From the outset, you have to respect a guy that has not only anointed himself as the "Tipsy Texan," but has actually made a career of it. And a successful one at that.
David Alan, a 15-year restaurant and bar veteran, released the book Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State in early July with enough Texas-based cocktail recipes to keep you occupied for years. But, what makes this book really interesting are historical accounts and narratives of the people behind the craft spirits of Texas.
It's certainly a great time to pen a narrative about the booze movement afoot in the state. Distillers like Chip Tate of Balcones, Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers Distilling, Tito Beveridge of Tito's Vodka and Daniel Barnes of Treaty Oak have put Texas on the hand-crafted spirit map. All are profiled in the book.
Alan also provides a lot of background on the different drinks that are sliding across bars here every day. Many of the stories might fuel as much debate as provide clarity, like a discussion on the real Mexican margarita and the slurpee-like concoction it has become. Alan must not have read Scott Reitz's story, Celebrating the Day the Margarita Died (In the City That Killed It); there's not even a mention of Mariano's 7-Eleven epiphany.
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Regardless, there's a certain country backroad charm to the cocktail guide, which leaves the reader with a bit of buying anxiety (what to get first!?), followed closely by a new sense of discovery after reading about the distillers. And of course, the drinks are as boozy and diverse as Texans. A muddled peach drink celebrates Fredericksburg; a "Czech Mix" is made with Becherovka, a nod to the Czech communities throughout Central Texas.
The recipes are broken into three styles: Light, Bright and Refreshing; Big and Boozy; and Sweet, Creamy and Desserty. There are also chapters covering different tools, techniques and even an a few pages on proper ice (proper ice is essential).
The last drink of the book might give a Dallasite a second glance; the Velvet Hammer is not one of our most prized craft beers in the city, but rather a vodka-based dessert drink with a bit of Paula's Texas Orange. I suppose we could learn to like both.
Tipsy Texan is available on Amazon.