September 20, 2009

It's always 5:00 somewhere with Zane Lamprey!

Through his hit show "Three Sheets" on Fine Living Network, host Zane Lamprey explores cultures across the globe in a unique way, through their beverages!

"Alcohol is a social lubricant", says Zane. "When you drink together it makes people more relaxed and it is a shared experience. Just like when you cook with someone, it is something that brings people together. It gets people to be themselves and open up. You can go to a country and spend 100 bucks, get on a bus and look at monuments and statues. Or you can go to a pub, spend a 100 bucks on some food, a few rounds of drinks, and meet someone who is living it. I think it is best to learn about the country from him, otherwise you are just stuck with some tour guide."

Zane has also found that drinks reflect national pride. "When you are passionate about something, you get people to respond to it. Through the show I have found that people have so much pride in their product and want to share it with the world."

This week, Zane offered to take us on a quick trip around the world and share some of his adventures and his favorite drink recipes with Mixing Bowl!

First up, an organic margarita Zane featured in his live event "Zano de Mayo." This recipe uses organic tequila, fresh lime and organic agave nectar. Since tequila is made from the agave plant, Zane recommends using agave nectar to sweeten your margarita instead of sugar or simple syrup. The result is absolutely delicious and this ranks as one of the best margaritas I have ever tasted! Plus, agave nectar has a low glycemic index, so you can convince yourself it is a healthier drink!

Organic Margarita

3 oz of 4 Copas 100% Agave Organic Tequila
2 oz of freshly squeezed organic lime juice
1 oz of agave nectar
Margarita salt for the rim

Fill your cocktail shaker with the tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and ice; shake until mixed and cool.
Dip the rim of your chilled glass in the salt. Strain the Margarita into your glass and enjoy!

Zane's sidekick "Pleepleus" also enjoys a good margarita.

Next, Zane introduced me to a new twist on a martini. On the island of Maui, you can find Pau Vodka made from pineapples. Since it is made from a sugar and not a starch, the result is a clean, pure taste. Along with some muddled fresh pineapple this martini tastes like a luxury island vacation! Be sure to tune into "Three Sheets" this Monday when Zane goes to Maui and discovers this unique vodka.

Pau Pineapple Martini

Fresh pineapple
Pau Maui Vodka

Juice or muddle fresh pineapple. Fill your cocktail shaker with the pineapple, Pau vodka and ice; shake until mixed and cool. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with fresh pineapple.

Finally, Zane made Brazil's national drink, a Caipirinha, using Cachaça. It may be hard to pronounce, but whatever you do don't call it rum! Unlike rum, Cachaça is made only from fresh-pressed cane juice, not molasses, and can only come from Brazil.

The Leblon Caipirinha

2 oz. Leblon Cachaça
1/2 Lime
2 tsp. Superfine sugar or 1 oz Simple Syrup*

Cut the lime into four wedges. Muddle the lime and sugar in a shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and add Leblon Cachaça. Shake vigorously. Serve in a rocks glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.
*1 packet of Splenda or Equal can be used in place of superfine sugar.

Now is a good time to let you know about the colorful cast of characters, drinking guidelines, and traditions on "Three Sheets." (A complete list can be found on his website.)
Zane classifies his feelings on a drink by how one holds the glass. Here he is enjoying the Caipirinha:

FOO FOO DRINK: This would be a drink that masks the taste of alcohol with the taste of sugar. They are sweet, blended, brightly colored, or have an umbrella in them. In this case, the pinky should be up in the air.

And here I am with the same drink:

MAN-GRIP DRINK: This is a general drink, like a Beer, Jack & Coke, or Vodka Cranberry, where the sweetness doesn't hide the taste of alcohol. In this case, all fingers should be in contact with the glass.

Hmmm...Pinky up or pinky down? You decide!

To wrap up the evening we discussed some of the most exotic discoveries from his travels. Ranking as the most disgusting beverage is the "Viper Rum" from Belize. Yes, that is, in fact, a dead snake inside the bottle. Zane's expression says it all. Needless to say, I did not request a taste!

Another interesting discovery is African Amarula, an exotic cream liqueur produced from the fermented fruit of the Marula tree. Amarula is the favorite fruit of the African elephant and also baboons and monkeys. As the fruit falls from the tree and lies on the ground, it starts to ferment, giving it a sweeter taste - and a slightly alcoholic content! Animals of the savannah will do just about anything to eat the Amarula fruit. Hey, sometimes a monkey needs to unwind after a long day's work!

If you like "Three Sheets" check Fine Living Network for Zane's food travel show, "Have Fork, Will Travel." You can also see Zane in person at his upcoming live stage show "Drinking Made Easy" at Zanetoberfest on October 3rd.

For more stories and recipes, stay tuned for Zane's book "Three Sheets: 6 Continents, 15 Countries, 190 Drinks and 1 Mean Hangover" set to hit stores in June.

Until then, Cheers!

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