About Rodney Brazil

Enjoying life, wine, and great cocktails.

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

Amazing Mustard Uses, Other Than on a Sandwich

From the ballpark to the kitchen table, mustard is the unsung hero of the condiment community. People take for granted its semi-spicy zing of flavor, and the way it can give a boost to even the blandest of sandwiches. The name “mustard” comes down to us from a Latin phrase meaning, “burning wine,” due to the fiery flavor mustard seeds added to ancient unfermented grape juice. Although I can’t imagine any situation where I would squirt a dollop of mustard into my glass of pinot noir, there are a number of amazing, unconventional mustard uses that can improve your everyday life. As if tasting awesome on a corn dog isn’t enough?

Mustard Seed Benefits

Mustard Seed Benefits

Yellow Mustard Seeds

Mustard seed contains selenium, which has been found to lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. It also contains magnesium, which is needed for healthy bones, muscle function, and has been shown to lower blood pressure in some studies. Even though prepared mustard dilutes these minerals somewhat from the original seed, your body will still absorb the nutrients from your lunch, and reap these mustard seed benefits. So go ahead, add a little extra mustard nutrition to your hoagie, and say to your wife, “It’s like vitamins, honey.”

Mustard for Burns

One of the best mustard uses is for burns. Since many minor skin burns occur near the kitchen stove, mustard can usually be found nearby. Although there are many home remedies for burns, such as a cold pack or oatmeal, many people who’ve tried it actually head for the refrigerator door first, and slather on a generous smattering of yellow mustard. Mustard for burns relieves the stinging almost instantly, and stimulates healing.

Soothe a Sore Throat

Mustard has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. One of the oldest apothecary tricks uses mustard to soothe a sore throat. Heat up about one cup of water, then stir in two tablespoons of mild mustard, a pinch of salt, some lemon juice, and a spoonful of honey (locally farmed honey, if it’s available). If you’re feeling especially daring, add half a shot of whiskey, too. Do the finger test to make sure the water is not too hot, then slowly sip your concoction until it’s gone. The taste won’t make you rush back for more, but it’s not terrible, either. It will soothe the pain of your sore throat, and the effect will last for a day or so.

Get the Smell Out of Containers

Mustard Seed Oil

Brown Mustard Seed

One of the oldest tricks in the book is using mustard to neutralize skunk smell. If you’re like me, though, I’ve been lucky enough to avoid the spray of the skunk. Mustard, however, is great for removing all types of odors. If you have a reusable plastic container or glass bottle, and the scent of the previous contents seems to linger inside, just fill it up with hot water and some mustard. Seal the lid, and shake it for a minute or so, then let it sit. After a couple of hours, pour out the mustard solution, and give it a quick rinse with soap and water. Almost any smell will have disappeared.

Mustard Face Mask

Remember all those times that your mom got fussy with you for having dry mustard on your face and she cleaned it off with a tissue soaked in her own saliva? Little did she know you were actually preserving your own youthful appearance. The vitamins and minerals found in mustard are great in all-natural face masks. Spread a bunch of mustard all over your face, let it dry for about 15 minutes, then rinse it off. You’ll have a smoother, brighter looking face. Part of the effects of a mustard face mask might be residual golden tones from the the yellow mustard, but who knows. Try testing a small area of your neck or jaw line before you do your whole face, because the stimulating benefits of mustard can be pretty intense to sensitive skin.

Relax Muscles & Soothe Sore Feet

Yellow Mustard

Mustard to Relax Muscles

People all over the world use mustard to relieve soreness. Many athletes carry around packets of mustard for leg cramps and tightness of the muscles. The vitamins and minerals, along with the vinegar found in prepared mustard, cause the nervous system to relax, and reduce cramping and muscle contractions. Just eat a tablespoon of mustard when you start feeling those muscles twitch. Mustard can also be used externally to soothe muscles. In fact, some synthetic topical pain relievers were designed to replicate the stimulating effect of mustard on muscles. To make a paste, use dry ground mustard, along with a little bit of flour and water, and an egg if you’ve got it, and stir it into a thick goop. Soak a piece of gauze or a washcloth in the mixture, and apply to the sore area. You can also mix dry ground mustard and salt into warm water to create a foot bath, or even a full body soak to sooth sore feet and relieve all-over achiness.

Mustard Oil for Hair Growth

Everyone loves great hair. It’s a signal of virility and coolness. Mustard oil, when used as a hair treatment, offers a number of benefits to help you get a more dapper ‘do. Whether you suffer from dry hair, or slow growing roots, mustard oil contains vitamins like beta-carotene, and fatty acids that strengthen hair follicles and stimulate growth on the scalp. Rubbing table mustard into your forehead won’t change the direction of a receding hairline, but many cultures have used mustard oil for hair growth through the millennia, and the tradition shows no signs of stopping.

Put it in a Cocktail

It might sound crazy, but yes, mustard can be used in a cocktail! A Bloody Mary cocktail is an easy home for mustard, since some recipes already call for horseradish. Sweet mustards, like Dijon, are also great in a shot of tequila. For the adventurous cocktail lover, try this recipe for Mustard Punch cocktails, which combines gin, lime juice, and brandy.

Mason Jar Condiment Dispenser

 

Develop Your Tailgate Party Game Plan

Getting the right game plan together for your tailgate party can have a huge impact: less work; more fun. Tailgating seems simple enough, and in some ways, it is, but packing up an entire backyard’s worth of lawn chairs, food, and grilling accessories can be trickier than it sounds. But tailgators, take notice! We’ve got an awesome list of tailgate party ideas, just in time for the season. From outdoor gear to tailgate accessories, these great tips will get you all the way to the playoffs.

Pack Supplies Inside Your Other Supplies

Tailgate Party Tips

A truck full of kids, food, and outdoor gear doesn’t leave a lot of storage room left to spare. Economize on space by packing your tailgating supplies inside other supplies. Fill a beer mug with condiments. Tuck flashlights into your folding lawn chairs. Shove a stash of beef jerky into your toolbox. As an added bonus, when you store things in unexpected places, only you hold the knowledge necessary to find the hidden treasure, leaving everyone else at your mercy, and more beef jerky to gnaw on when the kids aren’t looking.

Put Everything in Party Cups

Tailgate Party Tips

Disposable party cups are commonplace at a tailgating party, and with good reason. They are lightweight, stackable, and shatterproof. However, disposable party cups won’t keep beer cold for very long. If you are fan of the ubiquitous red Solo cup, opt for the sturdier, reusable, high capacity alternative for your beverage, and put everything else in the throwaways. Plastic forks, napkins, toothpicks, peanuts, straws, and all sorts of small items can be hard to manage outside. A plate full of potato chips will go flying in the wind, but a plastic cup full of chips firmly planted in a deserving hand will stay right where you say. You can serve everything from watermelon to chicken wings in a disposable plastic cup, so be sure to pack plenty.

Cooking on a Stick

Cooking on a stick

It wouldn’t be a tailgate without cooking food over an open flame. While steaks and hamburgers are never a bad choice, cooking food on a stick is fun for the entire family, and gives you more time to relax and enjoy the game. Hot dogs and marshmallows are a start, but chicken strips, shrimp, potatoes, and corn on the cob all cook perfectly when skewered and held over a fire. Extra long roasting sticks are great, because you can stand further away from the heat while your food gets charred and delicious.

Make a Bucket of Jello Shots

Bucket of Jello Shots

Jello shots are a hit every time, but fussing around with trays of little sticky cups is too much of a hassle on the go. Smart tailgators opt for the bucket of jello shots. Just mix up one huge batch of jello and alcohol, pour it into a party bucket or large container, refrigerate, and you’re done. Party goers can scoop out the gelatin with disposable plastic cups, and shoot away. It’s a little messy, but hey, that’s why we brought the portable handwashing station.

Set Up a Portable Handwashing Station

Portable Handwashing Station

Some party ideas have more to do with maintenance than the actual party. As any tailgate party progresses, messes and spills are inevitable. With no access to running water nearby, it’s good to have some clean up plays in your game plan. Take a used, disposable laundry detergent dispenser, fill it with water, and presto! A portable water faucet, complete with handle, ready to rinse hands, feet, and cooking utensils. You’ll want to wash the container out thoroughly to remove any traces of detergent, but after a few minutes with the garden hose and an overnight soak, you should be good to go. Many laundry detergent jugs hold over a gallon of liquid, which should be plenty of water for a few hours of tailgating. It might taste a little like soap, though, so don’t plan on drinking it.

Hide Booze from Your Friends

ways to sneak alcohol

Friends are great. We all want lots of friends to make life more fun. But friends will also drink your alcohol without asking, and sometimes all of it. You stay silent because you don’t want to be a party pooper, so you need some great ways to sneak alcohol during your tailgate. May we recommend hiding a stash of booze in a stealth container like our binoculars hidden flask. It even holds two types of liquor, so you can be ready for anything. When you need to sneak a swig, just put the binoculars around your neck, and say, “I’m going over there to do some bird watching!” And no one will follow you, because bird watching, really? All the while you slip away with your own private stash of booze while your friends fight over your last can of beer.

Sneak Booze into the Game

how to sneak booze into a stadium

Once in awhile, tailgating is interrupted by someone who appears out of nowhere with an extra ticket to the game. Should this occur, be prepared to sneak a few drinks into the stadium with the help of a flask hidden inside a sports seat cushion. A durable vinyl pouch is housed withing a real functioning stadium cushion. Just plop it down on the bleachers, take a seat, and when you are ready for a refill, unzip the side panel to get access to an easy release nozzle. The foam of the seat cushion even provides insulation to the liquid inside. With practice, you’ll be able to sneak this play by even the toughest ref.

 

13 Ingenious Uses for Sriracha You Need To Know

Sriracha sauce is one of the hottest condiments around, and not just because it’s spicy. This sweet hot sauce has been available for decades, found on tables in barbecue shacks and Asian restaurants everywhere. But what is sriracha sauce? Named after the island in Thailand where it was created, sriracha sauce, sometimes known as “rooster sauce,” is a particular hot sauce recipe featuring chili peppers, distilled vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, and occasionally a few other spices.  This unique flavor combination has acquired legions of devoted fans who cringe at the idea of having any other hot sauces on their food.

As sriracha has grown in popularity, new uses for this hot sauce have naturally been found. From the best ways to kick-start your food, to medicinal uses, here are 13 ingenious uses for sriracha sauce that you need to know.

Add to Eggs

Eggs with sriracha hot sauce

The perennial breakfast favorite, eggs, has always suffered from one thing: bland flavor. There’s many solutions, such as salt, paprika, cheeses, and salsa, but you haven’t truly tasted amazing eggs until they’ve been topped with sriracha. For scrambled, while you are whisking together your eggs and milk, add a pinch of salt and one tablespoon of sriracha chili sauce for every two eggs. Scramble as normal, then get ready for a plate of eggs so tasty you may never turn back. If you’re preparing your eggs any other way, just squirt some over the top.

[space_20]

Mix with Ranch Dressing

We’ve seen ranch dressing on tons of different things, from cornbread stuffing to pepperoni pizza. In some ways, sriracha is the new ranch dressing. When the two are mixed together, you double the possibilities. Sriracha ranch is great on tuna salad sandwiches, egg sandwiches, french fries, your fingers, and the list goes on. Use two parts ranch dressing to one part hot sauce, mix thoroughly, and you’re golden.

Stir into a Bloody Mary Cocktail

bloody-mary-with-sriracha

The age-old hangover cure and favorite of people who like to drink before noon, the Bloody Mary cocktail, just got better. You can start with Bloody Mary mix, or just simple tomato juice. Add one tablespoon of sriracha, and then your vodka. Stir it all together with a celery stick or giant pickle, and you are ready for brunch. You can add as much hot sauce as you like, and if your cocktail gets too spicy, just add more vodka!

[space_40]

 

Make Boring Soup Taste Better

Canned soup sometimes tastes more like the can than it does any kind of soup. Even a tiny dash of sriracha will take the flavor of any bowl of soup from boring to beautiful.

Keep Cats Off of Your Furniture

Keep Cats Off of Your Furniture

Have a cat who won’t stop scratching at your wooden coffee table? Smear on a little sriracha to his favorite scratching zone. The spiciness will get on the cat’s claws, and the flavor will deter them from scratching the same surface again. Don’t worry about your cat getting sick from the spiciness. If it makes you feel better, just set a bowl of beer on the ground. Drinking beer always helps me when I eat something spicy.

[space_20]

 

Add to Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

Shrimp cocktail is a party favorite, but store bought cocktail sauces can all start to taste the same. Make yours stand out by adding a dash of sweet chili sauce. Your guests will still recognize that signature cocktail shrimp flavor, but find an unexpected kick from your secret ingredient, as well.

Add to your Popcorn

sriracha-on-popcorn

This amazing idea is actually two in one. Popcorn is a great crunch snack that’s tasty and easy to make.  You can take it to the next level by adding sriracha for a spicy sweet treat. There are two recommended techniques, and you should try both.  First, you can stir together one tablespoon of sriracha with 1/3 cup salt, then spread out on a plate and let it dry. After a few hours, you’ve got a flavor-infused salt that can be sprinkled over popcorn, or anything else you want. Alternately, you can melt 1/3 cup of butter, then mix in 1 tablespoon of sriracha, and pour this beautiful buttery mixture over your fresh, hot popcorn. Prefer to go four star spicy? Use both!

[space_20]

 

Natural Pain Relief

Peppers and vinegar have been central ingredients in home remedies for centuries, and the magical sriracha sauce has both. Whether you’ve got a bruise, muscle aches, or an insect bite, rub on a little hot sauce for instant pain relief. The capsaicin in the peppers, along with the soothing qualities of the vinegar, will relieve minor topical aches and pains without the need for a trip to the pharmacy. Careful to avoid open wounds, though. Even though the vinegar has antiseptic properties, the thought of rooster sauce running through my veins is just weird.

Use as a Fruit Topping

If you are looking for an interesting way to enjoy tasty, healthy fresh fruit, look no further than your kitchen cabinet. Sriracha sauce is great on pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, and all sorts of berries. You can mix it into a fruit salad, or just squirt it onto individual pieces as you go. The pepper flavor brings out the sweetness in the fruit, and it’s way healthier than sugary chocolate coatings.

Mixing with a Vodka Shot to Relieve Congestion

Sriracha Vodka Shot

Wheezes and sneezes and chest congestion are a common side effect of allergy season and the common cold. If you want to knock some of that mucus out of your sinuses, and get a little kick in the process, mix a half tablespoon of sriracha into an ice cold vodka shot. The spice will clear up your nasal passages, and the alcohol will sooth your chest. Don’t pretend you’re at a college party, though. Too much sriracha at one time can cause stomach irritation. One shot should be plenty, anyway.

[space_20]

 

Make Your Own Breakfast Sausage

Little known fact: breakfast sausage is just ground meat with seasoning in it. You can take any kind of ground meat, including pork, chicken, or turkey, and turn it into sausage just by adding a tablespoon of sriracha for every pound. Thoroughly mix it in a bowl before cooking the meat, and if you have some dried sage, and a teaspoon of that, too. Cook as normal, and then tell your family you are treating them to your very special “homemade” sausage.

Add to Left Over Mac & Cheese

Sriracha Mac and Cheese

Left over mac & cheese is a staple in my refrigerator. When I finish my last helping, I usually reach for a pot to make another batch. It’s an easy comfort food that stays good in the fridge for several days. Cheese, though, can loose some of it’s flavor after it’s been reheated, so try refreshing your leftover noodles with a splash of sriracha. You can even stir it in with some fresh grated cheese, and your leftover mac will be as good as new.

[space_20]

 

Make It Yourself

Making hot sauce is incredibly easy, and primarily involves combining ingredients most people keep on hand. Learn how to make hot sauce with this great homemade sriracha recipe, then experiment to create your own signature version.

 

Block Party Bingo Outdoor Game

Summer is the season of grilling, tailgating, and endless fun in the sun. We’re always looking for great outdoor party ideas, so we created a great party game for adults that will keep you laughing well into the fall: Block Party Bingo.

This printable party game is perfect for block parties, music festivals, fairs, or anywhere a crowd of neighbors and strangers come together for outdoor drinking and fun. Whether it’s that annoying neighbor who incessantly talks to everyone at the block party, or that girl who thinks a bikini top is an appropriate shirt, you’ll have fun picking these easy-to-spot situations in any crowd. Turn it into a drinking game, and take a shot every time you spot something, or chug every time you get five in a row. Try to get to blackout before you black out! After a few bingos, this will easily become one of your favorite outdoor party games.

Block Party Bingo

Print this Block Party Bingo game card, or pull it up on your mobile phone. Take a look at each square, and find as many as possible at your outdoor party. Play by yourself, or with friends. You’ll have a blast either way. Do you know other party games for adults that you think we’d enjoy? Tell us about it in the comments below.

The Evolution of the American Man

From the primitive days of hunting for food, discovering fire and retreating to the cave, to the 21st Century days of ordering in, firing up the barbecue and chilling in the man cave, how much has the American man changed over the years?

To see how the average modern American man lives today, we created a survey, and put our questions to the men folk in a bid to find out how they live in their natural habitat.

Man vs beer

Evolution of the American Man

Man has always enjoyed relaxing with a chilled beer with his fellow men folk, but did you know that 11% of men in the US have at least one alcoholic drink every night? The majority of men taking part in the survey (25%) said that they drink alcohol one night a week with a further 21% saying they cracked a cold one at least two nights a week.

So which part of the US has the most beer-guzzling males? According to respondents, the West boasts the highest number of drinkers, where just over 15% of men enjoy at least one drink every night.

Man vs beauty

Evolution of the American Man

Man is strong. Man is brave. Man takes pride in his appearance. Yes, now more than ever, man is perfecting his beauty regime with a fifth of US males keeping their skin super-soft by moisturising as part of their daily routine. Man must also take care of his nails, as 11% of men said they had a regular manicure (and a further 10% said the regularly enjoyed a pedicure).

The 21st Century has spawned a new breed of man: the metrosexual. Men in the West of the US polled highest for their comprehensive grooming routines, which included daily moisturising, styling their hair and regularly enjoying a relaxing mani-pedi. 25-34 year old males were the most image conscious, taking more care in their appearance than any other age group.

Man vs relationships

Evolution of the American Man

The modern man can be picky when it comes to selecting a mate. Apparently, many men prefer not to have a long-term partner and keep the whole mating thing pretty casual. In fact, over a third of US males admitted to having had at least one one-night stand in their lifetime and over a fifth of men in the US said that they would rather be single than in a relationship.

For many men, no mate can replace their first love: sport. Over a fifth of US men said they much preferred sports night over date night. Speaking of first loves, the survey found that romance is of the most significance for the 25-34 year old male, with 56% of US men in this age bracket claiming that they are romantic all the time.

Younger men, aged 18-24 do not waste their time with unmanly ordeals such as romance, with only 27% of men in this age group claiming they are romantic. Younger men are more likely to lie about their activities in the bedroom, with a quarter of 18-24 year olds admitting that they have lied about the amount of people that they have slept with.

So it would seem that while the American man has not really evolved beyond his once primitive urges in the bedroom department, man has evolved to keep his facial hair trimmed, his hair styled, nails perfectly manicured and his skin moisturised and smooth.

 

How to Make Adult Kool-Aid Cocktails

Nothing brings back childhood memories faster than seeing a kid run by with a bright red Kool-Aid mustache. That cold, refreshing sweetness, served up by the half gallon in the kitchen refrigerator. After hours of bike riding and running in breathless circles, a quick shuffle across the linoleum floor to reach for the big pitcher of brightly colored tropical punch is all we needed to refuel for another couple of hours. Becoming a grown-up creates an endless list of new options in life, but it usually closes the door to the simple pleasure of guzzling sugary drink mixes. Until now. Here it is: Adult Kewl-Aid.

How to Make Adult Kewl-Aid

These easy party punch recipes are great for celebrating youthful spirit, but soaked with booze, and therefore mixed for adults only. And as adults, we’ve earned the right to enjoy fruity alcoholic drinks with pride, and even sport a colorful mustache as a badge of honor. Each adult Kool-Aid cocktail recipe is inspired by a classic combination, but much easier to make in large batches. So whether you’re looking to save time with an easy party punch, or just want to enjoy refreshing Kool-Aid cocktails for your own trip down memory lane, these easy mixed drink recipes will turn any day into Funday.

Tropical Punch + Rum

Tropical Punch Kool Aid Cocktail with Rum

Of all the Kool-Aid flavors, tropical punch is the most popular. Not only because it brings together tasty fruit and citrus flavors, but because bright red is the quintessential Kool-Aid color. Follow the package directions to make a gallon of ice cold tropical punch, and mix with a liter of rum for a perfect treat at any summer party. With a flavor combination similar to a Hurricane cocktail, these are great big batch party drinks. If you want to get extra fancy, try garnishing this Kool-Aid cocktail with fresh cherries, and orange wedges.

Green Apple + Tequila

Green Apple Kool Aid Cocktail with Tequila

When figuring out how to make party punch, it’s always good to experiment. We found green apple flavored Kool-Aid at the store, and decided to give it a try. The flavor and color are reminiscent of sweet and sour mix, so tequila is the perfect companion. Aside from the fun your guests will have making jokes about the effects of drinking something bright green, the unmistakable tequila and fruity Kool-Aid flavors mix well, and aren’t too far off from the apple margaritas you find in some restaurants. You can go weak or strong with this one, but you want to keep it really cold, so use lots of ice. This easy party punch is also great to throw in the blender with some ice, and mix up a frosty frozen drink.

Orange + Whiskey

Orange Kool Aid Cocktail with Whiskey

Okay, hear us out on this one. Orange flavored Kool-Aid and whiskey are actually awesome together. One of the all time classic cocktails, the Old Fashioned, combines orange and whiskey flavors, and this Kool-Aid drink recipe follows suit. There’s no need to go top shelf with the whiskey, and bourbon or Canadian blends work best. We also recommend making the orange Kool-Aid a little weaker than the package directions, because the flavor is strong, and you want to get a good balance. One gallon of cold Kool-Aid mixed with one liter of whiskey should be your starting point, but you can tinker with the actual proportions to suit your own taste. Cherries and oranges make a great garnish here, too.

Grape + Vodka

Grape Kool Aid Cocktail with Vodka

If you think about it, grape flavored Kool-Aid is like the little brother to tropical punch. Grape sits around, letting Tropical get all the attention, then when Tropical leaves the room, everyone whispers to Grape, “You’re actually my favorite.” There’s not a signature drink that uses grape flavored anything, so it’s vodka’s turn. Vodka is great because it adds the booziness you need for adult Kool-Aid, but won’t mess up that classic grape taste. Of all the alcoholic punch recipes, this one brings out the most smiles. Who doesn’t love grape Kool-Aid?  The purple color sets it apart, making a visual splash as well. Don’t worry about a garnish on this one. That would be silly.

Bonus Recipe: Shots

Kool-Aid mix will quickly and easily turn any bottle of alcohol into tasty shots. The process is quite simple. First, open the bottle of booze. Next, pour in any amount of dry drink mix. Screw the lid on again and shake it up. Finally, pour it into shot glasses. Poof, done. If you’ve got time, you can even use an ice mold to make shot glasses out of frozen Kool-Aid. Enough already. Let’s go drink the Kool-Aid!

Drink the Kool Aid Cocktails

 

No Sweat Guide to the Las Vegas Bachelor Party

The bachelor party is a rite of passage for all men headed into  matrimony. A way of saying goodbye to the single life, but also a chance to celebrate the pending nuptials with close buddies. Although a good stag party can happen anywhere, there’s nothing quite as exciting as a Las Vegas bachelor party. Bright lights, inescapable music, and seedy glamour all contribute to an atmosphere that enhances a night (or weekend) of faux debauchery. So whether you are a best man searching for bachelor party ideas, or a newly engaged couple planning an epic Stag & Doe Night, here’s a few pointers when it comes to awesome bachelor parties in Vegas.

Book an awesome suite.

Awesome Las Vegas Suite

Nobody wants to travel hundreds of miles, get to Vegas, and sit around some guy’s living room that you found on Air B&B. Booking a great suite is absolutely essential for party success. Hotel suites in Las Vegas are like celebrity penthouse apartments for for a fraction of the price, and have an assortment of amenities perfect for any group. Hot tubs, wet bars, breakfast service, and ginormous-screen TVs are just the beginning. Many suites have huge windows that overlook the Las Vegas strip, and a view of the Sin City lights beneath the dark desert sky will get your heart pumping with enough adrenaline to go all night. Get a suite large enough to sleep everyone in your group without anyone assigned to the couch. You’ve gotta have a crash pad!

Start drinking immediately.

High Roller Martini Glasses

As soon as you unlock the door to your hotel room, start drinking, if you haven’t already. If you’ve booked a good suite, there will be an ice bucket with champagne waiting for you, but if not, come prepared with booze of your own. Don’t get carried away with Fireball shots before you’ve even unpacked your sunscreen, but having a toast to the groom upon arrival will get things started on the right foot. If you’re planning to crack open the minibar anyway, we recommend shaking up a Sidecar cocktail, paying homage to classic Las Vegas nightlife.

Find a great party pool.

author: Adam Kliczek, http://zatrzymujeczas.pl (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

photo: Adam Kliczek

Your hotel is likely home to several pools. Some are full of family fun with water slides and pool noodles. Skip these. As soon as you’re unpacked, slip on your swimsuit, some SPF 45, and find an adults-only party pool, which will include a swim-up bar and no posted rules regarding four letter words. This is a rudimentary element of the Las Vegas bachelor party. Now that you’re in Vegas, it’s important to get a little sun, settle into the climate, and get some relaxation before heading out for an all nighter. Nobody wants to be the first one to go down.

Get reservations at the best restaurants.

Las Vegas Restaurants

Nutrition and sustenance are key, and if you want to get a taste of the best food Las Vegas has to offer, you’re going to need to make a reservation before you get there. Sure, the buffets are great, and there’s no shame in shuffling over to one of the hotel restaurants for the blue plate special, but Vegas is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, with menus created by top American chefs. Making your dinner reservation is probably the first thing you want to do, right after booking your hotel suite. No take home boxes, guys, just clean your plate.

Two words: indoor skydiving.

indoor skydiving

Not everyone is a daredevil. Some of your friends will freak out when you say “skydiving.” Indoor skydiving, however, is a one-of-a-kind experience not offered in most cities. Indoor skydiving is less risky than jumping out of an actual plane or helicopter, but the exhilaration is just as intense. If one of your buddies wants to sit this one out, it’s okay. Tell him to stay up in the suite and enjoy a glass of rosé.

Relax on the golf course.

Las Vegas Golf Course

Not everyone can play golf, but anyone can enjoy Las Vegas golf courses. Cruising around the hot desert, narrowly avoiding cacti and huge lizards is the closest you’ll ever come to being Indiana Jones, not excluding the indoor skydiving. There are so many beautiful courses that you can almost draw straws as to which one will be the best. This is another area where it’s good to plan ahead, but you can usually squeeze in a short round, even last minute.

Go gambling, of course.

Las Vegas Slots

This one almost goes without saying, but for those of you who will create a spreadsheet, with a column for each day and a row for each waking hour, we didn’t want you to forget. Spend at least a little time out on the casino floor. You’ll snag some free drinks, and likely run into a ton of other people having a really great time. If you had bachelor party shirts made, continue not wearing them. It was a terrible idea anyway. Between slots, cards, roulette, and all of the other games, there’s a table for everyone in your group. And who knows? If someone hits the jackpot, maybe you can stay an extra day or two. Or at least compel him to buy a few rounds later on.

Hit the clubs.

up in the club

This is the part that everyone will remember. A group of buddies going out, bar hopping, dancing, and having the time of their life is where true friendships are permanently sealed. Go online and make a mental list of all the clubs you want to check out. You’ll find lots of suggestions on the best bachelor party locations. Be flexible, though, because you never know where the night will lead you. One best practice, though: Find a couple of clubs that are walking distance from your hotel, and go there last. Inevitably, you’ll have a couple of buddies that are ready for bed before the rest of your posse, so being close enough for them to get back safely removes any worry or late night planning for the rest of the group. It might be the city that never sleeps, but for humans, that doesn’t turn out as well.

9 Celebrity Burger and Beer Pairings

Sitting down to enjoy a tasty hamburger is one of life’s great pleasures, and cracking open a cold craft beer is another. When burgers and beer come together: magic. It’s a classic combination that can be enjoyed at sporting events and backyard parties everywhere. While there’s no shame in enjoying a burger from a cart and beer from a plastic keg every now and then, we prefer to do our taste buds justice with juicy, mouth watering burgers piled high with fresh toppings, and washed down with the best brews available.

We wanted to find out what some of the top beer and restaurant celebrities in the US had to say about the best beers to compliment our favorite burgers. We turned to authors, chefs, teachers, entrepreneurs, and the industry’s best bartenders to give us their expert advice on pairing beer with food. Check out this stellar list of the best beer pairings to enjoy alongside your favorite kind of burger, so the next time you fire up your grill or head to your favorite local restaurant, you can give your tasty burger the perfect companion.

Chili Cheese Burger

Ryan Newhouse Beer Recommendations

Ryan Newhouse

For a chili cheese burger, traditional lettuce and tomato are put aside, in favor of country-style chili, cheddar cheese, jalapeno slices, sandwiched into a buttered and toasted white bread bun. Ryan Newhouse, author of Montana Beer: A Guide to Breweries in Big Sky Country, and writer for Montana Beer Finder says you need a versatile beer to pair with all these strong flavors. “Obviously, there will be a spice-forward flavor from the jalapeno slices and chili, and the beef and cheese will give us not only saltiness and richness, but a much-desired umami taste sensation. This combination, for me, begs for a Sam Adams Boston Lager. This Boston Brewing Company beer is a classic Vienna lager, meaning it has low hop aromas, a clean lager characteristic, and a dry finish. The softness of Vienna or Munich malts keeps it from becoming overly sweet. Plus, there is history at work here,” Newhouse explains. “In the 19th century, several Austrian brewers relocated to Mexico, bringing with them the Vienna lager (also known as the Amber lager). The style became very popular with traditional, spicy Mexican dishes.”

“The cheese and beef in the chili cheeseburger pair well with darker roasted grains because of the food’s protein umami. Umami intensifies the taste of salt and sweet, so pairing a Vienna lager with cheese and beef makes the beer a touch sweeter and the cheese/meat a touch saltier, which then makes a match made in heaven.”

Bacon Cheeseburger 

Jon Richards - Beer Recommendations

Jon Richards

Ah, yes! The ubiquitous American bacon cheeseburger. Featuring a heap of crispy bacon and thick slices of American cheese, you can hardly taste the mayo and onions. For this beer pairing, we turned to Jon Richards, a Cicerone certified beer server and instructor for GS University: Beer 101 at The Greenville Growler Station in Greenville, SC. Richards says, “Most American browns have just enough roast to bring out a touch of smoke to pick up the charred flavor of the meat and just enough hops to cut through greasy food, this makes them a near perfect combination for your basic burger.”

“For this burger, I recommend Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale.  It’s a medium-bodied, chocolatey brown with enough gusto to handle a burger; and the burger, especially the smoked bacon, will really pull the smokiness out of the beer and showcase it, helping to dry up the beer.  There’s just enough bitterness and carbonation to cut through the richness of the burger and let the flavors of the meat and the bacon settle onto your tongue, and the beer isn’t afraid of the onions either; it’ll face down their sharpness and keep them from overwhelming any other flavor in the mix. If you can’t find Ellie’s Brown, then your favorite local brewer’s brown will probably do nicely.  A lot of American brewers are starting to remember browns and doing a bang-up job while they’re at it.”

Grilled Onion Burger 

Keith Wallace - Beer Recommendations

Keith Wallace

Grilled onion burgers are a staple in roadside restaurants and greasy spoons everywhere, but they are slowly making their way onto more sophisticated menus as well. In addition to caramelized grilled onions, you’ll typically find melted butter, mustard, Swiss cheese, and, if you’ve stopped somewhere nice, a hearty wheat bread bun. Keith Wallace, author of Cooked & Forked: Four Seasons of Eats and Drinks, and president & founder of The Wine School of Philadelphia says the best beer would be Dale’s Pale Ale, made by Oskar Blues Brewery.

Wallace pointed out, “It works because it has a crispness that works really well as a counterpoint to the tang of the mustard. Its also got enough carbonation [to] refresh the palate after each mouthful of delicious beefiness.  The onion, well, that doesn’t go well with beers that are too hoppy, which is why I opted for the Pale Ale, which has enough hops to give it a citrus and floral finish, but no more.”

Turkey Burger

Jonathan VanSleet - Beer Recommendations

Jonathan VanSleet

Once merely a novelty of the 90s low-fat craze, turkey burgers have made quite a splash in recent years. For eaters looking to occasionally substitute red meat with poultry and fish, turkey burgers are a favorite. A ground turkey patty is commonly seasoned with salt & pepper, topped with romaine lettuce, tomato slices, and fresh red onion. You’ll usually find a yogurt dressing, maybe cucumber, and provolone cheese with a multi-grain bun. Chef Jonathan VanSleet of the hugely popular MexiBBQ kitchen and draught in Astoria NY  recommends a wheat beer. The best wheat beer for this job is Blanche De Bruxelles, which he said is available at most places.

If you can’t track down this Belgian style ale, VanSleet recommends the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, which is a Hefeweizen style beer.

[space_20]

 

Veggie Burger 

Paul Greenberg - Beer Recommendations

Paul Greenberg

Even though they get a bad rap, veggie burgers done right are packed with farm fresh, local ingredients and a huge amount of flavor. Some of the most popular toppings include fresh spinach, fresh arugula, thick tomato slices, bean sprouts, and oil & vinegar dressing. Top up with a multi-grain bun and you’ve got lots going on in every bite. Paul Greenberg, co-owner and founder of the renowned American Social  bar in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, recommends a lighter beer, “depending on the season.”

He compares the veggie patty to a turkey burger, suggesting, “…in the summer, enjoy a Saison / Farm House Ale. They are brewed in the winter and consumed in the summer and have a fruity aroma and flavor. Think of craft beers like wine, if the dish is lighter (chicken, fish or veggie based), consume something to balance out those flavors.”

Hickory Barbecue Burger

Keith Winter - Beer Recommendations

Keith Winter

Less common than some of our other tasty burgers, the hickory barbecue burger, or “Theta Burger” as we call it in Oklahoma, is covered with grated cheese and hickory sauce, which includes the deep, rich flavors of smoked hickory wood. Our resident beer expert, Keith Winter, founder and CEO of HomeWetBar.com, says the best beer is Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro.

“The nitro used to carbonate the beer gives it a more creamy texture in the mouth, potentially offsetting any heat from the BBQ sauce, while this smooth drinking stout cleanses your palate of any lingering BBQ flavors,” Winter says.

Burgers and Beer

California Burger 

Jackie Dodd - Beer Recommendations

Jackie Dodd

Famous for its thick slices of fresh avocado, the California burger is a perfect pocket of grilled ground beef, fresh lettuce, tomato, and Monterey Jack cheese. Jackie Dodd, food writer and founder of The Beeroness, is the expert when it comes to creating delicious beer infused recipes.

Dodd writes, “The California Burger has great flavors, but most are fairly mild. Pick a light, summery beer that will match those mellow flavors. I always pair burgers with highly carbonated beer, the bubbles are cleansing on the palate, letting you enjoy each bite even more. For this burger I’d pick a Saison, and because it’s a California burger, we have to go with a California Saison. My pick is Green Flash Saison Diego.”

[space_20]

 

Butter Burger

Matthew Marksbury - Beer Recommendations

Matthew Marksbury

A recent breakout star in the burger world is the butter burger. Every restaurant has their own, special secret recipe, but you’ll usually find a collection of bold, breath-altering flavors. Even though the celebrity here is the oversized helping of melted butter, the supporting cast might include minced garlic, colby-jack cheese, cayenne pepper, and toasted white bread bun. Matthew Marksbury, co-founder of the online homebrew community Brewgr.com gave us a number of options to try. Beers you should be able to find anywhere include Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, “The classic Pale Ale with perfect balance and a tad of hoppiness will compliment your burger nicely,” Marksbury said.

An alternative would be Shift Pale Lager by New Belgium Brewing, “light, unoffensive and refreshing. It comes in a can.”

“Harder to Find Beers but Worth It if you can, [are] Mirror Pond Pale Ale by Deschutes Brewery, slightly malty and slightly hoppy, but just the right balance to wash down your butter burger, [and] Scrimshaw Pilsner by North Coast Brewing Co.”

For the adventurous foodie, Marksbury wants you to try any ale brewed with chilies. “These will work with the cayenne pepper in the butter burger to give your palette a workout,” he said. A few of his favorites are Chipolte Ale by Rouge Ales, Lips Of Faith, and Cocoa Molé by New Belgium.

The Classic Hamburger 

Dave Delaplaine - Beer Recommendations

Dave Delaplaine

Last, but not least, the good ol’ classic hamburger. Opinions may differ on exactly how a basic burger should be stacked, but for the most part, we expect a beef patty, ketchup, iceberg lettuce, a slice of tomato, pickles, and onions, on a white bread bun. Dave Delaplaine, Beer Program Manager for the critically acclaimed Roofers Union restaurant in Washington, DC, has two great suggestions for the best tasting beer.

“For the home-grilled backyard burger, I would have to go with a helles lager, in particular the Sly Fox Helles Lager from PA.  It is incredibly refreshing with just the right touch of crisp hops to balance the rich meat and still keep you hydrated as you bake in the sun AND above the grill,” Delaplaine said. “For that gourmet burger we all have day dreams about, I like to take it up a notch… For me, I would like nothing more than a good sour brown ale or oud bruin (“old brown”)…The idea here, earthy and scrumptious to match the meat and a sour finish to cut into the high fat content (which is what makes every gourmet burger so delectable). I would go with the New Belgium La Folie. It is seasonal but made every year and amazing.”

 

Satisfying Watermelon Summer Cocktails

Few things epitomize the joys of summer better than fresh watermelon. No matter how hot the day gets, when you cut through the thick, green watermelon rind and into the bright pink fruit, there’s always a refreshing treat ready to help cool you down. Summer cocktails have a similar effect, especially when they come in the form of a watermelon drink.

They’ve come a long way since the good old vodka soaked watermelon days. The watermelon cocktail recipes range from sophisticated martinis to simple mixed drinks. This collection of mouth watering summer cocktails gives you a diverse set of options to try, so open up your home wet bar, get out the paper towels, and give these watermelon recipes a taste.

Watermelon Champagne Cocktail

 

Watermelon Champagne Cocktail

Champagne cocktails are typically quick and easy, and these watermelon cocktails are no exception. With only four ingredients, watermelon, mint, lemonade, and champagne, this is a great twist on the classic mimosa. Simply mottle the fruit and mint in a cocktail shaker to get your watermelon juice, then strain into lemonade and top with bubbly wine. These lemonade drinks are fast, cool, and couldn’t be tastier.

Tequila Watermelon Refresco

Tequila Refresco Cocktail

Sweet soda, called “refresco,” is a Latin American favorite. This summer mixed drink recipe uses watermelon, tequila, club soda, and a few other tasty ingredients to create a watermelon cocktail that will leave your guests wanting more. That’s okay, too, because this watermelon drink recipe is made in large batches, making refills a snap. The tequila really stands out, so go for top shelf, or at least middle shelf on this one.

Watermelon Jalapeno Twist Mojitos

Watermelon Jalapeno Twist Mojitos

Mojito recipes are standard fare on a list of great summer cocktails. Not everyone is crazy about jalapeno drinks, but if you’ve been looking to try one, this is it. These sweetness of the watermelon, white rum, and simple syrup easily offset the bite of the jalapeno, making for a surprising balanced watermelon drink recipe. Fresh jalapenos are better, too, because canned or cooked peppers will pack way too much heat.

Watermelon Basil Bramble

watermelon basil bramble

Gin is the home bartender’s secret weapon. The botanicals vary from brand to brand, so when you find your favorite, the flavors quickly become a signature in your alcoholic drinks. This watermelon cocktail uses gin, lime juice, chucks of watermelon, and basil to create an incredibly memorable summer cocktail. Fresh basil gives the gin a giant boost in aroma, while the citrus and watermelon juice offer a deep sweetness. Serving them in mason jars with a watermelon spear is also highly recommended.

Salt & Pepper Watermelon Punch

Salt & Pepper Watermelon Punch

Vodka is extremely popular in summer cocktails, because it’s so versatile. This watermelon drink recipe uses flavored vodka to create a sweet, peppery punch that’s great for outdoor parties. To keep the drinks cold, you use frozen vodka infused watermelon chunks, so you’ll need to start early. If you’re a fan of adding salt or pepper to fresh fruit, you’ll find this watermelon cocktail an extra special treat.

King of the Grill Photo Contest

You could win a prize package that includes:

Grill Sergeant Apron

Grill Sergeant Apron

King of the Grill Sign

King of the Grill Sign

BBQ Rub Collection

Five Alarm BBQ Rub Set

Magnetic Grill Light

Heavy Duty Grill Light

 

 

Family Photos! Funny Photos! Food Photos!

Terms and Conditions:
One Prize package will be given awarded. Entries must be received by midnight on 7/31/2014. The prize winner will be announced no later than 8/08/14. If you have any questions, please contact us prior to entering. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO PARTICIPATE OR WIN. A purchase will not improve odds of winning. All entries must be submitted using the online submission form. No other entries will not be accepted. By submitting a photo, you are confirming that you are the lawful owner of the photo, have the authority to publish it, and grant permission to HomeWetBar.com to distribute your photo through the internet, print publications, social media, and all other media platforms in relation to promoting the contest and/or the HomeWetBar.com brand. Available only to residents of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Best Potato Salad Recipes for 4th of July

As 4th of July weekend rolls around, the family starts to gather, and the grill gets fired up, but it can be easy to forget a very important component: good side dishes. Steaks and burgers are the primary draw of grilling seasons, but no meal is complete without a tasty side of green beans, or homemade potato salad. The best side dishes don’t come from the grocery store deli, so a little bit of preparation can lead to excellent taste rewards.

When searching for the best 4th of July food ideas, potato salad recipes stand out for a few reasons. A simple potato salad can be made several days in advance, and will actually taste better after a day of refrigeration, as the flavors begin to mingle. Potato salad ingredients are typically easy to find, many of which you may already keep in your pantry. This collection of potato salad recipes for 4th of July offer several distinctly different options, each one a perfect companion to your grilled main course.

Classic Potato Salad

Classic Potato Salad

When learning how to make potato salad, it’s good to start with the classic version. Different regions of the United States have slightly varying ideas of what makes up a traditional potato salad recipe. Typically, you’ll see ingredients like russet potatoes, onion, celery, pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard. This recipe also includes hard boiled eggs for added texture, and white wine vinegar for a pop of flavor. The vinegar, a natural preservative, will help this easy potato salad last longer in the refrigerator, so make plenty for leftovers.

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

red white and blue potato salad

This homemade potato salad is one of the best 4th of July food ideas. Made with red skin, Yukon Gold, and Purple Peruvian potatoes, the finished side dish stands out in red, white and “blue” glory. Using olive oil instead of a creamier dressing makes the colors shine, while the ham and walnuts add a great heartiness. If you want to keep this dish vegetarian, saute a cup of diced carrots in olive oil, and let them cool before stirring in.

Mustard Potato Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

mustard potato salad

We like to add a little booze to the menu whenever possible, and this potato salad with bacon, that uses Sherry wine vinegar in the dressing, caught our eye. It incorporates a few less common ingredients, like fresh tarragon and sliced shallots, but the flavors come together for a fresh and delicious compliment to steaks and chicken. Try adding 1/2 cup of white wine to your baking dish before you put the potatoes in the oven for added sweetness.

Grilled Jalapeño Potato Salad

Grilled Jalapeno Potato Salad

If your friends and family prefer spicier fare, you’ve got to try this savory treat. For this great side dish, you grill the potatoes and jalapeños, so it’s perfect for 4th of July, or anytime you already have a hot grill. The ingredients include cumin, green onions, and cilantro, which makes for Southwest inspired flavor. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but you can grill the green onions, too, for more smoky taste.

Whiskey & Blue Cheese Potato Salad

Easy Potato Salad

Finally, check out our original potato salad recipe for whiskey and blue cheese potato salad. Ingredients include spicy mustard, sweet barbecue sauce, and nutty wheat berries, but the real highlight is the potatoes themselves. You start by adding a cup of whiskey to the water before you boil the potatoes. This will infuse the sweet, woodsy flavor of your whiskey into every single bite. Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Picnic Food Ideas: Whiskey & Blue Cheese Potato Salad Recipe

This unique potato salad recipe offers rich flavors that will make a splash at your next cookout. Dressed with ingredients like red wine vinegar, barbecue sauce, and blue cheese, the potatoes are actually cooked in whiskey, infusing every bite with the sweet, smoky flavors from your favorite bottle.

Whiskey & Blue Cheese Potato Salad

  • 3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup whiskey
  • 1 cup cooked wheat berries
  • 2 tbsp spicy mustard
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup whiskey barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 oz crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper

Cut your potatoes into bite sized pieces, as close as you can to 1/2 inch cubes. Add them to a large pot or saucepan, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt over the top. Pour in one cup of your favorite whiskey, then cover with water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. They should be slightly tender and easy to pierce with a fork. Drain the liquid, then cover and let the potatoes rest for at least 20 minutes. They will become more tender as they cool.

In a separate bowl, combine one cup of chilled, cooked wheat berries with the spicy mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and barbecue sauce. Stir these ingredients until well blended. Spoon in the honey and stir until smooth.

Once the potatoes have cooled, add the dressing mixture and stir until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle in the blue cheese and green onions, and gently stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill completely before serving.