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Partaking in an adult beverage or two with friends and family is one of our culture’s longest lasting pastimes and always will be. When it comes to family gatherings, it could even be called a tradition. It is something that nearly everybody who is of drinking age does on a seemingly regular basis.

For someone who is following a gluten free diet, this pastime is not as enjoyable as it should be. Many adult beverages contain gluten, and the quest for finding a gluten free adult beverage can drive many who are on a gluten free diet to not enjoy the pastime of spending time with friends, family, and an occasional adult beverage.

Fortunately, there are solutions, and the quest for finding a decent gluten free does not need to be so difficult. This guide will help. The three most common adult beverages, beer, wine, and spirits, will be analyzed to determine respectable gluten free solutions, this way the next time you go out to a bar, you will know exactly what you can and cannot order.

Beer
In almost all cases, beer is liquid gluten. Its two main ingredients are hops and barley, both of which are concentrated from yeast, which uses gluten as its main ingredient. If you have spent most of your days drinking beer to wind down with your friends and family, prepare to turn away from at least 9 of every 10 beers on any given alcohol menu.

The process of making gluten free beer happens in the final stage of brewing, by swapping out hops and barley for buckwheat and sorghum. While this removes most of the gluten from beer, it pays the price in taste and body. However, as gluten free diets are becoming more popular, this process of making gluten free beer is getting easier and easier for most breweries, with a fair amount of gluten free beer now retaining at least a semblance of the original body and taste.

Another option is to drink hard cider. Different than beer, hard cider is brewed with fruit rather than barley and hops. Possessing the same proof level as most beer, they do not sacrifice anything in terms of alcohol content. Hard ciders have much more sugar content, however.

Wine
If beer is considered liquid gluten, then wine should be considered hard fruit juice. Just like nearly all beer is made from barley and hops, nearly all wine is made from grape juice. In many cases, wine is a good solution for someone on a gluten free diet.

However, there is a possibility of gluten being in wine. If you were ever curious of how wine seems to taste better as it ages, there is a specific reason for that. To help wine age properly, a good amount of winemakers will add flour or wheat paste to the barrels, to make sure the fruit juice ferments properly. This appears to be a harmless process, as it creates wine with less than 20 parts per million of gluten. But gluten is still used nonetheless.

The best thing to do is to first check out how old the wine is. The older it is, the more likely gluten may have been used to age it properly. Second, you can check with the winemaker to see if they indeed add flour or wheat paste to their barrels during the fermenting process. The most popular winemakers today know that more and more people are taking on gluten free diets, and will label their wines accordingly.

Another thing to do is see what your local winery offers, if you do indeed live near one. Because local wineries are not as popular than most others, they focus on shorter aging times. This means they see no point in adding flour or wheat paste to the barrels. This makes virtually anything sold in a local winery gluten free.

Pay very specific attention to coloring or flavors added to wine, which can contain gluten. Again, because most wineries (even the popular ones) are aware of the growing popularity of gluten free diets, they usually have gluten free alternatives.

Wine is a solid choice for anybody on a gluten free diet. Unlike beer, the majority of wine is gluten free.

Spirits
This is where things get complicated. If nearly 90% of all beer has gluten and nearly 90% of wine does not contain gluten, spirits are where everything is split in half and where most of the guesswork needs to be done. For the purposes of this analysis, liquor, whiskey, and vodka are considered spirits.

Some experts have argued that liquor is safe for people on gluten free diets because gluten is removed when the liquor is distilled. This is where the guesswork comes in, because sufferers from celiac disease and other kinds of gluten intolerance have reported that they would get a severe reaction after drinking liquor.

This is because not every distillation process is the same. Some methods of distilling spirits remove gluten and some do not, and it is impossible to tell. This can make choosing a favorite spirit to drink as stressful as choosing a gluten free beer in some cases. It is about a 50-50 chance of whether gluten will be in the spirit or not.

What does not have this 50-50 chance are spirits that are not made with any gluten in the first place. Potato vodka, rum, and tequila are three examples of spirits not made with any gluten and are perfectly safe for anybody on a gluten free diet.

Enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two with friends or family should never be a stressful pastime for anybody, and this especially includes people on a gluten free diet. Oftentimes, it does seem like those who have negative reactions to gluten are cornered into only a couple of decisions when it comes to what they can order.

One piece of advice is to expand horizons. If you drank beer your entire life and know that nearly 9 in 10 beers are made with gluten, go with the 9 in 10 wine selections that are not made with gluten. Or go for spirits that do not contain gluten such as potato vodka, rum, and tequila. The choices are out there, and this guide should eliminate whatever guesswork that may have been present before.

And as always, with anything involving alcohol, drink responsibly.

….and add a gluten free pizza if you are feeling extra spontaneous!

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With the holiday season in full swing, you’re probably spending much of the month searching for that perfect present for everyone on your list. The trouble is, shopping for the right gifts can be an exhausting challenge and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, there’s no store called Here’s the Perfect Gift For You, so to make your life a little easier, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide for every imbiber on your list. (After all, who doesn’t love getting a nice bottle of their favorite booze or something sleek to put on their bar cart?)

Whether you’re looking for basics to help a pal build out their home bar or something to wow a cocktail connoisseur who has everything, we’re certain that we’ve got a gift for everyone on your list. What’s more, we’ve found presents at every price point, with one even as affordable as $5.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to treat yourself to a little something as well. After all, the end of the year is a time to look back and celebrate your accomplishments, and we think you deserve to raise a glass to everything you did in 2017. Cheers!

$10 and Under


Metrokane Rabbit Wine Foil Cutter – $5
This handy tool neatly and safely removes foil from wine bottles with a simple squeeze and a twist. It’s the perfect accessory for any wine lover, and at $5, you can feel free to toss one into the stockings of just about everyone on your list.


Trademark Innovations Slate Drink Coasters – $7
Made of 100% all-natural slate, this set of four coasters offers a rugged sexiness to any kitchen, living, or dining room. On top of holiday gifts, you can stock up on these to give out as a host or hostess present all throughout the year.


Cresimo 10-Inch Cocktail Muddler and Mixing Spoon – $8
A great gift for that newly turned 21-year-old who’s just beginning to build their home bar. This muddler-and-mixing spoon combo is made of durable stainless steel, is backed by a two-year guarantee, and even comes with a digital book of cocktail recipes.

$25 and Under


Bourbon Barrel Foods Miniature Set – $15
Simple sugar is fine enough, but smoked sugar is so much better. The bourbon-smoked sugar in this set brings a caramel, oaky richness to just about any whiskey cocktail. What’s more, the set also includes salt, pepper, paprika, and vanilla sugar for use in drinks like a Margarita, an Alexander, or a Mint Julep.


Lost Recipes of Prohibition: Notes From a Bootlegger’s Manual – $19
Prompted by a found notebook of illicit booze recipes, Matthew Rowley presents a beautifully illustrated collection of more than 100 forgotten formulas for bitters, cordials, cocktails, and spirits. It’s the ideal gift for that history-loving boozehound in your life.


Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Straight Rye Whiskey – $24
If you want to get your friends some booze without breaking the bank, just look to the experts. According to Julie Reiner, owner of NYC’s Clover Club, Rittenhouse Rye is not only drinkable, but rivals that of other higher-priced whiskeys. You can find it at your local liquor store for around $24.

$50 and Under


EMcollection Whiskey Stones Gift Set with Crystal Glasses – $33
Help your friends and family redefine drinking “on the rocks” by gifting them a set of elegant whiskey stones. Paired with striking crystal glasses, these FDA-approved cubes are crafted from 100% pure granite, guaranteeing that a drink stays cold without watering it down.


B.Weiss 100% Pure Copper Moscow Mule Mugs – $40
Few things beat ordering a Moscow Mule and having it delivered in a true-to-its-roots pure copper mug. Give someone that same experience at home (and add some style to their bar cart in the process) with this eye-catching set complete with a shot glass and straws.


Molecule-R Cocktail R-Evolution Mixology Kit – $50
Bring a burst of creativity to cocktail making with this molecular mixology kit. Plant-based additives, user-friendly tools, and a 30-recipe DVD turn cocktails into works of art topped with beautifully airy foams.

$100 and Under


12-Tube Vodka Tasting Collection – $65
Treat a vodka-lover to a special gift with this collection of 12 1-ounce samples. Along with a booklet that teaches the drinker how to distinguish the differences, the box comes with vodkas ranging from well-known brands like Ketel One and Belvedere to more obscure labels such as Snow Queen from Kazakhstan.

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When it comes to drinking, there’s no city in America — and perhaps the world — that does it better than New Orleans. After all, this is a town where bars can stay open 24 hours a day and it’s totally legal, at least in the French Quarter, to carry a drink as you’re walking down the street.

New Orleans is also rumored to be the birthplace of America’s very first cocktail, the Sazerac. While this has been up for debate, what isn’t debatable is that the city has given rise to many of the world’s most enduring drinks. As cocktail historian and legendary barmen Chris McMillian has said, “As long as people have been drinking cocktails, they’ve been drinking them in New Orleans.” Here, we detail the six classic NOLA creations that any imbiber should know and love.

Sazerac
Ah, the most famous of New Orleans’s classic cocktails. First invented by bitters-maker Antoine Peychaud in 1838, the drink was originally made with cognac and named after Peychaud’s favorite brand, Sazerac de Forge et Fils. Around the 1870s, the main ingredient was changed to rye whiskey due to drinkers’ changing tastes, and an absinthe rinse was added. Today, there are many versions of this cocktail, but we’re purists at heart. Our go-to is a blend of whiskey, Peychaud’s, sugar, and a lemon twist, all served in an absinthe-coated glass. You can find hand-crafted Sazeracs in NOLA’s finest restaurants and bars, most notably the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel. See recipe

Brandy Milk Punch
Though not originally invented in New Orleans — some say the basis for the drink dates back to the 1600s — the recipe as it’s most known today first appeared in an 1862 guide by New York City bartender Jerry Thomas. The decadent punch has long been a holiday staple in Louisiana, and thanks to the renowned Brennan restaurant family, it’s now a brunch staple too. They take credit for perfecting the recipe, with brandy, simple syrup, vanilla, equal parts whole milk and cream, and sprinkling of nutmeg on top. See recipe

Absinthe Frappe
Absinthe first made its way to New Orleans via Europe in the early 1800s and quickly became popular with the town’s writers, artists, and musicians. In 1874, the Absinthe Frappe was invented by head bartender Cayetano Ferrer at the Old Absinthe House, and was served to the likes of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain. Today, the potent mix of absinthe, simple syrup, soda water, and mint can still be enjoyed in its original setting on the corner of Bourbon and Bienville streets — or you can use their tried-and-true recipe to whip one up at home. See recipe

Ramos Gin Fizz
First invented in 1888 by bartender Henry C. Ramos, the Ramos Gin Fizz has become one of those drinks that can be difficult to find outside of New Orleans. The combination of gin, citrus, sugar, egg white, and orange flower water may seem strange at first, but one sip is guaranteed to make you fall in love with the rich and silky drink. It takes time to craft the perfect Ramos Gin Fizz — the original recipe called for a 12-minute marathon of shaking to create that lush and frothy egg white foam — but the end result is always worth the effort. See recipe

Vieux Carré
Dating back to 1938 at the Hotel Monteleone, the Vieux Carré was created by head bartender Walter Bergeron and named after an old title given to the French Quarter. Made with equal parts rye, cognac, and vermouth, plus a splash of Benedictine, the Vieux Carré has become synonymous with the city itself — at once complex, potent, and smooth. Though the cocktail was invented in a lounge that no longer exists, you can still order the classic creation at the hotel’s Carousel Bar, which opened in 1949. See recipe

Hurricane
A little sweet, a little tart, and not lacking in attitude, the Hurricane is much like the city from which it hails. According to the legend, the cocktail was created in the 1940s at Pat O’Brien’s when Pat’s liquor distributor would only sell him other alcohol if he agreed to buy 50 cases of surplus rum. In order to use up the excess, Pat whipped up a libation featuring a whopping four ounces of rum, plus fruit juices and grenadine to cover up the boozy bite. The recipe took off and today can still be found at O’Brien’s as well as other establishments around town. You can make a Hurricane at home, but beware — they pack a Category-5 punch. See recipe

Photo Credit: Jager Weatherby for Cocktail Builder

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Halloween comes but once a year, so when it does we do it in style. That’s right: We’re talking about award-worthy costumes, king-size candy bars, and pumpkins carved with the skills of Edward Scissorhands.

But of course, none of that is any fun if you’re sitting on the couch alone in your costume, getting sick on the aforementioned candy. This year, it’s time to step up your game by throwing a Halloween party to end all parties. Bust out the decorations, hit play on the spooky music, and whip up a batch of punch to get the energy going.

In honor of the occasion, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite boozy creations to serve on Halloween. These big-batch recipes are easy to make ahead of time so you’re not shaking drinks all night long. They’re also guaranteed to wow your guests with festive ingredients like black vodka, spiced pumpkin, and, yes, fake eyeballs.

Black Widow
Vodka has never looked so sinister as it does in the Black Widow, a tart yet potent sip that’s far less evil than it looks. Channel your dark side with an easy three-ingredient recipe that uses nothing than more than equal parts black vodka (we suggest Blavod), cranberry juice, and lemonade. While the original recipe is only enough to make one drink, you can easily multiply the ingredients depending on your needs. Give the drinks an extra witchy feel by sprinkling each with a pinch of edible white pearl dust. See recipe

Bloody Rum Punch
A take on traditional sangria, the Bloody Rum Punch is the perfect dark red to lend an eerie environment on Halloween. Made with light rum, red wine, and triple sec, this recipe is certainly not for the faint of heart (or the faint of liver). Amp up your presentation by decorating the punch bowl with cobwebs or floating fake spiders in the mixture. See recipe

Salted Caramel Apple Cider Punch (makes about 20-30 servings)
An irresistible blend of fresh apple cider with sweet-and-salty caramel vodka, this punch combines two of fall’s most beloved flavors. If you really want to make an impression, try serving the cocktails in hollowed-out green apples. Can’t find salted caramel vodka? Use regular vodka and top with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a dash or two of sea salt. See recipe

Cherry Eyeball Punch
Really creep out your guests by whipping up this Cherry Eyeball Punch, a refreshing blend of vodka, cherry, orange, and club soda. The recipe gets its spook factor thanks to the addition of fake eyeballs made of white, squishy lychees stuffed with gooey blackberries. See recipe

Spiced Pumpkin Punch
This sweet and savory punch brings a double whammy of festive flavor with spiced rum and pumpkin puree. Pair those two with cinnamon, cloves, and fresh citrus, and you’ve got fall in a glass. We recommend serving the orange-colored mixture out of a carved-out pumpkin, and upping the atmosphere with dry ice. Simply place a bowl with dry ice in the bottom of the pumpkin or punch bowl and top with another bowl to hold your punch. See recipe

Photo credit: Courtesy of ElleTalk

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October is upon us and you know what that means: Everyone is going crazy about pumpkins. From carved pumpkins to pumpkin pie to pumpkin spice lattes, the squash is everywhere this season — even in our beer.

Early October also marks the conclusion of Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest, a multi-week event in which locals and visitors alike consume millions of liters of beer. Even if you weren’t able to attend this year’s festivities, you can still celebrate Munich’s beer culture — and autumn’s favorite fruit — with one very tasty ale-based libation.

This recipe, courtesy of Angry Orchard Cider, is everything we love about October in a glass. Honey whiskey brings a sense of warmth to pumpkin beer, while seasonally inspired Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple Cider lends crispness and a hint of heat. A rim of crushed candied walnuts is the final crunchy finish for a sweet-and-salty kick.

While the recipe is perfect as it is, we think it would be equally delicious with many of the label’s other fall-inspired styles, which can all buy bought together in the Autumn Sampler variety pack. Swap out Cinnful Apple Cider for the bright acidity of Crisp Apple, the slight tartness of Green Apple, or the floral notes of the limited-release Hopped Apple. Whichever style you choose, we can guarantee you’ll be sipping this cocktail all autumn long. Whip up a batch to serve at your Halloween party or pair with your turkey on Thanksgiving.

THE PATCH & ORCHARD

Ingredients
4 ounces Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple Cider (or style of your choice)
4 ounces pumpkin beer
1/2 ounce honey whiskey
1/4 ounce crushed candied walnuts

Directions
Rim a beer goblet with the crush candied walnuts. In the glass, stir together the cider, pumpkin beer, and honey whiskey. If choose, add a small serving of ice.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Angry Orchard

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