Tag Archives: Drinks

5 Drinks you need to try for Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo, yay! A holiday that many of us take as a day to drink tequila to our hearts content and eat bomb Mexican food, because why not? But why do we celebrate this holiday? Many believe that today is Mexico’s Independence Day, well think again because it’s not. Mexico’s Independence Day is actually celebrated on September 16th, we celebrate the fifth of May because it was the day that the Mexican army won over the French forces at the Battle of Puebla, which happened on May 5th, 1862. It is such a big deal because during the battle the Mexican army wasn’t a favorite to win but they were able to overcome the French troops.

Now enough about history, lets talk about drinking. As American’s we like to celebrate Cinco de Mayo as well, which means plenty of tequila based drinks for us to celebrate with (not to mention drown our sorrows about finals week.)

Prickly Pear Moscow Mule:
This drink will start your Cinco de Mayo off right. It’s a hot pink color with a sweet pear taste but a kick at the end from the jalapenos.

Ingredients:

2 oz lime juice
1/2  jalapeño
2 oz Mezcal
6 oz ginger beer
1 oz. prickly pear syrup
Lime, for rimming the glass
Salt, for rimming the glass
Jalapeño slices (seeded), for garnish 

Instructions:

1. Sprinkle salt on a plate and set aside. Run a cut lime along the rim of the glasess. Dip the rim in the salt covered plate. Set the glasses aside.
2. Muddle the lime juice and jalapeño at the bottom of a shaker until well combined.
3. Add the Mezcal, a few cubes of ice and the prickly pear syrup. Shake vigorously until well combined.
3. Pour the mixture evenly into the two glasses.
4. Pour the ginger beer into the glasses until the drink reaches the top of the glass. Stir.
5. Garnish the drink with a few jalapeño slices for added bite.

Tequila Sunrise:

A tequila sunrise is a twist on the typical margarita, fun for any party but not dangerous enough to make you hit the floor after one drink. It’s also really easy to make.

Ingredients:

2 ounces Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila
4 ounces orange juice
splash grenadine
ice
orange slice

Instructions:
1.Fill glass half way with ice

2. Pour tequila and orange juice into the glass
3. Stir to combine, add a splash of grenadine
4. Garnish with an orange slice.

Jalapeno Margarita:

Because why not? It’s Cinco de Mayo!

Ingredients:

1 jalapeno, sliced thin
Celery Leaves
6oz fresh lime juice
Spoon full of sugar
16oz tequila
8oz orange liqueur
Salt

Instructions:

1. In a blender, combine jalapeno, celery leaves, lime juice, and sugar
2. Add in tequila and orange liqueur
3. Serve of the rocks, add salt to rim of glass

Classic Margarita Spritzer

Who doesn’t love a good spritzer, especially when summer is right around the corner and nobody needs those extra calories.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounce tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce triple sec or orange juice
4 ice cubes
Chilled seltzer or club soda
1 lime slice for garnish

Instructions:

1. In a tall glass combine the tequila, the lime juice, the triple sec, and ice cubes.
2. Fill the glass with the seltzer and stir the drink.
3. Garnish it with the lime slice.

Shots:

Tequila shots, am I right? If you don’t want to mess with the hassle of making a fancy drink, then just drink the tequila alone. Always remember what happens after your third shot of tequila. My favorite tequila, Patron silver, goes down smooth but doesn’t leave a burn.

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone, please drink responsibly!

**drinks found via Pintrest

Christmas themed drinks to try at your next Christmas party

Christmas is right around the corner – literally it is – we have ten days left! This means that Christmas parties will be in full swing and with Christmas parties come potlucks. This year, instead of bringing a fruitcake (ew) why not try something fun – like a unique Christmas-themed drink. Take a look below at some of the best alcoholic and non-alcoholic Christmas drinks to try at your Christmas bash this year.

Alcoholic

Reindeer Bubbles
Reindeer Bubbles

Reindeer Bubbles: This drink is a twist on your classic champagne drink. All you need to complete this beauty is champagne or Prosecco, green rimming sugar, pomegranate seeds, and pomegranate syrup.

First, you want to decorate your glass. Drizzle pomegranate syrup on a plate and then, on a different plate, add your rimming sugar. Dip your champagne flute into the syrup, wait a moment to make sure it does not drip or spread, then dip it into the rimming sugar, equally covering the rim.

Add a teaspoon of pomegranate seeds into the bottom of the glass, then pour two teaspoons of pomegranate syrup over the top of them. All you need to do now is add your champagne or Prosecco and enjoy!

Peppermint White Russian by The Marvelous Misadventures
Peppermint White Russian by The Marvelous Misadventures

Peppermint White Russian: Everybody knows what a white Russian is – vodka and Kahlua – but this recipe adds a bit of Christmas to it. To keep the festive drinks going, a peppermint white Russian would be a great drink for a holiday party.

This recipe calls for Kahlua, vodka, peppermint schnapps, half and half, ice, clear corn syrup, and crushed candy canes.

First, rim the glass with the crushed candy canes, just dip the rim in the corn syrup and then dip onto the candy canes.

Next, fill the class with ¾ of an ounce of Kahlua, ¾ of an ounce vodka, and ¾ of an ounce of peppermint schnapps. Top the drink off with half and half and add as much ice as you like. Ta-da! You’ve now made a holiday white Russian.

Blue Sparkling Star by Jeanette
Blue Sparkling Star by Jeanette

Blue Sparkling Star: This drink is so pretty to look at that your guest may want to stare at it instead of actually drink it. All that is in this drink is orange infused vodka, blue curacao, and champagne.

If you want to line your glass, all you need is corn syrup and blue rimming sugar. Dip your champagne flute into the syrup, wait a moment, then rim the glass with the sugar.

Next, pour one ounce of the orange infused vodka and one ounce of the blue curacao into your glass. Top each glass of with champagne and you are done! A pretty holiday drink for your guest to enjoy.

Non-Alcoholic

The Grinch by Always Expect Moore
The Grinch by Always Expect Moore

The Grinch: This fun green drink is perfect for the holidays and looks really cool too. The ingredients are lime Jell-O and lemon-lime soda. First, make your Jell-O by following the instructions on the back of the box (the small box will work for this recipe).

After your Jell-O has set and became actual gelatin, add pieces of it to the bottom of a cup. The recipe suggests adding straws to the Jell-O as it sets to form weird gelatin strings, but it is up to you how you want the Jell-O to look at the bottom of the glass.

Next, add the lemon-lime soda and your drink is ready to go.

Eggnog Shooter by Hostess
Eggnog Shooter by Hostess

Eggnog Shooters: This drink is really simple to do if you buy the eggnog from the store. All you need is eggnog, whipped cream, vanilla extract, and edible gold glitter. Take a shot glass, use the vanilla extract to rim it, then add the edible gold glitter to the top.

Next, pour your eggnog and top it off with whipped cream. If you want an extra sparkle, you can add edible glitter on top of the whipped cream or buy edible stars – whatever you like.

This drink also does not have to be a shooter – you can make the same drink in a normal sized drinking glass and it will still look pretty and taste great.

Cranberry Lime Spritzer by Our Paleo Life
Cranberry Lime Spritzer by Our Paleo Life

Cranberry Lime Spritzer: Martinelli’s apple cider is one of my favorite drinks to enjoy around the holidays since I do not drink. This recipe takes the apple cider and mixes it with a few more ingredients to make a great holiday drink. All you need is apple cider, cranberry juice, lime juice, frozen cranberries, lime wedges, honey, and unsweetened coconut.

First, you want to rim the glass using the honey and coconut. Dip the glass in the honey, wait a minute, then rim it with the coconut. Next pour one tablespoon of lime juice and ¼ cup of cranberry juice to the glass. Top the glass off with one cup of apple cider. You can garnish the glass with a lime wedge and use the frozen cranberries to keep the drink cold.

Try these fun drinks and let us know what you think! Happy Holidays!

Cheapskate’s Guide to Drinking in San Francisco

The famous Chinese Mai Tai is poured at Li Po Cocktail Lounge. (Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)
The famous Chinese Mai Tai is poured at Li Po Cocktail Lounge. (Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)

Living in a city that is home to over six hundred bars and restaurants as well as a ton of eccentric characters has its perks. But between attempting to afford San Francisco’s increasingly high rents, school supplies, and student loan interest to pay off, I can not afford to spend money on whatever high-priced drink is in fashion at any given moment. And quite frankly, I am sick of hearing people rant and rave about $12 mojitos and attending brewery tours. As a middle finger to the exclusive (and expensive) alcohol scene in San Francisco, I have provided four of the best spots in the city to get drinks while adhering to that strict budget you have placed yourself on.

Buckshot Bar & Grill

3848 Geary Boulevard, Inner Richmond

Located on 3rd Avenue and Geary Boulevard in the Richmond district, Buckshot is a hidden gem in a city with one bar for every ten people. The crowd that can be found there on any given night is comprised of people that live in the neighborhood and University of San Francisco students; if you are sound enough to observe how the two different demographics interact, hilarity often ensues. I have witnessed old men dancing in the middle of large groups of sorority girls and drunk, middle-aged women inquiring about where they could “get something good to eat,” despite Buckshot having an in-house kitchen and being located in between a pizza place and a Burger King.

There is no jukebox at Buckshot, but there is a DJ there every night of the week, and if you come on the third Thursday of any given month you will be treated to Brown Noise, a monthly party where early aughts, hip hop, and R&B are played exclusively. If that is not your style, check out Punk Rock Tuesdays.

A simple whiskey and coke here will run you around $4 and a sixteen ounce Pabst Blue Ribbon will cost you $3. Both of which you can enjoy while being stared at by the taxidermy bear, deer, and cougar heads mounted on the fluorescent orange walls or while you stare up at whatever torture-porn horror movie is playing on one of three television screens, displayed on those same walls. They have every arcade game you could ever want to play (which probably is not many if you are like me), shuffleboard, pool, darts, and skee-ball.

The cheapness of the drinks, dark lighting, and the presence of a dance floor makes Buckshot a great place to have fun with some friends or get drunk and make out with a stranger, if you are into that sort of thing.

(Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)
(Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)

 

Trad’r Sam’s
6150 Geary Boulevard, Outer Richmond

Planter’s punch: an alternative to the scorpion bowl. (Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)
Planter’s punch: an alternative to the scorpion bowl. (Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)

What better way for a cash-strapped college student to lower the price tag of a night out than splitting the cost of libations with friends? If you are looking to indulge in a punch-bowl filled with alcohol with a couple of friends—or alone, no one is judging you—then there is Trad’r Sams. Conveniently located across the street from the 29 bus stop on Geary and 25th Avenue, this means you could come here directly from school, Trad’r Sam’s is advertised as a tiki bar. But, because the only light in the place can be attributed to a digital jukebox and a massive television that sits directly behind the bar playing sports, the island-y decorations are easily lost in the darkness of the room. Bamboo is huge here; it covers the front of the bar, the armrests of the worn chairs and booth seats throughout the establishment, and was even used to build a hut-like structure that covers one of the booths. Aside from the liberal use of bamboo, pastel colors of the drinks and the little umbrellas used to garnish them, there is no other indication that this is supposed to be a tiki bar.

Despite its sort of silly theme, this bar is just as popular with older neighborhood residents as it is with young college students who are just figuring out the limits of their alcohol tolerance. While one would think the combination of locals and drunk college kids would make for many awkward encounters, the two demographics rarely interact—the older women and men mostly sit on bar stools and the college students are dispersed at tables around the bar, only acknowledging each other when space is needed to be made at the bar to order drinks.

Which comes to my last point: the scorpion bowl. The scorpion bowl is what makes Trad’r Sam’s Trad’r Sam’s. It is a huge punch bowl filled with alcohol and can be ordered in its original form or in a variety of flavors, including Passion Punch. I believe I saw the bartender pour both rum and beer into the blender, but I cannot say for sure what else is in it. One thing I can say for sure—the drink is strong. A scorpion bowl will cost you sixteen dollars and I recommend splitting it with at least three other people; it will hurt your stomach and your wallet less.

 

Randy’s Place
1101 Ocean Avenue, Ingleside

What you can get for $6 at Randy’s. (Martin Bustamante/Xpress Magazine)
What you can get for $6 at Randy’s. (Martin Bustamante/Xpress Magazine)

I used to hear stories of my friends hanging out at Randy’s Place because that was supposedly where all the cute people that work at the Whole Foods across the street went after work. I was always reluctant to go because it takes an hour to get there from the Richmond, where I live. However, it is really close to school, a fifteen minute bus ride, which is perfect if you are looking to wind down after a day of classes, but do not want to be subjected to someone playing covers of pop songs on the piano at the school’s pub. And who could pass up a bar where you can get a shot of well whiskey and a pint of Budweiser for the low, low, price of $6?

Aside from the decorations on the wall that appear to have been remnants of a birthday party that occurred long ago, the bar is as stereotypical of a bar as you can get; there are three televisions, a pool table, a jukebox, and nine draft beers on tap.

Randy’s Place has been around since 1969, and is one of the few bars that remains on a stretch of Ocean Avenue where there used to be eight, according to the bartender, a woman named Susan. Though she has only been tending bar at Randy’s for the past five years, my suspicions tell me that Susan is one of the reasons Randy’s Place has been able to stay in business. She is super sweet and seemed to be on a first name basis with everyone at the bar – they gave her hugs, she offered them candy, apparently functioning as both bartender and surrogate mom.

In addition to Susan’s sweetness, Randy’s is great because it is located by two major bus lines–the K/T light rail line, the 29 bus stop—and sits between a McDonalds with a twenty-four hour drive-thru and another hidden San Francisco gem, Beep’s Burgers.

Li-Po

916 Grant Avenue, Chinatown

I have been to Chinatown maybe three times in my life. Once, to watch a Chinese New Year parade while I was in elementary school. Once because I got off of the bus at the wrong stop. And again during this cheap drink tour, at the suggestion of my photographer that we hit up Li – Po, a seventy-seven year old bar famous for a drink called the Chinese Mai Tai.

The gates to Chinatown are an eight minute walk from the Montgomery Street MUNI station, and Li-Po is about nine blocks past these gates. I timed it, and you will spend about fifteen minutes walking from the underground to Li-Po – a little less if you run half a block after seeing a roach (like I did).

Li-Po is easy to spot—it will likely be the only place open on Grant Street at 11 p.m—and when you walk in the door to the narrow entryway, you will be greeted not by a bouncer, but by a bright yellow poster board with a photo of Anthony Bourdain and a man I am assuming is the bar’s owner glued to it. The poster proudly states “Anthony Bourdain came here on layover in 2012.”

At $9, the Chinese Mai Tai is a little more expensive than the other drinks consumed on this journey, but it comes in a goblet, and just one will get you a pretty nice buzz. It is also really good, which is shocking because I cannot think of any other time mixing five different alcohols in one drink was even in the realm of goodness.

The bar itself was dingy and sparsely decorated with some haphazardly arranged lanterns, a huge altar for Buddha right behind the bar, and two televisions. There was music, but I could not see where it was coming from and did not know who was in charge of it, but I would like to thank them for playing some of my middle school favorites: “Goodies” by Ciara and “Magic Stick” by 50 Cent.

If you cannot make it to Chinatown, the bartender tipped us off on the ingredients necessary for making a Chinese Mai Tai: Whaler’s Dark Rum, Castillo’s Light Rum, Bacardi 151 Rum, Chinese rice wine, Dole pineapple juice, and Chinese rice whiskey. Feel free to make it at home, just do not call it a Chinese Mai Tai—Li-Po’s owner had that name trademarked last year.

(Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)
(Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)

 

Effect of Caffeine overload and addiction

Caffeine and college students are two nouns that are often associated with one another. During midterms and finals, ordering the extra cup of French Roast or nursing another mug of Earl Grey in order to get your caffeine fix is a given. But can too much caffeine produce negative affects?

Unfortunately, yes. The “Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” added “Caffeine Intoxication” to the list of disorders in its newest addition.

Symptoms of coffee intoxication include rapid irregular heartbeat, restlessness, the jitters, nervousness, stomach cramps, and muscle twitching according to the Huffington Post article “DSM-5 And Caffeine Intoxication: Could Coffee Drinking Brew a Mental Disorder”.

Too much caffeine also produces the heightening of the body’s stress response, and the interference of the body’s awareness of stress levels, according to a 2002 study from Duke Medicine.

The effect of caffeine intake and the gauge of how much caffeine is too much depends on a person’s sex and size, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 2007 report. Some doctors suggest that one hundred or two hundred milligrams of caffeine, which converts to two five ounces cups of coffee, is a healthy dose of caffeine, according to the report.

While uncomfortable and inconvenient effects to your body stem from caffeine intoxication, the likeliness of sever health effects or fatally is extremely low.

In the Wall Street Journal article, “How Much Caffeine is Too Much?” fatalities caused by too much caffeine would require an intake of over fourteen thousand milligrams of coffee, which equals one hundred and forty cups eight ounce cups in one day.

Caffeine addiction is also related to caffeine intoxication, according to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Lack of awareness, fatigued muscles, and intense headaches are some of the symptoms from caffeine withdrawals.

Cafe employees at SF State said there is a noticeable fluctuation of students ordering caffeinated drinks during midterms.

“Definitely during midterms we notice a lot of coffee and red bull orders,” says Cafe Rosso employee and child development majorJill Shiraki.

Shiraki, who has been employed at Caffe Rosso for two and a half years, says the students will order coffee two to three times during midterms, but the caffeinated drink with the highest rise in sales are energy drinks

“Red Bull is the top seller during midterms,” Shiraki says.

Michelle Parker, recreation parks and tourism major and five month employee at Cafe 101, says the amount of coffee order doubles during midterms.

“We’re twice as busy during midterms. You see repeat people more often, and they’ll say stuff like, ‘Midterms man, this paper is crazy!’ ”

Peets employee Jesse Reynaga says both the amount of customers and customer moods change once midterms begin.

“It’s very busy, we get a lot of angry customers,” Reynaga says.

Coffee and caffeine intake can be beneficial if, like all things, you consume it in moderation.  Drinking a sixteen ounce cup of coffee, equivalent to the size medium or grande, not only keeps you from dozing off while writing a paper of sitting in class, but it also prevents Alzheimers and diabetes, according to this Huffington Post article.

Instead of backfiring yourself by overdosing with too much caffeine, and becoming too distracted to study because of shakiness, stomach cramps or anxiety, limit the caffeine intake to under six hundred milligrams a day, according to the FDA report, which equals to either three lattes, nine Coca Colas, and seven cups of tea.

Two Sisters Bar and Books – a place for couples and not books

A look at the Two Sisters Bar & Books in Hayes Valley.
A look at the Two Sisters Bar & Books in Hayes Valley.

Soft jazz, low lighting, yellow wallpaper with Japanese families dressed in kimonos, and the amount of couples are the first things that one notices when they enter Two Sisters Bar and Books.

The self-proclaimed reading bar is tucked away in Hayes Valley and was opened in 2011 by sisters Mikha and Mary Diaz with the aspiration to create a relaxed atmosphere where reading and conversing over a cocktail or a cup of coffee was the norm.

I visited Two Sisters on a Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the place was filled with couples, age group ranging from late twenties to early thirties.

With the proximity to fit three-fourths of a Muni bus, all seven of the small circle tables big enough to sit three lined up against a wall were occupied by the classic “boy-girl” scenario. A built-in table on the parallel wall was long enough to fit twelve seats and was filled with more people on dates. The table rested on top of a bookshelf whose books were untouched and hidden behind peoples dangling feet.

The bar, settled in the heart of room and able to seat six, was almost full with only two extra stools available.

Two bartenders were on staff, a man in his late twenties, casually dressed in a green T-shirt and black jeans, with blonde, scruffy hair and a five o’ clock shadow, and woman, also in her late twenties, with shoulder-length jet-black hair, full lips painted with red lipstick, a black T-shirt, and fitted blue jeans.

Both of them had a standoff-ish attitude, only talking to people when taking drink orders.

The drink menu consisted of gin, whiskey, and bitters. I ordered the house special, “The Two Sisters,” made with rye, Punt es Mes, and bitters. The flavor was smoky with a tinge of sweet, and smooth, but not worth $10. All of the drinks on the menu ranged from $10 to $13. Besides cocktails, the bar also had a selection of local beers on tap and a selection of wine.

After ordering my drink, I walked over to a bench big enough for two, near the entrance of the room, framed by pulled back maroon, velvet curtains. A mound of books surrounded the perimeter of the bench. The genre of books ranged from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” to “Anna Karenina.”

Yet with a plethora of books readily available to be cracked open and devoured, no one in the room was reading. People were more interested in their conversations with their partner.

The bar was set up for intimacy, with dim lighting, small tables, big enough to seat two, with lit candles in the center, and soft jazz playing in the background.

Dates were taking place all over the bar, and I was the only single and alone person in the room, but at least I had my cocktail and Harry Potter to keep me company.

After noticing all of the “googley eyes” and seeds of love beginning to sprout all over the room, I realized that The Two Sisters, while trying to be a place of literary adventure, is, in reality, a place for lovers.

If you are looking for a quiet, cozy place to sit down, sip on a drink, and dive into a Stephen Chbosky or Sylvia Plath, this probably is not the place for you. You will most likely be distracted from the cheesy pick-up lines, high pitched giggles, and the spotlight of being the only single person in the proximity.

 

Cocktails With a Kick: Winter Sour

Written by Dani Hutton

Elixir–Winter Sour–$11

Have you ever wondered what a Christmas tree tastes like? No, probably not. But, in the event that you’re curious now, it tastes like rosemary. Or vice-versa. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s certainly unusual if you’re not used to it. Despite the interesting element of rosemary oil within Elixir’s Winter Sour, it’s not what makes this drink special. No, that’s the egg whites.

Overall, the Winter Sour isn’t an overly complicated drink on an ingredient level. There are four ingredients: Campari, a type of potable bitters, Meyer lemon juice, egg whites, and rosemary. Muddle the rosemary, juice the lemon, strain the egg white, add the liqueur, shake, serve, and garnish. Seems like a combination that would result in a simple beverage, right?

Wrong. From the first sip, the drink is interesting, although whether it’s in a positive or negative manner, that’s up to your interpretation. The rosemary and Meyer lemon play off of each other heavily, nearly overpowering the other two ingredients. Despite that, the Campari makes an appearance, working with the with the Meyer lemon to add a sweetness that works to make the rosemary less overwhelming.

The egg white does nothing for the taste, but it’s an interesting addition because of what it does to the drink. Once shaken and poured, the egg white forms a frothy head that adds a fizzy layer, which makes the rest of the flavors pop in your mouth for an intense, if not particularly booze-laden experience.

Season of Cheers

Written by Danielle Hutton
Photos by Gavin McIntyre

Mornings are chilly, and the fog bank has slowly reclaimed its hold on the city.Mother Nature dropped record low tempertures on San Francisco this December with bitter cold air. Sometimes a jacket and scarf are just not enough. So, let’s warm up and get cozy properly—with some whiskey, hot drinks, and an array of liquor. Here are three hot drinks with a little kick to really heat things up this holiday season.

Continue reading Season of Cheers