Dallas didn’t get too cold (yet) this year, but on the days it has, I found myself craving something warm and boozy. Once I had gotten past my hot toddies and it was too late in the day for an Irish Coffee, I turned to hot chocolate cocktails!
I put together a few different spirited options for y’all … from the traditionally spiked vodka, then went to tequila and scotch options. Because it’s always fun to try something different, right?
PEPPERMINT WHITE CHOCOLATE (VODKA)
½ C Absolut Elyx vodka
½ C white chocolate chips
1½ C milk*
¼ C sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla extract or vanilla paste
whipped cream (if desired)
Add chocolate and milks to a medium saucepan and summer, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Once melted, remove from heat and add vodka. Top with whipped cream and peppermint pieces, if desired.
SPICY HOT CHOCOLATE (TEQUILA)
3 oz Patrón Tequila (more if desired)
3 C milk*
3 T cocoa powder
3 T tbsp granulated sugar
Pinch of sea salt
¼ t cinnamon
¼ t cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients (except for tequila) to a saucepan and whisk until combined. Heat on low until it’s slightly boiling, then remove from the stove. Add tequila, then pour into mugs and top as desired. (I added cinnamon marshmallows and a pinch of cayenne pepper on top.)
HIGHLAND HOT CHOCOLATE (SCOTCH)
3 oz Highland Park Magnus Scotch whisky (more if desired)
3 C milk*
3 T cocoa powder
3 T tbsp granulated sugar
1 t Sugar in the Raw (or any coarse brown sugar)
Pinch of sea salt
Combine all ingredients (except for whisky) to a saucepan and whisk until combined. Heat on low until it’s slightly boiling, then remove from the stove. Add whisky, then pour into mugs and top as desired.
… you can also whip up my famous HAUTE CHOCOLATE and add whatever spirit sounds good to you.
¼ C cocoa powder
½ C hot water
20 oz semi-sweet chocolate
10 C whole milk
2½ C heavy cream
12 oz can evaporated milk
¼ t salt
Either in a crock pot or a large pot, whisk cocoa powder with hot water until mixed. Add in chocolate, milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and pinch of salt. If using a crock pot, cook for at least 2 hours on high OR low for 4 hours and stir occasionally. Keep on warm to serve. If using a pot on the stove, heat for about 15 minutes on medium and stir often. Then, keep on simmer and continue to stir occasionally. Makes about 20 servings.
*the higher the fat content of the milk you use, the richer your drink will be
What makes it different than any other Tex Mex spot in Texas? The uniqueness comes from the owners, Rick and Susan. They’ve added touches here and there to give the space a modern yet comfortable feel.
The bar is absolutely gorgeous with eye-catching tiling and a large selection of alcohol displayed beautifully on open shelves. The best of the bottles, though, is theirs. The owners went to Mexico and bought a barrel and had their own tequila produced. (Because that’s a normal thing to do right?) A single barrel which only produces around 240 bottles to use, so, pro tip: get there ASAP to try theirs before it’s gone! Their goal was to have vanilla and citrus notes come through their tequila, and upon first sip of their blend, those notes rang true.
To start our meal … as with any Tex Mex joint worth its (tequila and) salt, their chips and salsa hit the table right when you sit down. They’re made fresh daily and the salsa has a bright charred flavor. Not to start off too strong, but my husband claims this is his favorite salsa … looks like we will be going back soon … ya know … for quality control purposes!
For an appetizer we indulged in the Brisket Empanadas that were filled with juicy meat and had a soft yet crunchy flaky crust. For the entrees we had Brisket Tacos and Seafood Ancho Relleno. Both dishes were stuffed with a generous portion of protein and really hit the spot. You can taste the freshness of the ingredients in the crunch of the vegetables.
To top off the meal we had the sopapillas. Did anyone else grow up “rais[ing] the flag”? No? Just me? Ok, well this dessert was the stuff dreams are made of. Show me a pastry covered in sugary goodness and you have my full attention (after I eat it … because I’m not focusing on anything but that until it’s gone.) The whipped cream it came with had a subtle kick of heat, which was a delightful surprise.
The environment was light and airy. The bar filled up before the restaurant, obvi, and it had an energetic feel without being too loud to enjoy your dining companions. If you hit this place up, I recommend that you head to happy hour first and let the night go from there!
Just a couple of last tips:
– It gets busy right around 6pm, so get there early to get a good seat and start sipping a delicious marg.
– Their Carrollton location is super convenient but if this isn’t close enough to Highway 75 for you, they will be building a location in Frisco very soon!
– If you sit in the bar, be sure to chat with Danny! He’s pretty awesome!
Generally speaking, you know you’re in for a good time whenever tequila is involved. If said tequila is Casamigos, just do yourself a favor and schedule an Uber and enjoy the ride … and the cocktails.
That the tequila brand itself was the brainchild of Randy Gerber and George Clooney, who simply sought to create a tequila that “they could drink all day and not be hungover in the morning” should be incentive enough to try it out. But at a time when every reality TV star has their own line of something, I was skeptical. Turns out I should have saved my skepticism for the D-list celebs peddling lip gloss, because these guys know their tequila. (Randy & George, if by some bizarre twist of fate you read this, I humbly and sincerely apologize). If all that isn’t enough, the recent sale to Diageo for $1B should lend the company some extra cred.
Casamigos mixes well, is smooth enough to sip on the rocks, and every recipe we made during the event at Jaliso NorteI attended recently was surprisingly tasty. (I say “surprisingly” because until then, I lived in a world where tequila’s only time to shine was with salt, lime or grapefruit juice. How sad my life was.) Consider me educated.
We were treated to a class where we learned to make tequila cocktails with thyme, whipped cream, apples and cloves … all were all delicious and unexpected.
CASA BLOOD ORANGE 2 oz. Casamigos Blanco
1 oz. blood orange juice
1 oz. fresh lime juice
.5 oz. simple syrup
2 serrano slices
½ thick rim of sugar, salt, tajin mixture (equal parts)
Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Muddle fruit. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds. Fine strain into rocks glass. Add fresh ice. Garnish with blood orange wheel.
CASA PUMPKIN SPICE 2.5 oz. Casamigos Reposado Tequila
1 oz. Agave Nectar or simple syrup
1 oz. creme
.25 oz. almond liqueur
2 heaping bar spoons organic canned pumpkin (or fresh)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon
Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 10-12 seconds. Strain into Irish glass mug. Add dollop of whipped cream and lightly sprinkle nutmeg over top.
CASA CIDER 2 oz. Casamigos Reposado
1 oz. apple cider
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
.5 oz. ginger syrup
.5 oz. agave nectar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 pinch cinnamon
Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds. Strain into rocks glass. Add fresh ice. Garnish with thin apple slice, thyme sprig, star anise and cinnamon sprinkle.
If served hot: add 1 oz. water and heat up contents. No ice needed.
CASA AMAGO 1.5 oz mole-infused Casamigos Reposado
.75 oz cocoa nib-infused Campari
.75 oz Carpano Formula Antica Vermouth
orange peel garnish
Combine above ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir for 50-60 revolutions or until well chilled and properly diluted. Garnish.
The venue matched the spirit of Casamigos perfectly—Jalisco Norte is stylish but down to earth, like that friend who dresses like an off-duty model but doesn’t just eat fries for likes. If you assumed that the last thing Dallas needed was another Mexican restaurant, set your assumptions aside and pay them a visit, you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure to pair your esquites and tuna tartare tostada with a Casamigos cocktail … even if it is a classic margarita.
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
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a lime peel.
Hardly Workin’ 1 ¼ parts Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila
¼ part Agave
½ part Lemon Juice
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
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.
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 SantiagoCocktail 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.
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.
Find 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!
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!