Around here, we refuse to call today Cinco de Drinko – all it evokes is visions of cheap margs you pound by the quart. We’d rather celebrate the holiday with beautifully balanced, wonderfully crafted cocktails – including ones that don’t feature tequila. Imagine that! Here are some beverages that’ll have you forgetting Cinco de Drinko forever. Not in the mood to whip up drinks? We’ve got a list of spots where they’ll do it for you — with terrific Cinco specials. Cheers!
[Ed. note: Our intrepid contributor Patrick Gary was invited to a tasting of The Macallan’s premium expressions with the label’s Ambassador, Jeremy Fonicello. Enjoy Pat’s delicious musings!]
In general, it’s been a good time to be a whiskey drinker recently. In the past few years, consumers have been introduced to innovative bourbons like Ranger Creek’s small-caliber series, Corsair distillery’s Triple Smoke Whiskey and Quinoa Whiskey, High West 36th Vote, Balcones Baby Blue, and even Jim Beam’s Devil’s Cut. Japanese whiskey, especially Suntory Yamazaki, started to gain a reputation as one of the best in the world. Then recently, Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye was rated the best that this planet has to offer in 2016. All the while, Scotch was standing on the sidelines, sticking with making the same things that their patrons love, but holding to tradition instead of innovation.
Seeing their competition gaining on their reputation, The Macallan decided to respond to the myriad challenges with some distinctive, rare, and rather beautiful offerings. No longer resting on their laurels, The Macallan is releasing a collection of new items aimed at different kinds of whiskey and whisky fans.
This Sunday, as the ultimate counterprogramming to Easter, a number of local bartenders are hatching (hehe) a hip-hop-flavored cigar and cocktail pop-up primed to pull your ham- and deviled egg-stuffed butt to Oak Cliff.
Dallas bar masters Omar Yeefoon (86 & Co.) and Phillip Smith (Parliament) are teaming with visiting talents Kyle Zimmerman from OKC and Andy Maurer from Houston to host “Yeezy Does It,” a pop-up going down at Cigar Art in the OC.
This Sunday, the annual Academy Awards telecast returns – and as a movie fanatic, it’s simply one of my favorite times to throw a shindig. But, alas, not this year – honestly, none of the nominees have really piqued my interest this go-round. But that don’t mean I won’t drink anyway! And these Hollywood-inspired cocktails will make either partying or vegging/live-tweeting the awards from your sofa that much more spectacular. So whip up one of these drinks and get to snarking about the red-carpet fails. Cheers!
Last weekend, as you’ll recall, we attended and I judged an incredible pisco sour competition in Dallas called the Pisco Cocktail Duel — it went smashingly! Each of the eight participating bartenders did admirably well in dreaming up inventive new takes on the classic Peruvian cocktail, and while they handed out samples, I got to meet with representatives from the event’s four sponsor spirits: Cuatro Gallos, Pisco Porton, Santiago Queirolo and Barsol. Meantime, the event’s attendees were engaged and lively, and, honestly? I was happily surprised at how curious they were about pisco and each bartender’s drink — certainly made for a fun and energetic vibe to the event.
Once attendees got a sip of each bartender’s cocktails, it was time for us judges to be seated and for each bar pro to step up and create their signature pisco drink before us while detailing the inspiration behind them and then serving them up with flair. We tasted, we discussed, we scored, and the bartender who ended up with top honors was Spencer Shelton from Bolsa — he put a food-centric twist on his version of the pisco sour, incorporating characteristic foods and flavors from Peru. It was a smooth, well-balanced sip that pleased our palates! As the winner, Spencer took home $500 and a bottle of each event sponsor’s pisco. Kudos!
There’ll be more pisco duels in coming months culminating in a grand championship in the latter part of the year. Stay tuned! Meantime, enjoy this gallery of snapshots from last weekend’s event …
With a handful of days off from work and family and friends gathering to celebrate, the holidays are a prime time for relaxing … and, you know – enjoying excellent craft cocktails in multiples. Here’re some holiday cocktails perfect for toasting the end-of-year celebrations. And if you need something to sate the whole party, check out our recent roundup on boozy punches – they’re not just for Thanksgiving, ya know!
Speaking of giving thanks, you’ll be singing praises over our latest giveaway – click through to learn how to win the elegant and luxurious Absolut Elyx pineapple!
For a handful of years, there was a tradition in my family in which I would be in charge of the Thanksgiving cocktail. Quite the honor, but also a prime opportunity for overwhelm, if you’re a perfectionista like me: What spirits should I have on hand? Which mixers? How much ice should I bring? Gah!
To ease my load considerably, I decided to make a cocktail punch. Forgive me for this old-school way of thinking that I’ve totally evolved from, but since the majority of my family is female, I knew back then a “girly” (read: fruity, sweet, bubbly) drink would probably go over well. And since we’re all a bit lushy, I knew something strong would be a hit with everyone. Plus, a punch is mostly a set-it-and-forget-it drink: I could pour all the components in my punch bowl and spend most of the day mingling with the fam and eating. Sure, I’d usually have one refill to make, but that would take all of five minutes. No transporting a ton of different boozes or taking everyone’s order. Even though the recipes changed each year and even though they didn’t contain any actual turkey (important to note), I took to christening this potent potable the Turkeytini. Sure, no one else in my family would join me in using the moniker, but I swear the name alone brought smiles to the faces of the Fleurima fam!
So to share some smiles with you and yours, I’ve compiled several punch recipes. Pick one (or two! Rotate that ish out!) with which to delight your family, and enjoy this Thanksgiving even more than you hoped. Happy Turkey Day, y’all!
Cruzan® Autumn Harvest
2 parts Cruzan® Aged Dark Rum
¾ part fresh lemon juice
½ part demerara syrup
3 parts fresh apple cider
Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs
Add Cruzan® Rum, lemon, demerara syrup, cider and rosemary sprigs into a punch bowl. Add ice and stir for 10 seconds. Pour into a Collins glass over ice. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.
2 parts Lillet Rosé
½ part Pamplemousse Liqueur
½ part Cynar
1 ½ part brut Champagne
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and garnish with a grapefruit float. Serve in a rocks glass on ice.
Carpe Dia Punch
2 parts Milagro Añejo
1 part lime juice
¾ part blackberry syrup
1 ea sage leaf
1 part hibiscus tea
1 part ginger beer
Build all ingredients except ginger beer in a punch bowl over a block of ice. Top with ginger beer right before stirring intermittently.
Solerno Celebration Punch
(Pictured at top)
1 bottle Solerno Bloood Orange Liqueur
1 bottle Lillet
1 bottle dry, sparkling white wine
16 parts freshly brewed, strong, chair spiced black tea (no cream/sugar added)
8 parts Fever Tree Ginger Beer
8 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice
16 dashes Angostora Bitters
Over a large block of ice in a punch bowl, pour all the ingredients and stir to combine. Garnish with thinly sliced orange wheels. Serve in punch cups with a cinnamon stick and a small wedge of orange.
Sailor Jerry Apple Ginger Punch
1½ parts Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
2 parts sour mix
1 part apple juice
1 part ginger syrup
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Add ingredients into mixing glass, add ice, shake, strain over ice into a rocks glass and garnish with an apple slice and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon
Solerno Blood Orange & Berry Punch
1 bottle Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 bottle Lillet Rouge
12 parts Red Zinger Tea (brewed at 2x strength)
6 parts agave nectar
6 parts fresh lemon juice
6 parts berry blend puree (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, red grapes)
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and stir well. Float an ice block in the center and garnish with floating blueberries, raspberries, grape halves, blood orange slices and a few mint leaves.
2 parts lemon juice
2 parts simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water brought to a light boil)
1 part orange liqueur
2 parts Hendricks gin (or any modern-style gin)
6 parts Lillet Rouge
Ice block or ice ring frozen overnight in a plastic-lined bundt or bread pan.
Lightly muddle the amount of 1 strawberry, 4 mint leaves, 2 slices cucumber per serving along with the orange liqueur and syrup at the bottom of a punch bowl. Add all other ingredients to the bowl with the ice. Give a gentle stir to incorporate. Top with seltzer water to taste for a bit of sparkle, but remember that the ice will melt down so don’t water it down too much! Feel free to top with more fruit and mint for garnish and let guests ladle into glasses.
Just in time for National Vodka Day, I received notice of a vodka that’s something of a novelty in the market. BiVi Vodka is a premium spirit that’s the “first-of-its-kind 100% Sicilian vodka” available in the States. Added bonus (to this cinephile, anyway)? The brand has as its celebrity partner Chazz Palminteri. Love him! But more on the spirit …
One of the most interesting things about being a spirits writer is that people always want to know about the most interesting thing is that they’ve never heard of. Some little thing that is really special but that nobody has heard of. However, unlike restaurants or beer, most of the really large liquor companies actually do a pretty decent job of making a good, distinctive product. A beer snob will certainly scoff at a Bud Light. A whiskey drinker is normally fine with Jack Daniels Old No. 7 or a glass of The Glenlivet.
But sometimes there is something really special being done in small batches that the whole world doesn’t know about yet. That is surely true of IronRoot Republic Distilling in Denison, Texas.
Back for another year of fanciful drinks-slinging and food face-offs, the Chefs for Farmers Mix Off will unite some of the city’s top bartenders and sous chefs in a competition this Sunday at DEC on Dragon.