Category Archives: Reviews

Vemma Energy Drink Review

On paper, Vemma’s Verve Energy Drink kind of reads like a dream come true. It is marketed as “insanely healthy energy,” and with the controversy over normal energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster being bad for your health, this seems like it could be a winner. Or is it?

Crack open a can of the bright orange Verve original, Bold, Partea (really?), or the Zero Sugar and you are greeted with a a nice aroma of citrus. The taste somewhat resembles a citrus blend of pineapple and orange juice that has vitamins added to it. There actually is no orange juice or pineapple in it, so I believe this is what the main ingredient, Mangosteen, tastes like. The citrus is somewhat consistent throughout the line of drinks, with the Bold being a little more…well…bolder, for lack of a better word, and the Sugar Free being a little less sweet. The Partea, being my favorite of them all, taste like orange juice and slightly sweet tea mixed together. It may not sound all that tasty, but it was delicious. There was no aftertaste at all to speak of which I am quite happy about. Overall, all of the drinks were crisp, refreshingly tropical in flavor, and had a hint of carbonation but not overpowering.

Now, looking at the nutrition labels, and you can see why it is labeled as a “healthy” energy drink.  The fact sheet says there are three products inside Verve. A “refreshing, fast-acting energy blend. An ultra-premium vitamin and mineral supplement. And a powerful super juice with mangosteen and aloe phytonutrients.” All of these are natural ingredients that come from plants and there are no artificial flavors or colors in the formula.

To compare to the equivalent 8.4 oz RedBull, Verve is packing less caffeine, (which is probably why I did not feel any buzz from it,) less calories, less sugar, and less carbs. All of which are by a margin of 9g or more, which may not sound like a lot, but it can make a big difference.

Just looking at the labels, it does indeed look like the Verve is a slightly healthier choice from the current energy drink dominators. The taste is pretty good, and the ingredients all come from nature which is a huge advantage. If you happen to come across one at the supermarket, and my guess would be that it would most likely be in a Whole Foods or Central Market, you might as well pick one up and try it for yourself.

Since this IS susiedrinksdallas.com, we’re going to offer the obligatory cocktail recipes to use Verve in the most boozy (and delicious) ways.  We tried out a couple, and our favorites were definitely the Citrus and the Orange.

Verve! Caribbean Passion
1 Can Verve! Bold Energy
2 Ounces Raspberry Vodka
2 Ounces Malibu
2 Ounces Cranberry Juice
Splash of Sprite

Verve! Orange
1 Can Verve! PARTEA
2 Ounces Orange Vodka
1 Ounce Peach Schnapps
Splash of Sprite

Verve! Cosmo
½  Can Verve! Zero Sugar
2 Ounces Vodka
½  Ounce Triple Sec
1 ounce Cranberry Juice
1 Cup Lime Juice

Verve! Creamsicle
1 Can Verve! Original
2 Ounces Captain Morgan
2 Splashes of Sprite

Verve! Citrus
½  Can Verve! Low-Carb Shot
2 Ounces Citrus Vodka
1 Ounce Chambord Liqueur
½  cup Grapefruit Juice
A splash of Sweet n’ Sour mix

useful site

Crabbie’s

Don’t you hate it when you’re drinking a Moscow Mule and think, “Oh, gee, this is delicious, but I wish this was a bit stronger.”  (Yeah, me, too.)  Here to answer the call: Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer, the UK’s best-selling ginger beer … that just happens to be alcoholic.

Good enough to drink by itself (over ice), Crabbie’s is made with four secret fruits and spices, combined with ginger and then steeped for eight weeks. At 4.8% ABV, it’s in the same ABV bracket as the Buds and Millers.  It is fermented, which really comes through in the taste, which (thank God) isn’t too spicy.

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Check out some of the drink options to use with Crabbie’s below (other than Moscow Mules … if you must, you must).

GINGER MIST
– 1oz gin
– two small slices of lime
– 4 small sprigs of cilantro
– crushed ice
– Crabbie’s

Muddle three sprigs of cilantro and one slice of lime in a shaker.  Add gin and ice and shake.  Strain into a martini glass and top with Crabbie’s.  Garnish with cilantro sprig and slice of lime.


CRABBIE’S CUP #1

– 2 slices of cucumber
– berries
– 1/2oz sweet vermouth
– 1/2oz triple sec
– 1oz gin or vodka (drinker’s preference)
– Crabbie’s

Muddle cucumber and berries in pint glass.  Add ice and other ingredients and top with Crabbie’s.  Garnish with mint.


HORSE’S NECK

– 1.5oz brandy
– 5oz Crabbie’s
– thin twist of lemon peel

Mix all ingredients together in tumblr glass over ice.  Stir.

Crabbie’s is now also available in strawberry, orange, and diet.  (I didn’t try those … but they sound good!)

***Please note, Crabbie’s sent me a bottle to try, but I’d already ordered one of my own at Trinity Hall … and loved it both times!***

Gin O’clock

G&T.  Bramble.  French 75.  Negroni.  Gimlet.  Aviation.  Gin Fizz.  Bee’s Knees.  Martini.  The list of amazing things you can do with gin are endless (and even include using it as mouthwash and an arthritis treatment — seriously).

Tanqueray is one of the usual suspects, and has been since the 1830s.  A genius mix of botanicals (juniper, coriander, licorice, and some other delicious things), Tanqueray is the perfect base for some really delicious cocktails.

I treated my coworkers to Gin O’clock last week, and we had ourselves a great time (minus the gincident).  I tried my hand at a few recipes, which turned out pretty damn well (which is easy to do with the ingredients*).  Check ‘em out below.


TEN SOUTHSIDE

  • 1 mint sprig (more for garnish)
  • 0.5oz lime juice
  • simple syrup
  • 1.25oz Tanqueray
  • club soda

Muddle the mint, lime juice, and simple syrup.  Add Tanqueray and stir.  Pour into highball glass over crushed ice and top off with soda.  Garnish with mint.

TANQUERAY FIZZ SEASONAL “SIPPER”

  • half a lemon
  • fresh berries of your choice
  • 1.25oz Tanqueray
  • 0.5oz simple syrup
  • club soda

Crush the lemon in a shaker and lightly muddle the berries.  Add gin and simple, shake, and strain over ice in a highball glass.  Top off with club soda.

TANQUERAY BASIL SMASH

  • 2 parts Tanqueray
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • fresh basil leaves

Muddle basil leaves and lemon juice.  Add simple and gin.  Pour over ice in a short glass.  Garnish with basil leaves.

*My theory (which I ascribe to Sam White, is that good + good = really good.  It’s usually true.)

***I was given the bottle of Tanqueray to try out some of these scrumptious cocktails.***

The New Old Bar

Step 1: Order The New Old Bar.
Step 2: Wait to receive the book with great anticipation.
Step 3: After you get the book, stock your bar according to the book’s instruction.
Step 4: Make every drink, app, syrup, and infusion they have a recipe for STAT.

Product Review: POPTAILS

We live in Dallas … and let’s face it, it’s hot.  With the rule and not the exception being 100+° days, we’re all in need of some relief, and this handy dandy handbook delivers just that in the form of alcoholic popsicle recipes.

POPTAILS by Erin Nichols is a guide to 60 boozy treats-on-a-stick that will help make this warm effing hot summer a bit more bearable.  Erin created recipes for everything from a margarita or root beer float to the “Triple Berry Threat” and “The Highbrow Pear”.

After trying some of the recipes myself, the “Moscow Mule” (surprised?) and “Mom’s Apple Pie” are definite recommendations.  So you don’t make some of the mistakes I did, I’ve come up with some tips:

  • Follow directions!  Don’t try to be a hero —- Erin has slaved over these recipes to hone the perfect proportions
  • Let them freeze completely.  Cutting corners and trying to consume these delicious nuggets of icy alcohol is not recommended because the alcoholic elements may take longer to freeze than the rest, making it a sloppy mess if you get too anxious.
  • Distribute napkins with your poptails
  • Use popsicle forms that allow you to use real popsicle sticks instead of plastic ones (the wood grabs the pop better making it easier to remove)
  • Make sure you prepare the alcohol as directed
  • Be patient when removing the poptails from the forms

My lovely (not) pictures are to illustrate how lovely they turned out. (I didn’t even make any of the pretty ones with fruit inside.)  Popsicle forms are easy to find (Wal-Mart has some or you can go with a disposable tube option like Zipzicles), but you can also rig some of your own.  Note: they were not only pretty (IRL), but also stinkin’ delicious.

The book is available on Amazon, so get to ordering and get some in the freezer STAT!

Product Review: Pisco Portón

WAAAAAY back in February, Pisco Porton sent me a bottle to try out.  I have been an uber bum and am just now writing my thoughts on it (Susie loses three points).  Don’t take my lack of enthusiasm for writing this review as an indication of how it is — I just have been busy for the last 5 months (no kidding).

So, onto my thoughts.  I was really confused when I received it in the mail as I’d never heard of it.  So, I did some light reading and found that PP is a Peruvian white liquor made from grapes.  It has a fruity smell to it and the bottle was incredibly heavy (I just thought I’d add that).  Apparently, it’s kind of like Champagne in that only pisco made from certain grapes and in a certain way can be legally called “pisco”.

We tried four of their suggested recipes, and we enjoyed a couple enough to keep them in our cocktail repertoire.  I’ve listed the recipes for these cocktails below.

Let me know if you try this slightly unconventional liquor. I really enjoyed my foray into Peruvian spirits!

PORTONERO

  • 2 oz. Pisco Portón®
  • 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • 1 slice of fresh ginger
  • 1 dash of Angostura™ bitters
  • Top off with ginger ale
  • Fresh lime wedge

Pour Pisco Portón®, lime juice, simple syrup, ginger and bitters into a tall glass with ice. Top off with ginger ale. Stir ingredients and garnish with a lime wedge.

Pisco Sour

  • 1 ½ oz. Pisco Portón®
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • ¼ oz. egg white
  • 1 dash Angostura™ bitters

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain contents into a chilled glass. Add a dash of bitters.

A Good Friend to Have

Again, I traveled outside of my bubble.  And again, I was glad I did.  I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about Goodfriend, the new beer and burger house over on Peavy and Garland Road one of the Vickery Park owners and a former Vick bartender, Matt and Josh, respectively.  I’ll start by saying this, don’t wait to go until after reading this — get off your ass and go NOW.

My boyfriend and I prepared for our adventure with a full tank of gas, water bottles, and granola bars stocked … you know, just in case.  The drive there wasn’t bad at all.  Take Mockingbird east and just keep onnnnnnnnn going until you see white lights strung across a huge patio on your left that will beam you in.  Parking was an issue, but I found a spot that my car hardly fit in, but fit nonetheless.  (I didn’t take the time to figure out where alternate parking was – sorry).

Give yourself plenty of time for this dinner because you’re probably going to wait.  So many make the trip for the delicious food and drink at Goodfriend that we were told that there was an hour wait.  We ordered a drink and found a seat without a grumble because the place smelled so good that we didn’t want to risk being kicked out for being bratty patrons.  The staff was so friendly that that probably wouldn’t be an issue even if we were rude.

 

Time to set the scene: a giant horseshoe-shaped bar is the center of the restaurant with bar seating on the left and restaurant seating on the right and stained glass above the bar.  The decor is a hodge-podge of rustic engineering-type paraphernalia with an industrial touch including a giant table with a HUUUUGE fan inside.  Sports fans: there are big TVs in the bar seating area and behind the bar and for commercials breaks you can enjoy the two dart boards in the corner.

The drinks were delicious.  The cocktail menu is whiskey heavy with their list of whiskey cocktails dubbed the Magnificent Seven — and they are (magnificent, that is).  I started with a Manhattan, the likes of which would have given my Manhattan-loving uncle a run for his money.  After drinking the Manhattan, I felt like I could box a kangaroo – true story.  The drinks were strong and I look forward to making a second trip to try some of the other M7s like John the Baptist, Bobby Burns, and the Goodfriend itself.

The offerings at GF include an American craft beer menu which will feature standard craft beers, seasonal beers, and special release brews.  Get bored with beers easily?  They post their “rotator” beers on a huge piece of paper inside the bar (and on Facebook) that are switched out quite often.  In addition to their beers they have a fully (and I mean FULLY) stocked bar.

Goodfriend Burger

The food was ah-mazing.  We made our way to our hard-earned table and when Matt handed us our menus, deciding which burger to order was one of the more difficult decisions I’ve faced in a month (I live a charmed life).  They offer grass fed burgers and some more exotic options as well as a veggie burger (if you must).  I landed on the Lolita lamb burger, the Boy had a turkey burger, and of course we got cheese fries to share.  The burgers were delectable and I finished every bite of mine along with a good portion of the cheese fries (the ranch is mind blowing).  The stomach ache was well worth it!

Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House
facebook | @goodfriendbgbh
1154 Peavy Rd., Dallas, TX 75218
(214) 324-3335

Asador at the Renaissance Hotel

Never heard of it?  Understandable, but now you know better.  Asador is the high-end-but-casual restaurant inside the Renaissance Hotel over on I-35 — you know, the brown one that’s a gigantic oval?  There ya go.

I was very excited to try Asador and was even more excited when I sat down at the bar and began looking through the delicious victuals that they offer.  Grab a tissue, because your mouth is about to water — smoked duck sliders, candied bacon lollipops, grilled Texas quail … and those are only a few of the bar snacks!  They offer a full chef-driven menu of delightfully-prepared foods made with fresh ingredients, all from within 100 miles of Dallas (except for the fish … but that’s because we’re pretty landlocked).  Fresh isn’t an understatement here, so much so that they print new menus almost everyday.  Steaks that are cooked to perfection and fish that cuts like butta’ using nothing but a fork.

I think one of the best parts of the experience was dessert (duh).  Asador makes their ice cream in-house.  OMG – I never wanted the sweet potato ice cream to end but while attempting to make it last, a bit melted.  BLAST.  Their pumpkin crème brulee was also one of the highlights of the pumpkin season this year (right up there with the pumpkin souffles I made for Thanksgiving!).

Their cocktails are made with the same fresh ingredients as the food and are mixed thoughtfully with a flare for the unique.  They have the usuals but add a twist to each.  To give their cocktails depth, they infuse liquors with some unexpected items.  For your consideration: bacon bourbon, grilled jalapeño tequila, maple-Belgium waffle vodka (believe it), pomegranate gin, and more.  Changed often, creative, and tempting, they’ll serve you a shot of one of their seasonal infusions for only $5.

My absolute favorite item of the evening was the harvest margarita – a margarita made with pumpkin puree and apple cider and finished off with a brown sugar spice rim.  It.was.amazing.  Being one who doesn’t like margaritas, I have never in my life had a margarita that I didn’t want to end … except for this one.

My other favorite cocktails from the evening were the Blossom Margatini, the Orange Twist, and the Posh Cosmo (pictured above in the same order).  The Blossom Margatini is tequila, rose nectar, St. Germain, citrus juices, and an edible flower (I wish I’d known that sooner b/c I would have eaten it).  It reminded me of some of my favorite drinks from Paris; light and sweet but quite potent.  The Orange Twist was pomegranate juice, port, orange juice, and rum — talk about a refreshing drink, I could have downed three.  Lastly, the Posh Cosmo was what you’d expect from any Cosmopolitan with some interesting additions, they added Gran Marnier jam (yes, like jelly) and Pimms —- heavvvven.

In addition to their specialty cocktails, they have 100+ tequilas arranged on a wall (complete with ladder, pictured above) that you can try individually or in a flight.  The bartenders really know their stuff and are very friendly and helpful so you can just ask and they’ll serve you up something you’ll love.  Ask for Tyler (girl) or James – they’re both fantastic.

The bottom line: Specialty cocktails are $7-10, bar snacks are $4-9, entrees are $4-38.  They have a full bar, exotic beers, a great wine list, steaks, seafood, and some more slightly casual bites.  If you’re bored, you can watch your game on one of the flat screens or play pool in the back room — but with food this good, why would you be bored?

Asador
asadorrestaurant.com | @asador_dallas
2222 N Stemmons Fwy (in the Renaissance Hotel)
(214)631-2222

Specials:
Happy Hour | Monday-Friday 4-7 p.m.
$4 draft beer / $6 house wine and specialty cocktails
$1 appetizers and 1/2 price all snacks

Reverse Happy Hour | Monday 9-11 p.m.
$4 draft beer / $6 house wine and specialty cocktails
1/2 price all snacks

Hospitality Night | Wednesday 5pm-10 p.m.
$4 draft beer / $6 house wine and specialty cocktails
1/2 price all snacks and garden items