Bobbing For Apples

It’s an age old Halloween tradition: bobbing for apples. This year, we’re bobbing for Pinnacle’s latest vodka flavor, Pinnacle Caramel Apple Vodka. You’ll be surprised at how much it tastes like an actual caramel apple. Try it alone or with one of these sweet cocktails. If vodka doesn’t appeal to you, try one of these other festive treats!

Fresh red apples floating on water beside kitchen window
Continue reading

We’re Going Ham on Bacon Cocktails + Pairings

Ah, bacon. These days bacon seems to be a part of everything. From bacon candles to bacon flavored candy, we’ve accepted this fatty treat with open arms… and mouths. Here’s our breakdown of our favorite bacon pairings. Watch out, things are about to get crispy.

 

Let’s get started with this classic. The Bakon Mary

 

Ingredients:
1½ oz. Bakon Vodka
Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
1 dash of celery salt
1 dash of ground black pepper
2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
(Optional)2-4 dashes each of Worcestershire sauce  

 

Simple Steps:
Shake and pour into a salt rimmed pint glass. Garnish with a celery stalk and your favorite pickled vegetables. Oh, and don’t forget your beef straws.Cocktail recipe via www.bakonvodka.com/recipes.

bakon_Mary_BLOG_BINNYS

Continue reading

Cocktail: The Ultimate Root Beer Float

smirnoff root beer float vodka binnysNational Root Beer Float Day may only come once a year, but we’ve found multiple reasons to celebrate with this Ultimate Root Beer Float like it’s every day!

 

1. It’s made with Sprecher Bourbon Barrel Hard Root Beer. When root beer first came around, it was brewed as a light alcohlic beverage. So we were pretty pumped when Sprecher came out with their own version of this 18th century liquid invention.
2. It involves Ice Cream. ANY KIND YOU WANT. (But we prefer Edy’s Vanilla Bean… yum)
3. Drinking anything out of a frosted mug is, well, pretty much amazing.
4. The Root Beer Float Vodka makes it right. Seriously.
5. What else do we have to say?

 

It’s time to get your scoopers out and start celebrating this tasty tradition rooted all the way back to the 18th century!

 

The Ultimate Root Beer Float

 

Ingredients:
2 oz Smirnoff Root Beer Float Vodka
Sprecher Root Beer
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

 

Simple Steps:
First, in a frosted mug, add two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. Pour the 2 ounces of Root Beer Vodka on top. Finally, pour Sprecher Root beer until satisfied!
 

 

Do you have your own version of the classic Root Beer Float? Send them our way via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

Show Your Pride

halsted_blog

In celebration of PRIDE month, and in light of today’s news, Binny’s is happy to highlight two brands that are making a stride in the LBGT community.

 

Halsted VodkaEgalite Sparkling

Halsted Vodka, named after a community in our own backyard, launched in October 2012. They donate 15% of the company’s founding equity and 15% of their profits to the LGBT community.

 

Égalité, introduced in January 2013, is the first nationally-distributed wine created in support of LGBT equality in the United States and around the world. Meaning ‘Equality,’ the name Égalité is both a reflection of the wine’s French origin and a celebration of equality for gay Americans.

 

 

VIOLET : The Halsted Taylor

 
The queen of the screen, Elizabeth Taylor lit up our lives for over sixty years. She also supported our community when many were afraid to.  The Halsted Taylor is a stylish mix of Halsted Vodka, Chambord and Citrus, creating a drink reminiscent of her unique and dazzling violet eyes.
 
2 oz Halsted Vodka
1 oz Chambord
Dash of lemon juice
Lemonade
 
Pour the Halsted Vodka and Chambord into a tall glass with ice. Mix. Add the lemon juice and top with lemonade.

 

 
Cheers to equality!

Binny’s Loaded Bloody Mary

Day after the St. Patrick’s Day… Saturday mornings after a night at The Hanguppe… Another Cub’s loss… we’ve all been there. But don’t worry, this bloody mary was designed to help you get through it all.

 

Cocktail GlassBinny’s Loaded Bloody Mary

Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
Your choice of vodka
Dash of hot sauce

 

Now for the good part- the garnish. On a skewer place a:
Pickle
Piccante Salami
Peccoroni with red pepper
Cocktail onion
One massive blue cheese stuffed olive
Drench in balsamic vinaigrette

 

Give our South Loop Tasting Room a visit and one of Binny’s awesome bartenders will be sure to whip up this meaty cocktail for you!

The Second Gunman

Alright folks, things are about to get dirty. Brian Lynch, our bartender slash beer guy slash ham expert from South Loop is bringing you a spin on an old classic- the dirty martini. Known to Brian and all he serves as “The Second Gunman,” this extra dirty treat will keep you coming back for more.

 

Cocktail GlassThe Second Gunman

 

Shot of Zubrowka Vodka
Dash of Dry Vermouth
Olive Juice (TONS of it…the dirtier the better.)
Peppadew Stuffed Olive

 

   Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a Peppadew Stuffed Olive. 

Yum! We know what we’re sipping on tonight.

Enjoy and be sure to share with us your own version of Brian’s dirty treat on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Also, be sure to check out our mixology centers at participating Binny’s!

The Boztini

It’s time to talk Whiskey! We’re shaking it up with our gourmet market clerk and South Loop Tasting Room bartender, Ashley Boswell. Ashley has been with Binny’s for the past five years. Now she’s giving up her secret treat, the “Boztini.”

 

Cocktail GlassThe Boztini

 

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz cherry liqueur
1/2 oz grenadine
Splash simple syrup
Splash club soda
2 splashes of cherry bitters
1/4 lime
1/2 lemon
   Shake ingredients with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

 

What’s behind Ashley’s cocktail creation? We asked her: “I wanted a fruity drink, but they all call for vodka, so I used my favorite whiskey instead.”

 

Find everything you’ll need for The Boztini and more at Binny’s! Check out our “Mixology Center” display at participating stores. And don’t forget to show us your version of The Boztini on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Fuzzy Zoeller to Visit Binny’s

   Here is your chance to meet PGA and Champions Tour Professional Fuzzy Zoeller. Fuzzy is appearing at two Binny’s locations, sampling his award winning vodka and signing bottles in these free events.

Binny’s Orland Park
Friday, December 16th, 5-8p

 

Binny’s Willowbrook
Saturday, December 17th, 1-4p

   Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka is five times distilled from corn and grains, then charcoal filtered ten times. Its subtle flavor and smoothness earned it a score of 94 from the Beverage Tasting Institute, who called Fuzzy’s “A delicious elegant vodka that will be great in martinis.” The vodka is 100% made in the U.S.A.

 

BAKON Vodka

   Here at Binny’s, we like to think that we have our finger on the pulse of the community when it comes to spirits, beer and wine. We listen to you in the aisle, we are out at trade shows and constantly touring wineries, breweries, distilleries. And now with the social media on the internets, we have this new layer of communication with you (would this be a good time to shamelessly plug our Facebook and twitter pages?).

   Case in point: Bakon, the bacon flavored vodka.

   There’s a lot of bacon talk out there “bacon-mania” they call it. I’m probably not the guy to ask. Bacon has come to represent something all-American, macho and sexy and smirkingly gourmet. You can get it smothered in chocolate, you can have bacons-of-the-month delivered to your door, you can put your system through the 1390-calorie punishment that is the Baconator Triple (which is a real thing, apparently). A vodka flavored like bacon only seems reasonable.

   I shrugged off Bakon vodka at first. The spirits buyer at Binny’s ordered it in based on customer interest, and I smirked each time I passed it in the aisle. Then I started hearing about it on Twitter, on blogs. And it’s selling well in our stores. My curiosity was piqued.

   I did a little research, and now a bottle is sitting on my desk. Despite my skepticism, I dove right in. The bottle comes with a necker that suggests using Bakon in two drinks the Bakon Mary a take-off on the classic bloody mary, and the Chocolate Bakon Martini. For science, I tried this vodka neat, with Bloody Mary Mix, and a cocoa bar, since I didn’t feel like springing for fresh cream and chocolate liqueuer. For science! Also, I got some other people in here to try it.

   The vodka is clear with just the slightest hint of pink. It certainly smells hammy not smoky like I was expecting, maybe like hot dogs? Bacon bits? It shows no chemical components at all; the vodka under the bacon flavor is of good quality and does not betray its standard 40% abv. The bacon flavor is there on the palate a little black pepper and savory meat. It’s not like charred, crispy bacon, but floppy raw meat with black pepper. That’s probably good. Char is not a great quality in vodka. It’s smooth. The general consensus here is that the bacon flavor is right up front and the spirit underneath is held back nicely.

   For the Bakon Mary: Zing Zang is my old standby mix for those times where I can’t lug all the ingredients for a bloody mary with me. I prefer to mix my own, but that’s not always an option. Zing Zang is super spicy with lots of celery salt, and a value for five bucks. It’s so flavorful you’ll need to mix the Bakon vodka to almost 50/50 before the meatiness shines through, but then there it is, savory meat.

   The verdict? I think I’d prefer my bloody mary to be about the spices and vegetables, but if you’re a fan of meat in your tomato juice, this actually seems like a pretty good option. Just make sure to use a mellow mix or recipe, or you might eclipse the savory flavor of Bakon.

   Then there is the Chocolate Bakon Martini. I wanted to keep it simple, so instead of setting up a full-service bar, I opened up the Lindt 70% Cocoa, broke off pieces passed them around. We first bit into the chocolate, then sipped the vodka.

   …And it’s a decent pairing! The richness and bitterness of the chocolate covers the hamminess of the vodka, but the subtle savory quality remains. I could really see this working well in a cocktail, adding a subtle layer of savory flavor into a chocolate martini a drink too focused on sweetness.

   Bakon is a decent flavored vodka, and though “refreshing” isn’t the first word that comes to mind, it is sort of refreshing to see a new vodka flavored like something other than fruit or candy. It’s certainly not for everybody, but if you’re into this whole bacon thing, it’s something you should know about. And probably already do?

How Much Should You Pay For Vodka?

My assistant Joe asked the other day what vodka he should be buying and taking home, my reply, as a dedicated whisky guy, was none, if you work for me youre not allowed to drink vodka.

 

There is a tremendous price range and amount of competition in the vodka category, which seems odd for a spirit whose legal definition is after all neutral spirits distilled or treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials so as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.  Ouch, doesnt say much for those products at the higher price points!  But being dedicated to our craft, and to playing around, we did something I would encourage everyone to try out with their dedicated vodka drinking friends, a blind tasting.

 

Have 6 or 8 vodkas poured blind, neat and at room temperature, at the widest range of price points possible (we did a quickie, 4 bottles retailing from $10.99/1.75L to $50/750ml.)  Try to do a budget brand, 1 or 2 competitive domestics, 1 or 2 old line European brands, and 1 or 2 boutique brands.  The more famous the better.

 

Guess what?  When you cant see the bottle and be influenced by the pretty glass or the opinion of your favorite singer, or the price, your tongue and nose might shock you.  Ive actually done this a few times with consumers, inspired by a published tasting from the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago, and done truly blind, the expensive, trendy, and iconic has never been close to being picked as the best of the tasting.