Cocktails & Drinks

Anything ‘spirits’ from wine to cocktails.

4 Roses

by Antonio F Delgado

I love passionate people and Peter Connely is one of those individuals. As many of our regular Spooners know , I am known at work for my love of whiskey.

Pete and I got together this past January to discuss our love for whiskey and sample a few of the 4 Roses favorites!

I’ll let Pete tell you about the rest!

City Guide: CU29 Cocktail Bar

Tucked away on Congress Avenue, between Seventh and Eighth Streets in downtown Austin, sits Cu-29 Cocktail Bar. The bar opened within the past year and is a cross between a ’90s martini bar and a handcrafted cocktail bar. What makes this bar unique is that the bartenders enjoy helping their customers create new drinks, based on your tastes—whether it’s adding bacon-infused spirits or one of their many homemade simple syrups.

CU29 Cocktail Bar
720 Brazos St.
(512) 474-0029
Daily 4 p.m.–2 a.m.
http://cu29cocktailbar.com
Happy Hour daily until 6 p.m.
Takes cash and cards

Drink suggestion: The Friendly Stranger ($12) and a deconstructed rum old-fashioned ($12)

The CU29 Cocktail Bar venture is a collaboration between the owners of SoHo Wine and Martini Bar and Waxy O’Connor’s Irish Pub in San Antonio, to bring an East coast flair mixed with the relaxed vibe of the South.

With a dark interior and floor to ceiling windows in front, the bar side has flashes of copper drawing your eye in. Across from the bar are booths against a red brick wall. There are also a few floating tables and plenty of seating at the bar with candles for a little lighting.

In determining your drink, the bartender will be interested in your tastes, such as whether you prefer sweet, spicy, herbal, citrus or fruity. He’ll also want to know what your base spirit is. Hawaiian Rose is one of their over-the-top original drinks, which I would have tried, except that I don’t eat or drink bacon. Try it out and let us know how it goes!

In addition to The Friendly Stranger and a deconstructed old-fashioned, the bartender, Cole, concocted us our own cocktails as well. Antonio’s had Hendrick’s Gin, muddled cucumber, orange bitters, a dash of lemon juice, chili rim and infused Ghost chili pepper vodka. Tiffany’s included vanilla vodka with a bit on cointreau and grandma (“grand marnier“), a dash of milk, handmade whipped cream, cocoa, coco real with cocoa butter, a chocolate almond rim, orange flakes and chocolate on top.

Presentation is key, with lots of flared orange rinds, homemade meringue (made while you watch), lemon peels and chocolate syrups.

Cole’s passion for cocktails shined through and he hires bartenders with energies that match.

Whisler’s

If you enjoy drinking in candle-lit historical buildings, look no further than Whisler’s in East Austin. This cocktail bar features bartenders who really know their stuff: from the history of bitters to how to make old-fashioned cocktails. With three bars and a food trailer named Dumpling Happiness outside, there’s no reason you can’t stay here for the long haul. Depending on the weather, there’s nice ambiance inside and outside. The bar has plenty of tables, bar stools along the bar and seating on the patio.

1816 E. 6th St.
(512) 480-0781
Daily 4 p.m.–2 a.m.
www.whislersatx.com
Takes cash and cards

Drink suggestions: Noveau Western ($11) and Brown Derby ($9)

When you enter the front, you’ll find low-lit mood lighting consisting only of candles, except for the chandelier directly above the bar.

The bartenders, Justin (Lavenue) and Ben, are friendly and helpful, assisting with a drink based on your tastes. My preference is gin and slightly sweet, while Antonio prefers whiskey.

Justin suggests a house cocktail, the Noveau Western ($11), for me, which is what I had been eying to begin with. It includes gin, aperitif wine, unfiltered sake, cardamom (a favorite of mine) syrup and lime bitters garnished with a sprig of thyme and a slice of lime.

For Antonio, he suggests a Brown Derby ($9) from the classic menu, consisting of bourbon, grapefruit and honey syrup.

Both are just what the doctor ordered—playing to our individual tastes perfectly.

Antonio says his drink reminds him of his childhood when he’d go to the mall with his mom because she’d promise him an orange Julius. To him, this drink offered the same sort of refreshment.

We also tried the Naughty Literati punch, which was the special of the night because a book club had met there earlier in the evening (Lisa, take note! My book club is cool, but no Naughty Literati’s yet!). We also enjoyed this drink of raspberry liquor, sapphire Bombay, orgeat (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose water or orange flower water) and lemon bubbles, while learning about the history of punch, which you can hear for yourself in our podcast from Justin himself.

As for ambiance, friends and couples alike can sit at the bar or at a cozy table. There’s inside and outside seating, depending on your mood, and, of course, the always-changing Austin weather (except in the summer, when it’s just HOT).

 

Garrison Bros with The Brotherhood

By Antonio F Delgado

You may or may not know this but I work with the System Engineering Team at National Instruments. My position allows me support some 80+ people. Hence, to get my work done, I have a form that my co-workers have to utilize to communicate with me. At the end of the form, my response page clearly states, “Nothing says ‘Thank you’ like whiskey.”

And that is how your build a reputation with your co-workers.

After volunteering at the Salvation Army during the holiday season, I invited everyone back the patio at the Baylor House for some bourbon.  Enjoy the discussion between, Norm, Craig, Andy, Jerry, Eddie and myself as we discuss the greatness of Garrsion Bros Bourbon, engineer ‘Micro-Stills’ for your desk and define ‘Pooh Style’.

And remember, “Nothing says ‘Thank you’ like whiskey.” Raise a glass Spooners!

Elsie Larson’s Vanilla Whiskey Holiday Cocktail

By Antonio F Delgado

Every month, the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance sends out a challenge to its members. This month, AFBA called us to create a cocktail. This was a challenge that the Spooners could take on!

Tiffany sent me an email with Elsie Larson’s Vanilla Bean Whiskey Cocktail. I am a huge fan of Elsie and her husband, Jeremy. Elsie and her sister do a great job posting photos, recipes and crafts, while her husband crafts musical gems in Sucre, his solo project, Jeremy Larson; and strings behind Switchfoot and MuteMath. One day, I will gift myself a Full-On-Jeremy-Larson-Takeover. And I digress to fan-dom.

After looking over the recipe, I realized that I have two ways of making cocktails.

  1. Like A College Student – Using traditional mixers. ie. Coke, Tonic, Soda
  2. Like A Refined Gentleman – Drinking my whiskey neat.

I do enjoy heading out to a bar with a great mixologist and having them make me their house special. However, I hadn’t taken this practice home with me until now.

Note 1: Elsie’s cocktail calls for vanilla-infused whiskey. We did not take the mere 24-48 hours to infuse our whiskey due to deadline, but we do recommend it.

Note 2: For some reason, Dr. McGillicuddy’s Raw Vanilla is unavailable in Austin. After several trips to Specs, we learned that only Specs on Airport Boulevard has Dekuyper Vanilla available. In addition, I had a rep at my neighborhood liquor store mention vanilla extract as a suitable replacement. Don’t do it. It makes your drink look murky and unappealing.

A Beautiful Mess’ Vanilla Whiskey Cocktail

The Spooners made 2 alterations to this cocktail due to our lack of time and some ingenuity.

  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • 1/2 an ounce  vanilla liqueur
  • 2 dashes aromatic cocktail bitters
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • star anise
  • small dash of fresh vanilla bean

We found that fresh orange juice compliments the star anise beautifully.

Directions: Gather all of the ingredients into a shake. Cover Shaker. Shake vigorously. Serve with a new star anise, not the broken one from the shaker. Enjoy with friends and show them that you are classy.

Note 3: Due to the fact that Antonio and his roommates at the Baylor House are bachelors, none of the glassware matches in these photos.

Note 4: Jack Daniel’s did not sponsor this post, but if they would like to make a donation to OhSpooning, we will gladly accept. We Spooners aren’t too cheap to beg.

Here’s a link to the original post and recipe: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/12/vanilla-bean-whiskey-cocktail.html

I’ll have rum with that bread pudding

Bread PuddingBy Tiffany Young

Chef Bren Young shows how to make an easy recipe to eat during the holidays: bread pudding with rum sauce.

Bread pudding
1 day-old loaf of bread, cubed
1/3 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c milk
Dash of cream
1 tsp. salt
Cinnamon to taste
1/2 c “conditioned” raisins (Raisins soaked in rum for about 20 minutes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

BreadPudding1

Put bread in a 9 x 13″ casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Whisk together eggs, sugars, milk, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread and sprinkle with cinnamon. Take a spatula and push bread down until it soaks up the  egg and milk mixture. Bake in oven 45 minutes.

Sauce:

Take 1 stick of butter and melt in a sauce pan. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of regular sugar. Stir until melted and smooth. Add cream and mix thoroughly. Take off heat. Add rum to taste.

Serve pudding warm and drizzle with rum sauce.

Yum yum!

Note: You can also use brandy or grand marnier in place of rum.

Whiskey without the E ’cause there’s no E in Scotch Whisky

Note: The whisky tasting was free for OhSpooning, courtesy of Glenfiddich.

Last week, the Spooners got a chance to taste several Glenfiddich  Scotch whiskys at a tasting at Freedmen’s, 2402 San Gabriel St. near UT’s campus.

First off, let’s start with how to pronounce it: Glen-fid-ick with a hard “ch.” So raise your glass, and make a toast before we begin.

If you’re not familiar with the brand, Glenfiddich, Gaelic for Valley of the Deer, was founded in 1886 by William Grant in Dufftown, Scotland, and is still family owned. Grant, his wife, and his seven sons and two daughters built the distillery by hand and served its first spirits Christmas Day in 1887.

They claim to have the best dram in the valley. What’s a dram, you ask? Basically, a small glass of whisky.

10302013_ATX_Freedmans_Glenfiddich_031If you’re not familiar with drinking Scotch whisky, the best way to taste it, we learned from Glenfiddich Ambassador David Allardice, is to drink it neat and then add drops of water to suit your taste (cutting the whisky). Chew it up and roll it around until your mouth waters for best results.

Glenfiddich is a single-malt whisky (the best-selling single-malt in the world), which means they are made from only malted grain, 100% barley. While single-malt is clearly defined in Scotland, there is no definition of single malt in the U.S. law.

I think there were six tastes, maybe seven. I lost track after the first few. There was definitely a favorite, but I lost track of that as well. We were the first in Texas to try the 19 year old Glenfiddich, which will be available in limited supply at select bars and restaurants in Austin.

If you’re interested in trying Glenfiddich, the 12 year is on special at Freedmen’s this month for $3 during happy hour.

Make sure to listen to our podcast to learn more about Glenfiddich from the ambassador himself.


 

 

 

Voyages into the Unusual World of Gin and Music

By Tiffany Young & Antonio Delgado

Marc Stoddard

Marc Stoddard

Hendrick’s Gin sponsored a free drink party (FDP) in Austin in May featuring White Ghost Shivers, gin drinks, delightful food bites and many unusual sights. OhSpooning was lucky enough to take part in this free party and report back on its findings.

Listen to Hendrick’s U.S. Brand Ambassador Marc Stoddard describe what makes Hendrick’s unique, from its process to its taste, in the following interview with OhSpooning and the lovely sounds of White Ghost Shivers soundchecking:

Enjoy a Hendrick’s drink, recipes and photos courtesy Hendrick’s Gin:

VITU Traveling Punch 

HendricksTravelingPunch

  • Hendrick’s Gin
  • crème de mure
  • fresh lemon juice
  • blackberry sage tea*
  • Demerara/lemon oleosaccharum**
  • sage leaves
  • blackberries
  • lemon wheels
  • chilled soda water
  • ice block

Combine ingredients except for soda water in a punch bowl and add ice, stir, top with soda and garnish.

*republic of tea 1 bag per 16 oz then chill peychaud’s bitters

**Take whole lemon peels and muddle with Demerara sugar 3 hours in advance of the event.  Then stir in 1/2 of the lemon juice to dissolve the sugar

Family Tree

Family Tree

  • Hendrick’s Gin
  • Fresh watermelon juice
  • Fresh lemon
  • simple syrup
  • Basil
  • Montelobos
  • Soda water
  • lemon wheel
  • watermelon juice

Combine ingredients except for soda water.  Ice, shake well and strain over fresh ice

into a long glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a basil leaf.  Serve.

Night of the Iguana

  • Hendrick’s Gin
  • celery juice
  • cucumber juice
  • fresh lemon
  • simple syrup
  • cucumber wheel
  • ground sea salt
  • ground cubeb berry

Combine ingredients, add ice, and shake well.

Strain into martini glass. Garnish with cucumber dusted with ground cubeb and sea salt

Traveler’s Testament

Hendricks Testament

  • Hendrick’s Gin
  • Rooibos Tea*
  • Lime juice
  • Raspberry Syrup**
  • Coconut Flakes Toasted****
  • Cold sparkling water
  • Cucumber Blood Cocktail
  • Lemon verbena infused-Hendrick’s
  • cucumber juice
  • lemon juice
  • simple syrup
  • green chartreuse

Shake, strain, and serve in vessel garnish with cucumber “eggs”, (cuc-flavored spherified caviar) or infused cucumber balls depending on serving vial.

Austin Food Bloggers Cookbook Challenge

We know it’s been awhile since our last post, but like old friends, we missed you and we’re hoping that our getting back in touch will be a warm welcome. We’ve been having some discussion about where this blog is going and what we’d like to do with it. We think you’ll be seeing some new types of blog posts from us soon as we start narrowing our focus down to the things we truly love, instead of posting for the heck of it—because we feel like we have to. That didn’t make the change sound fun, but it will be. It will be FUN!

Moving on …

05252013_ATX_OhSpooning_AFBACookbookChallenge_002

Southwestern Salad with Seared Scallops

As part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, OhSpooning was challenged this month to make a recipe out of its new “The Austin Food Blogger Alliance Cookbook.” My (Tiffany’s) pescetarian ways made choosing a recipe a little difficult as most of the recipes we were drawn to included chicken, pork, turkey, etc. We finally decided on the Southwestern Salad with Seared Scallops—can’t go wrong with scallops.

We walked out the door to get groceries and came back immediately after forgetting the ingredient list—nicely written on a notepad specifically for that purpose (Is anyone else obsessed with specific purpose notepads?).

05252013_ATX_OhSpooning_AFBACookbookChallenge_006

Shopping List

At the store, we asked the checkout attendant a burning question: Does it count as one item in the 10 or less line if you have, say 4 limes that puts you over the 10 limit? He confirmed my suspicion that they’re not that anal retentive about the number of items, so long as you’re close (and not a pain in the rear!). Whew! One less thing to worry about.

Back at the house, we got to work … creating a cocktail. OK, OK. Antonio started working on the cocktails as I started chopping things. Although I know better, we did not read the instructions all the way through before beginning, so we waited about 5 minutes before realizing we should have put the corn in the oven to roast as soon as we got to the house, since it takes the longest of any of the recipe steps—20 minutes.

Otherwise, the recipe went smoothly. Just some prep work, throwing ingredients into a blender for an amazingly delicious dressing and cooking scallops.

The only thing we probably would have done differently the next time is gotten the bigger scallops and let them thaw completely before cooking so there wasn’t extra water we had to cook out. Oh – and used the red onion. Yep, there was still an uncut red onion left on the table after I cleaned the kitchen. Whoops. Nonetheless, this recipe is amazing and took us about 45 minutes to cook. This time could probably be cut down by cutting things in advance, preparing the dressing ahead and having grilled corn ready to go. The grilled corn was so yummy, though, so don’t leave it out! The bonus is, I still have dressing, tomatoes, grilled corn, red onion, cilantro, limes and lettuce … so tomorrow I’ll whip up a similar salad sans scallops for lunch!

For more yummy recipes, you can get your copy of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance cookbook here!

Cocktail Creation:

Accompanying this meal, we created a cocktail using leftover orange and lime juice and added grapefruit juice, gin and club soda for good measure, served over ice. Use the orange peel for garnish. Like all good drinks – amounts to taste! This drink is simple and perfect for summer time and was complimentary to the meal.

1 Part Gin

3 Parts Grapefruit juice

1 Part Club Soda

Squeeze 1/6 lime

1/6 of an Orange for Garnish

 

November Courtyard Event

We’re hoping you’ve already heard about this and RSVPed, because if you haven’t, well, it’s too late to do anything about it now. Today, Launch 787 sent out an email saying the first 100 people to RSVP got to attend the November Courtyard event on Thursday, which includes nibbles from The Meat House and a little drinky from Waterloo Gin. It’s free to those who RSVPed, with the hopes that you’ll donate a few bucks to Austin Involved. If you were quick on your fingertips and RSVPed, we’ll see you there. If you weren’t, we can’t help you get in, but we do hope to post a few pics here post-event.

Either way, we hope you’ll check out Austin Involved, because it’s a movement we can get behind—a volunteer movement. Visit the website or Facebook page to see how you can get involved. The idea is simple: Members donate $25, which goes to the charity that the most Austin Involved members choose each month by vote, and then they put in time to do a volunteer project as well.

Eat, drink, be merry and share the wealth!