Sangria – The Force Awakens

As summer begins its slow descent into autumn, it’s easy to fall swiftly out of love with your favorite summer drink. You’ve sipped on about as many margaritas as you can handle and you’re looking for something different.
What you’re looking for is sangria – a cocktail that’s easy, inexpensive, and can transition from summer into fall with zero effort.

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Sangria, like all cocktails, involves simple ingredients mixed in optimal ratios: wine, sliced fruit, and a mixer or two. Add some time for the flavors to combine, and you’ll have a crowd-pleasing drink that tastes like you took real effort to create it, even if you threw it together after having a couple glasses of wine yourself.

Here’s the difficult part: The optimal ratio is what tastes good to you, so you need to pour slowly and taste often. Taste constantly. Taste until you’re sure it’s just right. Taste it.

The less difficult part is finding the right wine – Choose something mid-priced; a wine that you’d serve with dinner on a weeknight, but wouldn’t necessarily use to celebrate a special occasion.


Tropical White Sangria

Starfruit Sangria

Hardware:
Pitcher
Spoon

Software:
1 Bottle Sauvignon Blanc
Sliced fruit, such as starfruit, oranges, and limes
Pineapple juice
Mango nectar
Grapefruit soda (Fresca)
Passion Fruit liqueur (Alize)
Ice

User Guide:
Pour one bottle of Sauvignon Blanc into a large pitcher; add 2 oz of Alize passion fruit liqueur and sliced fruit. Stir, then taste. Begin adding in fruit juice a few ounces at a time. Taste. Taste again. Do not let it get too sweet, as you’ll be adding soda as well. If you’re serving later, cover and refrigerate overnight. If you’re serving immediately, add ice and top with Fresca grapefruit soda. Taste.

 


 

Cheers!

The Bar at Grand Stafford Theater

 

Image Credits:

http://bit.ly/2bTU3QP

http://bit.ly/2c2K92f

A Midsummer Night’s Mojito

Welcome to summertime in Texas. At this point, you haven’t stopped sweating since May and the apocalyptic winter foretold by Game of Thrones is sounding more and more appealing. What you need, my friend, is the perfect summer cocktail. A cocktail that’s refreshing without being too sweet, has many variations to keep you interested, and will impress your friends when you make it at a BBQ.

What you need is a mojito.

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Traditional mojitos contain simple ingredients that pack a huge punch of flavor: light rum, lime, mint, sugar, and club soda. Some recipes call for all sorts of tools and muddling, but as busy adults, we don’t always have time for all that. To remedy this, we’ve come up with a straightforward recipe that requires two simple tools: a shot glass and a mason jar.

The No Fail Mojito

Hardware:
1 oz. shot glass
mason jar with lid

Software:
1 oz. light rum
12 mint leaves
5 lime slices
club soda or citrus soda
1/2 oz. simple syrup*
ice

User Guide:
Fill mason jar halfway with ice and add rum, simple syrup, lime slices (squeeze the juice in and then drop the lime slice into the jar), and mint leaves. Top with more ice. Screw on lid and shake vigorously, or until mint and limes are sufficiently agitated. Open lid and top with club soda, if you prefer a less sweet drink, or citrus soda, if you prefer a sweeter drink. Add a straw, if desired.

*Simple syrup – A 1:1 ratio of sugar and water boiled until all sugar is dissolved. Store in a squirt bottle for ultimate convenience. This can be purchased at most grocery stores if you’re not up to getting your stove dirty.

Sure, it’s not as simple as your standard rum & Coke, but I can guarantee you it’s better by a mile. The best part? Mojitos are completely customizable. Try different rums, throw in some fruit, add a splash of fruit juice or fruit nectar, go wild!

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Here are some tried-and-true variations:

Black & Blue Mojito

Add blackberries and blueberries before shaking. Top with sparkling wine instead of club soda.

Coconut Mojito

Add ½ oz of coconut cream (buy the squeezable version from Coco Real – you’ll thank yourself later) before shaking. Swap the light rum out for coconut rum.

Tropical Mojito

Add diced fresh pineapple, mango nectar, and passion fruit nectar before shaking.

For more tips and tricks to throw the best backyard BBQ, click here!

Cheers!

The Bar at Grand Stafford Theater

Image Sources:

Mojitos – http://bit.ly/29bZb24

Coconut Mojito – http://bit.ly/1Y94Uap

Artist Spotlight: Rob Baird

Breaking into the scene as a no-frills artist, Rob Baird of Memphis has captivated audiences all over Texas with ease. Over the past five years, Baird rallied a dedicated fan base that grew with the release of I Swear It’s The Truth in 2012. Even with successful airtime on regional radio, Rob Baird wanted to perfect his craft.

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“I’ve really spent a lot of time trying to perfect my writing, or at least trying to figure out who I am and convey that better in my songs, and trying to perfect the live show,“ says Baird.

Upon moving to Austin, Baird was able to create a more unique style incorporating guitars described as both jangly and crunchy. This style is crisscrossed by pedal steel and tasteful organ that stem from his own niche. It’s clear that Baird has excelled in finding his true artistic identity and purpose. Baird has drawn favorable comparisons to artists from the wider Americana landscape like Ryan AdamsJohn Mellencamp, and Tom Petty. His songs reveal a slice of life on the road while tugging on small town emotional chords. He recently returned to Nashville to record Wrong Side of The River, which will be his most diverse and spectacular collection of music yet. Rob Baird is not interested in being a flash-in-the-pan kind of deal, and he hopes to continue touring for a long time.

Artist Spotlight: Jaeger Wells

Jaeger Wells, an indie rock singer-songwriter from Houston, Texas, has years of performing and songwriting under his belt. After releasing a successful EP earlier this year, Wells is hitting the road to bring his acoustically driven pop music to life.

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Wells is a veteran in the music scene. After 7 years and 4 EPs, Wells has the art of songwriting and recording down. Skipping over songs that don’t mean something to him, Wells prefers to tackle more personal struggles and experiences, like a lovechild of Motion City Soundtrack and Ed Sheeran. Wells faces this heavy subject matter straight on with an upbeat and bright outlook. His songwriting talks about the real life struggles of love and loss, with the goal of showing listeners that they are never alone.

Jaeger Wells released his most recent EP, Fever Dream Anthology, earlier this year and has proven that he is staying true to his goal of inspiring and encouraging his fans. The overarching theme of strength shines through most clearly in his latest single, “What it Feels Like.” Jaeger Wells’ uplifting message and catchy lyrics help to remind his fans that even with life gets hard, you have to keep going.

Jaeger Wells, with special guests Kyle Cook, Anna Montie, and Leavenworth, promises to deliver an amazing live show. Get your tickets here and come out to Grand Stafford Theater on Thursday, December 10 at 7:00pm for a night of awesome music!

PechaKucha Night

Grand Stafford Theater has partnered once again with the Institute for Applied Creativity and AdventGX to bring Bryan-College Station together to celebrate creativity by hosting the next quarterly event officially sponsored by PechaKucha, a global movement for informal discussions in casual settings. PechaKucha Night will occur at Grand Stafford Theater on Tuesday, December 1st.

PechaKucha was invented by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture early in 2003. It is a simple presentation format where presenters show 20 images, each for 20 seconds.

The first PechaKucha Night was held in Tokyo in February 2003, and Klein Dytham Architecture still organizes and supports the global PechaKucha Night network. PechaKucha Nights now happen in over 800 cities worldwide and provide a gathering place for people to share and show their work in a relaxed setting.

December’s presenters include Dr. Reuben Buford May, Helen DeWolf, Becky Phillips, and Renata Myers. Dr. Reuben May is a Sociology professor at Texas A&M University who spends his free time writing, recording, and performing rap music around the Bryan-College Station area. Helen DeWolf is an Assistant Research Specialist in the Conservation Research Laboratory at the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M University. Becky Phillips is an art professor at Blinn College where she teaches painting, art history, and drawing. In 2013, her work was featured at the SEAD Gallery in Downtown Bryan. Renata Myers is a real estate agent and broker from Austin, Texas.

December’s PechaKucha night is on Tuesday, December 1st at Grand Stafford Theater. Admission is free but a $10 donation is suggested. Read more about PechaKucha nights and donate here: https://grandstaffordtheater.com/event/pechakucha-night/

Artist Spotlight: Rotisserie Chickens

The Rotisserie Chickens are a young, six-piece ska band from a suburb north of Dallas, Texas. Since the release of their first EP in January 2015, The Rotisserie Chickens have become extremely well known in the Texas ska scene.

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The Rotisserie Chickens are still relatively new to the ska music scene, but they have been making big waves since the release of their first EP last January. Each member of this band has a unique musical background; some were previously in an indie folk band, some were previously in a metal band, and some just knew how to play the horns. But when they started playing music together, all six members understood that they had stumbled onto something special.

The Rotisserie Chickens released their debut EP, titled “Family Reunion,” in January of this year, but didn’t play their first show until June of 2015. After that first show, The Rotisserie Chickens spent the majority of the summer touring around Texas and recording their debut album, “Hung Out To Dry,” which was released in July. Praised for their ability to blend indie, metal, and ska music, The Rotisserie Chickens’ growing fan base shows no signs of stopping.

Don’t miss your chance to see this awesome Texas-raised band! The Rotisserie Chickens will be performing at Grand Stafford Theater on Friday, November 13.

Second Tuesday Real Jazz

The third installment of our fall Real Jazz Series, occurring every second Tuesday, is back this week. This month, Blue Sofa Orchestra (formerly R.G. Watkins & Friends) will be joining us for what is guaranteed to be another night of great jazz music featuring a group of extremely talented musicians!

Blue Sofa Orchestra (formerly R.G. Watkins & Friends) is a long time member of the Brazos Valley jazz scene. For the past six years, the band has served as the house band for jazz at The Frame Gallery in Downtown Bryan for First Fridays and Texas A&M University events and concerts. The band consists of Bill Clark on guitar, Laurie Clark on vocals, Richard Kent on horn, Conrad Guthrie on bass, and Randy Watkins on drums. Bill Clark, one of the performers at our first installment of Real Jazz in September, has been playing jazz guitar for over three decades. He has also studied jazz performance at William Paterson College with world-renowned guitarists. Clark is also the Head of the Political Science department at Texas A&M. Clark and his group of extremely talented musicians bring decades of jazz experience to each show they play. Each member’s individual talent paired with over six years of playing jazz music together makes for an exciting jazz music experience.

Take a step back in time with us this week and join us for jazz, swing, blues, bossa, and more. Come early and enjoy Craft Beer and Cocktails served by Cody Schilling!

Artist Spotlight: Jay White and The Blues Commanders

Jay White, a veteran of the music industry and a long time Texas resident, has returned to what he knows best: making incredible blues music. Alongside a team of world-class musicians, White has released an 11-song blues album titled “Jaywalkin’.”

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Jay White was born in California, but he moved to Texas as a young boy and has spent most of his life here. After receiving a guitar for Christmas when he was 10 years old, Jay developed an extreme passion for music. Inspired by the Jimmy Reed songs that his neighbor taught him, White was soon hooked on the blues. Shortly after learning guitar, White teamed up with  different bands and recorded many extremely successful albums. After many years of recording and performing the blues, Jay White took a small break and spent time leading worship in churches around Texas. He continued to play in blues bands after hours in many central Texas bands and, despite focusing more on Christian music,  White says that, “it all boils down to the blues.”

Jay White recently teamed up with John Mills, Allen Huff, and Kevin Hall to begin his new project, Jay White and The Blues Commanders. All of these men come from extremely impressive musical backgrounds, and, like Jay, they all know and love the blues. The band is performing in select spots around central Texas and touring to promote the release of their 11 song album titled “Jaywalkin’.” All 11 songs are original and represent the musical journey that White has experience throughout his lifetime in the music industry.

Come out to the Grand Stafford Theater on Friday, November 6th at 8:00pm for a free First Friday performance by this incredible band in Downtown Bryan. Premium passes are on sale now!

Artist Spotlight: Shadow of Whales

Shadow Of Whales is a talented indie-pop band from Austin, Texas. All 5 members of this young band have a passion for music and people that is unmatched in the Texas music scene. Following the release of an extremely successful debut EP in 2014, Shadow Of Whales has experienced an explosion of support that shows no signs of slowing down.

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One thing that makes Shadow Of Whales special is that all 5 members have had experience pursuing careers in the music industry with previous bands. After forming Shadow Of Whales in August of 2013, the band had an easy time writing music because all 5 of the members are talented songwriters, they all love music, and they all really love people. Working together with the goal of spreading hope through friendships, Shadow Of Whales has experienced a quick rise to the spotlight.

Shadow Of Whales made their debut performance at the Austin Convention Center in front of thousands of people for DellWorld. This was the perfect gig as it later gave them the opportunity to appear on TV a few weeks later on FOX 7 and earned them praise from online music websites like the Indie Band Guru. A year later, Shadow Of Whales released their debut EP and experienced a large amount of support from their growing fan base and from many online music sources. Since the release of their EP, Shadow Of Whales has played many festivals, including South by So What?! And Vans Warped Tour. Shadow Of Whales has now finished their second record and is releasing new music next month.

Don’t miss your chance to see this up and coming Texas band! Shadow Of Whales will be performing at Grand Stafford Theater on Thursday, October 29 – get your tickets here!

Artist Spotlight: Norma Jean

Norma Jean is a metalcore band hailing from Douglasville, Georgia. This band, formed in 1997, has released six studio albums and has cemented their place in metalcore history.

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Despite some lineup changes since their birth in 1997, the musical mastery of Norma Jean has remained the same. Their fifth album, Meridional, was released in 2010 and is a great example of what has kept Norma Jean relevant for almost twenty years: their natural prowess to create innovative and extremely powerful music. Norma Jean’s sixth and most recent album, Wrongdoers, was released in 2013 and is the first album to feature all of the current members of Norma Jean. The album earned the favor of music critics from Alternative Press, Decibel, Exclaim!, and Revolver. Critics and fans alike were impressed by Norma Jean’s ability to tap into the very spirit of metalcore and remain true to their roots as a metal band.

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their Grammy nominated album, O God, The Aftermath, Norma Jean is taking to the road to play the album in its entirety in venues across the country. With support from bands like ’68, Sleepwave, The Ongoing Concept, and Belle Haven, Norma Jean’s stop in Bryan will be one of the last of the tour and is guaranteed to be a night to remember.

Don’t miss your chance to see Norma Jean perform O God, The Aftermath in its entirety. Get your tickets to see their show at the Grand Stafford Theater on Friday, October 23rd here.