• Christopher Bronke

Drinks of the Week: week 7

This is your weekly public service announcement: fantasy football is a game, and games are supposed to be FUN! Don’t EVER forget that.

So, week six was void of suggestions other than “drink a lot and drink often”. I was on vacation, so now we get back to it this week, and as a reminder, you can follow my food/wine/beverage Twitter space @ChristopherB070.

We have had snow across the country, and at least in the Chicago area, it is cold, leaves are changing colors, and summer is a distant blur in the rearview mirror. So, this week, we are going to embrace the fall, and for me, that means we get rustic! So, welcome to week 7 in which we drink and eat with Rustic Americana! And as such, I am bringing you an extra bonus cocktail because let’s face it, Americans like to drink...especially during football!

**Always remember, these drinks are listed in a suggested order of drinking in the event you plan on trying all three.

Week 7 Theme: Rustic Americana

Breakfast: Bonus Cocktail

Bloody Hail Mary

Okay, okay...for those cocktail historians reading this, you know that this drink was actually not created in America, but it was created at the “New York Bar” in Paris which was opened by an American and whose goal was to serve American soldiers during WWI. So, I am claiming this drink’s creation and evolution as classic Rustic Americana. I have 3 rules, though, for the Bloody (hail) Mary: 1. You must drink it before you have any actual food (other than the garnish for the drink); 2. Only need one--after that, move on; 3. It has to be spicy...don’t wimp out. I know those are odd rules, so if you don’t like them, don’t follow them, but that is what I am suggesting. Here is my football big-play on the traditional bloody.

Kick things off with a Bloody Hail Mary

2 oz. Absolute Peppar vodka

2 oz tequila

Bloody Mary mix (I like Longbranch or Zing-Zang)

4-5 dashes of Tabasco

3-4 dashes of Sriracha

¼ a freshly squeezed lime

¼ a freshly squeezed lemon

3-4 dashes of celery salt

2 strips of bacon

Cubed salami and cheddar cheese (on a skewer)

1 Stalk of celery

Mix everything from the vodka through the celery salt over ice in a shaker and shake. Pour into a glass and add the bacon, celery, and skewer. Sit back and enjoy a new kind of spicy bloody.

Suggested food pairings: None! See above and just follow the rules! But, if you need to have a food pairing, try a pork chop in a bottle--aka a sidecar of beer.

My favorite classic American side car = PBR; I mean, it has won blue ribbons!

Lunch Time: Beer of the Week:

Sam Adams October Fest

It’s hard to think of a better fall Rustic Americana beer than this beauty. The color alone just screams to be in this week’s lineup. Add in the flavors of caramel and toffee balanced with nice bitter hops, and you have a gem of a rustic beer. At 5.3% ABV it isn’t too big, either, so you can open up the windows, throw on a hoodie, fire up the football, and drink away! The good thing is that it is still warm enough out to fire up the grill with this beer. So, when you get hungry, be sure you have some of the classic Rustic Americana food selections below ready to go.

Suggested food pairings: Classic Cheese Burger (i.e. lettuce, tomato, onion, catchup)

Nothing says Rustic Americana like a classic cheeseburger (yes, it's always okay to sneak in some vodka rocks)

or a Chicago-Style Hot Dog (steamed and served on a poppy seed bun with pickle, tomato, relish, onion, mustard, and sport peppers).

Sweet Snack Sippin: Cocktail of the Week:

Touchdown Spiked Cider

As long as you don’t let it get to a boil, this is a drink you can make in a big batch and keep it warm on the stove or in a crockpot all damn day long. Simply combine all ingredients and warm (be it quickly in the microwave or on the stove or in a big batch). Just don’t let it boil or you will cook off the booze...and then I will be angry with you.

Spike it like a pro with this Touchdown Spiked Cider

4 oz cider

2 oz spiced rum

.5 oz Jim Beam Maple (or any maple bourbon)

.5 oz cinnamon schnapps

Combine all ingredients, warm up (don’t boil) and serve in a warm cocktail glass/coffee cup (if you don’t have a warm cocktail glass)

Suggested food pairings: Caramel Apples, caramel corn, honey roasted bar nuts

Dinner: Wine of the Week:

2017 Decoy Merlot

This wine works so beautifully this week for a few reasons. First, it is just a damn good wine! From the wine icon, Duckhorn, this less-expensive sister wine is lush and sexy. A great nose of raspberry and blueberry pie with a hint of cola, the palate continues with these flavors and adds in some silky tannins on the end. It is big, yet refined. Bold, yet sexy. The second reason this wine works so well this week is that October is Global Merlot Month, and at Vegas Write Off, we love to celebrate holidays!

2017 Decoy Sonoma County Merlot

Lastly, it is a beautiful fall wine to use in cooking and to pair with classic Rustic Americana Foods like beef stew or meatloaf. If you are making beef stew, use it in braising the beef and/or as part of the flavor in the stew. If you are making meatloaf with mashed potatoes, this wine would be beautiful in creating a gravy to pour over both. As an added bonus, if you don’t finish the bottle with dinner, it makes a lovely after-dinner wine; break out a slice of classic cheesecake, sip some merlot, and enjoy your way through Sunday Night Football.

Suggested food pairings: Beef Stew or Meatloaf with mashed potatoes

End your Sunday with a hearty, classic American beer stew!

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