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Frankie J + Dr. Pepper at the House of Blues

Frankie J. performed an intimate concert during the Dr Pepper One Of A Kind Concert Powered by Pandora at the House of Blues on October 22, 2014.

The eventful night was kicked off by DJ Big Syphe, and the fun continued with an open bar and photobooth. Frankie J had the crowd dancing with old favorites along with new songs off his latest album “Faith, Hope y Amor”.

Thanks, Pandora, for the fun evening!


About Frankie J | 
Frankie was recently nominated for 2 Premio Lo Nuestro Awards and a Grammy and is currently in the studio working on a follow-up to 2013’’s Faith, Hope y Amor, which is slated to be released later this year via Universal Music. This album also marks the reunion of long time friends and producers Happy Perez (Miguel, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige) and Play n Skills (Lil Wayne, David Guetta, Pitbull).

Carly LeMay
Written by Carly LeMay

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Candy Cocktails Recipe Book

Are you having a Halloween party? A Christmas party? Any other kind of party, in life, at any point in the future? Do you like booze? Do you like candy?  If you  have answered yes to any of these questions,  listen up: you’re going to want to hear this*. Candy Cocktails, people. That’s right … cocktails that taste like candy. Cocktails that are MADE USING CANDY. Enter: “Candy Cocktails: Fun and Flirty Drinks with a Sugar-Kissed Twist“.

(*If you did not answer, “Yes,” to any of the above questions, do not read on. Go here, instead.)

I received “Candy Cocktails” just in time for Halloween, but this cocktail recipe book by the Good sisters (curators of Fashionably Bombed) is chock full of fun and inventive cocktails for every holiday (Candy Cane Martini, anyone?). Holiday-themed libations represent only a small segment of this gorgeous little recipe book, however; in its pages, you will also find cocktail recipes highlight just about any kind of candy you can think of. Forget everything you think you know about dessert drinks … until you have sampled a Liquid Candy Bar, a Candy Fishbowl (yes, it has Swedish Fish “swimming” in it.  Shut. Up.), or a Pop Shot (yup, that would be a shooter integrating Pop Rocks), you know nothing.  Just imagine preparing a custom cocktail for your boyfriend/girlfriend/brother/sister/bestie/grandma/mailman based on his or her favorite candy. How much do I love this idea? (A lot.)

Candy Corn InfusionCandy Cocktails is going to have you “mixing outside the box,” if you will. I can attest to this because I found myself preparing candy corn infused vodka early this week. One of the really awesome things about this book is the fact that it gives you directions on how to create variety of sweet liquor infusions using at little as 1/2 cup of booze. Gone are the days of having to spend $17 a pop on multiple, giant bottles of random flavored vodkas that you know are probably only going to use once or twice to make that one cocktail you just had to have, on a whim (I mean, I don’t know many people whose “go-to” drink features marshmallow vodka, do you?). This section of the book is really quite practical and useful (as candy infused alcohol goes).

I prepared two Halloween inspired “Candy Cocktails” in the Plano branch of the Susie Drinks Dallas test kitchen.

Candy Corn CocktailFirst, the Candy Corn Cocktail,- hence the candy corn infused vodka. This drink was so pretty and festive, and just BEGGING you to serve it at your Halloween bash. It was not sickeningly sweet, and really, it was incredibly reminiscent of a lemon drop, with a subtle hint of something different. (You guessed it, genius … CANDY CORN!!!)

Peanut Butter Cup CocktailNext, the Peanut Butter Cup Cocktail, which was every bit as rich and decadent as it sounds. Interestingly (and only mildly disappointingly), this cocktail does not contain actual peanut butter cups (aside from the garnish). As the sisters point out in their book, sometimes the point is for the drink to taste LIKE the candy, as opposed to actually containing the candy. This blended concoction was comprised of vodka, crunchy peanut butter,  crème de cacao, and whole milk  (omg). This was 100% dessert, and they really nailed the peanut butter cup flavor. Nom.

If you are looking for a collection of really fun, unique cocktail recipes, getchoself a copy of Candy Cocktails: Fun and Flirty Drinks with a Sugar-Kissed Twist, today!

Available at Barnes and Noble (check out their nifty in-store pickup feature!), or on Amazon, for just $13.68.

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Sauza Reposado & Silver Tequila Review

For my inaugural post at SDD, I feel compelled to be completely  honest with y’all: tequila and I have a rocky past. And by rocky…  I mean sitting-on-the-curb-crying rocky. Fortunately for me, however, the lovely folks at Sauza provided me with the opportunity to reacquaint myself with former cocktail nemesis.

sauzaFind me some limes and color me converted, because Sauza Blue Silver and Sauza Reposado are tequilas for anyone whose tequila experience ends abruptly with frozen margaritas. The Sauza Silver is warm and citrusy with a clean finish, while Sauza Reposado is sweeter with notes of pepper and caramel.

Moral of the  story? Tequila shouldn’t be shelved until summer rolls back around. Save yourself some liquor store browsing and snag some Sauza tequila and give one of these recipes a whirl!

Spicy Sauza-Rita
1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
2 parts beer
1 part frozen limeade concentrate
1 part water
A dash of hot sauce
Sugar (for garnish)
Salt (for garnish)
Red pepper (for garnish)
Chili pepper (for garnish)

In a small bowl, mix sugar, salt, red pepper and chili pepper. Dip the rims of the glasses in a splash of lemon juice then immediately into salt & sugar.  Combine tequila, beer, limeade, water and hot sauce. Shake well and pour over ice into rimmed cocktail glasses.

Fall Apple Cider Margaritas

2 parts Sauza® Reposado Fresh Blue Agave Tequila
4 parts spiced cider
1 part Grand Mariner or Cointreau
Dash of lemon juice
Raw sugar (for garnish)
Cinnamon (for garnish)
Cinnamon sticks (optional)
Apple slices (optional)

In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon. Dip the rims of the glasses in a splash of Grand Mariner then immediately into cinnamon-sugar mix.  Combine tequila, cider, Grand Mariner or Cointreau and lemon. Shake well and pour over ice into rimmed cocktail glasses. Garnish with cinnamon sticks or apple slices!
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Reyka Vodka Unleashes Fall/Winter Cocktails

unnamedA couple weeks back, Reyka Vodka mixed things up with a night of delicious cool weather cocktails with National Brand Ambassador Trevor Schneider and Barter Beverage Director, Rocco Milano.  We were treated to three delicious cocktails (recipes below).

Reyka Vodka is an Icelandic vodka that uses lava rock filtration (which is so much better than that Brita shit) and the process is all made possible using geo-thermal energy powered by a local hot spring.  Reyka is made in small batches to ensure each bottle is up to snuff.

750 ml bottle: $19.99
1.75 ml bottle: $29.95

For more information about Reyka and additional recipes, visit www.reyka.com.


unnamed-13Autumn Harvest (Created by Trevor Schneider)
2 oz. Reyka vodka
2 oz. apple cider
1/2 oz. velvet falernum
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes apple bitters
Grated cinnamon for garnish (optional)
Lemon wedge for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with freshly grated cinnamon and garnish with lemon wedge. 

Crimson Diamond (Created by Rocco Milano)
1.5 oz Reyka Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz Simple SyrupTop with red wine

Combine all ingredients except the wine into a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a champagne flute and using a bar spoon slow pour a red wine float.  

Basil and Lime (Created by Rocco Milano and on tap at Barter)
1.5 oz Reyka Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz Basil Syrup
.5 oz Amer Picon

Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously. Fill an 8 oz footed Collins glass with crushed ice. Strain the shaker into the Collins glass. Smack a basil leaf to wake it up and add for garnish.

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The $100 Saints Cocktail

Ok, y’all … I love an expensive drink as much as the next person (which is not at all), but this one caught my attention.  The head mixologist at Vitascope Hall in the Hyatt Regency New Orleans mixed up a cocktail that costs a pretty penny but will let Saints fans rep their team with more than just jerseys and face paint.

The cocktail is called Black & Gold … and by gold, they actually mean gold.  It’s made with Absolut 100 vodka (just $34 for a 750ml), Champagne Charles Mignon “Cuvée Billionaires Row” Brut Rosé Grand Cru, and a splash of raspberry Chambord liqueur and chilled pineapple juice.  Oh … and the icing on the cake … err … topping on the cocktail … there’s edible gold on top and a black and gold sugar rim. (How does one make gold edible? I’m just seeing a flashback to the day after a Goldschläger binge.)

The drink runs cocktail enthusiasts a cool hundy stick ($100).  Because sometimes it takes money to show you’re a fan. (What?)

$100 Black & Gold Cocktail (Available at Vitascope Hall in the Hyatt Regency New Orleans)

2 oz. Absolut 100 Super Premium Vodka
½ oz. Chambord
3 oz. Champagne Charles Mignon “Cuvée Billionaires Row” Brut
Rosé Grand Cru
2 ½ oz. Pineapple Juice
Served with a black and gold sugar rim and topped with shaved edible gold.


About the Hyatt Regency New Orleans: Situated in the heart of downtown New Orleans, adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Superdome and just blocks from the historic French Quarter, Hyatt Regency New Orleans is a preferred destination for leisure and business travelers alike, boasting 1,193 strikingly sophisticated guest rooms, including 95 suites and four presidential suites. www.neworleans.hyatt.com​.

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FALL into Skinnygirl Vodka

I consider it fate and not merely a coincidence that two bottles of Skinnygirl Vodka appeared on my doorstep on October 3rd, less than 24 short hours away from October 4th, which just so happens to be NATIONAL VODKA DAY.  As if that wasn’t enticement enough, Skinnygirl was kind enough to share some recipes featuring fall flavors (apple!) in order to help us kick off the season with a festive yet (practically) guilt-free libation! Ladies of DF/W (and guys … if you’re into that sort of thing), Halloween is rapidly approaching, and we need all the help we can get before it’s time to squeeze into this year’s “Sexy ____ “  (insert profession, zoo animal, beloved children’s character, etc.) getup.

First, a little bit about Skinnygirl Cocktails: Bethenny Frenkel’s (yup, that Bethenny Frenkel) line of low-calorie alcoholic indulgences came onto the scene with the introduction of the Skinnygirl Margarita back in 2011. Skinnygirls (and would-be Skinnygirls) near and far apparently clamored for more, as Bethenny has since rolled out a line of Skinnygirl ready-to-drink cocktails (I need to get my hands on the Skinnygirl mojito…), a Skinnygirl wine collection, and yes, a variety of Skinnygirl naturally flavored vodkas.

Skinnygirl Vodka with natural flavors is available in the following intriguing varieties:
– White Cherry Vodka
– Tangerine Vodka
– Cucumber Vodka
– Bare Naked Vodka

I received a bottle of the Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka in addition to a bottle of the Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka for my sampling pleasure.  I enlisted my boyfriend to join me in my taste-testing endeavor, and he agreed to do so. (Though he did request that I refer to this product line as, “Skinnypeople Vodka” in my write-up. Request denied.)

I prepared two of the “fall flavor” cocktails based on recipes Skinnygirl provided. I will give the disclaimer that each of these recipes can be prepared with either apple juice or apple cider. I was disappointed to learn that my neighborhood grocery store had yet to roll out their apple cider for the season when I went to pick up my non-alcoholic goodies, so I had to go the AJ route*. If you decide to replicate these tasty little treats, I might go for the cider if you have it available. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

*Note from Susie: surprisingly, WalMart usually has Martinelli’s Apple Cider in stock.

First, the unanimous favorite: the Crisp Apple Cooler. This seemingly simple cocktail consisted of Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka, apple juice, agave syrup, and a green apple garnish. Easy enough to throw together, right? This cocktail tasted like a delicious candy apple in a glass. The Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka was perfectly smooth and blended beautifully with my mixers. We could not discern that this was a low-calorie alternative to classic vodka. In other news, I think this would be uhh-mazing with a caramel rim. Wait, does that defeat the purpose of sipping on low-calorie booze? Let’s consider it a compromise.

Skinnygirl2Crisp Apple Cooler
1 ½ parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
¾ part apple juice
¼ part agave syrup
Green apple slice for garnish

Stir agave syrup with vodka in the base of a shaker until the agave syrup dissolves. Add apple juice and shake thoroughly with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a green apple slice.

Next, the Fall Festival-tini, consisting of Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka, apple juice, light rum, and lemon for garnish. The tangerine flavor added some subtle interest to this grown-up apple juice concoction. I might suggest skipping the rum and doubling up on the Skinnygirl Tangerine if you are looking for a citrusy kick; especially if you are going the apple cider route. Heck, you could even get fancy and toss in some cinnamon, or nutmeg, for a festive punch.

Fall Festival-tini
1 part Skinnygirl® Tangerine Vodka
3 parts apple juice/cider
½ part light rum
Lemon wedge for garnish

Mix ingredients in a shaker, and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Just for good measure, we also sampled the Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka on the rocks … you know, in the name of science. We found it to be light and refreshing, without any kind of a fake, “diet” taste. This was a pleasant surprise. With Skinnygirl’s help, I will be slithering into that “Sexy Orphan Annie” costume in no time.

Here are some additional Skinnygirl recipes, for your low-calorie sipping pleasure.

*Samples were provided free of charge. Thanks, Skinnygirl!*

Product Review: SIA Scotch Whisky

Kickstarter. what can’t it do? Whether you’re looking for a reboot of some random TV show by people who already have plenty of money but don’t want to risk their own or just some delicious potato salad, it’s there for you. While potato salad is great and all, someone decided that it was time to use the voice of the people to make scotch. (The team here at SDD was totally behind it.)

Carin Luna-Ostasekski took it upon herself to use her Kickstarter funds to create SIA Scotch Whiskey, a “brand for consumers who don’t even know they like scotch yet.” This is notable not just because she has entered a traditionally male-dominated segment of the spirit industry, but she is also doing it in San Francisco. I can’t do her full story justice here, but you should definitely check it out at siascotch.com.
TL:DR – creative type gets an itch to learn the ins and outs of something, works hard and creates a great spirit.

All of the media materials sent talked about how the goal of the product was to be versatile and approachable – not just the old, smoky, peaty stuff that makes some folks drool and others cringe and reach for the nearest cocktail menu.

IMG_4139So, with this in mind (and me badly in need of a drink at the end of the work day), I poured a glass neat and took a few sips. The vanilla taste was immediate, but it sipped much more smoothly than most and didn’t finish too strong. After a few more sips, it was clear that I had a great sipping scotch. Just to see what happened, I poured a bit more and added a drop of water and the flavors opened a little bit with some toffee notes coming out under the vanilla. I also put some on the rocks and was very happy with that as well.

I was imagining a ton of cocktail recipes with each sip – especially for fall. In fact, I’m planning to revisit a few recipes at a later date, but I was so happy drinking this neat, I didn’t want to stop. And for me, that’s probably the best endorsement I can give it.

I’ll go ahead and say it … we’re dealing with a gateway spirit (in the best way possible). I’m not sure how much a scotch purist will like this scotch, but this is a perfect spirit for someone looking to bridge between the standard Maker’s/Jack/Crown frontier into something different. If you like the standard North American bourbons, I’d definitely recommend grabbing SIA on your next trip to the store and seeing if it opens your palate for the heavier end of the spectrum.

To learn how to order or find places to buy SIA or enjoy a cocktail, visit http://siascotch.com/buy/.

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Pegaso Mexican Diner- Fort Worth

Last week I was privileged to attend a media dinner at a new Tex-Mex restaurant in Bluebonnet Circle, Pegaso Mexican Diner. The circle has made a huge turn around since the days of the Qui and Tiff and Andi’s. Now the circle is full of great restaurants and retail, and Pegaso is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.

Pegaso is set up like Freebirds or Chipotle where you go through a line to build your plate. They also offer a few platters were everything is already chosen for you want a quick decision. The basics of the menu are: enchilada plates, burritos, burrito bowls, salad bowls, and street tacos. With almost everything, you pick your filling, sauce, and sides. My first experience was awesome because I was able to try a lot of the menu in small portions. I kept thinking about how good the food during the rest of my week that I went back a few days later for my weekend Mexican food fix. Going through the line for the first time was somewhat overwhelming with all of the choices. It was safe to say that I’m pretty sure I would not have been disappointed with anything I would have chosen. The simple things like the rice and refried beans are amazing. The food is such high quality (this is nothing like Taco Bell fast food).

Eventually they will be offering late night on weekends as well as breakfast.

I’ll admit it … I’m a queso fanatic. For that reason, I deem myself qualified to say that their queso blanco was amazing. My other top recommendations are the enchilada platter with chicken tinga, chipotle crema, vegan cilantro rice, and pinto refried beans. One of the best sides I have tried is the Spicy Mexican Elote (a corn dish with chipotle crema, mayonnaise, and queso fresco). This dish has a great mix of sweet and spicy flavors.

So awesome food, now what about the drinks? Yes, this is considered “fast casual”, but the margaritas are hand shaken using 100% agave Tequila (your choice of Silver, Reposado, or Anejo). I was a big fan of the skinny margarita on the rocks ($8.50). The cucumber margarita on the rocks ($10.00) was a refreshing twist on a traditional margarita and the cucumber mellowed out the sweetness.

Pegaso also offers a selection of domestic ($2.95), imported ($3.75), and local ($4.25) bottles. (I feel that I shouldn’t have to say that you can’t get the drinks to go … but I’ll err on the side of safety.)

All of the items at Pegaso are made with high quality ingredients and sustainable harvested produce when possible. They use healthy fats such as Canola oil in their fryer as well as accommodate any vegan request that is possible. This is a family-friendly restaurant with a very reasonably priced kids menu ($3.75).

PEGASO MEXICAN DINER
3516 Bluebonnet Circle
Fort Worth, Texas 76109
Website | Facebook

Hours:
Tuesday-Thursday: 11am- 9pm
Friday- Saturday: 11am- 11pm
Sunday: 11am- 9pm
CLOSED MONDAY

Happy Hour: Tuesday-Friday 4-6:30 ($1 off all alcoholic drinks)

*TCU students receive a 10% discount with ID.

susie knows all things boozy in dallas …