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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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Let a Sommelier Help You Find the Right Wines for the Holidays

Let a Sommelier Help You Find the Right Wines for the Holidays

Nothing is more exciting than pairing the right wine with your holiday menu. Bohanan’s certified sommelier, Fabien Jacob, offers six suggestions for wine at your celebrations with family and friends or on your next visit to Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood.

Contadi Castaldi

Contadi Castaldi

Bubbles for the Holidays

  1. To start the holiday meal, I suggest a nice Franciacorta, like Contadi Castaldi Brut, for your holiday toast. I love it because it’s made like Champagne, using the same grapes and same method of fermentation, but it is aged a little bit longer, so it showcases more of the fruit than the acid, at a fraction of the cost.
  1. If you are having a small family dinner or want to bring a nice sparkling wine to a dinner, I would suggest Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve. I always enjoy it – aromas of white flowers, fresh red berries and orange zest. It has a juicy and precise offering with red currant, blood orange flavors, supple texture, and a light dough finish.

Traditional Holiday Menus

  1. If you are serving a traditional turkey dinner this Christmas, I would suggest a Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain. I personally enjoy Pascual Larrieta Vendimia Seleccionada 2010. This wine is elegant with aromas of ripe red fruit, dill and coconut, mid-palate of toasted bread, coffee and plum. The finish is elegant with well-integrated tannin.
  1. If the star of the evening will be a honey-glazed ham, I would choose a Chenin Blanc from France. The acid of the wine will be perfect to cut through the richness of the ham while enhancing its flavor. My choice is Bernard Fouquet, Domaine des Aubuisieres, Cuvee Silex, Vouvray. If you favor red wine, a Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley is totally acceptable as well, since it has a more fruit-forward style and a good acidity on the finish.

 christmas-dinner-table-4-1443976

Truly Texan

  1. If your family is doing a more Tex-Mex style holiday celebration, I would serve a wine that can take the heat of the spice while having enough acidity to go with the richness of the food. I personally enjoy drinking Malbec from Argentina, so my choice here would be Durigutti Reserva. It has aromas of mocha, violet, licorice and crushed black cherry with flavors of raspberry and mocha; the finish is intense and fresh, with firm tannin.
  2. It’s also football season, so many will be celebrating with barbecues and tailgate parties. If that’s your style, I suggest a Zinfandel. I enjoy drinking Turley Old Vine. The wine is loaded with sweet tobacco, licorice, cedar and dried red cherries, which is compatible with many types of grilled meat and ribs.

Fabien Jacob has been Bohanan’s sommelier for more than three years. A native of France, he holds the distinctive Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) designation. Jacob has more than 20 years of international experience in the wine and hospitality industries, and is an enthusiastic teacher, whether to newcomers or long-time fans of wine. He has been choosing the best wines from around the globe to patrons of Bohanan’s, and is now sharing his expertise with food and wine enthusiasts in San Antonio to enjoy during the holidays.

Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood is at 219 E. Houston St. For more information, visit www.Bohanans.com.
       

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‘Tis the Season for Some Merry Mezcal

‘Tis the Season for Some Merry Mezcal

Mezcal is becoming increasingly popular, and increasingly better mezcals are coming onto the market. If you’re on the bandwagon, you may want to give these two holiday cocktail recipes a try. They’re from Heavy Métl Premium Imports and bartender Marcella Macias, who runs the bar program at Mezcal in San Jose, California. The drinks were made with Rey Campero Espadín. 

MadameMADAME

1.5 ounces Rey Campero Espadín mezcal
0.5 ounce Pimm’s
1 ounce cranberry syrup*
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce honey syrup**

Mix all ingredients in shaker. Strain into old fashioned glass that is filled with ice. Garnish with stick of burnt cinnamon (hold lighter to a cinnamon stick or over a flame on the stove with tongs until surface is mostly charred).

*Cranberry Syrup – Blend one 14-ounce can cranberry sauce with 2/3 cup boiling water. Bottle and refrigerate.
**Honey Syrup – Mix 1 cup honey with 3/4 cup hot water.

mezcal cocktailEL HUERTO

1.5 ounces Rey Campero Espadín mezcal
1.5 ounces organic apple juice/nectar
1.5 ounces lemon juice
1 ounce sage simple syrup*

Mix all ingredients in shaker. Serve in a highball glass that is filled with fresh ice. Garnish with fresh sage leaf & candied walnut half** (optional).

*Sage Simple Syrup – 1 cup cane sugar, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup fresh whole sage leaves. Place ingredients in small saucepan, bring to boil then let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove sage leaves, let syrup cool, bottle, refrigerate.

**Candied Walnuts (Optional) – Dip walnut halves in sage simple syrup, shake off excess. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and bake at 300 degrees until toasted (10-12 mins).
Recipes from Rey Campero Espadín/Marcella Macias

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The Spurs’ Matt Bonner Proves He’s a Big Red

The Spurs’ Matt Bonner Proves He’s a Big Red

Big Red, barbacoa’s favorite soda, has teamed up with the Spurs’ Matt Bonner for a limited edition 2-liter bottle to commemorate his 10-year professional basketball career in San Antonio.

Big Red BonnerBonner is 1 of only 6 players to join the team’s 10-year club. The 3-point specialist and dependable role player is proud to be a part of the team’s success over the years.

The Big Red bottles are available now and will be sold while supplies last.

“We are excited to work with San Antonio fan favorite Matt Bonner for a second year,” says Big Red’s SVP of Marketing Thomas Oh. “To celebrate his 10-year anniversary, we thought it only made sense to put the NBA’s only red head on San Antonio’s No. 1 red soda, Big Red.”

The limited edition Matt Bonner Big Red bottles can be purchased in the following cities:

  • San Antonio
  • Austin
  • Corpus Christi
  • Brownsville
  • Harlingen
  • McAllen

“I am honored to have spent the last 10 years in San Antonio,” Bonner says. “I am excited about teaming up with Big Red, Texas’ most iconic soda, for a second straight year. This partnership continues as my teammates and I kick off the 2015-2016 season.”

Ten-year San Antonio veteran and two time NBA Champion, Matt Bonner, nick-named “Red Mamba,” is a fan favorite. When he’s not playing basketball, he spends his time with his family in New Hampshire.

Off the court, Matt and his brother Luke co-founded the Rock On Foundation in 2013, which serves to increase community artistic and athletic opportunities. He also appeals to his fans by making short videos titled “Wrapping with the Red Mamba,” in which he eats sandwiches with popular rappers.

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Find the Right Wine for Your Holiday Meal

Find the Right Wine for Your Holiday Meal

Nothing complements holiday meals quite like the perfect wine pairing, write the folks at Go Texan. So, as you plan your holiday menu, keep Texas wine in mind. We have some suggestions on what to pair with your various holiday menus.

It pairs well with…

wine bottleTurkey
Fried, baked or roasted turkey pairs well with dry white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. If you prefer your turkey smoked or grilled, sip on a dry, red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Shiraz.
 
Beef
If you’re dining on steak or prime rib, pair a red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo or Sangiovese with your meal.

Chicken or seafood
For dishes with chicken, wild-caught Gulf shrimp or fish, try Chardonnay, Blanc du Bois, Chenin Blanc or Gewurztraminer to make the flavors sing.
 
Wild game
Hunters can sip Pinot Noir or Zinfandel with duck and quail, or Merlot or Syrah with wild boar.
 
white wine2Side dishes
To sample Texas wine with side dishes alone, uncork Cabernet Franc with cornbread stuffing or wild rice, and serve a sweet wine like a Muscato with your sweet potatoes.
 
Dessert
Pair a Port or Riesling with your decadent chocolate, fruits and other sweet treats for a truly special Texas holiday meal

If you’re looking for a way to get out of the house and spend some holiday time with your family this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, look at one of the many holiday events at many of our Texas wine trails.

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Paramour Is Opening High Above the City

Paramour Is Opening High Above the City

Paramour is opening Thursday high above the city at 102 9th St. Whether your poison is craft cocktails, wine, beer or bubbles, the new rooftop bar has the best of the best waiting on the top floor.

paramourParamour sits atop Martin Phipp’s namesake Phipps Building, which houses his law firm, Phipps Anderson Deacon, overlooking the San Antonio Riverwalk. Phipps and general manager/bar manager Christopher Ware share the same love for upscale cocktail bars and now they share the same goal in making this new bar the top dog in town.

Ware, formerly of Bohanan’s and Arcade Midtown Kitchen, has gone to great lengths to make Paramour a craft cocktail bar (with more than 1,000 spirits behind the bar), a wine enthusiast’s heaven (21 different types of bubbles); and a cicerone’s delight (more than 50 beers) —and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ware and his team have been barrel-aging cocktails for more than a year and a half. There is also an impressive list of the best and rarest spirits that have been collected throughout the years.

“My goal was to create the most remarkable space where every individual can feel catered down to their specific desires. Paramour provides the highest level of service, which is also the same level of service that I live by,” Ware said of the conception of Paramour.

Ware and his staff of bartenders, cicerones and wine stewards will be working in more than 8,000 square feet of space, which features a large wrap-around patio with stunning views. With garage doors that open from floor to ceiling, the bar and patio remain cool thanks to some clever architecture built to block the Texas heat.

While most of the furniture, including the 24-foot French oak bar was built off-site; the centerpiece of design is an onyx backdrop behind the bar. A second bar located outside on the covered patio will change seasonally and host one exclusive type of booze, spanning anything from gin to eau de vie, but for Paramour’s opening and for the following three months, the outdoor bar will be a Champagne bar featuring sparkling bubbles not just from France, but from all over the world. Exclusive side bar sparkling cocktails will also be available at this patio bar.

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In Praise of ‘The Negroni’ and Variations on a Classic

In Praise of ‘The Negroni’ and Variations on a Classic

If I had to narrow the ever-expanding cocktail world down to a single mixed drink that would last me the rest of my imbibing days, I would have to go with a tried-and-true classic: the Negroni.

negroni bookI love the heady swirl of botanicals that comes from equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth and the bracingly bitter Campari, all stirred together with ice and served with an orange twist. (A lemon twist is a common substitute, but I find it lacks the brightness that a sliver of bruised orange or tangelo peel brings to the glass.)

So, imagine my joy at finding Gary Regan’s “The Negroni” at the library. For days, I poured over the cocktail’s colorful history as well as dozens of recipe variations, from classics such as the Boulevardier, which uses bourbon instead of gin and which inspired the name of a San Antonio group of mixologists, to newfangled types that sounded too tortured to be tried. Sure, if I were sitting in your bar, I might even let you make me a variation that contained pisco, Solera Sherry, rum, cachaca or whatever else you offered, as long as it didn’t sound too sweet. I say this because I have had Negroni variations made by bartenders who fail to understand that the bitterness is the appeal of the drink; without it, you end up with some wretched mess that’s fit only for a cosmopolitan lover. (It’s like putting simple syrup or agave syrup in a margarita: Don’t go there.)

Here’s Regan’s take on this classic, which was indeed named after an Italian count named Negroni:

I honestly don’t remember my first Negroni, but I know that the Milanese theory that one must drink Campari three times before starting to like it certainly never applied to me. Campari was a love-at-first-sip sort of thing for me. I’ve a passion for all things bitter — save for the odd ex-girlfriend.

The incredible aspect of the Negroni that not everyone understands—or agrees with—is that it works every time, no matter what brand of gin or sweet vermouth you use. And you can slap my wrist and call me Deborah if it doesn’t also work no matter what ratios you use.

Seriously, try it. Go up on the gin, the Campari, or the vermouth. These three ingredients are soul mates, and they support each other no matter how you try to fool them.

You can even mix a bottle of each together in a large glass container and let it set for a time, thereby creating your own aged cocktail. I haven’t tried that yet, but will likely do so as the holidays are approaching.

campariIn the meantime, here are three Negroni variations from Regan’s book, ranging from the simple Boulevardier to the more complex Knickroni, which is a perfect way to test the skills of any budding mixologist.

Boulevardier

1 ounce bourbon
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
Garnish: 1 orange slice, lemon twist or cherry

Stir bourbon, vermouth and Campari long and well with ice in a mixing glass, the strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish as desired.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Harry McElhone/”The Negroni” by Gary Regan

Bottecchia

Kevin Burke, head barman at Colt & Gray in Denver, says, “When we created the Bottecchia cocktail, we wanted it to be a Negroni variation, but in the spirit of Spinal Tap we wanted to turn it up to 11. Fernet-Branca replaced the gin, and Cynar was swapped in for the sweet vermouth. The salt tempers the bitterness of the amaro and adds a distinct savory element. We named the drink after Ottavio Bottecchia, a young professional cyclist who won the Tour de France in 1924 and wore the yellow jersey for the entire race (15 consecutive days). His life was cut short when he was found dead in 1927 of unknown causes. He was a known Socialist, and his politics put him in unpopular company.”

cynar1 ounce Fernet-Branca
1 ounce Cynar
1 ounce Campari
Small pinch of kosher salt
Garnish: 1 fat grapefruit twist

Stir all the ingredients in a mixing glass without ice until the salt is dissolved. Add ice and stir, then strain into a chilled coupe. Squeeze the grapefruit twist over the drink, then discard.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Kevin Burke, Colt & Gray/”The Negroni” by Gary Regan

Knickroni

Frederic Yarm, author of the Cocktail Virgin Slut blog, explains the history of this variation: “Ever since John Gertsen, who was at No. 9 Park in Boston at the time, told me about his intrigue with the Knickebein, Leo Engel’s nineteenth-century pousse-cafe with an unbroken egg yolk in the middle, I have taken to the drink as a good rite of passage. With the autumnal leaf change coming on, I was thinking about red and yellow drinks, and the vision of a strange merge of a Negroni and a Knickebein occurred. The idea of changing around Leo’s recipe was spawned a while ago from the fact that his version’s liqueur choices don’t hold up to the modern palate, but the Negroni seemed fitting for the fall color theme. I was quite pleased with the results.”

1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Campari
1 small or medium egg, separated, with the yolk unbroken
1/2 ounce gin
Garnish: 1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6

Stir the vermouth and Campari together in a 2-ounce sherry glass. Gently layer the unbroken egg yolk on top, then carefully layer the gin atop the yolk. Beat the egg white until stiff with a whisk, then cover the gin layer with the egg white. Garnish with the bitters.

Warning: Dishes containing raw eggs should not be served to those vulnerable people at greater risk from food poisoning such as small children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Pregnant women and small children shouldn’t be consuming alcohol here, but that’s another story.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Frederic Yarm, Cocktail Virgin Slut blog/”The Negroni” by Gary Regan

 

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