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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
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The Sip: Mixing candy and alcohol is a sweet idea

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The news recently that Jelly Belly has released a Draft Beer flavor jelly bean ran through my newsroom like ... beer through a newsroom.

Development of the draft beer flavor took three years, Jelly Belly communications director Tomi Holt told USA Today. Jelly Belly already makes candy using other alcoholic drink inspirations, from Mai Tai to piŮa colada. All flavors inspired by alcoholic drinks are marketed to adults, Holt said.

Jelly Belly suggests recipes for jelly bean cocktails in your mouth. To make a Mexican-style Michelada, eat two draft beer jelly beans, a lemon lime jelly bean and a Tabasco jelly bean.

Reactions among the newsroom aficionados who tasted the golden-colored brew beans was not favorable. “This tastes like a fraternity party,” one colleague said.

Chew on that for a moment.

Which got me to thinking maybe we’ve been underselling the connection between adult beverages and candy. If we can have beer jelly beans, we should consider the following:

♦  Swizzlerz — Chewable stir sticks useful for keeping your strawberry margarita from getting watery.

♦ Candy Corn Courvoisier — A drink Leon Phelps, The Ladies Man could get down with for Halloween.

♦ Milk Dud Martini — Wait. This is a real drink. You mix Butterscotch Schnapps, Cream, Godiva Liqueur and Irish Cream.

Nevermind.

BOOZY TWEETS

“The only way I’d drink from the fountain of youth is if it spouted tequila”

-MenaceToSobriety (@tropicalenvy)

“The Banquet Beer” is falling short as a tag line for me.”

-Dan Cronin (@croninwhocares)

“Had a few cocktails and now I’m ready to rap battle.”

-Aaron Fullerton (@aaronfullerton)

“These Coors commercials make me not want to order a Coors because I don’t like putting mountain climbers in danger over light beer.”

-Sean Patton (@mrseanpatton)

“Alcoholic beverages are just like nonalcoholic beverages except nonalcoholic beverages can’t make people more interesting or better looking.”

-Vodka n Soul (@Vodkantots)

STELLAR SIPS

♦ The Local Lemonade, which mixes VeeV Acai, Cigar City Cracker White Ale, ginger liqueur and lemonade, at Rococo Steak in St. Petersburg.

♦ 2008 Pedroncelli “Four Grapes” Vintage Port, Dry Creek Valley. Blends Tinta Madeira, Souzao, Touriga and Tinta Cao varietals. Long finish. Retails for about $20.

♦ 2011 Champ de RÍves Pinot Noir. This Anderson Valley wine features blueberry, cranberry and rose petal flavors with notes of anise, toffee. I have no idea how that happens, but it tasted delicious. Retails for $40 a bottle.

WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB

In the early 1970s when Paul Kalemkiarian Jr. was a teenager, he helped his pharmacist father make deliveries from the back of a nondescript liquor store in South Bay, Calif. When customers at his adjacent pharmacy would ask for wine suggestions, he’d leave the counter and pick a few choice bottles.

After friends moved away from the area, they asked him to send them bottles of varieties he preferred. Eventually, that gave birth to a mail-order wine business, which Paul Jr., now 55, took over in 1988. The Original Wine of the Month Club (www.wineofthemonthclub.com) now ships 50,000 bottles to members monthly.

A mail order company seems almost quaint with the click-and-order Internet world of today. In 1972, when the first four wines they offered were all Chablis, American wines were relatively unknown. Today, wine websites abound with information.

To stay relevant, the goal is to do what his father did, Kalemkiarian says: Sell the customer a good value by comparing 300 wines a month and providing new and undervalued varieties. They include wines of the Mencia region of northwest Spain and a Romanian dry and semi-sweet variety known as Feteasca Neagra.

“You get a chance to try these things you wouldn’t go into a store and go looking for,” he said.

Basic packages start at $21.95, which gets you two bottles of either reds, whites or a mixture. Other packages include a California package, a Vintner Series, a Limited Series and a Cellar Series that will ship six wines a month.

jhouck@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7324

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