Category Archives: Drink Specialty

Elm Street Cask & Kitchen

Elm Street Cask & Kitchen may be filling the spot of Grayson Social, but they are certainly setting themselves apart from the previous southern-style restaurant. This new joint has all the comfort food you could possibly need … and the whiskey list to match, The space lends a feel of porch sitting at Grandma’s after enjoying a home cooked meal.

They’re all about the whiskey and bourbon at Elm Street Cask & Kitchen, and if their “Whiskey Bible” doesn’t do it for you, then I don’t know what will. The extensive book features history lessons, cocktail recipes, and plenty of information on whiskey. As for their cocktail menu, they feature drinks such as their Maker’s Mark Mint Julep, Old Fashioned, Whisk(e)y Sour, and even whiskey flights. (For non-whiskey drinkers, they also have wine, beer, and various signature cocktails available.)

I went with the Kentucky Buck (Four Roses whiskey, fresh muddled strawberries, lemon, ginger, and bitters), and it was SOOOO refreshing—perfect for those wanting to get into whiskey drinking, but not necessarily be hit with it like a sack of bricks.

Now, as a Southerner, I take my Southern-style cuisine very seriously. They do a great job providing traditional Southern fare alongside current crowd favorites like hushpuppies with roasted chili honey butter and Crushed Avocado (aka guacamole) with chimichurri and black pepper crackers.

The main dishes are packed with flavor and cooked perfectly. I suggest the Beer Can Chicken with apple cornbread stuffing, almonds, charred carrots—order it with can of Lonestar for just an extra $2! The Bourbon Braised Short Rib with Lakewood Bourbon Barrel Temptress glaze, asparagus, and brown butter mashed potatoes was also quite intriguing and we decided was worth a return visit for us. If you’re into fish, you might enjoy the Pan Seared Salmon with black-eyed peas, ham hock, pickled shallot, and watercress.

 

The only logical way to end a filling meal is to overstuff yourself with delicious sweets—am I right? It’s pretty hard to choose between the Cast Iron Bread Pudding and the Banana Cream Pie … so just go ahead and get both.

Courtesy of Elm Street Cask and Kitchen

 

Elm Street Cask & Kitchen offers Happy Hour pricing Monday-Friday from 2pm to 7pm featuring $5 bites, $5 select drinks, and $12 chili dog/draft beer/TX bourbon shot combos.


Elm Street Cask & Kitchen
ElmStreetCaskKitchen.com
1525 Elm Street (Downtown)
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*Header photo courtesy of Elm Street Cask & Kitchen*

bartaco in Preston Center

Bartaco may be new to town, but they’re not new to the game. Margaritas and tapas-style taco bites are their specialty, and they know how to do them right. With a uniquely Asian flair, bartaco has something for everyone.

We started with margaritas, specifically the Pomegranate Margarita and the Classic Margarita, both of which were delicious and smooth. The Pomegranate Margarita is actually part of their “Margarita March” promotion, but more on that later on (skip to the bottom if you really can’t wait that long).

I would suggest starting your meal with some salsa roja and corn tortilla chips, which you get to break yourself; and the duck quesadillas, which are tender and served in a blue corn tortilla. If you’re looking for something lighter, the tuna poke is a colorful and refreshing option.

Everything ordered at bartaco is served family style in small tapas form, so you can order as much as you want and not feel guilty about it at all! Each taco will run you $2.50 – $3.50.

We tried a ton of tacos—the baja fish, spicy chorizo, falafel, fried oyster, glazed pork belly, carne asada, and Brussels sprout. All of the tacos were delicious, but the crowd favorite was the Brussels sprout taco … which isn’t even officially on the menu! It comes with a sweet balsamic glaze and spicy carrot purée, which tastes more like a sweet potato mash and works beautifully with the other ingredients. This taco was so good that we ordered a second to share.

We supplemented our taco frenzy with a side of Asian slaw and black beans with sofrito. Sides are easy to add on at just $2.50 each!

Round two of drinks hit the table to help us finish our meal. We (greatly) enjoyed the Mojito Tinto (Flor de Caña silver rum, winter spiced sangria, lime, mint, and sugar) and, of course, the Smoke on the Water (Banhez mescal, Pisco, pineapple, lemon, bitters, and egg white), pictured below. bartaco also serves bottled and canned beers, wines by the glass, and sangrias by the glass or liter.

If you’re anything like me and need to end your meal with something sweet, then the platanos fritos are the way to go. They come with a side dish of a mayo dip, but I personally think they taste better dipped in chocolate gelato. If anyone has tricks for kicking a bad sugar habit, I’m all ears.


Now, back to the Margarita March news that we’ve all been waiting for. Each week in March, bartaco will feature a different specialty margarita, like the Pomegranate Margarita mentioned above (Liber grapefruit cordial, lime juice, lucardo marascino, and Libelula Joven Tequila*). The drinks are only around for one week each in March, so grab your friends, order some tacos, and get to living the #bartacolife!

Photo courtesy of bartaco

BARTACO
bartaco.com
6130 Luther Lane (Preston Center)
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*This tequila was selected specifically for bartaco by Destilladora Bonanza and is crafted in the highlands of Jalisco (obviously … or it wouldn’t be Tequila!)

Tricky Fish

One of the newest restaurants in the Waterside development over in Cowtown put a twist on brunch.

Tricky Fish describes themselves as costal/Cajun vibe. The menu is as southern as you can get—think fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, eggs benedict, po boys, and more. Once I was done sampling all our treats, I really felt like I was deep in the heart of New Orleans … but it smelled a lot better.

“Days spent on the water and evenings spent with good friends, a cold beer and amazing food. Eating out should be a break from the real world. It should be fun, relaxing, a chance to get away from all the things that make our lives…well, complicated. A good meal, spending time with family and friends, trying local craft beer or a glass of wine on the patio – that’s what Tricky Fish is all about.”

The Brunch menu isn’t extensive, but it really packs a punch. The fried green tomatoes are on my must-order list—the batter on the tomatoes was light and crunchy, and it was topped with remoulade and blackened shrimp that complimented it perfectly. My personal favorite dish was the shrimp and grits—the Shiner Bock BBQ sauce gave the dish an extra twist that I wasn’t expecting. If you can restrain yourself from getting too full, the bananas foster monkey bread or pancakes were the right amount of sweet to complete the meal.

Pro Tip: Find some friends who like to share to take here, then order a few plates and eat family style. The portions are big and this way you have a reason to eat off your friend’s plate. They also offer a Couples Brunch for two—two entrees and a Banana’s Foster Monkey Bread for dessert for $25.

Not only is the food great at Tricky Fish, but the drink selection was a perfect way to round out the brunch menu. (You knew we’d get to the booze pretty quickly, right?) The cocktail list for brunch is about what you’d expect—they offer a DIY Mimosa Bar, an Instagram-worthy Bloody Mary (complete with pork rind, okra, and boiled shrimp), and a list of seasonal cocktails.

I tried the Lemon Wedge (Black Tea Tito’s Vodka, limoncello, honey) which was basically an adult sno-cone—and the Blossom (Bacardi Rum, Berry blossom tea, strawberry jam). The Blossom was a little sweet for my taste, but they said that it’s one their most popular drinks. Gotta love those with a bit too much of a sweet tooth ruining it for the rest of us.

If you’re looking for a relaxing brunch out west or in Richardson, Tricky Fish is the place to be.



TRICKY FISH
tricky-fish.com
Fort Worth: 5917 Convair Drive
Richardson: 1251 State Street, Suite 750

facebook.com/TrickyFishWaterSide
@tricky_fish_

HAPPY HOUR
Monday – Friday, 3pm-7pm: $2 off draft beers, wines, and seasonal cocktails
> Monday- $5 mules all day
> Wednesday- half off wine
> Thursday- $2 off craft beers all day

Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 10am-2pm

Get Buzzed by the Buzz Button

Have you heard of the new mouth numbing cocktail garnish cursing cocktails across the country? It’s the Szechuan button—also called the toothache plant, buzz button, and electric daisy—a yellow flower that can alter your tastebuds and numb your mouth, even with just a wee nibble.

The tongue-numbing garnish has even made its way to the menu at  TGI Fridays on its Blackberry Buzz Rita. The cocktail itself is refreshing, perfect for the Texas heat, but the buzz button gives the margarita some edge. Take a sip and enjoy the cocktail’s bright flavors, then take a nibble of the button. You’ll notice a slightly bitter flavor, then your tongue will tingle slightly. Once you feel a little prickle, take another sip of your cocktail and notice how the flavors evolve.

Beyond the Blackberry Buzz Rita, the rest of new TGIF cocktail menu* has a few unique offerings, from cocktails that glitter and change color to one that they just light on fire. Because, why the f**k not? TGIF’s bartenders go through a rigorous training program and are encouraged to continue learning, exemplified by their annual World’s Bartender Championship, so it follows that they try to push the envelope. Following the 2017 trend, TGIF even offers a version of a frosé made with rosé and strawberry. (If anything, it’s perfectly Instagrammable.) Hurry in, because these new cocktail will only be available for a limited time.

TGIF, as always, offers their well-known bar bites, juicy burgers, and nostalgic broccoli cheese soup. (Damnit, I’m craving BCS now!) Their new offerings let you one up yourself with the option to add a second meat to your dinner. I mean … who wants to choose just one meat when you can add on a steak? I enjoyed the ribs this trip for the first time, and they literally fell off the bone, proving that TGIF still gets it done in the kitchen.

Stop in and get buzzed by the buzz button before it’s off the menu!

These cocktail are only available at select TGI Fridays locations.


This is a sponsored post paid for by TGI Fridays.
Thanks to Kathryn H. for the hand modeling!

Hudson House Brunch

The first time I visited Hudson House, I decided it’d be my new Friday afternoon martini spot the weeks I don’t go in for the pork chop special at Perry’s Steakhouse. This seafood spot in the Park Cities is a gem. While life usually gets in the way (of both), I have found another brilliant time to visit Hudson House … brunch.

The menu is American with an East Coast flair, and the spot itself is adorably Nantucket—expect plenty of heavy wood and tile with brass accents in this open restaurant with plenty of natural light. The staff is friendly and very happy to help your table decide on a spread. We gave the delightful bartender on the day how many dishes we’d like and what sort of items we enjoy and he sent out what he recommended. And I’ll tell you, that’s the way to do it.

Their cocktail options are on point. Mimosas and bellinis for $5, cocktails for $8-11, and their pièce de résistance, THE Royal Bloody—their original bloody with bleu cheese olives, a huge shrimp, and an oyster. (It’s a little steep for a brunch cocktail, but it’s a real photo opp. If I had it to do over again, though, I’d opt for the $20 bottle of prosecco. What a damn good deal, right?! I went for a bloody mary followed by a gibson … because vodka is breakfast liquor and they make a mean martini.

Per the food, you’ll find the usual trappings of a brunch menu—toasts, egg dishes, and some sweet options. And, really, everything is quite visually appealing. (You’ll want to ‘gram most of what hits the table.) Their toasts—avocado, country ham, and salmon—are delicious and the bread is perfectly crispy. If you’re into a benedict situation, ops for one of their three options—one being lobster, and damn, was it good. The eggs were prepared perfectly and the lobster was tender.

If you’re looking for something on the healthier side, they offer oatmeal and granola bowls along with a Power Breakfast (poached eggs, sliced avocado, maple bacon, and berries). We skipped those options and went for oysters instead. They do oysters well here. All East Coast options, and all listed on a board with descriptions. My favorite part of the presentation was that they actually mark which are which with colored picks and a color-coded menu. I hate it when I order a couple different kinds and have to guess which is the super salty one my neighbor prefers.

Stop in for a visit and you can enjoy an entire day in walking distance. Grab brunch at Hudson House, catch a movie at Inwood Theater, maybe a foot massage … sounds like a brilliant day to me.


HUDSON HOUSE
hudsonhousehp.com
4448 Lovers Lane (Park Cities)
(214) 583-2255

How to Cinco Better

This year, Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day land on the same day. (God, help us all.) Since I love big hats and margaritas, I wanted to give each its own parties. So, we Cinco-ed early so I could show you all the shortcuts to get your Cinco party done early to give the evening to the Derby!

Since I get a little crazy sometimes making two or six batched drinks for parties, I decided to let my guests play bartender a little. I batched out a traditional margarita recipe and made fresh purees—blueberry, strawberry, and mango—then put out mason jars so everyone had their own “shaker”. Then, all you need is festive, paper straws and lime wheels for garnish, and tada … the easiest margarita bar ever. (I also put out freshness basil and a muddler for an extra flavor.

CLASSIC MARGARITA
1.5 oz Pura Vida Tequila Silver
1 oz Pura Vida Naranja orange liqueur
0.75 oz lime juice
0.25 oz simple syrup

Since Cinco de Mayo celebration seems to be all about tequila, I also gave my guests three expression of Pura Vida Tequila to taste. This tequila is a new favorite of mine. Made in Jalisco (as it must be to be be called  tequila), the brand has Texas roots and is incredibly smooth.

The biggest thing to remember is: less prep means less dishes. Since I tend to be a messy cook, I opted to cater our little meal. La Ventana, a Dallas-based taco shop that makes authentic Mexico City tacos and goodies and now has five locations across DFW. I’ve always loved their breakfast tacos, so I started my party at 11am so I could be sure there were breakfast tacos on the table!

Since their breakfast tacos aren’t the only thing they do well, we stocked up on their traditional options like steak, pastor, lengua (beef tongue), and barbacoa. There was a little something for everyone, and since their tacos are made on corn tortillas, even my gluten-free guests could dig in.

The tacos were, of course, amazing, but their signature dessert, churros con cajeta, took the cake. (Pun only kind of weirdly intended.) These things are addictive, and I’m OK with it.

And what’s a party without favors? Last year, I made my own adult pinata, but this year … I found someone to do it for me. This fun website, Nipyata, has themed pinatas for every holiday FILLED WITH BOOZE AND CANDY, and it even comes with a papier-mâché bat, blindfold, and rope. Starting at $69.99, it’s a fun addition to a fiesta, bachelorette party, etc. (Even cooler, you can add custom fortunes and even a hand-written note—think gender reveal, people!)

We had a blast whaling away on it. Give some “adults” a few margaritas and the chance to take out some pent-up aggression on an inanimate object with no repercussions and the goal of unlocking more boozy goodness … it’s on.


PURA VIDA TEQUILA
puravidatequila.com

LA VENTANA
taquerialaventana.com

NIPYATA
nipyata.com

Miracle in Cowtown

Is there really anything better than too much tinsel and tacky sweaters? Holiday cocktails, of course! The Miracle Holiday Pop-up Bar made its way to Fort Worth at Proper. This festive pop-up will occupy the cocktail bar until New Years Eve. Last year Dallas saw its own in One Arts plaza, and Proper is hosting the only one in DFW to host the pop-up this year.

The famous Miracle Pop-up launched at Mace in New York City in 2014. This year, there are more than 50 of these pop-ups all over the world. Basically, you need to drop whatever you’re doing, put on a Santa hat, and go to Proper.

All the drinks were created by the Manager of Mace, Joann Spiegel, as well as the Mace bartender, Nico de Soto. All of these drinks are sure to deck your halls and get you in the Christmas spirit(s). The cocktails are served in Cocktail Kingdom’s custom Miracle glassware which all looks super vintage with anything from Collins glasses with Santa and his whole reindeer crew, rocks glasses depicting Santa’s downfall thanks to egg nog, and even mugs with Santa’s face and his pants … and all are available for purchase. (A perfect stocking stuffer, in my opinion.) Even better, 10% of the glassware proceeds will be donated to Action Against Hunger.

The custom menu has a cocktail for everyone and even a naughty or nice shot.  The Jingle Bell Nog and the Fa La La La La, La La La La were my personal favorites, and Susie loved the Bad Santa (a warm option). The nog is one of the best eggnogs that I’ve had made with cognac, sherry, peanut butter, almond milk, pandan, cream, nougat syrup, egg, and nutmeg. The Fa La La La La, La La La La (fun to sing to the bartender) is made with gin, aquavit, hazelnut liqueur, cardamom, vanilla, lemon, egg white, club soda. You really can’t go wrong with any of these cocktails … the only issue will be getting through the whole menu!

Proper will be decked out in its Christmas best from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to midnight Christmas Eve, and noon to 2 a.m. New Year’s Eve.

 

Proper on Magnolia
409 W Magnolia Ave (Fort Worth)

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MIRACLE

#miraclecocktails

Highland Park Hygge + Magnus Glogg

Since it’s a bit north, Scotland has shorter days in the winter; and the Winter Solstice, which we saw on December 21, is the shortest day of the year. With so much darkness, I’m sure it makes one want to cozy up next to a fire with a drink that will warm you from the inside. Scandinavians call this feeling “hygge”, which is their concept of coziness.

I’ve been a little of a Scandinavian fanatic this winter because, for some reason, I decided to reimagine my holiday decor. I went from over-the-top “Christmas threw up in here” to minimal with hints of gold and plenty of live garland. (And don’t get me started on live garland. My poor Roomba is exhausted from picking up after it.) What I loved about their holiday decor is that it’s simple and SHOULD feel cold, but it all felt cozy. I wanted to harness that feeling, but it’s hard to do when it’s 70º in the afternoon in December. So, when it finally dipped below 35º this week, I jumped on the chance to cozy up with a traditional Scandinavian warm cocktail to go with my decor.

I was excited to try my first glögg, which is a kind of mulled wine—warmed wine with spices—and curl up on a 33º night … because that’s what we in Texas call “cold”. Instead of the traditional base alcohol, wine, I opted for whisky and used a recipe from Highland Park Whisky that features its newest expression, Magnus.

The drink did its job. It warmed me up and gave me a just the right amount of alcohol to lull me into a bit of a daze. I’ll just say that I ended up taking an unexpected nap, but it was the best hour I’ve seen (or not seen, as it were) in months.

MARTIN’S GLÖGG (recipe by Highland Park Brand Ambassador, Martin Markvardsen)
1 bottle of Highland Park Magnus
1/4 cup simple syrup
2 lemons, juiced
Fresh ginger
Almonds
Raisins
Cinnamon sticks
Nutmeg
Star anise
Orange slices

Warm up the whiskey, then add the simple syrup, lemon, and ginger. Right before boiling, turn down to simmer and add the rest of the spices and ingredients. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes on low. Strain and serve warm with an apple slice garnish and a cinnamon stick.