Category Archives: Sponsored

BAR CART STYLING 101

Many of us have these beautiful bar carts but have no clue what needs to be on them. (I use mine as booze storage … if you’ve ever seen my place, you know that’s a necessary evil.) I was having a chat with my friend who owns Talking Out of Turn and she said a Bar Cart 1010 would be a helpful post … ask and you shall receive!

GENERAL SUGGESTIONS

  • Keep it classy. All due respect … this is not the place for your koozies and your favorite bottle opener from college.
  • Keel it simple. Don’t crowd your bar cart!
  • Let the booze do the talking. Many bottles are pretty enough to be art … show them off!

CART

The cart itself makes a bold statement. My brass and mirrored cart is from West Elm (and matches some other furniture), but you can find many different styles to reflect your home or the kind of drinks you make. Here are some suggestions for different  …

For the drinker who wants to be just like Susie: Terrace Bar Cart (West Elm, $399)
For the Romantic: Champagne Cart (World Market, $199) | Kiven round Bar Cart (Wayfair, $145)
For the Lucite Lover: Atka Bar Cart (Wayfair, $214)
For the Bourbon Lover: Wood & Gold Bar Cart (Target, $150)
For the Bachelor: all black Hoskin Bar Cart (Wayfair, $215) | Dram Bar Cart (Burrow, $295)
For the Tiki Fanatic: Opalhouse Rattan Bar Cart (Target, $150) | Darcy Bar Table (Williams-Sonoma, $595)

GLASSWARE

There’s not much more stunning than a nice set of glassware. Having a stack of rocks glasses I think is the classiest look on a bar car, and I think these Talking Out of Turn rocks glasses ($20, set of 4) really make an impact. This set of four glasses offers four different gold prints—I like the grid the best as it reminds me of some of the glasses my grandmother had on her bar cart.

If you’re allowing your guests to make their own cocktails, make sure to have a variety of glassware handy so your guests can make anything from shots to martinis.

BAR TOOLS

Choose a color and invest. I have multiple sets for my cocktail pictures, but you should choose a finish and lean in. I prefer tools by Barfly; their tools are well made, well weighted, and reasonably priced. Cocktail tools are NOT the place to buy cheap; you want tools that will be reliable. The last thing you want is for your cheap shaker to bust open when you start shaking a cocktail. (Aunt Sue still hasn’t forgiven me for the incident last Thanksgiving involving a whiskey sour with egg white.)

Basic cocktail tools I suggest you have on-hand: jigger (measuring cup), shaker, stirring glass, stirring spoon, strainer, and muddler.

Barfly sells their tools on their website or on Amazon.

COASTERS

I picked out these adorable canvas coasters from Talking Out of Turn ($12, set of four). I’ve just about had it with glass coasters that get stuck to the glass and then fall off. I’ve decided that fabric is the way to go. They’re easier to store and actually do their job!

BAR BOOKS

Your bar cart shouldn’t look like a bookshelf, but a well placed book (or stack) is not only convenient, but necessary. And many books look stunning enough to be considered art. My go-tos this season have been:
Drinking with Chickens by Kate Richards ($20): This book, y’all … is greatness. Kate actually drinks with her chickens and takes pictures of it. Look for hilarity and high balls from this book.
Beautiful Booze by Natalie Migliarini & James Stevenson (~$20): Another well named cocktail book … this one really is beautiful. My friends Natalie and James are beyond talented and this book is proof. The pictures are stunning and the cocktails are all well-balanced and unique.
Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand ($17.21): this lovely holiday cocktail book has plenty of merry mixes to keep our holiday spirits high
Texas Cocktails by Nico Martini ($16): This Lone Star State cocktail guide happens to be written by another friend of mine! Look for classic Texas cocktail recipes and signature cocktails from your favorite bars across the great state complete with the stories behind them and lovely photography.

INGREDIENTS – Booze, Bitters, & Modifiers

While you’ll never have EVERYTHING you need (there will always be a recipe that calls for some obscure liqueur from Norway or a bar spoon of Malört), you can have a basic stock of the following to make quite a few classics:

Basic liquors: whiskey, gin, tequila, rum, vodka (there are many different varieties of each, but these are the basics)
Modifiers: sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, orange liqueur (Cointreau), elderflower liqueur (St-Germain)
Aperitifs/Digestifs: Campari, Averna, Montenegro
Bitters (the salt and pepper of bartending): Angostura, Peychaud’s, orange bitters
Sugars/syrups: simple syrup, demerara (unbleached sugar), sugar cubes
Citrus juices: lemon, lime
Mixers: soda water, tonic, ginger beer
Garnish: Luxardo cherries, whole citrus (for the rind), dried fruits (these last longer and are edible!)

The space on a bar car is obviously limited, so if you run out of room, you can use something like this metallic wine total from Talking Out of Turn ($18) to hang a bottle on the side. (This also makes a great hostess gift with a bottle of wine or a unique amaro.)

ETC.

Some extra items to have handy:

  • Cocktail picks & swizzle sticks: for your garnish
  • Bottle opener
  • Wine bottle opener
  • Hand towel: it’s just good sense
  • Ice bucket: make sure to get good ice!
  • Ice mold: I love my custom gold ice press from Bevratech! It makes a perfect sphere every time, and it’s a great party trick!(presses start at $199)
  • Vegetable peeler: these allow you to peel a citrus garnish
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Cocktail napkins: it’s right there in the name …

Again, these are the BASIC ITEMS that will allow you to make quite a few cocktails. If y’all love this and want a Bar Cart 201, let me know!

 

 

CHAI CHAI AGAIN

We were all sad when Kentucky’s most well known horse race was rescheduled to September. And now we’re even more bummed that it was announced that it’ll be run with no spectators. (Though it’s understandable, given the circumstances … it still sucks!)

Luckily, my friends over at Maker’s Mark whisky want to give you some fall-inspired juleps to sip so you can still celebrate the fastest  two minutes in Sports in true southern style (with a julep in-hand) … and they brought me in to help you do it!

They sent me (and some of my other blogger buddies), a box with some horse race goodies and the following items: cinnamon, star anise, and a handful of syrups (mint, cran, vanilla , hazelnut, and noisette.) We were asked to pick at least two of those items to use in our juleps, and I went with THREE—vanilla syrup, cinnamon, and star anise.

Juleps are such simple cocktails (bourbon, sugar, water, and mint), so I wanted to keep it simple. So, I added some chai to the vanilla syrup (recipe to make your own below). I named it “Chai Chai Again” because I thought that was a name that could actually be given to a horse running the race. (I will honestly say that I partially bet on horses with great names.)

I will be making this cocktail often … it’s quite easy once you make the vanilla chai syrup (also easy to make)! Upon first sip, I was delighted and really wished it was starting to get chilly out. The chai lent some spice and the Maker’s Mark 46 complimented it perfectly thanks to the extra nine weeks they let it rest in a limestone cave with French oak staves added.

CHAI CHAI AGAIN
2 oz Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon whisky
1/2 oz chai vanilla syrup (recipe below)
Mint Leaves
Cinnamon stick garnish & sprinkle

Combine whisky and syrup in a julep cup, stir, then top with pellet ice. garnish with mint leaves and sprinkle with a touch of ground cinnamon. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, fresh (slapped) mint, and a star anise.

CHAI VANILLA SYRUP
4 chai tea bags (straight chai … make sure it’s not chai spice!)
1/3 C maple syrup
1 T vanilla bean paste (extract acceptable if paste isn’t available)
1 C water

In a pot, boil water, then remove from heat and add tea bags. Allow to steep for 12 minutes, then remove bags and stir in maple syrup and vanilla. Put back on heat and bring to a boil again for 3 minutes. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Some of my lovely neighbors, Victoria and Stuart, had planned to attend this year and were ready to be dressed to the nines with matching outfits, hats, etc. … and even had some custom masks made so they’d look fancy AF in the stands. I was sad that they were going to miss it, so I invited them out to show off their duds and drink some of my vanilla chai juleps with me during this shoot! Don’t they look great?!

Big thanks to @makersmark for letting me play along on this sponsored campaign! #ad

Pour a Drink & Stay In with DeKuyper’s Classic Ol’ Fashion Liqueur

With bars across the U.S. closing (temporarily, we hope), we’ve all been challenged so far this year to make our own cocktails. I believe that the Old Fashioned has long been a cocktail that allows us to define ourselves, much like our Starbucks order. (For example, I’m a triple grande almond milk latte with sugar-free vanilla over light ice. Because I can make those demands.) But, whether you watch your bartender’s every move to understand the right way to flame an orange peel or eyeball something until it looks like it’s almost the right color, we could all use a few tips on the home bar front when it comes to making one of the most popular cocktails of the last decade.

When making an old fashioned, there are some shortcuts that can offer not only a great drink, but consistency. And to me, consistency is key. If you have friends over and one guest’s first cocktail is watered down and the next has too much bitters, you’ve already lost the battle. So, looking for something to give your home bar a consistent cocktail every time, we found DeKuyper Classic Ol’ Fashion Liqueur to be a reliable option.

They make it pretty easy to put together your cocktail … pour some of their liqueur over ice and just add bourbon. (We can all handle that, right?) They call it an easy “two-step solution for cocktail lovers of all skill levels.” They describe it as a “tart citrus balanced by bitter notes and a touch of sweetness, followed by hints of orange and bakery spice”. It’s easy, consistent, and you never have to worry about having the right ingredients on-hand or throwing on a mask and gloves to go to the liquor store to pick up a bottle of bitters.

On a recent road trip, I took the bottle along so we didn’t have to bring all the ingredients for an Old Fashioned. Poured over ice and combined with Jim Beam Black, all I had to think about bringing along was the garnish!

DeKuyper Classic Ol’ Fashioned Liqueur
Order on Drizly.com

This is how easy it is! …


DeKuyper® Cordials & Liqueurs
15%-50% Alc./Vol.
©2020 John DeKuyper & Sons, Frankfort; Clermont, KY.
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

This blog post is a collaboration with DeKuyper

#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

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***