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
Growing up in Chicago, when something needed fixing, from the car, to the furnace or whatever, I frequently heard my dad on the phone with a buddy or a neighbor. The conversation was something like “Hey my furnace quit, who’s your guy for that?” Less often, but occasionally, it had a “deal” attached to it. But there are things we don’t take lightly or necessarily look for the “bargain” version. If we find a bargain, all the better, but the drive is to get quality and the right thing for us.
A great example of this is our Barber or Hairstylist. I don’t know many folks who are looking for a bargain when it comes to grooming. It’s way too personal. We want someone who knows us and knows what we like and don’t like because not many things take longer to recover from than a bad hairstyle. Don’t you want the best option based on your likes and dislikes? Shouldn’t we all have that person that we can call to pick that perfect thing that’s just right for us? That right person is typically someone that has studied, and continues to stay current in their field, so they have the knowledge to earn our trust. Continue reading
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 wonderful time was had by customers and staff alike at the meet & greet Montelena event with winemaker Bo Barrett.
Twin Liquors Opens New Store in Mueller Retail Center Continue reading
The McPhersons have been a pioneering family in grape growing and wine making in Texas for over 40 years. The family patriarch, Dr. Clinton A. “Doc” McPherson, is considered one of the “Fathers” of the modern Texas wine industry. In 1976 “Doc”, a Chemistry Professor at Texas Tech University, and Bob Reed, founded Llano Estacado Winery in Lubbock, the first post-Prohibition Texas winery. Sadly “Doc” passed in January 2014 but his family’s winery remains one of the state’s prime grape growers and was the first in Texas to plant Sangiovese in his Sagmor Vineyard. Continue reading
The Umlauf Sculpture Garden on a gorgeous April evening, with 30 different wines tickling our tongues and a couple dozen restaurants delighting us with bites.
We sampled treats from Eddie V’s, Truluck’s, Maudie’s, North, Moonshine, Kenichi, Green Pastures and many more. We listened to the Nash Hernandez Orchestra and even enjoyed a couple cocktails by local spirit company Rebecca Creek Whiskey and Enchanted Rock Vodka. Continue reading
I have recently come to realize how hard my Mom worked raising me! When I was five years old, I recall grinding crayons into her brand new rug because I didn’t think it was colorful enough. If only I had been old enough to know about (and legally purchase) the perfect Thank You or I’m Sorry gift: Sparkling Wine! Continue reading
Our customers have been increasingly expressing that they can’t drink red wine because it gives them headaches. “I drink a glass of red and have a screaming headache within minutes.” Unfortunately no one really knows the causes for red wine headaches (besides over consumption!) but we do know what doesn’t cause them, sulfites and histamines. Continue reading
In the spring of 2013 I accepted an internship to work harvest at a custom crush winery in Petaluma, California. I’d been working and studying wine for several years, however, it’s a complex and convoluted field to get your head around. It became clear that if I wanted to really understand wine and its production I needed a crash course. An industry friend knew I was looking for an internship and recommended I contact a winemaker she worked for two years prior. He was in the process of opening a custom winery and needed another intern. Continue reading
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
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.
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
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
Check out these Twin Picks:
Paté, Cured Meats, Cheeses
- Natale Verga, Prosecco $12.99
- Barcelona Celler, Tinto $9.99
Lamb & Beef
- D’Andezon, Cotes du Rhone Rouge* $14.99
- Goldschimdt, “Fidelity”, Cabernet* $14.99
- Baus Family Zinfandel $16.99
- Angel’s Landing, Cabernet Sauvignon $19.99
- Truchard, Pinot Noir* $22.99
Asparagus & Spring Veggies
- Natale Verga, Gavi $9.99
- McPherson, Les Copains, White* $11.99
- Treana, White Rhone-Style Blend* $17.99
*Selection varies by store. All wines without asterisk are available at all Twin locations. Wines with asterisk are available at most Twin locations. Check with your neighborhood store for availability. Prices are good Easter week and are subject to change.
Italian wines pair excellently with food because of their high acidity, medium body, and moderate alcohol. White wines tend to be crisp, while red wines tend to be firm without being overpowering.
When I choose to drink Italian, which I often do, I have three favorite wines with which I am almost never disappointed.
Arneis. This is a white grape that hails from the North Western Piedmont region. It’s difficult to grow and literally means “rascal”. It’s full bodied, aromatic and has some floral & almond notes, but usually is associated with ripe pear. And, it pairs wonderfully with fish, asparagus and antipasti.
Nebbiolo. Also, from Piedmont this wine it thought to derive its name from the Italian word for fog, nebbia. If you like Pinot Noir, you will love Nebbiolo. It’s fruity, yet austere. It’s refined yet can be lush with fruit. And, as a food-pairing wine, it is a master. It can compliment a delicate slice of prosciutto or stand up to a veal chop.
Super Tuscan. These wines came about in the 1970s as winemakers from the Chianti region wanted to make wines that fell outside of the strict regulatory guidelines of Chianti. You will see a lot of them now labeled IGT, which means they are typical of region, with grapes likes Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah and more. Simply put, these are Power-House wines that carry heavy fruit, tannin and oak; a wonderful match to a Rib Eye or a hearty lasagna.
–Kevin Stein, Manager, Twin Liquors Marketplace at the Hill Country Galleria.
From bubbly, sweet & aromatic Moscato, to bold, dry & fruity Chianti, Italy probably has the most diverse selection of wine than any other region of the world.
Because there are 350 common wine grape varieties from 20 different regions, many people feel intimidated at the idea of trying something they don’t recognize. Italian wine labels can look a little confusing because most don’t indicate the grape varietal. It’s actually relatively simple. At the top of the label, often in the biggest letters, you’ll usually see the name of the producer, then the name of the grape and region, and finally the vintage year. The “grape and region” part of the label represents the wine varietal. That’s something you’ll have to learn to understand… or we can help you with that. For instance, Chianti indicates a wine that is mostly Sangiovese!
Italian wines pair excellently with food because of their high acidity, medium body, and moderate alcohol. White wines tend to be crisp, while red wines tend to be firm without being overpowering.
While producers certainly employ various wine making styles, almost all the wines from a particular region will bear a striking resemblance to each other. If you can’t seem to find that one particular wine you’ve been searching for, come by and let’s talk. You might find a new favorite.
-Mike Poremski, Manager, Twin Liquors Marketplace, San Antonio
Italy, a small country with such a big array of wine! Yet, ask the average person what wines Italy makes and the most common answer is Chianti. That’s the same as saying that Texas is all about cowboys. True, to some degree, but Italy is much more than Chianti. It is impossible to do justice to the breath of Italian wines in a short blog post, but we can at least talk in broad terms about the regions and red wines. Continue reading
True Texas Women in Austin
The Hill Country tugs at the sleeves of two of Texas’ most magnificent cities, Austin and San Antonio, and creative people can’t help being inspired by the natural splendor of Central Texas. In this issue, we celebrate three creative and hard-working Austin women whose entrepreneurship and innovative spirit inspire us. With business ties to San Antonio and beyond, these women started small but went on to do big things.
Executive Vice President and co-owner of Twin Liquors
Please tell me a little about Twin Liquors and how long it’s been in business. Twin Liquors is a third-generation, family-owned-and-operated wine and spirits business that started after Prohibition. This year, Twin Liquors celebrates its 77th anniversary. The third generation of owners has expanded the business from a small store in 1982 to a successful company consisting of 75 locations across 13 counties in Central Texas. The company consists of retail sales and wholesale distribution to bars and restaurants. My brother, David Jabour, and I are co-owners.
Twin Liquors has locations in both Austin and San Antonio and in other cities throughout the United States, right? Twin Liquors has a unique and well-respected reputation throughout the United States. It has been nationally recognized for its substantial community involvement, knowledgeable team members, outstanding customer service, conveniently located stores and extensive selections of fine wines and premium spirits from around the world. Continue reading
When I moved to Austin in 1997, the Texas craft beer scene was still in its very early days. For most people, Texas beer meant Shiner Bock or Pearl. Craft beer selections were pretty much limited to Live Oak, Celis (for a brief shining moment), St. Arnold, or a newcomer called Real Ale. There were also a handful of quality brewpubs: the sorely missed Waterloo and Bitter End (my first long-term job here) and the still going strong Draught House. Growlers to-go were still a distant dream, and if you wanted a really good selection then you were on your way to the Gingerman.
Fast forward to today. There are over 70 breweries in the state (with more firing up their brew kettles every day, it seems), with at least a dozen in Central Texas alone. In 2012, the Texas craft brew industry added $2.3 BILLION to the state’s economy. In addition to sheer volume, the types of beer being brewed has expanded greatly. Back then most brewers made a pale ale, an amber and a lighter blonde-type ale. Live Oak was (and still is) also well known for its authentic pilsner and hefeweizen. And while there are still great examples of these styles being produced, some of today’s brewers have become quite specialized. Some focus exclusively on Belgian-style beers such as dubbels, tripels, lambics, bieres de gardes and farmhouse ales. Twisted X Brewing in Dripping Springs concentrates on Mexican styles. Nearly all of the world’s beer styles are represented. You can literally tour the world of beer while just drinking local. And some brewers are creating their own styles of beer that don’t fit neatly into any established category. Now that’s what I call a great state of affairs here in the Great State of Texas!
When was the last time you visited one of our Texas wineries or cracked open a bottle of Texas wine? I bet it’s been too long. Our state has a long history of wine production, going back to Spanish missionaries in the late 1600s (long before California!) Continue reading
Hi. 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
Combining a job she loves with a passion she can’t ignore.
Women who are driven and successful know how to make choices in life. Every day, they are told to choose between their relationships and their careers, their lifestyles and their careers, their passions and their careers. But what happens when you have a passion for something and your career? For Twin Liquors’ Director of Marketing and Events Coordinator Sandra Spalding, this is a question she has to answer every day. Continue reading
Walk 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
Twisted X Brewing Company is organized as a proud Texas Corporation for the purpose of manufacturing and selling beer. Not any beer, but a hand-crafted set of beers that appeal to both the American and Mexican beer drinking markets while still following the traditional craft brewing guidelines. The company was founded in 2009 and has been selling beer to the local market since (Cinco de Mayo), May, 5th 2011. We make local craft Mexican style lagers made in Texas called Tex Mex Beer®. Continue reading
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
Made 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
Paula 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
Whether 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
While 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
The development of Flat Creek Estate began in 1998 when Rick and Madelyn Naber, the ever-present owners, purchased the premier Hill Country Property. Continue reading
Hill 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
When 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
Dorćol 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
Here 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
Ranger 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
Bloody Revolution is a small company based in Austin, Texas, that officially launched in late 2013. Inspired by the quest to make a gourmet-style Bloody Mary mix, the owners of Bloody Revolution set out to shake up the mixer category and rebel against the boring and bland.
After a year or so of product development and research, Bloody Revolution hit the shelves in August 2013 with five Bloody Mary mixers: Original, Smoked Habañero, Ribeye, Pickle Zing, and Wasabi Ginger. Buzz immediately followed—customers raved that these new mixes were the best on the shelf. Continue reading
Treaty 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
Austin Cocktails is a family-owned line of craft cocktails made with natural ingredients and six-times distilled vodka. Because the drinks are sweetened with organic agave, each serving is less than 100 calories.
This company was conceived out of the belief that the time had come for craft Continue reading
“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.
So here’s how it routinely goes. One day you’re visiting with friends, maybe at a BBQ or birthday party or some other reason to get together and enjoy some company. You’re mostly a beer drinker, but when they serve the dessert they’ve got this wine to go with it that everyone is making yummy noises about. So you try it, and you know what, it ain’t beer, but it ain’t bad. Sweet, really tastes good with the dessert and has a really good fruit Continue reading
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
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
Whether you’re popping the cork for a New Year’s Eve celebration or just enjoying your favorite brunch beverage, it’s always good to have some general knowledge about Champagne & Sparkling. Continue reading
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.
On November 9th, 2013 the Austin chapter of Heart Gift awarded David Jabour with the Golden Palate award. It is awarded each year to an individual who has shown great leadership and philanthropy to our Austin community.
More information about Heart Gift is available at www.heartgift.org
As autumn finally settles over Texas, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The air-conditioner is no longer running around the clock, the nights are crisp and you can finally use the patio again. It is also time to make preparations for the upcoming holidays. Probably the most common question I get this time of year is, “What wine should I serve with my Thanksgiving dinner?” Here are some wines that will do justice to the spread that you (or someone, anyway!) have worked so hard on.
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.
Ah, August in Texas, is there anything finer? Ok, so maybe there is, but fortunately there are countless ways to chill down. And, when it’s this hot, a cold glass of white wine is just the thing. I typically stay away from heavier whites like chardonnay in favor of something light and crisp.
One great option is Vinho Verde from Portugal. They are typically very light in body with citrus and green apple notes. A light floral aroma is also common. Relatively low alcohol and a very light effervescence make this the perfect wine for the pool-side. In addition, they typically cost less than $10. What more could you ask for?