Wine

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant in Annapolis, MD

Recently I visited Annapolis, Maryland for a two-day seminar and of course I was excited to explore and visit a new restaurant.   While researching nearby restaurants I decided on Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant because it was minutes away from my seminar location and their menu options looked amazing.  My second day of the seminar ended early enough for me to stop in Cooper’s Hawk during their lunch time.

Cooper’s Hawk in Annapolis is a two-story restaurant and bar with a wine tasting room, retail store and barrel-aging room.   The bar side of the restaurant has an extended outdoor patio that includes seating.

As I mentioned, I’d already looked at the menu and I knew what I wanted to order for lunch.  My waitress was very pleasant and helpful explaining the wine list and food pairings.  Because the wine list is so extensive, some guests have a hard time deciding and they are encouraged to sample one or two wines.  Of course I sampled two…who doesn’t like free wine samples?!  The restaurant provides complimentary pretzel bread warm and fresh from the oven.  For my appetizer I ordered the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Cashews, Mint, Sweet Thai Chili and Sesame-Sriracha Aioli. Best Brussels EVER! Hands Down! I think it was the Sweet Thai Chili sauce and the Sriracha, that sweet and spicy mix with the perfectly crisp Brussels is a hit! And it’s a hearty appetizer size, I wasn’t able to eat it all and had to take the leftovers home.

After sampling three wines because I couldn’t’ decide on which two to sample,  I decided to order the Sparkling Wine Flight.  Cooper’s Hawk offers six different wine flights – Sparkling, White, Red, Dessert, Cooper’s Hawk Lux and Create Your Own. Each flight is the equivalent of two glasses of wine.  The Sparkling Flight featured an Almond Sparkling, Raspberry Sparkling, Sparkling Rose’ and Blanc de Blanc.  Surprisingly I loved the Almond Sparkling wine, I wasn’t sure about how an Almond wine would taste but it tasted like almond cookies or candy.

For my lunch option I ordered the Chicken Piccata and swapped the baked chicken for their Parmesan-Crusted Chicken and it was the best decision. Perfect pasta topped with a buttery lemon sauce seasoned with crisp capers. Seriously this meal is amazing. I’ve been back to the restaurant two more times in the last 30 days because I had to have it again and again.

During my last visit I ordered the Dessert Wine Flight and I especially liked the blueberry wine. As you can tell, I tend to like sweet wines.  Maybe on my next visit I’ll venture out and order a red wine or white wine flight.

Have you been to Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant? What’s your favorite dish to order?

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  

  

Vino 301 Concierge: A Beverage Adventure For All Liquor Lovers

 

I’ll admit, I’m a bit indecisive and I want it all.  Clothes, shoes, food, liquor – give me options!  Imagine my excitement when I found out there was an adult beverage tour in Maryland that allowed you to tour and taste Wine, Beer and Liquor all in one day. The Vino 301 Wine Concierge hosts a full-service wine and spirits tour at various wineries, breweries and distilleries across Maryland.  They provide transportation complete with a personal tour guide to answer all of your questions along the way. There are many tours to choose from,  you can select a wine tour only, wine and chocolate tour, wine and cheese tour, wine and food tour, wine tasting classes and wine tasting parties… you get my drift.  On this particular Saturday, my best friend and I enjoyed our adventure on the Wine, Beer and Spirit Tour, it was truly a spirited beverage adventure.

My tour departure time was 11:00 am on a Saturday morning, Vino 301 conveniently provided two pickup locations. I was excited to get a 9:30 am. reminder text from our tour guide Christina confirming my pick-up location  Once we arrived at the park & ride location we were greeted by our transportation vehicle – a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter passenger van…what a way to tour in style! Once inside the van, my best friend and I met our tour mates – a father, daughter duo and another female tour guest. Our tour guide Christina joined us bringing our total to six tour participants. Christina was extremely knowledgeable about the locations we were visiting and the wine we would drinking.  She is a Sommelier who studied in Washington State among other places. I liked the small tour group because it gave us each a chance to navigate through the different distillery spaces and it also gave us a chance to ask lots of questions.

Transportation and Driver
Our tour guide Christina

Our first stop on the tour was Linganore Winery and Vinyard. I’ve visited that location before during one of their reggae festivals but because there were so many people there I didn’t get the chance to fully see or tour the grounds. On this quiet Saturday afternoon, the grounds were buzzing with guests eating and drinking on the outdoor patio, buying wine from the retail store and touring the winery.

Bacchus – The Roman God of Wine

 

Once inside, we were greeted by our winery tour guide Brandon who gave us a little history of the Linganore Family. Did you know… Linganore is the second oldest winery in Maryland and the largest in Maryland , twenty different grapes are used in blending their wines and they’ve won over 200 awards throughout the years – that’s pretty impressive.  He also gave us a tour of the area where the wines are made, stored and packaged.

Brandon giving us a history lesson

We ended Brandon’s tour with a wine tasting featuring 12 of Linganore’s most popular wines. I can honestly say they carefully selected each wine because they all had a different taste.  We were each given a wine list, wine glass, a small chocolate and a cracker.  The chocolate and cracker are used to break up the taste and refresh the palate. Lorrie was our tasting room attendant, she was friendly, efficient and fast…she kept the wine coming. The wine list was helpful because it gave a description of each wine and we were able to make notes of the ones we liked and didn’t like. This was helpful because it made it easier to select which wine you’d like to buy after the tour.  They also gave us a dump bucket to empty the wine we didn’t drink or didn’t like, of course I never used that bucket. LOL!

 

Happy Wine Faces!!! That’s me on the right.

Our next stop on the tour was the Red Shedman Brewery, also located on the Linganore vineyard steps away from the winery.  We didn’t tour the brewery but we did have a tasting similar to the one at the winery. We were given a list of beers and were asked to choose six we’d like to sample.  Of course I loved the Raspberry Cider because I like sweet beer. The Lemon Shandy and Coconut Porter rounded out my top three.

After our beer flight, we hopped back on the sedan and headed to our last stop, Dragon Distillery in Frederick, MD. Dragon is located in a business park next to a local airport. With the name “Dragon Distillery,” the interior has to live up to the name … and it does.  The retail/tasting room is adorned with everything knights and dragons, there was even a cute dog bartender named “Thor”.

Dragon Distillery makes nine liquors for sale, variations of Vodka, Gin, Rum, Bourbon and Moonshine.  They even have their Bourbon making class that hosts a half-day session teaching participants how to make bourbon and they allow you to take a bottle home – that sounds like the ultimate experience for any Bourbon lover.  Just like the previous stops, we were given a menu of sorts to choose three liquors we’d like to sample. In Maryland, we have a law that states distilleries are only allowed pour three one-ounce samples per guest, so we were given a menu to choose our three. With flavors like Cherry Almond Vodka, Medieval Mint Vodka and  Lemon Meringue Moonshine it’s kind of hard to just choose three. The packaging is also pretty cool.

Our bartender “Thor”

Vino 301 Concierge has everything you’d want in a wine or liquor tour. It was professional and organized. This is the perfect gift for someone who appreciates wine and also a good girlfriends day trip. Visit their website and check out all the tours they have to offer, you won’t be disappointed.

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Regis Non-Alcoholic Wine and Champagne

STRegis

I was scrolling for my phone looking at pics as I often do,  and I came across the photo above that I’d taken at a natural/organic foods convention here in Baltimore, MD.  The convention featured various beverage stations offering samples of organic coffees, teas, energy drinks and various alcoholic beverages. Of all the goodies that I tried that day, I specifically remember sampling the St. Regis Non-Alcoholic Wines and Champagne because it tasted exactly like the real thing.

I know what you’re thinking… Why would anyone want to drink non-alcoholic wine?  I initially thought the same thing but I immediately remembered that my family is religious and they don’t drink at all.  This could be an exception to the rule during family gatherings and holidays.  Someone may want a mimosa without the alcohol content in champagne.  Also, some people are allergic to alcohol and can’t always celebrate with friends and family. And I know some doctors say it’s O.K. for pregnant women to drink wine occasionally but some women may miss the taste of wine but don’t want to harm their unborn baby. The list goes on… there are so many other reasons why someone would want to drink non-alcoholic wine.

St. Regis offers a variety of wines to choose from – Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet, sparkling Brut Champagne and Sparkling Kir Royal. They range in price from $5.99-$13.99. With so many choices at such low prices, I’m surprised St. Regis doesn’t have a direct website to order from.  You can always check with your local liquor retailer or google the wine and plug-in your city and state.

Have you ever tried alcoholic wine or champagne?  Did you enjoy it?  Comment Below!

Be sure to follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  

  

Cheesecake Wine by Birthday Cake Vineyards

Over the weekend I celebrated the birthday of a really good friend. While pre-gaming at her crib I had the opportunity to taste the new Birthday Cake Vineyards Cheesecake Wine.

CakeWine

The creators of this wine also make Hpnotiq and Nuvo.  If you’re not familiar with those brands,  they are both sweet liqueurs that can be mixed with liquor or chilled and served alone.  I’ve seen the four flavors of Birthday Cake Wine in my local liquor store but never had the guts to buy it, so naturally I was excited when my friend offered it up to sample.

I sampled the Cheesecake flavor and as I expected it was sweet.  It does not have a subtle sweetness like Moscato, but just like the bottle says it “taste like real cheesecake”.  This wine of course would be considered a dessert wine and in my opinion should be served with dessert, after a meal, or on special occasions such as a birthday.  I suggest sharing it with friends at a party or giving it to the party hostess as a gift.  I’m looking forward to buying a bottle of my own and mixing it with other ingredients and creating a specialty cocktail.

Birthday Cake Vineyards wine is priced at $12.99 and is available in four flavors: Cheesecake,  Coffee Cake, Cake Batter, and Black Forest Cake. Birthday-Cake-Collage

 

 

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