4 Top Drinks for the Fourth of July

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We’ve curated our top drink picks for July 4th thanks to the help of our blogger friends This Silly Girl’s Kitchen, Shabbyfufu, and Busy Wife Busy Life. Serve these delicious drinks at your summer gatherings and take your entertaining to a whole new level!

Strawberry Limoncello Slush

Our friend at This Silly Girl’s Kitchen has put together a delicious, refreshing and easy to make Strawberry Limoncello Slush made with our Bellini Limoncello and Cruse Demi Sec Sparkling Wine. Find all you need to recreate this recipe at our Sparkling Cocktails and Recipe Page!

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Limoncello Watermelon Spritzer

Blogger Shabbyfufu shows us how to make a fresh and delightful Limoncello Watermelon Spritzer. With this recipe, your party is sure to be the hit of the summer and have your guests coming back for more!

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Sparkling Rosé Punch with Strawberry & Lime

Busy Wife Busy Life walks us through a simple, but cool and delicious, cocktail to serve at your summer gatherings. Because let’s face it, entertaining during the summer is meant to be easy and stress free. This light and refreshing Sparkling Rosé Punch recipe can be found here.

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Moscow Mule

Shabbyfufu introduces us to her moscow mule which is a staple for summer refreshments. Served in a chilled copper moscow mule mug, this beverage will keep you cool and refreshed while entertaining outside during the warm weather.

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To discover more delicious drink ideas head to our Cocktail Corner !

Featured Wine of the Week: Buttercream Chardonnay

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Our featured wine this week is a new arrival at our stores. With spring in bloom, it’s time for flavorful wines to take center stage during all of your seasonal activities. If you enjoy a Chardonnay that tastes like silken butter dripped over a fresh croissant, this one is for you.

Buttercream Chardonnay
750ml, California

Butter, butter, butter, Buttercream Chardonnay packs in butter with every sip, along with notes of oak, vanilla, pear and apple. This wine is delicious on its own, but pairs wonderfully with shellfish, such as lobster, cheeses and any dish with a rich, creamy sauce.

Stop in and pick up our newest Winery Direct arrival during your next visit, or order it online and have it ready in one-hour with our express in-store pickup option.

What is Winery Direct?

Total Wine & More’s buying teams travel across the United States and the world, looking for new and exciting wines. They forge meaningful relationships with the best producers, providing us with exclusive access to world-class products and the ability to offer these exceptional products at incredible prices. Most importantly, they allow us to streamline the process of bringing wines from the producer to you – slashing costs and letting us showcase the best of the best on our shelves.

Winery Direct items are identified in our stores by the yellow shelf tags. We offer more than 8,000 wines in a typical store – including more than 2,000 Winery Direct items, many exclusive to Total Wine & More.

Accessories for under the tree

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Are you making a list, checking it twice and still finding yourself in need of some inspiration? At Total Wine & More, we have beer, cocktail and wine accessories that can satisfy friends and family of all stripes, from the hopivore to the cocktail master.

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When it comes to enjoying beer, one of the most important elements (besides the beer itself) is the glass in which it’s served. Our Libbey Craft Brews Set features six different glass styles, including the classic Pilsner, English pub, Belgian Ale, craft pub, Porter/Stout and wheat beer glasses. While some may dismiss the importance of the beer glass, aficionados will tell you it’s an integral part of the drinking experience. Take the famed Pilsner glass: Its long, tapered shape shows off the color and carbonation of a good Lager, while helping maintain the beer head for a nice, frothy top. The same can be said for the tulip-shaped Belgian Ale glass and its narrow, flared top, which keeps the head frothy and locks in aroma.

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For any mixologist in the making, a set of copper mugs is essential. To many, the Moscow Mule is the cocktail of the moment, and with its rise, the copper mug has exploded in popularity. Though the mug may have started as a marketing gimmick to sell vodka stateside in the 1940s, it has become a beloved part of cocktail culture. So it makes a great gift, which is made even better when coupled with a good vodka. For those who wish to up their gift game, we recommend Summum and Knight’s Hall, our two top vodkas for 2016.

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While it may seem daunting to shop for dedicated wine lovers, our great selection of accessories makes it easy. The Original Rabbit Corkscrew is the standard-bearer in the corkscrew department. Famous for its ability to remove a cork in less than three seconds, this award-winning corkscrew can face off against the most difficult corks. In addition to corkscrews that help get celebrations started, we also offer accessories to keep them going. Our Champagne Re-corker keeps bottles fresh and bubbly, and also gives red and white wines an extra two to four days of life after opening.

So let us help you check items off your list before your family comes to town. Stop by your local store and pick up some fun accessories tonight, or find the gifts you want to give online, and we’ll have them ready for you to pick up in just one hour with in-store express pickup.

Gear up for game day

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With football season in full swing, Sundays become much more than yards rushed and touchdowns made. Victory stands on the back of coolers and snack tables across the country, and Total Wine & More can help you make the perfect play when it comes to pairing brews and food.

Chips, Salsa, and Dip

In the realm of party snacks, there are few things more sacred than chips and salsa. Malt- forward and boasting a touch of sweetness, Amber and Red Ales complement this dynamic culinary duo, countering the heat of the salsa and the saltiness of the chips. We carry a wide assortment of highly rated Amber and Red Ales to satisfy any fans, no matter what jerseys they wear. Given a score of 92 from Draft magazine and awarded a World’s Best medal at the 2013 World Beer Awards, Oregon’s Full Sail Amber is a sweet, malty and medium-bodied Ale with a spicy, floral hop finish that represents everything we love about this beer style.

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Wings

If, like many of us, you can’t help but gravitate to the platter of wings, we have just the beer for you. The bold flavors of Buffalo wings meet their match in the form of India Pale Ales (IPAs). Thanks to their bitterness and citrusy hop flavors, IPAs enhance the taste of Buffalo wings, while easing the heat of the wings’ sauce for more enjoyable snacking. In addition to giants like Sierra Nevada, Total Wine & More sells a remarkable collection of IPAs, from World Beer Cup Gold medalist Ballast Point Sculpin IPA to 97-point Firestone Walker Easy Jack.

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Grilled Meats

No game-day party or tailgate is complete without some type of deliciously chargrilled meat. It’s happy coincidence that much of the NFL season takes place in the fall, a time of year when our shelves are stocked with limited-release Oktoberfest beers. These seasonal beers were born to pair well with German-style foods, which mean they’re perfect for brats, burgers and hot dogs off the grill. Paulaner Oktoberfest, a perennial favorite, offers up the light hoppy flavors and notes of sweet malt that have become synonymous with the style.

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You can find Paulaner and countless other fantastic game-day beers at your local Total Wine & More.

Hennessy Pasión – Pineapple Mango Cocktail Recipe

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Pineapple and mango seem to be the hit flavors for summer cocktails. Or at least that’s what our customers are searching for! If you’re looking for Pineapple Mango Hennessy, we’re sorry to say there is no such flavored cognac currently produced by Hennessy.

But don’t get discouraged! You can still make this happen. All you need are the right ingredients and a “can-do!” attitude to help you power through the summer heat with this tropical cocktail recipe.

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Hennessy Pasión

To make this cocktail, you will need:

  • 1 1/2oz Hennessy Black
  • 1 oz mango juice
  • 1/2 oz passion fruit juice
  • ½ oz pineapple juice
  • ¼ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz club soda
  • Pineapple wedge, for garnish

Instructions:

Add liquid ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge. Enjoy!

Braai Basics: Throw Another Boerevors on the Braai!

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There’s Southern cooking, and then there’s really, really Southern cooking – as in food from the Southern Hemisphere. This week, as we gear up for our annual exploration of wines from below the equator, we’re also thinking about the great cuisines that accompany them.

For South Africa, that’s braai. “Braai” in the Afrikaans language means “barbeque” or “grilled meats,” but it also encompasses the idea of a social gathering, like American backyard cookouts.

Key elements of the Braai are meat … and more meat.  Steaks and chops and other cuts go on the grill, along with boerevors – the traditional beef sausages originally made by colonial South African farmers (and their Dutch ancestors before them). No cole slaw and potato salad at the braai – there’s pap, a porridge made from cornmeal, and chakalaka, which sounds like a party all by itself.

Chakalaka is in fact a spicy vegetable affair served alongside the griiled meats. “I don’t even have a recipe from the braais at my home because the chakalaka always changed depending on the person making it,” says Total Wine & More’s own Siyanda M., a native of South Africa. “That’s pretty common, but the base ingredients are tomatoes, onions, carrots and beans.”

Here’s a recipe Siyanda says sounds like home (recipe via www.whats4eats.com):

INGREDIENTS

  • Oil — 3 tablespoons
  • Onions, chopped — 2
  • Bell peppers — 2
  • Hot chile peppers, minced — 2 or 3
  • Garlic, minced — 2 or 3 cloves
  • Curry powder — 2 teaspoons
  • Tomatoes, chopped — 3
  • Baked beans in tomato sauce — 1 (15-ounce) can
  • Salt and pepper — to taste

Makes 4 to 6 servings

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions, bell peppers, chile peppers, garlic and curry powder. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions and peppers are cooked down and wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the baked beans, salt and pepper and stir to heat through. Serve hot or cold.
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Celebrate the braai properly! Grab a wine from South Africa to sip during the event.

With the chakalaka simmering on the stove, and the meats grilling up on the braai – that’s the word for the grill, as well as the gathering – let’s talk about what to pour. It’s customary for those participating in the braai to sip on wine, so we think it’s the perfect chance to try some exceptional values from South Africa. Our Discover the Southern Hemisphere event, with tastings going on all weekend (August 18-21), is featuring a few South African wines perfect to sip around the braai:

  • Neethlingshof The Caracal is a red Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Full-bodied with notes of dark fruits and oak, it’s perfect to accompany rich and charred red meats off the grill.
  • Spier Chenin Blanc is a classic, elegant white wine blancing tropical fruit and mineral flavors, ideal to sip with appetizers or grilled chicken.
  • Spier Rosé is a delightfully refreshing rosé of Pinot Noir, crisp and fruity, versatile enough to enjoy throughout the braai.

Discover the Southern Hemisphere at your local Total Wine & More through this Sunday, Aug. 21.

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Wine of the Week: New Kicker Cane!

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New wines are arriving all the time at our stores. But if you’re a California cab lover, then we’ve got four new bottles you need to put on your radar.

Kicker Cane wines showcase the great Cabernet Sauvignons of California. Each is made in a different region – Rutherford, in the Napa Valley; Sonoma County; the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County; and a blend from Napa and Sonoma counties – and offers its own distinctive take on the variety.

Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
750ml, California
Bold blackberries, cherries and creme de cassis held together by balanced oak drive this wine. Alexander Valley terroir shines through with the depth and complexity it gives this cabernet.

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Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa-Sonoma
750ml, California
Napa structure and power combined with Sonoma mouthfeel and texture define this complex cabernet. Notes of vanilla and spices from the oak act as the glue and bring this bold, intense wine together.

Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford
750ml, California
A wine of place, this power house delivers classic notes of black fruit, coffee, creme de casis and a “Rutherford Dust” minerality. A fruit-driven wine that is all about complexity of fruit and Rutherford, Napa terroir.

Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma
750ml, California
An excellent example of Sonoma Cabernet that is luscious and smooth with a lot of dark fruit. Powerful yet not over-extracted or clumsy, this shows that Sonoma Cabernets are more than just values, they stand on their own.

These wines are available now at your local Total Wine & More. Stop in and pick up a bottle or two for the weekend, or head to our website to shop how and when you want with free one-hour express pickup.

What’s on tap this weekend? How about wine!

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Having a crowd over this holiday weekend? Go big – with wines in super-sized packaging, so you can select a few wines you know your guests will love – and relax.

There’s never been any debate about the convenience and value of boxed wine. A 5-liter box holds the equivalent of almost seven standard 750-milliter bottles. Do the math, and you’ll typically find great savings from the larger packaging – plus you won’t have to be pulling a cork from a fresh bottle every five minutes while thirsty guests wait. The wine is super-easy to serve from the built-in tap. If you’re serving outdoors, there are no worries about glass breaking.

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What’s new with boxes is that the quality is higher than it’s ever been. Young winemakers have been won over by boxes’ environmental benefits and wine-friendliness. Lighter and more compact to ship than glass bottles, wine in a box has a lighter carbon footprint than its traditional bottled counterpart. Plus, opened boxed wine can stay fresh in the fridge for weeks, with its bag-in-the-box keeping out light and air.

Dario De Conti, an Italian native who has been making wine in the Napa Valley for 10 years, recently created Big Sipper Red and Big Sipper White, two great California wines in 5-liter boxes (that’s more than two dozen servings per box) that will match happily with holiday cookout fare.

Pour Haus is another crowd-pleasing group of California wines, from the makers of Cupcake, with three classic varieties packaged in stylish 3-liter boxes. A smooth Chardonnay, a zesty Pinot Grigio and a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon cover all the bases for casual food and wine pairing.

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Or try Le Petite Frog Picpoul, a distinctive French white wine in a 3-liter box, ideal for hot summer sipping. With floral aromas and zesty citrus flavors, Picpoul makes a lively, sophisticated drink before dinner, or a fine pairing with shellfish and white fishes and meats.

See what wine’s on tap for the holiday! Find more great boxed wines at your local Total Wine & More store.

Two Ways to Impress on Father’s Day

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Does your dad or husband enjoy a little tipple of spirits, a fine bottle of wine with a good meal or even an after-dinner smoke? If so, we have two ways to impress him this Father’s Day: first, with a perfect gift from Total Wine & More, and then with your expertise.

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Give him : Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. This silky, highly rated whiskey is aged in barrels once used to make port wine, which lend the spirit luscious ripe fruit and toffee notes.

Tell him: “Did you know Angel’s Envy was created by Lincoln Henderson, two years into retirement, after a lifetime of working for other distillers? He and his family created this, which he considered his greatest success. Talk about your golden years.”

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Give him: Cult Cabernet Sauvignon, from California’s Napa Valley, offers impressive notes of dark chocolate and black berries wrapped in toasty oak flavors. This big red scored 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Tell him: “So Dad, Cult Cabernet is made by Rich SIlvestrin, a third-generation American winemaker. He makes Cult from Cabernet grown in his own vineyards, in St. Helena, and in those of a few nearby friends. It’s also a blend of wines from different recent vintages, and it was named ‘Editor’s Choice’ by a little magazine called Wine Enthusiast.”

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Give him: Chateau Lilian Ladouys St.-Estèphe. It’s another big red wine, but old school, from Bordeaux. Wine Enthusiast called it “a wine that shows the power of Saint-Estèphe tannins in full force, (with) a blackberry character that adds richness and juiciness, which cuts through the dry core.”

Tell him: “Cheers, Dad. This wine is made from the classic St.-Estèphe blend, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with some Merlot. You can enjoy it tonight, or save it for another time, since these wines are known for aging well. Just like you.”

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Give him: a few Ashton Churchill cigars. These classic 7½-inch smokes are medium-bodied with peppery, earthy notes, made from Domincan tobacco and a Connecticut wrapper. They received 87 points from Cigar Aficionado.

Tell him: “These cigars are produced in the Dominican Republic by the Arturo Fuente company, which made its first cigars in Tampa in 1912. They have quite a history, just like we do. Happy Father’s Day.”

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See how easy? You can find more Father’s Day gift ideas – and a few more things to talk about – at your local Total Wine & More store.

Limoncello Sweet Tea Cocktail for National Iced Tea Day

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Today, June 10, is National Iced Tea Day! To celebrate, and since our Discover Italy events are going on in store and online, our friend Beautiful Booze helped us prepare an Italian spin on the traditional Sweet Tea recipe using a spirit native to Italy — Limoncello.

If you’re interested in making this cocktail, head to our website to find limited-time deals on select Limoncello bottles through June 19.

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Limoncello Sweet Tea

  • 3 oz. Bellini Limoncello
  • 1 cup sweet tea (see recipe below)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup ice
  • Lemon slice, for garnish

Combine Bellini Limoncello, sweet tea, lemon juice and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until mixed and chilled. Pour mixture into serving glass and garnish with lemon slice. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

 

Sweet Tea

  • 1½ cup water
  • 2 teabags
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

Instructions:

Boil water in a small sauce pan, then add teabags and sugar and cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Let the tea steep for 5 minutes, then discard the teabags. Cool.