The public television music program Austin City Limits (the only TV show to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts) helped the city of Austin earn the title of “Live Music Capital of the World” and then spawned an annual festival that happens each October—a very busy time for Austin and its bartenders. We hope that this month’s box will give you a taste of Austin’s drinking culture and make you feel like part of the action. All three of this month’s bartenders work and play in Austin and have infused these drinks with their love for their town and everything that makes it unique.
We’re inviting you to choose between two spirits for this box: bourbon or aged tequila, both popular in Texas. While these two are often placed in very different spirit categories, they carry a similar oaky sweetness that makes it possible to swap them in (properly formulated) recipes. So pick your poison and have at it (or try both!) with October’s Austin Without Limits Box. Subscribe now through September 30th to get yours! It’ll ship the week of October 2nd.
Huarache Nights is a favorite Hot Chip song of Chris Bostick’s that reminds him of a hot night in Texas. Mirroring Austin’s laid-back vibe, he’s given us an epically drinkable, refreshing, easy-to-mix cocktail that he hopes you’ll come back to over and over again. Layers of oaky sweetness are overlaid with ginger, pomegranate, and lime to coat your tastebuds and your heartstrings. Enjoy a few while out on the patio watching summer nights turn to fall!
Chris has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, LA Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, Qantas Magazine, Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover, and most recently Esquire TV’s Best Bars in America. He loves making guests happy with genuine hospitality and prefers it done with passion, zero pretense, and “one big-ass smile.” Currently he can be found back home in Austin as owner and Creative Director of Half Step, a cocktail and live music destination on Rainey Street.
Jessica Sanders usually starts with a classic cocktail as the framework for any drink she creates. This one has its own unique rhythm—much like Austin itself. The Beat Goes On is incredibly easy to prepare but is layered with a ton of flavor—savory, smoky, sweet, and sultry—it’s as if someone turned the volume up on your average old fashioned! And as a bonus, it can easily be turned into a hot toddy by adding boiling water instead of ice and serving in a mug.
Jessica is an award-winning bartender and bar/restaurant owner—she owns and operates drink.well., a craft cocktail bar and gastropub in Austin’s vibrant North Loop district. Her inspired creations have been featured in numerous publications, including Food & Wine, Imbibe, Texas Monthly, Southern Living, and Bon Appetit. Jessica was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s ‘40 Under 40’ in 2016 and was included in Imbibe Magazine’s Imbibe 75 list of “people, places, and flavors that will shape the way you drink in 2016.”
Caer Ferguson named her cocktail, the Ma Sour, after Texas’s first female governor, Mariam “Ma” Ferguson, because it was inspired by her push to repeal Prohibition, as well as by the city of Austin—which has some of the best food in the country! It pulls notes from a pecan pie without being particularly sweet, and pulls flavors from Texas BBQ without being too smoky. Inspired but still something entirely its own, there’s something to aspire to!
This drink does call for a raw egg white (though the egg won’t be included in the box—we can’t ship those!—and we can recommend Ms. Better’s Miraculous Foamer as an alternative). Utilized properly, raw egg whites give cocktails a texture and body you can’t get any other way. They’re an important component of a traditional sour cocktail and have been used in classics for centuries. So if you’ve been wanting to learn how to make an egg white cocktail, now’s your chance! (Get a sneak preview in this egg-cellent primer.)
The Ma Sour will also introduce you to a new technique—the fat wash! While “fat-washing” may sound like it refers to a way to get rid of grease stains, it’s actually a cool cocktail technique that infuses your spirits with savory flavors. In this case, we’ll be fat-washing 6 ounces of bourbon or aged tequila with half a tablespoon of salted butter (which we won’t be able to ship in your box either—but hopefully you have some in your fridge!). After the browned butter is strained out, it’ll leave only the flavor behind, adding a salinity to the cocktail that’ll make the sweetness of the pecan orgeat pop and mild out the acidity of the lemon. You’re going to get a rich, fluffy texture from the egg white, but the butter’ll also help, making it a bit creamier and richer.
Caer, formerly Péché’s assistant bar manager, is now a bartender at The Roosevelt Room and the bar manager for their kindred, adjacent event space, The Eleanor. Her focus has been agave-based spirits and she’s proven it, winning the 2016 Espolon Cocktail Fights National Championship, among other bar accolades. When she’s not tinkering with a new recipe, she can be found sketching at a local coffee shop or playing with her cats.
For some behind-the-scenes tidbits from Caer on her work as a bartender, the scene in Austin, and her cocktail (plus recommendations for food and music to pair with it!), check out our interview. She’s also asked us to donate 50% of her proceeds from this box to the Houston Humane Society to benefit the animals in the wake of Hurricane Harvey—and we’ll be matching her donation to double it!
Austinites tend to move to their own beat, and this box pays homage to them, their awesome city, and its fantastic bar scene. And, you get to choose! Bourbon vs. aged tequila: let us know which spirit ends up winning your heart for the Austin Without Limits Box!
The Shaker & Spoon Team