World Cocktail Day: Celebrate Like a Pro with Tips from Morgan Schick of Aaxte

May 13, 1806 marked the day that The Oxford Dictionary published and defined the word cocktail:

Cocktail (noun): An alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or several spirits mixed with other ingredients, such as fruit juice, lemonade, or cream.”

We celebrate World Cocktail Day each year on the anniversary of that momentous day. But let’s be real; the cocktail has since become more than a simple wedding of ingredients and a flick of the wrist. To shed light on modern day cocktail menus and trends so that you can enjoy World Cocktail Day for all it has to offer, we sat down with Morgan Schick for a drink (or three!), the bar manager of revered San Francisco hotspot Trick Dog and the town’s newest Basque-inspired restaurant and bar Aatxe. A self-proclaimed charmer who openly admits to bringing his own liquor on long flights, Schick, who is part of the Bon Vivants, a nationally recognized cocktail, hospitality, marketing, and design firm, shares his secret recipe for understanding, mixing, and enjoying au courant cocktails.

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Have fun! Drinking is about a good time. Schick advises, “Take drinking seriously, but don’t be too serious.” Appreciate the craft and enjoy the art.

Ask the experts. “It’s hard to tell from a cocktail list if a drink will be sweet, sour, or bitter,” says Schick. Don’t hesitate to chat with the bartender, so you can feel confident about exactly what you’re ordering.

Write your own tale. A cocktail is an experience, not a drink. At Trick Dog, menus are conceptually themed and cocktails are named after colors, zodiac signs, and San Francisco landmarks. Give your home-mixed favorite a quirky twist by coining it after a memorable adventure, or order something extra exotic when out to make it a night to remember. Currently, the menu at Trick Dog is Chinese-themed, and anyone who dares to enter may order the Boduolige Shuang. Say what?  Count us in.Continue Reading

Top Brewery Restaurants to Dine at During American #CraftBeerWeek

Goose Island  blog copyAmerican Craft Beer Week kicks off today, and we’re thirsty for some quality draught craft brews. Here are five top brewery restaurants waiting to serve you delicious food that pairs perfectly with a pint this week. Take a tour, reserve a table, and raise a glass.

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, San Diego, California
One of the 50 largest craft breweries in the nation, Ballast Point has been in business since 1996. Their brews and operations have garnered several World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival honors, as well as numerous other local and international nods. The new restaurant opened in the completely revamped tasting room in November 2014 and quickly went on to win an OpenTable award for 2015 Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurant in America.
Don’t miss: Calico, an American amber ale, which has won 21 awards, including a 2001 Great American Beer Festival Gold and the 2002 World Beer Cup.
Rave restaurant review: “Our second visit but won’t be our last. Love the beer and food!”
Book a table!

Breckenridge Colorado Craft, Breckenridge Brewery, Denver, Colorado
With a portfolio of almost 20 beers, including seasonal, small batch, and barrel-aged offerings, Breckenridge Brewery retains the spirit of its home brew roots even as it has blossomed from a modest 3,000-barrel-a-year brewpub into a popular craft beer and restaurant company, producing more than 62,000 barrels of fresh beer annually. In business since 1990, it was the third craft brewery to open in Colorado.
Don’t miss: Breckenridge Colorado Craft eatery showcases brews other than the Breckenridge Brewery family of beers, but don’t leave without trying a SummerBright Ale, a golden ale with citrus notes.
Rave restaurant review: “Great food, great brews, great service. Went two nights in a row, and would’ve gone again!”
Book a table!

Goose Island Brewery, Chicago, Illinois
Goose Island started out as a brewpub in 1988, which gave way to a full-scale craft brewery in 1995. There are nearly 30 Goose Island beers available, many of which have earned accolades at both the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. The brewery is well respected among industry peers for pioneering the process of barrel-aging beer back in 1992.
Don’t miss: Sofie, a saison, which earned a 2011 Great American Beer Festival Bronze. If you happen to visit in November, quaff one of the much-heralded Bourbon County series of beers.
Rave restaurant review: “Pub fare with a few twists. Quality of food is good and a good value. Recommend for group outings and, of course, great beer selection.”
Book a table!Continue Reading

Mother’s Day Cocktails: 10 to Try as You Toast Mom

Blog Mom's Day Cocktails Founding Farmers Cucumber Delight copyAs you raise a glass to the special mom in your life on Mother’s Day, we invite you to think beyond the Bloody Mary. We’ve rounded up 10 refreshing craft Mother’s Day cocktails from some of the OpenTable 2015 Top 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America to make Sunday even more delicious.

1. Absolutely Smashing at Lokal, Chicago, Illinois: Orange vodka, pineapple, and orange juice combine for a decidedly adult way to start the day.

2. The California Cooler at Great Maple, San Diego, California: Strained over ice, this cooler with fresh-pressed watermelon juice, mint, lemon press, agave, and organic Square One cucumber vodka will help you chill out.

3. Cucumber Delight at Founding Farmers, Tysons, Virginia: American Harvest vodka is mixed with the fresh flavors of Domaine de Canton, cucumbers, and cantaloupe (pictured).

4. Dirty Gertie at Gertrude’s, Baltimore, Maryland: Get down with a dirty blend of lemon peel-infused‏‏ Tito’s vodka, ‘dirty Gertie’ mix, Old Bay-dusted shrimp, and an Old Bay-seasoned rim.

5. Duck, Duck, Goose at Echo and Rig Steakhouse & Butcher Shop, Las Vegas, Nevada: With a blend of Ketel​ One Oranje and fresh pomegranate arils, and muddled with fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and mint bitters, this almost sounds like a health drink. Almost.

6. Pimm’s Cup at Rosebud, Atlanta, Georgia: Drink like the royal family with Pimm’s, lemonade, fresh citrus, mint, and cucumber. PS: Don’t forget to raise a glass to Charlotte.

7. Pistol Punsch at Root & Bone, New York, New York:  Sugar moonshine, black tea, cardamom, and pineapple come together for a Southern-style wake-up call on Mother’s Day.Continue Reading

Mother’s Day Restaurant Deals: 2015 Splurges + Steals

Mother’s Day 2015 is less than a week away. The great news is that there’s still time to find the perfect table to celebrate the special mom in your life. In fact, 50% of diners book their Mother’s Day reservations a week out — and 25% do so the day before. We’ve gathered Mother’s Day restaurant deals to help you pick a place that’s right for your family, from splurges to steals — and something a little different. Get inspired and start planning Mother’s Day today!

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ATLANTA

* A bit more: One Midtown Kitchen can help you say it with flowers. On your reservation, indicate that you’d like to surprise mom with a fresh floral arrangement and it will be ready and waiting upon arrival for $60.
* A bit less: Danntana’s Surf and Turf is picking up mom’s meal. Her entree is free if you purchase another menu item at regular price.
* A bit different: Le Vigne at Montaluce Winery invites you to spend a day in the mountains with mom. Enjoy handcrafted wine and live music on the patio.

BOSTON

* A bit more: Café Fleuri is serving fabulous food and a free mimosa set to live jazz, plus a face painter and balloon artist to entertain the wee ones at $95 per adult and $51 per children 5-12 years old.
* A bit less: Club Café offers their award-winning buffet, which includes carved roasts and lobster mac n cheese at just $23.50 for adults and $8.95 for children under 12.
* A bit different: Odyssey Cruises beckons you to set sail with mom for brunch. She’ll receive a flower, and a complimentary Champagne or mimosa is available for all diners, 21 and over. There’s juice, goodie bags, and entertainment for the kids, plus an ice cream sundae bar.

CHICAGO

* A bit more: NoMI is putting on a a luxurious culinary affair against a backdrop of stunning Michigan avenue views. Dine on a diverse range of specially curated chef stations for $135 per person.
* A bit less: Red Door is serving three courses for a wallet-friendly $25 — plus, guests can purchase a fun flower arrangement for mom for an additional $25.
* A bit different: Brass Monkey Brasserie is throwing a Mother’s Day Funky Brunch (“It’s like Tom Jones and Julia Child threw a party at Warren Beatty’s pad.”). Tell mom to bust out her bell bottoms for this seven-course, 1970s-inspired menu that is $40 for adults and $20 for kids under 12.

DENVER

* A bit more: Wine Experience Café and World Cellar invites you to raise a glass to mom on Mother’s Day with a white tablecloth four-course brunch at $59 for adults and $20 for children.
* A bit less: The Crown Social is putting on a gourmet brunch buffet for $20 per person with a “bottomless drink” menu, featuring a new bottomless Bloody Mary bar (for just $12 or $30 for both brunch and the bar).
* A bit different: Kachina Southwestern Grill wants you to heed the call of the wild — the wild west, that is. They’re preparing a family-style, wild west brunch with green chile deviled eggs, a chuck wagon egg bake, and chocolate chile beignets for $27 per person. Bonus: kids ages 8 and under eat free.

LOS ANGELES

* A bit more: Mr. C Beverly Hills is ready to help you treat your mom to a poolside Venetian brunch buffet featuring Cipriani pastas, waffles, custom frittatas, live music, and more! Plus, moms receive a complimentary Bellini and a flower, for $99 for adults and $45 for 5-12 year olds.
* A bit less: Sage-A Plant Based Bistro is great for going green while saving some green. A special brunch buffet and bottomless mimosas are just $25 per person.
* A bit different: smoke.oil.salt. can help you take mom on an armchair trip to Spain with their paella feast. Diners can choose from traditional paella with rabbit and pork, seafood paella with giant prawns, or vegetarian paella for two at $49 per person, and free Cava for all mothers.

MIAMI

* A bit more: StripSteak is rolling out the red carpet for moms, with a luxe brunch featuring their signature “fizzy bellboy” cocktail, sumptuous seafood carts, delectable entrees, family-style sides, and lavish desserts at $68 per person.
* A bit less: 7 Pecados lets you sip while you save with a three-course $30 per person prix-fixe menu that includes a bottle of sparkling wine per table. Pick from three delicious options of appetizer, main course, and dessert, including salad, baked brie, filet mignon, fish, and more.
* A bit different: City Hall wants you to put your hands together for a Gospel brunch starring Maryel Epps. Choose from a la carte brunch dishes priced from $10-$20, along with mimosas, Bloody Marys, and guava mojitos.

MINNEAPOLISContinue Reading