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Product Review: Don Chelada

If there’s one thing I don’t undervalue it’s the art of convenience. Particularly, when it comes to tailgates, beach-side sipping, or floating the river, I want a drink that travels easy and carries the party with it. Enter: Don Chelada. Between this company’s bottled michelada mix and rimmed Styrofoam cups with pre-packaged spices, all you really need is your favorite beer to achieve optimal day-drinking status.

I have to say Don Chelada’s Styrofoam cups are a fascinating thing. It’s one of those million dollar ideas I wish I would have thought of. Offering three flavors of Lemon Lime, Spicy, or Original, the rather large cups come with a “Mega Moist Rim” of natural ingredients, including chili powder, lemon powder, sea salt, chili powder, sugar, pepper, citric acid, and silicone dioxide (for, you know … “anti-clumping”). Inside you’ll find the corresponding spice mix, depending on awaiting an introduction to your beer of choice, which may depend on your cup flavor. Bonus points: the rich formula allows the addition of another beer, which you will obviously want to add. The key here (and make sure you read this carefully) is to pour slowly and let the drink sit for a minute afterwards. This allows for the suds and spice mix to settle into the beer.

The cups serve as a great product for the right kind of consumer. Personally, I had a bit of trouble blending the package of spices into my beer, but I could envision this as a staple for enhancing your average beer at tailgates, fraternity parties, trips to the lake, or even as a hangover remedy. Out of the two products, I enjoyed the liquid mix better as I found it was easier to incorporate with my beer – but, maybe I just need to work on my pouring technique.

You can go a step further personalizing this with even more spice, garnishes, or maybe an additional splash of alcohol. It’s your michelada and you can drink it how you want to.

Check out Don Chelada’s website for more recipes, such as the below, Tequila Tropical. Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching and this might just be your best move.

Don Chelada Tequila Tropical
1.5oz tequila
Mineral Water
Lemon Lime Soda

Add to your Don Chelada Michelada Cup: ice and 1.5oz tequila. Fill with equal parts mineral water and lemon lime soda. Stir lightly, let sit for a minute and enjoy.

Don Chelada Michelada Cups
6 Piece Party Pack, $13.74
Party Pack Case – 36 Pieces, $64.44

Don Chelada Michelada Mix
25 oz. Bottle, $10.99


DON CHELADA

donchelada.com
Facebook | Twitter | instagram.com/donchelada

Sauza Reposado & Silver Tequila Review

For my inaugural post at SDD, I feel compelled to be completely  honest with y’all: tequila and I have a rocky past. And by rocky…  I mean sitting-on-the-curb-crying rocky. Fortunately for me, however, the lovely folks at Sauza provided me with the opportunity to reacquaint myself with former cocktail nemesis.

sauzaFind me some limes and color me converted, because Sauza Blue Silver and Sauza Reposado are tequilas for anyone whose tequila experience ends abruptly with frozen margaritas. The Sauza Silver is warm and citrusy with a clean finish, while Sauza Reposado is sweeter with notes of pepper and caramel.

Moral of the  story? Tequila shouldn’t be shelved until summer rolls back around. Save yourself some liquor store browsing and snag some Sauza tequila and give one of these recipes a whirl!

Spicy Sauza-Rita
1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
2 parts beer
1 part frozen limeade concentrate
1 part water
A dash of hot sauce
Sugar (for garnish)
Salt (for garnish)
Red pepper (for garnish)
Chili pepper (for garnish)

In a small bowl, mix sugar, salt, red pepper and chili pepper. Dip the rims of the glasses in a splash of lemon juice then immediately into salt & sugar.  Combine tequila, beer, limeade, water and hot sauce. Shake well and pour over ice into rimmed cocktail glasses.

Fall Apple Cider Margaritas

2 parts Sauza® Reposado Fresh Blue Agave Tequila
4 parts spiced cider
1 part Grand Mariner or Cointreau
Dash of lemon juice
Raw sugar (for garnish)
Cinnamon (for garnish)
Cinnamon sticks (optional)
Apple slices (optional)

In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon. Dip the rims of the glasses in a splash of Grand Mariner then immediately into cinnamon-sugar mix.  Combine tequila, cider, Grand Mariner or Cointreau and lemon. Shake well and pour over ice into rimmed cocktail glasses. Garnish with cinnamon sticks or apple slices!

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.

Market-Fresh Mixology

I was SUPER stoked when I got a copy of Market-Fresh Mixology in my mailbox.  (Aren’t surprises the best?!)  Award-winning mixologists Bridget Albert and Mary Barranco rounded up some of the best seasonal cocktail recipes in a paperback (perfectly-sized to keep on the bar) with gorgeous photography by James Beard Award-winner Tim Turner.

The recipes call for fresh, local ingredients, which is all the rage right now, no?  Best yet, they’re arranged by season.  Want to know what drinks you can whip up with in-season fruits, veggies (yup), herbs, and more?  These ladies have you covered with easy to understand recipes with a quick guide for which glass to use and the tools you’ll need.

For Spring, they have everything from the Carrot Chic to the Spiced Beet Cocktail.  They sound odd, but really, they’re delicious.  I tried out a few with some friends this weekend, and they were the simplest recipes to follow and didn’t call for anything too extremely outrageous.  (Like, seriously, who keeps some of the crazy s**t they put in some recipes around the house?  Three kinds of bitters for one drink?  Get real … I’m a person, not a bar.)

My favorite that we tried was the Cucumber Caipiroska, made with simple syrup, cucumber, lime, and pear vodka.  I’m really looking to toting this one down to the pool this summer (in a plastic container, of course).

Another awesome part of the book is the Home Bar Essentials section, which went through the various glasses, bartending tools, and even had syrup and sour recipes.  Best of all?  There are toasts for each season.  One of the spring toasts is “May we be happy and our enemies know it.”  Cheers to that!

Order yourself Market-Fresh Mixology for just around $12 and try some of the recipes out for yourself!

AgatePublishing.com
Amazon.com

Vemma Energy Drink Review

On paper, Vemma’s Verve Energy Drink kind of reads like a dream come true. It is marketed as “insanely healthy energy,” and with the controversy over normal energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster being bad for your health, this seems like it could be a winner. Or is it?

Crack open a can of the bright orange Verve original, Bold, Partea (really?), or the Zero Sugar and you are greeted with a a nice aroma of citrus. The taste somewhat resembles a citrus blend of pineapple and orange juice that has vitamins added to it. There actually is no orange juice or pineapple in it, so I believe this is what the main ingredient, Mangosteen, tastes like. The citrus is somewhat consistent throughout the line of drinks, with the Bold being a little more…well…bolder, for lack of a better word, and the Sugar Free being a little less sweet. The Partea, being my favorite of them all, taste like orange juice and slightly sweet tea mixed together. It may not sound all that tasty, but it was delicious. There was no aftertaste at all to speak of which I am quite happy about. Overall, all of the drinks were crisp, refreshingly tropical in flavor, and had a hint of carbonation but not overpowering.

Now, looking at the nutrition labels, and you can see why it is labeled as a “healthy” energy drink.  The fact sheet says there are three products inside Verve. A “refreshing, fast-acting energy blend. An ultra-premium vitamin and mineral supplement. And a powerful super juice with mangosteen and aloe phytonutrients.” All of these are natural ingredients that come from plants and there are no artificial flavors or colors in the formula.

To compare to the equivalent 8.4 oz RedBull, Verve is packing less caffeine, (which is probably why I did not feel any buzz from it,) less calories, less sugar, and less carbs. All of which are by a margin of 9g or more, which may not sound like a lot, but it can make a big difference.

Just looking at the labels, it does indeed look like the Verve is a slightly healthier choice from the current energy drink dominators. The taste is pretty good, and the ingredients all come from nature which is a huge advantage. If you happen to come across one at the supermarket, and my guess would be that it would most likely be in a Whole Foods or Central Market, you might as well pick one up and try it for yourself.

Since this IS susiedrinksdallas.com, we’re going to offer the obligatory cocktail recipes to use Verve in the most boozy (and delicious) ways.  We tried out a couple, and our favorites were definitely the Citrus and the Orange.

Verve! Caribbean Passion
1 Can Verve! Bold Energy
2 Ounces Raspberry Vodka
2 Ounces Malibu
2 Ounces Cranberry Juice
Splash of Sprite

Verve! Orange
1 Can Verve! PARTEA
2 Ounces Orange Vodka
1 Ounce Peach Schnapps
Splash of Sprite

Verve! Cosmo
½  Can Verve! Zero Sugar
2 Ounces Vodka
½  Ounce Triple Sec
1 ounce Cranberry Juice
1 Cup Lime Juice

Verve! Creamsicle
1 Can Verve! Original
2 Ounces Captain Morgan
2 Splashes of Sprite

Verve! Citrus
½  Can Verve! Low-Carb Shot
2 Ounces Citrus Vodka
1 Ounce Chambord Liqueur
½  cup Grapefruit Juice
A splash of Sweet n’ Sour mix

useful site

Product Review: Starfire Cigs Ehookahs

Written by Enrico DeLeon III

For years and years, smoking has a been depicted as the  cool thing to do in the media. From movies to bars to commercials to house parties amongst friends and everything in between, smoking is everywhere. After turning 18, while still not being able to go to bars, my friends and I got into going to hookah bars for our leisure. It was a great way to hang out, converse, and, of course, smoke hookah. I don’t know if it was because it was the  cool thing to do or what, but it certainly was a great option for us to do on our nights out without trying to sneak into bars. 

In the recent years since they have banned actual cigarette smoking in bars and restaurants in Dallas, I have seen electronic cigarettes and portable vaporizers make an appearance more often as they are the only way for people to get away with smoking indoors in Dallas. I honestly thought they were kind of silly and, quite honestly, weird. The idea of smoking something that you unplugged from a plug or USB port was just a bit off-putting. 

So, when Susie asked me to review Starfire Cigs, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to try and change my perspective about the whole industry. Just to give you a little background on the actual products I tried, the good people sent me all 6 flavors of their Ehookah line. Unlike some electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, Starfire Cigs use vegetable glycine to create the smooth flavored smoke with very minimal, almost no nicotine. (Just to clarify, these all were more along the lines of hookah-type smoking and not cigarettes.)

Each Ehookah lasted up to 1,200 puffs and were disposable. Although they were disposable, the craftsmanship wasn’t sacrificed. They are made with a silver mouthpiece and a diamond tip that light up different colors to reflect their flavor. The flavors included Berry Blast, Blueberry Mint, Red Energy, Melon Mist, Juicy Peach and Tropical Smooth. 

When first trying Starfire Cigs Ehookahs, I was immediately transported back to my late teens. The vivid flavors and great smoke quality was on-point with that of which I had at actual hookah bars back in the day. The biggest difference between these Ehookahs and actual hookahs are how much more consistent they were. Every flavor was 10 times more vivid than any actual hookah flavor I have ever had. They were very distinct and never changed. It was awesome to be able to smoke them puff after puff without having to worry about lighting up a new coal and/or potentially burning yourself with hot fire. 

I definitely recommend the Starfire Cig Ehookahs to anyone looking to experience great flavored smoke better than hookah and without the trouble of using an actual hookah.

Crabbie’s

Don’t you hate it when you’re drinking a Moscow Mule and think, “Oh, gee, this is delicious, but I wish this was a bit stronger.”  (Yeah, me, too.)  Here to answer the call: Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer, the UK’s best-selling ginger beer … that just happens to be alcoholic.

Good enough to drink by itself (over ice), Crabbie’s is made with four secret fruits and spices, combined with ginger and then steeped for eight weeks. At 4.8% ABV, it’s in the same ABV bracket as the Buds and Millers.  It is fermented, which really comes through in the taste, which (thank God) isn’t too spicy.

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Check out some of the drink options to use with Crabbie’s below (other than Moscow Mules … if you must, you must).

GINGER MIST
– 1oz gin
– two small slices of lime
– 4 small sprigs of cilantro
– crushed ice
– Crabbie’s

Muddle three sprigs of cilantro and one slice of lime in a shaker.  Add gin and ice and shake.  Strain into a martini glass and top with Crabbie’s.  Garnish with cilantro sprig and slice of lime.


CRABBIE’S CUP #1

– 2 slices of cucumber
– berries
– 1/2oz sweet vermouth
– 1/2oz triple sec
– 1oz gin or vodka (drinker’s preference)
– Crabbie’s

Muddle cucumber and berries in pint glass.  Add ice and other ingredients and top with Crabbie’s.  Garnish with mint.


HORSE’S NECK

– 1.5oz brandy
– 5oz Crabbie’s
– thin twist of lemon peel

Mix all ingredients together in tumblr glass over ice.  Stir.

Crabbie’s is now also available in strawberry, orange, and diet.  (I didn’t try those … but they sound good!)

***Please note, Crabbie’s sent me a bottle to try, but I’d already ordered one of my own at Trinity Hall … and loved it both times!***

The New Old Bar

Step 1: Order The New Old Bar.
Step 2: Wait to receive the book with great anticipation.
Step 3: After you get the book, stock your bar according to the book’s instruction.
Step 4: Make every drink, app, syrup, and infusion they have a recipe for STAT.