Archive for the ‘Tequila and the boozehounds’ Category

The Return! and…Wild Oats Margarita

September 14, 2013




Wow…been a while. Welcome back. It’s been busy around these last couple of months. Lots of traveling, recipes, cocktails, ramblings. Now it’s time to start pouring them (along with a couple of brews) back into this site. Here’s (and cheers!) to doing a better job updating this beast.

Our way back includes this fresh out of the kitchen cocktail recipe for a margarita NOT containing Tequila or any other Mexican spirit. This time we’re playing with…High West Distilling’s Silver Western Oat Whiskey. I sub’d this un-aged whiskey for tequila in this classic margarita recipe. In fact, I’ve never done a classic margarita with orange liqueur/simple syrup here before, they almost always use fresh lime and agave nectar.

Why High West Silver Oat Whiskey? Last night we dined at Holeman and Finch and I had a distinct cocktail made with this very unique whiskey (or is it whisky?). Last nights cocktail was called the “Rainier Expedition” which as standard for H+F was laced with a concoction of lemon, bitters, amaro and vermouth. I also happened across a bottle of this Oat Whiskey a few weeks ago and was interested in coming up with a few cocktails for it. Poured into a Glencairn whiskey glass by its lonesome gave way to notes of brine and oysters initially before opening up to a bouquet of blueberry, citrus notes and vanilla. Call H+F my inspiration for getting off my arse and whipping something up. More cocktails will follow but they won’t really have a connection to this page…maybe. For now. we’ll play with this and see where the afternoon goes. Onto the recipes!

Wild Oats Margarita

1oz. High West Silver Wild Oat Whiskey
.75oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
.5oz Grand Marnier
1/2 tsp simple syrup

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Garnish with salt and lime wedge (or wheel). Enjoy!

Rainier Expedition -Courtesy of Holeman and Finch

1.5oz High West Silver Wild Oat Whiskey
.5oz Imbue Petal and Thorn
.5oz Punt e mes
Scant .5oz Fernet Amargo Vallet
2 dashes Lemon Bitters


The Paloma by Pablo Moix

May 10, 2013



This post comes as we were finishing the festivities at the Boot’s household for Cinco De Mayo. My friend Pablo Moix (based out of Los Angeles at the famous Black Market Liquor Bar) came up with this Paloma recipe which is out of this world. Credit to the original blog posting is below but here goes.

2 ounces anejo tequila
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime
1 teaspoon of superfine/baker’s sugar
1 ½ ounces tonic water

1) Add first four ingredients to a shaker and dry shake (without ice) for 3 seconds just to mix up the ingredients. The superfine sugar won’t take that long to dissolve.
2) Pour into a Collins glass.
3) Top with tonic water and add ice. Pablo fills the glass with ice cubes so that dilution is slow, but tops off the glass with crushed ice for presentation. At home, ice cubes will work just fine.

I was hesitant to use such a fine tequila as Ocho Anejo in a cocktail as I enjoy it so much by itself, but I have to say that Pablo hit the nail on the head with this one.

Azucarado Casa Chicago!

April 22, 2013


Azucarado Casa Chicago, or my weak sauce interpretation of Sweet Home Chicago. I’m sure there are more famous images of Chicago but the could gate above was the only one I took pics of. Here’s to being a crappy tourist!

At this point I’m sure you thought this blog was dead…Nope! Just needed a break, that and an extremely busy work schedule of travelling all over the country has seriously hampered my posting duties. Fortunately I’ve been cataloging, taking photos and making notes of all the recipes and places I’ve eaten in the last 5 months so updates will be fruitous.

Finally a business trip that dropped me in the middle of some serious good Mexican food, or a modern interpretation of it at least. The cocktails flowed, fresh herbs were chopped, and all was enjoyed! I’ll post a series of posts highlighting each place rather than one massive post like my New York trip 2 years ago.

Below was my trip to Mercadito, they also have locations in Miami and New York with similar menus. Just to say this up front, I went for dinner and lunch the following day because I liked the menu so much. There were just too many good things and not enough room in my stomach. Both trips I had tacos and a cocktail but for dinner I had a glass of dessert known as Chinaco Negro. A wonderfully “fuerte” extra anejo which deserves a spot in my liquor cabinet for special occasions. For lunch the following day I skipped the tequila and went for a appetizer of two different guacamoles.

I sampled two cocktails at Mercadito, the Dizzy Oaxacan and the Little Market Margarita. Both were fantastic. The Dizzy was sweeter than I imagined being that it used Mezcal rather than tequila. I came across a recipe online for the Little Market which is listed below. I usually don’t go for the spice in my cocktail but this was so subtle and balanced it was fantastic, and I think my new summer cocktail.


The Little Market Margarita

2 chunks pineapple, 1.5 “ by 1.5”
1 1/2 ounces house Reposado
1 ounce guajillo syrup
1 ounce lime juice

Guajillo Syrup:
1 quart simple syrup
7-8 guajillo chiles

Muddle the pineapple in a glass. In a shaker add tequila, quajillo syrup and lime juice with ice and shake. Pour into glass. It is optional to rim the glass with Tajin.

To make the Guajillo Syrup bring simple syrup to medium heat (you can also make your own Simple syrup by mixing water and sugar and boiling it). Break up chiles and add to heated syrup. Simmer for 10 minutes, check heat level and let simmer for another 10 minutes if needed. When desired heat level is achieved, strain and refrigerate.


Above is their 2 guacamoles. They were very similar in taste but the one on the left had some diced pineapple in it. A nice touch which paired very nicely with the Little Market Marg I was restraining from devouring. I quickly got home and tried my hand at making my own version which was nicely balanced and just the right change of pace over a standard guacamole.


Al Pastor Octopus? Sign me up! As any readers know, I am a bonafide sucker for good al pastor. Up until now I’ve only had chicken and pork…how boring. Octopus on the other hand was downright intriguing. Their version was called Pulpo al Pastor which featured chile ancho rubbed octopus, chile de árbol salsa, grilled pineapple, and crispy red onion. I was sold. The entire meal was flavorful, fresh and succulent. If you are up for a foodie challange, this is the meal you need to have.


Day two brought about the super secret Tacos for Strength, a limited time monthly featurette on their menu. In this case it was sake braised pork belly with daikon radish slaw. This was the taco I wanted from Mercadito. Just enough new battling with the old for an outstanding “designer” take on the taco. You can almost never go wrong with Asian BBQ and tacos.

So when you’re in the chicago area, go to mercadito, twice if you need to and be your own El Cazador de Taco!

108 W Kinzie Street
Chicago, IL 60654
Tel: 312.329.9555

1+1+1=Mezcal Negroni

December 6, 2012



If you like your cocktails on the bitter side AND stupid easy to make, you’re going to love this one. We’ve taken the classic Negroni recipe (1 part Gin, 1 part Campari, 1 part Sweet Vermouth) thrown out the Gin and replaced it with Del Maguey Vida Mezcal. It really awakens the recipe. The only other change was a small squeeze of lime juice. The mezcal brings a smokey change that’s really nice in the drink and unlike tequila doesn’t get overpowered by the Campari. Give it a shot!

Korean Braised Short Rib Tacos with Caramelized Leek and Shallot Slaw

December 3, 2012


Who said you have to drive all the way to California to get great fusion tacos? We’ve broken the “code” and you’ll never want to leave the house again.

I’ve been experimenting with cooking short ribs lately, although I haven’t made the jump to inserting them into tortillas yet. Last night…I did and I can say that they might have been the most interesting (best?) taco combos I’ve ever had. The whole evening was fantastic, from the whole house being bathed in a perfume of sweet yet savory pear soy wonderfulness to the puro margarita I had while preparing it and the meandering path of rare tequilas I enjoyed afterwards. This is a highly recommended recipe and could be easily done with seitan for a much healthier take with all the flavor. Check it out!


2 lbs Short Ribs
1 c Soy Sauce
1/2 c Sesame Oil
1/2 c Mirin, Rice Wine
1 Asian Pear, sliced
6-7 cloves of Garlic, minced
3/4 c Sugar in the Raw
1 c Water

1 Shallot, thinly sliced
1 Leek, julienned
1 Cucumber, julienned



Soak the short ribs for roughly 30 minutes in your cooking sauce pan, drain, refill with water and simmer for another 30 minutes. Drain again and remove the short ribs. In the sauce pan combine Soy, Sesame Oil. Rice Wine, Garlic, Pear, Sugar and Water in the pot and bring to a simmer, add short ribs and let simmer covered for 45 minutes. Remove the short ribs, trim the fat and remove the bones. Chop according to your liking and set aside while the sauce reduces, about 20 minutes.

While sauce is reducing combine the shallot and leek in a saute pan with a small amount of olive oil and cook until slightly browned, set aside.

In the same saute pan add the chopped short ribs and drizzle a small amount of the reduced sauce over the meat and saute for a few minutes. This step basically warms the meat back up.

Place the meat inside the tacos, top with slaw and enjoy! I had some Mexican Street Corn as my side but black beans would do just as nice. These are god enough you also might want to just forego the sides and have an extra taco. They’re that good!


Cocktails: Puro Margarita
Tequilas: Siete Leguas Blanco, Chinaco Reposado (red label, treasure), Fortaleza Reposado, El Tesoro Anejo (White Label, treasure). The pic shows a Centinela 3 Year Extra Anejo but I never poured it after the ETWLA. It’s a very delicate spirit and I thought it would have been overpowered by the ET.

New cocktail in search of a name…EDIT: Indian Summer

September 11, 2012



I was playing around with a bottle of Aperol in the kitchen tonight while cooking up some bbq tofu tacos (recipe to follow). I wanted to make something with some tequila similar to the Crimson Ghost recipe from last winter. I think I came about it with this take on a Negroni meets Crimson Ghost meets…whatever. It also needs a name. Everything I’ve come up with is a smash of lame cocktails and lacks inspiration (maybe I haven’t drank enough?). Anyway, it’s delightful. The flavors really work together and I could see making a few small substitutions to really brighten it up.

1 oz. Aperol (you could sub Campari but I’d lessen the amount as to not overpower the remaining ingredients)
3/4 oz. Gin
3/4 oz. Blanco Tequila (choose a fuerte’ tequila so it doesn’t get lost, I used Espolon. A repo like Espolon of Chinaco could do nice things as well.)
3/4 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth ( the sweet kind, NOT dry vermouth)
Twist of Lime
Dash of Angostura Bitters

It’s too bad summer is over as this is a great summer drink…Indian Summer is the name!

The Bourbon Trail

June 28, 2012

So this last thursday we embarked on the sacred bourbon trail roadtrip from Atlanta to Loiusville, I know you’re saying “what? that’s got nothing to do with Mexico”  and I would agree but if you’re in the southeast and/or a spirits enthusiast like myself, you have to spend at least a day on the trail. I did have some taco’s to make it legit…

My brother, author of the infamous Garry Owen Dining Facilty in Iraq review came along for the ride, as did two of our old roomates, one of which who led the NYC trip reviewed back in May. We had a pretty solid plan for the 4 days of our journey but also left some breathing room for side-trips and random “stop here’s”.

Our first distillery was Prichards in Kelso, Tn. It’s a smaller craft distiller with a fairly wide range of product from rums to whiskies and liqueurs. Outside of passing right by the facility due to practically no signage Prichards turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. We went along on a tour that was highly informative, personal and finished with a killer tasting…of everything. There were no stingy pours here, and everyone except our designated driver thoroughly enjoyed it. Highlights included their Double-Barreled Bourbon, Chocolate Bourbon, and their duo of aged rums; “Private Stock” and “Fine Aged Rum”. I see some of these bottles making it into my collection so eventually I’ll do a more in-depth review.

We stopped in Fayetteville, Tn for some lunch at Ken’s Fast Foods and got to try the local favorite; The Slawburger. Ken’s was a great “local flavor” stop that you just don’t find anywhere but small towns. Ken himself popped out to ask “I’ve never seen you boys ’round here, are you visiting?”

Our next stop brought us to Nashville, the time change to central gave us an hour to drive around and get stuck in traffic and mobs of people heading to the Country Music Award something or another. That wasn’t our bag so we headed over to our 3.30 tour at Corsair Artisan a bit early. Housed in the beautiful brick warehouse that used to hold the Marathon Motors company until 1918 we had high hopes which were dashed quickly. The tour was anemic at best and took literally 6 minutes. Our guide seemed more interested in getting back into the air-conditioned bar room than spending any time detailing their facilities. After getting the cliff-notes tour we pulled up a seat at their tasting room bar and proceeded to taste their 5 flavors; Vanilla Bean Vodka, Gin-Head style  Gin, Spiced Rum, Un-aged Rye and the Triple Smoke Whiskey. My brother is a certified Gin-aholic so they also sampled us some Barrel-aged Gin. After the sampling we had them make a few cocktails with their wares, a gin and tonic with a bit too much tonic and a grapefruit based cocktail featuring their triple smoke whiskey and agave. I found this to be an excellent cocktail similar to a paloma but with smoke and peat added to the mix. We ended up buying a bottle of Gin and getting on the road to Louisville. On the drive everyone mentioned the disappointment with the tour. This could have been that we had just finished up with Prichard’s fantastic tour but it was more than that. We felt like we were shuffled along and didn’t get any of the personality that a small craft distiller would give. I expected this out of a Jim Beam or Jack Daniels but not the little guys.

Driving through Bowling Green we stopped at Smokey Pig BBQ where we chowed a plate of pulled pork and a beer before getting back on the road to Louisville. The next stop was the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert which we almost missed due to the time change BACK to eastern time. Luckily we only missed the first song. As usual the Peppers killed the show, with Josh easily picking up where John Frusciante left off. While the big improv jam sessions weren’t as good, Josh nailed every song and added his unique style. A stop a Third Street Dive for some beers and pool rounded out the evening and we headed back to the hotel, but not before some White Castle.

Friday we decided to skip the distilleries we had planned (Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Heaven Hill) to see some non-alcoholic sights which included the beautiful Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville Slugger Museum and betting on the ponies at Churchill Downs. I finally got my mint julep, although it was a premixed Early Times poured over ice with a sprig of mint…sucked. Before the ponies we ate lunch at the New Albanian Brewery in New Albany just across the river in Indiana. We had a killer meal that included Duck Wings (yes I said Duck wings), pork taco’s, a killer burger and some of the best fries I’ve ever had. Oh yeah the beers were pretty good too. Their Elector Imperial Red was a standout as was Hellbock and Hoptimus. Before heading back to Kentucky we stopped at a local bar, you know the kind where you get blank stares walking in the door and have a fear of siting in one of the regulars stools. A $5 pitcher later we hit the road and stopped for a Cuban (sandwich) and adult beverage at Habana Blue’s. The sandwich was fantastic but the Mojito’s and Caipirinha’s were premixed and didn’t attack your pallet with any fresh mint or lime.

That evening we happened upon a Greek festival for a few more beers and a Gyro before heading to Fourth Street Live for the Makers Mark Bar. While these overtly corporate drinking/eating venues aren’t typically our bag, we made an exception for Wet Willies which was a Savannah favorite being that we all lived there. Every one we’ve visited since has sucked so one drink later we left to start our next day.

Saturday was our distillery day. Bright and early we started at Four Roses. Their production was shut down for the summer but we still toured and tasted. It was a great tour that was indicative of the size of the distillery, not too big, not too small. Their grounds were beautiful with plenty of roses bushes and freshly manicured lawns. The Spanish architecture while somewhat out of place was equally as striking.

Just down the road was Wild Turkey, this was the largest tour we did and our first few of all the processes happening live as well as the barrel warehouses. The scale of everything going on here was worth the visit whether you enjoy WT or not. They have 30 warehouses…30 warehouses. Each fermentation batch holds 30,000 gallons of mash and yeast, did I mention they have 23 fermentation vats? They produce more in one batch than everyone I know and all the people that will read this article will drink in our entire lives. Their still is 4 stories tall, Four Roses column wasn’t half that. We journeyed into their oldest warehouse “No. 1” and the smell was intoxicating. This is one experience everyone needs to have in their lifetime. The cool breeze wafting out the hundred year old door was laced with the sweetness of aged spirits and heartiness of oak. It was almost like catching a buzz. We also nabbed a taste of a barrel that was dripping which was a unique treat. It had a yeasty sweet flavor that I’ll probably never get again.

Our last tour was Woodford Reserve. They by far had the best presentation. Everything about their facilities was made for bringing visitors through it. At first I worried that the overabundance of rules and cleanliness made it reek of corporations and HOA’s but that was quickly erased when we walked into the fermentation room. The highlight was the 3 copper pot stills and raised wooden floors allowing you to walk right up to them. The barrel room was also a sight and that’s not mentioning the aromatics seeping from the oak barrels.

Although we missed the tours, we swung by Buffalo Trace for a short walk around the buildings and a tasting. As we walked scents of yeast and barrel sweetness clung to the air so we all got one last smell of the barrel warehouses by sticking our heads through the windows on the lower floors. One day I’m building an office or house INSIDE a barrel aging room.

That evening we did some bar hopping and had dinner at Doc Crows before bar hopping some more. Earlier in the day Woodford teased us with some Double Oak Bourbon that they were out of so I finished the night off with some hefty pours. We rolled out in the morning stopping by the Corvette museum in Bowling Green and then onto Atlanta.


If you’re within a days drive of the trail you owe it to yourself to make a go of it. Louisville and the surrounding area offers a lot to do for a long weekend. Highly recommended! Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

INC Street Food

May 15, 2012

Last weekend we took a drive into Downtown Roswell. It was a beautiful day that was calling for food and drink outside and a stroll. We saw an open table at INC Street Food and sat down without a clue as to what was on the menu. Turns out it was inspired by Mexican street food…score!


These were our damn fresh cocktails. The margarita was good but the Pomegranate Paloma was fantastic. I can appreciate that they used Heradura Blanco and freshly made sweet and sour but it tasted a little flat especially next to the Paloma. While not an authentic Paloma, I can appreciate the new take on it. It didn’t help that it was good. They also had a stout tequila menu with some killer prices. We didn’t try any but we’ll definitely be back. The only thing that I question about the tequila menu is the abnormally low prices. This could be a 1 oz. pour instead of a 1.5-2 oz. pour that other place would normally do. We’ll find out and update you.



INC Street Food

948 Canton St
Roswell, Ga


Cinco de Kentucky Derby

May 4, 2012

Wait…what? This year Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby fall on the same day. So I thought about bringing together two of my favorite adult beverages that are synonymous with each of their prospective holidays, Tequila and Mint Juleps.

4 Mint Sprigs
2.5 oz Tequila Reposado
1tsp Powdered Sugar
1tsp Water

Muddle the mint, water and sugar in a Highball glass. Add crushed ice and pour tequila over top, add more ice until it forms a mound. Garnish with a spring of mint. Enjoy!

Airplane bottles aka minis

April 1, 2012


Since we’re on a booze kick we might as well run with it for another day. Over the years I’ve been picking up these 50ml “airplane” bottles or mini’s to taste different bottles of alcohol(mostly tequila’s) and I’m always thrown by the range of tastes I get from them. Case in point, Avion, which we reviewed here. While I had posted a decent review of their juice, I had written Avion off as a bottle I keep around as I just never found it interesting. I felt it’s flavor profile was too “Americanized” like they filtered all the stuff that could have made it great, out. Recently I had a chance to taste it out of some airplane bottles and it was far different than I had remembered. When we tasted it from the mini’s, it took on a completely different profile, for the worse. All the ages had this weird salty, spiky agave vibe, especially the blanco which I had previously enjoyed. This and some previous tasting from mini’s got me thinking that they aren’t always the best way to review spirits, so I did some research.

It turns out, the internet told me that a lot of distilleries will bottle the different sized bottles at different times, say the 750ml’s first, liter’s, handles, and onto the mini’s. So it makes sense that the alcohol at the top of the vat can taste different than the bottom. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen as the distilleries aren’t exactly forthcoming about their processes, and rightfully so. Now I’ve had mini’s that I thoroughly enjoyed, both as introductions to the brand (treasure bottle Espolon) and samples of things I’ve had before (Casa Noble).

So where are we going with this? Don’t take a sampling of mini bottles as the end all be all of a brand. You owe it to your pallet to get a second taste from a different source. Now that I think about it, I’d be willing to do the same for brands I’ve had pours from at a bar. So I’m not rendering previous reviews as useless but as a reviewer I will do due diligence in having another pour before reviewing. I’d love to know your thoughts on tasting mini’s as well.