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Sure, you could celebrate Fat Tuesday with a technicolor daiquiri. Plenty of revelers do just that, stumbling around Bourbon Street (or the River Walk) with a topsy-turvy whalebone filled with enough go-go juice to ensure Wednesday morning regret. The hangover will be bad enough without us tauntingly saying, “ya basic.”

Still, we beg you to reconsider: New Orleans cocktail culture is legendary and well-represented throughout the world, including San Antonio — the only other U.S. city to make it past 300 years old while partying so hard. Alamo City is awash in cocktails that the Big Easy made household names. By all means, imbibe (with a rideshare app at the ready); Mardis Gras is only one night. But remember, the most spectacular floats make the parade.

Corpse Reviver at Double Standard
This eye-opener became popular in New Orleans due to the city’s adoration for AM tipples, a propensity that San Antonio shares. Double Standard knows the score. The downtown bar opens at 11:30 am daily and is glad to soothe any throbbing headache with Corpse Reviver No. 2. Pairing London dry gin with absinthe and Cocchi Americano, it’s the only drink that matters after catching too many beads. The extra crispy fries help too.

French 75 at Near Dark
Southtown haunt Near Dark certainly regales in its goth charms — but there is a little bit of NOLA in its ramshackle collection of antique mirrors and checkerboard floors (at least the spookier parts). So it’s a surprise that one of its signature drinks is so effervescent. Invented in Paris and named for a powerful French field gun, the French 75 has long been a staple of New Orleans’ most soigné bars. Though Near Dark doesn’t include NOLA-standard cognac, it does give it the setting the drink deserves.

Hurricane at Southerleigh Haute South
We’ve all seen those lipstick-red concoctions served in a bulbous glass. Thanks to Pat O’Brien’s, the Hurricane is synonymous with the Paris of the South. His version added a little razzle-dazzle via passionfruit to go through less-than-popular rum. Sailors loved them as undoubtedly San Antonio’s service men and women do today when served on draft at one of The Rim’s busiest hot spots.

Mint Julep at Restaurant Claudine
Though this iconic Southern libation is more associated with Kentucky today, it has deep roots in Louisiana. A rum version was popular in the Big Easy in the late 1700s, long before haberdashers proved their mettle during a certain horse race. Restaurant Claudine’s version has the standard Bourbon — Buffalo Trace, to be exact — but it’s just the thing for a weekday bacchanal. Order charbroiled oysters and a mess of cornbread, then sit a spell.

New Orleans Buck at The Bar at Bohanan’s
One of the oldest cocktail categories, the Buck purportedly got its name when whiskey was added to the previously nonalcoholic Horse’s Neck, giving it a “kick.” The New Orleans variation substitutes rum and keeps ginger. Its lively profile makes it the ideal early evening libation, whether downed before a night at a Frenchmen Street jazz club or a show at the Majestic Theatre.

Sazerac at Amor Eterno
According to popular myth, this New Orleans icon was first served in an egg cup, or coquetier in French. The bungled American pronunciation led to the word “cocktail” being coined. That’s hogwash, of course, but it speaks to the drink’s importance in the barkeep’s canon. Amor Eterno features it currently on the classics menu and mixes it with the traditional build. Just the way it should.

Vieux Carre at The Esquire Tavern
This rye-based sipper was created in 1937 by Hotel Monteleone head bartender Walter Bergeron, which makes the Esquire older. Nonetheless, it makes perfect sense for the River Walk mainstay to serve a post-Prohibition classic. Its version nearly mimics the original, only omitting three drops of Peychauds. But let’s not get hung up on bitters when a cocktail has the necessary oomph.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

San Antonio plummets on list of best places to live, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From hotel accolades to urban treasure hunting, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio plummets on list of best places to live in new national report. San Antonio was previously the No. 75 place to live in America in 2021, tumbling to No. 83 in 2022 and dropping even further down the list to No. 103 in 2023.

2. Here are the top 7 things to do in San Antonio this holiday weekend. Check out Spoon or Kool and the Gang tonight, or head to UTSA for their annual Asian festival.

3. This is how big San Antonio apartments get for $1,500 a month. San Antonio renters can find apartments that span 1,010 square feet for $1,500 a month.

4. Posh Pearl hotel books top spot on best luxury hotels in U.S. list. Tripadvisor's coveted Travelers' Choice Best of Best Awards recently gave Hotel Emma top marks in two categories.

5. Texas unearths new ranking as 2nd best state for urban treasure hunting. Fun fact: Texas has the highest number of metal detecting sites in the nation.

Fine dining chef unpacks nostalgic pop-up concept at popular Grayson Street bar on Memorial Day


With new restaurants seemingly opening daily, San Antonio’s culinary scene is more exhilarating than ever. But even those with a packed reservation schedule sometimes crave something different.

Enter pop-ups — a San Antonio obsession that grows more popular each month. The latest to enter the fray is Restaurant Claudine chef Mel Cavazos, who will debut Throwback Sammies, a one-night-only concept sprouting up at Three Star Bar on May 29.

“I want to do something comforting that everyone can relate to,” explains Cavazos of the nostalgic concept. “I want the menu to read simply but totally unexpected when you eat it.”

The small menu includes a trio of dishes that evoke childhood memories. Cheese bread is reimagined with Romesco sauce, burrata, and basil, while another sandwich has all the fixings of a Sunday pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and gravy. Those desperately waiting for fall will no doubt flock to the Thanksgiving Meltdown, complete with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry.

One dish, however, is even more personal. In honor of a recently passed friend, Cavazos added a “secret” vegan sandwich featuring buffalo cauliflower and homemade pickled vegetables.

“He loved his vegan wings,” Cavazos remembers.

The chef tells CultureMap that Throwback Sammies is just the start of a series of pop-ups she hopes to hold monthly. As she continues developing a career at Carpenter Carpenter Hospitality’s ever-growing restaurant empire, she sees the pop-up series as a chance to keep exploring her culinary voice.

“I want to expand and explore more options,” Cavazos says, adding, “I love sandwiches, but that’s not what I like to be known for.”

Throwback Sammies starts at 8 pm and runs until supplies run out. Future pop-ups will be announced via Instagram.

Texas' best restaurants and bars reign at 2023 Tastemaker Awards


It’s another one for CultureMap’s history books, folks. Our statewide journey to recognize some of the best chefs, restaurants, and more in 2023 has finally come to a close.

The series kicked off April 13 with our sold-out Houston Tastemakers at Silver Street Studios, then we moved to Cowtown for our Fort Worth event on April 27. The Texas culinary tour steered us to our Metroplex neighbors in Dallas at the Fashion Industry Gallery on May 4. From there, we took a drive to the Hill Country for Austin’s evening festivities at Fair Market on May 11, then concluded our journey with our second-ever fête in San Antonio on May 18.

The 2023 Tastemaker Awards honor the state’s most innovative culinary pioneers, allowing nominated chefs and restaurants to showcase their talents for guests before announcing the winners during a live ceremony.

Guests sampled chefs’ specialty bites and imbibed a variety of creative cocktails or mocktails, with a few Topo Chicos sprinkled in throughout the evening. But as always, our nominees and winners are the main focus of our program and are the reason we can bring these celebrations to life.

Nominees are brought forth by a panel of previous Tastemaker winners and CultureMap editors. While the panel choses a majority of the winners, the winner of Best New Restaurant is determined by our readers in an online, bracket-style tournament. New this year in each city, a sizzling on-site Burger Throwdown sponsored by Goodstock Beef by Nolan Ryan.

Without further ado, let’s meet our 2023 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards winners, listed by city:

San Antonio:

  • Restaurant of the Year: Carriqui
  • Chef of the Year: Robbie Nowlin, Allora, Arrosta
  • Bar of the Year: Amor Eterno
  • Brewery of the Year: Künstler Brewing
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: The Magpie
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Sofia Tejeda, Hotel Emma
  • Best Burger: Last Place Burger
  • Best New Restaurant: Reese Bros BBQ


K\u00fcnstler doppelbock
Künstler Brewing Instagram

Künstler Brewing is our Brewery of the Year.

  • Restaurant of the Year: Bludorn
  • Chef of the Year: Mark Clayton, Squable
  • Bar of the Year: Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar and Spirit Lounge
  • Best New Restaurant: Aiko
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Emmanuel Chavez, Tatemó
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Shawn Gawle, Goodnight Hospitality
  • Bartender of the Year: Kristine Nguyen, Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Craft Pita
  • Wine Program of the Year: Nancy’s Hustle
  • Best Pop-Up: Khói Barbecue
  • Best Burger: Burger Bodega

Fort Worth:

  • Restaurant of the Year: Fitzgerald
  • Chef of the Year: Juan Ramón Cárdenas, Don Artemio
  • Bar of the Year: Birdie’s Social Club
  • Best New Restaurant: Calisience
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Angel Fuentes, Guapo Taco
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Cafe Bella
  • Best Burger: Dayne’s Craft Barbecue
  • Best Brewery: Martin House Brewing Company


  • Restaurant of the Year: Shoyo
  • Chef of the Year: Junior Borges, Meridian
  • Bar of the Year: Lounge Here
  • Best New Restaurant: Quarter Acre
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Mike Matis, Fearing’s
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Maricsa Trejo, La Casita Bakeshop
  • Bartender of the Year: Haley Merritt, Midnight Rambler
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: El Rincon del Maiz
  • Wine Program of the Year: Pappas Bros.
  • Best Burger: Wulf Burger
  • Brewery of the Year: Manhattan Project Beer Co.


  • Restaurant of the Year: Birdie’s
  • Chef of the Year: Amanda Turner, Olamaie
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Joaquin Ceballos, Este
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Mariela Camacho, Comadre Panadería
  • Bar of the Year: Nickel City
  • Bartender of the Year: Erin Ashford, Olamaie
  • Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Nixta Taqueria
  • Wine Program of the Year: Bufalina
  • Brewery of the Year: Lazarus Brewing Co.
  • Best Burger: Dai Due
  • Best New Restaurant: Maie Day