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SACC Starts at Majestic with a Splash (or Two)


The throngs on the first floor of the Majestic Thursday.

The throngs on the first floor of the Majestic Thursday.

By John Griffin & Bonnie Walker

Here’s a great way to ring in the new year (in case you didn’t do it quite right a couple of weeks back.)

Dress up, go downtown, then join several hundred other people at a historic theater, wander from cocktail table to bar to a balcony to catch some fresh air.

Then, go back inside and do it again.

That was the scene Thursday night at the Majestic during the opener for the third annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference.

Hundreds of people wandered through the four floors of the theater, sampling everything from rum punches and French 75s while sampling bites from Feast, The Friendly Spot, the Monterey, GauchoGourmet, TasteElevated and Restaurant Gwendolyn. Jason Dady offered a sneak peak of his new restaurant, Umai Mi, by offering tamarind-glazed brisket with spicy peanuts and pickles. It’s supposed to open next week, Crystal Dady said.

Meanwhile, people were enjoying a host of cocktails, some elaborate and some simply delicious.

The Cointreau Rickey (recipe below) would be a perfect refresher on a hot summer’s day, and all you had to do to make one was mix the orange liqueur with fresh squeezed lime juice and soda. You could muddle your own additions to the drink, including cucumber, mint, raspberries, strawberries and basil leaves.

Treaty Oak Rum out of Austin mixed up a daiquiri, while Magellan’s Last Word was a voyage of sweet and tangy with its mix of Magellan’s Gin, Maraschino, lime juice and Chartreuse.

SACC 2014 Cigarmaker

Cigar-maker draws a crowd.

Out on the balcony a cigar-maker was flattening and cutting leaves of tobacco and fashioning smokes, trying to keep up with the audience of interested onlookers.

While munching on a cocktail cupcake from Gigi’s Cupcakes or snacks from the Art Institute, you could sip a Cutty Side Scuttle created by Benji Pocta of Chino Chinatown in Dallas. The winning drink featured Cutty Sark, lemon juice, simple syrup, ginger beer, Sandeman Port and Angostura Bitters.

Next to him, Ryan Sumner of Driftwood in Dallas was mixing up Judy Is a Punch cocktails complete with umbrellas and skewers of mint, lime and a marinated cherry. The drink featured Brugal Extra Dry Rum, lime, grenadine, Demerara, Allspice Dram and Herbsaint.

Of course, all of the fun was for a good cause. The San Antonio Cocktail Conference is a fundraiser for two children’s charities, HeartGift and ChildSafe San Antonio. Plenty of events remain from today through Sunday. For more information on the conference, click here.

For a Cointreau Rickey, use a siphon or club soda.

For a Cointreau Rickey, use a siphon or club soda.

Cointreau Rickey

2 ounces Cointreau
1 ounce fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
4 ounces club soda

Simply pour Cointreau and fresh lime juice into glass and fill with ice. Top off with club soda and stir.

Variation: For a Cucumber Mint Rickey, muddle 3 slices cucumber and 5 mint leaves in the bottom of your glass. Add the ingredients above .Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Cointreau

Judy Is a Punch

Judy Is a Punch

 

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Treaty Oak Has Special New Flavors for the Spirits Lover on Your List


Treaty Oak out of Austin has introduced three new spirits, just in time for your holiday parties or gift list.

  • treaty oaksWaterloo Antique ($25.99) is the first barrel-aged gin from a Texas distiller.
  • Red-Handed Bourbon ($29.99) is the first bourbon to be double barrel aged after blending in Texas.
  • Treaty Oak Barrel Reserve ($25.99) is the longest-aged rum to be released by a Texas distillery.

These are in addition to the Treaty Oak Rum, Waterloo Gin and Starlite Vodka the distillery already produces. All are available at premium liquor stores in the area.

And the awards have begun to pour in. At the 2013 Great American Distiller’s Festival in Austin, each of the spirits won a gold medal with the Barrel Reserve also being named best in category. In all, the distillery won six of the 18 awards handed out at the festival.

Awards are all well and good, but how do they taste?

The Red-Handed Bourbon is a mixture of two Kentucky bourbons that were blended and double barrel-aged here. The end result is possibly a little less sweet than you’ll find in Kentucky, but with a little great spice from the double exposure to new oak barrels. Think more of a whiskey that tastes more like a rye, and enjoy it either by itself or in your favorite cocktails using rye, such as a whiskey sour, a Manhattan or even a hot toddy.

The Barrel Reserve rum has a great complexity than you’ll find in a white rum, so don’t grab this bottle and start making mojitos. Take a taste and you find notes of caramel and butter even. One sip reminded me of scene in “White Christmas” when Bing Crosby talks about “hot buttered rum, light on the rum.” What could more welcome in winter than that?

The Waterloo Antique gin is a little more complicated. Barrel aging has given the alcohol an almost tea-like color, so you probably won’t be using this in your usual gin and tonic. The aroma is intensely floral with some wild greens in the mix. Then comes the first taste. If you’re expecting pure gin botanicals, you may be in for a shock. They’re there, but so is so much more. Think of a whiskey-like backbone. Or think of chartreuse, which two friends said it reminded them of. With so much going on, you may want to reserve this as something you sip with a cube of ice in it or, since it’s 94 proof, with a splash of water.

The folks at Treaty Oak have offered the following two cocktail recipes, both of which use Waterloo Antique:

An Antique Old Fashioned and an Escopeta Julep

An Antique Old Fashioned and an Escopeta Julep

Escopeta Julep

2 ounces Waterloo Antique Gin
1/2 to 3/4 ounce (sweeten to taste) mint simple syrup (see note)
Mint sprigs, for garnish

In a julep style glass add crushed ice, Waterloo Antique Gin and mint simple syrup. Stir to combine until glass frosts up and top off with a bit more crushed ice. Garnish with a few fresh mint sprigs and serve.

Note: For mint syrup, add one part sugar and one part water to a pot on the stove and bring mixture to a boil. Throw in a bunch of fresh mint leaves, turn off the heat and let the mixture sit and macerate for about 10 to 15 minutes until you have a strong mint flavor. Strain out the mint and let the syrup cool before mixing into drinks.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Treaty Oak

Antique Old Fashioned

2 ounces Waterloo Antique Gin
1/4 to 1/2 ounce simple syrup (sweeten to taste) (see note above)
Angostura bitters
Orange

Into a rocks glass with one large ice cube or a few medium sized ones, add Waterloo Antique Gin, simple syrup and 2 to 3 dashes of Angostura bitters. Gently stir your drink (so you don’t create too many air bubbles) until thoroughly chilled.

With a vegetable peeler remove a strip of orange peel and fold the peel in half over the glass to express the oranges essential oils. Rub the rim of the glass with the orange peel and drop in the glass.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Treaty Oak

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