December 8, 2021

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Holiday Gift Ideas Offer Unique Texas Twist

AUSTIN, TX — It’s the season of giving as a way to show goodwill in the coming year. Not to be left behind, area retailers offer an abundance of gift options — many with a quintessential Texas twist —from barbecue sauce to skydiving. The list is heavy on spirits to help ring in the New Year with a meaningul toast.

BROTHEL SAUCE

“The Old Coupland Inn and Dance Hall is celebrating its infamous Madam, Tilly Devine, who watches over the upstairs seven room B&B Brothel from her oil painting perch, her subtle finger gesturing and knowing, her mischievous look inspiring proprietor Abbey Road to capture all of that charm, insinuation and proposition in her BBQ sauce and smoke cured, dried meat jerky,” an email sent to Patch began.

How does a Legendary Texas dancehall, whose tagline is EAT, DRINK, DANCE, STAY a little longer, pivot in the time of the Covid-19 shutdown? You move that Honky Tonk to the kitchen, that’s how. Coupland’s homemade BBQ sauce along with Abbey’s Ribeye jerky have always been a hit at the restaurant and bar. One quiet, idle summer day it struck Abbey while under Tilly Devine’s gaze, that she should bottle the sauce and sell the jerky. She even decided to add in her own house coffee, a Strong Mexican Bean roasted in Austin.

Being inspired by a brothel Madam to produce cheeky, playful and lip-smackin’ BBQ sauce and mouth watering jerky is a proposition only a Texas dancehall owner could consider. Abbey, a longtime pitmaster known for her brisket and ribeye steaks, created the ribeye smoke cured, dried meat by adding a house made dry rub to thinly sliced pieces of Ribeye then putting it on the Mesquite fire and smoking it low and slow, just like the BBQ. The idea was to keep the flavor and integrity of the meat, like a piece of steak in your pocket. Available in Ribeye and Pork Loin, with a holiday version of smoke cured, dried turkey offered as well.

The Brothel sauce comes in three flavors, Bordello (original), Harlot (blueberry) and Lawless (Spicy). The sauces are tomato/vinegar based, Harlot has real blueberries that complement pork. “And watch out for Lawless,” restaurant officials wrote. “Those Habanero peppers will set you back a spell.

Brothel Sauce, Jerky and Brothel House coffee beans are all available for purchase via Coupland Dance Hall website or Brothel Sauce site. For a complete menu, visit the Coupland site.

Courtesy image.

COOKIE RICH

A new Austin cookie company by chef Lorin Peters, Cookie Rich launched in early December. The new take comes in the form of delectable orbs made from scratch infused with a creamy center. After the pandemic shook the culinary industry, Chef Peters was forced to make a career pivot. As a career savory chef, she felt the classic cookie was in need of a shake-up, and wanted to create something different yet also while infusing the classic flavors and textures that make homemade cookies so good. The Austin native and UT-Austin alum now is bringing Cookie Rich to her hometown, guided by a background spanning more than 10 years as a savory chef — including a stint at three-Michelin Star-awarded restaurant The French Laundry. For more delicious details, visit getcookierich.com and follow along on Instagram under @getcookierich.

Photo by Tony Cantú/Patch staff.

CREATIVE BOX STUDIOS

The brainchild of Monica Ceniceros (owner of The Cathedral and ATX Gals) and Kelly Cervenka, workshops are taught live and online by emerging women artists. A creative offshoot, Creative Box Studios Artist Designed Kits are available for shipping nationwide. Kits include all the materials needed for classed ranging from $55-$95 + shipping. All classes are recorded so if you can’t make the live date, you can always go back and watch it at your leisure — making for the perfect holiday gift. Follow on Instagram @creative.box.studios or via the Creative Box Studios website.

Photo courtesy of Creative Box Studios.

GARRISON BROTHERS DISTILLERY

For the bourbon lover in the family, Garrison Brothers Distillery offers a selection of bottles ranging in price from $85 for its Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey (94 proof) to their uncut and unfiltered straight bourbon whiskey appropriately named The Cowboy (137 proof), which retails up to $225 (prices depending on retailer). Garrison Brothers is the perfect gift for any bourbon lover, and can be purchased online or in 41 states and 6 foreign countries. Click here to find bottles of Garrison Brothers throughout the world.

Garrison Brothers Distillery is a small farm and ranch located in the bucolic Texas Hill Country authentically producing straight bourbon whiskey. Garrison Brothers introduced the first bourbon whiskey legally made in Texas in 2010 and has since developed a rabid fan base. How rabid? There’s currently have a waitlist of more than 15,000 just to volunteer on bottling days, and their Cowboy Bourbon™ normally sells out within hours of its release, distillery officials said. Garrison Brothers is the first legal bourbon distillery in Texas history, and is one of the first distilleries in America outside of Kentucky to produce authentic, handmade bourbon whiskey —and only bourbon whiskey. The business was founded in 2006.

This ain’t no flash in the pan either. At the San Francisco World Spirits Competition this year, the Garrison Brothers team was awarded a double gold medal for its Balmorhea Twice-Barreled Bourbon, a silver medal for its Single Barrel Bourbon, and a bronze for its Small Batch Bourbon. Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible named Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon™ “American Micro Whiskey of the Year” in 2014 and again in 2017. Whiskey Bible awarded the same distinction to Balmorhea Twice-Barreled Bourbon for 2019 and 2020. Garrison Brothers was voted Best Craft Whiskey Distillery in America by readers of USA Today in 2017.

Current bottle selections:

  • 2020 SMALL BATCH BOURBON | 94 proof; $84.99 per 750ml bottle | link to info here.

  • 2020 SINGLE BARREL BOURBON | 94 proof, $110 per 750 ml bottle | link to info here.

  • 2020 COWBOY – UNCUT, UNFILTERED STRAIGHT BOURBON | 133.9 proof (made from the Founder’s favorite barrel, hand selected) | link to info here, $199 – $225 per 750 ml bottle (Available in very limited quantities).

  • 2020 HONEYDEW HONEY-INFUSED BOURBON | 80 proof, $89 – $95 per 750ml bottle | link to info here.

The folks at Garrison Brothers helpfully sent along drink recipes complemented by their bourbons, including one using their small batch bourbon:

Photo courtesy of Garrison Brothers.

Rudolph’s barrel-infused old-fashioned

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon.

  • 1/2 oz. Liber & Co. Barrel-Infused Demerara Syrup.

  • 2 Dashes Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Bitters.

Preparation: In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients over ice and stir for 15 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over a large cube. Garnish with an orange peel and cherry.

iFLY INDOOR SKYDIVING

With an Austin location at 13265 US-183 A, iFly Indoor Skydiving is taking holiday gift-giving to new heights. This holiday season, give an experience that will create lasting memories for years to come. iFLY is offering three holiday gift voucher packages, including:

The Exclusive Gift

  • 4 flights + 2 high flights + 2 videos.

  • Can be shared between 2 flyers.

  • Valid 7 days per week, starting Jan. 4, 2021.

  • Save up to 40 percent.

The Elevated Gift

  • 4 flights + 2 videos shareable by 2 people.

  • Valid Sun-Fri, excludes Saturday, starting Jan. 4, 2021.

  • Save up to 35 percent.

The Essential Gift

  • 2 flights.

  • Valid Mon-Fri, excludes weekends, starting Jan. 4, 2021.

  • Save up to 30 percent.

What is iFLY? It’s a sports and recreation company with the mission to deliver the dream of flight. The company pioneered the body-flying “indoor skydiving” experience and is the world leader in vertical wind tunnel technology. Guests don’t need to be an athlete or in the best shape of their life either, iFLY officials said. iFLY’s world-class instructors are pros at making flying fun for everyone, officials added.

The company has taken extra safety measures to ensure safety amid an ongoing pandemic, including: The ability to complete waivers online, touchless temperature readings for all entering the building, contact-free check-in, floor markings indicating distancing requirements, all equipment, including helmets, goggles and flight suits, sanitized and washed after each use, hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility, and surface areas and touchpoints, such as counters, door handles, and bathroom facilities, will be regularly wiped down with disinfectant.

“As temperatures drop, this is a fun and safe activity to do indoors,” officials wrote. “In fact, iFLY’s wind tunnels have a fresh air advantage over other experiences. Advanced wind tunnel technology provides guests with clean air while flying by recirculating and refreshing the air from outside the iFLY facilities. Tested and proven, iFLY’s wind tunnels create an environment at least 10x fresher than the average store or gym when flying guests—even at slow wind speeds.”

Prices vary per iFLY location. Holiday vouchers must be purchased in person. For more information on the iFLY holiday vouchers and more, visit www.iflyworld.com/gifts and follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

KETEL ONE BOTANICAL

Making an aggressive push into the Texas market, Ketel vodka recently introduced a citrus-infused line of concoctions reminiscent of a Texas summer in the Hill country. Real botanicals offer a fresh taste in flavors ranging from grapefruit to peach. Recipes include:

Peach Toddy

Method: Add Ketel One, bitters, teabag, cinnamon stick, and honey to a mug. Top with 4-5 ounces of hot water and stir to dissolve honey. Let sit for 3 minutes, then remove teabag. Squeeze large lemon wedge into mug and discard. Stir to incorporate all ingredients. Garnish with a lemon wheel, in glass, and enjoy.

Botanical 75

  • 1 ½ ounces KOB cucumber + mint.

  • ½ ounce elderflower liqueur.

  • 1 oz lemon juice.

  • 1 1/2 ounces Brut sparkling wine.

  • Garnish: Cucumber slice

Method: Combine the Ketel One, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice to an ice filled shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a Champagne Flute and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a Cucumber slice and enjoy.

Grapefruit Ginger Spritz

  • 1 1/2 ounces KOB grapefruit + rose.

  • 3 ounces Health Ade Ginger Kombucha.

  • 1 dash cardamom bitters.

  • Garnish: 1 grapefruit slice.

Method: Fill a large wine glass with ice. Add the Ketel One and 1 dash of Cardamom bitters. Top with the Ginger Kombucha. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit and enjoy.ᐧ

Photo courtesy of Ketel.

MILKRUN

Launched in Austin on Nov. 23, MilkRun has partnered with local favorites such as Easy Tiger, Texas Coffee Traders and Rambler along with local farms like Shirttail Creek, Richardson and Fagan Family Farms to offer Austin residents a delivery service that supports local businesses. “MilkRun is ideal for farmers and customers because it’s a COVID-safe and convenient delivery system that puts more money in the farmers’ pockets, which is essential in sustaining small farms,” MilkRun officials said. The weekly service delivers produce, meat, dairy, eggs and bread directly from local farms.

Photo by Tony Cantú/Patch staff.

NEFT VODKA

Making inroads into the Texas marke, NEFT — an award-winning Austrian craft vodka with Russian heritage — is packaged in a unique, specially made oil barrel. Crafted in the Alps of Austria for its oxygen-rich spring water, NEFT is an ultra-premium vodka with a taste as memorable as its container, a portable, unbreakable barrel, that keeps NEFT cold for up to 6 hours. The perfect bar addition for making delicious holiday cocktails. For more information, visit www.NEFTVodka.com.

NEFT Violet Night

Courtesy photo.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz NEFT ultra premium vodka.

  • .75 oz creme de violet.

  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice.

  • .5 oz rosemary simple.

  • 2 drops violet flower essence.

Directions: Add all ingredients into a mixing tin with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a singed rosemary sprig.

SWIFT FIT

Local wellness experts, Swift Fit, are offering curated gift baskets just in time for the holidays. Their themed baskets are comprised of an assortment of goods that are sourced locally from Austin-area small businesses. The baskets allow one to indulge, de-stress, practice self-care and channel one’s inner hippie — all with an Austin twist. Swift Fit expressed pride in supporting local small businesses, hoping these baskets can help restore and revitalize recipients as they end 2020 and begin a new year. Bulk order discounts are available.

There are four options:

  • Sweet and Salty: SRSLY Chocolate, DuSOL Sparkling CBD Water, Shar Snacks, Rio Grande Organics, Zhi Tea, local honey – $65.

  • Calm and Serenity: Karacotta Ceramics incense dish, incense cones, sage bundle, candle, soap sampler, chapstick, room spray – $125.

  • Relax and Rejuvenate: Benjamin Soap Co products: Cuticle Butter Tin, Perfume Oil Roller, Lotion Bar Stick, Travel Candle, Bath Salts, Towelettes, Yoga Mat Spray, Arnica Balm – $100.

  • Natural Elements: crystals, incense cones, air plant magnet, dream catcher, incense dish – $85.

Follow on Instagram @swiftfitevents or learn more on the Swift Fit Events website.

Photo courtesy of Swift Fit.

TEXAS STATE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

If you missed someone on your list and still want to get your friend or loved one something special, adopting a Texas town or county through TSHA’s Great Texas Land Rush program is a quintessentially Texas option. On the site, you select whether the adoption is “in honor of” or “in memory of” someone or something. Your name, the honoree’s name, and your message will appear on the Land Rush website and on the corresponding town or county page on the Texas Almanac website. The Texas State Historical Association also will email you a Certificate of Adoption, and you can gift the certificate to your loved one. The certificate shows the adopter’s name, honoree’s name, custom message, town or county name, and term of adoption. A Land Rush adoption is a fun gift, and recipients can boast about having their name associated with the county or town adopted. Even better, all proceeds from the program directly support the work of TSHA and the Texas Almanac. Stake your claim today and give a truly special gift. Learn more by clicking here.

This article originally appeared on the Austin Patch

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