In our next instalment of Connect the Gram, we meet Texan spitfire Sasha better known to drinkstagrammers as @sashadallasgirl. Based in Dallas (duh), she's been amassing a growing following on Instagram for her beautifully composed cocktail shots, to-die-for collection of vintage glassware and bringing sexy back to shrubs aka that thing you know as drinking vinegar. You might also spy her dehydrated fruit garnishes popping up on the accounts of other drinks enthusiasts, courtesy of her generosity in sending those to other cocktail lovers. Here, she takes some time out to answer a few questions.
Do you remember how your interest in cocktails started?
I've always been fascinated by the alchemy of cocktails. The idea of crafting a medley of balanced flavors, creating a drink that makes someone say "wow" after their first sip. I also adore the pageantry of cocktail creation, from the stemware to the styling to the finished product, I love everything about the process.
When did you start your Instagram account and what was the motivation for it?
I was following a number of amazing cocktail professionals and enthusiasts and wanted to be a part of the movement. The Instagram cocktail community is extraordinary and I am constantly blown away (and inspired) by the talent, the mind-sharing, and the sheer art of the craft. I am a laymen compared to many I aspire to.
Your cocktails are always so beautiful! How often to you post and do you have a process for deciding what to make/feature on each post?
Thank you! I typically post twice a week. And my inspiration comes from a myriad of places: a cool cocktail ingredient or perhaps a new method I want to try my hand at, a new spirit I just picked up, some leftover produce (those typically go in a shrub). And I definitely love doing themes as well as seasonal cocktails (during the holidays it's full-on eggnog or amaro drinks for a straight month). I carry around a notebook and when I'm inspired by an ingredient or have a cocktail idea, I jot it down and work out the specs later.
What has been the weirdest/strangest cocktail you’ve made or drank, where you thought on paper, all the ingredients wouldn’t mix together well, or it used a particularly insane ingredient? Did it work?
I'm laughing out loud at this question because I have most definitely had some cocktail concepts I thought would make amazing drinks that turned out to be not-so-amazing drinks. The one that comes to mind was a mushroom number...I wanted to leverage the earthy factor but my specs, well, sucked......
Shrubs. What's your fascination with shrubs and what do you love so much about it? Do you have a favourite you can share with us?
I love shrubs because of the flavour intensity and punch they bring to a cocktail. As far as a favourite, grapefruit vanilla bean shrub (white vinegar base, 1 to 1 to 1 ratio grapefruit/peel to sugar to vinegar) is my shrub spirit animal and, in my opinion, pairs beautifully with most base spirits.
Name 3 bars that you’d recommend for anyone visiting your hometown of Dallas and why
First and foremost: Midnight Rambler. They've been rated one of the best cocktail bars in Dallas for good reason. It's not so much what's on their menu (although their menu rocks and is ever-changing), it's the talent of the bartenders and what they're able to craft off-menu. I'm also a fan of Hide (they do some science-y stuff i.e. centrifuges and other cool techniques) and Rapscallion (they have some incredible Tiki libations). I also really like Jettison (they have some amazing sherry cocktails). Okay, that was 4 but who's counting!
We’re throwing a cocktail party at home! Throw me some of your cheat sheet tips for making cocktails for the masses (and still have a good time at your own party!)
For a larger cocktail party, I definitely recommend pre-batching as much as possible so you're not playing bartender all night long or making people wait while you mix them a drink. Also, I try to choose a garnish I can do ahead of time and have ready to go (i.e. orange peel, lemon wheel, etc). To keep them fresh, store them in a container of some sort and cover them with a damp napkin so they don't dry out.
Thanks Sasha for your time! As a tribute, we've come up with a cocktail made with a...you guessed it...strawberry pepper shrub. Head across to our Instagram to find out what!