Wine Tasting with Karl (PRP Wines)

Last weekend I got to try 9 different wines and a delicious Loud coffee liqueur from PRP Wine thanks to my colleague, Karl Barton. PRP Wine produces high quality, exclusive wines from 65 wineries in 13 countries around the world. Karl delivers a fantastic, professional, educational, and entertaining wine tasting experience.

We started off with a nice white wine that they call the “Porch Pounder” because it’s a great summer wine and easy drinking. It was absolutely delicious. Next was a Hungarian wine nicknamed “Naked in the Pool.” Clearly also another great one for summer! The other two white wines we tried were a German Riesling and an unoaked Chardonnay.

Then we had the reds. Before this tasting, I did not consider myself a red wine drinker, so it was perfect when Karl brought out the Chevalier de Bayard (or Red Chevy) which he described as the red wine for white wine drinkers. It was actually really nice and not quite as intense and tannic as some of the reds I’d tried in the past. We also tried a Pinot Noir from Chile, a red Zinfandel from Lodi, and Tres Magi which is a Spanish red blend made from Merlot and Grenache.

So here’s the crazy part. After the Red Chevy, the other red wines were much more bold and tannic and full-bodied. And I liked them ALL. Clearly I just wasn’t drinking the right kinds of red wine before, but I am definitely a red drinker now. I even poured myself a glass of red and enjoyed it with dinner last night.

One of the other amazing things about these wines is that there are no added sulfites. When you get a headache from drinking too much wine, it’s often caused by sulfites. There will always be some present in wine because they occur naturally during the fermentation process, but bigger wine producers add them in to maintain consistent flavor year to year. All of PRP’s wines are single vintage and the producers do not add sulfites in as a part of their wine-making process. Clearly, I had a decent amount of wine at this tasting and I got no headache whatsoever. Not that night, and not the next morning.

We finished with an Italian dessert wine and the Loud coffee liqueur, both of which were absolutely delicious and truly the icing on the cake to a wonderful evening.

Huge thanks to Karl and PRP Wines for helping create such a wonderful evening of good food and drinks with family and friends. If you’d like to have a wine tasting at your home with Karl, leave a comment below and I will put you in touch!

-Lauren

Brunch at Vintage Brew Co.

Brunch. One of the best parts of the weekend. We recently visited Vintage Brewing Company at their Capitol East location (previously Tangent) to try out their new brunch menu. Needless to say, we were quite impressed.

We started off with a round of brunch cocktails. We enjoyed a variety of unique signature cocktails such as the Woo Girl 2.0 and Friends of Dorothy. We also tried their award winning Bloody Mary which did not disappoint.

The Woo Girl 2.0 is Hendricks Gin, St. Germaine, Cava, lime juice, and Bitter Truth cucumber bitters. Friends of Dorothy is Plantation Pineapple rum, house-made grenadine, lime juice, ginger beer, mint, and Bittercube Jamaica #2 bitters. These cocktails differed quite a bit from the classic brunch cocktails we’re used to, but we loved the creativity here! We also shared an order of cheese curds.

For our main meal, we couldn’t decide between savory and sweet so we chose both! Our sweet selection was the French toast which came with fresh strawberries and blueberries and was topped with local maple syrup and powdered sugar. To die for! On the savory side of things, we went with the Breakfast Flatbread which was topped with roasted bell peppers, onions, carrots, scrambled eggs, goat cheese, cheddar jack, garlic aioli, and scallions.

After our meal, the general manager gave a quick tour of the new, updated space since the name change. They added a lounge with the classic Vintage fish tank and repainted the space in a lighter color to help it feel more bright and open.

We love the new atmosphere and of course, the new menu! We definitely recommend checking out the new Capitol East location for brunch as soon as you can!

Wollersheim Winery & Distillery Tour

I recently got to visit Wollersheim Winery & Distillery with my sister Rachel, from Roots & Rosemary. Céline, winemaker and granddaughter of founder, Bob Wollersheim, gave us a tour and shared the wine and spirits-making processes with us.

At Wollersheim, the grapes are grown locally and they do a lot of things the old-fashioned way. While sometimes it may require more time and effort, it surely pays off in the quality of the finished product.

One of my favorite parts of the afternoon was tasting some aging wines straight out of the barrel!

After the tour, Céline treated us to a delicious Wisconsin-style brandy sweet Old Fashioned happy hour. Easily one of the best I’ve ever had.

Here’s Rachel enjoying her first-ever Old Fashioned.

Wollersheim holds winery tours and spirits tastings daily so definitely go check them out and see, taste, and learn about all the amazing things going on there for yourself!

-Lauren

Lauren & The Foreign’s Spiced Pear Mules Featured on WKOW’s Midday Madison

We are so excited to share that we were recently featured on WKOW’s Midday Madison. Lauren got to talk about who we are and shared a delicious recipe for a fall cocktail: spiced pear mules!

Here’s what you need to make your own:

  • 2 oz Spring44 Distilling’s Honey Vodka or 2 oz State Line Distillery’s Vodka and a spoonful of honey
  • 1 oz pear liqueur
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • dash of cinnamon
  • ginger beer
  • sliced pear
  • cinnamon stick

Shake vodka, honey, pear liqueur, lime juice, and cinnamon with ice. Pour into Moscow Mule mug rimmed with lime juice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with pear slices and a cinnamon stick.

While you enjoy your delicious mule, be sure to check out our feature on Midday Madison below!

Ruby Red Royale

We just created a new cocktail that is delicious and refreshing, no matter the season. With fresh fruit to remind you of summer, and champagne and liqueurs that add a touch of class, you’ll be serving this drink all year round, from holiday gatherings to pool parties!

Ingredients:

Start by filling a glass about 1/3 to 1/2 full with blueberries and pomegranate seeds.

Add vodka, liqueur, and simple syrup to glass and stir.

Top with champagne or prosecco.

Garnish with piece of pomegranate and enjoy!

Aquavit Hot Toddy

We’re already getting lots of snow in Wisconsin so we were inspired to create this drink to help us stay warm and cozy!

To make two toddies you’ll need:

  • 1/2 tsp cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 anise stars (one for the syrup and one to garnish each drink)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 4 oz aquavit (we used the Celebration Aquavit from 45th Parallel Distillery!)

Instructions:

  1. Begin by heating the apple cider on the stove. While it is warming up, we’ll make a spiced honey simple syrup.
  2. Heat cardamom, peppercorns, and star anise in a dry sauce pan over medium heat, stirring and crushing them against the pan until fragrant.
  3. After about 2 minutes, add water and sugar, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar.
  4. Let cool.
  5. Stir in the honey and add to the heated cider.
  6. Once the mixture is heated thoroughly, remove from heat and stir in aquavit.
  7. Serve immediately in mugs, and garnish with star anise.

Enjoy!

How to Make a Fall Charcuterie Board

One of our favorite snacks and drink pairings is a charcuterie board. There are so many different options for foods to include, and the variety of tastes and textures is sure to please any palate.

There are also many ways to design and create your own board — the possibilities are endless! We put one together for family and friends at Lauren’s sister’s Fall Fun Day event! Below you will find a step-by-step for the charcuterie board we built.

We started with two blocks of Toscano cheese from Trader Joe’s: one soaked in Syrah, and one dusted with cinnamon. Two perfect cheeses for fall! Then we added two small ramekins for pickles and olives and built the “salami river.” We folded the salami in half twice and then placed each piece facing opposite the last to create this beautiful river flowing across the board.

Next, we added some fall fruits: Bosc pears and dried apricots! We also added a round of Gouda cheese. You can never have enough cheese, right?

To finish it off, we added a couple of cracker varieties and the last of this season’s fresh blueberries and red and yellow raspberries! Here are a few more looks at the finished product:

This charcuterie board was absolutely delicious and was a big hit at the Fall Fun Day event this weekend, as you can see below! 🙂

Like we said before, the possibilities for your charcuterie board are endless. Aside from the meats and cheeses, other things you can include are fruits and veggies, nuts, jams, mustard, or honey. We hope this gives you some inspiration to start making your own!

If you try it out, or you’ve made and enjoyed cheese and charcuterie boards before, let us know your favorite thing to include on one in the comments below!

Lauren’s Ideal Self-Care Day

Yesterday was Lauren’s birthday and she decided to vlog and document her day as she did all her favorite activities that she would include in her ideal self-care day. Read and watch below to experience a day in the life of Lauren.

My day started as any good day should – without an alarm! I slept in until my body decided it was time to wake up, which today was about 9:00 am.

I love breakfast — it’s my favorite meal of the day. Today I started my day with some of my grandma’s homemade banana bread and some citrus green tea. So delicious.

After breakfast, I put on my favorite socks to get cozy, and then took my tea over to the couch to read a chapter or two in my book.

After an hour or so, I decided to brave today’s gloomy, rainy weather to work out. I do a lot of different activities for my workouts, but today it was CycleBar.

After rocking my ride at CycleBar, I made lunch. Apparently today was National Homemade Cookie Day, so for dessert I had one of my grandma’s delicious chocolate chip cookies!

Once I had refueled and taken a shower, I decided to play piano for a while. Today I tried learning a new song — a classic that I’ve always wanted to learn — The Entertainer.

I played around on the piano for a while until I was ready for a break. I decided I was in the mood for some pressed juice from Saints Madison. I headed over and tried a new juice — Fountain of Youth with butterfly pea flower, agave, and lemon . Tasty and beautiful too!

When I got back, I decided to decorate for fall. Once October hits I can finally start to accept that summer is over and fall is here.

Then it was time to kick back, enjoy my juice, and totally relax. I got out my adult coloring books and turned on Netflix.

I ended the day with pizza and wine, aka the perfect ending to a perfect self-care day. Cheers!

There you have it, Lauren’s perfect day. Watch below to experience it all with her firsthand.

Dirty Shirleys (Adult Shirley Temples)

We just received our monthly Lolly Box from Lollies By Leah and we got some Shirley Temple lollipops that put us in the mood for some Dirty Shirleys.

For this recipe, we reached for our Azeo Distillery Vodka distilled from apples, Pratt Standard True Grenadine Syrup (which is made with natural, real ingredients, and way less sickly sweet than the typical stuff you might be familiar with!), and some Lime Waterloo Sparkling Water (less sweet and more crisp and refreshing than a 7UP or ginger ale). For garnish, we obviously had to go with the Shirley Temple lollies, but of course maraschino cherries are the classic way to go.

Here’s our recipe so you can kick back and end your Monday with a tasty Dirty Shirley too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Azeo Vodka
  • 1 oz Pratt Standard True Grenadine Syrup
  • 4 oz Lime Waterloo Sparkling Water
  • Shirley Temple lollipops or maraschino cherries for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Fill a glass with ice.
  2. Pour vodka over ice and top with sparkling water.
  3. Drizzle grenadine over the top, or slowly pour it into the drink along the side of the glass so that it sinks to the bottom.
  4. Garnish with a Shirley Temple lollipop or 1-2 maraschino cherries.
  5. Enjoy!