Going Green with 360 Vodka

I’m not sure where 2015 went, but the past couple months have been a blur. With the onslaught of holiday parties and football gatherings, drinks are something that seem to be ever-present. A generous box of spirit(s) arrived on my doorstep at a pivotal moment in this season’s madness to provide me the essentials of holiday cheer.

I’ve noted in the past that I tend to be wary of vodka, but when distilled just right and mixed with the right ingredients, it becomes my drink of choice. In particular, 360 Vodka (produced by Earth Friendly Distilling Company, a division of McCormick Distilling Company, Inc. … don’t cringe) comes distilled four times from American grain using column distillation process and filtered five times featuring proprietary charcoal coconut filter system. The smooth, earthy finish  of this grain vodka along with a mild bite and subtle lavender notes, makes it an easy choice to mix in any cocktail. 

This vodka’s clean taste is echoed in the company’s eco-friendly attitude from development, production, to distribution. The bottle (commonly reused by consumers for water and olive oil) is made from 85% recycled glass, giving each bottle a unique green hue.  The label on the bottle is made with 100% post-consumer paper with special water based inks that won’t harm the environment; and the swing‐top closure comes with a pre‐paid envelope empowering Americans to return it for reuse and have $1.00 donated to a local environmental organization. Additionally, McCormick, with the assistance of the Missouri Department of Conservation, launched FOREST 360, an effort to plant indigenous trees on 40 acres of the land around the distillery.

Essentially, consumers can grab a super-premium bottle of vodka at a reasonable price and give back to the environment – as if you needed an excuse. And, with the recent trend in all things organic and green, 360 Vodka makes for the perfect holiday bar staple or hostess gift. The range of flavors can seem somewhat overwhelming with options like Georgia Peach, Sorrento Lemon, Buttered Popcorn, and even Glazed Donut.

Personally, I took advantage of the crisp fall season to mix up a vodka-forward version of Susie’s Cool Weather Punch* with the original 360 Vodka.



ABV 40% / 80 Proof
Retails for around $35 per 750ml bottle



The Ivy Kitchen Rereturn

Foodie movie fans: rejoice (again).  Addison’s cinematic-adjacent culinary experience, Ivy Kitchen, has revamped its menu and it’s goooood.  Expect some new food, new cocktails, and some old favorites.  I should note that, while IK is in a movie theater, it’s far from your typical chicken-tenders-served-with-a-premixed-strawberry-margarita type fast-casual order from your seat kind of place.  IK is real, quality food.

The evening at IK started at the bar (as most nights should) and we each tried a couple of their new options.  I was blown away by the IVY Thyme (Bulleit Bourbon, Lillet Blanc, lemon, fresh thyme), if not for the flavor, for the presentation.  The IVY League (Hendrick’s Gin, lime, cucumber, Lillet Blanc) was good, but didn’t blow my socks off since the combination isn’t completely unexpected.

Luckily they kept my favorite cocktail on the menu (and one of my favorites in all of Dallas, actually), the Bootstrap Manhattan.  They start with TX Whiskey and coat a glass with a whisper of the local spirit, then they smoke a smoked maple plank and allow the glass to absorb the essence of the wood.  With the smoky flavor on the glass, they add the whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, and a Luxardo cherry.  The result is nothing short of delicious.

As mentioned, IK isn’t going to offer up sad congealed cheese nachos … their food is serious.  While I could go on about each and every dish we tried (save a couple), I’ll simply highlight my favorites.  One of those favorites is currently a special that will be moved to the menu (as it damn well should), the Bacon Marmalade Flatbread.  It was surprisingly light and I had to stop myself from eating too much of it since it was one of the first round dishes.


Ivy Kitchen’s new chef is taking some basics and just making them really damn well.  For his Tenderloin Stroganoff, he took a basic pasta dish and threw in some of what must be crack-laced beef tenderloin tips.  (I may or may not have taken leftovers home …)  The Thick Cut Grilled Pork Chop (molasses-brined center cut chop, au jus served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes & chilled Fuji applesauce) was tender, juicy, and perfectly cooked.  And everyone loves sides … and they did them well.  Their Sweet Potato Crisp was delightfully light, the Real Deal Mac & Cheese was, in fact, the real deal, and the Iron Skillet Brussels Sprouts were … well … Brussels sprouts … and y’all know what those to do to me.  🙋🏼(<–that’s me raising my hand to ask if we can get more Brussels sprouts.)

Basically there was pork in just about everything … and I was alright with that.  (But if you’re not a porkavore like I am, then make sure to check the descriptions.)

On top of fantastic porkiness, IK also has a sushi bar with amazingly fresh options, a brunch menu that makes my mouth water, and a great wine list with reasonable yet scrumptious options.  While you can’t get all of their offerings in the theaters, they have an entire Look & Dine menu with items that are easy to eat in the dark and don’t offend your neighbor.  I mean … both are good things.

Stop in and try some of the new options soon, check out their new patio (for the week of decent weather we have left), have a Bootstrap Manhattan, and catch a movie!

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HAPPY HOUR: Monday-Friday, 4–7pm


Snuffer’s Happy-Tizer Happy Hour

Did you know that the Snuffer’s on Lower Greenville is haunted?  Well, it sure is.  Just ask the servers and they’ll send over one of their staff members that have had a paranormal experience pop by your table and tell you a couple ghost stories.  … or they’ll just tell you about the scary good deals they’re now offerings during happy hour on their Happy-Tizer Menu.

Y’all know that I love a good happy hour, so when I was invited in to try out their new options, I didn’t shy away.  Monday-Friday, 3-7pm you can now get select mini-apps for as little as $2.  That’s right … two buckaroos … a pair of greenbacks … just a couple Washington’s … you get the idea.

As always, the Dallas favorite offers happy hour beers and margs as low as $3 to make your visit truly happy.  Think $3 house margaritas (frozen or on the rocks) and drafts (Bud Light, Samuel Adams, & Dos Equis) and $4 house wine and shooters.  While I’m not a huge beer drinker, it felt right ordering one to sip … and then a house margarita … and then another beer.

The real excitement as of late is their new happy hour food offering, a.k.a. their Happy-Tizers.  Check out the picture below.  All that goodness can be yours for $22.  And for that price, you can try all of them … and you should.  Their fried pickles and mushrooms are legendary* and these small servings are just enough to satisfy your craving but not take over the meal.  (Though, really, what’s wrong with a meal of fried pickles and mushrooms?)  Their tortilla chips were seasoned just right and the onion rings and buffalo wings were perfectly satisfactory.

If you’re trying to decide what to order on this little menu, skip the burger quesadilla and the queso … save those options for Blue Goose down the street.  They’ll get an “E” for effort on those, though.

Stop in and check out the new happy hour serving sizes at any of their locations, but don’t forget the beers and things.  Oh … and make sure to order at LEAST the personal-sized Cheddar Fries.  (Because it’d be rude to leave without a helping of them.  After all, they’ve been around longer than you … if you were born after 1978.)


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10 locations

*at least to me.  For nearly my entire college career, when I was in a bad way the day after a good party, I knew Snuffer’s fried pickles and loaded Cheddar Fries were my saving graces.  They never failed.

***Snuffer’s invited me in to enjoy selections from their Happy-Tizers free of charge.***

East Hampton Sandwich Company

So I hate sandwiches.  I hate the slimy cold cuts are sliced so thin that you can nearly see through them, the way that they make the bread soggy, and the detestable iceberg lettuce.  At least I thought I hated sandwiches.  I avoided sandwich shops and was conflicted when East Hampton Sandwich Company invited me in.

Let me just say that they convinced me that I shouldn’t be a sandwich-ist.  (Is that a thing?)


Here were my highlights from EHSC and your Pro Tips:

  • Get the Lobster Roll.  If you’ve ever heard of EHSC, you’ve heard about their Lobster Roll, a butter toasted roll overflowing with knuckle and claw crab meat and herbs in a light dressing.
  • Their Homemade Potato Chips are ridiculous.  They’re crispy, but not too thick.
  • Go ahead and request all four of their dips.  I mean, to hell with conventions … go dip crazy.  Their Sweet Onion dip was my favorite and I made the mistake of dipping into the Buffalo Bleu Cheese dip … which I’m allergic to.  (It made me wish that I wasn’t allergic to Bleu Cheese.)
  • Don’t skimp on dessert.  Hampton’s Donut Bag is filled with little pillows of heaven rolled in cinnamon sugar.
  • They close at 9pm.  Get there no later than 8:45pm if you’re taking to-go and 8:30pm if you’re sticking with them.  (It’s just good sense.)
  • Have a drink with your sandwich–they offer wines by the glass, cocktails by the glass or carafe (get into their sangria business), and some draft & canned beers to help wash down the delicious bready goodness.

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3888 Oak Lawn Suite 100
(214) 443-7925

Dallas #BoozeNews: November 10, 2015


Coal Vines Downtown will open in two weeks with a full bar (yasss), a 45-minute lunch option, and a 400 calorie pizza!

Biertgarten on Lamar is NOW OPEN across from the Omni Hotel on South Lamar!  Stop in for beers and brats!

Fort Worth will be getting two new concepts in early 2016–a Dallas favorite Meso Maya (Kress Building, 604 Main Street), and a new concept from the Firebird Restaurant Group, Tortaco (2829 Morton Street).  Meso Maya will offer Chef Nico’s Mexican-inspired menu and Tortaco will offer “a chef-driven menu … [and] a full bar with signature cocktails.”


Max’s Wine Dive is now serving liquor!!!  I mean … it’s about damn time.  Stop in for their always-delicious fried chicken with a side of Old Fashioned!  (Stay tuned … I’ll be going in to try some of their cocktails later this month and will report back!)

Yard House (Addison) is celebrating its 21st birthday with a limited-release beer from Rogue Brewery.  Pop in starting December 7th to get your mitts on a pint of Rogue Spruce Tip IPA.

Paul Martin’s American Grill is now offering a 3-course prime rib special every Sunday, all day!  For $25 diners will get a green salad, prime rib with mashed potatoes, and homemade ice cream.

EUREKA! On the heels of Ida Claire’s Saturday night brunch, Eureka! in West Village will now offer SUNDAY NIGHT BRUNCH!  Think Huevos Rancheros, Creole Benedict, and Bananas Foster Crunchy French Toast.  Since no brunch is complete without drinks (because really … brunch without alcohol is just a sad, late breakfast), they’ll offer $5 Mimosas and Bloody Marys alongside their craft beer and cocktail offerings.  Stop in Sundays 9pm-midnight for their brunch!

Dinner and a movie is so 2000.  Try brunch and a movie at LOOK Theater‘s restaurant, Ivy Kitchen with their new brunch offerings.  Think pairing their Buttermilk Pancakes served with APPLEwood smoked bacon then seeing “Steve Jobs”.  (Give it a second.)  They’ll also have select $3 drinks to go with brunch … so there’s that.  Brunch is served weekends 11am-3pm.


It’s November … so we’re hearing a lot about Christmas starting to early, people’s scraggly (gross*) beards, and also about some local businesses doing some badass things to raise money for prostate and testicular cancer awareness.

Greenville Avenue Pizza Company (GAPCo) and Blind Butcher teamed up and are offering a 12″ mozzarella, Bacon Bratwurst (from BB), and sauerkraut pizza for $20.  You don’t just get the pizza, though … $5 of it goes to Movember and then you get a “voucher for a free Bullzerk T-shirt and a coupon for tea at Plum Yoga.”  … the giving’s good through November.

Blind Butcher slice

Old Chicago at Mockingbird Station is donating $0.50 of every Rogue Beard Beer purchase to No Shave November through the end of the month.

Get Hopped Up at Hopdoddy Burger Bar with their current milkshake special, the Maple Bacon Waffle Cone Shake.  It’s handmade ice cream, maple bacon syrup, waffle cone batter*, crushed waffle cone, and whipped cream.  They said the magic word: bacon.       *wait … what?
Price: $6
Available: through November 22 at all locations

Grab your Pilgrim hat and stop into Snuffer’s for their Thanksgiving Turkey Burger (grilled turkey burger topped with Swiss cheese, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo).
Price: $9.49
Available: through November 30 at all locations

Turkey Burger


*They’re only gross because they’re new growth … maybe start a month early and grow a real beard.  Because I like those.

Lord Levington’s nuts are great … but they’ll leave a mess on your hands

There’s always been something a little off-putting about sharing a tiny cup of cocktail peanuts in the middle of a crowded bar while mingling hands with strangers (or even drinking buddies). The experience always gets easier with a few drinks, but, when sober, bar nuts fall somewhere between stale bag of crackers and mushy banana on the snack spectrum.

Luckily, someone decided bar mix could reach an actually enjoyable level, and all it takes is a good product and a ridiculous amount of kitsch to drive home the point. Meet Lord Nut Levington, made in Dallas. (I, however, am still coming to you from Rhode Island.)

Before we even move forward, it’s probably worth poking around the website for a few minutes. The packaging style is a mix of old timey artwork, sex puns and random STD penicillin references – but regardless of whether or not you get a chuckle out of it or not, the product inside is seriously good.

The flavors are fitting over the top, ranging from Zesty Chile Lime to Thai Curry & Lemongrass to Spicy Bloody Mary (Susie’s favorite). Each flavor is covered in a dust that is clearly derived from some version of crack that makes you keep chowing down while your hands slowly get covered in a thick gunk you haven’t seen since you stuck your wet fingers in a Cheeto bag as a child. PRO-TIP: use a spoon or lid to tip the nuts directly into your mouth to avoid looking like a large adult son who had too much Mountain Dew before snack time.

Since this is a booze blog, it’s also important to point out the flavors paired pretty well with their corresponding drink. The Spicy Bloody Mary and Hot Buffalo went great with spicy cocktails, the lemongrass was tangier and went with anything, the Zesty Chile Lime was good with tequila, and White Cheddar & Jalapeño went well with beer. My personal favorite was the Hot Buffalo, but there really wasn’t a bad flavor in the pack. (And my wife quickly stole most of the Thai Curry & Lemongrass and refused to give them back. I’m letting her have that one since she recently gave me a child.)

So yeah, I’ve spared you about five different “deez nuts” jokes and a couple of other puns, so I’ll just end by pointing out that you should either look for this snack in stores or order a sample pack online today. It’s a nice break from the usual drinking snack fare and, assuming you can avoid making a mess of the place, might be a nice snack to keep around your home bar or for parties.

To find a store near you that carries Lord Nut Levington, just use their store locator tool: http://www.whoislordnut.com/locate/.

Oh … and this brand was on “Shark Tank” at some point … if you care about that sort of thing.

Shaken … Not Stirred

My favorite lothario spy, Bond, James Bond is known for ordering his iconic “vodka martini … shaken, not stirred” since the days of Dr. No (ahem, 1958).  In his last four films, we’ve seen Daniel Craig’s Bond shake it up a bit.  In “Casino Royal” he ordered the Vesper (recipe below), and in the recently released “Spectre”, he opts for another new concoction.  This time, his paramour in the (latter part of the) movie, Dr. Swan, orders a dirty martini … and he does, too.  (I know … mind blowing.)  Check out a recipe for the martini inspired by the movie, the Belvedere Spectre 007 Martini.

Belvedere was kind enough to treat me and some other Bond lovers to a sneak peek of the most recent Bond flick, complete with (dirty) Belvedere Spectre 007 Martinis.


2 oz. Belvedere Vodka
1/3 oz. Dry vermouth
1/6 oz. Sicilian green olive brine
1  Sicilian green olive

Gently muddle olives in base of mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and shake hard with ice. Double strain into a chilled martini glass.


With Bond’s noticeable departure from his expected vodka martini, I should note that change is still inevitable, December is still 31 days, and the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west.

If you make one of Bond’s cocktails, tag me and make sure to include the hashtag #ShakenNotStirred!

Vesper Cocktail
Three measures of Gordon’s
One measure of vodka
Half a measure of Kina Lillet

“Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.”

Dallas #BoozeNews: October 20, 2015


Shake Shack will open in 2016 in the Crescent Hotel as part of their renovation!!!  Uhh … hell yes.

Austin favorite Tacodeli will be opening in Dallas TODAY, October 29!  Check out their deliciousness in a tortilla in the Sylvan Thirty development.  Oh … and it’s BYOB.

Dallas celeb chef Tre Wilcox is moving again … in early 2016 he’ll be launching new concepts in Plano and Frisco in his event space, Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts–think cooking classes, private parties for up to 150, corporate functions, etc.  Learn more at www.trewilcox.com or call 1-844-776-8200


Lower Greenville newcomer, Rapscallion, will add brunch to its offerings Sundays from 11am-3pm!  Oh … and they’ll start getting tiki tiki tumbled Sunday nights 4-10pm thanks to their new Tiki Sundays.

As of 10/13, Madrina is offering lunch.  Stop in Tuesday through Friday from 11:30am to 2:30pm.

Love wine? (Duh.) Malai Kitchen is launching its newest beverage offering, wine flights!  Flights will be $22 for four wines (3 oz pours).

Malai Kitchen Wine Flight

It’s gettin’ (red) hot in here.  Luscher’s Red Hots will be getting down with their new “Rush Hour” Monday through Friday from 5-7pm.  Enjoy $4 select dogs, $10 Goose Island draft beer pitchers, and $2.50 local canned brews, drafts, and wines by the glass.  (And all this will be happening while they play Rush. Seriously.)


La Dama Margarita at Meso Maya
La Dama Margarita at Meso Maya

If you haven’t supported enough breast cancer awareness this and that this month (which is totally a good thing to do), get your butt to Meso Maya for their La Dama Margarita (Casa Noble Tequila Blanco, muddled strawberries, watermelon puree, St. Germain, lime juice, lemon curd, Cointreau, and simple syrup).
Cost: $12
Available: October 5-31

Cantina Laredo Hatch Ritas
Cantina Laredo Hatch Ritas

This just hatched over at Cantina Laredo.  On the heels of the other hatch chile schtuff … they’re bringing out their Citrus-Hatch Margarita (Avión Silver Tequila infused with pepper and grapefruit, with fresh lime juice and agave nectar) and Strawberry-Hatch Margarita (Avión Silver Tequila infused with pepper and strawberries, with fresh lime juice, agave nectar and a squeeze of orange).
Cost: $12
Available: through the end of November

Cantina Laredo is also celebrating Dia de los Muertos & Halloween with the Blue Moon Pumpkin ‘Rita (Lunazul Blanco Tequila, pumpkin puree, Blue Moon beer and fresh lime juice)!  Stop in for one and score it for half off!
Cost: $6 (normally $12)
Available: October 31 – November 2

giphy-2Single? Paul Martin’s American Grill has your lobster.  They’re serving a Mesquite Grilled Maine Lobster Tail with garlic lemon butter and green beans along with either butternut squash soup or fresh organic mixed green salad.
Cost: $39
Available: through November 4

susie knows all things boozy in dallas …