Cocktails & Drinks

Anything ‘spirits’ from wine to cocktails.

The Flying Cucumber

In the world of food blogging, you get a lot of press releases. Some are strange. Some sound fun. But rarely do you get one that sounds as grand as a Flying Cucumber.

The one thing we love about Hendricks is that they know how to throw a party!

And this go ’round was no different. Setting off in L.A. on April 13, and traveling across the U.S. over the next 13 weeks, you can see this exquisite airship wrapped as a beautiful cucumber! Side note: There are more astronauts in the world than airship pilots.

You might be wondering if anyone got to ride in the airship. Sadly, the wind was not in our favor. But being a 9 a.m. call time on a workday, Hendrick’s poured libations and kept true to their personality.

Regardless of the weather, we got a splendid cocktail – Lady Grace Drummond-Hay. Two things to note. 1. Over the last year, I have noticed that I have enjoyed wine cocktails. And this one is pretty grand since I am not a Chardonnay fan. Or maybe this is the best use of Chardonnay yet – Just add gin. 2. Lady Grace Drummond-Hay was the first woman to travel the world by airship.

Lady Grace Drummond-Hay

1 1/2 Parts Hendrick’s Gin
1 Part Chardonnay
1/4 Part Citric Acid
1/4 Part Simple Syrup
1 Dash Orange Bitters

Combine ingredients over ice. Stir and strain. Serve Chilled. 

All you need to do know, is build the cocktail and browse the pictures of the unusual!


Stock Your Bar: Liquor Cabinet


04182015_Tiffany_sHouse_OhSpooning_0009I first started drinking after I turned 21, so I was way behind the majority of people in knowing how the whole thing worked. Since I didn’t know what I liked or didn’t like, I’d end up just ordering whatever the person next to me ordered and hope for the best. Needless to say, stocking my bar did not come easily either.

To make it a little easier for others looking to have a well-stocked bar for quick cocktails, we’ve made a video of the five liquors you should have on hand for quick, easy cocktails regardless of whether you’re throwing a party or just have a few friends dropping by.

Our recommendations include:

  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Whiskey

This is a part of a video series on liquors and cocktails. Look out for our videos coming up on tools of the trade, pouring a neat drink and how to make your own simple syrups!


National Margarita Day 2015

Hey Spooners!

Today is a special day! In Texas, National Margarita Day is a great reason to stop, relax and enjoy some tequila.

Maybe you need a great recipe for your Oscar party tonight!

Our friends at Milagro Tequila are here to rescue you and make you look like a real mixologist in front of your friends.

Below are a couple of great recipes that I am going to try tonight! Tell us your thoughts on the recipes below!

Agua Verde

Agua Verde

Agua Verde

1.5 parts Milagro Silver

0.25 parts Avocado

1 part Fresh Lime Juice

0.75 parts Agave Nectar

3 Cucumber Slices

1 Lime Wheel garnish


Directions: Combine ingredients and blend with one cup of ice. Pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Mexican Garden

Mexican Garden

Mexican Garden

2 parts Milagro Silver

1 part Fresh Lime Juice

0.5 parts Light Agave Nectar

2 parts Pineapple Juice

1 Pineapple Leaf garnish

1 Lime Wheel garnish

1 Cilantro Leaf garnish


Directions: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake, strain, and pour over fresh ice into rocks glass. Garnish with a pineapple left, lime wheel and a cilantro leaf.

Texas On The Rocks

Serve It Up

Serve It Up

Hey Spooners!

This weekend was a great opportunity to get acquainted with Texas Distilleries.

Texas On The Rocks proved to be one of the best tasting events I have been to in some time. For one night, Austin Music Hall transformed into an emporium of handcrafted booze with names you have heard [Titos] and several names you may not have.

As Spooners, we get invited to events like this on a regular basis. Here are a few lessons we have learned over time

How to handle an Alcohol Tasting

  1. Alcohol tasting events are a marathon not a race. You don’t need to taste everything they give you in your cup.
  2. Ask for smaller pours. This allows you to taste more samples without over committing.
  3. Feel free to ask for another. If you have gone around every table, feel free to go back and ask for another pour at your favorite stops. The server will remember you asked for a short pour initially, and will get you another.
  4. Take water breaks.
  5. Eat well. Have a good dinner. This will help you go the distance.
  6. Don’t make a scene. Keep it classy and don’t be that drunk guy/gal at the event.
  7. Aspirin before bed. You would be surprised how much this helps.

If you follow these simple steps, you can ensure you get the most out of the price of admission.

As for the event itself, I think this was a great first step to getting Texas Distillers on the national map.

Texas On The Rocks 2015 Review

  1. Garrison Brothers is amazing – as always. But I am bias! And they don’t pay me to be.
  2. Moody June Gin is the next best thing since sliced bread! And they are working on a barrel aged gin. If you go to the Bone Spirit tasting room, you might be able to talk Joe into a tasting. Tell him Antonio sent you.
  3. Dulce Vida Spirits has an splendid family of Tequilas. With an Anejo finished in Garrison Bros barrel and an extra Anejo finished in Rombauer wine, I had a hard time walking away from this table. Side Note: I NEED to find their margarita recipe!
  4. Whoever did graphic work for Cat Mezcal and Cat Tequila labels, did a wonderful job! I just wish I was able to taste that sealed bottle of tequila. Hint. Hint.
  5. Craigslist Missed Connections. Dear Balcones FR.Oak Single Malt Whiskey, this is my open letter. I need to know more about you. Your simple taster was not enough. Can we get to know each other a little better? It was Valentine’s Day. Do you remember me? ‘Cause I remember you. Love, Antonio
  6. Distillers, don’t send a marketing rep to an event like this if they can’t answer questions about your craft, process and uniqueness. Bad move. I bet you as a Distiller have a beautiful story of struggle that goes along with each release. Now tag that to your marketing tasting notes. This is what makes your unique and memorable. The Lakarish Brothers from IronRoot Republic showed up to represent themselves with contagious excitement. The brothers talked about how they are so small their mom had to cover the bar at the still house while they represented themselves at Texas On The Rocks. Then they showed me of their mom shaking drinks. We laughed and I mentioned that if I owned a still house and my mom was bartending, it would be a train wreck [I love you mom]. These boys are building a story and brand to remember.

One option for growth is in the food department. Although, Titos hosted a VIP breakfast taco after party with Maudies catering [which was a nice tough], I feel like this would have been a splendid opportunity to showcase the Austin food scene. I would love to see Pink Avacado have a table, along with Paul Qui, the chef from Clarks and the Peach Tortilla team. This would be a great next step to pushing the event to more heavily Texas branded.

Overall, this was a great inaugural evening and I already anticipate next year!

Nat’l Hot Toddy Day

photo(1)Happy National Hot Toddy Day!

This is likely the first time in history Austin has been cold enough to partake in this important holiday. With that in mind, I leave you with a hot toddy recipe that’s easy, yummy and quick to enjoy.

Red Hot Toddy

  • 1 c hot water
  • Shot of Brandy
  • 1 tbsp red hots
  • 1 package spiced apple cider (unsweetened)
  • Optional: cinnamon stick and orange slice

Add a package of spiced apple cider and a tablespoon of red hots into a glass of hot water. Stir. Add brandy. Using cinnamon stick, stir brandy in. Slide slice of orange onto the cinnamon stick for decoration. Enjoy the hot, delicious drink with your choice of Netflix shows or a good book.


Holiday Madness: Pomegranate-cranberry sauce

Editor’s note: Sorry about posting this late. As you can see, this was written BEFORE Thanksgiving :).

The holiday potlucks are well under way, what with Thanksgiving only a few days away.

My work potluck is tomorrow and I said I’d bring the cranberry sauce.

I found a recipe for pomegranate cranberry sauce on Pinterest that looked yummy and since pomegranates are supposed to be chock full of antioxidants, I figured that was the way to go.

I’ve never opened a pomegranate, so I searched the interwebs for a how to. This one worked well.

The actual cooking/prep part only takes 15-20 minutes, but factor in 2 hours of cooling off.

It came out super scrumptious. If you enjoy your cranberry more tart than sweet, cut down the sugar by half. I happen to love sweet, so I kept the full two cups of sugar. I hope there is still some cranberry sauce left over for tomorrow’s potluck—it’s so good!

While you’re cooking the cranberries, make a drink with the leftovers:

Pomegranate Holiday Mimosa

  • ¾ c Pom Pomegranate juice
  • ¼ c champagne
  • Handful of cranberries

Mix in a pretty glass over ice and enjoy.


Cool As Ice

Cool As Ice

If you’ve never made your own flavored ice, you’re in for a real treat. Whether you’re looking to spice up your next tequila-based drink or just looking for some more refreshing water, this will take your drinks to the next level! It’s also a very easy way to make an impression if you’re hosting guests.

Here we were working on some easy paloma recipes and we wanted to infuse a little cilantro, lime and jalapenos. Not to mention, we had all of those things in abundance and didn’t want it to go bad.

The process is as simple as you’d think: just slice, cut and dice to fit into the ice tray, add water and freeze.

After we made these for the tequila and gin drinks, I couldn’t stop using the flavored ice for my water, either. While this was made during the summer, there are a lot of ideas for winter drinks as well.

Here are some ideas to try:

  • Cranberries and orange slices
  • Pomegranates
  • Green Apples
  • Frozen berries
  • Pears

There are apparently now a lot of apparatuses for making clear ice, because, you know… you don’t want to have imperfect ice, do you? We haven’t gone that far yet, but it is fun to experiment. I’ve also frozen coffee for when I want iced coffee and don’t want it watered down. Pinterest has also been showing frozen almond milk to use in smoothies. So many options!

Let us know how you use flavored ice!


Hendricks, The Unusual

Hendricks, The Unusual

Note: As usual (or unusual in this case), we like to be up front about our posts. This was a free party with free drinks, sponsored by Hendrick’s.

Hendrick’s Gin once again wowed its visitors at its annual party of the unusual. Last year’s party was pretty legit, which you can read about here. Then, we met with the ambassador and found out a little bit about what made Hendrick’s different from some of the other gin’s of the world. Generally, it’s because of its botanical taste, but he gets much more technical in his description for those of you who truly enjoy the ins and outs of your beverages. I won’t repeat all of our learnings here, but instead will give you a recap of the night.

This year, Hendrick’s may have outdid itself. We really enjoyed the set up, which was transformed from a big, open setting to having a private entrance, wherein your party gathered and entered through a hidden bookshelf into a botanical greenhouse complete with mist and intrigue.

Once you walked inside, there were several watering stations, where you could try out several spectacular gin drinks.

Here are a few to try:

Unusual Negroni (Tiffany’s personal favorite)
1 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
1 oz. Aperol
1 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 grapefruit peel

Method: Combine ingredients in a mixing glass, ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into either an iced rocks glass or a cold cocktail glass. Garnish with a peel of a pink grapefruit and enjoy.

Emporium of the Unusual Punch (Fairly sweet)
1.5 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
2 oz. Tazo Cinnamon Spice Tea (Hot or Chilled)
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
1 oz. Sparkling Water
1 Lemon wheel
3 dashes Angosura Bitters
1 Cucumber wheel

Method: Combine ingredients and give a good stir. Serve in punch bowl, with ice if chilled.

Benevolent Bog (A great fall/holiday drink)
1.5 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
0.75 oz. Spiced Cranberry Compote
0.75 oz. Lemon Juice
0.33 oz. Ancho Reyes
1 Lemon Wheel (garnish)
2 Fresh Cranberries (garnish)

Combine ingredients, add ice and shake. Strain into an iced rocks glass. Garnish and serve.

After grabbing a drink, we tried our best to get chosen to go under the dress of what must have been the tallest woman in the world (See the picture for that statement to make any sense at all). We’re still not sure what’s under her skirt. Or how you’re chosen to go under there for that matter. But what we do know is that that was one of the talks of the night—while people seemed to be going in and out of the big tent skirt, no one really knew who you had to know to get there.

There was also a writer who would type out a limerick for the ladies. He mostly flirted with the women in line, but at the end of the wait, you’d end up with a silly poem to take home. No clue where that little slip of paper went to, although you can see it in the photos below.

If I haven’t convinced you that you should attend next year’s soiree, just look through the photos and let them speak for themselves. The party is as unusual as the taste of gin itself.

What makes Hendrick’s unique?

  • The distinctive flavor of Hendrick’s Gin is a result of the eleven different botanicals used in its creation.
  • Then rose and cucumber are infused into the spirit one batch at a time.
  • Hendrick’s is the only gin made in a combination of Carter-Head and copper pot stills.
  • Hendrick’s is made in small batches of 99 Gallons versus the typical small batch of 220 gallons, allowing more control over the production.


The Balvenie: A Rare Whisky Tasting

The Balvenie: A Rare Whisky Tasting

Setting it’s whisky apart from other tastings, the Balvenie (Bal-vaynee) created a unique event in cities across the U.S., bringing together rare pieces of craftsmanship to remind its guests of the craftsmanship offered in its whisky.

Items on display at Austin’s 2014 Rare Craft Collection were hand selected by Dario Franchitti, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner. Housed in the Brazos Hall, these rare finds were made mostly of wood, complimenting the old dance hall feel of the place. Not jam-packed like many downtown soirees, there were clumps of people milling about.

At the tasting, I was shocked to see so many hands raised when ambassador Jonathan Wingo asked who all had done a tasting with the Balvenie before, and then again how many people had been to Scotland as well.

Clearly I was sitting among some serious whiskey drinkers.

We were given three tastes to start with, beginning with a 12-year-old single barrel, followed by a DoubleWood* aged 17 years and finally a PortWood**, aged 21 years.

The 12-year-old single barrel was much lighter in color than the others, as well as to a certain extent lighter in taste. It has a floral, sweet taste and smell to it. Drown in water—the alcohol content is a whopping 47%.

My personal favorite was the Portwood aged 17 years—the flavor overwhelmed the senses, leaving a nice aftertaste.

As a treat, the tasting ended with a whisky aged in a sherry cask. Each taster got to dip a metal flask, for lack of a better word, into a cask and draw out their own swig, much like people used to use for stealing whisky (Watch how it was done here).

We’ve taken you to Glenfiddich’s tasting before. The Balvenie, opened in 1892, is it’s sister distillery. Both were opened by William Grant, are housed in Dufftown, Scotland, and are still owned by the Grant family.

The event continues this evening. Details at

*DoubleWood means it was aged in two barrels.

**PortWood means it was aged in a port cask.


Lump Crab Migas and Bloody Marias

Lump Crab Migas and Bloody Marias

On a quest for the perfect brunch, we have found quite the forerunner: Lump crab migas paired with a bloody maria.

What’s a Bloody Maria, you ask?

A Bloody Maria is a Bloody Mary subbing tequila for the vodka. Seeing that we had recently acquired a free bottle of Real Gusto Blanco Tequila for testing, it just made sense that we’d try this new twist. We did two trials to find the perfect recipe and we’re happy with the final recipe below.

Try this combo for your next brunch with friends.

Bloody Maria

Here’s the basic Bloody Maria recipe. Pour all ingredients into a blender (or Nutribullet) and blend.

  • 2 oz of Real Gusto Tequila Blanco (USDA Organic!)
  • 3 Dashes of Worcesterchire Sauce
  • 3 Dashes of Pepper
  • 3 Dashes of Celery Seeds
  • 3 Dashes of Makrut Lime Sea Salt [Savory Spice]
  • (How to pronounce Worcestershire
  • 1 Teaspoon Horseradish
  • 6 ounces tomato juice or tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
  • [5 oz of organic strained tamato / tamato sauce plain + 1 oz of water]
  • 1 oz of lime juice or Half a Lime
  • 3 Dashes of Hot Sauce

Rim a pint glass with Makrut Lime Sea Salt. Garnish with Habanero Smoked 16/20 Shrimp, a slice of avocado and a sprig of cilantro.

Migas are one of my favorite things in the world. Other favorites: crab and avocado. So, this recipe has pretty much everything beloved in my life. The seafood migas compliments the Bloody Maria perfectly so that I can’t imagine one without the other.

If you’re not from Austin, let me explain to you the wonderful world of migas. Originally stolen from Mexico and Spain, this Tex Mex favorite has become an Austin staple.

Migas by definition, means crumb—basically made from leftovers, such as tortillas or tortas. In the Tex Mex version, onions, tomatoes and jalapenos are diced and thrown in along with fried tortilla strips and generally served with guacomole, avocados or salsa and smothered with queso or cheese.

Lump Crab with Migas

  • Deshelled Lump Crab ($20/lb.)
  • Pico De Gallo*
  • Scrabbled Eggs
  • Fried tortilla strips
  • Salt + Pepper to Liking

To cook, pour a thin layer of olive oil in a medium-sized pan. Heat on medium high. When hot, add a layer of pico de gallo (about 1/3 cup) to the pan until heated throughout. Meanwhile, whisk five eggs seasoned to liking with pepper and salt, in a bowl. Pour eggs into pan and pour crab and fried tortilla strips over eggs as it begins to settle. Scramble eggs. Under cook eggs by about 2 minutes, add pepper jack cheese slices across the eggs and cover and let melt for 2 minutes.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado and lime.

*We should note that pico de gallo is not the same thing as salsa. Salsa is generally chunky and blended, where as pico de gallo consists of tomato, onion and jalapeños only—very finely chopped. No seasonings, no fanciness, but it’s good stuff.



This is the perfect end to a long weekend!