The Future of Gin is Safe: Seed Bank to Conserve Juniper

Plant conservationists add juniper to the Millennium Seed Bank

The future of Gin is safe thanks to conservation work being done by the UK National Tree Seed Project.

The Future of Gin is safe thanks to Juniper conservation

In a world faced with climate changes and disease, the survival of some of our favorite plants used in alcohol production are at risk. But thanks to the work of the plant conservationists at the UK National Tree Seed Project, we won’t have to worry about the future of Gin.

The UK National Tree Seed Project announced that it has collected and preserved the seeds of juniper plants from across the UK. These seeds will be stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, the world’s largest global plant life preservation complex, located in Wakehurst, Sussex.

The Millennium Seed Bank aims to protect plants to prevent their extinction when their native habitats are at risk. In the case of juniper, a deadly fungus, called phytophthora austrocedri, has been damaging the juniper plants in various parts of Scotland.

Juniper is one of the main ingredients of gin, which has been growing in popularity over the last decade. While gins like New Wave gins put less emphasis on juniper and more on other botanical flavors, the spirit must contain juniper in order to be considered a gin.

Although juniper is not currently under threat of extinction, Project Officer, Simon Kallow, called the project’s measure to preserve juniper seeds as “a type of insurance policy”, which would also enable people to conduct research and conservation work related to juniper.

If kept under the proper conditions, seeds can be kept alive for hundreds of years. Since it began in 2013, the project has preserved 5.8 million seeds from 6,500 trees in the UK. The group plans to continue collecting and preserving the seeds until 2018.

So gin lovers, raise a glass knowing your favorite spirit can be enjoyed for years to come thanks to the UK National Tree Seed Project.

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Kellie, head blogger at Brio Smart Life
 

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Kellie – Head of Content Creation

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Best Cheese and Wine pairings for epic snack trays

Our Top Tips for Pairing Wine and Cheese

Cheese and wine is a way of life!

Foodies and Wine Lovers everywhere agree, cheese and wine are made for each other. Here are our top tips for harmoniously pairing wine and cheese.

Our Top Tips for Pairing Wine and Cheese

Pairing cheese and wine is an ancient culinary tradition. And every wine enthusiast should have a basic understanding of how to pair their favorite wines with cheeses. Knowing which wines pair well with cheese comes down to a few things like temperature, flavor, and body of both the wine and the cheese.

Here are some of the best ways to pair wine and cheese together for every wine and cheese lover.

Know the best temperature to serve your wine and cheese

Much like with wine, the flavors and smells of cheese can change based on the temperature they are served. Many taste better when served close to or at room temp, so it’s a good idea to let cheese rest out of the fridge before serving.

Sparkling wines, whites, and Rosés are best when served cold, between 45 and 55 degrees. Reds, on the other hand, are better when served close to, but not exactly at, room temperature at about 62 to 68 degrees.

Best temperature for this cheese: White Cheddar – Room temperature

Best temperature for this wine: Cabernet Franc – Chilled 15 minutes, served at 60°F

 

Soft Cheeses Call for lighter-styled wines

Need a wine to enjoy with some nice brie? Lighter-styled wines, whites and light-bodied reds, make great flavor partners to softer cheeses. These creamy, more delicate cheeses like brie and ricotta can be easily over powered by fuller-bodied wines, so you might want to stay away from your Cabs and pick up a Pinot Noir instead.

Try this pairing: Moscato – Brie

Try this pairing: Chardonnay – Havarti

 

Serve Semi-Soft Cheese with dessert wines

The fruity and hearty flavors of dessert wines pair excellently with the mild flavors of semi-soft cheeses. These cheeses are often served warm, over food, which makes the temperature of your wine an important consideration, as many dessert wines are served chilled between 45 and 55 degrees.

Try this pairing: Riesling – Gouda

Try this pairing: Zinfandel – Gorgonzola

 

It’s all about the bod with firm cheeses

That’s a great way to remember that when dealing with firm cheese it’s best to stick with sweet and full-bodied wines. Firm cheeses often have sharper tastes with nutty flavors that pair well with the sweet wines. Many extra firm cheeses have sharp and salty testes, which is best enjoyed with a medium-bodied wine.

Try this pairing: Sweet White – Swiss

Try this pairing: Merlot – Jarlsberg

 

 

Bill, wine blogger at Brio Smart Life
 

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Bill – The Wine Guy

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Why Every Woman Needs to Know About the "Angel Shot"

Why Every Woman Needs to Know About the ‘Angel Shot’

Ladies can feel safer knowing there’s an Angel on their side

Having a bad date or feeling unsafe? Bartenders are forming secret codes to help get their female patrons out of sticky or potentially dangerous situations.

Ordering this shot could save your from a sticky situation

With the rise of drug-facilitated date rape stories in the news, many women feel unsafe while out on a bar date. But now, thanks to the clever thinking of bartenders everywhere, ladies can feel a little safer meeting their Tinder matches for a drink.

Bars and restaurants across the globe are forming secret codes to help their female patrons get out of sticky situations. The “angel shot” at the Iberian Rooster restaurant in St. Petersburg, FL is one of those secret codes.

Now this shot isn’t the alcoholic kind – it’s a discrete way for you to tell the bartender you need help. There are a few different ways you can order your “angel shot” that has a specific meaning:

  • An angel shot neat – A bartender will escort you to your car.
  • An angel shot with ice – The bartender will call a taxi or Uber for you.
  • An angel shot with lime – The restaurant staff will alert the police.

According to the restaurant’s owner, Russell Andrade, no one has yet to order an angel shot – which is definitely a good sign. A similar safety code called “Ask for Angela” was the inspiration behind the angel shot.

Why Every Woman Needs to Know About the

Image from Isobel O’Brien/Twitter // Lincolnshire ask for ‘Angel’ poster

“Ask for Angela” was a poster campaign created by The Lincolnshire Rape Crisis center to help women discretely inform the bar staff that she feels unsafe. The staff will then help you out without making too much of a fuss.

Hopefully, more movements like these will continue to grow and spread to more establishments across the country.

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Kellie, head blogger at Brio Smart Life
 

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Kellie – Head of Content Creation

Creative Director | Web Designer | Blogger | Sake Enthusiast | Resident Ginger

Keeping track of how much your drink doesn't need to be a challenge.

Simple Ways to Keep Track Of How Much You Drink

Do you know how much you drank last night?

It’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve been drinking at a party or when you are out with friends. But drinking more than you planned can add on a few extra pounds and other health problems if you overdo it too much.

Keeping track of how much your drink doesn’t need to be a challenge. If you’re looking to keep your drinking to a minimum, we’ve got a few simple ways to help you keep track of how much you drink.

Simple ways to keep track of your drinking when out with friends

Eat Before or While You’re Drinking

Having some food in your stomach can actually help you cut down on how much you’re drinking; it also helps with lessening a potential hangover. Food takes up room in your stomach, making less room for liquids, which should put your brain [and stomach] off to the idea of drinking more. It can help limit you to one or two drinks, without making yourself feel sick.

Wear Bangle Bracelets

This trick is simple and stylish! Find a set of bangle bracelets that you like, and correlate the bangles you wear with how much you want to drink. So if you only want to have three drinks, that’s three bangles. As you drink, move one bangle to the other wrist. When all of your bangles are on the opposite wrist, cut yourself off.

Drink Slowly

Sipping on a drink and making it last longer can help you stay on track with how much you want to drink. It works similarly to the idea if you eat slower, you feel full faster. Drinking slowly gives the brain time to feel satisfied and you might be less inclined to binge.

Keep a Written Tab

For some folks, writing down how much they’ve drank is a good way to keep them in check. You can keep a note card handy, or make a digital note on your phone.

There’s an App For That

In the digital age, people have thought of everything when it comes to Apps: That includes watching how much you are drinking! There are dozens of drink counting Apps out there, but here are a few that you might want to check out.

As a rule of thumb: Always keep an eye on your drink! The best way to drink responsibly is to drink safely.

 

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Holiday Heart Syndrome: The Hidden Danger of Holiday Binge Drinking

Holiday Heart Syndrome: The Hidden Danger of Holiday Overindulgence

Overindulgence can be bad for your heart

Have you ever heard of Holiday Heart Syndrome? It is one of the most common conditions this time of year, and is why you might want to reconsider binging eating and drinking at the holidays.

The Hidden Danger of Holiday Heart Syndrome

Image from Better Health // The Hidden Dangers of Holiday Heart Syndrome

What is “Holiday Heart Syndrome“?

Holiday heart syndrome is the term given to atrial fibrillation [Afib], or irregular heartbeat, caused by overindulging in alcohol or food.

It can affect folks who are generally of good health with no previous factors for abnormal heart rhythms. Individuals with underlying heart conditions and those who don’t typically drink alcohol may be more susceptible to the symptoms of holiday heart syndrome than others.

What to be on the look out for

The symptoms of “holiday heart syndrome” stem from an irregular, often fast, heart rhythm. This faster heart rate can cause a person to feel shortness of breath, dizziness, faintness, chest discomfort, and heart palpitations such as pounding in the chest, racing heart rate, or skipping heart beats. These symptoms can start and pass rather quickly; however, prolonged symptoms will need to be treated by a medical professional.

Afib increases a person’s risk for a stroke and heart attack, so these symptoms should be taken seriously. Folks with underlying heart conditions should avoid overindulgence in food and alcohol to prevent these symptoms.

How do they treat “Holiday Heart Syndrome”?

Irregular heart rhythms can sometimes stabilize by themselves, but in some cases, prolonged Afib needs to be corrected by a doctor. Emergency rooms across the country report numerous cases of patients with “holiday heart syndrome” around this time of year. Patients who present Afib lasting more than 48 hours will have to undergo a procedure called peri cardioversion anticoagulation, where the heart rhythm is converted by electrically shocking the heart while the patient is under anesthesia.

Enjoy the Holidays, but don’t go overboard

While we might all eat and drink more than we are used to at the holidays, we can take steps to prevent holiday heart syndrome. Know your limitations when it comes to eating and drinking, and try to avoid foods heavy in cream, sugar, and salt. DO NOT ignore the symptoms of holiday heart syndrome, and seek help when appropriate.

The moral of this holiday heartache: Eat, Drink, & be Merry…just don’t overdo it.

For more information on Holiday Heart Syndrome please visit ClubRed and Medscape

 

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How bars are going green

Death to the Straw: How Bars Are Going Green

Bars have been taking steps to be more environmentally friendly.
Death to the Straw: How Bars Are Going Green

Have you noticed that the straws at your local watering hole have gone missing? A couple of bars and restaurants here in the Port City area have been joining the movement to forego the straw in an effort to go green.

But this goes far beyond just having to ask for a straw. Sustainability and eco-conscious practices have become a quasi-mission statement for many bars across the country.

The idea of Going Green has been taking off more and more in bars since 2010 when the Green Restaurant Association saw a 20% increase in bars acquiring membership.

Bars have been taking many different steps to be more environmentally friendly, from rethinking their design to implementing sustainable water practices, and even increasing recycling efforts. Some bars are even going as far as limiting their stock of bottled and canned beers in favor of having beers on tap, decreasing their environmental footprint.

Not only do customers like to see bars/restaurants being environmentally conscious, many eco-friendly bars have seen a payoff in going green. The savings on in-house expenses, like water and electricity bills, may be a draw to bar owners and managers to change their habits in and of itself. While these benefits vary, the trend of creating eco-friendly establishments and practices continues.

Want to make eco-friendly changes to your establishment or home bar? Check out this guide of things you can do to reduce your bar’s impact on the environment.

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10 Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner

10 Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner

Your Thanksgiving Cocktail Guide

Think the family gathering this year is going to be a little rough? The simplest way to make the best of Thanksgiving with the fam is to share a glass! These cocktails will help you get through Thanksgiving dinner.

10 Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner

 


 

Spiked Mulled Cider

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // Brio Drink of the week

Traditional Mulled Cider is typically nonalcoholic, and you can serve this recipe as such to the kiddies in the house. It can also be served hot or over ice. For our spiked mulled cider, we suggest using an American bourbon and serving it warm to your guests as an after-dinner drink.

 

Gingersnap Cocktail

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // My Man’s Belly

If you’re looking to add a spicy and creamy cocktail to your Thanksgiving feast, give the Gingersnap cocktail a try.

 

Naughty Pumpkin Cocktail

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // One Martini

We all have that one person in the family who is addicted to pumpkin. This Thanksgiving cocktail has their name written all over it!

 

Cranberry Whiskey Buck

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // Brio Drink of the week

This Cranberry Whiskey Buck cocktail is the elegant cocktail you will want to serve to your guests this Thanksgiving. Whiskey, ginger ale, and cranberry juice make one fizzy pairing that will be a pleasure to your taste buds.

 

The Frozen Turkey

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // the view from great island

We think they put it best when they said, “The Frozen Turkey is an adult cocktail of epic proportions, your holidays are never going to be the same, trust me!”

 

Mott & Mulberry

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // Food & Wine

This Mott & Mulberry cocktail is sure to please your family’s need for some good ol’ Rye Whiskey.

 

Amaretto-Cranberry Kiss

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // Brio Drink of the week

The Cranberry Kiss melds the sweetness of Amaretto with the tangy bite of cranberry juice and the smoothness of vodka.

 

Ginger Smash

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // Liquor.com

This spicy cocktail will have you and your guests wanting seconds.

 

Autumn Sangria

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // Brio Classic Cocktails

Nothing beats a little sangria for the Holidays! The flavors of Fall come together in this delicious Autumn Sangria just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch

Cocktails To Get You Through Thanksgiving Dinner -

Image / Recipe from // Food & Wine

Mix up this delicious bubbly punch ahead of the party to let the flavors mingle and save yourself some time to work on that Turkey!

 

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Corinne, cocktail blogger at Brio Smart Life
5 Ghoulishly Delightful Cocktails For Halloween

5 Ghoulishly Delightful Cocktails For Halloween

Get down with your Ghoul-self! It’s Halloween!

Looking for some cocktails to serve up for Halloween? These 5 Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Cocktails are sure to make any Goblin’s day!

5 Ghoulishly Delightful Cocktails For Halloween

 


 

Pumpkin Martini

Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Cocktails - Pumpkin Martini

Image / Recipe from // Brio Drink of the Week

This Pumpkin Martini will make your cauldron bubble.

 

Witch’s Hat

Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Cocktails - Witch's Hat

Image / Recipe from // Sam Henderson

This HHalloween cocktail might be as pitch black as the Wicked Witch, but it’s sweet like Glinda.

 

Bloody Ghoul’s Goblet

Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Cocktails - Bloody Ghoul’s Goblet

Image / Recipe from // Cake and Whisky

Who says Vampires have more fun? Line up your goblets for this bloody good Halloween cocktail.

 

Poison Apple

Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Cocktails - Poison Apple

Image / Recipe from // Sam Henderson

Watch out Snow White! This Poison Apple gets these two witches’ stamps of approval.

 

Spooky Spiked Cider

Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Cocktails - Spooky Spiked Mulled Cider

Image / Recipe from //

This spooky spiked cider will get your skeletons rattling and werewolves a-howling.

 

 

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Kellie – Head of Content Creation

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Corinne – Content Curator

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Corinne, cocktail blogger at Brio Smart Life
US Ban Lift of Cuban Rum

Here’s What You Need to Know About the US Ban Lift of Cuban Rum

The Obama Administration Lifts US Import Ban of Cuban Rum, Cigars

Travelers take note: You no longer have to find ways to smuggle Cuban rum and cigars back into the US.

The Obama Administration Lifts US Import Ban of Cuban Rum, Cigars

via Joe Raedle/Getty Images // Bottles of Havana Club Rum will be available in Cuba to US consumers for personal consumption

In an effort to continue to improve US-Cuban relations, the Obama Administration announced a new round of executive actions designed to increase trade and travel with Cuba on Friday. This includes lifting the import restrictions of Cuban rum and cigars into the United States.

“The Treasury Department has worked to break down economic barriers in areas such as travel, trade and commerce, banking and telecommunications.” said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in a statement on October 14th.

In their statement, the Office of Foreign Assets Control declared it will remove the monetary restrictions of rum and cigars. Previously, tourists were only permitted to bring 100 dollars worth of Cuban rum and cigars back with them to the States. As of October 17th, American tourists in Cuba will be allowed to import up to 100 cigars and 1 liter of rum under the current US import duties for foreign alcohol and tobacco.

However, this doesn’t mean your local bar will be stocking up on Havana Rum just yet. The lift of the import restrictions is currently in effect for personal consumption only and purchases can only be made on Cuban soil.

Online and commercial importation of Cuban rum and cigars has not yet been addressed. An act of Congress is needed to approve the commercial sale of Cuban rum and cigars on US soil. This means commercial establishments looking to cash in on the US demand for Cuban rum will have to wait a while longer to import Cuban goods.

“More commercial activity between the U.S. and Cuba benefits our people and our economies,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. It has not yet been determined when we will see the commercial importation of Cuban goods begin, but the Alcohol and Tobacco industries are standing at the ready.

So while you’re scheduling your next trip to Cuba, make sure your carry-on is ready to bring a piece of the island nation home with you.

For more information on the US removal of Cuban Import Limits check out the report at CNN.

 

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Original New Orleans Style Sazerac recipe from the Brio Smart Life Blog

Original New Orleans Style Sazerac

The Big Easy knows how to make cocktails!

This Big Easy Nightcap is a true American classic. Try this original Sazerac recipe that’ll make you feel that New Orleans hospitality.

Drink of the week: Original New Orleans Style Sazerac

The history behind this classic American cocktail is rather interesting. Invented by Creole pharmacist and inventor of Peychaud’s bitters, Antoine Peychaud, the original Sazerac was a combination of rye whiskey, Absinthe, rich simple syrup, and Peychaud’s Bitters. This Pre-Prohibition era cocktail wouldn’t let the US ban of Absinthe pull it off the cocktail menu. The Sazerac Company got clever and began to use Herbsaint, an anise-flavored liquor, as a substitute for Absinthe.

The Sazerac recipe often juggles back and forth between Cognac and Rye Whiskey. Every bartender I have ever ordered this cocktail from uses the Cognac version of the recipe. They call it the old New Orleans way to make this cocktail, hence why I decided to call this the New Orleans Style Sazerac. Cognac is an acquired taste. It can overpower pretty much everything else in this cocktail, so, for me, the [cognac] Sazerac is one of those sipping cocktails I could nurse all evening.

A proper sazerac is served neat in a rocks/old fashioned glass. So I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you want to make this sazerac with cognac or rye whiskey. You can’t really go wrong either way.

Now let’s show you how you make a Sazerac!

 

Sazerac

Yields: 1 Serving

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • ½ Ounce Absinthe
  • 2 Ounces Cognac [or Sazerac Rye Whiskey]
  • ½ Ounce Simple Syrup
  • 3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Lemon Twist for Garnish

Glassware and Items You’ll Need:

  • Rocks Glass
  • Mixing Glass

 

Preparation

Sazerac: Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe and fill the glass with ice. In a mixing glass, pour cognac, simple syrup, and bitters over ice. Stir together for 30 seconds.

Discard the ice from the prepared glass and pour off the excess absinthe. Strain cocktail into the chilled glass, and garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy!

Nutritional Content

1 serving approximately contains: Calories (kcal) 174 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Potassium (mg) 7 Carbohydrates (g) 8.5 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 0.1 Protein (g) 0 Sodium (mg) 7

Original New Orleans Style Sazerac recipe from the Brio Smart Life Blog

 

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