Category Archives: Sponsored

2014 Festive Finds Gift Guide

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SNAIL MAIL COCKTAIL
CHEERS by Southern Fried Paper & SusieDrinksDallas
,  a collaboration I’ve been working on with Southern Fried Paper, is now available for purchase! With boozy cards, prints, coasters, swizzle sticks, and more,  you can send a friend a note telling him he’s your cup of tea whiskey!

I mean … if you like me at all you’ll check out what we’ve done.  No pressure.

Price: $3.50 – $20
Purchase: At the Southern Fried Paper retail section of 2524 Converse Street or online starting December 15.

vertuo-chrome

BUZZED AND WIRED

Nespresso’s new Vertuoline brewing system is sleek, slim, and pretty damn sexy looking.  Oh, and it brews a damn good cup of espresso.  It was one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things” this year … and, well … if it’s good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for me.

If you need ideas for cocktails to get you buzzed and wired, check out some of my Buzzed Boozing recipes here!

Price: $299 for the VertuoLine system
Purchase: Online or at the NorthPark Center boutique

I obviously need something to put my yummy espresso in … duh.  I chose Nespresso’s Pixie Espresso cups in black (Ristretto), but they come in a bunch of colors, including rose gold!  (I won’t judge your color choice.)  I also just realized that it looks like a pod upside-down.

Price: $35
Purchase: Online or at the NorthPark Center boutique

shotwell caramels

CHEWABLE COCKTAILS
Anyone can make an Old Fashioned in a glass, but how many of you can say that you can make it as a rich, chewy caramel?  Shotwell has a cute 4-flavor caramel sampler that includes each of their four featured flavors, including Old Fashioned and Craft Beer & Pretzel that is perfect for boozy gifting!

Price: $19.75
Purchase: Shotwell Candy Co.

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DON’T BE A TOOL … JUST GIVE A TOOL
My whole apartment is black, white, and gold, and that makes finding bar tools a bitch to find.  Luckily West Elm’s Deco Barware Collection is a set of gold-finish bar tools to help me round out my bar cart (which coincidentally was also purchased at West Elm).

Price: $79
Purchase: at West Elm or online

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BOOZY JAM
With flavors like “Drunken Monkey Jam” and “You’re My Boy Blue-berry Bourbon Jam”, you can’t go too far wrong with this 4-flavor boozy jam sample pack. Because toast deserves better than boring jelly.

Price: $15 for the 4 flavor sampler, $10 per full-size jar
Purchase
: The Jam Stand

tumbleweed

WEAR YOUR COCKTAIL ON YOUR SLEEVE
A local t-shirt company started by two Frisco teachers is making a splash with their soft, wearable tees.  Tumbleweed TexStyles lets you show your Texas pride … and your drink order!

BONUS: I’m giving away one WINE t-shirt (pictured right) this holiday season! To enter to win the shirt, you can either post this gift guide on Twitter and tag #FestiveFinds and @drinkdallas  -OR-  post your favorite gift on this guide to Instagram and tag #FestiveFinds and @susiedrinksdallas

Price: starting at $9.50 (and get 20% off any apparel, gear, and glassware with the code SUSIE)
Purchase
: Tumbleweed TexStyles

LOBALL A HIGHBALL
While cold balls can be a problem, these are a solution.  The LoBall Whiskey Sphere is a stainless steel ball is filled with a cooling liquid that has a lower freezing point than water, so it stays cooler for longer.

Bonus: you can have it engraved with any text you’d like or even a custom image for just $10.

Price: $24.99 – $34.99
Purchase: sipdark.com

IN-FLIGHT BUZZ
Complete with a spoon/muddler hybrid, bitters, cane sugar packets, a coaster, and recipes, this Carry-On Cocktail Kit is a tin that helps make the crying baby and the dry, recirculated air a little less awful.  Plus, getting drunk at 10,000 feet is easier.

Price: $24
Purchase: Food52.com

BuzzBar

AN ICE CREAM DREAM
This is all you need to know: alcohol + ice cream.  Brilliant, right?  BuzzBars offers sorbet and ice cream bars in flavors like Blitzed Berry (strawberry ice cream & rum), The Drunken Cookie (Cookies ’n Cream ice cream & whiskey), and the Larry King Heart Bar (berry sorbet & merlot wine).  You can order their BuzzPacks now (12-bar cases)!  Order ASAP because they’ll go out December 15-24.

Price: $100/BuzzPack (includes gift wrap & overnight shipping)
Purchase: At Spec’s or at buzzbaricecream.com.


PAST HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDES:

2013
2012
2011

For more gift ideas, you can click here.

Buzzed Boozing

 SPIKED PUMPKIN LATTE (recipe by Kimberly Sneed)

10 oz strong coffee, brewed (I recommend Nespresso’s Hazelino or Vanizio)
2 oz International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer
1½ oz whipped cream vodka

Brew the coffee. Add creamer and 1½ ounces of whipped cream vodka. Top with whipped cream.

2014-11-30_13-54-02BAILEY’S ESPRESSO MARTINI
2 oz Baileys® Original Irish Cream
¼ oz Smirnoff® No. 21 Vodka
1 shot of espresso, chilled (I recommend Nespresso’s Voltesso)
3 coffee beans

Combine Baileys, vodka, espresso, and ice into shaker.  Strain into martini glass. Garnish with coffee beans. 

THE BLIND ABBOT
1½ oz Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey
1 oz chilled freshly brewed coffee (I recommend Nespresso’s Odacio or Vanizio)
¾ oz Galliano Ristretto
½ oz Cinnamon Syrup
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Whipped cream and ground cinnamon (for serving)

Combine whiskey, coffee, liqueur, cinnamon syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker; fill shaker with ice. Shake until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into an Irish coffee glass and top with whipped cream and cinnamon.

BAILEY’S JAVA DROP SHOT
1 oz Baileys® Original Irish Cream
½ oz Coffee Liqueur
Chocolate covered espresso beans
Whipped Cream

Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into shot glass. Top with whipped cream and espresso beans.

vintage coffee cocktailVINTAGE COFFEE COCKTAIL
14.9 oz Guinness
1 tablespoon malt extract (optional)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
½ cup heavy cream
4 oz hot espresso
1½ oz Paddy Old Irish Whiskey
1 teaspoon mild-flavored (light) molasses
Ground nutmeg

Combine Guinness and malt extract, if using, in a small saucepan; scrape in vanilla seeds and add pod. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, swirling occasionally, until reduced by one-third, about 12 minutes; remove vanilla bean and let cool.
Whisk cream and 1 ½ oz. Guinness reduction in a small bowl until slightly thickened.
Stir espresso, whiskey, and molasses in an Irish coffee glass until molasses is dissolved. Top with Guinness whipped cream and nutmeg.

WAKE THE DEAD SHOT
1 oz Patron XO Cafe coffee liqueur
1 oz Patron Silver Tequila
½ oz espresso (I recommend Nespresso’s Diavolitto)

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a shot glass.

TGI Happy Hour!

So, us Dallasites seem to forget about the West End from time to time.  Luckily, a friend was in town for work and we decided to take a little jaunt into the historic district to enjoy a couple cocktails and Endless Appetizers at TGI Friday’s with a third buddy.  Parking was easy at the meters, which is usually what us non-Downtowners see as the turn off for venturing into the one-way-street nightmare that can be navigating Downtown Dallas.  (Just make sure to set your phone’s timer so you don’t get a ticket!  That $25 slip of death can really ruin a happy hour.)

During the happy hour (which got even happier after each drink), we got into some Jackberry Smashes, Peach Honey Smashes, Hendrick’s Coolers, regular ole’ Captain and Cokes, and more.  (Way more.)  Since it was happy hour and Endless Apps were still in full effect, I decided to treat.  Three+ cocktails each, appetizers, and the epic Oreo Madness later “baller” status was achieved that evening for just $67.  (You’re welcome, Cody and Ben.)

Word on the street is that they’re doing a rib special (stay tuned for the delicious details on that).

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TGIF!

I love going to out to eat.  It’s an opportunity for my wife and I to relax, talk and eat and drink (obviously). Deciding where to go can, at times, be a point of contention … You see, I’m against fast food (unless it’s Whataburger and I am on the way home from a bar), making reservations assumes we know where we want go prior to us pulling up, and, like most people, we live on a budget.  So it may or may not come as a surprise that I value, and, dare say, appreciate the role the big chain restaurants play in the restaurant scene.  (To me there is something almost comforting about these places.) 

I remember TGI Friday’s from back in the day as more of a restaurant with a sports bar feel than a place I expect to find craft cocktails, artisan appetizers and “hand-crafted” food.  I checked out the Addison location down the street for me and realized the Friday’s from my younger days is long gone. (Rest in peace.)  They are embracing change, shaking that suburban eatery rap and catering to a younger generation of foodies and more particular cocktail and beer drinkers. The hodge podge of wall decor is gone with cool photos and prints in their place and the waiter’s 37 pieces of flair have been replaced with an impressive level of knowledge on how to make a drink.

We struck gold with (read: devoured) our Ahi Tuni Crisps, a combination one might not expect of blackened Ahi tuna on a tortilla chip with guacamole, jalapeños, Sriracha sauce and Avocado Vinaigrette, topped with a cucumber-wasabi ranch.   Followed by an order of Bacon Mac N Cheese Bits.  My Friday’s Spike Lemonade (made with Tito’s homemade vodka, lemon and lime juice, agave among other things) washed down the starters I would normally never eat, but couldn’t resist at least trying … and then ended up finishing the plate.

Before night was done we also had gone through a Hendricks Cooler, Best Friday’s Margaritas and a Double Berry Mojito, which made me eager to come back again.  It was one of those kind of meals where you end up full before the entrees are even brought out but you can’t help but eat most of it.  (Some of our steaks ended up coming home with us to be enjoyed the following day.)

And what is dinner without dessert? Those who know me know I do my best to eat healthy(ish), but I was able to muster the willpower to resist the Oreo Madness.  The same can not be said about my wife…

It’s no secret that competition and staying power among restaurants is difficult, especially in a city with a thriving food scene like Dallas.  Of note, this TGI Friday’s location happens to be one of the more tenured restaurant establishments in Addison (RIP: Trulucks, Mi Piaci, Sambuca, Bennigans, Mi Piaci, Jake’s, Champps, Duke’s, etc).  Having sampled what they’re cookin’ and shakin’ up over there, I’d encourage you to stop in and check out what they have going at their new Addison location!

TGI FRIDAYS
www.tgifridays.com
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Current Drinks Specials (daily specials may vary from TGIF to TGIF!)

  • Monday – $5 Bloody Mary, Mimosa and Calls
  • Tuesday – $5 Jack Daniels
  • Wednesday – $3 martinis & half priced bottles of wine
  • Thursday – $3 drinks

 

***TGI Friday’s are supporters of the SDD team and provided complimentary gift cards for this meal***

 

 

Layover Shmayover.

So what does one do when she misses the check-in threshold for luggage when flying out to a family reunion?  She gets a later flight and posts up at a bar … because flying after a couple cocktails is just better.

The staff of the DFW Airport TGI Friday’s is kind of amazing.  Rodney and a couple nice ladies greeted me and found me a nice little perch at the bar.  Rodney was one of those people that had a line for everything … and he had a few choice ones he dropped during our conversation.

photo 1-2Landon and Chris were the barmen making things happen on this particular Friday afternoon, and they were quite friendly and accommodating.  I started with one of my favorites, the Peach Honey Smash (Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, fresh mint, peach purée, citrus juices, peach slice).  It’s perfectly sweet, but not too much so.  I could easily drink about ten of these, but then I’d end up pulling a David Hasselhoff … and that’s not a good look.

I made friends with the people around me, shot the shit, and ended up buying a round of Fireball for a few of us before ordering a Pick Three-for-All for myself.  (Don’t judge … I was on vacation.)  I went with the boneless buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, and the pretzel sticks with cheese dip.  While indulgent, it was frickin’ delicious and hit the spot.

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Round three was up to Landon.  He made me a delicious fruity drink (not on the menu) that was gone in about two sips.  (If you aren’t too picky … you should play my game.  I tell the bartender to make me something delicious and to stay away from tequila and grapefruit — because, ew.  I’ve gotten some really delicious drinks that I’d never think to order thank to this game!)

Anyway … best “layover” I’ve ever had.  Make it happen for yourself next time you have a few spare minutes at the airport!

Spark Something New at P.F. Chang’s

P.F. Chang’s was kind of my bf’s and my Sunday night date spot.  We would sidle up to the bar for a late dinner and a few drinks and enjoy the goings-on behind the bar and whatever we decided to gorge on that evening.

Luckily, we have some new items to explore!  P.F.  Chang’s has a new menu of small plates, sushi, and some yummy drinks to try out.  How about a Twisted Whiskey Sour?  Or a Coconut Water cocktail?  Or a Long Island Rum Tea … yeah, they’re all pretty good.  (Yes, I tried them all … yes, I had a hangover.)  While their drinks have never been strong enough to get you into any trouble, the flavors are light and refreshing.

We enjoyed drinks (and more drinks), a couple appetizers (Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps … because Lettuce Wraps and Edamame Hummus–which was so f**king delicious that I was tempted to order another plate of it), some of their new sushi offerings (the Tempura Shrimp Hand Rolls are kind of out of this world and the Ahi Tartare is a winner), and dessert.  The Great Wall of Chocolate is always a winner (especially the day after … right out of the fridge … with some extra raspberry sauce …) and their new Sweet Vanilla Cream Wontons (just get two because they’re really rich).  Order a latte to-go so the drinks from the night before don’t slow you down too much.

Check out their new HAPPY HOUR offerings, and their full, refreshed menu.

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BONUS: P.F. Chang’s is giving you the chance to win a happy hour for you and your friends!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!

Grapevine Wine Tours

So … I’m all about unconventional outings–for dates, girls’ nights, and Tuesdays.  Sometimes it’s nice to get out of dodge and head to the ‘burbs, and Grapevine Wine Tours offer a fun evening away from the Big D that highlights Grapevine’s wine options.

I was lucky to join a group of media people on a wine tour on a Wednesday evening.  The group met around 5:30pm and piled into one of their small, air conditioned busses to visit three wine-centric stops in Grapevine led by a GWT representative who fed us fun facts about the city of Grapevine and its wine offerings.  (Fun fact: Texas is the 4th largest wine producing state!)  Each tour will visit three of the seven partners in Grapevine, some vineyards, some tasting rooms, and some restaurants.  The tour lasts around 4.5 hours and always includes a meal.

Our group’s itinerary was:

  • Homestead Winery – this cute, little home close to Downtown Grapevine produces wine from vines grown in Ivanhoe, Texas.  The owner of the winery walked us through a tasting of their wines (15+ — yikes).  They have some wines that are incredibly unique and were happy to talk us through the flavors and nuances of the wines we were tasting.
  • Delaney Vineyard – this vineyard is the only local vineyard and boasts 10 acres of vines, a winery, and gorgeous tasting room onsite.  We were treated to a tour of the entire site and a tasting of their offerings.  (I left with a bottle of wine from their gift shop … because I have a shopping problem.)
  • Winewood Grill – we enjoyed a three-course meal at Winewood, complete with suggested wine pairings.  I opted for the BBQ ribs, and it was a solid choice.  They had live music in the bar, which was a nice bonus.

GWTs will coordinate with your party to determine an appropriate itinerary and pick-up location (at one of three Grapevine hotels, Embassy Suites Outdoor World, Hilton DFW Lakes, or the Gaylord Texan).  Each tour is customized based on your group’s size and preferences.

Call 817.259.WINE (9463) or visit www.GrapevineWineTours.com for tour prices, schedules, group rates and other details.
Tours typically cost $79.50-89.50.  You can save 10% discount on a lunch or dinner tour using the code BLOG10 (offer expires 9/1/14).

****I was invited to experience a Grapevine Wine Tour free of charge.****

Endless Appetizers at TGI Friday’s

So breakfast for dinner is kind of awesome.  But in my book, appetizers as your meal is even better.  TGI Friday’s is making appetizers for a meal a thing with their Endless Appetizers for just $10!  Pick one of their delicious, handcrafted apps and they’ll keep fresh, warm platters of ’em comin’.  They SAY that you can’t share, but a few of my writers, some of their +1s, and I ordered one of each and had at ‘em tonight.  A whole meal for 6 people for $60 with plenty of variety?  Not bad … not bad at all.

For Endless Appetizers, you can choose from:

  • Loaded Potato Skins
  • Pan-Seared Pot Stickers
  • Mozzarella Sticks
  • Garlic & Basil Bruschetta
  • Tuscan Spinach Dip
  • Boneless Buffalo Wings
  • Crispy Green Bean Fries

Hurry in, because this deal won’t be around for long!  (And PS … sit at the bar at the West End location and ask for Omar!)

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Buy one appetizer at $10 each (per person) and get free refills on same appetizer. Valid on select items only. At participating restaurants for a limited time. Dine-in only. One offer per person, per visit. Not valid in conjunction with any other coupon, promotion or discount. While supplies last. Tax and gratuity not included. © 2014 TGI Friday’s Inc. Please drink responsibly.