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Archive | February, 2017

There’s No Denying It: We Love Our Margaritas

There’s No Denying It: We Love Our Margaritas

The rest of the county is like San Antonio in one way: Americans, no matter where they’re from, want a margarita when they go out to dinner.

The Boiler House Margarita

That’s accord to Restaurant Hospitality, which reports that, in the past three months, tequila was the most popular drink base for folks when eating out.

That’s why so many people are looking forward to Feb. 22, National Margarita Day. According to pollsters at National Today, here are a few facts about about this tangy cocktail and people’s preferences. According to a survey of 1,000 Americans, conducted Jan. 29,

–1 in 50 Americans own a margarita machine. That’s right: 2 percent of Americans own an electric margarita maker.

–19 percent of Americans say they love margaritas, while only 10 percent are not fans of the citrus-y cocktail.

–Margaritas are more popular with women than men: 20 percent of women say they love margaritas, compared to 15 percent of men who say the same.

–11 percent of Americans like to lick the salt off their margarita glass. Women (12 percent) are slightly bigger fans of licking the salt than men (11 percent). While 8 percent of Americans prefer margaritas on the rocks, 14 percent favor frozen margaritas.

Here are a few variations on the cocktail to show you how versatile the drink can be.

Ostra’s Alta Belleza Margarita

Ostra’s Alta Belleza Margarita

This margarita at Ostra in the Mokara Hotel & Spa is made with the rare Casa Noble Alta Belleza Extra Anejo. It’s so rare that only 10 bottles made it to Texas at a retail price of $2,900 a bottle, and only 19 of these margaritas will be sold at Ostra and its sister restaurant, Las Canarias.

Each is served in a hand-blown glass made by San Antonio’s Garcia Art Glass.

No price was given on the drink. I guess if you have to ask …

1 1/2 ounces Casa Noble Alta Belleza Extra Anejo
1 ounce Grand Mariner 150
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
1/4 ounce vanilla sorghum

Mix the ingredients with ice in a shaker.

Pour into a margarita glass rimmed with salt if desired.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Ostra and Casa Noble Belleza Extra Anejo

Dirty Mextini

Dirty Mextini

3 ounces anejo tequila
1/2 ounce olive brine
1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 1/2 ounces Cointreau
Splash of orange juice
TwangARita Gold Salt or salt, for rimming glass

Add ice to cocktail shaker.

Add in tequila, olive brine, lime juice, and Cointreau. Shake vigorously for several seconds.

Moisten rim of glass with lime wedge. Turn glass rim a few times in TwangARita Gold Salt.

Strain martini into rimmed glass.

Top with a splash of orange juice. Garnish with olives, lime or orange slice.

Makes 12 cocktail.

From Twang

Burro Borracho

Burro Borracho

TwangARita Paloma Salt, optional
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1 ounce orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
2 ounces tequila
2 ounces ginger beer

Rim a copper cocktail cup with TwangARita Paloma Salt, if desired.

In a shaker filled with ice, add lime juice, grapefruit juice, orange liqueur and tequila. Shake. Pour into cup. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Makes 1 cocktail.

Adapted from Twang

 

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The Good Food Awards Show Some Love to Texas Black Gold Garlic

The Good Food Awards Show Some Love to Texas Black Gold Garlic

San Antonio-based gourmet food manufacturer Texas Black Gold Garlic was honored at the recent Good Food Awards. Its Texas Black Gold Garlic Purée won in the pantry category.

The Good Food Awards are considered the Emmys of the culinary world. When choosing the winners, the products are evaluated on flavor as well as their dedication to an authentic and responsible food system.

Not only does Texas Black Gold Garlic source solely from local Texas farmers, but chef ans owner Stephen Paprocki works directly with the farmers to ensure the garlic is grown with a respect for the land and the quality of the product.

Paprocki is also the president of the Chef Cooperatives, a non-profit group of local chefs that hosts pop-up dinners and assists in various San Antonio events that support local farmers, ranchers and vintners and other groups in need. 

Only 193 winners in 14 categories have been chosen out of a total of 2,059 companies across the country in this fierce competition for the best products and brands that are developing sustainable local food economies.

“This is a huge win for us,” Paprocki says. “We’re already receiving orders from around the country. Our biggest challenge now is growing enough garlic to keep up with demand.”

It takes months to grow the fresh garlic and another one to two months to ferment it to create this uniquely delicious and healthful product that has become a professional chef and home cook’s dream. It’s become such a passion for one Texas home chef, Ramona Werst, that she’s currently writing an entire cookbook that incorporates Texas Black Gold Garlic, in both savory and sweet ways.  

Texas Black Gold Garlic can be purchased online and at various places around San Antonio, including the Pearl Brewery Farmers Market and the New Braunfels Farmers Market. It’s also available wholesale and retail in places throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit texasblackgoldgarlic.com. For more on the Good Food Awards and other Texas winners, including The Jelly Queens from Dallas and Hops & Grain Brewery of Austin, click here.

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Harken Back to an Old School Chardonnay

Harken Back to an Old School Chardonnay

Remember those buttery, over-oaked California chardonnays that were so woody you felt at risk of getting splinters with each sip?

It started the ABC — anything but chardonnay — movement, which drove American chardonnay makers to using stainless steel barrels instead of oak. The resulting wines may have been crisp, with no hint of oak or malolactic fermentation, but what were they really? Too many weren’t rich like chardonnays of old, they weren’t as clean on the palate as sauvignon blanc, and they weren’t very attractive in their indecisiveness. They also weren’t Chablis, either, but that’s another matter.

For every reaction, there’s a counter-reaction, right? Remember all those bad pinot noirs that appeared in the wake of “Sideways” and the forced improvement in some merlots?

Well, the folks at Harken Wines in Parlier, California, certainly remember why people loved barrel-fermented chardonnay, and they’re leading the drive for its resurgence. Their 2015 Harken Chardonnay is purely old school, rich with flavors of buttered toast and ripe pear leading to even more butter on the finish. And it’s priced at an attractive $11 to $13 a bottle.

Harken succeeds because it manages to do what the mass producers of chardonnay forgot. There’s enough balance in the wine, so the oak and malolactic flavors work well with an enjoyable acidity, making for a wine that you can drink by itself or pair with food. It’s a great partner for something as fancy as crab cakes with avocado or as casual as hot buttered popcorn.

So, if you missed an old-fashioned California chardonnay, given Harken a try and welcome a taste of the past brought into the present.

 

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