School of LUSH: Summer courses

July 23, 2010 at 10:15 am (class, Current Events, Our Favorite Things, What we are thinking) (, , , , , , , , , , )

RSVP to kelly@lushwineandspirits.com

SCHOOL OF LUSH:
Class is in session. Get schooled, LUSH style. Our classes are firing up, so check out our course offerings below for a good schoolin’. Plaid skirts are NOT required, but an open mind and palate is. Stay after class for extra tutoring and chat with the geeky squad of Lush lecturers. Come on in to see how Lush does school, a no-nonsense, down to earth wine course that is perfect for those who enjoy drinking wine, eating delicious food, and talking about it. We will taste through a carefully chosen selection of hand-crafted wines designed to demonstrate the simplicity of understanding vino while breaking it down Lush style. Come to our class and find out what wine is all about! Please email or call Kelly (kelly@lushwineandspirits.com, 312.666.6900) to ask questions or reserve your seat in class by credit card. All classes are 6:30-8pm, unless otherwise noted. All classes will be taught at our WEST TOWN location (1412 W. Chicago), unless otherwise noted. *Read the fine type or suffer the consequences! The class in non-refundable, so go all in or not at all. CLASS costs $35. MINIMUM of 10 students.

THE WIDE WORLD OF SAKE — rescheduled, stay tuned!
We are excited to welcome guest lecturer Mason Horowitz to LUSH to talk about all things sake! Mason works for Joto Sake, one of the premier sake importers to the United States. Joto is Japanese for ‘highest level’ and it quite aptly describes Joto’s producers as well as their aspirations as their importer. Joto’s breweries could also be described as jizake, or ‘local.’ They are located in different regions of Japan, produce their sake in small batches and primarily use locally raised rice. They have unique stories and contrasting flavors and styles. Joto makes a point to not only select the finest breweries, but also put an emphasis on educating the public on the oft-misunderstood sake. Join us as Mason takes us through the ins and outs of this delicious rice beverage and snag a bottle or two for your next BYO sushi excursion.

AUSTRALIAN WINE 101 — Sunday, August 1st

There is more to Australian wine than meets the eye. Between the mass-produced world of Yellow Tail and the cult-status stylings of Penfolds and Ben Glaetzer lies a whole world of terroir-specific, hand-crafted, artisinal wines that you don’t hear much about. Shiraz is the big name grape, but Australia also puts out some of the finest New World riesling, cabernet, chardonnay, grenache, and semillon. Australia is also a treasure-trove of experimentation: you’ll find such grapes as zinfandel, albarino, verdelho, pinot gris, and gamay being planted. There is much to know in terms of regions too: Barossa Valley might be the most famous, but the regions of Australia offer a case study in different climates and landscapes. From Hunter Valley to Margaret River, Adelaide to McClaren Vale, there are distinct regional differences around the country. The wines of Australia have gotten a reputation as being flashy and chock full of alcohol and fruit, but they can also display finesse, elegance, and a distinct expression of place and variety.

AMERICAN WHISKEY — Sunday, August 22nd
Scotch has certainly earned its spot at the top of the whisk(e)y hierarchy, with centuries of distillation and tradition, but American whiskey is nipping at its heels. Right now, if you haven’t noticed, there is a bit of an aged American whiskey shortage. No one knew ten — or even five — years ago that these spirits would be so popular! Bourbon and Rye are taking center stage in the American cocktail Renaissance, along with being many connoisseurs’ sippers of choice. We are also seeing incredible innovation — ‘single malts’ from Oregon and Colorado, wheat whiskey from Kentucky, and small batch ‘four grain’ bourbon from upstate New York, among others. It is an exciting time to be making and drinking American Whiskey, and there is much to know. We’ll go through the history of our homegrown spirits, how they’re made, and how best to drink them (this will be the most fun part!). Jump on the bandwagon, and discover what all the fuss is about.

VINOS DE JEREZ — Thursday, August 26th
The ultimate wine geek wine, Sherry — aka ‘Vinos de Jerez’ — is one of the most (if not THE most) misunderstood beverages on the planet. When I say Sherry, you think of something that Grandma drank or Mom added to her cooking. But there’s another side to these wines that the Spanish cognoscenti has been trying to tell us about for years. In the multitude of sherry types and styles lays a plethora of mind-blowing, meal-matching, and palate-pleasing wines. Slightly fortified, with varying degrees of oxidation caused by the mysterious and elusive yeast film called flor, vinos de Jerez are perhaps the most unique and site-specific wines made. Trust us on this one. This class will open you up to a whole world of wines you never knew existed.

*CUSTOMIZE your own class. Bring some friends…pick a date and a course topic. Email kelly@lushwineandspirits.com to find out more details.

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LUSH & Mollydooker Blending Seminar and Pig Roast

July 23, 2010 at 10:08 am (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, Special Events, What we are eating, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

RSVP to kelly@lushwineandspirits.com.
LUSH University Village
hosts MOLLYDOOKER Winery
‘Blend a Hand’ Seminar

MOLLYDOOKER (Aussie for left hander),  is a cheeky, fabulous winery in McClaren Vale, Australia, under the brilliant hands of Sarah and Sparky Marquis.  This dynamic duo is a remarkable husband/wife team that loves what they do and have fun doing it, and make wines that definitely exhibit that passion.  Wines are crafted with the ‘wow’ factor in mind, and each bottle is totally intent on shaking things up a bit.  Sparky created a specialized watering program and an entire new measuring system to better translate the science behind the big flavor punch and luscious textures of the Mollydooker wines.  Let’s get a bit messy and wild…

LUSH adores the punchy labels and indulgent wines of Mollydooker, and sent out a big, loud invitation to Sarah and Sparky to come on by, in person, and hang with the Lushes.  It is an incredible honor to welcome Sarah and Sparky to the shop to not only share their wines with us, but also to teach us some of the secrets to blending great wine. This seminar is totally hands-on and folks will have the opportunity to actually blend their own wines under Sarah and Sparky’s guidance. So, join LUSH for a crash course seminar in blending (tasting, drinking, and nibbling) with Sparky.  There will, of course, be plenty of  wine to sip on.  AND, in true LUSHified style, with will be throwing down and hosting a 4 course PIG ROAST, as well. Expect yummy, wine-friendly food (the menu will be all along the lines of meatmeatmeat and finger-licking good barbecue on the grill with all the fixins’). This seminar is going to be crazy fun and super informative, as well as tasty, and we really want y’all to come play with us! Shake up your routine, blend your own wine, and love learning.  EAT.  DRINK. Grab a few friends, your mom, or a hot date and get on down with Mollydooker.  This is education the fun way…casual, interactive, and extremely delicious. Reservations are required, and registration will close on July 31st.  $75 inclusive of tax and tip. Please RSVP immediately to kelly@lushwineandspirits.com.

DETAILS:
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
6pm – 8:30pm

Open to 100 guests, $75 each [inclusive of tax & tip]

LUSH University Village
1257 South Halsted
Chicago, IL 60607
312.738.1900

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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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Standing Ovation

March 16, 2010 at 6:46 pm (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , )

In honor of the Oscars, I would like to make a recommendation for a whiskey that deserves a standing ovation – the 2009 bottling of Eagle Rare 17 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon. (Round of applause). This is part of the Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Antique Collection, which was introduced about 10 years ago. The other 4 super limited whiskeys included in this collection are: Sazerac Rye 18 year old, George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac.

The Eagle Rare 17 is a mash of corn, barely and rye and was distilled in the spring of 1992. What else was going on in 1992? Well, Silence of the Lambs won an Academy Award for Best Picture, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show for the very last time, and I was just getting over my Paula Abdul phase. Hard to imagine at the same time, these folks were distilling and beginning to age a bourbon that wouldn’t be released for almost another 20 years! I had the pleasure of trying the 2009 release of Eagle Rare 17 year just the other night. Because they are such a limited release, we rarely have them open for tasting at LUSH (if we do, don’t miss the chance to give it a try!). Maybe it was the drink or two I had before (whiskey and amaro cocktail and a glass of the Eagle Rare Single Barrel), but I thought this bourbon was pretty darn tasty. Carmel and toffee with a hint of fruit on the nose, while the palate was smooth with a little more spice and a hint of vanilla. (And the crowd goes wild).

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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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Things I heart, take 6

January 26, 2010 at 10:13 am (Our Favorite Things, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Kelly

Wow, only take 6, huh?  Sorry everyone, there are plenty of things that I’ve hearted in the past few months, I just haven’t written about them I suppose.  Either way, here I am, falling madly in love with this wine.  It’s the 2006 Melusine Lyra Gruner Veltliner from winemaker Marion Ebner.  I mean, really, this is gruner?  Heck yeah!

Let’s being with the story of the winemaker Marion Ebner.  She grew up in Vienna and knew early on that she was interested in winemaking.  She enrolled in school just for that – which I should mention is not that common.  Most winemakers in Austria are born in in to the wine business…and most are guys.  When she was 16, she landed an internship with a great winery in Austria and worked under winemaker Fritz Wieninger (whose wines are also delicious, may I add). She went on to work in a wine shop (awesome) and the the marketing side of wine while gathering some resources.  She made a deal to cultivate some grapes in the Kamptal region and began producing the first small amount of the wonderful Melusine.  The Melusine is not like other Gruner Veltliners – it’s a lot fuller bodied and has so much complexity, you’ll probably be thinking about it still 45 minutes after you taste it.  The press quickly caught on to this small production wine, and with each vintage she gained more and more respect.

Now I’m sitting here drinking, er, tasting, the ’06 which is just utterly fantastic.  As I mentioned before, it’s a fuller bodied gruner that sees some oak (French).  I could just smell this wine all day long.  If Melusine was made in to a perfume, that would be my scent. The nose is full of pineapple, citrus and white stone fruit (sweet apples anyone?).  The palate is lush and complex with fresh fruit and a creaminess that is balanced by a beautiful acidity.

Only 222 bottles were brought in to the US and if I had the funds, I’d be buying a lot of this.  However, lucky for you, we still have a little left…and if you get to West Town in the next day or so, we’ll still have some open to taste.

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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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