Thoughts of summer inevitably lead to backyard gatherings, bar-b-ques, and pool parties! Independence Day gives the perfect excuse to host family and friends for a relaxing, fun get together, so it’s the perfect time to introduce you to the creative minds behind Evans-based Durty Gurl Mixers and share their tips on hosting a great summer party!
Augusta native Amanda Collins is the brand manager for Durty Gurl. She attended Augusta University for her specialty, graphic design, but she also has experience in the food and beverage industry. She joined the company a few years ago to take the marketing and branding of Durty Gurl to the next level. “What I wanted to do was empower the name Durty Gurl because the branding fit the Americana 1940’s magnum theme, I wanted to coin the term Durty Gurl as a woman who isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and work hard and get dirty. She’s got sass and class - she’s empowering.”
She brought Erica Langsam alongside - officially forming Team AmErica - to be digital media manager. Since then, Erica has become the online presence and face of Durty Gurl. “Erica was able to help us with the content creation behind Durty Gurl,” Amanda adds.
Erica’s niche is mixology, and she has a degree in fine arts with a focus in photography, also from Augusta University. An Augusta native, Erica says, “It’s a lot of fun to work with a small company like Durty Gurl because we are up and growing and it’s nice to be a part of it from the beginning and get to see it expand. I love the diverse variety of drinks you can create with our products.”
Co-owner David Hopkins explains, “Amanda and Erica have been so instrumental in tying all that together and giving our young brand validity. They are the creative minds behind Durty Gurl.”
As we plan a summer bash, Amanda reminds us to “make it fun, be creative, and make sure you’re all set up.” Surround yourself with people and activities that you love the most. Remember to take time and get all the preparations done before the party begins to minimize the amount of work you have to do while you’re hosting.
“If you’re going to host a BBQ party for the 4th of July,” says Amanda, “it could be an all-day event. You could start off with bloody marys for brunch and then roll into a party mode with our margarita mix, which is very versatile. We’ve got a premium aged olive juice that’s aged for 10 months, perfect for anyone who wants a salty & savory taste. You can use it in martinis or bloody marys, or you can add it to a margarita and make it a true Texas margarita.”
It’s also a good idea to keep some things simple. Erica suggests, “Have a couple of fun cocktails available. But, when it comes to cocktails, it doesn’t have to be a difficult recipe in order to have an amazing outcome. You can have a drink recipe that only has three ingredients, yet it can be just as flavorful as something with nine ingredients.” A nice assortment of garnishes and rimmers serves as a complement to simple cocktails.
As Chef John from REC TEC Grills says, "Quality food is quality life," so when it comes to planning the menu, tap into your creative side and think outside of the box. “On top of being able to create cocktails with our mixers, you can cook with them as well,” says Erica. “Personally, I’ve made chicken wings, gumbo, and spaghetti just with the bloody mary mix.”
“You can also serve appetizers with our medium bloody mary mix that’s flavored with horseradish,” adds David. “You can make an oyster shooter with it – that’s always a party favorite - or you can use it in a shrimp cocktail recipe.”
It’s fun to introduce guests to new flavors, so don’t be afraid to try new things and provide a memorable experience. “The margarita mix blends well with traditional tequila, but because of the sweet and sour balance, it also mixes well with other spirits like vodka or rum,” says David. “It offers versatility and a different flavor profile that someone might not have experienced before.”
“The various drinks you can make with the margarita mix makes it one of my favorites to play around with,” says Erica. “You can make margaritas, cosmos, mojitos – really any drink for any season. It’s a unique and premium style sour mix – it’s just incredible to work with.”
Another pro tip would be to plan for the end of your party before it even starts. “We always tell everyone to please drink responsibly,” says Amanda.
Ultimately, hosting a memorable summer party is all about spending quality time with those who matter most. David’s final advice boils all their tips down to this: “One of our mottos is 'surround yourself with good friends and good drinks, and good times are guaranteed to follow.'”
For more information on recipes and to locate a Durty Gurl retailer, check out DurtyGurlMixers.com.
American Sangria Recipe
1 refrigerated bottle dry white wine
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar or honey
4 oz. Durty Gurl Margarita Mix
8 cups diced rainbow fruit
2 oz. brandy (optional)
1/2 cup club soda or ginger ale (optional)
In a pitcher, combine wine, sugar/honey, Durty Gurl Margarita Mix, and stir until combined. Add fruit to your serving glasses in your desired color order, then pour the wine over the fruit until the fruit is covered. Refrigerate the drinks for 15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Top with a splash of brandy and club soda if desired. If you're going for a 4th of July theme, try red and blue fresh fruits!