Drink of the Week: The Black Ginger

The Black Ginger.In the world of higher end hard liquor, it seems as if whiskey is the big man on campus these days. I say that because the relative new kids in the world of super premium booze — tequila and rum — often try to emulate whiskey just a little. I am not opposed. While it might be less than advisable for Richie Cunningham to go around in a leather jacket like the Fonz, many of these whiskeyish expressions are actually pretty interesting cross pollinations, retaining enough of their own essential character to be interesting.

So it is with Hornitos Black Barrel, this week’s intriguing free-booze-I-got-in-the-mail. It’s been aged in wooden barrels to give it a more woody and very slightly sweet flavor that will likely remind you of a decent rye or bourbon, while also making you think even more of a pretty good tequila. It works nicely in an Old Fashioned, which is always my test for just about any booze, but especially one that has whiskey aspirations.

As for this week’s recipe offered by the Hornitos people, it’s not the flat-out cocktail home run they offered for my July 4th post a few weeks back to promote their perfectly-good plata, but it’ll do if you like sweet, refreshing drinks with a small dash of complexity.

The Black Ginger

1 1/2 ounces Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
ginger beer (to top off)
1/2 ounce simple syrup or roughly or 2 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Get a collins or highball glass and place your sprig of rosemary in it. Muddle it gently — think of it as a love tap — to get a bit more of the flavor into your glass. Next, combine all the remaining ingredients, except for the ginger beer, in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into your glass, to which you have added fresh ice. Top off with the ginger beer of your choice.

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As I mentioned above, this drink is definitely not one for sweet phobics, but it’s not at all bad if you get one of the tangier ginger beers and use enough of it. Due to some confusion, I first tried this in a smaller rocks/old fashioned glass, and it wasn’t as good. Lesson learned.

The Black Ginger reminds me somewhat of a better than average tiki drink, minus a little exoticism, with the rosemary being a nicely subtle alternative to the mint you find more often in cocktails. (If mint’s totally your thing, by the way, the Hornitos folks are also promulgating their own version of a Mint Julep…which could be the perfect thing to have during one of the many years when Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo coincide.)

I tried the Black Ginger with a couple of different brands of ginger beer, which both worked fine. However, my first night out, I used some Verner’s ginger ale — which I thought might be fine because it’s the most-gingery of the well known commercial ginger ales. It wasn’t. I know that ginger beer, which is always non-alcoholic, is comparable in price to actual beer, but you need it for this drink. Proper cocktailing is not the cheapest hobby.

  

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Buyers Guide: What You Should Look for in Your New TV

Are you in the market for a new television? It’s the golden age for purchasing new sets, because the technology continues to evolve each year. Since the widespread adoption of HDTV, picking the right unit has become quite the challenge. Here’s a buyer’s guide to help you understand what to look for in a new television.

Size Matters

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The size issue applies in both directions. If you buy a large unit for a smaller room, you may discover that you don’t enjoy a perfect view of the entire set. If you place the HDTV five feet from your view area, any unit larger than 40” will cause this problem. Conversely, in a larger room, where you’ll position the television seven feet or farther away, you’ll want at least a 56” HDTV. Check a distance chart to verify the appropriate size for your needs.

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From the Park to the Penthouse: Classic Shoe Resurgence From Decades Past Rock

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Any guy who has a fun, outdoorsy personal life and a buttoned-up office job knows how difficult this polarity can be to balance. Sure, you know you can’t wear your vintage beer tee to that charity gala, and you also know you don’t break out your Cape Cod Oxfords for a day of tossing Frisbee with Fido. But since you do have a balance to maintain, why not treat yourself to all the shoes it takes to get the job done? Business, pleasure, and all things between these stark swings of the pendulum can be matched with all kinds of shoe styles from 20, 40, 60, or even 100 years ago.

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Behind the scenes with NASCAR on NBC

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“The first event I ever announced was a women’s gymnastics meet at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln,” said Rick Allen, lead announcer for NASCAR on NBC. “The guy who was supposed to do it didn’t show up. And I just happened to be hanging around, so I did it.”

As the then-reigning back-to-back Big Eight (now Big 12) Conference decathlon champion for the Cornhuskers, as Allen was in 1991 and 1992, why wouldn’t you be hanging around the women’s gymnastics team? If charisma was a sport, he’d still be leading the league.

Allen’s affable, smooth, confident tone on the air transitions just as easily outside of the booth to the confines of the NBC Sports tent where we talked about his job as the voice of NBC Sports’ rejuvenated NASCAR franchise.

“Nothing about this position is easy, but I am privileged and very excited to be here.”

Allen got his start announcing races at Eagle Raceway in Eagle, Nebraska after getting a degree in speech communications.

He joined Fox Sports in 2003 and served as play-by-play man for Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity races until last year. Former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton and former crew chief Steve Letarte join Allen in the booth.

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“At any one time, I have five people in my headset, whether it’s my producer, our spotter, our stats guys… all providing me with information to make the broadcast as engaging and understandable as possible for the fans watching it. And that is on top of the conversations I’m having in the booth, with Jeff and Steve.”

Allen isn’t just a mouthpiece who acts like he knows what he’s talking about; the authenticity of his interest and enjoyment of NASCAR is palpable as he speaks. He’s the voice of the franchise and is excited about helping viewers understand the intricacies of the sport with the second biggest audience base, trailing only the NFL.

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Social Network and Marketplace for Car Fanatics

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Where can car buffs, car clubs and industry insiders go to interact with other automotive fans? Where can you show off your custom, rebuilt 1967 Mustang GT you’ve been antsy to unleash? Can you say: Social Media? Admit it, a social media site like Facebook has been quintessential in helping thousands locate their long lost cousin, or reconnect with their high school sweetheart and that’s a good thing, if that’s your purpose. But what about the guy who just wants to find other Mustang enthusiasts, or the jalopy driver looking for recommendations on where to purchase her next car? Then there’s the girl who dreams of starting her own Car Girl Club.

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