All posts by Susie O

Bastrop, Texas

Just outside of Austin, Texas, you’ll find a small town that was up for title of “state capital” against Waterloo (now known as Austin). The kind residents of this wonderful town are endlessly glad that they didn’t get the bid because it has allowed their town to become what it is today—a small city with a ton of history and some of the most generous people you’ll find this side of the Mississippi.

DRINK

COPPER SHOT DISTILLERY
Stop into this modern-yet-rustic watering hole to sample their many moonshines, liquors, and liqueurs made just steps from the bar by owner Stephen Todee with local ingredients and rainwater collected on-site. Since they opened in 2016, Todee found new ways to give his whiskey the characteristics of age until his barrel-aged whiskey was ready. Stop in for a flight of moonshine and enjoy live music (Friday and Saturday evenings).
809 Main Street | coppershotdistillery.com

602 BREWING COMPANY
This casual brew pub and bar, complete with a beer garden, offers local beers and eats. Their food is surprisingly fantastic—and don’t miss the artichoke chili dip. Look for them to be brewing their own beers starting Fall 2019!
919 Main Street | 602brewing.com

COLORADO RIVER WINERY
Stop in for a glass of wine or a flight and enjoy a chin wag with owners, Brad and Sylvia Cook. After a glass or two, peruse their retail items which include a pink plastic wine opener fashioned like a pistol.
707 Chestnut Street | coloradoriverwinery.com

EAT

NEIGHBOR’S KITCHEN
Enjoy a meal on the patio of this restaurant and enjoy a great view of the Colorado River as you enjoy a fire-roasted pizza. Down a craft beer in their bar while you watch your favorite team, or make a game of your own in the yard with washers. Make sure to check their daily specials such as Sippin’ Sundays!
601 Chestnut Street | neighborstx.com

Courtesy of Neighbor’s

SOUTHSIDE MARKET & BBQ
This BBQ shop names itself as “the oldest BBQ establishment in the state of Texas”, starting in Elgin, Texas. Visit for some serious BBQ action, and don’t miss their house-made sides, and especially not their cobbler topped with Blue Bell Ice Cream!
534 Highway 71 West | southsidemarket.com

GET CAFFEINATED
Stop into Maxine’s or Coffee Dog for a quick caffeine fix. Prices at both are extremely reasonable and the coffee roasted perfectly.

DO

HIKE BASTROP STATE PARK
Stop in for a quick hike to start the day in this 2,000-acre park that has was established in 1938. Explore the Lost Pines of Texas, play a round of golf on the course that meanders through the woods, or bird watch for some unique avian entertainment.
100 Park Road 1A | tpwd.texas.gov

SHOP AROUND BASTROP
If you’re looking for some local goodies, visit shops like The Texas Boot Company, Sera Sera Boutique, and Spoiled Sisters Boutique. If you’re after art, stop into the many galleries littering downtown that represent local artists. Dip into Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Co. for local candied pecans or Silver Spur Pure Bath for organic toiletries on the way out of town for gifts for the folks back home!

DEEP IN THE HEART ART FOUNDRY
This nationally-known foundry casts sculptures with help from local and visiting artists. Visitors are welcome and tours are by appointment only. Watch their website to see when they’ll be pouring casts for the public to see!
405 S. Jackson Street | deepintheheart.net

BARTON HILL FARM PUMPKIN PATCH
Fall brings a certain nip to the air and pumpkin everything, so why not visit a pumpkin patch to enjoy a fall festival and pick out your very own pumpkin!? Don’t miss the frozen wine and kettle corn!
1115 FM 969 | bartonhillfarms.com

STAY

PECAN STREET INN
There will always be a place in my heart for a charming BnB, and this one has reserved its own spot. Run by husband and wife team, Bill and Shawn, they offer four clean, spacious rooms, each with a private bath available. Bill will be there to whip you up a delicious breakfast at the time of your choosing and will entertain with tales of the town and of his own, rich and intriguing life.
1010 Pecan Street | 512-321-3315 | pecanstreetinn.com

THE RESERVE AT GREENLEAF
Just outside of downtown, this yurt village opened in October 2019 offers four units, an event space complete with a catering kitchen, a high end hot tub, and 10 miles of hiking trails blazed by the owners. These lodgings are the epitome of glamping thanks to each unit’s high-end beauty amenities, rain showers, plush linens, effective AC units, and fully stocked fridge. Look for goodies like Kind Bars, custom blended teas, and Oui yogurt, all included in your yurt’s price.
408 Laura Lane | thereserveatgreenleaf.com

HYATT REGENCY LOST PINES RESORT AND SPA
Set deep in the Lost Pines on the banks of the Colorado River, this high-end resort offers cushy guest rooms, multiple pools circled with a lazy river, 300,000 square feet of event space, a gorgeous spa, full golf course, and outdoor activities such as kayaking, horseback riding, and hiking.
575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road | hyatt.com


FOR MORE TIPS AND ACTIVITIES AT THIS DESTINATION, TAKE A GANDER AT visitbastrop.com.

I greatly appreciated the chance to visit Bastrop, Texas courtesy of Visit Bastrop.

National Tequila Day Cocktails

LOVE AND LUST
1.5 oz Patrón Silver
2 oz Fresh watermelon juice
.15 oz Fresh lime
4 Fresh basil leaves
Fresh black pepper drops
Watermelon slice for garnish
Simple syrup to taste

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill. Strain onto fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a watermelon slice. 

IT’S SUMMER
1 oz Patrón Silver
1.5 oz MARTINI Prosecco
.85 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
.85 oz Lemon juice
.35 oz Agave syrup
2 Raspberries
2 Blackberries
Mint sprig for garnish

Add all the ingredients, except the MARTINI Prosecco, in a shaker. Pour into a highball glass. Top with MARTINI Prosecco. Garnish with a mint sprig, blackberries and raspberries.

Picture courtesy of Patron Spirits

HERITAGE MARGARITA
2 oz Patrón Estate Release
.75 oz Patrón Citronge Orange
.5 oz Persian lime juice
.25 oz Simple syrup
Key lime wheel for garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a key lime wheel.


Header Image: Patrón Heritage Margarita shown with the Patrón Estate Release Tequila – courtesy of Patrón Spirits

The HERO Victory Plaza Needed

Victory Plaza has seen many restaurant and bar concepts come and go, but none seemed to succeed. They were convenient, but not worth braving the crowds during events one wasn’t attending to patronize. …….. until a new HERO came to save the day.

The newest concept from Matt Ragan and 8020 Concepts, the people behind HG Sply Co., Gung Ho, and more, give us all something to love. Sports fans have giant televisions to watch their events with fellow fans and proximity to AAC. Foodies have a thoughtful menu with scratch items just like Mom used to make. And the boozehounds have a menu of unexpectedly thoughtful cocktails—some takes on classics and some originals.

Bottom line: it’s a huge place.
With a capacity of 1,100 and 610 seats with six bars and up to 20 bartenders working at a time, you’d expect a churn-and-burn, high volume restaurant/bar cutting corners and cutting costs—but that’s not so with HERO. Ragan and his team have ensured that everything is done quickly and efficiently but without lowering quality … at all. Think scratch food, fresh and local ingredients when possible, zero additives, and juices squeezed fresh daily.

The staff in HERO is stacked with all-stars. You’ll see familiar faces from concepts past and others that you thought gave up the stick. One of my favorites you’ll see is our favorite bartender past from Vickery Park, Chris Young, running around making sure everything is done right behind the six bars, but always with a smile.

While the popularity of this new spot has made it a destination and caused a bit of a wait from time to time, there’s plenty of space to go around. They host a full dining room, the aforementioned SIX BARS, a large patio, and even more standing room for watching games on their GINORMOUS SCREEN … and a small 90s-themed arcade.

The dedication to making everything just that much better extends event to the simplest parts of their cocktails. Ragan’s goal was to give is bartenders the ability to make a craft cocktail in under 45 seconds, and he sure as shit did it. He standardized four cocktail bases and put them on draft, cutting prep time and the opportunity for inconsistency, and ultimately price for both HERO and the guest, all while maintaining the integrity of his menu and the ingredients used. They employ one employee whose entire job is to prepare the fruit and juices for their cocktails. 

A perfect example of Ragan’s desire for consistency and quality is their house-made tonic. And if you know anything about making tonic, then you know it can be a dangerous game. It’s made with cinchona bark, which can help medicinally, if used responsibly, and it can do damage if not. He wanted to ensure it was done right, so he did it.

Their frozen drinks are even made with the most care and consideration of ingredients. Their Miami Vice, a strawberry daiquiri and piña colada swirl, happens to be a new favorite cocktail in Dallas … because 100º days are real and it’s f**king delicious. What makes it so good? They make their own coconut rum, strawberry cordial, AND coconut cream. The coconut cream in itself is culinary science at its best—they use Ticaloid 210 S, a natural stabilizer made from seaweed, to keep it emulsified. Why this? Why no shortcuts? Because they don’t do that. Ragan needed to find something that would emulsify fat in alcohol (coconut is a “fat”), but also work in cold temperatures and with alcohol, and the T210s is the only element that does all three. See? NO SHORTCUTS.

As with many of Dallas’s restaurants, the menu can be slightly daunting. So, I asked Matt what his “Go-To” items were, and he didn’t disappoint. He gave us his ideal days—both “healthy” and “cheat”. So here we go:

HEALTHY
– Salty Dawg ($11, vodka, Aperol, grapefruit juice, simple, lemon, candied citrus salt rim) & Cucumber Collins ($11, vodka, cucumber, lime mint cordial, soda)
– Smoky Carrot Hummus ($14, fresh veggies & grilled pita bread) & roasted Chicken Wings ($14, tossed in chimichurri, pecorino, fresno chiles)

CHEAT
– 14oz Miami Vice ($14, strawberry daiquiri + piña colada swirl)
– Calamari Lettuce Wraps
($14, pickled ginger, herbs, bibb lettuce), Crab Rangoon Dip ($14, served with wonton chips), & Parmesan Kale Dip

Here’s the bottom line: don’t write this place off. Yes, it’s huge and crowded when there’s a game, but it’s WORTH IT. It’s even more worth the effort of braving Victory Park when there’s not a game or concert. It’s the HERO we wanted, and really, it’s the one we all needed. 


HERO
herobyhg.com
3090 Olive Street, #b110 (Victory Park)
469-300-4199

Su-Th: 11am to midnight
F: 11am to LATE
Sa: 11am to LATE

#BuffettBash2019

This year I was ecstatic to find out that my new friend’s birthday is a week after mine AND that Jimmy Buffett would be in town the same week. So, what does a Parrothead do? Host a huge tiki tailgate before the concert … obviously.

We rented an RV, made some food and some tiki bevvies, and made a day of it. We loaded up the RV with decor and furniture and a hearty group of partygoers and busted our butts to get our little spot of parking lot ready for the party.

THE SETUP

Since I don’t have my own RV (yet…), we looked for an RV rental company, and Cruise America was the winner! We got the RV that sleeps five for three nights with 300 free miles for a song! Everyone had a place to use the restroom and cool off from the heat, and we all got to ride there together! (And there’s a super cute sticker of a dog on the window!)

The setup was as it should be: over the top and kitsch as hell. While we were short on fans, we weren’t short on shade!

Our friend Ariel was kind enough to step behind the bar for us and serve up our awesome drinks, and that was CLUTCH. She made us look gooooood!

THE BOOZE

Every great tailgate needs great booze. So, to stick with the tiki theme, we worked with some of our favorite brands to make tiki-friendly cocktails that we batched out to make them easy to enjoy.

Elyx Copper Cup #1946
1.5oz Absolut Elyx Handcrafted Vodka
.75oz GH Mumm Champagne
1.5oz coconut water
.5oz lemon juice
.5oz honey simple syrup

Combine all ingredients except champagne and shake to combine and chill. Pour over new ice and top with champagne. Garnish with coconut shavings and a pineapple wedge. Makes two cocktails.

Patrón Tiki ‘Rita
2oz Patrón Reposado Tequila
.5oz Patrón Citrónge Orange Liqueur
.25oz Allspice Dram
.5oz lime juice
.25oz vanilla simple syrup
.5oz grapefruit juice

Rim a glass with Himalayan sea salt. Combine ingredients in a shaker tin and shake to chill and combine. Pour over fresh ice in the prepared glass and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg and a slice of lime with cloves.

Plantation Mai Tai
1oz Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum
1oz Plantation Original Dark Rum
.75oz lime juice
.5oz orgeat

Combine ingredients in a shaker tin and shake to chill and combine. Pour over fresh ice and garnish with a pineapple wedge.

Maker’s Colada
1.5oz strawberry-infused Maker’s Mark Whiskey
.5oz Giffard Creme de Fraise du Bois Liqueur
bar spoon of strawberry purée
.5oz lemon juice
.25oz simple syrup
.25oz coconut milk

Combine ingredients in a shaker tin and shake to chill and combine. Pour over fresh ice and garnish with a strawberry.

While cocktail are great, we decided they weren’t enough. So, we got some wine and alcoholic gummies and made a couple high-proof popsicles.

Betty Cocktail, a friend, neighbor, and badass bar lady, makes some of the most delicious gummies that just HAPPEN to have booze in them. We’ll just say we were more than delighted when she showed up with her tray of goodies!

 

Our friends at Union Wine Company were kind enough to send along some cans of their Riesling Radler which, coincidentally, is costumed in the perfect jungle print, toucan and all! This summer-friendly wine in a can has hints of grapefruit and is only lightly “hopped”.

To cool us off, we thought some frozen cocktails would be the ticket. While the alcoholic popsicles were delicious, they sadly didn’t stand up in the heat. Let’s just say that they turned out to be more slushies than popsicles.

COCONUT TELEGRAPH
1.75C Malibu Coconut Rum
.5C Torani Creme de Banana Syrup
.5C coconut water
1 small container of banana yogurt

Combine all ingredients, then fill into popsicle sleeves. Allow to freeze for at LEAST 24 hours and keep very cold.

A PIRATE LOOKS AT FORTY
.75C Plantation White Rum
.75C Disaronno Originale Liqueur
.75C Torani Macadamia Nut Syrup
.5C water

Combine all ingredients, then fill into popsicle sleeves. Allow to freeze for at LEAST 24 hours and keep very cold.

THE FOOD

We knew that a six-hour tailgate party with free flowing booze needed a pretty stacked food table, so we went full-tilt tiki and had pulled pork, Hawaiian meatballs, Hawaiian Roll ham sandwiches, and more. We had an ambitious pit-master in the group, and he hit it out of the park with his pulled pork with HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCES. (Yes, sauces … two of them.) Dessert we knew would be a slam dunk, so we got some of the amazing White Chocolate Macadamia Nut & Coconut Chocolate Chip cookies from Pokey O’s and tequila-infused margarita cupcakes from Sprinkles.

ALL IN ALL …

All in all, it was a really fun day and a wonderful way to celebrate a couple birthdays. We’ll be back next year, and we have some serious plans … #tikitrouble


Special Thanks to:

Save Lives with Me on June 30

Hello, friends! I have been a blood donor for many years and am proud to be hosting a drive with Carter BloodCare at Texas Live on June 30!

Every two seconds, someone needs blood, and there’s no substitute for it. Each donation could save three lives, so I’d be honored if you’d join me to #giveforlife!!

Anyone who donates during this event will be thanked with:
– a complimentary slider from Lockhart Smokehouse Arlington
– goodies from Balcones Distillery
– an entry into a raffle for a “Day at Balcones with SusieDrinks”
– a “Cheers to Life” mason jar from Carter BloodCare
– a Rangers t-shirt and a BOGO Rangers ticket voucher

Make an appointment now to #GiveforLife. Call or text CBC at 800-366-2834 or visit http://bit.ly/31qv1BY.

Event Recap: Modelo Negra’s Gold Lion Barbershop

I am in a paid partnership with Modelo Negra, but all opinions are my own. Please drink and enjoy responsibly (if you’re 21)!


This past weekend’s Gold Lion Barbershop pop-up featuring Modelo Negra was a new level of pop-up. Beer, beautifully crafted beer cocktails, Mexican chocolates, and some of the best BBQ sliders I’ve eaten in a while were enjoyed. Attendees were also able to get quick trims or braids, play cornhole, and enjoy the DJ’s fantastic music.

There were three fantastic “beertails” brought to us by Jesse Powell, and my favorite was the Modelo Transcending.

MODELO TRANSCENDING
.25 oz lemon juice
5 oz ginger/cardamom syrup
top with Modelo Negra
garnish with a mint sprig

Thank you again to Modelo Negra for inviting me to such a fun event!

 


#21+ #ad #modelanegra #dallas #dallaseventd #ModeloNegraBarbers

The Booziest Days of the Year

We’re always looking for a good reason to celebrate … and an excuse to drink at lunch. In the spirit of celebration, it’s a great idea to keep these important days of the year on your calendar. Get ready to party in July!

Too lazy to add them yourself? That’s ok … you can subscribe to my silly holidays calendar here: http://bit.ly/2yUjPjK

January 1: Bloody Mary Day
January 11: Hot Toddy Day
January 17: Hot Buttered Rum Day
January 25: Irish Coffee Day
January 31: Brandy Alexander Day

February 18: Drink Wine Day
February 22: Margarita Day
February 27: Kahlua Day

March 3: Mulled Wine Day

April 7: Beer Day
April 9: International Gin & Tonic Day
April 17: World Malbec Day
April 19: Amaretto Day

May 7: Cosmopolitan Day
May 13: World Cocktail Day
May 16: Mimosa Day
March 18: World Whisky Day
May 25: Wine Day
May 30: Mint Julep Day

June 1-7: Negroni Week
June 4: Cognac Day
June 5: Moonshine Day
June 11: Gin Day
June 14: Bourbon Day
June 19: Martini Day
June 30: Mai Tai Day

July 10: Piña Colada Day
July 11: Mojito Day
July 14: Grand Marnier Day
July 19: Daiquiri Day
July 24: Tequila Day
July 25: Wine & Cheese Day
July 27: Scotch Day

August 2, 2008: International Beer Day (changes annually)
August 16: Rum Day
August 25: Whiskey Sour Day
August 28: Red Wine Day

September 15: Creme de Menthe Day
September 20: Rum Punch Day
September 28: Drink a Beer Day
September 30: Mulled Cider Day

October 4: Vodka Day
October 16: Liqueur Day
October 19: Gin & Tonic Day
October 21: Mezcal Day

November 7: World Gin Day
November 8: Harvey Wallbanger Day
November 12: Happy Hour Day
November 20: Beaujolais Day

December 5: Repeal Day
December 10: Lager Day
December 13: Screwdriver Day
December 20: Sangria Day
December 24: Egg Nog Day
December 31: Champagne Day

Kimpton Angler’s Hotel (Miami, Florida)

Miami is a lot. I hadn’t visited the 305 in almost ten years, and I’ll admit that I didn’t have the best impression of the city … but when your favorite people in the world that lives in London adds some vacation to a work trip to hang with you, you comply … gladly. So once dates were set, trip planning began. While the city itself is a lot, hotel rooms (and AirBnBs and VRBOs and even hostels) are equally as … a lot. The hotel search was daunting to say the least.

But then I was delighted to discover the newest Kimpton in Florida, the Kimpton Angler’s Hotel smack dab in the heart of Miami Beach just a couple blocks from beach access. (As my readers know, because I make no mystery of it, Kimpton is my favorite hotel brand.) It seemed to have everything that we wanted from our accommodations—location, a casual bar that had quality cocktails, a pool, a view, and spacious rooms. Even more, like all Kimptons, they offer a complimentary wine happy hour every night, and this hotel even offered daily on-site wellness activities from yoga to boot camp.

Image borrowed from Family Vacation Critic

We made our reservation and drove up on the day with a ridiculously full car to check in. The valets were as helpful as I’ve experienced anywhere and the hotel staff were eager to show us a perfect stay.  Even the lobby was welcoming with unique art pieces and the signature Kimpton scent that I just adore.

Our room was gorgeous and spacious, which was a welcome respite from the fast-paced city around it. The bathrooms were just as roomy and clean with a powerful shower with cobalt blue tiles that we both died for.

We looked for the amenities that we’ve come to expect from Kimptons—a yoga mat, robes, and more. Since this is a beach hotel, they also provided a beach bag and towels! And, as one always needs when traveling to a beach destination of any kind, our balcony provided a little peek at the water.

To get a better view, we ventured up to the rooftop pool, which was complete with plenty of towels, chairs, sunscreen, and space for days. Grab a glass of wine at the complimentary happy hour and then hop up to the pool to watch the stunning sunset.

 

While Miami has plenty of amazing bars and restaurants (you know we went to a ton of them … for research purposes!), but we didn’t even need to leave our hotel to find the perfect happy hour spot. Minnow, their lobby bar, has perfect bites and cocktails to get your night started or wound down on the perfect note. If they don’t have a cocktail on the menu that tickles your fancy, just ask the friendly bar staff for a suggestion.

I was happy to see that they would be expanding and opening a restaurant, Seawell, shortly after our visit in “early 2019”. They promise an “American seafood restaurant will feature locally sourced ingredients and regional classics including a selection of ‘raw bar’ items and platters.” With outdoor seating and Minnow next door, it seems like it’ll be a nice addition to the hotel’s offerings for a date night or business meetings.

Courtesy of the Kimpton Angler’s Hotel

The Kimpton Angler’s really helped change my mind about Miami, and I hope I have another good reason to visit so I can enjoy their hospitality again.


KIMPTON ANGLER’S HOTEL
anglershotelmiami.com
660 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, Florida
(305) 534-9600

The Kimpton Angler’s Hotel provided me and my guest with a media rate for our stay.