Now in its eighth year, the Ultimate Cocktail Experience is more than just cocktails and fun—although there’s plenty of both. Most importantly is the event’s mission to raise money for Trigger’s Toys, a non-profit organization that provides aid to hospitalized children and their families. Through UCE, the organization is able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, all earmarked to assist those in need. Continue reading →
Now in its eighth year, Bombay Sapphire and GQ Magazine’s “Most Imaginative Bartender” program traveled to over 40 US cities and welcomed more than 3,500 participating bartenders in 2014. With the aim of advancing best-practice bartending, cultivating mixologists’ skills and encouraging their creativity, the “Most Inspired Bartender” program has played a pivotal role in recognizing up-and-coming cocktail cities, as well as strong holds such as New York and Portland.
The local contest which sends the winner on to compete nationally was held this week in Dallas, and the winner of the competition was Bonnie Wilson, the beverage program manager for Frontburner’s Fork It Over Restaurants (The Ranch at Las Colinas, Mexican Sugar, Whiskey Cake, Velvet Taco). As good fortune would have it, we spoke to Ms. Wilson recently and had a spirited conversation in this Q&A. Continue reading →
This past weekend Bonnie Wilson, who oversees the beverage program at The Ranch in Las Colinas, Whiskey Cake and Mexican Sugar, invited Drew Mayville, Master Blender at Buffalo Trace in for a special evening dining paired with some pretty special bourbons. To start the evening Wilson created a beautiful cocktail to get our palates started, but be there no doubt that the night would be filled with first rate bourbon finished off with one of the fine cigars that the Ranch offers in their large humidor.
Drew Mayville joined Buffalo Trace Distillery in 2004 as Director of Quality, Processing and Blanton Manufacturing Operations. Since he joined the distillery, he has worked hands-on with the award-winning whiskies produced at Buffalo Trace. Mayville regaled the crowd with information on the making and blending of the variety in the Sazerac line up which included Buffalo Trace, Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye, E.H. Taylor Single Barrel and Stagg Jr. Continue reading →
Last week we checked out The Ranch in Las Colinas and looked in on Bonnie Wilson who just made the switch from Whiskey Cake where she had bar duties. Wilson now manages the Front of the House in addition to the bar where she is creating a slew of new cocktails. The restaurant, which is a huge homage to Texas dining, has historically sold more beer and wine, but now is venturing off into to craft cocktails. A welcome addition, to be sure. Wilson has the talent to carry the bar, along with her very capable staff.
But the Ranch is not just about libations. With chef Grant Morgan at the helm there is plenty being cooked up in the kitchen. Morgan has a fantastic background as chef and has worked in some fine kitchens, including ZaZa’s Dragonfly. He is a soft spoken and affable guy who enjoys his work, and it shows on each plate.
The Ranch is owned by the same restaurant group behind Whiskey Cake, and numerous other restaurants including Velvet Taco and Twin Peaks, all of which share the talent of corporate chef John Franke. Continue reading →
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 →
Bonnie Wilson had a busy week in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. The bartender from The Ranch at Las Colinas in Irving arrived last Monday, prepped for the Texas Tailgate on Tuesday, competed in the 21 Cocktail Salute on Thursday and served up drinks with a healthy twist (think spinach, beets, cucumber and booze) at the VeeV Fresh Market outside Hotel Monteleone in the hot sun on Saturday.
With such seminars as Agave Amigos at the festival this year, the three-time Tales veteran backed up the idea that agave is having its moment. As a spirit, it’s blown up in the past couple of years. Continue reading →