Venti Moonshine Latte

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     So there we are, on the front porch of a friend’s friend of a friend. There is a child’s bike in the yard, a dog sitting among piles of moving boxes on the couch, a coffee table with no glass, and a gun in the bedroom. A jar of moonshine and a pile of playing cards sit on the table, under the glow of a bare light bulb. Things had gotten very weird at Starbucks.      But let me back up. Sometimes, as a young educator, new to Alabama and a tiny bit bored with living out in the woods miles and miles from what was once considered acceptable civilization, a trip to Starbucks sounds nice. When the nearest business is a gas station with slot machines featuring displays of sequined pantsuits that...

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Southern Wine Pairings for the Holidays...

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     If there’s anything we do right in the South, it’s the holidays. After all, these are times we bring loved ones together, over food, and you’d be hard pressed to find a folk better at that than us. Am I right, y’all?      But between all the baking, stuffing, roasting, and mashing, it can be all too easy to forget the pairing -- wine pairing, that is. This year, don’t make wine an afterthought at your holiday gatherings. After all, what would Scarlett be without Rhett, or Blanche Devereaux without her sassy comebacks?      This year, get those pairings right. I’ll show ya’ll how: Green bean casserole: Amazing what some butter and cream to do to little ol’ green beans. Bring out the snap in those greens with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc that has vegetal notes...

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Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery

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     Moonshine is often considered a taboo subject, especially in the mountains of East Tennessee. Having spent years making their whiskey illegally by only the light of the moon, moonshiners are slowly making their way out of hiding and into the open air. With the recent change of legislation, distilleries are making their presence known in the Smoky Mountain area and meeting the overwhelming demand for customer requests.      Located on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is pulling back the veil of the hidden art of whiskey making. As the first federally licensed distillery in East Tennessee history, Ole Smoky is giving visitors an up-close, taste-and-see approach to their processes.      In the late 1700’s, Scottish Irish settlers brought their knowledge of whiskey making to America. Living in an area of...

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Sweet Tea

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     It wouldn’t be summer in the South without sweet tea. Perfect for sipping on porch swings, lake docks and the like, this refresher is often reported to have originated at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Though the drink was popularized there, most culinary historians now agree that sweet tea actually developed in the South long before 1904.      The first tea plants in the US were harvested around Charleston, South Carolina in the late 1700’s. Shortly after, many American (and English) cookbooks began including recipes for serving tea cold, though most of the early recipes were for green tea to be brewed and served with copious amounts of booze for tea punches. Sweetened iced black tea recipes began appearing the latter half of the nineteenth century, most notably in The Kentucky...

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Sipping through the (South’s) Summer Games: Winning Wine Picks...

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     Our favorite (and sweatiest) season is here, and, before you know it, the 2012 London Summer Games will be too.      If you’re catching the competitive junebug while preparing to cheer on our home country guys and gals, I’ve got the perfect solution for you. Fire up the barbecue, put on your linens, and break out these tasty wines (widely available throughout the good ol’ US of A) for a “backyard summer games” to remember. Bags (or Cornhole): The shotput has nothin’ on this Southern backyard favorite, which relies only on two sets of beanbags and simple raised plywood boards for hours of competitive fun. Quench your thirst with cool unoaked Chardonnay, which often has refreshing, tropical fruit or crisp apple flavors without any of the oaky, toasty or buttery notes found in...

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A Southerner’s Wine Preparedness Kit...

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     Springtime usually finds us southern folk in the garden, or dusting off the grill in anticipation of backyard BBQs. But the season also presents a great opportunity to prepare something that every good host or hostess should have: a wine kit. Yes, hear me out, y’all. Because who wants to be at the mercy of a grocery store run when company comes calling?      And no, a wine kit doesn’t have to be expensive. It just takes a few simple things to get you started: A mixed case (or half a case) of wine: Of course, it couldn’t be called a wine kit without some bottles now, would it? These 12 or 6 wines don’t have to be pricey; they just have to be wines that you feel comfortable serving to...

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