Starbucks Juniper Latte Schooled Me About Gin

You may have heard all the fuss about Starbucks new holiday drink — the Juniper Latte.

Our signature espresso and steamed milk mingle beautifully with juniper syrup. This beverage has a light, pine-like flavor with delightful citrus undertones. We cap this latte with velvety foam and accentuate the remarkable flavor with a dusting of pine-citrus sugar.

As soon as I read the description, I wanted to try it. Then I started looking for reviews on Twitter to get an idea of how people liked it.

Opinions were all over the place and frankly I was confused. So many of  comments were about it tasting like gin. Gin?! What?! What did juniper flavor have to do with gin?

Let me tell you. I was today years old when I learned that juniper berries are used to make gin. Learn something new everyday! Researching this post is how I found out! I’ve never been a fan of gin. I’ve had it in a few cocktails, but never go out of my way to drink it. I’ve never bought it and probably never will.

From what I could differentiate of the flavor in mixed drinks, gin seems to bring the flavor of what it’s mixed with down a notch and make it more dry. Why would I want to do that? I prefer the opposite. More flavor and sweeter!

Luckily, I didn’t learn about the gin connection until after I had already tried the drink. Otherwise I might have opted out.

So what did I think? I liked it! It was sweeter than I thought it would be. The flavor was understated. Think about the smell of a pine tree and the sap that you see dripping down the tree. Imagine what that would taste like. Then take it down a notch. That’s the flavor. Just the right amount of Christmas tree. I’ll definitely buy it again.

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*Updated 12/12/2019* Sadly, Starbucks didn’t bring back the Juniper Latte this year.

Bar Harbor New England Style Clam Chowder

clam chowder

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone so quickly! I had a small gathering at my house and decided to incorporate chowder into the meal and continue The Chowdah Project.

Many restaurants serve it as an appetizer and I decided to follow their lead. Since time was a factor and I thought it would be interesting to try some different brands at home, I bought Bar Harbor New England Style Clam Chowder.

Bar Harbor has several types of chowder and I may try a few in the future. I debated about which flavor to choose. One of a few types of corn? Lobster? Salmon? Fish? I stared at the cans for a while! Finally, I settled on the clam chowder, because most people like it and I was taking too long deciding.

The directions call for you to add butter, milk or cream, and salt and pepper to taste. My mom helped me with the meal and took over the chowder preparation. Because we weren’t sure how many people would want it, we used five cans. My mom added a whole stick of butter!

Not sure how much cream, salt and pepper she added. But it was certainly flavorful and there were a decent amount of clams. I would have preferred more and bigger chunks of potatoes, but overall people seemed to enjoy it. The leftovers were good too!

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Bar Harbor ~ New England Style Clam Chowder
15 0z. can
Regular Price: $4.39
Sale Price: $3.00
Stop & Shop: 65 Newport Ave., Quincy, MA