Hello, Keg n’ Corkers! Yes, yes, yet another one of us here at the store has been bitten by the blogging bug - but no worries, I promise to keep it short. I’ve always loved baking, and generally experimenting in the kitchen. The idea for this blog came from my habit of leaving half-empty bottles lying around the house. I lived alone, and couldn’t finish a bottle of wine a night on a regular basis (probably for the best). Once I established a healthy appreciation for craft beer, the same problem arose again. I’d have a few, and somehow one or two bottles would end up unfinished on my bedside table. I hate to waste good alcohol, and started to look for ways to get rid of them. Combine that with my love for baking, and surprise! Baking with booze. That’s how it started, and now I love experimenting with pairing certain drinks with food, as well as using them to cook and bake. This blog is dedicated to all things outside the bottle - whether it be recipes, pairings, or anything in between. I’ll try to stick to three main categories: recommended pairings, unexpected and interesting pairings, and cooking or baking recipes.

My first pairing comes courtesy of Jenni, our resident wine expert. She was telling me about an amazing ham and cheese quiche she made, which she served with grilled asparagus. White asparagus is in season right now, for those of you looking to buy local. She paired it with an Italian white, called Bastianich Vespa Bianco, a 2011 blend. 45% both of Chardonnay and Sauvignon, with 10% Picolit. This wine can be aged for up to 10 years, and its balanced acidity cuts nicely through creaminess of the quiche. The asparagus provides a lovely palate cleanse between sips.

My second pairing (the weird one), not surprisingly, comes from me. We recently had a wine tasting with Charlton Hobbs, and tasted the La Fielle Rosé from France. I’ve been subjected to some pretty terrible rosès, and have developed an unfair dislike to them. This rose, however, was so unexpectedly delicious, that I immediately regretted swallowing my taster so quickly. It was not overly fruity or sweet, but rather had a wonderful nutty, biscuit-y like quality. Balanced by a red berry acidity, I think it would be the perfect companion to a strawberry shortcake, or other fruit-forward dessert. It has enough body to stand up to strong cheeses as well. I will be tasting more with it in future, and will keep you updated!

My recipe for today comes from another source at the store - Rob! His Scottish roots inspired him to share a beer and scotch pairing with a traditional Scottish dish. Nothing sounds more Scottish to me than haggis, tatties, and neeps! For those of you who, like me, had no idea what tatties and neeps are, let me set your mind at ease. Plain old potatoes and rutabagas (personally, I think the Scottish name is much more fun to say). Rob suggests drinking Orkney Brewery's Dark Island Scottish ale, and "chasing" the meal with our single-malt Scapa 16 - also from the Islands of Orkney. The complex flavours in haggis are matched by the distinct, dark Scottish style, and any Scotsman will tell you that a meal isn’t considered finished until the last drop of scotch has been sipped.

That's all for now!

(Pictures to follow - you'll have to deal with my rookie blogging skills for a couple weeks, people.)