Wine & Cigars

Everybody has a story to tell; sometimes they have an audience and sometimes they don’t – AND sometimes you create your own venue and let the audience come to you.  This is what Juan Carlos & Isabella Jiménez have done.  Six months ago they opened  “ta-ca-ron“.  They now have their piece of the American Pie and the audience for their story.

I was driving home from Beaufort the other day and in typical Red Wine Diva fashion, I spotted a sign for “Boutique Wines” and knew immediately, I would have to pay a visit to this store.

Juan Carlos, a marine biologist specializing in whales, left Cuba on April 19 (not sure what year) to find a better life.  Well he did more than that, he found a partner to share that life with.  When Carlos and Isabella got married, Carlos packed up and moved from Florida to Arizona, Isabella’s home.  After six years, he missed the ocean and the marine life he had studied and worked so closely with for years.  He convinced Isabella they should head back to the East Coast.  Their intent was to visit major cities along the coast and find the one that suited them best.  Driving south from Charleston, they decided to take a detour through Beaufort.  It was December 30 and most everything was closed.  The only thing they could find open for dinner was the Breakwater in Beaufort.  The place was packed with no seating room so they opted to sit at the bar.  You learn a lot about people and places sitting at a bar.  Three bottles of wine later, the couple had decided that the quaint, beautiful, historic Beaufort would be their new home.

Ta-ca-ron is still a work in progress.  Today they specialize in gourmet condiments and sauces, specialty beers from around the globe, Latin coffee, boutique wines and the most unique gift items.  But let’s not forget the cigars – they really specialize in cigars!  Carlos actually owns a factory in the Dominican Republic where Cuban seed cigars are manufactured.  Originally the cigars were only sold at wholesale but today ta-ca-ron has limited hours where they are open to the public and these cigars can be purchased.

The cigars are where the stories come in.  Each cigar is named after an event or a story in Carlos’ life.  Ta-ca-ron’s premier cigar is an anniversary cigar called 4/19.

Carlos' Anniversary date of leaving Cuba

4/19 – Carlos’ Anniversary date of leaving Cuba

The next cigar represents a Chevrolet Impala owned by Carlos’ father.  The Impala mysteriously went missing without any trace of what happened to it until they saw it being driven by Castro on TV.  A few weeks later it mysteriously reappeared (crashed) back home.

Castro Impala

Proud of his heritage, Carlos also sells items that represent his family.  This private label coffee shows his Mother and Father dancing.

coffee

Carlos and Isabella are very philanthropic and believe in giving back.  They have created their own Foundation, El Campesino Foundation.  Funds raised through this foundation provide shoes for less fortunate children in the Dominican Republic.

foundation

Juan Carlos visiting the children

Juan Carlos visiting the children

Ta-ca-ron is in the process of setting up a wine boutique to go with their cigars.  They already have a few wines on the shelf and have more coming in.  Once again, celebrating their heritage, the wines will come from Spain, South America – and beyond.

Sangria reminiscent of the Spanish Sangria Carlos' Father used to make.

Sangria reminiscent of the Spanish Sangria Carlos’ Father used to make.

Gazela Vinho Verde

Gazela Vinho Verde

Typical hours for ta-ca-ron are Thursday thru Saturday but I have it on good advice that if you see a little red convertible outside any day of the week that you are welcome to come in and browse or visit.  You’ll be glad you did!!!

Cheers to Juan Carlos & Isabella for living the American Dream!!!

Sangria Style Margaritas

Is it a Margarita or is it Sangria? 

We had a customer pull up to the shop the other day to get his car “Pettyized.”  He had driven up from Florida just to get this work done and brought with him a case of his homemade wine to leave with us to show his appreciation for what we do (and who we work for).  Of course as soon as he pulled away from the garage, one of the guys came to the office and asked if I knew there was wine up for grabs in the break room.

I try so hard to not be a wine snob, but sometimes it is difficult.  So these were homemade wines AND they were fruit wines. I am not a big fan of fruit wines.   Thankfully I had been reading a lot about Sangria in recent weeks.   Otherwise I probably would have turned down the opportunity to sample these wines.  I actually grabbed three different wines: Banana Pineapple Viognier 2011, Seville Orange Sangria 2011 and Twisted Mist Lime Margarita  (yes, Margarita wine!).  I love, love, love a good Margarita so this wine peaked my interest!!!!!  Like any person who is minimally computer literate, I Googled Twisted Mist Lime Margarita and found the website.   Not only do they sell you the kit to make your own wine, they actually include professional labels so that your bottle looks like it came straight from a winery.  (If you make your own wine or are interested in doing so, you should definitely check it out!)

Yep, you guessed it, the first wine I tried was the Lime Margarita.  I only put a one ounce tasting in my glass so I could test it first.  Well, I was disappointed.  From what I had read on their website, I thought this was actually going to taste like a Margarita.  But no – it was just way too sweet and I couldn’t really tell there was any lime in it even though it looked like a Margarita.  I was so disappointed!!!!  I started to cap the wine with a Haley’s Corker, but just kep thinking there had to be a way to improve this wine by using a recipe for Sangria.  I looked at some recipes I had and decided I could do better.  So this is what I came up with (and even if it is my own recipe, OMG – it was delicious!!!!)

 

Ingredients:  

Lime Margarita Wine – 750 ML

12 OZ Can Lime Ade

¾ Can Tequila

½ Can Triple Sec

Thinly Sliced Lime

½ Cup Frozen, Sweetened Strawberries (or fresh sweetened Strawberries if you have them)

Stir all together and drink up!  (This was so delicious!  If you ever get a chance to try it, don’t pass it up!  I just need to find a way to get more of this Lime Margarita Wine!  If it happens to be a little to strong for you, dilute it with Seltzer Water.  And if you don’t have any Lime Margarita Wine, substitute Corona Beer – 2 bottles. ) 

If you are interested in making a real Sangria with the homemade Seville Orange wine I picked up, you can find great recipes here:  Norps Forks and Corks

                                                       

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