Category Archives: Drinks

Passionfruit margaritas– bringing Aloha to Vermont

Passionfruit Margarita PrepIn my travels around the world, nothing has been more consistently amazing than passionfruit. I am so adamant that anything passionfruit-related will be delicious that my Hawaiian friends, who call passionfruit Lilikoi, coined the phrase, “when in doubt, Lili out!” Indeed, the tropics offer an array of passionfruit-flavored food and drink. Mousse, yogurt, sauce for fish and meats, smoothies, juice, and margaritas. Well, this weekend we brought a bit of the tropical flavor to Vermont with passionfruit margaritas. Of course, we added our special VT twist by serving them over snow instead of blending or serving over ice. And we drank them while ice fishing (I only lasted about 10 minutes out on the ice but it was fun while it lasted). VT margaritas on snow

Passionfruit margaritas (scale as needed!)
1 part gluten-free margarita mix
1 part concentrated passionfruit juice (unsweetened)
1 part white/silver tequila
1/4 part grand marnier (or triple sec)
Li hing mui powder (an odd Asian plum powder— give it a try, it grows on you)

Mix together in a pitcher. Sweeten to taste with maple syrup, agave, or liquid sugar. Rim the glasses with li hing mui powder. Pour over ice or snow. Enjoy!


The debate over gluten-free beer continues

Omission beer uses enzymes to remove gluten proteins… As a scientist, I wonder if they are truly removed… likely, they are broken down into their components, chains of molecules. At what level does gluten stop being gluten? It’s hard to know– in fact, I don’t think we [as a scientific community] truly know. In the meantime, I believe its an individual decision if you drink a beer that is made without gluten or a beer that is made with gluten that is then broken down below detectable levels. Personally, I would love to try Omission but the chance that I could have a reaction, which lasts many days to weeks for me, is enough to be cautious and avoid it. In the mean time, I love Harvester and Glutenberg as save alternatives! If you want to read more about the latest controversy, head to Gluten Free Dude who discusses the CSA’s contradictory endorsement of Omission.

Summer rains? Time for Soup! @stonesoupvt

It’s 60 degrees and raining. My jaw aches (maybe its the rain?) and I want something easy to eat. My gluten-free Mom is visiting and we wander into Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup to find warm Thai Carrot Soup (sub kale or brown rice for bread!). Top it off with a Hibiscus- Chamomile-Mint tea and we’re feelin’ warm and cozy!

Mom enjoying Stone Soup

Portland’s Distillery Row @DistilleryRow @NewDealPDX @EastsideDistill #glutenfree

Home in Portland, day 1. Xmas shopping done. Mom suggests some family time– visiting “Distillery Row” on Portland’s Eastside (Note for you East Coast readers– this is Portland OREGON not Maine ;). An affiliation of several distilleries has sprung up over recent years. Obviously, this must be investigated.

Burnside Bourbon at Portland's Eastside Distillery

Burnside Bourbon at Portland’s Eastside Distillery

Our first stop was Eastside Distilling ( A small space with a lively bartender, we enjoyed their tasting of Portland Potato Vodka and silver and dark rums. They offer bourbon and double barreled bourbon, which adds an exquisitely smooth finish. Next up was the Cherry Bomb Whiskey. Infused with Oregon cherries, this adds a nice flavor and sweetness without turning into cherry-flavored cough syrup. next we tried the coffee-infused rum. As the bartender said, no better way to starting a day when you’re out camping. The cold-pressed coffee infusion imparted an excellent coffee flavor. It would be excellent with ice cream or added to warm drinks. Or iced drinks! Next came their holiday liquor samplings– all with the white rum base– spiced (think chai

Portland Potato Vodka, Eastside Distillery

Portland Potato Vodka, Eastside Distillery

tea flavors), peppermint bark (chocolate infusion with peppermint oil) and eggnog. the tasting ended with a short cocktail of your choosing– hot apple cider with spiced rum or horchata (Mexican rice milk) with coffee liquor. We went home with some vodka and some liquors my mom will use in martinis. Note: if you end up buying something, the $5 tasting fee is waved so sample before you buy!

Offerings at New Deal Distillery

Offerings at New Deal Distillery

Our second (and admittedly final) stop was New Deal Distillery ( They’re situated in a large, open space with the tasting counters nestled in a corner among the distillery equipment. For $5 you get a flight of samples and go home with one of their shot glasses. We started the sampling with the New Deal Vodka. Crisp, clean and smooth– no doubt an excellent choice for any liquor cabinet. It was the next sampling, the New Deal Gin 33 that blew us away. New Deal has established its self as not just high class, but high quality. With a strong juniper nose and smooth finish, my step-father photo (25)couldn’t wait to get a bottle into his stash for future martinis. My folks sampled with unsweetened, cold pressed chocolate infused vodka. I thought it was a bit bitter, made directly from the raw cocoa. My step-father thought it was excellent– funny since I think he enjoys sweets more than my savory self. To each his own! Next up was a choice of either the coffee liqueur or ginger liqueur. I, of course, went for the ginger. What a bite! I love ginger and this did not disappoint. It imparted a strong and savory ginger flavor without overwhelming or making you feel like a ginger-breathing dragon. Which brings us to “Hot Monkey,” their spicy vodka. Infused with five different hot peppers, this has a smooth finish as far as the vodka goes but leaves your mouth with a bit of a burn. I’m sure its great with pineapple juice– in fact, the mixing options are endless! Needless to say, we left with a few more bottles and some new shotglasses.

Note that Distillery Row (, the affiliation of this neighborhoods distilleries, offers a “passport” which you can have stamped was you walk from place to place and sample the wares. At $20/each, the passport allows you free samplings at all member locations. Sounds like a great activity for out of town guests, birthday parties, etc.

As a side note– how do you feel about Bourbon and being gluten free? Once one of my favorite drinks, a good friend and I have have been debating if we get “the gluten hangover” from Bourbon. I took a (thimble-sized) risk yesterday and feel a little off today– but then I ate a fair bit of chocolate (which my stomach doesn’t enough as much as my mouth) so who’s to say? I know there are the purists who say even the distilling process can’t remove all the gluten… yet I know on principle it in fact should. Let’s go to the empirical evidence– are you gluten free? Do you drink Bourbon? Why or why not? Leave your response below.



Sunday Bloody Sunday (@FHTGburlington)– Review

Well, nothing to report but bad news here [spoiler alert– Farmhouse bloodies are NOT GF). Last weekend I had a Bloody at Farmhouse in Burlington, after the bartender “checking” and telling me all the ingredients were in fact gluten free. That evening I had, um, a little distress. I chalked it up to the brownie I ate the day before, as I’m mildly allergic to chocolate and figured I’d overdone it.

Fast forward to the following Sunday, when I go back for another Bloody. The waitress almost ripped it out of my hands (I’d ordered at the bar and brought it to the table) after hearing I am a Celiac– turns out she is too. in addition to some ambiguity (See aforementioned “Kate’s Rule” that states “Paranoid as you wanna be”) about gluten in hard alcohol (I can see this needs to be addressed in another post), the waitress informed me they use Worchester sauce that IS NOT gluten free. The tomato juice and some other ingredients were questionable in her mind. So, the upset stomach the previous week is making more sense.

[Note: other than this, I have only had very positive experiences eating GF at Farmhouse and love it there!]

What a disappointment. Farmhouse– any chance you’ll be mixing GF Bloodies any time soon?

NOT GLUTEN FREE Bloody Marys at Farmhouse. But aren’t they pretty?

Gluten free options @LeunigsBistro (shout out to @VTSmoke too)

A friend was visiting and wanted to try someplace I’d never been before (keep in mind I’ve only lived in VT 2 months so everything is new and great!). We headed to Leunigs and expected a wait (turned out to be 45 minutes, reasonable for a Saturday night), so went upstairs for a drink and an app. It was easy to get seated there and there were plenty of GF items on that menu– cheeses and meats, etc. [Note, I already knew the Vermont Smoke and Cure products they featured were GF].

While enjoying our apps and a glass of wine, a near-by customer was discussing GF options with the waitress (I mean, really? Small world!). It sounded like some of the GF options on the main menu aren’t available in the 2nd floor bar– something about the GF rolls being in the basement freeze and having to be retrieved by the kitchen staff– all too complicated for them  to execute on a crowded Saturday night. Personally, I’d rather they say they can’t handle it than, say, pop a roll in a wheat-filled oven to thaw and serve me something contaminated. Or have them piss off the kitchen staff who spit in my food.

Anyways, I was surprised to find this notice on their main menu:

Leunig’s Bistro offers a gluten free menu

The gluten-free menu was a subset of the full menu and didn’t contain many or any specialty items that I noticed (such as a gluten-free bun– maybe the lady upstairs was just trying to convince them to carry them in the future?). It did have a wide range of options– you could have handed anyone that and they’d believe it was a full menu, that’s how many items were on it. One point of caution is that their frialator is used for things that contain wheat so if you are Celiac or truly very sensitive, you will want to avoid those items. For me, they substituted fries for garlicy kale (tres Vermont!).

So, Leunig’s, way to go. Let’s see you continue to expand your GF services.

Tasting Tweason’ale! (@dogfishbeer) #glutenfree #beer

Dogfish Head Gluten Free Tweason’ale (with a nod to our friends at Landfall back on Cape Cod)

Growing up in the microbrew capital of the country (Portland, OR), I was always fond of IPAs and hoppy beers. Before my diagnosis with Celiac’s disease, I had virtually stopped drinking beer– about half of one would put me under the table. I tried my first gluten free beer about six months after going gluten-free and was thrilled to drink “beer” again. Since then, I’ve found some that I liked (Deschutes Brewery Gluten Free Golden) and some I don’t (Deschutes Gluten Free Pilsner). I typically find them refreshing, not quite the same as “real” beer, and often leaving me too “full” to want to finish a full beer. Really, I’ve been on the search for a “drinkable” gluten free beer– by which I mean I can finish the whole bottle. Also, I’ve noticed that I tend to prefer sorghum beers.

After hearing some chatter online about Dogfish Head’s gluten free beer– Tweason’ale— I decided to give it a try. Check out the company’s Fish Finder to find a retail location near you– I went to City Market in Burlington but they list 42 restaurants and retail locations within 100 miles of Burlington that have ordered it in the last 60 days.

The beer– 6.0% ABV, flavors of strawberry, buckwheat and honey. Mild sorghum base.

I assumed it would be fruity so I was thinkin’ “its gonna be ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Smell– robust. Taste– crisp. Finish– clean, a hint of fruit but more like a mild citrus. Not a biting aftertaste like some gluten-free beers; subtle taste of strawberry lingers. Very subtle taste of strawverry. I’ve currently got just a few sips left so I think I can safely rate it “drinkable to the last drop,” which if you’ve been following this post is a great recommendation.

Now glad I have the rest of the four pack hanging out in my fridge 😀