I have been reading a lot of articles the past few weeks about what the trends for this year will be and most sound right on track, especially when you take into consideration what is going on in our food world.
A few key ideas I think we will see in 2011 cocktails is a focus on fresh ingredients blended with premium liqueurs creating lively signature cocktails. The trend of many chefs sourcing local ingredients and cooking seasonally will transfer to the front of the house with mixers being made from real herbs, fruits and veggies coming from regional farms.
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Spirits are getting local also. It seems every day I hear about a new Texas based spirit company. One of my favorites continues to be Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka from Austin, made with whole leaf tea, local honey and premium Texas vodka distilled 10 times and great served mixed with half real lemonade and half sparkling water.
I also just tried a vodka from outside San Antonio called Enchanted Rock, made with limestone filtered water from the Trinity Aquifer, produced in small batches with copper pot distillation and an artisanal touch to create a smooth, clean vodka. One of their signature drinks is the Rockin Russian, with Kahlua and cream, but I tried it in an extra dirty martini with blue cheese olives….perfect.
Balcones Baby Blue is Texas’ first whisky maker since Prohibition, and the only whisky producer using blue corn as its main ingredient. The hand crafted whisky is rich with buttered bread, toasted almond and chocolate aromas.
Along with hand crafted spirits we continue to see specialized craft beers coming out of every region in the country, and highlighted by such venues as Meddlesome Moth, Three Sheets and constants Flying Saucer, The Ginger Man and The Old Monk.
We could be on the verge of some of the best wine for Texas, as Andrew Chalk posted last week. In the continued effort to source local products take a road trip to the Hill Country to visit their wineries, or out to Grapevine, or visit one of the four local wineries in Dallas who will continue to hold their bi-annual Dallas Wine Trail events.
There are mixed messages on wine, some report that grape varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are dead. As a lover of great Oregon Pinot Noir, like Adelsheim, Domaine Serene and Winderlea, and the 2008 release being one of their best, as well as California boutique Pinot Noir, namely from Ancien, Vision Cellars, Siduri and Wrath I hope more people continue to enjoy Pinot Noir.
New, or old not as well known, varietals will also come into light this year. Though you will still be able to get your standard Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, more lively white varietals like Torrontes, Albarino and Vermentino are likely to be featured on your favorite by the glass lists. I had a Spanish white blend of Albarino,Torrontes, Treixadura and Louirera from Vina Costeira recently that was blanced and lively with bright citrus aromas, blending with floral and melon notes. Easy drinking with complexity and appropriate acidity.
Red varietals like Primitivo, Negroamaro and Bonarda will also come to the forefront, though palates may not adapt as quickly to some of these different reds as they do to the whites. I had an excellent earthy, dense Primitivo from Li Veli filled with black fruit, leather and mineral flavors. Also look for traditional varietals from regions like Walla Walla and the Oakanagan, like a velvety smooth cherry and chocolate filled Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon.