Summer Spritzers

A spritzer is traditionally a mix of wine and sparkling water, soda, or some other carbonated liquid. There are so many different combinations that may be made that they defy being called “recipies”, really. It’s more a matter of “if it tastes good, drink it”!

Using a base of lemon-lime flavored soda or flavored sparkling water, pick a juice and a fruit or two for non-alcoholic beverages will please children and adults alike.

Lemonaide with raspberries and blackberries, or with peach slices is popular.

Grape juice combined with apple juice is also a nice, light combination. Black Cherry flavored sparkling water gives it a tasty twist from the spritzer standard of lemon-lime.

Watermelon and crushed pineapple are great with a pineapple or apple soda.

Try agave nectar, mint leaves, and pomegranite seeds together. Combine them with soda, sparkling water, or for a more adult twist add seltzer.

For the adult versions of spritzers, Moscato, Sangria, Merlot, or even a shot of peach schnapps, may be combined with the soda or sparkling water for an effervescent and festive drink on hot summer afternoons. Wine or fruit juices may also be combined with Champagne or Asti Spumante.

Let the kids help put them together for some family fun, too.

There are simply too many combinations to put all in one article. Don’t be afraid to try different pairings of flavors that you already and enjoy as well as new flavors. Be adventurous!

Henry Weinhard’s Black Cherry Cream Gourmet Soda

This weekend I got to try Henry Weinhard’s Black Cherry Cream Gourmet Soda. It’s made and bottled in Fort Worth, Texas. What really grabbed me was “hand-crafted with only the finest and highest quality ingredients, including the flavors of fresh Oregon Bing and Black cherries,  Black Raspberry, and Bourbon Vanilla.”  Of course, I had to try it.

It’s considered a carbonated beverage (because it is), though it tastes more like candy. If you like sweet, this is a good choice. The combined cherry flavors are very mild, almost velvety, while the raspberry bite is a background presence that hints rather than strikes at the tongue. The creaminess is obviously from the vanilla, making this beverage slide across your tongue in a pleasing fashion. Sadly, I detected no bourbon.

The carbonation, while present, is a gentle fizz rather than the scortching burn modern soda drinkers have become more accustomed to. It would combine well with sweet or dry wine for a spritzer.

The color is bright red on the dark cherry side, and very clear. It’s bottled in clear glass, so the color is easy to enjoy.

It’s well suited to warm or hot days, with a crispness that belies it’s soda fountain origins.

On a scale of 1-5 —
Appearance: 4
Scent: 4
Flavor: 3.5
Texture: 3.5

— Ann Cathey

Beer: Agave Nectar Ale by Blue Moon

While I have neither the money nor the time to review a beer a day, I do have the wherewithal to post when I try something new.

This evening’s taste test was conducted on Blue Moon Brewing Company’s Agave Nectar Ale. While Coors owns Blue Moon, I’m not about to hold that against the product. Not being a fan of most domestic beers, my palate reflects certain prejudices.

Listed as an American Pale Wheat Ale or a Blonde Wheat Ale (depending on who you ask), it lives up to that description. When poured it shines a nice golden honey color. Sadly, it apparently employs artificial agave nectar, too.

When you take your first sniff, there’s a distinct sweetness, almost as of cotton candy — barley and wheat scented cotton candy. I found this attractive in this case.

The first sip is slightly sharp, but has a sweetness that may be enjoyed by those who are not traditionally beer drinkers. The flavors are reminiscent of apples and caramel. It is smooth, light bodied with a thinner texture than I am used to.

Following sips are light, sweet (not cloying) and hinting somewhat of tequila. As it warms up to room temperature, it becomes a bit more bitter, but remains smooth with a crisp finish. The after flavors are not overwhelming, but light and refreshing.

It’s a summer brew, and I feel it is very suited to hot weather, unlike some of it’s darker cousins.

On a scale of 1-5 —
Appearance: 4
Scent: 3.5
Flavor: 3.5
Texture: 3.5
Overall: 3,5

-Ann Cathey