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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mixed Drinks made simple with organic based 'Purely Syrup' by Philip S. Kampe

It's that time of year, again, to entertain the troops. Many Holidays are upon us, as well as that time of year when the winter has exited and the great outdoors takes over.

Whether it is an outdoor dinner party, friends over for a big holiday meal, or whatever, it is up to us to entertain our company. Yes, I am a big wine guy, who, like all wine guys, loves beer as well. Mixed drinks have been a bit off of my path, yet, I am always intrigued with the hype the spirits world has been getting. So, I decided to follow the lead, which is not normally my philosophy and see what I could come up with as a starter cocktail for our guests.

According to my son, organic is 'in'. Why not begin by going down that path and see what is in the market for the consumer. I followed his advice and ended up finding a certified organic simple syrup that is crafted in small batches, using no artificial additives or coloring. It was time to be hip.

What I learned about the syrups, marketed under the name, 'Purely Syrup', was that the founder, David DeRinzy, was a mixologist from San Francisco, who realized that making simple syrup was a long, arduous task that most bartenders shy away from. He thought out loud, 'Why not make my own batches of simple syrup and sell it to other bartenders. That was the beginning of 'Purely Syrup'. Add entrepreneur Joshua Bloom and marketer Steven Craig to the list and you have the 'Purely Syrup' team/

The success of David DeRinzy has spilled over to the consumer market and small batches of 'Purely Syrup' are available throughout the country. Fortunately, I was able to purchase the five syrups on the market, Classic; Vanilla Bean; Ginger Root; Habernro and Grapefruit, at a local NYC shop.

What I learned was the true easiness of adding the syrups to recipes from the Purely Syrup website, .The end result was a home run. Guests remark one-hundred percent of the time, 'Where did you learn how to mix a drink like that?'.

That is praise enough for the product.

I visited the website and found recipes that make our guests think that I am the best mixologist ever.

Thank you David DeRinzy for making life easy.

Below are some recipes that that have proven successful, at least in my household.

Maple Leaf
2 oz. of Bourbon (your choice)
3/4 ounce of organic vanilla syrup
1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice
2 dashes of Peychaud's-Bitters
Shake and pour

1860 Sour
1 1/2 ounces of gin (your choice)
3/4 ounce of organic purely syrup classic
3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice
Shake and pour

Ginger Lemonade
2 ounces of Citrus Vodka
2/3ounce of organic purely syrup ginger root
2/3 ounce of fresh lemon uice
2/3 ounce of cranberry juice
Top with ginger beer

Habernero Margarita
1 1/2 ounce of Mezcal
3/4 ounce of organic purely syrup habernero
3/4 ounce of fresh lime juice
Shake and pour

Grapefruit Sazerac
2 ounces of rye (your choice)
2 dashes of Peychaud's-Bitters
1/2 ounce of organic purely syrup grapefruit
Absinthe to coat the glass

These are recipes for success!

Philip S. Kampe

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spain's BOBAL--The Grape Sensation by Philip S. Kampe

Yes, you read it correctly. BOBAL--The Grape Sensation.

When you think of Spain and it's most popular grape, Tempranillo steals the show. But, if you dig a little deeper, you learn that Bobal, from the Utiel-Requena in the Province of Valencia, is the third most favored grape in Spain.

Utiel-Rquena is home to a new breed of winemakers. Creativity and foresight from the winemakers has propelled  the Bobal grape into orbit.

In fact, the nephew of Vega-Sicilia's winemaker, Issac Fernandez, lives in Utiel-Requena and makes exceptional wines using the Bobal grape. His wines create intense aromatics on the nose, followed by a spicy and  fruity chewy mixture on the palate.

The reasons why the Bobal grape and the Utiel-Requena region have gained recent popularity is many fold:
 The Bobal grape is native only to the Utiel-Requena province and is the third largest varietal in Spain.
 Dry farmed bush vines date back ninety years.
 Historically, Spain's oldest state winery, from 1335, is located in the Utiel-Requena.
 Organic certified wines exist.
 An abundance of single vineyard wines are produced.
 The province has 5,604 grape growers and 95 wineries.
 2,800 hours of sunlight per year.
Bobal represents 80% of all plantings in Utiel-Requena.
Tilted terraces favor the Mediterranean sea with altitudes from 1,960 to 2,950 feet.
 Modern Technology.
 New Winemaking Techniques.
 Excellent Price Quality/Ration.

The grape has made its way into the American market and has prompted a group of winemakers from Utiel-Requena to visit the states to publicize their wines through seminars and tastings.

Prseident Jose Luis Robredo of the DO Utiel-Requena points out that, " You will find DO Utiel-Requena in the inland plains of the Province of Valencia at 44 miles from the coast. It boasts a Mediterranean and Continental climate due to the elevation of 2,950 feet above sea level. Our wine region covers 85,000 acres of vineyards in nine municipalities:  Caudete, Camporrobles, Fuenterrobles, Requena, Siete Aquas, Sinarcas, Utiel, Venta Del Moro and Villargordo of Cabriel.  Utiel-Requena's winemaking culture prides itself on a wine tradition that goes back 2,700 years. Archaeological digs prove that wine production has been constant from the beginning of the Iberian age until the present day".

When I discussed the Bobal grape with President Jose Luis Robredo, he made the analogy that  Bobal is "an onion of a wine, layer after layer".

After our discussion, I made my way to the sampling tables and enjoyed wines from the producers: Aranleon, Cherubino Valsangiacomo-Bobal de San Juan, Cerrogallina, Choza Carrascal, Covinas, Iranzo, Pago de Tharsys, Vincola Requenense, Dominio de la Vega, Murviedro and Primum Bobal.

A picture is worth a thousand word.. Here are some from the tasting.


As you can see, Bobal is ever present and a grape all of us should sample during the course of the year.
Ask your wine merchant about Bobal and learn more about the grape, as I did, at

Bobal is the next big grape from Spain...

Philip S. Kampe