Mix Things Up Winter Wine Cocktails 

wine cocktails

This year, try a holiday cocktail that with a bottle of wine. For a festive touch, our wine cocktails bring in seasonal flavors like wintry citrus, tart cranberry, and cozy baking spices. 

Winter Rosé Sangria


  • 1 500ml bottle Blue Apron Rosé wine
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 orange, sliced and deseeded 
  • 1 grapefruit, sliced and deseeded 
  • Seltzer
  • Optional: ½ cup liqueur, such as sweet or dry Vermouth, Campari, Aperol, Kirsch, Lillet, Maraschino Liqueur, or Triple Sec 


Pour the rose into a bowl or pitcher. 

Stir in the pomegranate juice, half of the sliced orange and grapefruit, and optional liqueur, if using. 

Chill for 4-6 hours in the fridge to let the flavors marinate. Strain the mixture, removing the sliced citrus – leaving it in may cause the sangria to become bitter. 

Serve these wine cocktails over ice. Top with seltzer and garnish with the remaining sliced fruit.

White Wine Cranberry Spritz


  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries 
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided 
  • 1 500ml bottle Blue Apron White Wine (the pairing key of Light & Fresh works best) 
  • Zest of 1 orange 


Bring 3/4 cup water, cranberries, and ½ cup of the sugar to simmer in a small saucepan. 

After about 2 minutes, when the cranberries have just begun to soften, remove about ⅓ of them with a slotted spoon onto a wire rack to dry. Let them dry for about 20 minutes, or until they’re no longer sticky. 

Meanwhile, on the stovetop, continue simmering the remaining cranberries and sugar syrup for 5 minutes, or until the cranberries are soft. Crush the cranberries against the side of the saucepan with a spoon and stir. Cook until the cranberries have broken down but the mixture is still liquidy, about another 5-10 minutes. 

Remove the cranberry mixture from heat and strain  into a measuring cup, pushing the crushed fruit against the strainer with a spoon to release any liquid. You should have about one cup of cranberry syrup. Let the syrup cool. 

To finish the candied cranberries, combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar and orange zest in a bowl. Toss the dried cranberries from the wire rack into the bowl to coat them with the citrus sugar. 

Combine 1 cup of the cranberry syrup with the bottle of white wine in a pitcher or bowl. Serve with ice, and garnish with the candied cranberries on a cocktail skewer.

Looking for more seasonal drinks? Try our easy hot toddy recipe.

Decanting Wine: Why & How to Decant Wine

wine decanter
How to decant wine

Put simply, decanting is pouring the wine from the bottle into another vessel, then serving it from that vessel into each person’s glass. This isn’t just for show—it ensures the wine smells and tastes its best. Here’s why and hot to decant wine.

What is a Decanter and What Does it Do?

Exposure to oxygen brings out the flavors and aromas in a glass of wine. Some red wines, particularly aged or bold red wines, need a little time to relax and show their full potential. Wine bottles have a narrow opening, so even when you uncork the bottle, not much air flows through. Decanters are designed to let air flow. A wide-bottomed decanter will create a shallow pool of wine with a large surface area. This exposes the wine to oxygen more quickly.

Why Decant Wine

Decanting wine brings out the best flavors in robust red wines. It can also help eliminate unwanted aromas, like the burning smell of alcohol. If you’re serving an aged wine, decanting gives you an opportunity to remove any sediment that may have formed in the bottle. As a bonus, decanters are beautiful, and will add an elegant touch to your table.

How to Decant Wine

Start by tasting your wine. Pour a small bit of the wine directly from the bottle into a glass and taste it. If you don’t smell and taste much of anything, that’s a sure sign that decanting is necessary.

Place your clean decanter on the counter, pour the wine slowly into it. If you’re serving an aged wine, stop once you start to see the sediment—that can stay behind in the bottle.

After an hour, take another sip. Do you notice a difference? The wine’s aromas and flavors should already be more obvious.

When to Decant Wine

Decant wines aged over 7 years and bold red wines like California Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, or Zinfandel. Let wine breathe for about an hour before serving. You can always open a white wine to enjoy while you wait.

Side note…
Have a bottle that you’re saving for a special occasion? Be sure to store it on it’s side in a cool, dark place.

Four-Ingredient Easy Apple Cider

Easy apple cider recipe

We’re in the thick of apple picking season, and we can’t enough of the satisfying sound and feel of a plump apple being plucked from the tree. In fact, we may get just a bit over eager! Like many orchard-goers, sometimes we find ourselves bringing home a few too many apples. Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Crispin, McIntosh – whatever the variety, we have more apples than we know what to do with, and only one pie dish at home! Enter: this easy apple cider recipe.

So, this weekend when you’re rationing out your red, yellow, and green bounty, save some apples for snacking, some for baking, and some for Four-Ingredient Apple Cider, our new favorite recipe for making a serious dent in our post-apple-picking apple inventory! It is especially simple AND great for getting the kids involved. What are you waiting for? Make something delicious with the fruits of your labor!

Read on for the recipe!

Apple Cider Final

Four Ingredient Easy Apple Cider Recipe

3 Pounds Apples (We recommend a variety of types)
16 Cups Water
1 ½ to 2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
4 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Vanilla Bean (optional)

Easy Apple Cider Ingredients

Large Stockpot


Wash and dry the apples. Cut into quarters (no need to core!) and add to a large stockpot. Add water, cinnamon and sugar (up to 2 cups, depending your desired level of sweetness). Heat to a simmer over high, stirring occasionally, then reduce to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 3 hours, or until the apples are very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

apple cider pre cooking

Once cool enough to handle, using a potato masher, large spoon or fork, mash the apples into the mixture. This step is great for kids!

Apple cider mashing

Carefully pour the mixture through a strainer set over a large bowl. Using a ladle, push the mixture through the strainer; discard any pulp, seeds and cinnamon sticks.

Apple cider straining

Refrigerate, cover and use within 1 week.

One of our other favorite drinks for fall involves hot apple cider and a few other ingredients. Most notably, bourbon! Try this recipe for the perfect Hot Toddy when you’re looking to warm up.

For the rest of your apples, try Five-Ingredient Apple Turnovers, Five Ingredient Cider Caramels, or just add apples to your dinners!

Apple Cider Final 3

Happy fall cooking!

7 Festive New Year’s Eve Drinks

New Year's Eve drinks
An assortment of New Year’s Eve drinks

Champagne is synonymous with New Year’s Eve, but the night is long, and variety is the spice of life. To make your celebration extra special, try kicking off the night with one of these festive New Year’s Eve drinks. These 7 cocktail recipes have something for everyone.

For the spice-lover: Cozy Cran-Apple Cider

1 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
8 ounces apple cider
4 ounces spiced rum
2 dashes cranberry bitters
Whole nutmeg (for garnish)
Fresh cranberries (for garnish)
1 apple (for garnish)

Heat the apple cider on low, but do not boil. While the cider heats, divide the lemon juice and rum between 2 glasses. Add a dash of cranberry bitters to each glass. Divide warmed cider between the glasses and grate a little nutmeg on top of each. Garnish with cranberries and a piece of apple.

For the sour candy fan: Meyer Lemon Champagne Cocktail

1 ounce freshly-squeezed Meyer Lemon juice
1.5 ounces elderflower syrup or liquor
10 ounces Champagne
2 pieces Meyer Lemon rind (for garnish)

Divide the Meyer Lemon juice and elderflower syrup between 2 Champagne flutes. Top with Champagne. Garnish with the Meyer lemon rind. Note: be sure to pour Champagne slowly in multiple rounds to let the bubbles settle.

If you love Dark and Stormies: Ginger Mule

3 ounces vodka
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
8 ounces ginger beer
Candied ginger (for garnish)
1 lime (for garnish)

Fill a traditional copper mule mug with crushed ice. Divide the vodka and lime juice between the mugs. Top each with ginger beer, and garnish with a lime wedge and piece of candied ginger. Top with more crushed ice if desired.

For the party-lover: Festive Gin Fizz

2 Ounces fresh yuzu juice
3/4 ounce honey
4 ounces gin
2 pasteurized egg whites
Club soda

In a cocktail shaker, combine the yuzu juice and honey. Stir to thoroughly dissolve the honey. Add the gin and egg whites and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Add 2 handfuls of ice and shake for additional 10 seconds until very cold and the mixture is frothy. Using a strainer, divide the chilled gin mixture between 2 glasses. Top each with club soda. Garnish with yuzu rind if desired.

For the fruit-lover: Blood Orange Margarita

4 ounces freshly-squeezed blood orange juice
2 ounces Cointreau or Triple Sec
4 ounces Tequila blanco
1 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Salt (for garnish)
Blood orange (for garnish)

Place the salt on a dry, flat surface. Wet the outside rim of a glass with water and roll the rim of glass around in the salt to cover. Carefully fill each glass with ice. In a shaker, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, Cointreau or Triple Sec and Tequila. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Add 2 handfuls of ice. Shake vigorously for another 10 seconds until very cold. Divide the chilled mixture between the prepared glasses. Garnish with thin slice of blood orange.

If you’re craving something light: Winter Mint Swizzle

2 ounces freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce honey
4 ounces Bourbon
5 dashes citrus bitters
6 sprigs fresh mint

In a shaker combine the honey, lemon juice and 4 of the mint sprigs. Muddle until the herbs are fragrant and the honey has dissolved. Add the bourbon and shake vigorously for 5 seconds. Add 2 handfuls of ice, and shake for an additional 10 seconds, or until very cold. Using a strainer, divide between 2 glasses. Top with crushed ice and garnish with the remaining mint sprigs.

If you have leftover Christmas candy: Candy Cane Cooler

5 ounces Kahlua
4 ounces half and half
2 ounce vodka
2 to 3 drops peppermint extract
3 Candy Canes (for garnish)

Carefully crush one candy cane (to prevent it from flying everywhere, you can put it in plastic bag). Transfer the crushed candy cane to a dry, flat surface. Wet the rim of a glass with water and roll the rim of glass around in the crushed candy cane to cover. Carefully fill each glass with ice. In a shaker, combine the vodka, half and half, peppermint extract, 1 ounce of the Kahlua and ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds or until very cold. Divide the remaining Kahlua between the prepared glasses. Top with the chilled half and half mixture. Garnish each with a candy cane.

Once you have your New Year’s Eve drinks selected, don’t forget about the snacks. Try creating a beautiful cheese plate for a sense of occasion.

Amanda Freitag’s Go-To After Work Paloma Recipe

Palomas are everything: sweet, sour, simple, and beautiful. Whether you’re looking for a way to unwind after work, or a simple sipper to enjoy while you’re cooking, this three(ish) ingredient cocktail is the way to go. 

Amanda Freitag Paloma Recipe
A pretty paloma

This recipe comes from chef Amanda Freitag, who loves palomas for their no-fuss charm. When making this at home, try chef Amanda’s trick for a low-effort, high-impact garnish. Cut a paper-thin slice of grapefruit and tuck it against the inside of the glass. Even though this is easy to make, it’s so beautiful that it will wow your cocktail companion. 

Amanda Freitag’s Favorite Paloma Recipe

Makes 2 cocktails 

  • 4 oz Tequila
  • 1 Cup grapefruit juice (bonus points for fresh-squeezed)
  • 1 17 oz  bottle of sparkling water or grapefruit soda
  • 1 slice lime for garnish 
  • 1 thin slice grapefruit, for garnish 
  • Pinch of salt (optional) 

1. To make, pour the Tequila, grapefruit juice, and sparkling water in a pitcher. Add a pinch of salt if you desire, there’s plenty of room to riff. Stir to combine. 

2. Thinly slice a round of grapefruit and line your serving glass with it. Pour the cocktail over ice, perch a slice of lime on the edge of the glass, and enjoy. 

Want more Amanda Freitag? Learn more about her favorite ingredients here

An Apple Bourbon Cocktail for a Sweet New Year

Apple honey bourbon cocktail

Apples and honey are traditional food symbols of Rosh Hashanah in the Ashkenazic Jewish tradition. The apples are a celebration of the recent harvest, and the honey is a symbol of hope for a sweet new year; the two are enjoyed together as an acknowledgement of the full cycle of the year. 

This recipe is based on a cocktail that John Adler, Blue Apron’s head chef, created with the former head bartender during his time at Franny’s. One day, John came to work with two cases of crab apples. One case went to the kitchen, the second went to the bar. The bartender thought for a second and said “let’s bury them in bourbon!”

Apple bourbon is incredibly versatile. It’s delicious in this recipe, and also works well for a seasonal twist on a manhattan (in place of rye), added to a hot toddy, on the rocks, or mixed with lemon and ginger for a fun play on a Gold Rush. If you can’t find crab apples, try making yours with Granny Smith apples. If you love the sound of the cocktail, but don’t have the patience to infuse your own bourbon, try decreasing the bourbon by .5 oz, and adding in 1 oz apple cider. Chef John’s take incorporates cardamom, which pairs beautifully with the spice of the bourbon and the sweetness of the apples. 

For the Apple Bourbon

  • 2 ½  pounds crab apples (or Granny Smith apples), washed and cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 gala or Honeycrisp apples, washed and thinly sliced 
  • 2 Cups bourbon
  • 2 lemons, washed and peeled (peels reserved)

Combine the apples, bourbon and lemon peels in a tightly lidded jar. Store upside down (to prevent oxidation) for five days. Strain, discarding apples and lemon zest, and store in the fridge.

For the Honey Cardamom Syrup

  • ½ Cup honey
  • ½ Cup water
  • 3 fresh cardamom pods

Combine the ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat you want it to come up slowly to maximize the time the cardamom infuses. Strain out the cardamom pods, cool and store in the fridge.

For the Cocktail 

Serves 2

  • 5 ounces Apple Bourbon
  • 1 ounce bitter liqueur (Meletti Amaro, Montenegro Amaro, Campari)
  • 1 teaspoon honey-cardamom syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cocktail glasses (chilled in fridge)
  • 2 thin slices of gala apple

Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3 of the way with ice. Add the bourbon, bitters, honey-cardamom syrup and lemon juice. Stir for 20 seconds and then strain into the chilled cocktail glasses. Garnish the rim of the glass with the apple wedges and toast to a sweet and delicious new year!

The Best Wines to Pair with Steak & Other Meats

Summer is awash with pretty rosés, but sometimes nothing but a red will do. If you’re grilling a beautiful piece of meat, a red wine is your best bet. Rich, smoky grilled meats can overpower white or rosé wines. The right bottle of red will enhance the flavors of the grill and refresh your palate during dinner. These are the best red wines to pair with meat. 

red wine with meat
Red wine with steak and vegetables

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic red wine to drink with rich red meats. High-tannin wines like Cabernet Sauvignon create a drying sensation in the mouth. One sip and you can feel the wine gripping the inside of your cheeks. When consumed alongside red meat, like a steak or a burger, this drying sensation will act as a palate cleanser, perfectly balancing out the mouth-coating richness of the meat. These wines will be full of dark fruit flavors like black cherry and currant, often accompanied by a touch of cedar from the barrel-aging process. 

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a truly versatile wine. Bright fruits like cherry and raspberry are backed up with an earthy mushroom quality and hints of baking spice that come from aging in oak. This light wine can be at home beside a roasted chicken, a grilled burger, or a lean preparation of beef. With a little ketchup, Pinot Noir could even do well alongside a grilled hot dog. 


Gamay yields a light red wine with tart red fruit and mellow tannins. This thin-skinned grape will bring a little fruity energy to lighter meats like chicken and duck, or a hearty preparation of salmon. Gamay often has a pleasant amount of earthy flavors that can serve as a delicious complement to game meats like rabbit or pheasant. 


Taking a sip of Zinfandel feels like eating an everlasting gobstopper. These wines are packed with layers and layers of flavor that will reveal themselves with each sip. Zinfandel can have notes of tart red fruit like a ripe raspberry, ripe dark fruit like a black plum, and even cooked fruit like an apricot jam. All of this is topped off with warm spice and oak aromas like cinnamon, anise, vanilla, and coffee. It’s a lot to fit in one glass! Their intense fruit profile makes Zinfandels an excellent match for sweet, smoky barbecue, or Moroccan dishes that marry fruit and meat. 

A Peachy Pimm’s Cup for Easy Summer Drinking

This seasonal twist on a Pimm’s Cup is what chef Lili Dagan likes to call a  ”slow sipper;” a low-alcohol drink that can be enjoyed in abundance without overdoing it. 

A summery Pimm's cup

Have you ever tried to spend a day drinking in New Orleans? It is not an easy feat. This is probably why Big Easyans have invented so many creative cocktails that are perfect to enjoy out of a to-go cup as a parade marches on, basking in the buzz of the city’s famously relaxed drinking laws. Too tired to keep on? Have a frozen Irish coffee drink! Need to commit to an all-day affair but don’t have the tolerance required? The low-alcohol and delightfully refreshing classic Pimm’s Cup is your pal.

Popularized in the states by the Napolean House, a beloved New Orleans establishment, the classic Pimm’s Cup is Pimm’s No1, lemonade, and 7-up with a cucumber garnish. When I visited a few winters ago, a seasonally appropriate satsuma mandarin Pimm’s was on the specials menu. A seasonal Pimm’s Cup! What a thought! 

When I stopped by the farmers market this week, both peaches and cucumbers were bountiful. The heat was suffocating, and I was craving something refreshing to drink whilst watering my plants. Pimm’s is already a low-alcohol spirit, and after mixing it with sparkling sodas, the Pimm’s Cup transforms into a smooth-jazz kind of drinking experience. Why, it’s even possible to enjoy three while tending to the stoop plants. In that spirit, please enjoy this peachy cucumber Pimm’s Cup responsibly, and laissez les bons temps roule!

Pimm's Cup with an umbrella
Works well as a grab-and-go cocktail

Le Bon Tom Roulle Peach Pimm’s Cup

Makes 2 Tall Drinks

  • 1 Peach
  • 1 Cucumber
  • Mint 
  • Ginger
  • 4 Oz Pimm’s No1. 
  • 2 Oz lemon soda **We recommend Fentiman’s Lemonade as the botanical flavors complement this drink wonderfully.
  • 2 Oz ginger beer
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle ½ the peach, 2 slices of cucumber (about ¼ inch thick), two springs of mint, and a coin of ginger. 
  2. Fill the shaker with ice and add 4 oz Pimm’s. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.
  3. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Strain the shaker contents into the glass. Top with 2 oz lemon soda and 2 oz ginger beer and stir to combine.
  4. Top off with equal amounts of lemon soda and ginger beer as the remaining space in your glass allows.Garnish your cocktail with mint, peach slices, and cucumber slices. Add a fun umbrella if you have one leftover from your piña colada.

Why Is Rosé Pink?

There are a lot of reasons to love rosé; the ripe fruit flavors, the food-friendly acidity, and of course, the beautiful color. But how, exactly, does that beautiful color come to be? Why is rose pink?

why rose is pink
brick & mortar rosé

Rosé is often described as halfway between a red and a white wine, but this is meant to describe the intensity of the wine, not the production method. Although they’re light in color, rosés are made from 100% red grapes. Some of the most popular grapes for making rosé are Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Syrah. The difference between a red pinot noir and a rosé Pinot Noir comes down to the grape skins. 

When making a wine, grapes are pressed to release their juices. For a red or a rosé, the grape skins and juices are left to sit together. This process, called maceration, gives the grape juice time to extract color and tannins from the grape skin. For a red wine, the skins are left to sit with the juices for at least three (but sometimes up to 100) days. For rosé wine, the maceration period can be as short as several hours. This short resting time means that the skins only release some of their pigmentation and tannins, resulting in a lightly structured wine. 

Rosés are different from blush wines, which are made by combining red and white wines after they have been fermented. One exception to this rule is rosé Champagne. While some rosé Champagnes are made using the maceration method, many are produced by adding still red wine to sparkling wine after the fermentation is completed. 

pink wine
Rosé wine

When it comes to color variation within rosés, it is primarily caused by production method and grape variety. Regardless of color, the light structure and refreshing flavor make rosés a perfect pairing for summery meals like this snap pea salad. They have enough complexity to stand up to some spice, but are subtle enough not to overwhelm delicate seafood. 

Explore a World of Pinot Noir

The grape presents a different style of wine everywhere it’s grown—which is why it’s beloved.October deliveries IMG

Great wines may be memorable, but great Pinot Noirs are unforgettable.

This is because—wine nerds generally agree—Pinot is best at capturing the essence of the place and season in which the grapes grew. Try a Pinot made of grapes from a vineyard planted on one side of a road and it’ll smell and taste distinct from the wine made on the opposite side. Not better or worse, just different expressions of similar times and places—like a director’s films or an author’s books.

That’s why exploring Pinots from around the world is so delightful: There’s always a new deliciousness to discover—whether it’s from one region to another, or just across the street.

Burgundy, France

shutterstock_733587316 (1)What Pearl Jam is to Seattle, Pinot Noir is to Burgundy. Burgundy reds, all Pinot Noirs, are beloved for their perfect balance of bright, red-fruit flavors and an earthy, mushroomy character.

For centuries monks grew Pinot throughout the region and carefully assessed the soil composition, sun exposure, vine health and wine quality of each plot of land. The village-by-village classification of the vineyards they developed is still adhered to today.


shutterstock_108960833 (1)California’s top Pinot spots are Sonoma and Santa Barbara. They’re 400 miles apart, but the climates are similar: warm days with cool, Pacific-influenced evenings (ideal growing conditions). Both Pinots have concentrated red- and black-fruit flavors; however you’ll find darker, richer wines in Santa Barbara.

Fun fact: Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder’s favorite wine is a Sonoma Pinot Noir.

New Zealand

new zealandAll the wine regions grow Pinot Noir, particularly in the cooler areas. The most acclaimed wines come from Martinborough, on the North Island, and from Marlborough and Central Otago on the South Island. Central Otago Pinots are the darkest and richest, but all New Zealand Pinot Noirs are lauded for their melding of intense, bright fruit flavors with a savory, herbal note.


OregonThe Pinot-vineyard-packed Willamette Valley extends south from Portland about 100 miles. Oregon Pinots vary from light and bright to dark and rich, but as a whole they are considered the most Burgundy-like in the New World. That’s why so many French winemakers moved to Oregon to make wine.

Perfect Pinot Pairing

Serve this dish with Pinot Noir and discover what an ideal match is all about.


Pinot Noir is one of the food-friendliest wines, typically a smart choice with salmon, pork or duck—but Pinot is also sublime with a mushroomy dish. If you’ve yet to have your “aha” moment when it comes to pairings, try serving this simple dish with a Pinot. After the first bite and sip, you’ll instantly understand what it means to make a perfect pairing.

Steak with Mushrooms
Serves 2

– 2 steaks
– 5 ounces mixed mushrooms, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces
– 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
– 1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
– 1½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
– 2 Tbsp Pinot Noir
– 2 Tbsp heavy cream
– 1 Tbsp butter


1.     Cook the steaks:
Pat the steaks dry; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a medium pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Cook the steaks 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until browned (an instant-read thermometer should register 145°F). Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer the steaks to a cutting board; let rest.

2.     Cook the mushrooms:
In the pan of reserved fond, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high. Add the mushrooms and cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic, shallot, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine. Cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any brown bits, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until most of the the liquid has cooked off. Add the cream; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the liquid is slightly reduced. Turn off the heat; stir in the butter until melted.

3.     Slice the steaks and serve:
Find the lines of muscle (or grain) in the steaks; thinly slice crosswise against the grain. Top with mushrooms. Enjoy!

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Drink Up Some Knowledge

Follow these tips for setting up a fun, informative wine-tasting party.


Before your guests arrive:

  • – Make sure each person has two glasses. Also provide a vessel into which anyone can tip out wine they don’t care to finish.

  • – Provide food. Your friends deserve at least a simple spread of charcuterie, bread and cheese, right? (It’s also helpful to taste wines with and without food.)

  • – Don’t make it serious by providing paper and pencils for jotting tasting notes. Just snap photos of the wine labels so everyone can remember which wines they liked—and didn’t.

Taste the wines in pairs
Urge everyone to be honest about the aromas and flavors they identify, no matter how weird they sound (from “asparagus” to “dirty socks,” every description should be welcome). And don’t be afraid to tell the group if you don’t enjoy a particular wine—friends, after all, are people you should be comfortable disagreeing with openly. Just following the consensus is no way to learn about your likes and dislikes—and it makes for a quick, relatively boring evening if everyone agrees all the time.

Most importantly, just enjoy yourself!

1. Compare
Serve two wines made from the same grape but from different places. For example: a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a Sancerre (also made from Sauvignon Blanc) from France’s Loire Valley. Does one taste fruitier, the other grassier? Does one taste better with food, and the other better on its own? Which wine you prefer may indicate whether you’re old-school (Sancerre) or too cool for school (Sauvignon Blanc).

2. Contrast
Pour wines that are as different as possible, like an oaky California Chardonnay and a sweet German Riesling. Be sure to eat some food with the wines here, too. Especially after the comparative tasting, you’ll see how vastly different wines can enhance the flavors of the food you’ve served—or make your favorite artisanal cheese taste like it comes from a spray can. (High-alcohol, overly sweet wines can clobber food.)

3. Go High and Low
Find a cheap and an expensive wine from the same region—say, a $10 Bordeaux red and one that’s $25. Don’t tell anyone which cost more. Reveal this after everyone’s weighed in. The results are often surprising—and can be the source of friendly jibes for years to come.