Maker’s Mark #JulepOff 2015

I was honored to have been recruited by Maker’s Mark to participate in their first-ever #JulepOff!  The challenge: remix the Kentucky Derby classic, the Mint Julep.

Maker's Mark Mint Julep
Maker’s Mark Mint Julep

Their traditional julep is as follows:

1.5 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Fresh mint
2 tablespoons simple syrup
Distilled water
Powdered sugar

Muddle mint and simple syrup. Mix with Maker’s Mark and distilled water. Fill a julep cup with crushed ice and pour the mixture over the top of the ice.  Sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar over the ice and garnish the drink with a mint sprig.

While delicious, I think we can do better here at Susie Drinks Dallas!  Presenting the Run for the Roses Julep!  We decided that rosewater would give the traditional julep unique flavor … and it looks sexy as hell.

Run for the Roses Julep

~12 fresh mint leaves (stemmed)
5 drops rosewater
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Crushed or shaved ice
Rose petals
Mint sprig
Powdered Sugar
Julep cup

Muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup. (Don’t overmuddle or you’ll be sad.) Add the bourbon and rosewater, stir lightly.  Fill a julep cup with shaved or crushed ice then pour the mixture over the ice.  Garnish with a rose petal and mint sprig.  Lightly sprinkle powdered sugar over the drink.


Want to up the ante?  How about some Mint Julep Jelly Shots!?

2 packets unflavored gelatin
2 C chilled water
1/2 C mint leaves (fresh is best)
1/2 C granulated sugar
3/4 C Maker’s Mark bourbon
Mint sprigs

Put gelatin into cold water in a saucepan then let sit for about 5 minutes.  Add the mint leaves and sugar, then heat over medium heat for about 4 minutes, then turn the heat off and let sit for 15 minutes.  Strain and then stir in the Maker’s Mark.  Pour into shot glasses then refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

I’d greatly appreciate your support in the #JulepOff!  Please visit the Maker’s Mark Pinterest starting 4/23 and REPIN my recipe!  I have until May 1 to get as many REPINS as possible.

(Please only repin it once per account.)

Roses not your thing? Some other recipes I came up with are below!

Lavender Mint Julep
~12 fresh mint leaves (stemmed)
1 oz lavender syrup
2 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Crushed or shaved ice
Mint sprig
Powdered Sugar
Julep cup

Muddle the mint leaves and lavender simple syrup. (Don’t overmuddle or you’ll be sad.) Add the bourbon, stir lightly. Fill a julep cup with shaved or crushed ice then pour the mixture over the ice. Garnish with a lavender stem and mint sprig.


Mile High Julep
6-8 min leaves

1 3/4 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
1/2 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
1/2 oz ginger syrup
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
Mint sprig

Combine ingredients in a julep cup and lightly muddle.  Add crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig.


A huge thanks to my favorite guys over at The People’s Last Stand for their help getting the recipe perfect!

Dallas #BoozeNews: April 20, 2015


TWISTED ROOT BURGER JOINT: They’ve done it … they’ve abandoned the beef (at least just for one menu item).  Stop in and try TRBC’s newest option, the (vegan) Veggie Burger, made with black beans, hummus, quinoa, and more.

KENNY’S BURGER JOINT: Because burgers are not decadent enough – Kenny Bowers has launched a BIGGER option – the Ultimate Cheese Burger.  Kenny’s Ultimate Cheeseburger is a ½ pound bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two hand-crafted grilled cheese sandwiches.


So I’m excited about the first part of this news … West Village favorite, Malai Kitchen, will open another restaurant in Southlake’s Park Village this fall! Southlake residents will be able to enjoy their Southeast Asian cuisine this fall!

Even better, starting May 1, Malai WV will begin serving a chef’s tasting menu that will change each month that will cost $58/person with optional wine pairings for $30.  The first month’s menu includes Smoked Duck Breast, Vietnamese Scampi Soup, Curried Beef Short Rib and Taro Root and Dark Rum Coconut Milk Custard. 

CMYKCruzan Rum has released a new product, Cruzan Blueberry Lemonade Rum, just in time for summer debauchery beside the pool. This new option “blends fine Cruzan Rum with the essence of ripe blueberries and vibrant citrus to create a well-rounded spirit bursting with the taste of fresh fruit.”

Cruzan® Blueberry Lemonade Cooler (by mixologist Jesse Card)
2 parts Cruzan® Blueberry Lemonade Rum
3/4 part Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1 small pinch Sea Salt
Club Soda

Combine rum, grapefruit juice and salt over ice in a shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Double strain into a glass over ice and top with club soda. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Art of Patron
Patrón wants to see what you can do with their bottles!  Through July 17, they’re accepting submissions from its drinkers showing what they’ve done to creatively repurpose their bottles for the chance to win up to $10,000.  (Seriously).  You can find out all of the info you need and enter to win at

Dean’s really done it now.  He worked with Patrón’s distillers to come up with his own añejo tequila!  It’s smooth, slightly sweet, caramel flavors will be available starting May 5 at Fearing’s first-ever Cinco de Mayo party.

As part of its May 5 first-pour celebration, Fearing’s will introduce three new añejo cocktails created by Patron’s lead mixologist, Andres Ismael Moran Gutierrez – a renowned name in the tequila world and bartender for 400 Conejos mezcaleria in Guadalajara. Fearing’s will also use Patrón’s own Silver Tequila in that evening’s Dean’s Margaritas. 

Front Room Tavern
launched its happy hour (finally) and I’m all about this lineup!  Check out their happy hour menu here featuring local drafts and other beers, wines by the glass, and cocktails like the Elevated Mule (vodka, turbinado, lime, ginger beer, lime bitters) and the SW Strawberry Sour (pisco, strawberries, citrus, jalapeño, soda).
Enjoy the specials M-F, 3-6pm.

Cocktails from Front Room Tavern

Wingstop has released a new, saucy option, Serrano Pepper Glaze. “This Latin-inspired sauce features a kick of fresh citrus and a roasted serrano pepper heat that lingers. Its saucy tang meets a fiery bang for those wing fans seeking an adventurous flavor experience.”

Starting June 1, the Dallas Farmers Market will begin Farmers Market Days at The Shed where local artisans will offer their goods Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. More information here.

The 2nd Floor by Scott Gottlich will release new breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus!  Stay tuned for my take on some of the new items later this month!

New Menu Items from The Second Floor
New Menu Items from The Second Floor

Lunch at Henry’s Majestic

So Henry’s Majestic is delicious, right?  But it’s such a bother that you have to wait until dinner to enjoy their onion dip, Marrow Burger, etc.  UNTIL NOW.  Henry’s Majestic in Uptown is now open for LUNCH Tuesdays through Fridays from 11am to 4pm.) Let the confetti fall from the ceiling and release the doves.)

Let’s face it … sometimes you need to get away from the office and have one interrupted hour of screen-free socializing.  Henry’s gives you a great option to get away for a bit and enjoy a delicious meal and perhaps even a cocktail.  (They do have one called the “Never Let the Boss Know”.  I mean … that’s all the permission you need, no?   And don’t worry … “screen free” doesn’t mean you can’t take a picture of your snapworthy meal.

We tried the following dishes that I recommend:

  • Red and Golden Beet Salad – this dish was delightfully fresh and flavorful; the beets and the citrus balanced incredibly well.  I’d recommend getting this as a warm-up dish to share.
  • Rustic Meatball Grinder – this … sandwich.  I imagine that this would be a sandwich that Joey Tribiani would enjoy.  (I’ve been watching too many late-night “Friends” reruns.)  It was really filling but wasn’t overwhelming.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Wrap – when I hear “wrap”, I immediately think that I need to order something more substantial to make it through until dinner.  Not the case with this wrap thanks to the generous helping of chicken.  Definitely try this one!


4900 McKinney Ave at Monticello | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Dinner and brunch, lunch (Tu-F 11am-4pm)

Huge dog friendly patio!


Cook Hall Beer Dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery

Earlier this year, I attended Cook Hall’s Beer vs. Whiskey Dinner, which was an experience to remember. (Though that’s tougher to do than you’d think … I refer you to the title.)  So when I was invited to March’s beer dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery, I couldn’t resist. March’s beer dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery, teamed with dishes from local chef Nicholas Jimenez, was a match made in heaven.

Much like the craft brew scene is growing here in Texas, in Oregon craft beer is growing exponentially. In fact, Oregon is home to the most breweries per capita in the U.S. and Oregonians spending more money on craft beer than any other state.

Chef Nicholas Jimenez used his ingenuity to evoke the wild, adventurous spirit of Oregon in our meal. Our first course was a roasted fennel and sun choke soup garnished with crispy artichoke chips and topped with an orange oil. The flavorful and hearty soup was paired with Deschutes’ River Ale Golden Ale, and it was a great way to shake off the chill of early spring evening. To offset the heavier soup, this ale was crisp, light, and slightly hoppy with hints of fruit.

Deschutes River Ale GoldenAle from Deschutes Brewery Beer Dinner at Cook Hall Dallas
Deschutes River Ale GoldenAle

For our second course, Chef Jimenez created a beet-horseradish cured salmon gravlax served with a watercress salad, pickled radish and coriander. Colorful and a bit wild, everything in this dish came together to work really well.   The beer of choice with this dish was the Fresh Squeezed IPA which has earned both national and international prizes … and for good reason. This IPA has a strong, crisp citrus smell with hints of malt which were perfectly paired with the dish.  I can easily see smooth brew  being a summer crowd pleaser.

beet horseradish cured salmon gravlax from Deschutes Brewery Beer Dinner at Cook Hall Dallas
Beet & Horseradish Cured Salmon Gravlax

The third course, and my personal favorite, was an espresso crusted lamb loin. The lamb was tender and juicy and cooked to absolute perfection. The espresso was an interesting (read: perfect) complement to the meat and was not overpowering as I thought it might have been with a delicate meat like lamb.  Served with braised Belgian endive, English peas and a barley risotto, all were nice additions in both taste and texture, but the meat is really what wowed me.  To wash it all down, Cook Hall introduced the only dark beer of the evening–Deschutes’ Obsidian Stout.  I enjoyed the full bodied stout’s roasted coffee and chocolate notes which were echoed by the hint of espresso in the lamb. Considering how dark and heavy some stouts can be, Obsidian drinks easily and, unlike other stouts, doesn’t fill you up too much.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try the dessert.  Damn peanut, almond, etc. allergy … so an almond cake dessert was not exactly in the cards for me.  Our dessert was served with an eclectic variety including grilled pineapple, ginger ice cream, pineapple sorbet and extra virgin olive oil. My source (a.k.a. my beautiful wife) said it was a nice way to cap off the meal–sweet and refreshing without being too rich.

I did not, however, pass on the Zarabanda Farmhouse Saison, the brainchild of Deschutes and Chef José Andrés, who we can all thank for introducing America to the concept of tapas. (Bless you for bringing tiny dishes into my life, my friend.) This spiced pale ale has a dry, sweet taste with hints of lemon verbena, sumac and dried lime.  Did you get all that? If not, just know this beer packs in a range of flavors, all notable from first sip.  It was a great compliment to the tropical flavors of the dessert … so says my wife.

Whether your intrigued by the concept of beer dinners, looking to grab a meal before a Dallas Maverick or Stars game or just needing a drink, Cook Hall has you covered. (BONUS: they validate the W’s parking.)

Check out Cook Hall’s website for updates and information on their monthly beer dinners.  (DOUBLE BONUS: Sign up for their newsletter while you’re there and get a free snack.)

Cook Hall Dallas |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
In the W Dallas Victory | 2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75219

Happy Hour  (5pm to 7pm |  Monday – Friday): 5 cocktails and 5 small plates each for $5
Check out their menu for more information.

Deschutes Brewery | YouTube | Pinterest | Tumblr
901 SW Simpson Ave, Bend, OR 97702


*Cook Hall was kind enough to pick up my tab for the evening.*

Kin Kin Urban Thai- Fort Worth

Chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin (most just call him Chef Eddy), of Bite City Grill, has done it again. He has recently opened Kin Kin Urban Thai in the West 7th development in Fort Worth. The space, previously MK Sushi, has been completely transformed into a modern, clean, comfortable restaurant.

Kin Kin means “eat, eat” or “let’s eat”. Chef Eddy has created a menu of traditional Thai dishes along with American favorites with a Thai twist. Kin Kin has been a way for Chef Eddy to pay homage to his mother as well as the country of Thailand. His mother, Pat, helped create many of the menu items … she used to cook for the Thai royal family and Eddy began his culinary career by learning from her. He spent a month traveling Thailand to help shape the menu at Kin Kin. He says, “Bangkok is one of the most vibrant culinary cities.” So thankfully, he is sharing that with Fort Worth (and soon Dallas).

It was very difficult to choose what to order first because of the great selection, so my strategy was … what would be a great bar snack? (I know you are reading this to find out about the drinks – duh.) If you’re coming to Kin Kin in to hang out and have a drink, order the shrimp chip for a snack. They are this glorious, airy chip that remind me of Cheetos. Who wouldn’t like upscale Cheetos? The pork and shrimp dumplings were delicious, and are served in a traditional bamboo basket with green cabbage and soy sauce. I’m pretty sure I will have this as my meal next time I am there. My other favorite bar snack was the Bangkok shrimp (crispy shrimp, garlic, cilantro, sweet plum sauce). I don’t think you could go wrong with anything on the menu and I give everything I sampled two thumbs up.

Chef Eddy’s brother, Chris, is the mastermind behind the drink menu. The difference between the drinks at Bite City Grill and Kin Kin is the complexity. If you go back and read about the Bite drinks, you will see that they are on the elaborate side and you’re given bitters to control taste. The drinks at Kin Kin are simple and to the point. My favorite cocktail was the Lychee Margarita (tequila, Soho Lychee, fresh lime). Crisp and refreshing, I have admit that my glass was empty before I knew it. If you have never had lychee before, it has a similar taste to a pear or grape and it’s a great combination with the lime of the margarita. I’d say that this is a go-to “summer tasting” drink. The Tom Yum Bloody Mary (lemongrass infused vodka, bloody mary mix, Sriracha) is flavor roller coaster. It’s a fusion of Tom Yum soup and a Bloody Mary.

Kin Kin also did a great job of choosing their beer and whiskey options. The two categories are “Far East” (imported Pacific Asian options) and “Down the Road” (local Texas options) for each list. (P.S. Did you know that Japan is doing some seriously awesome things with whiskey? Yeah … it’s happening.)

The service was amazing from the moment I walked into the front door; everyone was very hospitable and the service was prompt. Parking is easy and convenient and Kin Kin Urban Thai is located right next to the garage entrance (which has free parking – just don’t forget to get your ticket validated before you leave).


KIN KIN URBAN THAI | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
2801 West 7th Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Opening Summer 2015: 11661 Preston Road, Dallas, TX 75230
Opening April 2015: 3211 Oak Lawn AveDallas, TX 75219

Unfortunately, Kin Kin does not have any happy hour specials yet. As the restaurant takes root, that might be an addition for the future. Currently, the only special is for take out ($1 off the price of each item in your order).


I Dugg it.

Lakewood is a neighborhood with chain restaurants here and there (and here), so it’s always nice to see a new concept pop up in the area.  Dugg Burger opened recently thanks to four brilliant dudes (one is from Dallas and the rest are from California).

The concept is brilliant … they had a completely custom tool created to give their burgers a unique edge (or hole, as it were).  The tool hulls out the bun top to make room for their 13 amazing toppings and then they’re lovingly placed on the grill on one of the (also custom) stainless steel magnetic domes to get it all nice and toasty.  (Toasted buns … I mean … the best.)  The process is below in a neat sketch they had made …

When you walk in, you order your burger (and fries … because fries) and they’ll bring it to your table.  You choose from their 12 standard toppings and one “Lucky 13” topping which are always suggestions from customers.  (They allow customers to submit their topping ideas online or on the brick wall in the shop, and if one is popular enough, they’ll add it to the lineup!)  They like to keep their ingredients as local as possible–they get their meat from Freedman’s, their buns from Village Baking Company, and they have local beers stocked.  (No local wines just yet.)

Man cannot live on burgers and beer alone (even really good ones), so they’ve sweetened the deal with their homemade Bread Pudding, which is made from a recipe from one of the owner’s moms.  (She even checks in from time to time to make sure it’s the right recipe.  Now that’s what I call quality control!)

Bread Pudding
Bread Pudding


DUGG BURGER BAR | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
9540 Garland Rd, #407, Dallas, TX 75218
(214) 584-6261


Amaro Lucano: She’s a Bitter Lady

I always enjoying expanding my horizons; particularly when those horizons just so happen to be sippable … and intoxicating. After all, variety is the spice of life, no? That is why I carpe’d that diem when I was presented with the opportunity to sample Amaro Lucano, a traditional Italian liqueur in the amaro category.

I am going to have to go ahead and admit that I felt inclined to do a little digging to find out what exactly, constitutes an amaro. In case you’re as clueless as I was, an amaro is a bittersweet Italian digestif, frequently served neat, chilled, or over ice. Here’s a well-written piece by Food and Wine, characterizing amaro in lovely detail that I won’t go into here.

Amaro Lucano dates back to 1894, where it was dreamt up in the back room of a cookie bakery. The secret recipe contains more than 30 herbs, most notably: Roman absinthe and absinthe woodworm. (Seriously, I want to visit this bakery…) But don’t worry, Amaro Lucano has an ABV of just 28%, so fortunately (?), that pesky green fairy won’t be accompanying your after-dinner nightcap. The good folks at Amaro Lucano recommend sipping this libation neat, chilled, over ice, or with orange zest … but also advise that Amaro Lucano makes a perfect base for cocktails.

Before I started dabbling in any cocktail creations, I decided we should probably try the Amaro Lucano neat, as an after-dinner tipple, because it’s just so damn continental. Since I consider myself a terribly sophisticated lady (hehehehe), I knew this was the drink for me. My first impression of the Amaro Lucano was that I couldn’t even think of anything to compare it to. The alcoholic powers that be aren’t kidding when they characterize amaros as bitter. The Amaro Lucano is unapologetically bitter, bold, and spicy. It would be difficult to describe the complexity of the flavor with mere words, but “peppery” and “minty” are two that come to mind. I believe this family of liqueurs is probably falls into the category of “acquired tastes,” and I believe I will require a few more trials before I can say I have officially “acquired” said taste.

photo 2

That being said, I decided it was time to embrace my uncouth American roots and try the Amaro Lucano in a cocktail.

Enter the…

Lucano Cobbler
1.5 oz Amaro Lucano
3 oz red wine
0.5 oz tonic water
0.5 oz sugar syrup

Mix the drink directly in the glass and serve with a slice of lemon and orange, a sprig of mint, fruits of the forest and ice.

I’m going to go ahead and suggest that, if you are new to amaros, you consider starting here. Let me be clear: the Lucano Cobbler still packs a boldly spicy, bitter punch, as cocktails go, but from a newbie’s perspective, the red wine and simple syrup transition this experience from one you aren’t sure if you’re enjoying, to one that becomes increasingly enjoyable as you continue to sip. The blend of sweet and spicy is rich and heady, and lends itself to being an interesting digestif that doesn’t totally knock your socks off with a bitter assault.

Here are some additional dessert cocktails you might consider sampling, if you are an amaro rookie, like me:

Lucano Ice Cream
3 white sugar cubes
0.5 oz of still water
2 scoops of cream flavour ice cream
3 bar spoons of Amaro Lucano

Put the sugar cubes in the shaker and add 25 ml of still water, add two scoops of cream flavour ice cream. Then add three bar spoons of Amaro Lucano and shake. 

Espresso Lucano
1 long espresso
0.5 oz liquid sugar
1 oz Amaro Lucano

Pour ingredients into a glass. Mix and serve.

*Amaro Lucano generously provided me with a bottle of Amaro Lucano to taste and test.

Barleywine and Swine

A few weeks back I trudged through the ice and snow to the sixth annual Barleywine and Swine event at Flying Saucer Fort Worth. Not only did they offer over twenty different barley wine selections, but a huge plate of all things swine. (Because that just makes everything better.) It was the perfect way to warm up on a cold, icy day.

Flying Saucer Fort Worth

I am a novice when it comes to barleywine, so for those of you like me–here’s the condensed version: it’s a strong English ale that range from 8%- 12% ABV. The only reason it has any connection to wine is because of its high alcohol content and that its matured in wooden barrels. Barleywine can be cellared for years and usually age like wine. Other than that, it’s all beer. Its subtle caramel notes comes from a prolonged boil and hops are used throughout the brewing process. Barley wine can be sweet or bittersweet with the smell of fruits to super hoppy.

Out of the few American barley wines that I tasted, my favorite by far, was from the Breckenridge Brewery. It’s a 10.1% ABV beer with molasses and black cherry accents. This beer is cold conditioned for three months and barrel-aged in fresh, American Oak barrels for 6 months. For those of you who like your beer extra hoppy (not me) go for the Epic Barley Wine Ale. This 10.1% ABV is brewed in Salt Lake City. I could only have a few sips due to the hoppiness of this beer. The Firestone Walker Sucaba is a 13.5% ABV that is brewed in California with subtle chocolate and vanilla flavors. This one was pretty sweet, which make for a great after dinner treat. Each barleywine was served in a brandy sniffer for $6/6oz pour.

Swine Platter- ribs, pork loin, bratwurst, beer braised cabbage, applewood bacon
Swine Platter (ribs, pork loin, bratwurst, beer braised cabbage, applewood bacon)

If you haven’t had a chance to stop by Flying Saucer in downtown Fort Worth, it’s worth the trip. It is in walking distance to the newly renovated Sundance Square (which is amazing) and they have loads of craft beers on tap and a huge patio … what else could you possibly ask for? Keep up to date with their fun events, like Barleywine and Swine, on their website.

Flying Saucer Fort Worth | Facebook
111 East 3rd Street, Fort Worth 76102

Monday – Wednesday, 11am – 1am
Thursday – Saturday, 11am – 2am
Sunday, noon – midnight

NOTE: Flying Saucer calls it “barleywine”, but some add a space.  Just sayin’.


susie knows all things boozy in dallas …