Scotch Class 2010

December 8, 2010 at 12:21 am (class, Current Events, What we are thinking) (, , , , , , , , )

by Ms. Erin

This past Friday, Ms. Jane Lopes and I taught a rousing Scotch class to a private group of eight, partly populated by a Real Live Scotsman. To note that I was nervous, particularly given the audience, is a a gross understatement. Would I pronounce all those difficult words correctly? Would I remember the names of all the small parcels of land known as “The Islands,” when discussing the regions of Scotch production? [They are Jura, Arran, Mull, Orkney, and Skye, for what it’s worth.]

My fears turned out to be largely unfounded, with the group genial, and the Scottish guest happy to help with the quirks of pronunciation, and sharing stories about his childhood in the Outer Hebrides–where there are few Scotch distilleries–and summers cutting peat to be used for the family home’s source of fuel come winter. And, despite my initial apprehension, the result was a cozy little class peppered with many anecdotes, Jane’s encyclopedic spirits knowledge, my wisecracks, and a whole lot of new information floating around that jumble that is it my winter brain.

Now, we Lushies love to share new and exciting tidbits. Here are a few of my favorite facts and figures learned while prepping for and teaching the class:

* Scotch is always aged in used barrels. Happily, those Scots who brought their distilling techniques to the US are now benefiting from a beautiful cycle: since American bourbon can only be aged in new oak barrels, the Yankee distillers can recoup some costs by sending their once-used barrels over to Scotland, where they will contain another generation of whisky.
* I already knew this, but: in Scotland, it’s whisky. Not whiskey. Don’t even try it.
* Scotch took over Europe as the premier spirit of choice when the phylloxera louse destroyed grape production in the Cognac-producing parts of France.
* Once known as the “upper Highlands,” the Speyside region is only about 10 miles by 50 miles, yet contains the majority of Scotch distilleries in the nation. It’s named for Scotland’s longest river, the Spey, which is 200 miles long.
* A Scotch can be smoky but not peaty: there are many ways of drying malted barley, and peat is only one of them. That said, peat expresses a definitive sense of terroir, from both the water flowing through it, and the composition of the plant life decaying into peat [or, as Jane calls it, “unsquashed charcoal”].
* The more you know, the more you want to know. Time to go do some more research. Sip!



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What to do while moving. [What to drink, rather].

May 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm (Current Events, Geek, Travel, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , )

by erin

For people sound of body, brain, and spirit, moving from one domicile to another is an activity that inspires the worst feelings imaginable: dread, preemptive exhaustion, crabbiness, irritability, and leg cramping. Okay, maybe the leg cramping happens after moving. Go eat a banana, girl! Read the rest of this entry »

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Pappy Van Winkle Cocktail Dinner & Pairing

April 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, Special Events, What we are eating, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon

Whiskey Dinner

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

hosted by LUSH

with Julian Van Winkle

Appetizer:

Assorted charcuterie, craft cheeses, olives, pickled vegetables, jams, crusty bread

Cocktail: Americana

1 oz. Pappy Van Winkle 10 year 90 proof

½ oz. Campari

¾ oz. Punt e Mes Sweet Vermouth

Regan’s Orange bitters

Topped with bubbly &  orange oil

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TOC EatOut Awards 2010: Best Wine Shop

April 14, 2010 at 10:14 am (Current Events, Geek, Our Favorite Things) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

LUSH Wine and Spirits for the wine! No, wait, the win!

http://www3.timeoutny.com/chicago/blog/out-and-about/2010/04/2010-eatout-award-winners-and-nominees/

Seriously, though, we are so very thrilled and extremely gracious to all the lushes out there that voted for us.  Thank you!  We heart wine, we heart you.  And TimeOut Chicago, too.  Oh, and Rick Bayless, cause he’s dreamy.

We were in good company with the other nominees, and very much think they do a rockin job with the wine, as well.

LUSH has busted ass and loves our wine drinking, slinging friends.  Please come on by and check out our interactive, put it in your mouth approach to sipping, getting educated, and having fun.  Classes, tastings, and private events are all integral components of the shop, so give us a ring anytime to get in on the action.

Check out lushwineandspirits.com for more details, or give the GM a call at 312.666.6900.  Ask for Rachel or chat up a LUSH lady or lad.

Right on.  Thank you!  Bubbles! And Champagne to celebrate!

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Day Off; or, The Best Lunch I’ve Eaten Recently

March 16, 2010 at 9:32 am (Current Events, French Wine, Our Favorite Things, What we are eating, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , )

by erin

We all know what grand plans get made for a day off work:
“I’m totally going to do all that laundry! And, like, go grocery shopping! Yeah!”

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Verticals

March 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm (Current Events, Geek, Our Favorite Things, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

by Erin

MINI-GEEK: Verticals? For serious geeks, there are a few bottles out there in the world that serve as holy grails for collectors: the Lafites and Latours and Cheval-Blancs of the world; Sassicaia, Opus One, Screaming Eagle; Sea Smoke Pinot, anything coming in magnum form, certainly, and hell, even weird whites from Baumard, Dagueneau, and their ilk. People who have access to these wines are very lucky, indeed, and their friends are luckier still if the bottle owner wants to share. Scenes from The Billionaire’s Vinegar come to mind, where some of the world’s wealthiest and richest wine collectors come together for several days and work through verticals of the wine, meaning they drink multiple vintages, in order, of the same wine. Truly a great learning experience, drinking through multiple vintages of one wine from one producer teaches the drinker about the subtle–and not subtle!– differences that one year’s varying meteorological activity can make on what is, essentially, the same agricultural product. Events like the California wildfires of 2008 lend a certain smokiness to some wines that was not present in 2007, and so on. Also, trying older vintages of a wine will let the drinker understand more about the aging process of specific varietals, not just the individual bottling.

We Lushies love partaking in vertical tastings where possible, and we don’t limit it to just wine. We’ve been known to throw big parties celebrating the many vintages of great beers, like Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout [we still have some of the 2006 vintage!–ed.] and, among our staff and friends, the absolutely insane Three Floyd’s Dark Lord. Lushie Erin has a bottle of the 2005 Dark Lord stashed away in her cellar, to be unveiled soon with Lushie Brent during a completely ridiculous vertical tasting. So if you can keep those thirsty paws patient, stash away a bottle or two of your favorite wine or beer for a few years in a row, and get your learnin’ on. Slurp.

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Upcoming events…March 2010

February 25, 2010 at 10:58 am (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, Special Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Rock the vote…
LUSH has been nominated as one of the best wine shops in the city. Please excuse us while we fan ourselves and try to remain calm…eeeeee! So exciting. Please share your love and support of all things LUSH by voting. The TimeOut Chicago 2010 EatOut Awards are about indulging in the good stuff...food and booze, with a close pulse on the city and what is brand spanking new or established and still performing wonders peddling deliciousness. Vote your most bestest favorite restaurant, chefs, bartender, blogger…and wine shop! We heart you!  http://chicago.timeout.com/

Get Educated…
Next course offering, Classic Cocktails will be held TONIGHT, Thursday, February 25th from 7-8:30pm at LUSH in West Town. Ms. Jane will be slingin’ cocktails and preaching the gospel of good booze, classic flavor combinations and technique.  Y’all don’t wanna miss this one.  Y’all can STILL sign up…just CALL 312.666.6900 immediately.  Right now.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Field Trip: New York City

January 21, 2010 at 11:15 am (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

[Sometimes, us Lushes do some serious R&D…working super hard and all.  This lovely piece of writing was crafted over Manhattans at the Twisted Spoke.  Erin and Kelly busted ass while Shawn mixed up the cocktails.  Enjoy!]

Wine Geek: Field Trip!

New York…what a wonderfully interesting place to be, be seen, and most importantly, to eat and drink! So many exciting places and things to try, I could hardly manage 5 days there. I will try my best to recount the best things that I ate and drank while there, but time went by in a New york minute – and please excuse my brain for any fuzziness, it just means I was having fun!

Day 1: After traveling, I really just wanted a nice beer to celebrate the trip, so my friend and I stopped in a brewpub in Union Square called Heartland Brewry. It’s a fun place to stop and have some brews not found here in the great midwest. The oatmeal stout was a touch too sweet for my taste, but the Bavarian black lagar was just what I wanted. Medium bodied with a nice coffee note, malty but not too sweet…hello New York! Read the rest of this entry »

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LUSH: Staff Picks 2009, Veterans

December 23, 2009 at 10:53 am (Current Events, Geek, Our Favorite Things) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Get your GEEK on: LUSH Staff Picks – The Veterans
Our favorite wines of the year are a moment captured by a sip, a sigh, a wisp of pure delight…these wines are what we crave, what excites us right now. In an ever evolving world of imbibing, this is the snapshot of the best hits of 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

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Boo! Scary Skull Wine Party…

October 21, 2009 at 5:14 pm (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, Special Events, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

SUPER SPECIAL, extra EXCLUSIVE EVENT:
Twisted Oak River of Skulls Release Party
[$50 including tax, NOT tip]
Friday, OCTOBER 30th
6-9pm

Get Twisted. The infamous, rowdy folks from Twisted Oak are here and we’ll be celebrating the release of their super special River of Skulls. This wildly burly, sneaky and scary wine is chock full of Calaveras County Mourvedre from the Dalton Vineyard. Heady, aromatic perfume encourages you to jump recklessly, fully, into a glass of this juice. Deep, dark, dirty and sexy, this Mourvedre is earthy and funky, yet pulsing with luscious fruit and sassy spice. An ankle bone of cherries is connected to the shin bone of raspberries, which connects to the knee bone of smoky vanilla. The knee bone is connected to the leg bone of Mourvedre’s natural tabacco character, which connects to the hip bone, back bone and neck bone of a nice long finish. Oh Dem Skulls!

Warm and toasty, belly busting snacks will include some sort of chunky, gourmet chili with crusty bread, sweet cream butter with cornbread, and a custom rum cake. Rubber chickens and pirates will be here too! Join the fun and dress up for the costume contest…one precious, uber yummy bottle of Twisted #%@& will be awarded for the best outfit. http://www.twistedoak.com/

RSVP absolutely necessary. Space is limited and time is spiraling down to zero. Holla at Ms. Erin, erin@lushwineandspirits.com or 312-738-1900. Bring friends and bring the par-tay.

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