Iberian Old Fashioned by Benjamin Krick from Juniper Tar
Courtesy photo

As much fun to drink as it is to say, kalimotxo is a Spanish drink made of equal parts red wine and cola. Bartender Benjamin Krick is combining it with Old Forester Statesman bourbon whisky to put a spin on a classic cocktail.

Watch the video and then mix up a glass of your own with the recipe below.

Iberian Old Fashioned
Yields 1 drink

2 ounces Old Forester Statesman bourbon whisky
0.5 ounces kalimotxo reduction
2 dashes Bolivian cola bitters
1 spritz fino sherry mist
1 peel of dehydrated clementine for garnish
1 lemon peel

Combine the whisky, bitters, and kalimotxo reduction in a large, tall glass with ice and add the fresh lemon peel. Stir well.

Mist the cocktail glass with the fino sherry.

Strain the mixture over a large-format ice cube in the cocktail glass. Garnish with the clementine peel.


Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, 43-50% Alc. by Volume, Brown-Forman Distillers Company, Louisville, KY.


OLD FORESTER is a registered trademark. ©2016 Brown-Forman Distillers. All rights reserved.

CultureMap Tastemaker Awards 2017 Restaurant of the Year Austin Emmer & Rye
Photo by Shelley Neuman

Texas foodies get their fill at best Tastemakers party yet

A Taste of Tastemakers

A huge crowd gathered at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin on April 19 for the annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, our big event celebrating the top food and beverage talent in Austin and San Antonio.

Almost 800 foodies attended the swanky tasting event. It all culminated in an awards ceremony, emceed by beloved Texas chef Tim Love, in which the night's big winners were revealed.

Attendees noshed on bites from San Antonio's own Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden, as well as Austin's 827Ray's Kitchen + Cellar, Cannon + Belle, Culinary Dropout, Emmer & Rye, Geraldine's, Grizzelda's, Juniper, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Old Thousand, Parkside, Ritual (Houston), Rosemary's Catering, Salt Traders Coastal Cooking, Sophia's, Swift's Attic, Uchiko, and Wu Chow. A Sweet Suite featured treats from Chocolaterie Tessa, General Tso'Boy, The Cupcake Bar, Spread & Co., and Sugarfina.

Craft cocktails incorporating Woodford Reserve were flowing at the main bars, and the Bartender Showcase featured signature drinks from Natalie Mauser-Carter of Backbeat, Dennis Gobis of The Roosevelt Room, and Angela Zamora of Stay Gold, all of Austin. Wine from Sonoma-Cutrer and beer from Oskar Blues Brewery, Alaskan Brewing Co., and SweetWater Brewing Company rounded out the bar options. An Illy coffee bar got folks caffeinated, and Topo Chico kept them hydrated.

Nominees were treated to an exclusive lounge courtesy of Korbel, which featured free bubbly and swag bags filled with goodies from Jack Black Skincare, Kettle & Brine, Krave Jerky, Liber & Co., Nina Berenato Jewelry, Outdoor Voices, SoulCycle, Whole Foods Market, and Woodford Reserve.

A fun photo booth helmed by Ben Porter Photography and powered by Whole Foods Market had everyone smiling. Across the room, Priv pampered guests with fun, foodie nail art. The best part? Ten percent of the proceeds from the Tastemaker Awards supports the Austin Food & Wine Alliance.

Spotted in the crowd: Pedro Cuéllar, Geronimo Lopez, Jeff White, Tyson Cole, Kevin Fink, Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Page Pressley, David Baek, James Dumapit, Abby Love, Jack Gilmore, Bill Norris, Billy Hankey,Justin Lavenue, Mark Sparacino, Paula Collins, Alexis Cawley, Simon Cawley, Stephanie Samuels, Kim Fuller, Kayluis Peña, Mary Verhaeghe, Dani Verhaeghe, Lizzy Verhaeghe, Shaun Monforte, William Jackson,Gabby Cikota, Stacy Hubrath, Holli Young, Hayden Walker, Misty Journey, Faez Khan, Melissa Kuo, Rebecca Kan, Craig Beveridge, Sarah O'Brien, Thien-Y Hoang, Melissa Grady, Torie Gehrig, W.H. Harris, and Marie Smyth.

Mary Verhaeghe, Dani Verhaeghe, Lizzy Verhaeghe, and Shaun Monforte.

CultureMap Tastemaker Awards 2017 Mary Verhaeghe Dani Verhaeghe Lizzy Verhaeghe Shaun Monforte
Photo by Shelley Neuman
Mary Verhaeghe, Dani Verhaeghe, Lizzy Verhaeghe, and Shaun Monforte.
CultureMap Tastemaker Awards 2016 at Bob Bullock Museum Kim Adams Meredith Schneider
Photo by Shelley Neuman

Foodies toast San Antonio's top culinary talent at biggest Tastemakers yet

A Taste of Tastemakers

Foodies flocked to the Bullock Texas State History Museum Tuesday night for the fifth annual Tastemaker Awards to celebrate Austin and San Antonio’s top talent in the food and beverage industry.

Nearly 800 people packed into the Austin venue to enjoy the amazing food, drinks, and entertainment, and to find out who would walk away as the evening’s big winners. Beloved Texas chef Tim Love (owner of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Love Shack, Queenie's, White Elephant Saloon, and more) served as emcee for the awards program, handing out a total of 13 awards.

Diego Galicia and Rico Torres racked up the most awards, starting off with their win for Best New Restaurant for Mezcaleria Mixtli. The Mixtli team also took home the Restaurant of the Year award.

The evening kicked off with a special VIP happy hour in the Bullock’s “Our Global Kitchen” exhibit with sommelier Devon Broglie from Whole Foods Market. Tequila Herradura cocktails were flowing at the main bars while six Austin bartenders concocted their own creations for guests to sample. A bubbly bar, sips from Chloe Wine Collection, and beer from Alaskan Brewing Co. helped round out the drink options, while Perrier and Acqua Panna kept guests hydrated.

In addition to the bartenders shaking up cocktails upstairs, Spun Ice Cream was in the house whipping up liquid nitrogen treats. A truth booth gave folks an honest assessment of their appearance, while the Instacookie station from Kellie’s Baking Co. printed photos onto cookies, allowing guests to literally eat their own faces. Downstairs, the My Event is the Bomb photo booth created fun GIFs.

A portion of the proceeds from the Tastemaker Awards supports the Austin Food & Wine Alliance. And to top it all off, guests walked away from the event with a little Tiff's Treats care package courtesy of Porsche Central Austin.

Spotted in the crowd: Jason Dady, Pieter Sypesteyn, Susan Sypesteyn, Luis Colon, Patricia Sharpe, Sandra Spalding, Kevin Fink, June Rodil, Laura Sawicki, Rene Ortiz, C.K. Chin, Billy Hankey, Justin Lavenue, Michael Fojtasek, Marla Camp, Tom Thornton, and Mariam Parker.


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At the conclusion of the event, Porsche Central Austin gifted Tiff's Treats to all in attendance.

Tastemakers Tiff's Treats Porsche Central Austin
Photo by Shelley Neuman
At the conclusion of the event, Porsche Central Austin gifted Tiff's Treats to all in attendance.
Roni Proter's spinach souffle
Courtesy photo

How to make a deceptively fancy dinner with only a few on-hand ingredients

Dinner Reinvented

Eggs, butter, flour, cheese, milk, and frozen spinach. Got these ingredients? Then you've got a deceptively fancy dinner.

Roni Proter shows you how to whip up — literally — a spinach souffle in this Dinner Reinvented video. There are no special skills required to make this simple yet delicious version, and you don't even have to worry about this famously temperamental dish falling flat on you.

After thawing a cup of spinach and pressing out the excess water, mix butter and flour together before adding salt and milk steeped with a bay leaf. This step, and the dash of grated nutmeg that comes next, are easy ways to give your meal a little extra oomph without getting too complicated.

Add the spinach and cheese, then froth six egg whites (but don't toss the yolks — you'll need some of them in the spinach mixture) until they form soft peaks. Fold it all together, pour into a souffle dish greased with butter and Parmesan cheese, top with more sprinkles of cheese, and pop in the oven for about 45 minutes.

When the dish emerges all fluffy and buttery, your taste buds will swear you spent more time cooking than you did.


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Pasta with shrimp and peas
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How to make the world’s easiest shrimp pasta for a comforting weekday dinner

Dinner Reinvented

At the end of a long day, sometimes even ordering takeout can seem like too much work. In this video, Dinner Reinvented host Roni Proter reveals how a couple of freezer staples like shrimp and peas can be transformed into comfort food of the highest order.

In a skillet prepped with simmering butter and fresh garlic, add about 10 defrosted shrimp and stir.

Sprinkle in a little salt and add a few splashes of vermouth or white wine. Proter says to always keep some on hand, and that's one ingredient we can definitely have at the ready.

After it’s cooked down a bit, bring out the frozen peas — no need to defrost — and pour in a splash of cream.

Once it’s all bubbling, add pre-cooked pasta and stir just a little bit more. Top with Parmesan, dish out, and voila! Dinner that didn’t require stopping by the grocery store or ordering in, yet still delivers on taste and convenience.


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Learn fool-proof techniques for chopping fresh herbs
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Learn fool-proof techniques for chopping fresh herbs

Cup of Content

Fresh herbs enliven any dish, whether freshly prepared or leftovers from last night’s dinner. The latter is how Roni Proter likes to use them, and in this installment of Cup of Content, she shows you how to properly clean and chop them.

She starts by rinsing them gently and patting them dry with a towel. (Wet herbs are much harder to chop.) Then she demonstrates two techniques.

The first works for dill, parsley, rosemary, and thyme — essentially anything with small or stiff leaves. Gather them in a pile, then rock the knife back and forth while keeping the tip on the cutting board.

For herbs such as basil and mint, Proter likes to stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, and slice thinly across.


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New holiday pop-up shop tops this week's 5 hottest San Antonio headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From a holiday pop-up shop to twinkling Hill Country towns, here are the five most-read stories over the past seven days.

1. Holiday pop-up store lights up with 3 San Antonio makers. For San Antonians looking to shop small this holiday season — while still finding unique gifts — a new type of retail store downtown offers both. The Holidays on Houston Street Pop-up is a retail store that sells products from local small businesses and artisans, who run the shop themselves.

2. This is the average holiday shopping budget for a San Antonio household. Santa and his elves get busier with every passing year, but sometimes even Kris Kringle has to use his black card to get the job done. And according to a new study by Wallethub, Santa's gonna be working overtime to fulfill the orders for residents of San Antonio and New Braunfels this holiday season.

3. 'The twinkliest town in Texas' and 6 other Hill Country locales become Christmas wonderlands. Throughout December, the Hill Country rolls out the twinkle lights and garlands to give city slickers some Christmas razzle-dazzle. Unpack a cozy sweater, cue a playlist, and fire up the sleigh.

4. What’s brewing in San Antonio: Vista Brewing and Growler Exchange launch new locations.Here's our latest roundup of everything that's brewing in San Antonio, including a second Growler Exchange and a new home for Vista Brewing San Antonio.

5. Hill Country's famous Salt Lick BBQ smokes out new location in Fredericksburg. A storied Central Texas barbecue joint is heading for the hills. Driftwood institution the Salt Lick BBQ is set to open a new outpost in Fredericksburg along the Highway 290 Wine Trail.

San Antonio sparkles and shines as No. 5 most festive city in the U.S. for 2023

on the nice list

San Antonio homes, businesses, and special events that go all out to deck their halls for the holidays have not gone unnoticed. San Antonio has been named No. 5 most festive city in the United States.

A new study by home services provider Thumbtack puts San Antonio at the top of the nice list this year. The report compiled data from millions of Christmas-related home projects across all 50 states between October 2022 to November 2023 to reveal their list of the most festive cities in the nation.

San Antonio is on the rise, after the city previously ranked No. 10 in the 2022 report. And while Thumbtack specifically focuses on home holiday projects, San Antonio residents certainly can glean inspiration from the city's many festive displays, and several surrounding Hill Country winter wonderlands.

Texas cities dominated the top 10, with Austin (No. 1), Dallas-Fort Worth (No. 2), and Houston (No. 3) ranking just ahead of San Antonio to claim the top three most festive U.S. cities. Rounding out the top five is Seattle, Washington in the No. 4 spot.

The average cost to hire a holiday lighting specialist, Thumbtack says, is between $168-$300, with other requests like wrapping outdoor trees tacking on an additional cost. If San Antonians are looking to outsource their exterior home decorating to a specialist, they're already past the peak time to hire one, Thumbtack says. Americans most frequently hang their holiday lights and Christmas decorations during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the report.

"Whether you’re looking to make your home a brightly lit winter wonderland or simply looking to add a few festive touches to your home’s exterior — sprucing up your home’s exterior with lights is an exciting part of getting into the holiday spirit," said Thumbtack design expert Morgan Olsen in the report. "Hiring a holiday lighting specialist can help you avoid stress (and unwanted injuries) so you can focus on enjoying the season."

Thumbtack's top 10 most festive cities in the U.S. for 2023 are:

  • No. 1 – Austin, Texas
  • No. 2 – Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • No. 3 – Houston, Texas
  • No. 4 – Seattle, Washington
  • No. 5 – San Antonio, Texas
  • No. 6 – Atlanta, Georgia
  • No. 7 – Phoenix, Arizona
  • No. 8 – Tampa, Florida
  • No. 9 – Denver, Colorado
  • No. 10 – Orlando, Florida

Director Todd Haynes tackles inappropriate relationships in May December

Movie Review

Director Todd Haynes has pushed buttons throughout his career, starting with his acclaimed short film, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, which used Barbie dolls to illustrate the late singer’s anorexia battle. He’s at it again with his latest, May December, which tackles the idea of highly inappropriate relationships through a lens that itself has the potential to be upsetting.

Elizabeth (Natalie Portman), an acclaimed actress, has traveled to Savannah, Georgia to shadow Gracie (Julianne Moore) in preparation for a movie in which Elizabeth will play Gracie. That movie tackles the beginnings of Gracie’s relationship with Joe (Charles Melton), when he was a 13-year-old seventh grader and she was a 36-year-old pet shop worker. The shocking tryst resulted in much controversy, a child, and a jail stint for Gracie, but the couple professed their love for each other through it all.

Twenty years later, they’re still together, having added two more kids to their family, children who happen to be the same age as Gracie’s grandkids from her previous relationship. Elizabeth wants to experience it all, bouncing from person to person to try to understand exactly who Gracie is and was. Striving for authenticity in her performance, however, soon takes her down a Method acting rabbit hole.

Directed by Haynes from a script by Samy Burch, and loosely based on the story of teacher Mary Kay Letourneau and her 12-year-old student, Vili Fualaau, the film treats Gracie and Joe’s relationship in a relatively straightforward manner. It details a benign life in which they have the love of their kids and some neighbors, even if they occasionally get a box full of poop on their doorstep.

It’s the arrival of Elizabeth that sends things spiraling, as her various conversations trigger responses from both Gracie and Joe that they seem not to expect. Haynes alternates between being serious and being campy, with not enough of each for either for them to seem to be the goal. The score gives off a less-than-serious vibe, and an early scene in which a mundane thing is treated as if it were happening in a soap opera points in the campy direction, but those type of moments are few and far between.

In casting Portman as the obsessive actor, Haynes may have been trying to offer up echoes of her Oscar-winning role in Black Swan. It’s no small irony that the person who comes off as the most craven in such a sordid story is the actor who everybody wants to be around, not the woman who became a pariah because she is a sex offender. In that and other ways, Haynes upends expectations, keeping the film interesting even through its slower moments.

Portman and Moore are ideal for their respective roles, Portman because she has a knack for portraying confidence and guile, and Moore due to her ability to manipulate at will. Melton, best known for playing Reggie on Riverdale, pales in comparison due to his less showy role, but he complements the story well. Special notice goes to Elizabeth Yu as Gracie and Joe’s daughter Mary, who shines in her limited scenes.

The story of May December contains elements that will creep certain viewers out, whether it’s the subject matter itself or the performances of the two great lead actors. Haynes has a way of getting under the skin with his storytelling, and this film is yet another great example.


May December is now available on Netflix.

Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore in May December

Photo by François Duhamel / Courtesy of Netflix

Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore in May December.