This company contacted me recently for a collaboration, which pretty much means that I get to try their product for free and pass on a discount for you, and all for the small price of show casing their product. So, just know that I’m not getting paid for this and I’m sharing my true opinions about these two products.
First off I’m happy with the shipping, 3 days from Florida to the mid-west and nothing was broken. That’s important because I ordered a 6 gallon carboy last week and it arrived shattered with bubble wrap. These mixer bottles are glass too but they both arrived unscathed with no bubble wrap so, that’s saying something.
I received a Spicy Jalapeno Margarita Mixer and a Ruby Grapefruit Cocktail Mix. The Margarita Mixer recipe requires, of course, tequila and Lava recommends vodka or gin for the Grapefruit cocktail mix. I chose to go with gin.
The Jalapeno Margarita I thought was amazing. I salted the rim with chamoy and tajin, which gave it some more kick, and I felt like they paired very well together. Over all, I’ll definitely be adding Jalapeno to my Margarita’s in the future.
The Grapefruit cocktail was good too and probably about as good as it could get. The second time I tried it I liked it even better because I rimmed the glass with honey and sugar and I think that helped balance the sour. My wife thought it was great but we both agreed that we liked the margarita’s better.
How much do they Cost
I only have one con for these products and it is simple; I don’t like the price, and not just because I’m the Poor Man’s Gourmet Kitchen or because I’m frugal. They’ve included a 10% off discount for purchases over $20 dollars but at $12.99 per 1 ltr bottle(33.8 oz), that still only knocks you down to $11.69, plus tax and shipping costs. Sorry Lava, I’ll stick with Mr. & Mrs. T Margarita Mix for $6.99 per 1.75 ltr (59.2 oz)and just blend in a Jalapeno. And, their Strawberry Daiquiri/Margarita mixer is even cheaper than that but tastes incredible. Plus, I can get it at any Walmart and most grocery stores.
I’m all for supporting small business’s and I love these products but LAVA has just got to be reasonable. If they want these drinks to take off, they need to drop that price down a little more, get people addicted to it, like crack/cocaine, and then hike up the price. Just my two cents.
UPDATE: LAVA has the following response to offer in regards to pricing.
“As far as product pricing goes, we definitely feel you but for online orders unfortunately the shipping company makes most of the money as it costs us anywhere from $9~$10 to ship our glass bottles which are much heavier than plastic and require better packaging. Add to that credit card processing fees, packaging, cost of goods, etc., and it doesn’t leave a whole lot. At retail stores here in California, the bottles retail for about $7.99~$9.99 since we don’t need to ship across the country. Just wanted to let you know for reference. The good news is, we are working on a better discount structure for online orders based on bottle volume so if someone orders 2, 3, 4, bottles we can pass additional savings (that we get from the shipping company) on to the customer.”
I never thought I’d be making my own wine. Originally, I wasn’t interested until I started learning more about fermentation. Then one thing lead to another and, before I knew it, I was purchasing everything I needed to make my first batch. But, I didn’t just make one, I made two and they both turned out beautifully. Thanks to the information on the web, wine making websites, blogs other people uploading video tutorials, I felt confident enough to try. And, now, I’m teaching you.
Making a Wine Must
The first thing you need to understand about making wine is that everything you use must be sanitized with a food grade sanitizer; buckets, bottles, spoons etc.. The biggest rookie mistake is skipping this step only to put months of work into a wine that turns into vinegar because something wasn’t cleaned and sanitized. You don’t have to wear a doctors mask or anything. Just be sure to rinse, wash and spray anything and everything that the wine comes into contact with a sanitizer.
The wine Must is easy to make. Just determine how much wine you want to make, what kind of fruit you want to use, add 3 to 5 lbs of that fruit, per gallon, to a food grade bucket, add the proper amount of water, sugar, yeast, a few other ingredients to ensure a successful fermentation and you’ll be well on your way to making your first batch of homemade wine.
Wine in the Primary stage
The first week of making wine is called the Primary Stage. Approximately 80% of the fermentation of the wine is done during this time and it takes 5 to 6 days to complete.
The first day is just a good long soak of the smashed fruit mixed with water and a crushed Campden tablet, which is a metabisulflite. Sulfites are used to sterilize and preserve the wine. It also pulls the color from the peals of the grapes and colors the wine. You should also take a gravity reading with a hydrometer so that you you’ll be able to accurately calculate the ABV(Alvohol By Volume) percentage. Homemade wine should be at least 12% to prevent spoilage. My wine usually hits 13%.
The second day is when you pitch the yeast but not before first adding the Acid Blend, Pectic Enzyme and a Yeast Nutrient. Then you can add the yeast.
This whole process should be done in either a food grade bucket with a rubber gasket sealing lid or a glass carboy with a plug and an air lock. An unsealed container will allow oxygen in and that can ruin the fermentation process. Fermentation creates Co2 gas and it’s important that it’s released. So, understand the Primary stage of making wine, is in fact one of the most important stages during the months it takes to make Wine. The airlock will keep the oxygen out of your container and allow the Co2 that is being creating in the wine, to escape.
Each day after, for the next 3 to 4 days, the container needs to be opened and stirred. The fruit is usually at the top so, just a quick stir of the fruit or pomace will quickly release the Co2 build up in the Must and promote a healthy, even fermentation in the wine. Then, you simply seal the container back up and wait another 24 hours.
By the 5th or 6th day, the majority of the fermenting should be complete and should be ready to move into a secondary container. This is important because this separates the wine from the bulk of the fruit. I mentioned that 80% of the fermentation process is done in the Primary Stage, the other 20% is done in the secondary. I’ll show you how to rack and transfer the wine into a secondary in the next video and post. It is in this stage that you’ll only need to check the wine weekly. It’s important to note that during both the primary and secondary stages, the wine should be kept in a cool dark place with temperatures no lower or higher than 68° to 72° Fahrenheit. Each time you “rack”(transfer) the wine into another carboy or container, the wine will become more and more clear.
You’ll want to keep notes about each batch you make with dates, times and ingredients. I’m going to post my notes about this Primary Stage, down below, so you get a clear idea about what I’m talking about.
Check out my Peach Sangria Recipe. It’s made with a mix of Red Wine, Brandy and a few other fun ingredients that make this drink sensational.
Secondary Stage of Wine Making
20% percent of the wine fermentation is done in the secondary stage so, although it slows down considerably, it’s not any less important than the Primary stage. Maybe more so, in fact, because this is the part that takes the longest. It’s less work but you have to have more patience and trust that you’re turning out wine instead of vinegar and the only way to be sure of that is to take every necessary precaution along the way. Sanitation being among the most important. Proper and functional containers like carboys and air locks, rubber gaskets, stoppers and grommets to make sure everything is sealing right is a priority as well. Oxygen getting in the container is going to ruin the wine and Co2 not getting out is going to carbonate your wine and turn it into champagne. So, take care of your equipment and be absolutely sure that everything you use is in top notch condition.
Now, understand that the secondary process is just simply removing the wine from the primary stage and transferring it into a secondary container like a carboy or fermenter. This removes the bulk of the fruit and most of the yeast settlement you’ll see on the bottom of your bucket. The settlement will return again, however, in the secondary stage but it’s a good thing. Each time the settlement returns you’ll notice the wine it’s self will be getting clearer and more refined. The last thing you want to do at this point is stir or shake your wine. Even if you have to pick up your carboy and move it, do so ever so gently. Siphoning and racking back into another secondary container is your best option at that point, then sealing it back up and waiting another week or so for the wine to settle again.
Opinions vary about how often you should rack back and forth. Some people will rack from Primary to Secondary, like I showed you how to do, in the first 5 or 6 days, then wait a month or two before they touch it again. Others will rack once a week. I’ve done it both ways but found that racking 3 to 4 times makes the wine more clear weather you wait months or weeks, makes no difference with appearance. Flavor, on the other hand, can be reasonably and arguably effected but I recently made a Rosè and Chardonnay, from start to finish, in exactly 35 days. I racked 4 times, once a week and even took it a step further with fining(filtering) the wine before I bottled it. My wife and I both agreed that they both tasted great and we can’t wait to try them in a year, once they’ve aged.
Noir Wine for 3 Gallons:
Day 1 Sep 26, 2019 7 lbs Black Seedless Noir Grapes 5 lbs Green Grapes 4 Mandarin Oranges 2 gal Water 1 Campden pill, crushed Stirred, covered with lid Resting 24 hrs
Day 2 Gravity: 1.030 Added Sugar, raised Gravity to 1.90 1 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme 1 tbsp 1 tsp Acid Blend 3 tsp Yeast Nutrient 1 pkg Yeast, 1/4 cup Hot Water, 1 tsp sugar Stirred, covered with lid and air lock Resting 24 hrs
Day 3 Stirred
Day 4 Stirred
Day 5 Stirred
Day 6 October 1st Racked to Secondaries. 1 gallon of wine in a glass carboy 8 liters of wine in fermenter
Day 26 October 21st Racked only the carboy into another secondary Removed the Union on the Fermenter, dumped 1/2 yeast, then stirred to remove the 2nd half later. The yeast settlement in the Fermenter was stuck to the bottom of the sides. Mixed 1 tsp Bentonite with 1/2 cup Hot water. Added 2 tbsp Bentonite slurry to the carboy and stirred. Waiting a few days.
Day 31 October 26th Racked to Secondary, Gravity: 0.99 1st Gravity: 1.090 2nd 0.99 = 13.12% ABV Added 1 crushed Campden Tablet 1/4 cup of Simple Syrup Potassium Sorbate Ready for Fining/filtering Racked Fermenter to 2 Secondaries but the Settlement came with it. Waiting on those 2 for 1 more week before clarifying.
I Bought a $55 dollar Starter Kit that includes everything you need to make several gallons of wine. 1 gallon of wine makes an average of 5 bottles of wine, each being 750 ml. so, you do the math. For the purpose of the Secondary Stage, I decided to buy a $45 dollar Fast Fermenter and I demonstrate the perks of using one in the “Secondary Stage” video.
You can keep dumping money into a project like this, if you really want to get into making a professional product, but if you’re only wanting to toy with it a few times, the starter kit is all you’ll ever need. For me it’s fun and easy to do. Plus the quality of the wine is shockingly good and I think you’ll understand that by the time I’m done with this whole Wine Making series. There’s is a few more steps to take so, expect a few more videos about it and some interesting pointers to help you decide whether you want to try wine making your self or not.
How to Clarify your Wine
Clarifying the wine is actually quite simple but there are a few steps to consider. The first is to continually rack the wine. This means transferring the wine from one bottle, or carboy, to another. I do it once a week and no more than 4 times before I consider fining or filtering the wine.
The second clarifying technique is adding bentonite. Bentonite is a grey clay that sends an electromagnetic charge through the wine that sticks and bonds to the molecules floating in the wine and pulls them down to the bottom. I usually add this after the 3rd racking of the wine and the 4th rack is to siphon off the bentonite. After that’s done, a Campden pill should be crushed and added to the wine, as well as potassium sorbate to sterilize and preserve the wine. This also puts the yeast in a dormant state so it doesn’t reactivate or restart the fermenting process, when back sweetening.
What is Back Sweetening?
Back Sweetening is a simple process of sweetening the wine after the whole fermentation process is complete. It’s usually done by making simple syrup, a 2 to 1 ratio of sugar and water. I add the recommended amount of potassium sorbate to the simple syrup before I add it to the wine. Then I stir in a 1/4 cup of the mixture at a time until I achieve my desired sweetness, after stirring. At this point, technically, the wine is complete and it can now be either filtered and refined(fining) and/or bottled and corked.
Bottling and Storing Wine
If you’d like to learn how to Bottle and Store your wine, Click Here for the 4th installment to this “How to make Wine” video and blog post tutorial.
I’ve always loved a good cocktail and this Bloody Mary Brunch is no exception because it’s got it all. Not only are they known for being a fantastic hangover cure, restaurants around the world are now making them a meal by adding epic ingredients to the garnishment. It use to only incorporate a few vegetables like a stick of celery and some green olives but, now days, you can get just about anything and I’m going to show you exactly what I’m talking about.
Bloody Mary Garnish’s
The last thing anyone wants, when they’re hungover, is difficulty so, in this Bloody Mary demonstration, I keep it simple by using a products that only take a few minutes to put together and cook. In these instances, the freezer section at your local grocery store can be your best friend; especially if you planned ahead and already have a box of microwaveable goodies in your ice box. In this post I use White Castles cheeseburger sliders(which I’m, in no way, affiliated), but you can use all kinds of things. Jalapeno Poppers, Bagel Bites, Jimmy Dean Breakfast sandwich’s, cheese sticks or pizza pockets are just some examples.
Now when it comes to the Bloody Mary mix, I do like them bold and spicy. One of the best mix recipes that I have ever come across, and again I’m not affiliated with, is made by Zing Zang. I’m pretty sure it can now be found in every grocery Walmart around the world. I’ve used it to make my Red Beer and it’s amazing to cook a roast in.
I use pickle juice and Tajin to salt and spice the rim of my glass. Tajin is used in my Mangonada Recipe and I’ve got a pic of what it looks like in that post. It has a wonderful blend of dehydrated and ground chili peppers, sea salt and lime juice so, it’s perfect for any Bloody Mary recipe.
Bloody Mary Brunch Ingredients:
1 glass Ice 3 oz Vodka 8 oz Bloody Mary Mix 3 tbsp Pickle Juice 3 tbsp Tajin, spicy salt 1 pc Bacon, cooked 1 stick Celery 2 Slider Cheese burgers 1 Pickle, small 2 Queen Pimento Green Olives
I use shish kebab sticks for skewers and straws for Drinking these Bloody Mary Brunch cocktail’s.