All posts by SusieDrinksDallas

Taking on Texas: A Tale of Two Whiskeys

As a Texas outsider, I have learned there are several moments when it is best to just shut up. For example, if you wade into an Alamo discussion and start talking about who possibly disobeyed orders and if everyone really should have died, you’re going to get yelled at. (Please yell at Susie – this is her website.) What I like about Texas is that, as a whole, it’s a land of contrasts. You can go from large cities to beautiful hill country to mountains to desert to lakes and everything in between. You find global businessmen alongside ranchers in ten gallon hats, first generation immigrants eager to start a new life and suburban moms … all standing in sometimes nervous proximity of each other.

While there’s a popular narrative for what Texas is, the best part about it is the narrative never quite fits everyone. That’s why I enjoyed the opportunity to look at two different takes on what Texas whiskey is from two different distilleries – Devils River Whiskey and Swift Single Malt Texas Whiskey.

As an outsider, the Mainstream Texas Nationalism can sometimes overshadow some of the really cool things about our state – like amazing nature areas – including the Devil’s River (94 miles of mostly unspoiled and pure, limestone-filtered water right here in the southern portion of the state). If you like history lessons and whiskey, Devils River Whiskey combines both as they’ve built their brand around the river John Coffee Hays named back in 1840. The bottle features river shots, Texas, and just about every other possible reminder that this whiskey came from the Devil’s River.

On the other end of the spectrum, Swift Single Malt Texas Whiskey is made in Dripping Springs, TX with a brand focused on being a well-made craft whiskey with global appeal. If you’re a sucker for cool stories about people chasing their dream like I am, this blog post is a great place to learn more about Swift.

Now that my four paragraph commentary is out of the way, it’s time for opinion sharing. I poured each of these neat to start and had a couple of different guest reviewers try them both that way, with a bit of water, and then on ice. We started with the Swift and the first thing we noticed was there was a lot going on in each sip. The bottle tells you are getting notes of toasted vanilla and chocolate laced with hints of rose and white peaches. It’s a smooth, sweet sip with none of these flavors overpowering the others, but it was very different from what we were expecting.

For the Devils River, all the talk of bold flavors is implied by the bottle, the implication you’re one sip away from the forbidden river journey you didn’t even know you’d been dreaming of taking. There is a pepper and oak taste to it, but it’s also easy to sip and eventually falls into familiar notes of caramel and honey. The tasting group agreed that this was the better of the two whiskeys to drink straight.

We moved to a simple cocktail portion for the whiskeys and made manhattans, old fashioneds and a few custom recipes shared by the folks at Swift for us to try that were a little more off the beaten path. Both whiskeys made good cocktails, but the complexity of the Swift definitely stood out in the mixology phase of the review.

The two cocktail recommendations from Swift were simple to make and are worth making next time you pick up a bottle.

Wallace Mountain
1 oz Swift Single Malt Whiskey
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Averna Amaro

Pour ingredients into a mixing glass, ice, stir and pour in to a big rocks glass or highball.

Barley and Limestone
0.75 oz Swift Single Malt whiskey
0.75 oz Dolin sweet vermouth
0.75 oz Cherry Heering
0.75 oz Meyer Lemon juice*

Pour ingredients into a shaker, ice, shake and strain in to a martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.


Swift Single Malt
Nose: overall sweet with lemon and floral
Flavor: sweet and citrusy
Finish: long and dry – changes as it lingers with pepper as well
Aged: minimum 15 months
Proof:  (43% ABV)
Price: ~$55/750mL

Devils River Whiskey
Nose: sweet with hint of pepper
Flavor: honey and caramel with oak and a small amount of spice
Finish: warm, smooth and medium length
Aged: n/a + years
Proof:  (45% ABV)
Price: ~$29.99/750mL

Celebrate World Cucumber Day with Hendrick’s Gin

World Cucumber Day is June 14! Of course, I’m going to celebrate by putting cucumber in something boozy. And, as of late, frozen. (Because, Texas.)

I chose to work with Hendrick’s Gin for these recipes because the spirit already has a delightful cucumber note. (After macerating and distilling most of the botanicals with the alcohol, rose and cucumber essences are added.) And they get a kick out of cucumbers. They even have a cucumber blimp.

I wanted to try something a little different to add a peppery note to a Cucumber Collins (which is delicious, but not complex enough), so I added a little watercress. Watercress is incredibly inexpensive and also makes for a fun garnish.

Cucumber Watercress Collins
2oz Hendrick’s Gin
1oz fresh lime juice
0.75oz simple syrup
5 cucumber slices
Watercress
Club soda

Muddle lime, syrup, cucumbers, and about 10 watercress leaves in a cocktail tin. Add the gin and ice, then shake until well chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice, then top with club soda. Garnish with a small bunch of watercress leaves.

Special thanks to Feo Forte from Rapscallion for the help workshopping this cocktail!

As you may have noticed lately, I’ve been a little obsessed with alcoholic popsicles. I’ve gotten a little bit of a wild hair to add a kick to things that aren’t meant to be boozy. Go ahead … call me an anarchist.

Cucumber Gin & Tonic Popsicles
2oz Hendrick’s Gin
1oz fresh lime juice
2.5cups tonic
1 cucumber, sliced

Combine liquid ingredients and stir. Place a few slices of cucumber in each popsicle mold, then pour liquid over. Add sticks, then freeze overnight or for at least eight hours.


Not in the mood to make your own drinks? Stop into your favorite drinking establishment this evening and see if they’re offering a special cucumber drink to celebrate the day.

DALLASITES: There are quite a few local establishments that will be offering special Hendrick’s options to celebrate. Maybe I’ll see you there! (Visit District 30, Rapscallion, Dish, The Fairmount, Public School 214, The Standard Pour, Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, Parliament, Bowen House, The Mitchell, Stock & Barrel, Boulevardier, and The Londoner locations in Colleyville and Addison for features and/or specials tonight!)

 

 

Viva la #PatioVida at OTB

I’m a queso fiend … I’m not ashamed to admit it. Add a patio, some nice weather, live music, and friends, and I’m one happy girl. Since I was meant to be leaving for a trip to Mexico next week that fell through, I needed a little tequila and sunshine to soften the blow.

Turns out, On The Border was the spot to get both, because OTB is helping us take our patio happy hour game to the next level this summer with amazing food and drink deals. What’s more, select locations will have live music every Thursday on their patios across the country this summer. (Dallasites: you can enjoy fantastic live music and a lively patio at their Knox location!)

I ventured out the last couple of Thursdays to enjoy the festivities with friends, and each was more bold than I when ordering. I’m a creature of habit–if I know I like something, I go with it. (Mostly because I’m too lazy to be bothered to order something else.) I took a bit of a chance on my last visit and used OTB’s #PatioVida Quiz that suggests food and drink pairings. (My result was their new Limeade Fresca and Empanadas … which I promptly enjoyed.)

Since I’m hugely into drinks, we’ll talk booze first. Starting in May (and ending September 4), OTBs across the country started offering a seasonal margarita, a Watermelon Margarita, made with watermelon purée! To make it more exciting, OTB is offering this fresher-than-fresh margarita for just $4 all day on Thursdays! (For $1 more, make it a grande, and for $2 more you can make it a Coronarita!)

Not into tequila? (I hear you, friends.) OTB is now offering four new non-tequila cocktails–the Limeade Fresca,  Cuba Libre, Padre Island Tea, and Poncho Punch–all unique, new options for OTB.

They didn’t stop at new drink options–they are also offering new food items on their bar menu that launched last month. If you want to try all of their new items, make sure you’re in for happy hour (4-7pm weekdays) where you can get snacks starting at just $2. (If you’re too cheap to shell out the $2 for queso, go ahead and sign up for Club Cantina and get a free queso or sopapillas!)

So, cheers to inexpensive happy hour snacks and booze at OTB this summer. And make sure to snap pictures of your visit and post them using #PatioVida!

 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of On The Border . The opinions and text are all mine.

Celebrating Negroni Week with Strawberry Negroni Popsicles

If you aren’t aware of Negroni Week, get on board. Every year at the beginning of June, Imbibe Magazine and Campari get together to raise money for worthy causes across the US, each bar choosing its own charity to which to donate. Check out their website to see which bars across the country are celebrating and giving back.

Now, a little on the Negroni: it’s a classic Italian cocktail that has been around since the early 1900s that is made with equal parts gin, Campari, and red vermouth with an orange peel garnish, served on the rocks. Campari is a bright red, bitter, Italian liqueur that gives this drink its unique flavor profile. The Negroni is considered an apéritif, which the Italians will sip before a meal to prepare their stomachs.

I know that we’ve all had a traditional Negroni or two this week, so to stir things up a little, I tried my hand at Strawberry Negroni Popsicles for a pool party yesterday! These pops are as easy to make as they could be and are a perfect way to cool down in this oppressive heat.

STRAWBERRY NEGRONI POPSICLES
1 1/2 lb strawberries, hulled
6 T turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
2.5 T Seersucker Gin
2.5 T Campari
2.5 T Sweet Vermouth
1 T Orange Flower Water

Combine hulled strawberries and sugar in a blender, let them sit for 10-20min, then blend until smooth. Add other ingredients and blend for another 20 seconds. Freeze in popsicle molds for at least 8 hours.

 

 

Buda Juice Cleanse

Being a food, drink and travel blogger, I often eat and drink … a lot. And a lot of it isn’t healthy. (“Yes, I’ll try all four desserts. Thanks much.”) That said, after returning from a two week tour of England and Ireland, I needed some extra help righting myself after all of the fish & chips and Indian food before heading to Kauai for a week.

Enter: Buda Juice’s cleanse

Since a lot of the foods we eat “contain additives made from petroleum products, pesticides, and other toxins”, sometimes it’s nice to flush your system and get rid of all of that ick. Their cleanse helps to do just that. Other pluses? It can help you lose weight, boost your energy level, brighten your skin, think clearer, sleep better, improve your immunity, and even increase your … ya know … desires. (Bingo.)

Buda Juice’s products are all certified organic, cold-pressed at 35º, pesticide-free, and not pasteurized, so they all bare an exacting expiration date that should be respected. They bottle everything in glass bottles to avoid potentially harmful plastics, and you can return the bottles for a $1 credit per bottle.

I chose to do a three-day cleanse to give myself a couple days to sweat it out at Camp Gladiator before starting my juice-only diet. (You’re not meant to work out while doing the cleanse, so I just walked for the three days.) Each day was the same six juices, and each flavor was unique and purposeful.

– Breakfast: No 01 Green Juice (spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, ginger, kale, parsley) – this was a great way to start the day and gave me a little boost of energy
daily veggies + vitamins, detox + alkalizing agent, gut soother
– Mid-morning: No 04 Blue Lemonade (apple, cucumber, lemon) – this was my favorite of the juices, which is great because I got to drink it twice a day!
post workout electrolytes, alkalizing energy elixir, hangover cure
– Lunch: No 02 Red Juice (celery, apple, beet, ginger, parsley) – a filling option as a lunch substitute and it happens to be an absolutely gorgeous color
stamina booster, stress reliever, blood purifier
– Mid-afternoon: another Blue Lemonade
– Dinner: No S1 Basilato Soup (tomato, cucumber, sea salt, basil, olive oil) – This was a treat every day of the cleanse. I warmed mine and added a bit of pepper a couple of the nights. (And it was nice to have something to chew!)
healthy heart lover, kidney flusher, detox + digestive aid
– Dessert: No M1 Almond Milk (water, almond, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom) – sweet and definitely as good a nightcap as you can get without adding booze …this was a real treat each evening. I added a bit of cinnamon to mine.
healthy cholesterol support, balanced vegan protein, smart hunger quencher

All in all, I felt refreshed and a bit lighter (both physically and spiritually) after three days of (albeit delicious) juices. But I was ready to eat all the pineapple, mai tais and fish Kauai had to offer … not because I was hungry (the juices give you enough calories for a healthy daily intake and I never heard a grumble from my stomach), but because I just wanted to chew something!

BUDA JUICE
budajuice.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

1 day cleanse: $65 (6 juices, 16oz each)
3 days cleanse: $195 (18 juices, 16oz each)
5 days cleanse: $325 (30 juices, 16oz each)

Pictures courtesy of Buda Juice

They do warn you that, as with any detox, there are some potential side effects. While ridding your body of toxins, you could “experience headaches, dizziness, fatigue, skin blemishes, constipation, as well as other digestive issues. All should be temporary …”

National Bubbly Day

National Bubbly Day is June 3!

We’re obviously obligated to celebrating the effervescent elixir that has improved more than one wedding/New Year’s Eve/casual Tuesday afternoon and my health in 2017 (no kidding). While I’ll be hanging in my pool with some mini bottles of Segura Viudas to commemorate the day (screw the forecast that’s calling for rain), there are plenty of other ways to celebrate. Enjoy a chilled glass, boozy popsicles, sparkling sangria, or my newest creation, the basic girl favorite frosé (recipe below).

Visit my Instagram page (@susiedrinks) before Sunday, June 4 at 6pm for the chance to win a bubbly goody bag from Segura Viudas including a full size bottle of Segura Viudas Brut and two mini bottles, a portable Bluetooth speaker, a badass cava straw like the one in my picture, and some other goodies.


The frosé has been a recent favorite around town, but I decided to triple down on the booze by adding orange liqueur and vodka. (Because, I mean … it’s me.) Using frozen strawberries automatically chills the drink, so no ice is required that would eventually water it down.

Segura Viudas Frosé
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup of Segura Viudas Rosé
0.5 oz agave syrup
0.75 oz Cointreau
1 oz Reyka Vodka

Blend all ingredients on high. Pour into a flute, then top off with more rosé. Garnish with a strawberry half and a sprig of mint.

 

 


Special thanks to Segura Viudas for providing the giveaway goodies!

Seersucker Gin Gin Juleps for the Kentucky Derby

Grab your gaudy hat and seersucker suits, boys and girl, it’s time to get to the starting line for the Kentucky Derby!

The traditional drink of the Derby is, as we all know, the Mint Julep. Traditionally made with whiskey, sugar, mint, and a touch of water. the well known cocktail has been the feature of bars at Churchill Downs for nearly a century. No kidding, it’s said that they serve about 120,000 of them each year!

Not being one for tradition, I wanted to put a twist on the usual Mint Julep recipe. Luckily, Seersucker Southern Style Gin challenged me to come up with a cocktail that I’d serve at my Derby party using their brand new spirit, so I had a fun starting point and a unique spirit to work with.

To highlight the botanicals in Seersucker (citrus, coriander, juniper, mint), I paired it with a genever (the father spirit of gin) and ginger syrup. (So, really, this should be a called a “Gin Gin Gin Julep”!) The flavors play nicely together and make for a unique take on the well known recipe.

GIN-GIN JULEP
1 oz Seersucker Southern Gin
0.5 oz Bols genever
0.25 oz simple syrup
0.5 oz ginger syrup
~5  mint leaves
Top with Club soda
Garnish with a piece of candied ginger.

 

Seersucker itself is proud of its riff on the traditional julep, the Gin Julep. (They added citrus to bring out the botanicals and reserved the water.)

GIN JULEP (Recipe courtesy of Christopher Ware of Azar Family Brands)
2 oz Seersucker Southern Style Gin
0.25 oz of lime juice
0.25 oz of lemon juice
0.5 oz of simple syrup
~5 mint leaves + more to garnish

Combine gin, citrus juices, mint leaves, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, then muddle mint lightly. Strain into a julep cup over crushed ice. Garnish with more mint.

 

SEERSUCKER SOUTHERN STYLE GIN
seersuckergin.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

~$26 for 750mL
Available in 200ml, 750ml, and 1.75L

Pictures by @JureeGoode.

Throw Together a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta with Moe’s

Cinco de Mayo is coming up, and this year it’s on a Friday. [Cue amateur hour.] While every restaurant will make their best attempt at a margarita and slap a $3 price tag on it, you may want to avoid the hordes of partiers looking for cheap drinks. That said, sometimes it’s best to host your own fiesta–then you can make your margaritas as strong as you want (and know that they don’t have well tequila in them) and share good food with your amigos.

My friends and I put together a little fiesta to celebrate Cinco a bit early. To make things easier, we ordered catering from Moe’s Southwest Grill (promotion). The party was simple–catered food, a margarita bar, and, of course, a piñata.

To make it a little more festive, I put together a margarita bar so each guest could create their own margaritas. My guests could choose their citrus–lime, key lime, orange or blood orange–and sweetener–Patrón Citrónge Orange, blood orange syrup or “Sweet Heat“, Torani’s ghost pepper syrup. We wrote the traditional margarita recipe in chalk on the ground so even a novice could get it right.

This year, to celebrate “Cinco de Moe’s”, Moe’s created a new, margarita-inspired drink, the Moe-Rita, that combines limeade, lemonade, orange and some other goodies. (If you’re at one of their restaurants, you can get it from the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. To make things even easier, guests could use the Mo-Rita as the base of their margarita and spice it up as they desired.

Instead of grilling up fajitas and stressing myself out trying to cook rice perfectly (just not my strong suit), I let Moe’s cater everything. I went with the fajita bar that came with everything we could have possibly wanted to pile onto a tortilla–chicken and beef, rice, beans, mixed onions and peppers, shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guac and pico de gallo. Their catering comes with chips and salsa and we went all in with queso (which is quite fantastic).

Moe’s even covers dessert … their crispy sopapilla chips are my new obsession. They were a hit and my guests were more than happy to take a bag home (I may or may not have been grabbing one here and there all week. They’re real damn dangerous.)

Every party needs a little entertainment … and party favors. I stepped into Fiesta for a piñata (they’re quite inexpensive there and there are plenty of options). I filled my colorful llama with mini liquor bottles (plastic ones to avoid breakage), Mexican candies and snacks and hangover helpers (Advil packets and TUMs). You’re never too old to take a swing at a piñata!

Feeling inspired and want to win? Host your own fiesta, and make sure to post a picture of your Moe-Rita creation on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #MoeRitaMixer. Moe’s will pick one entrant to win a FREE catering for up to 50 people!*

MOE’S SOUTHWEST GRILL
moes.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Thanks to Moe’s for partnering with me for this promotion and setting us up with great food and the Moe-Ritas!
*Entries will be judged on originality and creativity. The winner will be announced on June 15th and can host their event anytime in the month of July 2017. For more information, visit www.moes.com.