Episode 131: Fall Fever & Celebrating the Season

Episode 131: Fall Fever & Celebrating the Season

“Doctor, doctor give us the news, we got a bad case of pumpkin booze!” We’re looking for new ways to stay warm and cozy via the crock pot or the mug. This week’s episode explores fall flavors, celebrations, and some, well, unexpected things we hope you’ll enjoy.


 In Our Glasses

Steph: Satan’s Whiskers cocktail from the Bitters book by Brad Thomas Parsons.

½ oz gin

½ oz sweet vermouth

½ oz dry vermouth

½ oz freshly squeezed orange juice

¼ oz Grand Marnier

3 dashes of orange bitters

Garnish = orange twist

Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Add garnish and feel the evil!

Val:  Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail

4 oz spiced apple cider, warmed if desired

1.5 oz bourbon (I use either Buffalo Trace Eagle Rare or Maker’s Mark)

½ oz good maple syrup

½ oz lemon juice

Sprig of rosemary for aromatics

Fall Fever

It’s no secret that Val celebrates seasons more so than holidays and has been waiting for September since March. Steph and Val both love this time of year and, dammit, we’re celebrating it. We both agree that in our formative years it always seemed like autumn was more a the season renewal than spring. We go back to school, get new sweaters, books, pencils – and prepare ourselves for learning new things, making new friends and growing in so many ways.

So thank you for indulging us the opportunity to share a warm mug of boozy, aromatic comfort with you as we get our fall on – up in here. In this episode we’re rapping food, wine, booze, cocktails, soothing toddies and soul-stirring dishes to usher in the colorful, cozy goodness that autumn inspires.

Warning: we did pregame on our fall cocktails for about an hour before we hit the record button.

Three Crock Pots

To get a whiff – or “smell what the Wine Heroine is cooking” up in her kitchen this fall  – we first dive into some of her simmering, slow cooker desires.

Anyone have any crock pot or slow-cooker recipes to share? Please send them to us or post the links! Because after Steph confesses that she owns no fewer than three crock pots, we all felt compelled to help her get some more use out of them this season.

“The one recipe I have on my to-do list is Slow Cooker Coq au Vin. I’ve never made Coq au Vin because for some reason it intimidates me. Which means I need to get out of my comfort zone and just make it already!”

This also compelled us to share some seasonal food porn, courtesy of our previous guest (Ep127) and cheese goddess, Janet Fletcher. She has a list on her website www.janetfletcher.com. Or, just sign up for her Planet Cheese newsletter to ensure they are snug in your mailbox each week. These include:


Photo: Janet Fletcher http://www.janetfletcher.com. You seriously want this. You know you do.

More Cocktails You Say?

Looking for more seasonal drink ideas?  We found some ridiculously cool cocktail recipes on the Hangar 1 Vodka Pinterest page! The Pink Peppercorn Hot Cocoa and the Grilled Fig both look inviting…

There was also this cocktail porn on Town and Country: http://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/drinks/g1547/fall-cocktails/


The Pumpkin Pa-BOOZE-a Thing  – #ItHappened…

You’ll have to listen to the episode to see what happens when we each open bottles of Pumpkin Bog wine we’ve had laying around. And we’re sorry. This is about 15 minutes in.

This is not to bag on the wine itself, so before you lose any remaining all respect for us, we do give you a little 411 about fruit wine and why it’s not a good idea to let it hang out in your cellar for, you know, years. All wine is not meant to age!

Say it with us. “All wine is not meant to age.


What is a “field blend”? Different grape varieties planted in the same vineyard, harvested together and then vinified together. This was once a common way for growing vines and then subsequently making a wine from the mixed grapes. You get whatever nature handed to you … which is also why it’s not really seen much today. Think of it as wine that is blended in the vineyard, not the winery.

You might find a winemaker that ferments multiple grape varieties together, called “co-fermentation”, but usually those grapes were grown separately. Check out this article for more.

Examples of field blends that don’t say “field blend” on the label:

In fact, there’s an appellation in Austria that is based on field blends: Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC.


Wino Radar

Steph: “I’m juggling 2 books right now and one is The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr and The Reign of American Taste by Elin McCoy. I’m only about half-way through the book, but right from the get-go I started to think differently about Parker. Maybe it’s because I found a few things in common with him. First of all, he went to school to be a lawyer and then left that career for wine. Plus, during his first trip to France he was bitten by the wine bug and it forever changed his life. I also find the recent history, 1980’s-2000’s, helpful in understanding why Parker became the major influence that he did. His point system was something that made sense to a lot of Americans.

“Well, like I said, I’m not finished with the book, but I do recommend it. I might have a few more comments when I’m finished with it. Feel free to leave us a Speakpipe message, email or comment if you have an opinion about the book… or if you’ve got a suggestion for our next Wine Two Five Book Club.”


Have you ever had salmiak? My honey’s childhood friend Christina in Sweden sent us a ridiculous package of salty licorice, also known as salmiak.

In fact, there’s a vodka-infused grown-up version of salmiak! It’s a vodka infused with a type of Turkish pepper and salmiak. 


Steph: “Adam at SuperMarket Liquors for helping me select wines for the class I’m teaching on Saturday.

“Herb my neighbor for finding a wine deal on WineExpress.com and giving me a call to split the case. Crozes-Hermitage 2013 Petite Ruche, M. Chapoutier – a “fall wine” I must say.

“Brent, the new bartender at Chimney Park Restaurant, who knows how to make a serious cocktail! He’s also a new podcast listener.”

Val:  “Shoutout to Gail from 3rd Street Apples in Penrose, Colorado. Every year she opens up her apple orchard and pumpkin patches to the public  – you can pick your own! We went trundling down there to celebrate the season, pick some pumpkins, and she sent us home with a variety of apples.

Couldn’t resist this post from our time there two years ago.

Patreon Love

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We are here for you every week… and in between episodes, you can find us on the social spaces @WineTwoFive and we encourage you to join our private FaceBook group called Wine Two Five Community!

Connect with Val on Twitter @WineGalUnboxed and as Vino With Val on Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest.

Connect with Steph on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as TheWineHeroine.

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