Love Texas? Love cocktails? This is your book.
Reviewed by Wes Marshall, Fri., July 5, 2013
Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails From the Lone Star Stateby David Alan
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 208 pp., $19.99
David Alan proclaimed himself the Tipsy Texan in 2007, just as Austin's craft cocktail movement started blossoming. Since that time, he's kept himself busy writing for Edible Austin and consulting with bars in the Central Texas area. He also invested time in writing a book, Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails From the Lone Star State. Though it's hard to call something as big as the Lone Star state a limiting factor, the truth is, this clever, witty, and useful guide covers far more than just Texas spirits and cocktails. Alan offers a history of the cocktail itself, recommended glassware and bar paraphernalia, plus a generous number of classic cocktail recipes. If this had been the main focus of the book, it would still have been well worth its price.
What really distinguishes Tipsy Texan is the amount of work the author put into interviews with Texas spiritsmakers and into gathering some dazzling recipes from local bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts. For example, frequent Chronicle contributor Claudia Alarcón shared three recipes that have brought a good deal of joy to our household over the years: sangrita, the michelada, and the paloma. In a world where bars have made the michelada and the paloma into something complex, her simplicity and authenticity are refreshing (and I would also recommend trying her michelada recipe with the side shot of tequila blended in as an ingredient).
Our favorite aspect of the book is Alan's way of dividing the drink recipes. Rather than using the base liquor, he presents drinks based on three styles: Light, Bright, and Refreshing; Big and Boozy; and Sweet, Creamy, and Desserty. Just pick your mood and page through the possibilities. We haven't been able to try everything yet, but we do have some favorites so far. The Sandia is a Nate Wales creation with watermelon, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, and Tito's Vodka. Talk about refreshing! Under the Big and Boozy umbrella, we loved the Joe Eifler creation called Fool's Gold. It includes rye whiskey, apple cider, lemon juice, gin, simple syrup, and a nice hit of Italian Cynar. For the Desserty drinks, what could be better than a Velvet Hammer, made from vodka, orange and chocolate liqueurs, and pure full-fat cream? Alan has done a fine job and Tipsy Texan is well worth a slot in your library.