Category Archives: Spirits

Boozy (Virtual) Tea Party

We’re all celebrating things and each other a little differently right now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t gather, dress up, celebrate each other, or enjoy a drink together! Since I’m sheltered in place with my mom, we wanted to have a little party, so we invited some of our friends to join us for a boozy tea party … over Zoom!

We sent out a PaperlessPost invitation and, amazingly, everyone was able to attend! (In my opinion, it’s best to keep Zoom “parties” a little smaller—8 or less—so people aren’t speaking over one another and everyone can be engaged and participate. We ended up with 11, which was lovely, but a little tougher to keep everyone chatting.)

Just because we couldn’t be in the same room didn’t mean I couldn’t still make it a real party, so we planned to deliver goodies to each attendee before. The local guests got hand delivered favors, drinks, and snacks, and we sent recipes and scheduled deliveries ahead of time for the out of towners. (Drizly is great for alcohol deliveries!)

FAVORS

My mom and I gathered whatever gift bags and crinkle paper we had on-hand and laid our materials out to stuff the bags. Mini bottles of booze, mixers, garnish for the drinks, boozy gummies from Sugarfina, tea, a bottle of Campo Viejo Brut Reserva Cava, a little bag of Pokey O’s cookies, a box of sweet items, and a box of “tea sandwiches”.

DRINKS

What’s a tipsy tea party without the tipsy?! Each attendee was given the chance to pick a spirit—TX Whiskey, Absolut Elyx, and Beefeater Gin—to enjoy a cocktail during our tea. I had a local bartender* create cocktails for us and batch them out and I purchased mini and 375mL bottles of my chosen spirits so each guest only had to add the spirit to the drink for a perfectly mixed cocktail.

Since our bars and restaurants are operating much differently than usual, many hospitality professionals are out of work. While I COULD have taken a few hours to have come up with these on my own, I decided that giving some work to a bartender was a better choice. Luckily, Chris (aka Betty Cocktail) lives around the corner from me, so I had her take over for me! (She is brilliant — if you need a cocktail class or cocktail pairings for a dinner, give her a buzz!!!)
bettycocktail.com

STRAWBERRY BASIL FIZZ (Recipe courtesy of TX Whiskey)
1 oz TX Whiskey
.5 oz St. Germain
.5 oz lime juice
2 oz sparkling wine
2 strawberries
3-5 basil leaves

Muddle strawberries and basil, then add TX, St. Germain, and lime juice. Shake with ice until well combined. Strain over fresh ice, top with sparkling wine and garnish with strawberries.

OOLONG AGO (Recipe courtesy of Betty Cocktail)
1.5 oz Beefeater
.5 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz Oolong syrup

For syrup: boil 3 cups of water with 12 oz doctored agave and dehydrated citrus peels, Add 2 Citrus Oolong teabags and steep for 2 hours.

DON’T BE DANDELYIN’ (Recipe courtesy of Betty Cocktail)
1.5 oz Absolut Elyx
.5 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz Dandelion Root syrup (boil 3 cups water with 12 oz dark agave, add 2 teabags and steep for 2 hours)

For syrup: boil 3 cups of water with 12 oz of
dark agave, the add 2 Dandelion Root teabags
and steep for 2 hours.

DECOR

My mom and I couldn’t agree on what we wanted the table to look like, so she went for a more classic tea look, and I took mine up a notch bringing some antique items and a contrasting table cloth together with plenty of flowers and gold accents. (Because that’s 100% my aesthetic.) And I topped it all off with a teapot from Vulgar Teacups. My mom hated it; I loved it.

MUSIC

To get everyone in the mood, I made a playlist of some of my favorite jaunty tea-party-with-an-edge songs. I have to admit that I started with a few songs from the “A Simple Favor” soundtrack, because it’s fire. Check it out below, and share it from Spotify!

FOOD

What’s tea without some fancy bites? We packaged up some of our favorites like homemade cucumber sandwiches, cheese wafers, and chicken salad sandwiches. (I chose not to make the chicken salad myself and got it from Bowen House!)

CRIPSY RICE COOKIES
2 C sharp cheddar cheese
.5 C softened butter
1 C flour
.5 t cayenne pepper
1 t Worcestershire sauce
.5 t salt
.75 C Rice Krispies

Preheat the oven to 350°.
Mix cheese, butter, flour, cayenne, Worcestershire and salt until mixture lightly sticks together. Gently fold cereal into dough.
Shape into 1-inch balls and put on a baking sheet with about an inch of space for expansion. Then use a fork to flatten each and leave lines on top.
Bake 15 minutes at 350º, or until they’re slightly crispy. Allow to cool on a rack.

CUCUMBER SANDWICHES
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced very thin
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 C light mayonnaise
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion salt
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
sliced white bread, crusts removed
1 pinch lemon pepper
dill

Slice cucumbers and allow to drain between paper towels for at least 10 minutes. (Best done in a colander.) Remove crust from bread. Mix all remaining items together and spread on one side of every piece of bread. Add cucumbers on half the pieces, spread out evenly. Sprinkle a bit of dill on each side with cucumbers. Build into sandwiches and cut into your desired shape.

BOOZY HOT CHOCOLATE — THREE WAYS

Dallas didn’t get too cold (yet) this year, but on the days it has, I found myself craving something warm and boozy. Once I had gotten past my hot toddies and it was too late in the day for an Irish Coffee, I turned to hot chocolate cocktails!

I put together a few different spirited options for y’all … from the traditionally spiked vodka, then went to tequila and scotch options. Because it’s always fun to try something different, right?

PEPPERMINT WHITE CHOCOLATE (VODKA)

½ C Absolut Elyx vodka
½ C white chocolate chips
1½ C milk*
¼ C sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla extract or vanilla paste
whipped cream (if desired)

Add chocolate and milks to a medium saucepan and summer, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Once melted, remove from heat and add vodka. Top with whipped cream and peppermint pieces, if desired.

SPICY HOT CHOCOLATE (TEQUILA)

3 oz Patrón Tequila (more if desired)
3 C milk*
3 T cocoa powder
3 T tbsp granulated sugar
Pinch of sea salt
¼ t cinnamon
¼ t cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients (except for tequila) to a saucepan and whisk until combined. Heat on low until it’s slightly boiling, then remove from the stove. Add tequila, then pour into mugs and top as desired. (I added cinnamon marshmallows and a pinch of cayenne pepper on top.)

HIGHLAND HOT CHOCOLATE (SCOTCH)

3 oz Highland Park Magnus Scotch whisky (more if desired)
3 C milk*
3 T cocoa powder
3 T tbsp granulated sugar
1 t Sugar in the Raw (or any coarse brown sugar)
Pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients (except for whisky) to a saucepan and whisk until combined. Heat on low until it’s slightly boiling, then remove from the stove. Add whisky, then pour into mugs and top as desired.

… you can also whip up my famous HAUTE CHOCOLATE and add whatever spirit sounds good to you.

HAUTE CHOCOLATE
¼ C cocoa powder
½ C hot water
20 oz semi-sweet chocolate
10 C whole milk
2½ C heavy cream
12 oz can evaporated milk
¼ t salt

Either in a crock pot or a large pot, whisk cocoa powder with hot water until mixed. Add in chocolate, milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and pinch of salt. If using a crock pot, cook for at least 2 hours on high OR low for 4 hours and stir occasionally. Keep on warm to serve.
If using a pot on the stove, heat for about 15 minutes on medium and stir often. Then, keep on simmer and continue to stir occasionally.
Makes about 20 servings.


*the higher the fat content of the milk you use, the richer your drink will be

t = teaspoon
T = tablespoon
C = cup
oz = ounce

Event Recap: Sangria & Paella Making Class at Bulla

I was invited to join a paella and sangria class up the road at Bulla Gastrobar in Legacy West. Needless to say, I have a new appreciation for the giant skillet of seafood and rice … and for this amazing restaurant.

Starting off the night, we enjoyed a few passed appetizers and cava  while we learned about the head chef, the background of the restaurant, and how to make paella and three different types of sangria.

I’ve always been a little intimidated to make paella, but … fun fact, this dish gets its name from the pan used to make it. Anyone else intrigued by that? I’ll say this … it’s a good thing I didn’t try making this on my own. The ingredients are simple, but the process needs a little finesse. The dish is created with love, and from start to finish it takes about 30ish minutes … and that’s great because the smells were almost as intoxicating as the sangria and none of us could wait to eat.

Whether you are a microwave master or home chef, this class was perfect for all levels. Coming around a table, sharing, and conversing with fellow classmates made the evening an enjoyable and  relaxing experience that I highly recommend attending … and make sure you’re hungry!

Bulla is hosting this exact class, “Lovers & Friends, Sangria and Paella Making Class” on February 13th at 7PM. If you don’t have plans yet and are still on the hunt for a fun night, grab tickets on their website for $200 for two people!


BULLA GASTROBAR
bullagastrobar.com
6007 Legacy Drive (Plano)
972-805-4590
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#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:

Jon Bon Jovi’s Rosé Can and Should Be Enjoyed Everywhere

There’s a new rosé in town and you’re going to want to grab yourself a bottle before it heats up in Texas! Like, really … we’ll wait while you run down the street for a bottle.

 

You back? Cool … I’ll continue. [Open the bottle and drink along with me.]

This isn’t just any ol’ rosé—it’s Jon Bon Jovi’s rosé that he created with his son, Jesse Bongiovi and former Notre Dame hockey player, Ali Thomas. It’s called Hampton Water, and it dove into the Dallas scene last month with an epic party at the Joule hotel in a kickoff event for KAABOO Texas (the killer music festival featuring The Killers coming in May).

The intimate event called “The First Sip” featured plenty of Hampton Water Rosé and an acoustic set by Jon Bon Jovi himself—no big deal, right?? The event was at the heated rooftop pool deck at the hotel and the second that I stepped out of the elevator, it was clear what a big deal this rosé was at least trying to be. … and it was.

 

All of Dallas’s elite came out to enjoy a glass of rosé from Dallas athletes like Jason Witten and Dirk himself (bless that man)and alumni from The Bachelor to bloggers, media reps and businessmen. It was a huge turnout and the room was buzzing with excitement for both the performance and the launch of KAABOO and Hampton Water. (Just so much to celebrate.)

Have you already poured yourself a glass?

Now let’s talk about why the Wine Spectator featured it as one of the top 100 wines of 2018: The blend comes from wine makers in the South of France and is made from the perfect blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre grapes. It has a nice clean taste with hints of fruity flavors like cherry and watermelon. It has a really balanced, crisp finish which makes it perfect for pretty much any occasion where wine is involved (which should be all the time, right?). Once patio season hits, I have a feeling we will be seeing it all over Dallas. (Hence our aforementioned note to HURRY.)

Also coming to Dallas is the three-day music festival called KAABOO on May 10-12 which will be headlined by Sting, The Killers, Kid Rock, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. KAABOO describes itself as “People against dirty” and “The perfect weekend escape, described in a word that comes from whatever the hell we feel like yelling when we’re high on life and having fun.” It’s taking place at the AT&T Stadium, and you can be sure here will be lots of cocktails available (including Hampton Water Rosé, obviously) along with craft beers, cabanas, six stages and even a Vegas-y pool club!

As I was sipping my glass of rosé and googling how much KABOO tickets are—which are very affordable as far as music-festivals go btw—the crowd starts hustling towards the stage for Jon Bon Jovi’s private set when he played through his well known hits like “American Pie,” “It’s My Life” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.” I now officially have about 179 Jon Bon Jovi recordings on my phone … and I’m only exaggerating a tiny bit there.

Tasting Notes
Grape Varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre
Color: light peach
Aroma: bright fruits
Palate: hints of fruity flavors like cherry, strawberry, and watermelon with just a slight minerality
Finish: long, dry
Region: France — Languedoc-Roussillon
ABV: 13%


Hampton Water
hamptonwaterwine.com
In Dallas, you can find the rosé at Central Market, Pogo’s Wine & Spirits, Nick & Sam’s, Hotel ZaZa, Imoto, Tei-An and Uchi
Retail: ~$18

KAABOO Texas
kaabootexas.com

#RaiseItForward and Give Water to Those in Need with Absolut Elyx

March 22 is World Water Day. Water is an incredibly precious resource, and there are billions around the world that don’t have access to a clean, reliable source for it. Not for profit Water for People works to supply water to those people.

2.1 billion people around the world don’t have access to safe water and 4.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. Women and children spend more than four hours walking for water each day, and more than 840,000 people die each year from water-related diseases.

So, to lessen the number of people in need, Absolut Elyx teamed up with Water For People to supply water and water sources to them. They’ve upped the game each year for the last four, and this year’s a doozy. For every bottle of Elyx or copper pineapple sold, Absolut Elyx will supply one week of safe drinking water (~140 liters) to someone in need. They’ll also donate a week of water for every Instagram post bearing the hashtag #RaiseItForward March 22 to April 22. Even more: This year, if they reach our goal of 10,000 posts, they’ll increase the donation to one month of safe water for every post.

I’m delighted to be working with Absolut Elyx to spread the word about this great cause. So they allowed me to sweeten the deal by giving anyone who uses the hashtag #RaiseItForwardTX the chance to win a copper swan ($399 value) or one of three copper coupes ($39.50 value each).

Please raise a glass with me to this great cause!

 

Details: http://bit.ly/2T5ZsIv
Details on the Water for People + Absolut Elyx partnership

Pictures by BECKLEY

Fried Chicken + Bubbles = the Dream Team

I love sparkling wine.
I love fried chicken.

(I’d like to meet someone who doesn’t agree with the above. … actually, I don’t think we’d get along, so NM.)

Street’s Fine Chicken sent out a press release, and they have the right idea: fried chicken + sparkling wine. The pairing is classic, and one of my favorite things in the world is to pair haute elements with food that comes in a cardboard container of some sort.

So, of course, I HAD to do some “research” to verify that their fried chicken did, in fact pair nicely with sparkling wine. And, research I did. (Not like I didn’t know what the research would return, but it’s best to do your due diligence.)

Luckily, my results were correct. Using bubbles to mitigate the richness of the chicken is just about perfect. Acid can act as a palate cleanser, which is why you’ll often see pickled items served alongside fried items. Since sparkling wines usually ring in 2.5 to about 4.5 pH, their acidity helps to cut the richness and greasiness of the chicken. Choosing a dry sparkling wine helps to push through the fat, and makes for a delightful experience.

Street’s Fine Chicken’s signature fried chicken is “brined for 24 hours and fried in herbs from various French Provinces.” They take their time to do it right, and they get it right. They also offer sparkling starting at just $5 a glass and $18 a bottle, so you can try out the pairing for yourself. (Enjoy.)

 


STREET’S FINE CHICKEN
streetsfinechicken.com
3857 Cedar Springs Rd. | 469-917-7140
5211 Forest Lane, #108 | 972-803-5181

Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling

I don’t know about you, but I like to know the history behind what I drink. Call me a booze dork, but knowing the story behind each drink makes it seem to taste that much better.

Chateau Tanunda is located in South Australia—about an hour outside of the town of Adelaide. It was built in the late 1880s and is home to some the oldest vines in the Barossa Valley. The Chateau is the largest and oldest wine Chateaus in Australia. The Gerber family purchased the Chateau in 1998 and continues to revitalize and restore the buildings to keep its history alive. If I ever make it Australia, this for sure will be on my bucket list of wineries to visit.

Chateau Tanunda recently sent me a bottle of their Grand Barossa Dry Riesling, and I was eager to sip, smell, and enjoy it. This fresh, crisp wine has aromas of citrus fruits such as lemon and lime. When most people (myself included) think Riseling, they think sweet, because the higher the acidity of the wine, the more sugar can be in the wine without leaving the sweet taste. If you haven’t had a riesling in a while, or have always been turned off due to the sweetness, you should try a dry riesling. You will be pleasantly surprised.

P.S., I loved reading that most of the grapes in this variety are from old vines that were planted on the estate in the 1920s!

Tasting Notes
Grape Varietal: Riesling
Color: White/clear
Aroma: Lemon and lime
Palate: Bright citrus flavors with a slight acidity
ABV: 11.5%

CHATEAU TANUNDA
chateautanunda.com
Grand Barosssa Dry Riesling: ~$10
can be found in a liquor store near you
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Disclaimer: I was given complimentary product from Banfi.