"Food Editor" is one of the most coveted positions in this modern food renaissance and for Austin Chronicle's Brandon Watson, it's both a blessing & a curse. Starting in small town Texas, and traversing through white collar jobs, Brandon parlayed a recurring lunch date into something bigger: Food Writer! Personal health issues, and many quasi-hip restaurants later, where is Austin's food scene going? We chat lights, Barflys, and health.
Erin Wade is a case study in ambition and learning. What started as an interest in Science turned into a Harvard English degree. Unexpectedly, this road dove into fashion and then completely mutated into the most meaningful chapter yet....farming. Erin's connection to the earth and people inspired her to craft a restaurant concept that embodied quality and health. A short time later, her breadth of talents converged and Vinaigrette was born. A celebratory year after she opened her Austin location, we chat Subway, Bastrop, degrees, and more....
In an exploration of love, sex, spirituality, and politics, this second chat with Tomas Estes explores the cerebral aspects of this living legend. How does love betray and free us? How is this modern era of segregation unfolding in stark contrast to the 60's? Where is the narrative of the world headed? Wherever the path goes it will be fraught with love and fear.
Tomas Estes has dove head first into every annal the world has had to offer. From many successful restaurants to the globally lauded Tequila Ocho, he has remained transparent and open to every opportunity in this life. This is the first of two chats with the worldly "Dali Lama" of Tequila. His achievements and impact on the world of hospitality will be forever felt. We chat Peter Fonda, fatherhood, and wrestling.
Robin Nance of Auchentoshan Single Malt Whisky could be considered a modern Whisky icon, but she has lived a few other lives before this one. At a young age, Robin was drawn to photography both behind and in front of the lens. This artistic spirit drove her to travel the world and ultimately end up in LA to pursue acting. Many stand up comedy sketches and auditions later, Robin entered the hospitality industry full time. With an emerging penchant for Single Malt, Robin's turn to the brand side was inevitable. We talk Flashdance, San Antonio, and being outspoken about your beliefs.
The road to spirits is often an unpredictable one, and as a predilection towards research turned its focus to distilleries, Dr. Nicholas Morgan's relationship with Scotch began. 26 years later, Dr. Nick is now one of the world's esteemed experts of Scotch serving as Diego's Head of Whisky Outreach. From an aspiring guitarist in Oxfordshire to a singular protagonist for Scotch whisky against Bourbon on one fateful night in Austin, TX, life has led to many exciting roads. Dr. Nick continues to be the epitome of class and transparency as he continues to educate the world about Scotch with a guitar strapped to his back. We talk Bowie, Brexit, and trouble similarities between the UK/US.
Cheech Marin is known for his comedy, wit, and unforgettable voice. But most people don't know that his career in the spirits industry has just begun with Trés Papalotes Mezcal. Cheech has clearly been a pioneer in the promulgation of Mexicano art and culture, but the path to Mezcal has been a fateful one. We sip, chat, and crack jokes about a few orange figureheads.
Like many shining personalities in this industry, music is an underlying theme and motivator. For Del Maguey's Evan Meeker, the fiddling road brought him to Mezcal. A creative upbringing in Colorado intersected with multiple hospitality jobs and the spark was then ignited. From behind the bar, to distribution, Evan's career has dipped into many facets of this industry, but has now dived in the culturally rich world of Mezcal. We chat Carnegie Hall, agave, and age.
2 teachers, 2 different paths. Bryan Winslow and Tim Bullock started in completely different areas with completely different interests, but a serendipitous meeting whilst working at Austin Beerworks spawned a beautiful working relationship. With style, nuance, and a wide creative lens, St. Elmo Brewing Company was born. The south Austin destination pairs great beers, ambiance, and delicious food with a bit of Tim/Bryan's down-to-earthness mixed in. We chat Daft Punk, Spain, and feuds.
Sometimes small town living causes a lust for culture that is rarely paralleled. Jeff Young has traveled the world seeking anything and everything in the wake of leaving Alabama. A love of detail and science matched perfectly with an interest in beer. Seeking brewing opportunities and a way to express his counterculture perspective, Jeff entered the brewing incubator Black Star Co-Op and developed a penchant for sour. As the relationships and knowledge accrued, Blue Owl Brewery was born some time thereafter. We chat sour, Scotland, and whiskey.
With so many great seminars and events happening at this year's San Antonio Cocktail Conference, it can quickly get overwhelming. In chronological order, here are a few of my favorites. Agave love, Bowie-dedication, and great whiskey talks...
All the details are contained below, don't forget to RSVP (when applicable)!
Remembering Bowie- Presented by Pioneer Spirits
312 Pearl Pkwy #2107, San Antonio, TX 78215
Lots of great brands, but how's about try an El Diablo with Wahaka Mezcal?
Seminar- The 5 W's of Drinking
Seminar- The Art of Pairing
3 - 4:15
Downstairs at the Esquire Tavern
155 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Drink some Fortaleza still strength and talk mustaches with Guillermo Sauza
Martine After Dark
The Last Word
229 E Houston St #10, San Antonio, TX 78205
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Play with the monkey and try any delicious complimentary cocktail with this elegant Honeysuckle liqueur
Seminar- Tequila: From The Inside Out
Seminar- The Martini and the Discerning Palette
Seminar- How NOT to Create Your Next Mezcal Brand
Chairman's Rum Time
Downstairs at the Esquire Tavern
155 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Try this new delicious rum entry in Texas. I'm hearing it's on a whole new level.
Evening Mischief #1
Wu-Tang Over Everythang
102 9th St, San Antonio, TX 78215
Willie G's and Campari spin the vinyl and pour some Glenfiddich cocktails. It'll be off the ______
Evening Mischief #2
Gin & Juice Vol II
The Last Word
229 E Houston St #10, San Antonio, TX 78205
Guest bartenders make things slang. Travis Tober at the helm.
2720 McCullough Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212
RSVP to email@example.com
Coffee, bites, and booze. A delicate way to close an epic week.
Chicago native Eric Rosentreter has imbibed all things whiskey and art. A creative force with mixed media and possessing an exceptionally discerning palette for spirits, Eric has seen all annals of the hospitality industry. But perhaps the most career defining chapter was at Chicago's whiskey haven, Delilah's, where he learned the foundational tricks of the trade. Always deconstructing and shifting in the duality of his creative heart, Eric now enters the next phase of his career with Redemption Whiskey. We chat selling out, Rye, Joe Strummer, and the San Antonio Cocktail Conference.
Check out Eric's seminar
JANUARY 14, 2017 | 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM | $45.00
EMBASSY SUITES RIVERWALK DOWNTOWN
To read more and buy tickets, click here.
The wanderlust hit Geraldine's Lucas Felak at a very young age. Tending bar in Germany in his teens and growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Lucas has the prototypical hospitality DNA. Although, his additional pursuit of academic enlightenment makes him the perfect weapon. As love brought him to Austin, the best chapter yet started to unfold. Lucas has established himself as an expert on whiskey and an emerging mentor to the industry. We chat age, degrees, and dead distilleries.
Catch Lucas at his San Antonio Cocktail Conference seminar
Cocktail DIY: Mixologist Tips of the Trade
JANUARY 14, 2017 | 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
Get tickets here
Texan at heart, and Oregonian at mind, Jacob Grier has had an amazing trek leading him to the publishing of his first book "Cocktails on Tap: The Art of Mixing Spirits and Beer". What started as path destined for political lobbying in DC turned askew into the world of coffee. This foundation in flavors and terroir ultimately spawned a deep interest and chronicling of cocktail composition. Many years later, Jacob is an industry expert on cocktails and potentially cigars in the future.. We chat Trump, Aquavit, and Spring, TX.
Catch him at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2017 sharing his love of Aquavit.
And purchase his new book HERE
Most Scotland natives take advantage of the vast array of scotch resources while in the country, but for Glenfiddich's David Allardice, a circuitous journey to the states led him to the delicious spirit. David developed an early passion for hard core techno and turntables that now make him the ultimate brand ambassador. And as cocktail culture becomes more evolved, where does the traditional Scotch fit into the mix? David thinks the future might lie in Scotch cocktails and innovative branding ideas. We chat Trainspotting, health, loving your job, and working in the car.
Whiskey is known to bring communities together, but for Still Austin Whiskey Co's co-founder and CEO Chris Seals, it brought a son and father together. Still Austin Whiskey Co aims to bring back ancient flavors and hyper-local agriculture with a new vision on producing whiskey within the city limits. With an elegant new facility catering to interactive whiskey composition, Still Austin Whiskey Co hopes to collaboratively bring a new art scene to south Austin. Despite the heightened focus on local grains and production, Still Austin will enlarge the current narrative of whiskey in the US and create some highly innovative flavors in the process. We chat coming out, finances, prohibition, and more....
When a small town's ability to create careers and new opportunities seems bleak, you go off to study marketing at Texas Tech; or so the story goes. Scott Willis comes from a small Texas town, but has created a big Texas Tequila after he pursued the music business in Austin, Texas. Combining tech, promotional, and web experience, Scott answered an ad that quickly tossed him into the world of Tequila. 4 years later, Tequila 512 is a highly awarded triple distilled Tequila with Scott's flavor signature embedded in every drop. We chat kids, la casa, and the new Anejo expression.
First, David Suro extols the thought process and production methods for his innovative new project Siembra Valles Ancestral. The resulting Tequila is so vivid, dynamic, and supple that your thoughts on the flavor of Tequila may forever be changed. Then, the living legend Mr. Carlos C. Camarena talks about this life and how he was born into the tequila industry. A man of nuance, exceptional taste, and admirable transparency, Carlos discusses the future of Tapatio and how the entire future of Tequila may be hinging on our furry flying friend, the bat. We chat the cartel, Tequila Ocho, academia, and more.
Tis the season!
It's been a great year of creativity and distillation. Today on SDV I make 12 suggestions for great boozy gifts this holiday season. Let's look past the Pappy and BTAC to truly gift the greatest work in bottle today. In not particular order (and from left to right):
Copper and Kings Butchertown Brandy- $65 62% abv
Mezcal Vago Madre Cuixe by Emigdio Jarquin- $99 51.7 abv
Gracias a Dios Cuixe- $75 45% abv
Alipus San Andres Espadin - $45 47% abv
Siembra Valles Ancestral - $110 49% abv
PersonalWine.com - Vary$
Henry McKenna BIB 10yr SB - $35 50% abv
Pikesville Straight Rye 6yr- $50 55% abv
Treaty Oak Experimental Collection Whiskey- $50 50% abv
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked- $50 45% abv
Parce 12 Year Columbian Rum- $50 40% abv
El Dorado 15 Year Rum- $35 40% abv
Happy Repeal Day! To further celebrate and cheers to the progress of booze, why not buy yourself a bottle of personalized wine? Today's chat with PersonalWine.com founder Alex Andrawes dives into serendipity, the UT experience, and how a well traveled youth can lead to a deep passion with wine. This "oil kid" has traveled all over the world and leveraged his college broker gig to understand when to strike while the iron's hot. The resulting concept: buying wine that is branded and personalized just for YOU. As the project evolved, Alex needed a space to not only sip amazing wines but also do a little business now and then. The Red Room Lounge was then born; a cool downstairs wine bar to relax and converse. We chat The Rolling Stones, Snoop Dog, and the real value of high priced wine.
Looking for gift ideas? Head over to the Red Room gifting link below to explore some options for this holiday season.
We've all concluded our busy nights with a sip or 2 of the finest aperitif, Fernet. The late night favorite has established itself as one of the cult hits of the hospitality industry. And here, deep in the heart of Texas, Georgia native Megan Sparks carries the torch for the beloved spirit. Gymnast turned sculpture and cocktail mastermind, Megan has been dubbed the "Fernet Fairy" and no more apropos title has been conceived. With her career-centric business mind, Megan continues to shape a brilliant career evolving from one opportunity to the next. We chat public speaking, Italy, and bartender equality.
War, political turmoil, religion, and more with Diageo Reserve's Jorge Raptis. A true aficionado of all things agave, Jorge is both Greek and Mexican; an interesting combination that spills hospitality and cordiality. From early days in Mexico to the career influencing years in Houston, Jorge has been driven to learn, greet, and pair the best minds together. In the midst of a massive reorganization of the Diageo teams, Jorge now finds himself singing the praises of Don Julio Tequila and Zacapa Rum across the nation. We chat the "big guys", incubators, and Sotol Pechuga.
It's been a crazy year and yet despite all the disheartening conflicts among us, there is still plenty to be thankful for.
I hope you enjoy this day with your family and loved ones. Sip something delicious and eat just enough.
Don't forget to enjoy that Turkey of a wild variety.
Now onto Christmas.....
The cocktail revolution is upon us, but the coffee revolution is now intersecting perfectly. With amazing flavor combinations and coffee innovations, you would think Fleet Coffee in Austin, TX is the newest Texas cocktail haven. It is in fact an incubator for amazing flavor combinations constructed by the 2 least pretentious gentleman you'd expect. Patrick and Lorenzo both worked their way through the early days of coffee in Austin. After time working together at Cafe Medici and a brief spark of entrepreneurialism, Fleet Coffee was born. We talk fruity pebbles, closing drinks, and modern music.
Alexis Piotrowski is the perfect template for bar efficiency and no nonsense staff management. An early athlete and found object artist, Alexis found her destiny was in the hospitality industry. With varying experience serving shots, margaritas, and every other iteration of alcoholic beverages you can imagine, Alexis brought her impressive resume to Austin where she brought the original Jackalope into a new era of success and has been an integral force in constructing Version 2.0 Jackalope South Shore. We chat election results, being conscious of costs, and playing the right hits.
Jackalope South Shore's grand opening is THIS Saturday November 19th. Details Below.