Category Archives: Sponsored

The Easiest Host Gift for the Fall

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Big Betty. The opinions and text are all mine.

Halloween. Potlucks. Thanksgiving. Football watching parties. Sunday dinners. Holiday parties. It gets exhausting thinking about how many times you’re going to be visiting someone’s home and, if you have some manners, toting a host/hostess gift. I’ve got you covered, my friends.

This cute company, Big Betty Wine (the real OGs thanks to their first hit product, the glass that fits a whole bottle of wine) has come to the rescue. All you need to do is order a pack of their Brews for You “six pack cards” and stop by your local Trader Joe’s on the way to the party. I love stopping into Trader Joe’s as they have seasonal and favorite individual beers your can pull to create your own six pack, therefore making each six pack special to that host.

Keep a pack of these gift card boxes and Sharpie in the car to scribble a little note to the host, and you’re done. (Really … it couldn’t be much easier. And you’ll look like Superguest for not showing up empty-handed.)

The six pack “cards” ring in at $9.99 for a four pack (with Prime shipping, thank you), so stock up on these and save yourself the $3.95 you’ll usually spend on a one-time use card. (Because he can use this gift box again … and it’s all about reduce, reuse, and recycle, rigth!?)

What would your perfect six pack be?


BREWS FOR YOU
ilovebigbetty.com
Instagram: @bigbettywine

#Brews4You #ad

 

Halloween. Potlucks. Thanksgiving. Football watching parties. Sunday dinners. Holiday parties. It gets exhausting thinking about how many times you’re going to be visiting someone’s home and, if you have some manners, toting a host/hostess gift. I’ve got you covered, my friends.

This cute company, Big Betty Wine (the real OGs thanks to their first hit product, the glass that fits a whole bottle of wine) has come to the rescue. All you need to do is order a pack of their Brews for You “six pack cards” and stop by your local Trader Joe’s on the way to the party. I love stopping into Trader Joe’s as they have seasonal and favorite individual beers your can pull to create your own six pack, therefore making each six pack special to that host.

Keep a pack of these gift card boxes and Sharpie in the car to scribble a little note to the host, and you’re done. (Really … it couldn’t be much easier. And you’ll look like Superguest for not showing up empty-handed.)

The six pack “cards” ring in at $9.99 for a four pack (with Prime shipping, thank you), so stock up on these and save yourself the $3.95 you’ll usually spend on a one-time use card. (Because he can use this gift box again … and it’s all about reduce, reuse, and recycle, right!?)

What would your perfect six pack be? Visit my Instagram and comment on the post about Brews for You before October 6 for the chance to win your own pack of gift boxes!


BREWS FOR YOU
ilovebigbetty.com
Instagram/Twitter: @bigbettywine

#Brews4You #ad

Get Buzzed by the Buzz Button

Have you heard of the new mouth numbing cocktail garnish cursing cocktails across the country? It’s the Szechuan button—also called the toothache plant, buzz button, and electric daisy—a yellow flower that can alter your tastebuds and numb your mouth, even with just a wee nibble.

The tongue-numbing garnish has even made its way to the menu at  TGI Fridays on its Blackberry Buzz Rita. The cocktail itself is refreshing, perfect for the Texas heat, but the buzz button gives the margarita some edge. Take a sip and enjoy the cocktail’s bright flavors, then take a nibble of the button. You’ll notice a slightly bitter flavor, then your tongue will tingle slightly. Once you feel a little prickle, take another sip of your cocktail and notice how the flavors evolve.

Beyond the Blackberry Buzz Rita, the rest of new TGIF cocktail menu* has a few unique offerings, from cocktails that glitter and change color to one that they just light on fire. Because, why the f**k not? TGIF’s bartenders go through a rigorous training program and are encouraged to continue learning, exemplified by their annual World’s Bartender Championship, so it follows that they try to push the envelope. Following the 2017 trend, TGIF even offers a version of a frosé made with rosé and strawberry. (If anything, it’s perfectly Instagrammable.) Hurry in, because these new cocktail will only be available for a limited time.

TGIF, as always, offers their well-known bar bites, juicy burgers, and nostalgic broccoli cheese soup. (Damnit, I’m craving BCS now!) Their new offerings let you one up yourself with the option to add a second meat to your dinner. I mean … who wants to choose just one meat when you can add on a steak? I enjoyed the ribs this trip for the first time, and they literally fell off the bone, proving that TGIF still gets it done in the kitchen.

Stop in and get buzzed by the buzz button before it’s off the menu!

These cocktail are only available at select TGI Fridays locations.


This is a sponsored post paid for by TGI Fridays.
Thanks to Kathryn H. for the hand modeling!

Four New Dallas Bars

Written by Alan James of Dallas Limousine

Here are four of the newest bars and restaurants to grace the Dallas night life scene. Whether you’re looking for an impressive selection of wine or crafted cocktails, there’s a little something for everybody to enjoy from this list. If you plan on drinking in Dallas, be sure to think about your mode of transportation. Instead of going through the process of ordering a new ride share service with every change of location, consider a limousine or party bus. It’s especially great for groups, as the spacious interiors offer the perfect setting for socialization. For more information, head over to dallaslimo.com.

SIXTY VINES
500 Crescent
Sixty Vines just opened their second location in Uptown Dallas! If you’ve been to their Plano location, you already know their wine selection is high quality. There is a mimosa bar here, frozen rose slushies, and beer for those who aren’t big wine drinkers. The meat and cheese platter is the perfect companion to a few glasses of wine here, so be sure to consider checking this spot out when you’re in the area.

ALICE DALLAS
1623 N Hall St
Head over to East Dallas to enjoy this Pan Asian cocktail bar with a subtle 80’s aesthetic complete with a disco ball. The food is in the style of tapas, so it’s the perfect spot to enjoy drinks and appetizers in a fun environment. Some of the popular dishes include the calamari, crab dip, steamed pork buns, and the meatballs.

RUINS
2653 Commerce St
In the heart of the Deep Ellum neighborhood you will find Ruins, a newly opened Mexican restaurant and bar. We love their huge outdoor patio and friendly service. . Their ceviche is notably fresh, made with red snapper and jalapenos! When you consider their authentic menu and inventive cocktails including various mezcals, this spot is a no brainer in all aspects

TACO DINER
7150 Skillman St
Taco Diner is a local expert in all things taco! There are two other locations in Plano and Irving, but this is the newest addition in the Lake Highlands area. From brisket to fried shrimp, nearly every type of meat is available in a fresh taco on their menu. Customers love their interesting Jalapeno Agave Margarita and Cocktails De La Casa adorned with fresh fruit.

How to Host the Perfect #TwistedTailgate

Tailgating is one of America’s most enjoyable pastimes. I personally went to a college where tailgating (at the time) was more of a thing than the football games themselves. That said, we saw some over-the-top tailgates, but nothing compares to the fun I had a few weekends ago with Twisted Tea. An inflatable cornhole game the size of a queen mattress (still bummed I didn’t get to jump on it … maybe next time), a tricked-out RV with a rooftop perfect for watching the NASCAR cars whiz by, and a fridge stocked to the brim with Twisted Tea—now, that’s a good way to tailgate.

So, one may ask, what are the tailgate essentials? I’m here to tell you a few things I learned from the tailgate pros with Twisted Tea.

COLD DRINKS

… in this case Twisted Tea!

A wise man once told me that, to host a great party, all you need is cold drinks and music and “people won’t notice the rest of is missing”. While I can only partly agree with that, he has a point. Having plenty of drinks on-hand (and Ubers at the ready) can make any tailgate feel like a true party.

(The Twisted Tea tailgate I attended at Texas Motor Speedway had coolers (plural) full of different flavors of Twisted Tea—traditional, half and half, and raspberry—a little something for everybody. And everyone was happy. Who wouldn’t be content enjoying the refreshing taste of the best selling hard iced tea in The States?)

#PROTIP from Twisted Tea: is to always make sure you keep your Twisted Tea cold for your guests!

GAMES

Cornhole, ladderball, wizard staff … we seem to be able to make a game of anything these days. Make sure to give your fellow tailgaters a couple options to keep them busy until game (or race) time.

FOOD

… Everything’s better (and more twisted) in Texas

A tailgate needs grub. Not frilly food—grub. While it’s nice to bring chicken salad on endive leaves … a hot dog will always taste better while pregaming. It’s science. Think ribs, burgers, tacos, brisket … you get it.

A few weekends ago, we were lucky enough to have a tailgate pro at the grill for us at the Twisted RV. Casey Webb, the new host of “Man vs. Food”, treated us to some delicious brisket tacos. He has been working with Twisted Tea to put together some twisted recipes that are perfect for tailgates. While we had brisket tacos, the Twisted Tea website has recipes that you can recreate at your own tailgate this summer – check them out here.


So, now that you heard a few things from my experience with Twisted Tea, what’s your next tailgate going to look like? Show Twisted Tea how you do it by submitting a picture  by uploading to Twitter or Facebook for the chance to win your very own #TwistedTailgate. Like, a serious tailgate with the Twisted Tea tricked-out RV. Take a picture and submit it, y’all … just make sure to invite me to your badass tailgate when you win.
Promotion details: 
twistedtea.com/race-day/twisted-tailgate

Join Twisted Tea for an upcoming tailgate! Check out the dates for upcoming tailgate parties on their website.

Picture courtesy of Twisted Tea

#UnwindWithATwist #TwistedTailgate #AD  #Sponsored
***I was compensated for this article by Twisted Tea***

Highland Park Hygge + Magnus Glogg

Since it’s a bit north, Scotland has shorter days in the winter; and the Winter Solstice, which we saw on December 21, is the shortest day of the year. With so much darkness, I’m sure it makes one want to cozy up next to a fire with a drink that will warm you from the inside. Scandinavians call this feeling “hygge”, which is their concept of coziness.

I’ve been a little of a Scandinavian fanatic this winter because, for some reason, I decided to reimagine my holiday decor. I went from over-the-top “Christmas threw up in here” to minimal with hints of gold and plenty of live garland. (And don’t get me started on live garland. My poor Roomba is exhausted from picking up after it.) What I loved about their holiday decor is that it’s simple and SHOULD feel cold, but it all felt cozy. I wanted to harness that feeling, but it’s hard to do when it’s 70º in the afternoon in December. So, when it finally dipped below 35º this week, I jumped on the chance to cozy up with a traditional Scandinavian warm cocktail to go with my decor.

I was excited to try my first glögg, which is a kind of mulled wine—warmed wine with spices—and curl up on a 33º night … because that’s what we in Texas call “cold”. Instead of the traditional base alcohol, wine, I opted for whisky and used a recipe from Highland Park Whisky that features its newest expression, Magnus.

The drink did its job. It warmed me up and gave me a just the right amount of alcohol to lull me into a bit of a daze. I’ll just say that I ended up taking an unexpected nap, but it was the best hour I’ve seen (or not seen, as it were) in months.

MARTIN’S GLÖGG (recipe by Highland Park Brand Ambassador, Martin Markvardsen)
1 bottle of Highland Park Magnus
1/4 cup simple syrup
2 lemons, juiced
Fresh ginger
Almonds
Raisins
Cinnamon sticks
Nutmeg
Star anise
Orange slices

Warm up the whiskey, then add the simple syrup, lemon, and ginger. Right before boiling, turn down to simmer and add the rest of the spices and ingredients. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes on low. Strain and serve warm with an apple slice garnish and a cinnamon stick.

McKinney Oktoberfest

It’s September, which means it’s time for Oktoberfests across the world celebrating all-things German—most often seen: beer and brats. (Have you ever understood why they aren’t actually in October?)

Here in North Texas, We’re lucky enough to have two world-class festivals—in Addison and McKinney. McKinney’s FREE* Oktoberfest, which happens to be their 10th this year, will be held September 22-24, and this family-friendly three-day event will offer everything from strudel and steins to entertainment like live music, children’s events/activities, and more.

Did we mention beer? Because there will be plenty of it. “McKinney’s Oktoberfest features authentic German bier such as Hofbrau Original and McKinney’s own beers from Franconia and TUPPS breweries. Oktoberfest offers an excellent opportunity to try multiple German flavors and styles all at one event with a bier garden that covers 14 blocks.” If you want to learn more about German beer, they’re offering Meet the Brewmaster sessions (reserve a spot online).  They’ll also be tapping a rare 200-year old keg. 😳 Now, that’s not messing around with the devil’s brew.

However, if you DO want to mess around with beer instead of drink it (at least for a short time), you can enter the Hofbrau Stein Holding Competition. The winner will get a paid trip to compete in Vegas. No kidding. If you’d rather move with it, they’re also having stein holding and beer barrel races along with giant beer pong. (Times when a beer gut doesn’t come in handy.)

If holding a beer isn’t entertaining enough for you, they’ll also have live music on two stages, brat eating contests, weenie dog races, and children’s entertainment. (And you can’t forget the chicken dance.)


mckinneyoktoberfest.com
#McKinneyOktoberfest, #DowntownMcKinney
Facebook: /downtownmckinney
Instagram: @DowntownMcKinney
Twitter: @DtownMcKinney

Friday, Sept. 22, 4 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 24, noon to 5 p.m.

 

*Some activities and food/drink require a nominal fee.

Admission and parking is free. Access a map of the free parking lots. A designated zone for drop-offs and pick-ups is located on the west side of Mitchell Park on Benge Street, between West Louisiana and West Virginia streets. Complimentary shuttle service is offered Friday and Saturday of the event. Festival goers can park off-site at First McKinney Baptist Church, and enjoy round trip transportation. Shuttles depart every 15 minutes. 

 

The Calamity of the Eclipse

So the eclipse is coming up on Monday, August 21, and people are really f**king excited about it. Since we won’t be able to see the next one until April 2024, I guess I get the appeal.

Everyone is talking about the super small town directly in the path that will get the best “view” of the eclipse that’s been inundated with entirely too many people, the best eyewear, etc … but I really only care what libation will be in my hand when I “see” it.

That said, I’ve seen a lot of other recipes for cocktails with a dark liquor float on top, but I thought I’d go for the next level of gimmick. I created ice balls with activated charcoal in them to look like the moon, and I mixed up a riff on a traditional gin cocktail, the Bees Knees, that’s gold in color … ya know, like the sun. I chose to use Calamity Gin because it has delightful citrus notes along with light hints of juniper, rose, and cardamom. I also threw in just a bit of Ancho Reyes ancho chile liqueur to give it some heat. To make it festive, I made ice balls colored with activated charcoal*.

***Before using charcoal in your cocktails, or before ingesting activated charcoal at all, really, you should know the risks. Yes, risks. Charcoal is showing up now in juices and capsules to act as a health aid to do anything from reduce gas, improve digestive health and lower cholesterol to acting as a killer hangover cure. But, what people aren’t telling you is that, while it does all that good s**t, it also can mess with your medications. Since it’s a natural purifier/filter, it can render your medications ineffective. Meaning: DO NOT DRINK THIS IF YOU’VE TAKEN ANY MEDICATION LESS THAN TWO HOURS BEFORE, AND DON’T TAKE ANYTHING FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR AFTER. That is, unless you’re ok with your birth control failing, ladies.***

CALAMITY OF THE ECLIPSE
2oz
 Calamity Gin
0.75oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
0.5oz honey syrup
0.5oz Ancho Reyes Liqueur
560mg activated charcoal (usually two capsules, do not use casing)*
5oz water

The night before, dilute the activated charcoal into 5oz of water. Stir, then funnel into a round ice mold. Freeze overnight.
Mix the remaining liquid ingredients together with ice until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over the charcoal ice ball. Enjoy immediately.

 *If you’re not comfortable using activated charcoal, there is black food coloring! Or even purchase a pomegranate juice for a fruity take on this cocktail.

Calamity Gin was nice enough to give me a bottle of gin to play around with to find a fun recipe for the eclipse and sponsor this post.

3 Killer Summer Gin Cocktails ft. Seersucker Southern Gin

Gin is a delightfully refreshing spirit, and this summer I decided I wanted to find some new favorite gin cocktail recipes. While I love a Ramos Gin Fizz in the summer, they’re incredibly involved (think a minimum of a minute and a half of just shaking … and shaking … and shaking a tin) and they require fresh ingredients like egg white and heavy cream that I don’t usually have on-hand. (I hardly have butter anymore since I travel so often!)

That said, the recipes I’ve now fallen in love with are not only simple to shake up, but don’t require any super perishable ingredients. Shake these goodies up this summer with some Seersucker Southern Style Gin (because it’s a delicious citrus-forward gin with adorable branding) and let me know how they come out!


This simple cocktail uses whole cherries, which brings back amazing memories of summers when I was young when we’d pick and eat cherries right from the tree. This one requires a blender to create a cherry syrup, but you can use frozen cherries if you’d like a shortcut!

Cherry-Lime Gin Rickey
½ cup Seersucker Southern Style Gin
12 dashes of Angostura Bitters
2-3 tablespoons simple syrup
1 cup pitted sweet cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted
⅓ cup lime juice
2 cups soda

In a blender, puree cherries and lime juice. Then add the soda, gin, and bitters, followed by the simple syrup to taste. Blend lightly to combine, then pour into a fresh glass, garnish with a lime wheel and a cherry. (Makes four cocktails.)

This is a delightful summer brunch cocktail. With light and bright ingredients, it is simple and tastes absolutely amazing.

Drunken Tulip
2 oz Seersucker Southern Style Gin
2 oz pomegranate juice
½ oz elderflower cordial
Squeeze of lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a glass over fresh ice. Add a splash of sparkling wine on top, then garnish the drink with a couple pomegranate seeds (if you have them) and a slice of lemon.

Another of my usual summer go-to cocktails is a simple Italian classic, the Negroni. I thought changing it up a bit would be just the ticket, so I infused my gin with watermelon, changed to dry vermouth (to combat the sweetness of the watermelon and lime), and added just a bit of lime to brighten it up. Watch the video I did with Dinner Reinvented for further commentary!

Watermelon Negroni
1 oz watermelon-infused Seersucker Southern Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz dry vermouth (a Negroni traditionally uses sweet vermouth)
Splash lime juice

Cut up a small watermelon and add flesh to 750mL of gin in an airtight container. Leave in the refrigerator for 4-6 days, tasting along the way.

Combine ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, stir, then strain into a fresh glass. Garnish with a watermelon spear.