• Blogs

    April 1, 2014

    Caracol: Go For the Oysters, Stay for Delicious Drinks and Desserts

    For last week's cafe review I visited Caracol, the new Mexican seafood restaurant from Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught, and noted that while there are some truly stellar plates on the menu, the sheer number of items being prepared in the kitchen is perhaps resulting in some dishes being less than they ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 21, 2014

    Saturday is National Margarita Day! Celebrate With Two Nontraditional Versions

    Look, I don't know who comes up with these national food and drink holidays. I don't know why. I don't know how many years any of them have been celebrated. And I swear, there are at least four National Pie days every year. What I'm saying is I'm kind of a scrooge when it comes to food holidays. A ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 17, 2014

    Dude! Alamo Drafthouse Introduces Cocktails to Pair With Your Favorite Films

    Nothing pairs better with drinks than the right food. Except maybe movies. From the White Russians in The Big Lebowski to martinis in any (and all) James Bond films to the French 75, which rose to fame after its mention in Casablanca, films and cocktails have a long, mouthwatering history. Alamo D ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2013
  • Blogs

    December 9, 2013

    Margarita Afternoon: Tia Maria's Cantina and Mexican Restaurant

    Tia Maria's is famous for the frozen margaritas, and deservedly so.

  • Blogs

    November 22, 2013

    Celebrate the 80th Anniversary of Prohibition's Repeal With These Prohibition-Era Cocktails

    November 24, 1933, was a really good day. After 13 years of being unable to sell, produce, import or transport alcohol, thanks to the Anti-Saloon League and the passage of the 18th Amendment, Texas approved ratification of the 21st Amendment, ending Prohibition. Even though few drinkers had ceased ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 31, 2013

    The Top 10 Items That Any Self-Respecting Home Bartender Should Own and Use Well

    These items can't make you a star bartender, but they'll make you a better one.

  • Blogs

    October 4, 2013

    Houston's Top 10 Martini Bars

    As our sister blog Eating... Our Words does, from time to time Rocks Off will be giving your our picks for the top taverns in various Houston-area neighborhoods. Of course, the lines can be porous, but here anything with a TABC license that cannot reasonably be considered either a restaurant, coffee ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 2, 2013

    This Week's Cafe Review: El Tiempo, You Have Some 'Splainin' to Do

    I was raised on Tex-Mex food in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. Breakfast tacos were the only way to get the day really going, and a huge bowl of chips and salsa seemed a perfectly acceptable dinner dish. I obsessed over finding the best fish tacos in town, and I learned that the best margaritas com ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2013

    Houston's Best Tiki Bars*

    Houston is finally set to get a true 21st century tiki bar next month, when Lei Low finally opens. Though it won't be the city's first tiki bar. The long-gone Shamrock Hilton was once the site of a Trader Vic's. There was a tiki bar out on the west side when I first moved to town. And who could forg ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 23, 2013

    The Whiskey Sour: 143 Years Young! Celebrate this Sunday, August 25th

    The whiskey sour was my first cocktail I every ordered (legally) at a bar. I was having a rather angsty college semester and asked the bartender at Daedalus to recommend a drink that was boozy but sweet. I think he could tell I was a neophyte in the world of cocktails and thus didn't want to thro ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 4, 2013

    Top 5 High Volume Cocktails

    The renewed interest in classic cocktails has necessitated changes in drinking practices, specifically with regards to consumption rate. A potent mixed drink comprising half a cup or less of liquid is a beverage to be consumed in small, infrequent sips. Unless, of course, you're comfortable gettin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 27, 2013

    For All Its Naivete, "Hey Bartender" Sure is Pretty

    I'm going to buy "Hey Bartender" on Bluray when it comes out. The movie is a beautiful celebration of the service industry at its peak, with shots capturing some of America's best bars crafting their art. To watch the world's very best bartenders push a drink across the bar is nothing short of mesme ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 26, 2013

    Landmark River Oaks Theatre: Great Cinema & Consistent Cocktails

    There was one semester during graduate school in which I felt like I went to the Landmark River Oaks Theatre almost every weekend. The combination of a heavy course load and being long distance from my husband had me chronically stressed out and I found escaping to the movies to be extremely relaxi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 24, 2013

    Cordina Light Frozen Cocktails

    Given my endorsement of Baja Bob's low-calorie mixers and my reluctant enjoyment of Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo, I think it's safe to say I have an above-average for tolerance artificially sweetened alcoholic beverages. I was, therefore, open to liking Cordina's new "light" frozen cocktails, e ... More >>

  • Film

    June 20, 2013
  • Blogs

    June 19, 2013

    Top 5 Daiquiris to Try in Houston

    In a city where the margarita tends to monopolize the frozen alcoholic beverage market, one can easily forget there are other cocktails that are just as icy and intoxicating. In the past, I've explored multiple alternatives to the margarita , and this summer I'm homing in America's second most pop ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 29, 2013

    Chipotle Serves Up New Margaritas with Fresh Juices and Premium Tequila

    Chipotle has decided to change up its margarita recipe, which was originally made with a sweet-and-sour syrup. According to the chief marketing officer, Mark Crumpacker, not many people knew that Chipotle served margaritas. Starting today, and just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Chipotle offers new han ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 22, 2013

    Celebrate National Margarita Day Today with 15 of Our Favorites

    For whatever reason, some marketing genius decided that February 22 is National Margarita Day. I can't figure out what significance this day has to margaritas or tequila or Triple Sec or limes. Even the National Margarita Day's web page offers no clues as to why February 22 is so important, leaving ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 4, 2013

    Justin Burrow Heads Downtown: New Cocktail Bar Planned for Main Street

    The downtown block that already contains classic bars Warren's Inn, Char Bar, Dean's Credit Clothing and Notsuoh is about to get one more watering hole when bartender Justin Burrow opens his new bar in late March. The bar doesn't have a name yet, but Burrow and his partners -- Brad Moore and Ryan Ro ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 24, 2013

    Top 5 Low-Cal Margaritas To Try in Houston

    In the spirit of a healthy start to the New Year, I'm trying to cut back on excessively sugary beverages. My biggest weakness is margaritas at mainstream bars and restaurants, which tend to use high-calorie commercial mixers. Thankfully, many Houston establishments have jumped on the skinny cocktail ... More >>

  • Dining

    August 16, 2012

    More Than Just Nolan Ryan

    5 food-related reasons to drive to Alvin.

  • Blogs

    August 9, 2012

    Houston's 10 Best Specialty Cocktails for the Summer

    With the cocktail movement booming in Houston, it seems as though you can hardly go to a bar or restaurant these days without encountering a list of cocktails. And on that list of cocktails, expect to find a list of the house specialty drinks -- concoctions created by (or for) that bar or restaurant ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 5, 2012

    What's Your Signature Cocktail?

    Noted food writer and Esquire food critic John Mariani was in Houston recently, only a few months after proclaiming that ours was one of his favorite restaurant cities: "On occasion, when asked what are America's best restaurant cities," he wrote on his personal website, "I have sometimes surprised ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 20, 2012
  • Blogs

    May 4, 2012

    Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Houston's Top 10 Margaritas

    You don't have to wait for Cinco de Mayo to enjoy one of the city's favorite cocktails, but it doesn't hurt to have a few in celebration, either. Just remember to toast the Battle of Puebla (after all, that's what Cinco de Mayo commemorates -- not Mexican Independence Day.) 10. Sorrel Urban Bistro ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 27, 2012

    Jose Cuervo Light Margarita

    As you might have inferred from recent posts, I have been spending a lot more time in Alexandria, Virginia while my husband finishes a temporary job. With no teaching responsibilities this semester, my schedule has been much more flexible; it's been an exercise in self-discipline to write during th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 22, 2012

    National Margarita Day Is Today, Ash Wednesday, for Some Reason

    The people at the National Council for Naming National Days need to get together with the Roman Catholic church, because this seriously isn't going to work out. National Margarita Day on the first day of Lent? Surely you jest, National Margarita Council of Margaritas, National Chapter. But it's not ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 20, 2012

    The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 5 Martinis

    Photo by Jonathan Cohen​For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 29, 2011

    On the Rocks: Cocktails Named After Musicians for New Year's Eve

    Have a G.G. Allin and bring in the New Year indecently!​Everything is more exciting, sometimes even redeeming, when it has a cool name: Sexual acts, alcoholic beverages, movies, albums, etc. OK, maybe just sexual acts and drinks. Since there are thousands of sites that have the former covere ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 16, 2011

    The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Margaritas

    Photo by Troy FieldsSo many tequilas, so little sobriety to tackle them all...​For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in whic ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 9, 2011

    A Chat with Tequila Master Francisco Alcaraz

    Photo courtesy Patrón Spirits.Patrón master distiller Francisco Alcaraz has been working with tequila since 1968. He distilled his first tequila for the U.S.-based label Patrón in 1989.​By the time the Eagles released "Tequila Sunrise," the first single from their second album Desperado in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 27, 2011

    Five Cocktails You May Prefer to Mix at Home

    Photo by John Kiely​Classic cocktails are called that, not because they're old, but because they are delicious. Most of them can be ordered at any well-stocked bar, and some of them--such as a Negroni, Sazerac, or Martini--can be ordered with swagger. However, there's some classic cocktails ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 11, 2011

    Spooky Booze: 5 Creepy Cocktails To Get You In The Halloween Spirit

    Ahh, October: the time of year when we head to Frankel's/ Party Boy/ Stripper Depot to find our Halloween costumes, fat orange gourds sit outside at Kroger baking in the Houston sun, and every awful (by awful, I mean awesome) '80s horror movie is on AMC. I love everything about Halloween -- falling ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 5, 2011

    Booze: The Southside Mystery

    ​The Southside cocktail is a quintessential, yet underrated hot weather cooler. It's a refreshingly light mix of gin, mint, lemon or lime, and sweetness, perfect for a summer's evening. The only uncertainty is its birthplace. The most popular claim is that the drink originated in Chicago, durin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 2, 2011

    Top Five: Cheap Booze

    ​After mastering a tartly correct margarita three years ago, I decided to keep going, and make every classic cocktail that doesn't involve weird liquor. Sixty-nine, so far. As I searched bartending sites, mixology blogs, culinary forums, print stuff and liquor reviews, these bottles of gin, v ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 18, 2011

    Martini Night at Ava

    www.avaalto.comA chic setting for happy hour.​As if I needed another excuse to indulge in a cocktail or two, I just found out that Ava Kitchen & Whiskey Bar is doing a special promotion on martinis. Every Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m., they have a list of five specialty cocktails to choose from, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 31, 2011

    Eight Alternatives to Frozen Margaritas

    Photo by Matthew WettergreenThe Volcano also offers frozen screwdrivers, which are just as tempting.​When I think "summer" in Houston, I also think "margarita." It's a natural thought progression in a city that's oppressively hot in the summer but also blessed with a plethora of great Tex-Mex ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 21, 2011

    One Cocktail, Please, Heavy on the Garnish

    Anvil. ​When I became interested in cocktails, especially rarer and more creative varieties of mixed drinks, I focused almost entirely on flavor, strength and composition. I judged cosmopolitans on their icy smoothness, sidecars on their subtle orange notes, and corpse revivers on that little ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 15, 2011

    The Lost Mojito

    ​If you've had a cocktail with rum, sugar, lime, soda and spearmint, it was probably called a mojito. That's fine with me -- I'm no cocktail cop -- but that's not what they're drinking in Havana. A Cubano would no more make a spearmint mojito than a Kentuckian would serve up a peppermint jul ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 11, 2011

    The Quick and Dirty Juice-a-rita

    ​The varieties of margaritas are infinite, particularly with people applying the name to any drink containing tequila and some sort of fruit product -- in much the same manner that jackasses add "tini" to any drink served in a cocktail glass (that's the real name for a martini glass, kids). S ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2010

    Vintage Cocktails: The Fine Art of the Daiquiri

    It's a fine art indeed.​The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks is a hard-to-find but indispensable cocktail manual first published in 1948. My barstained copy (it was stained before I got to it) came from a southside Houston thrift store and was marked down to $9.95. The out-of-print book now goes on A ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 22, 2010

    Baja Bob's Sugar-Free Margarita Mix

    ​Ever since Bethenny Frankel on the Real Housewives of New York City started peddling the Skinnygirl margarita, I have been curious about low-calorie cocktail. I love me a good mixed drink, but as I generally dislike overly saccharine beverages, I find the average margarita rather cloying. A ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 11, 2010

    Stirred & Shaken: Feast's Campari and Soda

    Troy Fields ​While my three tablemates at Feast (219 West­heimer, 713-529-7788) were trying to decide on entrées, I was spending quality time with the cocktail menu. The much-lauded rustic European restaurant has assembled a nice list, with Manhattan and martini mainstays, more obscure class ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 27, 2010

    Bobby Heugel's Weekly Cocktail: The Maple Leaf

    ​Why write about a drink whose names suggest such a pro-Canadian agenda in, of all states, Texas? Because right about now, we are probably all wishing we were in Canada. The upcoming weekend in Montreal sounds nice - high of 77 and low of 56. Hell, sitting through a Celine Dion concert, dealin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 12, 2010

    Bobby Heugel's Weekly Cocktail: Gin and Tonic

    ​The gin and tonic is arguably the world's favorite highball. Blissfully botanical gin, bubbly tonic and a squeeze of fresh citrus make for a leisurely, refreshing cocktail that always helps to beat the summer heat. While the drink was a staple of the British colonial era, the gin and tonic i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 23, 2010

    Drinking Your Dinner: 5 Calorie-Laden Classic Cocktails

    Photo by coffeegeek​Vintage cocktails are undeniably the booze craze of the moment. Blame it on Mad Men. Blame it on "getting back to our roots" and people starting victory gardens once again. Blame it on books like Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. But classic cocktails are ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2010

    Bobby Heugel's Weekly Cocktail: The Champagne Cocktail

    ​The champagne cocktail is among the simplest and most enjoyable cocktails around. Those who have never had a champagne cocktail might scoff at the thought of ruining precious champagne with bitters and sugar, but this drink, which has existed for more than 200 years, has plenty to offer. The ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 6, 2010

    Bobby Heugel's Weekly Cocktail: The Margarita

    ​Nobody wants to talk about margaritas on May 6, the day after Cinco de Mayo. However, rather than avoiding discussing the source of the dreaded May 6 hangover, we thought we'd confront the Tex-Mex monster head-on. You can almost smell the lingering stench of artificial margarita mixes and poo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 29, 2010

    Bobby Heugel's Weekly Cocktail: Mint Julep, Part 2 - The Julep

    ​It's almost Derby time, and the anticipation is building. Celebrating the winning horse crossing the finish line, holding a mint julep, and laughing at all the poor suckers who will have to pay up on their harmless $5 bets is among the best feelings one can have as summer slowly creeps toward ... More >>

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