{Shaker and Spoon: Houston Without Limits}

Recently, I got it into my head that I would really like to take a mixology class or two. Ever artistic, I also love creative and fancy cocktails, and I thought it would be a fun way to shake things up as well as a way to learn a new skill.

Shaker and Spoon was recommended to me by a friend months back. Basically, it’s a monthly cocktail club that sends the ingredients (minus the alcohol) to make three different cocktails. Each month centers around a different spirit, and in addition to the ingredients, you also get step-by-step instructions on how to make the drinks, thus teaching yourself mixology in your own home! And being as how my schedule tends to wear me out already, without adding a regular class to the mix, I thought this was a fantastic opportunity.

The first box I received was the “Houston Without Limits” box (they all have a fun themed name), a box that called for either bourbon or tequila with it’s three cocktails. It arrived with fanfare – there was confetti sticking out of the sides of the box, making the whole thing look like a celebration before I had even opened it.

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Inside, I found delightful little bottles of mixers, along with cinnamon sticks, star anise pods and, of course, the cocktail staples of lemon and lime.

Of course, I had to immediately try one of the cocktails. I decided on the Ma Sour, a take on the traditional whiskey sour. (Being the scotch/whiskey/bourbon-loving girl that I am, I opted for bourbon and not tequila, though I’m certain the tequila versions are equally as good.)

With this first box, I learned my first new mixology technique: fat-washing. I had never heard of this in my life, not even on a cocktail menu (and I love reading the fancy drink menus at restaurants to see what kind of flavor combinations they have).

Don’t know what fat-washing is either? It’s infusing your spirit with a fat of some kind (in my first experience, this was butter). It seems to be a similar method to making clarified butter, except you add alcohol and put the picture in the freezer for the solids to firm up.

Butter-infused bourbon? Fantastic. I mean, how could it not be?

The fast-washing technique was used in the first drink I tried, the “Ma Sour.”

Above is the Ma Sour made with bourbon. Because each recipe makes one cocktail, but I have the ingredients for four each, I decided at this point that I would make one bourbon version and one tequila version to see what I liked better.

This drink made me feel like I need to hone my techniques.  There were a few things that I loved the idea of, but I don’t think I executed quite right.  The fat-washed bourbon I don’t think I let sit for long enough, as it didn’t really seem any different from regular bourbon.  The cinnamon stick was meant to be charred on the end, swirled around the glass and then placed on top, still smoking.  My cinnamon stick fell into the glass, which is why it’s resting on the side in the photo above.  But even so, I was pretty proud of attempt number one.

Then I tried “Huarache Nights,” which I did not have the right tall glass for so I made due with a Scotch glass… totally going to have to invest in a lot of bar ware if I keep up this subscription… Amazon here I come (or IKEA really cause they have crazy reasonable glassware).

Huarache nights was good.

Following Huarache nights, I attempted “The Beat Goes On.” Because the recipe called for giant ice cubes, of which I had a total of zero, I used regular ice from my freezer which made photographing it from the side difficult:

I was having trouble staging this one in a way that allowed for the lemon zest and the star anise pod to both be featured in the photo. Eventually I got creative:

This one was my favorite of the bunch. And just when I thought I loved it with bourbon, I tried it with tequila and it was even better! Granted I did buy tequila that was aged in whiskey barrels so perhaps the best of both worlds?

The verdict on my first box? Fantastic so far. As I am considering this my Mixology education, I would give myself a solid B in this first course: nothing was a failure but I definitely feel like there’s room for improvement!

Want to give Shaker & Spoon a try? Use this referral link! (This is not a sponsored paid post, just something I tried and loved, and think you’ll love too!)

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