Monday, June 30, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Germany vs. Algeria

Monkey 47 Gin Martini vs. Tango Beer

Today's match between Germany and Algeria has a lot of historical weight to it, if only from the Algerian side. For more on that read this NY Times article.

For Germany, it's time to move on from beer. Another import I brought back from Paris on my most recent trip (just before it started being imported into the US) was Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin. It's a little expensive, but really tasty. From the Black Forest, it apparently has 47 botanicals and it tastes super clean, fresh, floral, citrusy and grassy. When drinking something this expensive, best to go simple: a martini.

Tango is brewed in Algeria, but was acquired by Heineken in 2008. They produce a few beers: Bière Blonde, Gold, Samba. The Blonde is a pale ale that is golden in color with a slight bitterness. Sounds like something drinkable, but not fascinating.

Drink the World Cup | France vs. Nigeria

Suze Cocktail Photo Credit: Robin Dorian

Suze vs. Peanut Punch

There are so many spirits and liqueurs made in France, I love that they are still in the World Cup. Until 2012, if you wanted a bottle of Suze in the US, you needed to hand import it (meaning buy a bottle in France and bring it back with you). It's a another gentian-based liqueur that is yellow in color and lovely on its own and in cocktails. Back in March, after bring a bottle back from France (it's super cheap in Duty Free), I made a couple of cocktails with Suze:  a White Negroni and Suze & Tonic.

Nigeria is an exporter of ground peanuts (for what use I did not further research), but there is a drink made in the Caribbean called Peanut Punch. It's a non-alcoholic punch made with peanut butter, milk, and condensed milk as a base with other ingredients possibly added, including: vanilla extract, banana, nutmeg, honey, or even granola. My thought was to add Kahlua or rum to further jazz it up. Here's a recipe for the non-alcoholic version.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Costa Rica vs. Greece

Refresco vs. Metaxa

A refresco is a Costa Rican fruit smoothie or shake made with milk or water and tropical fruits such as papaya, pineapple, mango, guava, passionfruit, guanábana (soursop).

Greece just made it through the group stage after beating Ivory Coast in the last minute with a penalty. I've done retsina, red wine and ouzo so far, so what's next? Metaxa, that's what. It's a Greek brown spirit first created in 1888. It starts out like a brandy; it's made from a range of distillates from dry white wines and aged in oak casts. It's then blended and a sweet Greek muscat wine is added along with herb and floral extracts, including rose petals. This is then further aged in barrel. It's deep brown in color that's smooth with herbal, floral notes. A Metaxa Side Car sounds pretty good with 3 parts Metaxa, 1 part Cointreau, 1 part lemon juice, 2 parts orange juice, shaken with ice, strained into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnished with an orange twist.

Drink the World Cup | Netherlands vs. Mexico

Dutch Blood & Sand vs. Michelada

The Dutch Blood & Sand is going to be the Netherlands drink today. Usually made with Scotch, this version of the Blood & Sand uses Genever instead to create a lighter style of the cocktail. 1oz. Bols Genever, 0.75oz. Martini Rosso, 0.75oz. Cherry Heering Liqueur, 0.75oz. freshly squeezed orange juice should be shaken with ice, strained into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnished with a twist of orange peel. Recipe from Difford's Guide.

The Michelada is a Mexican drink made with beer, lime juice, hot sauce, and spices and peppers. The perfect hangover with a brightness, saltiness and a kick. The simple version is made by adding hot sauce, fresh lime juice, Worcestershire sauce in the bottom of a beer glass that has been rimmed with salt and chili powder, with your favorite Mexican beer poured into the glass, and garnished with a lime wedge. Stir and enjoy. Additional ingredients could include clamato or tomato juice, celery salt, or even the Sal de Gusano, a Oaxacan spicy salt.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Colombia vs. Uruguay

Aguardiente Sour vs. Patricia Red Lager

I'm back to exploring Aguardiente (a sugar cane liquor) from Colombia in this match up with the Aguardiente Sour. Add 6oz. Colombian Aguardiente, 2oz. lime juice, 4oz. orange juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 egg white into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until frothy and strain over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel. [Get the recipe.]

Uruguay without Luis Suarez has been sent home and Uruguay could be in trouble. Every nation seems to produce a beer and Uruguay is no different. Patricia produces a range of beers: lager, red lager, porter, dunkel, weisse. The red lager is a amber beer with some toasty, malty notes.

Drink the World Cup | Brazil vs. Chile

The elimination stage of the World Cup is upon us and there are no ties to be had anymore. This is where overtime and penalty shootouts come into play.

This is the first time I can going to combine countries into one drink. Bartender Hunter Orahood of Marlton House created the Marvelous Sour for Avuá Cachaça. Using cachaça instead of pisco (which is produced in both Chile and Peru). The Marvelous Sour is made with 2oz. Avuá Cachaça Amburana, 0.75oz. lemon juice, 0.5oz. rich simple syrup, 1 egg white which is all shaken together vigorously, strained into a chilled cocktail coupe, and garnished with Angostura bitters and grated cinnamon.

Drink the World Cup | Algeria vs. Russia

One of Algeria's oldest companies is a soft drink producer called Hamoud Boualem and founded in 1878 in Algiers. They make a range of sodas including Selecto, Hamoud, and Slim. It's been called the Algeria cola. Sounds like it might go well with rum.

I just ate and drank at Bacchanal, a new restaurant / bar on Bowery in NYC and they have a dessert section of cocktails created by Naren Young. It's a fun section. They have a White Russian on the menu and since Russia might be on the way out, this could be it. He makes it with Russian vodka, Galliano Ristretto, vanilla, spiced tincture, and chocolate cream. Much better than eating dessert... drink it.

Drink the World Cup | Korea vs. Belgium

This should be a great final match up of the group and looks like Belgium is moving on and Korea isn't.

One of the largest beer producers in Korea is OB and you'll find it in many Korean restaurants in the US. OB or Oriental Brewery is a South Korean brewery that has changed ownership a few times (from InBev to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and back to InBev). It is brewed using rice rather than malted barley. It's a pale lager that has citrus notes and is mildly bitter. Perfect with Korean BBQ.

Belgium might be my new favorite team in the World Cup, especially since England faired so poorly. Buss No. 509 is a distiller based in Antwerp that makes gin with fresh fruits like raspberry and pink grapefruit. Another good way to enhance a gin and tonic with more flavors.

Drink the World Cup | Portugal vs. Ghana

Vinho Verde is a classic Portuguese crisp, dry white wine which literally means to "green wine," but translates to "young wine." You'll notice a slight spritz to the wine which adds to its refreshing nature. They can be traditionally very good values. Perfect on a summer afternoon.

Takai is a cocoa, coffee, honey liqueur made in Ghana that is consumed as a digestif.  The name comes from a traditional dance and music of the Dagbamba/Dagomba people of Northern Ghana.

Drink the World Cup | USA vs. Germany

Budweiser vs. Spaten

Such a big game for the US team. Nothing unique or artisanal about this pick: Budweiser. The old classic and best enjoyed when it is well chilled.

I already picked a beer for a previous game, but I wanted to have a beer vs. beer match. Spaten is made in a brewery in Munich, Bavaria by the Spaten-Löwenbräu-Gruppe which is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev. The lager is a classic style lager.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Ecuador vs. France

Canelazo (Photo Credit: Pau García Solbes, Flickr)

Canelazo is a hot spiced alcohol drink consumed in the Ecuadorian Andes. It's made from aguardiente, a sugar cane spirit, sugar, and water boiled with cinnamon. It's usually drunk during evening festivals when it's cold outside. Basically bring some water to boil in a pot with cinnamon sticks and sugar and simmer for 30 minutes (traditionally). Then add aguardiente and serve. Find a more detailed recipe here.

One of my favorite French liqueurs is Chartreuse, but it can be a little expensive. In the last year, unique spirit importers Haus Alpenz started bringing in Dolin Genepy des Alpes. It's similar in taste to green Chartreuse -- not surprising since Genepy is known as the primary alpine herb used in Chartreuse. It's very herbaceous in nature with a little sweetness to balance the bitter. The best way to taste and enjoy is in a glass with a nice chunk of ice, but it works well in cocktails as well.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Honduras vs. Switzerland

One of the major exports of Honduras is bananas. Banana cocktails are not my favorite and this cocktail sounds pretty bad. The Banana Blue cocktail contains 0.5oz vodka, 0.75oz creme de bananas liqueur, 0.5oz blue curaçao, 2oz orange juice. It's a multi-colored nightmare looking drink and I am sure it tastes just as bad as it looks.

In the town of Appenzell in Switzerland, at the foot of the Alpstein massif, Appenzeller beer is produced. The brewery was bought by the Locher family in 1886 and is the last remaining brewery in the Appenzell. They produce a range of beers including pale lagers.

Drink the World Cup | Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran

A local, traditional Balkan malt drink is Boza. It's made with fermented wheat or millet and is thick and smooth with a slight acidic, sweet and milky taste.

I'm going non-alcoholic for Iran with Persian tea. It is usually enjoyed in the morning, after a meal, and throughout the day. Persian tea is a combination of rose petals and loose leaf tea that is steeped together, creating a deep dark tea. Find out how to brew Persian tea.

Drink the World Cup | Nigeria vs. Argentina

At one time, Nigeria was a significant producer of coconuts. Using that as a starting point, I'm not about to suggest a drink with Malibu (although I was known to enjoy this a bit in college), but I did find a cocktail recipe on Imbibe magazine using both coconut milk and cachaça that seemed ideal to celebrate the World Cup. The cocktail is called the Coconut Batidinha and was created by Ana Luiza Trajano of Brazil a Gosto in São Paulo, Brazil. It's made with 2oz cachaça, 2oz fresh coconut milk, 1 1/3oz condensed milk, which is shaken over ice, strained into a glass with either ice cubes or crushed ice, and garnished with a mint leaf. An optional flourish is to rim the glass with fresh coconut shavings.

One of the more popular drinks in Argentina is actually more Italian based and sounds a little weird. Fernet Branca amaro is hugely popular in Argentina and it's often mixed with Coke, to the extent that if you order a Fernet at a bar, it will most likely come with Coke.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Greece vs. Côte d'Ivoire

Yep, I'm going there... Retsina. That pine resin shit wine that is on every Greek restaurant wine list in the country, that no one orders. There are much better wines to drink that this, but Greece might be heading home, so here it is. Retsina is white wine flavored with pine resin. Originally, over 2,000 years ago, the pine resin was used to prevent the wine from spoiling. It's an age old local delicacy.

Côte d'Ivoire is a hard one. I pulled something together for their second match, but now I really have to work at it. Another crop that is grown and exported from the Ivory Coast is coffee. In research for this, I found the Anthora Pilsner cocktail by Leo Robitschek of Eleven Madison Park and the Nomad. It's 0.5oz of cane syrup (simple syrup made with demerara sugar), 0.75oz fresh lemon juice, 0.75oz cold brewed coffee, 0.5oz aquavit, 0.75oz Pune e Mes vermouth, 0.25oz Averna stirred, strained into a glass with crushed ice, and garnished with a mint sprig and a grapefruit twist.

Drink the World Cup | Japan vs. Colombia

There is one really obvious drink left for Japan that I haven't used yet -- and that is sake. I am going to take a tip from sake sommelier Toshi Koizumi of Wasan in the East Village. One of the more inexpensive sakes he recommends is Mizubasho Ginjo Sake. "It’s clean, pure, and smooth with aromas of green apple and hay."

For Colombia, I just read about the drink called Refajo, which is made with beer and a Colombian soda called Colombiana (which tastes like a cream soda). It is supposed to be a refreshing drink that sounds pretty good on a hot afternoon, sort of like an English shandy. It's basically two parts beer to one part soda with an option to add Aguardiente (the local liquor) to make it more alcoholic.

Drink the World Cup | Italy vs. Uruguay

A huge match for both Italy and Uruguay this morning to determine who goes through to the next round.

This might be my last chance to post about some Italian wine, so here goes. I'm thinking it's time for a Barbaresco. A classic producer is Produttori del Barbaresco and in 2010 all the wine from the separate vineyard crus was included in the basic bottling, which made it both delicious and a steal. I love this wine and this producer. Perfect with a pasta, risotto, steak, chicken. Give it a little decant and you are off to the races.

Grappamiel from Uruguay is what happens when you add honey into the process of making grappa and after that other flavors are also added (including chocolate, almond, chamomile).

Drink the World Cup | Costa Rica vs. England

As an England fan, it's sad to see them leave the tournament so early. Hopefully they'll put on a good show in their last match against Costa Rica.

I've done the Pimm's Cup, a beer, what's next? I can't finish on a good old cup of tea. Another English classic though is cider. Sheppy's Farmhouse Cider is from Taunton in Somerset, which is a traditional cider making county. Their Somerset Draught Cider is a dry, crisp, fruit cider. It can be a perfect pairing for cheese. In this case, I'm thinking a hunk of English cheddar.

I've been on a rum kick of late and Ron Centenario is from Costa Rica. The eastern edge of Costa Rica is on the Caribbean Sea, so rum from Costa Rica is not that crazy of an idea. The Planter's Punch comes to mind, which is made with dark rum, lime juice, and grenadine syrup and a splash of soda water, then garnished with an orange slice, lime slice and a maraschino cherry.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Cameroon vs. Brazil

Devassa is a local Rio beer with each brew named after a woman's hair color: brunette, blonde, redhead, dark haired. Gulp down a few of these while watching Brazil try and win their group against Cameroon.

One of the crops produced in Cameroon is tobacco and what springs to mind with that is bartender Paul Tvaroh's Old Castro cocktail made with Cuban cigar-infused rum poured from a cigar tube, Madagascar vanilla and orange bitters served over vanilla candy floss. It's similar to a rum Old Fashioned. One alternative would be to make a rum Old Fashioned using a Cuban rum like Havana Club with demerara syrup with orange and Angostura bitters and use a home smoke gun to add some cigar type smoke to the drink.

Drink the World Cup | Croatia vs. Mexico

The Croatia Mexico game is a big game - it'll determine who is going through probably against Brazil. Hoping for a spiritous game, I'm going with some liquors for this match.

It's Rakia again for Croatia, but this time in a cocktail. The Cocktail Geek answers the question of what to do with the bottle of Rakia you pick up on vacation when you buy a souvenir for yourself. His recipe for The Herbs and the Bees cocktail is 50ml honey and lavender Rakia, 20ml lemon juice, two dash Dr Elmegirab Spanish bitters, small sprig of lemon thyme. Muddle lemon thyme in base of shaker and add rest of ingredients. Shake with ice and fine strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with lemon thyme.

I could have gone with a beer for Mexico, which I haven't done yet with Mexico. If they make it through, that maybe next. There'll be so much tension for this game, another agave spirit is needed. Not tequila, not mezcal, but something a little more obscure, called Sotol. Hacienda De Chihuahua Sotol Reposado is aged for 6 months in new white oak barrels is made from wild harvested Sotol agave. Try this neat with a lime on side dipped in Sal de Gusano, a Oaxacan spicy salt blended with desiccated caterpillar, a larvae that feeds on agave plants.

Drink the World Cup | Australia vs. Spain

Looks like both Australia and Spain are headed home, so how to send them off?

Australian wine made a huge impact on the wine scene back in the day with all those annoying animal labels, but they are the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world. I can't remember the last time that I had Australian wine, so I went to a couple of my favorite wine stores to check what they had to offer. At both Chambers Street Wines and Frankly Wines they are selling the Small Fry Joven Barossa Valley 2013 which is a blend of tempranillo, grenache and monastrel. "Red fruits, a bit of spice, a hint of autumn leaf/camp fire spice," is how Frankly Wines describes it.

Casa Mariol Vermut Negre | Photo Credit: Nick C. Bumstead

It's hard to see the last World Cup winners head out so early, but they just looked tired. Maybe they should have had some Spanish vermut (vermouth) to put a little spring in their step. There are a couple of sweet vermouths I have enjoyed from Spain: Casa Mariol Vermut Negre and Atxa Vino Vermouth Rojo. Drink on the rocks and with a twist of lemon. Just perfect on their own to start an evening. The Vermut Negre is made from indigenous Catalan Macabeo grapes and is macerated with local wild herbs, nuts and spices. The Atxa is made from a blend of a neutral wine and alcohol macerated with a selection of traditional botanicals including wormwood, gentian, and cherry.

Drink the World Cup | Netherlands vs. Chile

Advocaat is a traditional Dutch liqueur made from eggs, sugar and brandy that is similar to eggnog. The Snowball is a cocktail using Advocaat (2oz) with 0.25oz of fresh lime juice shaken and strained into a collins glass over ice and topped up with lemon-lime soda or just soda water for a less sweet version.

Time to go back to pisco for the drink representing Chile. This time it's the Pisco Punch made with 2oz Chilean pisco, 3/4oz fresh lemon juice, 3/4oz pineappple gomme syrup, garnished with 1 pineapple wedge. Shake ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with the pineapple wedge.

Drink the World Cup | USA vs. Portugal

This will be a nail biter. Both teams really want the win. This match up sees another wine vs. wine combination.

I have been really enjoying a variety of Californian wine in the last few years from some fantastic producers. One of the early one's a few years ago that really opened by eyes was Matthiasson wines. A couple of my favorites are the Matthiasson Ribolla Gialla and the rosé which is made from Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre, and Counoise from the Windmill vineyard in the Dunnigan Hills, and Syrah grapes from the Kahn Vineyard in Lovell Valley.

For Portugal, it might be a bit too warm out to think about Port, but one of my favorites are the wines from Quinta do Infantado. They are one of the few port producers that produce their own grapes. In addition to the Ruby, Tawny, Reserva, LBV, and vintage, they also produce an interesting white port which has a nutty character and when chilled works well as an aperitif.

Drink the World Cup | Korea vs. Algeria

Wine vs. Wine.

Bokbunja Ju is a Korean fruit wine made from Korean black raspberries. It is a deep, dark red color with some sweetness. It's more dessert wine than red wine.

Wine is also produced in Algeria. There is actually a large amount of acreage under vine, but when you think that Algeria was occupied by the French, it may not be that surprising.

Drink the World Cup | Belgium vs. Russia

Jenever or genever is said to have been first produced in Bruges, Flanders and was originally created by distilling malt wine with herbs added to mask the less than palatable flavors. Diep 9 is a Belgian Genever that is imported into the US. A Genever Collins could be an ideal way to have a fresh, clean cocktail and still have some of the Genever essence. Add 1.5oz genever, 1oz lemon juice, 1/2oz simple syrup over ice in a collins glass. Top up with soda and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Having gotten the vodka out of the way, what else to drink from Russia? Beer. Klinskoye Svetloe is a crisp, hoppy beer that is brewed with rice to remove some of the bitter flavors.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina

One of Nigeria's most popular drinks is a home brew called Ogogoro or Ogog'. It is distilled from the juice of Raffia palm trees. This is not really a safe drink though. Most have a high concentration of ethanol (30 to 60%). Supposedly hundreds of people a year die from this drink.

Blatina is a red wine grape variety from Herzegovina. The resulting wine is spicey with chocolate flavors.

Drink the World Cup | Germany vs. Ghana

I expect Germany to get through the group stage, but I would be remiss if I did put up a riesling for Germany. I always love the wines of Karthäuserhof estate on the Ruwer. They produce a range of rieslings from dry to sweet, but I love the Kabinetts which are bright, fresh with a slight sweetness. Just lovely with some spicy Asian food.

Pito is a Ghanian beer brewed in the Northern region made from fermented millet or sorghum. It's made by small producers - small, meaning households.

Drink the World Cup | Argentina vs. Iran

Saturday lunchtime is the ideal time for a beer and watching this game means trying the Argentinian cerveza Quilmes. The brewery was founded in 1888 in the town of Quilmes by a German immigrant. They have also sponsored the Argentinian football team, so it seems appropriate to drink it during this game.

Doogh is a Persian savory yogurt-based beverage that is sometimes carbonated and also seasoned with mint. It's name derives from the Persian word for milking.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Honduras vs. Ecuador

Popular in Honduras' Caribbean islands is a drink called Giffity, also known as Garifuna Gaffity. As a lot of local brews /spirits are, it packs a punch. It's a liqueur made from a blend of herbs and spices.

Fortunately this next Ecuadorian beverage is not available outside Ecuador. Chicha is a fermented local drink made from corn, rice, or yucca and the fermentation is often kicked off by someone chewing the ingredients first.

Drink the World Cup | Switzerland vs. France

One of the most loved soft drinks in Switzerland is Rivella that is made from milk whey, but apparently tastes just like Sprite. So they've done a good marketing an unhealthy soda as semi-healthy.

Staying in the French aperitif theme, I love gentiane aperitifs that have made their way into the US market thanks to importers like Haus  Alpenz. Give Bonal a try. This is a classic aperitif wine created in 1865 by a monk/doctor, brother Raphael, whose real name was Hippolyte Bonal. It's a specific type of aperitif wine called quinquina, called so, because it’s infused with extract of chinchona bark. Cinchinoa bark is the primary source of quinine and is the predominant taste component in tonic water. Try it neat or with a lemon twist. It's also recommended with fresh cider or as a substitute for sweet red vermouth.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Italy vs. Costa Rica

Vergano's Americano Aperitif | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

The two winning teams from the first matches in this group are going head to head. Since this is the early match of the day, a simple Italian aperitif is an ideal way to start the football off. One of my favorite ways to start a meal is with Vergano's Americano Aperitif which is a glug of Vergano Americano in a glass over ice with a twist of orange peel topped with a splash of soda water. Simple, elegant and delicious.

Depending on your morning (or your night), it might still be coffee time. Just before making an Italian aperitif, grab a cool, tall iced coffee made with Costa Rican coffee. If you haven't prepare ahead of time to make cold brew, try the almost Japanese style of iced coffee. Basically brew your coffee straight over ice to automatically chill it down. Planning ahead is worth it though, I really love the mellow, chocolatey notes that come from cold brewed iced coffee.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Japan vs. Greece

Japanese beer can be really delicious. Not the Japanese stuff that is actually produced under license in the US, but the craft beers. There is a range of Hitachino Nest beers, but one of my favorites is the Red Rice Ale. It's brewed with heirloom red rice and tastes like a cross between sake and beer.

Another beer versus wine contest is firing up in this match up. There are some really wonderful whites, rosés and reds from Greece, but one red that I have really been enjoying is from Kir-Yianni. The Ramnista is made from Xinomavro in the PDO of Naoussa. It's a little rich, definitely tannic and is ideal wit a slow cooked lamb shank.

Drink the World Cup | England vs. Uruguay

A big game for both teams since both really need a win to get out of the group stage. Not quite ready for a depressing cocktail or a celebratory drink yet. But what would calm the nerves and soothe the rough edges? A Pimm's Cup actually sounds like a good answer, but that's what I drank last match and look how that turned out. This time, a good old pint of bitter could do the trick. A cask ale would be perfect, but at home, I am a little partial to the cans of Boddingtons since the beer comes out smooth and creamy. If I was heading out for a pint in New York City, I'd be on the look out for Wandering Star, which is made by a Brit in Pittsfield, MA. You can find them all around NYC, but the Blind Tiger not only sells Wandering Star, but a whole slew of beers.

It's going to be a beer vs. wine match this afternoon. Red wine from Uruguay means drinking Tannat, which tends to result in powerful reds. The Vientos 2008 Tannat shows lots of dark fruits and some tannins. Sounds kind of perfect for pairing with a steak.

Drink the World Cup | Colombia vs. Côte d'Ivoire

One of the things that is special about Colombia is the widely available fruit. They supposedly have more than 150 different type of commercial fruits. Think it might be time to try something different than orange juice? I've picked up Guanabana juice from Goya in a number of grocery stores and really like it. Guanabana is also known as Soursop. It has a sweet fruit and citrus flavor.

Ivory Coast is the largest exporter of Cocoa beans. It's too hot (at least in NYC) for a hot chocolate. Perhaps a little rum mixed with creme de cacao maybe some coconut water or for something a little creamier, some cream of coconut. No idea how it would turn out, but sounds kind of intriguing.

Drink the World Cup | Cameroon vs. Croatia

Photograph courtesy of Dear Irving | Photo Credit: Jayd Jackson

I struggled a little bit with Cameroon in their first match, so this second one is more of a challenge. Coffee is grown in Cameroon, but 6pm is a bit late for me to drink coffee. But on the other hand, Dear Irving just opened in NYC and they have an espresso martini on their menu in the classics section. It's made with vodka, cold-brew coffee, espresso & vanilla liqueurs. "It's our take on Dick Bradsell’s classic using Irving Farm
Coffee and a touch of vanilla."

In addition to Rakia, Croatia also produces some impressive wines. Try the Dingač Vinarija Dingač from the Dingač vineyard on the steep coast in Southern Dalmatia.

Drink the World Cup | Spain vs. Chile

Since the first performance by Spain was pretty dismal, it's time to up the game and bring the Spanish gin and tonic to the table. Served in a goblet style glass with your favorite gin (one of mine is currently Jensen's London Dry) with tonic (Q tonic or Fever Tree), a couple of drops of Rhubarb bitters, large ice cubes, lemon peel (not a slice), star anise. It doesn't seem that different from your average G & T, but the taste is fantastic.

Chile in their first match got the Pisco Sour. This time, it's red wine. Louis / Dressner brings in the wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt. He's making wine from Pais which is also called Mision and Listan Prieto. The variety was originally brought to Chile by the missionaries. He is also making some wine from the Chilean variety Carménère.

Drink the World Cup | Australia vs. Netherlands

A big match up for both teams with the Netherlands looking fierce in their opener against Spain. Lunch time boozing without being too boozy? Give a Dutch beer a try. No, not the obvious Heineken or Amstel, but others to seek out are La Trappe Quadrupel brewed by Koningshoeven or Jopen Bier.

For Australia, I'm going with something healthy: juice. A fond memory from one of my early trips to Australia is drinking a combination of orange and passionfruit juice. This can be spritzed up with some soda water and of course made alcoholic with some rum or even vodka if you must.

Drink the World Cup | Russia vs. Korea

What's more classic than Russian vodka? Just keep it pure and simple with a ice cold shot of vodka. My classic standby has always been Stolichnaya and another bottling that is no longer widely available was Moskovskaya.

Shochu is produced in Japan, but Soju is made in Korea. They are similar and Soju is made from rice, wheat, or barley, but you'll also find it made from sweet potato or tapioca. If you are following Korean tradition, you never pour your own glass and you don't refill a glass before it is empty.

Drink the World Cup | Brazil vs. Mexico

This is the host country's second match and I went classic with their first match with a caipirinha. I'll keep it summery and fresh for this cocktail and also use cachaça. I really like the sound of the Watermelon Cooler from Avuá and bartender Hunter Orahood of Crow's Nest. It's 2oz. Avuá Cachaça Prata with 2oz. Watermelon Puree, 5oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Basil and Lime muddled together with everything shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail and garnished with a basil leaf.

For the Mexican influenced cocktail, it's time for a slightly more bitter cocktail I made a while ago. No real name beyond a Bitter Mezcal Cocktail, it's made with 1.5 oz Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, 1 oz Aperol, 1 oz Bonal Aperitif, 2 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters, stirred and strained into a chilled Nick and Nora glass with a lemon twist as garnish.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Belgium vs. Algeria

Belgium is another country producing genever, but I used the Dutch version in the Netherlands match and it's lunchtime, so Belgian beer wins out here. On this one, I'll use a recommendation from Kevin Floyd, the Beer Director at Anvil, the Hay Merchant, and Underbelly in Houston, TX. He loves Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge from Bockor, a family-owned brewery. He says, "I think it’s in their fifth or sixth generation of family ownership. The brew master that was alive during the war, sought shelter at a monastery and the abbot’s name was Jacobin. When the war was over, he went back to brewing and he brewed a line of beers called Jacobins, in honor of this friar that protected him and the family has carried on the tradition. Jacobins Rouge is sweet and sour. It has almost a vinegar quality to it."

One drink North Africa and Algeria is known for is mint tea. And since it's really warmed up, a cooling iced mint tea might be just the thing.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Ghana vs. USA

A big first match for the USA team in the World Cup. My first thought was that it's Budweiser time, but it's an evening game and the US is all about cocktails. I'll start off with a classic... the Manhattan. I really like Rittenhouse Rye, but Willett Rye is pretty beautiful too. Here's my ratio: 2 parts Rittenhouse Rye, 1 part Carpano Antica Formula, 2 dashes Peychauds bitters, garnished with a maraschino cherry, served up in a chilled cocktail glass.

A spirit that is home brewed in Ghana is called Akpeteshie. It is distilled palm wine or sugar cane juice and it's pretty high proof stuff. It's not professionally made, but sold in unlabeled used bottles. Not much chance of finding this on your local liquor store shelves, but fun to learn about.

Drink the World Cup | Iran vs. Nigeria

This is a tough drinking match up. Although there is not much alcohol consumed in Iran, Arak is drunk and produced there. It is clear and colorless anise flavored liquor. It's not sweet at all and is pretty strong stuff. Similar to ouzo and pastis, when you add water it turns a milky color.

A popular drink in Nigeria is called Chapman and it's a mixture of sodas with bitters and fruit syrup and fruit. Basically, it's Fanta, Sprite, Angostura Bitters, Ribena (blackcurrent syrup), an orange, a lemon or lime, cucumber and ice. Find the recipe here.

Drink the World Cup | Germany vs. Portugal

A European match up for a change.

Nope, it's not going to be a shot of Jägermeister for Germany, at least not at lunchtime on a Monday. If it's warm out and it is in Brazil, a pilsner is the perfect quencher. I really love Augustiner from Munchen because it's light, crisp, and not too hoppy. A much more bitter expression of pilsner is Jever.

For Portugal, it's back to national drinks. Ginjinha is a liqueur made by infusing sour cherries in alcohol (aguardente). It's served as a shot with some fruit in the bottom of the glass.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina

Similar to Uruguay, Yerba mate is the national drink of Argentina, so for this match, I'll pick something different. Fernet amaro is popular in Argentina and it's often mixed with coke., but it's not produced there. Argentina though is the fifth largest wine producer in the world. A nice glass of Malbec would be in order for an evening game paired with a juicy steak.

After a large dinner of steak and wine, a good digestif might be perfect. Bosnian Slivovitz is a brandy distilled from fermented Damson plums.

Drink the World Cup | France vs. Honduras

The France Honduras game is at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Eastern time, so I think the perfect aperitif would be a good idea. What is more French than pastis, a couple of ice cubes and a touch of water. Perfect.

To ease into the afternoon and get ready for the evening, a non-alcoholic drink like horchata works well. Also known as semilla de jicaro in Honduras. It is made from jicaro seeds ground up with rice and spices with cold milk and sugar added. And if your team starts losing, add a touch of aguardiente.

Drink the World Cup | Switzerland vs. Ecuador

The Alps against the Andes.

Schnapps is king in Switzerland and while there are many fruits that are used for schnapps, Kirsch (or kirschwasser) is the famous one. These aren't sweet fruit liqueurs, but clear brandies distilled from fruit and Kirsch is distilled from cherries. Drink Kirsch neat and chilled in small glasses. They are generally consumed after dinner as a digestif.

In Ecuador, fruit juices are widely available, such as papaya, pineapple, mango, passionfruit, and naranjilla (a cross between an orange and a tomato). There are two rums also produced in Ecuador: Ron Castillo and Ron San Miguel. A rum fruit punch would be a good brunch option while watching the game. A little rum, a lot of pineapple with a touch of passionfruit and mango to round out the flavors.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Drink the World Cup | Côte d'Ivoire vs. Japan

In Côte d'Ivoire, you'll either find Bangui, which is a wine made from palm oil, or Kotoukou, a brandy distilled from Bangui. I'm not sure I've got too much to say about either.

While sake is the national drink of Japan, I'm going with something a little stronger since it's the first game and the pressure might be on. Shochu on the rocks is a wonderful way to start and Japanese meal. It's basically the Japanese version of vodka, but much more interesting and nuanced since they are distilled from different things like sweet potato, barley, sesame. One of my favorites is distilled with green tea and is called Gyokuro. The Japanese also serve shochu with fresh squeezed fruit, like grapefruit.

Drink the World Cup | England vs. Italy

The Negroni & Pimm's Cup [Photo Credit / Copyright: Nick C. Bumstead]

So far we have been going with national drinks, but I am not sure I can bring myself to go with tea for England. It could be a perfect pint of bitter from a pub or perhaps the old G & T. Nope, it is going to be the Pimm's Cup. Oh so British. In a tall glass, over ice, add 2 oz. Pimm's No. 1, 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice, 3 oz. ginger ale, stir and garnish with a long slice of cucumber, a sprig of mint, a strawberry and maybe a slice of lemon. And just pray for the English to win their first match.

It was just Negroni week, so it might be fitting for Italy to start out with a classic cocktail with 2 oz. London Dry gin, 0.75 oz. Italian sweet vermouth, 0.75 oz. Campari, served either up or over a large ice cube or two and garnish with an orange twist. Change it up a little, perhaps and try adding / trading some other bitter liquors like Vergano's Chinato Americano, recipe here.