All posts by SusieDrinksDallas

Rosé all day … and in the fall.

We all know about rosé …
summer water.
frozé.
#roséallday
The ubiquitous millennial-pink chilled wine served served at brunches the world over.

Is it a mystery that rosé and cliché rhyme? I think not.

In fact, there’s a compelling argument that rosé is summer’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’ll have to save that argument for another day, because I’ve got some news:

Rosé season isn’t real.

I know, I know … it’s a revelation. Let it sink in for a few minutes.

Since temps in Texas hit the upper 80s and lower 90s well into October, there’s simply no reason to pack up your rosé along with your white jeans just because it’s autumn. (And for that matter, why should we even pack up our white jeans?) Luckily the awesome people are Barefoot feel the same way, and I was fortunate enough to attend their #FallForRosé event recently at Stirr in Deep Ellum.

The weather couldn’t have been better for an autumn cocktail event. The candlelit pink and gold decor complimented the crisp rosé perfectly and the Rosé Harvest Martini (Barefoot rosé, vanilla vodka, pomegranate juice and simple syrup) was a wonderfully light and crisp fall cocktail. Where the fruity flavor of rosé is usually associated with summertime, the subtle vanilla and pomegranate flavors nudged the drink into fall without relying on the use of typical fall flavors such as apple, pear and spices.

If you’re looking for a fall cocktail that’s a little different I would definitely recommend integrating rosé into the ingredients. And if cocktails aren’t your thing, you can never go wrong with a simple glass of rosé. … even in October.

Bartenders You Should Know: Angela Montesclaros

Henry’s Majestic has seen more than it share of talent behind its bars, and the newest bar manager is no exception. We’ve had our eye on Angela Montesclaros since she was a bartender at Henry’s Majestic’s sister bar, Atwater Alley. And believe us, she’s way more than a pretty face.

She moved into role end of May and is now overseeing the bars at Henry’s and Atwater. Her challenge when taking the reigns was, well … not to mess up the great thing they had going and to get things ship shape. (Not that she has any trouble with that.) So, to take things a bit further, she challenged herself to recreate a menu that was approachable yet challenged guests’ palates. And, she wanted to allow her entire bar staff to have a say and contribution into the new menu.

Drink of choice at home: always an IPA or a bottle of Cab, but never cocktails (she saves her cocktail making for her patrons!)

Drink of chance at bars: a beer and a shot all day

Favorite drink to make: “Right now, I love spritzes and I’ve always loved Americanos.”

Best skill: making a really refreshing cocktail (exhibit A: her tiki cocktails that are the most shining examples of this)

Make sure to stop in and check out her revamped cocktail menus. For fall and winter, she seemed to be into dark herbs and fruits. “And I love sage all year around.” We’re pretty down with that.


Henry’s Majestic
henrysmajestic.com
4900 McKinney Avenue (Uptown)
(469) 893-9400

Atwater Alley
atwateralley.com
4900 McKinney Avenue (Uptown)
(469) 893-9400

 

McKinney Oktoberfest

It’s September, which means it’s time for Oktoberfests across the world celebrating all-things German—most often seen: beer and brats. (Have you ever understood why they aren’t actually in October?)

Here in North Texas, We’re lucky enough to have two world-class festivals—in Addison and McKinney. McKinney’s FREE* Oktoberfest, which happens to be their 10th this year, will be held September 22-24, and this family-friendly three-day event will offer everything from strudel and steins to entertainment like live music, children’s events/activities, and more.

Did we mention beer? Because there will be plenty of it. “McKinney’s Oktoberfest features authentic German bier such as Hofbrau Original and McKinney’s own beers from Franconia and TUPPS breweries. Oktoberfest offers an excellent opportunity to try multiple German flavors and styles all at one event with a bier garden that covers 14 blocks.” If you want to learn more about German beer, they’re offering Meet the Brewmaster sessions (reserve a spot online).  They’ll also be tapping a rare 200-year old keg. 😳 Now, that’s not messing around with the devil’s brew.

However, if you DO want to mess around with beer instead of drink it (at least for a short time), you can enter the Hofbrau Stein Holding Competition. The winner will get a paid trip to compete in Vegas. No kidding. If you’d rather move with it, they’re also having stein holding and beer barrel races along with giant beer pong. (Times when a beer gut doesn’t come in handy.)

If holding a beer isn’t entertaining enough for you, they’ll also have live music on two stages, brat eating contests, weenie dog races, and children’s entertainment. (And you can’t forget the chicken dance.)


mckinneyoktoberfest.com
#McKinneyOktoberfest, #DowntownMcKinney
Facebook: /downtownmckinney
Instagram: @DowntownMcKinney
Twitter: @DtownMcKinney

Friday, Sept. 22, 4 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 24, noon to 5 p.m.

 

*Some activities and food/drink require a nominal fee.

Admission and parking is free. Access a map of the free parking lots. A designated zone for drop-offs and pick-ups is located on the west side of Mitchell Park on Benge Street, between West Louisiana and West Virginia streets. Complimentary shuttle service is offered Friday and Saturday of the event. Festival goers can park off-site at First McKinney Baptist Church, and enjoy round trip transportation. Shuttles depart every 15 minutes. 

 

The Ultimate Cocktail Experience Returns for a Bigger 2017

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again … the only thing better than drinking is drinking for a good cause.

And that’s why I’ve enjoyed The Ultimate Cocktail Experience (the event formerly known as Trigger’s Toys). The event has, for five years already, brought the bar industry together for one spectacular event featuring pop-up bars, entertainment, and a hell of a lot of fun for a really incredible cause.

The general idea is that, one bar is great, but six make for a real party. So, each year, a theme is selected for the event, then captains conceptualize pop-up bars with their teams under the year’s theme. This year’s captains, cocktails, and bar themes are:
– Mexico City: Brad Hensarling & Megan McClinton, The Usual (Margarita)
– London: Omar Yeefoon, Shoals (Gin and Tonic)
– New Orleans: Keisha Cooper, Shoals (Sazerac)
– Hong Kong: Robbie Call, frmly of Filament (Rob Roy)
– Casablanca: Andrew Stofko, Hot Joy (Mule)
– Havana: Ravinder Singh, Rapscallion (Daiquiri)
(Each pop-up will also be accompanied by a food truck.)

In past years, the event has featured bar and hospitality talent from some of the best venues right here in Dallas. This year, the event has beaconed talent from across the country—and from as far off as Australia—to participate. Making the trip to support the cause will be Ash Hauserman of Blacktail in New York (Best New American Cocktail Bar*), Iain Griffiths from London’s Dandelyan (Best International Hotel Bar and Best Cocktail Bar in the World*), Ezra Star from award-winning Drink (Boston), and Mitch Bushell formerly of Melbourne’s internationally renowned Black Pearl.

Trigger’s Toys, the charity to benefit from the event, is a Dallas darling. “The organization is dedicated to reducing the financial and emotional stress placed on chronically ill children and their families by providing financial assistance and supplemental therapy to those in need.” Last year’s event raised more than $200,000, and their goal is to surpass that in 2017.

Bryan Townsend of The 86 Co., founder of the event

THE ULTIMATE COCKTAIL EXPERIENCE
ultimatecocktailexperience.com
Facebook | Instagram
September 30, 2017, 6:30pm
Klyde Warren Park (Dallas, Texas)
21+ only

PURCHASE TICKETS

General Admission – $65
Event entry (6:30pm)
Champagne upon entrance (while it lasts)
Passport to all (6) bar concepts with cocktails
One food truck item

VIP – $125 (Limited Quantity Available)
Early entrance (6:00pm)
Champange upon entrance
(3) Vegas Area Tokens – $60 value
Complimentary Valet Parking – $20 value
Passport to all (6) Bar Concepts with cocktails
One Food Truck Item

Trigger’s Toys | Ultimate Cocktail Experience 2016 from Beyond on Vimeo.

*Named at the 2017 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards

The Calamity of the Eclipse

So the eclipse is coming up on Monday, August 21, and people are really f**king excited about it. Since we won’t be able to see the next one until April 2024, I guess I get the appeal.

Everyone is talking about the super small town directly in the path that will get the best “view” of the eclipse that’s been inundated with entirely too many people, the best eyewear, etc … but I really only care what libation will be in my hand when I “see” it.

That said, I’ve seen a lot of other recipes for cocktails with a dark liquor float on top, but I thought I’d go for the next level of gimmick. I created ice balls with activated charcoal in them to look like the moon, and I mixed up a riff on a traditional gin cocktail, the Bees Knees, that’s gold in color … ya know, like the sun. I chose to use Calamity Gin because it has delightful citrus notes along with light hints of juniper, rose, and cardamom. I also threw in just a bit of Ancho Reyes ancho chile liqueur to give it some heat. To make it festive, I made ice balls colored with activated charcoal*.

***Before using charcoal in your cocktails, or before ingesting activated charcoal at all, really, you should know the risks. Yes, risks. Charcoal is showing up now in juices and capsules to act as a health aid to do anything from reduce gas, improve digestive health and lower cholesterol to acting as a killer hangover cure. But, what people aren’t telling you is that, while it does all that good s**t, it also can mess with your medications. Since it’s a natural purifier/filter, it can render your medications ineffective. Meaning: DO NOT DRINK THIS IF YOU’VE TAKEN ANY MEDICATION LESS THAN TWO HOURS BEFORE, AND DON’T TAKE ANYTHING FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR AFTER. That is, unless you’re ok with your birth control failing, ladies.***

CALAMITY OF THE ECLIPSE
2oz
 Calamity Gin
0.75oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
0.5oz honey syrup
0.5oz Ancho Reyes Liqueur
560mg activated charcoal (usually two capsules, do not use casing)*
5oz water

The night before, dilute the activated charcoal into 5oz of water. Stir, then funnel into a round ice mold. Freeze overnight.
Mix the remaining liquid ingredients together with ice until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over the charcoal ice ball. Enjoy immediately.

 *If you’re not comfortable using activated charcoal, there is black food coloring! Or even purchase a pomegranate juice for a fruity take on this cocktail.

Calamity Gin was nice enough to give me a bottle of gin to play around with to find a fun recipe for the eclipse and sponsor this post.

3 Killer Summer Gin Cocktails ft. Seersucker Southern Gin

Gin is a delightfully refreshing spirit, and this summer I decided I wanted to find some new favorite gin cocktail recipes. While I love a Ramos Gin Fizz in the summer, they’re incredibly involved (think a minimum of a minute and a half of just shaking … and shaking … and shaking a tin) and they require fresh ingredients like egg white and heavy cream that I don’t usually have on-hand. (I hardly have butter anymore since I travel so often!)

That said, the recipes I’ve now fallen in love with are not only simple to shake up, but don’t require any super perishable ingredients. Shake these goodies up this summer with some Seersucker Southern Style Gin (because it’s a delicious citrus-forward gin with adorable branding) and let me know how they come out!


This simple cocktail uses whole cherries, which brings back amazing memories of summers when I was young when we’d pick and eat cherries right from the tree. This one requires a blender to create a cherry syrup, but you can use frozen cherries if you’d like a shortcut!

Cherry-Lime Gin Rickey
½ cup Seersucker Southern Style Gin
12 dashes of Angostura Bitters
2-3 tablespoons simple syrup
1 cup pitted sweet cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted
⅓ cup lime juice
2 cups soda

In a blender, puree cherries and lime juice. Then add the soda, gin, and bitters, followed by the simple syrup to taste. Blend lightly to combine, then pour into a fresh glass, garnish with a lime wheel and a cherry. (Makes four cocktails.)

This is a delightful summer brunch cocktail. With light and bright ingredients, it is simple and tastes absolutely amazing.

Drunken Tulip
2 oz Seersucker Southern Style Gin
2 oz pomegranate juice
½ oz elderflower cordial
Squeeze of lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a glass over fresh ice. Add a splash of sparkling wine on top, then garnish the drink with a couple pomegranate seeds (if you have them) and a slice of lemon.

Another of my usual summer go-to cocktails is a simple Italian classic, the Negroni. I thought changing it up a bit would be just the ticket, so I infused my gin with watermelon, changed to dry vermouth (to combat the sweetness of the watermelon and lime), and added just a bit of lime to brighten it up. Watch the video I did with Dinner Reinvented for further commentary!

Watermelon Negroni
1 oz watermelon-infused Seersucker Southern Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz dry vermouth (a Negroni traditionally uses sweet vermouth)
Splash lime juice

Cut up a small watermelon and add flesh to 750mL of gin in an airtight container. Leave in the refrigerator for 4-6 days, tasting along the way.

Combine ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, stir, then strain into a fresh glass. Garnish with a watermelon spear.

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