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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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Let’s Raise a Glass to Jay Corley

Let’s Raise a Glass to Jay Corley

Word reached me late last week that the California wine world had lost one of its pioneers earlier this month. Jay Corley of Monticello Vineyards in the Napa Valley died on Jan. 11 at the age of 84.
Jay Corley (http://www.corleyfamilynapavalley.com/)

Jay Corley (http://www.corleyfamilynapavalley.com/)

Folks in town who frequent wine dinners at various restaurants may remember Corley, who came to town to promote his wines. Over a bottle or two of his Cabernets and Merlots, he formed lasting friendships with more than a few locals who treasure the time they spent with him as well as his wines. I first met Corley at one of those dinners. It was at Las Canarias, and he was surrounded by friends old and new. During his talk, he was quick to issue invitations for one and all to come see his winery. That was all I needed to seek it out on my first visit to California. Having some sort of connection always helps when you have a seemingly unlimited array of choices, and there are hundreds of wineries in Napa. Corley's Napa Valley winery is indeed modeled after its namesake, Thomas Jefferson's home. More than being beautiful, it proved to be a haven of peace in the wine-tourist crazed area. While walking around the place, I was able to enjoy the sounds of nature on an overcast afternoon and take in its agricultural beauty. It was here that I really came to understand that for as elevated a treat as wine is, it is the product of farming. The tasting room was having a sale that day, and I remember sending a case of older Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Francs back to San Antonio to grace several holiday meals after that. I next encountered Jay Corley in New Mexico, where he was attending the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta. I was traveling with friends Mickey and Glenn Drown, who are among the friends Corley had made over the years. Jay and his wife, Joan, had an annual party that the Drowns and the others in our group had attended for years. Once there, everyone seemed to fall back into each others' company as if they had seem each other the previous week. Jay was especially proud that year of his Syrah, which showed off the best that his estate could produce and which was a grape that he had managed to continue to produce despite public tastes at the time. monticelloDuring the evening, Corley mentioned to Glenn that he wouldn't be able to make an exclusive tasting that had been set up for the governor's mansion on the following day. He gave the tickets to Glenn, who invited me to accompany him. (It was there I met Douglas Murray, who invited me to visit his winery, Montes, in Chile. But my trip to his winery is another story.) The day after the tasting, we went to a Corley wine dinner, which, if I recall correctly, was somewhere on the compound of the Museum of International Folk Art. During the winery owner's presentation, he handed out several gifts. As my birthday was the following day, I received a gift of a DVD about Jefferson and the pioneering work he did with wine in this country. Corley was a part of the documentary and he was in his element, talking both about his hero and about winemaking. I treasure that gift more now than ever. I have been holding on to a bottle of Monticello Vineyards Pinot Noir for a few years. What better way can I honor Jay Corley's life than by lifting a glass of one of his finest to his memory? Join me.  

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Let Your Team Spirits Soar

Let Your Team Spirits Soar

Want to party and show some support for your favorite team at the same time? Here's a cocktail from Dulce Vida Tequila and Strong Tonic that lets you do just that. The Texas tequila maker poured this at the opening of the 2016 San Antonio Cocktail Conference.
Dulce Vida Tequila offers the San Antonio Spur

Dulce Vida Tequila offers the San Antonio Spur

1.5 ounces Dulce Vida Blanco Tequila .25 ounce Dulce Vida Agave Nectar .25 ounces Original Strong Tonic Syrup .5 ounce lemon juice 3 raspberries 1 basil leaf 3 ounces Ginger Strong Tonic Muddle the raspberries and basil leaf in a shaker. Add ice and pour in the tequila, agave nectar, tonic syrup and lemon juice. Shake. Strain into a cup filled with ice. Add Ginger Strong Tonic. Garnish with a lemon peel ("thick twist" about 2-3 times the width of a twist). Makes 1 cocktail. From Strong Tonic and Dulce Vida Tequila

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It’s Time to Drink Up for a Good Cause

It’s Time to Drink Up for a Good Cause

Though a few potent potables have been served up throughout the week across town, the 2016 San Antonio Cocktail Conference officially got underway Thursday with a party at the Majestic Theater that stretched from the recesses of the stage to the balcony overlooking Houston Street.
San Antonio's Cinco Vodka serves Amore Fizzante.

San Antonio's Cinco Vodka serves Amore Fizzante.

Partygoers could stroll from to booth, sampling cocktails made with everything from aged rye to organic tequila or filling up on goodies that included mole negro from Mixtli and Frito pie from the Esquire. In short, it was yet another reason for San Antonio to have a party -- and party they did. The lines were as lengthy for the Cookhouse's smoked duck as they were for Texas Revenge Gin's lively variation of a Moscow Mule. Dulce Vida Blanco Tequila shook up their original recipe for a San Antonio Spur while Jason Dady and his Shuck Shack crew served up hundreds of oysters for three hours. This year, food seemed to play an equal role alongside the cocktails. So, you could sample a Negroni variation made with Aperol alongside pickled shrimp from the Art Institute's culinary school. Or you could have locally distilled Cinco Vodka's Amore Frizzante with Processco and raspberries paired with rich confections from Choicolate. Italian amari, or bitter herbal liqueurs, were a popular ingredient in cocktails, whether you wanted to try Amaro Nonino, Aperol, Averna, Fernet Branca, you name it.
Colorful canapes from Austin's La Condesa.

Colorful canapes from Austin's La Condesa.

Not all of these beauties were complex concoctions that required a mixology degree, either. The winning Redemption Rye mixed equal parts of its rye with Amaro Montenegron to create the Montes Redemption, which was finished off with a lemon peel. That's it. Many more refreshments will be served throughout the rest of the conference, which runs through Sunday. Click here for details. And remember to drink and drive responsibly. All proceeds from the conference will benefit local children’s charities, including The Children’s Shelter, ChildSafe, Clarity Child Guidance Center, TEAMability and Transplants for Children.
Mixtli serves up tacos with negro mole.

Mixtli serves up tacos with negro mole.

Crowds throng the Majestic for the SACC opening.

Crowds throng the Majestic for the SACC opening.

The Cookhouse serves up smoked duck on the stage of the Majestic.

The Cookhouse serves up smoked duck on the stage of the Majestic.

Texas Revenge Gin shakes up a lively variation on the Moscow Mule.

Texas Revenge Gin shakes up a lively variation on the Moscow Mule.

Luis Colon of FOLC makes tuna poke.

Luis Colon of FOLC makes tuna poke.

An attractive assortment from Choicolate.

An attractive assortment from Choicolate.

Jason Dady and the Shuck Shack crew offer oysters.

Jason Dady and the Shuck Shack crew offer oysters.

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Shake It, Baby! The Cocktail Conference Returns

Shake It, Baby! The Cocktail Conference Returns

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference returns Jan. 14-17, but the fun isn't contained to those days.
An Irish Manhattan

An Irish Manhattan

The real fun begins Jan. 9 with dinners at Luke and the Shuck Shack and continue on until the big opening night party at the Majestic as well as a toast to Sasha Petraske, the late cocktail expert who was one of the founders of the conference. For the following few days, you can attend parties, dinners and seminars that include such topics as "How to Bartend Like a Jedi," "I'll Take Potent Presidential Potables for $500, Alex" and, for Gregg Popovich among others, "Madeira Understood." If you want to check out the full schedule, click here. In the meantime, here are a couple of variations on classic cocktails to get you started in the right spirit. And remember: Enjoy your drinks responsibly.
Corpse Reviver

Corpse Reviver

Corpse Reviver 1 part Hendrick's Gin 1 part Cointreau 1 part Lillet 1 part lemon juice Dash of absinthe Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker and shake briskly over cubed ice. Double strain into cocktail glass. Makes 1 cocktail. From Hendrick's Gin An Irish Manhattan 1 shot (about 1.7 ounces) Tullamore D.E.W. Original Irish whiskey 1 tablespoon sweet vermouth. 1 teaspoon Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur Dashes of Angostura Bitters, to taste Dashes of orange bitters, to taste Orange twist 1 maraschino cherry. Stir Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and dashes of Angostura and Orange Bitters together quickly over ice. Pour into a chilled coupette glass. Zest an orange twist over the surface of drink, spiral and drop in to the glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry. Makes 1 cocktail. From Tullamore D.E.W. Original    

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George Washington Knew a Good Eggnog When He Tasted It

George Washington Knew a Good Eggnog When He Tasted It

eggnog1I cannot tell a lie: George Washington's eggnog recipe is a winner. I found this recipe in a colorful tome called "Christmas in Colonial and Early America" published by the World Book Encyclopedia back in 1975. I don't really know if it's really Washington's recipe, but the authors declare it to be: "This potent holiday drink was a favorite of the general's. It is made in Virginia to this day, in exactly the same proportions." Why quibble, when the first direction is the poetically phrased: "Combine liquor." There's no mention of nutmeg, which was a rarity in the colonies and early days of America. Shave some fresh nutmeg on top of each serving to taste, if you like. You need to make this festive punch in advance in order to let the flavors blend. George Washington's Eggnog 1 pint brandy 1/2 pint rye whiskey 4 ounces sherry 4 ounces rum 12 eggs, separated 3/4 cup sugar 1 quart milk 1 quart heavy cream Combine liquor. Beat egg yolks in a large bowl until thick, then beat in sugar. Gradually add liquor, then milk and cream while continuing to beat. Beat egg whites to stiff, not dry, peaks; fold into liquid mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 days before serving. Makes 3 three quarts. From "Christmas in Colonial and Early America" For a local take on eggnog, check out this version from Christopher Ware, who now has Paramour.

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