Mixology

Explore the art of mixology in Los Angeles with our expert reviews and information. Discover local tips and techniques for crafting the perfect cocktail and impress your friends at your next party.

Pasadena’s Newest: Pez Coastal Kitchen Brings Incredible Taste and Romance with Upscale sea and farm-to-table, seasonal California cuisine

Pasadena Newest Pez Coastal Kitchen brings Taste and Romance with upscale sea and farm-to-table, seasonal California cuisine

Executive Chef & Proprietor Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez proudly announce the official Grand Opening of Pez Coastal Kitchen, their new upscale seafood focused eatery in Pasadena on Thursday, February 15th, 2024!

Grand Opening of Pez Coastal Kitchen Thursday, February 15th

Executive Chef Proprietor Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez proudly announce the official Grand Opening of Pez Coastal Kitchen

Executive Chef Proprietor Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez proudly announce the official Grand Opening of Pez Coastal Kitchen // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Located on the corner of Union Street and North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena’s hottest culinary spot, Pez Coastal Kitchen promises a lively and innovative dining experience with a focus on sea and farm-to-table, seasonal California cuisine.

Pez Coastal Kitchen's Oysters on the Half Shell

Pez Coastal Kitchen’s Oysters on the Half Shell // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Executive Chef Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez are a dynamic husband and wife team that have made a significant impact in the hospitality industry. With their passion for culinary excellence and warm hospitality, they have created a signature name for themselves in the Los Angeles dining scene and beyond and they are now joined at Pez Coastal Kitchen in Pasadena with their magnetic team of top industry professionals Director of Operations Chris Mesa, Chef Joe Gillard, General Manager Brittany Player, and Bar Manager Mike Dane.

Pez Coastal Kitchen's Bar

Pez Coastal Kitchen’s Bar // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Chef Bret Thompson’s culinary journey began at the renowned California Culinary Academy in San Francisco where he then honed his skills at esteemed establishments such as Aqua in San Francisco, Roy’s in Hawaii, and Pinot Blanc in St. Helena, California.

Seeking international inspiration, Bret traveled to Spain to study under Chef Martin Berasategui at Restaurante Martin Berasategui, a Michelin 2-star establishment in Lasarte, Spain.

He further expanded his culinary repertoire in Lebanon at Atlas Café, then studied under Chef Bernard Loiseau at La Cote d’Or his Michelin 3-star restaurant in Saulieu, France, and then L’Arpege, Chef Alain Passard’s Michelin 3-star restaurant in Paris.

Throughout his career, Bret also had an extensive tenure with The Patina Group, working at multiple restaurants, running catering operations and ultimately becoming the Corporate Executive Chef overseeing all restaurant operations for the entire group.

Pez Coastal Kitchen's Dining Room

Pez Coastal Kitchen’s Dining Room // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

In 2007 to 2022, Chef Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez owned Milk Ice Cream, and in 2015 they decided to embark on a new culinary adventure together as the proud owners of Pez Cantina, their seasonal, modern, coastal-inspired Mexican restaurant and bar, located in downtown Los Angeles which quickly became a beloved dining destination and in October 2021, they expanded with a new location in Montebello, California, LA Burrito Co.

Thompson and Thompson-Ramirez’s newest venture will continue their commitment to sea-to-table and farm-to-table cuisine, but as Chef Joe Gillard joins Executive Chef Bret Thompson in the kitchen, the focus at Pez Coastal Kitchen will be on innovative techniques such as curing, smoking, and the specialized dry-aging of seafood which will be a distinctive feature.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Rosemary Paloma

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Rosemary Paloma // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

This new concept will focus on seafood, but will also extend beyond, encompassing meat, poultry, and a unique emphasis on the curing and smoking of meats and seafood, known as Sea-cuterie.

Executive Chef Bret Thompson is excited to go back to his European roots.

“I’m excited to serve seasonal cuisine with a big seafood nuance.”

Executive Chef Bret Thompson

“We will be showcasing shellfish towers like you might see in the streets of Paris at the brasseries. We’ll also be doing whole fish fries, and we have a massive open ice area where guests can see all the fresh seafood, we will be serving each night including whole fish, shrimp, oysters, sea urchin, and whatever is in season.”

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Seafood Tower

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Seafood Tower // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

The Pez Coastal Kitchen Menu starts off with Appetizers which include Chilled Beets with hazelnuts, burrata, winter greens and a hibiscus vinaigrette, the Pez Caesar prepared with gem lettuce, black kale, pepitas, colossal nori crisp, and white anchovies, Black Mussels a la Bouillabaisse with smoked pepper rouille and sesame griddle cake, and Crispy Sweetbreads Fritto Misto with a black lime aioli.

The Chilled Seafood and Crudos decadently spotlight Pez Coastal Kitchen’s seafood at its finest starting with a Chilled Seafood Tower for Two showcasing a ½ lobster, six jumbo shrimp, twelve oysters, four crab claws, and two scallop aguachile shooters, with a selection of sauces – black garlic aioli, mignonette, and salsa macha, Daily Oysters on the Half Shell, Dry-Aged Kingfish Crudo, Hokkaido Scallop Tartare, and Steelhead Trout Rillette served with American sturgeon caviar, forbidden rice cake, and pickled shallots.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Spaghetti alla Chitarra

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Spaghetti alla Chitarra // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Pez Coastal Kitchen Entrees

The Entrees are recommended to be enjoyed family-style featuring Whole Fried Fish, Alaskan Halibut, Seared Jumbo Scallops served with a smoked ham-celery fritter and truffled apple salad, Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Prime Center Cut Filet of Ribeye with a green peppercorn demi and Pez fries, Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Manila clams, mussels, and uni nage, and Crispy Half-Chicken with chicken “lule”, petite roasted carrots and radish, apricot, sage, and carrot demi.

Pez Coastal Kitchen Veggies and Sides

And finally, a selection of exceptional Veggies and SidesPotato Gratin with bacon, gruyere, and cippolini onions, Yam Skins with green tahini, whipped feta and Marcona almonds, Hickory Smoked Cauliflower Steak with a spicy kumquat glaze, and shallot yogurt, and Brussels Sprouts with Red Boat caramel, seed crunch, and black garlic vinegar.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Citrus Olive Oil Cake // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Dessert

Dessert is equally exciting with innovative delights such as Warm Chocolate Butterscotch Peanut Butter Cake with honeycomb ice cream, Citrus Olive Oil Cake served with mascarpone pistachio cream, limoncello granité, and strawberry, Mint Chip Ice Cream Brownie Sundae with Chocolate Strings, and Chai Spice Poached Pear with hazelnut crunch, tart yogurt, and blackberry compote.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Mint Chip Ice Cream Brownie Sundae

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Mint Chip Ice Cream Brownie Sundae // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Bar

Complementing the mouthwatering menu is the well-stocked Pez Coastal Kitchen Bar, a long contemporary bar with a stunning emerald marble bar top, high ceiling, and magnificent fans making it a haven for cocktail enthusiasts and diners alike.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Matcha Sour

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Matcha Sour // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Bar Manager Mike Dane has curated an exceptional cocktail program, featuring the Rosemary Paloma, Matcha Sour, Chartreuse Colada, and the signature Happy Wife, Happy Life comprised of Redemption High-Rye bourbon and Liquid Alchemist Apple Spice with a sugared apple crisp, along with an extensive selection of Premier Spirits, Wines, and Beers

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Lounge & Bar

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Lounge, Bar // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

 

Pez Coastal Kitchen sits in a historical building that was built in 1896 and was completely transformed and redesigned by Margee Drews Design to exude a California-Mediterranean coastal feel across multiple spaces.

Guests enter a beautiful light and airy dining room with a stunning feature wall, large plush booths and banquettes with sleek wood tables surrounded by plush greenery, warm and welcoming lounge separated from the dining room by grand Mediterranean arches with high industrial ceilings and romantic Havana-style fans, a prominently placed cocktail bar and open kitchen.

drinks with friends, intimate dinners, group gatherings, or special events

Whether for drinks with friends, intimate dinners, group gatherings, or special events, Pez Coastal Kitchen promises an exceptional experience for all who walk through its doors!

 

As Co-Owners Executive Chef Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez continue to innovate and reinvent themselves, and Pez Coastal Kitchen in Pasadena promises a unique blend of California coastal cuisine, thoughtfully crafted cocktails, specially curated wines, and their dedication to excellence ensures an unforgettable dining experience that celebrates vibrant flavors and genuine hospitality.

The Pez Coastal Kitchen official Grand Opening is Thursday, February 15th, 2024.

Pez Coastal Kitchen will be open for Dinnerevery Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and every Friday and Saturday from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

For more information about Pez Coastal Kitchen or to make reservations, please call 626.210.0775 directly or visit www.PezPasadena.com.

Boozy, Creamy, Yummy Comes to LA and Hawaii! First-Ever Proof Hard Ice Cream Launches Chocolate Espresso Martini

Boozy, Creamy, Yummy Comes to LA and Hawaii! ! First-Ever Proof hard ice cream Launches Chocolate Espresso Martini

Costco members in Southern California and Honolulu will soon be treated to super premium ice cream creations inspired by sophisticated classic cocktails when PROOF Ice Cream introduces its new Chocolate Espresso Martini flavored hard ice cream in select warehouse locations beginning Feb. 9, just in time for the big game and Valentine’s Day.

PROOF Ice Cream will be available in Costco warehouse locations in CypressHawthorneHuntington BeachMarina Del ReySan Juan CapistranoSan Luis ObispoTorranceFontana and Victorville, Calif., and in Iwilei, Honolulu. The Costco two-pint pack will retail for $14.99, while supplies last.

Proof Hard Ice Cream Launches Chocolate Espresso Martini

Proof Hard Ice Cream Launches Chocolate Espresso Martini

PROOF Ice Cream is the first company to combine smooth creamy ice cream with the satisfying warmth of five percent alcohol by volume (5% ABV), producing its ice cream in small batches to ensure an indulgent experience you can taste and feel.

“We are pleased to offer this bold new product exclusively to Costco members in Southern California and Hawaii,”

Jenn Randall

Founder and CEO

PROOF Hard Ice Cream

“Our Chocolate Espresso Martini flavored hard ice cream offers the perfect blend of creamy chocolate ice cream with chocolate-covered espresso beans and notes of vodka.”

PROOF has pioneered a new dessert category with its innovative union of regulated levels of alcohol and premium ice cream, using proprietary formulas and production techniques to create a five percent alcohol by volume (5% ABV or 10 Proof) collection of flavors based on classic cocktails.

PROOF’s signature creamy texture is a result of having less air than other leading brands.

PROOF Ice Cream is currently available in six flavors

Currently available in six flavors: Chocolate Cherry Manhattan, Chocolate Espresso Martini, New York Cheesecake Martini, Sweet Caramel Old Fashioned, Strawberry Daiquiri Spritz, and Tropical Piña Colada.

PROOF currently distributes its ice cream in tamper-resistant containers to adults 21 and older in South CarolinaNorth CarolinaFloridaIllinoisWisconsinMissouri, and California, with additional states coming soon, as well as the opportunity to purchase online beginning this summer.

A leader in social responsibility and responsible consumption, PROOF is a Universal Women-Led Certified Company headquartered in Columbia, S.C.

RuPaul, World Of Wonder Get ‘Dry and Dirty’ this January with HOUSEOFLOVE Premium Canned Mocktails and Cocktails

RuPaul, World Of Wonder Get ‘Dry and Dirty’ this January with HOUSEOFLOVE Premium Canned Mocktails and Cocktails

World Of Wonder and RuPaul Unveil New HOUSEOFLOVE Premium Canned Mocktails AND Cocktails for a ‘Dry and Dirty’ January

World of Wonder and RuPaul, the multiple Emmy-award winning team behind the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” global franchise, are serving up three new flavor additions to the HOUSEOFLOVE premium canned cocktail and mocktail line.

Inspired by RuPaul’s culture-shaping “Drag Race” franchise

Inspired by the culture-shaping “Drag Race” franchise, the new HOUSEOFLOVE cocktails and mocktails are launching this month, January 2024, just in time for Season 16 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The new flavors include two low ABV, 100 cal selections alongside a 0% ABV mocktail to serve the growing demands driven by Gen Z and millennial consumers. The non-alcoholic sector is expected to grow to $30 billion in 2025, according to Global Market Insights.

In true Drag form, the brand is debuting its beverages with a “dry and dirty campaign,” bringing irreverence into the wellness trend with a line up of mouthwatering new flavors.

Vodka Soda Citrus

Vodka Soda Citrus: This perfect vodka soda, bursting with citrusy goodness, is made with premium vodka, lime juice, and natural flavors. (100 cal, 4% ABV)

Passion Fruit Margarita

Passion Fruit Margarita: Made with Authentic Tequila and natural Passion Fruit flavor, this margarita pairs well with tropical vacations, forgetting your ex-boyfriend, and nights out with your best Judys. (100 cal, 4% ABV)

Totally Tropical Mocktail

Totally Tropical Mocktail: This tropical mocktail, featuring natural guava, passion fruit, and citrus flavors, is the one – totally. Best paired with valley girl energy and long walks on the beach. Ru’s new HOUSEOFLOVE fav!

“We are pleased as punch to provide even more delicious offerings from the HOUSEOFLOVE!…”

“…After selling out the product at DragCon LA, we wanted to meet the demand for both mocktails and lower-calorie options. HOUSEOFLOVE pairs best with season 16 of RuPaul’s Drag Race – cheers!” said World of Wonder co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.

Built on the cult following of the brand, HOUSEOFLOVE  will be debuting and sampling flavors at RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties and bars across NY, NJ, LA, Chicago, Vegas, and available for purchase at local retailers.

HOUSEOFLOVE cocktails and mocktails are available for purchase in fine liquor stores in major markets across the US, and direct to consumer at houseoflovecocktails.com.

About World of Wonder

World of Wonder (WOW) has reshaped international pop culture, earning 30 Emmys, inspiring two Oscars, creating global network WOW Presents Plus across 190 territories, and bringing drag culture to the world stage via RuPaul’s Drag Race and DragCon.

WOW’s pioneering television portfolio includes other smash-hit franchises like Million Dollar Listing. Their film division WOW Docs produces groundbreaking documentaries including Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, Party Monster, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

WOW also operates YouTube channel WOWPresents, music label World of Wonder Records, the WOW Podcast Network, and year-round international live events. Co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have been profiled in Variety’s Reality TV Impact Report and Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful Producers in Unscripted.

Honors for their trailblazing work include the IDA Pioneer Award, Realscreen’s Global 100 list, Banff’s Impact Award, and the OUT 100. In 2022, World of Wonder was ranked #2 among film and TV powerhouses in Fast Company’s World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.

This Holiday Fresh Victor brings Flavor to your Organic Favorite Cocktails and Mocktails

Holidays 2023: Fresh Victor Puts the the drinker in charge with Fresh, Organic and Full Flavor Mixers.

Fresh Victor is how you make fast, delicious craft cocktails and amazing mocktails — Every. Single. Time. 

Fresh Victor is a line of premium mixers for consistently delicious and efficient cocktails (and mocktails too.)

H. Ehrmann knows his cocktails

H. Ehrmann is a bartender and drinks industry consultant who runs Elixir, one of the most influential bars in San Francisco.  In the industry for 35 years, owned a bar for 20 years. 

Recently he hosted a virtual mixer walking us through several cocktails using Fresh Victor as the mixer: from non-alcoholic, to low alc, to full alcoholic.

Cold-pressed juice-based cocktail mixers. They have added sugar, either organic cane sugar or agave nectar used to balance out citrus levels to hit the intended brix level for most cocktails.

Holidays 2023: Fresh Victor creates Fast, Delicious Craft Cocktails

For example, with the Lemon Sour, the base is known as a pretty simple flavor profile.  You can add another layer of flavor complexity (like a liqueur).  But the Fresh Victor mixer was designed to have more depth, a bit more bitterness to handle any additional sweetness added. 

Fresh Victor +1 or +2

All of the Fresh Victor bottles are designed to make delicious cocktails, but simply and easier.  How?  The amount of cocktails that can be made by adding just 1 or 2 ingredients plus the Fresh Victor mixer.

+1 is agave and tequila.  Lemon Sour and whiskey. 

+2 might be carbonation, frothing, aromatics, like:  tonic, soda water, champagne, egg white, bitters.

Fresh Victor creates Fast, Delicious Craft Cocktails

 

“2-3 pours and a lot of flavor”

H. Ehrmann

With those 3 elements and Fresh Victor’s 9 flavors, you can end up with dozens of drinks.  From classics, to a spin-off of a classics (including mocktails).

Mixing ratios: 1: 1 and 2: 1.  

1 1 / 2  oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer

2 oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer

If the drinker likes the taste of the alcohol, they want that taste to “punch” through, then then 2:2 is better for them.  If they want the flavor sweeter, iding behind the mixer, 2:1 is the answer for them.

Fresh Victor is a mixer, not a juice.  So it’s meant to take on dilution as you build your cocktail. Right out of the bottle, it’s a bit more concentrated, more dense.  Meant to be stirred, shaken, reduced down without watering down the flavor.   It can dilute 15-20% without losing quality. 

Using Fresh Victor, you can create a 32 oz, 64 oz or a gallon punch bowl for a holiday party in less than 5 minutes.  And it’s not a simple, lame flavor.  It’s complex.

Orchard Bliss Royale

Non-alcoholic.  When you add Champagne or Sparkling, it’s called “Royale” and today’s drink is adding Sparkling Cider.  

4 oz sparkling cider

2 oz Fresh Victor (Three Citrus and Mint Leaf)

Garnish with dehydrated apple slices

The nose is refreshing. Vibrant apple.  Effervescent on the palate, from the Sparkling. A balance of lemon, lime, orange.  Plump, but not overwhelming.  Mint notes that bring a tertiary element.

Suggestions include playing with adding a shot of vodka, rum or tequila, any of which would work well.

Fresh Victor mixers give a fruit-forward base that makes it easy to play and experiment with.

Winter Spice Tonic

“When mixed well, Gin impacts the overall character of your drink, but doesn’t get in your face”.

1 oz Tanqueray london dry gin

1 Oz Fresh Victor (Cactus Pomegranate)

4 oz Fever Tree Tonic

Aromatic bitters

Garnish with vanilla bean, All-spice berries, Dehydrated Lemon

The nose is immediately the charming, floral aromatics you’d expect from the gin.  Then slowly the baking spices express themselves.  Deep character layers and complexity.  A gush of tonic, then lingering vanilla and lemon.  

Definitely a gin drink for someone who’s not a gin fan as it showcases the best of gin without being overwhelming.

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Winter Spice Tonic

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Winter Spice Tonic

Love a standard gin drink?  Try Gin and Tonic with Fresh Victor’s Cucumber and Lime!

H. Ehrmann feels one the the reasons Fresh Victor is so popular is because people want to be able to make easy drinks at home that still have amazing flavor.

“I’ve taught cocktail classes for over ten years.  As much as students love it and geek out over cocktail details at the bar.  When they get home to their kitchen, they still prefer to have something easy.  That’s a huge part of when Fresh Victor is.”

One of the keys to Fresh Victor is adaptability.  The drinks are scalable and easy to experiment with.  Having more guests than expected?  Want stronger drinks?  No alc of low-alc drinks?

“The 2 things that show us down when drinking cocktails, alcoholic strength and bitterness.  Those are things that help us drag a cocktail out 10-20 minutes. Like, intentional speed bumps to keep you from drinking too fast.  So removing the alcohol from a recipe, removes that speed bump.  Adding more bitters, adds it back.  It helps a non-alco drink feel more like a cocktail.”

How did Fresh Victor launch and grow during the struggles of the pandemic?  Luck, hardwork and finding an audience that wants flavor.  H. Ehrmann explains: 

“Just before Covid, we decided to focus Fresh Victor on bars and restaurants.  So Covid hits.  We decided to re-package into a 16 oz bottle.  Within 6 weeks we had these bottles available in 7 states direct to consumer. Within 2 months, we had 48 states direct to consumer.  I shifted to selling cocktail kits from home and Fresh Victor was the perfect partner for me.  Take a liter of tequila and a 64 oz bottle of Mexican lime and agave, you can make 32 margaritas.  I was selling those kits like crazy.  People were re-ordering every other day.”

Figtorious Celebrations

2 oz of Fresh Victor (grapefruit and sea salt)

2 oz VSOP brandy

1 / 2 oz fig syrup

Try thinking of Fresh Victor less as a mixer or a juice and more as an ingredient.  Think of it as an ingredient where you can use as much or as little as you want to make a more complex drink.

Explore from a culinary point of view.  What other flavors mix?

Fresh Victor is all about experimenting.  Trying different flavors.  Adding spirits, garnishes and mixers that might not be traditional.

“All the ways you can use Fresh Vector.  I went through the lexicon of cocktails.  What can I make with lemon sour?  What can I make with Mexican Agave? Then I’d look at more unique flavor profile and ask myself what can I make with that?”

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Figtorious Celebrations

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Figtorious Celebrations

 

Fresh Victor Holidays Flavors

H. Ehrmann suggests a twist this cold, holiday season.  Think like a Hot Toddy. Simply warm up your Whiskey Sour, Lemon Drop, even your sangria.  Anything that would normally go with ice, this time heat it up warm and toasty.

 

Zayn Malik joins Mixoloshe as Chief Creative Officer and Co-Owner

Zayn Malik joins Mixoloshe as Chief Creative Officer and Co-Owner

The global superstar launches a custom Lychee Martini flavor, with a unique can design inspired by his own tattoos.

The fast-rising, award winning non alcoholic beverage brand, made with clean ingredients and nothing artificial will make its retail debut at Walmart, launching across the US with the retailer by end of October

Mixoloshe, a female founded and award winning non-alcoholic beverage brand, announces its partnership with celebrated award-winning artist and entrepreneur Zayn Malik, who has joined the company as the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) and Co-Owner. 

The partnership will center around reshaping the narrative of the non-alcoholic beverage industry, as well as deep creative collaboration on marketing initiatives and upcoming flavor launches. 

Additionally, Mixoloshe will launch in 500 Walmart stores across the country, marking the brand’s anticipated retail debut. 

Zayn’s first flavor launch is a non-alcoholic Lychee Martini, a refreshing and exotic drink, that is sweet, floral, and slightly tropical. The can design is also captivating and unique, featuring replica illustrations of his own most beloved tattoos.

Mixoloshe was founded in 2022 to redefine the booming non-alcoholic drink category with a clean, alcohol-free take on cocktails and premium spirits that taste like the real thing. 

Their collection offers a non-alcoholic range of popular cocktails, such as a Mojito, Old Fashioned, Gin & Tonic, and Margarita, as well as non-alcoholic Tequila, Whisky, and Gin, all made with real ingredients, and low in sugar, calories. 

 

Mixoloshe’s soft seltzers and non-alcoholic spirits have been recognized globally as best in class, and in 2023 they were honored with the Bartenders Spirits Gold Award, Ascot Award Gold for Taste, and the SIP Awards in Gold, Silver, and Bronze, to name a few. Their collection includes 8 canned non-alcoholic cocktail varieties, including the newly launched Lychee Martini flavor, and three bottled non alcoholic premium spirits.

 

“The non-alcoholic beverage market is ready for disruption, which can create immense growth potential. We see consumers already shifting preferences towards healthier and alcohol-free alternatives, which provides an opportunity for a brand like MIXOLOSHE to redefine this industry. I could not be more excited about the chance to make some noise in the category of non-alcoholic beverages and build one of the most talked about drinks in the world.” – Zayn Malik

 

“Zayn is a creative visionary both in music and beyond. His passion for innovation and his ability to captivate audiences will undoubtedly help us redefine the narrative around the non alcoholic beverage category, with a fresh perspective on making healthy lifestyle choices and living well, irrespective of your beverage preferences,” said Kristina Roth, MIXOLOSHE Founder and CEO. “I’m looking forward to working alongside him and shaping a future for this category where the glass is always half full of possibilities.”

 

Soft seltzers are available in a 12 pack, and retail for $29.99. Non-alcoholic spirits are available in a 750 ml bottle and retail for $29.99.

 For more information, please visit: mixoloshe.com.

Mixoloshe is a female-founded line of non-alcoholic seltzers and spirits that are formulated to taste and smell boozy without the booze. Whether you’re booze-free forever or just for the night, these drinks are the perfect inclusive answer to an age old question—what are we drinking? High in flavor and low in calories, MIXOLOSHE packs a party into every can of soft seltzer and bottle of non-alcoholic spirits. With a mission and ingredients that are anything but fake, the brand offers booze-free cocktail alternatives that taste like the real thing. Party tonight with no regrets tomorrow.

 

 

Halloween Cocktails: Spooktacular Black Salt garnish for monster-inspired crafty cocktails

Halloween Cocktails: Spooktacular Black Salt garnish for monster-inspired crafty cocktails

Just in time for your spooky get-togethers and Día de los Muertos celebrations Twang, a purveyor of Mexican-inspired food- and beverage-enhancing products, has released their brand new Twang-A-Rita Black Salt!

Perfectly curated for the season of shadows, it’s an enchanting black-colored salt that’ll cast a spell on your tastebuds. And as Dia De Los Muertos approaches, let our Black Salt pay tribute to the elegance of the holiday, garnishing your celebratory drinks and dishes with a touch as beautiful as marigolds on a moonlit altar. 

Cheers to spirited sips and otherworldly adventures!

You can buy the Twang-A-Rita Black Salt here, each 4-ounce bag of Twang-A-Rita Black Salt is $4.00. Twang has shared the following fiendish cocktail recipe that is perfect for all you goblins and ghouls.

 

Monster Margarita Recipe

Serving: 1 cocktail

Ingredients

Twang-A-Rita Black Salt

2 ounces of tequila

1 ounce melon liqueur

1 ounce lime juice

½ ounce agave syrup

Honeydew melon

Blueberries

Preparation

  1. Rim your glass with Twang-A-Rita Black Salt
  2. Fill serving glass with ice
  3. In a cocktail shaker add tequila, melon liquor, lime juice and agave syrup. Shake for 10-15 seconds
  4. To garnish, scoop small balls out of honeydew melon
  5. Place a blueberry in the center of each melon ball to resemble an eyeball
  6. Skewer the melon eyeballs onto a cocktail stick and enjoy!

To learn more about Twang Beer Salts, visit twang.com. Stay up to date with Twang’s new releases by following along on Instagram and Facebook.

Foodies! Love Horror? Love dinner parties? Horror Movie Night Cookbook written by Richard S. Sargent

It’s Scary-Delicious! Invite Your Friends over for Horror Movie Night Cookbook written by Richard S. Sargent and Nevyana Dimitrova (Photographer).

Sixty deliciously deadly recipes inspired by iconic slashers, zombie films, psychological thrillers, sci fi spooks, and more. 

The Horror Movie Night Cookbook

The Horror Movie Night Cookbook on sale now

Horror Movie Night Cookbook can be found at any local bookstore or online Barnes Noble, Amazon. Follow the Horror Movie Night Cookbook Instagram.

Horror Movie Night Cookbook written by Richard S. Sargent

Horror Movie Night Cookbook written by Richard S. Sargent

Author Richard S. Sargent joined me for a conversation about food, cooking, horror movies and Halloween.  The below conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  Find the full, un-edited conversation at our YouTube channel.

 

What inspired you as far as horror movies go? What’s your all time favorite horror?

 

Richard Sargent: Wow, that’s a tough one. Yeah, so I would say my all time favorite horror movie is Scream. It’s what got me into diving deeper into horror. My mother actually got me into horror when I was a kid, we would watch a bunch of the old ones after school and that sort of thing, but as I started to discover the newer ones on my own, Scream was the first one that really showed me that there’s more to horror than just blood and boobs.

 

You’re a filmmaker, an artist, an author, many things. Tell us a little bit about your journey

 

Richard Sargent: I went to school for theater and film and acting.  As most people do New York or LA, I chose New York. I did that for a while. I did a couple of my own indie horror films as well. And then as I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. 

As a side project, because you have to have a side project when you’re trying to break into that field. I thought I love cooking. I love experimenting. I love being creative. Let’s take some culinary classes. So I was gifted some culinary classes and it was really great. And I thought, okay, great. Now I’m going to go work in a kitchen. But the more I thought about that, I realized I would hate it if I had to do it as a day job.  I would hate cooking. I put that on the back burner and focus more on the theater and film and all that. 

And just kept plugging away at that. When I moved to the West Coast, I became artistic director of a couple of theater companies and had some plays published, that sort of thing.

So my writing and my directing was starting to take off a little bit. I had a little more free time to go back to the cooking thing that I was looking forward to doing. And the way this came together is that I was doing a play with some friends and we were chatting we actually were doing the play, The Woman in Black, and we were chatting about horror and horror films and they felt the way I felt about them initially, that they’re all just and I just couldn’t have that.

I’d seen so many great ones that have changed my life and had so many positive messages. Because horror movies are basically about the outcasts winning. I felt like I’ve been an outcast my whole life, so I could really connect to them. So I started showing them the ones that I thought were important.

I started with my favorites and then dug deeper into the ones that I felt. Told really great stories and had really great messages through these horror movie nights where I would pair an appetizer, a dinner and a dessert, each with its own movie and we would do three movies a night and we would do this every couple of weeks.

 

Can you talk a little bit about this book’s undertaking and 1-2 lessons that you learned from that process?

 

Richard Sargent: Absolutely. Yeah, it really was an undertaking. When I started these nights, these horror movie nights myself I just thought they were going to be fun. I just thought we were all going to have a good time.

Then about halfway through, maybe about five or six nights in, my friends were all like, what are you going to do with this? I’m like, what do you mean? We’re just having a good time. And they’re like, no, other people are going to want to do this. I’m thinking about what can I do with this?

Maybe I can start an event service and cater these nights myself? But ultimately I chose to do a book because it’s more accessible and it’s more fun. You get to do it in your own home and invite your friends over and it makes for a much more fun evening. Once I decided that it was going to be a book, it took about two years to compile it all into book format. Retake some pictures, that sort of thing, get it all ready for my copy. So I self published it two years ago and then it got picked up. 

So the version that you have and that we’re talking about today is the version that Ulysses Press put out about another year or so later.

So it was about a five year process from the first horror movie night, all the way to the book that, that we’re talking about today. 

If I have any tips for people, find what makes your idea stick out.  What about your idea do people want to know, be authentic about it and just keep plugging away at it.

You’re going to get frustrated. Move on to another project, take a walk, do something else. And come back when the inspiration strikes, but never force anything. That’s my big thing. You can’t force inspiration or you’re not going to end up with the best product that you could possibly have.

From the five years ago first draft to Ulysses Press version now, how close is the finished product compared to your original vision?

Richard Sargent: It’s very close actually. A lot of things that were changed were just improvements on the pictures. Things are worded differently, more clear, more consistency throughout the book.

Ulysses was really great with the editing process. They kept a lot of what I wanted to do with the book and the whole spirit of the book. 

 

There’s millions of horror movies out there. How did you go from a million down to 60?

 

Richard Sargent: It really had to just speak to me. It had to be bigger and better than the average horror film. Or at least I had to view it that way.

I studied horror and I studied film throughout my life. I can grasp the difference between your average horror film and something that’s trying to influence the viewer in some way. And those are the ones that I tried to put into the book. I know that 60 is not a lot and that’s why there will be more books hopefully.

I thought it would be a fun start to break newbies in. So rather than just hitting every classic that you can think of: Exorcist, Jaws, I picked a lot of classics and mixed them in with some newer things that had more up to date themes and up to date comments on society, like The Conjuring and The Descent, movies like that.

Not everyone seeing this is a huge horror movie fan.  Can you give us any tips or ideas about what makes a really great horror movie?

 

Richard Sargent: I think it all starts with the characters which then reflects on the script.  So if it’s a really well written script,  it has characters that A) you care about and B) are telling a story within a story, basically, by living through their story, they’re telling us how we should be living our lives. Of course, we know that because of Scream and movies like that, we know the rules of horror.

Don’t don’t say “I’ll be right back” and all that kind of stuff. 

But beyond that, there are things that make a horror film great. It’s a lot of really great being on the side of the outcasts. So if you think of movies like Frankenstein a lot of people will say that the monster is the monster, but the monster is not the monster.  The society not accepting the monster Is the real monster. 

That’s a film that tries to show us how to accept people who are not like us. Some people may say that science is the monster. I am not that kind of person. But, there’s the commentary in that film too, that maybe we shouldn’t do everything that we are able to do with science.

For queer culture and women’s rights we have films like Hereditary that  dive into dealing with grief. 

As long as your characters are doing something important, they’re not just playing with a Ouija board, or running into a shed full of chainsaws.  As long as they’re making smart decisions,, I think it elevates it to the next level, movies like The Exorcist, obviously, more recently, I thought Barbarian just from last year was outstanding, just in that way of telling the story, that was creative to me. 

Ones that stick with you forever. Jaws, a lot of people didn’t want to go in the water after that.

 

We have a very dinner party kind of an audience. Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget?

Richard Sargent: Yeah, so I had to cook these meals. There were actually some other recipes that I worked on too, for these films that I didn’t put in the book.  Everything is trial and error in the kitchen. So I cooked several of these many times until I found the right measurements of everything.

It was a long process in the kitchen, but a fun one, of course. 

Maybe it makes me basic, but my favorite kitchen gadget is the slow cooker because you can do so much with it and you can step away from it and work on other things while your main meal is sitting there for hours.

 

Are there 1-2  recipes in the cookbook that you want to point out?

 

Richard Sargent: As I like to start any meal, let’s start with dessert. I would say I’m super proud of the pavlova from Cabin Fever, if you’re familiar with the movie. The dish is called The Close Shave, and it is a pavlova with Chantilly cream inside and berries on top, berry compote on top, and it just drips through a bloody wound.

I’m pretty proud of that one, and I got a lot of great feedback. I still have my friends from that horror movie night talking about it all the time. 

Another one I’m super proud of is the paella from Broken Lizard’s Club Dread, which is an overlooked horror comedy. Basically, Coconut Pete runs this party island and he has his own special paella, Coconut Pete’s paella, which I tried to recreate with his secret ingredients and I thought it came out pretty well, so I’m pretty pleased with that one as well. 

Let me see, appetizers. One that was fun was just coming up with the popcorn for Scream. I tried a bunch of different flavors and a bunch of different ways of doing it and it’s one of the ones that I feel is a recipe, but also a hack.  An easy way to pop bagged popcorn and put flavoring on it.  

It’s a good one to show that anybody can do what’s in this book. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to be able to create what’s in this book, recreate it. 

When the book first arrived, I was sitting in a room with teenagers and as old as people in their 70s, so it’s quite a range and we were all having fun with it.

As an author, as a creator, how does that make you feel?  Was it designed to be a communal experience?

Richard Sargent: Putting things out there always makes me nervous.  The feedback that I’ve been getting, hearing people, seeing pictures from people doing their own horror movie nights or just recreating the recipes or just on podcasts and things talking about the clever titles and all that kind of stuff it just makes me feel so good because I was worried that maybe this is just a “me” thing, like I’m just this weirdo super into horror and food.  It’s good to know that I’m not.  The whole horror community, the whole film community is into something like this.

 

They they can entertain, they can bring their own friends over. They can be the star of their own show. It speaks to everybody. 

 

Since you are the Horror Movie Night Cookbook expert, can you give us some tips and advice for our next movie night?

 

Richard Sargent: I’ve done horror film nights where we just all get together and we eat the food and we watch the movies. 

I’ve done one’s where we play extra games other than the drinking games. We have costume contests. It’s really how far you want to go into it. 

But I would say start early if you’re going to use some of the recipes in this book, start early because there are many things that could go wrong especially if you’re not used to cooking and there are things that could go wrong, things that could burn things that might not set the way you want them to.

Have extra ingredients on hand. 

If you don’t like a movie that the recipe is paired with, think about how that recipe could go with another more you like more?

Have fun with it and try it all.

How can we elevate the experience to a Superbowl Sunday level?

Richard Sargent: Definitely add costumes. Decorate. Fog machines are always fun. Pick the ones that pick the recipes that can make it a more social evening. Maybe ones where you add your own stuff to them. Like the one for Cujo is like a burrito bowl, essentially, so that people can add their own ingredients to it.  That gets people up and mingling and having a good time, definitely play the drinking games, but be careful because the drinks are strong.

It’s Halloween season right now.  When is the best time of year for the Horror Movie Night Cookbook?

Richard Sargent: All year. There’s no set time. Horror has so many stories to tell. A lot of them are very important that you can watch them all year round.

Get in that spirit all year round. I think that people don’t give horror the credit that it deserves. There are a lot of great films out there that even people that don’t love horror will like. Those are the ones I think we should be talking about. Horror should always be part of the conversation.

A lot of horror films are set throughout the year, so if you wanted to do a horror movie night for Valentine’s Day, you’ve got plenty to choose from, It’s not just for those of us that like to get dressed up one day a year.  It’s all year round.

 

As we wrap up, any final message you want foodies or movie lovers to know about you or this book?

Richard Sargent: I would just want them to know that I really did put a lot of thought and heart into everything that they see in this book. I really didn’t just say, Oh, wow, let’s come up with some gimmicky-looking cookie or something. These aren’t decorations. This is real food and real thoughtful recipes that are inspired by things that happen in the film, things that they eat, things that they do, places they go. For example, in The Descent, they are supposed to be spelunking in the Appalachian mountains. So I used a local dish from the Appalachias as that recipe. These are not just Halloween decorations. These are actual recipes that you can enjoy any time of year. But watch the movie too. So yeah, I would just want people to know that don’t expect cutesy little Pinterest ghost cookies. That’s not what you’re going to get. You’re going to get real recipes like you would in any cookbook. This just has the horror edge to it as well.

Where can we learn more about you? Tell us the website, the social media

Richard Sargent: The book can be found at any local bookstore or online Barnes Noble, Amazon

If you want to learn more about me, or just maybe get bonus recipes every now and then on my Instagram you can follow the Horror Movie Night Cookbook Instagram, or my own personal one, @rsargent83.

Tell me what you like. And if you host your own, tag me in that sort of stuff. I’d love to see how your recipes come out, what you would change. I’d love feedback. If you do try any of this, please contact me online and let me know what you liked and what you didn’t.

Celebrate with Style, Health and World-Class Flavor: Jøyus Non-Alcoholic Wines is pouring for you

Celebrate with Style, Health and World-Class Flavor: Jøyus Non-Alcoholic Wines is pouring for you. Not just for #SoberOctober, but its award-winning tastes help you celebrate all year-long.

Jøyus non-alcoholic wines not only taste like wine, but great wine. With the industry awards to prove it. 

Recently I sat down with Jøyus leader Jessica Selander.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  You can find the full, un-edited conversation on our YouTube page.

 

 

Can you give us a personal story, maybe that includes the celebration of wine, if you have one?

Jessica Selander: The story is very personal and the funny thing is I get so nervous before talking about things because when I started Joyus, I did not originally [think about] doing things like this, being so face forward. 

I thought I would create a product that I was really excited about.  Eventually I came to realize, how do I do that without telling the “why did I do it?”

The whole reason that Joyus exists and it influences everything I do is because I’m sober.  I quit drinking alcohol 17 years ago now, which just feels like a fantastical amount of time.

For me, it’s been very rewarding. I’m very glad about it. But it was definitely something that was really hard and very personal. It wasn’t something I shared about publicly. So that’s also why this is a journey of getting comfortable talking about my sobriety, my recovery.

I like the taste of wine. I like beautiful glasses. I like the smell of wine.  I love the community and people; and hanging out and celebrating.  It literally says ’let’s celebrate’ on our bottles.  How great sparkling is for summer, but sparkling is such a happy thing.

You know what I mean? Something good happens in your life and people are like, let’s celebrate. Let’s pop some bottles. New Year’s Eve is such a beautiful idea of let’s start over. Whatever happened last year, whatever terrible things went down, there’s a brand new year.

It’s a new idea that we can celebrate either that past year that was good or celebrate the potential of a new year. That’s going to be better and that’s sparkling. 

And for me, I didn’t have any options. 

I started Joyus nine years ago. People ask me how long the company’s been around and we launched about two years ago. So it took me a very long time to figure it out, to save up the money to do it because as you can imagine, nine years ago, people thought it was crazy.

They’re like, ‘That’s a terrible idea. Nobody wants that’. And I’m like ’I want it’.

Having quit drinking, I had a lot of friends that also didn’t drink. I had a lot of people in my life too, who were just light drinkers – could give or take alcohol.  Then I have two kids and there’s a huge percent of the population that quits drinking for nine months [because they’re pregnant], sometimes even longer.

You can get into medications, you’re not supposed to drink on it. Anxiety medication, not supposed to drink on it. Heart medication, cancer treatments. There’s a lot of medical stuff too, that you could go down the list.

So I get a lot of people now who are like, ‘Oh, it’s not alcoholic. It’s trending.’ And that’s a thing now. 

Early on in my sobriety, I actually used to drink a lot of soda pop out of glass bottles, and then eventually discovered non alcoholic beer.

Non alcoholic beer is definitely having a really cool movement right now. There’s so many different options for non alcoholic beer, but the beer has always been around. 

I was like, this exists and it tastes like beer. What’s up with non-alcoholic wine?

There was one sparkling [non-alcoholic wine] in the entire country and that’s all you could find. There was one white and there was one red and that was it.

For me these options were really sweet. They were very affordable, which is nice, but they didn’t have the complete experience that I was going for. I wanted non alcoholic wine that tastes like wine. 

I wanted something that I could bring to a gathering and bring to a get together and have it feel appropriate and look appropriate and just look like everybody else’s [alcoholic] bottles.  Smell like everyone else’s bottles that you just wouldn’t even know that it was non alcoholic until you saw it on the label. And that’s what I did.

So after trying to find it for forever, eventually I was like, I’m going to do it myself. And I had no idea that this whole sober curious, non alcoholic world would take off like it has at exactly the right time.

So part of me is very frustrated that it took so long. But part of that too, it was like saving up the money to start the company.

This is a bootstrap company.  I like making my own decisions. A side effect after getting to this point is I’m 100% in control of all the decisions, which also means that I can control the quality because [it] is incredibly expensive to make.

 

Let’s talk about your sober story.  What it means to you, how you got there, what your mission is, how that helps others.

 

Jessica Selander: So for me, I can’t drink alcohol. What happens when I put alcohol in my body is that I make decisions I don’t want to be making.  

I tried a lot of things. I tried cutting back and it didn’t work. I tried replacing [the drinks and that didn’t work].

My life became pretty chaotic. 

I stopped drinking and once I get my life in order, then everything will be fine. I can drink again. 

Then after not drinking for a period of time, I was like, Oh, you know what?  There’s actually something to this and it’s something deeper and it’s probably the best thing I ever did, honestly, in my life. 

I would not be the person I am today on the inside if I had kept drinking.

I have a wonderful spouse and I’ve got amazing kids and I’m able to be a parent and be a person and do that clear eyed and there’s a lot of my upbringing was not the most positive. 

Sober curious, it’s a hashtag now. 

I’m not saying alcohol shouldn’t exist. I’m not that kind of person whatsoever. 

On a personal level it is so exciting to see other brands pop up. The first time I tried non-alcoholic tequila, it blew my mind. It was amazing. The spirits are interesting because some people build it up from science and some people are de-alkalizing; taking the alcohol out.

So that’s the really interesting thing about this. Normally spirits are completely separate from wine, which are very separate from beer, but in non-alcoholic, we’re all in the same swimming pool and everybody’s doing it differently and everybody’s got their own take and you can try one non-alcoholic whiskey and it’s incredibly different from another one.

Community not competition is one of our core values.  Normalizing non drinking is a big one. It’s not necessarily replacing alcohol either. I’ve talked to people in the wine industry who are very offended by the idea of non alcoholic wine.  I’m like no, it’s backwards. You’ve got it backwards. Non-alcoholic wine is a love letter to wine. You love wine so much that you still want to have it. You just can’t have this one piece that’s in it [the alcohol], but I want everything else. 

I want to cheers that glass with other people. I want to drink that red with a really strong stinky cheese. I want to pop that celebratory cork. I want to Rose all day. I just can’t.

I think that wine is very important culturally. It’s so interesting historically. The process is this fascinating mix of art and science.  I love everything about it. Getting deeper and deeper into it too, because I want Joyus to be around for forever and I want to make the best possible non-alcoholic wine.

There’s so much stuff to perfect that I could spend the next 50 years just working on non-alcoholic red – period.

 

You mentioned you’re seeing other competitors in the marketplace. How many different ways are there to make non-alcoholic wine?  Are some ways higher quality than others?

 

Jessica Selander: I can give tips. Our wine is a dealcoholized or alcohol removed wine, which means it’s gone through the whole winemaking process.

It’s aged, it’s fermented, and then we have removed the alcohol from it. Our bottles also say it’s non alcoholic. Sometimes you’ll see a bottle in the store and it just says non alcoholic on it. It doesn’t say dealcoholized or alcohol removed. They’re interchangeable. That means it wasn’t fermented.

So if you’re looking for a wine that is really going to taste like wine or have that fermented taste, look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed.

[Look at the label on the bottle] look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed, because it could say that it’s a non alcoholic red or a non-alcoholic grape [varietal] and it might just be a juice, that hasn’t been fermented or ages but comes in a wine bottle.

 

What are your goals in the present moment and in the near future to help your company continue to be a leader in the industry?

 

Jessica Selander: I think goals are accessibility. Normalizing sober drinking.  Making [non-alcoholic bottles] easy to find.  We do ship off our website, which is great. We’re shipping from Seattle. We ship everything ourselves.  If you’re out East, it’s going to take four or five days to get to you. 

Also starting to talk to restaurants, getting into more restaurants is a big one.  I’ve had anniversary dinners with my spouse and I’m drinking an Arnold Palmer.

I’m calling restaurants and I’m calling grocery stores and they’re still really skeptical that it can be good and that people want it.

 

Do you think it’s just audience reaching out? Is there a tipping point?

 

Jessica Selander: Yes, that really helps having people being in a restaurant and saying, “Hey, what do you have that’s an alcoholic?” Because restaurants are saying nobody’s asking for it. 

Here I am double digit sober and I had never gone into a restaurant and asked for it.

I would look at the [menu’s] non alcoholic section, which is always juice, soda pop, iced tea and stuff. If it’s not on the menu, I would never ask them for anything. Here I am for over a decade, not telling them that I want this thing. So we started doing more education on social media and online.

If you walk into a restaurant, ask them “What do you have that’s not alcoholic?”

Just pregnant people alone. There’s a large percentage of the population.

Is there science that says a pregnant woman can drink this and have zero concerns?

 

Jessica Selander: Yes. So this is super interesting. In the United States we’re the most strict in terms of alcohol. If you go to the UK, they have different, actually higher limits for how much alcohol can be in something. The US’s rules come from prohibition when you can’t sell, make, transport alcohol.

The government said once it gets under 0.5%, it’s not alcohol anymore. So that’s where that number comes from and sometimes people see it and say, “Oh, there’s a little bit of alcohol in this.” 

There was a study done in Germany where they tested a lot of grocery store items.  What they found was there’s a lot of stuff in our grocery stores that had a little bit of alcohol in it. Very ripe bananas, which we feed to toddlers have some alcohol in them. Orange juice is another one.

American hamburger buns. But it also makes sense, bread, yeast and we have more sugar in our products, right? Bread actually has more alcohol than people realize. 

Let’s talk about your wine’s flavors and aromas and the winemaking process to get there.

Jessica Selander: I knew what I wanted and I was incredibly picky about it. 

We launched with the sparkling white and the sparkling Rose’ and people were asking for a Rose’ with no bubbles.

I thought it would be easy.  It was not easy. 

Stills are very different from sparkling. I’m a balance of “I know what I want. I’m going for this thing and very focused”, but then I’m also balanced with listening. So we do a lot of focus groups. I do want feedback.  I do want opinions. 

We were working on it.  Everyone’s saying it’s good, it’s great.  But I didn’t think it was good enough. We were supposed to launch it in summer and I pushed everything back.  Back to the drawing board. 

What if we did this? What if that?  Talking to people, reading science and chemistry books

Was it like working for the right blend?

Jessica Selander: It’s tweaking so many different things and pieces in the blend. But it doesn’t always work out.  If you tweak a blend, sometimes other notes will come forward that you’re not expecting, or sometimes you’ve diminished things that you didn’t intend to diminish.

The still Rose is a great example, it didn’t have that click and so I just kept working on it. And that’s the one that won Double Gold and Best in Class in the San Francisco International Wine Competition, which is one of the biggest and oldest blind tastings in the world and the biggest and oldest blind tasting in the U.S.

 

Can you share any details and lessons you learned taking on the world of winemaking?

 

Jessica Selander: There’s so many things.  We’re not just making wine.  We’re wholesale, we’re distributing, we’re direct to consumer. We have so many different facets. 

I could talk for hours about how our wines are very low in sugar and they don’t have the alcohol in them. So our [bottles] probably freeze easier than anything else on the market. So shipping during the winter.

I’ve had conversations with other non alcoholic people too.  Everybody’s doing it differently and that’s the hard part too, where I feel like there’s a solution for every problem.

We’ve gotten better and better at winter shipping, but it’s not quite there yet.  Figuring out what can we ship in that’s going to have thermal protection, but isn’t going to contribute a ton of garbage. We’ve got the most eco-friendly, innovative winter shippers.  They’re made of corn. 

They’re expensive as hell, but it’s better than styrofoam. We have to keep everything under 50 pounds for UPS and 12 bottles of sparkling is 51 pounds in these corn shippers.

That thermal protection is still not enough, so we added heat packs. 

Let’s talk about your wines.

 

Jessica Selander: We have four varietals.  We’ve got our sparkling white, a sparkling Rosé. Still Rosé, a Cabernet Sauvignon. I love our red a lot. The reds are hard. They’re the most complicated; red wine has the highest alcohol content to begin with.

What flavor notes should we be looking for?

 

Jessica Selander: It’s definitely an American Cab. More fruit forward. It’s not grape juice. It’s fermented, it’s aged in American oak so you’ll get some green-ness to, like forest floor.  The longer it’s been open the more tasting notes you’ll get. I like it more and more throughout the week because the fruit notes settle down. Black currant, cherry, some leather 

The still rosé, watermelon, a nice floral to it. 

Sparkling rosé. Slightly floral.  Some orange blossom to it.  Blackberry, but some people say raspberry. Some people say strawberry.  They’re very summery

I think sometimes tasting notes feel in excess because we all taste things very differently. 

Our audience is foodies. Let’s talk a little bit about some of your favorite meals that you think would pair that your favorite pairings with your wines

 

Jessica Selander: I bake. I come from a big family, so I can pretty much cook anything. 

I heard someone say one time that baking was more science. And cooking was more art and I do agree with that. 

Let’s talk about the wine competitions. How you see them, what the experience has been like, and of course, what their results have been.

Jessica Selander: I did not know that competition was as big of a deal as it is [which was a blessing].  So what happened was I was beating my head against the wall being like, “They taste like wine!”  And my brother said, nobody believes you. You have to enter them into wine competitions. You need to prove to them in their own landscape that you belong there. 

So, here’s this competition. The first one, the sparkling rosé won gold and sparkling white won bronze.

Then I looked deeper into what the competition was [and realized it was the acclaimed San Francisco International Wine Competition & World Spirits Competition ]. It was a blessing because I think I would have been scared to do it. Then [next year] I do it with the Still Rose and the Cab.  Then hearing back, you’ve got the highest a non-alcoholic has ever gotten and you’re Still Rose is the best non-alcoholic wine of any varietal entered from all over the world. 

I was only wondering if it was even going to place, and here it ends up winning the best.

I was at a grocery store [today] I’ve been trying to get into for two years where the head buyer won’t even try it. So it’s [frustrating] but the more of these awards that we stack up, at some point in time they have to not ignore it. They’ll be like, Oh, this is a real thing.

We haven’t [hit that goal], it’s not normalized yet. We’re in over 300 stores and in almost in every state.

 

If you want more non-alcoholic near you at a restaurant and grocery store, what are the step-by-step, simple direction

Jessica Selander: This is super easy for people.

So if there’s a grocery store or a local market that you shop at already, you just go into the wine department and say, “Hey, what non-alcoholic wine do you have?”  And let them know you want it.  Verbally say it

It’s the same thing in restaurants. I do it myself now too, where I get the menu and I’m not seeing what the stuff on it. And I just ask and say, Hey, what non alcoholic stuff do you have?” 

 

Tell us how we can learn more about Joyus.  Shopping and following on social media.

 

Jessica Selander: So all of our social media stuff, our website is DrinkJoyus.com. Our Facebook, our Instagram, our TikTok are all DrinkJoyus

And on the website, there is this Find Joyus store finder map. So you can look on there and find us closest to you and working hard to add new stores pretty much weekly and email, email us. There’s a contact form on the website. Email. If you’re like, Hey, there’s a store by me. I want them to carry you. Email us. And we will call them and we will try, we’ll do our best and we’ll call them again three months later and we’ll call them again.

 

Yum! Celebrate Pasadena Flavors on Friday Oct 6 – Pasadena Magazine Presents the Inaugural Taste of Pasadena 2023: A Culinary Extravaganza!

Pasadena Magazine Presents the Inaugural Taste of Pasadena 2023: A Culinary Extravaganza!

Pasadena magazine is thrilled to announce the debut of its highly anticipated culinary event, the Taste of Pasadena 2023!

Taste of Pasadena 2023

Taste of Pasadena 2023

This spectacular inaugural celebration will take place on Friday, October 6th, 2023, at the Pasadena Convention Center Historic Exhibit Hall C, running from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm.

“The Taste of Pasadena is…

an immersive celebration of culinary excellence, culture, and community”

“The Taste of Pasadena is not merely another event; it is an immersive celebration of culinary excellence, culture, and community,” says Malina Saval, Editor-In-Chief for Pasadena magazine.

“This event promises an unforgettable evening of delectable experiences,

featuring unlimited tastings

from top chefs and

renowned restaurants spanning the San Gabriel Valley and beyond.”

Guests can look forward to a wide array of culinary offerings, handcrafted cocktails, live music, and captivating experiences that will engage and delight every guest.

Taste of Pasadena 2023

Taste of Pasadena 2023

Participating Restaurants

Some of this year’s Taste of Pasadena 2023 participating Restaurants include Arth Bar + Kitchen, Cabrera’s Mexican Cuisine, Celestino Ristorante, Champion’s Curry, Engine Co. No. 28, Farina Pizza, Granville, Great Maple, Lunasia Modern Dim Sum & Cuisine, KAVIAR, Pez Cantina, The Luggage Room Pizzeria & La Grande Orange, The Raymond 1886, Santa Anita Park, Twohey’s, and more to be announced.

Desserts

2023 Desserts include Beard Papa’s Pasadena, Bertha Mae’s Brownie Co., Esther & Olivia BouqCakes, I Like Pike Bakeshop, Marsatta Chocolate, Ms. Rhonda’s Crack-N-Pop, and Nothing Bundt Cakes just to name a few.

Wines being Poured

Wines will be poured by Adobe Road Winery (Sonoma County), Bernardus Winery (Carmel Valley), Bouchaine Vineyards (Carneros Napa Valley), Defiance Vineyard (Paso Robles), The Mill Keeper by Gamble Family Vineyards (Napa Valley), Tercero Wines (Santa Barbara), Vino Los Angeles (Mexico), Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards (Temecula Valley), and more.

Spirits, Cocktails, Beer, Music, and Special Experiences

 

Spirits, Cocktails, Beer, Music, and Special Experiences courtesy of Acqua Panna, Cerveceria Del Pueblo,Balcones, Corbin Cash Distillery, Casa Azul Tequila, Dough Ball Whiskey, Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers, Knox & Dobson, Mezcal 33, Old Hillside Bourbon, Rancho La Gloria Tequila, Shelter Distilling, and many more.

Special Partners and Sponsors: AbilityFirst, Pasadena Convention Center, Visit Pasadena, Sodexo Live!,Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Yelp, and Viva LA.

Pasadena Magazine Presents the Inaugural Taste of Pasadena 2023

Ticket Information:

The inaugural Taste of Pasadena will take place on Friday, October 6th, 2023, at the Pasadena Convention Center Historic Exhibit Hall C from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm and this is a 21+ event.

General ticket prices are $85 ($100 at the door the day of the event). Early Bird Pricing is available for $60 until Friday, September 22nd, 2023.

For more information and to get your tickets today, please visit Pasadenamag.com/taste.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is a Destination Dining Redefining Global Gastronomy

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Redefines Global Gastronomy as a Destination Dining

In recent years, Vietnam has become recognized as one of the must visit, premiere dining destinations on the planet. 

From bustling street food markets, where the aroma of sizzling meats, zesty herbs and fragrant spices fills the air, to the abundance of premiere fine dining restaurants showcasing local Vietnamese flavors infused into classic European recipes, Vietnam promises its international visitors an unparalleled East meets West culinary adventure. 

In 2016, Anthony Bourdain taught former President Barack Obama the art of the noodle slurp, while throwing back some local Vietnamese beers, and feasting on piping hot bowls of Bún Chả at a local Hanoian restaurant.

In a recent interview, Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey named Vietnam his top food destination in the world.  The Michelin Guide recently awarded three of Vietnam’s leading restaurants their coveted stars for the 2023 season. 

To say the country is achieving sensational, and well earned, praise on the global culinary stage is an understatement, and with post-Covid international tourism sharply on the rise, we thought we’d to share our top 5 picks for some of the best dining destinations within Vietnam’s bustling southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City.

 

SUBLIME SUSHI

Noriboi

Noriboi has reimagined traditional Japanese cuisine with their artistic, and highly inspired, modernist approach to their fine dining menus. 

Evoking a one-of-a-kind, and simply astonishing, multi-sensory gastronomic experience, their expert team of Japanese trained Master Sushi Chefs, each a Vietnamese native, apply molecular gastronomy to craft and underscore each dish, producing sublime artistic presentations, unsurpassed by even the best restaurants in Tokyo. 

Utilizing only the very finest seafood, Wagyu Beef and even rice, imported daily from Japan, and paired with regional Vietnamese and specialty ingredients, each plate is an utter triumph of taste, texture and artistic presentation. 

In addition to their daily Omakase and a la carte menu offerings, Noriboi is also known for their exclusive dining events, which upon announcement on their social media outlets becomes the hottest reservation in town, sold-out within hours of their postings. 

10-course Summer Truffle Omakase

They recently presented a 10-course Summer Truffle Omakase, where each dish was highlighted by the earthy and distinctive flavor of freshly shaved imported European truffles, and a Kegani Omakase, with the highly coveted Kegani Hairy Crabs, a seasonal Japanese delicacy, as the focus ingredient. 

If you wish to experience truly outstanding Japanese food during your trip to Saigon, Noriboi cannot be missed.

35 Ngo Quang Huy Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City

 

All-Day Dining Divine

LUCA

LUCA – Eatery & Bar Lounge is a fantastic all-day dining eatery, offering its guests a bountiful array of local Vietnamese and Western dishes to choose from, satisfying even the most discerning and astute culinary palate. 

It’s a favorite restaurant destination for neighborhood locals and visiting tourists alike, craving an inventive and sophisticated array of dishes, served at any time of the day.  With menus designed by their talented Executive Chef An, for breakfast or Brunch, the fluffy Soufflé Pancakes, decadent Luxe Lobster Benedict and their Phở Bò Luca, an elevated spin on the Vietnamese classic, are spectacular. And for the coffee lover, try their Vietnamese Salted Egg Coffee, a staple beverage from Hanoi- rich, creamy, salty and sweet. 

For lunch, the Summer Peaches and Kale Salad is crisp, refreshing, and the perfect choice for a hot Saigon summer’s day, as is the Scallop Carpaccio with raw sweet Hokkaido Scallops, gently kissed with a drizzle of Yuzu sauce for a touch of acid.  

For Happy Hour, indulge in a platter of the freshest Miyagi Oysters, perfect to pair with a late afternoon glass or two of Rosé.  And for dinner, a hardy Australian Rib Eye Steak should do the trick, served with Chef’s signature Steak Sauce.  At any time of the day when visiting Saigon, Luca is a great choice to experience a chic dining atmosphere and truly wonderful food.

49 Xuan Thuy Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City

 

American Comfort Food Infused with Vietnamese Flavors

OKRA Foodbar

Chicago, Illinois born Chef-Owner Jamie Celaya developed his menu to showcase the incredible bounty of regional produce, products, and seasonings available in Vietnam. 

Described as

“International Izakaya, third culture cuisine”

which to the laymen doesn’t make sense until you experience it, Okra offers “Subtle” small plates of vegetable forward comfort food, meant for sharing, and a selection of larger portioned “Sufficient” mains for a healthy appetite. 

Located in Thao Dien, in District two, this intimate and contemporary eatery with a laid back and unpretentious vibe serves up simply delicious food and craft cocktails, with warm and friendly service. 

Must try dishes at Okra include their spin on Street Corn, with Cilantro, Parmesan, Chili, Brown Bourbon Butter and Pork Floss, Grilled Broccolini with Truffle Crème Fraiche & Sa Tế Chili Oil, Land & Sea-Viche, a Sea Bass Crudo with Braised Pigs Ear, Chili, Lime and Bánh Tráng, and their signature Charred Okra with Preserved Lemon-Tomato Jam, Curry Yogurt, Burnt Pomelo and Sarsaparilla-za Atar. 

And to wash it all down, a chilled glass of Mùa Craft Sake on draft, also proudly brewed in Vietnam.

10 Thao Dien Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City  

 

Contemporary Vietnamese Cuisine & Cocktails 

The Triệu Institute

 

The concept of pairing craft cocktails with food is a gastronomic trend which has gained tremendous popularity in recent years in Vietnam, and no dining destination has perfected this principle better than The Triệu Institute.

They serve inventive contemporary Vietnamese dishes containing all the aromatics found within the gins of their namesake craft gin brand Lady Triệu, and their food and bespoke beverages blend in perfect harmony, allowing each patron to eat and drink simultaneously the bold, and singular flavors which Vietnam has become so famous for.  

A popular pairing include the Cured Kingfish, pickled with a housemade Hibiscus Vinegar which takes eight to ten weeks to complete, infusing sweet, sour, and floral notes deep within the fish, and a Flower General cocktail, containing Dalat Flowerbomb Gin, Wasabi, Jasmine Syrup and Seaweed Foam;  it’s a perfected combination.

10 Mac Thi Buoi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

 

Vietnamese Cuisine Portraying a Story

Nén Light Restaurant

Deeply committed to producing preeminent modern Vietnamese cuisine which pays homage to their country’s rich and vibrant heritage, Nén Light’s team of outstanding culinary artists developed their restaurant’s concept of Conscious Vietnamese Cuisine (Ẩm Thực Nhìn) to showcase their knowledge, appreciation and deep respect for their native roots and beloved culture. 

Serving wildly creative, 6-9 course storytelling tasting menus, they showcase hyper-local Vietnamese ingredients discovered on foraging trips throughout Central Vietnam, and guide each guest though a unique and unparalleled culinary journey which engages all five senses. 

Along with a Sake pairing, expertly curated by their in-house Sake Sommelier, and a “Conversation Pairing”, allowing servers to share the story behind the evolution of each plate,  a visit to Nén Light Restaurant will guarantee a singular and unrivaled immersive Vietnamese dining experience.

122/2 Tran Dinh Xu, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, Ho Chi Minh City

 

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