Basement Party

mulledwinewithcookies2

This was supposed to be the  calm before all of the holiday themed posts.  We’re way past the point of no return.  And I’m glad.  We got nearly two months of this and it’ll fly by.  So this is all about embracing community, the ones you love, whether it be your friends, family, your pets, or all of the above.  And we’re going to get all of the above and so much more.

Highlandtown is a a part of Baltimore that is near and dear to me.  In a previous life I actually did leave here.  But at the time it was just on the verge into becoming the flourishing and thriving neighborhood it has become today.  And it seems like they’ve only just scratched the surface.

basementbartour

I’ve been a sucker and lover for festivals, community events, and neighborhood block parties for as long as I can remember.  So it comes to my surprise that it took me this long to fully partake in their annual Basement Bar Tour.  And what a beautiful congregation of people it has become.

In previous incarnations I only was able to make it to the tail end and only make a couple of the houses and the post party celebration at DiPasquales.  Oh how I love DiPasquales.  I wrote about them once.  You can read that here.

But before I go on any more tangents, lets focus on the topic at hand.  The basement tour was genuine and loaded with soul.

We all put down a relatively cheap $20 to participate in the tour and all the houses (not so much basements anymore) welcomed us with open arms.

Many had snacks, comfort food, beer, mixed drinks, and of course wine.   Yes I need to talk about wine. That’s important to this post and to the integrity of this blog.    Most important of all, there were friendly faces and friendly conversations with everyone.

I got to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in a while.  I got to bond with friends in a way that I ordinarily wouldn’t if we were at a crowded bar or party.  Not that either is right or wrong.  But there is something that much more authentic about a neighborhood of friends all gathering for the same reason.   What it led to me is what is symbolic of what the holidays and what the true meaning of life is all about.  I don’t know the exact words as to what life is all about.  But the terms good, community, friendship, and family come to mind.

I’ll leave most of the houses to your imagination.  Many of my experiences on this day are for my and my friends’ internal memories.   But of course one house did that stand out that’s worth sharing…

mulledwinewithcookies

It’s never too soon for Mulled wine.  Well it may taste funnier in the normal months but I think you catch my drift.  But if not than that’s cool too.

This was house number, (hmm.. I forgot) on the tour.   My friends and I were already in a good place based on the last few residencies.  I kept wondering what surprises each house would bring next.   At this house we got macaroni and cheese, chili, and pulled chicken.

mulledwinewithfood

Just when you think you’ve seen it all we get  fresh baked cookies and that mulled wine. Oh my goodness.  The host kept having to refill because it was going so fast.

He went over the recipe as he was replenishing the wine, but it has completely escaped my memory.  That’s my fault and I take full responsibility for not being able to share that with you.   I even saw the gentleman later on and thanked him for making such an awesome concoction.  And of course I once again forgot to ask him what it contained.

mulledwinewithcookies

It’s safe to assume the Bota Box wine was used, since you can see it in some of these photos.  And it was neighbors to that amazing contraption making the mull.  I’m savoring some right now.

Which leads me to say I want to make some mulled wine.   And I fully believe the possibilities on how to make it are endless.  It’s to your discretion.  The wine is readily available to you.  All we have to do is throw in some fruit, spices, and anything else palpable till your hearts content.

mulledwinewithcookies3

This made my day and we were only around the halfway point.  Four hours plus flew by. And with any fun event time doesn’t stand still.  It accelerates at a scorching pace.  And I fully intend to do my best to slow some of it down and appreciate all the moments.  Not everything will be captured in my blogs but I’ll do my best to share some of the best.  The Basement Bar Tour is some of that best.

In the spirit of community I’d like to promote some of the local businesses in the neighborhood.  Some I’m proud to say are great friends of mine.  Some I’m proud to say I support on at least a semi-regular basis.  If you’re in and around the area, definitely check them out before the holidays and the year is out.  And this will be edited to add more over time, so my humblest of apologies if I leave anyone out.  That is not my intent.

Links will be listed where available :

Peak Performance Training

peak1

 

RoofTop Hot – Urban Farm & Sustainability Services

rooftophot

Highlandtown Gallery/Magnolia Designs/Night Owl Gallery

Rust-N-Shine

rustnshine

Y:Art

y-art

DiPasquales

dipasqualesside

A huge thanks to all the houses that welcomed us in and seemed genuine happy to be a part of this.  And to DiPasquale’s for an amazing celebration by the fire, at the end.  And of course the Highlandtown Community Association.

I’m ready for the holidays.  Oh wait, they’re already here!

More cheer to come,

Ideen

4 thoughts on “Basement Party

  1. Jerry says:

    Hey! Glad to see you enjoyed the food and drinks at our place. We were the ones with the mac & cheese bar and the mulled wine. Since you missed/lost the recipe (quite improvised and simple, really) I’d be glad to share it here. Just a heads-up though, as the afternoon grew busier (and I kept sampling the wares) the proportions likely fluctuated while trying to keep the urn full and hot.

    The main ingredients were cabernet sauvignon (that lovely Bota Box as you noticed) and apple cider. The boxed wine was just a matter of budget as I easily blew through almost 18 liters of wine before the 4-hour event was over. Anyway, between the heating and the other ingredients I figured anything fancy would just be wasted anyway.

    Proportions of wine to cider were around 4:3 or 5:4. Again…eyeballing. Each batch also got a healthy dose of honey to the tune of maybe a quarter cup per gallon. This was some sweet stuff in the end.

    Put the wine/cider/honey mixture into a bulk coffee percolator and filled the basket with sliced oranges, apples, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and cardamom pods. That way, as the urn started to percolate, the liquid also picked up lots of spices and orange zest.

    Then once the percolator was finished and just keeping hot in the urn, I’d add maybe a third of a bottle of tawny port. This just added to the sweetness, flavor, and of course, alcohol content. A friend of mine turned me on to tawny port a couple years ago and it seemed like a perfect addition.

    My main takeaway from this first attempt at mulled wine: just play it by ear and tweak it to taste. Adding cider, honey, and spices to any cheap red in a crock pot or percolator is apparently difficult to screw up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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