Bartenders You Should Know: Austin Millspaugh

When you walk into The Standard Pour in Dallas, Texas, a quick survey of the men behind the bar will show you one of the most creative barmen in Dallas. Just look for the one with the beard … in a hat … and usually a scarf when it’s not 101º.

That’s Austin Millspaugh.

For years he’s been slinging well-made cocktails to the masses, but always tries to take classics or his own creations to a new level with a unique ingredient, unexpected substitution, or over the top garnish. (I just had a thought … could it be his hats are his own garnish? I’ll give you a moment to discuss.) If you’ve spent any sort of time at his bar, you’ve seen the mad scientist at work. Whatever his chosen kooky element, he usually can find a way to make a thoughtful, unique cocktail from it.

So, when he recently won regionals in the United States Bartender Guild’s 12th Annual Most Imaginative Bartender Competition presented by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin on May 31, Dallas celebrated, but we weren’t surprised. He was crowned regional winner and will compete against 16 other top barmen (and women!) from North America and England in London in September.

Those of us going to Tales of the Cocktail this week in New Orleans will have the chance to see Austin (and the other finalists) take on a training challenge to prepare them for London. Because practice makes perfect, no?

The cocktail that won the crown for Austin was his “Mi Cheng” cocktail. I’ve included the cocktail below … but let’s appreciate how f**king gorgeous it is. He knows that our eyes eat first.

MI CHANG
2oz Bombay Sapphire
0.5oz honey blend (bee propolis and black garlic)
2.5oz coffee blend (2 beans/ 2 brewing methods)

Combine all ingredients and shake. Top with Cream Blend (condensed milk, egg yolk, heavy cream). Garnish with drizzled Cajeta

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT AUSTIN

Where was the first place you sold a drink in Dallas? Blackfriar, and my first cocktail was at Blind Butcher (R.I.P.)

How did you learn to bartend? I learned beer first because I was trying to get my cicerone certification. I never ended up getting the cicerone because I realized I needed to learn more about spirits before knowing “everything” about beer. So, I started as an enthusiast and bugged everyone by asking questions. Then I started cocktailing at Blind Butcher and then went to learn from Eddie Ekin to understand technique, specifics, and such.

What’s your favorite cocktail to drink? A Clover Club or a Bijoux—sweet, funk and spirit forward.

What’s your favorite Sunday night drink? I still explore to see what other people are doing. I look for the weirdest drink on the menu. I wish I could just stick with a shot and a beer, but curiosity gets me every time.

Who was your most formative cocktail mentor? I’ve been lucky enough to have many. The Dallas bar scene is full of supportive, inspiring people.
Omar Yefoon—he gave me the real advice, mostly to get my head out of my ass and pursue the industry and art of it all more aggressively
Vincent Paul Martinez—He was an amazing man that passed this year and he really had a lot to do with me seeing bartending as a viable career path. I was very lucky to know him.

Japanese or Leopold jigger? Leopold, all day

We all know you’ve come up with some really outrageous cocktails. What’s your favorite drink you’ve ever created? Oh, that’s easy … the fois gras cocktail at Meddlesome Moth. It was a fois gras fat washed-mezcal, sherry, and Averna, and it was all Barrel-aged for a month, then bottled served in a coupe served with dehydrated fois and a touch of truffle oil.

 

Stop in to see Austin at The Standard Pour in Dallas, Texas. He won’t be able to make you his award-winning cocktail (the ingredients are pretty damn complicated), but I’m sure he’ll mix you something incredibly creative and delicious. He is one of the 16 most imaginative bartenders, after all!

Truluck’s Debuts New Menu Items and a New Happy Hour

Truluck’s has been a longtime favorite of my sister’s and mine. When she first went to college and I’d visit, we’d stop in just to have dessert. Their Jack’s Sack was always our favorite—a chocolate shell hiding pound cake, berries, and whipped cream that the guest gets to crack and mix. It’s not just delicious; the destruction of the presentation is really rewarding.

It’s nice to see a longtime favorite with twelve locations continue to give diners new options to enjoy instead of adopting an “if it isn’t broken …” mentality. They recently released not just a new cocktail menu, but also a new happy hour and new menu items. The new happy hour is stupid good. (And I know happy hours.)

The new happy hour can be enjoyed Monday through Friday, 4:30-6:30pm and includes select cocktails starting at just $5.50 and appetizers starting at $6. More into wine? They have 12 from just $6 a glass.

The new cocktail list has a bit of everything among the 20 new cocktail options. Some new offerings have a slight tropical feel (like the Heart of Gold with pineapple juice and smoked orange syrup or the Sao Paulo Punch with cachaça, run, and pineapple syrup), some with a downright tiki vibe (like the Singapore Sling and the Uptown Swizzle) and others with a more traditional origin (like the Amaretto Sour 2.0, Uptown Manhattan, and the Aviator).

New food items like the Shrimp Primavera Flatbread can be enjoyed alongside old favorites like their shrimp cocktail (giant shrimp served over dry ice to keep them chilled) and Kung Pao Cauliflower. See the full menu of 20 cocktails, wines, and food items.

Beyond their new cocktails and appetizers, they continue to offer a large, thoughtful selection of wines and whiskey options (and obviously a full bar and beer). There aren’t many combinations I enjoy more than a dessert and a dram. I enjoyed the Balvenie Caribbean Cask with their Carrot Cake … and it was good.

Stop by one of their twelve locations during happy hour to enjoy their new half price options. While you do, you’ll be entertained by talented musicians and treated to incredibly attentive hospitality. Now, that’s the right way to unwind from a hard work day.


TRULUCK’S
trulucks.com
Uptown: 2401 McKinney Avenue (Uptown Dallas) | 214-220-2401
Southlake: 1420 Plaza Place (Southlake) | 817-912-0500
(+10 other locations)

Luna Grill’s Newest Location

Eat Real, Fuel Good.
Luna Grill’s motto isn’t just a motto, it’s a way of life. When you eat real, good food, you feel good in return. Luna Grill aims to serve only the best real, good Mediterranean food and with their new Dallas location on Walnut Hill, they’re doing just that.

Here are some of my favorite dishes from the preservative-free and antibiotic-free restaurant:
For starters, you’ve got to try the Dip Trio with Garlic Sauce—Spicy Feta, and your choice of either Classic or Spicy Hummus (get the spicy). Then, take your pick of entrees. I tried the Norwegian Salmon and the Never, Ever Gyro (a blend of beef and lamb that has never been administered hormones or antibiotics). Each entree comes with rice, salad, pita, and your choice of roasted tomatoes or carrots.

 

 

 

If you’ve still got room after their massive plates, you can finish the meal with a baklava, or their special choclava (a chocolate baklava, duh).


LUNA GRILL
LunaGrill.com 
8165 Walnut Hill Lane, Suite 1300 (North Dallas)
Facebook | Twitter

 

Deep Ellum’s Newest: DoHolics

Count your blessings that you don’t have to wait too long for DoHolics to officially open in Deep Ellum (right next to Chills 360)! The safe-to-eat cookie dough shop will be ready to host you on July 20th! I got a special sneak preview of some of their offerings so you can drool while you wait not so patiently.

First, you start by picking cup or cone, but I think these colorful cones are hard to pass up on! Then you choose from their 15 different flavors like Cookie Butter or Matcha … then add whatever toppings your heart (or stomach) desires.

What makes this cookie dough safe to eat? Well, it’s made with heat treated flour and pasteurized eggs, which makes it totally indulge-able. They’ve made something delicious that we really aren’t meant to eat totally edible … that’s kind of like making a unicorn.

And speaking of the fabled creatures … did I mention they have cookie shots with UNICORNS ON THEM?!

Had enough yet? Get ready for DoHolics to open up to the public on July 20th.


DoHolics
2646 Elm Street (Deep Ellum)
Facebook | Instagram

 

Travel Must-Haves

I’ve been traveling a lot more the last couple years since I quite my “job”. I like to think I’ve gotten better at it, but I’ve also realized that part of being good at traveling is having the right stuff so I can arrive at my destination somewhat refreshed. So, here are some of my must-have items when I hit the road!

1. AWAY Luggage with Ejectable Charger
This suitcase is my new best friend. With four wheels that roll like butta and a tough, hard shell to keep your valuables safe. What’s more, you’ll never need a charge because the bags have a built-in (ejectable) battery! Even more exciting for someone like me who travels with a laundry bag is that there’s one built right into the bag. And they’re cute as hell.
$225-$295 at AwayTravel.com

2. TRTL Travel Pillow
Some of the most helpful travel items look … well, ridiculous. Case in point: the Trtl “pillow”. It’s a neck brace that you wrap around with the super soft tail with velcro. It’s machine washable and super light, so it’s easy enough to travel with.
$29.99 on Amazon

3. Powerbank
If your plane doesn’t offer electrical outlets as some are now, this will save the day. Arrive fully charged with this powerbank that holds more than five charges for an iPhone.
$29.99 on Amazon

4. TILE Bluetooth Tracker
These little bluetooth beauties help you keep track of your luggage using an app! While it won’t ensure your luggage shows up at your destination, you will know exactly where it is!
~$40 for a 4-pack on Amazon

5. L’Occitane Lavender Hand Cream
Keep your mitts moisturized with this heavenly smelling goop. With shea butter and essential oils, you can avoid the usual horror of dry skin! (Other scents and sizes available.)
$12 for 1oz on Loccitane.com

6. Bucky Eye Mask
Traditional eye masks can be too tight, not fit our noses, or tend to just be downright heinous. This lightweight, foam mask is contoured and allows room for blinking and plenty of room for eyelash extensions for us ladies! (Available in 23 colors.)
$9.99 – $22.99 on Amazon

7. OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème
Right before landing, dab a bit of these vitamin C-rich cream below your eyes for a quick brightening effect.
$38 at Sephora

8. Cooling Eye Patches
Flights often mean early mornings, so get rid of those bags with these depuffing eye patches. Bonus: they’re natural and paraben-free.
$16.95 for 12 pairs on Amazon

9. Go2 Compression Socks
For long trips, it’s important to keep your blood flowing. If you’re (God forbid) in a middle or window seat, it can be difficult to get out and stretch your legs. Compression socks can help reduce swelling on these long flights … and we finally found some that aren’t hideous. (They come in 35 colors/designs!)
$12.13 on Amazon

10. Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones, Series II
If you’re anything like me, the kid in the row behind you playing a video game with the sound on is basically the devil. Instead of having to deal with confronting the parents, best to get some noise canceling headphones. I’ve tried a few, but these are the winners. Bluetooth and soon to be Amazon Alexa-compatible, you’ll find plenty of use for the 20 hour battery life.
$349.95 (or custom for $449.95)

StretchLaces
(Not pictured.) If you haven’t found the perfect travel slip-ons, these stretchy laces make it easy to shimmy out of your kicks.
$8.50 for three pairs on Amazon

EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK BAG
I always travel with a bag of travel goodies that come in handy in a pinch. Make sure to pack helpful, little items like Advil, Simply Sleep, mouthwash, mints, hand sanitizer, ear plugs, etc. … and don’t forget a small bottle of your favorite booze.

 

8 Cool Whisky Cocktail Recipes

Written by: Roy Hansen

Whisky remains one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the world, with millions of people enjoying a tipple each week. While purists will usually drink whisky “neat” or with a small amount of water, it can also be used to make some delicious cocktails. Whisky’s unique combination of flavors can add a lot of colour to drinks and make them much more interesting than vodka or gin cocktails.

If the idea of a whisky cocktail sounds appealing, this is the article for you. We’ve scoured the Internet to find the 8 coolest whisky cocktail recipes. These drinks are exciting, delicious, and very different from a boring Martini or Margarita.

Know your whisky

Before we jump in and start making whisky cocktails, it is important to understand that the type of whisky you use and the quality of the whisky will dramatically influence the taste. To research which whiskies are the best have a read of our favourite whisky review site Whiskeybon to get an idea. As for the type, have a read of these:

American whiskey
You may already be familiar with American whiskeys like Jack Daniel’s, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, and Maker’s Mark. They are very sweet whiskey’s that are distilled in America and aged in barrels. The most common flavors in American whiskey are vanilla, citrus, oak, caramel, berries, spices, and cherries. There are 3 subcategories of American whiskey:

Bourbon Whiskey
Distilled from at least 51% corn, with the remainder usually consisting of rye and malted barley

Rye Whiskey
Distilled from at least 51% rye, with the remainder consisting of corn and malted barley

Tennessee Whiskey
Bourbon Whiskey that is filtered through charcoal to achieve a smoother flavour. It must be distilled in Tennessee to be given this name.

Scotch whisky
Scotch whisky must be created in Scotland. It is created using malted barley and water and aged for at least 3 years. It has a complex flavor palette which may include vanilla, nuts, cedar, oak, smoke, malt, tobacco, earth, and various fruits. It tends to be less sweet than American whiskies and is smokier. Most Scotch whiskies are double distilled. There are two main categories of Scotch whiskies:

Single malt Scotch whisky
Distilled at a single distillery using malted barley

Blended Scotch whisky
A blend of different single malt Scotch whiskies

Canadian whiskey
Canadian whiskey is distilled and aged in Canada for at least 3 years. It is usually made using 51% or more rye. It is a very light and smooth whiskey, even lighter than Irish whiskey.

Irish whiskey
Irish whiskey is distilled in Ireland and aged for at least 3 years. It is not peated, so is less smokey than Scottish whisky. Irish whiskey is triple distilled, which give is a smoother taste. They tend to be less sweet than American whiskies.

Australian and Japanese Whiskey
There have been many award-winning whiskeys from distilleries in Australia and Japan in recent years. The style of whiskies produced in Australia and Japan varies greatly — from delicate floral whiskeys that taste similar to Irish whisky through to strong single-malt whiskies that taste similar to Scotch whisky.

Cool Cocktail Recipes

Manhattan cocktail
This is a classic cocktail recipe that is delicious and presents well. It is also simple to create, which makes it a good place to start.

60 ml of Canadian/Irish whiskey, bourbon or rye whiskey
30 ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Cherries and a toothpick

Pour liquid ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherries skewered with a toothpick.

Whiskey Sour
This drink is another classic cocktail that oozes class. It has been around since at least the 1870s and has seen a big resurgence in popularity in recent years. The combination of sweet and sour makes it a delicious drink.

45 ml of whiskey (any type)
20 ml simple syrup
45 ml fresh lemon juice
(optional) Egg white
Maraschino cherryfor garnish

Pour liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into chilled glass with or without ice. Add egg white (optional) and Garnish.

Irish Coffee
This cocktail is sweet, indulgent, and will give you a nice boost of energy! It is one of our favourite coffees for drinking while sitting around a fire on a cool winter night.

120 ml of hot coffee
45 ml of Irish or Canadian whiskey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
30 ml lightly whipped cream

Brew the coffee, then combine it with sugar in a mug or heat proof glass. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the whiskey and stir again. Add some cream on top.

Espresso Old Fashioned
This is another stimulating coffee themed cocktail. It works will with almost any American whiskey and is very easy to make.

60 ml of espresso coffee
30 ml of bourbon or rye whiskey
10 ml simple syrup
Dash of Peychaud’s bitters
1-inch lemon peel

Shake all of your liquid ingredients in a shaker. Pour into a glass containing ice and stir for 30 seconds. Rub lemon peel on edge of glass.

Carthusian Sazerac
This cocktail is sophisticated, delicious, and has a very cool name! It’s the perfect whisky cocktail to make for any house guests you are trying to impress.

75 ml rye whiskey
Dash of green Chartreuse
15 ml simple syrup
Absinthe
Lemon twist
2 dashes lemon bitters

Place a small amount of absinthe into a coupe glass and swirl it to coat the glass. Discard excess absinthe. In a separate glass mix the whiskey, Chartreuse, and simple syrup with ice. Strain into the coupe glass, topping with lemon bitters. Garnish with lemon twist.

Manhattan
There is something about the Manhattan that makes it a cool cocktail. Perhaps it’s the many movies where famous characters stroll into a smokey bar and order one. You’ll be happy to learn that this classic cocktail is simple to make.

60 ml bourbon whiskey
60 ml sweet vermouth
1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Orange peel
Maraschino cherries

Shake ice, whiskey, vermouth and bitters in a shaker. Rub orange peel around rim of glass. Pour into class and add cherries.

Hard Cider Spritz
This is a fantastic drink on a warm summer afternoon — refreshing and delicious.

30 ml rye whiskey or bourbon whiskey
120 ml hard cider
45 ml apple cider
Dash of Aperol
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Club soda
Apple slices

Combine all of the liquid ingredients into a glass filled with ice. Gently stir and garnish with apple slices.

Mint Julep Cocktail
The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is a sweet drink that works well in the warmer months, which is why so many people living in the southern United States enjoy it.

75 ml bourbon whiskey
2 sugar cubes of 15 ml of simple syrup
10-15 mints leafs

Add the mint and simple syrup to a collins glass or julep cup. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and release the aroma of the leaves. Add bourbon and crushed ice. Stir well and garnish with a mint sprig.

 

Where to Enjoy the Finest Cocktails in Las Vegas

Written by Maria Taylor
Above photo by Ash EdmondsCC0

Las Vegas is the perfect place to enjoy the most innovative and luxurious cocktails in the state of Nevada. Despite its location within the Mojave Desert, this is no dry island, but instead, is overflowing with fantastic places to sample expertly crafted drinks with unusual ingredients to leave your taste buds tingling. Here we’ll look at the best places to visit while you’re in Sin City, including a few of the most inventive cocktail menus and bars around.

Las Vegas, the Live Entertainment Capital of the World | Las Vegas Sunrise by Daniil VnoutchkovCC0

Entertainment in Las Vegas goes much further than the casinos; the city is often called the Live Entertainment Capital and with good reason. Here you can enjoy a world-famous show like the Cirque du Soleil, see an international superstar like Celine Dion or marvel at top-quality magicians as they perform logic-defying acts. While it’s worth checking out what’s on before you arrive to make sure you snag tickets for the big shows, it’s also a good idea to see what tickles your fancy once you’re here. After all, with this guide, you’ll be sorted with where to enjoy a cocktail or two, so why not investigate the entertainment on offer for the evening?

Velveteen Rabbit
The Velveteen Rabbit in the Arts District of the city is the invention of sisters Pamela and Christina Dylag. Raised in the Mojave, the two sisters chose to travel the world as adults before returning to their hometown armed with the knowledge and experience to open a unique craft cocktail and beer bar. Their creation boasts a seasonal menu, incorporating both fresh produce and homemade ingredients, with contemporary flavors and taste combinations. I would recommend trying the delicate Spa Day, which fuses vanilla vodka with lavender gin, chareau and lemon curd — delicious! Or if you fancy something a little more out there, try the Bong & a Schlitz cocktail, which incorporates bizarre ingredients like butter and cream cheese-washed bourbon, blueberry-hemp syrup and American lager. What a treat!

Atomic Liquors
Atomic Liquors has the distinguished title of the oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas, with a dedicated clientele and an enticing menu to keep bringing in curious new customers. Originally named Virginia’s Café in 1945, Atomic Liquors has since grown into an established bar serving lip-smacking sour beers along with a selection of exclusive cocktails. Although people used to drink here while watching nuclear bombs at the nearby Nevada Test Site, now they come for the expertly crafted cocktails. My personal favorites are the aptly-named F-Bomb, made with Fireball cinnamon whiskey, Fernet and Atomic energy drink — guaranteed to blow your socks off!

Commonwealth
With a mighty 6,000 square feet of space decorated with a pre-Prohibition theme and a secret speakeasy bar hidden within, Commonwealth is an experience! Thankfully, their drinks more than live up to the showmanship of the décor with originals from mixologist Juyoung Kang on the menu alongside classics like the Sazerac and the Negroni. A stand-out choice for me is the Tam-Tam, which combines cacao, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur as well as the classic combination of salt, tequila and lime to create a jaw-dropping sensation.

I think that we can all agree, Vegas is a city that can show you a good time. However, it sometimes has a reputation for being loud and tacky without much space for class and craftsmanship. Hopefully, with this short guide, I’ve convinced you that top-quality cocktails abound in this desert city and that it is well worth checking out!


Click for Susie’s Las Vegas Travel Guide

Get Buzzed by the Buzz Button

Have you heard of the new mouth numbing cocktail garnish cursing cocktails across the country? It’s the Szechuan button—also called the toothache plant, buzz button, and electric daisy—a yellow flower that can alter your tastebuds and numb your mouth, even with just a wee nibble.

The tongue-numbing garnish has even made its way to the menu at  TGI Fridays on its Blackberry Buzz Rita. The cocktail itself is refreshing, perfect for the Texas heat, but the buzz button gives the margarita some edge. Take a sip and enjoy the cocktail’s bright flavors, then take a nibble of the button. You’ll notice a slightly bitter flavor, then your tongue will tingle slightly. Once you feel a little prickle, take another sip of your cocktail and notice how the flavors evolve.

Beyond the Blackberry Buzz Rita, the rest of new TGIF cocktail menu* has a few unique offerings, from cocktails that glitter and change color to one that they just light on fire. Because, why the f**k not? TGIF’s bartenders go through a rigorous training program and are encouraged to continue learning, exemplified by their annual World’s Bartender Championship, so it follows that they try to push the envelope. Following the 2017 trend, TGIF even offers a version of a frosé made with rosé and strawberry. (If anything, it’s perfectly Instagrammable.) Hurry in, because these new cocktail will only be available for a limited time.

TGIF, as always, offers their well-known bar bites, juicy burgers, and nostalgic broccoli cheese soup. (Damnit, I’m craving BCS now!) Their new offerings let you one up yourself with the option to add a second meat to your dinner. I mean … who wants to choose just one meat when you can add on a steak? I enjoyed the ribs this trip for the first time, and they literally fell off the bone, proving that TGIF still gets it done in the kitchen.

Stop in and get buzzed by the buzz button before it’s off the menu!

These cocktail are only available at select TGI Fridays locations.


This is a sponsored post paid for by TGI Fridays.
Thanks to Kathryn H. for the hand modeling!

Susie knows all things boozy …