Cocktail Chat With Sandra Spalding of Twin Liquors

Cocktail Chat With Sandra Spalding of Twin Liquors

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference was last week and if you are like me you were bursting with all kinds of ideas you wanted to try out… and also a lot of questions.
Now I have to be honest and tell you, I love a good cocktail but I am NOT 100% on my game when it comes to knowledge about cocktails and hostessing. Luckily at the SACC I got the chance to speak with someone who is!
Giant Noise PR reached out to me and asked if I would like to speak with Hostessing Expert Sandra Spalding the Director of Marketing from Twin Liquors. Naturally I said I’d love to! I love meeting smart women who also support community events and philanthropy so I was thrilled to be able to talk with her about the Cocktail Conference and see if she could give me some tips, tricks, and to learn a little more about one of the sponsors of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference!
 I got to hang out with Sandra and Jessica on the Agave Bon Voyage river barge tour (Read about that and the conference HERE) and experience a great mascal and tequila tasting.
I should have taken another photo but… tequila… sorry Sandra, next time photo shoot! lol
 After the boat tour and tasting I sat down with Sandra to get her hostessing tips and learn about Twin Liquors.
Twin Liquors is a historic company, starting just a few years after Prohibition ended. Can tell me a little about Twin Liquors company history and how that history plays a part in the company today?
Twin Liquors has been nationally recognized for its community involvement. Why does the company feel it is important to support community events like the San Antonio Cocktail Conference and charities/ nonprofits? 
Twin Liquors has many different events and classes available in local stores; why is providing community and customer educational opportunities important to Twin Liquors?
 Can you tell me more about some of the store events and resources that Twin Liquors offers that can help people learn more about wine, spirits, new products, tips, and and trends ?
What is a classic cocktail that everyone should have in their repertoire?
Twin Liquors is a sponsor for this year’s SACC, What has been your favorite cocktail to try at this years SACC?
Craft Sprits have been a big trend over the past few years; what are some of the wine, spirits, and cocktail trends you see continuing or upcoming for 2018? 
For individuals who are in the beginning stages of developing their host/ hostess collections ( individuals in their early 20’s and 30’s) what are some staples that a bar cart should never be without that can take them from season to season for entertaining?
 What things should the newbie host/hostess have available to make sure they are ready for entertaining at home?
In terms of making sure that your like ready to entertain, just make sure in terms of product in terms of spirits VODKA and Burbon are always great to have like even if you just have those two youre probably going to make most of your guests really happy. And then if you were to have a couple other things on your bar a tequila and a gin would be great and then having a sweet and dry vermooth will allow you to be able to make martinis manhattans and other drinks too. for instance if someone wanted a glass of white wine and you didnt necessarily have white wine you could always pour some vermooth on the rocks with a squeese of lemon , and make sure you always have a bowl of lemons limes oranges, and an hand juicer and you can make all kinds of drinks. A bottle of bitters is good, just having a bottle of angus stir a? If you have all of that stuff its not a huge investment, some sort of a beaker, for stirring, a spoon and a strainer, you can use a shot glass as a jigger or small glass that you probably already have in your cabinet and your good to go.
Any major dont’s or faux pas that should be avoided?
“The biggest faux pas in my opinion is bad glassware. I always say have great glassware even if it is mismatched, thats fine, just make sure you have good glassware. And even if you do have to use plastic cups theres cool plastic cups out there like govino .”
Bar cart staple tools?
For me Im not a big fan of having to shake drinks when Im having a big crowd of people. I prefer to be able to sort of just stir up a pitcher of something or make a punch. If your having to shake drinks all night its alot of work all night. but if you make a punch you just kind of pour off of that its a little bit easier.
If you have more than 8 people I would say to do a punch or a pitcher of something. And if you already have it made they can also pour themsleves.
what are some cocktails that you can make in a batch that is going to make someone look like they have their shit together?
I think its always good, especially if you have vodka on your bar, its always good to have a little individual club sodas and tonics because you can erry easily make a vodka tonic,
vodka soda, burbon and soda, and if you had one really good classic cocktail that you knew how to make , KNow how to make a manhattan. because if you know how to make a manhattan you can make a martini , you can tewak those you can make a manhattan on the rocks and varry it up and varry with garnishes too. so with really just teo ingreeidnets and some garinshes you can have some fun.
signature cocktai that you serve at your partys? Manhattan. Its old school.
Does Twin Liquors have for someone who wants to learn more ?
I always say the best resource is our people. We have the big market place stores where we offer classes like wine 101, entertaining classes, mixology classes, scotch classes; if those don’t work within your schedule we have very knowledgable staff. So if your shopping at the Boerne store and talking to Chris G there, he’s going to get to know you and be able to get a feel for what your serving and doing at your event
Once you get to know your Twin Liquors store staff and they get to know you they’re going to really be able to help guide you.
We have some online resources in the terms of knowledge area and fun videos. Jessica and I have a series of how to videos to make cocktails and we will be doing more of those soon. But really our best resource is our people, It great to watch a video but its way more fun if you can have a conversation and taylor it to what you like to do and what you like to drink.
*At this point we were interrupted momentarily when a stranger came up to us, gummy worms in hand, to ask Jessica if she wanted some of her candy. Being a favorite of Jessica’s she almost gave in but thankfully remembered the old “don’t take candy from strangers” rule! ‘Thanks but no thanks gummy worm fairy!’*
After the what were we talking about moment…
Is providing those community and customer educational resources and opportunities an important factor for Twin Liquors?
Yes, absolutely.
The istory of Twin is long but the short version is that the current generation (3rd generation) that are the current owners ( brother and sister) back in the 80’s when they decided to take if from gaavores? package store and turn it into tein liquors, named after their dad and uncle, margaret the sister was studying fashion and she said that she wanted to have a place where women feel comfortable shopping. And at the same time, her now late brother Ralph was a biochemist, and he was really into the idea scientifically of food and wine parings. So anytime they got together they were talking about food and wine and pairnig and all that, and the youngest brother who is the president of the company now, David,  who was a banker so he was the business sense, and it just all came together. Refined stores, displays, teachign people.
Margaret’ thing was ‘ when you go to the cosmetic counter you wnat to try the product on. you want to understand how to apply the makeup. and so that was the approch that they took . Tastings, really teaching people how to make drinks, how to do pairings. It really is a pillar of what Twin Liquors is and from there it was instilled in the employees. We try to have one employee at every single one of the events at SACC, so that our staff is educated so that they can educate the consumers that some into our stores.
Twin Liquors is a sponsor for the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, 
and Twin Liquors has also contributed a great deal to different nonprofits and community organizations over the years, is philanthropy something built into the company values?

Yes, One of the bothers that i mentioned earlieer passed away from heart failure. Because of that Margaret got involved with the American Heart Association, and David was really involved in the arts side like the opera. That small spark really snowballed. And one we started opening neighborhood stores, its only natural right?, you’re a neighborhood store, you have two or three employees, and every store gets to know the community and as they get to know the community they get to know what important to you. And we got hooked up with Kathy Seigal through heart gift and heard about the conference in san antonio, and margaret and kathy really hit it off and the whole premis of san antoino cocktail conference is the huston street charities, which are all life saving childrens charites was really somethign that appealed to Twin Liquors, and so even this last fall we donated a bottle of pappy van winkle 25 year to the conference and they auctioned it off and withthat an a few other items that night we raised over 15000 dollars. Its pretty cool when you can do that and its like give back/ have fun / learn it all kinda goes together.

Has there been a cocktail that you’ve tried at the events that you’ve really enjoyed so far?
Sandra Spalding: I love the signature cocktail that they has this year the Tío Mío with Herradura Añejo tequila, which is essentially an old fashioned. Modern takes on classic drinks are always fun.
Jessica Barnard: I  loved the Pina Colada with Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon.
Can you tell me if there are any fun events at Twin Liquors  coming up?
We have a cool Robert Burns scotch tasting event on January 24th; and in February we’re celebrating Valentine’s with a Valentine Italian Social. We’re going to be tasting a bunch of Italian wines and wine 101 classes. Really every month we always have something going on, particularly at the big stores like on Bitters and 281 in San Antionio.

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