by Steven Doyle photos by Mary Szefcyk
One of the more entertaining parts of my work is that I am graciously asked to judge cocktail competitions. Sometimes these are hardcore Bartending Guild contests pitting area bartenders for glorious prizes including trips and cash, other times it can be a specific brand that looking to entertain the public and industry folks who actually sell the spirits. In this time I have witnessed quite a few gimmicks that prove entertaining that had the competitors doing such antics as performing stand up and heaving push ups on the bar in order to curry favorable points. It almost seems the smaller the budget the more outrageous the event becomes, as we witnessed last evening with a particular contest held at Lark on the Park by Monkey Shoulder.
Monkey Shoulder is very new to Texas and has made a huge impact with many of the bartenders in North Texas. The spirit is spectacular, affordable and extremely mixable. Monkey shoulder is a triple vatted blended whiskey brought to you by the same makers of such whiskeys as Balvenie and Glenfiddich, both used in the blend, and aged in bourbon casks for up to 12 years. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
You know Lucky Campbell, one of our favorite Dallas bartenders. He was the mad man behind Chesterfield’s in downtown Dallas, and most recently behind the stick at Standard Pour where he was a constant fixture for those in need of a curiously delicious cocktail.
Last week Lucky went all MIA on us, and didn’t leave a forwarding address. Well, we found him, and this time he is at Abacus working with Kent Rathbun. Look at Lucky, getting all refined on us. We wish him the very best.
by Steven Doyle photos by Robert Bostick
Another week of craveRADIO and this past Sunday we enjoyed chatting with Chef John Franke from Frontburner, the restaurant group that operates Whiskey Cake, Velvet Taco, Ojos Locos, The Ranch In Las Colinas, Twin Peaks and Red Dog Right. Franke works the menus at each of the concepts along with a staff of chefs from each location.
The good chef brought in some tasty bites from Whiskey Cake including some addictive fire roasted shishito peppers, made simply with lemon and sea salt. He also served up a platter of bbq duck wings that were meatier than your average wing. And of course we shared plates of the namesake Whiskey Cake topped with fresh whipped cream. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
Jonathan Bailey is an award winning architect who builds multi-billion dollar children’s hospitals around the globe. He just acquired another firm overseas and took on 100’s more employees in the buyout. But the man comes from humble beginnings. As a teen Jonathan was one of the foreman at Six Flags and ran the famous flume ride. That was back when there was an evil giant wielding an ax who would nearly slice your log in two as you made the long pass up a ramp before the giant dip into that neon green water waiting below.
Now the world renowned architect is foreman of his own multi-national firm who often takes conference calls with the French government, or a team of designers in Cairo as it was earlier this week. But further into these conversations Jonathan will often cut the conferences short and bow out of the conversation as he did on Wednesday. Continue reading
by Dorothy Hernandez photos by Fred Plunkett
Everything at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, just like Texas, was bigger. Here’s a roundup of our week (what we can remember, anyway).
Tales founder Ann Tuennerman shared with us via email some of this year’s hottest trends, echoing The Standard Pour’s Brian McCullough, with whom we chatted on Wednesday.
There is a “renewed appreciation for tequila and mezcal and the craftsmen behind the product. We had a tasting event plus a few seminars in tequilas, mezcals and rare agave spirits,” she said, adding the gin and tonic is becoming more popular. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
It is like when Navin Johnson first discovers that he is somebody and gleefully announces that the new phone book arrived. I know that feeling all too well when a barman with the talents of Bolsa barman Kyle Hilla jets out the fact he has some new summer cocktails on his menu. It just seemed like weeks ago we were celebrating springtime menus, but we accept any reason to enjoy freshly squeezed juices, blended with the hottest liquors and molded into a frosty glass to take the edge off the smoldering heat in July. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
With a shaker in one hand and a stirring spoon in the other, the Texas region’s top female bartenders went head-to-head as they competed for industry glory and breast cancer research in the Texas Regional Speed Rack all-female bartending competition, held on Sunday, January 20, 2012, part of the national Speed Rack series.
Karah Carmack of the Esquire Tavern in San Antonio took home the title of Miss Speed Rack Texas, but all is not lost for the runners-up. Today, Speed Rack launches its online Wild Card voting, inviting everyone to cast a ballot for their favorite regional runner-up; the winner will go to the National Finals on Thursday, May 16, in New York City. Continue reading