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Tiramisu Tea and More – Your New Holiday Indulgence

No-guilt indulgences that actually taste like indulging

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The holidays are coming, bringing long winter evenings indoors and delicious, calorie-packed foodstuffs. We know what we’re supposed to do—eat salad first, use small plates, exercise restraint—but we have to admit we dream of something better. We dream of holiday indulgences that taste truly decadent, but don’t come with guilt.

And we’re not the only ones. 68% of Americans agree that the holidays are a time to indulge with good food. But over 40% of Americans also say they want to eat healthier this year than they have in the past.

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Luckily, Pinky Up knew this day would come (it’s called “every day” for us), and we’ve got the answer to this conundrum of holiday food trends.

 

Pinky Up’s holiday-ready dessert teas

Tea is a perfect low-cal dessert. Based on herbs, flowers, and spices, its flavors are naturally complex and delicate—but calorie-free, providing uncompromised taste with no guilt. Our dessert teas are scrumptious enough to stand on their own, but you can also incorporate them into popular tea-based recipes. Not only have drinks like the London Fog taken off in recent years, but tea is blossoming in other directions, appearing in cocktails, infused whipped creams, and even cookies.

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Pinky Up’s delighted to be part of the new trend. Our dessert teas bring playful, imaginative flavors to the holiday table, made from real stuff: real cocoa nibs, real fruit, real herbs, and natural flavoring.

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Chocolate Mint: Organic rooibos, organic apple, organic peppermint, organic cocoa nibs, organic orange peel, natural flavoring.

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Strawberry Shortcake: Black tea, brittle piece (sugar, hazelnut, invert, sugar), cinnamon, strawberry, natural flavoring.

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Tiramisu: Black tea, cocoa nibs, white chocolate pieces (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, skimmed milk powder, whey powder, lactose, soy lecithin, natural vanilla), cinnamon, coffee beans, natural & artificial flavoring.

Pinky Up’s dessert flavors include Strawberry Shortcake, Tiramisu, Chocolate Mint, Confetti Cake, Creme Brulee, and Candied Apple. Find them all online.

Meet The New Collins

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You may know that True Brands recently acquired Collins, a Chicago-based line of mixers, syrups, and garnishes. Collins Brothers was founded in 1934, right as Prohibition ended, and it’s grown alongside the American cocktail tradition ever since. So why change now?

Well, consumers have changed. Healthy cocktails are on the rise, and millennials especially care about good nutrition as part of their daily lives. So we’ve updated Collins to get with the times, while still honoring its history of crafting American cocktail essentials. Read on to see how we’ve made Collins fresher and tastier than ever.

Listening tour: drinks you can depend on

To get the ball rolling, we asked regular people what they look for in a cocktail mixer. And they taught us a lot.

We learned that drinking at home is still social. “My friends come by unannounced, I want to have something to offer,” one interviewee said. Outdoor activities, like gardening or walking the dog, were also occasions for at-home drinking, but most of our panel talked about casual entertaining for friends.

We learned that cocktails are personal. The men interviewed feel that the people in their lives depend on them, and they’re attracted to dependability in their beverages. They like brands that show stability, longevity, and commitment—which, as a cocktail company with 80 years in the industry, was good news for us.

When it comes to ingredients, fewer and fresher is better

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As soon as you taste the reformulated Collins, you can tell you’re drinking something good. That’s because we’ve removed artificial flavoring, colors, and sweeteners from our mixers and syrups, letting the taste of from-scratch cocktails come through in every sip.

Collins garnishes have long been made with fresh vegetables and a pared-down ingredient list, a sensibility we’ve brought to the entire Collins line. Our new recipes include real sugar and fruit juices, no high fructose corn syrup, and natural flavors and coloring. We also worked with a professional bartender to build recipes that taste unique, complex, and well crafted.

Collins’ flavors are still on the sweet side, which most mainstream Americans prefer. People want quality, but they also want accessibility—they want drinks that taste good and aren’t hoity-toity about it. We’re proud to say that the reformulated Collins reflects these values.

Look good, feel good

collins 3Pictured: old old-fashioned.

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Pictured: new old-fashioned.

Collins’ branding has always been bold and simple. But we wanted our packaging to match the authentic flavors of our new recipes, so we took it old school. Collins’ rebranded packaging is inspired by a real vintage Collins bottle opener found in an antique shop in Washington state. We loved it: the sturdiness, the connection to Collins’ history, the classic American quality in its details.

Our new packaging sports classic typography modeled after the bottle opener’s engraved Collins logo. It’s elegant but approachable, making Collins stand out on shelves in a way that’s inviting to regular people.

“Just add vodka”

At the heart of these changes is the reason people buy Collins mixers in the first place: They make it easy to enjoy a good cocktail.

That’s why you’ll see “just add vodka” (or bourbon, or rum) on our redesigned packaging. We love that Collins puts great drinks in people’s hands with no frills, and we want consumers to get excited about how easy it can be. Our ingredients make it quick and cost-effective to enjoy quality cocktails at home, and at the end of the day, that’s what counts.

Explore Collins’ selection

Collins’ robust selection of mixers, syrups, and garnishes sets a new standard for home bar solutions. Find your flavor here and learn more about Collins here

Trend Alert: Black Is Back

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Black is back and trending for 2018. This year, look out for unusual suspects: paint trends, home appliances, and even wedding dresses are breaking with tradition and embracing the darkness.

What does that mean for you? As black makes its comeback, you may find yourself craving onyx hues. Matte and minimal, flashy and fashionable, or everyday indispensable, True Brands has your trend report on the many shades of black.

1) Make drinkware part of your decor

According to the Washington Post, black stainless steel appliances are growing in popularity. As their presence increases on Pinterest boards and in home decor publications, a painless way to try the trend is with coordinated black barware.

The Warren collection by Viski makes a stunning visual statement. These sleek black bar tools offer everything you need to make great-tasting cocktails, plus accessories for stylish serving.

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2) Combine with copper

If strict minimalism isn’t your scene, try combining black with another foolproof design trend: copper. These highball glasses from Viski’s Raye collection do the trick—the smoked glass vessels have been dipped in copper, putting a sophisticated twist on an already-elevated look.

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3) Accessorize

Black accessories can almost always be considered chic, but there was a special place for them at fashion weeks this year. Our bracelet flask and bowtie bottle opener necklace, both by Blush, do double duty: they keep you stylish, while bringing an extra dose of low-key fun to girls’ nights and gatherings.

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4) Go techie chic (and quirky)

This bottle opener mimics the shape of a fob and comes with a ring for keeping keys organized. While it’s every bit as fun and useful as its bowtie necklace cousin, this bottle opener appeals to a wryer, tech-savvier giftee.

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5) Put a retro spin on things

This Blush bottle stopper is two trends in one: not just elegant black, but the perennial favorite cat eye glasses. This distinct shape was made famous by Audrey Hepburn, and it’s come back in eyewear trends of the past few years. Shop with confidence—our homage to the cat eye looks flattering on any bottle shape.

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6) Cover your basics

We love learning about what’s new, but let’s not forget the classics. This sturdy water bottle makes a great gift for him: not only can it be used every day, but its matte black appeals to those with a more understated style.

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Spiegelau: Why is Spiegelau Sierra Nevada, Left Hand Brewing & Rogue Ales’ Go-To Beer Glass?

Can the shape of your glass really make that much difference to a beer’s flavor? For small-batch brewers like Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head, and Bells Brewery, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

 

 

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These craft beer favorites worked with Spiegelau to develop specialized beer glasses that bring out the flavors of IPAs, stouts, and American wheat beers. Today, we’re diving deep to give you the information your customers want to know: How do these glasses work?

 

Anatomy of a Spiegelau Craft Beer Glass

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  • Laser cut rim: Provides crisp, clean delivery in every sip.
  • Mouth opening: Wide mouth delivers beer evenly across palate, hitting the different palate “zones” that detect different flavors. This enhances mouthfeel and offers a harmony of sweetness and acidity. The wide mouth also allows you to fully experience a beer’s unique aromatics.
  • Thin walls: Maintains proper beer temperature longer. We think of thick walls as insulating, but in reality, they can transfer more heat into beer than a thin wall. Thick walls can also cause beers to lose their fizz faster.
  • Crystalline construction: Lead-free crystal offers purity and clarity, and is sturdy enough to be used in a glass much thinner than the standard pint glass. This thinner construction allows for greater flexibility in glass shape.

In general, wide mouth openings in beer glasses are correlated with aeration—the wider the mouth, the faster the beer goes flat. But Spiegelau solves that problem by adjusting the shape of each glass to suit the style of beer it’s meant for.

 

IPA Glass

 

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Beer characteristics: Hoppy, citric, aromatic, a top-selling American craft beer

Standout features: Ridges assist with head retention by re-carbonating as you sip.

Developed with: Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada

Experts say: “[I]t acts a sort of olfactory cannon that shoots the hop, concentrates it, and pushes it towards your nose. It doesn’t just let it linger on the top of the beer in the glass.”

American IPAs stand out because of their bold, hops-driven flavor. A common woe for the IPA drinker is head retention and loss of fizz. Spiegelau’s IPA glass addresses both with a series of ridges, which re-carbonates the beer as you sip and promotes better head.

Here’s a tip: Advise your customers not to fill a Spiegelau glass all the way. Glasses should be slightly less than full to give you room to appreciate the beer’s aroma.

 

Stout Glass

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Beer characteristics: Roasty, rich mouthfeel, bold flavors include coffee and chocolate

Standout features: Angle of the rim consolidates aroma to maximize enjoyment of a stout’s complex flavor profile.

Developed with: Left Hand Brewing Company, Rogue Ales

Experts say: “A revolution in glassware.”

Stouts have a lot going on. Their flavor profiles are deep and complex, spanning notes like cocoa, espresso, cherries, prunes, and even tar. Roasted barley gives them their signature dark hue and caramelized taste. And they feel thick, sometimes even chewy, as you swallow.

Spiegelau compliments stouts’ richness with a carefully angled rim, which focuses the beer’s aroma to heighten appreciation of its flavor. It’s a simple, but crucial design choice that puts the smallest distance possible between you and the stout.

 

American Wheat Beer Glass

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Beer characteristics: Subtle, refreshing, high carbonation, easy drinking

Standout features: Capacious bowl retains wheat beer aromas

Developed with: Bells Brewery

Experts say: “I was really surprised at the ability of this bowl shape to both capture and focus […] a reservoir of aroma.” “Taste it the way we intended it to.”

American wheat beers are a well-known gateway brew: they’re light and refreshing, which makes them accessible to a wide range of palates. But sometimes, the delicate aromas of wheat beer can be lost altogether.

Spiegelau’s American wheat beer glass has a wide bowl preserves the beer’s fragrances, while its smooth interior and angled lip delivers those fragrances straight to the nostrils.

 

The secret to a great beer glass: passion and science

Spiegelau’s craft beer glasses were made possible through a unique collaboration with brewers who are outstanding in their field. To learn more about the process, or to get an in-depth look at how an individual glass was designed, watch Spiegelau’s video series:

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Now that you’ve learned why Spiegelau glasses deliver an unparalleled drinking experience, we hope your customers will get more out of their beer purchases (and view you as a craft beer rock star). Whether they’re newcomers to the world of craft beers or old pros, everyone deserves to enjoy these beverages as they were meant to be tasted.

 

Bruce on the Loose

Bruce is on the Loose! Get creative and take a picture of this fun guy for a chance to win $50 in True credit and an exclusive gift. Submit photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtag #bruceontheloose. The photo with the most likes wins! Contest ends March 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm PST.

Bruce on a Dino Bruce Hides at Work

You represent that you own all copyrights in the photographs and have been given permission by each individual depicted or represented in the photo and bind such individuals to these release terms. As a condition of submitting your photo(s), you unconditionally and irrevocably 1) assign all copyrights and other ownership rights in the photo to True Fabrications, Inc. (“True”); 2) waive all claims to compensation for use of the photo; and 3) waive any claims under copyright law, right of publicity or privacy, misappropriation or misuse of image, defamation, and another common law or statutory claims under the laws of any jurisdiction. You acknowledge that True may, in its sole discretion, use said photos for any purpose including videos, publications, advertisements, catalogs, news releases, web sites, and any promotional materials in any medium of communications and may be used for advertising, promotion, the use of trade, and/or other commercial purposes.

No Plans for Friday? Our Top Tips for Cooking with Wine.

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Valentine’s Day, love it or hate it, is almost here. Don’t worry singles, you only have four more days of watching the lovebirds canoodle until VDday 2015. Lovebirds, if you’re not going out for dinner, why not stay home and cook for two? Here are the TrueFab top three tips for cooking with our favorite ingredient, wine!

1. Cook with what you’re drinking. If you’re serving red wine, don’t cook with white – the acidic flavor of the white won’t complement the richness of the red. Even better: buy two bottles of the same wine, one for cooking, one for drinking (bonus: if you cook with less, that means more to drink).

2. DO NOT COOK WITH “COOKING WINE.” This is likely a cheap wine with food coloring and nice packaging. You’re better off sticking with a classic two-buck chuck.

3. You can’t drink it? Don’t cook with it. Poor wine can ruin an otherwise wonderful dish. This can be tricky though (see point 1) as you may find yourself running low in the bottle as you sample your ingredients (hence, the importance of two bottles).

Cooking not your style? Wine and takeout pair quite beautifully as well.

Cheers to a very Happy Valentine’s Day from The True Fabrications Team

Sparkling Wine or Champagne? A Celebratory Primer.

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Champagne, by any other name, is typically a blend of of vibrant, high-acid wines blended down to create a house style that shouldn’t vary from year to year. While that is comforting when you’re looking for the old stand-by, smaller grower/producers are creating some vintage releases that are unique, vibrant, and still won’t break the bank. Look for champagne that is labeled RM (Recoltant Manipulant) and don’t be afraid to spend a couple dollars more than you might have on one of the big name Champagnes. The larger houses and distributors offer special incentives to retailers to offer these wines at small-losses, just to establish themselves as the champagne of choice. The return when buying RM wines should be two-fold; the retailer and the grower are getting paid, and you’re getting a wine that is hand-crafted and unique. Look for the vintage “Special Club” releases for wines that are typically affordable and are drinking well above above their price.

When looking outside of Champagne, there are terrific wines and terrific values. Franciacorta, Prosecco, and Moscato are all great options from Italy. Spain has their Cava, but beware the lowest priced bottles as they tend to be headaches waiting to happen. The Loire Valley has some incredible Samur Mousseaux, which is a Chenin Blanc perfect for seafood. Domestic wines are producing some excellent contenders, and offering them at very (very!) reasonable prices. Oregon and New Mexico (yes, really) are making some of our favorites.

So as you celebrate the New Year, think about exploring the versatility of these wines on a more regular basis. The bright acidity will cut through fats, and the toasty notes will come through in the finish. With bubbles becoming increasingly affordable, you can try them all and celebrate your way through the year!

Holiday Cure-All: The Hot Toddy

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Ahhh, the holidaze. It was a long flight back home, and the two rows separating you from the sneezing, coughing family does not seem like it was enough to protect you from the imminent cold coming on. Perhaps a day of sledding with your brothers, sisters, nieces and nephew didn’t help the cause. Regardless, it’s Christmas Eve and you’d like a little something to help ward off any ill effects of your holidays at home.

Enter the Hot Toddy. Warmth from both base and spirit will soon get you right. Our favorite recipe is terribly easy; Hot water, high quality honey (the darker the better, we love local Seattle Ballard Bee Company), lemon, either a dash of cinnamon or a small amount of clove, and Bourbon that you would drink neat. We’ve also used Brandy or Cognac (so smooth), Rum (a little sweet for our taste), even Grappa or Eau de Vie (whoa, nelly).  All measurements are essentially to taste, though one mustn’t go too far on the Spirit so as to offset the medicinal effect of the drink. As simple as a Toddy can be, you want to do it right; use only the best ingredients you can as a cheaper substitute will impart poor flavor and quickly flaw your midwinter warm up.

Find your balance of flavor, experiment with your favorite spirit of choice, and share your favorite recipe with us! You never know when another cold might be coming on.

Hot Toddies shown in True Farmhouse Stein with Rustic Holiday Slate Coasters.

Honor Your Wine by Decanting

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Whether enjoying a cellared vintage, special occasion bottle, or everyday table wine, the one unifying trait is how beneficial decanting is. Aside from the obvious benefit of introducing oxygen and allowing a wine to reveal the layers beyond the first blush, there are other uses as well. The impressive style of presenting a decanted wine to your guests, no matter how casual the gathering, gives your wine a special place on the table – especially for the holiday season! It shows that you care enough to pay attention to the small details. When serving older vintages, you are able to reduce the amount of sediment that would otherwise end up in a glass. When serving younger vintages, a sneak peek is allowed, showing how a wine might evolve with time in the cellar.

When decanting, always take the time to decant older wines with a gentle hand, and don’t be afraid to use a little vigor with younger vintages. Certain whites benefit from decanting as well; youthful higher end Burgundy and Chablis, and the sweet wines of Sauternes almost always do well with a little air.

When wine is decanted, guests are more likely to finish the bottle rather than pour it back into the original container. So go ahead – pick up that extra bottle and enjoy!

The “New” Wine Industry

For many years, wine was branded for, and consumed by, the higher echelon of the American population. People flaunted the brands that they drank. A vineyard’s reputation was as important as consumer’s enjoyment of the actual wine fillings his or her glass. However, a new rogue group is breaking out of this trend consisting of a younger wine consumer for value driven wines that didn’t compromise quality for price. They didn’t want to be limited to “Two Buck Chuck”. They wanted an options..

Thus we find ourselves in a very different wine industry, one that has become split. Wine makers must still brand and create wines for the “traditional” wine drinker, but now they have to also provide fun and innovative wine and products for the “new generation” of wine drinker.

The “new” wine drinker wants to have fun when they drink. They go camping with wine (a previously beer-heavy activity), they BBQ while drinking wine, and even go swimming with wine. But all of this created new needs for the market: good inexpensive wine and products that enhance the wine experience.

Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine recently featured an article on this new generation. In their new addition called, “The Pouch Revolution”, they say that wine drinkers aren’t even limiting their bottles. In the article they explain about how new wine drinkers are actually going after bagged wine. They go with bagged wines because they are cheaper, and the pouches allow for more print space to brand their wine. Essentially the “new” wine drinker is not about the wine itself all the time, but also the wine’s branding, visual appeal, value, and sometimes portability.

Fun loving wine drinkers are expecting more and more out their wine and their wine experience. With new branding, and fun gadgets and products, wine drinkers are sure to fine something that will make their next wine the most enjoyable one yet!