We were delighted for an opportunity to be part of a celebration of the tenth anniversary of Todd Events, a world class wedding planner and one of the most creative people we know. We first met Todd last year working on a wedding in Oklahoma City, which involved some of the most exciting wines and spectacular entertainment we’ve seen – we knew this was going to be grand occasion.
For this event, to be held on the top floors of Neiman Marcus’s flagship store in Downtown Dallas we wanted to work with some exotic produce, as well as show what a state of the art party can look like. Naturally we wanted to get to Dallas early to source our ingredients as local and seasonal as possible. While building the ingredients for the cocktails we experienced some difficulty finding the rum brands we needed. We were incredibly fortunate to run into Benjamin Melin-Jones, just sitting at the bar of The Standard Pour. Ben is the fourth-generation descended of the Clément family and Managing Director of Rhum Clément in the USA (recently merged with Rhum J.M, one of the spirits we were utilizing).
We were also extremely fortunate as the opening night our friend (and one of the most talented mixologists in the country) Chad Solomon was hosting his opening night at The Midnight Rambler, a cocktail lounge at the bottom of the Joule Hotel (our absolute FAVORITE place to stay in Dallas). Chad took time to show us some of the most advanced mixology that we’ve seen in his drink laboratory as well as explain some of the ancient bottles of his collection.
Todd’s vision was to have a massive assortment of fruit and vegetables, with cocktails coming from ingredients right off the table. To honor Todd we created The Pink Panther, a vodka cocktail with aperol, orgeat, and fresh squeezed lemon. We finished this with a passion fruit foam and lemon zest served in a fancy coupe glass.
We also wanted to do something with a Texas feel, hence the Texas Ranger. This stirred cocktail was a riff on an improved whiskey cocktail, with rye, benedictine, peychaud bitters, and expressed citrus peel. We hand cut ice from a huge block we sourced in Dallas. We were able to get some advice on ice purveyors from our friends at the bar inside the restaurant Lark on the Park (uptown, near Klyde Warren Park). Here we had the best meal of our trip with the innovative Thailand meets Texas cuisine of dear friend Chef Melody Bishop (we opened the restaurant, Tavern in Brentwood together).
Lastly, we created a cocktail to pay homage to an early chairman of the board and son of the founder of Neiman Marcus, Harold Stanley Marcus. Harold preferred to be called ‘Mr. Stanley’ which is the name we gave the cocktail (also a talented writer, we highly recommend his book, Minding the Store).
When we learned Mr. Stanley had an extensive collection of masks we realized what better to create than a tiki drink. Taking a page out of Trader Vic’s we worked up a Zombie using a blend of caribbean rums, fresh lime and grapefruit juices, cinnamon, pomegranate, absinthe, and angostura bitters. Careful not to set off any alarms, we used some high proof rum to set half a lime on fire to garnish this drink. We weren’t able to grab pictures, as these were flying off the bar fast.
Special thanks to mentor, friend, and all around incredible person Julian Cox for taking time out of his busy life running the top bars in Los Angeles to work with us in Dallas. Thanks to Dallas Culture Map for giving us a great mention. Most of all, thanks to the team at Todd Events for being one of the most professional and detail oriented planning organization we’ve had the pleasure to work with.