The Wilbur “Nor-Easter” Cocktail… named after the cold-brewed icy storms that cause frosty pandemonium throughout our Atlantic coast line. This unlikely storm concoction includes blustery winds and freezing blizzard conditions. Enjoy our recipe, while you toss another log on the fire sipping brisk flavors of sugary maple and spicy ginger along with the cozy warmth of bourbon. Bundle Up With this toasty bourbon blanket!
2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz maple syrup
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the bourbon, lime juice and maple syrup. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice. top with ginger beer.
Blog Post January 11th 2018
Winter Elderflower Gin & Tonic
Gin and Tonics have always been associated with warm weather, sitting and sipping on a porch while the sun is getting lower, offering a refreshing and cool reprieve from the summer heat. We at Wilbur’s are equal opportunity drinkers, meaning we’re not going to shelve a particular cocktail just because it’s below freezing.
This spin on a classic Gin & Tonic is perfect for the colder months. Featuring Elderflower, long-known for it’s medicinal uses in treating cold-weather related ailments, is showcased alongside Sloe Gin, adding another dimension to the classic G&T. Give one a try, and you might feel transported to a warm porch, at least in your mind.
For the Cocktail:
40ml (1 part) Gin
10ml (1/4 part) Sloe Gin
10ml (1/4 part) Elderflower Liqueur
10 ml (1/4/ part) Campari
50 ml (1 1/4 part) Tonic Water
3 drops Orange Bitters
- Put all the alcohol and the orange bitters into a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds
- Fill a tumbler with ice and strain the alcohol into the glass
- Top with tonic water
- garnish with a spiral of orange peel and a blackberry (optional)
- serve immediately and enjoy!
Blog Post Janurary 3rd 2018
Irish Coffee Recipe
2018 is off to a bitterly cold start, with sub-freezing temperatures gripping much of the lower 48 states. While we’re no strangers to wicked winter weather in Colorado, we at Wilbur’s welcome the comforts of a winter warmer cocktail like this wonderful Irish Coffee. Pour one up, cradle the mug in both hands, sip, and feel the cold melt away. Cheers!
Blog Post December 28th 2017
It is almost time to wrap up 2017 and turn the page. Whether you’re relieved or disappointed to see 2017 end, Wilbur’s has a recipe that will send the year out in style. And whether you plan to celebrate in style at a fancy party or just bringing the party to your couch at home, this recipe is sure to be a hit.
- 1 1/2 c. champagne (divided)
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 3 envelopes gelatin
- 1/4 c. vodka
- Rainbow sprinkles (Or any color you want. But nothing says “party” like rainbow sprinkles.)
- Combine 1 1/4 cups champagne, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan.
- Sprinkle gelatin on top. Let gelatin soften for about two minutes to bloom, then heat mixture over low heat. Stir until gelatin has completely dissolved, about 2-3 minutes, and remove from heat.
- Stir in remaining 1/4 cup each of champagne and vodka.
- Grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour mixture into mold and chill for 2 hours, or until firm.
- Invert jello to parchment paper-lined cutting board and slice into squares.
- Dip each square in sprinkles and serve cold.
- Kick the party into high gear and enjoy!
Blog Post December 18th 2017
White Chocolate Peppermint Martini
This week’s recipe is a little more fussy than what our regular readers have probably come to expect from the Wilbur’s team. But, it’s the time of year when lots of us are around our friends and family that we might not usually get to spend that much time with. So, we decided to pull something fun – if a little unusual for us – out of our bag of tricks. So cheers to the holiday season and enjoy something a little different!
- Marshmallow sundae topping (Garnish)
- 2 peppermint candies, crushed (Garnish)
- ¼ cup vanilla vodka
- 1 tablespoon peppermint schnapps
- ¼ cup white chocolate liqueur
- Dip the rim of a martini glass in marshmallow topping then crushed peppermint candies. Drizzle some marshmallow topping on inside of glass; place glass in freezer.
- In a shaker with ice, add vodka, schnapps, and the liqueur. Shake until mixed; pour into prepared glass.
- Sprinkle with crushed peppermint.
Blog Post December 12th 2017
Mules seem like they have been everywhere lately, and for good reason. Some drink fads go in and out of style when the variations and unique “twists” to the original recipe just become too much. When it comes to the mule, though, it seems like you can mix just about anything with ginger beer and it comes out tastier than when it went in. So buckle up for another mule variation, because this is one trend Wilbur’s is just not over yet.
- 12 oz Cranberries, fresh (For garnish, so these are optional.)
- Lime juice
- 2 oz Cranberry juice (Note: Cranberry juice is not sweet. Cranberry Cocktail is. We recommend the juice, but those with a sweet tooth may like the cocktail. Just be sure to note the difference.)
- 3 oz Ginger beer
- 1 1/2 oz Spiced rum
- Fill copper mug (or other drinking vessel, but we recommend copper if you’ve got it) with ice.
- Pour rum over ice.
- Add cranberry juice and lime juice to taste.
- Add ginger beer. Beware of carbonation!
- Stir gently.
- Add fresh cranberries as garnish if desired.
- Cheers and enjoy!
Blog Post December 6th 2017
Homemade Apple Pie Vodka
Usually the only recipes that feature grain alcohol are the star of the show at a questionable college house party. (We see you, Rams!) But rest assured this Homemade Apple Pie Vodka recipe is a bit more refined and Wilbur’s always encourages everyone out there to drink their recipes responsibly. That said, grain alcohol is finally getting another chance to shine.
This recipe is one that calls for a little bit of advanced planning, but the payoff is a tasty cocktail that will be sure to please all of the guests at your (very adult) gatherings.
For the Homemade Apple Pie Vodka
- 4-5 Granny Smith apples, sliced
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- Approximately 2 cups grain alcohol (AKA Everclear or moonshine)
- 1 3/4 cup filtered water
- 1/4 cup simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, cooked on the stove until combined fully)
For Apple Pie Spritzer
- 3 ounces Apple Pie Vodka (1 shot)
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider or Apple Juice
- Club Soda
For the Homemade Apple Pie Vodka
- Fill a 32oz. mason jar (or whatever size you have on hand) with sliced apples and cinnamon sticks. Use more or less apple as needed to fill the jar all the way to the top.
- Pour in grain alcohol to fill the jar to the brim. Measurements above are approximate for 32oz. jar.
- Seal the jar and shake lightly to make sure that all of the apples are fully submerged in the grain alcohol. Be sure to get a good seal or you will be wearing this potent mixture!
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 48 hours to allow flavors to infuse.
- When ready to use, pour the grain alcohol through a fine mesh strainer to remove the fruit and cinnamon. Return the flavored vodka to the jar for storage.
- Pour in the simple syrup and filtered water. Stir or shake to fully combine.
- Seal tightly and store in the fridge until ready for use; it will keep for 2 or 3 weeks.
For Apple Pie Spritzer
- Fill a glass to the top with crushed ice.
- Pour in the Apple Pie Vodka and apple cider.
- Finish with a splash (or more, to taste) of club soda.
Blog Post November 28th 2017
Eggnog is a peculiar beast. Some people think it is the best thing about the holidays, but some people wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.
The Wilbur’s crew has a “to each his own” mentality, but wanted to shed light on the fact that “eggnog” might not mean the same thing to everyone. The eggnog you hate (or love) might be totally different from the recipe that your next door neighbor loves (or hates). A simple query in your favorite search engine of choice will give you countless recipes. They call for anything from vodka to bourbon to brandy to Irish crème…
So, we chose one that is tasty and not too complicated (though you can always make it more complicated by making your own eggnog). But rest assured that there are many, many ways to make this seasonal treat.
- Eggnog of choice (Purchased or homemade. No judgement here.)
- Dark Rum (As noted above, substitute liquor as desired.)
- Ground Nutmeg
- Combine prepared eggnog and liquor. The ratio can be tweaked, but the recommendation is one part booze to five parts eggnog. Note: this is total liquor volume.
- Stir or shake mixture thoroughly. Note: mixture can be shaken with ice. Some people serve eggnog hot, which is cool if that is what you are into.
- Pour into glass of choice.
- Garnish with ground nutmeg to make people think you made the eggnog yourself, even if you didn’t.
- Prove those eggnog haters wrong and enjoy!
Blog Post November 21st 2017
Hot Chocolate Martini
Looking for a Thanksgiving nightcap that also serves as a dessert? After pie, of course… we aren’t crazy. Well Wilbur’s has got the recipe for you!
A Hot Chocolate Martini fits the bill as both a sweet treat for after three rounds at the dinner table and a tasty cocktail that can be whipped up any night of the week, not just the third Thursday in November. And while this martini preparation is served cold, we bet it will work just as well hot. Just switch out the martini glass for a mug and sip the cold weather blues away.
3 oz. prepared hot chocolate, cooled (packaged or homemade will work just fine)
3/4 oz. dark Crème de Cacao
3/4 oz. vanilla vodka
1 oz. Kahlua
6 mini marshmallows
- Add chocolate, vodka, Crème de Cacao and Kahlua to shaker filled with ice.
- Strain mixture into a martini glass.
- Garnish with as many marshmallows as you can fit in the glass.
Blog Post November 16th 2017
Maple Walnut Old Fashioned
A Maple Walnut Old Fashioned sounds like just about as good as it gets as we roll into the full swing of holiday preparations in 2017. This recipe has some “specialty” ingredients — that your friendly Wilbur’s mixology experts will be more than happy to help you find in the store, of course — but we can guarantee that they won’t go to waste. When you make these cocktails at Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or any other reason to get together to eat, drink and be merry, folks will be lining up for “just one more.” Trust us.
- 2oz Whiskey
- 1oz Maple Syrup (real, of course)
- 6 dashes Walnut Bitters
- 3 dashes Orange Bitters
- juice of 1/2 of a lemon
- splash of water (optional)
- 3 slices orange for garnish
- In a glass add whiskey, maple syrup, bitters and lemon juice.
- Add a splash of water.
- Stir again and add ice.
- Add garnish.
- Become holiday party royalty.
Blog Post November 8th 2017
Blood Orange Hot Toddy
Looking for a hot feel-good cocktail to help you get through the crazy up and down weather we have been experiencing lately? A hot toddy is usually the first thing on the list of recommendations, and for good reason. It might be considered an “old wives’ tale” of sorts, but lots of people swear by the magical combination of bourbon, hot tea and honey to fix them right up when they are under the weather.
This is a hot toddy with a fun twist. And while that means a little bit of prep work, we think it is worth it!
- 1/5 oz Blood Orange Infused Bourbon
- 3-4 oz Hot Tea (black tea, or blood orange tea if you are feeling adventurous)
- 1 tsp Honey
- Cinnamon stick
- Prep work: Slice 2 blood oranges into wheels and place into a glass jar. Add bourbon to fill glass jar (preferably one that seals), and let it sit for 3 days. Agitate the jar gently over the course of the 3 days. Strain the blood oranges out of the bourbon when you are ready to use.
- Combine bourbon, hot tea, and honey in a toddy glass or mug.
- Stir with a cinnamon stock until honey dissolves.
- Garnish with a fresh lemon wheel.
Blog Post November 2nd 2017
Pumpkin Spice White Russian!
We may have promised we wouldn’t highlight a pumpkin spice anything in our recipes. And while we still maintain that there is simply too much pumpkin spice invading everything fall, we have decided to concede that there might be some merit to it. And the circumstance that we have come across that makes the Wilbur’s team of opinionated experts change their minds? Pumpkin Spice White Russian.
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 ounce heavy cream
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce coffee liqueur
- Whipped cream, optional
- Chocolate syrup, optional
Shake together pumpkin pie spice and heavy cream to combine.
Fill a rocks glass with ice and pour in vodka, coffee liqueur and heavy cream mixture.
Top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup if desired.
Blog Post October 25th 2017
Candy Corn Cocktail
Candy corn is a divisive topic. It is truly “love it or hate it.” So we know that promoting a candy corn cocktail recipe may get some skeptical responses. But what isn’t automatically improved by adding vodka to it? Exactly. So trust the Wilbur’s team on this one and get in the Halloween spirit (see what we did there?) with this fun recipe. If nothing else, you have a use for all those candy corn trick-or-treating goodies your kids (or maybe you… we don’t judge, even if you are definitely way too old to be trick-or-treating anymore) bring home this year.
- 1 ½ cups vodka
- 1 cup candy corn
- 3/4cup pineapple juice
- To make candy corn-infused vodka (Yes, we said candy corn infused vodka!), mix vodka and candy corn in jar; seal tightly. Let stand at least 4 hours.
- Strain vodka to remove candy. Keep the vodka, discard the candy if you wish.
- For each serving, in chilled cocktail shaker, place 1/2 cup infused vodka and 1/4 cup pineapple juice; add ice. Shake; pour into martini glass.
- If desired, garnish each glass with additional candy corn.
Blog Post October 17th 2017
Granted everyone might not equate BeetleJuice with a tasty cocktail (especially if you were a kid when the awesome Tim Burton movie came out), but it’s almost Halloween and the Wilbur’s gang decided we need to celebrate in style. So take a walk on the wild side (we know, red wine AND tequila) and get down with the BeetleJuice, BeetleJuice, BeetleJuice…
- 1/2 oz Lime juice
- 4 oz Limeade
- 1 oz Red wine
- 2 oz Tequila
- 1 oz Triple sec
- Mix tequila, triple sec and limeade.
- Add ice.
- Hold a spoon upside down over the glass and very slowly pour red wine over spoon back to layer on top of cocktail.
- Drink responsibly and enjoy!
Blog Post October 11th 2017
Scary Easy Cocktail
Halloween is right around the corner, so Wilbur’s Total Beverage’s creepily good staff decided to use one of the scariest ingredients out there to make a spooktacularly easy cocktail recipe. That’s right. We went there. This recipe uses the biggest, baddest ingredient of them all: Fireball Whiskey.
Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but we think you catch our drift. Halloween puns! Yay! But seriously… If you like apple and cinnamon flavors, this simple cocktail will be right up your alley.
- 1 oz. Fireball Whiskey (There are other cinnamon whiskeys out there, but there is only one Fireball.)
- 1 12oz bottle of hard cider (There are lots of choices out there these days, so pick your favorite.)
- Sugar and cinnamon for the rim
- Cinnamon stick and apple slice for the garnish
- Wet the rim of your glass with lemon or bit of water. Place the rim into cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat. We know you know that this step is unnecessary, but still fun. If it seems like your style, give it a try. If not, the drink will still be tasty.
- Pour 1oz Fireball whiskey over ice.
- Fill the glass with hard cider.
- Garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.
- Try not to guzzle it down too fast!
Blog Post October 3rd 2017
Apple Pie on the Rocks
In a world of pumpkin spice everything, Wilbur’s feels proud to bring you a very different taste of fall.
Vanilla vodka and cinnamon whiskey (which is nearly synonymous with Fireball, but we aren’t picking favorites here) are ingredients not often seen as recommended by the Wilbur’s staff. Is that because they are a little bit on the “purist” (read: snobby) side of things? Maybe. But it means that when those ingredients show up in a cocktail, it is probably something good!
- 1 oz. Vanilla Vodka (There are lots to choose from, Wilbur’s recommends Absolut or Svedka.)
- 1 oz. Cinnamon Whiskey (Fireball is the obvious choice, but there are other options out there if you want to try something different.)
- 4 oz. Apple Juice
- Pinch of Ground Cinnamon
- Brown Sugar for the rim (If you’re feeling fancy!)
Wet the rim of your rocks glass and gently sugar the rim with the brown sugar.
In a martini shaker, pour the vodka, Fireball, apple juice and ground cinnamon together with a handful of ice cubes.
Shake about 10 times.
Pour the concoction into the glass. Be careful not to wipe off the sugar.
Serve chilled and enjoy.
Blog Post September 26th 2017
Sparkling Cranberry Rosé
Like it or not, Sweater Weather is right around the corner for Northern Colorado. This, of course, presents a real conundrum: what do you drink at brunch?
Never fear, dear reader. Wilbur’s Total Beverage staff to the rescue!
And by rescue, we obviously mean we are here with another fabulous cocktail recipe to make all your brunch dreams come true. And believe us, brunch crew, the fall feels are here. And no, it is not a pumpkin spice anything.
Sparkling Cranberry Rosé
- Rosé (We know about “bottomless brunch” so we won’t presume to guess number of bottles.)
- Fresh cranberries
- Cranberry juice (not cocktail)
- Sugar cubes
- Shot glass (for measuring only)
- Drop a sugar cube into the bottom of each glass.
- Use a shot glass to measure 1 “shot” of cranberry juice into each glass.
- Drop fresh cranberries into the bottom of the glass. You can also use cranberries on fancy cocktail garnishing skewers if you wish.
- Top off each glass with rose. The pouring and bubbling should mix the ingredients, but gently stir if necessary.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Blog Post September 21st 2017
A Vintage Affair
How often do you get to combine a charity event for an incredible cause in your community with a tasting event with over 200 beers and wines? If you live in Northern Colorado, the answer is at least once a year.
Luckily, more than 300 lucky people can count themselves on the list of folks who enjoy that tasting at A Vintage Affaire this year. The event is Friday September 29, 2017 and this year is being held at the new CSU stadium. The event benefits Pathways’ Children’s Healing Gardens, a cause near and dear to the hearts of the Wilbur’s team. The Children’s Healing Gardens helps children who are grieving the loss of a loved one, or who are living with a life-limiting illness of their own or of someone close to them.
An $80 ticket gets you into the event for the unlimited tasting (and appetizers!), and there will be raffle drawings for the popular 99 Bottles of Beer and 99 Bottles of Wine giveaways at the event. Get more info and purchase your tickets for A Vintage Affair to benefit Pathways’ Children’s Healing Gardens.
Blog Post September 14th 2017
Kentucky Apple Cider
You know what’s great about fall? For some people, it is a lot of things. And unfortunately, all of them are wrong. Because there can only be one best thing about fall, and that throne has already been claimed by the Kentucky Apple Cider.
We know those are bold words (autumnites – people who love fall – are pretty passionate as a group), but we polled the Wilbur’s crew and they are all in agreement. (You should ask them sometime!) Kentucky Apple Cider is the hands-down winner of the Best Thing About Fall Crown. Don’t believe us? We dare you to try this recipe (make sure you try it hot!) and tell us we are wrong.
1.25oz. bourbon (Maker’s Mark Bourbon is an excellent choice.)
Hot apple cider
Dash of allspice
Tall cinnamon stick
- Add bourbon to a mug.
- Fill mug with hot apple cider and dash of allspice.
- Garnish with tall cinnamon stick and lemon slice.
- Realize Wilbur’s cocktail recommendations have never steered you wrong.
Blog Post September 6th 2017
Apple Cider Mimosas!
Apple Cider Mimosas? Who even thought of that? Someone who loves fall, no doubt. They take the amazing flavors of fall (minus pumpkin, but we will get to that later) and add a little sparkle. Can we get a “cheers” to that?
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 c. apple cider
- 1 bottle champagne
- If you’re feeling fancy: On a small plate, combine sugar and cinnamon. Dip champagne flutes in water to wet the rims, then dip in cinnamon sugar mixture. Coat the rims to add a little extra flavor and fun to your cocktail.
- Fill champagne flutes 1/4 full with apple cider, then top off with champagne. Adjust the ratio to taste.
Blog Post August 29th 2017
New Belgium Cruiser Giveaway!
If you have been coveting one (and we know you have), this Friday is your shot to score one of your very own. For free.
Wilbur’s is giving away two (2) whole New Belgium cruisers on Friday September 1, 2017 at 6pm. The bad news is you have to enter in person at the store, there is only one entry per person allowed, and you have to be present to win. The good news is, you have to be present in Wilbur’s Total Beverage, and that is never a bad thing at all.
So swing by on Friday evening, enter, and hang out for the drawing and your chance to take home a sweet 2017 New Belgium cruiser.
Blog Post August 29th 2017
New Belgium Brewery: Old Aggie
Football season in Fort Collins is finally here! And this season is even more exciting than usual because CSU has a LOT to celebrate this year: Old Aggie.
That’s right. They officially have their own beer.
And a new stadium. Which is also cool. But the important part – as always – is the beer.
Old Aggie Superior Lager is a collaboration between New Belgium and CSU to celebrate their new partnership and the opening of the new on-campus stadium. This is a beer designed to be an easy-drinker, perfect for drinking at a football game, cookout or pretty much any other occasion.
Old Aggie has been out since July, and it has been hard to keep on the shelves due to its immediate popularity. It should be a staple for any CSU home opener celebrations this weekend, and the Wilbur’s beer experts are sure it will be an instant favorite.
Blog Post August 17th 2017
Colorado Peach Sweet Tea Sangria
If you know anything about Colorado in late summer, you know one thing. It is time for peaches!
We wanted to celebrate this most wonderful of seasons by bringing our dearest readers a fabulous peach cocktail recipe. Because the Wilbur’s team knows the pain of buying ALL the ripe peaches and not being able to eat them in time. With this tasty Peach Sweet Tea Sangria recipe (can you get more good summer things in one beverage?), you can rescue those peaches before they turn and put them to good use!
- 1 750-ml. bottle white wine (We recommend a Sauvignon Blanc.)
- 4 c. sweet tea (The sweeter the better!)
- 1/4 c. Triple Sec
- 2 c. sliced fresh peaches (You can use frozen, but nothing is better than fresh!)
- 2 c. raspberries
Combine wine, sweet tea, Triple Sec, peaches and raspberries.
Stir until combined. You can leave your sangria as chunky or smooth as you like.
Refrigerate until chilled.
Blog Post August 11th 2017
New West Fest!
Heading to New West Fest this weekend? Wilbur’s Total Beverage pours wine in the 20’ x 40’ “lounge” on Walnut Street directly across the street from Illegal Pete’s. Our tent is combined with our partner, The Group, Inc. and we use furnishings provided by another partner, Roughin’ It In Style. Our bar is an actual bar (not a fold-up table), hand-created by the folks at Roughin’ It In Style. The lounge area will also have patio chairs provided by Roughin’ It In Style for folks to sit back and relax with their beverage of choice. We will be pouring our tasty wines below, all under $30.
Natale Verga Prosecco, a dry, lemony and bubbly with overtones of almond and honey. Chill it down and serve as an aperitif or pair it with calamari or crab meat dishes.
Pleasures Chardonnay is a delightfully mellow medium-bodied white, featuring red apple and cantaloupe fruit notes. The mouthfeel is creamy and soft, with hints of almond and lychee.
Sichel Sohne Riesling, a refreshing and fruity, with a fine mineral edge. The grapes come exclusively from traditional vineyards with steep slopes and slate soil. Enjoy on its own or with spicy Asian fare.
Château Real d’Or Rosé a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 15% Syrah. Cinsault brings freshness, lightness and delicacy to the wine; Grenache adds to the silkiness; Syrah provides complexity. A fruity bouquet as well as a fascinating light flavor.
Replica Block M Pinot Noir a rich, plummy, black fruit aromas frame slightly smoky flavors of caramel and oak for a ripe, full-bodied classic California Pinot flavor. Compare to Meiomi Pinot Noir.
Angel’s Landing Cabernet Sauvignon is a big and bold with wonderful rich layers of black cherry, ripe currant, spice and chocolate. Deep and complex with graceful tannins. Great with short ribs, aged cheeses, stews and pasta dishes.
Blog Post August 2nd 2017
One of the best parts of summertime as a child is getting frozen treats. They come in a variety of forms, from ice cream to popsicles to slushies and anything in between. Being a kid is great that way.
Sadly, as adults we are much less likely to indulge in these kinds of treats, for whatever reason. Not that we are saying grownups don’t enjoy an ice cream cone now and then, but most of the time these kinds of treats are reserved for kids.
Well, if you find yourself feeling a little sad reflecting on that reality, Wilbur’s has got some good news for you.
This week’s stellar recipe brings a frozen treat straight out of childhood and makes it for adults only. Yep. That’s right. We put booze in it. (I mean, Wilbur’s is a liquor store. You had to know that was coming. We tend to improve just about every recipe with the addition of some kind of booze. You’re welcome.)
Just how did we improve a frozen childhood treat, you may be asking? Well. Two words: wine slushy.
And just to keep things fun, this recipe uses white zinfandel. Because there is nothing like using pink wine for a recipe meant to remind you of childhood. (This is your time to shine, white zin lovers!
1 bottle white zinfandel (Yep. That’s the pink wine.)
1 cup frozen berries (Dealer’s choice. We recommend the bag of mixed berries, because choosing just one seems boring. But if you’ve got a favorite, go for that one.)
- Puree the wine (yes, the whole bottle) and frozen berries in a blender. Get the mixture as consistent as possible.
- Strain the mixture, then pour into a shallow dish. A 9″ pie plate works perfectly, but any baking dish will work. A cookie sheet might be too shallow, so be careful if this is all you’ve got.
- Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Scrape the half-frozen mixture with a fork. This should create loose textured icy results.
- Repeat the process 3 times for a perfect slushy consistency.
- Divide between 2-4 glasses. This depends on the size of your serving glasses. Let your conscience be your guide here.
- We recommend letting your slushies sit for 5 minutes at room temperature to defrost before serving. Enjoy!
Blog Post July 27th 2017
The Bees Knees: Mead
Rhyming can be hard, but finding a tasty new local beverage isn’t. Wilbur’s experts won’t say they discovered mead, but they will say that Northern Colorado should.
Colorado has become somewhat known for an experimental attitude with alcoholic beverages. Craft beer, cider, wine, hard liquor, liqueurs and one of the lesser-known but oldest beverages of the bunch: mead.
Mead is also known as honey-wine, and this name is somewhat self-explanatory. Mead is honey diluted in water and fermented with yeast, usually the same kind of yeast as is used in wine-making. It also shares a long history, similar to that of beer and wine, with recipes and historical accounts of consumption throughout history all over the world.
That history has now come to several local Colorado meaderies, who are keeping the art alive with the help of local bees and sometimes other local fruit produce. Mead comes in several different types, from the more traditional sweet (…like honey, duh) to fruit-flavored and dessert wines (think chocolate). They also come still or sparkling, which adds a whole new dimension to the promise of tasty treats for summertime enjoyment.
and Redstone Meadery are a few of the local choices for meads. If you are looking to expand your horizons, check one out this weekend!
Blog Post July 20th 2017
This cocktail is a bit of a mystery. Mostly because nobody seems to know what the name means. According to certain members of the Wilbur’s expert staff, the name has been lost to history, but legend says it means a whale’s… nevermind.
The important part of all of this isn’t what a cocktail is called, but how it tastes. And there is no mystery there. Simply put, it tastes GOOD.
Corona, lime and agave make a cocktail match made in heaven (or Mexico, if you want to be more specific) and this refreshing summer drink will not disappoint. Take the word of the Wilbur’s crew and taste the drink… the myth… the legend…
- Pour agave nectar, lime juice, and lime zest into a glass.
- Add beer.
- Mix it real good, throw a lime wedge on there if you’re feeling fancy, and enjoy.
Blog Post July 20th 2017
Strawberry Rhubarb Rosé Sangria
Rosé is all the rage these days. But for a lot of us, #roséallday might be a little bit intense. For those of us who are in it less for the “likes” and more for the delicious tasting cocktails, Wilbur’s has a new recipe that looks and tastes like an Insta sensation.
This cocktail might seem complicated on the surface (rhubarb simple syrup?!), but it is really not too tough, as long as you can accurately identify rhubarb in your garden or the grocery store. It is mostly just a matter of boiling water, which even the Wilbur’s wine-o’s can manage with ease.
So rosé lovers (and those who want to be!) should try this recipe for their next brunch, bridal shower, cocktail hour, or other excuse to get together and share a drink with a few friends.
#sangria #wilbursrecipes #summerfeels #wineoclocksomewhere #drinkstagram
Rhubarb Simple Syrup
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 3-4 cups rhubarb (2 large stalks; diced into 1 inch cubes)
- 1 bottle of rosé wine (750 mL)
- 1 lime (sliced)
- ¼ cup loosely packed mint leaves (torn by hand)
- 2 cups strawberries (quartered)
- 1 batch rhubarb simple syrup (Make this first so it has been cooled & strained)
- Club soda or seltzer (If you want a little extra sparkle!)
Rhubarb Simple Syrup
- In a medium pot, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add rhubarb. Stir and cover.
- Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Strain off rhubarb before adding to sangria. Be sure to let mixture cool before you strain to avoid burns!
- Combine all ingredients in a pitcher.
- Allow to ‘chill’ in the fridge for 4 hours before serving.
- Serve with seltzer or club soda (optional splash for additional sparkle) over ice.
Remind yourself that #sharingiscaring and try not to drink the entire pitcher yourself!
Blog Post July 6th 2017
Nothing screams summer like cool, crisp, juicy watermelon. If only we could make a cocktail that captured that perfect essence of summer….
Allow us to introduce the Watermelon Mojito. It will hereafter be known as Our Favorite by you and all your closest friends, so you are welcome to start calling it that from the get-go. Seriously, it is all the best parts of summer mixed up into a big batch of delicious cocktails that you aren’t going to want to share. The Wilbur’s staff encourages you to share with all of your favorite people, though, because of course you can always make more. Cheers!
- 6 cups cubed watermelon
- 1 cup simple syrup
- 50 fresh mint leaves
- 3/4 cup fresh lime juice (approx. 5 limes)
- 1 cup white rum
- Puree watermelon in the blender. (Finally you will get to use one of the fancy-sounding settings on your blender! Yay!)
- Strain to remove some of the pulp (or leave it in if you like a little chewing in your beverages). Measure out 2 cups of the juice.
- Place fresh mint in the bottom of a large pitcher. Add a little bit of the watermelon juice and muddle to release the flavors of the mint.
- Add remaining watermelon juice, fresh lime juice, 2/3 cup simple syrup and rum. Fill the entire pitcher with ice. Top with soda for some sparkle.
- Adjust sweetness with additional simple syrup if desired. Garnish with additional lime, mint and watermelon slices.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Blog Post June 29th 2017
Blackberry. Whiskey. Lemonade.
Has there ever been a collection of three simple words to inspire so much excitement about a summertime drink? Well, “two for one” might be a solid contender, but that is a whole different story. Regardless, blackberry and whiskey and lemonade together in one drink sounds like a dream come true.
Even better? It is a simple recipe that can be made as a big batch. That means you can not only make them for yourself, you can be the hero of any party and make them for everyone. Get ready to be a legend!
BLACKBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP:
12 oz. fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water (optional, see recipe notes)
- Put the blackberries, sugar, and water (if necessary… if you have very ripe berries you may not need it) in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until blackberries have softened and you have a thick syrup.
- Strain syrup through a mesh sieve to separate any seeds or lumps from the syrup.
- Let syrup cool on the counter for 20 minutes or so before you make the drinks.
FOR THE BLACKBERRY WHISKEY LEMONADE:
1 cup whiskey
1 cup lemon juice
1 large rosemary sprig
3/4 cup blackberry simple syrup
1 cup tonic water or sparkling wine (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a large shaker and add a handful or two of ice cubes. Depending on the size of your shaker, you may have to shake in two batches.
- Shake to combine and chill.
- Pour over ice into glasses. For a little extra fun, top each drink with a splash of tonic water or sparkling wine. Serve immediately.
Blog Post June 14th 2017
Summer Gin Cocktail
Gin. People either love it or hate it. Even the Wilbur’s experts are divided in their feelings, and that is saying something.
So with all of the ambiguity about one of the world’s most loved/loathed spirits, why would the Wilbur’s crew recommend a recipe for a big bucket o’ gin cocktails? Simple. It’s a winner, and no matter how people feel about gin, we think they are going to like this drink.
Don’t believe us? Try out this crowd-pleaser for yourself and let us know the final verdict. We think we already know the answer, but we always love a good challenge.
Simple Gin Punch
- 4 Cups citrusy gin (Wilbur’s Staff Pick: Spring44 Gin!!)
- 4 Cups fresh grapefruit juice
- 2 Cups fresh lemonade
- 1-2 Cups homemade honey simple syrup (Recipe below. It is simple, we promise.)
- 1 bottle sparkling water (We know you already have a favorite, you hipster, you.)
- Several lemon, lime and/or grapefruit wheels for garnish (If you’re into that kind of thing.)
- Honey simple syrup: combine 2 cups each of water and raw local honey (luckily there are several local options like Copoco’s Honey in north Fort Collins), in a sauce pan over medium heat and simmer until sugar is fully dissolved. Let cool completely. Easy, right?
- Combine gin, grapefruit juice and honey syrup in a punch bowl or large drink dispenser with a spout for easy serving. Stir gently and chill. Both you and the drinks, that is.
- Slice citrus into wheels if you’re fancy. Keep them cool until you are ready to serve.
- 10 minutes before guests arrive – or when you get to the party – add lots of ice and the sparkling water to your concoction. Float citrus wheels on top. This garnish is sure to impress.
- Pour over fresh ice. Enjoy the drinks and the compliments!
Blog Post June 1st 2017
Summertime in Colorado is the time that most people want to enjoy being active outside. Whether that means hiking, camping or just hanging out in the backyard, part of the appeal of the outdoors is relaxing with a favorite adult beverage.
Beer has long had the best solution for being an ideal portable beverage. Cans are lightweight, self-contained and won’t shatter into a million pieces if you accidentally drop one. Wine, on the other hand, faces more challenges in this department. And for those people who prefer drinking wine, the inability to take their favorite beverage with them on their adventures has been a bummer.
Until some smart folks realized that wine drinkers like to have fun outdoors, too.
In recent years there has been a revolution (the Wilbur’s wine experts assure us that “revolution” is not too strong a word) in wine packaging. Some smarty pants took a cue from the boxed wine craze and started packaging wine in single-serving containers that don’t require glasses for drinking. Ah-MAZE-ing.
The helpful product-testing experts at Wilbur’s took one for the collective team and scoured the shelves of their massive wine section to find some of the best solutions for to-go wine out there. They make these kinds of sacrifices so the rest of the wine-loving public can benefit. We salute you, Wilbur’s wine-os.
The wine revolution doesn’t just stop at cans for these geniuses. They have put an interesting spin on wines (and some ciders) in cans, giving lots of options for folks to try out different varieties.
Underwood launched their cans to eliminate the “fussiness” of drinking wine, and we couldn’t be more on board with them!
Split Rail has put several varieties in cans,and their packaging and design will have you swearing that you are looking at a specialty beer from your favorite craft brewer. Sipping one of these cans will instantly up your cool factor, according to the Wilbur’s wine staff.
Black Box has created the equivalent of an adult juice box. We call it a pretty cool trip down memory lane.
As a reminder- Before venturing off the comfort of your backyard patio and onto the trails, be sure to check your local regulations regarding open alcohol containers.
Safety first, and always consume responsibly!
Colorado Summer Beers
Blog Post May 18th 2017
Memorial Day has always been considered the “official” start of summer. And with a start to summer comes the official season of enjoying delicious summer beers.
A good summer beer is crisp, clean and refreshing. It pairs nicely with blue skies and the hot Colorado sun, and is usually best enjoyed on a patio or even on a hiking trail. There are many different kinds of beers that make a perfect summer beer, but the Wilbur’s Total Beverage staff have pulled together some of their current favorites:
- Loveland Ale Works Colorado Grand Cru
A Grand Cru is a BIG beer, but as long as you are planning to stay put and enjoy the sunshine in the comfort of your own backyard, this one from Loveland Ale Works is a delightful choice. That big beer flavor is balanced by dark fruit and banana aromas that will make Belgian lovers rejoice. Settle in for an afternoon of delicious enjoyment with a bomber and a book.
- Snowbank Sourado Dry Hopped Session Sour
The Sourado has a lot going on. Just based on the name alone, you can tell this beer is going to be a hit for lots of different kinds of beer lovers. That makes it a great choice for a backyard barbeque, summer shindig or just an afternoon on the porch catching up with friends. And yes, the Wilbur’s beer geniuses assure you that bringing good beer to a party will make you more popular. Trust us on this one.
- Wicked Weed Guajava
When one of the descriptors for a beer is “tropical” you know it was made for drinking on a boat in the sunshine. And while we can’t help you with the boat part, we can recommend you pick up the Guajava while you figure it out. Golden sours made with guava are known for helping you solve problems, right? Well, even if you can’t enjoy it on a boat, the Wilbur’s beer nerds still think this beer should be on your summer list of “must haves.”
- Tahoe Mountain Brewing Aurelia Gold Sour
With a name like Aurelia Gold Sour, this beer has got to be good. This light, complex, funky sour has all of characteristics that make people love sour beers. With some citrus and wine characteristics gained from the aging process, this beer is interesting and bright enough to be an excellent choice as a slow sipper on a lazy weekend afternoon without being overwhelming. Cheers!
- Evans Brewing Co. Pollen Nation
While those of us currently in the throes of allergy season might find the name of this blonde ale off-putting, let us assure you this beer is all about the honey! It is light and crisp, with a hint of the Orange Blossom Honey and just a little love from the bees who make it thrown in for good measure. With that little sunshine right in the brew, Pollen Nation might be your new summer favorite.
Blog Post May 4th 2017
Cinco De Mayo BEERita!
Colorado summertime is right around the corner, and summer in Colorado is always the perfect time for sitting in the sunshine enjoying a tasty margarita.
But for those of us who use blue skies and the sun shining as a good excuse to enjoy a margarita, the same old recipes might be getting boring. Colorado does get 300 of those glorious days every year, after all (depending on your definition).
Luckily, Wilbur’s Total Beverage shares those feelings, and the resident experts have come up with an easy way to create something new and exciting: the BEERita!
As the name implies, the Beerita is a margarita… with beer. And while the idea may not be winning any awards for groundbreaking creativity, nobody will really care because they will be too busy enjoying their delicious beerita.
The general recipe for a pitcher of tasty treats is simple:
- 12 oz margarita mix
- 12 oz tequila (Pro Tip: Wilbur’s recommends Don Julio Silver Tequila.)
- 12 oz water
- 12 oz Mexican Style Lager
The magic comes from pairing just the perfect beer in your margarita, creating the tastiest beerita ever made, and as expected, the Wilbur’s beer fanatics have some excellent suggestions (and of course they are local!) for your beerita adventures:
As always check our AD this week over at the Weekly Specials page for even more deals!
Enjoy! You can thank us later!
Blog Post April 27th 2017
The first weekend in May can only mean one thing: Mint Juleps! Oh, and the Kentucky Derby.
The Mint Julep is a cocktail that marks the start of spring in a lot of places, and has become a tradition and a mascot for the running of the Kentucky Derby every year.
A traditional Mint Julep is a tasty mixture of bourbon (only from Kentucky, of course), mint, sugar, and seltzer. But Colorado is a long way from Kentucky, so we decided to put a twist on the traditional and make the Colorado Julep (complete with a local liqueur) just a little bit differently.
- 3 ½ oz. Nooku
- 3 splashes of bitters
- Muddle mint in a glass (Number of leaves up to user/drinker discretion, but 5-10 is reasonable)
- Add ice to glass
- Pour over 3 ½ oz Nooku
- Add 3 splashes of bitters
- Mix to combine flavors
- Add extra mint for garnish
Blog Post April 6th 2017
Whiskey is a category of spirits that can be just as intimidating as wine or craft beer to the uninitiated, and inspires just as much devotion. Whiskey is made all over the world, and embodies many different flavor types and profiles.
While there is a lot to know about whiskey, there are several things to know that will help a beginner start to understand how to navigate their introduction to the spirit.
Whiskey vs whisky
One of the first things many people notice about whiskey is that there are 2 ways to spell it: either whiskey or whisky. While there are many exceptions, this generally refers to the location in which it was distilled. Generally, the US and Ireland create whiskey, while Scotland, Japan and Canada create whisky. There are lots of brands (particularly those distilled in the US) that don’t conform, but this is the general rule.
Within each of the major countries of origin, the whisk(e)y has distinct classifications and characteristics. There are volumes written on the intricacies of each variety, and below is a very brief overview guide of the differentiates.
Scotch is made in Scotland, and aged in oak barrels that are often old bourbon barrels. The regions of origin within Scotland not only inform the style of scotch, but also serve as shorthand for the types of flavors. There are 5 or 6 major regions for scotch, and enthusiasts usually have their favorites.
While there are more variations, single malt and blended scotch are the most common. Single malt refers to a scotch made from malted barley at one distillery, though it may come from several different casks or batches of scotch within that distillery. Blended scotch is somewhat self-explanatory, and is made from different kinds of scotch from different distilleries blended together to achieve a particular flavor.
While it is a well-known staple in most bars in the US, there are actually relatively few kinds of Irish whiskey made in Ireland. Old Bushmills is the oldest, founded in 1784, while Jameson is perhaps the most famous brand. The flavors of Irish whiskey are much different than those of scotch, and the highly regulated processes are much less rigid.
American whiskey comes in many different types, and is a changing landscape with the emerging craft distilling industry. “American whiskey” has become something of a catch-all term for these craft distilled whiskies, including “American Single Malt,” which is a new style and is not regulated by the standards of other whiskey types of single malts.
Perhaps the most famous kind of American whiskey, bourbon has to be made from majority (51%) corn and aged in charred new oak barrels. Contrary to popular belief, bourbon does not have to be distilled in Kentucky.
Rye whiskey is aged in the same way as bourbon but must be majority (51%) rye instead of corn.
Tennessee whiskey is essentially bourbon from Tennessee, with one additional process of charcoal filtering. The most famous in this category is Jack Daniels.
Canadian whisky is often referred to as “rye” but in reality it does not have to be made of rye at all. It does not conform to the American Rye regulations, and is a distinct type.
Japanese whisky is a relative newcomer to the scene, but it has been very popular in recent years. It is made largely in the style of scotch, and has a wide variety of flavor profiles. While many of the techniques are taken from the Scottish production, many Japanese distilleries produce several different whiskies in a departure from the more traditional distilleries.
So… How do I drink it?
Everyone develops their own preferred way to drink whiskey, but for starters there are a couple of methods. You will hear the terms thrown out whenever people discuss the way they order their drinks, and it is recommended to understand them before you go out for a drink outside the comfort of your own home.
Neat = room temperature solo in a glass
Drinking any kind of whisk(e)y neat is the epitome of the “purist” way to consume a fine whiskey drink. And while it is pure – the argument being that diluting the flavor at all is a disservice to the distiller – it is not for the faint of heart. Drinking whiskey neat is a skill to be developed over time.
This one is self-explanatory, but the method for figuring out how much water requires skill. The rationale behind adding water is that it opens up some of the flavors, as well as diluting the alcohol somewhat to preserve the tastebuds on the tongue. In other words, the alcohol will numb your mouth, making it almost impossible to continue to taste the fine whiskey flavors.
The caution with adding water is to only add a very little bit, and never to add water from the tap. The additives like chlorine in tap water will ruin the flavors of the whiskey, so add only distilled or spring water a splash at a time until the desired amount is reached.
Rocks = on ice
Lots of people like their sipping whiskey chilled. The only complication is diluting as the ice melts. There are two solutions to this issue: use the specialty whiskey rocks available at your local Wilbur’s Total Beverage, or simply remove the ice from your glass when the whiskey is chilled and diluted to your preference. And yes, the whiskey rocks are actual rocks that you put in the freezer to chill and then place in your glass. All the cold with none of the water.
Most people understand mixing cocktails. However, the key to a good whiskey cocktail is to hit the sweet spot with the quality of whiskey. Don’t go bottom shelf, but don’t break the bank and then use a mixer. Use a good whiskey, but don’t make the mistake of using the really good stuff when you aren’t going to enjoy all of the fine craftsmanship that went into making it.
Blog Post March 23rd 2017
Wine seems to have a polarizing effect in within the drinking community. Either someone loves it and knows exactly the varietals they prefer, or they really don’t drink it at all and they don’t know anything about it.
If you are the former, it is never too late to get outside of your comfort zone and try something new and exciting. If you are the latter, it is time to give wine another chance. After all, wine can be found in just as many different flavor profiles as beer or liquor drinks. You just have to know what to look for.
The trick, of course, is actually knowing what to look for. People spend their lives dedicated to understanding and appreciating wines, so expecting to go into it as a newbie and know what you like and don’t like is probably not realistic. However, Fort Collins, you are in luck. Wilbur’s Total Beverage not only has LOTS to choose from (literally… it’s a warehouse), they have staff who have done the “dedicating their lives to wine” part for you, and can help point you on your way to wine drinking bliss.
While there are tons of different varietals out there, we picked out a couple of the most common and popular to give you an idea of what they might taste like. When it actually comes to picking a bottle (or several), once you narrow down the flavors you tend to like, you can make educated choices. And if you don’t know, Wilbur’s employs a fleet of wine nerds who will be more than happy to tell you all about their opinions and point you in the direction of a wine you might like.
Check out the Wilbur’s Wine Cheat Sheet:
Pinot Grigio — Light, fruity, tart
Light, tart, fresh and fruity. Pinot Grigio is often called an “intro” wine, and catches some flak among people who consider themselves to be “wine drinkers.” It tastes fabulous on a summer day, goes down easy chilled, and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It appeals to the masses for a reason.
Chardonnay — Medium light, oaky, buttery
Chardonnay is popular but has gotten a bit of a bad rap lately. The effort to emphasize the “buttery velvet” characteristics of the wine went overboard in some cases, turning many people off of this type. However, the good ones (which does not always mean expensive) are really good. Ask one of the friendly Wilbur’s wine experts for their picks. They have done the experimenting for you.
Riesling – sweet and light
Lots of people swear by Rieslings, while the sweetness turns others off. For those folks with a sweet tooth, this might be your ticket. If you want a slow sipping after-dinner wine, a chilled glass of Riesling might just be the ticket. These are intended to be a dessert wine that caps off the night with a little sweetness, but it is perfectly acceptable to drink whenever you get the urge.
Pinot Noir – medium, berries, smooth
As Pinot Grigio is sometimes considered a “beginner” wine, Pinot Noir might be considered an “intro to red” wine. Red wine tends to be a bit more off-putting for some people who have never tried it before because of the “big” flavor associated with tannins. The berry-based flavors and smoother finish than other reds make Pinot Noirs easier to drink than some other red types. And while there are lots of different flavors possible within this varietal, it is a good start to drinking red wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon – big flavors, spicy, medium to bigger bodied
While there are a wide variety of flavors that might be present in a cab (as the cool kids call it), this is what most people tend to think of when they think “red wine.” It tends to be a bit peppery, sometimes with a dry finish, and always with a dark fruitiness. Before lapsing into too much wine lingo (which is probably what turns most people off from wine to begin with), the bottom line is that cabs tend to be a bit spicy and can be intimidating. Those friendly Wilbur’s wine nerds can definitely steer newbies towards choices that will be delicious and not overwhelming.
Blog Post March 9th 2017
March is a magical time for basketball fans every year, and this year Wilbur’s Total Beverage is making it a magical time for beer lovers, too. The IPA Madness pits some of the best IPAs from around the country against one another until only one will be left standing.
While many Fort Collins beer lovers rejoice at the thought of bringing together their favorite IPAs, and getting to compare notes with other enthusiasts about the nuances of flavor and aroma, many of the rest of us are left a little bit clueless. IPAs have been all the rage in recent years, but whether intimidated by the bitter flavor profile, the reputation as a “beer connoisseur favorite,” or because you simply missed the boat, lots of people don’t know the first thing about this popular style.
So how do you go about getting onboard the IPA train without overwhelming your palate? How do you find the IPA that is going to be your next favorite beer? Wilbur’s rounded up some of their resident experts to give some tips on selecting an IPA to try this season.
Look at the IBUs
The IBUs (International Bitterness Unit) indicate just how bitter that IPA is going to be. IBUS are on a scale of 0 to as high as you can count, and the higher the number, the more mouth-searing that bitterness will be. While IBUs are an empirical measurement, and there realistically is an upper limit of how much bitter stuff can be squashed into a single brew, most beers will be between 5 and 120 on the IBU scale. There is more complexity that goes into the way a beer actually tastes depending on the exact balance of ingredients, but in general the above rule holds true.
The trick with IBUs and IPAs is simple: know how much bitterness you like and how much is too much. Some people like the hoppy bitter flavor to feel like a kick in the mouth. Others prefer a much mellower taste. While IPAs have a reputation for high IBUs (and there are some doozies out there!), they are not all created equal. The IBUs should be listed on the label, and it should be the first you check out when you are looking for a new IPA to take home for the night.
Once you get past the IBUs, read the label for other descriptions of the flavors in the beer. Words like citrus, herbal, hoppy, dry hopped, and many others might appear. While some might be pretty self-explanatory, others may not be. (Pro Tip: Dry hopped IPAs tend to be less bitter tasting. If you fall at the low end of IBU preference, this might be a good place to start.) Take a cue from the other kinds of beer you know you like and look for the same ones on an IPA label.
(Pro Tip: You can probably find your other favorites in the cooler just a few steps away. If you don’t know what words are used to describe those offhand, you can use their labels as a cheat sheet. Some brewery employee spent a long time coming up with just the perfect way to describe that brew. Cut them some slack and take a look at their hard work.)
Look at the brewery
While Fort Collins folks like to pride ourselves on knowing a lot about our local breweries, Wilbur’s carries the goods from brewers all over the country. Lucky you. However, this means you won’t always know the brewery by name and reputation.
When it comes to IPAs, some breweries have jumped in with both feet in the past few years and really make this their stylistic wheelhouse. If IPAs seem to be their “thing” (Pro Tip: There will be several of this same style with different names by the same brewery together in the cooler.), it might mean they will have the best there is to offer of the genre, or it might mean that each one is going to fill a different micro-niche of the style. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is something to be aware of.
(Pro Tip: When you are unfamiliar with a brewery or with a style, such as an IPA, look to see what their “flagship” beer is. If a brewery is one that specializes in IPA style, their flagship will likely be the most mainstream, and will also exemplify what they believe to be their best. It is always a good place to start.)
Generally speaking, awards and “points” for beers indicate the extent to which that particular beer best exemplifies the style. In other words, more points or awards will go to the IPA that most closely resembles the definition of what an IPA is “supposed” to be. While this doesn’t mean that beers without medals aren’t delicious, it does mean that beers with medals are a great place to start when you are trying to understand what makes a particular style “good.”
Look for somebody more experienced than you and ask
If you’re still not sure or just looking for a recommendation, flag down a Wilbur’s employee and ask. Most of them are enthusiastic beer nerds just waiting to be asked their opinion on their favorite beers. The problem will not be getting a good recommendation, it will be narrowing it down to a manageable number to try.
If all else fails – if you are having a shy day or by some chance there is nobody around to ask – ask the internet. There are lots of rating sites out there, with lots of virtual beer nerds who have tried every brew under the sun and have spent lots of time writing down their opinions in a public forum for others to read. They have been your willing guinea pig, and are sharing their knowledge. Use it to your advantage.
Blog Post February 22nd 2017
The Art of the Hot Toddy
The beautiful February faux-Spring weather sadly looks to be behind us for a little while. And while the warm weather will be back, the cold snap is probably hitting everyone a little harder than usual this week.
One tried and true method for a winter warm-up is a Classic Hot Toddy. Some people swear it is the key to kicking a cold, getting out of a midwinter slump, or just the only way to really enjoy an evening next to a roaring fire. Honey, lemon, and a nice bourbon served hot? No matter what your reasoning for wanting one, there is no doubt that it will have you feeling at least a little better by the bottom of the mug.
Classic Hot Toddy Recipe
1 oz. bourbon
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup water just-off-the-boil
Mix bourbon (Wilbur’s Pro Tip: Use Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon** and enjoy the delicious vanilla flavors that come out when the bourbon heats up. Yum.), honey, and lemon juice in a sturdy mug. Remember, this drink will be HOT, so use a mug made for hot liquids, preferably with a handle.
For an extra local flavor, choose honey sourced locally. (Wilbur’s Pro Tip: You can also choose flavored honey to kick up the flavor of your Hot Toddy. It might not be the classic, but it sure is tasty!)
Pour the just-off-the-boil water over the top of the mixture, stirring carefully. (Wilbur’s Pro Tip: Make that stirring extra careful if you have already enjoyed a Classic Hot Toddy or two. Don’t burn yourself!)
Keep stirring until all of the honey has dissolved. Wait for the delicious drink to cool down enough to drink and enjoy!
Not-So-Classic Hot Toddy
Variations on the Hot Toddy recipe include many different additions to the basic recipe. Some folks swear that if you add black (or green) tea, the recipe will kick a cold faster than cough syrup. Other people leave out the tea, but insist the lemon juice must be fresh-squeezed and include a slice of fruit on top. Still others add a cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and cloves or apple bitters and maple syrup to the mix. And butter… for some reason some people add butter.
The bottom line is that the Classic Hot Toddy serves as a fantastic base for delicious cocktail creations on a cold day, or just a day with a cold. Once the Classic has been mastered, the possibilities are endless. As long as the recipe still involves bourbon. Never forget the bourbon.
**Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon 750ml on sale for $24.99 Through Sunday 2/26/17
Blog Post February 9th 2017
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. And what is more romantic than surprising your honey with an expertly selected and well-researched bottle of wine? The only answer could be that the delicious bottle of wine also happened to be on sale.
The wine connoisseurs at Wilbur’s selected four favorites from their vast selection as special Valentine’s Day specials that are sure to delight. There is a little something for everyone on their list this week.
In the heart of Italy’s lush Prosecco region, the La Marca Trevigiana zone grows the revered glera grapes used in the delicately flavored Lamarca Prosecco wine. With delicate, golden straw color and lively effervescence, Lamarca Prosecco is one of the best with aromas of fresh citrus, honey and white flowers. The palate is fresh and clean, with flavors of ripe lemon, green apple and grapefruit framed by mineral undertones.
On Sale for $11.99
Real d’Or Côtes de Provence Rosé
The subtle combination of different grapes give this Rose a pretty pale color, evoking thoughts of the Provence region. The Cinsault brings freshness, lightness and delicacy to the wine. The Grenache adds to the silkiness and the Syrah provides complexity. Your sweetheart’s senses will be roused by its fruity bouquet as well as by its fascinating light flavor.
On Sale for $10.99
John Robert Eppler Pinot Noir
The grapes from this wine were harvested from a vineyard located just off of River Road in the lovely Russian River Valley. The harvest date was September 27 with the sugar at harvest of 25.2 degrees Brix, a TA of .62mg/100ml and a pH of 3.60. The wine was fermented in a small stainless tank and aged in French oak barrels for 15 months. Technical precision has given this Pinot Noir magical flavor. Luckily, adding that magic to your Valentine’s Day is easy.
On Sale for $14.99
Protest Red Blend
This is a Sonoma Valley Red blend wine aged in craft Rye Whisky barrels. The Rye Whisky aromas meld with the silky, dense-fruit Syrah and hints of cigar box and fresh leaf tobacco. The intense, dusty-black tastes like a sumptuous wine that has transformed into a different animal. The flavor extends with more delicious chewy, bacon-fat tones, with deep blackberry and black raspberry jam highlights. Protest invokes a pleasant, pipe smoke-filled room with old classic novels lying about. And if that doesn’t scream romance, then nothing does.
On Sale for $14.99
Taste these wines at our FREE in-store tasting Saturday 2/11/17 from Noon-3:45pm with Valid ID!! Sale prices good through 2/12/17
Blog Post January 27th 2017
What does it take to excite a city of beer and liquor of connoisseurs? The answer this holiday season was Nooku: a blend of bourbon from Fort Collins’ Old Elk Distillery and real dairy cream from Creamy Creations in Batavia, New York. It was nearly impossible to find during the holidays in Fort Collins, as the reputation of the liqueur spread like wildfire.
The liqueur was released earlier this winter, and became an instant sensation, flying off the shelves all over town. In a community of experts, creating a buzz requires a special kind of beverage, but the hype about Nooku is real.
Nooku is delicious on the rocks, poured into a glass of root beer for an “adult” root beer float, topping off a hot chocolate, drizzled over ice cream or any number of other fun treats. While it is available all year round, it pairs particularly well with winter, because it is perfect for après just about anything in the snow.