Category Archives: Product Review

2 Gingers Whiskey

 

My favorite people are those that are passionate about something and go after it.  I was pleased to sit down for a few drinks (ahem, a liquid lunch) at Barter with Kieran Folliard, creator of 2 Gingers Whiskey, on his way through Dallas on his US tour in a branded Airstream trailer.  His mother and aunt inspired the name, and the rest came naturally.

Growing up in West Ireland, Kieran worked in a bar where “there were only ever two ingredients in a drink, and one of them was a glass.”  He’s in Minnesota now and decided to get back to his roots by “flogging whiskey to the Yanks” at his own bar.  He then realized that the thing that would differentiate his bar from the others would be creating whiskey cocktails that were as quick as pouring a beer and not too much steeper in price.  (Challenge.)  He created a list of whiskey cocktails, trademarked them, and then decided that he wanted more consistency … and he’d ultimately get it by creating his own whiskey blend.

tumblr_inline_n409aoz2fC1qzfwapLest you think that Kieran is some rogue Minnesotan who tried his hand at some moonshine, note that 2 Gingers was acquired by Beam, Inc. in December 2012 and is currently the fastest growing whiskey brand on the market.  So there.

2 Gingers Whiskey is smooth and had a sweeter finishing note when enjoyed on its own (almost caramel-y).  In the drinks that Rocco (Barter’s bar manager) served, the 2 Gingers stood out without slapping you in the face (even though it’s a usually hefty 80 proof).  (I had to force myself to stop drinking the Skinny Ginger, Big Ginger, and others for fear I’d be unable to function for the remainder of the day if I didn’t.)  My go-to summer drink will be the Big Ginger (recipe below), no question. 2Gs is distilled only twice (instead of the usual three) so the flavor would really stand up in the cocktails, and is aged four years instead of the typical 2-3.  The finish has less burn to it thanks to this process.

The bottle itself is quite nice, and features the likenesses of Kieran’s mother and aunt.  The best part of the bottle, though, is the serving instructions: “drink with friends or with ice.”  Amen.

I plied the recipe for “the perfect Irish Coffee” out of him (which is really a thing in Ireland and not like French fries to the French), and he suggested the steps below:

  • Start with a warm glass (rinse it with warm water, then dry)
  • Pour in some 2 Gingers Whiskey (obvi) as its taste will stand out more since it’s distilled TWICE
  • brown sugar or a bit of simple syrup
  • a TINGE of Guinness
  • QUALITY strong coffee
  • homemade, thick hand-whipped cream made with quality cream

BIG GINGER
– Fill a Collins glass with ice
– Pour 2 parts 2 Gingers over ice
– Top up with ginger ale
– Serve with lemon and lime wedge
– Drink up.

2 Gingers is available in most local liquor stores, and ask for it at your local bar!  Other excellent cocktail recipes courtesy of 2 Gingers can be found on their website, 2gingerswhiskey.com.

Sláinte!

Quick facts:
2 Gingers Whiskey
WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram
80 proof
Suggested price: $19.99 for 750ml

Partida Tequila: Product Review

I am Florida born and raised on vodka cocktails and rum punches, but when I moved to Texas four years ago, I found my true love for tequila was just undiscovered. Whether it’s swirled with hints of fruit in a margarita or straight up on the rock, I like it smooth with salt and lime. Naturally, Texans love Cinco de Mayo because it celebrates God’s gift of Mexican food and tequila. So, as my favorite holiday quickly approaches, I wanted to share my thoughts on one of my recent discoveries, Partida Tequila.

One of the many perks of working with Susie Drinks Dallas is getting to try different lines of liquor, spirits, and wines. Recently, Partida Tequila sent me samples of their Partida Blanco line.  From the production to packaging to blend of flavors, this tequila will have you feeling classy and sophisticated compared to the partiers throwing back shots at the bar. Disclaimer: I am not against tossing back shots, but that would just be a waste of the goodness that Partida has to offer.

All “tequila” must legally contain at least 51% blue agave, but the best contain 100%. Partida’s agave comes specifically from their estate, rather than multiple growers, which allows for consistency and control in the production process. After 7-10 years of cultivation, the agave is harvested by hand. (Talk about a labor of amor!) Most agaves are cooked “the old fashion way,” in stone ovens, which gives a bitter taste from soot that builds in the oven over time, but Partida uses state-of-the-art stainless steel ovens. The agave bakes over a period of 20 hours under precise temperature control and then the juices ferment slowly for 36-40 hours before distillation.

The unaged tequila is bottled as Partida Blanco and the rest is aged in one-pass Jack Daniels American oak barrels. (WHAT?! Did all my dreams just come true?) The barrel provides a rich, copper color with notes of cherry, almond, dried fruit, and allspice in addition to the peppery notes lent by the agave. One can sense hints of honey, chocolate, pear, and vanilla upon tasting. Reposado and Anejo are aged 50% more than required, which only enhances the flavor profile. None of the tequila contains additives or coloring agents.

Particularly, Partida Blanco makes me feel like I should be relaxing on the beaches of Cancun as the blend of blue agave, citrus, fresh herbs, and tropical fruit, are subtle and balanced. It lends a smooth taste that lets even those that swore against the powers of tequila to enjoy the flavors. It’s a great choice for cocktails and those looking to branch out from mediocre drinks. If you’re ever going to become a tequila sipper … this is the one to start with.

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.

image

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.***

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.

Product Review: Last Round

I gave up alcohol for Lent … hard to believe, I know.  It seemed like a great idea until I realized that I would be in Vegas on Easter weekend (for the less religiously inclined of you out there —- Lent ends ON Easter).  I forsaw two issues:
1. I couldn’t NOT drink in Vegas so I sadly bent my morals and started a few days early.
2. I didn’t think about how low my tolerance would be after not drinking for so long.

The latter was going to severely hinder my early morning pool lounging … so I thought.  When packing, I made sure to lug my samples of Last Round with me.  The first night I was schnockered, but somehow managed to down a bottle before fading into sweet passed-out bliss.  When I woke on Friday morning, I felt like I’d slept for 12 hours and hadn’t had a drink.  What a miracle!

The taste was a little tough to take, especially on an already weak, alcohol-soaked stomach, but I made it through the whole thing in one belt and chased it with water.  (Unlike most hangover remedies, you don’t have to drink water after Last Round.)  Last Round is even made with mostly recognizable ingredients – see their ingredient information on the left.

A bottle (2.4 oz) goes for about $3 and can be purchased on their website, www.last-round.com.  They even sell a “party pack” of 48 bottles.  You know what they say … SHARE THE WEALTH!

Their website reads, “Last Round cannot cure bad decisions, questionable hook-ups, senseless ramblings or excessive friend hugging…. However, Last Round will have you feeling so good the next day, it’s like last night never happened.”

All I can says is, “Amen … and thanks!”

www.last-round.com@last_round

24

Beefeater recently began distributing its newest bottle of heaven in the United States – Dallas being only the 10th U.S. city in which it debuted.  Previously, only the lucky travelers that ventured to Canada could snag bottles and bring them back to wave them under the jealous noses of those who didn’t make it up to the Great White North to get their own bottle.  Sadly, I missed the launch party, but since I’m such a lucky little lady and people at Beefeater have heard of my little site, a bottle of the ambrosia arrived on my doorstep.

I couldn’t wait to unscrew the cap … but I did.  But I only waited for my friendsand the proper mixers to come together so I wouldn’t be tempted to empty the bottle all by my lonesome.  Soon enough, friends arrived and drinks were mixed.  We made at least one of each of their signature 24 cocktails and I can’t think of a single one of which I wouldn’t want a few more.

The gin itself is quite tasty.  They say it’s made with botanicals and teas, and by some of the brightest minds (read: biggest lushes) in the industry … but what I know it that is doesn’t make me shudder when I take a swig of a strongly-mixed G&T.  It delivers hints of grapefruit with each sip and it’s de-lightful.  Not a single complaint could be heard in Chez O the night we so diligently explored the intricacies of 24.

Since a bottle of 24 is only $28.99 for a 750 mL, it’s not a budget-breaker and will occupy the top shelf of my bar from now on.  So grab a bottle for yourself and try out a recipe or two below for yourself.  Guarantee … you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

St. Henderson’s 24 | Signature Cocktail Created by Scott Melton of Bar Celine, Dallas, TX
1 Part Beefeater 24™
½ Part Aperol
½ Part St. Germain
½ Part Lemon Juice
Shaken, topped with soda and served over ice with a lemon peel to garnish

Shifting Sands | Adapted from a recipe by Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey, New York
1 & ½ Parts Beefeater 24™
1 & ½ Parts fresh grapefruit juice
¼ Part fresh lemon juice
2 Bar Spoons of Maraschino Liqueur
Club soda
1 grapefruit wedge, as garnish

24 Martini | Created by Dan Warner
5 Parts Beefeater 24™
1 Part Lillet Blanc
2 Dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters
Stirred and served up with a grapefruit twist.

Triple Citrus 24&T
2 Parts Beefeater 24™
1 Part Fever-Tree Tonic