Austin’s drinking events calendar, May 2017

 

The Barks for Beers fundraiser runs through the month of May for dog and beer lovers alike.

Monday, May 1

Barks for Beers, ongoing through May 31. The fundraiser for Divine Canines officially kicks off with 30 participating breweries. Buy a pint glass for $20 and get a free pour at each one.

Cannon + Belle’s Texas Winemaker Dinner with Duchman Family Winery, 6:30 p.m. The first in this new culinary series will feature bites from the Hilton Austin’s new restaurant with accompanying Italian-centric wines from Duchman.

Tuesday, May 2

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Riverboat Dram Cruise, 7 to 9 p.m. Hop aboard for a tasting of 10 sublime casks from Speyside, Highlands and Islay, with Ruby’s BBQ offering the bites. $100.

Wednesday, May 3

Run for the Rosé with Twin Liquors, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Derby Day doesn’t have to be all about mint juleps. Twin Liquors’ Hancock location will have up to 20 different rosés featured to celebrate the upcoming Kentucky Derby.

Central Standard Wine Dinner with Mondavi, 7 to 10 p.m. The five-course dinner will feature wine pairings curated by special guest Dina Mondavi, co-founder of the Michael Mondavi Family Estate known for its Napa Valley wines. $160.

Easy Tiger’s Meet the Brewer Night will offer a special chance to try the sought-after Founders KBS.

Thursday, May 4

Founders’ Meet the Brewers Night at Easy Tiger, 5 p.m. Meet Founders brewer Jeremy Kosmicki while pairing beers like Frootwood and KBS with snacks from Easy Tiger. $10-$15.

Wine and Chocolate Pairing at Lenoir, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Relax in Lenoir’s outdoor wine garden while pairing Chocolaterie Tessa chocolates with fine wines. $50.

Official Drink of Austin, 7 to 10 p.m. Find out which Austin bar team will take the boozy title at this year’s competition, held at Fair Market. $65.

Opal Divines’ North American Whiskey Festival, 7 p.m. American and Canadian whiskey, from rye to bourbon to single-malt and more, will be available for sampling along with passed appetizers. $40.

Friday, May 5

Pinthouse Pizza’s 2017 Burro’s Breakfast Release Party, 11 a.m. Pinthouse’s Mexican lager is going on tap at this all-day celebration, timed with Cinco de Mayo, that will have mariachi music and limited-edition shirts.

Cinco de Elmo at St. Elmo Brewing, 12 p.m. The South Austin brewery is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a new beer, Señor Bueno Mexican Lager with lime, and will have $3 micheladas from 4 to 6 p.m.

Oskar Blues’ Fugli IPA Release Party, 12 to 10 p.m. The Austin brewery is sending up a new summer seasonal, an IPA made with yuzu and ugli fruit infusions, with cans to come.

Cinco de Meow at Mean Eyed Cat, 5 p.m. Celebrate America’s favorite Mexican holiday with margarita, tequila and beer specials, along with piñatas.

Uncle Billy’s 11th Anniversary First Friday Firkin, 5 p.m. In celebration of 11 years in business, Uncle Billy’s will have two casks of a new saison available, along with a special of moules-frites.

Meridian Hive Meadery’s Fandango Release Party, 5 p.m. Austin’s only meadery is releasing an agave and lime mead and will have $2 tacos and a screening of the road trip movie “Fandango.”

Cinco de Mayo at Guero’s Taco Bar, 6 to 9:30 p.m. Where else to spend this Mexican holiday but at a Mexican restaurant? Guero’s garden will have Tequila Cazadores cocktails and live music from Peligrosa.

Saturday, May 6

19th Annual Becker Vineyards’ Lavender Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Sip and swirl with live music, artisans and nearby lavender fields in bloom. $85 for luncheon.

Inaugural Crawfish Boil at Twisted X Brewing, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. $20 gets you unlimited crawfish, a commemorative cup with complimentary pour, live music and more.

2nd Annual Cider Fest at Whip In, 1 to 9 p.m. Whip In is tapping some of the rarest and best ciders, including many locally based ones like Texas Keeper and Argus.

Derby Day at the Four Seasons, 2 to 6 p.m. Pull out your seersucker suit for an afternoon of Kentucky Derby watching, Maker’s Mark mint juleps, a costume contest and a derby hat pop-up shop. $20.

Irene’s Kentucky Derby Party, 3 to 7 p.m. The patio at this downtown bar will have full race coverage and traditional Kentucky treats, including mint juleps and hot brown sandwiches.

Revelry Kitchen + Bar’s Kentucky Derby Viewing Party, 3 p.m. Dress your derby best – including the hat – to try and win a costume contest. Plus, draft mint juleps, Kentucky mules, boozy lemonade and more.

Monday, May 8

The Craft Series at 1886 Café & Bakery, 6 to 8 p.m. The Driskill Hotel’s beer pairing series is bringing back Independence Brewing beers for its four-course feast. $40.

Hops & Helado Pairing, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Didn’t think beer and ice cream could pair? Think again. The $35-$40 tickets get you 5 beer samples at Lazarus Brewing with 5 ice creams, all seasonal flavors.

Tuesday, May 9

Thirsty Planet Buckethead IPA Launch Party, 7 to 10 p.m. Thirsty Planet’s Buckethead IPA and Yellow Armadillo Wheat are finally in bottles, and Black Sheep Lodge is celebrating with free bites, a photo booth and more.

Slow and Low Whiskey Pop-Up Gallery, 7 to 10 p.m. Photographer Asher Moss is showing off his work at Byron & Blue with whiskey cocktails and music from Kalu and the Electric Joint.

Wednesday, May 10

Adelbert’s Beer Tasting at the Carillon, 5:30 to 7 p.m. The Carillon’s chef, Dan Bressler, will present delicious bar bites to go with your cold beer. $20; reservations required.

Saturday, May 13

The Austin Winery Grand Opening, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The urban winery has moved into its South Austin location and is ready to celebrate with new wine releases.

Index Fest, 12 p.m. Previously Untapped, the rebranded festival continues its focus on live music and craft beer, while also offering art and food components. $25-$119.

Fall Creek Vineyards’ A Toast to Mothers Luncheon, 12 to 1:30 p.m. Treat Mom (or any other special woman in your life) to this multi-course lunch paired with Fall Creek wines. $40.

New Braunfels Brewing’s 4th Anniversary Party, 1 to 7 p.m. More than 20 beers will be on tap for this birthday bash, including Bier No. 217, Very Seldom Naughty and more.

Sunday, May 14

Mother’s Day at Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling, 12 to 9 p.m. Celebrate Mom with a special Mother’s Day brunch and cocktails, along with live music.

Mother’s Day Maifest at Live Oak Brewing, 1 to 6 p.m. A petting zoo, live music, food from Kick Drum Burgers and beer from Live Oak will make Mom feel special indeed.

Half Step’s Alabama Bug Boil, 2 to 10 pm. Enjoy bourbon punch, a crawfish boil and live music from the Pine Hill Haints of Mobile for only a $10 suggested donation.

Mother’s Day Champagne Class at Backbeat, 3:30 to 5 p.m. What better way to celebrate your mom than treating her to this guided tasting flight of bubbly wines? Light bites will be included. $55.

Monday, May 15

Mega-Mutt Monday at Banger’s, 6 p.m. This month’s beneficiary of the dog-friendly event is Greyhound Pets of America-Central Texas. There will also be other pet-related vendors and live music.

Tuesday, May 16

Astronomy on Tap, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The out-of-this-world bar talk returns to the North Door with explorations about ice on Mars, merging galaxies and more.

Wednesday, May 17

Central Market Cooking School: Southern Cheeses, Southern Wines, 4:30 p.m. Central Market’s “Taste the South” promotion kicks off with a class pairing cheese and wine from the South. $40.

Donkey & Goat Wine Dinner at Olamaie, 6 to 8 p.m. The five-course dinner is being paired with the wines of Jared and Tracey Brandt, who take a hands-off approach to natural winemaking. $100.

Thursday, May 18

Chocolate & Spirits Tasting at Backbeat, 6 to 8 p.m. Want a little booze to go with your bon bon? Chocolaterie Tessa is teaming up with the cocktail bar to show what a divine pairing spirits and chocolate can be. $45.

St. Genevieve’s Champagne Social, 9 p.m. The Rock Rose wine lounge’s new monthly event kicks off with a champagne fountain and a free dessert bar. Your weekend starts now.

Friday, May 19

Blueberry Sour Release at Adelbert’s, 3 p.m. The latest in Adelbert’s taproom-only fruited sour series will go on sale, $4 for 5 oz. pours and $15 per bottle.

Circle Brewing’s Fanny Pack Kolsch Release Party, 4 p.m. Head to Cheer Up Charlies for the debut of Circle’s refreshing summer seasonal. Free fanny packs while supplies last.

Central Market Cooking School: Lazy Magnolia Beer Pairing, 4:30 p.m. This time, Central Market is pairing regional cheese with beers from Mississippi’s Lazy Magnolia Brewing. $40.

Saturday, May 20

Whip In’s 6th Annual Pink Mahal, 1 to 5 p.m. It’s officially rosé season, and Whip In boasts one of the largest rosé selections in the country. The wine bar will have 100 rosés from all over the world available for tasting. $35.

Orf Brewing Open House, 1 to 6 p.m. Austin’s newest brewery is open for business for the first time. Tour the space and taste the beers, like an Asian white ale, that will be on tap.

6th Annual Pup Crawl for Austin Humane Society, 2 to 8 p.m. Drink specials will be available for participants in the charity bar crawl along Rainey Street. $25 wristbands.

Barrel-Aged Beer Party at Craft Pride, 3 to 11 p.m. Just because it’s almost summertime and already hot outside doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy barrel-aged brews like Austin Beerworks Midnight Swordfight.

Sunday, May 21

Whisler’s Crawfish Boil, 1 p.m. $15 will get you a pound-and-a-half of crawfish, a beer and a raffle ticket. There will also be Bloody Marys, sangria and mules.

Tuesday, May 23

Drink Beer, Save Turtles on World Turtle Day, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Hops & Grain is teaming up with the Turtle Survival Alliance to host a night of awareness at the County Line on the Lake.

Wednesday, May 24

Hops & Grain’s River Beer Can Launch, 5 to 8 p.m. Eat some barbecue at the Salt Lick and discover how well the new light lager from Hops & Grain pairs with the summer months to come.

Saturday, May 27

Forager Fest at Zilker Brewing, 12 to 4 p.m. Celebrate local, wild and cultivated ingredients with different versions of Zilker’s saison made with foraged items.

Texas Keeper Cider’s Grafter Rosé Release Picnic, 2 to 6 p.m. The return of this tart, dry cider and wine blend will be hailed with barbecue from the new LeRoy and Lewis.

Monday, May 29

Austin Beerworks’ Memorial Day Einhorn Release, 12 to 8 p.m. The beloved Einhorn Berliner Weisse is making its debut for summer with Mr. Sparkle German Pilsner.

Wednesday, May 31

Freedmen’s May Whiskey Dinner, 7 to 9 p.m. Taste whiskeys from Firestone & Robertson Distilling in Fort Worth with three courses of paired bites. $36.

The latest brunch-tastic flavor from Deep Eddy Vodka is now in stores

Deep Eddy Vodka is on a roll with its new flavors.

Less than a year after the release of its peach-flavored vodka, the Dripping Springs-based distiller is now selling Deep Eddy Orange, a vodka that gets its bright orange color and flavor from fresh orange juice.

MORE: Deep Eddy Vodka expands to additional distillery in Buda

The spirit, which you can drink on the rocks or mixed into a cocktail, doesn’t have any pulp, says Deep Eddy president John Scarborough, and its the sixth flavored product on the line, in addition to peach, lemon, Ruby Red grapefruit, cranberry and sweet tea.

The suggested retail price is $19.99 for a 750 mL bottle, and you can find it in stores nationwide starting this month.

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The Dripping Springs-based Deep Eddy Vodka has just released its latest flavor, orange. Contributed by Deep Eddy Vodka

New Texas bourbon, Devils River Bourbon Whiskey, to hit market in April

The current president of the Texas Distilled Spirits Association has produced a whiskey named for and made with the pure, limestone-filtered water from a feisty Texas river.

Devils River Bourbon Whiskey, thought up by Mike Cameron, will hit stores in early April as a 90-proof small-batch Texas whiskey primarily made up of corn, with rye as a strong secondary ingredient. Cameron, also the co-founder of Rebecca Creek Whiskey, named his new project after a Southwest Texas river where he used to fish in college.

When he “decided to create something new in the world of Texan distilled spirits,” he came up with several possible brand names — including Devils River Whiskey — and liked the personal connection he has with the river near Del Rio, he said in a press release.

“I had all but settled on the brand and, by chance, had lunch with a friend, who told me that he was going to go kayaking on a beautiful river in Southwest Texas. He was referring to Devils River, and that’s when it started to feel like fate,” he said.

Devils River Whiskey is made from the water of a beloved Texas river.

The whiskey is fermented using a proprietary process, distilled in traditional copper pot stills suited for making flavorful dark spirits, and matured in charred oak barrels. Pure water from the Devils River is used during the distillation.

As a result, Devils River Whiskey is “sweet yet bold,” with an “oak, honey and caramel medley” on the palate, according to the distillery. The whiskey is 75 percent corn, 21 percent rye and 4 percent barley.

That’s already proven to be a recipe for success: Devils River Whiskey recently took gold at the Denver International Spirits Competition.

The whiskey will hit the Texas market next month with a suggested retail price of $29.99. For more information, visit devilsriverwhiskey.com.

Devils River Whiskey Buck
2 oz. Devils River Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1 1/2 oz. chilled ginger beer
Pour all ingredients except the ginger beer into a copper mug over ice. Stir to combine. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.
— Devils River Whiskey

Hye Rum now the second boozy project of Texas winery owner

The owner of Calais Winery has already delivered a French flair to his Texas wines — and now wants to offer his take on rum, another popular drink in his native France.

Benjamin Calais, the winemaker at his Hye-located winery in the Hill Country, has partnered up with friends James Davidson and Stephanie Houston to open Hye Rum not far from the winery on Highway 290 West, with Davidson taking on the role of head distiller and Houston all of the sales and marketing.

Hye Rum will release bottles of its new white rum within the next couple of weeks.

Calais felt passionate about diving into rum, in addition to wine, because he noticed a very different attitude toward rum in the states than abroad.

“I just don’t feel like rum has the place it deserves in the U.S.,” Calais said. “It’s used as a mixer, so it’s often as neutral as possible, and I just don’t think that’s part of the rum tradition. Bigger, fuller spirits, like a Jamaican-style rum but not as rough around the edges, that’s what we’re going for.”

When people visit the distillery and its accompanying tasting room, the centerpiece of their experience will be cocktails, he said: an opening menu of 10 “traditional Caribbean-style and New Orleans-style drinks, like Mai Tais and Hurricanes.”

Hye Rum — located in a small town with a big interest in well-made booze like wine and whiskey — will make from scratch the additional ingredients of each drink in addition to the rum, such as bitters.

“We will have everything from sweet dessert-style cocktails like the Painkiller to more bone-dry options, like the Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned and Navy Grog,” Calais said. “We will have a daiquiri, our version of the Cuba Libre, a Dark and Stormy, a mojito, a piña colada… I feel like those are the fundamental rum cocktails.”

The distillery is aiming for an early April opening; in the meantime, rum lovers can get an early taste of what’s to come with Tiki! A Hye Rum Event on March 25, which will have a whole hog roast, buffet-style dinner and a preview of the distillery and its pot still. Tickets range from $65-$595.

Having a pot still rather than a column still will help Hye Rum’s mission of producing flavorful, full-bodied rum products using molasses — a boozy mix that will include a white rum and others that have been aged in a variety of French oak barrels, most of which have originally come from Calais Winery. Column stills, he said, traditionally make more neutral spirits.

“We’re going to run an old-fashioned pot still, fermenting from scratch, and distilling twice,” he said. “We’re not taking any shortcuts on the production side to get a bigger, heavier, deeper flavor. We’re using all the fermentation tricks that I’ve learned in the wine business to create a fuller product; I just have to remember we’re working with molasses instead of grapes.”

He and Davidson — whose first love, he said, is whiskey, but who jumped at the chance to open the distillery with Calais and has done a lot of research on rum — have drawn inspiration for the rum they’ll make from Caribbean islands like Jamaica.

Although Calais loves rum from French islands like Martinique and French Guyana, the spirits there are primarily made using sugarcane juice, versus from a sugarcane byproduct like molasses, the base of Hye Rum. The sugarcane juice gives the rum a floral character that Calais and Davidson will replicate only in very small releases. Because the distillery isn’t located in the Caribbean, they don’t have regular access to fresh juice, he said.

“There hasn’t been a craft revival for rum as there has been for gin and whiskey,” he said. “There is not much interesting rum produced in the U.S. for the U.S. market. People design them as vodka-like.”

For that reason, he expects to have to educate visitors to the tasting room once it officially opens, but having run Calais Winery for nearly 10 years in a state still being introduced to its own wine, he is well-versed in what it takes to get people used to and preferential toward his beverages.

“If you have a good product and people don’t know about it, they want an education, and we can show people actual fermentations, what the products look like and taste like, and the results we get out of it,” he said. “Being able to show our product straight and in cocktail form should help people understand this is the right way to do it.”

Once Hye Rum opens, tours and tastings to the distillery at 11247 Hwy. 290 West will be by appointment only so the staff isn’t overrun by what Calais has seen as strong initial interest. After that, he said, Hye Rum will move to regular tasting room hours.

Bottles of the white rum will be out in the next two weeks. Although the bottle designs for subsequent rum releases will be different each time, people can at least expect that the bottles will always hold rum.

“We’re only going to make rum. We’re going to stay focused on that and try to be the best at it,” he said.

For more information, visit hyerum.com.

There’s now an official mezcal of SXSW, in mark of growth for Mexican spirit

Bud Light is once again the official beer of South by Southwest — now in full swing in Austin — but a much more small-batch alcoholic beverage is also making a big appearance at the festival.

Last week, Kimo Sabe Mezcal announced a three-year deal as the official mezcal of the fest. That means music, film and technology lovers will have an opportunity to try the Mexican spirit in multiple places, including at happy hour parties at the Trusted Friends Lounge inside the Austin Convention Center, a sampling area at the Lady Bird Lake Outdoor Stage and other surprise pop-ups at SXSW.

That’s a lot of exposure for the smoky mezcal, currently the fastest growing spirit even though its more well-known agave cousin, tequila, still dominates the U.S. market. But the founders of Kimo Sabe, father-daughter team Jim Walsh and Ashley Walsh Kvamme, have an ambitious plan to spread their product across the U.S. and have already seen the mezcal make double-digit gains of tequila market share in a few states like California, according to a news release.

Contributed by Kimo Sabe Mezcal. Try the new mezcal of SXSW throughout the remainder of the fest.

Walsh Kvamme, in an interview with the fest, said that Kimo Sabe (which means ‘trusted friend’ in Sonoran Indian) is a good fit with SXSW.

“Like SXSW, Kimo Sabe mezcal is about discovery,” she said. “Mezcal as a spirit is still a mystery to most people. Our goal is to introduce the SXSW influencer to the exciting, mystical agave blend that is mezcal, and Kimo Sabe in particular as the face of mezcal.”

Kimo Sabe Mezcal has two expressions, joven and reposado. The joven — unaged, which means you’ll get the full blast of smoke not tempered by wood maturation — is full of chipotle and roasted pepper notes along with semi-sweet chocolate and lemon balm, according to the company. The reposado, aged in oak for six months, features a flavor profile of toasted almond, toasted coconut and chamomile tea.

There’s also an incoming añejo.

The company’s push for massive growth across the U.S. might seem counter to the needs of the mezcal industry, whose biggest proponents push for sustainability with the agave crop, but Kimo Sabe is addressing that, too.

“Kimo Sabe and the governor of Zacatecas, Mexico, announced last week a ground-breaking partnership that will create sustainable, organic ecosystems for the cultivation of varietal agaves, generating up to 100 new agave farms and creating over 1,000 new jobs in the state,” according to the press release. “The move is part of Kimo Sabe’s plan to build bridges with Mexico when others are suggesting walls.”

There’s now a Texas vodka made from state-grown black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas deliver prosperity in the new year — but they also can bring, as one Texas farmer found out, a boozy good time. Now, he’s distilling with them to make vodka at BlackEyed Distilling in Fort Worth, which recently hosted a grand opening celebration.

Master distiller Trey Nickels got the idea for making the vodka after challenging years working on his family’s land in Muleshoe, a Pandhandle town northwest of Lubbock, and enduring drought and poor crop yields. He decided to put the peas to a very different use instead, moving on from farming, and has found that they contribute a clean taste in BlackEyed Distilling’s signature product, BLK EYE Vodka.

Vodka made from black-eyed peas? Thanks to a forward-thinking distiller, it exists in Fort Worth.

“We knew black-eyed peas were loaded with the starch necessary to make the fermented mash that can be distilled into liquor. We just needed to prove it. So we put the concept to the test,” according to a press release from the distillery.

The vodka is made with a blend of Texas-sourced non-genetically modified black-eyed peas and corn, distilled 22 times in a 21-foot column still and brought to 40 percent alcohol by volume. Nickels has noticed that black-eyed peas are suited for making vodka, as corn and potatoes are, because distilling them “produces a neutral flavor that’s also ideal for mixing.”

His project, originally TreyMark Black Eyed Vodka, is a family affair with his mother, Deborah Nickels, serving as the distillery’s tasting room manager. Nestled in a circa-1910 firehouse in Fort Worth, BlackEyed Distilling will start offering regular tours and tastings starting this weekend, and visitors will be able to try the vodka, as well as other small-batch spirits made there, in cocktails. They can also take bottles to go.

“Operating a distillery in an old firehouse does have at least one advantage,” according to BlackEyed. “That hole in the floor where the firemen’s pole used to be? It just happens to be the perfect place to fit our copper and steel pot still.”

BlackEyed Distilling is located at 503 Bryan Ave. in Fort Worth, for the next time you’re ever in that neck of the woods. The BLK Eye Vodka also is on shelves at a couple of Spec’s (Highland Park and Arbor Walk) in Austin.

For more information, visit blackeyed.vodka.

Stock up on your booze with Twin Liquors’ 80th anniversary dollar sale

It’s the 80th anniversary of Twin Liquors, so all 80 locations are giving us a boozy treat: the return of the dollar sale, when prices of wine and spirits drop to “rock bottom.”

The sale sadly does not extend to most beer — which is generally pretty cheap anyway — but it’s a good deal if you’ve been eyeing a rare whiskey that wasn’t previously agreeable with your booze budget. During the sale, which starts today and lasts through Saturday, Twin Liquors brings the prices of all wine and liquor in bottles 750 ml or larger to wholesale cost and adds a buck. 

Some beer bombers and larger-format bottles have been included in the sale as well. That’s a deal hard to pass up. 

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Head to Twin Liquors this weekend for the company's dollar sale, which drops the price of wines and spirits.
Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Head to Twin Liquors this weekend for the company’s dollar sale, which drops the price of wines and spirits.
So dream big when you stop into your neighborhood store. The dollar sale won’t affect more affordable items as much as it will the more luxury products, the expensive wines and older aged spirits that we merely sigh wistfully at when we’re browsing the shelves for bottles to supply our weekend fun.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to marvel at the fact that Twin Liquors is an 80-year-old company, founded in Austin in 1937, shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.

“The Jabour family ventured into the liquor industry with ‘Jabour’s Package Store,’ which contained a liquor store, a drug store and a soda fountain that were all under the same roof,” according to Twin Liquors. “During this era, operating a liquor store along with a soda fountain and a drugstore was the trend. Competition was fierce after Prohibition, and there were approximately 26 liquor stores within a two-mile area. The Jabour family worked hard and, by the mid-1940s, had expanded the business to three liquor stores and a tavern that only sold beer.”

And now, the home-grown franchise has expanded across Central Texas, venturing north to Waco, south to San Antonio and east to parts of Houston and College Station.

USE OUR GUIDE: GET TO KNOW AUSTIN’S BREWERIES, DISTILLERIES AND MORE IN THE AUSTIN360 BOOZERY GUIDE

For more information, visit twinliquors.com.

Austin-based Revolution Spirits releases a Texas amaro, the first of its kind

The creator of barrel-aged gin, fruited and coffee liqueurs, and eau de vies has recently debuted yet another revolutionary new product: a Texas amaro. And Revolution Spirits is pretty sure it’s the first Texas amaro ever introduced.

Most known for its year-round Austin Reserve Gin, Revolution Spirits hasn’t been able to stop tinkering in its modest distilling space in the Hill Country, near boozy neighbors Argus Cidery and Last Stand Brewing. As a result, the distillery now has the Amico Amaro available for purchase at the tasting room, open every Saturday, and within the next week or two, the amaro will be found at stores as well as a full-time product, like the gin.

Revolution co-owner Mark Shilling said it was one of the more challenging projects he and his small team have taken on.

“In the end, we exceeded our goal, creating a bitter liqueur that not only tastes great in a classic cocktail, but also by itself as an aperitif,” he said. “It stays true to classic bitter components, while using hints of botanicals such as sumac and orange to add brightness and subtle sweetness.”

The distillery created the amaro, a bitter liqueur, following Italian tradition. In Italy, amaro is typically enjoyed as an aperitivo, a complex liquid mixture of herbs and roots that is designed to awaken your palate for the meal to come, and Revolution Spirits wants it to be sipped in a similar fashion — for the most part.

USE OUR GUIDE: GET TO KNOW AUSTIN’S BREWERIES, DISTILLERIES AND MORE IN THE AUSTIN360 BOOZERY GUIDE

Although Italians often drink amaro neat, the distillers who made Amico Amaro (which, by the way, means “bitter friend”) suggest pairing it with sparkling water or sparkling wine “to open up the complexities from 12 carefully selected ingredients,” Shilling said via email. Or it’s a worthy companion to Revolution Spirits’ own Austin Reserve Gin in a Negroni. (Just swap it with the typically used Campari.)

Revolution Spirits recently debuted a Texas amaro, Amico.
Revolution Spirits recently debuted a Texas amaro, Amico.

Amico Amaro contains a variety of ingredients, from hops normally found in beer to common food items like orange peel and cranberry.

The recipe was developed, Shilling said, to highlight “the bitter components without overwhelming drinkers who aren’t as attuned to bitterness as some might be. We accomplished this by first choosing 5 different bittering ingredients that hit on different aspects of bitterness.”

For example, he said, “cinchona and gentian offer stronger bitter notes as roots, while the hops (provide) balance with a softer character and the witch hazel and blessed thistle give a more astringent and vegetal bitterness. On top of this we layered bright, acidic notes like hibiscus and sumac, with middle notes to fill in the gaps: fennel, damiana and charred cedar.”

The remaining ingredients, the fruit of orange and cranberry, help to soften the sharp acidic elements and contributed depth to the sweetness of the final item, sugar.

But don’t try and pick out each individual flavor within the amaro. That’s not the point, he said.

“Unlike our Austin Reserve Gin, where we wanted to highlight each individual botanical note, Amico Amaro is about the sum of its parts,” Shilling said. “We wanted to create lots of depth and complexity without having any one note dominate or distinctly stand out.”

Revolution Spirits is opened from 1 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, although you should check social media or the website, at revolutionspirits.com, to make sure that’s when you can show up for tours and tastings. Hours can vary.

Event: Parkside Projects’ beverage series returns with boozy tastings

Taste different styles of sherry during the return of Parkside Projects' beverage series at Bullfight.
Taste different styles of sherry during the return of Parkside Projects’ beverage series, which starts up again at Bullfight.

The beverage series produced by Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s Parkside Project restaurants returns in February with six boozy installments throughout the year.

Started last year at the restaurateur’s various establishments — such as the Spanish-focused Bullfight and Italian-centric Olive & June — the series highlights a specific spirit from around the world, with each of the classes featuring a tasting, an educational component and small bites. Parkside Project’s beverage director and advanced sommelier Paul Ozbirn will lead each course.

“Each class is designed to offer an in-depth understanding of the complexities of each spirit, from its origins to subtleties in flavors,” Ozbirn said in a press release.

The first one launches on Feb. 6 at Bullfight, where attendees will learn about the Spanish fortified wine known as sherry and “the rich history of the region of Jerez,” where it’s produced. People will get to taste the range of sherry styles, from dry to sweet. Spots are limited with only 36 tickets at $32.50 per person, so don’t delay in reserving your seat.

Buy your tickets to the sherry class on ticketbud.

Another coming class will be at Olive & June on March 27 and features the “brandy-based Italian after-dinner drink, amari,” which you’ll get to sip on while “discussing its history, tradition and its exciting revival on the American cocktail scene,” according to the release. That one will also be $32.50, but tickets don’t go on sale until Feb. 28.

Future classes will focus on gin, rum and mezcal. For more information about the series or the restaurants where the classes are being held, visit parksideprojects.com.

Love Scotch whisky? Don’t miss the Blackheart’s inaugural Peat Week

Gabi Porter. Enjoy Scotch whisky by itself or in a cocktail during the Blackheart's Peat Week.
Photo by Gabi Porter. Enjoy Scotch whisky by itself or in a cocktail during the Blackheart’s Peat Week.

America’s beloved bourbon often steals the spotlight here, but one Rainey Street bar hasn’t forgotten about one of the oldest whiskeys of the world. The Blackheart is devoting an entire week to Scotch whisky starting Sunday and will have drink specials, happy hour events, tastings, Scotch 101 classes and more.

Each day, the Blackheart will have two featured Scotch whiskies available neat, on the rocks or in a classic cocktail like the Blood and Sand and the Rob Roy. One of the whiskies will be “a mid-price, everyman kind of Scotch,” while the other is more of a harder-to-find top-shelf brand, according to the Blackheart.

Don’t know much about Scotch? That’s OK. The bar will teach you with two workshops: a Scotch 101 tasting featuring Lagavulin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 and another one featuring Glenkinchie, Clynelish and Talisker Storm at 7 p.m. on Jan. 19. Peat Week is also kicking off at 6 p.m. Sunday with a screening of Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” — which, while not entirely related to the subject, is certainly an epic way to debut a boozy week.

Peat Week gets its name from Scotch’s striking smoke characteristic.

“Some Scotch whisky distilleries slowly dry the malted barley (from which Scotch is made) using fires made from peat, a special kind of turf,” the Blackheart noted in a press release. “The 30-hour drying process gives the whisky a distinctive smoky flavor, often referred to as ‘peatiness.’”

Here’s the schedule of whiskies going on special each day:

Sunday, Jan. 15

Bruichladdich Octomore
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte

Monday, Jan. 16

Glen Scotia Samaroli
Auchentoshan Single Malt Whisky 12 Year

Tuesday, Jan. 17

Laphroaig (Lore)
Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Wednesday, Jan. 18

Lagavulin 16 yr
Ardbeg 10 yr

Thursday, Jan. 19

The Glenlivet 21 Year
Glenlivet Founders Reserve

Friday, Jan. 20

Laphroaig (Cairdeas)
Singleton Whisky 15 Year

Saturday, Jan. 21

Compass Box Whisky
Oban 14 Year