Jersey City Business: Misunderstood Whiskey

Photo from @misunderstoodwhiskey Instagram

Photo from @misunderstoodwhiskey Instagram

I like whiskey. Always have. It takes something truly unique and special to snap me out of my usual order of a Jack neat when I cozy up next to the bar. Fortunately, unique and special is exactly what JD and Chris were looking for when they set out infusing dozens of whiskies in their home refrigerators in search of what would become the recipe behind Misunderstood Whiskey. They we’re looking for the perfect ingredient that would maintain all the great qualities of whiskey, but take away the sting that a lot of people don’t like. They eventually found the perfect blend - an 80 proof American blended whiskey, infused with ginger and born in some mason jars in their Jersey City apartment. Misunderstood Whiskey was born— distilled and bottled in Kentucky. It’s the perfect whiskey for whiskey novices, with some sweet vanilla tasting notes, but still strong enough for those of us that love to taste our alcohol.

 I was lucky enough to get some first hand cocktail tips from the guys themselves behind the bar at Luna Restaurant and Bar in Jersey City. Check out the recipes below for your festive holiday whiskey needs:

Bad Apple by LUNABad Apple by LUNA

+ Fresh juiced apple

+ 2 oz Misunderstood Ginger Spiced Whiskey 

+ Cinnamon stick Garnish 

Directions: Juice 1 fresh apple in mason jar with ice. Add whiskey. Stir and garnish with cinnamon stick. 

Dirty Jack Frost:

+ 5 oz Hot Cocoa

+ 1/4 oz Creme de menth

+ 1.5 oz Misunderstood Ginger Spiced Whiskey

+ Toasted Marshmallow Garnish 

Directions: Combine all ingredients in hot cup. Stir & serve. Garnish with Marshmallow. Serve warm. 

Dark Side of the Moon shot by LUNA

+1 oz Fernet Branca

+ 1 oz Misunderstood Ginger Spiced Whiskey

Directions: Pour into shot glass and enjoy.

For more information on our friends at Misunderstood Whiskey, check out their Instagram here and their website here. And don’t forget about our friends at Luna Restaurant and Bar here!

Hoboken Businesses: HudsonCounty60 All Star Holiday Party


I've known I wanted to do a Shop Local Gift Guide when I started HudsonCounty60, but I didn't know how to kick it all off. But what better than a little party? For me, the Holiday's are synonymous with parties and get-togethers. There are the Holiday basics for the Christians of America-- Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years-- but what about all the celebrations for all the other religions and groups of people that make up our great community? There's Diwali, Channukah, and Kawanza. I knew I needed to keep the Holiday vague, in hopes of throwing a party viewers would want to throw themselves, and I also wanted to do something that would include HudCo60 All Stars like Jen Choi of Sugarsuckle, and Casey Repetti of Casey2Cook. Booze was obviously another requirement. 


In September, maybe even August, I started reaching out and beginning the planning process. Both ladies would help me prepare something for the party. Jen decided on Linzer Cookies, which were perfectly light and delicious, and still maintained that holiday spice we all know and love. Casey decided on the perfect party appetizer; sausage, pepper & onion bites. These are not only delicious, but they can be made significantly in advance and frozen, and are INCREDIBLY economical-- one recipe yields 46 bites, and I think we all can agree parties get expensive.

Lastly, I approached the fairly new Wine Dad's in Hoboken about alcohol. I assumed they would suggest some local breweries, but did me one even better-- The Bibo, which may be the perfect little machine for a party. Have you ever thrown a party with a specialty cocktail, only to have to keep making pitchers and pitchers all night long? With Bibo, you essentially have an at home bartender that everyone can work on their own. The machine is as simple as can be-- open the top, put one alcohol packet and one cocktail mix packet in, press the 'mix' button and in less than 30 seconds you have a cocktail! Add a little ice and garnish of choice and voila!

Bibo Machine Red Shaker.jpg

But what makes the Bibo truly perfect for the HudsonCounty60 Shop Local holiday gift guide is that the company is based in Clinton, NJ. And the alcohol pouches? All made by Claremont Distillery in Fairfield, making it New Jersey's largest craft distillery— their Spirits are all produced in the “Garden State” using the finest locally sourced ingredients. So how does Wine Dad's come in? They're the only place in Hudson County that's your one stop shop for the Bibo machine, and alcohol pouches. And a little holiday tip for you— not only are we giving away one machine (valued at $199) to a lucky follower, but during Black Friday you can score one of your very own for only $99 at Wine Dads... wink, wink. 

All that was left to do was enjoy! Luckily for me, the party was small and entirely manageable. Between Casey, Jen, Gretchen from Wine Dads and Cait Kolibas from Bum Pilates, we had a great group of ladies! To throw a Holiday Party like ours on your own, I've included Jen and Casey's recipes below. Don't forget to follow all of our friends and vendors on Instagram (links at the bottom) for their Holiday tips!

Happy Holidays, Hudson County xo

Jen’s Linzer Cookies

✨1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

✨1 1/2 cups ground almond flour (or hazelnut flour)

✨1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

✨1/4 teaspoon salt

✨hint of clove

✨114g butter (or 1 stick of butter)

✨1/2 cup sugar

✨1 egg

✨2 teaspoons water

✨Jam or preserves of your choice

1. Whisk all dry ingredients together in a bowl (other than the mixing bowl for the stand mixer).

2. In the stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down to sides of the bowl to make sure butter and sugar are completely combined.

3. Mix egg and water in a separate bowl.  Slowly add to your butter-sugar mixture while the mixer is on a low speed.

4. Once the egg/water and butter/sugar are completed incorporated, turn off your mixer and add all of the dry ingredients.  Turn the mixer on a low speed to combine.  Once the dough comes together, stop the mixer.  Divide the dough in half and wrap each section in plastic wrap.  Chill the dough 1 hour before rolling out. 

5. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inches thick between parchment paper to prevent sticking.  Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on a cookie sheet or sheet pan lined with a baking mat or parchment paper. 

6. Bake at 350 until the edges are golden.  Allow cookies to cool completely before adding preserves/jam.

This recipe yields approximately 25 sandwich cookies. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Casey’s Sausage Pepper and Onion Bites

✨1 lb of Italian sausage

✨1/2 cup of small diced bell pepper (I used red)

✨1/2 cup of small diced sweet onion

✨1 teaspoon salt

✨1/2 teaspoon black pepper

✨1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

✨1 egg

✨1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed

✨1 tablespoon of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. In a medium bowl, remove the sausage from the casing.. combine the sausage (I used hot) salt, pepper, garlic and egg with your hands until blended.

2. Remove one sheet off puff pastry and unfold it. It is usually folded like a letter, in three. Use the natural bends to cut the 1 sheet into 3 sheets. Roll out each one to about double in size.

3. Divide the sausage mixture into 3 even amounts. Fill each piece of puff pastry and roll into a long log. Use water on your fingertips to seal the puff pastry. Roll in parchment and freeze for at least 1 hour.

4. Remove from the freezer, slice into 1/2inch rounds. Brush the outside with melted butter.

5. Place them at least a half-inch apart on an oven safe tray lined with parchment and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

This recipe will make 3 dozen bites!




Wine Dad’s


Claremont Distillery

Bum Pilates

Jersey City Business: Lourdes of the Vine


It seems to me there's a wine drinkers spectrum-- on one end you have the people that drink wines like Yellow Tail and Barefoot because wine tastes good, and on the other end you have people like Sommeliers and Paul Giammatti in "Sideways" that need to know every single last detail about wine. I fall somewhere in the middle. Will I drink Cupcake? HELL YEA. But I actually enjoy wine. I enjoy the taste, the bonding that comes with talking about wine, and that feeling of accomplishment when you find a great bottle that perfectly pairs with a beautiful meal you've made. 

Enter Lourdes of the Vine, aka Lourdes Arena, a Jersey City based wine educator who also buys for places and people. A New Jersey native, Lourdes previously managed and purchased for the Jersey City wine boutique, Madam Claude Wine. When we had our preliminary conversation I was automatically into this feature. I love any opportunity to talk and drink wine, and Lourdes is just plain fun to chat with! She's made an entire career out of hosting wine events at restaurants, stores and even private parties. 

We immediately decide to take the opportunity to break down some of the intimidating aspects of wine: buying it and tasting it. She suggests we film at Madame Claude Wine, and as soon as I walk in, I understand why. The shop is so cute! Firstly, it's just plain pretty inside, the wines are separated by country, and in some case region, and they sell other fun things like Ricard glasses and cured meats. 

So what knowledge can Lourdes offer people who are overwhelmed by walking into a wine store? A lot. She breaks down some basic rules for buying:

Rule One: Shop at a good store. Find somewhere that isn't huge but still offers a large variety. Wines should be organized by place. Make sure the store is a nice cool temperature. Have you ever had hot wine? Yuck. Gross. (This is where Madame Claude Wines comes in, guys.) 

Rule Two: Determine your price point. I really like to be in the under $10 area for an any day bottle, but can be persuaded to enter the under $15 area for the right accompaniment to a good meal. 

Rule Three: What're you having the bottle with? Are you making Ina Garten's beautiful roast chicken recipe? Maybe you're having a cheese and charcuterie board? At a great wine shop you'll often find notes about the wine and what it pairs well with. Sometimes the back label of the wine will have tasting notes and flat out tell you what you should pair it with. And if the store is lacking all of these options, ASK FOR HELP! Any good wine store has clerks that know wine, and that's what they're there for. Don't be intimidated to ask for help-- this is why you went to this store!

Bonus Tip: Keep track of the wines you like. There are apps out there (duh, but honestly I didn't think of it until Lourdes mentioned it) to keep track of what you enjoy. You can take pictures, keep tasting notes, and even MENTION THE IMPORTER ON THE BACK LABEL. You may find that you like multiple bottles by the same importer. And guess what? There's someone who works for that importer that tastes all the bottles, so it may turn out you have the same preferences as that person!

Now we get to the tasting. Lourdes suggests we do a blind tasting to make it the ultimate drinking game. Plus, this is what the woman does for a living! She explains that tasting wine isn't just about taking a swig. To get a full feel and idea, you should use your other senses like sight and smell. I close my eyes and Lourdes goes to pick a wine. She puts it in a brown bag, hiding the label, and pours it. We then proceed with the tasting process:

Step One: Look. This is done best against a white backdrop like a sheet of paper. To properly determine the color, tilt the wine over the piece of paper. What's the color you see? We were having a red, and this particular one looked like Garnet. You may be thinking red is red, and white is white, but not quite. There are varying shadeStep Two: Smell. Swirl that bad boy around, stick your nose in the glass and take a nice big sniff. This particular bottle smelt like cranberries, but you can smell all kinds of things like floral scents, vegetables and even wood and dirt. 

Step Three: Taste. The moment you've been waiting for, but don't just gulp it any old way. You'll want to suck in the wine, making sure to take in a lot of air. Swish it alllllll around your mouth, and let it coat every surface in there. What do you taste? Does it burn a little? All these things play a part in tasting and learning. 

In this instance we were playing a tasting game, and although Lourdes 100% led me in figuring out what I was drinking, I learned it was Sauraus Pinot Noir from Argentina. I was supposed to determine what kind of wine and where it's from based on all of these details, but Lourdes would tell you that taking note of all of these details are important in learning what you like and don't like.

I enjoyed my time with Lourdes so much I ended our shoot with a "can we be friends IRL?", and a "you should come over for dinner one night", which is exactly what you want from someone you're going to have in your home at parties! For more information on Lourdes check out her website here and her Instagram here. And don't forget to check out Madame Claude Wines here.