Category Archives: New Products

DIY Bloody Mary Bar, starring Zodiac Vodka and Powell & Mahoney Bloody Mary Mix

I enjoy brunch. Good thing for me, because I’m pretty sure if you live in DFW and the “powers that be” find out that you are ANTI-BRUNCH, stealthy ninjas will break into your house while you sleep, extract you from your bedroom, and deposit you somewhere else. Maybe here; I’m not sure, though.  In my humble opinion, the best part about the brunch ritual has nothing to do with fancy eggs or $17 french toast. Brunch drinks, my friends. Brunch drinks. More specifically, the ever-versatile Bloody Mary. When I am really honest with myself, without something tasty to sip on, eggs are just breakfast. And sometimes, especially following a particularly “spirited” Saturday night, public appearances before mid-afternoon on Sunday can be … challenging.

That being said, WHAT IF … hear me out here … WHAT IF, I were to forego said outing, and enjoy my own, fancy-pants, custom, (BOTTOMLESS!) Blood Mary bar, in the comfort of my own home? PJs + couch + dog + football +Bloody Mary bar … think about it. It’s perfect. So perfect, it had to happen. Allow me to share with you the beauty of my own, personal DIY Bloody Mary bar – and read on for some ideas on how you can construct one of your own.

bloody 7I think it goes without saying, a high quality vodka is a must when concocting the perfect Bloody Mary. Let me tell y’all about Zodiac Vodkaa handcrafted, gluten-free American potato vodka, new to the market and hailing from Idaho. I can honestly say that I have not been this excited about a new spirit discovery in a long time. Zodiac is silky smooth with such a clean finish, you can literally sip it. Apparently this is attributed to the fact that Zodiac uses 100% pure water from the Snake River Aquifer, which is then filtered using hand cut Canadian Birch Charcoal. According to Zodiac, this process results in a naturally sweet, pure, gluten free, and distinct tasting vodka. I tend to agree. I used Zodiac Vodka for my Bloody Mary bar, and I suggest you do, too. You will not be disappointed.

Secondly, you are going to need to hook yourself up with an exceptionally tasty Bloody Mary mix. With so many delicious options on the market these days, there really isn’t a need to make one from scratch. Take for instance Powell & Mahoney’s Bloody Mary MixThis classic “vintage” take on the Bloody Mary (recipe circa 1926!) is deliciously thick and robust. Mildly spicy, it serves as a perfectly delicious base- tasty enough to drink undoctored, but mild enough to be highly doctor-able. Powell & Mahoney’ s Bloody Mary mix was cast in the starring role in my Bloody Mary bar – and I highly recommend you give it a screen test in yours.

Now, let’s get started …

  • Make sure you have a respectably-sized glass.  No one likes a tiny Bloody Mary … or one that’s hard to stir.
  • First, rim your glass with something delicious. Penzey’s Prime Rib Rub is a great option; use lime juice instead of water to make it stick.
  • Fill your glass 3/4 full+ with ice.
  • Fill the glass 1/3 full+ with vodka.
  • Top with Bloody Mary mix.  (Don’t fill it too far or you won’t have room for the rest!)
  • Let’s talk goodies. This is the fun part. The sky is the delicious limit, and you can get as creative as you want. Here are some suggestions, ranging from the obvious to the outrageous:

Bloody 3

FIXIN’S

– celery (duh)
– lemon or lime (duh)
– olives (spicy, garlic-stuffed, blue cheese stuffed, etc.)
– pickles (McClure’s are delicious)
– pickled okra/beets/cauliflower/carrots/green beans
– crispy roasted Brussels sprouts
– cooked bacon
– oysters
– pearl onions
– baby shrimp (or hell … make ’em big.)
– jalapeños
– pepperocinis
– marinated artichokes
– capers
– hard boiled eggs
– cheese squares
– ginger

seasonings

Seasonings

– cracked pepper
– Old Bay seasoning
– celery salt
– Creole seasoning
– garlic powder
– Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
– Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic seasoning blend
– smoked paprika
– cayenne pepper

suces

Sauces

– Worcestershire sauce (duh)
– pickle juice
– olive brine
– hot sauce
– Sriracha
– BBQ sauce
– horseradish
– Chipotle Tabasco
– steak sauce

My personal philosophy tends to be something along the lines of: the more stuff I can cram into/on top of that glass, the better. So, don’t be afraid to go nuts. And the good news is, if you aren’t satisfied with your first Bloody Mary attempt, you can mosey on over to (*your very own*) kitchen and make another one.

Bottom line: everything tastes better in PJs. Sorry, not sorry, Uptown.

Bloody Mary 5

*I was graciously provided with complimentary products to try from Zodiac Vodka and Powell & Mahoney. Deeeee-licious!*

Candy Cocktails Recipe Book

Are you having a Halloween party? A Christmas party? Any other kind of party, in life, at any point in the future? Do you like booze? Do you like candy?  If you  have answered yes to any of these questions,  listen up: you’re going to want to hear this*. Candy Cocktails, people. That’s right … cocktails that taste like candy. Cocktails that are MADE USING CANDY. Enter: “Candy Cocktails: Fun and Flirty Drinks with a Sugar-Kissed Twist“.

(*If you did not answer, “Yes,” to any of the above questions, do not read on. Go here, instead.)

I received “Candy Cocktails” just in time for Halloween, but this cocktail recipe book by the Good sisters (curators of Fashionably Bombed) is chock full of fun and inventive cocktails for every holiday (Candy Cane Martini, anyone?). Holiday-themed libations represent only a small segment of this gorgeous little recipe book, however; in its pages, you will also find cocktail recipes highlight just about any kind of candy you can think of. Forget everything you think you know about dessert drinks … until you have sampled a Liquid Candy Bar, a Candy Fishbowl (yes, it has Swedish Fish “swimming” in it.  Shut. Up.), or a Pop Shot (yup, that would be a shooter integrating Pop Rocks), you know nothing.  Just imagine preparing a custom cocktail for your boyfriend/girlfriend/brother/sister/bestie/grandma/mailman based on his or her favorite candy. How much do I love this idea? (A lot.)

Candy Corn InfusionCandy Cocktails is going to have you “mixing outside the box,” if you will. I can attest to this because I found myself preparing candy corn infused vodka early this week. One of the really awesome things about this book is the fact that it gives you directions on how to create variety of sweet liquor infusions using at little as 1/2 cup of booze. Gone are the days of having to spend $17 a pop on multiple, giant bottles of random flavored vodkas that you know are probably only going to use once or twice to make that one cocktail you just had to have, on a whim (I mean, I don’t know many people whose “go-to” drink features marshmallow vodka, do you?). This section of the book is really quite practical and useful (as candy infused alcohol goes).

I prepared two Halloween inspired “Candy Cocktails” in the Plano branch of the Susie Drinks Dallas test kitchen.

Candy Corn CocktailFirst, the Candy Corn Cocktail,- hence the candy corn infused vodka. This drink was so pretty and festive, and just BEGGING you to serve it at your Halloween bash. It was not sickeningly sweet, and really, it was incredibly reminiscent of a lemon drop, with a subtle hint of something different. (You guessed it, genius … CANDY CORN!!!)

Peanut Butter Cup CocktailNext, the Peanut Butter Cup Cocktail, which was every bit as rich and decadent as it sounds. Interestingly (and only mildly disappointingly), this cocktail does not contain actual peanut butter cups (aside from the garnish). As the sisters point out in their book, sometimes the point is for the drink to taste LIKE the candy, as opposed to actually containing the candy. This blended concoction was comprised of vodka, crunchy peanut butter,  crème de cacao, and whole milk  (omg). This was 100% dessert, and they really nailed the peanut butter cup flavor. Nom.

If you are looking for a collection of really fun, unique cocktail recipes, getchoself a copy of Candy Cocktails: Fun and Flirty Drinks with a Sugar-Kissed Twist, today!

Available at Barnes and Noble (check out their nifty in-store pickup feature!), or on Amazon, for just $13.68.

Cascade Ice

One of the best parts of product reviews is finding my next new drink obsession. I have to say, I have tried many flavored waters to try to kick my Diet Coke habit, but haven’t been successful until now. Cascade Ice Water was generous enough to send me a few bottles of their coconut mango water and coconut pineapple water. I originally was just going to use these as a mixer (which I did), but also drank them straight up. I will definitely purchase more from this line of naturally flavored water. All of the flavors are zero-calorie, sugar-free, caffeine-free, sodium-free, gluten-free, and zero carbs. They have a great, natural flavor with light carbonation.

I used these as mixers for an easy vodka drink. There are some very yummy looking recipes on Cascade’s website that you should check out.

*Cascade Ice Coconut Pineapple with Tito's over ice
*Cascade Ice Coconut Pineapple with Tito’s over ice

I will be on the lookout for other flavors to try. There are twenty-one flavors in the zero-calorie line as well as a Sparking Organic, Sparkling Essence, and Sparkling Mixer line. In our local area, Kroger and Sprouts carry the organic line and Albertson’s carries the zero calorie line. Check this link out to find Cascade Ice in your local area.

 

CASCADE ICE WATER
cascadeicewater.com/blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest

*Cascade Ice generously sent me these samples for free.

Limited Edition Cowboys Maker’s 46 Released

Dallas Cowboys fans, rejoice! Maker’s Mark has released a limited edition Cowboys Maker’s 46! These bottles will be dipped in silver and blue wax instead of the traditional red and will be available at liquor stores in the D/FW area later this month for ~$34.99.

From Maker’s Mark:

A contemporary interpretation of original Maker’s Mark, 46 delivers a mouth-watering oaky finish unlike any other. A bold and complex bourbon that’s soft enough to hold on the tongue, even at 94 proof, it’s aged just a few months longer than Maker’s Mark inside barrels that contain seared French oak staves – a process that eliminates the bitterness that usually comes with older whiskies.

Down By the Bay, Where the Watermelons Grow …

National Watermelon Day was on August 3rd, but in my world, it’s always watermelon day! (I love watermelon, especially in the summer. I’ve even started eating it like a Texan; by adding salt to it!)

What else pairs well with salt and watermelon? Tequila! I was sent a bottle of Sauza Blue Silver Tequila, made from 100% blue agave, to try it out and create a few cocktail recipes using it. Sauza Blue Silver Tequila is really great tequila, and I love tequila to begin with, so doing a product review was obviously a pleasure.

On its own it has a smooth, clean, citrus finish. Also Sauza mixes wonderfully in cocktails. For those of you who aren’t huge tequila fans, you might like this one, because it is very smooth and easy to drink.  

Sauza Tequila and Watermelon Cocktail Recipes

Do yourself a favor and get a watermelon and some Sauza tequila and try out some cocktail recipes like the ones below! I guarantee they will cool ya down!

Watermelon Sangria (makes 2)
3 ounces of Sauza Blue Silver Tequila
1-2 cups of watermelon, diced small
1 orange, squeezed
1 lemon, squeezed
1 lime, squeezed
White wine
Soda water
Ice
Lemon and lime garnish
Muddle the watermelon in a shaker, then add the tequila, orange, lemon and lime and add ice. Shake like there is no tomorrow. Strain into glasses over ice, top off with white wine and a splash soda water and garnish. photo copy

Watermelon Spritz
1½ ounces of Sauza Blue Silver Tequila
3 ounces of watermelon juice (to make your own … cube watermelon, quickly blend, and then strain)
1 lime, squeezed
1 lime, cut into wedges
Soda water
Ice
Fill glass with ice, add tequila, add watermelon juice, lime juice, and add cubed limes, top off with soda water.

If you don’t want to whip up your own cocktail, you should try Sauza’s sparkling margaritas.

According to their website: “Our ready-to-serve sparkling margarita is made with real tequila, and comes in Original Lime, Mango Peach, Wild Berry flavors and now Watermelon!” 

DISTILLED IN MEXICO Sauza® Tequila, 40% alc./vol. DRINK RESPONSIBLY

BLUE CHAIR BAY BANANA RUM GIVEAWAY & RECIPES

Another SDD Blue Chair Bay giveaway! (LUCKY!) This time we’re giving away a bottle of Blue Chair Bay’s latest flavor, Banana Rum! Enter to win ye a bottle o’ rum, me matey, and check out some recipes Laura whipped up using the delicious banana rum (and only a few banana-related puns and catchphrases).

My take on Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum:
In my experience, flavored liquors are very hard to do right… but Blue Chair Bay did it right with their Banana Rum. Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum has a rich flavor and a real banana taste. First, I tried it straight up, and it tasted exactly like Bananas Foster, evident by its buttery, caramel finish. It doesn’t taste artificially sweet either. I even tried it as a twist on the old standard rum and coke, and it was actually pretty darn good.

My Recipes:
I’m not typically a dessert or sweet drink person, save for the occasional espresso martini, so I knew I’d be my own toughest critic. But not to toot my own horn (toot toot), but these turned out pretty darn delicious. All of them are best served ice cold, which should be pretty appealing since we are smack in the middle of a Dallas summer.

photo 2Not Your Nana’s Banana Crème Pie Martini
3 oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
2 oz clear crème de cacao liqueur (I used Hiram Walker brand)
3 oz half-and-half
Garnish: Graham cracker rim (to make: first rim martini glass in honey and then in graham cracker crumbs)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour into graham cracker rimmed martini glass.

 

photo 1Frozen Chocolate Banana Martini
1½ oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
1½ oz white or dark crème de cacao liqueur (I used Hiram Walker brand)
1½ teaspoons of chocolate syrup
1 cup of ice, add more if necessary
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine all ingredients (except for cherry) in a blender with ice, blend until slushy. Pour into martini glass, garnish with a cherry, add chocolate syrup for garnish or to make even more chocolate-ly. (Because … chocolate.)

photo 3Banana Rum-ssian
1½ oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
¾ oz coffee liqueur (I used Kamora brand)
¾ oz half-and-half
¼ oz of Icebox ice coffee concentrate (you can find this at Central Market or online) or CoolBrew Coffee

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour over ice.

For a refresher on the rum recipes Susie came up with before with the Blue Chair Bay White Rum, click here.

Enter to win a bottle of Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum!!!

Win a bottle of your very own by doing any (and all) of the following BEFORE NOON on Sunday, August 10 and tell us which one of the recipe above that you’d like to try using Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum (or make up one of your own!!).  

(One entry per platform per person will be accepted.)

Yo ho and a bottle of (banana) rum! Enjoy and good luck!

About Blue Chair Bay Rum:
Blue Chair Bay Rum is born on the beach for the times you just want to let go and live in the moment.Blue Chair Bay Rum is a collection of premium-blended rums created on the shores of the Caribbean and inspired by multi-platinum singer-songwriter’s Kenny Chesney’s love of the island lifestyle. Each of Blue Chair Bay Rum’s four varieties, White, Coconut, Coconut Spiced and Banana is 100% beach-made and mellowed in casks at one of the oldest, most respected distilleries in the Caribbean. Imported from Barbados and bottled by Fishbowl Spirits, Rochester, NY. Blue Chair Bay White Rum 40% ABV, Blue Chair Bay Coconut, Coconut Spiced Rum and Banana 26.5% ABV. Available in 750ml and 1.75L bottles

Please enjoy Blue Chair Bay Rum responsibly.

THE SOCIAL HOUSE’S SUMMER SIPS & BITES

Summer is upon us, and we all know what that means, Dallas … patio season is now in full swing! With that said, The Social House recently had us come in to try out some fresh bites and Summer cocktails on the patio of their Addison location.

Everything we tried at the tasting was great. It may just be that I love mangos, but my favorite beverage was the Frozen Mango Margarita. The thickness of the fruit itself makes this frozen margarita taste more like a smoothie. It’s pretty awesome. If it’s food you’re after, check out the Irish Pork Nachos. They’re made with house-cut chips, topped with Ancho pulled pork, avocado mousse and pickled jalapeños …yes, it was as good as it sounds.

Whether you are looking for a great patio to lounge on a beautiful day, a tasty beverage after a long day or some delicious food for a grumbling stomach, The Social House is your one-stop shop!

PROTIP: Check out their amazing happy hour specials! For example, the cocktails shown above (or below) are all served at half-price during happy hour… Talk about the happiest of hours!

Social House Addison
5100 Belt Line Rd. #410
Addison, TX 75254
TEL: (972) 392-4300
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday from 4PM till 7PM

LYFT Energy Stir Sticks

written by William Merkel

I drink a lot of energy drinks. (Like … a lot. I may or may not have written this review with a Monster in front of me and a Monster box on my head.) So I was the natural choice to review LYFT Energy Stir Sticks.

The idea behind LYFT is simple. Put powdered caffeine in a stick that can be stirred into any drink imaginable to give it an extra little kick of energy. But this isn’t just your regular “run-of-the-mill” caffeine that can be found in sodas, no sir. This is “clean caffeine”. It has zero calories, and is made from green coffee bean extract with vitamins A and B complex.

Depending on what drink you stir LYFT in to, the taste will vary. Their website gives some examples such as orange juice, water, soda (which already has caffeine save for a few root beers, caffeine free, etc), mixed drinks, or how I personally tried it, on the rocks.

Now, I may have chosen a bit of a strong drink to put it in … I used Mount Gay Barbados Rum and followed the directions on the stick: remove label, stir for 10 seconds. The claim is caffeine equivalent to one tall coffee, but not being a coffee drinker, I cannot attest to that fact. It did, however, give the rum a subtle, slightly sweeter taste which was unexpected. As for an energy boost, I did not feel anything. (Again, I drink multiple energy drinks each day, so I wasn’t surprised.)

Since there were two sticks in the package I decided to have another go. I used the second stick in a bottle of Seven Water and, in this, it did have a noticeably different taste. It was sweater, and a bit cleaner aftertaste. A lot different that my experience with rum, and it did give a little caffeine buzz, but still nothing too drastic.

Personally I think LYFT would be best enjoyed in water or a juice, something other than an alcoholic beverage which would overpower the the amount of caffeine in the stick. I can definitely see myself buying a couple more of these to put in juices or maybe coconut water to mix up my morning routine.

PURE LYFT ENERGY STIR STICKS
www.purelyft.com
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