Dry Diggings Distillery – Whiskey Tasting Adventure

This blog probably should have been WWWB…Wine Whisk WhiskEY & Bliss as it is no secret that I love my whiskey. What do you think my answer was when 2nd dad aka Mikey aka Uncle asked if I’d like to go whiskey tasting? Um, YES. Not only does this blog support local and small business but so does my entire family!

Y’all Dry Diggings Distillery is the Hogwarts of whiskey: magical, secretly hidden, and extremely educational. Nestled in the heart of El Dorado Hills this local business/distillery gave us one exciting afternoon. Now, if you’re a whiskey hater…..why are you here? Just kidding. In all seriousness there is a wide variety of spirits available at Dry Diggings and ALL made in house, AND the people running the show are incredible so go anyways for a fun afternoon and memorable experience!

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Please welcome Michelle, my aunt to the blog! She isn’t cooking anything on this post but she went along for the tasting because that’s just what family is for. Kyle and my amazing grandpa went as well but apparently we didn’t take pictures with them….oops. Next time! Mikey and I collab quite a bit you may remember him here & here. We continue! All of us in attendance being whiskey tasting virgins.

We take the short drive to the distillery and upon parking Michelle looks over at me from the backseat with bewilderment across her face and asks “is this it?!” Hogwarts. The distillery is located inside your run of the mill business building! It is totally awesome. We walk through the door, were immediately greeted with a smile, and continued down a short hallway that then transported us into the magical place of Dry Diggings Distillery.

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Our tasting was hosted by Darci and she was absolutely delightful. My family is loud, funny, the best(slightly biased), and memorable and Darci put up with us the entire time! Whiskey and spirits tasting is not what Michelle and I initially thought which was taking numerous shots of whiskey until you can’t remember your name. No, the tasting in TOTAL is only equal to about 1 and a quarter shots. You also can pick your tasting here from whiskey exclusively which is what Kyle chose or the rest of the party’s choice: a mixed flight of both whiskey and spirits. Darci loves where she works and we all could immediately tell the minute she began to explain each bottle, how the idea for it was conceived, the entire process from start to finish, and the uniqueness in taste for each whiskey/spirit. The love for the art of spirits and whiskey absolutely radiates here. I am not going to give too many of the secrets/facts/education away here(sorry) but I feel it is absolutely imperative to hear and experience in person. If you are in the Sacramento area…if you are in California make the drive to this amazing local business. I am telling you that you will not regret it.

Fun fact: Whiskey/Spirit tasting is totally different than wine tasting! Duh, right? Michelle and I are expert wine tasters but had quite the learning curve here and Darci walked us through every step of the way. A fun trick we learned was to breathe in, take a sip, and then breathe out to really capture aromas and flavors while tasting. We tasted an odorless and tasteless vodka….this is how vodka is supposed to be guys if done right. Interesting, right? We had a white rum, cherry brandy, rye whiskey(one of the favorites), an apple brandy lovingly referred to as Apple Jacks(also a favorite of the day), and plenty more whiskey. Darci had a memory for every drink she poured which made the afternoon personal as we in turn told stories and laughed until our hot jaws hurt. Christine, the owner’s daughter joined as well and had a laid back fun personality to match. The tasting itself takes just a little over an hour. We all bought at least 2 bottles for our homes, in addition to her two bottles Michelle got some ginger soda for moscow mules, I bought hot sauces, bloody mary mix, Apple Jacks, and Kyle got a whiskey, and Mikey bought the amazing vodka.

Overall this was a forever memorable day not only because I got to spend it with my family but by the time we left Dry Diggings they also felt like family. Anyone that doesn’t kick us out for crude jokes, asking for a coke with whiskey, likes camping, and puts up with us becomes family. An event you will surely not forget is spirit and whiskey tasting at Dry Diggings Distillery! Check them out and tell em I sent ya! The whole group is going back in October for the official tour so stay tuned! Also stay tuned as one day we’ll get grandpa and Mikey to go wine tasting!

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Wine @ 815

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There are three things I am exceptionally good at in life: cooking, writing, and wine tasting. The struggle with wine tasting (and I use struggle lightly because we all know I still get in my car and go) is that the nearest wine country is about 45 minutes from where I live. Amador County is where I go to giveaway all my money to grapes less fortunate than myself. Napa is about an hour and a half away, and so realistically reaching wine country is not too bad, but then Wine @ 815 moved in 5 minutes from my house. Girl, we are in trouble. Rayann and I did not walk we ran to see what this was all about.

From all stand points Wine @ 815 is genius.

Genius #1 – it is actual wine tasting in Historic Folsom. $5 per flight (5-6 tastings) which is extremely reasonable and tasting fees are waived if a bottle is purchased.

Genius #2 – Marketing. Wine @ 815 consists of 3 wineries: Rempfer Cellars, Fiddletown Cellars, Los Portales. Cross promotion makes me swoon, and these guys are doing it right. All 3 are local as well.

Genius #3 Atmosphere. I really just want to take my laptop and setup shop there while sipping on wine all afternoon, and I might actually get something done(probably not cause I totally love Lia the Tasting Manager). The shop is small but they have kept the floor plan open so the feeling of being in a tiny space never sets in. Dimmed lighting is key, because everyone looks better in dimmed lighting, right?

Genius #4 Make your own cheese board. Okay, so I almost never order cheese boards, because they always consist of cheese I can’t pronounce and I don’t want to look like a fool AND there are more creepy cheeses than anything else. 815 has changed the game, though. They have a tiny fridge filled with a wide variety of cheeses, pickles, olives, crackers, and snacks. You pick what you would like, pay for those items only, and grab a cheeseboard to eat off of. Unique and fun.

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Genius #5 Experience. I am not going to give too much away here, because wine tasting is really something that absolutely has to be experienced in person. I will tell you that I would have been more than happy to stay at 815 all day and chat with Lia. The education provided while tasting is the perfect blend as all highlights about each bottle, awards, and regions are discussed, but not so in depth that you need a full glass of wine just to be able to listen about the next. Having only 3 wineries provides a more in depth discussion for each pour, and each back story is extremely unique. Lia is fun, smart, and you can really tell she has passion for what she does.

The Wine. Have ya’ll just been waiting for me to talk about the wine? Shut up, Krystal and talk about wine. Okay, here is the main thing. Just go there. Seriously. I will tell you the most shocking reason you should take all your friends and go. Wine @ 815 is red. Red. Red. Red, and some more red. They did not have Los Portales in when I visited so I was only able to taste Fiddletown and Rempfer which are both red. Let’s be honest California is red. Krystal (me) is a white girl living in a red state, and I loved every.single.pour, AND bought with REAL money Rempfer Cellars Petite Sirah and my life was forever changed. I have been to Amador more times than I can count and I have NEVER brought home a red. I thought I would be the girl that loves bubbles and German wines forever, but I am very excited to say that my favorites are now changing thanks to 815. I will put the tasting flights below. I am not going to repeat the fun facts about either the wineries themselves or each wine because it is such an amazing experience to hear Lia tell you for yourself. I will be back. I might live there. I may have them on speed dial. Follow them on Facebook!

 

 

Grown Up Ramen

I am fairly confident that I ate Ramen in moderation growing up. I was not obsessed with it as so many people my age were. My husband would quite literally live off of Ramen if I allowed him to, and not the good Ramen you buy at a reputable restaurant but the crunchy noodles that come in plastic packages for .10 cents.

My fondest memory of Ramen comes from preparing a bowl of it with my aunt. My aunt always had the “cool foods” aka name brand foods AND real soda….these were cool things as a child, okay? I have no idea what we added to the crunchy packages of noodles that day to make them awesome, but I remember thinking how strange it was to add more food to an item that you are supposed to eat solo. Well, Ramen is not meant to be just noodles and broth I am well aware of that now.

Ramen comes down to the broth. If you are a hermit like me and stay at home most weekends it is perfect because the broth can simmer all day long. Or if you are not a hermit and also not afraid of your crockpot you can achieve the same goal. Winning! I made my own broth for this recipe, but I still used the crunchy noodles from the cheap plastic bags that only costs me .10cents….nothing else really compares.

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Recipe for Broth

6 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Miso Paste
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Ponzu Sauce
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Siracha
1 Yellow Onion Cut in Half (just throw it in)
4 Carrots (again, throw in)
3 Cloves Garlic
4 Stalks Celery
1/2 Jalapeno
*Simmer at minimum 4 hours…..6-8 is ideal*

Recipe for MY Ramen (pictured above)

Want to know what is so great about Ramen? You can put whatever you want in it! Whatever! Customize it to your liking, and if you do not like mine then do not make it that way. How easy is that?

Instructions

Boil crunchy weird noodles in broth for 5 minutes.

Toppings
Green onion
Sliced Jalapeno
Siracha
Sauteed Mushrooms
Bean Sprouts
Crispy Tofu (Put a cast iron skillet on top of extra firm tofu wrapped in a paper towel, you want to get as much moisture out as possible, and then slice, fry in butter/oil in cast iron skillet – done)
Black Sesame Seeds

 

Make some super weird Ramen like a grown up and tell me what you put in it!!!

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The “New Me” is already Here – Farewell 2016

I really did not want to be the typical person posting an end of year blog post, but here I am being all typical and shit.

I really only wanted to read today. I am about halfway through Tana French’s The Trespasser and it is beginning to get good. Yet, like 99% of my plans I never seem to follow completely through. I had tea and a pastry for breakfast #newyearnewme and sat at my kitchen table for over a half hour staring into space before I decided to even open the laptop. I still keep writing, sitting back, sighing “this is shit”, and continuing. What do I even have to say?

2016 was not awful to me. Shocker, I know. 2016 was a messy monster for most, but I’ve been battling monsters my entire life. I have looked a lot of fears in the face and so cheers 2016 but 17 may need to step it up. 2016 was my year of letting go, my year of the in-between, and my year of finding a center. I am not going to make any dumb resolutions either. You can choose to start or give up any time of the year do not let the overdose of champagne fool you.

I wrote a post earlier this year about living out the remainder of the year “in-between”. I wrote a book the previous year and it seemed to have stitched some old wounds for me, I wasn’t sure the direction I wanted to head next, I was not really hungry for much of anything, and I somehow someway came to acceptance with that. I had this clarity and it was one of the most beautiful moments of my year if not my life. I don’t always need a plan. I don’t always need to be spreading myself so thin. It is okay to just be living.  So, I lived this year.

I started this blog mainly to keep myself occupied, because we all know I wasn’t too serious about just doing nothing productive. I also absolutely need lists in my life like I need butter or wine. I know they are slowly killing me but they are necessities, dammit. The support for WWB has been overwhelming for me. It took 3 months to post my first article. I am a writer. I am proud of that. I just hate that it took me 25 years to accept my talent and share it. I let that fear go. I have found that people that have been through the most have the most to say. So, here we are blogging and cooking away. A small blog that has branched out to connect me with family, friends, strangers, new business’, new experiences, and most importantly a new outlook on my life.

Cooking, writing, cooking, writing, cooking, writing. If I could hold them both in each hand it’d be a juggle for which I love more. They are my center. I found my center this year. I always knew where those passions were – buried deep in my chest, but I was too busy trying to be successful, I was too occupied trying to prove to everyone around me that the sick girl can do it all. I spent years of my life doing just that. And, you know what? No one cared but me, no one noticed but me, because I may have healed some wounds but the stigma of disease and sick still stalk me like a shadow. I am not healed from those stigmas. Instead of gashed out wounds in my core, though they have shrunk to be like paper cuts between the webbing of my fingers. Sick. Disease. Lemon juice in said cuts. I have made progress because just 6 months ago I would have never let you read that. I would have written it, locked it far away, and hope to God no one ever found it. It’s okay to be hurt, and it is okay to be a work in progress.I never want to be complete. Some of these wounds I will choose to keep.

I still do not have a house, and I still do not know if I’d like to give up my life savings to obtain one just so I can work the rest of my life to pay it off or spend my fortunes on seeing the world. Although, yesterday, I had nothing to do at work at read about deep vein thrombosis and air travel and now I am convinced I am may die on a plane. Who knows? I am happy.

I still do not have a baby. I still do not want a baby. Kyle does not want a baby, because that is always the second question asked “but doesn’t your husband want children?” as if I would sacrifice my body and my decisions for my husband’s happiness. No thank you, sir. Find a new wife. We have our dogs and our little house. We both have a true and meaningful understanding that having one another is what brings us happiness.Not things. Not the American way. Our Life. Our way.

I still only need people in my life that support myself and Kyle. No longer are people allowed to just be blank spaces. Contribute and add something to the many things constantly rotating in our lives or leave. I have left so many people behind this year I feel practically weightless. I suppose as I go into 2017 the thing I feel the most is refreshed. I can breathe for the first time in 16 years.

These were my high points of 2016 and that is how I am going to choose to remember the year by.

Food for Thought 2016

  • Always be reading something
  • Do not eat shrimp
  • Keep all brides drunk
  • Bust your ass at work but leaving everything there after leaving for the day
  • Shop local and shop small business’
  • Have at least 2 dogs…..1 is never enough
  • Support everyone’s dream if they are brave enough to tell it to you
  • You will find the best moments of your life happening when you’re two glasses deep in champagne and eating a grilled sandwich for brunch
  • Butter
  • Mario Kart
  • Laugh until your temples hurt
  • Remember that whatever may ail you, whatever has ailed you speak about it, support research, and share your journey openly – I am not a sick girl, I am not a diseased girl. I am Krystal Renee

Cheers

 

Champagne Pops!

This doesn’t really need a “blog post” because it is seriously so easy, but I needed somewhere to put all my sexy/pretty pictures.

Champagne.

Popsicles.

To die for.

I used Outshine popsicles, and everyone should know my fave Ballatore champagne.

Hooooonaaaaay.

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This is like porn to me.

Farmers Market Soap – Rutherford Reserve – Review

In case it was not obvious or apparent I am big fan of all natural ingredients and the same standard applies to beauty and skincare products. I also am a big fan of farmers markets. Naturally, when a farmers market has skincare products I am going to buy them. In fact, usually when first arriving at a farmers market the first stands I look for are: dog related anything, soap, lotions, body scrubs, and cute hobo bags. There are plenty of stands with fruits and vegetables so they can wait as I wander around aimlessly looking for the above list.

This last weekend Kyle and I went to a new farmers market with some friends, and since the very first thing I bought was bandannas for my dogs I apparently “missed” the soap lady stand. I am just going to believe she wasn’t there the first time I walked by and was able to set up in the approximate 20 minutes it took us to walk around the court again, hence I never missed her….she just wasn’t there, because I would never miss or walk by the soap stand. Obviously.

I love anything Milk, Tea, Honey,Ginger, Almond, or Oatmeal scented (these are my top favorites I clearly have others). The skincare stand at this particular farmers market went by the name of Rutherford Reserve, and I will link all their info below because she has an Etsy shop so you do not have to be a Sacramento local to enjoy her products. I believe I was greeted by Karrie – the owner – I honestly was so excited to find her and the products I could not be 100% if that was her. No matter who it was that I met they were darling and helpful. I was told all the products were made by hand by her, and she had really different things that I had never seen before. She had fruit scented soaps, citrus, herbs, and your classics of course – lavender, oatmeal etc.She makes her own incense as well – which I will need to purchase the next time I run into her. I bought 4 soaps in total and I am sad to tell you I didn’t pick 4 different soaps because I was in LOVE with Ginger Milk Tea – oh my jesus – so I got two of those, 1 Lemon Delight, and 1 Red Clover Tea. I promise I will buy ALL the scents next time to review, but I was hypnotized by the Ginger Milk Tea I just could not help myself.

Enough blabbering – my final thoughts are below.

Aesthetics: I adore that these soaps remain rustic, they do not have clean cut edges and some of the pieces have chunks missing out of them – I adore it and love it. You can tell there are no dyes or anything artificial because the colors remain true to the ingredients. The lemon bar is almost completely white with some flecks of zest. Ginger Milk Tea (oh my god, again) is darker, and the Red Clover Tea is a beige with red and brown ribbons running through it. I think they are beautiful and love that they keep the natural look about them.

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Smell: I unfortunately have become a total scent snob in my aging years, and I will blame my grandmother for this as she is EXTREMELY sensitive to almost all things with ANY scent whatsoever. I am nowhere near that extreme, but I become very agitated if something works its way into my nostrils that my body does not enjoy, and so overwhelming or faked scents do not do well with me. The soaps are PACKED with scent, but not in a bad way at all. In fact, the remaining two that are not in my shower are sitting about 10ft away from me currently and every so often I can smell the lemon bar, but it’s a fresh and comforting smell. I used the Ginger Milk Tea in the shower about 6 hours ago and if I take my arm up to my face there is a faint reminder of the bar, and personally I like that faint scent. I do not like a soap where the scent sticks to your skin like glue, because if you are a woman that wears perfume ( I am not) the two could not agree with one another, and also I have found that the only soap products that stick to your skin all day are the artificially chemical loaded ones. Although I would like to bathe in Ginger Milk Tea 24/7 I don’t mind that scent lingers throughout the day to give me faint reminders but in no way overwhelming or “stuck” to me. All 3 soaps had the same scent pay off which is amazing because no matter scent you choose to buy you can assume consistency. The Lemon bar did not have more scent than the Red Clover Tea because they all are jam packed with flavor.

Use: When it comes to natural or homemade soap “use” is the make or break. I have tried so many homemade soaps and so many do not lather. These babies lather, and WELL. I was honestly impressed. When I find a shower product that smells amazing, does not make my sensitive skin break out, and doesn’t send me into an allergic reaction I tend to stick with it for life and use it for everything. I washed my body, I lathered it on my legs and then proceeded to shave. Lather was well done, and the moisture afterwards was there. Also, the ginger bar has bits of real ginger in it that act as a soft exfoliate which is just enough for my wimpy skin because salt and sugar are  generally too rough, and in some cases even bits of oatmeal which is what handmade soaps tend to use.  In case you don’t believe the “homemade” or “organic”skincare products you are buying are true an easy way to tell is if after you rinse off the product you get that “squeaky clean” feeling. Your skin feels this way because there isn’t a fine coating of chemicals making you believe your skin is as soft as a baby’s arse – guess what your skin isn’t that soft. Only babies get that precious skin – it’s all downhill from there.

Bottom Line: I want everything I own to smell like Ginger Milk Tea. These soaps did not cause my skin to panic at all, I felt moisturized, clean, and delish. I would and do recommend these to anyone. All associated links with Karrie’s company are below.
Also, I bought all these products myself. Maybe next time a giveaway perhaps?

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RutherfordReserve?ref=listing-shop2-all-items-count#items

 

 

 

Whiskey in the Summer

Wine.
Whiskey.
Beer.

Or Mikey’s Mai Tais.

These are about the only forms of alcohol you will ever see me drinking. Unless, it is someone’s birthday party and then fish bowls are mandatory. Also, margaritas but Tequila makes me pay for the laughs it provides in the most awful ways.

I have been meaning to make a whiskey cocktail for a loooooong time, but it is challenging for me because I am a whiskey sipper. Whiskey is my dirty little secret. I do not drink it often, but let me tell you if writer’s block sets in Whiskey comes along and knocks it the hell out of town for me. And, so as just I keep it under my belt for when needed. Whiskey is my confidence, and everyone needs confidence in the Summer to brave the deadly heat.

Make this. Drink this. Do not blame me when you punch someone for eating the last hot dog at the BBQ.

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Ingredients:
6 Fresh Lemons
1 small carton Fresh Blackberries
Simple Syrup (I have a blog post for this on Champagne Margaritas)
Jack Daniels – Honey (8oz)

I am a foodie so naturally I made my own lemonade which I of course strongly recommend. Also, if you end up using Honey Jack which I also insist you do….I have a very strong feeling if store bought lemonade was used this would come out FAR too sweet.
Just trust me.

First I blended the blackberries and then strained all the seeds, seeds are good in smoothies but not in cocktails over ice.

You will most likely end up slightly depressed as I was once straining the seeds because the amount of blackberry juice you will be left with is just sad. Yet, it does the trick.

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I do not have any pictures of me squeezing lemons, sorry. But, I did really squeeze all of those F’ers with my little arthritic hands so you can too!

I would imagine you can predict the next step is to mix everything together: simple syrup, blackberry and lemon juice —– whiskey.

All the ingredients including the whiskey filled a quart sized mason jar and would be equivalent to about 4 cocktails. Go have fun in the sun with these or whatever! I am staying the rest of the day inside, writing, and eventually wanting to beat Kyle in Mario Kart…….because I am awesome at that game.