Tag Archives: Tequila

Product Review: Hornitos Spiced Honey Tequila

My first thought before even opening this bottle … will this be some magic elixir or will it be evil sugar syrup?

The war to slowly trick up everything simple and good with extra flavors has been won. The traditionalist lost. First, they took our vodka to a chemical flavor factory. Next they added honey to our whiskey. Now, you can browse every single section of a liquor store and find combinations of flavors, chemicals and booze that you could argue God either never intended to exist or that he simply waited to give us the know-how to make apple-flavored everything. Ok, this sounds overly negative – and you’re right, because some of this stuff is really good. It’s just that once you spend a winter in New England burning through flavored whiskey/bourbon praying for snow to melt, you get really skeptical of everything.

So, when I had a chance to review Hornitos Spiced Honey, I was anxious. This is a tequila I really like, and the thought of it turning into a sugar fest with a kick was almost depressing to me. Also, flavored tequila just doesn’t sound right, but I fought through that by saying I used to feel the same way about whiskey. I decided to try it neat, on the rocks, and then in whatever cocktail/mixer felt right after I got the taste and made notes as I went.

When I opened the bottle, the honey scent was strong and the agave smell felt really dialed back. I had my wife (a non-tequila drinker) take a sniff … she told me she still thought it was strong, so maybe it’s a preference thing. I took a sip and was surprised it was close to a good spiced rum than anything else.

The vanilla and spice were well balanced and the tequila taste gradually came through after a few more sips. This was very easy to drink and I could see it easily becoming part of my rotation as a warm up drink for the evening or a shot that wasn’t hard to take down. It gets better as it opens up, but the one thing that quickly became apparent is that it wouldn’t fit my tastes for a traditional tequila recipe since so many of those drinks are traditionally sweet to begin with.

Luckily, I live in New England and its fall, so people are pushing apples everywhere. In Texas terms, think of that week hatch chiles show up or if someone made bluebonnets edible. After some recent success with Makers and cider, I decided to see how the tequila would mix with it. Despite the obvious sweetness, this was a solid nightcap and it left with a list of future ideas (and there are also several recipes on the website focused on mixers like tea and lemonade as well.)

Hornitos Spiced Honey is available almost everywhere with a retail price of $19.99 per 750ml bottle. If you’re looking for a change of pace from your regular tequila and enjoy the flavor of spiced rum and similar spirits, I’d definitely recommend picking up a bottle.



Workin’ Hard
2 parts Hornitos® Plata Tequila
½ part Agave Nectar
1 part Lime Juice
2 parts Coconut Water
3 Dashes Angostura® Bitters
Lime Peel

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a lime peel.

IMG_20151110_215103Hardly Workin’
1 ¼ parts Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila
¼ part Agave
½ part Lemon Juice
Lemon Wedge

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

The Work Horse1 ½ parts Hornitos® Plata Tequila
4 parts Mexican Lager
⅓ part Lime Juice
⅓ part Simple Syrup
1 slice Jalapeño
Salt Rim

Muddle jalapeño in a glass with a salted rim, combine remainder of ingredients except Mexican lager in a shaker, shake vigorously, strain over fresh ice and add Mexican lager.

Cantina Laredo Tequila Dinner Series ft. Herradura

Whether it is warranted or not, very few spirits get the same bad wrap that poor old tequila does. Most of us know exactly why, too. Flashback to college … ahh, the good ole college days. To make a long (and messy) story short, there was usually tequila involved. Unfortunately, my buddies and I didn’t always go for the good stuff … we were drinking the bargain basement stuff like Montezuma and whatever else we could get our hands on (cheaply). Do I even need to go on and say that many a night ended badly? More than once, we learned the hard way that drinking the cheap stuff never was a good idea.

Good thing those days are over.

I was fortunate to be invited to one of Cantina Laredo’s new high-end tequila dinners via Susie. This 4-course dinner was at the Addison location and featured drink pairings that featured Tequila Herradura. Founded in 1870 in Amatitán, Jalisco, the brand has consistently produced high quality tequilas from the beginning. They insist on using traditional methods and 100% agave. The brand controls 30% of the tequila market in Mexico … so they must be doing something right.

There were three glasses of tequila to welcome us at our place settings. (That’s the way to start things off on the right foot!) We took things slow and sipped these over the course of the dinner, as one should with fine tequilas. Our first course was a Sope de Brisket, a delicious and tender beef brisket served in a flaky pie-like crust. The appetizer was accompanied by a Paloma cocktail. This was a simple but refreshing combination of Herradura Blanco tequila and Fresca soda. (OMG how I’ve missed Fresca!)

This was followed by a Mango Salad. While I am not normally a fan of fruit in salads, I actually didn’t mind this. The mango melded well with the dressing and queso fresco, and the jicama added in a nice crunch. It was fresh, light and colorful.  The Santiago Cocktail comprised of Herradura Blanco shaken with Midori, grapefruit juice, grenadine and sweet and sour mix. It was enjoyed by others, but it was simply too sweet for my taste.

We had a choice between two main dishes … the Seabass Oscar with Chili de Arbol Sauce was excellent. The fish was perfectly cooked–tender, flaky and not overdone–and the sauce that accompanied it was the perfect mixture of spicy and sweet. This was definitely the better of the two options, but you couldn’t have gone wrong with the filet either.  Here we enjoyed a classic Margarita with Herradura’s Reposado Tequila. You can’t beat a margarita made with top-shelf tequila, that’s all I will say… the Dia y Noche Flan was a nice finale to the dinner and was served with an Old 43 Cocktail. The Old 43 is a dangerously delicious mix of Añejo Tequila, Licor 43, Kahlua, half & half and fresh brewed coffee topped with whipped cream and a cherry.  An awesome alcoholic, cinnamon-y hot chocolate drink.

 

This was the first of Cantina Laredo’s series of tequila dinners in the the DFW area.  Check out  the the list of the locations and brands of tequila they will feature in the coming weeks. For $49.99 per person, these dinners are an excellent deal. (I think that just the assortment of tequila and cocktails alone are worth that price!) Add in the delicious food and you definitely get more than your money’s worth. If you missed the Addison event, I’ll include the recipes for Herradura tequila-based cocktails for a Mexican night of your own.

City Tequila Date Phone
Addison Herradurra 5/21/2015 (972) 458-0962
Grapevine Don Julio 5/23/2015 (817) 358-0505
Fort Worth Cabo Wabo 5/29/2015 (817) 810-0773
Lewisville Gran Centenario 6/4/2015 (972) 315-8100
Frisco Herradura 6/4/2015 (214) 618-9860
Dallas Casa Noble 6/13/2015 (214) 265-1610

Thank you to Chef/Manager Rambo Saucedo for treating us to this great dinner.

Cantina Laredo – Addison
Website | Facebook | Twitter
4546 Beltline Road
Addison, Texas 7544
(972) 458-0962

 

Tequila Recipes

Paloma
Ice glass, add:
1½ oz. Herradura Blanco Tequila
Garnish: grapefruit slice

Mix all ingredients. Top with Fresca.

Santiago
1½ oz. Herradura Blanco Tequila
½ oz. Midori
1 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Grenadine
½ oz. Sweet & Sour Mix
Garnish: Grapefruit Slice

Shake with ice until chilled and strain into Martini Glass

Classic Margarita
1½ oz. Herradura Reposado Tequila
½ oz. Grand Marnier
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
Garnish: Lime  Wheel

Shake with ice until chilled and strain into salt rimmed Martini Glass

Old 43
1 oz. Herradura Añejo Tequila
½ oz. Licor 43
½ oz. Kahlua
½ oz.Half & Half
Garnish: Whipped topping, Cherry

Combine ingredients in Irish Coffee mug. Fill with fresh, hot coffee to ½ from rim.

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.

National Tequila Day – July 24

Looking to celebrate National Tequila Day on July 24? Check out some great deals below!

  • Blue Mesa | FREE quesadilla bar, 4-6:30 pm.   
    4-7:30pm: $4 Large Blue Margaritas, Sangria Blue Swirls, and Sangria
  • Cantina Laredo$5 shots of Patron Silver (normally $9.75)
  • Chuys | 4-7pm, $3.95 house margaritas
  • Desperados | 11am-7pm, $3.50 margaritas
  • Hacienda on Henderson | FREE tequila tastings and open mic night
  • El Fenix | $3.50 award-winning house margaritas (rocks or frozen), $2 Jose Cuervo floaters 
  • LA Fitness Signature Club in Uptown | free week pass to anyone that mentions SusieDrinksDallas & National Tequila Day recovery from 7/25-7/28
  • Luna de Noche | 5 pm to close, $4 house margaritas 
  • Meso Maya | stop by Meso Maya for the chance to win a football signed by Emmitt Smith
  • Primo’s | 3-7pm, $4 margaritas 
  • Pozo Mercado | $3 Margaritas, $3 guacamole & queso, $3 tacos 
  • Sundown at the Granada | 4-7pm & 10 pm to close, $4 frozen margaritas
  • MORE TO COME!

(specials are offered all day unless otherwise indicated)

MUSIC

RECIPES

Azoteas Verdes Margarita
2 parts Milagro Reposado Tequila
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
0.75 parts A ave Nectar
2 strips of green Bell Peppers
1 D’Avignon Radish
1/5 Kale Leaf

Combine the pepper, radish and kale leaf in the mixing glass of a Boston shaker and muddle. Add remaining ingredients and ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass and garnish with a kale leaf and lime wheel.

 

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Getting Figgy with It

  • 1.5 parts Milagro Anejo
  • 2 parts Lemon Sour
  • 2 teaspoons Fig Jam
  • .5 parts Apple Juice
  • 5 parts Egg Whites  

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

 


Blood Orange and Mint Cocktail

  • 2 oz. Herradura Silver
  • 2 oz. blood orange juice
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • ½ oz. agave syrup
  • 6-8 mint leaves

Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously. Strain into a high ball over cubed ice.  Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime disc. 

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The Freshest Sangrita

  • 4 parts Milagro Silver Tequila
  • 4 parts fresh lime juice
  • 4 parts grapefruit juice
  • 8 parts grenadine
  • 3 red Serrano peppers

In four shooter glasses, pour Milagro Silver neat. Cut serrano peppers in half and remove and veins, seeds or stems. Blend the halves with remaining ingredients and allow pepper infusion to steep for 2-3 hours. Strain and pour into four separate shooter glasses. 

 

Tequila Sunrise

  • 3 oz. silver tequila
  • orange juice
  • 1½ oz. grenadine
  • orange slice and cocktail cherry, to decorate

Put 4–6 cracked ice cubes into a chilled highball glass. Pour the tequila over the ice.  Fll up with orange juice. Stir well to mix. Slowly pour the grenadine over the orange juice mixture.  Decorate with the orange slice and cocktail cherry. Serve immediately.

Perfect Paloma

  • 2 Parts Maestro Dobel Tequila
  • 4 Parts Grapefruit Soda
  • Splash Lime Juice

Shake and strain into a rocks glass.  Lime Wedge garnish

 

Black Diamond

  • 2 oz. Maestro Dobel Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. agave nectar
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

Pour into an iced mixing glass.  Shake and strain.  Black salt rimmed cocktail glass, chilled.  Lime wedge garnish.

Ocho has closed since this review was posted. The owners will reopen this location as another concept from their portfolio later this summer.

They call this place “Ocho” because I ATE everything…

I ventured into Ocho again to try some of their new offerings, both solids and liquids. The meal started with tequila shots. Usually tequila isn’t the way to get on my good side, but the shot of their Ocho Reposado began our meal on a surprisingly high note.

The wait staff made us feel at home, and was very attentive. They were all willing to share their food and drink preferences and recommendations, but weren’t too insistent that we go with their choices.

After the tequila we, with some direction from our waiter, moved onto the appetizer of crab guacamole (top, center). Complete with a stack of crab and homemade fried chips, I’ll have this appetizer again in a heartbeat. To accompany the creamy guac, Micheal* treated us to a Skinny Cougar (left, bottom). The SC was a refreshing grenadine drink that is a must-have while lounging on their airy (huge) patio.

We moved on to grilled Shoshito peppers (bottom, center) and lobster tacos (top, left). Both were out of this world. The tempura lobster tacos were some of the better seafood tacos I’ve had in quite a while, and the accompanying sauce takes the taste of the Tex-ified lobster to a new level. To go with this course, we enjoyed a smokey hatch chili margarita (top, right). The hatch chili powder was in the drink AND sprinkled on top along with a slice of jalapeño (that’s a spicy meat-a-ball!). Spicy cocktails are my jam, and this was some spicy heaven on earth.

Dessert was tres leches and some heavenly not-Weight-Watchers-approved berry something (right, 2nd to bottom). I’d pretty much devour both if set in front of me again.

*Michael Jordan (no, really, that’s his name) was one of the most helpful, hospitable bartenders I’ve ever come across. I love to challenge my barkeeps to make me things I like, and he’s more than up to the challenge. He’ll find you something you love, not just like. Visit Ocho just to let him choose a drink for you.

Stop into Ocho to try some of their new offerings and enjoy a drink (or three). They seem to have gotten their shit stuff together, and having a meal here is a truly enjoyable dining experience. Don’t miss their amazing patio while you’re there!

Ocho | www.ocho.com | @ocho_Dallas
8411 Preston Road (@ Northwest Highway), Suite 132
(214)217-0888

***Please note that I was not charged for this meal.***

Asador at the Renaissance Hotel

Never heard of it?  Understandable, but now you know better.  Asador is the high-end-but-casual restaurant inside the Renaissance Hotel over on I-35 — you know, the brown one that’s a gigantic oval?  There ya go.

I was very excited to try Asador and was even more excited when I sat down at the bar and began looking through the delicious victuals that they offer.  Grab a tissue, because your mouth is about to water — smoked duck sliders, candied bacon lollipops, grilled Texas quail … and those are only a few of the bar snacks!  They offer a full chef-driven menu of delightfully-prepared foods made with fresh ingredients, all from within 100 miles of Dallas (except for the fish … but that’s because we’re pretty landlocked).  Fresh isn’t an understatement here, so much so that they print new menus almost everyday.  Steaks that are cooked to perfection and fish that cuts like butta’ using nothing but a fork.

I think one of the best parts of the experience was dessert (duh).  Asador makes their ice cream in-house.  OMG – I never wanted the sweet potato ice cream to end but while attempting to make it last, a bit melted.  BLAST.  Their pumpkin crème brulee was also one of the highlights of the pumpkin season this year (right up there with the pumpkin souffles I made for Thanksgiving!).

Their cocktails are made with the same fresh ingredients as the food and are mixed thoughtfully with a flare for the unique.  They have the usuals but add a twist to each.  To give their cocktails depth, they infuse liquors with some unexpected items.  For your consideration: bacon bourbon, grilled jalapeño tequila, maple-Belgium waffle vodka (believe it), pomegranate gin, and more.  Changed often, creative, and tempting, they’ll serve you a shot of one of their seasonal infusions for only $5.

My absolute favorite item of the evening was the harvest margarita – a margarita made with pumpkin puree and apple cider and finished off with a brown sugar spice rim.  It.was.amazing.  Being one who doesn’t like margaritas, I have never in my life had a margarita that I didn’t want to end … except for this one.

My other favorite cocktails from the evening were the Blossom Margatini, the Orange Twist, and the Posh Cosmo (pictured above in the same order).  The Blossom Margatini is tequila, rose nectar, St. Germain, citrus juices, and an edible flower (I wish I’d known that sooner b/c I would have eaten it).  It reminded me of some of my favorite drinks from Paris; light and sweet but quite potent.  The Orange Twist was pomegranate juice, port, orange juice, and rum — talk about a refreshing drink, I could have downed three.  Lastly, the Posh Cosmo was what you’d expect from any Cosmopolitan with some interesting additions, they added Gran Marnier jam (yes, like jelly) and Pimms —- heavvvven.

In addition to their specialty cocktails, they have 100+ tequilas arranged on a wall (complete with ladder, pictured above) that you can try individually or in a flight.  The bartenders really know their stuff and are very friendly and helpful so you can just ask and they’ll serve you up something you’ll love.  Ask for Tyler (girl) or James – they’re both fantastic.

The bottom line: Specialty cocktails are $7-10, bar snacks are $4-9, entrees are $4-38.  They have a full bar, exotic beers, a great wine list, steaks, seafood, and some more slightly casual bites.  If you’re bored, you can watch your game on one of the flat screens or play pool in the back room — but with food this good, why would you be bored?

Asador
asadorrestaurant.com | @asador_dallas
2222 N Stemmons Fwy (in the Renaissance Hotel)
(214)631-2222

Specials:
Happy Hour | Monday-Friday 4-7 p.m.
$4 draft beer / $6 house wine and specialty cocktails
$1 appetizers and 1/2 price all snacks

Reverse Happy Hour | Monday 9-11 p.m.
$4 draft beer / $6 house wine and specialty cocktails
1/2 price all snacks

Hospitality Night | Wednesday 5pm-10 p.m.
$4 draft beer / $6 house wine and specialty cocktails
1/2 price all snacks and garden items