Fall Cocktails | 2014 Edition

PUMPKIN SPICE MARTINI (available at Olenjack’s Grill in Arlington)
Pumpkin Spice Martini1.5oz Herman Marshall Texas Rye Whiskey
1oz Domaine de Canton ginger liquor
1oz heavy cream
0.5oz simple syrup
1 teaspoon spiced pumpkin puree
garnish sugar/cinnamon rim and fresh grated nutmeg

KETEL ONE DAYLIGHT
1 ½ oz. Ketel One® Vodka
1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
1 oz. fresh orange juice
½ oz. rosemary maple simple syrup

Build in wine glass over ice. Stir for 10 seconds. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and a dusting of cracked black pepper. 

KETEL ONE FUMBLES & FOLIAGE
1 ¼ oz. Ketel One® Vodka
1 oz. Pimms #1
¼ oz. allspice dram liqueur
1 oz. fresh orange juice
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. ginger simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange slice and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

KETEL ONE ROSEMARY’S BABY
1 ½ oz. Ketel One Citroen®
½ oz. Meyer lemon simple syrup
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 rosemary sprig
Club soda

Muddle rosemary and lemon simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel and rosemary sprig.

Herradura Espresso
Herradura Espresso

Herradura Espresso
1 ½ oz Herradura Añejo
½ oz coffee liqueur
1 ½ oz espresso
½ oz simple syrup
1 ½ oz heavy cream

Place all ingredients excluding the heavy cream in to a cocktail shaker filled with cubed ice. Shake hard and strain over ice in to a chilled coupe glass. In a separate shaker place the heavy cream and cubed ice, shake hard to aerate then pour carefully over a bar spoon to layer the cream over the coffee. Garnish with 3 coffee beans

KETEL ONE MIDNIGHT SOUR
1 ½ oz. Ketel One Oranje®
¾ oz. vanilla bean simple syrup
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
3 drops fig bitters
3 drops mole bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with a float of red wine port.

Ketel One Pumpkin Pie
1.5 oz. Ketel One Oranje
1 bar spoon of pumpkin pie mix
.5 oz. honey syrup
.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of cinnamon

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and double strain into a martini glass.

Bohemia Spiced Cookies
Bohemia Spiced Cookies

Bohemia Spiced Cookies
½  oz lime juice
1 oz Creme Yvette
.5 oz Allspice liqour
1.5 oz Bohemia

Shake all ingredients except the Bohemia and strain in rockglass over ice coupe glass. Top with Bohemia beerand grate nutmeg on top.

 

Indio Canela
Indio Canela

Indio Canela
1 oz Tequila Añejo
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz cinnamon syrup
Indio beer
2 slices of fresh ginger

Place ginger slices, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup and añejo tequila into a cocktail shaker and fill with cubed ice. Add Indio beer and stir to combine, garnish with lemon discs or shaved ginger.

 

photo-4

Afternoon Wine Tasting at Mercy Wine Bar? Wine-Not?

A few weeks ago I attended Mercy Wine Bar’s Passport to Rioja tasting series, featuring wines from the Rioja wine region. The event allowed us to taste a full spectrum of Rioja offerings, including centenary wines, classic modern styles and collector’s wines.

A little background on Rioja Wines: Rioja is a wine region in Spain that is famous for it’s Tempranillo wines. Tempranillo is an Old World wine that pairs well with food. (Obvious,but for real. I was craving a steak dinner after the event!) In terms of flavor, Rioja wines vary from more fruit-forward to silky, smooth with a bit of spice. To learn more about Rioja Wines, check out RiojaWine.com.

photo-2About the Event: There was no twisting my arm needed to get my RSVP. So on August 19th, I happily dashed up the Tollway to their Addison location.

Every table at the tasting featured several wines from different winemakers in the Rioja region. The event was thankfully relaxed and intimate, so I was able to learn about each wine I tasted. There were several wine retailers and restaurateurs in attendance (which made me feel prettyyyy fancy) who all seemed to be intrigued and impressed by the wines represented — which even further reassured me that I was about to be blown away.

The Wines: For your sake, I won’t go into every wine I tasted in this review. In short: I felt spoiled to be able to try the best of the well-known and typical varietals from Rioja, as well as explore some blends and whites that I didn’t even know existed.

The Reds: I was able to try some vintage and reserve wines from Faustino, including one from 1964! I also fell in love with Palacios Remondo’s La Montesa which uses organically-grown grapes making a light and delicious tasting blend of Mazuelo Tempranillo and Garnacha; a perfect red to sip out on a patio in the summer. As the gentleman at the tasting table put it, “It has a great slam ability factor.” (Yes, he said that.)

For White Wine lovers: The biggest and most pleasant surprise of the event for me was how much I loved the white Rioja wines, made from Viura (or Macebo) which is a Spanish white grape variety … and a severely underrated one at that! They tasted full-bodied and substantial light and refreshing; somewhat like a Sauvignon Blanc but less sour and less fruity. I especially enjoyed the white from Milflores (the bottle is gorgeous too).

Food: Thankfully, with all that wine tasting (I couldn’t get the hang of the spittoon), they passed around several delicious hors d’oeuvres such as Risotto Balls and Smoked Bruschetta (which is Smoked buffalo mozzarella, garlic olive oil, marinated tomatoes, and balsamic reduction).

Mercy Wine Bar’s Passport to Rioja tasting series was a truly unique experience that forced me out my Pinot Noir and Savignon Blanc comfort zone to learn and taste the best of the best wines from a historically rich and renowned region in Spain. I’ll be back soon, Mercy Wine Bar, to try a glass (or two) of something new and unexpected!

TIP: Mercy also will sell their wines to you at retail price. So be sure to grab a glass of Rioja wine at Mercy Wine Bar next time you are up in Addison and then take a bottle home with you!

Ole!


MERCY WINE BAR

5100 Belt Line Rd #544, Dallas, TX 75254
(Located in the Village on the Parkway, at the southeast corner of Beltline and the Dallas North Tollway, between Sebastian’s Closet and Blue Mesa.)
(972) 702-9463
mercywinebar.comFacebook | Twitter

Hours of Operation:

  • M-W: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
  • Th-F: 11:00 am – 2:00 am
  • Sat: 4:00 pm – 2:00 am
  • Sun: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am

HAPPY HOUR SPECIAL | 4pm – 7pm daily
$5 wines by the glass (choice of 11 different wines)

 

About Mercy Wine Bar:

To be honest there is a lot of big chain restaurants and bars up in Addison, so Mercy Wine bar is a perfect antidote, with its small, cozy setting and unique wine and food selections. This award-winning Dallas staple is a great place to go grab a glass of wine before or after an event up there.

 

DOUBLE BERRY MOJITO SHAKER and

TGIF!

I love going to out to eat.  It’s an opportunity for my wife and I to relax, talk and eat and drink (obviously). Deciding where to go can, at times, be a point of contention … You see, I’m against fast food (unless it’s Whataburger and I am on the way home from a bar), making reservations assumes we know where we want go prior to us pulling up, and, like most people, we live on a budget.  So it may or may not come as a surprise that I value, and, dare say, appreciate the role the big chain restaurants play in the restaurant scene.  (To me there is something almost comforting about these places.) 

I remember TGI Friday’s from back in the day as more of a restaurant with a sports bar feel than a place I expect to find craft cocktails, artisan appetizers and “hand-crafted” food.  I checked out the Addison location down the street for me and realized the Friday’s from my younger days is long gone. (Rest in peace.)  They are embracing change, shaking that suburban eatery rap and catering to a younger generation of foodies and more particular cocktail and beer drinkers. The hodge podge of wall decor is gone with cool photos and prints in their place and the waiter’s 37 pieces of flair have been replaced with an impressive level of knowledge on how to make a drink.

We struck gold with (read: devoured) our Ahi Tuni Crisps, a combination one might not expect of blackened Ahi tuna on a tortilla chip with guacamole, jalapeños, Sriracha sauce and Avocado Vinaigrette, topped with a cucumber-wasabi ranch.   Followed by an order of Bacon Mac N Cheese Bits.  My Friday’s Spike Lemonade (made with Tito’s homemade vodka, lemon and lime juice, agave among other things) washed down the starters I would normally never eat, but couldn’t resist at least trying … and then ended up finishing the plate.

Before night was done we also had gone through a Hendricks Cooler, Best Friday’s Margaritas and a Double Berry Mojito, which made me eager to come back again.  It was one of those kind of meals where you end up full before the entrees are even brought out but you can’t help but eat most of it.  (Some of our steaks ended up coming home with us to be enjoyed the following day.)

And what is dinner without dessert? Those who know me know I do my best to eat healthy(ish), but I was able to muster the willpower to resist the Oreo Madness.  The same can not be said about my wife…

It’s no secret that competition and staying power among restaurants is difficult, especially in a city with a thriving food scene like Dallas.  Of note, this TGI Friday’s location happens to be one of the more tenured restaurant establishments in Addison (RIP: Trulucks, Mi Piaci, Sambuca, Bennigans, Mi Piaci, Jake’s, Champps, Duke’s, etc).  Having sampled what they’re cookin’ and shakin’ up over there, I’d encourage you to stop in and check out what they have going at their new Addison location!

TGI FRIDAYS
www.tgifridays.com
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram  Tumblr | YouTube

Current Drinks Specials (daily specials may vary from TGIF to TGIF!)

  • Monday – $5 Bloody Mary, Mimosa and Calls
  • Tuesday – $5 Jack Daniels
  • Wednesday – $3 martinis & half priced bottles of wine
  • Thursday – $3 drinks

 

***TGI Friday’s are supporters of the SDD team and provided complimentary gift cards for this meal***

 

 

chopin-potato-vodka

Chopin Vodka

Upon my latest Susie Drinks Dallas delivery I immediately thought, “Yay vodka! Let’s make some drinks and kick off this weekend early!” Mind you it was only Tuesday and this was much needed. Then I figured I should skim the label and, to my surprise, I held potato vodka in my possession. Chopin Potato Vodka to be exact.

(Potatoes and I have a longstanding relationship. Mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, potato gratin, baked potatoes, potato skins and all the other which ways potatoes come …I love them all.)

Chopin came to the U.S. market in 1997 from Poland and has notes of vanilla, green apple and that ever-so-alluring earthy finish. It comes crafted from potatoes grown naturally (good news for all your organic, non-GMO sticklers), yeast and purified artesian well water. It takes 40 potatoes to make one 750 ml bottle of vodka. (That’s like … a whole sack’a’potatoes.)

I’ll break down the process for you: Cleaned and left unpeeled, the potatoes are pressure-cooked to create a “mash,” which ferments for three days. The fermented mash is distilled four times, creating an almost 100% alcohol spirit, which is then transported to Chopin’s bottling plant in nearby Siedlce, Poland. Here, it blends with artesian well water and filters five times before its final destination of master distiller Waldemar Durakiewicz.

Additionally Chopin produces a Rye (2011) and Wheat, the newest addition. Rye holds a medium body with hints of spice and aromas of rye dough. Wheat offers a bread dough nose with hints of honey and butterscotch. Basically, it sounds like you’re drinking a breadbasket. I would say that assumption rings fairly true, but it’s an interesting flavor profile that grows on you the more you give it a chance. The Rye and Wheat are close in flavor profile, but I felt the Potato finished smoother with less of a bite at the end.

The trio comes best served as the base for cocktails like martinis with extra olives or with a splash of cranberry and soda with lime.

Here’s a recipe for a “Chopin Cuban” using the Potato Vodka that I deem completely necessary as summer cocktail season winds to a close.

Chopin Cuban
3/4 tsp. sugar
3 fresh sprigs of mint
3/4 oz. lime juice
5 large ice cubes
2 oz. of Chopin Potato Vodka
a splash of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne.

Crush sugar, mint, and lime juice. Add ice cubes and Chopin Potato Vodka. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne.


CHOPIN HAND MADE POLISH VODKA

www.chopinvodka.comFacebook | Twitter

 

**Disclaimer: I received this boozy bottle of potatoes for free from Chopin Vodka**

DFW Beer & Brewers Index

Some of my buddies over at iliveindallas.com put together a 2014 Beer & Brewers Index.  Here’s some info about it and a link to download it directly:

…the most comprehensive, most complete, and most up-to-date repository of beers and brewers in Dallas-Fort Worth (at this point in time). Sorry, for the superlatives, but I can promise you, every word is true. Today we are announcing DFW Beer & Brewers Index . This local buzz almanac will give you a run down of every beer and brewer (including 19 up-and-coming) in the DFW area. It doesn’t stop at the year-round beers – it covers seasonal as well, so you know what to warm yourself with in the winter, and keep you cool in the summer. This directory of beer and brewers may be hard to digest in one sitting, but will act as a a reference guide to get your local fix when you need it. Every true local beer buff or supporter must have a copy to be able to call him/herself that. Download it here.

In this 26 page archive of awesome you’ll find:

  • 8 Dallas-area brewers with 87 beers from neighborhoods like Trinity Groves.
  • 4 Fort Worth-area brewers with 38 beers from neighborhoods like West 7th.
  • Specific addresses of all 18 already established breweries
  • 6 brewers with 46 beers outside the city, but still close enough to make the hike
  • Tour times of all the major breweries
  • A list of the 20 breweries soon to open
  • A list of 81 of the Best Places to Find Local Beer by City
  • Background info on 18 established breweries

Download the guide here

20140530_202717

Not (S)Mash’d

“Have you heard about that moonshine place?”

“Look, Sandy Glopperson checked in on Facebook and is drinking Burt Reynolds’s juice from a jug!”

One of these two sentences describes how social media first introduced me to the fact that there was a restaurant less than five miles from my house serving a bunch of variations of moonshine and moonshine-based cocktails I needed to check out. At the time, I was loosely familiar with the idea of moonshine, but didn’t realize this was the start of a quick crash course elsewhere (more on that later).

I went on a Friday night with a group of friends and was impressed at the quick transition from strip mall parking lot to a cool indoor scene and open patio. Basically, it’s about as comfortable as you can feel within a football field or so of a Twin Peaks. Our waiter was very attentive from the beginning and it was apparent he really enjoyed presenting the menu and concepts to people – which I only note because I think I would be sick of doing that in about a week.

20140530_195900For the uninitiated, the menu has three tiers of strength and flavors – ranging from sweetened sugar water with a kick to the stronger, fruit-infused flavors. We went with the waiters recommendations and quickly ran through a number of options that were on the sweet side and not too strong, but good, including the Cherry Limeade and Pineapple Bomb. The South House Cherry Limeade was listed as its own moonshine flavor, but the waiter encouraged me to try it with Sonic-style ice and mixed with a bit of Sprite to taste exactly like a spiked drive-thru drink. It was delicious and dangerously easy to drink, although I learned later getting the moonshine straight minus the Sprite is much better for those used to drinking stronger cocktails. The bomb was also a great tropical cocktail (although you have to really like coconut to enjoy it without being overpowered). There was also the Jolly Rancher that tasted exactly like a watermelon Jolly Rancher (I guess they hit that one on the head) … so high fives all around on that one.

At this point, it was time for a food break, and Mash’d had some good options (although food reviews tend to get a lot more positive after everyone has 3 drinks). A twitter follower recommended the beef Bulgogi tacos–which I happily devoured–and the wings were good as well. Reviews on some of the other food the group had was a bit more mixed, but everyone found at least one item on the menu that they enjoyed.

With some food in me, it was time to tackle one of the stronger moonshines on the rocks. (DUN DUN DUN.) I went with the Midnight Moon Blackberry and quickly found it was like drinking a straight infusion. All of a sudden, it was like I snapped out of some sugar-induced haze and remembered what I like about drinks to begin with – complexity, tasting the alcohol, a nice finish that lingers. (Oh yeah … and the intoxicating properties don’t suck either.) This is kind of where my review turned on a matter of personal taste. I had enjoyed everything I had earlier in the meal, but it was very much a novelty and not something I’d make a habit of drinking. I also sampled the straight apple pie moonshine and had the same reaction – this was something I would want to pour myself at home versus sampling one time with friends.

20140530_215915I had also been told to close the night with Hillbilly Moonshine, their moonshiney take on a white Russian and, if that’s a preferred drink, I can say you won’t be disappointed. It’s very heavy (which, I mean, duh), so I wouldn’t plan on more than one and I’d do it at the end of a meal only.

All in all, I enjoyed the trip out, although for future visits, I plan to only stick at the straight, high end of the menu and probably skip the cocktails altogether. I would definitely recommend at least a visit to Mash’d for a different drinking experience and a chance to try new things, but my bigger recommendation is to keep an eye out at Total Wine, Spec’s, etc. for the different flavors of South House moonshine and start building your own experience at home.

Drink strength: 3 of 5 (I mean, I had all or parts of 8 different drinks in 3 hours and, while I didn’t drive, didn’t feel remotely smash’d)
Food: 3.5 of 5

MASH’D
3401 Preston Rd, Frisco, TX 75034
www.mashd.com | Facebook | Twitter/Instagram: @Mashdfrisco
(214) 618-9440

After my visit, I had the opportunity (along with the other SDD contributors*) to visit JEM Beverage Company in Carrollton, who makes many of the moonshines at Mash’d under their South House label, as well Western Son vodka (also featured in the Hey Ginger frozen drink at Mash’d) and Red River Whiskey … and some other delicious stuff. It was here I learned what moonshine is (they make bourbon, infuse it with flavors and then don’t age it, which explains why I liked it so much straight). I walked out of the distillery that day with several bottles of each and have been enjoying drinking all of it on the rocks at home without the syrups, sugars, etc. Simplicity is key.

*Note from Susie: if you think you’re a good drinker and can speak English and spell (or if you know someone who fits that criteria), email me! I’m looking for writers both in Dallas and other cities!

Eat Creative: An Evening at Roy’s Restaurant in Plano

20140730_183218
The Pacific Rim Cosmotini

 “So why Plano?” someone asked, almost incredulously, about this restaurant that has been in place for more than a decade.

On one hand, I get the attitude about Plano. (And truth be told, I still fight it myself sometimes.) On the other hand, it was a good reminder of the prevailing idea that these darn suburbs are just out to ruin everything creative and good. Despite not boasting a Dallas (proper) address, somehow the Roy’s brand has thrived out in the ‘burbs, and that’s why a group of us were invited to a special Eat Creative dinner to showcase its new drink and food options – some of which were designed by local Chef Scott Nakachi.

The event was food-intensive, but I jumped at the chance to try the Pacific Rim Cosmotini (vodka, ginger and passion fruit syrups, egg whites, blood orange liqueur). It had a good flavor and it didn’t take long to realize how quickly (and cheaply) one could blow through these – especially during their happy hour when drinks are only $6.

We also sampled some of the food items on the bar menu (which is also only $6 during happy hour – save one exception we’ll get to later) and it was pretty damn good. There was edamame and butterfish lettuce wraps, which were both well-prepared and are must-tries. I found myself eating the fish by itself, which I guess makes me a huge jerk … but it was that good. There were also delicious steamed pork buns and, the star of the show, a giant Wagyu burger the size of my face*. It was spicy and perfectly seasoned, and for $9 on the happy hour menu, it’s a solid meal choice to balance out the happy hour cocktails and walk out feeling full. It also came with massive onion rings which were heavily-breaded and thick.

Based on the conversation at the table, a few of us who were more into onion rings in general enjoyed them and the others seemed to think it was too much. (Who isn’t into onion rings? They must be communists.)  The fat kid in me loved them, but I had to maintain composure as an official SDD representative and not smoosh my face into the plate of them. Ebi rolls followed, which were also battered and tasted like one of the heavy rolls Americans love to eat while onlooking foreigners cringe. It was tasty, but there’s just too much fresh seafood on the menu to opt for a roll unless you’re really in the mood to ruin your dinner.

Alaea Salt Crusted Bone in Ribeye
Alaea Salt Crusted Bone in Ribeye

What we’d eaten to this point quickly became an afterthought when the main courses came out – especially the Maine lobster pot pie. The crust was flaky and delicious and the giant pieces of lobster were swimming in a curry sauce that was hot and delicious. It came in a giant tray that could easily feed three people (or even two going all out pig-style.) You need to eat this dish. I don’t mean to shortchange the other entrees that were all delicious (including an Alaea salt-crusted, bone-in ribeye first introduced by Plano’s Chef Scott), but this was the dish that inspired Susie to email me and say “I want to lick my screen to taste that lobster business!!!!” I have to make sure I capture the magic.

Roy's Restaurant - Signature Lobster Pie
Signature Lobster Pie

^^ Put this in your face ASAP. ^^

Finally, we finished with two delicious desert options: pineapple upside down cake and Roy’s signature molten lava cake. Both were devoured by the sharing table and, while chocolate never fails, the pineapple upside down cake was not too sweet and just different enough to stand out.

Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle
Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle

In summary, allow me to summarize this with a forgotten, but aptly named, SNL Digital Short – Roy Rules. If you need a happy hour spot in North Dallas or Plano, you really can’t beat the value offered here.

ROY’S PLANO
2840 Dallas Parkway, Plano, TX 75093
(972) 473-6263
WebsiteFacebook

Happy Hour Specials: Every Day, 4:30pm-7pm
$6 specialty cocktails, wines
$6 – $9 appetizers

*my face is a normal size for a man my age. Just FYI.

susie knows all things boozy in dallas …