Category Archives: Beer

Day 21 Gifts – Cocktail Time with Eastern Standard Kitchen and St-Germain

The gift ideas for Day 21 take us to one of my favorite places in Boston, Eastern Standard Kitchen in Kenmore Square. Just steps away from Fenway Park, it’s a great place to go before or after the game (or anytime, really!) Jackson Cannon, Bar Manager & Mixologist extraordinnaire, was my guest on Episode 28, and was so interesting & fun to speak with. A great gift would be a gift card to Eastern Standard Kitchen or their new sister restaurant, Island Creek Oyster Bar, which is right next door. The menu pays tribute to classic European and New England favorites, such as Veal Schnitzel, Beef Wellington and Mussels & Frites as well as a fantastic raw bar. Jackson has a great cocktail program going on in both places, as well as a fabulous reserve beer program at ICOB.

You can check them out at

I discovered St-Germain about two years ago, and still love it every time I taste it…especially the St-Germain Cocktail and Sangria Flora. I was so exited to have Founder & President of The Cooper Spirits Company, Rob Cooper, as my guest on Episode 30. The cocktail enthusaist in your life would love a bottle of St-Germain, or if you can find it, a St-Germain Carafe Set.

St-Germain is a beautifully crafted, French elderflower liqueur made from 100% fresh elderflowers from the foothills of the Alps. Only available in limited quantities, each bottle of St-Germain is numbered and marked with the vintage year reflecting the year in which the flowers were harvested. It can be enjoyed straight over ice but is ideal in cocktails as well as mixed with white or sparkling wine. The limited edition sets include a bottle of St-Germain, a Glass Carafe and Stirrer and a Cocktail Recipe Book.

Find out more at



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Day 7 of Our “25 Days of Holiday Gift Ideas” – ‘Gansett Beer

Day 7 is for the beer lover in your life…

My guest on Episode 2 was Mark Hellendrung, CEO of Narragansett Beer. Narragansett is an iconic New England beer that had disappeared until Mark resurrected it back in ’05. Brewed since 1890, ‘Gansett has played a prominent role in New England for over 100 years – during its glory days, the Rhode Island brewery produced almost two million barrels of beer per year and the company employed roughly 850 people. A great gift would be one of their metal buckets ($12), a pint glass ($5.50), a hat ($16) and a 6 pack of ‘Gansett beer.

You can find more info at

If you’re feeling festive, add a copy of George Wendt’s book “Drinking With George” ($10 paperback on Amazon)….he and beer have shared a lot over the years: good times, great stories, useless trivia, and a successful show business career. In Drinking with George, Wendt invites readers to crack open a cold one and pull up a seat at the bar as he celebrates the intoxicating beverage, telling hilarious and frank tales of his own imbibing adventures—from taking a first sip of his grandfather’s Bud as a child to a beer-fueled impromptu performance with Woody Harrelson and the U.S. Women’s Synchronized Swimming Team… no, he wasn’t a guest, but I tried!



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Day 5 of our “25 Days of Holiday Gift Ideas” – Boston Wine & Dine

Day 5 is about Boston and some of the great guests we’ve had from my hometown…

First up is a gift card or a gift basket from The Urban Grape, a fantastic new wine shop in Chestnut Hill that is co-owned by TJ Douglas, our guest on Episode 9, and his wife Hadley. The Urban Grape is featuring several gorgeous gift baskets made by Table & Tulip – this one is a pair of Hudson “Baby Bourbon” and “Four Grain” Bourbon bottles nestled in a lush mood moss accented with succulents in your choice of silver metallic box or reclaimed wood box. Check it out at

To that, how about adding a gift card to Russell House Tavern, one of the hottest restaurants just over the Charles River in Cambridge? Executive Chef Michael Scelfo and Bar Manager Aaron Butler were also guests on Episode 9.  The Russell House Tavern is a New American Tavern serving seasonally-inspired, classic dishes from New England, specializing in artisanal fare served alongside carefully hand-crafted cocktails and a distinctive collection of all-American wines and craft beers.

Sound like perfect gifts to me…



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The Urban Grape – So Much More Than Wine

The Urban Grape, a hip new shop that recently opened in Chestnut Hill, has so much more than wine to offer. It is what every wine shop should be – and more. I have not been as excited in visiting a new establishment in so long…and this is why…

In addition to the 16 varietals they’re sampling for customers daily (for free) on their Enoline Elite Wine Tasting system, they have over 650 wines on the shelf (with a planned 800+ in the works). They have a wonderful selection of spirits, a growing sake section and some great craft beers in addition to perennial favorites like Sam Adams and Blue Moon (and I even spotted the retro-favorite Pabst in the cooler!)

The store is conveniently located in the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center, next to the newly renovated Star Market, and there’s plenty of free parking. It is absolutely expense or attention to detail was spared when creating this space – be sure to look at the “counter” when you check out, as well as the stunning blonde wood that wraps the room, and the artwork which will grace the back entance very soon. I was also impressed with the 11 foot long, rough-hewn wooden tasting table, adorned with fresh flowers, that is the store’s hub…I can only imagine meeting friends – both old and new – there as we discuss TJ’s picks of the week, their merits, pairings, and mad dashes to the register to make our purchases.  

The Urban Grape is owned by a husband and wife duo – TJ and Hadley Douglas of Boston. TJ spent years in the restaurant business, working for such notable eateries as the Armani Café, before moving to the wine industry as a sales rep for Ruby Wines. It was there that TJ, inspired by his love of wine and travels to the great wine regions of the world, hit upon the idea of The Urban Grape. It combines his passion for wine with his background in hospitality, to create a winning combination. He really wants his customers to experience wine without being preached to or feeling intimidated. His wife Hadley has a background in marketing and philanthropic events, and is doing a fantastic job at keeping their Facebook and Twitter fans updated on happenings at the store as well as their “Tuesday Tweets” (the staff favorite pick of the week is offered at a 20% discount, bottle 1, through close of business Sunday on a limited basis – which means sign up! on their Facebook & Twitter pages. I bought last week’s Hugo Gruner Veltliner, which was an amazing find at $12).

They also offer an “Urban Sampler 4 pack”, which is 4 wines in an already assembled, easy to carry pack. I was given a complimentary “World Cup” 4 pack – which I easily would have purchased – it retails for $50, but has a $62+ value. You can’t beat it, and I was told that will be their standard pricing, although the themes will vary every 3 weeks. I will review those wines on a separate blog. 
Urban Grape employees are graduates of the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Program at Boston University, and they help customers pick out which wine to buy, based on the shop’s unique rating system, which lines bottles up by “weight”, similar to a restaurant wine list. The Urban Grape is pairing with the Capital Grille’s Master Wine Tasting Event – all of the wines featured in this stellar promotion (10 hand-selected wines for $25 pp) are available for purchase for a great retail price at The Urban Grape. 

The Urban Grape also offer a full range of spirits – Vodka, Rum, Gin, Bourbon, Whiskey, etc. – presented as elegantly as the wine – as well as Sake and Craft beers. The store is open 7 days a week, delivery is available, they have a wine registry, wine cellar management  and private tastings and events can be booked on Sunday evenings.

You MUST visit if you are “within 100 miles of Chestnut Hill!” – Chef Robin White (@canapes45).

I, personally, cannot wait to go back! This is what every wine shop should be, and more.

The Urban Grape, 7 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill MA, 617.232.4831.

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More show highlights…episodes 2 & 3

Here are some of the thoughts from our guests in weeks 2 & 3….

Mark Hellendrung, CEO of Narragansett Beer: “Our target audience is anyone who has lips…Narragansett was the number 1 beer in NE and had over 65% market share – 2 out of every 3 beers going out of the store was a ‘Gansett…investors were emotionally hooked on the idea (of bringing the brand back)…consumers “we never should have lost that brand – let’s bring it back!”

Orla Murphy LaScola, GM/Sommelier/co-owner, American Seasons: “I have to be very aware of where Michael is heading with the food…I have to have a lot of wines available…to pair as well as what people want to drink…we spend time every off-season and travel to Oregon & California and spend a lot of time with winemakers…I need a sense of the terroir so I know what’s in the bottle”

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Cocktails for Everyone! Uncorking May 20th at 5pm EST

We are thrilled to announce the all-star lineup for our debut show on May 20th!

We will be broadcasting live from the beautiful White Elephant Resort on Nantucket with these wine & culinary luminaries:

  • Dennis Toner, Founder & President of the Nantucket and Tanglewood Wine Festivals
  • Dominique Demarville, Chef de Caves, Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin
  • Michael LaScola, Chef & Co-Owner, American Seasons
  • Carolyn Wente, CEO, Wente Vineyards

We will have so much to talk about with our guests – wine, champagne, food, the Wine Festival events….you can email or call in with questions for them as well.

Make a note in your calendar to tune into at 5pm on Thursday, May 20th for Cocktails for Everyone!


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