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!

 

 

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.

The Cost of Staying Still….

What is the cost of staying still?

I think it’s an individual payment.

I have a coworker that is completely relocating. She lives in California, her family is in California, and she is moving to Arizona.

I truly have never envied someone much in my entire life.

I was overwhelmed with happiness for her, and I know it was a real emotion happening and not just lack of sleep as it has been 3 days since her telling me, and I still feel exactly the same way. Over joyed. Can you be so happy for someone but also incredibly envious at the same time? It sounds odd but I have never really experienced that sensation before. I don’t tend to surround myself with “jumpers” as I like to call them so maybe up until this moment I just had never experienced someone being able to make a life changing decision in an instant, be happy with it, pour concrete over it and just fly. I sure as hell have never done that. Yet, my entire life I have wanted to.

So, why am I staying still?

I think a lot about packing my bags and moving somewhere else. Constantly, if I am being completely honest here. I don’t think the urge comes from anywhere else but true sense of wander and lust for the world that is outside of my own. I would love to stand here at my kitchen counter and write that I am some kind of grand adventurer in my spare time, that I explore caves, and every other weekend Kyle and I venture off somewhere we have never been before. The truth is that I am too full of anxiety to be that adventurer. Buying a new brand of wine and ordering in pizza is a good adventure for me. I stress over holiday parties with family because…..people….because people say and do things that give me anxiety. And, so I stay. Not only in my comfort zone of my city, but the comfort of my home, and California forever my state.

I went back to my desk after coworker told me the news and I wanted to cry in joy for her. How absolutely free she was to just……go. She is going to pack a few suitcases, sell most of her possessions, get an amazing salary with the company, and just go exist in a completely different location than me. It sounds so stupid when you say it aloud. Yes, Krystal, people move. People pack things, get new jobs, move away from family and friends, and yes they still exist…if not thrive better than before. Real people do this all the time, and it is not some grand gesture or even a blog worthy post. Yet, to me….this week the thoughts have just consumed me.

The ironic thing is that I have been offered many jobs in our Arizona locations, and I have always laughed at them as if something like that would be so unbecoming of me, but really it’s just that it would be nothing like me to have the guts to do it.

This is also one of those topics that you can’t discuss with anyone really but your significant other. The decision has to be decisive, ground breaking, and you can’t tell anyone until you just know in your soul. People kill you with negativity. Baby Jesus, am I believer in that phrase.

“what about your family?” —  What about me?

“You will not like it there” — What if I love it there?

“You’ll be lonely” — So, I just cannot ever come home?

“It will be so much different….you won’t like anywhere outside California…..I have been too many states, Krystal.”   — But, I am not you.

 

Are you bored yet? Here is a picture of me cooking risotto…..dying of hunger and blogging in the kitchen…..which my husband hates….because I might spill something on the precious computer.

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I am trying to get so much better at repeating a few phrases in my head when faced with negativity especially from family, and one of them is But, I am not you. I never dare to say aloud as German blood runs deep and some people need to win arguments for the sake of winning, but I’m trying to remember the little phrases here and there so little things out of other people’s mouths don’t crack my foundation so easily.

You see, I think I have always been a dreamer but I am in a disabled body. It is not an excuse, but it is the truth.

I think I am the girl that wants to climb waterfalls, go canoeing, rock climb, and travel the world but growing up my body just would not give. Adults try to protect you from the harshness of life by being honest with you, I was never a dumb child, and my parents never tried to tell me I could not go outside between the hours of 10am-6pm because monsters were out…no they told me medications made me allergic to the sun. So, I stayed inside during the summer while others played fully knowing I was sick, handicapped, and 9. Along with honesty comes this harsh bitterness though. Because, I was a smart child and proved I could handle the truth of my disease. I often had to hear things I think quietly broke my spirit. I could hear people arguing about how I couldn’t go to Great America because I couldn’t possibly walk that long, or how shopping trips needed to be cut in half because I’d get too tired. No one ever lied, and sometimes now I wish they did.

I try not to believe it, but I think the real reason I have become a true grown up…..afraid to move, afraid to be different, and terrified to chase after what I really want in the world is because deep down I really do not believe enough in myself.

Why can’t I go to Hawaii? Who cares if I can’t hike for 8 hours, but only 4….because then I might be a burden. I am only being a burden to myself. Why can’t I go to do photo shoots along mountainsides? Because, what if I fall to my death? That happens to physically able people too, Krystal.

Step 1 for me is writing this blog. I am going to invest in it. This is my way of exposing my writing the way I choose to do so, because seriously guys I have hundreds of pages of nonsense just like this, and part of letting go of the anxiety of being a writer is to reveal that. These are my thoughts. I still get embarrassed even calling myself a writer…..like I am undeserving of the title….like it’s a belittlement to be a writer. Yet, I meet writers, strangers that call themselves writers, and same envious emotions overflow me. I love that they can say that. I love that they are free with the very thing that keeps them going…..because I know what it is to be a writer, and eventually you have to let all this go and out into the world, and let the eyes need it be able to absorb your words. So, this blog is my way of doing that.

My blog may not always be food, booze, or funny, but it will always be honest.

Because, being honest with myself is probably the first steps of many in forgiving myself, freeing myself, and unburdening myself.

P.S

I am not looking to move anytime soon, but now you know if I do…….it will be a complete surprise.

In ending, if you stuck around this long. What is the payment you are paying for staying still? Also, where should I go? I’m planning random trips this year and all the years to come. What should I see, eat, and do?

 

Bruschetta Remake

Wow, Krystal you made Bruschetta…..only the easiest dish in the world.

Yes, I know. Basically, I had this other genius idea that turned out to be a total fail. I made Gnocchi in a cheese sauce, so basically mac n cheese but substitute little potato balls for pasta. So, it was adequate. It was not awful and Kyle really liked it, but I just wasn’t impressed enough to post it to the Internet. So, where does Bruschetta come along? I made Bruschetta as a snack while waiting for my casserole thing to bake, and the Bruschetta was amazing.

Now, if you are a chef or a foodie like myself this post may not interest you, but if you are the person that never ventures outside the lines, or is intimidated by fancy dishes than STAY because this is so easy, quick, and delicious.

Bruschetta can be made in many different variations but traditionally it is tomato, basil, some olive oil, and place it all on top of some toasted bread. Simple. Amazing. Secret about me, I do not like fresh tomatoes on 99% of foods. Seriously, do not put it on my sandwich, a burger, a salad, NOTHING. But, I love cooked tomatoes, Bruschetta, and fresh diced tomatoes on top of a hot pizza. I KNOW IT IS WEIRD! Another Secret about me, I also do not like chocolate, OMG, seriously. Chocolate makes me sick, but I love brownies, especially the crunchy edges with vanilla ice cream. Weirdo Alert over here.

Shut up and get to the food.

My take on Bruschetta:

Ingredients
Tomatoes
Crunchy Bread (I used sourdough, use what you want)
Fresh Basil
Red Onion
Mozzarella
Balsamic Vinegar
BUTTER

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Here is where all the easy steps come in.

1. Cut and dice red onion, tomatoes, I know the picture above has garlic but I vetoed it last minute, roll your basil into a joint looking object and cut it that way to get cute little slivers. PS do not mock my knife skills in this particular dish, I was dying of starvation and could not give a crap.

2. Add Balsamic vinegar….the tiniest amount. I added sea salt, because tomatoes NEED salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, and please for the love of GOD do not get garlic powder and garlic salt mixed up as they are completely different. One is amazing and the other should be banned from grocery shelves everywhere.

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3. The fun begins, and this is where the remake happens. I had bought the fresh mozzarella originally for my gnocchi bake but decided not to use it. I cut the loaf of bread in half, slapped pats of butter on it, and topped it all off with the mozz. Slapped that bad boy in the over for 10 minutes, and it was just beautiful.

Watch.

Also, remember I am not a food photographer…..yet. So, yes you will see my wine slushie in the background there, and my protein pancakes which I cannot recommend enough.

 

Make this.