All posts by Rachel C

Casamigos Cool Weather Cocktails

Generally speaking, you know you’re in for a good time whenever tequila is involved. If said tequila is Casamigos, just do yourself a favor and schedule an Uber and enjoy the ride … and the cocktails.

That the tequila brand itself was the brainchild of Randy Gerber and George Clooney, who simply sought to create a tequila that “they could drink all day and not be hungover in the morning” should be incentive enough to try it out. But at a time when every reality TV star has their own line of something, I was skeptical. Turns out I should have saved my skepticism for the D-list celebs peddling lip gloss, because these guys know their tequila. (Randy & George, if by some bizarre twist of fate you read this, I humbly and sincerely apologize). If all that isn’t enough, the recent sale to Diageo for $1B should lend the company some extra cred.


Casamigos mixes well, is smooth enough to sip on the rocks, and every recipe we made during the event at Jaliso Norte I attended recently was surprisingly tasty. (I say “surprisingly” because until then, I lived in a world where tequila’s only time to shine was with salt, lime or grapefruit juice. How sad my life was.) Consider me educated.

We were treated to a class where we learned to make tequila cocktails with thyme, whipped cream, apples and cloves … all were all delicious and unexpected. 

CASA BLOOD ORANGE
2 oz. Casamigos Blanco
1 oz. blood orange juice
1 oz. fresh lime juice
.5 oz. simple syrup
2 serrano slices
½ thick rim of sugar, salt, tajin mixture (equal parts)

Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Muddle fruit. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds. Fine strain into rocks glass. Add fresh ice. Garnish with blood orange wheel.

CASA PUMPKIN SPICE
2.5 oz. Casamigos Reposado Tequila
1 oz. Agave Nectar or simple syrup
1 oz. creme
.25 oz. almond liqueur
2 heaping bar spoons organic canned pumpkin (or fresh)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon

Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 10-12 seconds. Strain into Irish glass mug. Add dollop of whipped cream and lightly sprinkle nutmeg over top.

CASA CIDER
2 oz. Casamigos Reposado
1 oz. apple cider
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
.5 oz. ginger syrup
.5 oz. agave nectar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 pinch cinnamon

Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds. Strain into rocks glass. Add fresh ice. Garnish with thin apple slice, thyme sprig, star anise and cinnamon sprinkle.
If served hot: add 1 oz. water and heat up contents. No ice needed.

CASA AMAGO
1.5 oz mole-infused Casamigos Reposado
.75 oz cocoa nib-infused Campari
.75 oz Carpano Formula Antica Vermouth
orange peel garnish

Combine above ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir for 50-60 revolutions or until well chilled and properly diluted. Garnish.

 

The venue matched the spirit of Casamigos perfectly—Jalisco Norte is stylish but down to earth, like that friend who dresses like an off-duty model but doesn’t just eat fries for likes. If you assumed that the last thing Dallas needed was another Mexican restaurant, set your assumptions aside and pay them a visit, you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure to pair your esquites and tuna tartare tostada with a Casamigos cocktail … even if it is a classic margarita.


***ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF N BARRETT PHOTOGRAPHY***

Save the Elephants with Amarula Cream

At a time of year where cocktails are not only ubiquitous, but expected, it’s heartening to know that there are that leave us with more than a telltale hangover the next day. Case in point: Amarula Cream.

Amarula Cream is an authentic African liqueur, and the only liqueur, made from the hand-harvested marula fruit found only in sub-equatorial Africa. In addition to attracting curious and adventurous cocktail aficionados, the Marula fruit is also known for attracting African elephants during harvest time, which is why Amarula has partnered with WildlifeDIRECT as part of their global “Don’t Let Them Disappear” campaign.

Smooth and creamy, slightly nutty, and the perfect amount of sweet, you could easily swap out your Bailey’s for Amarula and mix up your cocktail routine (after work or with your morning coffee, no judgement here.) If you want to take something different to a holiday party this year or you’re just looking for something new to try at home, Amarula Cream is incredibly versatile liqueur that’s equally enjoyable by itself over ice or mixed with coffee, hot cocoa and brown sugar for something more festive. 

One elephant is lost every 15 minutes for its ivory, and through December 31, Amarula will donate $1 of every bottle sold in the US to help raise awareness and to support conservation efforts to protect the African elephant.

Tis the season for drinks with friends and family, so while you’re getting your holly jolly on, try something new and help to conserve the African elephant at the same time. Visit Amarula online for cocktail inspiration, recipes and to find out more about how you can help save the African elephant.

Amarula Cream
amarula.com

17% ABV
~$22/750mL

Product Review: Amarula Cream

I’m admittedly not much of a cream-liquor kind of gal; I typically prefer my booze in a wine, pilsner or lowball glass, so I approached the Amarula Cream warily.

WHAT a mistake that was. This stuff is awesome. The mildly citrusy cool aunt to the Bailey’s-swilling, “if it a’int broke don’t fix it” Uncle.  The girl who still wears overalls but is actually the most popular kid in school. (Get the picture.) Stuffy Amarula is not.

You can literally make anything from a Coke Float to a highbrow shot with it. And yes, I just used the words “highbrow” and “shot” in the same sentence. Trust me.

Made exclusively in South Africa*, Amarula is produced using hand-harvested Marula fruit which is fermented into wine and then double-distilled into a clear spirit. Once it reaches this moonshine-ish state, the Amarula is aged for 24 months in French oak barrels then blended with fresh cream. The resulting liqueur has an extremely distinct toasted vanilla flavor with the subtlest hint of citrus.

You’ll rack your brain trying to put your finger on the exact flavor (my husband and I tossed back many a cocktail trying), but I recommend you just take it for what it is- delicious- and enjoy it.

The recipes for the cocktails we made are below, but Amarula is a really approachable liqueur, so if the mood strikes … get creative.

IMG_7756Amarula Brown Elephant | This one was delicious, and I wouldn’t judge you for plopping a scoop of ice cream on top.

2oz Amarula Cream
3oz milk
3oz Coca Cola

Pour Amarula and milk into shaker with ice. Shake and strain into tall cocktail glass filled with ice, top with Coca Cola and stir gently.

IMG_7751Amarula Tusk at Dusk | We loved this cocktail. The espresso gave it a nice, after dinner drink vibe and we actually considered re-making it as a warm beverage a-la Irish Coffee. All good things.

1oz Amarula Cream
1oz chilled espresso (Starbucks Double Shots worked great)
1/2oz rum
1/2oz Grand Marnier

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. 

Now, the next time you find yourself craving a cocktail, skip the Skyy and reach for the Amarula Cream. You’ll thank me.

AMARULA CREAM
www.amarula.com
$19.99 (750mL)
Amarula Cream is meant to be refrigerated after opening as it uses fresh cream.


**Please note that Rachel was given a bottle of Amarula to review.**

JK Chocolate

The holiday season is upon us. Traffic is unreal, grocery stores are out of chocolate chips, and you have neither the time nor the inclination to bake homemade cookies for that White Elephant party/teacher gifts/hostess gift/birthday party. Now that you’ve decided to outsource your holiday baking, you’re faced with even more decisions: Are cupcakes too childish? Are cake balls still in? Will that whole cake get eaten? What exactly is a fruit cake?

Enter: JK Chocolate.

Purveyor of Microchip Cookies, cakes, and unfairly decadent chocolate sauces and the brainchild of Julie and Karleen, the roots of JK Chocolate reach back to 1984 when the two friends would prepare homemade chocolate sauces for their children’s teachers. The word spread quickly about their confections, and the teachers- bereft of the heavenly sauces after the kids grew up and headed to college- begged the duo to sell their products. The rest is cookie history.

IMG_7566JK Chocolate sells seven flavors of their perfectly munch able treats: Midnight Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate Chip Crunch, Peanut Butter Chip with Sea Salt, Six Spice Gingersnap, Pecan Sweeties, Cheddar Cheesies with Texas Heat, and, of course, The Original Chocolate Chip.

Available in 11- and 20-ounce cans, the flavors are also available in gift packs, party favor sets and multi-pack sets of smaller IMG_75711.5- and 2-ounce jars. You can mix and match flavors, cookies, sauces and mini-cakes for the perfect hostess gift, holiday snack, party favor or office presents.

The jar of Original Chocolate Chip Microchip cookies I brought home lasted a whopping two hours, so plan on buying more rather than less. They might be small, but they pack a hefty, homemade taste that’ll leave you craving more.

For store location, hours, online ordering and serving ideas, visit their website at www.jkchocolate.com.

JK CHOCOLATE
www.jkchocolate.com | FacebookInstagram
4710 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX 75209
(214) 350-0427

IMG_7567IMG_7572IMG_7570

read over here

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!