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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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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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Two Breweries Are Brewing Up Something Special for SA300

Two Breweries Are Brewing Up Something Special for SA300

Two San Antonio breweries have joined forces to release three special beers in celebration of San Antonio’s 300th anniversary.  Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling and Freetail Brewing Company, two breweries that have been leaders in San Antonio’s craft beer movement, will each release a beer this year leading up to the 2018 Tricentennial celebration.  They will then come together to brew a special collaboration beer to be released during the Tricentennial.

The first beer in the series will be released on Feb. 22.  Ranger Creek’s new San Antonio Lager is an easy drinking, approachable beer made in the style of a traditional German lager.  The artwork on the can is inspired by the Spanish architecture of San Antonio’s missions, and the colors are a reference to the throwback Spurs jersey.  Cans will be available at H-E-B and other San Antonio retailers on release day.  Draft will also be available in Ranger Creek’s tasting room and select bars and restaurants in San Antonio. 

The second beer in the series will be released in draft form only to select bars and restaurants in March 2017, with 12-ounce cans beginning distribution to retail outlets in August 2017.  Freetail’s San Antonio Pale Ale is a dry-hopped American pale ale featuring generous late additions of El Dorado, Calypso and Huell Melon hops lending rich aromas of tropical fruits and citrus.  Freetail’s can artwork is a tip-of-the-hat to San Antonio’s famed annual Fiesta celebration.    

The final beer in the series will be released in March 2018.  It will be a special release made for SA300 and only available for a limited time.  The two breweries are keeping the details under lock and key until further notice.  A release announcement will be made at a future date.

 

 

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Who Can Resist Some Liquid High-Jinx?

Who Can Resist Some Liquid High-Jinx?

If you’re throwing a cocktail party, don’t forget the High-Jinx.

High-Jinx

That’s the special cocktail created for this year’s San Antonio Cocktail Conference, which continues through Sunday.

In a sea of cocktails, why does this potent potable stand out? Imagine the smooth, silky nature of Monkey Shoulder Scotch mixed with the brightness of Solerno blood orange liqueur, lemon juice and grenadine balanced with sweet orgeat before being finished off with a fresh slice of orange. 

The cocktail is a bright pinkish orange that glows when served on the rocks.

You can make the High-Jinx as a punch to serve your party. Just remember to vary the proportion of the ingredients you use. A little orgeat goes a long way, and you may want to hold off on the club soda until you ladle up each serving.

High-Jinx

1 1/2 ounces Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky
1/2 ounce Solerno
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce pomegranate grenadine
3/4 ounce orgeat
Club soda

Stir together and pour over ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with orange.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From the San Antonio Cocktail Conference

You can make High-Jinx as a punch.

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Put a Little Fire into Your Egg Nog

Put a Little Fire into Your Egg Nog

Michael Sohocki’s Wood-Fired Egg Nog

National Egg Nog Day is Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, and what better way to celebrate than with a cup of holiday cheer as created by San Antonio chef Michael Sohocki of Restaurant Gwendolyn, Kimura and Il Forno.

Sohocki decided that wood fire didn’t just belong in the fireplace, tucked behind hanging stockings; instead he is pushing boundaries by adding it to everyone’s favorite holiday sip. He strove for a warm egg nog with a smoky and wood essence to it — and burning oak gave him just that.

With a dollop of brandy at the bottom of each mug, drinkers will experience a potent potable that has a very merry ending indeed. (Editor’s note: We have not tried the recipe ourselves, but we are willing to test it if anyone wants to make it for us.)

Wood-Fired Egg Nog

1 quart whole milk
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (paste only)
6 egg yolks
2 cups burning wood (oak, hickory or maple)
Splash of your favorite brandy
Soft-whipped cream, for garnish
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Bring milk, sugar and vanilla to a raging boil. Before it spills over the sides, pull it from the flame.

Put egg yolks in a separate 4-quart bowl. Stir the boiling liquid into the yolks a little at a time, starting with about a tablespoon at a time until you see steam, then you can increase the interval to about 1/4 cup or so.


When the boiling liquid is incorporated, take about 2 cups of burning wood, preferably in small pieces (greater surface area) still on fire, and dump them all at once into the milk and egg mixture. Stir to extinguish the flames, and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or so to absorb smoke and wood essence. Strain through fine mesh to remove wood pieces. (Note: Sohocki recommends only using clean, food-grade wood.)

 
 

Put a dollop of brandy in the bottom of a tall warm coffee cup, and pour the egg nog mixture from up high, so you get a swirling effect in the bottom of the glass (practice this in private: don’t pour it in your guest’s ear). Sohocki likes that the mixture is not the same throughout, a little more punch at the bottom.


Top with whipped cream and nutmeg, and serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.
 
From Michael Sohocki/Restaurant Gwendolyn, Kimura, Il Forno

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County Line Gives Your Favorite Cocktails a Makeover for Cooler Weather

County Line Gives Your Favorite Cocktails a Makeover for Cooler Weather

Big Ol' Vanilla Coke at the County Line

Big Ol’ Vanilla Coke at the County Line

A new slate of specialty handcrafted cocktails for the fall and winter—as well as Texas craft beers—are now available at The County Line Bar-B-Q restaurant at 10101 I-10 W.

Jack Daly

Jack Daly

The cocktails were designed by the restaurant’s assistant general manager/pitmaster/chef Garrett Stephens to focus on a “playful twist on traditional fall flavors.”

All beers and specialty cocktails are discounted during happy hour, which runs Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. Happy hour includes $1 off these handcrafted cocktails, as well as beer, house margaritas, Grande margaritas, Gallo Borracho margaritas, wells and all appetizers.

These new handcrafted cocktails will be available through the fall and winter include:

  • Frozen Rebecca Creek and Coke: Frozen Rebecca Creek Whiskey and Coca-Cola – $6.75
  • Whirly-Gig: Bulleit Rye, Laird’s Applejack, apple cider, simple syrup and Angostura Bitters – $8.00
  • Ribs and Whiskey: Bulleit Bourbon, blood orange, chocolate bitters and simple syrup – $7.50
  • Big Ol’ Vanilla Coke: Double shot of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, scraped vanilla bean and vanilla bitters, served on the rocks in a jumbo chalice with an upside-down 8 oz. Coke Classic longneck – $8.50
  • Ribs & Whiskey

    Ribs & Whiskey

    Caramel Green Apple Martini: Caramel vodka, green apple vodka, apple pucker and apple cider – $7.50

  • White Chocolate Peppermint Martini: Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, vanilla vodka and peppermint schnapps – $8.00
  • Apples and Pears: Grey Goose Pear Vodka, apple cider and Prosecco – $7.75
  • Coco-Rum Chata Hot Chocolate: Rum Chata, Malibu Rum, hot cocoa, jumbo marshmallow, toasted coconut and cinnamon – $7.75

Past specialty cocktails that remain on menu:

  • Old Smokey: Texas Red River Rye, BBQ bitters, flamed orange and pit-smoked ice – $8
  • The John Daly: Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, limoncello and sweet tea – $7.50

Texas draft brews include Busted Sandal 210 Ale, Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower, Rahr & Sons Helles Lager, Cedar Creek Dankosaurus IPA and Shiner Bock.

For more information, call 210-641-1998.

 

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Jordan Corney Mixes Up the Margarita of the Year

Jordan Corney Mixes Up the Margarita of the Year

Congratulations to San Antonio mixologist Jordan Corney, who has created Patrón Tequila’s Margarita of the Year.

Rosa Picante Margarita2His winning Rosa Picante mixes Patrón Silver with ginger syrup, jalapeño oil, rose petal sea salt and, of course, lime juice to create a unique drink, perfect for Fiesta, Cinco de Mayo or any night of the week.

Rosa Picante Margarita

2 ounces Patrón Silver
.5 ounce Patrón Citrónge Lime
.75 ounce fresh lime juice
.5 ounce ginger syrup
.5 barspoon jalapeño oil
Dash of rose water
Rose petal sea salt

Combine all ingredients but rosewater and salt in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe that has been half-rimmed with rose sea salt, and top with a dash of rose water. Garnish with a rose petal, if available.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Jordan Corney/Patrón Tequila

Jordan Corney

Jordan Corney

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Feel Like Drowning Your Sorrows?

Feel Like Drowning Your Sorrows?

The news last week that the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,”  Harper Lee, had died was sad to all of us who loved her book as well as her iconic characters, including Scout, Atticus, Dill and Bo Radley. I first read the novel in freshman English class many years ago, and just to remind myself of its brilliance, I re-read it a few years ago, marveling once again at her storytelling abilities.

tequilaBut I was also reminded of another book — and I don’t mean Lee’s other novel, “Go Tell a Watchman.” The book I was thinking of was a slender volume from 2013 bearing the punderful name “Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist” (Running Press, $15) by Tim Federle.

Yes, your favorite volumes of literature (and a few you may have hated, too) have provided the basis for some fantastic drinks. Romance lovers will lap up the liquid tale of Romeo and Julep or the Austen-inspired Rye and Prejudice. Fans of magical realism can always soak up Love in the Time of Kahlua, while a few too many Malted Falcons will give you a noir to forget.

These are not simply classic drinks with a classic title twisted to suit the occasion. Well, not all. Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margarita? does offer a fine, traditional mix of tequila, triple sec and lime without any sugary additions. The Lord of the Mai-Tais, though, starts with rum and a slice of pineapple as a garnish, but the drink also includes a winning combination of cranberry juice, orange juice, coconut rum and grenadine. Gin Eyre is an original mix of gin with mint, lemon juice, sugar and orange bitters for a refreshing summertime treat. And who would not be crazy for a drink called The Rye in the Catcher with its blend of rye, pineapple and lemon juices, and ginger beer?

tequila mockingbirdFederle has taken his gift for puns on to other fields and has produced two more cocktail books, “Hickory Daiquiri Dock: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist” and “Gone with the Gin: Cocktails with a Hollywood Twist.” As if that’s not enough, he’s also a YA novelist who’s working on a musical version of “Tuck Everlasting.”

But back to “Tequila Mockingbird.” In writing about the original novel, Federle offers this explanation for the inspiration of his drink: “After a conclusion that leaves you both hopeful and haunted, toast to a sometimes sour justice system with a tequila shot that’s guilty of packing a dill pickle punch.” Raise a toast to Harper Lee while you’re at it. and enjoy.

Tequila Mockingbird

1 1/2 ounces tequila
2 drops hot sauce
1 dill pickle

Pour the tequila into a shot glass, add the hot sauce, and slam that bad boy back before chasing with a big chomp of pickle. No tears allowed here: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the South.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From “Tequila Mockingbird” by Tim Federle

 

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Spice Up Your Margarita

Spice Up Your Margarita

Treat yourself to a Rosa Picante Margarita.

Treat yourself to a Rosa Picante Margarita.

National Margarita Day makes its annual appearance on Feb. 22, but why wait to try this spicy variation offered by Jordan Corney of Bohanan’s Bar? The kick comes from a touch of jalapeño, making it a real San Antonio treat.

To rim the glass, the recipe calls for rose salt, which may not be in your kitchen at the moment. Rather than buying some, why not make your own? This easy-to-follow idea comes from the Nourish Me website: “Gently pull the petals from 1 large, unsprayed red rose. Wash and dry the petals with care. Using fingers, rub the petals with 2 tblsp of sea salt crystals, keeping things a little chunky. Store in a lidded jar and allow a few days for the flavours to get to know one another. Keeps for at least a couple of weeks at (cool-ish) room temperature.”

Rosa Picante Margarita

2 ounces Patrón Silver tequila
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce ginger syrup
1/2 barspoon jalapeño oil or a fresh jalapeño slice
Dash of rose water

Combine tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, ginger syrup and jalapeño oil or jalapeño slice in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe that has been half-rimmed with rose sea salt and top with a dash of rose water. Garnish with a rose petal, if available.

 From Jordan Corney/Bohanan’s Bar

Ginger syrup adds a spicy touch.

Ginger syrup adds a spicy touch.

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Enjoy a Fireside by the Fire’s Side

Enjoy a Fireside by the Fire’s Side

It hasn’t been too cold this winter, but that hasn’t prevented people from building a fire in their fireplace and heating up some fine drinks to enjoy while the long night passes. Here’s a recipe from Facundo Eximo, a dark aged rum, for a Fireside, a cocktail that features ingredients most of us have on hand. I might also add a little whipped cream to the top, because, well, it’s whipped cream.

The Facundo Fireside

The Facundo Fireside

Facundo Fireside

2 parts Facundo Eximo or other dark aged rum
1 strip lemon peel
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip orange peel
3 coffee beans
1 part simple syrup
3 parts coffee

In a shallow pan, add rum, lemon peel, cinnamon stick, orange peel, coffee beans and simple syrup. Set the combination on fire and allow to burn for 3 minutes. Extinguish the flame by adding the coffee and strain into a mug. Garnish with the cinnamon stick, if desired.

 

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