Layer Cake Hits the Silver Screen

Most of the known world has loved the movie, “A Bad Moms Christmas,” for the raunchy humor, the scene with a naked Justin Hartley, and the trio of Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, and Kristen Bell.

We love it for another reason: Layer Cake and our sister wine Cherry Pie have a bunch of cameos.

Like the scene at dinner one night where the moms chase Chinese take-out with a few bottles of Layer Cake. Or the scene on the streets of New York, where Hahn throws tradition to the wind and slugs Cherry Pie straight from the bottle.

That latter scene, the one where Hahn gives up the last of her inhibitions and throws back our red like a rock star, is EVERYTHING. What, with all the demands of the holidays—from gifts and food to parties and concerts more—we won’t blame you one bit if you want to grab a bottle of our wine and drink it from the bottle, too.

(Maybe just don’t do it in public; you could get a ticket and we can’t be responsible for that.)

Whatever you do, remember this: You deserve wine. You always deserve wine. Even when you think you don’t deserve wine, you probably do. Those “Bad Moms” gals are on to something. Bottoms up.

Peppermint Cocoa Mousse and Shiraz

Chef and Author Alyssa Cremeans featured Layer Cake Shiraz in her new cook book, The Happy Mason Jar, Quick Easy Mason Jar Desserts and Wine Pairings. And she found the perfect pairing… Mint hot chocolate mousse.

Alyssa says: During my last year of college, I would purchase an extra-large iced peppermint mocha every single day before class. It’s a surprise my blood pressure wasn’t through the roof! After finally overcoming my severe caffeine addiction, I decided it would be easier on my blood pressure and my wallet to enjoy a chilled peppermint chocolate fla- vored dessert on occasion, rather than to indulge in a daily beverage. Now, I’ll take this delicious dessert over a cup of coffee any day!

Chocolate Mousse Layer
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1¾ cups heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons water

Peppermint Layer
1 box (3.25oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon mint extract
4 drops red food coloring

Ganache Layer
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons of shortening

Makes eight 8oz mason jars, or four 16oz mason jars.

Active prep: 30 min             Inactive prep: 30 min             Bake time: none!

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and salt in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir thoroughly. Continue heating the chocolate in the microwave for 15-second increments, stirring thoroughly in between, until the chocolate is melted completely.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir together the gelatin and the water. The gelatin will turn into a gel-like solid. Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 15 seconds so it melts. The gelatin may have a strong vinegar-like smell when it’s melted. But this will not be present in the flavor of the mousse.
  3. Immediately stir and pour the melted gelatin into the melted chocolate before it hardens. Stir the mixture thoroughly.
  4. Distribute the chocolate mousse mixture into the mason jars. The chocolate will still be very runny. Allow the jars to cool for about 30 minutes before adding the peppermint layer.
  5. For the peppermint layer, beat the vanilla pudding mix, heavy cream, nutmeg, sugar and mint extraction on high for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until stiff peaks begin to form. Stir in the red food coloring and distribute into each mason jar.
  6. Refrigerate the jars while you prepare the ganache layer.
  7. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and shortening for 30 seconds and stir thoroughly. Continue heating the chocolate chips and shortening for 15 seconds at a time, stirring thoroughly between each increment, until the chocolate is melted.
  8. Allow the ganache to cool for 5 minutes, then drizzle on top of the jars. (Layer Cake Note, add crumbled candy cane for additional flavor!)
  9. Keep the jars refrigerated until you are ready to enjoy with a glass (or bottle) of Layer Cake Shiraz.

More on The Happy Mason Jar here, and you can purchase Alyssa’s book directly here.

And for more Layer Cake Wine pairings, visit our recipes page, or purchase one of our One True Vine journals here.

Submitted by Layer Cake Wines fan, Alyssa Cremeans

‘Tis the Season: Unique Ways to Gift Wine

The holidays are nearly upon us, and that means parties, gift giving, and an exhausting string of errands. It can feel overwhelming to find something for everyone in time and on a budget while still trying to enjoy some cheer, so make it easy on yourself — turn to wine. No one is going to frown at a beautiful bottle of carefully curated vino; they can easily pour a glass for cocktail hour, open and share it for dinner, or save it for post-holiday destressing.

Careful, though: gone are the days of showing up at a holiday party with a bottle of wine you picked up on the way and, if the host is lucky, set in a tall skinny gift bag (tissue paper optional). With the endless options for personalized gifts, modern giving requires a slightly more personal touch.

Fear not, though. Wine makes it easy to create a unique experience no matter your budget or time frame. We’re here to help with options for a standout gift for anyone on your list (of legal drinking age, of course).

Classic Spiced Wine

Mulled wine is a favorite holiday treat; we often have a small slow cooker warming wine and spices on dreary Saturdays. Nothing transports you to the wintery markets of France quite like the smell of rich red wine and mulling spices.

Hosting provides a perfect opportunity to wow your guests with the revelatory taste of mulled wine, but if you’d rather attend the party than host it, there are ways to gift spiced wine:

  • The Whole Kit and Kaboodle: Make a mulled wine kit. Buy a bottle of red wine — something rich and jammy, maybe even on the sweet side, like Primitivo or Pinot noir. Assemble a packet of mulling spices. You can make your own mix or opt for a store-bought version. Finally, add an orange, some (optional) brandy for fortifying, and an instruction card. Voila! Easy peasy.
  • Some for Me, Some for You: Make mulled wine and gift chilled. This is a fabulously sneaky way to ensure you get a taste and still have some to share. Mull a large batch in your slow cooker or soup pot and chill whatever you don’t drink (though it may be hard to resist). Package the results in swing top bottles and include an instruction card — it’s important to note the mulled wine should be heated slowly to avoid boiling the wine — and you’re done!

Tasting Experiences

As minimalism becomes more popular, the idea of gifting experiences rather than objects is on the rise. Instead of contributing to a person’s pile of things, add to their life experiences and knowledge. And really, isn’t wine all about the experience? Between the color, nose, mouth feel, and abundance of tasting notes, we revel in the way wine presents itself. Give the gift of indulging the senses with wine.

Put together a wine tasting basket. Pick a favorite wine or two and include flavorful treats. Think cured meats, cheeses, and chocolates.The idea is to create a playground for experiencing the wine — how does the vintage interact with different food elements? Invite your giftees to explore different tastes; try featuring a red and a white or introduce international flavors like Shiraz or Malbec. You can also showcase local vendors in your basket and give out-of-towners a taste of your region.

If you’re putting together a gift for someone new to wine, a social butterfly, or someone you love spending time with, considering putting together a wine tasting day. This doesn’t have to be an expensive commercial endeavor facilitated by a company. Rather, gather a few close friends, appoint a designated driver, and pick several local vineyards in your area to visit. Tasting fees are often minimal, and bottle purchases are up to participants. If you want, pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the second or third vineyard — eating is an important part of tasting wine!

Remember Why You’re Giving

The holidays bring about a million and half occasions that we feel required to have a gift for. When you’re looking for a gift for a party host, new friend, or family member, stop and ask yourself why you’re giving them a gift.

Even if it feels like an obligatory occasion, identifying what you want to highlight with your gift will help you decide what the right gift is. And always remember, Layer Cake has the perfect bottle for any experience.

Submitted by Layer Cake Wines fan, Alyssa Razmus