Spirits

Pappy Raffle!

Three Ways to Enter:

  1. Follow us on Instagram and tag 2 Whiskey Friends on the post
  2. Like us on Facebook and tag 2 Whiskey Friends on the post
  3. Follow Us on Twitter and retweet

 

TWIN BY APPOINTMENT

twinbyapointmentcarouselNeed help with your holiday gift list? Food and wine pairing menu for a dinner party?
Through the years, Twin Liquors has done our part in helping to plan thousands of weddings, wrap hundreds of thousands of bottles and gifts, and talk wine and spirits with newbies and aficionados alike.

We know your time is precious and we want to make your holiday shopping hassle free. Feel free to give us a call or send us an email and let us know when it’s convenient for you to stop by. We promise a real person will take great care of you!
Let us know which neighborhood you’re in and we will be more than happy to connect you with the appropriate Twin Liquors location. The store will then work with you to create a personalized shopping experience. If you already have a favorite Twin Liquors location, please feel free to contact them directly. We want to do our part in making this holiday season bright!

Email us at holidays@twinliquors.com or call 1-855-350-8946 to create your exclusive shopping experience.

WINE SWINE

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Lunch with Woodford Reserve

IMG_1164Austin has a reputation for being a gastronomic hot spot. Yet, no restaurant review could prepare someone for the decadence and immense hospitality of a bourbon-themed, private lunch hosted by master distiller Chris Morris of Woodford Reserve and prepared by the Driskill’s head chef, Troy Knapp and his team. A four course meal, each course paired with a unique Woodford whiskey, is a food and spirit experience that will forever remain unrivaled.

Walking into the Driskill hotel whisks you back in time, until you are met by the very present and intoxicating aroma of exceptionally crafted bourbon. Sweet and oaky, your mouth begins to water. Placed before you are four glasses of tempting whiskey, each one unique in its own right. Mr. Morris artfully describes his recipe and methodology in crafting these fine spirits. He deliberately uses only the finest, all natural resources to ensure a farm-to-bottle creation. From fresh well-sprung water from Pepper Springs, to a specifically bred distiller’s yeast, the new information only heightens your anticipation.

1stCourseThis first course includes a whiskey cured and cigar-smoked salmon with house made rye crackers. One bite of the salmon and you know what they mean by cigar-smoked; it exudes a robust, smoky, and lightly fruity flavor that pairs delightfully with both the crunchy rye crackers and Woodford Reserve Rye. Similar to straight bourbon which must be at least 51% corn, a straight rye whiskey must be made from a minimum 51% rye grains. But unlike some of the newfangled 95 to 100% rye whiskeys, Mr. Morris uses a traditional recipe that includes 53% rye, 33% corn, and a sizable 14% malted barley. This classic recipe is not to be mixed into cocktails such as a Manhattan; it was designed to be consumed neat. The rye has notes of black pepper and almonds which finish in a lengthy marzipan savor. As the spirit leaves its rich nutty character lingering on your tongue, you take that last bite of smoked salmon and await the next course.

IMG_1176The chefs present a brunch course, an epicurean take on bacon and eggs paired with Woodford’s signature bourbon, the Distiller’s Select. Not your average crispy bacon strip, this course contains a hardy hunk of Berkshire pork belly laid next to a striking poached egg. Accompanied by an orange-honey glaze, this dish embodies the chef’s vision of a fat-washed whiskey flip. And now for a sip of the bourbon; the Distiller’s Select is remarkably balanced bourbon intended to appease every palate. Sweet and nutty, fruity and smoldering, it is steeped with passion and pride.

Course number three arrives in three oval shaped ramekins. Local red cabbage on the left, a mint and bourbon lamb shank pie in the center, and oh-so-buttery hand-crushed corn grits on the right. Your fork dives straight through the puffy crust of the pie releasing the burly smell of warm lamb. You scoop the luxurious grits in right after. The soft, elegant textures meld in your mouth and call for a refreshing drink. This time it is Woodford Reserve Double-Oaked. Double Oaked is made by taking the IMG_1177finished Distiller’s Reserve product and aging it even longer in another unique barrel. This second American white oak barrel is given four times the regular amount of toasting, is charred for a brief five seconds, and holds the whiskey for an average of ten months. Every barrel results in a distinct whiskey, leaving Mr. Morris the difficult task of blending different barrels to create a consistent product. The ultra-premium straight bourbon you lift to your lips emanates flavors of butterscotch, maple, honeycomb, and more. Its scent is sweet and enticing. One taste isn’t enough. You daydream about having a glass after dinner tonight. Another bite of creamy grits layered with the syrupy whiskey makes you think of a whiskey filled Sunday brunch. You look back down and all four vessels are empty.

IMG_1178Dessert comes in the form of spiced cheesecake delicately crafted into the shape of a sphere and a scoop of sweet potato gelato. Your spoon glides effortlessly through both; the gelato is sweet and tangy, the cheesecake is the texture of softened cream cheese and saturated with fresh vanilla bean flavor. As you reach for the last taste of whiskey you start to feel a sense of loss, for two reasons. One, lunch is almost over. And two, Mr. Morris explains that production of this whiskey has already ended. The Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Single Barrel chosen for Twin Liquors, the last whiskey of the day, has all been produced. This product is bottled directly from a single barrel chosen by Mr. Morris. Rather than being blended for consistency, as the previous tasting saw, this whiskey comes from a particular barrel that aged brilliantly all by its self. The Twin Liquors Single Barrel starts with more pronounced fruit flavors; notes of cherry and mild berries arrive first, quickly followed by fresh honeycomb and toasted nuts.

Twin Liquors extends many humble thanks to Brown-Forman, Woodford Reserve, and Mr. Chris Morris for their selection and naming of our Single Barrel and for their hospitality in organizing such a remarkable event! We would like to extend special thanks to the Driskill and the efforts of their immeasurably talented chefs! We would also like to invite customers to come and purchase all four of these phenomenal whiskeys, and particularly our Single Barrel while supplies last!

James Boone Pilkington, Twin Liquors Retail Associate

 

San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2016 Wall Calendar!

SACCCocktailCalendarThe San Antonio Cocktail Conference, benefiting the Houston Street Charities, has put together one of the coolest locally made gifts around! A 2016 Wall Calendar featuring 12 cocktails from San Antonio restaurants and bars!

 

There are classic cocktails like the Negroni (Bohanan’s) and the French 75 (Luke) plus are new creations like the El Charro by Mezcaleria Mixtli featuring Montelobos Mezcal!

 

You can purchase the calendar online for $25 and give the gift of cocktail that gives back to the community! Click here to purchase!

Tequila Troubles

Like many Texans, I am a big fan of tequila. Whether in cocktails or sipped neat, the complexity of this noble spirit embodies the flavors of the Southwest. However, there are a number of factors that have made the production of high-quality tequila problematic in the last couple of decades.

                Part of this problem lies in the nature of the agave plant itself. The agave plant takes from six to ten years or more to reach maturity. This means that tequila producers must gauge how much agave they need years in advance. Plant too few agave plants and there is a shortage. However, plant too much and there is a glut of agave on the market. Too much agave, and it can cost more to harvest the plant than can be recouped by making tequila. This is especially problematic for small producers.

                Another issue caused by the mass planting of agave is one that is seen in other mass-produced crops: the problem of large-scale monoculture. Since real tequila can by law only be produced from 100% blue agave, entire agave plantations are often planted with clones of the same plant. This leaves them dangerously susceptible to disease and infestation.

                Also problematic part of the equation is economic. Traditionally, agave is harvested by highly skilled workers known as jimadors. This is a tradition passed down from generation to generation. Economic factors have caused many of these jimadors to migrate north looking for more profitable endeavors. Their traditions are slowly being lost. This may be the saddest problem of all.

                So, what can we a consumers do to combat these issues? This is definitely a thorny question. Above all, insist on pure agave tequila and avoid mixto tequilas that can be produced from other agricultural products. It’s up to all of us to preserve this classic spirit for the generations to come!

Tiki Time!

These days in Texas, the margarita is the cocktail that rules the summer. But there is another spirit that epitomizes summertime and beach culture dating back to the 1930s and 1940s. Pioneered by the restaurant concepts of Donn “The Beachcomber” Beach in Hollywood and “Trader” Vic Bergeron in Oakland, the Tiki concept really took off when servicemen came home from the Pacific after World War II. Beach and Bergeron’s restaurants featured Polynesian food and décor along with rum and juice cocktails that appealed to the Hollywood crowd and spawned countless imitators.

                If any cocktail epitomizes Tiki, it is the Mai Tai. Both Beach and Bergeron have laid claim to this beverage, but there is no doubt that it is delicious! Over the years, this classic has grown to include more and more ingredients but sticking to a simple recipe yields the best results. Start with 1.5oz aged rum. Add ½ oz overproof white rum, 1/2oz orange curacao, ½ oz orgeat syrup (an almond syrup that is essential), and ½ oz lime juice (there is no substitute for fresh squeezed). Shake and strain into a tiki mug (or Collins glass) filled with crushed ice. Then, float a healthy pour of blackstrap rum. Garnish with mint sprig, lime wedge, and sugar cane stick for the real deal.

                So this summer, consider going Caribbean/Hawaiian style and reach for the rum shelf. Compared to other spirits, high quality rums represent great value. Enjoy on the rocks or blend into Tiki drinks to perfect your next poolside or lakeside party! For more TIKI, visit us at Twin Liquors the first week of August for our Tiki Week featuring Tiki 101, Recipes and More!!

Texas Whiskey Time

If you are a fan of locally produced whiskies, then you are living at the perfect time. In the last few years Texas distillers have made their mark on the world stage by producing excellent spirits of all kinds. From the Red River to the Rio Grande, our state has become a whiskey lover’s paradise!

                The man who deserves a lot of the credit for the Texas spirits revolution is Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers Bourbon. From the start, Garrison has championed the “grain-to-glass” concept. They use Texas-grown corn, distilled in Hye, TX, and age the whiskey for two years in oak barrels. It makes for a rich, full-bodied whiskey with flavors of nutmeg, butterscotch, and vanilla with a long, smooth, buttery finish. This is definitely a whiskey to drink straight or on the rocks.

                Herman Marshall is another fantastic distillery operating out of Garland, TX. Like Garrison Brothers, Herman Marshall makes their whiskey from scratch. They produce a bourbon, a rye, and recently introduced a single-malt expression. In 2013, their bourbon garnered a silver medal and 93 point rating from the American Distilling Institute. It features warm, creamy vanilla and dried fruits with nutty components and a long finish.

                And right here in Dripping Springs Swift Single Malt Whiskey is rapidly becoming a Texas favorite. Nick and Amanda Swift spent a lot of time in Scotland in order to bring that nation’s whiskey-making tradition back to their native Texas. Starting with 100% Scottish two-row malted barley, they double-distill in copper pot stills before aging in Kentucky bourbon barrels and Spanish oloroso sherry casks. The nose is sweet and malty with notes of peach and apple. This is a young whiskey, but Swift has barrels in reserve and they will release older whiskey when ready. Another exciting project they have in store is a whiskey finished in French Sauternes barrels.

                It’s an exciting time for Texas whiskies so be sure to pick up a bottle the next time you come see us!

Whiskey, Whisky, Whiskee

I have always had a passion for wine, but as I try more spirits I have found a new area of interest, Whiskey! Between Canada, Scotland, Ireland, America, and even Japan the diversity of whiskey rivals wine like no other spirit.

The smooth easy Canadian style is a great introduction to whisky. America’s own Bourbon whiskey, which can only be made in the USA, is a more mature and complex style, but still friendly and approachable. The Irish make whiskey in a slightly drier style. The Japanese are now the world’s whisky champions having recently claimed many top awards in international competitions. Lastly the Scotch whisky, the most unique of whiskies due to their use of peat to dry the malted barley lends a distinct smokiness the strength of which can vary tremendously across the many varied production areas of that country. Want to go further? Come see us for Whiskey Mash Up and Whiskey 101 events in our classroom!!

And, when you see me, don’t forget to ask me why I have spelled whiskey differently so many times.

Texas has its first brandy, and it was America’s highest rated.

Founders-distillers Boyan Kalusevic and Chris Mobley never hopped out of bed thinking, “What Texas needs is a brandy!” But instead it was a commitment to carrying on their family tradition that led them to creating Texas’ first brandy.

Chris and Boyan are behind Dorćol, “an urban boutique craft distillery” opened in San Antonio in 2013. The duo met in 2003 at The University of Texas, and each went separate directions upon graduation. But they retained a bond, and a hankering, that eventually led them to carrying on the family’s rakia tradition.

“Everybody makes a wine or a rakia in Serbia, and everywhere you go they are offering it to you—it’s a part of life.” Kalusevic adds, “Prohibition killed anything like that here.” Kalusevic’s 94-year-old grandfather is a winemaker and distiller, and it was enough to plant a seed in his grandson. “We realized we had [access to] expertise that could be traced back at least three generations on the farm—likely more,” says Kalusevic. An idea was born. In 2010, the pair started formulating a business plan.

Today, the copper still made for them by a traditional coppersmith in Serbia gleams, and the spirit itself, an apricot rakia baptized Kinsman, dazzles. The spirit was the highest rated American brandy at the 2014 World Sprits Championships in Chicago where it was awarded a Gold medal.

As for the future, “We are looking at some upcoming seasonal expressions,” says Kalusevic.

Paula’s Texas Story

Once upon a time a south Texas farm girl grew up and traveled the world. She came back to Texas more worldly, more sophisticated, and really into limoncello. Thus, Paula Angerstein became the first woman and second person to be licensed to distill in Texas.

For the last ten years, Paula’s Texas Orange and Lemon Liqueurs have made margaritas, iced tea, and just about everything else a little more delicious.

Stricken by wanderlust in 2013, Paula let Gary and Dee Kelleher in on the deal. Veterans of the bar and restaurant business and founders of Dripping Springs Vodka, the Kellehers fit right in. They joined chef and distiller Chris Roberts, and brought on Bill Graham, another chef with over a decade of experience in the liquor business.

Joining the mix this spring is Paula’s Texas Grapefruit Liqueur. Like Paula’s other liqueurs, it’s made by hand with fresh fruit and cane sugar. It’s all natural, gluten free, and damn tasty.

Pepe Zevada

Zextraanejofireplace

After 35 years travelling the world as an executive in the spirits industry, Pepe Zevada retired to Austin, Texas. However, it did not take him long to get back in the game and he quickly launched Z Tequila. His Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo tequilas have received awards and critical acclaim and are well-loved throughout Texas.

Now, Pepe is rounding out his portfolio with the release of an Extra Añejo tequila. Extra Añejo is a relatively new category of tequila, introduced in 2006. In order to qualify for the title, tequila must be aged for a minimum of three years. The Zevada Family Gran Reserva Extra Añejo is aged for four. It is made from 100% mature lowland agave that is cooked and distilled using traditional old-world methods. The tequila then rests in new American White Oak barrels, which are lightly toasted, not charred. The result is an exquisite and distinctive spirit with a maple nose, flavor notes of caramel and toasted nuts followed by agave, and a smooth, bourbon-like finish.

Retailing at right around $70, the value is as remarkable as the quality, because Pepe believes that luxury shouldn’t be so hard to come by.

What’s the best way to enjoy Gran Reserva? Pepe recommends sipping it from a snifter, or in a rocks glass with a little ice and an orange twist. He also suggests buying a bottle right away, as only 500 cases have been produced.

TEXAS TEA?!

Texas Tea conjures images, to some, of their Texas roots, but today, in our industry, it is synonymous with Sweet Tea Vodkas! Oh, how the landscape changes… the current growth of wineries, craft breweries, and distilleries in Texas is astounding.

20 years ago there were a handful of Texas wineries.  Today, there are now more than 300 wineries in Texas. We are the 2nd most popular wine tourism destination in the USA.

As for beers, Shiner, Pearl and Lone Star paved the way. But, today, I can’t even count the number of Austin local breweries, let alone others from Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. We’re brewing a river of great beer in the Lone Star State.  Austin’s own Jester King was able get a Texas State law changed so craft beers could be more accurately labeled and sold.

Distilled Spirits are the king of the industry though. Tito’s was the first and most successful spirit brand to start in Texas.  Numerous other have joined in.  Contrary to the highly individualistic Spirit of Texas, these distillers share their knowledge and experience with each other to promote a growing industry.  Vodka, rum, gin, bourbon, and whiskey are being made in the State of the Yellow Rose. The only spirit off limits for distilling in Texas is Tequila, which must be made in Mexico by Mexican Law and Regulation.

Austin’s own Twin Liquors proudly supports the local producers.  Come see us and we will show you our favorites!

All Good in the ‘Hood

It may surprise you (or it may not), but in the last couple of year Dripping Springs has become a focal point for Texas distilling. Following the trail blazed by Tito’s Vodka in Austin, more and more distillers have decided to move out to the Gateway to the Hill Country.

The first to set up shop here was San Luis Spirits in 2007. They are best known for their Dripping Springs vodka. Distilled from corn in small 50-gallon batches using copper pot stills and artesian spring water from the Hill Country, it is lush and balanced with a very smooth finish. They also produce an orange vodka made with hand-zested Texas oranges. One of my favorite ways to enjoy their vodka is in a Moscow Mule. Start with a tall glass, fill with ice and add 1.5oz of vodka. Top with ginger beer (I recommend Fever Tree), add a squeeze of lime and it’s refreshment time! They have also recently introduced a gin. The gin is juniper forward without tasting like a Christmas tree. It has soft floral notes and uses citrus from the Rio Grande Valley. It makes a fantastic Martini.

Recently making a big splash was the opening of a beautiful new facility by Deep Eddy Vodka. Over 3000 square feet, the distillery features a tasting room and covered patio with a fantastic view of the Hill Country. In addition to their original vodka, Deep Eddy produces cranberry, ruby red grapefruit, sweet tea, and lemon flavored vodka. The lemon vodka, their newest flavor, is great mixed with club soda or Topo Chico and is sure to quench your thirst as the mercury starts to rise. One of my favorites it the sweet tea vodka mixed with fresh lemonade.

Coming soon to the neighborhood is Treaty Oak Distilling. Producers of their eponymous rum (also available in a barrel-aged reserve version), Starlite Vodka, Graham’s Texas Tea (a sweet tea vodka), Red Handed Bourbon, and Waterloo Gin (also available in a fantastic Antique barrel-aged version), Treaty Oak is sure to have a spirit that will tickle your fancy.

Here in Texas, there is really no excuse not to drink local!

Introducing Dripping Springs Artisan Gin

Small-CMYK_DrippingSprings_After years spent perfecting handcrafted vodkas, San Luis Spirits has released another spirit with the same passion and small-batch quality that put it on the map years ago. Dripping Springs Artisan Gin is a reinvention of a traditional juniper forward London dry gin, with soft floral notes, a hint of spice and fresh citrus from the Rio Grande Valley. The product was released in late 2014.

Dripping Springs Artisan Gin is the distillery’s first foray into non-vodka spirits. “Gary and I have worked on a gin recipe and process for years,” said Co-founder Kevin Kelleher. “If we were going to use the Dripping Springs trade name, we wanted to make sure it was a world-class product. The challenge was to capture and balance the essence of nine unique botanicals, but finish it off with the soft mouth feel and minerality present in Dripping Springs Vodka.”

Most vodkas and gins are made in stainless steel column stills that produce thousands of gallons a day. Dripping Springs Artisan Gin is different. The Dripping Springs process takes three days to produce a final 55 percent cut from a single 40-gallon batch.

“It’s kind of an old fashioned concept, but first and foremost it really is about quality. If you make a quality product and price it fairly, it will find a home with a group of discerning consumers,” Kelleher said.

Customers can taste the gin at the Twin Liquors Grand Tastings during Texas Fest, or at the Dripping Springs Distillery. The distillery offers tours and tastings Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 3pm. Tickets can be purchased at drippingspringsvodka.com.

Women of Whiskey Tour 2015

The Beam-Suntory company put together the Women of Whiskey Tour which kicked off at Arizona Cocktail Week last weekend and landed in Austin today. We had a great time  tasting Whiskey from all over the world and learning how these women have excelled in this male dominated field.

Victoria Macrae-Samuels was a chemist from the Pacific Coast, who made her way to Kentucky following a series of spontaneous decisions, which lead her to a job with the Booker Noe and ultimately to Maker’s Mark. She is the first woman distillery manager in Bourbon country.

Tish Harcus has been with Canadian Club for over 20 years. While working with a law firm, she drove by the CC distillery every day, where the aroma wafting in the air lured her in. She has an infectious passion for whiskey and its place in bringing people together.

Stella Lacken grew up with an Irish grandmother who believed that Irish Whiskey could cure anything. And so, a bottle was always near by in their household. It was just a way of life. She enjoys being a brand ambassador of Kilbeggan Irish and traveling the country educating people on the Irish Whiskey way of life.

Vicky Stevens’ first distillery tour was on a school field trip at 8 years old. Over the many years after, while she grew up the Speyside area, she was exposed to all things Scotch. She found her way to Isla with Laphroaig, as the first employee hired to expand their “guest experience” from private appointments, to a full fledged operation. She now has an entire team. She is funny, charming and travels with her own block of peat!

WOWBeamLadies

Margaret Jabour, Victoria Macrae-Samuels, Stella Lacken, Vicky Stevens, Tish Harcus, Sandra Spalding

WOWBeamSimonPeat

Firing up the PEAT!

WOWBeamTastingMat

Cocktails by Drink.Well.

WOWBeamSSMJ WOWBeamBar   WOWBeamTish WOWBeamVSamuelsMakers

 

Whiskies of the World Pour List!

Here is the official list of all the wonderful whiskies you will have the opportunity
to sample at Whiskies of the World this Saturday night (9/27/2014) at the Westin Domain!

tl_WOW_15386_front_r2Click here to view PDF

tl_WOW_15386_back_r2Click here to view PDF

Items poured and prices subject to change without notice.

Agaverama Grand Tasting At Twin!

 Educational-while-fun was the name of the game at AGAVERAMA. Don’t miss these great FREE events!

512 | Avion | Casa Dragones | Casamigos | Cazadores | Del Maguey Mezcal | Don Julio 1942 |Dulce Vida Lone Star Edition II Herradura | Cuervo La Familia | Maestro Dobel | Milagro Barrel Reserve | Partida | Patron Roca | Pelligrosso | Puro Verde Qui | Tequila 901 | Tequila Cabeza | Z Tequila

Here’s photos from our Austin Event:

And here’s photos from our San Antonio Event:
 

Made with Texas Pride: Z Tequila

Pepe Photo with CocktailsZ Tequila founder Pepe Zevada says, “Our award-winning 100% pure agave tequilas are among the best of the best, yet they are not expensive; they only taste like you can’t afford them!”

The Z stands for Pepe Zevada Continue reading

Tequila: Don’t Fear the Reaper

       For some folks, few words inspire more dread than “tequila”.  For me, the opposite is true. I find that few other spirts have the complexity, diversity and sense of terroir of good tequila. Today, consumers have access to more high quality tequila than could have been imagined just a decade or so ago. So, there is no better time to re-acquaint yourself with this ancient and noble spirit.
Continue reading

A Louis XIII Moment

Spirit tastings are electric events. The buzz builds as eager imbibers dash back and forth between tables with playbook precision before huddling in the corners to fire off quick opinions and coordinate their next approach. Brand ambassadors in the hot seat bring their A-game, handing out half-ounce samples alongside strategic slogans hoping to stand out. Inevitably the rush subsides, we all circle back to one or two producers we each particularly liked, and if we’re lucky, the host samples something special — like the Van Winkle 10 Year generously unearthed from the Twin Liquors cellars for Whiskey Fest. Continue reading

Whiskey Fest Grand Tasting Austin!

Twin Liquors Whiskey Fest in Austin was a smashing success. With a couple hundred people and 20 different Whiskies in attendance, it was a vibrant and educational event. Don’t miss the San Antonio event on Thursday, June 19th.

A Very Derby Day

The Tipsy Texan hosted their annual Kentucky Derby Party in honor of the 140th race! A great time was had by all.

Maker’s Mark served up Classic and Pineapple Infused Juleps. And, Treaty Oak Distilling served up 3 versions of the julep with their Red Handed Bourbon, Waterloo Antique Gin and Treaty Oak Barrel Aged Rum!

We sampled all of them, and they were all delicious!

Just in Time for Cinco de Mayo: Blind Tequila Taste Test

The results are in! Five 100% agave tequilas under $25 were carefully tasted; none of the skilled judges knowing which one was which. We chose to sample only Blanco, or Plata (Silver) tequilas for this first round, for simplicity’s sake. Silver tequilas are perfect for Margaritas and Paloma’s because of their bright, citrus-y agave flavor. We found some to be brighter than others and some to have more pepper on the finish. Here’s the blow by blow… Continue reading

My Old Kentucky Home…

    When it comes to American horse racing, no race compares with the tradition and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby. Run every year since 1875, the Derby is as well known for its sartorial splendor and winner’s blanket of roses as it is for the race itself. One of the most famous, and my personal favorite, traditions associated with “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” is the Mint Julep.

Red Handed Bourbon Mint Julep300

Mint Julep with Rand Handed Bourbon pictured.
Image courtesy of Treaty Oak Distilling. Recipe Here

    Sublime in its simplicity, the julep is one of the oldest cocktails in existence. It includes only four ingredients: Bourbon, mint, sugar and ice. Some folks may vary the technique, but the ingredients should NOT be messed with! Start by muddling a sprig of mint with ½ oz. simple syrup in a highball glass (or a pewter mug, if you’re lucky enough to own one.) Add 1 oz. of Bourbon and fill glass with crushed ice (NOT ice cubes!) Stir until the glass is cold and frosty. Then add 1 more oz. Bourbon and top glass off with crushed ice. Stir again until glass is really frosted. Garnish with another sprig of mint and serve with a straw. For the most aromatic results, give the mint a good smack in the palm of your hand. Wasn’t that easy?

    If you’re making a large number of juleps, try using mint-infused simple syrup so you don’t have to spend so much time muddling. This is super easy to make as well. Chop 1 ½ cups of fresh mint. Bring mint, 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to boil in a saucepan. Simmer for 2 minutes. Pour syrup through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the solids so you get all the mint flavor. Allow to cool. This syrup will keep for a couple of weeks.

    Now you are ready for Derby Day. Break out the seersucker and a fancy hat and enjoy a true Southern tradition!

— Tim Holloway

Wyoming Whiskey Spotlight

Dear Whiskey Barons,

From the day Steve Nally began experimenting with different mash bills and yeasts in an old moonshiner’s still, he has worked hard to create and produce America’s next great bourbon right here in Wyoming. But as any great distiller knows, his responsibilities extend well beyond the distillery and into the markets where Wyoming Whiskey can now be found. This is why you will be seeing Steve at tastings, bottle signings, and various parties and events in Colorado, Texas, and Wyoming, talking about the craft bourbon that he created. So, who is ensuring that our still continues to produce the highest quality spirit while Steve is away? Our wonderful distillery team and, by this introduction, Elizabeth Serage, Steve’s Apprentice Distiller and Production Manager. Continue reading

Hey, You’re the Vodka Guy: the Tito’s Story

tito_chillinHi. I’m Tito Beveridge and I’m the founder and owner of Titos Handmade Vodka. I’m from San Antonio, Texas. I went to Vanderbilt for a year then to UT, University of Texas at Austin. I graduated with degrees in geology and geophysics. I got into the oil and gas business and did that in Texas and then down in Venezuela and Colombia and ran heli-portable dynamite seismic crews down there and came back and started a drilling company in Houston, got tired of chasing the buck and decided to move back to Austin, Tx.

I did ground water geology here and got in the mortgage business and it was when I was in the mortgage business that I started making flavored vodka for my friends for Christmas presents. That was in about i guess ’92, ’93. I was at a party one time and a stranger came up to me and said ‘Hey you’re the vodka guy’ Continue reading

Discover The Republic

republic tequila logoWalk down the tequila aisle of your favorite Twins liquor store and you’ll likely notice the wide variety of bottle shapes, designs and gimmicks that companies use to catch your eye – I’m guessing that by now, pretty much everyone has come across the glass pistol filled with tequila. While often interesting to look at, the bottle design usually has no direct correlation to the tequila inside. Some bottles are beautiful and elegant to command a higher price even though the tequila inside is less-than-stellar. On the other hand, some of the simplest bottles hold the most amazing juices. Then there’s the brands that get everything right. Republic Tequila is one of those brands. Continue reading

Treaty Oak Distillery: The Story

Daniel Barnes of Treaty Oak Platinum Rum Photo by John Anderson http://www.austinchronicle.com/food/2011-07-29/the-spirits-of-texas/

Daniel Barnes of Treaty Oak Platinum Rum
Photo by John Anderson
http://www.austinchronicle.com/

Born and raised in Texas, founder of Treaty Oak Distilling, Daniel Barnes, grew up with parents who owned a restaurant and motel in the small town of Menard, Texas. Inspired by their work ethic and seeing the rewards and gratification they gained from running their own business, Barnes decided to start his own family-run business.

He attended the University of Texas in Austin, and during that time worked in a variety of jobs in the hospitality industry. He worked as a sommelier at the Four Seasons in downtown Austin, where he greatly expanded his knowledge in food and beverage industry. Continue reading

Orange You Glad for Dripping Springs Texas Orange Vodka

dripping_orangeMade using the zest of Texas oranges from the Rio Grande Valley, and naturally gluten free, Dripping Springs Texas Orange Vodka is truly one-of-a-kind.

The vodka, which made its debut in 2011, has been a winning product for San Luis Spirits—which also makes Dripping Springs Vodka and 1876 Vodka. The citrus-infused vodka is delicious and refreshing with a variety of mixers, including ginger ale, tonic, soda, or simply served straight over ice with a fresh orange wedge. An easy-to-make and popular drink made with Dripping Springs Orange is the O’Snap, which includes 1.5oz Dripping Springs Orange and 4oz ginger ale served over ice with an orange wedge garnish. Continue reading

Meet Chris Roberts, Distiller for Paula’s Texas Spirits

photoPaulasMargaritabottlePaula Angerstein was the first woman in Texas licensed to distill spirits and was granted the second distiller’s permit in the state. Born and raised on a south Texas farm, Paula’s tech career led her to Italy where she fell in love with limoncello. Back home in Austin, she began making limoncello for her friends who encouraged her to take it to market. Soon after launching Paula’s Texas Orange in 2005 Chris Roberts came on board as distiller. Continue reading

The Year of Gin: Genius Gin

genius_ginWhether it’s NPR or Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, many say that 2014 is the year of Gin. The reemergence of this noble spirit has been coupled with an increasing interest in handmade cocktails. Soon to be cocktail lovers are dipping their feet in the classics (like a Negroni or Aviation) and then venturing into more adventurous concoctions. The farm to table movement has sparked a huge ancillary interest in cocktails and Gin is on center stage. 2014 is the year of Gin and what better way to celebrate than trying one of the many new Gins to surface in Texas. Continue reading

Herman Marshall Whiskey

hermanbottle_glassWhile whiskey has always been a favorite among Texans, many have had to look to producers in other states and even other countries to provide them with the spirit. With a handful of whiskey distilleries emerging across Texas over the past few years, the Dallas area can now proudly add its name to that list, as Herman Marshall Whiskey launches two of its products into spirits retailers across North Texas.

Following years of research and production, co-founders Marshall Louis and Herman Beckley built Dallas Distilleries, producers of Herman Marshall Whiskey, with the sole interest of producing the finest whiskies in the region. Continue reading

Hill Country Peaches “Enchant”

Texas Two StepHill Country peaches have now found their way into something a little more exciting than homemade jam.  Rebecca Creek Distillery, known for its Award-Winning Enchanted Rock Vodka, has added a fruit-infused vodka with a true taste of the famous “fresh from the tree” Fredericksburg peaches to its popular spirits line.  So pop that into your picnic basket! Continue reading

White Hat Rum

Tom Wears a White Hat300When you create something in Texas, you’re bound by an unwritten law of craftsmanship that reaches back for generations.  Call it Southern virtue, call it stubborn pride.  Either one works for us.  Likewise, when a Texan reaches for a product which boasts of Texas origin, they best not be disappointed.  The process must not be compromised by haste.

Proudly bound by this standard, White Hat Premium Texas Rum is handcrafted in small batches just outside of Austin, TX.  We make it Continue reading

Apricot Spirit from San Antonio

2guys_1potstillDorćol Distilling Company is an urban boutique craft-distillery located in San Antonio’s South Flores Arts District. Committed to meticulously handcrafting beautiful spirits using only the finest ingredients, owners-distillers Chris Mobley and Boyan Kalusevic set out to introduce an age-old family product to local market, choosing to continue family’s tradition of creating genuinely smooth and complex spirits that allow you to enjoy the flavors, aromas and characteristics of the original ingredients. Continue reading

Deep Eddy Bottles Relaxation

DEV_Mason-JarHere at Deep Eddy we believe that whatever you are doing, you should be real and you should be having fun. If you check those two boxes, quality and passion will follow you. Since we make vodka for a living, we definitely have the fun covered. How we make the vodka is where the “real” comes into play. Our straight vodka and each of our flavors is made with the highest quality REAL ingredients, right from the fruit or the leaf or the hive. We think Mother Nature has done a pretty great job making perfect flavors, and we aren’t going to mess with her work. Continue reading

Brewstillery: Ranger Creek

3guysRanger Creek was founded by three guys that love beer and also love whiskey. We drink and appreciate both, but we don’t drink much else. One day we discovered the fascinating relationship between beer and whiskey, which miraculously explained this shared love. So we started a business to highlight this fascinating relationship and educate others about it. We believe that there are other Texans out there that share our love for beer and whiskey and will find the relationship between them just as fascinating. Continue reading

Get into the “Barrel Aged” Spirit of things with Treaty Oak Distilling

treatyoak_bottlesTreaty Oak Distilling Company launched its line of aged products at the end of 2013 and has received a great response.

Red handed bourbon: A Bourbon worth stealing
Red-Handed Bourbon is a mixture of bourbons brought varying in age for seven years to three years that are re-barreled and aged for an additional nine to fourteen months.  With a heavy rye component, Red-Handed offers a complex pallet of fruit and spice.  Continue reading

A letter from Dan Garrison of Garrison Brother’s Texas Bourbon

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Dan Garrison
Matt Rainwaters via cookinglight.com

“Had a visitor come out to the distillery on Sunday. He mentioned that he [thought he had a bad bottle] because there were clouds floating in the bottle.

I explained to him that our Fall 2013 Release was completely unfiltered and that the clouds were a natural chemical reaction that occurs when the liquid in the bottle gets cold. The fatty acids (read “silky flavor”) bind together when the liquid gets cold and this only happens if the bottle sits in a cold draft for a long time. It is rare. To demonstrate, I placed a bottle in our freezer for a few minutes and the clouds formed. I explained to him that all one has to do to make the clouds disappear is shake the bottle up.

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Holiday Leftovers

So, January is here, the family has all headed out to their post-holiday lives, the Christmas wrap is cleared from around the tree, and the confetti has been cleaned out of the couch. There you sit, looking at those partially empty bottles from all of the holiday celebrations, wondering what to do with the three ounces Irish cream left, the partial bottle of Hazelnut liqueur, the Bourbon and the Cognac. First off, don’t mix them all together! It may seem like a good idea for a moment, but trust me it doesn’t end well.  But, you can have some fun in the kitchen with these over the next few weeks. Continue reading

Thank You for Wanting More of a Good Thing

I have been writing about and researching cocktails for over 6 years now. I have sat at many bars across the country; I have fallen in love with tiny cocktail menus; I have crushed on bartenders, men and women alike; and, I have and been exposed to so many wonderful ingredients that play the part in the makeup of high quality cocktails. From mixers to Mezcal, when it is quality-made, you can taste it. Continue reading

Cold Weather Comfort

As I write this we are experiencing our first freeze of the season out here in the Hill Country west of Austin. Having grown up far north of the snow line, this weather always signaled the time for drinks to warm us from head to toe.  Truly comfort foods, Tea with Whiskey and lemon, hot cocoa spiked with everything from Bourbon, to Irish cream to Peppermint Schnapps, and of course Mulled Wine.  There are more recipes for mulled wine than we could discuss before the year ends, but all have the same core ingredients.
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The American Spirit

     As the weather begins to cool (a little bit), my thirst begins to shift to the brown spirits. And there is no more American spirit than bourbon. Indeed, by definition, bourbon must be produced in the US. There are a few other requirements that must be met to call spirit bourbon. It must be produced from at least 51% corn. It must be aged in charred, new oak barrels. And it must be distilled to no more than 160 proof, entered into barrels at no more than 125 proof, and bottled at no less than 80 proof. To be labeled straight bourbon, it must be aged in barrel for at least 2 years and be free of any added flavor, color or spirit. Most bourbon is produced in Kentucky, although that is not a requirement.

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Gin: Don’t Call It a Comeback

Perhaps no other spirit has benefited more from the classic cocktail phenomenon than gin. In the most basic terms, gin is the original flavored vodka. A neutral grain spirit is re-distilled with various herbs and spices. The word gin derives from an old Dutch word for juniper and this is its primary flavoring component. Other common ingredients include anise, cinnamon, citrus peel, licorice root and coriander; although almost anything can be used. There are Texas gins such as Waterloo and Moody June that feature flavors native to the state such as grapefruit and lavender.
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Gluten Free at Twins

The first time your doctor says those words-gluten free- can be a moment of panic and dismay. What all will you have to give up, how difficult will this be? The introduction to the gluten-free lifestyle is a challenge. Learning to read labels, foregoing so many favorite foods and restaurants, finding out just how prevalent gluten is in our everyday lives. Whether Celiac, gluten-intolerant or otherwise, this is a learning process. My own began about eight months ago, after five years of illness and near disability. As difficult as it seemed at times to make the transition, I can look at it now as one of the most wonderful transformative moments of my life. Continue reading

Cocktailing with Craft Distillers!

tl_11990_cocktailA fun and educational night was had by all at the Cocktailing event.
Craft Distillers and Twin Liquors hosted the fun affair, featuring 3 fantastic area bartenders! Continue reading

Oscar-Inspired Cocktails!

Carolyn Caro, of Twin Liquors #72 in San Antonio, shares Oscar-Inspired Cocktails on WOAI San Antonio.

Vintage Cocktail – French 75

“Of all the gin joints of all the towns, she…..!”

by Carolyn Scott, Twin Liquors Marketplace College Station

“Of all the gin joints of all the towns in the world, she walks into mine!”    -Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1943

In 1862, the first bartender’s guide was published. Since then the world of cocktails has exploded! Mixology has become an art form and since the 80’s, cocktails have become more intricate and more lavish at times requiring more ingredients than the dinner with which it’s being served! Fortunately, since about 2000, classic and vintage cocktails have been making a comeback. Bartenders and mixologists have been focusing on quality drinks and using the best spirits, mixers and ingredients available. People are learning to enjoy cocktails and appreciate the art. Of course it hasn’t always been this way. Even when cocktails were in their heyday, they weren’t always the best. Many vintage cocktails were actually created in order to cover up the taste of low quality terrible spirits that were illicitly made at the time. Continue reading

An Ode to Scotch!

A fun time was had by all at the Robert Burns events hosted at 7 different Twin Liquors Marketplaces on January 25th, to celebrate the birth anniversary of Scottish poet Robert Burns.

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The evening began with a reading of “A Scotch Drink”

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