New Austin-based coffee liqueur, Caffe del Fuego, to hit market soon

Although Peter Remington has spent years working in the beverage industry, he had never produced something boozy of his very own to sell to thirsty consumers — until he decided to take the coffee liqueur recipe he learned from an old Italian friend out of the kitchen and into the distilling business.

Caffe del Fuego is an Austin-made coffee liqueur coming to local markets later this month.
Caffe del Fuego is an Austin-made coffee liqueur coming to local markets later this month.

With the help of his cousin Mark Remington Koelsch, he’s co-founded Remington Family Distillers to make the coffee liqueur on a wider scale. Caffe del Fuego, as they’ve decided to call it, is being released to local stores, bars and restaurants in a couple of weeks with the hope that it becomes Austinites’ go-to drink for any late-night pick-me-up they might need. With disarmingly good flavor, the Caffe del Fuego is making a strong case for that.

“Most of the coffee liqueurs out there are far too sweet,” Remington said. “But we wanted something that made coffee the main flavor profile, toning down the sugar quite a bit, so that all you have to do is pour four to five ounces over ice. That’s it.”

The simplicity of the drink will come in handy during those late nights on the town when you need a little burst of caffeine to get you ready for the midnight live music show, he said. You won’t need to turn to an artificially caffeinated beverage like Red Bull with vodka any longer “to get you dancing on the floor with your friends when the band plays at 12:30.”

What separates Caffe del Fuego not only from those kinds of caffeinated drinks but from coffee liqueurs in general, Remington said, is that it’s the only coffee liqueur “we are aware of that uses fully caffeinated, freshly roasted and brewed coffee. The difference is remarkable.”

To get that bold roasted coffee flavor he and his cousin were seeking, Remington Family Distillers partnered with the sustainably minded Austin Roasting Company’s Jess Haynie to create (and produce on a scale much larger than Haynie was used to) “a five-bean blend of specialty-grade pure Arabica coffee beans from four continents,” he said in a press release. “These are estate-lot ethically sourced beans primarily from family-owned micro-lot harvests.”

These beans comprise the main ingredient in Caffe del Fuego. Remington, who’s tinkered with his friend’s recipe for 15 years in his home, also adds a 190-proof neutral grain spirit for the alcohol and vanilla and pure cane sugar for a slight sweet complement to the coffee’s rounded bitterness.

The result is a beautifully aromatic liqueur (brought down to 40 proof and 20 percent ABV) with coffee’s rich roasted notes forming the backbone of the drink and a nip of bittersweet chocolate and caramel rounding out the finish. Only the barest of burns at the back of the throat will remind you there’s alcohol in it — but pair it with ice and, for extra sweetness, some half-and-half, and you’ll be tempted to sip on it at any time of the day.

“We created a straight-up one-item cocktail with four pure ingredients that packs the natural caffeine punch with something you can relate to directly — locally roasted high quality Arabica coffee,” Remington said.

Caffe del Fuego’s suggested retail price is $22. For more information, visit www.rfdistillers.com.

And if you’re looking for something a bit more complex than the coffee liqueur with ice once it hits stores, try this cocktail recipe instead that doubles the aroma and adds a touch of honeyed sweetness to it.

Fuego Julep

2 oz. Caffe del Fuego
1 oz. local honey
Fresh mint garnish

Combine the Caffe del Fuego and honey in a glass and stir. Top with a garnish of fresh mint.

— Adapted from Remington Family Distillers

The Chive’s Resignation Brewery offers Texas-only beer

Photo contributed by Resignation Brewery. The Chive website's Resignation Brewery currently makes three beers: KCCO Black Lager, a malty seasonal; KCCO Gold Lager, an easy-drinking year-round beer; and KCCO White Wheat, a citrusy beer only available in Texas.
Photo contributed by Resignation Brewery. The Chive website’s Resignation Brewery currently makes three beers: KCCO Black Lager, a malty seasonal; KCCO Gold Lager, an easy-drinking year-round beer; and KCCO White Wheat, a citrusy beer only available in Texas.

I didn’t quite grasp just how avid a following entertainment website the Chive has cultivated until I told my friend Josh that I was stopping by the site’s Austin headquarters to learn more about a boozy offshoot of the site’s parent company, Resignation Brewery, and asked he’d like to join me.

The look on his face told me better than any Googling I did about the level of enthusiasm and passion millions of people have for the website that started in 2008 as a way to share entertaining photos. It’s since expanded into a veritable social media community with events all over the U.S., big charitable campaigns and products like, of course, Resignation beer.

Currently, the Chive’s Resignation Brewery (which shares the name of the site’s parent company, Resignation Media) offers KCCO Black Lager, KCCO Gold Lager and KCCO White Wheat, the latter of which is a beer only available in Texas. These brews have an advantage that most being released these days don’t have — people all over the country immediately clamoring to try them and plenty of six-packs to go around to meet that high demand — simply because the beers have the name of a powerhouse entertainment company behind them.

Photo contributed by Resignation Brewery. At the Chive's headquarters in downtown Austin, a draft system keeps employees and visitors well-stocked with KCCO beers for after-hours fun.
Photo contributed by Resignation Brewery. At the Chive’s headquarters in downtown Austin, a draft system keeps employees and visitors well-stocked with KCCO beers for after-hours fun.

The Chive’s foray into the beer market was perhaps inevitable thanks to the site’s co-founders, brothers Leo and John Resig, and a handful of other employees. They were all homebrewers, and some of them would bring their small-batch beers into the office of the Chive’s original home base in Venice Beach, Calif., where the Chive fans regularly visited for tours and meet-ups, Resignation Brewery president Joe Michaels said.

“Our homebrewers would bottle the black lager and put it in the beer fridge,” he said. “We had a bunch of different beers in there, but people coming in for tours would always choose that beer. That’s sort of what gave us the idea of brewing it on a national level.”

Instead of finding the space, the equipment and the supplies to start up a brewing operation, Resignation Media reached out to the Craft Brew Alliance, a Pacific Northwest-based group of several breweries that includes Redhook Ale Brewery, Widmer Brothers Brewing and Omission Beer, partnering up with them to produce the KCCO beers. (Anheuser-Busch InBev owns about a third of the alliance.)

“They brew our beers, but it’s our recipes and our marketing,” Michaels said.

Sometime in the future, Resignation Brewery might be an actual brewery in Austin — that is, if the Chive can maneuver through the state’s tight brewing laws.

“We want a brewery here, but getting that done with Texas laws is tricky. We’re still figuring out how to make it happen operationally,” he said, adding that Resignation Media has looked at a few places on the east side, although nowhere that has stuck. (The site’s actual headquarters are downtown, in a space complete with a two-story slide, a bar with beers and liquor and a walk-in freezer to store extra bottles and kegs.)

Originally, the only KCCO beer for about a year and a half was the black lager, the one that started it all. Despite its homebrew history with the Chive, “people thought we were crazy to start with it,” Michaels said.

That’s because KCCO Black Lager is, indeed, dark — but deceptively so. Although it looks rich and heavy, “like a Guinness to a lot of people,” the lager is disarmingly easy to sip even in warmer months, he said. So are the two other sessionable options, KCCO Gold Lager and KCCO White Wheat. They’ve all flown off shelves since their initial releases, although the black lager is now no longer available as a year-round beer thanks to assumptions about dark beers. Wait until winter for that one, Michaels said.

The honeyed gold lager has taken its place as the year-round offering from Resignation Brewery. And for Texans only, there’s the White Wheat, the only one of the three to feature additional ingredients, Meyer lemon and blood orange, besides the main four of barley, hops, water and yeast. This Texas-exclusive beer is well-stocked at HEBs.

Resignation Brewery is also planning for additional beers to fill out the lineup; look out for an amber ale next year, Michaels said.

“Distributors have been shocked at the reception our beers have gotten,” he said. “I think that’s partly because of our fanbase, but also because the beers are good.”

Texas Keeper Cider to release a cider and wine blend

Photo by Ben Sklar. Texas Keeper Cider's cidery in the Onion Creek area of South Austin isn't opened with regular hours yet, but the cider release party on June 20 is a good opportunity to visit the scenic cidery in the meantime.
Photo by Ben Sklar. Texas Keeper Cider’s cidery in the Onion Creek area of South Austin isn’t opened with regular hours yet, but the cider release party on June 20 is a good opportunity to visit the scenic cidery in the meantime.

Like local beer makers, the cideries in this town are adventurous, playing around with funky apple varieties, heirloom apples that are rarely sourced these days and blending apples with other, occasionally off-the-wall ingredients (remember Austin Eastciders’ brisket cider made with meat from Micklethwait Craft Meats?).

Texas Keeper Cider, the youngest of the trio of local cideries, is no different. Since releasing Texas Keeper No. 1 last August, Texas Keeper co-founders Nick Doughty, Lindsey Peebles and Brandon Wilde have gone on to produce an additional four — including the latest, a cider-and-wine blend debuting at a special release party on June 20 at the cidery.

Called Grafter Rosé, the new cider is made primarily from heirloom Rome Beauty apples. But 7 percent of the beverage is Pedernales Cellars’ Texas Tempranillo that was blended in to bring “a slightly riper fruit profile to the finished cider,” Peebles said via email.

“We think experimentation is at the heart of any good craft, and cider/wine blends are not really being done yet,” she said. “Apples and wine grapes work beautifully together — the chemistry of the fruits are really very similar.”

Introducing wine into the cider wasn’t a stretch for Doughty, a former winemaker. His background with grapes has always brought a “wine attitude” to Texas Keeper’s ciders, Peebles said.

“That’s why our ciders are typically very clean and dry, like an aromatic white wine, and why we seek out interesting heirloom apples,” she said. “Just as you wouldn’t typically make a great wine from Thompson’s seedless, ciders are more interesting when they come from apples that have a bit more tannic weight and better acid structure.”

Photo by Bret Gerbe for American-Statesman. Pedernales Cellars' Texas Tempranillo was used in Texas Keeper Cider's latest cider release, a cider and wine blend using heirloom apples.
Photo by Bret Gerbe for American-Statesman. Pedernales Cellars’ Texas Tempranillo was used in Texas Keeper Cider’s latest cider release, a cider and wine blend using heirloom apples.

The cider makers originally got the idea for the Grafter Rosé — which is going to be just the first in a series of cider and wine blends — when they pressed the Rome Beauties and noticed the juice was a pretty pale orange color, perfect for making a summer rosé with. Peebles said they chose to use Tempranillo grapes for this initial pairing “because it’s a grape variety that grows well in Texas, ripening with notes of strawberries, plums and a hint of vanilla.”

But the next grapes to be used for the Grafter series will be very different: Blanc du Bois grapes from Haak Winery in between Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast. For Grafter Blanc, they’ll be co-fermented with Texas Winesap apples.

“With the Grafter series we get to help showcase the great fruit that’s being grown in Texas,” Peebles said.

Try the Grafter Rosé on June 20 at the Texas Keeper cidery. It’s not quite opened with regular hours yet — Peebles said they’re looking at an official fall opening — but the Texas Keeper trio has been throwing fun Saturday parties there for the past couple months to provide fans with a sneak peek of the scenic space in the Onion Creek area of town.

“It’s a beautiful spot, a little reminiscent of Jester King, with lots of live oaks and a great view of Onion Creek,” she said, adding that in addition to having all of the Texas Keeper products available for tasting there, the cidery hopes to cultivate “a list of our favorite ciders from across the U.S. and internationally in order to expose folks to all the exciting things that are happening with cider.” Food pairings will also be a focus when Texas Keeper opens with weekend tours and tastings.

In the meantime, next Saturday’s event will have much more than cider. The Grafter Rosé release will feature live music as well as a brisket dinner and sides. The ingredients for this feast will have originated from Central Texas farms that were hit hard by the Memorial Day weekend floods. Plus, a portion of the proceeds will go toward Green Gate Farms, which lost a number of animals, roads and crops in the devastating flooding.

Tickets to Texas Keeper’s events tend to sell out in advance, so make sure to grab yours soon.

Texas Keeper Cider Release and Supper, 5 to 9 p.m. June 20. $10-$50. 12521 Twin Creeks Rd., Manchaca. www.texaskeeper.com.

Keg cost dispute affecting Houston bars not an issue in Austin

Texas’ complex three-tier alcohol distribution system, made up breweries, distributors and retailers, has in recent years received criticism from some in the industry who say that it’s stifling the brewery business. Add something new to the long list of complaints: the rising cost of kegs bars and restaurants must pay distributors to receive.

It’s not a problem that’s reached a boiling point in Austin, but the issue is certainly affecting Houston breweries and beer drinkers. Although today is the release day of the tenth beer in Saint Arnold’s venerable Bishop’s Barrel series, many craft beer-focused bars there, like Petrol Station and Hay Merchant, won’t have any of the special bourbon barrel-aged barleywine because they are boycotting — at least for now — the distributor who delivers it and a lot of other suds from craft breweries, including Houston’s Karbach and 8th Wonder and bigger national brands like Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker. Silver Eagle Distributing, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Ronnie Crocker, is Houston’s biggest distributorship.

Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman. Beer kegs are at the center of a dispute between Houston bars and the city's biggest distributor.
Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman. Beer kegs are at the center of a dispute between Houston bars and the city’s biggest distributor.

The Houston bars are currently refusing to carry Silver Eagle beers thanks to a $10 increase in keg costs, up from $50, that the distributor announced unexpectedly. That’s a price hike that could “tie up thousands of dollars,” according to Crocker’s recent article about the keg price hike. As a result, the bars paying the higher prices are fighting back.

As Crocker noted in his story, some bar managers are “considering other ways to carry beer from those breweries, by such means as purchasing them in bottles and cans that do not involve deposits and providing Silver Eagle with firkins.”

Two local breweries, Round Rock’s Bluebonnet Beer Company and Leander’s Bindlestick Brewing, might have an additional solution for them: one-use kegs. These two nanobreweries are so far draft-only — and the kegs they self-deliver to the handful of bars around town that tap their beers don’t just look a little different than the standard metal canisters most breweries, distributors and retailers typically handle.

Bluebonnet and Bindlestick’s light plastic kegs, made from the same hardy material as many soft drink bottles, are recyclable. That means a price dispute like the one in Houston wouldn’t even happen, as “there shouldn’t be any deposit for single use kegs,” Bluebonnet’s David Hulama said via email earlier today. These amber-hued containers come from Petainer, a packaging company whose foray into the kegging business could prove to be a fruitful one.

Hulama sees a future with them, noting when I visited his nanobrewery earlier this year that they “offer a number of advantages.”

“They’re super light, for one thing, and 100 percent recyclable,” he said.

He added that they’re single-use, so bars don’t have to worry about keeping up with them (except to recycle them when they’re empty). They also have light protection to preserve the beer.

“We’ve had tremendous success with them,” he said. “Bars and restaurants love them. We love them. We won’t be the only ones using them for long.”

Waller Creek Pub House offers a craft beer alternative to Sixth Street

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Waller Creek Pub House, just off Sixth Street, opened in March with a focus on craft beer and spirits.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Waller Creek Pub House, just off Sixth Street, opened in March with a focus on craft beer and spirits.

When business partners Justin Malone, Corey Hutchins and Jesse Lind secured two spaces for the craft beer bar and events center they teamed up to open next door to each other, at a block of Sixth Street that sits above the currently fast-flowing Waller Creek just west of Interstate 35, they looked into the history of the creek and what it has meant to Austin.

Waller Creek’s significance gave the beer bar its name, Malone said: the Waller Creek Pub House. Along with the Waller Ballroom, which sits just in front of the bar at the corner of Sixth and Sabine streets, Waller Creek Pub House has been opened since early this spring with 30 beer taps and a small menu of pub food for both lunch and dinner. The laid-back pub also offers a focused menu of wine and spirits, mainly whiskey and tequila.

Before that, the pub was just an idea for the trio who only knew they wanted their two spaces to feel right at home in Austin. That’s when they learned about Edwin Waller, Austin’s first mayor, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and, perhaps most notably, the designer of the city’s downtown grid plan that situated it between Waller and Shoal creeks. He seemed like a pretty important historical figure, Malone said, so his stern face now greets visitors to the pub every time they walk in the door.

And the man’s namesake Waller Creek, he said, has a lot of current meaning for the city. “The creek represents the revitalization of downtown — a place for people to come visit versus avoid,” he said.

Places like his pub and the nearby Easy Tiger and the Gatsby are helping with that as well. These three bars, Malone said, “form a high-end option for the live music crowd,” coming from or going to Seventh Street venues like Red 7 and Holy Mountain, who want good beer or cocktail options.

“We don’t get much of the Dirty Sixth crowd,” he said, noting they tend to stay on the other side of Red River Street.

If these bar-hoppers do stop by the Waller Creek Pub House, they’ll notice the bar doesn’t have any Budweiser, Miller or Coors beers, a deliberate choice Malone made because craft beer was the main reason he wanted to have his own bar in Austin.

He and Hutchins, friends since high school in the South Dallas area, decided to move from Houston about five years ago to open a bar that would focus specifically on craft beer. He had been one of the first employees of Houston’s Petrol Station, a refurbished former gas station that championed good beer from the start, and said as a result of working there, he “loved the craft beer world.” But he needed additional experience in it before opening his own bar, he thought.

To gain more familiarity with it once in Austin, he took a job at a now-defunct distributor, Duff, and then acted as the local sales representative for Deep Ellum and Sixpoint. (Their other partner, Lind, came on board when they found the two spaces on Sabine Street. Lind had been looking to open an events space.)

All that knowledge Malone gained working at the different levels of the three-tier alcohol distribution system has helped to craft the beer program at Waller Creek Pub House — with a particular focus, he admitted, on IPAs like Lone Pint Yellow Rose and Alpine Duet.

“We have a pretty hoppy wall,” he said.

There are also three taps dedicated solely to sour beers like Petrus Aged Pale and Independence Brewing Redbud and five taps that will have Texas beers, running the gamut in style, at all times. Although the pub offers more Texas beers than Malone originally planned to have, he said that’s necessary because of all the tourists who come in. “They’ll walk in and ask, ‘What’s a good Texas beer?'” he said.

His and his partners’ hope with Waller Creek Pub House is that it draws in craft beer lovers no matter what day of the week it is.

“One of our main focuses is to bring the craft beer crowd to downtown on the weekends,” he said. “They’ll come on week days, but they tend to stay away during high-traffic times given our proximity to Dirty Sixth. And the problems with finding parking.”

Attracting them won’t be too hard to do with Malone’s desire to throw beer-focused events at the bar, such as a tap takeover or the friendly competition between Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Oskar Blues Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy that took place last month during American Craft Beer Week.

Plus, no matter the challenges of running a brand-new bar in downtown Austin, the bearded, T-shirt-clad Malone isn’t complaining. “When I was getting my MBA in Houston, I thought I’d be in a suit working in a bank somewhere,” he said. “Then the recession hit. I had to re-focus my plans a bit, but that didn’t end up being a bad thing.”

Celebrate Flying Saucer’s 20th anniversary Friday

Photo by An Chih Cheng/ American-Statesman. Fun-loving Austinites may find Flying Saucer a great neighborhood pub. A penny wall holds about 85 beer taps. The pub also has a great wine menu.
Photo by An Chih Cheng/ American-Statesman. Like all locations of the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Austin’s is a cozy neighborhood pub with lots of tasty beers.

When the first Flying Saucer location opened in the Fort Worth area in 1995, the beer scene was very different — especially Austin’s. Real Ale and Live Oak Brewing, for one, hadn’t started up yet. But Flying Saucer’s original bar and all the subsequent locations focused on craft beer all the same, feeding a growing thirst for the big craft brewing pioneers like Sierra Nevada.

Now, the Austin Flying Saucer (which opened about 7 years ago) has many more options to choose from for its large tap wall, which certified cicerone and manager Kevin Bartley helps to cultivate, and he’s certainly made sure there will be plenty of tasty beers ready to tap Friday.

That’s when each location of the chain is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the first Flying Saucer. At 5 p.m., the Austin bar will start rolling out the anniversary beer menu, including rare releases and specialty brews from Avery, Green Flash, Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing and more. There will also be $2 Sierra Nevada Pale Ales, Bartley said, noting that “(the pale ale) is a great example of what we do. It’s a great entry-level beer.”

But his favorite on tomorrow’s tap list is Green Flash Silva Stout, an imperial stout with roasted coffee and dark chocolate notes. He just might be toasting the milestone birthday with it at 7 p.m. when all locations of the Flying Saucer chain will start livestreaming a toast from the original Fort Worth bar. Join in at Flying Saucer Austin at 815 W. 47th St. For more information about this fun event — which all 16 Flying Saucer locations will be participating in — visit the pub’s website.

Explore Top of the Hill Country Wine Trail this weekend

Among the Texas wineries who brought back medals from the TEXSOM competition was Pilot Knob Vineyard and Winery.
Pilot Knob is one of 8 wineries along the Top of the Hill Country Wine Trail.

Although the road out to Fredericksburg is dotted with wineries and vineyards, that part of the Hill Country isn’t the only place where Texas winemakers have set up their operations. Head northwest, out toward Lake Buchanan, and you’ll find others that are worth a day trip, too.

In fact, there’s no better time to explore those wineries than this weekend, when the Top of the Hill Country Wine Trail — which includes Alamosa Wine Cellars, Fall Creek Vineyards, Wedding Oak Winery and more — is throwing a special three-day party that, at $25, is pretty much too good to pass up.

The 8-winery trail’s Summertime Wine & Beach Party, starting 11 a.m. Friday and running through 5 p.m. Sunday, offers a lot of bang for your buck: a souvenir wine tasting glass, a minimum of three tastings per winery and a picnic food pairing at each one. To help you decide how to plan your weekend farther west, here’s a little look at four of the participating wineries and the wines from each of them to hold out your glass for.

Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez / for American-Statesman. Fall Creek Vineyards is one of Texas' oldest wineries and has since opened a second location in Driftwood. But this weekend, visit the original spot for a special Top of the Hill Country event.
Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman. Fall Creek Vineyards is one of Texas’ oldest wineries and has since opened a second location in Driftwood. But this weekend, visit the original spot for a special Top of the Hill Country event.

(Just remember to consult a map before you set off on the trail. Pilot Knob Vineyard and Perissos Vineyards are the closest two; Wedding Oak Winery and Alamosa Wine Cellars are the farthest.)

Alamosa Wine Cellars, 677 County Rd. 430, Bend. Tucked into a valley in San Saba County just outside of the tiny town of Bend (so small, in fact, that you’ll want to put San Saba into your GPS), the homey winery and its 10-acre vineyard focuses on grapes that love warm climates, like Viognier, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Syrah. These sun-happy fruits might be grown by many other Texas wineries, but Alamosa, first launched in 1998, can claim to be the first in the state to commercially bottle Tempranillo. Right now, look out for summer whites like the Viognier.

Fall Creek Vineyards, 1820 County Rd. 222, Tow. The “sandy loam soil, warm days and cool breezes off Lake Buchanan provide an excellent microclimate for growing premium wine grapes,” according to the Top of the Hill Country website. That’s precisely where this historic winery, one of the oldest in Texas, is located, and the scenic space does indeed make stellar wine. The Rhone-style blend of GSM — Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre — is typically a solid choice, a layered, ruby-colored mix of berries, chocolate and cedar notes.

Pilot Knob Vineyard, 3125 County Rd. 212, Bertram. This 112-acre winery is on the edge of a sweeping ridge line, providing visitors with panoramic Hill Country views they won’t easily forget. The wine is plenty memorable, too: Craig Pinkley, the owner, makes a Cabernet and a Tempranillo using grapes from Pilot Knob’s own vineyard, as well as a Chardonnay made from other Texas Hill Country grapes that proves this varietal is possible in a state “where many (of the) best wine producers steer clear of” it, he says. The Cabernet won’t be ready until July; in the meantime, try the 2014 Viognier Reserve.

Wedding Oak Winery, 316 E. Wallace St., San Saba. It’s in the heart of downtown San Saba, rather than located among the vineyards of owner Mike McHenry or near the tree that gave the winery its name, because the hope is that its draw helps to revitalize the Texas town. McHenry collaborates with winemaker Penny Adams, the first woman in the state to earn a Master of Wine designation, to produce wines made from French varietals like Tannat, Cinsault, Roussane and Syrah. This weekend, Wedding Oak will offer its estate-grown Viognier — and it’ll be decorated beach-themed, too.

YouTube star Mamrie Hart comes to BookPeople with new drinks book

YouTube sensation Mamrie Hart has compiled all those hilarious boozy misadventures of hers into a book, "You Deserve a Drink," that she'll talk about at BookPeople today.
YouTube sensation Mamrie Hart has now written a book, “You Deserve a Drink,” that’s just as funny as her series of videos. She’ll talk about all the hilarious personal anecdotes in it at BookPeople today.

“My name is Mamrie Hart and I wanted to write this paperweight to combine my two favorite things: delicious cocktails and embarrassing myself.”

So begins the new book of YouTube star Mamrie Hart. Her “You Deserve a Drink” (which is the same name as her weekly online show) is essentially a series of hilarious anecdotes about her life — not all necessarily drinking-related — coupled with cocktail recipes so that you can play a drinking game while reading. Yes, really.

That’s nothing new for fans of her web series, who are instructed to take a drink every time she makes a bad pun (a lot, apparently), but the rules of her usual game “won’t work here. I can’t be responsible for alcohol poisoning of the literally dozens who read this book.” Instead, get to sipping every time she references an old television show, stuff like that.

Although you won’t be tossing back any cocktails at her free BookPeople event tonight at 7 p.m., you can bet you’ll be in for a good show. (Reading some of her book for this post, I found myself giggling out loud to an empty house this morning. If she’s just as funny in person as she is in writing, it’s fair to say her fans will be leaving the bookstore afterward with aching sides.)

She’s just as adept with cocktails as she is with dirty puns and describing her boozy misadventures. Later on, try making one of the drinks recipes she includes at the start of every chapter, like this one, Sorry Camp-Ari. It even comes with a fun party trick.

Sorry Camp-Ari

1 1/2 oz. Campari
1 1/2 oz. mezcal
Juice of 1/2 tangerine
1 oz. orange liqueur
1 sprig rosemary

Combine first few ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a highball glass with a large ice cube.

Clean and dry the shaker. Set sprig of rosemary onto piece of foil and carefully light on fire. As it smokes, invert the shaker and hold it over the rosemary, catching the smoke in the process. Once filled, quickly close it over the top of the highball glass and don’t open until you’re ready to serve, giving the drink a nice woodsy flavor.

— Adapted from Mamrie Hart’s “You Deserve a Drink”

Upcoming Barton Springs restaurant Juliet now has beverage director

Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. The upcoming Italian restaurant Juliet will offer Negroni cocktails, classic drinks that originated in Italy.
Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. The upcoming Italian restaurant Juliet will offer Negroni cocktails, classic drinks that originated in Italy.

Plans for the upcoming Barton Springs Road Italian restaurant Juliet wouldn’t be complete without a beverage director, and now the eatery has one: Sommelier Robert Millican is coming on board.

Millican, co-founder of the often overlooked but rock-solid Firehouse Lounge, will be in charge of a boozy program that includes Negroni cocktails (which are currently the highlight at many local bars right now as they participate in Imbibe magazine’s Negroni Week) and more than 150 wines. Plus, according to a press release, Juliet “will also feature a rotating selection of higher-end wines using a special preservation system, giving our guests the ability to enjoy a glass of wine that is usually only available by the bottle.”

The Negronis won’t be the only drinks on the menu with an old world origin. “Guests can expect traditional Italian wines but also interesting European influences to cocktails,” Millican said in the press release.

He will join a team that includes executive chef Jacob Weaver, chef de cuisine Brandon Fuller and pastry chef Carly Rossmeissl. Juliet is slated to open in early summer at 1500 Barton Springs Rd.

June drinking events calendar

Negroni Week, ongoing Monday, June 1 through Sunday, June 7. This nationwide event, which highlights the Negroni cocktail while raising money for charity, has a big Austin presence this year.

The Negroni at Italic is on tap during Negroni Week, starting Monday through June 7.
The Negroni at Italic is on tap during Negroni Week, starting Monday through June 7.

First Mondays at Arro, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday, June 1. This month’s features Burgundy’s Domaine Lafarge wines and an accompanying tasting menu. $60 for five courses; $100 with wine.

The Mix Tape at Half Step, 8 p.m. Monday, June 1. A new spirit is launching in Austin this week, and revered Rainey Street cocktail bar Half Step is celebrating with a special event that will pair the Copper & Kings American Brandy with music.

Cafe Josie’s Wine Me Dine Me Dinner, 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. 5 courses paired with wines from award-winning Hill Country winery Lewis Wines. Winemaker Doug Lewis will be present for the dinner. $85.

“You Deserve a Drink” author Mamrie Hart at BookPeople, 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. YouTube star Hart has written a book about her drinking escapades, each one accompanied with a cocktail recipe to help you join in on the fun.

Drink Local in the Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons, 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. This month’s event focuses on Treaty Oak Distilling and their Red-Handed Whiskey and Waterloo Gin in cocktails.

Big Bend Brewing’s Austin Launch at Billy’s on Burnet, 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 3. West Texas’ Big Bend Brewing is making its official foray into the Austin market, so celebrate with head brewer Steve Anderson, a man with big local ties.

La V’s German and Austrian Wine Tasting, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 4. La V sommelier Rania Zayyat has just returned from a tour of German wine country and brought back some of her favorite bottles to share. $65.

First Saturday at Independence Brewing, 12 to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 6. In the tradition of the longtime event, the brewery will offer a wristband special from noon to 2 p.m.: $10 for 3 of their classic beers. After that, you can enjoy flights and purchase beers as you go.

Circle Brewing’s Fanny Pack Kolsch Release, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 6. Circle Brewing’s got a new summer seasonal – and, if you show up early enough, a fanny pack of your very own to take home.

Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Vino Vino's Pink Fest celebrates rosé wines, more than 50 of which will be present for tasting during the event.
Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Vino Vino’s Pink Fest celebrates rosé wines, more than 50 of which will be present for tasting during the event.

Vino Vino’s Pink Fest, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 6. The ninth annual celebration of Vino Vino’s favorite rosé wines will have more than 50 of them to try. $5 of every ticket sold will go toward the American Cancer Society. $30.

Adelbert’s Brewing Dinner at Odd Duck, 6 and 9 p.m. Monday, June 8. Two chances to try a special Odd Duck dinner paired with beers from Adelbert’s. For reservations, email oddduckevents@gmail.com/. $70.

Vision Cellars Wine Dinner at Jasper’s, 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 9. Mac McDonald with Vision Cellars will be showing off his California wines (he specializes in pinot noirs) at this pairing dinner.

Jester King Beer Dinner at Central Market North Lamar, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 10. Five Jester King beers, 4 courses and brewery co-owner Ron Extract. $50.

Make It a Martini in the Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons, ongoing Friday, June 12 through Friday, June 19. Join the ranks of Gatsby, Draper, Bogart and Bond by making your drink a martini this week.

Epicerie’s Serendipity Wine and Cheese Pairing, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 14. Join Dan Largess of Epicerie and Kaila Johnson of Serendipity Wines as they pair varying styles of pinot noir with cheese from around the world. $40.

Circle Beer Dinner at Greenhouse Craft Food, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 14. Six courses paired with Circle Brewing beers, including the Double Impact Saison, the newly released Fanny Pack Kolsch and more. $57.71

Beer Across America Stroll at Central Market locations, 5 p.m. Thursday, June 18. Enjoy beer samples at 8 stations throughout the North and South Lamar stores. $10.

The Brass Tap’s 2 Year Anniversary Party, 12 p.m. Saturday, June 20. Live music, brisket and beer (of course) to celebrate the Round Rock bar’s big birthday.

Texas Keeper Cider Release Party, 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 20. A new cider, Grafton Rosé, is the first in a new series of ciders blending Texas Keeper Cider’s co-fermenting heirloom apples with Texas wine grapes. Enjoy a glass with a brisket dinner.

NXNW Beer Dinner, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 24. Enjoy a brewery tour and happy hour before being seated for the 5-course dinner at 7 p.m. at the brewpub’s Slaughter Lane location.

Tequila 512 Pairing Dinner at Las Palomas, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 25. Three-course dinner with tequila pairings featuring Tequila 512’s blanco and recently released reposado. $45.

Austin Beer Guide’s Lager Jam 2, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 27. 20 lagers from 11 Austin breweries, including Hops & Grain, Austin Beerworks, Live Oak and Real Ale. Final beer list to come.

The ABGB’s APA! APA #4 Release Party, 12 to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 27. The fourth beer in ABGB’s American Pale Ale series benefiting Austin Pets Alive! is launching with live music, a dunking booth and puppies, of course.

The Hightower’s Neighborhood Beer Dinner with Hops & Grain, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 30. Five-course beer dinner featuring all the Hops & Grain staples, from The One They Call Zoe to A Pale Mosaic.