Good Gifts


Texas is known for good beers, good chili, and good manners, but good liquor? Sure! These charming choices are just a few of our favorite Lone Star liquors perfect for gift giving this season.

Choco Chile Buzz Martini
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. Patron chocolate liquor (not tequila)
5 dashes Regans’ orange bitters dash cayenne
Pour over ice. Stir. Strain into chilled cocktail (martini) glass and garnish with orange twist.

Cinco Vodka
Remember this—San Antonio’s truly Texas vodka is made with water naturally filtered through the limestone under the city.

The Wall Street Journal calls this Austin favorite “America’s first craft sippin’ vodka.”

Railean Rum
This woman-owned business operating out of Galveston county pairs passion and skill, providing a rare, u.S.-made rum that’s, for our money, better than Bacardi.

Republic Tequila
Certified organic in both the U.S. and Mexico, this central Texas treasure is sippin’-smooth.

Bone Spirits Vodka
Straight outta Smithville, Bone Spirits’ vodka embodies the essence of handicraft, producing a copper-pot distilled vodka that capitalizes on the availability of local, organic grains. it’ll put a smile on your not-yet-tipsy face. it’s also available in Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, if you’re trapped in any of those places.Otherwise, kick back and keep it local.

Somebody’s Mother’s Chocolate Sauce
Somebody’s mother told me to never show up to anyone’s home empty- handed. Well, somebody’s mother was right. it’s bad form to show up with flowers (who wants to stop to trim and arrange flowers while they’re trying to stuff a ding-dang turkey? Nobody.) Show up with a jar of Somebody’s Mother’s chocolate Sauce though, and later, after the broken glass is cleaned up and the caked-on pans are washed and everyone has finally left, your host can sit back, have a spoonful of the sinfully simple confection, and think about what a good guest you are.

Sticky Toffee pudding
For the uninitiated, this is an English Pudding. Warm, cake-y, and sweet, and beyond words, this treat delivers more bliss than Bill cosby could ever promise. Sexy may be an overused word these days, but with a quick trip through the microwave and a dollop of whipped cream, Sticky Toffee Pudding is just that. And while it may not be the newest kid on the block, product-wise, it’ll still make you throw your panties onstage.
Available at all Central Market and Whole Foods Market locations.

Dr. Pepper Jerky
Food nerds across Texas shed bottles full of salty tears when the dr Pepper bottling company put the kibosh on the manufacture and marketing of “dublin dr Pepper,” named for the small town southwest of Ft. Worth. For die-hard fans, Butler’s smokehouse offers a sweet beef jerky marinated in the original sugar syrup. is this a sanctioned product? We didn’t ask, but it’s worth stocking up on.

Round Rock Honey
As someone who grew up in Round Rock, i’m comfortable saying that it is not a free-wheeling vanguard of acceptance and diversity. The much- loved Saradora’s coffee shop was shut down after (gasp!) hosting the county’s first-ever drag show. in fact, the unofficial city motto is “come on vacation, leave on probation.” But there are certainly some sweet spots in Williamson county. One of them is the smooth, pure, Round Rock honey, produced with dizzyingly delicious precision from central Texas wildflowers.

Texas’ Best Retail Cafes
Shopping is hard work, and hard work requires sustenance. It ain’t easy playing Santa, but these stores make it easy for you to grab a gourmet bite and avoid the food court.

Forty Five Ten
8,000 square feet of specialty menswear, women’s clothing, and home décor inhabit this acclaimed, premier destination. Need a little dom Perignon and an artichoke panini to keep up your shopping strength? The T Room café can provide the on-premises relief you need.
4510 McKinney Ave. (214) 559-4510,

Café Bistro at Nordstrom
With 300+ days of summer, Austinites aren’t used to eating indoors, but café choices like the cilantro-lime shrimp salad make you feel like you’re dining al fresco. Nordstrom’s high level of service plus an easy-breezy, in-and-out experience gets you back on the sales.
2901 Capital of Texas Highway South, (512) 691-3500,

Mariposa Restaurant at Neiman Marcus
Dallas may be home to the café that spawned an urban legend surrounding a $250 cookie recipe, but Houstonians lay just as much claim to the true-story deliciousness found within. Ladies-that-lunch can load up on classic café bites (at classic Neiman Marcus prices) before loading up their shopping bags.
2600 Post Oak Blvd., (713) 621-7100,

Recipes by Joyce Garrison