Friday, August 12, 2016

Booze Clues: Fun Facts about Italian Wine for Ferragosto

Happy Ferrogosto from Shoes N Booze

The Italian holiday Ferragosto celebrates the harvest season and summer in general. Though introduced by the emperor Augustus in 18 BC, it also coincides with the Catholic feast of Assumption of Mary, so for many it has religious significance as well as cultural. Since it occurs in mid-August (seeing a pattern with that root word yet?), which is the summer vacation period in Italy, celebrations can last from one day to a couple of weeks. The festivities begin on August 15th. In Italy, there will be picnics, fireworks, religious observances and– most importantly for this crowd– the sharing of delicious food and great wine.

Fun Ferrogosto Facts from Shoes N Booze

If you're in the New York area, you can also join the celebration at iTrulli, where there will be a special Ferragosto-inspired lunch menu designed to feature foods traditionally enjoyed and shared during the festivities. Think panzerotti, octupus, caprese salad, meatballs, etc. Plus, the Marzovilla Family, makers of Barone Fini Wines, are partnering with the restaurant to offer a curated selection of wines to pair with your meal. As an extension of good will, 100% of the proceeds from each glass of Barone Fini purchased will directly benefit the Food Bank for New York City.

Baroni Fini WInes and Food at i Tulli for Ferrogosto

We attended a preview of the lunch last week, and it was DELICIOUS! While there, in addition to learning about the celebration of Ferragosto, we also learned quite a bit about north Italian wines, especially those from Barone Fini. The family behind the brand has been making wine since 1497 and has become an authority on the process of creating exceptional Pinot Grigio and Merlot. Our editor couldn't help but swoon as a fellow Leo and 15th-generation family member Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini guided attendees through the tasting. Of course, the experience inspired a few #TIPsyTuesday posts. If you didn't catch them on our Instagram, Facebook or twitter, here they are:

Italian Wine Label Tips from Shoes N Booze and Barone Fini

Looks like we all need to pay a little attention to labels. Granted, there are some amazing Pinot Grigio wines from various places, but we'd like to think the best of the best would come from its home country.

Italian Wine Facts from Barone Fini and Shoes N Booze

Be mindful when you're wine shopping. Many times, the higher the classification, the higher the price (because the assumption is that the wine is better). However, often, there are I.G.T. wines with quality levels at or above those of D.O.C. wines, especially in certain grape varietals.

*Bonus Fact: Because part of northern Italy was once actually part of Austria, white wines from that region, especially in the Alto Adige area, will have flavors similar to German or Austrian wines.

Now that you've gotten a little primer on Italian wines, do you feel more comfortable in the wine shop? Do you have questions we can pass on to Giovanni?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Booze Clues: How to Do the Kentucky Chew

Be Sure to Chew your Bourbon

I.W. Harper Bourbon at Goorin Brothers in NYC

A week or so ago, our editor attended a launch event at the Goorin Brothers Hat Shop in NYC's West Village for The Harper, a limited-edition premium felt fedora created in partnership with I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

Nafeesa Saboor and Ryan Ross talk bourbonWhile there, in addition to sipping cocktails and getting fitted for our her Harper hat, Nafeesa had an opportunity to taste I.W. Harper's recently-released 15 Year Old liquid, compare it with the flavor of their Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and to chat about all things bourbon with New York Master of Whiskey, Ryan Ross. As the two discussed the I.W. Harper brand legacy (it's one of the oldest bourbon brands and actually ceased US sales for 20 years before returning recently, though it was continually in production and sold overseas) and the flavor notes in both liquids, another attendee joined the conversation and inquired about the tasting process. Ryan introduced him to the "Kentucky Chew" and consequently inspired this week's #TIPsyTuesday posts on Instagram and Twitter. If you missed the posts yesterday, here they are:

Bourbon Sipping tips from I.W. Harper Bourbon

We know... sometimes it's hard to resist. However, if you're taking shots of aged or premium bourbon, you're wasting it. For some, it's an acquired taste, but the category has a rapidly-growing female fan base. Experiment with different brands and ages... you'll soon find your favorite sipper.

Bourbon Tasting Tips from Shoes N Booze

Your nose actually experiences the things you eat and drink before your taste buds even come into contact with them, this affects the way your taste buds's perception.

Bourbon tasting tips from Shoes N Booze

Your tongue has various different flavor zones that work together to create a full perception. Keep this in mind when tasting bourbon, other spirits and wine. And now... here's how you do the "Kentucky Chew"... 

Tips on the Kentucky Chew

This is only one tasting method. It' probably the most widely known, but there are a number of others used by professionals and connoisseurs within the spirits world. Now that you know the proper way to taste bourbon, go out and share your knowledge... and remember friends don't let friends do shots of good bourbon.

Oh yeah... here's The Harper:

I.W. Harper Bourbons and Goorin Bros Harper Fedora 

Expect to see it on Nafeesa's head pretty often once the temps start to drop outside.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Shoe Sleuth: What Shoes to Wear on Rainy Summer Days

Hot, Wet & Bothered

Dear Shoe Sleuth,

What do I wear when it's 90 degrees and rainy in New York? Galoshes make my feet and legs HOT, my cute sandals get ruined and flip flops get just plain gross. There's also always the "it might not rain all day, and then I'll be wearing rain boots for nothing" thing. And I'm a mom to two young boys. HELP!

Slipping in the Rain

Dear S.I.T.R.,

Fret not. I've often felt challenged when selecting shoes for rainy summer days. I learned the hard way to stay away from flip-flops (slipping, sliding and splashing yucky, dirty water up the backs of my legs). As a result, over the years I've developed go-to characteristics that I keep in mind. First, I opt for plastic- usually EVA styles. I also try the make sure that if the shoe is an open style, it's not completely flat to the ground and has some sort of ankle strap or support to keep it on my foot. Lastly, I try to find something that looks fun (gray days can be a drag, so I try to let my shoes lift my spirits a bit). Now that you know my formula, here are a few suggestions at different price points for almost any activity.

Easy Does It

Ipanema Phillipe Starck Flat sandals

If it's a drizzly day, but you're not expecting a storm or heavy downpour, consider a minimal flat, like this "Thing N" sandal from IPANEMA + PHILLIPE STARCK. The open style makes it easy  for your feet to dry once the rain has stopped, and the heel cap will help keep your foot in place. $40 at or other colors are on clearance for less at Opening Ceremony.

Melissa Mar Flatform Sandal

If it's raining heavily, and there are puddles, consider a sandal with a platform (because we've all stepped into a puddle that was deeper than we thought, and none of us enjoyed it). This "Mar" flatform sandal from Melissa is a great option, and it gets bonus points for the feminine rose quartz hue (a key color for 2016 according to Pantone). $112 at

Office Obligations

United Nude Super Sandal

If you're in a situation that requires heels, consider something that has a non-slip sole. This "Super" sandal from United Nude is a great choice with its architectural styling, and molded rubber heel. It also has that whole sport-inspired-but-still-sophisticated thing going for it. Sleek ankle-length pants or a midi-length pencil skirt will further refine the look. $199 at

Biion Floral wingtip

If your office requires lots of time on your feet, consider a menswear-inspired wingtip in a feminine floral print, like this style from Biion. Though it's completely closed-in, there are perforations for ventilation, but don't worry about your feet getting soaked and swampy. Once you put the shoes on, they create almost a vacuum effect that keeps most of the water out but lets air in. (I know from experience because I was once gifted a pair, and I LOVE them. If you can, wear thin mini socks, as they sometimes rub at the heel. $109.99 at

Day-to-Day Errands

Native Shoes Sparkly Silver Sneaker

Sometimes you have to add your own silver lining to the day's clouds. Enter this sparkly EVA "Jericho Bling" slip-on sneaker from Native Shoes. It has classic styling and a go-with-all silhouette. It's also PETA approved. $55 at

Opalescent Rubber Converse Chuck Taylor All Star

You can't go wrong with a pair of Chucks. Seriously. NEVER. And this opalescent  All Star is actually rubber. Whether you're in denim cut-offs, a cool t-shirt dress or cropped joggers, this Chuck Taylor works- and without looking all-out soccer-mom. $59.99 at

So, SITR, do any of these options work for you? If not, do you at least have an idea of what to look for now? Let me know in the comments. And remember that I'm always at your shoe-searching service.