I went to a Kentucky Derby party a few weeks ago. And while my wife was more interested in wearing a cool derby hat, I was focused on bringing a cool bourbon drink for the punch bowl. The traditional Kentucky derby drink is the Mint Julep but the hosts (and myself) weren’t really fond of mint drinks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the mojito but putting it in a punch bowl would probably look gross. Hey who dropped their salad in the punch bowl? And mojitos and Kentucky Derby don’t really go together. So Arnold Palmer won the day.
An Arnold Palmer, also known as a half and half is 1 part lemonade and 1 part iced tea. It’s called an Arnold Palmer because it was invented (or at least made famous) by Arnold Palmer the golfer. It’s a perfect drink for a punch bowl or in my case, we have one of those 3-Gallon Beverage Dispenserswith a spigot. Less flying insects and fingers get in the punch when you use a beverage dispenser instead of a punch bowl.
My addition to Arnold Palmer’s original recipe was a bottle of bourbon. Now I know the whole point of serving bourbon at a Kentucky Derby party is that the best bourbons are from Kentucky but I used a local variety from Warwick Valley Winery in New York and it was delicious. Kentucky Derby party in New Jersey with New York bourbon? Sounds right up my alley.
If you have your own homemade recipes for lemonade and iced tea where you squeeze lemons all day or put tea bags in a big jar and leave it in the sun for hours, that’s great. More power to you. Your Arnold Palmers will be much better than mine. If you’re pressed for time you can use a frozen lemonade from concentrate like I did. I also used Arizona Iced Tea and it still tasted great. The bourbon flavor really comes through. So to review, great bourbon is the key to this drink.
Nothing beats a cold beer on a hot day. But now that I think about it, you can’t beat a cold beer on a cold day either. So having a cold beer on tap in your house is definitely good stuff. And for only about a hundred dollars you can make this happen.
The KRUPS BeerTender is a mini keg system for your home. I absolutely love my BeerTender. I feel like it was made specifically for someone like me. And let me tell you what I mean when I say, “someone like me”. Well, I like the taste of draft beer. Something about the taste of cold draft beer takes me back to old school keggers or those all you can drink draft beer happy hours. Those days are long behind me but I think the draft taste awakens some dormant part of my brain and just automatically makes me happy. And I also think that the BeerTender looks great in my home bar. I have it sitting on a mini fridge right next to the bar and it’s a great looking machine. So if you like the taste of draft beer and like cool looking home appliances, then you should keep reading.
What beers are available for Krups Heineken BeerTender
The BeerTender has three different varieties of beer available for it. Heineken, Heineken Light and Newcastle Brown Ale. It would be nicer if there were more types available but it doesn’t really look like it’s going to happen any time soon. I think that there are more varieties available in Europe but since I live in New Jersey, I can’t confirm that. The 5 liter mini DraughtKegs cost about $20 each plus you’ll need some beer tubes too but more about the tubes later.
How many beers in a DraughtKeg
There are 33.814 ounces in a liter and the DraughtKegs are 5 liters, so that gives us a total of 169.07 ounces. A regular bottle of beer is 12 ounces. So by doing a little math we can learn that a 5 liter DraughtKeg contains a little more than 14 beers. I can usually find the mini kegs on sale at a bargain liquor store for about $18. But you should find a place that sells them cold already because unlike a bottle that put in the fridge, you’ll need more than an hour to chill a DraughtKeg.
Cooling the DraughtKeg
This unit will very energy efficiently cool a beer keg down to 36 degrees. So efficiently that it will take a day or so to cool a keg from room temperature. So that’s one thing that you need to address. This is great for your energy bill because you’re not paying for an extra refrigerator in your house just to keep your beer cold 24/7. But it’s not so good for drinking a few kegs when people are over. During the summer when we have people over for pool parties I’ll buy a few cold kegs and put them on ice in one of those giant coolers that I bought from Costco. Winter time is even easier because you can leave the extra kegs outside but don’t let them freeze. If you have plenty of room in your fridge for mini kegs than you’ll be fine but if you’re like me, you’ll have to plan ahead to keep multiple kegs chilled for parties.
BeerTender Beer Tubes
When you use a BeerTender, the little plastic taps that come with the DraughtKeg will not fit inside the unit. So you’ll need to buy a beer tube with each DraughtKeg that you buy. The beer tubes are disposable and you need to use a new one for each keg. This eliminates the need to clean your beer tubes. People who have regular home beer tap systems or even the real systems in bars need their tubes cleaned out more often than you think. So once again there are pluses and minus with this. It’s best to buy several boxes of beer tubes at once (there’s 6 in a box) and the best price I’ve seen lately is at Amazon. As long as you are a member of Amazon prime and don’t have to pay for shipping. And if you aren’t a member of Prime, then why not? Either buy them from Amazon or go to a place like Bed, Bath & Beyond with one of those 20% Off coupons that probably flood your mailbox like they do mine. And remember to buy a few boxes so that you don’t run out in a middle of get together.
Krups and Heineken B100 BeerTender
The current model number for the BeerTender is the B100. You’ll find it on Amazon or at Bed, Bath & Beyond or wherever you buy your home keg systems. The pictures in this post are of my older model, the B90. The newer model does away with the tiny LED screen but I think it looks more manly. Looks like something that should be a garage or a chop shop. The drip tray and the top look like a chrome car part. Check out the pictures and you’ll probably agree.
How to pour a beer with the BeerTender
If you read the Amazon reviews, people seem to complain about the Beertender pour. They say that it’s all foam. Well you can get a perfect pour every time if you follow this advice:
Use a wet glass
Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle
Open the tap all the way
Additional Beertender Features
Chills to 36 degrees (B90) 37.4 degrees (B100)
Each DraughKeg has a built in CO2 cartridge to keep beer fresh for 30 days
Unit measures 21-Inch Length by 12-Inch Width by 18-Inch Height
Ultra quiet and efficient Peltier cooling system provides constant and consistent cooling of the keg
Heineken Premium Light
Newcastle Brown Ale
But the best part of owning a Krups BeerTender is that whenever someone stops by my house, I can always say to them, “Can I get you cold beer?” They have a seat at my home bar and I take a frosty pint glass out of the freezer and pour them a cold one. That really makes someone feel welcome.
And since this is blog is also a little crafty, you can repurpose the empty kegs for other uses. Check out this DraughtKeg luminary that I made. It wasn’t a big deal to pop the mini keg open with my Dremel and then I drilled some holes in it. A little spray paint to make it look neater than a big empty beer can and I was done. These look great around the pool. And whenever I’m sitting around drinking beer, I can tell my wife that making luminaries.
I have a few more ideas about how to repurpose these mini kegs and I’ll cover them in future posts.
If you put the word Reposado into a translator, you’ll get the result restful. So why would people want restful tequila? Looking back on some parties where I drank a lot of tequila, they were anything but restful. No, with tequila reposado, the restful part comes from letting the tequila rest or age and has nothing to do with the person who drinks it.
The regular no name tequila that you got on Cinco de mayo or the stuff they put in shot glasses during spring break in Cancun was most likely un-aged tequila. The manufacturers distill it and then bottle it immediately. In fact it probably wasn’t made from 100% Pure Agave. Some tequilas with the word “Gold” in their name are made of equal parts agave and cane sugar. Its the cane sugar that’s a major contributor to the headache you get when you have a hangover.
Next time your buy tequila, make sure it’s made with 100% agave 1800 Silver is a good mix of quality and price. But when you’re ready for the next step, it’s time to move up to a Reposado tequila.
Reposado tequila is aged at least 2 months. Usually in a wooden barrel. Although some tequila makers will also use storage tanks which sounds a lot less appealing. Since the wooden barrels are usually made of oak, a reposado tequila will pick up a hint of oak flavor. And that blends nicely with the agave to create a nice flavor. Some premium brands will actually age their tequila in used whiskey barrels to pick up some additional flavors from the barrel. This definitely creates a more complex tequila.
I recently had a birthday and I was very happy to unwrap my gift from my family and find that they got me a cocktail muddler. Hey, times are tough and not everyone gets a new iPad or a vacation for their birthday and besides I’m very happy with it. Since I’m really enjoying making cocktails lately and always like trying new things, the muddler was definitely something on my wishlist.
What is a muddler you ask? Well, it’s basically a stick or maybe it’s more like a mortel and pestle (just the pestle part) for cocktails. You place some ingredients in a cocktail shaker, usually it’s fruit or something that isn’t liquid and then you squish it up with the muddler. If you’ve ever read a drink recipe that says something like, muddle a piece of ginger and a lime in a cocktail shaker, now you know what it means. They say that muddling releases the natural flavors of the ingredients and yes is probably true but really what’s going on here is that you’re squishing the stuff up.
If you’ve ever had a fresh mojito, the bartender probably used a muddler. With a mojito, there’s mint leaves and limes and maybe sugar that get muddled before the ice and rum are added. I hear that adding bitters to mojitos now is the trendy thing to do. I’ll have to try this out and report back here. I’ve planted tons of mint in the garden this spring. There should be lots of mojitos in my future.
Since I just got the muddler, I haven’t had much time to add a bunch of muddled cocktail recipes to this site. But I plan on updating this page with links to muddled cocktail recipes after I do some very important “research” so please check back every once in a while.
When you think of tequila, you probably think of a margarita. The margarita is one of the most popular tequila drinks around today. And it’s no wonder because they taste great and also pack quite a punch. I know a place in Hoboken, NJ that has a three drink maximum policy for it’s margaritas because they’re loaded so loaded with tequila that after three you can still stagger home. After four, you’re a lost cause (Don’t ask me how I had 4) Even though they’re so strong you’d never know it from the taste. These margaritas are that good.
As usual with most drinks there are many ways to make this drink and then many variations on top of that. I’ve already discussed my margarita concoction machine in a previous post and that really helps me make a great margarita. But another important part of making the best margarita is the recipe. The key ingredients are tequila, triple sec and lime juice. The ratios that I think are the best are as follows:
Margarita Ingredient Ratios:
3 Parts – Tequila
2 Parts – Triple Sec
1 Parts – Lime Juice
So when you’re making a margarita at home it’s pretty easy to remember, 3:2:1. Whether you make it frozen, straight up or on the rocks, 3-2-1 is the way to go. Serve in a salt rimmed glass and garnish with a lime. You can add some more lime juice if you want but
As with all recipes whether they’re for cocktails or even food, the key is quality ingredients. Cheap tequila that you can find on sale at your local liquor store will result in a cheap tasting margarita. Fresh lime juice can also make a huge difference in how the drink tastes. Go the extra mile and squeeze some limes if you want to impress your guests. Once you become a master margarita maker, you may have to impose a 3 drink maximum at all your parties.
Once you try a frozen drink from this margarita concoction maker you’ll wonder why you ever bothered to make Margaritas in a regular blender. The actual product name is the Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker. Obviously some genius devoted his life to the science of margaritas and created this machine for all of humanity to enjoy.
The reason why this machine makes such great drinks is the shaved ice. A frozen drink made with shaved ice is really smooth and easy to drink. Probably too easy for your own good. But on a hot summer day, you really won’t mind.
The Margarita Concoction maker is simple to operate. It has a reservoir on top that you fill with ice. Hit the switch and the ice gets shaved and is shot down to the blender portion of the device. The cool part is that it knows exactly how much ice you need and stops shaving it at the right time.Then the blender automatically kicks in and mixes the shaved ice with the drink ingredients. If it’s needed it’ll shave more ice and continue blending until the perfect consistency is achieved. Somehow they’ve developed some sort of Margarita Artificial Intelligence and programmed it into this machine. The results are silky smooth frozen drinks with no ice chucks to clog your straws.
If you’re like me you probably don’t want to spend all your time making margaritas for your party guests. You want to be able to enjoy your own party, right? Well to make life easier here’s a tip. Fill a container with the right mixture of tequila, triple sec and lime juice. Then you just fill the blender with the margarita ingredients and keep the ice reservoir filled with ice and you’re all set. Your guests will probably want to get in on the action and make a few themselves.
And oh yeah, there’s even a drip catcher for any ice that melts. You don’t want that water in your drinks. So any ice that melts in the ice reservoir goes into the drink catcher which can easily be emptied. It also has manual Shave and Blend switches in case you need to override the AI. That margarita scientist really has thought of everything.
And of course, you can use the margarita concoction maker to make other frozen drinks. Daiquiris, mudslides, you name it. I’m even experimenting with it to make frozen coffee drinks. Haven’t found the perfect recipe yet but I’m still working on it.
So frozen drink lovers, thanks to Margaritavilla and the wonders of modern science, perfect margaritas are in your future if you buy this margarita concoction maker.