Category Archives: Vodka

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

#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

Howdy, Smithworks Vodka!

I recently had the privilege of welcoming Smithworks Vodka into the Lone Star State with an amazing Blake Shelton concert at the famous Billy Bob’s Texas!

Smithworks Vodka was launched in early 2016 and I’m happy to say that Smithworks has recently expanded its distribution to Texas. Over the next few months, Smithworks will be available in twenty- four states.

Smithworks is an American-made vodka that is made with corn from Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma and water from Lake Fort Smith. Smithworks is distilled three times and charcoal filtered for a smooth taste and clean finish. It’s finished and bottled with pride in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and named after the dedicated team there and their hardworking values are symbolized through the tractor icon. They say, “Born and bred in the traditions and values of America’s Heartland, Smithworks embodies the values of the place in which it comes from – local pride, simplicity and hard work.”

Blake Shelton is part of the Smithworks family. He said that he had been waiting to partner with the right brand and he found his home with Smithworks; Shelton said he shares the same values and mission as Smithworks (Vodka. His favorite way to drink Smithworks is with diet lemon-lime soda garnished with a lime. Simple enough.)

Shelton is quoted as saying, “I grew up in Ada, Oklahoma and was raised on the values of hard work, humility and an appreciation for the simple things that make up a good life. As part of the Smithworks family, I’ve been involved in the development of the brand and I’m excited for everyone to finally taste what we’ve been crafting. At its core, Smithworks celebrates that moments in life are better spent with good people and great drinks.”

For the rich mouthfeel and smooth (lack of) flavor, we were surprised by the low price tag—just under $20. A great price for this smooth, clean vodka.

SMITHWORKS VODKA
smithworksvodka.com
~$19.99 / 750mL

We’re eagerly awaiting distribution in the great state of Texas … a note from Smithworks: For now, you can find Smithworks Vodka in AR, CO, IA, KS, LA, MI, MO, NE, OH, OK, TN, IL, NC, and PA. If it’s in your neck of the woods, ask your favorite local spot about us—it’s usually the personal touch that gets it done.

Banner image courtesy of Smithworks.

Grey Goose Ducasse

Grey Goose is a classic spirit. The classic Grey Goose expression is made with soft winter wheat and spring water which make for a simple, clean taste. The liquid is bright and its sweetness isn’t overpowering, making it a quality option for sipping and mixing.

While the well-known Grey Goose bottle has been seen on bars for many years, the brand ventured into flavored vodkas. While these expressions are different for the classic, French brand, the newest of their expressions, Grey Goose Ducasse, doesn’t need to rely on flavors, it simply changes the ingredients to create a new flavor that’s just as easy to drink

Grey Goose Ducasse is the product of a partnership between the Grey Goose’s Cellar Master, François Thibault, and French Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse. Using “single-origin French wheat from Picardy and natural spring water from Gensac-la-Pallue”, the simplicity of the expression remains with a bit heavier, full-bodied flavor.

The liquid is clean with slight hints of brioche and toasted bread thanks to the toasted wheat used in distilling. You can find notes like almonds, light florals, and even espresso in the clear-as-it-could-be expression . It’s clean enough to sip on its own or stands up nicely in a cocktail. The finish is long and can virtually take you though layers of flavor.

This is a vodka for food. It’s perfect home? A gastronomy bar.

Being a well-known name, Grey Goose could rest on its laurels and keep creating expressions like pear and cherry, but they challenged themselves and created a beautiful, simple liquid. It’s truly a beautiful partnership.


GREY GOOSE DUCASSE
greygoose.com
Proof/%: 80, 40%
Price: ~$99/750mL

The Bloody Buddy

Do you love Bloody Marys but hate the hassle of having to find the perfect mix to alcohol ratio? Fear no more, because The Bloody Buddy has arrived.

TBB is Texas’ first and only ready-to-drink Bloody Mary. (Yes, alcohol included!) Straight from Dripping Springs, TBB is a corn-based (gluten free, hollaaa!) vodka infused with real chili peppers for about a week. Their house Bloody Mary recipe contains organic tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, lime juice, and other secret spices.

Not only does this mix taste good, it does actual good, too. There are no artificial flavors, additives, or preservatives, and they use recycled plastic bottles which make TBB perfect for golf courses, lakes, beaches, hikes, pools, hotel mini-bars, the symphony … ya know … anywhere. And at 10% ABV, there’s just enough booze to hit the spot.

The Bloody Buddy is the easiest and tastiest way to get your Bloody Mary fix in a flash. Just open, poor over ice, and serve.


THE BLOODY BUDDY
TheBloodyBuddy.com
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TBB is available at most Spec’s locations.

Grey Goose Summer Cocktails

I recently had the privilege of attending a Grey Goose mixology class at Texas de Brazil in my fair city of Fort Worth. It was a night full of great cocktails that was enjoyed alongside other cocktail enthusiast and, lucky for us, a really elegant spirit.

Grey Goose uses fresh, French ingredients and is distilled only once using a continuous column distillation process; this single distillation process ensures the profile of the wheat remains in the vodka. Grey Goose uses wheat from three farming cooperatives in the Picardy region of France.
Fun fact: the grade of wheat Grey Goose uses is called “Blé Panifiable Supérieur”, it is the same grade used in high end french bread and pastries.

This class was all about staple summer cocktails. I knew I was in for a treat when the table was set with a plate of fresh fruit and a bottle of Grey Goose. (Susie’s attitude has always been “good + good = really good”. And this qualified) The first cocktail that we mixed was the Le Grand Fizz—one of the easiest cocktails to mix, and so refreshing. I decided to keep this one on-hand for my next pool day.

Next, we made a Caipiroska, which is a twist on a traditional Brazilian cocktail, the Caipirinha. The best part about this cocktail is that you can use a lime or muddle whatever fruit you like. The name loosely translates to “Little Countryside”. Mix in whatever fruit you have on hand and you are good to go! I loved pineapple in mine, which drove home the summer feel.

Le Grand Fizz | Picture courtesy of Grey Goose

Le Grand Fizz
1 1/2 parts Grey Goose vodka
1 part St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
1/2 part fresh squeezed lime
2 parts chilled soda water
3 wedges of fresh lime

Build in an over-sized cabernet wine glass with ice. Add Grey Goose and St. Germain. Squeeze fresh lime and discard. Top with chilled soda water. Stir and garnish with fresh lime wedges.

Caipiroska
2 parts Grey Goose vodka
Whole lime
2 tsp. Demerara Brown Sugar
Fruit of your choice

Quarter the lime and muddle with sugar in the base of a Boston shaker glass. Add Grey Goose vodka, then cubed ice and shake. Empty all contents into a rocks glass without straining.

Who wants to spend a long time mixing a cocktail and delay pool time? (My hand is not up … is yours?) Try out one of these simple, yet delicious, Grey Goose cocktails, and even batch them out if you’re feeling bold … you won’t be disappointed!

Grey Goose Vodka
GreyGoose.com
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Going Deep … Again

I have strong, gag-inducing memories of me and my brother dabbling in the ’90s versions of flavored vodkas, which weren’t as much about using real ingredients as just shoving artificial flavoring at you until you were convinced it did the trick. These were usually mixed with Sprite or Surge (shut up) and the whole process was just a bad hangover kit waiting to ruin your Friday-Monday mornings.

With this memory deeply rooted in my psyche, I agreed to revisit some of the flavors offered by the folks at Deep Eddy and try them in a few recipes.

If you’re not familiar with Deep Eddy Vodka and are reading a blog about drinking in Dallas, I both admire your ability to live under a rock and encourage you to visit their website. Their vodka is made here in Texas and is distilled in small batches that incorporate natural ingredients into their flavors. For this review, we were provided their Original, Cranberry, Lemon and Peach. (They also offer Ruby Red and Sweet Tea.)

To start, I asked a few friends to join me in trying each spirit neat. Each flavor stood up pretty well on its own, but the peach and lemon were the easiest to drink straight. Then we mixed each with soda water and added lime or lemon. The group’s favorites basically came down to personal flavor preferences. If you’re wondering at home, my favorite was the peach, but the plain vodka and a twist worked as well.

The next recipe was a shandy. I made mine a little stronger and, while it wasn’t my thing, the shandy drinkers in the group were happy. We also tried it with a Mexican lager and lime, which was also a great combination.

Lemon Shandy
12 oz wheat beer
1 oz Deep Eddy Lemon

Next up was a red-hued take on a Moscow Mule. The ginger beer and the vodka mix a little sweet together, but pulling back on the ginger beer and adding a bit more lime helped.

Moscow Mule
1½ oz Deep Eddy Cranberry
½ oz fresh lime juice
Top with ginger beer
Garnish with cranberries and lime

Finally, speaking of more complex drinks, we made the Southern Belle. This was a tad sweet, which was expected as the peach flavor has about twice the sugar as the other vodka flavors according to the website.

Southern Belle
1 oz Deep Eddy Peach Vodka
1 oz bourbon
½ oz fresh lemon juice
Top with club soda

One thing I noticed in general is that these spirits, while not sweet, tip that direction really fast when mixed with other sugary ingredients. Again, the spirit stands on its own without much else, but if you’re going to make complex drinks, the plain flavor might be your best bet.  When I asked for final thoughts, the biggest skeptic in the group commented how nice it was to be able to drink flavored vodka that didn’t make her feel like a sugary mess after each drink.

No matter where you are or what you’re looking for, Deep Eddy has a vodka flavor to fit your taste and is now available in all 50 states. Use their locator to find a bar or retail store near you … and then just remember to day drink responsibly.

DEEP EDDY VODKA
deepeddyvodka.com
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Price: ~$16-20 for 750mL

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.