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Citadelle Gin

 

Written by Lauryn Bodden

You should know by now I am an avid gin drinker and I will praise its herbal notes to my grave. A spirit that is meant to be mixed and bring depth to drinks, gin is the most used alcohol in classic cocktails. A friend once told me, “Saying you don’t like gin is like saying you don’t like sauce.”  Gin uses juniper as its main ingredient, but ranges with flavor profiles from cucumber and rose to lavender to lemongrass and black pepper.

Citadelle Gin from Cognac Ferrand proprietor, Alexandre Gabriel, combines the delicacy of fresh flowers, jasmine, honeysuckle, and cinnamon—a flavor profile reminiscent of springtime picnics and summer patio sipping. Citadelle is the only gin in the world distilled in small, Charentais copper pot stills over a naked flame.  (That sounds pretty sexy.)

Intrigued by flavor possibilities imparted from aging gin in different types of casks, Gabriel began to experiment in the mid-200s and introduced the Citadelle Gin Reserve in 2008. Going back to the style of “yellow gin”, Citadelle Reserve matures for several months in old oak casks to produce the freshness of Citadelle gin with older, cask-aged spirits. Each year since 2008, Gabriel releases a limited edition aged gin each year to give customers new, exciting flavor profiles.

In 2013, Gabriel hit the holy grail of gin production. He came to the conclusion that a cell master should not age gin in just one cask, but several casks and then marry the liquid. This process is called solera, which means you have a “mother solera vat” that maintains the blend profile.

The process appears grueling, but basically involves putting new-made Citadelle into three types of casks from two to five months. Here’s the breakdown of casks used:

1.)  ex-Cognac that are rinsed with gin, so the Cognac doesn’t overpower the gin

2.)  ex-Pineau des Charente that imparts a full-bodied mouth feel, a little spice and a flowery roundness

3.)  American oak casks, which is the mother solera vat that contains a special taste profile created by Gabriel. The gin marries in the mother solera vat and then bottled.

As you prepare to embrace this Texas summer heat with a cool, refreshing cocktail, check out Citadelle Reserve Solera to make the perfect drink by the pool (or, ya know, anywhere).

Here is a recipe for a more exotic Gin & Tonic using Citadelle:

Created by Citadelle’s Spanish team.

  • 35ml Citadelle gin
  • 140ml Tonic
  • Orange
  • Licorice root

In a wide glass, place two slices of orange. Pour gin then tonic.  Add the licorice. Garnish with orange peel.

Blogger WalkAround at The Shops at Park Lane

I attended a great event last Wednesday called the Blogger WalkAround at The Shops at Park Lane. The event gave Park Lane businesses the opportunity to feature a service or experience to a select group of bloggers. There activities ranged from a fashion show at Bloomingdale’s The Outlet to juice tasting at Elixir Juice Bar. The event’s format allowed you to pick your favorite activities out of several options, so that you could spend some quality time at each activity. (We won’t confirm anything … but they may have said that it’ll be a public event offered later this year…)

After grabbing my gift bag filled with goodies and coupons from many of the Park Lane shops and restaurants, I headed to my first activity: a blowout at the Aveda Institute of Dallas. Students do the services, and their instructor evaluates every service to make sure it’s to your satisfaction, so you know you will leave happy. A blowout includes a consultation, shoulder and neck massage, a hand massage while at the wash station, and of course, the blow out. Before you leave, they give you a “Purescriptions” sheet, so you know exactly what products they used. Do be sure to carve out a little more time than usual for a blow out, since they are still students it may take a few minutes longer. However, the result is on par of a salon, and at the Aveda Salon a blow out (with all the bells and whistles) is only $18, which beats the pants off those blow dry salons cost-wise. (Ahem, $35 + tip? Puhlease.)

Next I headed to Gordon Biersch for beer tasting, where I enjoyed a beer sampler of all of their own signature beers.

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I’m half-Belgian, so beer should be in my blood … but it’s not really something I get too hopped up about (see what I did there?); but, I actually enjoyed all of their beers, even as we moved up the scale to the scary dark and hoppy beers. In fact, I would gladly order a full beer of any of their beers, which is a bold (and surprising statement coming from me), but true. My favorites were Hefeweizen, which is similar to Blue Moon, but finishes with a banana clove taste, which sounds strange but is delicious. I also enjoyed their Brewers Black beer, which is similar to Guinness, but a little lighter and honestly easier to drink. Finally, I tried their in-house brewer’s choice, which was a Rye IPA, and that was very flavorful and strong and dare I say, delicious!

So that we didn’t fall over after our generous beer sampler, we got to try two flatbreads, Bruschetta and the California Cobb, as well as a delicious turkey burger and their filet sliders with Havarti cheese. Next time I go shopping at Park Lane with my husband, I plan to drop him off here early on, and once my feet start barkin’ and I need a break from shopping (it happens!), I’ll definitely be throwing back a cold beer here to get my second wind.

After Gordon Biersch, I met up with everyone else at Bowl & Barrel to finish the evening with some snacks, cocktails, and bowling.Bowl & Barrel (B&B) is a fun and relaxed upscale bowling alley and more. The bowl stands for, you guessed it, bowling, and the barrel stands for their extensive selections of beer, wine and booze made in-house in barrels. (More on this later.)

Friendly, delicious and classy are not normally adjectives one uses to describe a bowling alley, amirite?

There have been many “high-end” bowling concepts over the past few years, but they are all a little ‘unce unce unce’ clubby for me, but B&B is right up my alley (promise that’s the last pun). It’s like a mixology bar, cigar lounge and gastro pub hybrid with a fun group activity thrown in for good measure.

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B&B is an impressive space to bowl with great indie tunes playing and the décor is old saloon with a little restoration hardware feel. My favorite décor element is the use of wooden coffee tables instead of Formica benches at each of the lanes. Most importantly, the place is clean and smells great, a far cry from the many bowling alleys I’ve frequented in the past.

While you bowl you can enjoy table service and order drinks and food. I highly recommend the Hot Pretzel and their beer cheese sauce for dipping (wow). But their menu is far more extensive than that, and includes what you would expect of a gastro pub, including a variety of snacks, ranging from fries to oysters, and also a selection of yummy salads, sandwiches and burgers.

But let’s focus on the most important thing: the drinks!The most unique thing about B&B is their barrels, which they offer in addition to their full bar. Susie let me have a sip of her Old Fashioned (made by, of course, Billy), which she thinks is the best in Dallas … and now I agree! I also tried their barrel blonde beer and barrel Pinot Noir. The bar manager, Jose and head bartender, Billy, very generously let all of us taste some of their barrel crafted liquors. I tried “Kingston” which is a rum and bitters infusion, yummy, rich and warming. I also tried “In Like Flynn” which is a gin infusion. For those of you who hate gin, I swear this tastes nothing like what you think gin tastes like, i.e. pine trees and Lysol. In Like Flynn incorporated Campari, Cointreau and vermouth, so it takes the gin flavors to a different spectrum and makes it more fruity and refreshing. Both Kingston and In like Flynn can be incorporated into cocktails, but they are truly tasty enough to drink neat or on the rocks.

I was so impressed with their bar and cocktail choices, I would go to B&B just to sit at the bar and try out the drinks and chat with Jose and Billy, who were so warm and friendly and patiently answered my endless questions about liquor infusions. I was warned that it does get pretty busy on weekends, so the best nights for intimate date night setting would be Sunday or Monday. They also do private parties. I like going out to bars, but it’s even more fun when there is actually an activity besides drinking, so Bowl & Barrel is high on my list of places to revisit.

Thank you to The Shops at Park Lane for a wonderful evening … I’ll be seeing you again real soon!

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***This evening was free for attendees.***

Saint Arnold Brewery Beer Dinner at Cook Hall

Written by: Lauryn Bodden

Each month, Cook Hall teams up with a regional brewery to create a menu pairing of intense flavors that highlight the buzz-worthy notes of select beers. The dinner encourages community members to come together like an intimate gathering of friends and learn about the craft behind some of the best brews in town. For the month of April, Cook Hall joined forces with Saint Arnold Brewery to create a menu pairing of five courses that appealed to individuals of all palates and cravings.

Upon arrival, guests were greeted with the Weedwacker, a Bavarian Hefeweizen. This light beer has notes of spicy clove and banana esters that come from different yeasts. Saint Arnold’s only unfiltered year-round yeast, Weedwacker embodies a pale malt barley with a dash of malted wheat. Accompanied by a frisee salad with pickled peaches, this course was a light start to our indulgent meal.

Next, came the Elissa IPA, an authentic version of traditional Indian Pale Ale. The huge hop additions in the kettle give the beer a bitterness that is then dry-hopped in the fermenter to create a floral, hoppy nose. The maltiness comes from British Maris Otter malt. The citrusy flavor of the brew goes perfectly with any seafood, which made its pairing of Grilled Swordfish and Orange Vinaigrette an obvious choice.

Course three included the Icon Brown Porter with Kalbi Beef Short Rib Tacos.  The Brown Porter is a dark, medium bodied ale with rich chocolate malt notes and an aroma mix of chocolate, nuttiness, and coffee. The tacos were a hit across the restaurant, as many platters were wiped clean before the course presentation was even done. Add a dash of Cook Hall’s special hot sauce and this meaty treat washed down easy with the Brown Porter.

At this point, individuals began unbuttoning their top buttons, shifting in their seats, and doing whatever possible to make room for the two remaining courses…amateurs.

My stomach waited the entire night and was fully prepared for the moment the Rack of Lamb and Divine Reserve #13 graced our table. This Belgium brew has a relatively simple malt bill with caramel and chocolate malts. A large amount of Belgian Extra Dark Candi Syrup is added during fermentation, which gives it a dark fruit-like flavor and boosted alcohol level (WIN!).  All tableside manners were tossed at this point as I traded off between going at the lamb like a chicken wing and guzzling down the rich Divine Reserve.

Lamb is hard to beat in my book, but the grand finale was no letdown. Each guest received a plate of Warm Sticky Date Toffee Pudding with Coconut Sorbet and the Bishop Barrel #5, Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale. The Bishop Barrel begins as the Divine Reserve No. 4, gold medal winner at the 2008 World Beer Cup in Strong Scotch Ale category, which include tasting notes of caramel, toffee, dried figs and cocoa. Aged in a bourbon barrel, the base mixes with flavors of vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of pipe tobacco to create a rich creaminess. Directions for this course are as follow: take a heaping scoop of sorbet with equal parts of toffee pudding, shovel in your mouth, and immediately guzzle gulps of the Bishop Barrel. The result is perfection.

Bennette Frugé of the Saint Arnold’s brew crew led us through the tale of each selected beer and menu pairing. Known to many as Flappy for his ever-flapping lips and ability to talk for hours about his love of beer, Bennette lived up to his nickname. Between jokes and jeers with the crowd, Bennette highlighted many interesting facts for beer connoisseurs and newbies alike. My favorite fact may just be that if he could be an animal, he would be a pterodactyl.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company, located in Houston, is Texas’ oldest craft brewery (and is reportedly haunted). Founded by Brock Wagner and Kevin Bartol, the first keg was shipped on June 9, 1994. Brock, a longtime home brewer, always considered opening a brewery as far back as college, but didn’t go through with the idea until seven years after graduating. Enlisting Kevin, the two chose Houston because it was the largest city in the country without a microbrewery. The small crew brews, filters, kegs, bottles, sells, and drinks each beer to ensure the best quality. Brews are distributed and enjoyed throughout Texas, Louisiana and Colorado.

Cook Hall’s next beer dinner features Harpoon Brewery on May 23 for $55 a seat (and a certain drink blogger whose name rhymes with boozy will be in attendance). Grab your friends or go alone; either way you will take part in good food, good brews, and good company.

To make a reservation for the Harpoon Brewery dinner, call (214)397-4111.

To view the Harpoon Dinner Menu, please click here.

Life’s Better Under the Palm at Pollo Tropical

 

I may have pasty white skin and an absurd fear of sharks, but Florida runs in my blood and the beach will always be my home. That being said, the expansion of Pollo Tropical, a Florida chicken chain, to Addison sends a rush of pure bliss from my heart to my stomach.

This Floridian concept prides itself in fresh, bold island flavor using savory Caribbean spices, mixed herbs and citrus. They combine these for rubs and marinades that are the secret behind the tangy kick of Pollo Tropical’s vegetables and meats. Don’t mistake this place for another casual Mexican or Tex-Mex pit stop and miss out on items such as Refresca juices, Rum Punch, and Calypso Beef. If the bright, distinct colors and beach house facade don’t slap Caribbean across your face then go back to that bowl of melted Velveeta and put on your cone of shame.

Pollo Tropical’s menu represents the islands’ melting pot of culinary culture far different than the Mexican flavors Texans are used to. Naturally, all Texans love their meat and this joint does not disappoint. The grilled bone-in chicken is marinated in a blend of tropical fruit juices and spices and flame grilled with much TLC.  Clearly, the chicken is the star of this show (as POLLO means chicken in Spanish), but it’s so hard to choose a favorite—that’s why I order them all. One of my personal favorite is the Mojo Pork, a dish slow-roasted for four hours in a Mojo marinade of citrus juices, crushed garlic, onion, wine, and island spices that combine to create tender, juicy meat unlike anything you commonly find around town.

But one does not simply transcend to the island of Caribbean flavors without ordering sweet plantains and yuca fries. Sweet plantains are a cousin to the banana, most often baked or fried Pollo Tropical style to caramelized perfection. Yuca or cassava is the potato of the tropics that comes boiled or fried. I like mine fried and generously lathered in the cilantro garlic sauce.

Speaking of sauce…you thought Cane’s Chicken had the recipe to liquid gold? Pollo Tropical packs a punch of spice and zest with 10 unique signature sauces, including Curry Mustard, Guava BBQ, Pineapple Rum and Cilantro Garlic. Prepare yourself to make several trips, piling your table high with at least five cups of each, and smuggling out bags full of samples (it may feel dangerous, but everyone else does the same thing every visit).

Pollo Tropical provides all the island necessities to create your own TropiChop, sandwiches, salads, wraps, and even drinks. (This is Susie Drink Dallas, so clearly we speak of alcohol here.)  Choose a Caribbean beer or add Bacardi rum to one of the popular Refresca beverages, such as tropical breeze, mango peach or superfruit punch.

Dallas may be a landlocked city, but Pollo Tropical makes your beach fantasy come to life. This is their first Texas location, but expect about 20 more to pop up around Texas as diners quickly realize “Life’s better under the palm.”

Event Recap: Central Market’s Passport to Italy

Written by: Lauryn Bodden

There are normal grocery stores with your essential food items (ice cream and wine), and then there’s Central Market, which is every foodie’s heaven. On April 30, Central Market will debut this year’s two-week themed Passport celebration that spotlights the culinary delicacies of Italy.

With more than 40 winemakers and cooking classes led by renowned Italian chefs, Passport Italy delivers eclectic, authentic Italian cuisine straight to the Lone Star State. Everyone knows wine is the classy way to end a long day and get drunk with friends, but Passport Italy will make you the wine connoisseur you have always dreamed of becoming. (And what better way to enjoy a chilled glass of Prosecco than with some of the world’s finest meats and cheeses?) Showcasing traditional foods and ingredients, Central Market will also provide hundreds of new items such as gelatos, breads, pastas, cured meats, wines, cheeses, oils, vinegars, and chef-prepared foods. Winemakers, chefs, and producers alike will be on-hand to walk customers through the ultimate Italian food and wine experience.

The featured winemakers include:

  • Luca Bosio of Luca Bosio Vineyards brought in a wave of freshness and novelty to both the technical and commercial areas of his family’s vineyards, reinventing the way they do business. With a mix of technology and rural tradition, he blends his family’s grapes with grapes from hundreds of farmer organizations from different parts of Piemonte, giving them greater diversity in their winemaking.
  • Stefano Chiarlo oversees the cultivation of 110 hectares of vineyards, all while taking care to adhere to the most exact ecological requirements needed by winemaking. By focusing their vineyards on hilly zones and rigorously thinning out grape bunches, Michele Chiarlo Vineyards has ensured the production of highly elegant wines with excellent longevity.
  • Umberto Cosmo directs the Bellenda estate, located in the Vento wine region. Especially known for producing fantastic Prosecco, Bellenda is fresh and clean with delicate bubbles that enhance its subtle citrus flavor.
  • Franceso Daddi runs the Ormanni farm, which is ancient and deep-rooted in Italian history. Owned since the 1200s by the Ormanni family, mentioned in Dante Alighieri’s famous Divine Comedy, and at one point owned by the legendary Medici family, the Tenuta Ormanni Vineyards focus on tradition and detail. Tenuta Ormani wines have an artisan feel and clean taste.
  • Antonio M. Zaccheo Jr., the son of Carpineto co-founder Antonio Mario Zaccheo Sr., is the latest in a long line of family winemakers blending old world heritage with modern expertise. With an extensive bottle-aging program, Carpineto has ensured the production of elegant wines of approachable intensity, with the majority of their focus being on red wines aged three or more years.

Highlighted below is a list of all the boozy events (basically everything) taking place during Passport Italy for you to enjoy:

Passaporto Italia Kick-off with Umberto Cosmo, founder & winemaker of Bellenda

Wednesday, April 30 from 4-7 p.m.

Join us as we kick off Passporto Italia in style! Be our guest at our Prosecco Party where Umberto Cosmo, founder and winemaker of Bellenda, joins us for a Prosecco tasting.

Italy Meets Texas

Thursday, May 1 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Join us for a Texas-sized Sip & Stroll to celebrate the beginning of Passporto Italia! We’re kicking off two weeks of celebrating everything Italian with a stroll through the store where you’ll be able to sample the likes of Truffled Pasta, Fresh-Made Sausages,

Cannolis, Italian cheese, and salumi, along with new offerings from our Chef’s Case. We’ll have hundreds of new items; many never before seen in the U.S. Don’t forget the wine! We’ll pair all our items with a wine that will have you sighing, “Amore!” A commemorative glass also will be available for purchase at the Information Desk.

Zardetto Prosecco Wine Dinner with Filipo Zardetto

Friday, May 2 from 6:30-9 p.m.

Located in the heart of Italy’s famous Prosecco territory between Conegiano and Valdobiadene, Zardetto has been a leader in making sparkling wine for more than 40 years. This vibrant and refreshing, off-dry Prosecco is produced from carefully selected grapes grown on the finest hilltop vineyards, modern technology, and traditional practices that result in an acclaimed brut. Learn more about the grape-growing and production methods, and sample these wines that display the traditional flowery, fruity characteristics of Prosecco wines paired with Asiago & Sopressa Vicentina with Bellini; Salad of Kale, Radicchio & Pancetta; Risotto with Radicchio, Ubriaco & Chestnuts; Orata al Forno con Gli Aromi (Roasted Sea Bass with Herbs); and Crema Fritta (Fried Custard Cream). $65. Reserve your seat at centralmarket.com.

Under A Tuscan Sun

Thursday, May 8 from 6:30-9 p.m.

Antonio Sanguineti, winemaker/Principal of Sanguinetti Wines; Lorenzo Gatteschi, Winemaker/Owner of Podere Ciona; Alessandro Bocci, Winemaker/Owner of Perazetta Winery; and Luca Brunelli, Owner of Brunelli Wines

Join us for a festive wine dinner served family-style, featuring the winemaker/principal of Sanguinetti Wines; the winemaker/owner of Podere Ciona; the winemaker/owner of Perazetta Winery, and the owner of Brunelli Wines. While these experts discuss their wines and the special regions in which their grapes are grown, our Cooking School staff will demonstrate the techniques you’ll need to know to recreate this Tuscan feast: Cutting board of Tuscan cheeses paired with Antonio Sanguineti Vermentino IGT; Insalata Caprese with fresh Burrata paired with Antonio Sanguineti Chianti DOCG; Tagliatelle with Wild Boar in a tomato basil cream sauce paired with Perazetta Rita Sangiovese DOC; Roasted Duck with a mushroom demi-glace paired with Podere Ciona Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG; Fried Rice Fritters with a dark chocolate dipping sauce,; and strawberries paired with Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. $65. Reserve your seat at centralmarket.com

Henderson Tap House has a lot to offer

Though the “I’d tap that” slogan of Henderson Tap House may conjure images of another classic Dallas dive bar, the upscale interior and swanky cocktail menu will get you to rethink those gym shorts and sweatshirt. But, don’t worry because this place is home to people of all ages, moods, and drink types.

The brick garage-like entrance houses a large, covered patio with long picnic tables and high-tops, which are crucial for the prime outdoor drinking weather quickly approaching. Walk inside and you’ll find leather seats, comfy couches, high tables, and long open seating in the back to accommodate the big crowds that swarm this place. Even though seating can become hard to find at times, Henderson Tap House offers two large, spacious bar areas on either side of the establishment. The place may get packed and depending on what section you are sitting in the service can be slow, but ordering a drink isn’t hard if you go up to the bar. Henderson Tap  House is still fairly new, so I’ll give it a pass for now, but I look forward to when the timeliness of the service matches the charm of the servers and the taste of the indulgent menu.

One of my favorite aspects of this full-service sports bar and restaurant is the tap room enclosed by large glass windows, allowing drinkers to see the vast 50-plus local and craft beers they have to offer. Though, the Revolver Blood & Honey is my normal go-to, I had the opportunity to try three of the restaurant’s popular cocktails.

Wyatt Berry Fizz: Bombay Sapphire gin, fresh lemon and lime juices and raspberry schnapps topped with a splash of soda and served over ice in a pint glass. The gin pairs well with the berry notes of the schnapps to make it refreshing, but not too sweet.

Moscow Bull: Three Olives Citrus, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer in a mason jar. The ginger beer sold me on this cocktail.

Spicy Paloma: Pepe Zevada “Z” Tequila Blanco tequila, fresh lime, jalapeño juice, sliced jalapenos, agave nectar and grapefruit juice served over ice in a pint glass. The bar’s version of a margarita, this drink was not my favorite because I am a margarita snob after trying most of Dallas’s favorite cocktail. The jalapenos bring a little kick, but the spice didn’t balance well with the other flavors.

Henderson Tap House is a prime location for large groups and individuals that are looking to stick around for a while. The food menu is extensive with dishes like wood-fired pizza, fish tacos, lobster mac n’ cheese, and even warm cookies with a shot of milk. The full menu is offered until 10:30 p.m. nightly, and the pizza oven keeps burning until 1:30 a.m.

Whether you are looking to catch a game, chow down, grab a drink, dance, party with strangers, or enjoy the sunny weather on the patio, this place is your destination. Keep it classy … or get a little weird with their “Upside Down Rodeo Clown”.

Addison’s Fork & Cork Festival to debut in May

 

Move over, Taste of Addison, and make way for the Fork & Cork Festival to debut this May. Not only will this event be more intimate and support local organization Café Momentum, but it’s more centered on wine and other boozy items. (Now that’s my kind of shindig!)

This past week, I had the opportunity to preview the all-new culinary event, and it well exceeded my expectations. Stepping through the archways of foodie heaven, guests were greeted with a Ginger Basil Gimlet, music by local artist Kelsey Lewis, scents of food to come, and a picturesque dining scene. The gimlet had me hooked right away with its strong notes of ginger and artistic blend of gin. Those that aren’t very fond of ginger may have struggled with the drink, but it was right up my alley. I couldn’t imagine things getting much better, but then there was the open wine bar, signature Old Fashioned cocktails, and mixology lessons from Eddie “Lucky” Campbell. So yeah, it got better.

At dinnertime, the party settled down at a long, rustic farm table, which bolstered a communal, chatty atmosphere. Guests can look forward to this same ambience at the upcoming festival. It was a great feeling to have Addison Mayor, Todd Meier, thank us for our attendance when really it is all my pleasure. (I did have a date with Netflix that night, but if the city of Addison needs me to stuff my face with risotto balls, wood roasted mussels, grilled Texas Kobe skirt steak, sweet potato grits, wood fired pizza, and countless other delights, then I will gladly reschedule to lend a hand.)

Like I mentioned before, Fork & Cork is designed more to feature craft breweries, wineries, and spirit makers, so let’s get to the dranks. The highlight of the night was by far the presentation of a perfect Old Fashion by “Lucky,” who helped curate the drink menu at the new Vagabond restaurant on Greenville. Between his fiery personality and natural ease with the crowd, I felt like I was kickin’ it with one of the bros. His tips to a well-balanced drink make even someone like me feel like I could whip up a fine dining cocktail. (I am a connoisseur of cocktails and liquor, but ask me to make a drink and you may lose all faith in me.) Apparently, dilution can make the biggest difference in the flavor and strength of a cocktail. Don’t skimp on the ice or stirring because you are only selling your drink short. Another lesson is to use the freshest ingredients because it’s hard to go wrong when you have fresh flavors to work with.

Fork & Cork will take Addison back to its culinary roots May 16 and 17 with interactive cooking classes, bites from some of the best restaurants in the DFW area, cocktail tastings, wine and craft beer seminars, a cooking demo by Marcus Samuelsson (James Beard Award winning chef and current judge on ABC’s The Taste), and music from Texas legend Pat Green.

A portion of the proceeds from Friday night will benefit Café Momentum, a non-profit organization that teaches critical skills that allow youth to apply what they have been taught in re-release programs in a safe, real-world environment of nurturing accountability. Or, in Chad Houser’s own words, “Café Momentum helps teach kids to play with knives and fire…and the town of Addison approves.”

Buy your Fork & Cork Festival tickets here.

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Below you can find “Lucky’s” Old Fashioned recipe:

2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon

1 Sugar Cube

3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

1 Orange Peel (Squeezed)

Vanilla Mist

In a mixing glass:

Add sugar cube, Angostura, squeezed orange peel, and water. Smash ingredients with a muddle to break sugar cube. Add Buffalo Trace Bourbon and ice. Stir 56 times (or until sugar is dissolved). Strain over large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Squeeze a new orange peel over the surface, wipe around rim of glass, and place in cocktail. Spray vanilla mist over the surface of the Old Fashioned.

Partida Tequila: Product Review

I am Florida born and raised on vodka cocktails and rum punches, but when I moved to Texas four years ago, I found my true love for tequila was just undiscovered. Whether it’s swirled with hints of fruit in a margarita or straight up on the rock, I like it smooth with salt and lime. Naturally, Texans love Cinco de Mayo because it celebrates God’s gift of Mexican food and tequila. So, as my favorite holiday quickly approaches, I wanted to share my thoughts on one of my recent discoveries, Partida Tequila.

One of the many perks of working with Susie Drinks Dallas is getting to try different lines of liquor, spirits, and wines. Recently, Partida Tequila sent me samples of their Partida Blanco line.  From the production to packaging to blend of flavors, this tequila will have you feeling classy and sophisticated compared to the partiers throwing back shots at the bar. Disclaimer: I am not against tossing back shots, but that would just be a waste of the goodness that Partida has to offer.

All “tequila” must legally contain at least 51% blue agave, but the best contain 100%. Partida’s agave comes specifically from their estate, rather than multiple growers, which allows for consistency and control in the production process. After 7-10 years of cultivation, the agave is harvested by hand. (Talk about a labor of amor!) Most agaves are cooked “the old fashion way,” in stone ovens, which gives a bitter taste from soot that builds in the oven over time, but Partida uses state-of-the-art stainless steel ovens. The agave bakes over a period of 20 hours under precise temperature control and then the juices ferment slowly for 36-40 hours before distillation.

The unaged tequila is bottled as Partida Blanco and the rest is aged in one-pass Jack Daniels American oak barrels. (WHAT?! Did all my dreams just come true?) The barrel provides a rich, copper color with notes of cherry, almond, dried fruit, and allspice in addition to the peppery notes lent by the agave. One can sense hints of honey, chocolate, pear, and vanilla upon tasting. Reposado and Anejo are aged 50% more than required, which only enhances the flavor profile. None of the tequila contains additives or coloring agents.

Particularly, Partida Blanco makes me feel like I should be relaxing on the beaches of Cancun as the blend of blue agave, citrus, fresh herbs, and tropical fruit, are subtle and balanced. It lends a smooth taste that lets even those that swore against the powers of tequila to enjoy the flavors. It’s a great choice for cocktails and those looking to branch out from mediocre drinks. If you’re ever going to become a tequila sipper … this is the one to start with.