The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2013

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A LONE STAR LIFE Write what you know: David "Tipsy Texan" Alan has penned a book on the things he knows quite well: Texas cocktails. The Tipsy Texan Talks DAVID ALAN'S TOP-SHELF COCKTAIL BOOK SHOWCASES THE RISE OF TEXAS TIPPLING by Anthony Head / photo by Kirk Weddle He's a professional bartender and bar consultant, a teacher, a charter officer of the Central Texas chapter of the United States Bartenders' Guild and a native Texan. With the recent release of Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State (Andrews McMeel, $20), David Alan is also the author of a tome dedicated to Texas drinks, brands and the personalities behind them. When he met with me at Freedman's in Austin, he explained a little bit of his creative process and why Texas is worthy of more attention from the country's cocktail culture. ■ Because the craft cocktail scene is young in this state, when I teach mixology classes I teach students to make classic drinks and then put their own stamp on them. Likewise, the whole concept behind the book is a mix of classic cocktails with a Texas twist plus original drinks from my friends and myself. ■ I mostly wrote this book for a Texas audience, but I was also thinking about all those Texas ex-pats living abroad. It would be a little taste of home for them. ■ It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Writing for me involves a lot people screaming at me, putting the screws on my thumbs. I feel this way about every writing project I've ever done. I love having written something but I don't love writing. ■ I see all these complicated drinks out there and that's really not my style. A good cocktail should inspire a sense of curiosity. It should be enjoyable. Mostly, though, it should taste good. I have a Fig Daiquiri recipe and it's a classic— real—Daiquiri that's made with fresh Texas figs. Simple and delicious. ■ I keep hearing from the people behind cocktail bar concepts, "We've got to bring service back. We've got to bring fun back." And I do think we can be too tightly wound about this stuff. So I'm hoping that Texas is part of moving that needle forward to create fun places that serve worldclass drinks. ■ I would like people to know that we have a really great sense of community in Texas. For such a big state, the cocktail crowd is tight and supportive. Maybe it's true in cocktail scenes in other states, but Texas in particular has a really good sense of statewide identity, as well as a bit of friendly competition. ■ I want the Texas spirits industry to become recognizable and for people to have positive thoughts about it. Most Texans couldn't name five Texas distilleries. But it's still young. ■ As for Texas spirits producers, I'd like to see more creativity and more innovation and especially more focus on Texas products. Historically, like in Europe, distillation is about a localized tradition. We don't have much of that here yet. I want more Texas distillates to make sense for the region and provide a true sense of place. ■ I have always been a cheerleader and a critic for this industry. I love what we're doing as a community, but I want more. august 2013  /  the tasting panel  /  105 TP0813_104-132.indd 105 7/24/13 9:40 PM

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