Swill & Suds, Uncategorized

Spirits Review: Cokana Vodka

October 26, 2017
Spirits Review: Cokana Vodka | SwineAndSwill.com
By Patrick Gary, Contributor

The story of Cokana Vodka is simple enough, as relayed by the producers. They say that founder and owner Leslie Campbell was traveling and working in Argentina, and there she was introduced to the practice of chewing coca leaves. She and her partner Debbie Chase decided to share the flavor — and, in some ways, the international experience — by combining the two ingredients to create what is believed to be the first coca leaf-flavored vodka.

This creates a unique flavor experience. It is rich and full and lingers; it is a largely unfamiliar flavor, but not unpleasant. It’s herbal and a bit grassy with a hint of bitterness at the end. It’s not unlike the flavor of bay leaves or dried oregano. Cokana is very nice over light ice, although with the addition of a bit of lemon juice or cucumber, it becomes quite a lovely drink.

For anyone worried about legality, as raw coca leaf is illegal in the US, it is legal to use if the active ingredients have been removed. This is made in Portland, Oregon, and is legal to consume.

So, for someone looking for a novel flavor and a distinct, pleasant sipping vodka, I’d definitely recommended Cokana.

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Fundraising Cocktail Party Returns to Klyde Warren Park

September 25, 2017
Fundraising Cocktail Party Returns to Dallas | SwineAndSwill.com

One of Dallas’ hottest cocktail-centric events is back for its sixth annual toast: The Ultimate Cocktail Experience returns to Klyde Warren Park on Saturday, Sept. 30. This baby has come a long way from its earlier iteration as a collection of themed pop-up bars under one roof (remember that one year I was on a bar team?! Epic!).

Back then, teams of DFW bartenders dreamed up concepts and menus for fanciful pop-up bars in one location. And, boy, has it evolved from there!

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Swill & Suds

Summer’s Last Cocktail Salute to Watermelon

September 12, 2017
Summer's Last Cocktail Salute to Watermelon | SwineAndSwill.com
By Valerie Jarvie, Contributor

Watermelon: Like baseball and fireworks, it’s a summer tradition — it just wouldn’t seem like the season is complete without a taste of that sweet red fruit. And now that petite fruit options are available (branded as “personal watermelons”) it’s practical to buy a melon for just one or two.

Ocean Prime, the posh seafood venue in the shadow of The Crescent complex in Dallas’ Uptown neighborhood offers a sophisticated summer cocktail that uses watermelon to good effect. The Watermelon Elyx combines premium vodka and gin, the flavors of lime, basil and ginger, and watermelon purée. Its presentation in a coupe glass with a garnish of melon balls makes it elegant. Click through to re-create it at home!

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Spirits Review: Kilbeggan Single Grain Irish Whiskey

August 19, 2017
Spirits Review: Kilbeggan Single Grain Irish Whiskey | SwineAndSwill.com

By Patrick Gary, Contributor

I have been told that every Irishman in the world is a storyteller, and that every story told by an Irishman is true. That said, I’ve also been told about Cuchulain and Fin McCool, so at least in the realms of absolute veracity, there are some “true” stories that are, at the very least, embellished.

A story that I was told recently, that seems to be more truth than legend, concerns the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland. That would be Kilbeggan Distilling Company, in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath. The original distillery made its spirits for 200 years before shuttering the business. However, 50 years later, in 2007, Kilbeggan was able to dust off its small-pot copper stills and start sharing their variety of Irish whiskey.

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Spice Up Your Shots with Himalayan Salt Glasses

June 29, 2017
Spice Up Your Shots with Salt Glasses! | SwineAndSwill.com
By Patrick Gary, Contributor

Most of what I review is the liquid that goes into glasses. In this case, I had the novel opportunity to review the container itself. Root7 is making shot glasses from pure Himalayan pink rock salt, which both is a lovely way to present the drink and provides the salty taste that completes a tequila shot.

It does require careful care, as these are not machine-washable, nor are they supposed to have liquid kept in them for long. Salt is a natural preservative and antibacterial agent, though, so the glassware should be fine for continued home use as long as it is stored correctly.

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Spirits Review: Kimo Sabe Mezcal

June 25, 2017
Spirits Review: Kimo Sabe Mezcal | SwineAndSwill.com
By Patrick Gary, Contributor

A couple of things to start off with if you aren’t familiar with the basics of mezcal: Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from the pina of any one of the 30 varieties of the agave cactus. Tequila is a specific type of mezcal made in a specific region of Mexico from only the blue agave. Therefore, tequila and mezcal are related, but mezcal is not generally designed to be either shot or mixed into cocktails, is consumed generally without salt or lime; is generally meant to be sipped neat; and when it is well made, it is very smooth. That said, Americans like cocktails, and there are mezcals that cater to that taste. There, if you didn’t know exactly what we were talking about, now you know enough.

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Spirits Review: Rum Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

June 19, 2017
Spirits Review: Rum Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva | SwineAndSwill.com
By Patrick Gary, Contributor

I must admit that when I was asked to review Rum Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva that I was not familiar with the history of rum production in South America. I had always thought of rum as being a Caribbean spirit, with some lovely offerings from Guatemala or the Philippines being worthy outliers. However, as I started researching the distillery, I learned that while Venezuelan rum is new to me, it is not new to the market.

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Give This Coconutty Rum Blend a Shot

May 27, 2017
New Liqueur Goes Nuts with Coconut | SwineAndSwill.com
By Patrick Gary, Contributor

Summer is approaching, and with it comes a craving for a different, more tropical flavor with your food and beverages. Captain Morgan recently released a new creamy coconut-rum blend to enhance your party atmosphere. It is called LocoNut, and it is easily spotted in its coconut-shaped and decorated bottle.

For those who are interested in this as an alternative to Malibu or some other coconut rum, first note that this is something different. It functions fine as a replacement for Malibu, but it really stands up like Amarula or Bailey’s Irish Cream as a very nice drink on its own merits, especially if chilled. More than just the coconut milk, there are hints of cinnamon, cloves and allspice. It has a thicker texture and a fuller mouthfeel. Malibu is a rum that tastes of coconut. LocoNut is closer to a fermented coconut milk that has been sweetened and lightly spiced.

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Kona Brewing Brings Island-Fruity IPA to Dallas

May 25, 2017
Island-Fruity IPA Hits Dallas | SwineAndSwill.com
By Patrick Gary, Contributor

After more than a year of waiting, Kona Brewing Co. has finally rolled its tribute to Kauai out to the U.S. mainland. Hanalei Island IPA is a smooth, sessionable IPA with mild fruity notes that come from the POG (passionfruit, orange and guava) mash. For those who have not traveled to Hawaii, POG is omnipresent on the islands but practically unheard of once you leave.

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Fire up Cinco de Mayo with hot new Ancho Reyes Verde

May 1, 2017
Fire up Cinco de Mayo with hot new Ancho Reyes Verde | SwineAndSwill.com
By Valerie Jarvie, Contributor

May 5 is Cinco de Mayo, the anniversary of the 1861 Battle of Puebla, in which the 3-to-1 outnumbered Mexican army defeated Napoleon’s troops attempting to capture Puebla de Los Angeles, an east-central Mexico town. The victory provided a much-needed morale boost to our southern neighbors. It’s now a day when Mexican culture and heritage is celebrated in the U.S. with festivals and parties. As such, it calls for regional libations. Margaritas? In this age of craft cocktails, a plain-Jane version seems, well frankly, boring.

Here’s a spirit to add some tasty style to your Cinco de Mayo celebration: Ancho Reyes Verde, a chile liqueur made with poblano chiles picked while green, and fire-roasted. The spirit became available in Texas just this spring.

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