Archive for category Happy Hour

Happy Hour: Stacy Visits Artful Sips

Owner Tharen Simpson shows off past Artful Sips projects

On Thursdays, we typically bring you a drink recipe.  This week, Stacy visited Houston’s Cork Soakers for an Artful Sips class.  Check it out!

Monday night, I attended a charity art class hosted by Houston’s own Charity Chicks, a group dedicated to raising awareness for various non-profit organizations. Its co-founder Jayme was there to get the party started at Cork Soakers wine bar as groups of women gathered around to paint and drink in the name of charity. To be specific, $10 of every $30 ticket went to the Houston Area Women’s Shelter.

I had never been to Cork Soakers before, so I feel I should mention the beautiful venue – natural wood colors, leather couches straddling tables decorated with corks under a glass top, centerpieces with floating tea lights and corks, and the theme of wine literally woven into every aspect of the decor. Lighting fixtures are wine barrels, bathroom door signs are printed on cork board, and oh yeah – there’s a fully stocked bar with not only wine, but a heavy focus on Texas beers. The owners also run the popular Lucky’s Pub next door, so they know what they’re doing.

Cork Soaker's Private Room

The event featured free wine and light appetizers – a cheese plate from Cork Soakers itself, chips and salsa from Lucky’s, and cake pops from Heather Howard at Baketastic Treats. There was also a representative from Honest Tea there sampling flavors of their healthy, organic beverages which are high in antioxidants. As a sugar obsessed American, I wasn’t a fan. Most are unsweetened or lightly sweetened and I found myself craving more. The cheese plate was good – it featured what I believe to be a White Cheddar, a Gouda with herbs, and a Mobay (a blend of cow/goat/sheep). I’m a cheese girl and I quite enjoyed that White Cheddar.

Honest Tea

As for the art portion of the evening, local artist and HBU professor Maria Valdez, led us in recreating Martina Shapiro’s “Pink Poppies.” Maria also provides all of the paintings that adorn the walls inside Cork Soakers, some of which are for sale. And while she was very nice and obviously talented, I wasn’t that impressed with her instructional abilities. Or at least, her ability to instruct me. She rushed through a lot of the steps and in the end, my painting was hardly a masterpiece. Of course, I could just blame that on the three glasses of wine I consumed and my innate ability to…well, suck. I’m also guessing that this class was designed for advanced painters since not much attention was paid to helping out a stick figure master like myself. Oh well. Plenty of girls in the class were happy with theirs.

Cork Soakers offers these painting classes every Wednesday as part of their “Artful Sips” series. The cost is $35 and all supplies are included. Plus you get a free glass of wine! And if you’re interested in seeking out more fun events like this that are also for a good cause, join the Charity Chick’s e-mail list. They’ll keep you updated on lots of events and how you can help with fundraising and/or volunteering. However, If you’re just interested in a low-key spot to booze it up, keep Cork Soakers in mind. Its elegant atmosphere and close proximity to Minute Maid Park, the theater district, and the Toyota Center, makes it a prime place for pre or post evening fun. And they have complimentary shuttle service as well!

Editor’s Note: Another Tharen Simpson venture…Epicurean Express…located right next door to Coak Soakers…is having its Grand Opening June 10 & 11.  Regular store hours are M-SA (7am-9pm) and Sunday (10am-6pm)

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Happy Hour: Wine Fest at Brenner’s on the Bayou

I usually bring you a drink recipe on Thursdays, but this week I’m highlighting an event I attended last Saturday.  Wine Feast at Brenner’s on the Bayou was a hit. The beautiful setting couldn’t have been better for such an event.  The wine was flowing and the food was never more than a few steps away. This is now an annual event and I’d highly recommend attending next year.  Tickets ran $65–well worth it for wine lovers.

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Happy Hour: Strawberry Ginger Caipirosca

Doesn't that look refreshing? It is.

Get ready for the weekend with a Thursday Happy Hour!

Don’t worry, it drinks a heck of lot better than it pronounces.  I made this cocktail for our last Dinner Club and it seemed to be well received.  The Strawberry Ginger Caipirosca takes a little effort to prepare, but the end product is well worth it.  The freshly grated ginger, lime, strawberries, and mint blend so well together.  I highly suggest adding a good splash of Sprite.  As much as I enjoyed the recipe, it does turn out a little thick.  The Sprite gives the drink a nice fizz and thins it out a bit.


Happy Hour: A Brugal Tasting Event

Get ready for the weekend with a Thursday Happy Hour! This week, Carrie head’s to a Brugal Rum tasting event.

Kevin’s busy schedule results in yummy drinks for me…I like this scenario!

The event: A Brugal Rum tasting. Haven’t heard of Brugal Rum? Brugal, the #1 rum in the Caribbean, is the only 100% Dominican Rum. It’s availability in the U.S. is limited to Boston, Philadelphia, and now, Houston!

The place: The Blue Bar at Brenner’s on the Bayou. If you haven’t been here, add it to your places to go list. The Blue Bar is a patio bar overlooking the bayou and grounds that surround Brenner’s. On a nice afternoon, this is the perfect spot for a tasty beverage. Yummy apps too!

The drinks: 4 Brugal cocktails were featured in addition to 2 signature Brugal drinks created by the Brenner’s mixologist.. The rundown:

  • On the Rocks – enough said
  • Santo Libre – Brugal, 7 up and a squeeze of lime
  • Golden Mojito – Mint, sugar, lime and Brugal topped with soda
  • Brugal Splash – Brugal, pineapple juice and a splash of lemon-lime soda
  • Caramel Apple – Brugal, Apple Pucker, Butterscotch schnapps and soda
  • Old-Fashioned – Brugal, muddled cherries and oranges and soda

I tried the mojito, the old-fashioned, and the caramel apple. The mojito was just my style…light and refreshing, not too sweet with a little fizz. Perfection! The old-fashioned had good flavor but was a little too serious for me to drink on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong…I finished it, but I don’t know that I’d be able to drink too many of those bad boys. According to my mom, an old-fashioned is a good “man’s drink.” Surprisingly, the caramel apple was not overly sweet or apple-y. A great warm weather cocktail. Happy drinking!