My New Favorite Thing: Gose (Rhymes with Rosa…)

Sips, Tuesday Revews-Day

It’s been a while since I’ve done a bevvies post, but that’s about to change: I have a new favorite thing and I just have to share about it!

It all started with a trip to Thomasville’s new watering hole: Hubs and Hops in the old Bacchus location on W Jackson…

Where I and my companion each ordered tasting flights…

Now I’ve become quite the fan of the tasting flights at Sweet Grass Dairy and have been broadening my craft beer horizons over the last several months to very pleasant results. I’ve learned that I’ll love anything that’s a Nitro; that my preferences are still all over the place as I adore both the lighter, fruitier beers as well as the heavier stouts; and that craft beers don’t give me the headache I usually get after a beer or two from the more traditional offerings. Go figure, right?

But there was something on Hubs and Hops’ menu that I was curious about, as were my companions, so we decided to order a pint of the Gose for the table…

The server was a little fuzzy on just what a gose was, so we ended up looking it up: it’s a sour beer of German origin that’s a little lemony and salty. I adored it! (So it was no hardship when my tablemates took a hard pass on it!)

A couple weeks later we were at AJ Moonspin and low and behold they had a gose on tap as well, so I had to give it another go to see if it was the three mini-beers I’d had prior that were confusing my taste buds or not.

Nope! I still loved it! So much so that I went hunting for it at Three Oaks Liquor this weekend to get some for home and–after confusing the first guy at the counter when I asked if they carried it–another guy was super helpful and pointed out the four brands they carried and which one seemed to get the highest marks (Westbrook Brewing Co), though I plan to go back and grab a couple others when I finish these.

Basically, it’s what I thought a Shandy would taste like back when I was introduced to them 4 years ago and ended up disappointed at the overall lack of flavor. (And when I said that to the liquor store gent he was like, oh, you really do like the sour… yup!)

Apparently the sour comes mainly from coriander and the salt–while usually added in the modern brews–goes back to the original brew however many centuries ago in Germany where there was a considerable amount of salt deposits in the ground, and therefore the groundwater was a smidgen on the salty side so the resulting beer was as well. The style died out somewhere between WWI and WWII, was revived mid-centuryish and faded back again, only to be revisted again during the current craft beer trend.

I don’t know how long gose will stay readily available, I can certainly understand that many would not cotton to it, but I’ll be happily consuming it while it lasts! If you like sour and salty, definitely seek some out and give it a go. Let me know what you think, too, I’m always curious!


Cocktail Appreciation

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Cocktail, Anyone?

Cocktail, Anyone?

Well, now that we’ve covered how to avoid and/or compensate for a hangover should we overindulge, let’s get on to the business of appreciating all (okay, some) of what the world of cocktails have to offer.

Of course I understand some people have religious, dietary or other reasons and restrictions as to why they don’t drink alcohol. (If you find yourself in that group, no worries: we’ll cover non-alcoholic libations next week.) But many time I’ve hear folks say: I don’t like the taste of alcohol. And I’d hazard a guess that the majority of them, and maybe you’re one, were just served a bad drink.

If you’re only encounters with a mixed drink or cocktail were at a college party or ladies’ night at a local bar, chances are you didn’t experience the best the world of cocktails has to offer. If you’re only taste of a margarita was from a slushy machine at a dive Mexican joint, chances are there’s some improvement to be had. And if you’ve ever started a night with a Long Island Iced Tea (and remembered nothing else), you could stand to give the bar menu another shot.

Pun unintended.

And let’s talk about shots for a moment: I’ve never been fond of them. Yes, I did an entire series of so-called shots, but my recipes were merely cocktails small in stature but big on flavor. And they were meant to be sipped, not shot. Shots are for getting drunk as quickly as possible, and I’m not really down with that.

Back to the cocktails, though. It’s pretty impossible to distill (okay, I meant that pun) all there is to know about cocktail appreciation into 1000 words or less, but I’m going to break it down to a few important points.

1. Quality

They say you get what you pay for and that often translates to if you want quality, you have to pay for it: a lot. This is not always the case in alcohol (think of how many excellent bottles of wine can be found for $10 or less) but it does, often, pay to go “top shelf” or premium if you really want to enjoy your drink. For instance, if you’ve ever been served a Cosmopolitan made with Triple Sec (a low-cost type of orange liqueur) and didn’t like it? Consider trying one made with Cointreau (a higher-cost and -quality orange liqueur)–the difference will astound you!

Another good example is vodka. A really good vodka might make your mouth tingle a bit but it shouldn’t burn in the back of your throat. A jug of cheap vodka will need a lot of mixer to make the drink smooth, but a good vodka can be sipped and enjoyed for it’s bracing quality (though good vodka also has little to no flavor–on purpose–so sipping an all-vodka martini has always baffled me).

2. Balance

Which brings us to balance, which can be achieved as much in the recipe of a cocktail as in the technique of your bartender. Since, again, my qualification for a good cocktail is one that doesn’t beat me over the head with the alcohol, the cocktails I love as well as the ones I design make use of mixers (non-alcoholic ingredients) to balance the alcohol.  This also makes a cocktail a bit easier to customize for individual drinkers. If it’s all-alcohol, there’s not really much you can do to tone it down, a mixer allows you to add a bit more if it’s going to suit the recipient’s palette.

Where technique comes in is with the mixing. Traditionally, cocktails that are all-alcohol are stirred (yes, think of Bond’s “shaken, not stirred” line), whereas those with mixers included are shaken. There are always exceptions to this rule, of course. Drinks that include carbonated beverages are shaken without the soda, perhaps, or not shaken at all so that the bubbles are still present. And I’ve been known to shake an all-alcohol cocktail because a well-shaken cocktail gets up to 25% of it’s volume from the melted ice, and sometimes that’s all you need. I also include garnishes and rimming glasses with salt, sugar or other items a mark of technique.

3. Flavor

Finally, alcohol is an amazing conveyor of flavor. Don’t believe me? Think about vanilla. Yes, the vanilla that you use in baking. It is actually a very low-proof alcohol that serves to contain and confer the flavor of costly vanilla beans better than any other liquid. You can even make your own vanilla with a few beans and a little brandy, rum or vodka (and a fair amount of time–but the results are amazing).

With all that said, why drink alcohol at all? It’s certainly not a required element of being an adult! But I look at it as the same as people who start their day with coffee, or have soda to pep them up. Alcohol has a similar (if opposite) affect on us and I fully admit to liking that tipsy feeling a good cocktail can impart. The languor from sipping on a nice drink at the end of a long week is just as fabulous as the flushed, convivial atmosphere some spiked punch can add to a party. Can these things be achieved sans-alcohol? Sure, but it’s not near as much fun!

Of course, I must close with the following caveats:

  • Don’t ever let anyone pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do.
  • Drink responsibly
  • Always use a designated driver

Episode 9: I Need a Drink


Whether it’s celebrating the new year, starting off the 12th Night celebration or congratulating yourself for getting the mammoth end-of-year to-do list, done, a drink with a kick can do wonders. After all, what we call cordials and liqueurs were once known as restoratives!

As I rambled mentioned on the show, one of my many sites is Sips & Shots, where I create a new cocktail a week and post about other beverage interests from time to time. And if my voice sounds a little rough on the recording, all I can say is it’s a good thing I recorded when I did as I woke up with practically no voice at all the next day!

Now, what you’re really here for, the music:

Pumpkin Pie–Russell Wolff
Alcohol–O Sweet Static
In the Bar Tonight–Dakota
Crazy When She Drinks–Lee Rocker
Sipping Tea–The Gentlemen Callers
Cold Beer–Jeff Ronay
Glass of Wine–The New Autonomous Folksingers
Wine of Her Lips–Billy Bourbon
Vodka Kosovo–On Wave
Martini Time–AirFerg
Ginned Up–John Hughes
Gin & Tonic–Sammy Barker
The Old Black Rum–Great Big Sea
The Saltee Tango–Stoat
Only the Tequila Talking (feat. John Popper)–Lisa Bouchelle
Sweet Tequila–Brain Buckit
Whiskey Time–The Whiskey River Band
Nancy Whisky–Murder the Stout
Drinking Like a Fiddler–Dust Rhinos

And that’s us for another month. Please, everyone, if you do imbibe, don’t be a drunken monkey–use a designated drive, take a cab, or drink at home and do so in moderation.

Fun’s better if you can remember it the next day!