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Common Ground Gin: Spirit Review


Gin is kind of one of those who love it or hate it spirits. For some, it’s an introduction to aroma and flavor, for others it’s a reminder of bad times in college with simple rock gut gin and juice combinations. For us, it was probably 2013, our first year at Tales of The Cocktail that really opened up our minds to how amazing gin and gin cocktails can be. Today we’re spreading that love, reviewing Common Ground Gin, launched in 2020 by two coworkers and lifelong friends.


No good brand comes without a story, and Common Ground Spirits are no exception. CG is a black-owned distillery out of Berkeley California, started by two coworkers in tech, turned life long friends. The name comes from the belief that finding a common ground with each other adds substance and meaning to life. Their common ground is the belief that everybody, no matter race, religion, or gender identity should have equal opportunities in all aspects of life. And while we seem to be in some dark times these days politically, we can all agree spirits bring us together. And that’s what CG’s Gin and future bourbon expression are all about. Common Ground Gin comes in two expressions, Gin 01 (basil and elderflower) and Gin 02 (black currant and thyme) and today we’ll be sampling them both;

Tasting Notes

Gin 01

nose: Basil is one of those house hold herbs that’s got a hard to miss scent, and its distinction comes through strong in expression 01. Herbal, with a bit of citrus undertones, softened by the elderflower’s sweet aroma.

Tastes: The nose is mostly basil, but the elderflower takes the lead in the flavour. While there are 8 botanicals in total in this expression (Juniper Berries, Cucumber, Basil, Elderflower, Coriander Seed, Rose Petals, Lime Peel, Lemon Peel), the elderflower really finishes off nicely with a sweet honey like taste. The harsh first sip usually associated with gin, is muted by a soft and sweet finish. This would go well in a gin basil smash; a simple cocktail with only 4 ingredients allowing the gin to really shine (Gin, Basil, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup). The spirit itself is modeled after the Flo & Basy – a cocktail from Coppinger Row in Dublin, Ireland. While we’ve never been there, we can see why they fell in love with the flavor.

Gin 02

nose: Expression two starts out with a much more citrus forward nose, with fruitful undertones and a bit of earthiness. A perfect example of the lemony aroma often associated with thyme followed by the sweet of black currant.

Tastes: What a difference some dried fruit makes. This one has a lot of citrus notes but the flavor profile shouts sweet dried fruits. This combination of botanicals (Black Currant, Thyme, Meyer Lemon peel, Peppercorn, Juniper Berries, Coriander Seed) offers a flavor that in my opinion makes it the perfect gin for your heavy citrus or fruit forward cocktails. Think of a gin paloma or a Blackberry/Raspberry gin rickey.

Price: $39.99

ABV: 45.22%

Final Words: The two expressions we have here couldn’t be more different, a perfect example of how unique the gin category can be. With gin, the only consistency is Juniper, which gives it the earthy/piney scent that comes with love/hate. Besides that, gin is a blank canvas, one that founders Julian & Tory have created to tell their story. Both of these craft gins come in at 45.22% ABV, slightly lower than some of the national brands you may already be familiar with, and are well priced for the category at less than $40. The gin lover can’t go wrong here. So, if you’re in the Bay area, Georgia, or the DMV be sure to check out where can you buy Common Ground Spirits, or visit them and buy directly online from them at www.commongroundspirits.com

Common Ground Gin


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What’s cooking this AirFryday: Southern fried chicken

Here’s some southern comfort brought to you not by Colonel Sanders but courtesy of your air fryer. That’s right, we’ve adapted a good by southern family favorite for the electronic beast in your kitchen that you’ve been getting to know better lately.

It’s a fairly straightforward recipe. In one bowl, you whisk eggs and buttermilk together. In another, you mix flour and cornflour with a range of spices and dried herbs. The chicken portions get dipped into the liquid mixture first, then into the seasoned flour, and then they go right into your air fryer.

(Serves 4)


1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

4 chicken thighs and 4 chicken drumsticks

For the spice mix:

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp onion powder or flakes

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp fine black pepper

1 tsp mustard powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1 Tbsp dried Italian herbs

1 Tbsp dried oregano


¾ cup cake flour

½ cup cornflour


Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together in a bowl suitable for dipping the chicken portions in the mixture.

In another bowl, mix the flour and cornflour together, and stir in all the spice mix the ingredients listed above.

Preheat the air fryer to 190℃ for 5 minutes.

Dip the chicken thighs into the buttermilk mixture first, then into the flour mixture, being sure to coat the portions thoroughly.

Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil spray, and place the thighs in the basket with space between them. Spray the upper side of the coated chicken portions in the air fryer generously with olive oil spray.

Air fry for 30 to 35 minutes at 190℃, turning halfway through and spraying with more cooking oil spray on the turned side.

Serve with a mound of Granny Betty’s air fryer chips. That’s southern comfort. DM

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.


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8 Foods You Should Stop Cooking in Your Nonstick Pan

How not to ruin your nonstick pan.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

I resisted nonstick pans for years. Erroneously, I assumed nonstick was inferior, that cast iron was king, and that serious cooking was done on stainless steel. Did I just forget that eggs exist? Perhaps.

A few years ago, a nonstick pan was at the top of my kitchen wish list, and I find myself reaching for my nonstick pan when I’m making pancakes, sizzling slices of halloumi cheese—my current favorite way to bulk up a salad— and any time I want to heat something slow and gently that doesn’t require high heat.

Nonstick pans do exactly what their name implies: they allow you to cook without sticking food to the surface due to a protective coating, usually made from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, commonly known as Teflon) but sometimes made from other materials like ceramic. In general, as you apply more and more heat, the protective coating breaks down, and some foods react or cook differently on nonstick than other surfaces.

Like most kitchen tools, nonstick pans serve a purpose: their coating ensures that food doesn’t get stuck to the surface, but that also means they’re less-than-ideal for specific recipes and cooking techniques. Here are the eight things you should never cook on your nonstick pans.

Read More: Is It Safe To Use Scratched Nonstick Pans? Here’s What Experts Say

<p>Simply Recipes / Aaron Hutcherson</p>

Simply Recipes / Aaron Hutcherson

1. Steak (And Other Meat You Want to Brown)

Technically, you could cook a steak or brown a piece of meat in nonstick versus cast iron or stainless, but it’d be like using a fork to eat soup: it’s the wrong tool for the job. A well-seared piece of meat requires hot heat, something most nonstick pans cannot tolerate due to their coating—that’s why you should not throw them in the dishwasher, although I generally do hand wash all my skills, nonstick and stainless.

I read some articles suggesting you can use nonstick to brown meat, but most came from nonstick pan manufacturers. While certainly possible, just because it’s doable doesn’t mean it’s ideal—I still think you’ll get the best sear from a ripping hot cast iron or stainless steel pan.

2. For That Matter, Vegetables You Want To Get Color On

Many recipes call for high heat when cooking vegetables—throwing them in a hot skillet makes the vegetables crunchy and crispy on the outside. Like meat, vegetables require hot temperatures to pick up some browning, which is better done on stainless steel.

If browning vegetables seems new, try it out! Vegetables that fall into the brassica family (think cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts) take really well to some browning—even charring!

3. Tomato Sauce

Acidic foods like tomatoes can break down the protective coating of your nonstick pan, so recipes like tomato sauce should be made in a different type of skillet. Also, avoid foods with citrus or wine.

<p>Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel</p>

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

4. Broiled Anything

While you can put certain nonstick pans in the oven if they don’t have a plastic-coated handle, which is ideal for dishes like frittatas, many nonstick pans have a maximum temperature, usually between 350 to 500°F.

The broiler setting on your oven is all about hot, high and direct heat. While some ovens have a range of temperatures you can select, the choices are ambiguous (low versus high instead of a specific temperature setting), so you don’t know what temperature you’re exposing your pan to.

5. Pan Sauces

One of the things that makes a pan sauce—or a sauce you put together usually after searing the meat—is delicious fond, or the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Fond won’t happen on a nonstick, so you won’t get as much flavor in the pan sauce from those caramelized bits, which you need for dishes like Steak Diane.

6. Browning Butter

Technically, you can brown butter in a nonstick pan—but it won’t be easy. Browning butter is the process of heating butter so that the milk solids start to get toasty and nutty, giving the butter a deeper flavor.

The cues you’ll need to assess what stage the butter is in are visual: you’ll see the butter go from yellow to brown or even dark brown if you let the butter go too far and the milk solids burn, and most nonstick pans have a dark gray or black coating. It’s much easier to brown butter in a light-colored pan, like stainless steel.

<p>Simply Recipes / Karishma Pradhan</p>

Simply Recipes / Karishma Pradhan

7. Braises

A braise starts with browning a piece of meat—not ideal on a nonstick pan—and then adding liquid to cook slowly. A nonstick pan is the wrong shape for a braise—I’d recommend something with tall sides like a Dutch oven.

Furthermore, if you want to reduce and deglaze the pan once the meat is finished cooking, you won’t get as much flavor from the brown bits sticking to the bottom.

8. Nothing At All

Many recipes ask you to preheat your pan; for many cooks, that means putting a pan on the stove and letting it get hot before adding fat like butter or oil. Preheating a nonstick pan without anything in the pan can break down the coating. Before throwing on the stovetop to preheat, make sure there’s a little bit of oil or butter hanging out in the pan.

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Sombra Mezcal Review – Intoxicology.com


So what’s the difference between Mezcal and Tequila? Well what’s the difference between an Austrian and a German? We won’t go down that path, but let’s just say these two closely related spirits are usually confused for one another but Mezcal doesn’t get the respect it deserves. I wont pretend to be an expert, in fact, Mezcal of all the spirits is probably my least knowledgeable. But we live to taste and learn and that’s why this week we’re sampling Sombra Mezcal.

The Backstory

Sombra Mezcal is a craft spirit based in Santiago Matatlan, Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s an eco-friendly brand with a process geared towards sustainability, starting with 7 to 10-year-old organic agaves. After the harvest, these are roasted in underground stone pits using sustainably harvested wood. They are then crushed in a traditional tahona mill which is solar-powered, instead of donkey-pulled. The juice is then left to ferment for 8 days in vats using wild yeast, after which the mash is distilled twice using copper-pot stills, using clean-burning natural gas instead of wood fire. At the end of the process, leftovers are used to produce adobe bricks that are donated and used to rebuild houses in earthquake-prone Oaxaca. Sombra Mezcal is bottled at 90 proof using recycled glass.

Tasting Notes

First Impressions: Cool bottle, nothing to catch your eye over any of the other crazy bottles on the market, but it’s simple, beautifully crafted, and matches the smoky flavors it’s known for.

nose: Very Smoky with some fruity undertones. Almost as if you combined a firepit and a floral arrangement in one.

Tastes: There is some SERIOUS depth to Sombra Mezcal. It’s smoky, to an extent that would put some American bourbons to shame. Very reminiscent of the first sip of a white bourbon (moonshine, white lightning) but with more depth underneath and a much smoother finish. It’s got a smoky start, earthy base, and finishes with fruity notes like citrus on the finish. Very smooth.

Price: $39.99

ABV: 45%

Final Words: Mezcal is it’s own kind of beast. Sombra specifically can be served both neat and in cocktails. If you aren’t a fan of smoky bourbons and cocktails, this might not be for you. It’s signature smoky taste can either make or break a drink for you. That being said, you’ve probably never had something as balanced as this with the fruit, smoke, and smooth finish. We enjoyed it, and with a limited number of Mezcals in our collection we’re happy to add this one to the group.


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What Dolphins may be looking at for compensation for Dalvin Cook

The Miami Dolphins have brought back their entire running back room from the 2022 season for 2023, which includes Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed.

On top of that, they’ve also signed two rookies, third-round pick De’Von Achane and undrafted back Chris Brooks.

Despite Miami’s depth at the position, the Dolphins are expected to pursue recently released running back Dalvin Cook, who’s made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons.

However, even though he’s a free agent and no longer will cost a draft pick to acquire, the price tag could be to steep for Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, who has been known to be quite frugal in regards to running backs.

Speaking to Rich Eisen last week, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, who broke the news the Cook would be released, shared what the running back could be looking for monetarily.

“Dalvin Cook, I would fairly say, is not coming in for $4-5 million,” Pelissero said. “That’s not going to happen. This is going to be a significant contract. My understanding is they’re open to both a one-year deal and a multi-year deal. This could move quickly, or Dalvin could sit back knowing he’s got $2 million guaranteed from his Vikings’ contract, wait, kind of see how things fall, if he doesn’t like the offers that he’s got up front here. But, I do anticipate fully that he’s going to be on a team by the time we get to the regular season here. It’s just a matter of finding the right fit, and a team having to pay, and when you have multiple bidders, usually that means you’re going to get some numbers.”

The Dolphins don’t have a bad running back room. In fact, the duo of Mostert and Wilson, when healthy, have been one of the most efficient in the league. Last season, their first in Miami, the two combined for 1,283 yards and six touchdowns on an impressive 4.8 yards per carry.

With all of the other contract situations they have to worry about, including possible extensions for Christian Wilkins, Zach Sieler, Raekwon Davis, Connor Williams and Robert Hunt, Miami may need to steer away from a big commitment to another running back before the 2023 season kicks off.

More Dolphins News and Notes!

Two Dolphins crack PFF’s top-32 linebackers for 2023

90 days till Dolphins season opener: Every player to wear No. 90 for Miami

91 days till Dolphins season opener: Every player to wear No. 91 for Miami

Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire

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14 Seeds You Should Be Cooking With

Nigella seeds, also known as black cumin, are not a common kitchen spice in the United States. However, they should be because of their versatility and delicious flavor. Nigella seeds are deep black and have an almost herb-like, oniony flavor to them. So, for those who enjoy onion powder and onion flakes, consider purchasing some black cumin to add to your spice cabinet.

Although you’ll find them primarily in Indian and Asian cooking, nigella seeds can be used to help boost the flavor of your everyday staples. Sprinkle them on homemade bread, mix them right into your salad or dressing, and load up your sandwich with the delicious onion seeds. Enjoy them ground up or toast them in a hot, dry pan until fragrant for a more intense flavour.

Nigella seeds have traditionally been used in various cultures for medicinal purposes, including to treat chronic pain, airway disorders, headaches, hypertension, and more. The National Library of Medicine believes this is because of their high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes these little black seeds more than just a tasty treat.

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13 Best Tips For Cooking Beans From Scratch

So, you’re already cooking your (fresh) beans in plenty of flavorful broth. What’s next? You can still amp up the flavor even more by adding in a few more aromatics. A good place to start would be an onion or a head of garlic cut in half, a few carrots, or a stalk of celery. If you have them, add a bay leaf or a few sprigs of thyme. The aromatics can be paired with the bean of your choice, as well. Some toasted dried chilies in a pot of black or pinto beans are perfect for bringing that South-of-the-border flavor, and a couple of cloves are often the secret ingredient in a big pot of French cassoulet beans.

These aromatics and flavoring elements work to add even more layers of flavor to your beans. It may sound complicated, but it’s not. Take black beans, for instance. Simply top the beans with some broth, throw in a half of an onion, a carrot, and some pasilla chilies and simmer until tender and you have the makings for perfect black beans.

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5 Facts about The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House

digital platforms over the top (OTT) Netflix has just released a drama series titled The Makanai : Cooking for the Maiko House. Set in Kyoto, Japan, it tells the story of two close friends who move to Kyoto to achieve their dream of becoming maiko.

At the same time, they also decided to pursue different passions while living together. Getting directions from director Hirokazu Kore-eda in the production process, this serial drama from Sakura Country is available in 9 episodes in its first season.

Also read: Suzy is involved in a romance with Yang Se Jong on the Netflix Drakor Doona

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House is played by a number of young Japanese actors who will make the story in this series even more interesting. Among the cast are Nana Mori, Natsuki Deguchi, Aju Makita.

Nana Mori is an actress born August 31, 2001 in Osaka, Japan. Before acting in this drama series, he has played in a number of television series and feature films. Not only that, he has also been a voice actor for animated films.

Films and dramas that have acted, among others Galileo: Kindan no Majutsu (2022), Touboui F (2022), Kono koi Atatamemuka (2020), 461 Lunch Boxes (2020), and Liar x Liar (2021).

Meanwhile, Natsuki Deguchi is an actress born in 2001 on October 4 in Tokyo, Japan. Natsuki has also acted in several titles before being involved in The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House. Movies are like Silent Parade (2022), Unsung Cinderella: Byoin Yakuzaizhi no Shohose (2020), and Girl Gun Lady (2021).

Meanwhile, Aju Makita is an actress who was born on August 7, 2002 in Kanagawa, Japan. She has won the Asian Film Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2021 for her roles in films Asa ga Kuru or True Mothers (2020) and the Asian World Film Festival in 2020.

Summarized from various sources, here are five facts that you can find in this drama series:

1. Adaptation of the Manga

This drama series is based on a manga titled Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san by Koyama Aiko. Previously, this manga was also adapted into an anime. Mangas Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san became one of many popular manga. It was with sales of more than one million copies. This manga even won an award as the best shounen manga in the 65th Manga Shogakukan Award.

Manga lovers can still get comics that tell stories about cooks through several sources. One of them is an e-commerce platform in Indonesia.

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