How to Choose a Quality Red Wine

You enter a local wine shop, or even visit your local grocery store, and are stunned by the variety of red wines available. How do you know which to choose? Is one brand really any better than another? The truth is it’s important to choose a quality red wine. The reason is that cheaply made wines can make you quite ill. That’s not to say that you should avoid $3 bottles of wine. Even expensive wines can be poorly made. How do you find your way through the poor quality wines to find a good quality brand? Here are just a few tips to help ease the process.

Consider the Age

Age can tell you a lot about the quality of wine. When discussing wine you will hear the terms: ordinary, fine and collection. Ordinary wines are not aged. This means they lack flavor and should be avoided. Fine wines are what the average person buys and have aged for up to two years. They are also made with some of the finest grapes available. Collection wines are the finest of the fine. Collection wines have aged for at least five years and can be quite expensive, but extremely high quality.

Holiday Rum Punch Recipe

The holidays are in full swing and people are busy shopping, entertaining, shopping, sitting in mall traffic, shopping and well, shopping. All that shopping can really wear you down. One way to relax at your next holiday party is to serve a delicious punch. This isn’t a time for kid friendly punch, either. You need something that’s full of flavor and has a good alcohol kick. While there are many recipes to choose from, you can’t go wrong with the classics. Rum punch has been served at holiday parties for decades and with good reason. The fruity combination of flavors with the mellow after burn of rum is something that can’t be beat. Fair warning, though. This one isn’t really for those of you who are counting alcohol calories on a regular basis. You might want to have this one on your cheat day!

Holiday Rum Punch

Cream of coconut adds a decadent flavor to this fruity rum spiked punch. Your guests will love the flavor and you’ll love how easy it is to prepare.

Hosting a Wine Tasting Party

A wine tasting party can be a great way to bring friends together, have some great conversation, and learn something new. It can also be a whole lot of fun. There are a lot of things you can do to put together a successful wine tasting party, and to make it a special and memorable time for everyone (even those friends of yours who claim to not like wine). Here are some tips for hosting a wine tasting party.

Choosing Your Location

You need to start by deciding if you want a more formal setting, or if you’d like the party to be casual and informal. This is what will determine most of the party details. For example, the location, party décor, and guest list will be largely determined by the desired feel of the party.

Healthy Holiday Vodka Punch Recipe

The holidays can be a stressful time, especially for those throwing a holiday party. You have to plan the entertainment, create a delicious menu and of course come up with a killer drink to keep everyone happy and mellow. Of course, some people are trying to watch their waistlines and that means that many drinks may be a bit over-the-top. Thankfully, you can please both the dieters and those that aren’t watching their vodka calories with a delicious vodka punch.

Holiday Vodka Punch

What would a holiday buffet table be without a big bowl of punch to calm the nerves of stressed out guests? We all know that vodka punch can be pretty high in calories. Thankfully, there are simple substitutions you can make to make the punch a bit healthier. Best of all, you can even keep the punch cold without diluting the flavor thanks to the addition of a tasty ice ring.

5 Simple Tips for Cooking with Alcohol

Cooking with alcohol is something that many professional chefs do but the process can be intimidating to the average cook. After all, you don’t want to set your house on fire and you don’t want your recipe to flop. Thankfully, there are a few simple tips you can follow to help ensure your experience is a good one. Here are just five simple tips for cooking with alcohol.

Never Add Alcohol Over a Heat Source

You should always remove the pan from the heat before adding alcohol. Not doing so can lead to a house fire. Another important piece of advice when it comes to pouring your alcohol in the pan is to never pour from the bottle. If the alcohol should immediately ignite it would quickly spread to the entire bottle and cause a small explosion and possibly cause you personal injury – not to mention damage to your home. Always measure out what you’ll need and pour from a smaller container.

The Holiday Hot Toddy

Christmas is a time for indulging, right? I mean, who doesn’t indulge for Christmas (and, indulge in everything). When Christmas season comes around, I give myself license to do all of those things that are usually unthinkable during the rest of the year: skipping the gym for an entire week (or three), grabbing a homemade iced sugar cookie every time I walk past the kitchen (and my kitchen is in the center of my house), treating myself to an after-dinner aperitif (along with desert, and in addition to the pre-dinner aperitif I had) . . . you get the picture. Basically, I look forward to the Christmas season all year long, and that’s because I love enjoying holiday creations.

What’s in My Wine?

Have you ever consider what might be in that glass of red wine you had with dinner? You’re probably thinking that wine is simply crushed grapes that have been filtered and allowed to ferment. The truth is a bottle of wine contains quite a number of ingredients ingredients. So while you’re worrying about the wine calories you’re consuming, you should also think about the extra ingredients often found in the average bottle of wine.


While grapes are naturally sweet, a wine maker may use additional sweeteners to achieve the desired flavor. The type of sweeteners include straight sugar, simple syrup, honey and even fruit juice made with grapes and/or other types of fruit. The winemaker then adds sorbic acid or potassium sorbate to prevent the excess sugar from being turned to additional alcohol by the yeast.

Hot Chocolate Peppermint Cocktails

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful and since we’ve got no place to go, lets have a cocktail.” Okay, so that’s not how the song goes, but what warms the spirit better than – well – spirits? Seriously, the holiday season can be stressful and it’s nice to kick back with a warm cocktail and a few friends. Of course, that doesn’t mean your cocktail has to be loaded with fat and calories, nor should you have to spend the holidays worrying about the number of alcohol calories you’re consuming. Best of all, your holiday cocktails don’t have to be any less decadent to be healthier than the ones everyone else will be drinking. These hot chocolate peppermint cocktails will warm your body, while providing a delicious shot of chocolate. Both of which can help you better enjoy the holiday season.