Home-made soda, cinematic sommeliers and sweet sounds are on tap in the latest stream of recommendations from the OnMilwaukee.com staff.
SodaStream – I admit that before I owned a SodaStream I did not understand the appeal. I consumed very little sparkling water and tonic to begin with, so when I occasionally bought some, it only set me back 79 cents. Why invest in a $100 machine that takes up space just to fizz my water? Ugh, that wasn’t supposed to sound gross.
After owning a SodaStream for two weeks now, I get it. Every drink I make is totally refreshing, and I have mixed it with so many different juices and even a few syrups that SodaStreaming has practically become a hobby. Recently, I was sent Ocean Spray cranberry juice’s new mix made specifically for the SodaStream, and although I thought it was gimmicky at first, I have really enjoyed the taste. Cranberry juice for me is usually too strong and sweet (unless it’s 100 percent cranberries, in which case it’s too tart) so mixing it with water creates a very tasty beverage. I haven’t tries it with vodka yet, but the weekend is coming ... – Molly Snyder
Lucy Wainwright Roche's "There's A Last Time For Everything" – Lucy has got famous parents, but that doesn't matter to me. And it didn't stop her sending me a copy of her new disc with her home address printed on the envelope (no, I'm not sharing, and it's since been recycled anyway). It's that same kind of personal approach that makes this 11-song set – her second full-length not counting a collaboration with her mom released this year – so great. It's charming, it's intimate, it's got gorgeous instrumentation and stark arrangements, and I'm finding it's insanely addictive. I've listened to almost nothing else since it arrived last week.
While media attention seems heavily focused on Wainwright Roche's stark cover of Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend," I'm addicted to her originals, like the spooky "The Same," the mysterious "Under the Gun" and "Canterbury Song." Her duets with Colin Meloy and Mary Chapin Carpenter on "Seek and Hide" and "A Quiet Line," respectively, are quite nice, too. Looks like I'm going to have to invest in Wainwright Roche's self-titled debut and the two EPs that preceded it. By the way, if you doubt for a second Lucy's personal approach, note that in her webstore is a concert at your house ($1,500). – Bobby Tanzilo
"Somm" – Thought I was done finding ways to talk about the Milwaukee Film Festival, even though it ended almost a month ago? Joke's on you! Back during the festival, I saw an entertaining documentary called "Somm." Amongst a pile of serious, heavy and often soul-punching documentaries (such as the terrific but horrifying "The Act of Killing," which is showing at the UWM Union Theater this weekend. That's right; that's a bonus recommendation for you), "Somm" was a light little treasure.
The film follows four candidates attempting to pass the Master Sommelier test, an absurdly meticulous and prestigious three-part exam that, if passed, makes you one of the world's most knowledgeable sources for wine. However, you need to know almost everything about wine: the year, the vineyard it comes from, all of the various flavors and textures found in it, the history, etc. All from a little sniff and a quick sip.
That's impossible you say? Well, 211 winos across the globe have passed since the first Master Sommelier test in 1969. So it's only mostly impossible.
Director Jason Wise takes you inside these borderline obsessive wine lovers as they struggle to prepare for the toughest test maybe in existence. And by the end of the movie, you're emotionally invested and rooting for all of them in their borderline psychotic quest, if only so they can finally enjoy a glass of wine without having to spit it into a bucket and prattle off various notes and tastes like a Rain Man's wine-obsessed cousin.
The documentary just turned up on Netflix Instant, so if you missed it at the film festival, now would be a great time give it a watch. Probably with a glass of wine for yourself because, yes, it will make you thirsty. – Matt Mueller