Category Archives: Vodka

JEM Beverage Company’s New Facility

JEM Beverage Company (makers of Western Son Vodka, Red River Whiskey, South House Moonshine, and more) has shed its Carrollton roots and moved to Pilot Point, Texas to expand its distillery!

They offer distillery  tours Fridays (4pm) and Saturdays (1pm, 3pm & 5pm).  Oh  … and you get half off your tour if you arrive on horseback.  I kid you not.

Some of the #SDDContributor team and I stopped by their grand opening party this past Saturday, May 23 to celebrate.  Check out the trouble we got into!

A Night with Ballast Point Brewing & Distilling Co.

A bit ago I attended a happy hour with Ballast Point Brewing and Distilling at Bird Cafe. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Ballast Point before going to the happy hour, and I learned that Ballast Point began as a small group of home brewers in San Diego, California. Most of the beers are named after fishing terms. The labels have illustrations of fish to pay homage to the brewery’s origin’s. After they made a name for themselves through their beer, Ballast Point began distilling. The company now has seven spirits they call their own.

Ballast Point happy hour beer menu
Ballast Point happy hour beer menu

I began the night tasting some of Ballast Point’s beer on tap. For those of you who like hoppy beers, go for the Grunion Pale Ale (5.5%). It has a nutty flavor as well as a summer fruit aroma. This beer won the 2015 Best of Craft Beer silver award. Next, I went for the Scotch ale. Piper Down (5.8%) is now in the running as one of my favorite craft beers … it’s not super heavy and it has a smooth taste. I tasted a chocolate, sweet after taste with this brew. This beer won the 2015 Best of Craft Beer gold award. The name came from Scottish bag pipers that drank too much … the piper became top heavy and people would yell, “piper down” when they began to fall. (I have to admit, I went back two days later for more.) My last tasting was the Victory at Sea Coffee/Vanilla Porter (10%). As expected, it was a dark, smooth brew. I am not a coffee drinker, but that didn’t not stop me drinking this beer. It had more of a vanilla taste than coffee.

San Diego Street Car
San Diego Street Car

Moving on to the spirits, I was curious about the first cocktail on the list–the San Diego Street Car (Devil’s Share Moonshine, Ancho Chili liqueur, corn water, lime, Burlesque bitters, egg white). I was puzzled by this concoction, so I had to ask the bartender how he came up with this interesting drink. He said it was his version of elotes in cocktail form. He wanted to bring out the corn flavor of the moonshine rather than mask it. After understanding the background of the drink, it made me enjoy it all the more.

I would urge you to go to your local liquor store and try out some of Ballast Point’s spirits. Here’s your shopping list:

3 Sheet’s Rum: made from pure cane sugar rather than molasses (80 proof)
Fugu Vodka: Filtered 15 times (80 proof)
Devil’s Share Moonshine (whiskey): hints of tropical fruit (98.6 proof)
Devil’s Share Burbon: American oak barrels, hints of caramel and vanilla cream (92 proof)
Old Grove Gin: made from juniper berries, rose, and coriander (88 proof)

Ballast Point Brewery
www.Ballastpoint.com
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Bird Cafe's amazing bar
Bird Cafe’s amazing bar

Bird Cafe
155 East Main Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
www.birdinthe.net

DIY Bloody Mary Bar, starring Zodiac Vodka and Powell & Mahoney Bloody Mary Mix

I enjoy brunch. Good thing for me, because I’m pretty sure if you live in DFW and the “powers that be” find out that you are ANTI-BRUNCH, stealthy ninjas will break into your house while you sleep, extract you from your bedroom, and deposit you somewhere else. Maybe here; I’m not sure, though.  In my humble opinion, the best part about the brunch ritual has nothing to do with fancy eggs or $17 french toast. Brunch drinks, my friends. Brunch drinks. More specifically, the ever-versatile Bloody Mary. When I am really honest with myself, without something tasty to sip on, eggs are just breakfast. And sometimes, especially following a particularly “spirited” Saturday night, public appearances before mid-afternoon on Sunday can be … challenging.

That being said, WHAT IF … hear me out here … WHAT IF, I were to forego said outing, and enjoy my own, fancy-pants, custom, (BOTTOMLESS!) Blood Mary bar, in the comfort of my own home? PJs + couch + dog + football +Bloody Mary bar … think about it. It’s perfect. So perfect, it had to happen. Allow me to share with you the beauty of my own, personal DIY Bloody Mary bar – and read on for some ideas on how you can construct one of your own.

bloody 7I think it goes without saying, a high quality vodka is a must when concocting the perfect Bloody Mary. Let me tell y’all about Zodiac Vodkaa handcrafted, gluten-free American potato vodka, new to the market and hailing from Idaho. I can honestly say that I have not been this excited about a new spirit discovery in a long time. Zodiac is silky smooth with such a clean finish, you can literally sip it. Apparently this is attributed to the fact that Zodiac uses 100% pure water from the Snake River Aquifer, which is then filtered using hand cut Canadian Birch Charcoal. According to Zodiac, this process results in a naturally sweet, pure, gluten free, and distinct tasting vodka. I tend to agree. I used Zodiac Vodka for my Bloody Mary bar, and I suggest you do, too. You will not be disappointed.

Secondly, you are going to need to hook yourself up with an exceptionally tasty Bloody Mary mix. With so many delicious options on the market these days, there really isn’t a need to make one from scratch. Take for instance Powell & Mahoney’s Bloody Mary MixThis classic “vintage” take on the Bloody Mary (recipe circa 1926!) is deliciously thick and robust. Mildly spicy, it serves as a perfectly delicious base- tasty enough to drink undoctored, but mild enough to be highly doctor-able. Powell & Mahoney’ s Bloody Mary mix was cast in the starring role in my Bloody Mary bar – and I highly recommend you give it a screen test in yours.

Now, let’s get started …

  • Make sure you have a respectably-sized glass.  No one likes a tiny Bloody Mary … or one that’s hard to stir.
  • First, rim your glass with something delicious. Penzey’s Prime Rib Rub is a great option; use lime juice instead of water to make it stick.
  • Fill your glass 3/4 full+ with ice.
  • Fill the glass 1/3 full+ with vodka.
  • Top with Bloody Mary mix.  (Don’t fill it too far or you won’t have room for the rest!)
  • Let’s talk goodies. This is the fun part. The sky is the delicious limit, and you can get as creative as you want. Here are some suggestions, ranging from the obvious to the outrageous:

Bloody 3

FIXIN’S

– celery (duh)
– lemon or lime (duh)
– olives (spicy, garlic-stuffed, blue cheese stuffed, etc.)
– pickles (McClure’s are delicious)
– pickled okra/beets/cauliflower/carrots/green beans
– crispy roasted Brussels sprouts
– cooked bacon
– oysters
– pearl onions
– baby shrimp (or hell … make ’em big.)
– jalapeños
– pepperocinis
– marinated artichokes
– capers
– hard boiled eggs
– cheese squares
– ginger

seasonings

Seasonings

– cracked pepper
– Old Bay seasoning
– celery salt
– Creole seasoning
– garlic powder
– Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
– Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic seasoning blend
– smoked paprika
– cayenne pepper

suces

Sauces

– Worcestershire sauce (duh)
– pickle juice
– olive brine
– hot sauce
– Sriracha
– BBQ sauce
– horseradish
– Chipotle Tabasco
– steak sauce

My personal philosophy tends to be something along the lines of: the more stuff I can cram into/on top of that glass, the better. So, don’t be afraid to go nuts. And the good news is, if you aren’t satisfied with your first Bloody Mary attempt, you can mosey on over to (*your very own*) kitchen and make another one.

Bottom line: everything tastes better in PJs. Sorry, not sorry, Uptown.

Bloody Mary 5

*I was graciously provided with complimentary products to try from Zodiac Vodka and Powell & Mahoney. Deeeee-licious!*

Reyka Vodka Unleashes Fall/Winter Cocktails

unnamedA couple weeks back, Reyka Vodka mixed things up with a night of delicious cool weather cocktails with National Brand Ambassador Trevor Schneider and Barter Beverage Director, Rocco Milano.  We were treated to three delicious cocktails (recipes below).

Reyka Vodka is an Icelandic vodka that uses lava rock filtration (which is so much better than that Brita shit) and the process is all made possible using geo-thermal energy powered by a local hot spring.  Reyka is made in small batches to ensure each bottle is up to snuff.

750 ml bottle: $19.99
1.75 ml bottle: $29.95

For more information about Reyka and additional recipes, visit www.reyka.com.


unnamed-13Autumn Harvest (Created by Trevor Schneider)
2 oz. Reyka vodka
2 oz. apple cider
1/2 oz. velvet falernum
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes apple bitters
Grated cinnamon for garnish (optional)
Lemon wedge for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with freshly grated cinnamon and garnish with lemon wedge. 

Crimson Diamond (Created by Rocco Milano)
1.5 oz Reyka Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz Simple SyrupTop with red wine

Combine all ingredients except the wine into a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a champagne flute and using a bar spoon slow pour a red wine float.  

Basil and Lime (Created by Rocco Milano and on tap at Barter)
1.5 oz Reyka Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz Basil Syrup
.5 oz Amer Picon

Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously. Fill an 8 oz footed Collins glass with crushed ice. Strain the shaker into the Collins glass. Smack a basil leaf to wake it up and add for garnish.

Chopin Vodka

Upon my latest Susie Drinks Dallas delivery I immediately thought, “Yay vodka! Let’s make some drinks and kick off this weekend early!” Mind you it was only Tuesday and this was much needed. Then I figured I should skim the label and, to my surprise, I held potato vodka in my possession. Chopin Potato Vodka to be exact.

(Potatoes and I have a longstanding relationship. Mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, potato gratin, baked potatoes, potato skins and all the other which ways potatoes come …I love them all.)

Chopin came to the U.S. market in 1997 from Poland and has notes of vanilla, green apple and that ever-so-alluring earthy finish. It comes crafted from potatoes grown naturally (good news for all your organic, non-GMO sticklers), yeast and purified artesian well water. It takes 40 potatoes to make one 750 ml bottle of vodka. (That’s like … a whole sack’a’potatoes.)

I’ll break down the process for you: Cleaned and left unpeeled, the potatoes are pressure-cooked to create a “mash,” which ferments for three days. The fermented mash is distilled four times, creating an almost 100% alcohol spirit, which is then transported to Chopin’s bottling plant in nearby Siedlce, Poland. Here, it blends with artesian well water and filters five times before its final destination of master distiller Waldemar Durakiewicz.

Additionally Chopin produces a Rye (2011) and Wheat, the newest addition. Rye holds a medium body with hints of spice and aromas of rye dough. Wheat offers a bread dough nose with hints of honey and butterscotch. Basically, it sounds like you’re drinking a breadbasket. I would say that assumption rings fairly true, but it’s an interesting flavor profile that grows on you the more you give it a chance. The Rye and Wheat are close in flavor profile, but I felt the Potato finished smoother with less of a bite at the end.

The trio comes best served as the base for cocktails like martinis with extra olives or with a splash of cranberry and soda with lime.

Here’s a recipe for a “Chopin Cuban” using the Potato Vodka that I deem completely necessary as summer cocktail season winds to a close.

Chopin Cuban
3/4 tsp. sugar
3 fresh sprigs of mint
3/4 oz. lime juice
5 large ice cubes
2 oz. of Chopin Potato Vodka
a splash of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne.

Crush sugar, mint, and lime juice. Add ice cubes and Chopin Potato Vodka. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne.


CHOPIN HAND MADE POLISH VODKA

www.chopinvodka.comFacebook | Twitter

 

**Disclaimer: I received this boozy bottle of potatoes for free from Chopin Vodka**

Dixie Vodka: Stand With the General

I honestly would buy this vodka just for the bottle. (You know those people that select liquor based on how pretty the bottle is? I may have been (slash am) a perpetrator of this act. Don’t judge.) But listen: this is one of those times where your creative selection process has worked out for the greater good of alcohol consumption.

There are so many great attributes to Dixie Vodka:

  • the price point for alcohol content
  • it’s 6 times distilled from American corn
  • it’s handcrafted in Charleston, SC and produced by a company named Chicken Cock Whiskey
  • it has a totes a badass mascot with an even more badass catchphrase:“Feared on the battlefield, admired in the ballroom & loved in the bedroom, General Beauregard Dixie.  Man amongst boys.  Stand with the General.”

Now, vodka isn’t my typical drink of choice, especially for shots, but this one made it tolerable (and dare I say … enjoyable?). That oh-so-familiar burn down the throat wasn’t as harsh as regular brands and its smoother finish makes it an easy choice cocktails or on the rocks. Supposedly, the brand is designed for Southern males, but ladies, I say grab your glasses and let’s sip on some Dixie Vodka at the gun range to give these men a run for their money.

General Dixie is available as straight vodka and also in two flavors: Black Pepper and Mint. It will feature signature drink recipes such as the Mint Julep Martini and Bloody Dixie (version of Bloody Mary), created by leading Charleston mixologists.

 

General Beauregard Dixie Vodka
islandclubbrands.com
Facebook: General Beauregard Dixie
Twitter: @GeneralDixie

**Disclaimer: I received this bottle for free from Dixie