Archive | January 27th, 2012

San Antonio Drinks In Its First Cocktail Conference

San Antonio Drinks In Its First Cocktail Conference

Corey Morris mixes cocktails at the launch of the first San Antonio Cocktail Conference.

Can you make a perfectly dry martini? Do you know how to make a margarita that achieves the right balance of natural sweetness and tartness? Do you know how to modify a classic cocktail when using the cucumber-flavored Hendrick’s Gin instead of a regular gin?

The Business 2 ounces Hendrick's Gin 3/4 ounce honey syrup 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice Place all of the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake until cold and pour into a cocktail class. Garnish with a slice of lime or cucumber, if desired.

Anyone who loves a finely crafted cocktail knows that it takes plenty of studying to get the right mix.

But it also begs another question: Can you think of any studies that are more flavorful and more conducive to partying?

That’s the format of the first San Antonio Cocktail Conference, which kicked off Thursday night with, appropriately enough, a cocktail party.

Chef Mark Bohanan, a driving force behind the conference, opened the bar at his Houston Street place to more than 350 cocktail lovers. The crowd  went from the luxurious interior, where a jazz combo kept things lively, to the neighboring patio.

The balmy January evening was perfect for traveling among the various tables where patrons could drink cocktails made with the likes of tequila, vodka, gin, Cognac and Champagne as well as such flavorings as coconut, ginger, lime and honey.

The whole conference is a fund-raiser for HeartGift, a local charity that provides medical assistance to children from around the world in need of heart surgery.

The overflowing crowd put a big smile on Mark Bohanan’s face. It must also be gratifying to know that some of the seminars today and Saturday have sold out. (For a schedule of events, including river cruises, parties at SoHo, Ocho and the Esquire Tavern, and Sunday brunch at the Sheraton Gunter, click here.)

More than 350 fill Bohanan's for the inaugural event of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference.

Corey Morris, a bartender at Bohanan’s, offered a few tips for making a good cocktail at home:

  • Make sure your ingredients are good. You can taste it when they’re not.
  • Make sure you use good ice. Ice with an off flavor can affect your drink.
  • Don’t shake your drink too much. Ice that melts too soon can water down your drink.

That’s just a taste of what’s to come over the next few days, including sessions in  Forgotten Cocktails, the Wonderful World of Gin and the homegrown Lone Star Cocktails.

While working at Bohanan’s, Morris has studied under several master mixologists, including the internationally regarded Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey. Petraske is just one of the people who will be leading seminars, which means that anyone with passion for making perfect cocktails can learn what bartenders know. Or you can just sit back and absorb the intoxicating atmosphere that’s marking the inaugural cocktail conference.



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Thousands Throng to Cowboy Breakfast

Thousands Throng to Cowboy Breakfast

It's time to make the tacos at the annual Cowboy Breakfast.

The Cowboy Breakfast is here. Can rodeo be far behind?

Dishing up biscuits and gravy during the Cowboy Breakfast.

That was on the minds of some this morning, as the 34th annual Cowboy Breakfast got underway at Cowboys Dancehall on Loop 410 near Perrin Beitel Road. Others were talking about how the unseasonably warm weather (a mere 45 degrees at 5 a.m. and no precipitation in sight) had brought them out early to avoid the massive crowds that were expected.

But no matter what time you arrived at the breakfast, there were always long lines for tacos, sausage and biscuits, biscuits and gravy, coffee and milk. Yet the lines moved quickly, so you could get a bit of whatever you wanted, from Johnsonville Brats to sausage and egg tacos, in a matter of minutes.

The lines move quickly despite their length.

The cooks stationed under the large white tents at the east end of the parking lot kept things at a brisk pace as they scrambled eggs with chorizo, sliced biscuits or heated tortillas.

Groups from St. Philip’s College’s culinary school, McDonald’s, Pioneer, Oak Hills and Jordan Ford, among others, formed assembly lines, so dishes were prepared with such haste that people could feed themselves and head back for more — all for free.

Steam rises from a heaping helping of taco fillings.

Will Thornton of St. Philip’s said his crew of chefs in training, about 32 in all, arrived at 2 a.m. Other volunteers have been known to be there all night, to make sure everything runs smoothly.

This year’s event was different from many in recent years at Cowboys because the weather cooperated. No sleet or icy rain, no Arctic blasts of wind driving people to shelter or huddling up as they waited for shuttle buses that moved between Cowboys and the neighboring Rialto cinema parking lot. Instead, the temperatures added to the magnetic pull of the event, which always draws people of all ages.

A number of country music acts filled two stages and provided a break for those who wanted to get in a dance in between tacos.

This year’s event was dedicated to the memory of honorary life chairman Herb Carroll, who died last year.

A hot cup of coffee is welcome at any time.

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Asian Festival: Celebrate Year of the Dragon Saturday

Asian Festival: Celebrate Year of the Dragon Saturday

The Asian Festival celebrates its 25th year Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 Cesar E. Chavez  Blvd. Ushering in the Year of the Dragon, the festival includes Asian food and cooking, as well as demonstrations and lectures, entertainment for the children, Asian crafts, henna tattoos, a Lion Dance Parade and more.

You can purchase tickets in advance, which are $8 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 years. Children 5 and under get in free. For more information and tickets, go to or call (210) 458-2300.

The festival will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Beer of the Week: Guinness Stout

Beer of the Week: Guinness Stout



Beer of the Week is sponsored by the Lion & Rose. Each week, we introduce you to a wonderful brew that’s a little bit different and well worth seeking out.




Guinness Stout

Thirsty yet?

Vintage Guinness ads.

Guinness Stout needs no introduction. This beer has been enjoyed by folks from Ireland and around the world for more than 250 years. More than 10 million glasses of Guinness beers are poured every day.

But here are some facts about Guinness that you might not have known:

  • The Guinness brewery was founded in 1759, when glasseArthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on the property near St. James Game in Dublin. “It costs him an initial £100 (about $147 U.S. dollars) with an annual rent of £45 (about $66 U.S. dollars) — this includes crucial water rights,” the Guinness website says. “The brewery covers four acres and consists of a copper, a kieve, a mill, two malthouses, stabling for 12 horses and a loft to hold 200 tons of hay.” His first beers are porter and ale.
  • Irish people come by their love of Guinness seemingly naturally. In Ireland, new mothers were once given Guinness to drink in the hospital to aid lactation.
  • Guinness is not high in alcohol. Though the stout is hefty on the tongue, it’s not terribly loaded. Its alcohol level is 4.1 to 4.3 percent, which is in the average range of beers. A Busch beer, by example, has 5.11 percent alcohol, while Miller Genuine Draft has 5 percent and a Molson Golden has 6 percent. (For a list of alcohol levels of beers, click here.)
  • Strict vegetarians should not drink Guinness. You won’t find any beef floating in your beer, but the makers do you isinglass, which is made from dead fish. This is used in filtration, and some may end up in the find product.
  • Guinness in Ireland tastes differently from Guinness in America. Believe this all you want, but taste test after taste test shows that tasters cannot tell the difference in where the Guinness comes from. If you enjoyed it in Ireland more than here, it probably has more to do with the fact of where you were, who you were with or what you were eating with the beer. The Guinness website states it this way: “We always use pure, fresh water from natural local sources for the Guinness stout brewed outside Ireland. That said, in blind tests (with a bunch of highly cynical journalists) none of our sample could tell the difference between Irish-brewed Guinness and the locally produced variety. All the Guinness sold in the UK, Ireland and North America is brewed in Ireland.”

You can also cooked with Guinness. Here is a recipe for Irish Lamb Stew with Guinness Stout. (Use beef if you don’t have or like lamb, but don’t use any stout but Guinness.)



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