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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Things I heart, take 7

August 19, 2010 at 8:48 am (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , )

by Ms. Kelly

Things I heart, take 7: 2007 Vinedos de Ithaca ‘Odysseus’ Pedro Ximinez

Sigh, this wine is so good.  It’s so good that I’m tempted to take a bottle home with me and skip my plans for the gym!  Hailing from the Gratallops in the Priorat region of Spain, this is one winery not to be overlooked.  I am not alone in my love for this winery as it seems to be a constant favorite among the lushes.  The young rockstar winemaker, Silivia Puig, is creating some fascinating wines that are truly unique – I mean, how many other dry Pedro Ximinez do you find around?  This wine is just beautiful with a little hint of petrol on the nose, lots of minerals with some nice floral notes and citrus fruit while being soft and pretty on the palate.  It is really well balanced with a little hint of oxidation coming through.  BEWARE though, this wine is so delicious that when followed with a…hmm, lesser quality wine I suppose I would say…it really shows how extremely well balanced and beautiful the PX is and makes it a little sad to drink anything but that!  As normal, my recommendation would be to stop by and pick up a bottle of this as soon as humanly possible, you never know when I’m going to win the lottery and buy all that’s left!!

Cheers, KC

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Clarification, Russian River Brewing

July 23, 2010 at 10:26 am (Beer) (, , , , , )

Somewhere out there in the wide world of swirling, whirling internet information, there is a nugget of information implying Russian River Brewing may be for sale in our shop.  Well, I wish.  Alas, not the case.

We DID host the RRB guys for a private event during the 2010 Craft Brewing Conference in April. The brewers did bring in delicious bottles to share! We sipped on some Pliny the Elder, Supplication, and Consecration.  And all was good and right in the world.  Very very tasty.  However, all was consumed and enjoyed by the guests. At our shop. At a private par-tay hosted by New Belgium Brewery for craft brewing companies.

So, we do NOT have Russian River Brewing Co. beer.  If they do pursue distribution in Illinois, we’ll be all over it in a second. For serious.

Good talk.  Next time…

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Green Tea Meets Ginger Meets Beer–Happiness Ensues: Tasting Ineeka’s Organic Green Tea Bier

June 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm (Beer, Current Events, Geek, Our Favorite Things, Special Events, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , )

by Rachael Thompson

I have to admit to being a little perplexed when we got our first batch
of Ineeka beer in at Lush–I knew Ineeka as  the locally based company whose tea we
sell in the shop– now they were making beer? My confusion grew when I saw
“Product of Holland” stamped on the beer bottles–so Ineeka
was making Dutch beer? Was Ineeka Dutch? Had they always been Dutch? Eeek! Confusions! Read the rest of this entry »

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Road Trip: Paso Robles

May 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm (Our Favorite Things, Travel, What we are eating, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

by Cara

A lesson in Wine, a lesson in Driving.

This is the travelogue of a 9-day road trip out West with 5 German guys, a Honda luxury minivan, and three imperatives:

1) Stay one night in a Las Vegas hotel suite

2) See the Grand Canyon & Death Valley Nat’l Parks

3) Visit vineyards in Paso Robles, CA

My German friends are prudent travelers, skilled cartographers, and expert drivers.  I cannot stress enough how accomplished I felt during these 9, haste free days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Province ‘Esporao Wine Dinner’

May 7, 2010 at 3:42 pm (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, Special Events, What we are eating, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , )

province | Herdade do Esporão

Wines from Alentejo, Portugal

Monday, May 24th,  2010

6pm

Join province and Wine-O-Rama for an exciting dinner featuring the wines of Herade do Esporão in Portugal.  Located in the heart of Alentjo region, 180 Km east of Lisbon, in Reguengos de Monsaraz, the Herdade do Esporão produces high quality wines and olive oils. Chef Zweiban is proud to welcome a special guest from the winery for a five course dinner featuring seasonal dishes thoughtfully paired with the wide range of  wines from Herado do Esporão.

Ms. Rachel at LUSH is a serious supporter of Esporao wines and will be rocking it out with Randy Zweiban, the Province crew and winery folk.  All wines will be available to purchase at LUSH West Town or LUSH University Village. Read the rest of this entry »

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West Town Tavern ‘Esporao Wine Dinner’

May 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, What we are eating, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , )

HERADO DO ESPORÃO WINE DINNER AT WEST TOWN TAVERN
Sunday, May 23, 2010

For more information click here

Join West Town Tavern and Wine-O-Rama for an exclusive dinner featuring the wines of Herade do Esporão in Portugal.  Located in the heart of Alentjo region, 180 Km east of Lisbon, in Reguengos de Monsaraz, the Herdade do Esporão produces high quality wines and olive oils. West Town Tavern is proud to welcome a special guest from the winery for a five course dinner featuring creations from Chef Susan Goss carefully matched to the wines of Herado do Esporão.

Ms. Rachel at LUSH is a serious supporter of Esporao wines and will be rocking it out with the West Town Tavern crew and winery folk.  All wines will be available to purchase at LUSH West Town. Read the rest of this entry »

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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

Read the rest of this entry »

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Canadian Wine, eh.

March 31, 2010 at 6:56 pm (Current Events, Geek, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , )

Relevations about Canadian wine regions…


On March 24th, LUSH West Town played host to a showcase tasting of Canadian wineries, put on by the Canadian consulate. Primarily focused on Ontario and British Columbia, wines ranged from zippy, spritely Riesling to peppery Cab Franc, and right back around to intensely little bottles of icewine. A nice little related article, and video!, may be found here; http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/todays-chicago-woman/2010/03/chicago-canadian-wine-tasting-cave-spring-cellars.html.

Read the rest of this entry »

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