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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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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Craft Brewers Conference: New Belgium Brewery ‘LOVE’

April 9, 2010 at 8:52 pm (Beer, Current Events, Our Favorite Things, Special Events, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So, one day, Lauren Salazar from New Belgium Brewery gave LUSH a ring.  She had grand plans to invite brewers, brew folk, and friends to a private ‘brewery only’ event right smack in the middle of the Craft Brewers Conference, the World Beer Cup, and copious amounts of public beer events.  She wanted pig.  And beer.  And good people.

Ms. Rachel Driver thought this was just the right kind of crazy idea that could be brilliant and amazing.

Thus, we schemed and scheduled, flew beer in from around the country and Canada, and threw on hella big shindig.  Drowning in beer required.  Special brews, delicious pigs and all sorts of super serious fun were to be had by all.  See the rundown below for a glimpse of the par-tay that New Belgium hosted with LUSH.

Rocking. Read the rest of this entry »

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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.
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LUSH Interview: 10 Questions with Ms. Lopes

January 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm (Current Events, Geek, Interviews, Our Favorite Things, What we are eating, What we are thinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Ten Questions With…
Jane Lopes
Manager, LUSH Roscoe Village

A native of sunny California, Jane grew up virtually surrounded by the vineyards of the Bay Area and exposed to the culture of eating, drinking, and breathing wine earlier in life than many of the Lushies, which may help to explain her deep-seated passion for all things fermented. The moment she walked into the shop for an interview, decked out with electric orange, rubber robot earrings dangling beneath her flaming locks, we knew she was meant for LUSH. In the precious few moments when not running the show as manager and wine buyer at LUSH in Roscoe Village, Jane’s [also tall & redheaded] doppelganger can be found slangin’ classic cocktails at the Violet Hour one night each week. Ms. Jane has an ingrained knack for discerning obscure nuances and flavors, as well as a gift for creating amazingly quirky flavor combinations and innovative, classically inspired cocktail recipes. Like both Rachel and Erin, curiously enough, Jane is also a University of Chicago graduate, rounding out the three stores’ trifecta of innate, total geekiness. Word on the street is that she harbors a literary nerd deep within, and may or may not have been a notoriously clever Shakespeare scholar while in school. True to her alma mater, Jane will happily get down and dirty and all educational with you over whatever wine or spirit about which your little heart desires to learn. 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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The Wonderful World of Sherry

December 10, 2009 at 10:25 am (Geek, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , )

Ah, sherry. So delicious. So diverse. So misunderstood.

A lot of times people want to jump in, and start talking about sherry in terms of the different styles. We’ll get to that. But the first thing that needs to be discussed — the thing that is the basis for all sherry — is the solera system. Sherry wine (‘Vinos de Jerez’) is believed to have the unique property of taking on the characteristics of older wine when blended. In a solera system, older barrels of wine are topped with young wine to create a consistent flavor profile. It usually takes at least 4 years for wine in the solera system to reach the profile of the house style, at which point it can be bottled. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mo-Vee-Ahhhh

November 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm (Geek, Our Favorite Things, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Most of the world tends to think of boundaries in terms of nationality. I’m Portuguese. It’s from Germany. The fox is French. The wine world thinks in this way as well. Restaurant lists, wine stores, and importer’s portfolios are organized and separated by country.

Sometimes, though, these distinctions can be useless. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bourbon Heritage Month

October 2, 2009 at 9:50 am (Current Events, Geek, Our Favorite Things, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , )

As we move into October, we say good-bye to Bourbon Heritage Month. On August 29, 2007 the Kentucky Board of Tourism announced that the US Senate had approved the measure to designate September ‘Bourbon Heritage Month.’ Well, what exactly does this mean? Basically, it is a month long celebration of ‘America’s Native Spirit’, culminating in the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown. It’s also a damn good excuse to drink bourbon, talk about bourbon, and learn about all the culture, people, and history that surround the spirit. Read the rest of this entry »

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