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The Wine Tutorial for Real Men

The Wine Tutorial for Real Men

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Like your wines earthy, elegant, and ephermal? Take tips from the Paso Wine Man

The wine enthusiast himself.

It's no secret that wines can get a little girly (hence why there's a Cupcake wine on the market). But that doesn't mean a manly man can't enjoy a glass of wine. For the dudes who want to read up on their wine knowledge, take tips from the Paso Wine Man.

Think of this wine connosseir (formerly known as the Zin Man, Eater notes) as the "World's Most Interesting Man" of wine. He's dodging computer-generated bombs, getting girls, jumping into limos, and waving the American flag proudly. His explanations of wine varietals aren't what you'd find on the label, but they're ones we want to memorize for future use. Chardonnay? "Blonde; when done wrong, it's all spray tans, bleached teeth, and big hair. But when done right, it's California beauty." Rosé? "Real men aren't afraid of tinting a gorgeous juice." Pinot noir? "Earthy, elegant, ephemeral — just like me." We're dying.

Check out the video from Paso Robles Wines — we think it's something both men and women can enjoy.

Manly Meals: 13 Tasty Recipes for Men

This spiced-up burger is finished with warm, melty blue cheese, and balsamic-soaked red onions lend an extra flavor kick.

Sweet corn takes on maximum flavor when charred on the grill, and its flavors contrast beautifully with a rich, perfectly cooked steak.

First coated in a spicy dry rub mixture before being basted with a tangy homemade sauce, these barbecue ribs are a surefire way to please a crowd.

First coated in a spicy dry rub mixture before being basted with a tangy homemade sauce, these barbecue ribs are a surefire way to please a crowd.

Ground coffee gives these barbecue-inspired burgers a kick.

Bite-size bratwurst slices alternate with veggies in this kebab version of the Sheboygan, WI, classic, which is basted in a beer-brown sugar sauce.

Infuse standard hot dogs with a subtle zesty kick by simmering them in beer, onions, and chiles.

Grilled steak and vegetables get big flavor from heart-healthy olive oil, tangy vinegar, fresh herbs, and capers.

These meaty, cheesy nachos are packed with flavorful Italian ingredients, like garlic, peppers, sausage, and herbs.

Use naan flatbreads and prepared pesto sauce for a fast and easy pizza. Try the chorizo and broccoli rabe as spicy and hearty toppings.

Garden tomatoes and basil make a wonderful topping for pizza cooked over the coals. For the crust, use frozen bread dough or fresh dough from the supermarket or pizzeria. Serve the pizzas as a main course or cut into wedges for appetizers.

Tutorial: Make a Wine Bag in 10 Minutes

Today I thought I’d bring home another super easy yet fun to make tutorial I did as part of the Riley Blake Project Design Team! Today I will be teaching you how to make a fabulous Wine Bag, and it will only take you 10 minutes…10 MINUTES. So fast you could crank out quite a few in less than an hour and have an array of pretty packaged hostess gifts to bring to all of your holiday parties.
In this tutorial I will be using Riley Blake’s beautiful Cottage Garden fabrics, they are so so pretty, aren’t they!

All you need is the following to make one bag:

10 Minute Wine Bag Tutorial

one 12 x 16 inch piece of fabric

one 12 x 16 inch piece of coordinating fabric

12-15 inch piece of lace, trim, ribbon, jute or twine for the tie

First, fold each piece of fabric right sides together the long ways so that each piece measures 6 x 16 inches. Then sew down the long raw edge and the bottom raw (making an L-shape) using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.Next, pinch the two corners you just made (one at a time) and fold them over the seam at at the bottom of the bag (like the picture above on the right). Measure 1.5 inches from the tip of the corner and sew horizontally across the corner. Do this on both corners.
The bottom of you both fabric pieces should look like the picture above on the left. Take a pair of scissors and clip both corners off making sure not to cut through the seam you sewed together earlier.
Now flip the fabric that will be the outside of your wine bag so that it is right side out. Leave the inner fabric so that it is still wrong sides out. Place the inner fabric bag inside the outer fabric bag making sure the seams match up (like the picture above on the left). Then fold each raw edge inward about 1/2 inch and pin together. I did this starting at the seam so that I knew they would be matched up as I pinned around the circle. Then just top stitch the raw edges together using a 1/4 seam allowance.

Ta-Da. You now have yourself a darling little wine bag! Just insert your wine bottle, champagne, or sparkling apple juice inside and tie the top closed with a piece of lace, trim, ribbon, or twine and you are ready to head to all your holiday parties this season!
I hope you get a chance to make a few for the holidays. There is nothing better than gifting something pretty.

Weekly Lessons with Quizzes

Some of you study wine for a living, some would simply like a diploma, some wish to make a good impression over dinner with friends. If you search online you'll find thousands of courses, millions of video tutorials, infinite organizations, groups, and clubs that talk about wine.

Learning all the technique, history, and science of wine if your goal is to become a famous sommelier is useless if you're unable to communicate this knowledge to those who know nothing about wine in a way that allows them to care.

Our video lessons are born precisely with this intent. Bringing wine back to its role as a social connector, as a carrier of stories, landscapes, cultures and people. We start from the landscape, history, practices and traditions of artisan winemakers and skip the textbooks filled with general knowledge you can find with a simple google search.

So instead of starting from the label, the score, the macro region, the style and the grape variety in Community.Wine we focus on the path and the people who lead to the label and not the other way around. Every story, every practice, every territory is different, unique, unrepeatable, as should be every bottle, every taste, every experience which is shared at the table.

Our informal courses are designed not to make distinctions between enthusiasts and professionals, between master sommeliers and simple occasional drinkers.

165 Best Christmas Gifts for Boyfriends of 2020 – Cool Gifts for Him

Finding Christmas gifts for your boyfriends doesn’t have to be a struggle. Guys are somewhat predictable and as long as you play to their interests they’ll appreciate being given a thoughtful holiday gift. Here are the best gift ideas for a boyfriend that are sure to please, as long as you keep in mind the things that he likes or needs.

Men, Meat, and Marketing

The makers of plant-based meats are up against decades—if not centuries and millennia—of messaging tying meat eating to masculinity.

On November 4, 2020, the eyes of the nation were trained on local election officials as an unprecedentedly mail-heavy ballot count hung in the balance. As Clark County, Nevada, Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria calmly delivered an update to reporters outside the election center in a Las Vegas warehouse and office park, a sunburned, chin-masked man lumbered up behind him to yell words that were conspiratorial, nonsensical, and not worth regurgitating, even as the three-word manifesto on his raggedly de-sleeved red, white, and blue shirt came through loud and clear: BBQ BEER FREEDOM.

Said barbecue likely was not plant-based. The conflation of meat, "freedom," and masculinity is not a modern phenomenon in Western society by any means think Homer&aposs heroes feteing the gods with a hallowed sheep feast in ancient Greek texts a few millennia before Homer Simpson counseled his vegetarian-curious child—through song and a conga line—that, "You don&apost win friends with salad." It just happened to get a particularly strong reinforcement in the last century or so from male-targeted media and advertising—making today&aposs plant-based meat products somewhat of a tougher sell to a population weaned on the heteronormative notion that a "real" man is practically teething on a T-bone, acquiescing to the occasional vegetable only when nagged or guilted by his female partner.

Just for historical funzies, the 1949 Esquire&aposs Handbook for Hosts opens with the assertion that, "The world&aposs greatest cooks are men. Since the beginning of time, he-men have always prepared the savory dishes that caress the palates of epicures of every nation." The handbook goes on to  slam "woman&aposs magazine salads" and "doily tearoom fare," making a curious claim that "women don&apost seem to understand fish" and declaring that a game-based stew is "second only to steak in its standing as a Man&aposs Dish." Sixty two years later, Esquire&aposs Eat Like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever Need (based on the mag&aposs column of the same name) may have dropped the eye-poppingly racist illustrations of male cooks from other lands, as well as the aggressively misogynistic rhetoric, but still, the front cover boasts an obligatory black-and-blue bone-in steak and the back, a list of 15 male contributing chefs, and an asterisked aside that women could benefit from the book as well because "we&aposre not exclusive." 

In the interregnum between the editions and the years since, Esquire was hardly the only publication or entity stoking this particular notion of carnivorism (and to be fair, in the decade since the latter book came out, Esquire&aposs coverage has evolved tremendously—specifically calling out the "fragility" of that macho mindset, and touting the virtues of various plant-based products). Notable texts of the genre include Bruce Feirstein&aposs tongue-in-cheek (buuuuuut also pretty steeped in some pretty gnarly notions) 1982 Real Men Don&apost Eat Quiche: A Guidebook to All That Is Truly Masculine and the follow-up volume he edited, Real Men Don&apost Cook Quiche: The Real Man&aposs Cookbook, which include a bizarre amount of anti-French sentiment, a recipe for cream of beer soup, and passages like, "Steak is the Real Man&aposs birthday cake … The way we see it, telling a real man how to prepare his steak would be like telling him how to ride his horse, drive his car, or make love to his girlfriend. And among Real Men, this just isn&apost done." There are lists like "14 Things You Won&apost Find in a Real Man&aposs Stomach," including tofu, bean curd, light beer, yogurt, and "arugola" [sic] salad. 

That sentiment wasn&apost relegated to the twentieth century either. A 2006 Burger King commercial co-opted Helen Reddy&aposs "I Am Woman" to become an anthem for men too hungry for vegetable-based "chick food." Alt-right demagogues like Alex Jones strip to the waist to eat sausages while his guests decry the "soy boys" they claim have been "feminized" by the consumption of alt-meat. Conservative pundit-psychologist Jordan Peterson extols the benefits of a highly questionable all-meat diet in an appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast. Free speech abounds, y&aposall.     

Ross Mackay was up against years—if not centuries and millennia—of this notion of dude food when he launched the plant-based chicken company Daring in the United States in March 2020. Growing up in Glasgow, Scotland, "We made our legacy on Scotch beef and salmon and whisky, and black pudding is a tradition," Mackay said in a phone call. "There, I lived in a world where &aposreal&apos men eat meat." And when as a 17-year-old student athlete, coming from a very health-conscious family, he decided to eliminate animal products from his diet for the purpose of performing at a higher level, it was a fairly lonely pursuit. "I was the only one of my friends and I was the only one in my school and I was the only one at my college." 

But despite any naysayers, he trusted what his body was telling him—that it felt and functioned better𠅊nd he eventually found solidarity with a friend, Eliott Kessas. The two worked their way through all the traditional meat alternatives available in the UK, but questioned the ubiquity of corn in them, the overly processed ingredients, the less than satisfactory flavor, the lack of protein. Convinced that they could develop a better alternative, the duo developed a plant-based chicken, raised $10 million in investment at the end of 2019, and moved to Los Angeles, where they banked on finding an even more receptive audience for their wares. It was a leap of faith, but as MacKay says, the entire ethos of the company—starting with the name "Daring"—is about taking these risks in the face of naysayers, even those who get all weird about the notion of what it means to be a man who says nae to a bucket of KFC.   

But it&aposs one thing to develop a product that you truly believe is a truly superior option to an animal product for both health and environmental issues, and quite another to get men, steeped since birth in these messages of machismo, to even try it. Mackay believes he can lead by example. Now 29, he presents himself as living proof. "We&aposre daring by name and by nature, but our business evolved really to challenge the status quo. We&aposve been told for so long that meat is integral to our livelihood and we&aposve challenged that as finders in terms of performance. I can perform and I can compete in sporting competitions and operate at my maximum while not consuming meat. You&aposve got to look at your brand and your messaging and your marketing efforts and then probably in turn your distribution." 

"So our brand, we&aposve really tried to appeal to the wider audience. I think males specifically look for macronutrients, so protein. &aposCan I get my protein in? Where do you get your protein in?&apos We&aposve created a product that is appealing to its consumer, specifically the male demographic who is more concerned with macronutrients than potentially the female audience," he said. "Women may be more concerned with other aspects, but men have been concerned with the high protein, low fat, macro base. In messaging that, we&aposve been able to win over the male audience. Our consumer right now is still skewed female/male, but it&aposs extremely close, about 55/45.

Mackay continued, "Essentially we&aposre creating a product from a health perspective that males are looking for. If I had a dollar for everyone that said, &aposWhere do you get your protein from?&apos The male demographic have been looking for this. Thankfully, male athletes have really come to fruition in the last couple years and looking at Djokovic, looking at the number of other top athletes in the NFL and NBA who have really championed a plant-based lifestyle has definitely caught the consumer&aposs attention as well."

The recent ubiquity of Impossible, Beyond, and other plant-based meat alternatives have lessened some of the stigma around, if nothing else, the occasional dalliance with flexitarianism, but there remains the cliché that more people would opt for meatless meals if only bacon weren&apost so danged tasty. That&aposs where Sri Artham, founder of Hooray foods, felt he could make his mark. Unlike Mackay, he does eat meat, but after the 2018 fires in San Francisco, Artham decided to focus his attention on fighting global warming. According to the company&aposs director of marketing Stephanie Su, "Sri had experience in consumer packaged goods. He worked at Fair Trade for a long time, and he knew that meat, including pork, was a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. So he decided he would try to create his own plant-based meat, specifically plant-based bacon was what he came up with to help battle climate change and take pigs out of the food system and change our consumption habits in an easy way."

Artham found there weren&apost any great pork analogs on the market. "The most valuable cut of pigs is the pork belly and bacon is something people get really excited about it," he explained. The mission became clear: to make something that not only looked, cooked, smelled, and tasted like bacon in order to lure in those people who had been raised on the pig-based stuff, but also to make it accessible to people who couldn&apost eat the alternatives on the market for reasons of allergy or aversion to soy, dairy, nuts, and gluten. 

The appeal to this audience (still about 60-70% female, but shifting toward parity), Su explained, has not just to do with the similarity to animal-based bacon, but in the way it&aposs presented. "Our packaging looks like real bacon packaging. I know some of the other plant-based bacons have their own distinct packaging but it isn&apost mimicking how real bacon is packaged. So we have ours on an L-board, 10 strips shingled across just like real bacon. We want to make our products basically feel at home amongst other meat."

Color is also key, Su said. "The branding is orange, which is a little bit more skewing for meat products, more to red than green, which has way more vegan, sustainability-focused associations. And although we care about that, we are trying to get at the flexitarians. We are trying to convince meat eaters to start substituting some of their bacon for plant-based." 

And while producers don&apost really have much of say in where their wares are placed in a supermarket, Su is hoping that as plant-based meat makes more cultural inroads, buoyed as she believes it will be, by partnerships with influencers (the company found particular success in a venture with the very meaty and dude-ly The Feast Kings), Hooray bacon will someday be nestled in next to the porky stuff in grocery&aposs meat cases so customers can elect to make their own decisions. No one&aposs saying you have to go full-on vegan—it&aposs all about freedom of choice, man.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

2013 Kirkland Signature Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Kirkland Signature Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Blended wine composed of 47% cabernet sauvignon, 42% merlot, 6% petit verdot and 5% cabernet franc. Great spice notes of oak and cedar, rich tannins and subtle hints of black cherry and rich plums.
Available through Costco.

PS: This wine paired fabulously with the onion, blue cheeseburgers that I cooked on my smoker filled with hickory wood chips.

Steven W.
[email protected]

2013 William Hill Estate Winery North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 William Hill Estate Winery North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon from the North and Central Coast, vinted and bottled in Healdsburg, California. Rich in flavor of plummy fruit and blackberry jam with a finnish of oak, caramel and spices.

Delightful and rich wine without the full bodied price tag.

Steven W.
[email protected]

Real Men Drink Root Beer / From truck drivers to chefs, everybody's rooting for the new hand-crafted brews

4 of 8 Pete Amour of El Granada, right, drinks root beer with his friend Mike Pensabene of San Mateo, left, who is drinking beer at Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley. Amour and Pensabene were celebrating Pensabene's resignation from his job. BY ROBIN WEINER/THE CHRONICLE ROBIN WEINER Show More Show Less

5 of 8 Bartender Adam Whitman pours root beer from a tap at the Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley. BY ROBIN WEINER/THE CHRONICLE ROBIN WEINER Show More Show Less

7 of 8 A mixture of root beer extract, vanilla, sassafras and super foam sit in a plastic bucket before being added to a water and corn syrup base during the root beer making process at Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley. BY ROBIN WEINER/THE CHRONICLE ROBIN WEINER Show More Show Less

America is in the middle of the root beer revolution, and a stream of the nation's oldest soda pop is pouring through the Bay Area.

Root beer fans include burly former beer drinkers, pregnant women, Baby Boomers on nostalgia trips and club hoppers looking for something different in their kegs.

They're drinking upscale versions of the soda at hip neighborhood bars like kilowatt in the Mission District and top-drawer restaurants like Farallon and LuLu.

Local microbrewers at brewpubs like San Francisco's ThirstyBear are turning over vats once reserved for batches of ale to root beer. At Berkeley's Pyramid Brewery, freshly made root beer is poured alongside alcoholic brew.

The soda is even foaming up cyberspace. Chi-An Chien, 27, is a Princeton-educated multimedia programmer who is the master of a nationally recognized root beer Web site. Along with Star Wars memorabilia stuffed into her Mission District apartment, Chien stacks cases of root beer -- samples from brewers hoping to make it onto her "A List."

"The more you get into it, the more you can discern what makes one better than the other," she says. "A lot of people think of A & W as the standard in root beer. It's a decent root beer for floats but not what you want to drink straight."

Like coffee, bread and microbrewed beer before it, root beer has gone gourmet.

But why is a brew that began as a medicinal tonic Native Americans shared with New World settlers enjoying a resurgence?

Some see its rise as reflection of where the Bay Area finds itself at the end of the 20th century.

"In the '90s, everything's gone gourmet," says Dean Halpern, a manager at Millennium, a vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. Thomas Kemper bottled root beer is on the restaurant's beverage list because the almost-all-natural product fits the restaurant's profile.

Others are less cynical about the recent surge of craft root beers, crediting it to a mix of Boomer-driven nostalgia, a move toward sobriety and the elevated taste of Bay Area consumers.

"The craft root beers have such a strong flavor characteristic to them. People in cities like Seattle and San Francisco enjoy things that have stronger, more distinct taste," says Michael Goldsberry, spokesman for Pyramid, which makes Thomas Kemper soda both in Seattle and Berkeley.

"Root beer is just a rich, wonderful flavor -- one of those things that as soon as you have it in your mouth, you make a connection with it," he says.

Certainly, root beer has been around long enough to establish itself as one of the strongest nostalgia- inducing drinks in America. The great-grandfather of the version most people drink today was invented before cola. But today, cola has 60 percent of the soda market and root beer, just 3 percent. Even orange soda beats it, with a 4 percent share.

Still, marketers and makers alike agree root beer is the fastest-growing product in the soda pop family. Premium-brand IBC has more than doubled its sales since 1995. Coca- Cola bought Barq's three years ago and is marketing the brew on MTV.

Thomas Kemper sales have jumped 20 percent over last year. Stewart's, a root beer sold on the East Coast since 1924, is a relativerelative newcomer to the Bay Area. Despite its hefty $3.50 price per four-pack, sales here have grown 54 percent in four years.

What attracts aficionados to the premium-priced varieties? Among other characteristics, the bubbles. And the right bubbles can only be had in bottles, they claim, not in cans. That's because manufacturers have to pump excess carbonation into canned root beers to maintain the pressure a can demands. "Root beer should be lightly carbonated, like a microbrew. It shouldn't boil off the tongue like Coke," says Matt Pearson, a beverage distributor.

Pearson and his brother, Eric, like root beer so much that they started making their own in 1996. They brewed up batches in their kitchens, made a label from an image of the Golden Gate Bridge cut out from the phone book and found a bottler. In just three years, sales of Pearson Bros. root beer have grown to 3,000 cases. It's available in about 300 stores and restaurants in the Bay Area.

The Pearsons believe the information age sparked the rise in craft root beer.

"People turn to something comforting and homey in the face of all this technology," Eric Pearson says. "It's like the Volkswagen Beetle or mashed potatoes and meat loaf."

Root beer's spice, smoothed by its sweetness, makes it work well with salty food. Pizza, popcorn and hot dogs are good matches, and it stands up well to barbecue and pastrami, the Pearson brothers say.

Whether a root beer has a creamy taste, hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, the spice of wintergreen or any of a hundred other flavor variations comes down to the ability to replicate the desired flavor in a laboratory.

Almost all root beers, even boutique versions, are flavored with a synthesized base. Original recipes are forged from a dozen or more natural ingredients. But to produce a consistent taste and aid sterile, large-scale manufacturing, the brewer's recipe is captured by chemists working at what the industry calls "flavor houses."

Brewers mix that base with sweeteners like corn syrup and honey. Then they cool the mixture and dissolve carbon dioxide into the cold, sweet liquid.

Critical palates describe root beer with phrases one might find at a wine tasting.

Consider Chien's glossary: Tang is the first bite or sensation. Body is the depth of taste. Kick is the sensation left in the mouth after swallowing. Aftertaste is what happens next.

She likes Pearson Bros., but IBC is her favorite. She describes it like this: "Smooth, spicy taste, not too sweet with a fantastic kick to it. Dark and full-bodied." She also gives high marks to Stewart's ("a nice, solid beer with a dark taste") and Thomas Kemper ("A nice, spicy bite . . . heavy on the cloves").

Of course, this is root beer, not Cabernet. So things can get a little playful. "Cloying means taste that sticks around too long, like an old boyfriend when you're ready to move on," she writes on her Web site.

But like most food and drink, taste is a personal matter. San Francisco chef and recipe consultant Catherine Alioto is a newcomer to the root beer revolution. During her recent pregnancy, a root beer craving hit her hard at about the sixth month. She embarked on a quest to find the perfect root beer. She tore through brands that were too medicinal, overly sweet or poorly carbonated. None matched her childhood memory or satisfied her craving.

Then she drove to an A & W stand in Marin County and found nirvana.

"There is something about drinking root beer fresh from the tap in a chilled glass that no other was able to duplicate," she says. "It was reassuring to realize that, even today, there are some things that are as you remember."


Charles Hires didn't invent root beer, but he was the first to promote it. He took his formula to the same Philadelphia centennial expo in 1876 where the typewriter, Alexander Graham Bell's telephone and H.J. Heinz ketchup were introduced.

Root beer makes up only 3 percent of the nearly $60 billion soft drink market. Cola products make up 60 percent and lemon-lime drinks, 12 percent.

Unlike original recipes, today's root beers don't contain any of the root or bark from the sassafras tree. The Food and Drug Administration in 1960 banned safrole, found in sassafras root, because it has been linked with liver cancer.

Root beer can be brewed in a third of the time it takes to make beer.

The average American drinks 54 gallons of soda a year. Less than 5 percent of it is root beer.

In the early days, some unscrupulous root beer manufacturers added soap to their recipes to increase the foam. Today, some large-scale producers use a foaming agent to achieve the same effect.

Root beer is the oldest continuously marketed soft drink in the country. -- K.S.


That bottle of upscale root beer selling for $2 or $3 at a San Francisco restaurant traces its roots back to Native American healers.

They boiled a host of plant material, including licorice, sassafras and fennel, into a sort of tea and used it for a variety of ailments, especially gastric distress, according to several sources on root beer and American history.

European settlers fell in love with the natural potions. By the late 1700s, sassafras-flavored elixirs were among the hundreds of remedies Americans guzzled. Traveling medicine shows that worked Southern backwoods and the ever-expanding Western frontier helped the evolution.


The process of adding fizz to mineral water emerged in 1768, and "fixed air" water became a popular tonic for ailments ranging from weak blood and shaky nerves to indigestion. Pharmacies began pumping it out, adding flavors to draw customers. Early versions of root beer were among them.

At this point, historians don't agree on exactly when root beer moved from the purview of pharmacists to a country drink stirred up in rural kitchens to a common commercial product.

Early stoneware root beer bottles are dated from the 1850s. Southern California author Laura Quarantiello, who wrote "The Root Beer Book: A Celebration of America's Favorite Soft Drink"(LimeLight Books, 1997), says a New York brewer made root beer in 1842. Several other favorite American drinks, such as Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola, were born about the same time.

Virtually every root beer historian credits Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Hires with naming and popularizing root beer in 1876. His formula contained 16 spices, roots and berries, including ginger, hops, vanilla, juniper, wintergreen and sassafras. He pushed it as a temperance drink. To make his sweet herbal tonic appeal to hard-drinking Pennsylvania miners, he called it root beer. It took off when he introduced it at the world's fair that year.

The temperance movement buoyed root beer. When Prohibition hit, local breweries in almost every American town started putting yeast-based root beer in their brown bottles. Most brews had a touch of alcohol from the yeast.

The number of craft-style root beer brewers started to dwindle around midcentury, partly because of increased mass production. About the same time, a government-mandated change in ingredients altered the taste of root beer.


In 1960, the Food and Drug Administration banned safrole, produced in the root of the sassafras tree, as a possible carcinogen. (The leaves of the sassafras tree which are still use to produce a spice called file commonly used in gumbo, don't contain significant amounts.) While some manufacturers, like Barq's, use a form of sassafras with safrole removed, most rely on a mix of artifical and other flavors for the root beer taste.

America's tastes as well as manufacuring methods also combined to change root beer's character. The number of A & W stands, which reached 2,000 in the 1960s, fell to a quarter of that. Mass production, the advent of chemical flavorings and souped-up carbonation in cans all affected root beer's character.


psday/rootbeer.html . Chi-An Chien's root beer reviews are at


To find out how to make a great root beer float, we went to two experts: the chef at Aqua, a San Francisco restaurant renowned for sophisticated food and decor, and the owner of an A & W restaurant in Lodi, home of the nation's first A & W root beer stand.

At Aqua, a decidedly upscale root beer float is a signature dessert. Chefs layer small scoops of house-made root beer sorbet and sassafras-flavored vanilla ice cream, then pour on Thomas Kemper root beer. A crisp chocolate wafer and two chocolate straws top it off. The $8 dessert is served with two homey, warm chocolate chip cookies.

In Lodi, Peter Knight takes a simpler approach. Knight owns the A & W in the town where the nation's first A & W root beer stand opened in 1919. Knight started working for A & W in 1972 and figures he's poured more than a couple of million floats.

He starts with an ice-cold frosted mug right from the freezer. He pours the root beer first, down the side of the glass to prevent building up too much foam, then adds a scoop or two of locally made butterfat-rich vanilla ice cream.

The key is the ice cream, he says. "Refrain from using a cheap ice cream. It won't stand up to the sweetness and the vanilla of the root beer."

A & W, the nation's top-selling root beer, has a wintergreen kick and is not as heavy with vanilla or honey flavors as some of the gourmet brands. The crispness provides a sharp counterpoint for the ice cream, he says.

The balance between ice cream and root beer is the key at Aqua, too. Chef Michael Mina and pastry chef Jason Gingold tasted several root beers before deciding on Thomas Kemper, made by Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley.

"It's not too sweet," Mina says. "Sometimes root beer can be too sharp or too sweet, like a cream soda."

The alternating scoops of sorbet and sassafras-flavored ice cream based on creme anglaise provide contrast.

Unfortunately, the mix is hard to duplicate at home. The root beer syrup used in the Aqua's sorbet is a commercial product, unavailable to consumers. In testing the accompanying recipe, we used Torani root beer syrup, which will be in markets next month. But with this syrup, the sorbet takes a long time to freeze. An alternative is to eliminate the sorbet entirely. That's not true to the Aqua recipe, but we found that the rich ice cream and the root beer alone made an outstanding float.

The Wine Tutorial for Real Men - Recipes

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Boil noodles in margarine and pinch of salt. Do not overcook. Drain, cool
and season generously with garlic and onion powder. Add 3 tablespoons of
olive oil. Stir and mix together. Add all can items: crabmeat minced clams
and (include all juices). Mix well.

Prepare separately in a bowl cooked shrimp. Cook for 1 minute being careful not to overcook. Cut up shrimp in two pieces and season with 1 teaspoons of pepper and salt and 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Dry out imitation crab with
paper towel and combine and mix well with noodles.

Prepare separately in a bowl: Finely sliced garlic, red onions, green peppers,
olives and celery. Add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons of olive
oil. Add 3 tablespoon of wine (cheaper, the better- whatever you got around
the house, any kind!) and stir. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir slowly
making sure all granules have melted. Combine and mix in slowly with noodles.

Garnish with feta cheese and chopped nuts (walnuts, pine or whatever is on sale).
Cover and chill for 2-3 hours. Stir again before serving.

Garnish with feta cheese and chopped nuts (walnuts, pine or whatever is on sale).
Cover and chill for 2-3 hours. Stir again before serving.

The Wine Tutorial for Real Men - Recipes

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(Marinating chicken before cooking is optional)

Heat oven to 400-degrees F. Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt. Place chicken, skin-side down, in 9" x 13" baking dish. Pour wine, white wine Worcestershire sauce and olive brine over chicken. Scatter onion slices and mushrooms over chicken. Bake 30 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 375-degrees F. Turn chicken skin-side up, sprinkle with a little more Worcestershire sauce. Bake 20 minutes more. Serve over brown or white rice, with a mixed green salad.

Watch the video: Bill Skarsgårds Demonic IT Smile. CONAN on TBS (December 2022).