Monthly Archives: March 2015

A Beginner’s Guide to Bourbon

guidelines for bourbon

Welcome to the Golden Age of Bourbon!

By far the most popular of American whiskeys, bourbon is distilled from fermented grain mash (corn, rye, barley, and wheat) and aged in oak barrels. Whiskey is made all over the world, but bourbon is made only in America.

“There is such a boom in bourbon right now, unlike any other time I’ve seen in my 18 years in this business,” explains Brian Lorusso, Bar Manager at Dogwood Southern Table & Bar. “The most popular way it is being ordered right now is on the rocks or in tasting flights. We are even seeing women ordering bourbon as well, and it’s great to see! We currently carry 50+ bourbons at Dogwood (actual bourbons, not just whiskeys).”

American whiskey needs to meet certain guidelines in order to be called bourbon. First of all, it must be produced in the United States. Second, it must be made from 51 percent corn. Third, bourbon can only be aged in new charred oak barrels. Fourth, bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 proof and entered into the barrel at 125 proof. Fifth, it must be bottled at 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume) or higher. Lastly, bourbon must not contain any added flavoring, coloring, or other additives.

bourbon barrels

The quality of bourbon depends on barrel aging, blending, and bottling. Single barrel bourbon has been bottled from one barrel only. Small batch bourbon is made when a few barrels are aged together. Straight bourbon must be aged a minimum of two years.

What’s the Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey?

The Bourbon Boom: Buy the Whiskey, Not the Stocks

A Chocoholics Guide to Chocolate

types of chocolateDeath by chocolate–what a way to go!

There’s a reason why chocolate is considered one of life’s greatest indulgences. Its rich, smooth taste and texture, combined with its intoxicating aroma, make it a simply irresistible and oh-so-satisfying treat.

Try Dressler’s delectable chocolate cake with chocolate lava and vanilla ice cream!

Want to know more about your favorite sweet? Keeping reading.

It All Begins On Trees

Cacao beans grow in pods on cacao trees in West Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America. After the beans are harvested, they are fermented, dried, roasted, and ground. From there, different types of chocolate are made from different combinations and amounts of cocoa butter (smooth, solid fat), chocolate liquor (ground roasted beans), and sugar.

Most Common Types of Chocolate

cocoa powder–An unsweetened powder; pure chocolate with most of the cocoa butter removed; available in Dutch-processed (alkalized) or natural varieties; natural cocoa has an intense chocolate taste; it is also bitter and slightly acidic, so use in recipes calling for baking soda; alkalized cocoa has a milder chocolate flavor and is less acidic, so it’s best in recipes that call for baking powder. See Hershey’s Cocoa Recipes.

unsweetened chocolate–Also known as “bitter” or “baking” chocolate. This is pure chocolate liquor, composed solely of ground cocoa beans (contains approximately 50% cocoa butter); adds a rich chocolate flavor to baked goods; this chocolate is used to make all other chocolates (except white chocolate). See Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate Recipes.

dark chocolate–Contains chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and lecithin (emulsifier); no milk solids added; dark chocolate can be sweet, semi-sweet, bittersweet, or unsweetened.

milk chocolate–Contains cocoa butter and chocolate liquor, as well as condensed milk or dry milk solids; per FDA guidelines, must contain at least 10% chocolate liquor, 10-20% cocoa solids (cocoa/cocoa butter), 3.39% butterfat, and 12% milk solids; easily overheats, so use caution when baking. Check out Milk Chocolate Dessert Recipes.

couverture chocolate–Used by professional bakers or confectioners, it contains at least 30% of cocoa butter and a high percentage of chocolate liquor; because it melts quickly and evenly, it is best for tempering and enrobing candies.

white chocolate–Contains cocoa butter, but does not contain chocolate liquor or any other cocoa products; according to the FDA, white chocolate must contain a minimum 20% cocoa butter, 14% milk solids, and a maximum of 55% sugar.

Chocolate: The Story from Beans to Bar

Chocolate: Types, Selection, and Storage

Madrigal Wine Dinner hosted by Dressler’s Birkdale

2015-03-13_21-25-44~with Owner Chris Madrigal

Wednesday, March 25th at 6:30 p.m.   ($79 per person plus tax and gratuity)

Chef Scott Hollingsworth will be expertly pairing a five course dinner with:

  • Madrigal, Sauvigon Blanc, Napa
  • Madrigal, Petite Syrah, Napa
  • Madrigal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
  • Sbragia, Merlot, Dry Creek
  • Sbragia, Gino’s Zinfandel, Dry Creek

Since the late 1930′s, three generations of the Madrigal family have
farmed some of Napa Valley’s finest vineyards. Today, the company isrun by Chris Madrigal, the founder’s grandson. The consulting winemaker is Ed Sbragia, who built his reputation over 30 years of wine making in the Napa, Sonoma, and Dry Creek Valleys. The Madrigal family values the long relationships that they have built with the land and the people of Napa Valley, believing that the combined wisdom of the folks who have been here for generations and a deep appreciation of the vineyards can be tasted in their wine.
Please call Dressler’s Birkdale for reservations 704-987-1779

Dressler’s Spotlight: Gabino Velasquez

Gabino VelasquezMeet Gabino Velasquez, Kitchen Manager at Dressler’s Restaurant in Birkdale Village (as well as Dressler’s Recreational Soccer Team Coach).

What are your responsibilities at Dressler’s?

“Checking on all food that comes through our kitchen,” Says Gabino, “and making sure the dishes that we produce come out consistently delicious.”

How long have you been with Dressler’s? 

“I have been with Dressler’s for 13 years, but with Jon Dressler for 18 years,” explains Gabino. “I am the third person Jon D. ever hired in Charlotte.”

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

“I love to cook, especially with a crew like the one we have.”

What are some of the challenges that come with your job? 

“Keeping Jon out of the French fries and Kevin Mac out of the crème brûlées,” jokes Gabino. “The rest of it is easy.”

Describe a typical day on the job. 

“I start my day after the prep guys have come and gone and when I still have a nice and quiet kitchen. One hour of peace and then the fun starts!”

What are your favorite foods to prepare at Dressler’s? 

“I love all of our steaks, as well as the lamb.”

What are some of your favorite things to eat at Dressler’s? 

“Lamb, Ribeye, and our employee meal,” says Gabino. “Chicken and Rice…oh so nice.”

What are some of the customers’ favorites? 

“Halibut and Calamari have been the best sellers for a long time.”

Who does the cooking at home? 

“Mostly my wife,” says Gabino, “but we share.”

Who taught you how to cook?

“All the different guys that I have worked with for the last 15-20 years.”

Describe your coworkers. 

“Everyone is always so friendly,” says Gabino. “There is also always a level of responsibility and commitment to making sure we are operating at a high level.”

What about life outside the restaurant? 

“We just purchased a great home in Huntersville, and are living the “American Dream” with my beautiful wife, daughter Estrella, and son Ray. I watch a lot of soccer and my son plays every week. He is really good and I love watching the matches. I also have an unhealthy love for my beautiful GMC truck.”