’t tell you how long it took to get there, but I assure you it was worth the drive.

Me with the famous Jacob's Creek sign

One of our our first stops was the Steingarten vineyard which is nestled on a windy hillside within the valley. Our guide explained that Jacob’s Creek likes to bring visitors up there because you can see much of the Barossa Valley and to show the influence the cooling winds and the elevation have on the climate. We touched the soils, took some pictures, and then the real treat came. From his truck, James pulled out a bottle of Steingarten Riesling. He explained it’s a special thing they do for VIP visitors (first time anyone called me a VIP) and it was necessary we have a glass. No matter it was 10am, we happily obliged.

I have long since lost my tasting notes, what with two apartment changes across states since then, but I still remember it well. The Steingarten Riesling was dry and highly acidic bursting with floral notes and lime with an underlying minerality and delicate stone fruits…Despite the intense winds and rather chilly atmosphere, I could have stayed up there, drinking that glass of Riesling for hours if they let me… I might have even stayed the night (though I might need a kangaroo to keep me company.)

Rolling hills of the Barossa Valley

I am happy to say that, today, we are still working with Jacob’s Creek. It’s amazing how such a traditional wine brand in Australia can be so progressive at the

same time. Of course, it is also for this reason that they are still one of the best-known, and largest quality wine brands in the country.Over the past few years, I have had many, many outstanding Rieslings from all over the world and many have become permanent fixtures on my wine rack, but, unlike most, the Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling will always hold a special place in my heart.

A little about the wine from the winery:

 “Jacob’s Creek Steingarten is the iconic super-premium ‘dry’ Riesling produced under the Jacob’s Creek label. The grapes are harvested from older Riesling blocks within the high altitude Barossa Ranges. These prized Riesling vineyards are of Easterly aspect, being protected from the afternoon sun by the surrounding hills and ranges. Soils are shallow over predominately fractured shale or schist rock, driving the classic minerally flavour of this wine. The Steingarten vineyard itself is a ‘unique’ Riesling vineyard in Australia. It is carefully managed using traditional, labour-intensive techniques to give maximum regional and varietal expression.”

Cheers, mate!


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St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails – The Shooters!

If you’ve lasted this long into St. Patrick’s Day and are still looking for recipes, well, congratulations to you! In honor of your commitment to celebrating the holiday with a delicious cocktail or two, here are a few last recipes for finishing off  the day. These shooter recipes are great to share among friends, so be sure to multiply the recipe ratio to have enough to go around.

Peach Toast:

  • 1 part Jameson® Irish Whiskey
  • 1 1/2 parts Hiram Walker® Peach Schnapps
  • 5 parts Cranberry Juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake and strain into shot glasses. Serve each with a lime wedge.

Irish Spy:
 Stir with ice and serve as a shot.
Here’s to one more “Slainte”!

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St. Patrick’s Day cocktails – Round 2

Nobody said it was easy being green. So why resort to food coloring to accessorize your St. Patrick’s Day cocktails? Here are a few other suggestions for St. Paddy’s drinks of a different color. Enjoy!

Jameson Irish Apple (pictured):
1 part Jameson® Irish Whiskey
1 part Hiram Walker® Sour Apple Schnapps
3 parts Cranberry Juice

Combine ingredients in a glass with ice. Garnish with an apple slice.


Red Dawn:
1 ½ oz. Jameson® Irish Whiskey
1 ¼ oz. fresh strawberry puree
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. Agave nectar
3 mint leaves

In a tall mixing glass place two mint leaves.  Add Jameson, strawberry puree, lemon juice and agave nectar.  Add ice and shake vigorously.  Strain into a pre-chilled martini glass and garnish with a single mint leaf.


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St. Patrick’s Day cocktails – Round 1

Set the green beer aside! The Irish Apple Sour is a great St. Patrick's Day cocktail, complete with Jameson Irish Whiskey, Hiram Walker Sour Apple and Ginger Ale.

The old adage goes that everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. I say that is even more when a Jameson beverage is in hand! Here are some great recipes from Jameson and Hiram Walker that will help swing your St. Paddy’s celebration into full motion. I’d love for you to share your favorite St. Patrick’s Day cocktail recipes with me, too, by leaving a message in the comments below.

Irish Apple Sour (pictured above)

1 part Jameson® Irish Whisky
1½ parts Hiram Walker® Sour Apple Schnapps
5 parts Ginger Ale

Serve over ice in tall glass, garnish with lemon wedge.

Irish Applesauce
1 1/2 parts Jameson® Irish Whiskey
1/2 part Hiram Walker® Caramel Apple Liqueur
1/2 part Ginger Liqueur
Squeeze fresh lemon juice

Build over ice in a rocks glass. Squeeze lemon and drop fruit into the drink.

Irish Rover

1 ½ oz. Jameson®
1 ½ oz. POMWonderful® Pomegranate Juice
½ oz. fresh grapefruit juice
¼ oz. fresh lime juice
1/8 oz. honey syrup
Grapefruit twist
In a tall mixing glass combine Jameson with POM, grapefruit juice, lime juice and honey.  Add ice and shake vigorously.  Strain into a pre-chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a wide grapefruit twist.
Look back to Cocktail Culture for more recipes as we continue the countdown to St. Patrick’s Day 2012!

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How to Celebrate Pi Day

Today’s cocktail is brought to you by the number Pi. Which makes me think of pie. That subsequently gets me on the path to Key Lime Pie. And now here I am bringing out a Key Lime Pie inspired cocktail.

Key Lime Pie Martini: 

  • 1 part Hiram Walker® Melon Liqueur
  • 2 parts ABSOLUT Vanilia® Vodka
  • Splash Hiram Walker® Amaretto
  • 1 part Lime Juice
  • 2 parts Cream

Add ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime.

To quickly summarize so you can get back to celebrating with a tasty key lime beverage, I say unto you in the styling of the sagacious “Most Interesting Man in the World”:  I don’t always drink pie, brownie, cake or other dessert-inspired cocktails. But when I do, I prefer Key Lime Pie cocktails. (Okay, okay – or chocolate cake shots!)


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In The News Today…

In case you hadn’t read, there’s been two big stories plaguing media today and – gosh darnit! – neither had to do with cocktails. Yes, I know, insert wailing trombone sound…

But who says we can’t turn these big media stories into a reason for a toast. Here are my suggestions:

Colts Split With Peyton Manning

Poor guy had an sentimental press conference this morning in response to breaking news that the star quarterback and Colts management decided to part ways before owed a $28 million bonus. It’s only a matter of time before Manning

Blue Day cocktail featuring ABSOLUT Vodka and Hiram Walker Blue Curacao

resigns with another NFL franchise but, in the interim, here’s a cocktail called the Blue Day which shares the same cobalt color as the Colts jersey we’ve been accustomed to seeing him wear.

Blue Day (From the AbsolutDrinks database):

  • 1 part Hiram Walker Blue Curacao
  • 2 parts ABSOLUT Vodka

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Apple Shares iPad Details

In other news, Apple, Inc. today unveiled details of the new iPad slated to launch in the US next Friday. The iPad’s sleek new design is certainly eye catching and tech geeks alike will swoon over new features such as the ability to connect to the Internet on 4G broadband networks, among many others. Instead of shelling out $600+ on the latest Apple gadget,

Highland Harvest featuring The Glenlivet and Hiram Walker Caramel Apple Liqueur

here’s a useful Hiram Walker bottle for $9.99 – Caramel Apple Liqueur. My favorite drink to make with relatively new liqueur (been available since September) has to be the following, the Highland Harvest:

Highland Harvest(Created by Tobin Ellis):

  • 2 parts THE GLENLIVET Scotch Whisky
  • 1/2 part HIRAM WALKER Caramel Apple Liqueur
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Build in a rocks glass with a large ice cube.

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