Dallas had new-generation tequila all stars in town this week, visiting bars, restaurants and retailers to discuss the attributes of their premium tequila brands while tasting a few sips along the way. The two founders of Milagro, Danny Schneeweiss and Moy Guindi, as well as Tequila Avion President Jenna Fagnan. I had a chance to sit down with both tequila producers to discuss what sets their brands apart from all others.
Tuesday afternoon I met with the charming founders of Milagro Tequila, Danny and Moy. Two entrepreneurs that met in business school in their hometown of Mexico City. They had teamed on a few projects in their business classes, continually winning the profits of the internal class contests and proving that they could potentially create a successful partnership, but tequila wasn’t always the first thought. However, as school days flew by, sipping their nation’s signature spirit, they knew they could potentially create a new tequila that wasn’t the same flavor profile those before them had sipped for generations, with somewhat harsh tones and often a tinge of bitterness.
The two friends wanted to create a clean, fresh product filled with the sweet notes of the agave plant. They wanted to create a contemporary tequila that still embraced the traditions by focusing on quality and flavor. They wanted to make a modern Mexican spirit that could rival any other premium spirit in the world. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Tequila"3 Comments »
Remember when the parking lot in the northwest corner of Parker and the Tollway was empty every night? That was before Whiskey Cake. The place does the lion’s share of filling it up now, even on Monday nights. On an evening when most restaurants are starving, Whiskey Cake was packed last night for their Bacardi Tiki Dinner under the direction of execuchef TJ Lengnick. I was an invited guest at the event where the centerpiece of the whole deal was slow-roasted whole pig – two of the critters in fact, and 80-pounds each at that. As the accompanying menu shows, they were accompanied by sides, mahi-mahi steamed in banana leaf and jerk chicken, all preceded by passed appetizers. The whole thing was washed down with cocktails prepared with Bacardi rum.
Yep, it is another day not have to have an excuse to hit happy hour in honor of a spirit, today is National Rum Day. Just like National Tequila Day or National Pina Colada Day, the celebration of an international spirit is all you need to enjoy your favorite libation with some interesting recipes to make the day complete.
In honor of National Rum Day here are a few ideas to create with the ever popular sugar cane based spirit that will transport you to the islands instantly.
Mount Gay Rum introduced a new limited edition bottle earlier this summer, just in time for Rum Day. The collectible Nautical G Limited Edition Mount Gay Rum commemorates and celebrates the sailing tradition and influence within the brand.
Nautical Golden Coco
2 oz Mount Gay Rum Eclipse Nautical “G” Limited Edition
4 oz coconut water
1/2 oz fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
Directions – Pour Mount Gay Rum over ice in a tumbler glass. Top with coconut water and pink grapefruit juice to taste. Stir and serve. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Rum Day"
Can a blended scotch be better than a single malt?
Perhaps, if it is blended from a base that includes some of Speyside’s finest single malts in Scotland, including Glenffidich and Balvenie.
And how do you define “better.” If better to you means creating a spirit that can easily be enjoyed neat, but really shines when mixed into fresh, innovative cocktails?
Then yes…but it may only be Monkey Shoulder Triple Vatted Malt Scotch.
Just introduced to Texas this summer, this smooth and approachable scotch, filled with orange and tangerine notes combined with toasted almond, hazelnut and slight vanilla creaminess has already become a hit with both the older and younger demographic scotch drinker throughout other parts of the world. Now available throughout Texas and Illinois (only), this scotch can easily be enjoyed on its own or created into cocktails like their “Monkey Jam Sour” or “Ginger Brewskie.” Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Monkey Shoulder Comes To Texas"1 Comment »
Fever Tree thinks so. The firm, a small producer of premium cocktail mixers, makes its products from the finest ingredients sourced largely from small producers. That means things like fruit juices, soft spring water, cane sugar, real ginger and natural quinine. Compare that with the saccharin sweeteners and artificial preservatives in major brands. Fever Tree co-founder Charles Rolls makes the case that up to 75% of the cocktail is the mixer, so it affects the flavor of the finished drink. This sounded compelling, so I decided to get some expert opinion from my rolodex of Dallas bartenders.
Michael Martensen of The Cedars Social and formerly at The Mansion Bar at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek replied, “Fever Tree is all I use for mixers behind the bar at The Cedars Social. It is the highest quality of mixer that I have found for each category that they make a mixer for: ie club soda, ginger beer, etc. What also makes it so good is how consistent the Fever Trees are. As a bartender, you want to be able to grab a bottle on confidence and know you are pouring the best product available.We go through 20 cases of Fever Tree a week! As for ‘Is it important pour a high quality mixer?’ Yes, just as important as using filtered ice.”3 Comments »
London in the summertime is the ideal time to visit, with this year being that much more so as we start the 2012 Olympic games in the city that truly hasn’t stopped celebrating since the Queen’s Jubilee. As our athletes embark on making dreams for themselves and the country come true consider raising a glass to their efforts, and to cheering them on to victory. Here are a few ideas.
In honor of London, the host for these summer games, a classic cocktail tweaked a bit using one of my favorite spirits, Pimm’s No. 1.
Summer Olympic Games
2 oz Pimm’s
1 oz Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
Ginger ale or Ginger beer
1 orange slice
5 torn mint leaves
3 broken up slices of cucumber
Directions – Build all ingredients in a highball glass with ice except for the ginger ale or beer. Shake well and top with ginger ale or ginger beer. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: 2012 Summer Olympics Cocktails ~ London Calling"
If there has ever been a silly reason to drink, celebrating National Tequila Day may be it. To toast the day dedicated to the Blue Weber Agave spirit I reached out to a few of our favorite local mixologists to see what their favorite tequila based libation was. Here are a few of their suggestions, along with a mix of additional ideas, if you are in the tequila mood tonight.
From Jason Kosmas, of the newly launched 86 Company, a line of spirits which are all 86 proof and one of the finest mixologists not only in Dallas, but the country, gave me his recipe for a Yellow Jacket. Unfortunately only the vodka and rum have launched from 86 Company, so he suggests Siembra Azul tequila. Wait a few months and you can make this signature cocktail with his 86 Co. tequila.
The Yellow Jacket
2 ounces Siembra Azul Tequila
1 ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
3/4 ounce Yellow Chartreuse
Dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
Directions – Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and stir (not shake.) The cocktail will create a velvety texture as the ingredients come together. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
Kosmas also gave me a go to margarita recipe and the story behind it. His Trial Margarita was created when he was talking with the owner of Marquee before he went to work with them. They asked him to create a cocktail, and without really knowing the bar or any ingredients available he went to work and within minutes he had created what may be called his seal-the-deal cocktail, as he was shortly hired thereafter. This one remains on the menu year round at Village Marquee – Texas Grill & Bar using whatever fruit is in season and available.3 Comments »
Today we learned Ghostbar, once the highest grossing club in Dallas, is closing. According to one employee, most of the club’s workers found out they were jobless by reading about it on blogs. Ouch, that’s cold.
Our first concern was for Wade Randolph Hampton, the dude behind the vibe at Ghostbar. “What will happen to Wade,” cried one co-worker. “Oh, my gosh. I wish Wish FM were here so I could cuddle with him,” swooned another. If you don’t know Wade/Wish, you can read this interview.
Well, don’t worry about Wish. According to a lengthy press release I received, his has been granted. Listen up.
Hampton’s fans will still be able to catch his local shows every Friday at the intensely authentic yet still hushed discotheque (and 50’s dancehall of the same name) – It’ll Do – where he has partnered with heralded impresario Brooke Humphries. His bombastic Friday hoedown, called The ISH, will feature the absolute cutting-edge in bass music and indie-electro with a bevy of globally recognized artists, including members of the unstoppable Pretty Lights camp and Dallas dubstep prodigy, Spenca.
He’s also joining up with M3 Films execs and producers Michael Cain and Melina McKinnon. They are currently producing multiple projects including the STARCK PROJECT. Jump for the notes and quotes. Continue reading "Ghostbar Has Vanished? Where is Wade Randolph Hampton?"2 Comments »
Happy 4th of July week…if you’re getting ready for outdoor grilling and fireworks consider one of these festive drinks to top off the holiday with a bang.
Skyy Vodka just introduced a limited edition Lone Star bottle for the summer to cities throughout the state to celebrate and honor our Texas vets by teaming with the Boot Campaign, an organization that allows Texans to give back to the troops by purchasing, and wearing, original Army combat boots. Or, through this partnership, by buying a bottle of Lone Star Skyy Vodka, available starting today through the beginning of October at local spirit retailers.
Mix up a Lone Star-ita or a Dusty Boot and toast our troops on this holiday.
SKYY Vodka Lone Star-ita
(Made for a pitcher)
2 parts SKYY Vodka
1 part Lime Juice
1/ 2 part Agave Nectar
Directions – Mix ingredients in pitcher and add cucumber slices. Let it sit for approximately 15-20 minutes, add ice and serve. If you don’t have time to let it steep then give the cucumbers a little “muddle,” add ice and serve in salt-rimmed martini glass.
2 oz SKYY Infusions® Coconut Vodka
2 oz SKYY Vodka
½ oz Olive juice
Directions – Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an olive. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: 4th of July Cocktails"
New Orleans isn’t just king of po’ boys, it’s also the home of a 10-year-old cocktail festival that hosts some of the most respected mixologists around the country. Tales of the Cocktail is happening from July 25-29 in New Orleans, and Rocco Milano, Private|Social’s Beverage Director, worked with the festival committee to create a special tasting room called “Come and Get It: Cocktails Texas Style,” highlighting all that Dallas has to offer. Ten of Dallas’ best barkeepers will be creating a unique libation that’ll represent how the cocktail movement is ticking in Texas. Here’s the list of guys who’ll be the faces of our great state.
Abraham Bedell, Oak
Brad Hensarling, The Usual
Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, The Chesterfield
Greg Katz, Victor Tangos
Jason Kosmas, Marquee Grill
Kyle Hilla, Bolsa
Michael Martensen, The Cedars Social
Omar Yeefoon, The People’s Last Stand
Rocco Milano, Private|Social
Sean Conner, Whiskey Cake
If you’ll be in New Orleans next month, think about dropping buy the “Come and Get It” tasting room on July 25 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Hotel Monteleone on 214 Royal Street.
Pearl Cup Coffee will open a new location in Richardson in late August or early September. The shop will be in the II Creeks shopping center at 2701 Custer Pkwy near the Richardson Community Theater. Besides coffee creations, they will sell beer and wine.
The North Texas Food Bank has formed The Round Table, a group of philanthropic young professionals looking to fight hunger in North Texas. And what better way to raise money than to host a regular happy hour. Tonight, The Round Table will meet from from 5:30-7:30 at The Owner’s Box in the Omni Dallas. Orange is the color of hunger and The Owner’s box will donate $1 to NTFB for every Mandarin Orange Martini sold from June 26 through July 26 to NTFB.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company has invited musical guest Boys Named Sue to play in their beer garden on Thursday night June 28 from 6PM – 10PM. For $10 you’ll get a tour of the brewery, hot dogs from Rudolph’s Meat Market, DEBC pint glass to keep, beer samples, and live music.
The Cultured Cup is hosting an iced tea contest and tasting on Saturday, July 28. James Tidwell, Sharon Hage, and the employees of The Cultured Cup will each submit their own iced tea blend, and it will be up to our customers to vote for the winner. It all happens from 11AM to 4PM at 13714 Gamma Rd., Ste. 104. All tea will be 15% off (even online and phone orders) and you’ll receive a free ounce of tea. Admission is $5. RSVP here.
TJs Seafood Market is having a lobster sale. The price, usually $17.99lb will drop to $14.99 from today until July 4.
Eden Restaurant is offering a special Cajun Night menu in addition to their regular items on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1. The $60, seven-course menu is posted below. It’s BYOB. Owner/chef Karen Kahn suggests a Beaujolais. 972-267-3336.2 Comments »
Former professional paintball players now make smooth vodka in Lewisville, Texas.
Somehow I think after I lob this request out into cyberspace, it will be returned faster than an Andy Roddick ace to the deuce court. Advantage, bartenders: take your best shot.
12 Comments »
I’ve noticed readers’ questions have been posted on the SideDish blog before. My turn to be annoying. Ever since my husband and I vacationed in the B.V.I. we’ve been searching Dallas bars that serve a Painkiller. It is a fruity (Birtish) rum drink with grated nutmeg on top. Have made it at home, but would be fun to find it at a restaurant/bar. Any ideas?
In celebration of Craft Cocktails Texas week, I ventured over to The Stoneleigh Hotel Saturday morning for the Texas Craft Spirits seminar, another on astrology and mixology, and to see what was being shaken, stirred, muddled and blended in the tasting room. Unfortunately, I only ended up attending one class all day because two had been canceled.
I arrived at the spirits seminar to find Chip Tate, President and Head Distiller of Balcones Distillery in Waco, in an empty room chatting with one other industry guru. He informed me that the class had been canceled, but he was happy to provide some information and a taste of some of his current projects that won’t hit store shelves for a few more months. Balcones prides itself on trying to establish new styles of whiskey. Rather than sticking to the standard, they do a bit of experimenting with the type of wood they distill in. I tasted two of the several single malt pulls from minimum 24-month yard-aged Slovakian Oak barrels. My favorite of the two greeted me with the warm aromas of vanilla and honey and finished with flavors of spice and tropical fruit.
My stomach sufficiently warmed by whiskey, I headed downstairs to explore the tasting room only to find that it, too, had been canceled (probably due to low attendance). So far, Craft Cocktails Texas wasn’t looking so hot.
Dozens of guests sipped specialty cocktails from mainstream and artisan spirit sponsors last night at the Kick Off Party for the inaugural Craft Cocktails Texas festival on the penthouse floor of The Stoneleigh Hotel. While listening to melodies sung by crooner Ricki Derek, guests sipped on 18-year-old single malt from Balvenie & Glenfiddich, tiki punch from Sailor Jerry Rum, jam-infused drinks mixed with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, and a new product from Maison Lillet (Lillet Rose) served over ice with a refreshing slice of grapefruit.
Craft Cocktails, the brainchild of Mixologist Brian McCullough and Nico Ponce, is a four day festival developed to highlight the art of creating fresh, innovative and delicious cocktails using artisan spirits – often with a nod to the classics -taking place throughout Texas. If you have any love of artisan cocktails, this was the place to be last night, and will be the place to be through Sunday.
Continue reading "Craft Cocktails Texas is Happening This Weekend: June 14-17"
Guests walked the orange carpet to enter Cointreau’s Summer Bar Cart Series poolside soiree last night at Ku De Ta, the member-only swimming pool and bar behind Three Sheets. Dita Von Teese, Queen of Burlesque and global brand ambassador for Cointreau, brought her ‘40s and ‘50s glam to everything from the retro-style swimsuits worn by the synchronized swimming entertainment, the Aqualillies, to the bar cart design.
Jump for beautiful photography by Desiree Espada.
Move over Colonel Sanders, Ms. Lisa Garza is about to stick her manicures fingers into the chicken-by-the-bucket business. Listen up!
Starting Friday, June 22nd, Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar will offer happy hour specials featuring select Southern cocktails. Each day between 5 and 7 p.m., $6 seasonal drink features will be listed on the specials board. Expect weekly rotating cocktails mixed with Patron, Belvedere, Maker’s Mark, Stillhouse Moonshine, and Moet.
Should you get hungry whilst you cocktail, you can ask Ms. Garza to pack up a bucket of chicken to take home. For only $24 (plus tax and gratuity), she’ll put 10 pieces of dark, white or mixed chicken and a side of slaw or whipped potatoes. You don’t have to drink to get the deal, you can call ahead and place an order. I hear Ms. Garza will greet you on the street with the chicken, but I’ve yet to confirm the rumor.1 Comment »
Over four days from June 14-June 17 a new spirits festival will take Dallas by storm, celebrating all things boozy and including some of the best mixologists in the city and the state, Craft Cocktails Texas. The growing interest in high-end cocktails created with whimsy using quality spirits and fresh mixers inspired the event, sure to introduce guests to creations, flavors, presentations and ideas they would have never imagined before. The educational cocktail party will also give back with a portion of proceeds from Craft Cocktails Texas will benefit the Youth Foundation of the American Heart Association. Founded by Brian McCollough and Nico Ponce, Ponce notes:
The event is a four day festival featuring seminars, tastings, and cocktail parties, and is a celebration of the growing movement of craft cocktails, prohibition and pre-prohibition cocktails, and the utilization of artisan spirits in cocktail dens and restaurants across our state. 3 years ago there were only two or three true mixology programs in Texas and now we’re getting close to 50. This is changing the way that people are drinking across our state and we’re celebrating and embracing the new (old) direction that cocktails are headed.
Patios and plunge pools are on the agenda for many this weekend, and what goes better with a long weekend in the sunshine than an incredibly refreshing cocktail. Here are a few to consider sipping this holiday weekend, they are guaranteed to cool you off on what is sure to be a hot Memorial Day. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration.
I have become a rum drinker, sipping Brugal Extra Viejo and either soda or diet ginger ale with a squeeze of lime instead of my previous go to of vodka and soda. The Golden Mojito with Brugal Anejo takes this to the next level with fresh mint and a bit of simple syrup.
50 ml Brugal Anejo Rum
15 ml sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water, heated until the sugar dissolves)
2 lime wedges
a few mint leaves
Directions – Add the mint and lime to a shaker and muddle together. Add the rum, sugar syrup and ice and shake until very cold. Strain into an ice filled highball glass. Top with ginger ale and garnish with extra mint leaves. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Memorial Day Refreshers"