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 Spalding and Jessica Barnard (Twin Liquors’ Wholesale Manager) on the Agave Bon Voyage river barge tour (Read about that and the San Antonio Cocktail Conference HERE) and experience a great mezcal 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, learn about Twin Liquors, and to find about Sandra and Jessica’s favorite cocktails from the conference.
Has there been a cocktail that you’ve tried at any of the SACC 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 made with Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon.”

What things should the newbie host/hostess have stocked to make sure they are ready for entertaining at home?

Sandra Spalding: “In terms of spirits, Vodka and Bourbon are always great to have, even if you just have those two you’re probably going to make most of your guests really happy. If you wanted to have a couple of other things on your bar, a tequila and a gin would be great, and then having a sweet and dry vermouth will allow you to be able to make martinis, manhattan’s, and other drinks too. Also make sure you always have a bowl of lemons, limes, oranges, and you can make all kinds of drinks.”

Any major dont’s or faux pas that should be avoided?
S: “The biggest faux pas, in my opinion, is bad glassware. I always say have great glassware, even if it is mismatched. If you do use plastic, there are some cool plastic cups out there like Govino (shatterproof glasses).”
What are some staple tools to keep on your bar?
S:“Some sort of beaker, a spoon and a strainer, you can use a shot glass as a jigger or a small glass that you probably already have in your cabinet and your good to go!”
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What’s the best way to do drinks for a larger group of people? 
S: “I’m not a big fan of having to shake drinks when I’m having a big crowd of people. If you have to shake drinks all night, it is a lot of work. I prefer to be able to sort of just stir up a pitcher of something or make a punch.”
What is a classic cocktail that everyone should know how to make someone look like they can ‘adult’ correctly?
S: Know how to make a Manhattan. If you know how to make a Manhattan you can make a martini; you can tweak those and vary it up with garnishes too. Really with just a few ingredients and some garnishes you can have some fun.”
Is there a signature cocktail that you serve at your own events?
S: “Manhattan. It’s old school.”

What resources does Twin Liquors have for someone who wants to learn more about hosting, wine pairings, or making drinks?

S: “I always say the best resource is our people. We have the big marketplace 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 knowledgeable 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 you’re 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 also have some online resources in 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 tailor 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 strange gummy worm fairy!’*
Is providing those community and customer educational resources and opportunities an important factor for Twin Liquors?
S: “Yes, absolutely.
The history of Twin Liquors is long, but the short version is that back in the 80’s when the current owners decided to take if from Jabour’s Package Store and turn it into Twin Liquors, named after their father and uncle, Margaret Jabour was studying fashion and  said that she wanted to have a place where women felt comfortable shopping. At the same time, her now late brother Ralph was a biochemist, and he was really into the idea scientifically of food and wine pairings. So anytime they got together they were always talking about food and wine and pairings. Their youngest brother, who is the president of the company now, David Jabour,  was a banker, so he was the business sense, and it just all came together. Refined stores, displays, and teaching people.
Margaret’s thing was ‘ When you go to the cosmetic counter you want to try the product on. You want to understand how to apply the makeup.’ And that was the approach that they took.
Tastings, really teaching people how to make drinks, and how to do pairings; it really is a pillar of what Twin Liquors is, and from there it was instilled in all of our 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, in turn, educate the consumers that come 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?

S: “Yes! The current generation (3rd generation) that are the owners lost their bother Ralph to heart failure. Because of that Margaret Jabour (Co-Owner/ Executive Vice President of Twin Liquors) got involved with the American Heart Association, and David  Jabour (Co-Owner/ President) was very involved in the arts, and it really snowballed, in the best way, from there.

Its only natural, right? You’re a neighborhood store, you have two or three employees in each, and every store gets to know the community and what is important to that community.”

We got hooked up with Cathy Siegel (Executive Director of Houston Street Charities) through Margarets work with Heart Gift and heard about the Cocktail Conference in San Antonio. The whole premise of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference is raising money for Houston Street Charities (with 100% of proceeds going to life-saving children’s charities), and that was really something that appealed to Twin Liquors. Last fall we donated a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 25 year, to the conference. They auctioned it off, and with that and a few other items that night we raised over $15,000. Its pretty cool when you can do that and its like give back, have fun, and learn… it all kind of goes together.”

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 having some wine 101 classes. Really every month we always have something going on, particularly at the big stores like on Bitters and 281 in San Antonio.”

If you want to learn more about wine and spirits, or to pick up something you want to try that you saw at this years’ San Antonio Cocktail Conference, make sure you go check out your local Twin Liquors store to take a class and learn from their amazing and knowledgable staff!

Thank you again to the ladies of Twin Liquors, Sandra and Jessica, for taking the time to talk to me!

Watch My YouTube Video of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference Below:

San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2018



The San Antonio Cocktail Conference was last week, the 5 days of workshops, events, and parties. The backbone of the event though is giving back to the community. The SACC raises money for Houston Street Charities  which donates 100% of the proceeds to children’s charities. This means that in addition to getting to go to some awesome parties you get to give back to the community at the same time!

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I got to do SO MUCH at the conference and I still didn’t hit it all ( #SACC2019GOALS ), there were just so many options for events to attend! I  did manage to hit up all of the main events, a few workshops and of course and after party or two!
Watch my YouTube video  to see more of the sights from the San Antonio Cocktail Conference and make sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE!



At the Opening Night at the DoSeum I met the Lovely Erin Malatesta the Founder of Flavour Gallery who makes the amazing San Antonio Cocktail Conference Shirts!

Go pick up your SACC swag HERE!!!

Some of the Food Blog Squad! 


This year I also got the opportunity to speak with two of the amazing ladies from the Twin Liquors team, Sandra Spalding  (Director of Marketing) and Jessica Barnard (Wholesale Manager).
Read my interview with the Twin Liquors Team HERE for Sandra’s hostess tips and some upcoming events to look forward to as well!!
Sandra invited me on the Agave Bon Voyage river barge tour where we learned about the’ Art of Agave Spirits’ got to sample and learn about an array of tequilas and mezcals from Joseph Castillo of Kimo Sabe Mezcal (#TrustedFriend) .
It was a very entertaining boat ride particularly when we reached the damn/lock portion of the river and everyone hummed the Jurassic Park theme as the gates opened. *Just FYI if you don’t watch my Instagram Stories you’re missing out on some hilarious shenanigans!

Whether you are a cocktail connoisseur, bar tender, liquor novice, or just want to go have a good time the San Antonio Cocktail Conference provides an opportunity for both learning and entertainment.
Watch my YouTube video  to see some of the sights from the San Antonio Cocktail Conference and make sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE!

Holidays At Rock Harbor Hill Country Lodge

I was recently invited up to Rock Harbor Hill Country Lodge by owner Amanda to see her holiday decor and visit the little getaway in the heart of the Hill Country that is quickly becoming a popular getaway destination.

Located in just past Boerne proper out in Sisterdale, it is the perfect distance away from restaurants and wineries in the hill country and far enough away from the hustle and bustle of San Antonio to let you fully relax and enjoy some of the natural beauty of the area.

Upon arrival you drive through a cheerful gate and are welcomed by the Rock Harbor furry greeting committee aka owner Amanda’s pets which include two dogs, three cats, and two chickens. Having those little furry friends around really helped make me feel right at home on Amanda’s property. Once inside I took some time to wander with my new furry friends and explore the area.

Every inch of the space is a Pinterest dream board. This quaint little bed and breakfast looks like it popped straight out of the pages of Better Homes and Gardens or Southern Living. So much thought and attention has been put into every detailed corner of the property and they have really thought of absolutely everything that you as a guest could want. Amanda has a keen eye for design and attention to detail and you can really tell how much love has been poured into every corner of each space. The whole property is bursting with Christmas Holiday Cheer!

My favorite spot at RHL is probably the outdoor seating area near the private cabin. In this elegant outdoor space (complete with cat companion) you can lounge outside under gorgeous chandeliers and enjoy the sounds of birds perched on branches of the nearby trees, watch squirrels scampering across the fence line, read a book, and enjoy the crisp air of the season.

Owner Amanda is an Air B&B Super Host (which means she is very highly rated) and EVERY review is 5 stars, so you know that you are in good hands at Rock Harbor. She and her husband have worked hard to convert and create spaces that make you feel at home while still giving you a luxurious experience.

I can’t wait to head back up again after the New Year to stay in the new  lotus bell tent for a ‘Glamping’ experience and stargazing in the the evening (Keep an eye out for a post on that experience).

If you have been searching for a place to stay while visiting family, girls weekend, or are looking to book your next romantic getaway, Rock Harbor Hill Country Lodge and it’s proprietors are sure to make your visit relaxing, restful, and memorable.

Blogger Gift Giving Guide 2017

We all know there are multiple types of blogger genres, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, food, family, etc. But there are a few items that no matter what the blog focus is, there are  universally useful items to any genre of blogger.

If you have been racking your brain trying to figure out what to buy the blogger in your life with only a short time left to shop, or are looking to pick up something for yourself, here are the 7 things that I think any blogger would like to find under their tree or in their stocking this year:




812p+EpxiBL._SL1500_.jpg1. 2TB External Hard drive 

Having an external hard drive is an absolute must for just about everyone these days but especially if you are a blogger. I think it is a prefect surprise to find in ones stocking.



TCP2018-ProductPhotos-10_600x6002. Content Planner

For the blogger who is a planner nerd or that needs a written calendar to get things done this is a great gift. This planner helps lay out what content you want to put out and really helps if your are trying to get on a posting schedule.

3. iPhone Photo Lens

This is a great tool for the iPhone Instagramer or Blogger. Having the ability to up your game before you make the leap to a DSLR, or for when you want to leave the big girl camera at home, really helps to diversify your photos.


4. Blue Light Blocking Glasses

I was introduced to theses by beauty blogger MegO on her blog  gift guide. I’ve been using THIS pair for several days now and I have noticed an IMMEDIATE improvement in my workday. I haven’t had a headache in over a week! I know that may sound strange to some but for a frequent migraine sufferer this is HUGE!!! I highly recommend them to anyone who spends a lot of time in front of a computer or phone screen!


5. LED Light

I recently discovered the usefulness of these lights and have been hooked on them for taking photos ever since. It is a great product if you want to be able to take better quality photos in areas with limited lighting with your iPhone.



6. Karma Go Wifi Hotspot 

I featured this product in my 2016 Gift Guide and it is back again this year! I use this regularly and it is one of those items that is always in my bag no matter what. The great part about this hot spot is that you can do a monthly subscription or just a one time purchase of data so you’re not tied down if you don’t want to be.

Click HERE  to get $10 off your purchase of a Karma Go!


7. Creative Market Gift Card

This is a gift that any type of blogger or Instagramer will appreciate. There is such a wide variety of items to choose from of this site that range from website templates, animations for your Instagram story, Snapchat filters,  themes, fonts, banding mockups, and other add ons that will all bring amazing enhancement possibilities for the various means of messaging your blogger has.






*Some links may be affiliate links.

Pax Coffee And Goods

I decided to take a wander up into Kerrville today to take advantage of the beautiful weather we’re having right now in the Hill Country.

While wandering by the river near Kerrville’s Main Street, I walked across the street to Pax Coffee and Goods for a quick caffeine pick me up. They have ample indoor and outdoor seating a a variety of tasty treats waiting to be sampled.

Pax can also accommodate your adult beverage needs as well with their wine menu.

Pax Coffee and Goods is a great place to come and unwind for the afternoon with your significant other or friends after a day of shopping or exploring the natural beauty of the Hill Country.

Be sure to let Pax know that the Boerne Blonde says hello!

Dulce! A Night Of Decadence

Last night I attended Dulce! an event hosted by the San Antonio Current. The ever showcases the amazing sweet treats and drinks that local confectionaries, bakeries, distilleries, and restaurants have to offer.

I had the opportunity to attend the event as a VIP which of course came with some great perks. In addition to being able to enter the event an hour early, VIP’s had our own lounge area on the 3rd floor.

The VIP lounge had additional tables of treats set up as well as some additional swag throughout the event. The Dulce mug and the Stillhouse enamel pin were some of my favorite gifts of the evening.

One of the other incredibly cool items I received was provided by Guinness, one of Dulce’s sponsors. Guinness set about creating custom etched glasses for each VIP, I decided that I would have Boerne Blonde engraved into mine, and I have to say it came out great.

On the main floor every corner was filled with sweet treats that flowed outside to the courtyard and the back patio overlooking the River Walk.

Special shout out to Stillhouse for gifting me a super cute enamel pin, and to the owners of Summer Moon Coffee Bar for fueling my caffeine needs with their spiked Winter Moon!

Shout out to Stillhouse for gifting me a super cute enamel pin!

Dulce! San Antonio was completely as promised, a night of decadence and delights. I cannot wait for next year to see all of the amazing new tasty experience our local eateries have to offer!