Category Archives: Sponsored

A McKinney Must-Do: Arts in Bloom

The annual Arts in Bloom and Wine Festival is coming back to McKinney in a few short weeks (April 7-9) … and they’ve added two days! The festival will feature work by national and local artists, music by local acts, great food from McKinney restaurants, and … of course … wine from local growers.  (Do you get the local angle yet?)

The festival was recently named on “GuideLive’s list of 50 can’t-miss festivals this spring” … so that’s something.

So, what must you know before heading to historic McKinney?

  • There will be a Wine Garden featuring wine from 14 regional Texas wineries.  Wine, y’all.  Buy a commemorative wine glass for $20 and get 10 tastings to find your favorite.  (They’ll have wine by the glass and local beers available, too.)
  • You can soak up the booze with food from vendors serving up goodies from state fair favorites to Smoked Gouda burgers and gourmet popsicles.
  • You can stay a while and enjoy the live music on one of two stages with a little something for everyone.
  • It’s free.  Even parking is free with shuttle service straight to the festival.
  • You’ll see some fantastic art from more than 150 artists including sculptors, painters, photographers, woodworkers, and more from right here in North Texas showing right beside national artists.  And all of it will be for sale.
  • It’s family-friendly.  They’ll have a Kids Creation Station where your little ones can do arts and crafts and be entertained by someone other than you.
  • Frisbees are not allowed.  (Just sayin’.)

For more information about the festival, call 972-547-2660 or visit www.artsinbloomtx.com

ARTS IN BLOOM
artisinbloomtx.com
2017 Dates: April 7-9
Historic Downtown McKinney (111 N. Tennessee Street)

 

 

Afternoon Picnic in the Park

Spring is coming, but it seems Dallas has already decided to give us spring weather.  With perfect sun nearly every day, it’s important to get outside and enjoy it before the temperatures are too warm to do so.  I invited some friends to join me in the park across the street from my home for a little bubbly picnic to enjoy the weather.  (Somehow we caught the only overcast day we’ve seen in a while, but it was still lovely.)

No weekend meal before 3pm is ever complete without bubbles, so I stocked up on Segura Viudas Brut Cava and Rosé … and plenty of ice.  (I used Segura Viudas’s bottle calculator to determine how many bottles to get … and then got an extra bottle because I know my friends so well.)  The cava was a nice choice thanks to its crispness and mild floral note, which is light and pairs nicely with many items.  We started on the sparkling wine while we set up–pillows, blankets, plenty of trays (key), and some snacks.

While we were focused on the drink, we figured the definition of a picnic was a meal outside, so we each brought a little something to snack on.  We started with the biscuit bar, complete with homemade whipped honey butter, Irish Whiskey Jam, Trader Joe’s Fig Butter, and other goodies.  Kathryn brought caprese skewers and watermelon/feta skewers, both drizzled with balsamic glaze, and we sprung for Kuby’s chicken salad (really, the best around) with endive and crackers.  For sweets, we picked up donut holes and I made no-bake cherry cheesecakes, which were incredibly easy and tasted fantastic.

The perfect little treat for the end of the meal was Strawberries and Cava gummies made with Segura Viudas But Cava by Chris Henley (a.k.a. Betty Cocktail).  I am very particular about the consistency of gummies and I LOVED these.  The flavor was delightful, and we were told that they still have booze in them, which is unique for gummies as the alcohol is usually cooked out.  (Chris also brought her little pup along to enjoy the festivities.)

 

The picnic was a delight

Just make sure you get a wagon to haul everything!

 

SEGURA VIUDAS CAVA
seguraviudasusa.com
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#OpenUpCava #SeguraViudas

***Special thanks to Segura Viudas for buying the bubbly for our picnic!***


GALentine’s Day Brunch

I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day (and no, not in a sad girl way), but after years of low key, forced romance with respective boyfriends, I’ve learned that it’s actually a great opportunity to spoil your friends.  Because, really, love comes in all sorts of forms … isn’t that what Hugh Grant told us in “Love Actually”?

I got some of my girl friends together (and surprisingly, two dudes) for a fancy, little plein air brunch this past weekend.  I went a little full-tilt girly brunch with French macarons, yogurt parfaits, cookies, quiche, and croissants.  I didn’t make a dang thing (very unlike me) because I wanted to have one no-stress party.  It was the best decision I have made in a while.

I sweetened the deal (and ensured a longer brunch session) with a mimosa bar featuring Segura Viudas Brut Cava, blueberry and orange juices, and St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur.  Everyone was able to make their perfect mimosa concoction.  Trader Joe’s has a fantastic selection of unique juices for mimosas, just stay away from the carbonated options as it can make your mimosa too effervescent.

A fun, extra touch on the brunch was adding party favors at each place.  Segura Viudas makes the cutest little (totally totable) splits that were perfect as placeholders.

So, what are your favorite Valentine’s Day traditions–both with S.O.s and friends?

SEGURA VIUDAS CAVA
seguraviudasusa.com
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#OpenUpCava #SeguraViudas

 

***Special thanks to Segura Viudas for sponsoring our brunch!***


Healthy & Happy in the New Year

Can you believe that Christmas came and went already?  Yeah … me neither. With all the New Year’s Resolutions that probably (for most of us) have already been broken, I made one that is a winner–drink more and get healthyish.  But, Susie, how is that a thing?  Sit back and let me throw some learning your way.

Here are two things helping me through my resolution:

I learned that sparkling wine … is healthy.

To begin, sparkling wine kicks the other wines’ butts ringing in around 80-90 calories per glass.  The other guys?  Closer to 110-300.  See … we’re already on the way!

Even better, (at least for me) the bubbles seem to make me drink sparkling wine a little slower than non-bubbly booze. And, even if I’m drinking slower, sparkling seems to make me feel a little boozy sooner than other drinks. (Is that just me?) So, two more reasons that may I consume less!

Working out CAN be fun.

As I’ve learned, there are fun ways to get your steps and reps in. While I love to run alone to clear my head, I have recently become a fan of buddy workouts; they motivate you and keep you accountable. (Oh, and you have someone to grab a smoothie with after sweatin’.)

If you need a few, quick workouts to get you started, check out Melissa Rountree’s fitness tips on the #DrinkingwithSusie feature we did together.

I have also been enjoying Camp Gladiator, which is a butt-kicking workout, but the high-energy, friendly instructors keep you motivated and moving, so it flies by. Find one of their super convenient classes (a ton of places and even more class times) and then email me for a referral to knock some $$$ off. 😉

So, before popping out to the millions of random shindigs that happen in January (we thought we were done with the holiday parties, but housewarmings, baby showers, girl’s nights … geez), grab a totally totable split of your favorite sparkling (like my little bottle of Segura Viudas Brut Cava). That way, with all your hard work, you’ll not only look great, but you’ll feel great by starting the night on a healthy note.

If your resolution was to be more generous or a better friend, take a whole bottle to share!  Then you’ll look like you’re not only a baller, but then you can tell them how healthy it is for them and you’ll look like you care … like, a lot. (And don’t forget to deck your bottle out with a tag like this one by Southern Fried Paper!)

If you’re really into the healthy cocktails (believe me, they’re out there), adding a couple of carefully chosen ingredients may help in other ways. I enjoy this cocktail because adding ginger and lemon have health benefits of their own. Ginger is a natural nausea and indigestion remedy and lemon is jam packed with vitamins.

LIGHT(EN) UP THE NIGHT
1oz vodka
1/2oz lavender simple syrup
1/2 oz ginger liqueur
1/2 oz lemon juice
Segura Viudas Brut Cava

Add first four ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a coupe (or any martini-style glass) and top with Segura Viudas Brut Cava. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Around my home lately, I’ve been favorite Segura Vuidas Brut Cava, which happens to pair well with autumnal flavors thanks to its slightly spicy notes. My favorite pairing? Just about anything pumpkin, which happens to be super healthy, too! I got a little crazy this holiday and kept making the pumpkin bread below and gave them to neighbors with the little splits in the picture above. BEST.NEIGHBOR.EVER.

PUMPKIN BREAD
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine ingredients with mixer and pour into two prepared (greased) loaf pans. (Makes two medium loaves or four smaller loaves.)

So, let’s tackle this year and get healthy-ish with a little help from our favorite sparkling wine and the buddy system!


SEGURA VIUDAS CAVA

seguraviudasusa.com
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#OpenUpCava #SeguraViudas

 

***Special thanks to Segura Viudas for sponsoring this post.***


Llano Wines for the Holidays

The holiday season is, of course, one of my favorite times of the year, but let’s be real … between the parties, cookie baking, gift shopping, and trying to finish up the work that pays for all of it before the fiscal year ends, sometime we need a little shortcut.  So, instead of stressing yourself out trying to think of a gift for every host, pop into the liquor store down the street, buy a case of Llano Wines, and be ready for a party with as little effort as grabbing a bottle and a gift tag on the way out the door.

Llano Wines in Lubbock is the largest, best-selling premium winery in Texas and produces almost 50 varietals of wine, some are even award-winners! Their two best-selling items–2015 Signature White and 2014 Cellar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon–pair with anything from grilled chicken to a holiday steak dinner (respectively).

susiedrinks-9

The West Texas winery offers wines from $10-$35 and even offer the chance to customize your bottle’s label for just $5.  Llano Wines should be available at your local retailer, or just order online … because we all deserve to be a little lazy around the holidays.

LLANO WINERY
llanowine.com
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#LlanoWine

Sweat Out the Chill with a Marker’s Mark Hot Toddiablo

Y’all … this weather is weird.  30º one day, 60º the next … it’s enough to give anyone a sniffle.  The best cure?  A hot toddy.

The Hot Toddy (or tottie or “hot whiskey”) is traditionally made using a dark spirit (usually whiskey, rum, or brandy), hot water, sugar, and some spice.  Typically, we see lemon added to make it … you know … more “medicinal”.  And while they’re said to be a good way to mitigate cold symptoms, I’ve found that I enjoy them whether I’m sickly or not.

The word “toddy” itself comes from the Hindi work tārī, which was a drink they made using the toddy palm.  The British adopted and adapted the drink (as they do), and then it made its way to America’s deep south and they did the same using rum and local spice and sugars, but these drinks were served cool.  The more well-known HOT version is thought to have come from Scotland and was used as a cold cure.  

Wherever it came from, I’m a fan.  That said, I came up with a version that will add some (literal) spice to your holiday …

Hot Toddiablo
1½ oz Maker’s Mark
1/4 oz Ancho Chili Demerera Syrup*
1 bag Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice tea
3 oz hot water
2 dashes Orange bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass, then stir until combined.
Glass: hot drink glass

Garnish: orange slice and cinnamon stick (and slice of ancho chile if desired)

Ancho Chili Demerera Syrup
2 cups demerera sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
1 cup water
2 ancho chilis, stemmed and seeded

Bring ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes.  Strain through a find sieve, and let cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

susiedrinks-6-copy


Maker’s Mark: ~$30/750mL
Tea: Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, $2-$24
Cup: Crate and Barrel, $1.95

***Maker’s Mark generously provided me with product to create this recipe.***

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.***

Some of my Favorites …

Dallas is a great city.  With more restaurants per capita than any other city in the US, it’d be impossible for me to put together a full list of my favorite spots to eat and drink (because I eat and drink a LOT), but I’ve pulled together SOME of my favorite restaurants and a couple other spots I enjoy for visitors to our fair city.  I’ll add to it in the future … but it’s a good place to start!

EAT & DRINK

TRINITY HALL
An Irish pub fashioned after a pub in Dublin, Trinity Hall offers a wide selection of whiskeys, food for any special diet needs, live music, and too many events to begin to list.  Go for a refreshing Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Moscow Mule on a warm evening on their patio … it doesn’t get too much better than that.   (If you want to try Crabbie’s for yourself, check it out at a tasting or event next week during Crabbie’s Week! They’re doing fun activations all over Dallas.)
5321 E Mockingbird Ln #250 (Mockingbird Station), trinityhall.tv

Image-1-2

E BAR TEX MEX
If you were a fan of Primo’s back in the day (like eight years ago), then this is your spot; the owners and chefs from Primo’s moved here when the new owners took over.  It’s by far my favorite Tex-Mex in Dallas–though I’m not sure if it’s the food or the nostalgia.
1901 North Haskell Ave Suite #120, ebartexmex.com

PARLIAMENT
This craft cocktail spot is one of my favorite places in all of Dallas.  The bartenders know what they’re doing, so trust them and don’t be a dick.  Visit on a week night to get the full effect or during happy hour (which is surely one of the best values in Dallas) or while it’s raining.  (They offer their hh prices anytime it rains!)
2418 Allen St (Uptown), parliamentdallas.com

POKEY O’S COOKIES AND ICE CREAM
Guys … you’ve got delicious cookies and Blue Bell Ice Cream and they make them into a sandwich.  It doesn’t get much better than that.
3034 Mockingbird Lane, pokeyos.com
(Full disclosure … my parents own this place.  But try it out and tell me it’s not delicious enough to be on this list.)

SHOP

SOCIETY BY JACKSON VAUGHN
This little candle and knick-knack shop is impossible to leave empty-handed.  They have clever Dallas-centric cards
403 N Bishop Ave (Bishop Arts District), shopatsociety.com

Courtesy of Society
Courtesy of Society

WEST ELM
This minimalist home goods and furniture store may be a chain, but they always have the coolest haute barware and even some unique goodies like bitters and syrups to try out.  Don’t miss their section featuring goods from local makers or the wine candles.
5307 E Mockingbird Ln #100 (Mockingbird Station), westelm.com

GYPSY WAGON
Ladies can get a little hippy dippy here with a fun selection of clothing, jewelry, and accessories and fun home items.
2928 N Henderson Ave (Henderson Ave), the-gypsy-wagon.com

BULLZERK
The goods and duds from this local shop are fresh and delightfully subversive.  Because, really, “Dallas: it’s what everyone in Dallas is talking about.”
1909 Greenville Ave (Lowest Greenville), bullzerk.com

GET OUT

With all the drinking I do in dark bars, sometimes I need to spend time in the sunlight.

CEDAR RIDGE PRESERVE
This is about as good as “hiking” in Dallas gets without making a day of it.  Enjoy plenty of trails and some decent views, just make sure to take plenty of water.
7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy (Cedar Hill), audubondallas.org/cedar-ridge-preserve

KLYDE WARREN PARK
The park perched on top of a highway offers daily, free activities, and plenty of green space.  Check out the food trucks that are different every day and Savor for a cocktail.
2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Suite 403 (Downtown), klydewarrenpark.org

DALLAS ARBORETUM
I love outdoor activities, and outdoor events that you can take your own goodies to are even better.  That’s why the concerts at the Arboretum are a can’t-miss for me.  Take a picnic (complete with booze) and enjoy the themed music, or simply visit to enjoy the grounds.
8525 Garland Road (Lakewood), dallasarboretum.org

arbor


***I am a paid endorser for Halewood International Limited and received compensation, including free product, for support of Halewood International Limited and its products.***