The Art of Drinking Vermouth

Vermouth is often used in various cocktails because of its aroma and flavor. It’s also a popular fortified wine because of the roots, herbs, flowers, and bark that are added to it, but what do you really know about vermouth and what it tastes like if drank on its own?

How Vermouth is Made

Vermouth is a type of Moscato wine in Italy that is flavored with tree bark, saffron, anise, cinnamon, chamomile, and even absinthe to make it sweet or semisweet. More accurately though, vermouth is a fortified aperitif wine, which means that its base is either mistelle (white grape juice or brandy and fermented white wine) or white wine. Unlike Moscato wine, however, vermouth contains more alcohol because it’s fortified. Using the base of white wine or mistelle, distilled alcohol is added, usually using brandy, to raise the proof.

This process is what makes up the fortification of vermouth. Next, the base is aromatized using substances made from plants. This could be a mixture of spices, herbs, roots, seeds, flowers, and others. The use of botanicals give vermouth its color and flavor. Most of the vermouth today contain wormwood, from which its name is derived, while the color caramel comes from the sugar.

The Benefits of Vermouth

Whether you prefer the pale, dry and bitter vermouth or the red and sweet vermouth, when consumed in moderation, it is good for you because it promotes food digestion and improves appetite. In some cases, 50 grams of vermouth can even help someone recover from food poisoning or gastroenteritis. Besides being a good antiseptic, too, the herbs and spices it contains can help you relax after a stressful day at work. Some people use a mixture of vermouth and 2 tablespoons of honey to relive cold and sore throat. It can also be mixed with aloe juice and honey to relieve stomach ulcer.

Vermouth Food Pairings

Because of the diverse flavors of vermouth, there are a lot of options for food pairings depending on its characteristic taste. Aromatic French vermouth are best paired with cheeses because they complement the vermouth’s nutty flavors. While dry vermouth like Italian varieties are best paired with smelly cheeses. However, most vermouth will go well with chicken, scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, beef steak, mussels, salmon, and pancetta.

The Best Vermouth Cocktails

Try these vermouth cocktails with your friends:

  • Negroni: 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce gin, and citrus essence
  • Black Dog: ½ ounce dry vermouth and 3 ounces rum
  • Vampire’s Kiss: ½ ounce dry vermouth, 2 ounces vodka, ½ ounce dry gin, 1 tablespoon tequila, 2 ounces tomato juice, and 1 pinch salt
  • Manhattan:1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 ounces bourbon, 1 dash orange bitters, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, and brandied cherry for garnish
  • Rob Roy: 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 ounces blended scotch whiskey, 2 dashes angostura bitters, and lemon peel for garnish
  • Vermouth Cassis: 1 ½ ounce dry vermouth, ¾ ounce crème de cassis, and club soda
  • Carpano-Rita: ½ ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ½ ounces tequila, ¾ ounces lemon juice, and ¼ ounce agave syrup

Singapore’s Hainanese Chicken Rice

Trust me, one article is not enough to know about one of the most celebrated dish by not just the residents of Singapore but also tourists is the legendary mouth-watering all-Asian experience, the Hainanese Chicken Rice. I know what you are thinking, how is chicken and rice such an attractive dish? Well, for those of you who haven’t tasted Hainanese Chicken Rice, it is acceptable that you cannot fathom the taste of this amazingly tender dish. What better way to describe an Asian dish than with steamed chicken and rice right?

Although very well celebrated in Singapore, this dish does not actually come from Singapore itself. This dish originates all the way from Hong Kong and was brought to Singapore by the Chinese who slowly started to migrate. Chefs from all around the world can be found in Singapore as they have one of the most diverse cuisines around Asia. Although diverse, Singapore never fails to pay attention to the small details in the quality of their servings which makes it hard to say that the food you are eating does not taste authentic.

Finding this dish is no problem at all as almost every hawker center in Singapore has at least three stalls selling this type of dish. Now how about the price? Well, depending on your location and how near it is to the different malls, the price of this dish may vary but to play it safe, this dish may vary from three to twenty Singaporean dollars. The farther away you are from a mall or the smaller and more residential the neighborhood is, the lower the price of this dish may be.

Now, why is Hainanese Chicken Rice one of the best dishes you can find in Singapore? Because of the rice itself! The rice is not just any ordinary rice but is cooked with the broth used to steam the chicken and what makes the taste really sink in is not just the ingredients used but the time dedicated into cooking this meal. The chicken broth is made sure to be treated with utmost priority as it is the main ingredient in the rice. This dish is usually served with cut cucumbers which really give it a luscious and brighter flavor every time you eat the chicken with the rice.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is just one of the many different dishes to fall in love with. Never be too shy to try out something new.

How to Start a Stationery Collection

Do you have a relative or a friend who loves to collect notebooks, writing sets, pens and pencils, envelopes, and even Post-its? That person could be a stationery collector. Even with the popularity of electronic gadgets, a lot of people still find collecting stationeries a therapeutic and rewarding activity.

Stationery is a catch-all name for writing, typing, and printing materials. The name probably comes from the name of the vendor, a stationer, who has a store, such as a book shop, in a fixed spot.

Here are the things you need to remember if you want to start your own collection.

Seven Basic Types. If you are overwhelmed with the choices in hobby shops and bookstores in Singapore, you can start by building up your collection using the seven basic types of stationeries. These are memo pads, flat cards, folded notes, stamps and embossers, labels, contact cards, and non-personalized notes and cards. This list, however, still lacks other stationeries, so don’t limit yourself to these.

Build Your Collection. Like any type of collection, the stationeries you will select will be based on your taste and style. There are no rules that say you should collect only certain types of items, but if you’re planning to use some of your stationeries, you should stock up on the basic pieces. These include personalized stationery, memo pads for lists, formal stationery for correspondences, and stationeries for special occasions, holidays, and celebrations.

Enjoy the Hunt. One of the most relaxing activities that stationery collectors will tell you is shopping for new items. What makes the hobby more addictive is the satisfaction of finding a rare-looking piece with a different scent, color scheme, shape, text or illustration, and other details. If the activity is relaxing or therapeutic to you, go ahead and enjoy it, because that’s what hobbies are for.

Don’t Feel Guilty. If you feel like you have too many unused notebooks and your desk is cluttered with colorful pens and pencils, you don’t need to feel guilty about it. Unlike most hobbies, collecting stationeries will not eat up most of your income, because paper and office supplies are usually cheap. They don’t take up a lot of space, too, unless your collection already consists of overflowing shelves.

They’re Useful. While most collectors would feel horrified at the idea of writing on their collection, they can be useful for special occasions, like sending cards or letters to people on special occasions. They are also useful for other art-related hobbies such as drawing, calligraphy, and painting. You can give them away to friends and family instead of buying pre-made cards.

Get to Know the Best Things You Can Do for Your Home This Year

The first step to living and relaxing better is making improvements to your home in order to make it a much more suitable place to live both for your practicality and for your tastes, and because nothing you do for your home is a wasted effort, it’s time to go all-out to give your home the sprucing up that it desperately needs.

To start, here are the best things you can do for your home this year:

1. Get that piece of furniture you always wanted
It might be hard to get rid of something that has sentimental value, but if you’re only keeping something because you can’t replace it, then you have every reason to splurge on something that will last you longer.

The same can be said about furniture. If you’re holding onto pieces of furniture at home just because you can’t afford to replace them, now is the time to splurge and finally switch it out for the one piece that you’ve always wanted.

You also don’t need to ditch everything in your living room, either. Even having a single high-quality piece at home, like a sofa or a shelf, everything else will simply fall into place around it.

2. Add more art
People hang things on the wall not just as a sign that they have really moved into a space, but because it makes them happy whenever they look at it – it gives their home a soul and sets it apart from other places, especially their work office.

The way you can make your own home distinct is by adding not just any painting, but a particular painting that speaks to you and moves you every time you look at it.

There’s also no need to go out and buy the expensive stuff from famous artists. Even vintage wall paintings from thrift stores or your photos from your last holiday or vacation can work well for this effect.

3. Share your space with a furry friend
If you’re living alone, one of the things you will miss is sharing the space with your loved ones, and this means that it might get lonely at times.

One remedy for this is that you have the option of having people stay over, or avoid being alone most of the time by moving in with roommates that you know well. Another option is adopting a furry friend.

So while pets aren’t for everyone, you should definitely get one if you are really inclined to love them. However, keep in mind that having pets can be a bit more work, which can take more energy from you especially when you already work full-time.

Home Repair, Your Toolbox, and You: A Quick Guide to Tools

Problems can come up at home when you least expect them. But when you can’t afford to pay a contractor to fix them for you, your next best option is to do your home repair by yourself.

While you might take it for granted at first, having a complete all-purpose toolbox is essential for fixing all kinds of emergencies in your home in Singapore, from your electrical circuit to your plumbing.

What’s In Your Toolbox?
You can actually take on most minor jobs on your own, and all you need are the right tools to handle them properly. A complete toolbox should have the following basic items for any home construction and repair:

Tape measure
Screwdrivers/ hex keys
Utility knife
Adjustable wrench
Hammer
Markers
Putty Knife
Other essentials (WD-40, electrical tape, gaffer tape)

While these tools don’t seem like much at first, they can spell the difference between doing a job properly and not being able to do it at all.

This includes having a proper tape measure to get accurate measurements, a Phillip screwdriver or a flat one depending on the screws needed, or even an adjustable wrench to open things that you can’t with your and alone.
You can easily find them at your nearest hardware store, and even cheap ones are likely to last for a long time when given proper care. You can also choose to buy more specific tools that make repairs easier, but keep in mind that these will be more expensive.

You should also make sure to add safety gear and equipment to your toolbox to avoid any potential injuries:
Work lamp/flashlight
Work gloves
Pliers
Safety goggles
Ear muffs

Taking Care of Your Tools
Your toolbox offers great protection and storage for your tools, but there’s more to maintaining your tools than simply storing them in the right place after use. Here’s how you can take better care of them to make them last longer:

• Keep them dry. When it comes to taking care of your metal tools, water and moisture can be your biggest enemy.

• Store power tools in original cases. If you have any power tools, such as hand drills or circular saws, don’t throw away the cases they come in! They are specially designed to protect these tools.

• Use silica gel. Those gel packets you find in shoes aren’t there for no reason – take them and stuff them in your toolbox to keep them moisture-free!

• Clean tools after use. Wipe your tools down with a clean cloth to get rid of any dust, debris, or even grime or water that could stick to them

How to Take Care of Your DSLR Camera in 5 Easy Steps

The most important thing you can do with your camera is to make it last as long as you can. It may be easy to learn how to start taking amazing pictures, but not everyone can keep their camera working through proper care and maintenance.

To get the most out of your DSLR camera – and to keep it working for a long time – be sure to follow these steps:

1. Turn it off before doing anything to it.
Whether you want to swap lenses, change memory cards, or even attach or disconnect cables, switch off your camera first!

Not only is it useful for conserving batteries, but it also minimizes the risk of you accidentally ruining its circuits and lenses when you open it up.

So while it seems simple enough, it’s easy to forget when you’re really busy or accidentally stumble onto a perfect scene that you need to capture. Getting into the habit of turning your camera off will help you remember early on.

2. Invest in a cleaning kit!
DSLR cameras are expensive, but what’s more expensive is having to buy another camera because you didn’t take care of the first one properly. You can avoid this by investing in a quality cleaning kit that includes microfiber clothes, liquid solutions, and brushes.

You should also be especially careful around the LCD screen and camera lens when cleaning, since you want to avoid scratching them at all costs.

3. Don’t keep the batteries in for too long.
Old camera batteries used to leak acid. Today, this is no longer the case, but can still be corrosive to your DSLR’s circuits especially when they’re empty.

To avoid this when you plan on shelving your camera for a long time, it’s best to take out the batteries when you’re not using them. This minimizes acid leaks and keeps your batteries’ shelf life for longer.

4. Camera bags are essential.
Most people tend to stuff cameras in backpacks, suitcases, and fanny packs, but these actually make them more prone to damage since they bounce around a lot.

Cameras also scratch easily and are magnets for dust and lint, which is why there are special bags for them that address these problems. When you’re not using your DSLR, it’s best to keep it in the camera bag.

5. Take care of your memory card.
Your memory card is just as important as your camera – without them, you won’t be able to enjoy taking great photos and capturing beautiful memories.

Not only should you keep it dust-free at all times by placing it in a protective case, but you should also only remove them indoors and store them in cool places away from any magnets and electronics such as speakers and monitors.