Wednesday, I went to a wine tasting at one of the ABC liquor stores, the largest chain in Florida. In the last year, I’d been to two other of their wine tastings but both were at a store in another part of town. This third tasting was at a store about a mile from me.
The two earlier events had mixed attendance. The first one had an overflow crowd but the second one had a small attendance. I like a small attendance since it’s easier to move between tasting tables and the food lasts longer. At the first two tastings, there was pizza and wings.
These ABC tastings, which are sponsored by the various wine and spirits distributors, follow a standard routine. You pay $10 for a wine glass which you keep and use during the tasting, which begins at 6 PM and ends at 8 PM. You also receive a coupon for a 10% discount on everything you buy during the event.
Typically, there are a dozen or so tasting tables with beer, wine and spirits. Each tables has anywhere from six to ten beverages to sample. The tables are run by representatives of the distributor and who are usually knowledgeable about the beverages you are sampling.
Since this third tasting was in the very central and more upscale “midtown” area, I expected a large crowd and I was right. There were about 30 “foodies” in their 40’s to 60’s from my group, as well as another 30 from a “young professionals” group in their 20s and 30’s. Including “independents” the total was a good 80-100 at its peak. getting from table to table was very difficult and all the food was gone by seven.
Since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, there was special emphasis on Irish liquors. I’m not a beer lover; most beers are too “harsh” for my taste and so I prefer the “cleaner” taste of a hard cider. Nevertheless, I sampled a Guiness “Nitro” IPA (India Pale Ale) and was quite amazed. It was very smooth, and the rep said that is because it is relatively low in hops. This is a beer I can drink!
Continuing with the Irish theme, I sampled four brands of Irish Creme Liqueur, including one which had chocolate. That was excellent, but at $17 a bottle I went with two differnt brands at a more affordable price of about $10. This is good both for sipping and adding to coffee as a…”flavor enhancer.” 😉
There were a number of Irish whiskeys available but I didn’t sample them because I’m not a whiskey fan. I did sample a “honey” Wild Turkey out of curiosity but I sure didn’t taste any honey flavor!
On the wine front, I enjoyed a Blueberry Moscato. Since it was selling for $2 below normal, I took home a bottle. So that was three bottles purchased. (Last time, it was just a bottle of plum wine despite my efforts to find a sake I liked.)
One of the distributor reps is very popular. To encourage sales, he develops his own cocktails using at least one of the liquors he sells and gives out samples of his creations. And he gives them very… interesting…”adult” names. Last night, his concoctions included: blue balls, wet panties and screw you. That latter was a modified screwdriver. I didn’t like the wet panties but the blue balls was good!
As the tasting began to end, seven of us from the foodie group crossed the street to Food Glorious Food (FGF), one of the top restaurants in town, for some late night sustenance. My “meal” was from my favorite portion of their menu: dessert. It’s always hard to choose from their fabulous creations but I went with a slice of Almond Joy tart: a brown sugar almond crust with chocolate, coconut filling and topped with ganache and toasted almonds. Just looking at the FGF dessert case will put 1,000 calories on you! 😉 One slice of any dessert is about $8-$9, but if you can stand the calories you can buy the whole thing for about $65-$75.
And here it is…
What’s not to like about an evening sampling all sorts of beer, wine and spirits and then finishing off with a decadent dessert?