What To Drink Now: Cocktails by Texans for Texans

Texas cocktails

The annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference is taking place this week.  Similar to a Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, the multi-day event not only celebrates a great cocktail, but also includes educational seminars, state of the industry discussions and basic mixology 101. I attended a class several years ago led by Jason Kosmas who noted that to be a true Master Mixologist you have to be a teacher, and always continue to learn.  It is great that Texas has a conference, like TexSom, for spirits. A little closer to home our cocktail scene in Dallas continues to thrive, celebrating classic flavors with new twists and creating fresh, seasonally driven drinks everywhere from your favorite restaurant bar to sleek clubs to your own living room.  Here are a few fun cocktails from around town that you can try out at home.Earlier this week Bacardi Rum hosted the regional competition for their USBG Legacy Cocktail Showcase asking participating contestants to create a Bacardi Rum cocktail that would rival old favorites like a Mojito or a Daiquiri.  Two took the top spots, Jessica Sanders of Drink. Well. in Austin,  and Josh Hendrix, mixologist extraordinaire from Smythe.  The two will compete with their winning cocktails against winners from Chicago, San Fran, Boston, NYC and Miami in the national competition later this spring. Recipes for their winning cocktails below:

Josh Hendrix's cocktail
Widow’s Kiss from Josh Hendrix

Viudas Pasión
Created by Josh Hendrix
1 1/2 parts Bacardi Superior
3 quarters part lime juice
3/4 part simple syrup
1/2 part passion fruit puree 1:1
3 dashes of Absinthe
Preparation:Add all ingredients in a shaker tin and add ice. Hard shake until ice breaks and Dbl strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish w/ star anise.

Tattooed Muse
Created by Jessica Sanders
1 ½ parts BACARDĺ Superior
1 part Coconut Milk
½ parts Pineapple Gomme Syrup
¾ parts Lime Juice
¼ parts Spiced Apricot-Tamarind Syrup
3 dashes Angostura & Cardamom Bitters
Preparation: The ‘Tattooed Muse’ is a shaken cocktail served up in a cocktail coupe. To prepare, all ingredients (except the bitters) are added to a chilled cocktail tin with ice and shaken vigorously until the proper temperature, texture and dilution is achieved. The cocktail is then fine strained into a chilled cocktail coupe. The top of the drink is “misted” with a 1:1 blend of Angostura and Cardamom bitters that equate to about 2 dashes.

Tamarind fruit is thought to have health benefits, lowering cholesterol, helping with digestion and being rich in anti-oxidants, impressive for a sour and sweet fruit. Komali uses this healing puree in their Tamarind Margarita, balancing the sweet and sour flavor of the fruit with the floral and slightly spicy notes of the aged Reposado tequila.

Tamarind Margarita
2 parts Casa Noble Resposado
1 part Cointreau
Teaspoon Tamarind Puree
Squeeze fresh lime
Spiced Rimmed Martini glass
Preparation: Add all ingredients to an ice filled shaker and shake until very cold. Strain into a martini glass.

The Grape is known for their stellar food, delicious wine selections and cozy atmosphere. They love wine so much they found a way to add it to one of their drinks – especially tasty during their Sunday brunch!

Ruby Mule
1 oz spiced port reduction
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
splash apple cider
1 and 1/2 oz Aylesbury Duck vodka
Preparation: Add all ingredients with ice to a tall glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish orange rind.
*For two bottles of port, we use 2 cups of sugar, spiced with star anise, cinnamon, clove, coriander and one lemon and orange juice and all spice.

FM Smokehouse serves a lot of beer..a lot of which is from Texas, but they also celebrate many of our Texas made spirits, specifically many of our Texas Bourbons. This one is a favorite.
Balcones Baby Blue Old Fashioned
1 Maraschino Cherry
1 Slice of and orange with Rind
1/4 ounce of simple syrup
Dash of bitters
2oz Balcones Baby Blue
Preparation: Muddle cherry, orange and simple syrup together in rocks glass.  Fill glass with ice.  Add a splash of Club Soda.  Top off with a dash of bitters and serve.

Middle Eastern flavors at Nora Restaurant carry over from their food to their cocktails, and their a new rooftop patio overlooking Greenville Ave. is ideal for relaxing after work with one of these signature drinks.


Marrakesh Toddy
Marrakesh Toddy

Marrakesh Toddy
1.5oz Apricot infused bourbon*
.5oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.5oz Black Cumin syrup**
2 drops Rose Water
2.5oz Boiling Water
Preparation: Add everything in a mixing glass and stir Top with boiling water pour into Tea cup. garnish with dried apricot.
*For Apricot infused bourbon use 1.75 Bulleit Bourbon, 3 cups Dried Turkish Apricots, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, let set for two weeks, Strain and bottle.
**Black Cumin Syrup 1 cup boiling water, 1 cup superfine sugar, 2 tsp. fresh ground black (smoked) Cumin. stir until sugar dissolves, let cool then strain.

Fig Side Car
2 oz Fig infused Cognac**
1 oz Cointreau
.5oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Preparation: Add all ingredients in shaker tin with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a large coupe and garnish with a brandy cured fig rolled in spice and sugar mixture.
**For fig infused cognac use 1.75 VSOP Cognac (Martel) 3 cups dried Mission figs, one vanilla bean,1 cup dark brown sugar, 4tsp fresh ground clove, and 4tsp fresh ground  cinnamon. Let set for two weeks strain and bottle set aside figs for garnish.

If you are in the mood for more than a dram while visiting The Dram you are in luck, their cocktails are as pretty to look at as they are tasty to drink.

1 oz Lillet
1 oz Pama Liquor
Pomegranate seeds
Preparation: Stir together Lillet and Pama in an ice filled shaker. Strain into a champagne flute and top with chilled prosecco. Garnish with Pomegranate seeds

Smoking Herb
1.5oz Square One Botanical Vodka
.75 lime juice
.5oz Velvet Falernum Liqueur
.5oz Luxardo Marachino Liqueur
Green Chartreuse
Rosemary sprig
Preparation:  Rinse highball glass with green Chartreuse, then add crushed ice, set aside.  Add vodka, lime, Velvet Falernum and Marachino liqueur to an ice filled shaker.  Light rosemary sprig on fire and add to the shaker, then shake until cold. Strain into the highball glass.