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Tunatinis Might Be Your New Favorite Cocktail

Dirty martinis and tapenade are an appetizer combo that makes the absolute most out of the humble olive. The martini, a mix of gin and vermouth, takes a savory spin when it gets a dash of olive brine, and when paired with the olive-based spread, a combination is formed that’ll whet any palate. Similarly, this can work with many deliciously briny foods besides olives, like Bumble Bee® Tuna.

Let’s see how.

The tapenade is going to require a little prep, so we’ll start there.

As with any good tapenade, crostinis are needed. First, preheat an oven to 350 degrees and slice a baguette into half-inch thick slices. Then brush each one with olive oil, garlic, and salt to give them some oomph. Bake these for 15-20 minutes until nicely toasted. While those are doing their thing, start the tapenade.

Finely chop a ½ cup of not one, but two, kinds of olives that are called for: Castelvetrano and black. Also chop a ¼ cup parsley and roughly 2 tablespoons of pimiento peppers as well.

Grab a mixing bowl, and dump the chopped veggies into it. Add two tablespoons of both olive oil and non-pareil capers, and a 5oz can of Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna. Make sure to reserve the tuna brine for the incoming martini. Once everything is in the bowl, give it a good mix and set it aside.

Before we pronounce the tapenade a done deal, mix a cup of creme fresco (sour cream or crème fraîche work too) with a teaspoon of paprika. Spread about ½ a tablespoon on each crostini (once properly toasted, of course) and then top each with a tablespoon of the tuna tapenade. The creme fresco gives the dish a needed dose of freshness to cut through the unctuous tapenade, so I implore you to not skip this step under the guise of it being an optional addition.

With the crostinis and tapenade finished, the only thing left to do is give them a good drink pairing.

The tunatini is pretty straightforward. Throw 6oz of vodka (this drink will surely kickstart a good night) in a cocktail shaker. Add 2oz of vermouth, 2oz of tuna brine, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a cup of ice. Give it a vigorous shake, then pour and garnish with a lemon peel and as many olives as desired.

Prep as many crostinis and tunatinis as needed, whether that’s for yourself or guests. Maybe it’s been a long day, maybe you just really love tuna and want to share that with your closest friends.

Either way: the prep is over, so time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and the true gastronomic diversity of a can of Bumble Bee® tuna.

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Culture Drinks Humor News What's New

Emergen-C is Literally Begging People to Not Put Its Powder In Booze

I can’t believe these words are coming out of my figurative mouth but, mixing alcohol with Emergen-C isn’t going to help your immune system. 

It was inevitable with everyone couped up in their house, looking for any hope of immunity to the festering pandemic, that someone would look around their kitchen as they were having their third boredom-fueled drink of the night, see some Emergen-C, and think to double down on their next drink. 

It didn’t take long for the idea to flood social media, prompting the brand to make it abundantly clear that this quarantine hack was nothing but a quarantine hoax.

Even so, the idea of an immune system boosting alcoholic beverage makes sense on some level, and the Foodbeast Slack lit up when the idea was posted.

That is, until my fellow Foodbeast writer and food science degree possessor, Constantine Spyrou, Euro-stepped his way through the messages to dunk on the thought of a ‘quarantini’.

There’s a reason this man has a series called Ask Costa, people. The man has the answers.

So take it from Costa, and Emergen-C themselves, and leave the Super Orange powder in your kitchen’s catch-all drawer, and out of the booze.

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Alcohol Drinks Features Restaurants What's New

5 Pumpkin Spice Dishes You Should Order Immediately

Pumpkin Spice menu items have been slowly trickling in from the usual fast food spots as October creeps up on us. While we’re salivating over pumpkin spice French fries, there’s a completely different world of elevated dishes featuring the popular seasonal flavor.

A group of Los Angeles-based restaurants have launched unique pumpkin-spiced items for the fall season. Let’s take a look at some dishes that go beyond the average burger and latte, made with a refined touch.

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Jack O’ Lantern Pumpkin Spice Latte

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The spooky-scary espresso is part of the handcrafted menu of Caffe Umbria served at Vinoteca found at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. If you’re one to delight in the face of Halloween staring back at you while you get your morning coffee fix, you may want to consider this drink.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cruller

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Doughnut lovers will want to peep this cruller from Plan Check Kitchen + Bar. The pumpkin spice latte variation features pâte à choux dough formed into a circle, deep fried, topped with whipped candied pumpkin puree, cold-brew coffee pastry cream, and cinnamon-spiced sugar.

We recommend the cruller as a follow up to a juicy burger to end your meal on a sweet note.

Pumpkin Spice Martini

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Cocktail lovers will want to head down to Fig & Olive on Melrose to get this Pumpkin Spice Martini. The drink is made with vanilla-infused vodka, lime juice, ginger syrup, apple brandy, and pumpkin butter.

On the rim of the glass is a garnish of crushed graham crackers.

Whoa, wait… pumpkin butter?!

Pumpkin Fritters

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Roku in West Hollywood is now offering these Pumpkin Fritters for the fall. The fritters are topped with toasted hazelnuts and milk chocolate ice cream.

We recommend finishing the ice cream first, at least the fritters can be boxed.

Pumpkin Cake In A Box

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A few weeks ago, we covered BOA Steakhouse’s Cake in a Can. The summer carrot cake will now be replaced by a new spiced pumpkin cake with vanilla cream cheese icing, Berger Anisette cream, and candied pecan.

We’ve been known to bash pumpkin spice dishes pretty badly every now and then. Though restaurants get a pass when they get more creative with the seasonal flavor rather than simply adding a syrup or sauce.

Make sure to check out some of these spots next time you get the pumpkin spice itch, and maybe treat yourself to some elevation while you’re there. Can’t be eating burgers and burritos all the time.

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Features Packaged Food

What I Learned From Making A Martini For The First Time

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Ah, the James Bond cliche: “Shaken, not stirred.”

It’s always the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a vodka martini.

I have to admit, I had never tried a martini before this experience. It always sounded like the drink of someone more sophisticated than myself — a cool uncle, or even the CEO of a company. Not a twenty-something fast food writer in a pizza-themed T-shirt and shorts.

Before I get into how a single beverage changed my outlook on ordering drinks, here are the basics of a vodka martini:

The cocktail features a brand of vodka and vermouth (an aromatized wine), some olive juice (or pearl onions in brine), and a twist of a citrus peel. The components are then chilled and combined either by shaking or stirring it.

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On a recent trip to Sweden, I got to visit a gorgeous town called Ahus, a town most likely known best for its Absolut Elyx vodka distillery. I got to tour the distillery myself while there, during which, I was led to a copper room where master bartender Nick Strangeway made me a martini.

It was my first martini and it was kinda awesome.

Before this trip, I was pretty much a beer kind of guy. Give me a nice, cold pale lager with some hot wings and I’m a happy dude. Heck, I’ll even try a few simple cocktails you’d find at the bar of a restaurant chain if I was in the mood. The point was, I preferred drinks that were straightforward and easy to order.

I never had to customize a drink order before, like I did with a vodka martini.

Do I have it shaken? Will I like it stirred? What kind of vermouth would I use? Cocktail onions or olives? Lemon or orange twist?

Those questions led to the beauty of making my first martini. It could be anything I wanted, according to Nick.

He then asked me to come up to the bar and make my own.

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After a quick tutorial and a brief introduction to the ingredients, I was then diving headfirst into my inaugural attempt at making a martini .

Before starting, I sniffed my way through a collection of vermouths. Always being drawn to the fruitier notes, I picked Lillet.

It was a whirlwind at first, trying to remember all the steps I had decided were simple enough to follow during the introduction. I took a breath and played it through it in my head. Here we go:

One part ice, one part Absolut Elyx, a bit of vermouth, let’s get some olive juice in there, and we’re gonna finish with an orange twist. Finally, garnish with the olive.

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I stared down at the martini I made with my own to hands. Picking it up, my stomach was in the same knots I got from getting a test back in elementary school. In the moment of truth, I put the glass up to my lips and took a sip.

Holy shit. It wasn’t bad.

As I finished my cocktail, a wave of relief rushed through my being. I was unfettered from the notion that only ruggedly handsome spies and movie stars are allowed to drink martinis.

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What I learned from making my first one was that it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be and I wasn’t limited to a single way to make the cocktail. Now, I wouldn’t have to confine myself to novelty drinks and beer just to stay in my comfort zone.

Consequently, the next time I go out, I can confidently order the drink; exactly the way I like it, and sound much cooler than I actually am.

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Tastemade/Snapchat

Dear Dudes: Order An Appletini, It’s a Rebel Move

I don’t know if I first heard of the appletini from Sex and the City or Scrubs, but television definitely set the tone of that drink, that I know. It was television that told me it existed, and it was television that told me it was feminine.

And I’m not here to argue that. It totally is. Appletinis taste like somebody melted down a chariot race of peppy HR women all named Carol or Karen gettin’ buckwild on the one Friday night they were all able to somehow find sitters. What I’m here to argue is…yeah, so? What’s wrong with a little femininity? What, ya’ll gonna act like you didn’t see and love My Best Friend’s Wedding back in the day? Get outta here, everyone’s charming in that flick.

The appletini isn’t even classic feminine either. It jives closer to Stephenie Meyer than Jane Austen, and it looks like a drink they served in Batman Forever. But that’s what makes it the rebel cocktail for men. It has that rep, so what’s more of a defiant move than ordering an appletini?

See, the thing I’ve always hated about standard male drinking culture is that there are so many rules—like we were supposed to receive pamphlets, after downing our first high school kickback’s poorly made screwdriver, that sported the headline, “Only drink gold, brown, and clear forever,” followed by fine print of what’s cool and what’s not.

And to be fair, the appletini isn’t my drink of choice by any means. I’m a whiskey guy. Well, and a beer guy. And a wine guy. And a gin guy. And a tequila guy if I’m in Mexico. And a vodka guy if I’ve already had all of the above. Ok, maybe I’ll just drink anything, so that’s why I’m defending the appletini, because there’s some kind of booze in it.

But I really do get sick of hearing “can’t” and “don’t” in bars. I came to let loose, not hear a lecture from some guy living in his mom’s pool house about what’s gonna get my “man card” pulled. And I most certainly didn’t barrel through the workweek so I could watch a Bud Light drinker bring up Esquire’s “100 Rules of Manhood” on a phone that features a pictorial from an old issue of Maxim as its background, damn.

That’s why I find the appletini so appealing, because it’s like this super shiny forbidden (sour) fruit. It’s this big red button at the bar that everyone tells me not to push. It’s trespassing! It’s a no-no, a no-go, or a joke, which actually makes for a startling act of strange empowerment.

A perfect example: In The Social Network, Sean Parker buys a round of appletinis for Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, and himself. In truth, Zuckerberg never had an appletini until after, and because of, the film. He thought the detail was weird and funny, and employees started ordering the drink as a gag, prompting the appletini to be declared “the official drink of Facebook.”

And that’s why I like that appletinis are out there, shaking things up and stirring up trouble. They’re drinkable middle fingers. Every guy likes or pretends to like whiskey, but only the wrecking crew of underdogs—the weirdos, the wiseasses, and the wimps—boldly order appletinis.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Meet The L.A. Bartender Who Showed Us We Were Enjoying Martinis All Wrong

“Oh man that drink was so good I couldn’t even taste the alcohol,” is not what you want to tell Ryan Wainwright, the bartender of well lauded Terrine restaurant out in Los Angeles.

I could sense Ryan had a fundamental problem with the verbiage folks seem to be use when they describing their cocktails. Don’t get me wrong, Ryan’s not the type to reach across the bar and slap you for showering praise on a cocktail. But his goal in bartending is to make sure the alcohol is accented and not masked. He’s won a shit ton of awards too, stuff like North America’s “Most Imaginative Bartender” and has Los Angeles Magazine listing his martinis as some of the best in Los Angeles.

So dude might know what he’s talking about.

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Me, Rudy and Ryan Wainwright cheersing his bomb ass 50/50 Martini cocktail. 

All of this jibber jabber of spirit-forwardness was news to me. I’m usually on the hunt for the closest beer tap or bottle of liquor to be chased by whatever soda is readily available. Yet here I am, degenerate friend Rudy in tow, making drinks with Ryan at his bar during the off hours.

He’s in the middle of making a 50/50 martini, a drink I ignorantly think is gonna be served in some wide-rimmed glass with an olive.

Wrong.

His 50/50 martini has sherry, traditional vermouth, dry vermouth and gin. It’s sweet — it’s tasty, it has layers, and the sherry hits at the end while I get aromas of orange zest from the peel he twists around the rim of the glass. Damn — this dude got me talking about cocktails like I’m penning for some cocktail-of-the-month book club and I’m loving every moment of it.

Thank you Ryan. Thank you for showing me that martinis don’t have to be dry, they don’t have to be vodka, and they don’t have to be savory.

I’ll never tell you that I can’t taste the alcohol ever again:

 

 

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Hit-Or-Miss

Nobody Puts Gin In A Corner

At some point in time, gin became a grandmother’s drink. Except that grandmother was probably a flapper in the 1920s who’d drink bathtub gin and dance the night away with some really cool cats. Even if that’s not the case, grandmas tend to be badass people, so why are we knocking them and gin?

Gin Can Be Lethal And Magical

It’s not as though gin doesn’t pack a punch; in order to even be considered gin worldwide, the liquor needs to be at least 37 percent alcohol. We’re so serious about the stuff in America, that the minimum is set at 40 percent.

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I mean, are there any vodkas out there made from unicorn tears? Nope, just gin. How could you possibly need more proof that this is a magical substance than it blending perfectly with unicorn tears?

Gin’s Got Your Back…And Liver…And Kidneys

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From the extra antioxidant kick it gets from juniper berries to its diuretic ingredients that help your liver and kidneys get rid of bacteria, gin is hard to accuse of malice. You hardly find gin that packs more than 110 calories per shot, no matter how many ingredients they infuse it with.

Very few gins have the poor manners to be completely awful and most good gins are between $30-40. You either taste nothing or flowers, which is definitely the least scary way anyone’s ever explained alcohol to you.

Blame It On The Queen, Gotcha Feelin’ Mean

No, not Beyoncé; she’s still flawless. Gin likely gets its matronly rep from its British roots. Because, obviously, there are only old women in the UK and they all drink tea, sherry, and a bit of gin, if they’re feeling nasty. (If you read that sentence to the tone and image of Queen Elizabeth II, try it again with Dame Helen Mirren; it should keep the nightmares away). While the latter might be a little more accurate, albeit stereotypical, we need to erase this image of old biddies throwing shade at each other over gin and tonics.

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Gin can be young, fun, and even supernatural. It can serve as a base for light summer drinks or take the front seat of a warming winter cocktail with the same ethereal elegance. There’s nothing stopping you from giving gin a chance to sweep you off your feet.

Even if you don’t, at least stop putting vodka in your martinis. James Bond barely gets away with it and even he’s been switching back to gin.

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Hit-Or-Miss

This Is Exactly How Much James Bond Drinks In The Movies

Bond-Booze-Cover

The new James Bond movie Spectre is only months away from hitting theaters. While we’re all anxiously waiting to see Daniel Craig step into the role of the titular British spy once again, let’s take a second to observe the alcoholic nature of Mr. Bond.

Found on Reddit, someone compiled a list of every alcoholic beverage James Bond has consumed on-camera. While the original can be found here, someone else created a more chronologically friendly graphic that organizes everything a little better.

Check out the awesome infographic below and see if you can match up with the legend himself.

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