Drink of the Day, National Margarita Day Edition: El Meson

Saturday, February 22 is officially National Margarita Day, which, of course, is something Austinites typically celebrate every day. In honor of all things tequila and lime, today’s drink of the day comes from one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, El Meson. El Meson, mentioned here, is home to some of the best interior Mexican dishes in Austin, especially given their wallet friendly prices. In addition, El Meson has also always had a respectable margarita program, thanks in large part to the restaurant’s use of fresh ingredients over premade mixes.

However, the South Lamar restaurant upped the ante in recent months by expanding their list to include both traditional and modern mezcal and tequila-based cocktail offerings. I couldn’t get enough of one of these additions, the mezcal-based El Fresa, during my last visit to the restaurant. The well-balanced combination of sweet muddled strawberries and balsamic vinegar against the smoky mezcal and peppery basil is fantastic. Though not exactly a traditional margarita per say, it’s a drink that needs no reason to enjoy.

 

El Fresa at El Meson

El Fresa at El Meson

El Meson South Lamar, 2038 South Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704. 512.442.4441.

Looking for more? Here are a few other spots that boast standout margaritas:

Texas Chili Parlor – Despite with this blog has led you to believe, the Texas Chili Parlor does actually serve other cocktails besides the infamous Drew Drink. The TCP’s deadly margarita, made entirely of fresh squeezed limes, triple sec, and tequila, might just be the best $5.00 you’ll spend all Saturday. 1409 Lavaca Street. 

El Naranjo – Mentioned here, El Naranjo’s broad selection of tequila offerings, combined to the restaurant’s commitment to quality, makes these margaritas exceptional. A little on the pricier side, but well worth it. 85 Rainey Street. Continue reading Drink of the Day, National Margarita Day Edition: El Meson

February Happenings, Part I: Exotic Meat Pop-Up, Wine Dinners and #BaconandBeerATX Fest

February is gearing up to be quite the month of events and new openings. Here are a few quick picks to get on your calendar ASAP, but there are plenty more updates coming your way, including a full list of Valentine’s Day happenings. Stay tuned!

Beer and Bacon Fest

February 4 – Mettle Italian Wine Dinner at 7PM

Mettle Chef Andrew Francisco will prepare an amazing five-course menu to be paired with a variety of Italian wines.  The dinner is $85/per person, and reservations can be made online or by calling 512.236.1022. More information can be found here.  Mettle . . . → Read More: February Happenings, Part I: Exotic Meat Pop-Up, Wine Dinners and #BaconandBeerATX Fest

Summer Drinks: Texas Tiki Week Kicks Off June 22nd

Party like Donn Beach during Texas Tiki Week, running from Saturday, June 22 through Sunday, June 30. Throughout the week, a number of the state’s best bartenders will play homage to all things Polynesian by featuring special menus filled with deliciously kitschy boat drinks. Texas Tiki Week, hosted by the Austin chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild (USBG), unites a number of local bars, restaurants and spirit purveyors for social and philanthropic events held in celebration of all things Tiki.

Texas Tiki Week - Photo via drink.well.

Texas Tiki Week – Photo via drink.well.

There are plenty of happenings around town to encourage Austinites to Mai Tai-one on, including an official R(h)um Row Kick-Off on North Loop on Sunday, June 23rd and statewide competition on Tuesday, June 25th. Top picks after the jump and full rundown of all the rum-filled fun can be found here.

Dead Man's Party Photo via drink.well.

Dead Man’s Party Photo via drink.well.

Don’t want to wait until Sunday to get your tiki on? Enjoy this poolside-perfect cocktail recipe courtesy of drink.well.

Dead Man’s Party

drink.well’s Americana twist on the tiki classic “Zombie” cocktail

1 oz Bourbon
.5 oz Rye Whiskey
.5 oz White Whiskey
.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 oz “Dead Man’s Mix” ( 1 oz Fresh Grapefruit, .5 oz Fresh Lime, .5 oz Cinnamon Syrup)
2 drops of Bittermen’s Tiki Bitters

Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice in a cocktail tin. Fine strain into a Berliner glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and a generous sprig of mint.

Visit drink.well. at 207 East 53rd Street, Austin, TX. 

Continue reading Summer Drinks: Texas Tiki Week Kicks Off June 22nd

Happenings: 2013 Austin Openings, Part I

With so many new restaurants, brewpubs, and bars opening in Austin these days, it is hard to keep up! The last list contained an overwhelming number of new spots to check out, but even that was almost outdated as soon as it was released. For this round of openings, I’m breaking it down by genre. Let’s start Part I the same as every meal should: with a cocktail, beer or glass of wine.

Openings:

IMG_3283The Chicago House

Not content with only forming his own city or literarily cornering the Red River District eats, ATX Brands CEO Doug Guller (Pelon’s/Bikinis) announced the group’s latest venture The Chicago House will open on January 24. The Chicago House will focus on being downtown’s ‘premier destination for a microbrew’. To accomplish this goal, the bar will serve a rotating selection of craft beers, including hard to find, limited releases from around the country. Along with an extensive craft beer list, the new spot will have a food menu inspired by the Windy City with dishes such as Chicago Vienna hot dogs. A former turn of the (19th) century hotel and boarding house, ATX brands tapped local architecture group DesignTrait to revamp the space. The Chicago House opens on January 24 at 607 Trinity, Austin, TX 78701. Facebook

Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (ABGB)

Former Uncle Billy’s brewmasters have teamed up to launch Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company in South Austin. The brewpub will serve a diverse collection of craft beers brewed in-house alongside hand-tossed pizzas. Hoping to be a neighborhood destination, the new spot will feature live music in a laidback environment.

ABGB will be located at 1305 West Oltorf, Austin TX 78704. http://theabgb.com

Freedmen’s

In what promises to be the best thing to hit West Campus since trashcan punch East Side Kings opened, Freedmen’s BBQ & bar is now officially open, liquor license in hand. The highly anticipated new spot opened in late 2012 after a painstakingly detailed remodel of its historic space. The spot features creative BBQ and craft cocktail pairings in addition to a drink menu inspired by classic cocktails of yesteryear.

Freedmen’s is located at 2402 San Gabriel, Austin, TX 78705.  Facebook page here.

Continue reading Happenings: 2013 Austin Openings, Part I

Texas Craft Brewers Festival this Saturday 10/6

Saturday’s weather forecast reads 75 and sunny, which means it’s just about the perfect weather for enjoying the Great Outdoors, cold beer in hand. Enter this Saturday’s Texas Craft Brewers Festival, the largest and most hoppy-ing gathering of craft brewers in the state celebrating all things beer. Hosted by the Young Men’s Business League, the annual festival celebrates the Texas Craft Beer industry while raising funds for Austin Sunshine Camps and raising awareness for important issues facing the industry, such as this little issue. Along with tastings of rare blends from breweries such as Austin Beerworks, Jester King, and . . . → Read More: Texas Craft Brewers Festival this Saturday 10/6

Foodie Happenings: Midnight Cowboy Pop Up Dinner 9/17

Midnight Cowboy Modeling is hosting a special pop-up dinner event on Monday, September 17 complete with five sinfully decadent courses created by Alamo Drafthouse Chef Jason Dohono. Along with Chef Dohono’s ah-mazing menu, guests will also enjoy fancy craft cocktail pairings created by Midnight Cowboy’s mixologists extraordinaires Bill Norris and Brian Dressel.

There are two seating options available at either 7pm or 9:30pm, with 24 spots available at each seating. Reservations can be made online at http://midnightcowboymodeling.com beginning Thursday, September 13 at 2pm.

Cost is $80/pp and will most likely sell out quickly so make reservations ASAP!

Full menu details after the jump!  Midnight Cowboy Modeling is located at 313 E 6th Street, Austin, TX 78701.

Photo Credit Nick Simonite

Continue reading Foodie Happenings: Midnight Cowboy Pop Up Dinner 9/17

Drink of the Day: Elizabeth Street Cafe

Following a Friday night enjoyed to its full potential and an early Saturday morning spent moving, we escaped to Elizabeth Street Café for a much needed relaxing lunch. With legs too tired to wait for a table, we beelined it to take advantage of the bar’s open seating. While pursuing the menu it was hard not to notice the sriracha-filled concoction being whipped up behind the bar. Our bartender informed us the drink in question was Elizabeth Street’s beer punch. After watching him chop, measure, and season said drink with increasing mouthwatering curiosity, we put aside a previously hatched . . . → Read More: Drink of the Day: Elizabeth Street Cafe

Where to Drink Next: Austin’s Newest Watering Holes

Drinks

If you happen to be on the hunt for a new watering hole or perhaps a place to drown your sorrows following the closing of Mexican restaurant/music venue/heroin hotspot Jovita’s, here is a rundown of a few new bars around town. Some are new, others are newish, but all are worth checking out!

East Side

Brooklyn transplant Weather Up is now open in East Austin. The bar is the third of its kind from owner and famed mixologist Kathryn Weatherup and features an extensive menu of craft cocktails. Believing a cocktail is only as good as its ice, . . . → Read More: Where to Drink Next: Austin’s Newest Watering Holes