Friday, April 18, 2014

Texas Cocktail News, April 18, 2014: Sugar Land cocktails, new bars, pop up cocktails, expensive limes, and more grapefruit!

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    From Drink.Well: Spring Awakening: Gin, Lillet, Triple Sec, Grapefruit, Absinthe

    Seeing as it's now spring, it's time to use up those Texas grapefruit. I wanted to do like Stacy Markow and make grapefruit bitters, even perhaps using the gentian root (I couldn't resist mentioning it!), but I wanted to make quick cocktails instead. Heck, I'm not one for putting off my own enjoyment. I would gladly trade two cocktails tomorrow for a cocktail today.

    So I went searching and came across the Spring Awakening from Drink.Well. in Austin, Texas. I got it from Imbibe Magazine, but it's originally from the cocktail and bites place in one of my favorite cities, Austin. I have not actually been to Drink.Well., but from their cocktail menu, it sounds great! I went ahead and included their current cocktail menu below the post. Yes, they feature a drink with malort!

    To make your own Spring Awakening Cocktail, combine with ice:
    • 3/4 oz gin
    • 3/4 oz Lillet
    • 3/4 oz triple sec
    • 3/4 oz grapefruit juice

    shake well, and strain into an absinthe rinsed glass. That means you put a little ice in your already chilled cocktail glass, swirl it around and then dump it, kind of like some people do with dry martinis.

    The absinthe really comes through, but mostly in the nose and then on the back of the tongue. It's the grapefruit that shines here, especially with the Lillet. The two of them work wonderfully together. It's refreshing and light, yet pretty boozy at the same time.

    It tastes like...spring. So drink one whenever spring finally hits your town. Or when you want spring to hit. Or, like me, you need to use up the fifteen pound bag of grapefruit you bought for $3.50. Either way, a damn good drink.

    And I know where I'm going the next time I'm in Austin!

    Drinks from Drink.Well.'s current list:

    Terra Firma | 9

    • Caña Brava rum, fresh-pressed jicama water, lime cordial, Fever Tree bitter lemon soda

    Jalisco Foxtrot | 8

    • Tequila blanco, Zucca, fresh Texas grapefruit, housemade pomegranate grenadine

    Lazy Dog | 9

    • Hops & Grain 'Zoe' pale lager, Bourbon, Strega, ginger syrup
    • fresh lemon, Bittermen's Hopped Grapefruit bitters

    Springside | 8

    • Vodka, Martinique cane syrup, fresh lime, mint

    Avant-Gardener | 10

    • Ford's gin, rhubarb tea liqueur, Dolin dry vermouth
    • fresh lemon, honey, thyme

    My Queen | 9

    • Rhum Barbancourt, tangerine drinking vinegar, fresh lemon, Lazzaroni amaretto

    Show Pony | 10

    • Aquavit, carrot-sage cordial, fresh lemon,
    • housemade spicy tamarind bitters, egg white

    St. Charles Streetcar | 9

    • Bourbon, Dolin vermouth blanc, dry curaçao, Peychaud's & orange bitters

    Björn Supremacy | 9

    • Rye whiskey, peach brandy, Bäska Snaps bitter mälort, Angostura bitters, citrus oils

    Morning Wood | 10

    • Cognac, espresso liqueur, Luxardo bitter, Bittermen's molé bitters

    Friday, April 11, 2014

    Spirit Review: Yellow Rose Distilling's Straight Rye Whiskey

    Yellow Rose Distilling is another Texas whiskey distillery producing some damn fine whiskey. Their products include a blended whiskey, a bourbon, and a double barrel bourbon. I have only tried the Straight Rye Whiskey, but it's enough to make me pine for the others. This rye is good.

    It's made from 95% rye, which gives it a little pepper and spice, but it's very drinkable straight or in a Manhattan cocktail or a Sazerac, the three main ways I drink rye. Sure, it's 45% ABV, but with a large ice cube, it becomes a very smooth whiskey with just a hint of spice on the finish. There's plenty of brown sugar and vanilla there, too, but the pepper makes it different from a standard bourbon. This is a straight rye whiskey, so it has been aged for at least two years, and that aging makes it smoother than some other comparable ABV ryes.

    The lowdown: don't be afraid of Texas whiskeys. This one is a winner. So much so, I even bought my dad a couple bottles for Christmas. And that's saying something.

    Monday, April 7, 2014

    From Imbibe Magazine, The Winter Daiquiri: Rum, Angostura, Allspice

    Much of the country has not moved beyond winter yet, even thought it is almost April. Even here in Houston, us cocktail bloggers are shivering at a brisk 45 degrees at night. Sure, it gets to 75 degrees during the day, but even that's cold for a Houston March.

    Enter Imbibe Magazine's Winter Daiquiri, an update of the traditional rum and lime juice cocktail. To make this winter version of the classic, combine with ice:
    The Winter Daiquiri: Rum, Angostura, Allspice, Vanilla
    • 1 1/2 oz rum
    • 3/4 oz lime juice
    • 1/2 oz simple syrup
    • 1/4 oz allspice dram
    • 1 dash Angostura bitters
    • 1 drop vanilla extract
    and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a lime or lemon (to distinguish it from a regular daiquiri) studded with cloves.

    Imbibe says to make a vanilla syrup, but I think it's easier to just put a drop of vanilla in the drink itself. Sure, it's easier to get too much, but you don't have to make a whole cup of vanilla syrup either. You can just use it as you need it instead.

    It's a great drink. As the name suggests, it is a spicy cocktail, with clove and allspice, and cinnamon, and lime. It would be wonderful in summer, too, let's be honest, but there's something about drinking it on a cold night when the heat still comes on. As if we're dreading when we'll need the air conditioning.

    Friday, April 4, 2014

    Cocktail News: Tails Cocktails Packaging, PAMA Cocktail Competition Recipes, Cocktails for a Cure

    Tails Cocktails New Packaging

    From the Tails website:
    Tails Cocktails is a British company, and their products are only available in Britain right now. But their new packaging shows us the future of cocktail mixers. The new packaging is actually a shaker, and it includes all of the spirits and everything. So all you do is open the bottle, add ice, and shake, and you get four cocktails. So you can mix anywhere. This is genius, if you ask me. If you have to use a mixer, why not go all the way and buy all of it? It's really like ordering a cocktail at a bar and then having the bartender hand you the shaker to shake it yourself. I would totally do that.

    PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur Cocktail Competition Winners

    PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur announced the winners of its "Are You Indispensable?" cocktail competition and even released the three winning recipes. I will be trying each of these at some point, you can be sure. Here are the winning recipes, taken from the Digital Journal:

    Law Abiding Citizen
    Grand Prize: Ryan Gannon, Cure, New Orleans
    •  ¾ oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
    • 1 ½ oz Hidalgo Napoleon Amontillado Sherry
    • ¾ oz lemon juice
    • ¼ oz simple syrup (1:1)
    Shake and double-strain into a coupe.  Garnish with 4 drops Bittermens Tiki Bitters.

    The Hammond
    Second Place: Theo Lieberman, Milk & Honey, New York
    • 1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
    • 1 oz Santa Teresa "1796" Solera Aged Rum
    • 1 oz Atsby Amberthorn Vermouth
    • 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
    Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with an orange zest.


    Third Place: Julia Momose, The Aviary, Chicago
    •   ½ oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
    • 2 oz Lunazul Reposado Tequila
    • ½ oz Campari
    • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
    Combine ingredients in a mixing glass.  Add ice and stir.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Finish with lime zest expressed over the glass and garnished.

    2014 Cocktails for a Cure

    Colorado University's cancer fundraiser is one that more fundraisers should emulate. Charge $150, get top names in mixology from around the city to create drinks, and serve some fantastic food. And the money goes to cancer treatment and research. This is genius.
    From the Cancer Center website: Bring a girlfriend, sip on a signature cocktail created by Denver’s best mixologists, peruse the silent auction and enjoy an invigorating experience celebrating Colorado women and supporting the research and treatment of women’s cancers at the renowned University of Colorado Cancer Center. Guests must be at least 21 years old to attend.  This event is WOMEN ONLY! Sorry men!

    I would totally go to that. If I were a woman, that is.

    Monday, March 31, 2014

    The Brooklynite in San Antonio: the Spring/Summer Cocktail Menu

    The Brooklynite is one of San Antonio's best cocktail bars, not just because they make damn fine drinks, but because Jeret Pena and Rob Gourlay take care of their customers. The last time I went in there, I don't even think I asked for anything. They just kept bringing me great drinks. They know what their customers like, and they make drinks just for them.

    The Brooklynite's new menu sounds awesome. I like the mix of classic cocktails with super zany sounding house ones. Notice that they lean toward the unusual, with house made shrubs (vinegar drinks) and ingredients such as beet, carrots, fruity pebbles infused almond milk, and a mixture of bitters not normally found in bars. You can't go wrong with a good East India or Pegu Club cocktail, sure, but be sure to try one of the others, too. Especially if it has thai basil.

    Nice work, Brooklynite.