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10 World Cup-Inspired Cocktails 

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Good news for your next World Cup party: The Travelling Gin Company whipped up 32 cocktails for the 32 countries competing. What better way to celebrate the blending of countries and cultures than by blending drinks? Some cocktails are new inventions inspired by flavors indigenous to the respective countries, while others are new takes on old classics. Now you can watch a game with appropriate drinks for both sides.

1. Brazil: Maracujá Caipirinha

As the home country, with 5 titles under its belt, it might be a safe bet to invest in a lot of the ingredients to make this one.

Recipe: "Cut 1 & 1/2 limes into wedges and place into the bottom of a rocks glass with a teaspoon of brown sugar. Muddle the ingredients together and follow up by filling your glass 3/4 full with crushed ice. gently stir all and add 50ml of Cachaça. Finally add more crushed ice to fill the glass up to the max and a final stir.

For a finishing touch we like to open up a passion fruit (maracujá) and pour the seeds and juice goodness over the top of the ice and garnish with a slice of lime. For extra sweetness add more brown sugar to meet your taste."

2. Argentina: Messi Pomelo

Argentina has one of the best players in the world, so it's only fitting for their drink to be named after him. Celebrate Lionel Messi with this tart summer drink. 

Recipe: "50ml gin, 15ml Pink Grapefruit, 10ml White Grapefruit, 10ml Red Grapefruit, 10ml basil syrup…shake all together well in a ice filled cocktail shaker.

Strain and serve. The intense sweet, sour and tart flavour from the grapefruits works perfectly on a summer’s day, but if too strong for some, simply add some soda water and pour on ice."

3. USA: The American Cream

USA! USA! What's more American than beer and puns? 

Recipe: "Add 25ml good quality bourbon, 15ml lemon juice & 15ml cream soda cordial with plenty of ice in a cocktail shaker.

Gently shake ingredients a few times and strain. Top with a classic American lager. You want ratios of around 1 part cocktail mix to 3 parts beer."

4. Costa Rica: Pinto’s Tico Sour

This drink is named after the team's coach, Jorge Luis Pinto.

Recipe: "50ml Cacique Guaro (alternatively use more widely available Cachaça), juices of half a lemon, half a lime and half an orange, teaspoon of brown sugar and an egg white. Combine all in ice filled shaker and shake heavily until very very cold. Strain into your glass of choice with a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters."

5. Italy: Negroni Sbagliato

Evviva/Cheers!

Recipe: "Equal parts Campari, Sweet Vermouth & prosecco on ice. orange wedge for garnish."

6. Russia: Raspberryoska

It's not a good Russian cocktail without vodka and the country's signature color: red!

Recipe: "50ml good quality vodka, 25ml freshly pressed raspberry juice, 15ml lime juice. Some soda water to top your glass. garnish with some mint and a raspberry or two." 

7. Nigeria: The Chapman

The Chapman is Nigeria's signature drink, so it's only fitting to drink a version of it while watching them play. This drink might also work while watching Orange is the New Black. 

Recipe: "In a pitcher full of ice, add blackcurrant cordial  (we prefer to avoid brand names, but Ribena does work best), a dash of grenadine syrup, the juice of an orange, a lemon and a lime. Add cucumber slices and pour half a can of Sprite and half a can of Fanta - finish off the national party cocktail of Nigeria with fresh mint and 3-4 drops of Angostura Bitters.

Vodka can be added to this otherwise non-alcoholic sweet punch."

8. France: Les Bleus ‘75

Appropriately named after their team, this drink incorporates lots of blue(berries). 

Recipe: "Gin, lemon juice, St Germain Elderflower liqueur, champagne top. Garnish with blueberries."

9. England: Bramble ROYale

Feel like royalty while sipping on this cocktail that incorporates the team manager, Roy Hodgson, in the name. 

Recipe: "50ml gin, 20ml lemon juice, 15ml sugar syrup & 20ml blackberry liqueur on lots of ice, topped with a splash of English sparkling wine. Garnished with blackberries and lemon slice."

10. Spain: Sevilla Gin Tonic

Spain might not being doing as well as expected, but at least fans can find comfort at the bottom of this citrus drink. 

Recipe: "Fill a hi-ball glass with plenty of ice.Add 50ml gin (we recommend Xoriguer Mahon) and a heaped teaspoon of Seville Orange marmalade. Mix well and top with a Traditional Tonic Water. Garnish with Seville orange slices and tarragon."


Check out the rest of the cocktails on the Travelling Gin Company's Instagram and follow them on Twitter. You can find all the recipes here. 

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Courtesy New District
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Food
Say ‘Cheers’ to the Holidays With This 24-Bottle Wine Advent Calendar
Courtesy New District
Courtesy New District

This year, eschew your one-tiny-chocolate-a-day Advent calendar and count down to Christmas the boozy way. An article on the Georgia Straight tipped us off to New District’s annual wine Advent calendars, featuring 24 full-size bottles.

Each bottle of red, white, or sparkling wine is hand-picked by the company’s wine director, with selections from nine different countries. Should you be super picky, you can even order yourself a custom calendar, though that will likely add to the already-high price point. The basic 24-bottle order costs $999 (in Canadian dollars), and if you want to upgrade from cardboard boxes to pine, that will run you $100 more.

If you can’t quite handle 24 bottles (or $999), the company is introducing a 12-bottle version this year, too. For $500, you get 12 reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines from various unnamed “elite wine regions.”

With both products, each bottle is numbered, so you know exactly what you should be drinking every day if you really want to be a stickler for the Advent schedule. Whether you opt for 12 or 24 bottles, the price works out to about $42 per bottle, which is somewhere in between the “I buy all my wines based on what’s on sale at Trader Joe’s” level and “I am a master sommelier” status.

If you want to drink yourself through the holiday season, act now. To make sure you receive your shipment before December 1, you’ll need to order by November 20. Get it here.

[h/t the Georgia Straight]

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Wally Gobetz, flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Food
A Brief History of the Pickleback Shot
Wally Gobetz, flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Wally Gobetz, flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It's sour. It's briny. For some, it's nauseating. For others, a godsend.

It's the pickleback shot, an unusual combination of drinking whiskey and pickle brine that has quickly become a bartending staple. Case in point? Kelly Lewis, manager of New York City's popular Crocodile Lounge, estimates she sells at least 100 pickleback shots every week.

Pickleback loyalists may swear by it, but how did this peculiar pairing make its way into cocktail culture? On today's National Pickle Day, we hit the liquor history books to find out.

PICKLEBACK HISTORY, AS WE KNOW IT

As internet legend has it, Reggie Cunningham, a former employee of Brooklyn dive bar Bushwick Country Club, invented the shot in March 2006. He was half bartending, half nursing a hangover with McClure's pickles, when a customer challenged him to join her in doing a shot of Old Crow bourbon whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice as a chaser. As he nostalgically tells YouTube channel Awesome Dreams, "the rest is history."

Cunningham went on to introduce the pairing to more and more customers, and the demand grew so much that he decided to charge an extra dollar per shot, just for the addition of pickle brine. After that, the mixture spread like wildfire, with bars across the world from New York to California and China to Amsterdam adding "pickleback" to their menus.

THE PICKLEBACK'S UNCLEAR ORIGIN

Two shot glasses topped with small pickles.

Neil Conway, flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sure, Cunningham may have named it the pickleback shot, but after reviewing mixed reports, it appears pickle juice as a chaser is hardly novel. In Texas, for example, pickle brine was paired with tequila well before Cunningham's discovery, according to Men’s Journal. And in Russia, pickles have long been used to follow vodka shots, according to an NPR report on traditional Russian cuisine.

Unfortunately, no true, Britannica-approved record of the pickleback's origin exists, like so many do for other popular drinks, from the Manhattan to the Gin Rickey; it's internet hearsay—and in this case, Cunningham's tale is on top.

SO, WHY PICKLES?

Not sold yet? Sure, a pickle's most common companion is a sandwich, but the salty snack and its brine have terrific taste-masking powers.

"People who don't like the taste of whiskey love taking picklebacks because they completely cut the taste, which makes the shots very easy to drink," Lewis told Mental Floss. "Plus, they add a bit of salt, which blends nicely with the smooth flavor of Jameson."

Beyond taste masking, pickle juice is also a commonly used hangover cure, with the idea being that the salty brine will replenish electrolytes and reduce cramping. In fact, after a famed NFL "pickle juice game" in 2000, during which the Philadelphia Eagles destroyed the Dallas Cowboys in 109 degree weather (with the Eagles crediting their trainer for recommending they drink the sour juice throughout the game), studies have seemed to confirm that drinks with a vinegary base like pickle juice can help reduce or relieve muscle cramping.

WAYS TO PARTAKE

While core pickleback ingredients always involve, well, pickles, each bar tends to have a signature style. For example, Lewis swears by Crocodile Lounge's mix of pickle brine and Jameson; it pairs perfectly with the bar's free savory pizza served with each drink.

For Cunningham, the "Pickleback OG," it's Old Crow and brine from McClure's pickles. And on the more daring side, rather than doing a chaser shot of pickle juice, Café Sam of Pittsburgh mixes jalapeños, homemade pickle juice, and gin together for a "hot and sour martini."

If pickles and whiskey aren't up your alley, you can still get in on the pickle-liquor movement with one of the newer adaptations, including a "beet pickleback" or—gulp!—the pickled-egg and Jägermeister shot, also known as an Eggermeister.

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