Party Planning Tips

Cocktails for White Wine Drinkers

About 4 years ago, I wrote “Three Cocktails for Red Wine Drinkers” because I was really fascinated by how cocktails, especially the Old Fashioned, can open up over time as they oxygenate and dilute with melting ice, similarly to the way a wine opens up in the glass.

Since then, I have experimented with all sorts of cocktails, diverse and complicated, and while they each have their unique charm, there is something to be said for a balanced classic cocktail because you can sip it slowly and enjoy it like a glass of wine.

With that in mind, I thought I would revisit the concept of cocktails for wine drinkers and give you some of my highlights for white wine drinkers!


ONE    Classic Martini…for folks who like crisp, aromatic whites, like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.

First of all vermouth is a fortified wine, so you are part of the way there as a white wine drinker. I like to make my martinis with 2 parts London Dry gin and 1 part vermouth, but if you are just getting started the gin might be a little strong, so go ½ Gin & ½ Vermouth and garnish with a lemon twist. Take note of this VERY IMPORTANT step… STIR the martini. Stirring it leaves the viscosity intact which gives the martini a nice full mouthfeel.

  • 2oz London Dry Gin
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth*
  • Lemon twist

Place in beaker, stir until well chilled (30 seconds), strain into martini glass and garnish with the twist.

*Remember Vermouth is wine, so make sure it is kept fresh, and in the fridge!


TWO   Daiquiri… for folks who like sweet/dry, acidic, aromatic wines like Riesling

When making a good quality Daiquiri, start with an aged rum if you like barrel aged wine, otherwise go with a light rum. The addition of simple syrup and lime juice create a great balance of sweet & tart, which echoes the fruit and acid in the wine. Of course most white wine will be dry, so take note that this cocktail is sweet because it does have sugar.

  • 1 ½ oz Aged Rum or Silver Rum, whatever your preference
  • ¾ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup (adjust to taste)

Combine all ingredients and shake hard with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with lime wheel.


THREE           Aviation… for folks who like perfumed whites like Gewürztraminer

A lovely cocktail from the “sour family”, the Aviation was created in the early 1900s by a NY city bartender. The Aviation is based in gin, so if you like it really aromatic ask for an aromatic gin. Crème de Violet, an ingredient in this cocktail is also very aromatic, but it is all balanced by sweet and citrus.

  • 2 oz Gin
  • ½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ oz Crème de Violette

Combine all ingredients with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. No garnish.


You may be asking, what if I like Chardonnay? To that I ask you to think about the components you like in the wine. For example, if you like oaky or tropical Chardonnay then go with the Aged Daiquiri. If you like lean, stony chards go with the Martini.

This exercise is about finding flavors that excite you in wine and applying those same notes to cocktails. The only REAL WAY to find that out is to experiment, taste and make notes! Happy sipping!


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Twin Liquors Tiki 101 Classes for Texas Tiki Week


This is a 101 class that is NOT to be missed!

Bring yourself and your friends to the FREE TIKI 101 Class, where you will learn the history of TIKI culture, where and why it began! Why rum? Why all the exotic ingredients? Plus you’ll get to taste a cocktail and a few rums!

So wear your favorite Tiki-Attire and join us!

#TexasTikiWeek #TwinTiki


Memorial Weekend Cocktails

cocktailMemorial weekend comes so fast after the spring event season and I don’t know about you, but while I am so ready to relax, I don’t have the creative energy to spend a whole afternoon creating special cocktails. I just want to kick back and sip!

These are some fun ideas that will get your party going with VERY little effort and BIG flavor. Plus most of these cocktails are refreshing and are not super boozy.

mixersMy go to…Start with your favorite bottle of mineral water—I use Topo Chico—and swig out about 2 ounces, then pour in a shot of a good reposado tequila. Top with lime and, boom, you’ve got a portable, dry refreshing cocktail, clocking in at about 100 calories! It’s also 12oz of water, so you’ll stay hydrated!! Topo also comes inplastic screwcap bottles, so you can do the same if you are pool-side or onaboat!

If you are not as worried about calories as I am, and you need some caffeine, the Cuba Libre is a fantastic summer sipper! Use Mexican Coca Cola, good rum and a lime (250 calories). You can get creative and use spiced or berry flavored rums if you like that sort of thing.

limesThen there is the Gin & Tonic. It’s having a resurgence, so says the blog-o-sphere. Regardless, I LOVE a good G&T, but I usually only drink one, maybe two… tonic gets to be a little too sweet for me. The thing about the G&T today is that, with all the different gin profiles out there now, you can experience so many different flavors. The ingredient to which I hold strict is that I use really good tonic, like Fever Tree (90 calories) or the Liber & Co Spiced Tonic Concentrate. This ensures that no matter what gin I use, the sweet component of the tonic is of good quality and therefore eases the opportunity for a sun-drenched-alcohol-aided headache! Nobody wants those!

And lastly, for those of you who want to get a little creative, try a Cointreau Rickey (190 calories). Cointreau is an orange flavored, 80 proof spirit, made from the zest of sweet and bitter oranges. That’s what gives it balance! You don’t need to measure the Rickey too closely, so you will almost never mess this up. 2 oz of Cointreau, 1 oz Lime Juice and 4 oz Club Soda is an easy combo. And if you like fruit, add some muddled berries, cucumber slices and mint leaves. Think of it like an alternative to Sangria. In fact, this would be a great cocktail to make in pitchers if you have a crowd.


Thirsty yet? I am. See you at the pool…Cheers!

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!


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


Firing up the PEAT!


Cocktails by Drink.Well.

WOWBeamSSMJ WOWBeamBar   WOWBeamTish WOWBeamVSamuelsMakers


Super Bowl Cocktails

Will the Seahawks have the The Last Word ? or will the Pats take it over the top with the New England Surf & Turf Bloody Mary




Or you can go Coffee vs Tea with a Texas twist, by facing off the XO Cafe Milk Shake and the Texas Sweet Tea Party

TequilaXOMilkshake   TexasLemonTea

How to Make Punch Ice

Holiday Cocktail Combo, How To: Honey Bubbles + Woodford Holiday Spice

Honey Bubbles – Cocktail Combo Pack

Woodford Holiday Spice- Cocktail Combo Pack

Holiday Cocktail Combo, How To: Campari Punch + Ciroc Snow Ball

Campari Punch – Cocktail Combo Pack

Ciroc Snowball- Cocktail Combo Pack

Holiday Cocktail Combo, How To: Maker’s 46 Manhattan and Kentucky Fire Chata

Maker’s 46 Manhattan- Cocktail Combo Pack

Kentucky Fire Chata – Cocktail Combo Pack

Holiday Cocktail Combo, How To: St Germain Grey Goose Collins + Grand Margarita

St Germain Grey Goose Collins – Cocktail Combo Pack


Grand Margarita – Cocktail Combo Pack

Holiday Cocktail Combo, How To: Cinnamon Toast + Patron Perfect Rita

 Cinnamon Toast – Cocktail Combo Pack

Patron Perfect Rita – Cocktail Combo Pack

Click Here to buy online!

Holiday Cocktail Combo, How To: Black & Stormy + Bloody Z Maria

Black and Stormy – Cocktail Combo Pack

Bloody Z-Maria – Cocktail Combo Pack

Holiday Cocktail Combo, How To: Tito’s Mule + Tradicional Rita + Bulleit Rye Manhattan

Tito’s Mule – Cocktail Combo Pack

Tradicional Rita – Cocktail Combo Pack

Bulleit Rye Manhattan – Cocktail Combo Pack

The Old Fashioned is Back in Style

old-fashionedIt seems like every day there’s a new bar popping up around the corner, slinging great new craft cocktails, using house-conceived recipes of specialty ingredients and infused liqueurs.  It is impossible to be bored when looking over a great cocktail list, and I don’t know about you, but I love to try them all.  However, as you are perusing these menus, mixed amongst the new recipes, you’ll notice some tried and true favorites popping up on almost all of them.

One that’s impossible to miss is the Old Fashioned.

Harkening back to the earliest days of the cocktail, the recipes were pretty simple.  So long as you had a spirit, sugar, bitters, and water (or ice), you were good to go. Then, as bartenders began to get creative and cocktail options grew, it left some customers longing for the good old days.  Rather than a Whiskey Fizz or Whiskey Sour, they wanted an “Old Fashioned” Whiskey cocktail – made the way it used to be.

Because of its humble (but delicious) recipe, Old Fashioneds are not only great to grab from your local bar, but it also makes them perfect for your at-home happy hour.  Even if you’ve never made a cocktail yourself, you’ve got this one in the bag.

For a perfect Rye Whiskey Old Fashioned

                *(You can also substitute Bourbon or Scotch)

  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • Orange Wedge (I trim off the peel and pith)
  • 3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Cherry (Splurge for the Luxardo Maraschino Cherries… trust me!)
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup

Muddle the Orange, Simple Syrup, Cherry and Bitters in a rocks glass. Fill the glass with ice. Add Whiskey and stir until chilled. Fini!

Now looking at the original definition, you’ll notice the first Old Fashioneds would not have included fruit.  Whether you choose to include the orange and cherry is up to you.  If you want to forgo muddling, try rimming the glass with orange peel to release the essential oils.

Once you’ve perfected the Whiskey Old Fashioned, feel free to experiment.  Just remember the original definition: spirit, sugar, bitters, water. The possibilities are endless!

Here are some ideas.

Waterloo  Antique Gin Old Fashioned:

  • 2 oz Waterloo Antique Gin
  • Lemon Wedge
  • ½  oz Simple syrup
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura or Fee Brother’s Orange Bitters

 Z Pepe Anejo Fashioned:

  • 2 oz Z Pepe Anejo Tequila
  • Lime Wedge
  • Grapefruit Wedge (optional)
  • ½ oz Agave Nectar
  • 2-3 dashes Fee Brother’s Grapefruit Bitters

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:

Drink Healthy with Garden to Glass Cocktails

We recently hit the news station to make FRESH Bloody Marys. Click here to check out the video!


Featured Recipes:
Fresh Bloody Mary
Pimm’s Cup

The Umlauf Garden Party

The setting:

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

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!

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

A Bloody Revolution

bloodymaryrevolution400Bloody 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

Bottled Cocktails from Austin

austincocktails_1Austin 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