Category Archives: Tequila

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

Casamigos Cool Weather Cocktails

Generally speaking, you know you’re in for a good time whenever tequila is involved. If said tequila is Casamigos, just do yourself a favor and schedule an Uber and enjoy the ride … and the cocktails.

That the tequila brand itself was the brainchild of Randy Gerber and George Clooney, who simply sought to create a tequila that “they could drink all day and not be hungover in the morning” should be incentive enough to try it out. But at a time when every reality TV star has their own line of something, I was skeptical. Turns out I should have saved my skepticism for the D-list celebs peddling lip gloss, because these guys know their tequila. (Randy & George, if by some bizarre twist of fate you read this, I humbly and sincerely apologize). If all that isn’t enough, the recent sale to Diageo for $1B should lend the company some extra cred.


Casamigos mixes well, is smooth enough to sip on the rocks, and every recipe we made during the event at Jaliso Norte I attended recently was surprisingly tasty. (I say “surprisingly” because until then, I lived in a world where tequila’s only time to shine was with salt, lime or grapefruit juice. How sad my life was.) Consider me educated.

We were treated to a class where we learned to make tequila cocktails with thyme, whipped cream, apples and cloves … all were all delicious and unexpected. 

CASA BLOOD ORANGE
2 oz. Casamigos Blanco
1 oz. blood orange juice
1 oz. fresh lime juice
.5 oz. simple syrup
2 serrano slices
½ thick rim of sugar, salt, tajin mixture (equal parts)

Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Muddle fruit. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds. Fine strain into rocks glass. Add fresh ice. Garnish with blood orange wheel.

CASA PUMPKIN SPICE
2.5 oz. Casamigos Reposado Tequila
1 oz. Agave Nectar or simple syrup
1 oz. creme
.25 oz. almond liqueur
2 heaping bar spoons organic canned pumpkin (or fresh)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon

Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 10-12 seconds. Strain into Irish glass mug. Add dollop of whipped cream and lightly sprinkle nutmeg over top.

CASA CIDER
2 oz. Casamigos Reposado
1 oz. apple cider
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
.5 oz. ginger syrup
.5 oz. agave nectar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 pinch cinnamon

Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds. Strain into rocks glass. Add fresh ice. Garnish with thin apple slice, thyme sprig, star anise and cinnamon sprinkle.
If served hot: add 1 oz. water and heat up contents. No ice needed.

CASA AMAGO
1.5 oz mole-infused Casamigos Reposado
.75 oz cocoa nib-infused Campari
.75 oz Carpano Formula Antica Vermouth
orange peel garnish

Combine above ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir for 50-60 revolutions or until well chilled and properly diluted. Garnish.

 

The venue matched the spirit of Casamigos perfectly—Jalisco Norte is stylish but down to earth, like that friend who dresses like an off-duty model but doesn’t just eat fries for likes. If you assumed that the last thing Dallas needed was another Mexican restaurant, set your assumptions aside and pay them a visit, you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure to pair your esquites and tuna tartare tostada with a Casamigos cocktail … even if it is a classic margarita.


***ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF N BARRETT PHOTOGRAPHY***

National Margarita Day 2017

ALL DEALS AVAILABLE FEBRUARY 22 UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED.

Stop into Sigel’s on February 22 for their tequila sale with more than 50 tequilas marked down!


ASADOR
Margarita Deal: $5 select margaritas (Flama de Asador, house margarita; The Razzle, raspberry; The Kinky Berry, strawberry basil)
Location: 2222 Stemmons Freeway
Dates: 5-10pm

CANTINA LAREDO
Margarita Deal:$8 Perfect Patrón Rita (Patrón Silver and Patrón Citrónage Orange Liqueur, normally $12.25) 
Location(s): all
Dates: 2/18 – 2/22

CHINO CHINATOWN
Margarita Deal: $5 margaritas, frozen or rocks
Location: Trinity Groves

EL CHICO
Margarita Deal:$4 Cucumber Chili Margarita (spicy blend of Sauza Cucumber Chili Tequila, Cointreau Orange Liqueur and margarita mix, normally $7.50)
Location(s): all
Dates: 2/19 – 2/22

EL FENIX
Margarita Deal: $2.99 house margaritas (rocks or frozen)
Location(s): All
Dates: 2/17 – 2/26

GEMMA
Margarita Deal: $6 Blood Orange Margaritas
Location: Knox/Henderson
Dates: 10:40pm-1am

HENRY’S MAJESTIC
Margarita Deal: $7 Watermelon Tajin Margaritas (watermelon, tequila, triple sec, lime, honey, Tajin)
Location(s): Uptown
Dates: 2/17 – 2/26

HIGH FIVES
Margarita Deal: $2 margaritas
Location: Knox/Henderson

LA VENTANA
Margarita Deal: free margarita samples, $2 el Jimador margaritas and $2 Chambord swirls
Perks: Luchador appearance
Location(s): Addison location, 3-5pm; Downtown, 5-7pm

MEXICAN SUGAR
Margarita Deal
: $14 margarita flight (Hibiscus/Smoked Pineapple/Classic)
Location(s):
Plano

PILIKIA
Margarita Deal
: $6 apple/pear or strawberry/kiwi margaritas
Location(s):
East Dallas

SIGEL’S
Margarita Deal: free tastings of Sauza Hornitos Black and Silver
Location: 5757 Greenville Ave. & 3209 N.Fitzhugh ONLY
Dates: 5-8pm

SNUFFER’S
Margarita Deal: $3 house margaritas (rocks or frozen)
Location(s): all
Dates: 2/20 – 2/26

SOCIAL HOUSE
Margarita Deal: $3 off margaritas
Location: Uptown, Addison
Dates: 4-7pm

T. BLANCO’S MEXICAN CANTINA
Margarita Deal: FREEEEEEEEEE 5-7pm along with light bites
Perks: GRAND OPENING DAY! DJ, raffle
Location: 15207 Addison Road (Addison)
Dates: 5-7pm

TACO HEADS
Margarita Deal: $5 margaritas
Location: Fort Worth

URBAN TACO
Margarita Deal: $5 hibiscus, acapulquena, or de oro margaritas
Location: 5757 Greenville Ave. & 3209 N.Fitzhugh ONLY
Dates: 5-8pm

WOODSHED SMOKEHOUSE
Margarita Deal: $5 margaritas, frozen or rocks
Location: Fort Worth

Salsa Limon – Fort Worth Centro

I’m pretty sure most Fort Worthians (I think that’s what we are called) will agree that Salsa Limon turns out some of the best tacos this side of Arlington. That said, I was really excited to hear that they opened a new location in downtown Fort Worth in the Tower building. This isn’t just a typical Salsa Limon … oh no … because this one serves liquor. Now you can get a margarita or a spiked agua fresca while enjoying the yummy tacos. Blessed be the taco gods.

Salsa Limon is trying to honor and preserve true Mexican taquerias–they use only the freshest ingredients. Their best selling taco is the El Capitan, which just happens to be my personal favorite. A buttery, toasted flour tortilla, Oaxaca-Jack cheese, pickled cabbage, onion, cilantro, and whatever filling you want. BRB I have to go wipe my drool real quick. I’ve always gone with my “safe” order of a Chicken El Capitan, but I got to experience some different meats that might have changed my order. I tried the Tripa for the first time last week, and to my surprise, I enjoyed this Mexican delicacy. If you want to just trust me that it’s really good, but not know what part of the animal it comes from … stop reading now. For those of you who are curious: cow intestine.

Now for the salsa. I may or may not be known to ordering large quantities of their amazing salsa and to keep it in my fridge … but let’s not spread that around. So the tomatillo (my favorite) and piquin are traditional taqueria salas, and the jalapeño and habanero are family recipes. Basically, if you haven’t tried all of their salsas, especially the jalapeño, you must. I personally believe that the range from mild to crazy hot goes a little like this: tomatillo > piquin > jalapeño > habanero. Salsa Limon says that piquin is spicer than the jalapeño, but try it at your own risk.

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The difference between this location and the others, as previously mentioned, is that they have booooooze to calm your fired-up taste buds. I would recommend the sour margarita as it’s as pure a margarita as you can get here. All the limes are squeezed by their fun orange juice machine regularly, so it’s fresh fresh fresh. Not into margraitas? You can also add rum, vodka, or gin to their agua frescas. I personally enjoy the hibiscus tea with gin.

 

Bonus- This location is perfect for late night. I have always felt that downtown Fort Worth was lacking in late night eats- problem solved. They are open till 3 am Friday and Saturday nights. Double bonus- they have a pretty great patio that looks onto the streets of downtown.

Salsa Limon- Centro
Website
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
550 Throckmorton Street (Fort Worth)
817-615-9760

Hours:
Monday- Thursday: 7am-10pm
Friday- Saturday: 7am-3am
Sunday: 7am-9pm

 

Milagro Tequila

To me, it always seemed that tequila was the shot you ordered after you had a few too many and needed an excuse for eating late night pizza. After my night of tequila tasting with Milagro Tequila, the spirit is so much more to me.

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The night was an in depth look into the smells and tastes of different types of tequila. Before tasting anything, we were given an aroma kit with samples of all the different notes you get from tequila. (I think of doing this when tasting wine, but not tequila.) The twelve aromas ranged from lemongrass and pineapple all the way to black pepper.

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Now, Milagro is no ordinary Tequila. When the owners tasted the final product, they said it was a miracl (hence the name Milagro). The owners wanted to pay homage to the heritage of tequila, and it shows in the process. This tequila is made from 100% blue agave tequila from the Jalisco Highlands. (Blue agave is sweeter and creates a more fruity and aromatic tequila.) The master distiller employs a century old cooking method using a traditional hand built brick oven. The agave is slow-roasted for 36 hours. That is a long time in the tequila world, but it creates a much better tequila. Once the agave is roasted, it goes into Milagro’s two pot system for the distillation, a pot still and a column still. The column still creates the smoothness found in Milagro.

 

Curious as to how good Milagro really is? Milagro entered the San Francisco World spirit competition in 2007. The Select Barrel Reserve Repasado was awarded best of show. Not only did it beat out other tequilas- but rums, gins, and vodkas. Milagro currently has more awards than any other tequilas. Milagro ranges from $37 for Milagro Silver to $102 for the Select Barrel Reserve Anejo. My personal favorite is the Milagro Añejo. It has been aged in American oak barrels between fourteen and twenty-four months. This aging process gives this tequila a spicy and savory taste.

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MILAGRO TEQUILA
milagrotequila.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday celebrated in parts of Mexico annually on November 1 and 2 to honored loved ones that have passed.  (Catholics celebrate a similar holiday, All Soul’s/Saint’s Day.)  Celebrants prepare altars (ofrendas) and decorate them with flowers, candles, sugar skulls, and more along with pictures of the deceased and offerings to them (food, drink, candies, etc.)

In true Susie Drinks fashion, I have some cocktail recipes using some authentic elements to celebrate the Day of the Dead.  The Margarita Muerto uses marigold-infused tequila because marigolds are the traditional flowers used on ofrendas–they believe that the bright color and scent guide the souls to the altar.  The Modelo Ofrenda Picante uses mezcal as it’s often offered to spirits.

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MARGARITA MUERTO
3oz marigold-infused Sauza tequila
2oz fresh OJ
1oz Cointreau
1oz fresh lime
dried marigold petals, ripped into small pieces

Rim glass by dipping it in lime and then dried marigold petals, then set aside in the freezer to chill.  To prepare the margarita, combine the marigold-infused Sauza tequila and other liquid ingredients in a shaker and shake until well chilled.  Double strain into chilled glass.

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Spicy Sandia
0.5oz Sauza tequila
0.5oz watermelon purée
Lime juice
Tajín® Clásico Seasoning

Rim shot glasses by dipping them in lime and then Tajin.  Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice until chilled. Serve with a lime wedge.

shots_fotor

MODELO OFRENDA PICANTE (Recipe by Andrés Chopite of Parra, Austin)
Negra Modelo Negra™
3/4oz Montelobos Mezcal
3/4oz fresh lime juice
1/2oz agave syrup
3 bar spoons Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes habanero bitters
4 slices habanero peppers
Tajín® Clásico Seasoning
Red chili slices
Lime wheel

Rim a Collins glass with Tajín using lime juice. Add all ingredients to a shaker, excluding Modelo Negra, Tajín rim, red chili slices and lime wheel. Shake and strain into the prepared glass. Top with Modelo Negra.

ofrenda_fotor

***Sauza Tequila and Bread Winners provided SDD with product for this write-up.***

How to “Présoireé” for Dîner en Blanc

Planning to attend Dîner en Blanc?  If you didn’t attend last year, I can imagine the whole concept is incredibly exciting and romantic … with that nagging feeling of terror.  “Did they really say we have to bring in a TABLE and CHAIRS?”  Yes, you bring your entire party in our your back … and leave with it, for that matter.

The basics:

  • You MUST take yourself and a guest, a square table (28-32″ wide), chairs, and a white tablecloth.  (Keep in mind that not showing or breaking the rules could get you banned the following year.  Tough.)
  • You MAY take food, drink, tableware, table decor, flowers, a garbage bag, etc.
  • You CANNOT take anything that’s not white (woof) or alcohol (major womp).

Apothic Wine is this and last year’s wine sponsor, so if you were preemptive and ordered your wine beforehand for pickup at check-in … bravo you.  If not, sucks to suck because it’s not a BYO event bc of the grumpy old TABC.  But fear not, DEB attendees, I have some options for you.

Option #1: Don’t forget your opaque “water” bottles.  (It’s important to stay hydrated, right?)  🍷👉🏼🍼

Option #2: Get your friends together before for a few drinks.  Last year we noshed on charcuterie and some snacks while throwing back a few before heading to the bus pickup.  Establish a solid booze situation and food base so you’ll have less to carry.  (And make sure to avoid anything that would be a problem for people wearing white.  Duh.)

Here are the drinks that I’ll be making at my DEB Présoireé this year:

SILVER 75
1.5 oz Patrón Silver
1 oz Elderflower liqueur
0.5 oz Local lemon juice
0.5 oz Simple syrup
2 oz Sparkling wine (I’ll be using Moët, the official champagne of DEB!)

Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker except the sparkling wine. Shake vigorously and strain into a champagne flute. Top off the cocktail with some sparkling wine and finish with a lemon twist while making sure to twist the lemon over the cocktail to release the oils.

Recipe and image courtesy of Patrón International

patron_silver-75_courtesy

AGAINST THE GRAIN MARTINI (gluten-free martini)
3 parts Stoli® Gluten Free
Splash of Dry Vermouth
Garnish with an olive or cocktail onion

Shake or stir ingredients with ice.  Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish.

LAST YEAR’S WINNING RECIPE:  

THE INDIAN SUMMER
3 parts Hendricks Gin
1 part lemon juice
1 part St. Germain
Muddled grapes

Muddle grapes with other ingredients, then shake with ice until well chilled.  Double strain into a chilled coupe.

An Evening of Agave at Stock & Barrel

A few weeks ago, Stock & Barrel Kitchen Americana in Bishop Arts District hosted its first spirited dinner with Don Julio, aptly named An Evening of Agave. I happily attended, albeit slightly worse for the wear since I had just returned from my first ever Tales of the Cocktail experience a few days prior, but hey … tequila. ‘Nuff said. The dinner was an intimate affair offering only 15 seats, at the bar and involved not only a four-course dinner paired with cocktails highlighting the Don Julio line of tequilas, but also an interactive educational experience led by none other than Senior Don Julio brand ambassador, the ever delightful and engaging Jorge Raptis.

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The dinner experience opened with introductions from Stock & Barrel Chef/owner Jon Stevens and Bar Manager Jeremy Koeninger before they gave Jorge the floor to tell us more about the history behind Don Julio as well as the thoughtful process that turned agave into the tequila that was before us. He spoke about the philosophy behind Don Julio that drives the manner in which they cultivate, harvest, and cook the agave, as well as distill, bottle, and age the tequila, and why production volume should never compromise the level of product quality.

The ambiance of the event was very casual and interactive, so the guests were encouraged to ask questions and have an open dialogue about the food and cocktail courses, as well as the Don Julio tequila itself. There were tasters of different tequilas for each guest, in addition to the cocktail pairings, so needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), our intimate group of bar guests became very fast friends.

 

Now of course, while the tequila was very smooth and enjoyable, Chef Jon Stevens was not about to let it overshadow the food courses. He made this clear by simply bringing out the first course: Wild Salmon Tartare with avocado cream, grapefruit segments, Yukon potato crisp, and lemon verbena. It was a bright flavor punch to my palate, tempered very well by the subtle fattiness of the salmon. The course was complemented by Jeremy’s cocktail creation dubbed Electric Love, which featured Don Julio Blanco, verbena, and Cocchi Americano, an Italian aperitif wine. The Blanco’s crisp, citrusy flavor paired with the tartare dish and its accouterments beautifully.

Chef Stevens’ second course (my favorite of the meal, without a doubt) was Mediterranean Octopus Carpaccio with tangerine, radish, and honey pimento. The thinly sliced octopus had hints of smoky char that I loved, but by its very nature of being carpaccio, it was an ethereal deliciousness that I kept chasing. The next thing I knew, I had devoured my second course, wishing I could have a second helping, maybe even a third. My friend Paige expressed a similar sentiment, with a wistful face when she found her plate empty as well.

Mediterranean Octopus Carpaccio

The cocktail pairing for the octopus course was an Ancho Bravo, made with Don Julio Reposado, demerara syrup, and Ancho Reyes. The Reposado coupled with the demerara brought a slightly cinnamon-y warmth that lent itself well with the smoky, meaty octopus, and the Ancho Reyes provided a welcome spicy kick. It was pretty boozy, so I took my time to sip and savor it.

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We bounced back pretty well though when the third course arrived: Braised Berkshire Pork Belly with creamy Brussels sprouts and preserved cherries. Chef Stevens had prepared us well by having the first two courses whet our palates, leading us to this wholly satisfying and deliciously unctuous pork belly dish. The creamy Brussels and dark berry tartness of the cherries ensured that the dish would satiate our taste buds without being too heavy.

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The third course paired with The Oleroso Agave, a cocktail with Don Julio Añejo, Oleroso sherry, and Luxardo syrup served up in a coupe glass. It was a spirit-forward concoction that accentuated the savory notes of the pork belly, and the sherry played well with the preserved cherry sauce. I especially enjoyed this pairing as Añejo is typically my favorite tequila expression, with the extra time the tequila spends aging in barrels.  The flavor comes out with honey and caramel notes that I just love.

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Our fourth and final course was the Butterscotch Pot de Creme, served with vanilla cream, sourdough crisp, and sea salt. This dreamy and delectable dish was served with a taster of Don Julio 1942. The butterscotch pot de creme was silky and light, and the sprinkle of sea salt elevated the dessert to another level of deliciousness. The sourdough crisp offered a welcome crunchy texture to the dinner’s velvety finale, and the deeply caramel and chocolate notes of the Don Julio 1942 brought this particular Night of Agave to a definitively beautiful conclusion.

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Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from guests after the Don Julio dinner, Stock & Barrel hopes to keep the spirited dinner series going every other month, with each one featuring a unique spirit.  For more information, check out stockandbarreldallas.com or follow Chef Stevens (@stockbarreltx) and Jeremy Koeninger (@jeremykoeninger) on Instagram for any event announcements and updates.

STOCK & BARREL
stockandbarreldallas.com
316 W. Davis St. (Dallas)
(214)888-0150