One of the best parts of product reviews is finding my next new drink obsession. I have to say, I have tried many flavored waters to try to kick my Diet Coke habit, but haven’t been successful until now. Cascade Ice Water was generous enough to send me a few bottles of their coconut mango water and coconut pineapple water. I originally was just going to use these as a mixer (which I did), but also drank them straight up. I will definitely purchase more from this line of naturally flavored water. All of the flavors are zero-calorie, sugar-free, caffeine-free, sodium-free, gluten-free, and zero carbs. They have a great, natural flavor with light carbonation.
I used these as mixers for an easy vodka drink. There are some very yummy looking recipes on Cascade’s website that you should check out.
I will be on the lookout for other flavors to try. There are twenty-one flavors in the zero-calorie line as well as a Sparking Organic, Sparkling Essence, and Sparkling Mixer line. In our local area, Kroger and Sprouts carry the organic line and Albertson’s carries the zero calorie line. Check this link out to find Cascade Ice in your local area.
I was excited to receive my latest SDD delivery of Brancott Estate Flight Song wine. Anytime wine is delivered to my front door is a good day in my book!
I got to taste a Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. I would have never guessed these were low calorie wines and I was sold on the taste immediately. This isn’t like a “diet” version of wine by any means. According to Brancott Estate, “these wines are twenty percent lighter in calories in comparison to a traditional glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. The grapes are harvested earlier than usual so that it is naturally lighter in sugar, calories, and alcohol content.”
The Pinot Grigio will be a staple in my wine refrigerator from here on out. Each 5oz serving is an average of 87 calories. (Most wines average 123 calories/5oz.) It has a fruity, tart taste that reminded me of green apples. This wine was light and refreshing, which was perfect for a warm day.
I’ll say that I usually don’t enjoy Sauvignon Blanc wine, but Brancott Estate did a great job on this wine as well. It did not taste “diet” or watered down either, even though it is also naturally lower in calories. Each 5oz serving of this variety has an average of 88 calories.
In summary- try this line of wine, you won’t be sorry. For those of you who have a slight guilty feeling when pouring that extra glass of wine, this is for you. Think of it as your 100 calorie snack.
While on a weekend getaway to New Orleans, I wanted to see another (dare I say “calmer”) side of Bourbon Street. I had heard lots of good things about the Carousel Bar that is housed in the Hotel Monteleone. It’s a bar and show all in one … just as the name says, the bar is a revolving Carousel.
There are 25 seats at the bar along with a beautiful, spacious lounge. I would have to say that this bar can be quite confusing (especially after a few drinks). If you leave to use the restroom, your seat will not be where it was when you left it. The bar makes a full revolution every 15 minutes. The first question I had was: how do the bartenders enter and exit the inside of the bar? I could not find any openings. Within a few minutes, mystery was solved- these bartenders have to be quite limber because they literally crawl over the bar.
The Carousel bar has lots of history and is popular with locals as well as tourist. Before you plan your trip, check their website for their live music lineup.
I played it safe and my first drink was a Cuba Libre and it was very smooth. A simple drink of plantation dark rum, coke, and a lime-high quality ingredients and packed a punch. This simple drink was so good … that it called for seconds. My boyfriend ordered the Perfect Storm which was New Orleans cajun spiced rum, ginger beer, and lime. He said it was a nice change up from the usual Moscow Mule.
The speciality drinks on the menu run about $9, as well as they offer a full bar and a few local beers on tap.
I would recommend this bar to anyone visiting New Orleans. Not only is it just plain awesome because its a moving carousel (duh), but the drinks are outstanding. Great atmosphere, music, and drinks- what else could you ask for?
Do you know what a good day is? Getting home to find a bottle of Laphroaig 10-Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey waiting for you. (Talk about a good way to unwind from a rough day.) Having had (and greatly enjoyed) Ardbeg Whisky (Scotch) before, I had a guess what Laphroaig was going to taste like. Since they’re both on the southeastern coast of Islay, part of the Hebridean Islands off the west coast of Scotland, I had high hopes.
I opened the bottle and took a quick smell, and my nose immediately picked up smoke. I poured myself a glass, neat (obviously), and took another whiff. The aroma opened up a bit and I caught the typical earthy/peaty smell that scotch from Islay often bares. (One might question what peat smells like, and I really can’t explain it. But, for those interested here is your science lesson: peat is simply decayed vegetation that occurs in natural areas. Some call those areas peatlands, but just imagine a bog. Very wet, spongy ground, that allows vegetation to decay over time.) Alright, enough science, back to the scotch. It had a heavily peaty aroma because distilleries in this area of Scotland often use peat fires to dry their grains. The scotch then takes on that smoky flavor, which is VERY distinct. The first sip brought the exact same flavor, peaty/earthy, and it was VERY bold.
I put a few ice cubes in the glass to chill the scotch, and as it chilled I noticed a slight spice to the scotch, which really complimented the smokiness. As the ice melted, I added a little bit a water to finish it off, which brought out the spices completely and really opened up the entire bouquet. While the smokiness was still the headliner of the scotch, the spices were just as bold on the finishing end of the drink.
This is Laphroaig’s original “basic” scotch, it has been distilled the same way for 75 years. I would highly recommend this as a staple in your liquor cabinet. Head to the website to see your other options from Laphroaig.
*Side note: last year SDD Contributor Rico reviewed the 2013 Laphroaig Cairdeas: Port Wood Edition. Each year, Laphroaig releases a limited edition to celebrate friendship, Cairdeas in Gaelic. Without going into too much detail that bottle went under a double maturation process in both bourbon and port wood casks to create a unique flavor. For a review of the 2013 limited edition click here.
Located at fine retail locations nationwide for around $50/bottle. (BONUS: This also includes a unique code inside each bottle that allows you to register as a “Friend of Laphroaig” and receive a lifetime lease on one square foot of land on the island of Islay, right next to the distillery. How awesome is that?)
**Disclaimer: I received this amazing bottle for free from Laphroaig**
If you’re looking for a sweet addition to your cooler, I would suggest trying any of the four flavors of Bud-Ritas from your local grocery store. I’d say that the best part about these Ritas is the alcohol content—they weigh-in at 8%, so it’s a good bang for your buck. But, unless you have a major sweet tooth, I would steer anyone who has not tried these margaritas to not buy them expecting a great tasting beverage. Instead, I recommend using these 8oz cans as a mixer. They are much more pleasant as a flavorful addition to your light beer of choice while taking in some sun at the pool or lake this summer (and they add an extra boozy punch to your drink)!
The original, Lime-a-Rita, is great considering how fast it can be prepared (pop open the can and pour over ice), yet, as previously mentioned, it’s too sweet for my taste. The other three flavors, Straw-Ber-Rita, Raz-Ber-Rita, and Mang-O-Rita, were on par with the other flavors—just a bit too sweet to drink the entire small 8 ounce can.
PRO TIP: I recommend the Raz-Ber-Rita to any TCU horned frog fan in search of a purple drink to add to your tailgate lineup. (Used as a mixer, of course … because, tailgating.)
To sum up my experience with “the Ritas”, I would say throw them in the cooler at the pool or beach as a sweet addition to your beer. Use caution if choosing to drink them straight from the can- get ready for a sugar coma.