The Rum Also Rises

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Written by Brian Bianco

Like any good (yet slightly irresponsible) 16-21 year old, the apparent virtues of rum were well known to me. Girls love that shit, so it was common practice to make sure someone got a bottle of Malibu for the party or social gathering, and then maybe something better to be mixed with soda for everyone else. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with rum, but as an adult, I’ve mostly narrowed my sights on the brassiest IPAs, whiskeys and bourbons I can find, which means everything is straight, filling and/or easily mixable with soda. This is a narrow and terrible view – especially as there are now dozens of bartenders around Dallas who can easily show you the wonderful possibilities of vodka, gin and all the other “non-bro” spirits being poured today.

Still, when Susie asked me to taste a sample batch from Papa’s Pilar, my first instinct was to outsource this to the first friend I could find from Florida, but after my calls were not returned, I realized it was time to teach myself how to really taste this stuff and see what I could find out. The rum is named for Ernest Hemingway (bet you love that clever title up there now), so I figured if anyone could teach me to give rum a chance, it’s a man who survived multiple plane crashes and was an all around badass who just happened to be pretty damn eloquent.

After doing some quick research, I learned rum tasting works a lot like wine tasting. You check the legs, you use your sense of smell, you swirl and you let it breathe.  I decided I would do both straight tastings and quickly mix a Dark and Stormy to evaluate the two samples and I’ve recorded my notes below. To reset my rum pallet, I tasted a few sips of a third brand of rum to make sure I had a baseline for comparison, and then I dove in.

First, let’s take a moment to appreciate the really interesting packaging. From the wooden box to the ship style bottles, the presentation of even a simple sample was actually exciting to tear into. They provided background literature from their website that focused on their history, the distillery and the solera aging process they use for both types of rum. Even if you’re just a history nerd who plans to never drink a sip, it’s an interesting read. For more on how the rum is made, here’s one of the most direct summaries I found if you don’t feel like poking around the website.

Papa’s Pilar Three Year-Old Blonde Rum

Straight

This was very easy to drink, with a wash of fruit tastes on first sip (especially grapefruit), followed by a deeper vanilla flavor. White rum is usually not my thing, but this had just enough going on to make the sipping experience enjoyable – in fact, I ended up drinking double my planned amount after I made it through the tasting process.

Mixed

I didn’t do anything elaborate – just some Reed’s ginger beer to see how a simple recipe turned out. While I had only made a Dark and Stormy with darker rums in the past, this actually made a nice and refreshing summer drink I would happily revisit as soon as Texas decides to stop having random freezes in April.


Papa’s Pilar Twenty Four Year-Old Dark Rum

Straight

First, this rum took a double gold medal at the World Spirits competition in San Francisco (and the blonde also was recognized at the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami), so my expectation to be blown away was high. As much as I tried to fight it, once I had the glass poured, my mind kept telling my mouth to get ready for bourbon. However, the first sip was excellent and I actually had that same rush I get from a good sip of the usual stuff, with complex flavors and a smooth finish. It was spicy, but not in an off-putting way and you could tell the impact of the solera-aging process (thanks, bourbon barrels) and the influence of the different casks.

Mixed

As good as this rum is neat, mixing it in a cocktail almost felt wasteful. I tried to only give it a few splashes of ginger beer, but even that was a waste. If you’re going to drink this one, neat or on the rocks is the way to go.


So, in summary, I enjoyed both of these rums immensely and recommend you start exploring cocktails with the blonde and keep the dark one on hand to be enjoyed by the secret rumelier hidden deep inside you.  
To find a bottle in Dallas, just check out http://www.papaspilar.com/#/wheretobuy/store

Papa’s Pilar Three Year-Old Blonde Rum - ~$30
Papa’s Pilar Twenty Four Year-Old Dark Rum - ~$40

posted on April 16th, 2014 /
tags: papa's pilar rum rum product review product brian
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2 Gingers Whiskey

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My favorite people are those that are passionate about something and go after it.  I was pleased to sit down for a few drinks (ahem, a liquid lunch) at Barter with Kieran Folliard, creator of 2 Gingers Whiskey, on his way through Dallas on his US tour in a branded Airstream trailer.  His mother and aunt inspired the name, and the rest came naturally.

Growing up in West Ireland, Kieran worked in a bar where “there were only ever two ingredients in a drink, and one of them was a glass.”  He’s in Minnesota now and decided to get back to his roots by “flogging whiskey to the Yanks” at his own bar.  He then realized that the thing that would differentiate his bar from the others would be creating whiskey cocktails that were as quick as pouring a beer and not too much steeper in price.  (Challenge.)  He created a list of whiskey cocktails, trademarked them, and then decided that he wanted more consistency … and he’d ultimately get it by creating his own whiskey blend.

Lest you think that Kieran is some rogue Minnesotan who tried his hand at some moonshine, note that 2 Gingers was acquired by Beam, Inc. in December 2012 and is currently the fastest growing whiskey brand on the market.  So there.

2 Gingers Whiskey is smooth and had a sweeter finishing note when enjoyed on its own (almost caramel-y).  In the drinks that Rocco (Barter’s bar manager) served, the 2 Gingers stood out without slapping you in the face (even though it’s a usually hefty 80 proof).  (I had to force myself to stop drinking the Skinny Ginger, Big Ginger, and others for fear I’d be unable to function for the remainder of the day if I didn’t.)  My go-to summer drink will be the Big Ginger (recipe below), no question. 2Gs is distilled only twice (instead of the usual three) so the flavor would really stand up in the cocktails, and is aged four years instead of the typical 2-3.  The finish has less burn to it thanks to this process.

The bottle itself is quite nice, and features the likenesses of Kieran’s mother and aunt.  The best part of the bottle, though, is the serving instructions: “drink with friends or with ice.”  Amen.

I plied the recipe for “the perfect Irish Coffee” out of him (which is really a thing in Ireland and not like French fries to the French), and he suggested the steps below:

  • Start with a warm glass (rinse it with warm water, then dry)
  • Pour in some 2 Gingers Whiskey (obvi) as its taste will stand out more since it’s distilled TWICE
  • brown sugar or a bit of simple syrup
  • a TINGE of Guinness
  • QUALITY strong coffee
  • homemade, thick hand-whipped cream made with quality cream

BIG GINGER
- Fill a Collins glass with ice
- Pour 2 parts 2 Gingers over ice
- Top up with ginger ale
- Serve with lemon and lime wedge
- Drink up.

2 Gingers is available in most local liquor stores, and ask for it at your local bar!  Other excellent cocktail recipes courtesy of 2 Gingers can be found on their website, 2gingerswhiskey.com.

Sláinte!


Quick facts:
2 Gingers Whiskey
WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram
80 proof
Suggested price: $19.99 for 750ml

posted on April 14th, 2014 /
tags: 2 gingers whiskey 2 gingers interview kieran folliard
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Plucker’s: Addison

Written by Ben Shae

After much anticipation, we arrived at the Addison Pluckers “soft opening” to see a line that must have been a couple hundred customers eager for some wings and beer.  There is plenty of parking available around the restaurant in the Village on the Green Shopping Center sparing people from playing parking lot Hunger Games.  All the tables are good size and able to accommodate groups (i.e. plenty of room for multiple plates, Motherpluckers, baskets, AND drinks without feeling like you’re flying coach and have to keep your arms tucked to avoid getting knocked around).  The restaurant is loaded with large flat screens on nearly every wall, facing every direction, making it impossible not to get a good view of the game.  (Sorry, non-sport enthusiasts … yes, we’re listening to you even if we’re not looking at you.)

Being Pluckers virgins, we relied  on our waiters (one trainer & one learning the ropes) for recommendations.  They done good.  (Note, Pluckers doesn’t use table runners or bussers, instead these type of tasks are a basic expectation for all staff which translated into prompt and attentive service throughout your visit.)  

We started off with a baskets of Magic Mushrooms, complete with their famous Dirty Bird sauce, and washed them down a signature Pluckers Lemonade for myself (a vodka Lemonade cocktail perfect for a sunny spring day) and a Psychedelic Frog (a 4 liquor, 3 mixer neon green drink) for Katie*.  Both drinks were served in mason jars, which is just cool.  Pluckers’s cocktail menu offers diners better-than-typical drinks you wouldn’t expect to find at a wing-bar, like Toxic Tea (a sweet tea, lemonade, vodka drink), the Batman (made with Austin’s own Tito’s Vodka), Effen Good Bloody Mary, and more.  The drinks were decently strong, and incredibly dangerous.  (Wait, there was a bunch of liquor in that? Someone call Uber.)

For the main event, we ordered a basket of boneless wings with spicy mandarin sauce and the buffalo chicken sandwich.  Among the plethora of places serving wings these days — most of which all I have frequented many times over — the wings really differentiate Pluckers from the others.  The wings themselves were hefty, providing considerably more meat than I was use to getting, and they are perfect glazed in the requested sauce and not drenched or dry fried batter nuggets commonly met with disappoint by wing lovers everywhere.  The wings and sandwich were enjoyed with our second round of drinks, the Batman and the Effen Good Bloody Mary (which seriously lived up to its name).

Bottom line:  This place has good food, GREAT wings, and some unique food options (like the fried Twinkie!) along with decent prices and attentive service.  Drink-wise, they have a variety of “specialty” drink options and plenty of beers on-tap (because: sports + beer = good).  Pluckers is making a (bigger) name for themselves in DFW with more locations opening left and right, and rightfully so! Needless to say, I know where I’m watching the NBA playoffs!


Pluckers Wing Bar - Addison
www.pluckers.com | @pluckers
5100 Belt Line Road, Suite 520 | Addison TX
(972)490-WING

Daily Specials (full list of this location specials here)
Monday - drink specials/All You Can Eat Wings (every other week)
Tuesday - Texas Tuesdays (drink specials on TX beers and liquors)
Wednesday - Pluckers Club Special (coming soon)
Thursday - Tijuana Thursdays(drink specials on Mexican beers and liquors)
Friday - Teacher Freebie Friday

*Note from Susie: Katie is his beautiful, new bride (of one month).  Send them your congratulations!!

Picture of Motherplucker borrowed from Pluckers!

Addison’s Fork & Cork Festival to debut in May

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Written by: Lauryn Bodden

Move over, Taste of Addison, and make way for the Fork & Cork Festival to debut this May. Not only will this event be more intimate and support local organization Café Momentum, but it’s more centered on wine and other boozy items. (Now that’s my kind of shindig!)

This past week, I had the opportunity to preview the all-new culinary event, and it well exceeded my expectations. Stepping through the archways of foodie heaven, guests were greeted with a Ginger Basil Gimlet, music by local artist Kelsey Lewis, scents of food to come, and a picturesque dining scene. The gimlet had me hooked right away with its strong notes of ginger and artistic blend of gin. Those that aren’t very fond of ginger may have struggled with the drink, but it was right up my alley. I couldn’t imagine things getting much better, but then there was the open wine bar, signature Old Fashioned cocktails, and mixology lessons from Eddie “Lucky” Campbell. So yeah, it got better.

At dinnertime, the party settled down at a long, rustic farm table, which bolstered a communal, chatty atmosphere. Guests can look forward to this same ambience at the upcoming festival. It was a great feeling to have Addison Mayor, Todd Meier, thank us for our attendance when really it is all my pleasure. (I did have a date with Netflix that night, but if the city of Addison needs me to stuff my face with risotto balls, wood roasted mussels, grilled Texas Kobe skirt steak, sweet potato grits, wood fired pizza, and countless other delights, then I will gladly reschedule to lend a hand.)

Like I mentioned before, Fork & Cork is designed more to feature craft breweries, wineries, and spirit makers, so let’s get to the dranks. The highlight of the night was by far the presentation of a perfect Old Fashion by “Lucky,” who helped curate the drink menu at the new Vagabond restaurant on Greenville. Between his fiery personality and natural ease with the crowd, I felt like I was kickin’ it with one of the bros. His tips to a well-balanced drink make even someone like me feel like I could whip up a fine dining cocktail. (I am a connoisseur of cocktails and liquor, but ask me to make a drink and you may lose all faith in me.) Apparently, dilution can make the biggest difference in the flavor and strength of a cocktail. Don’t skimp on the ice or stirring because you are only selling your drink short. Another lesson is to use the freshest ingredients because it’s hard to go wrong when you have fresh flavors to work with.

Fork & Cork will take Addison back to its culinary roots May 16 and 17 with interactive cooking classes, bites from some of the best restaurants in the DFW area, cocktail tastings, wine and craft beer seminars, a cooking demo by Marcus Samuelsson (James Beard Award winning chef and current judge on ABC’s The Taste), and music from Texas legend Pat Green.

A portion of the proceeds from Friday night will benefit Café Momentum, a non-profit organization that teaches critical skills that allow youth to apply what they have been taught in re-release programs in a safe, real-world environment of nurturing accountability. Or, in Chad Houser’s own words, “Café Momentum helps teach kids to play with knives and fire…and the town of Addison approves.”   

Buy your Fork & Cork Festival tickets here. 

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Below you can find “Lucky’s” Old Fashioned recipe:

2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon

1 Sugar Cube

3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

1 Orange Peel (Squeezed)

Vanilla Mist

In a mixing glass:

Add sugar cube, Angostura, squeezed orange peel, and water. Smash ingredients with a muddle to break sugar cube. Add Buffalo Trace Bourbon and ice. Stir 56 times (or until sugar is dissolved). Strain over large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Squeeze a new orange peel over the surface, wipe around rim of glass, and place in cocktail. Spray vanilla mist over the surface of the Old Fashioned.

Mount Gay Rum Dinner at Sissy’s Souther Kitchen & Bar

Written by Enrico DeLeon III

Not a big rum fan? I can understand where you come from… From my earlier drinking days in high school…er… college, rum has always seemed like this girly liquor that was infused with fruity flavors like pineapple then mixed with even sweeter mixers and topped off with a paper umbrella. (Really?!) I am here to help change this bad rep rum has received from said rum experiences we’ve all had.

Mount Gay Rum recently invited me in for an evening of gorgeous cocktails and delicious food at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar. Having gone to the event with an open mind about rum, I was more than enthused to be persuaded to join rum’s team. After receiving the first delicious cocktail from Sissy’s amazing bar staff using Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, fresh herb-infused ice, veggies and juices (shown being made in the video above), I was sold! It was extremely refreshing to enjoy rum without the excess amount of sweet or sour flavors.

Throughout the evening, I was honored to try more cocktails of various styles paired with some amazing dishes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, so much so, Sissy’s offered to make an old fashioned-inspired cocktail using it! And yes, it was pretty amazing.

Next time you’re in the market for a new beverage, have your bartender whip something up using Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum. You have this bourbon-lover’s word that you won’t be sorry!

posted on April 7th, 2014 /
tags: Rico Sissys mountgayrum rum ricostudios brunchbros
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Partida Tequila: Product Review

Written by: Lauryn Bodden

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

posted on March 31st, 2014 /
tags: recipe product review review product
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Vemma Energy Drink Review

Written by William Merkel

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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

Toast to Spring with a Crabbie’s Spiced Orange

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Written by Lauryn Bodden

The Dallas beer scene is poppin’ right now, and Crabbie’s Ginger Beer is about to make a big splash with the start of warmer spring weather. (Pun kind of intended.)

There is no doubt that Texas loves its beer. You have your local craft man that totes his personalized growler everywhere he goes. There’s the Bud Light guy that bleeds red, white, and blue for his country. Next up, are the cider sippers that know the location of every city beer garden (even if cider isn’t technically a beer … we let them get away with it). The list goes on, but what about the people throwing back a couple of hard ginger beers? (Who are these guys and what’s a hard ginger beer?) That’s what I found myself wondering this past week before I was introduced to the magical wonders of Crabbie’s.

Long ago in the land of Edinburgh, Scotland, merchant-explorer John Crabbie set sail for the best drink ingredients, including ginger and exotic spices. Once selected, the goods were transported by elephants from the markets to the ships, which then set sail for the port of Leith. Over 200 years later, the Crabbie’s adventure is making its way across American soil. Its elephant logo reflects this search for the drink’s four secret fruits and spices, which are steeped with ginger for up to eight weeks. Last year, Crabbie’s debuted its original recipe in Texas and received high praise for its smooth, refreshing finish. (You can read Susie’s thoughts about the original recipe Crabbie’s on her review!) A cross between a hard cider and ginger soda, the drink is the perfect combination of spice and sweet.

Back for round two, Crabbie’s teamed up with The Ginger Man to roll out their newest flavor profile, Spiced Orange. During their debut event, Crabbie’s Spiced Orange was served chilled over ice with a slice of citrus. This is the perfect drink to double-fist poolside or even drink casually out with friends. The flavor profile is similar to the original, but offers a lighter ginger kick and zests things up with a tangy orange twist.

The Ginger Man teamed up with its neighbor Crushcraft Thai Street Eats to offer guests the ultimate experience of drinks and sweet dough pretzel bites, served with two Thai-inspired dipping sauces curated by Chef Paul Singhapong to pair with the Spiced Orange. The grub mixed the open patio of long picnic tables made for a prime social drinking atmosphere. The Ginger Man is a team of great minds because there are very few things better than (ginger) beer and pretzels.

That is unless you tried one of the Crabbie’s floaters. Imagine a large scoop of Vanilla Hagen Daaz combined with the zesty powers of Crabbie’s, and you have yourself an adult version of an Orange Julius.

If the floater doesn’t get you (who the hell are you?), try blending the beverage into a variety of ginger beer cocktails, such as a Dark and Crabbie or a Moscow Mule. 

But let’s be for real … Crabbie’s has been killin’ it the past two centuries, so why mess with perfection?  Crabbie’s offers something for every kind of drinker. Give it a try and it’ll be hard to stay away.

Crabbie’s is currently available in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin and Waco where it is distributed by Favorite Brands.  For more information on Crabbie’s, please visit them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@CrabbiesUSA) #icewithaslice. 

A Day with the Coppolas

I don’t like to play the “I got to do this and you didn’t” card, but I was recently invited to a couple events that were pretty incredible that I HAD to share with my readers.

I  was invited to spend an evening (along with about 100 of my closest friends) at Lakewood Theater with the one and only Francis Ford Coppola.  Even more amazingly, FFC Winery invited me to join Francis’ wife, Eleanor, for their “Women in Wine” lunch.

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I’ll just say this … the whole day was incredible.  At lunch, I was among some of the most illustrious women in the Dallas wine scene in the Red Slippers Suite at the Hotel Zaza.  The fashionable gaggle of ladies was greeted with a glass of the Coppola Winery’s sparkling wine, Sofia Blanc de Blanc, and headed up to the suite for our three-course lunch by Dragonfly.  We were asked to go around the table and toast the woman to our left and right, but were told that Francis’ superstition was that, if you didn’t maintain eye contact during a toast, you were guaranteed eight years of bad sex.  Just to be safe … we all followed the instructions!

Each course welcomed incredible conversation to go with the great food and the perfectly-paired wines.  The first course was a Bluepoint Oyster Spring Roll with Tobiko Caviar Creme Fraiche paired with another glass of their Sofia Blanc de Blanc.  While we enjoyed this, Eleanor asked each of us to share why we love wine.  Each woman’s answer was incredibly different, but intriguing.  

Eleanor then told us a bit about her life with Francis.  Did you know that she’s an accomplished film and sculpture artist who has shown throughout the world, an author, a documentary filmmaker?  She is, no doubt, the strong woman that made the man.

Our second delicacy was a Baby Kale Salad with house-cured duck ham paired with the 2012 Gia Pinot Noir, named for and created by Francis’ grand-daughter and director/screenwriter of the soon-to-be-released “Palo Alto”.  This wine is not yet available to the public, but when it is, get your hands on it as it’ll be perfect for a summer dinner on the patio.

The third course was Roasted Prime NY Strip Steak with Shitake Mushrooms paired with Eleanor’s own wine, Eleanor.  Eleanor had a large part in creating the wine whose label bears her name and her very own art, and the wine was as complex as the woman herself.

Dessert … oh dessert … was a buffet of some of Dragonfly’s favorites with more Sophia.  Dessert was actually sad as it meant that the experience was coming to an end.  

Before adjourning, we were all given permission to call our gracious and dynamic hostess “Ellie”.  I’ll probably stick with Eleanor, but knowing there’s the option is kind of … awesome.

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The evening held as many delights, including light bites and various Coppola wines poured generously throughout the event venue, the historic Lakewood Theater.  Francis spoke about his lifelong passion of filmmaking, his accidental yet fortuitous foray into the wine business, and most importantly, his family.  Hearing such an inimitable man speak about the small things in life that he enjoys, like writing songs for his grandchildren, was a real treat.

Overall, it was a really memorable day.  As much as I loved the Coppola wines, knowing the story behind some makes me love them even more!

Photo Credit: Lisa Stewart