Cocktail Horrors!...(And How to Avoid Them)

I hit a lot of bars. I’m pretty much Norm from Cheers status at at least one bar. The problem is they charge $14 per cocktail and this status may cost me my house….but priorities, right?

I don’t just hit the swanky places, I am an equal opportunity imbiber. And I like to test out the classic cocktail selection almost anywhere I go.

In my travels to great bars across the country (Seattle and Miami were particularly creative), I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying countless great cocktails. However, there are a few joints that need to Google the drinks they’re offering before charging a premium.

So, dear drinker, your friendly neighborhood cocktail mixer maker (that’s me), has put together some warning signs that the classic beverage you’ve just been served may be a horror story in a glass.

The Old Unfashioned from the Deep Lagoon

Not everyone can make an ice ball a centerpiece of the Old Fashioned. But if your drink looks like fruit salad, you have an unfashionable fail staring you right between the eyes. If there is any more of an orange than just the peel (minus the white pith, hopefully), head screaming for the hills.

As for the cherry... this guy says hard pass, though it’s not a disqualifier.

The Tossed Salad Mojito Massacre

I’ll be direct.

 If you’re mojito looks like a salad mixed with club soda, you should just order a rum and coke and hope for the best. Yes, mint is normal. No, it should not be the majority of what’s in your glass.

 Just a quick pass through a strainer should prevent this, and if they're not willing to take the care to do that, odds are that liquid they just put in your glass is the lowest rum on the food chain of rum.

 And look, if they’re adding any soda beyond club, (unless it’s a specialty mojito like the Elderberry mojito that might, for example, call for ginger ale), you should walk to the nearest toilet and pour that sprite-rum-salad down the drain.

The Monstrously Misshapen Mule

Believe it or not, I don’t critique harshly when I don’t get the copper mug. Is it cool? Does it make a mule a bit more experiential? Sure. But make the drink right and I couldn’t care less.

What should you object to? Usually the evidence is pretty clear-an over reliance on ginger beer and a severe drought of actual ginger ingredient, like syrup made from ginger root or even tasty, peppery, puree ginger root juice.

A great mule should taste refreshing, a bit limey, give you a sweet heat of ginger aftertaste, and not taste simply like ginger beer and vodka.

If all you’re getting is ginger beer, call a priest and exercise the demons from that copper mug

Mojito Loki.png

Smithey Ironware Co. Launches New No. 8 Cast Iron Skillet.

Smithey Ironware Co. wants you to buy fewer, better things. At least when it comes to your kitchen. In an industry that encourages people to fill their countertops and cabinets with the latest gadgets, cookware colors, and trendy machines (soda streaming, instapots, air fryers, available in millennial pink, oh my!), Smithey is dedicated to the idea that a perfect cast iron skillet is a timeless modern heirloom that will make cooking better and more enjoyable – and that will become your most trusted kitchen companion.

Skillet / Deep South Social

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a skillet, and the team at Smithey has taken its time bringing new skillets to market. Company founder Isaac Morton – surrounded by vintage cast iron in his home workshop – adjusted and tweaked designs for years leading up to the launch of the first No. 10 skillet in 2014. It was two more years of painstaking development before the company launched the No. 12 skillet in 2016. And now, in time for the 2018 holiday season, Smithey Ironware Co. is proud to introduce the No. 8 cast iron skillet – a smaller and more versatile addition to the range.

Smithey Food Life / Deep South Social

Ask Isaac what he was looking for with the No. 8, and he’ll tell you that first and foremost he wanted to design a skillet to fry the perfect egg. A skillet that encourages movement and flipping while retaining the key heat properties of cast iron. A skillet with a smooth interior finish that is naturally non-stick without any of the chemical coatings often associated with egg pans. And a skillet that would have a natural place beside its bigger siblings on the range.

Smithey Ironware Co. / Deep South Social

The Smithey No. 8 accomplishes all of that and more. A perfect grilled cheese sandwich? Check. Sides for the family meal? The No. 8 is there for you. Even baked classics like mac n cheese with breadcrumbs toasted under the broiler take on new life in the No. 8.

 So, while the team at Smithey doesn’t believe you need a ton of gadgets in the kitchen, they do believe you need a No. 8 cast iron skillet. It’s been years in the making. Use it well.

Smithey Cast Iron Skillet / Deep South Social

You CAN Make Top Shelf Cocktails Without Paying Top Shelf Prices.

A little "how to" with Brad White of White's Elixirs from Nashville, TN ...

My cocktail mixers are meant to do one thing: help anyone be a Rockstar home bartender and enjoy an amazing drink.

But my mixers are only half (usually--sometimes you may need a little club soda) of the equation. Unless a mocktail is your game, you need some booze!

I’m often asked, what spirit would you recommend for use with your cocktails. 

While I have been known to use almost any priced spirit in making my own cocktails at home, when serving several people or planning for a party, stretching your libation budget is critical.

To get you mixing, serving, and cheers-ing, here is a list of high quality, affordable spirits you can use to make delicious classic cocktails. (Note that pricing can vary from one retailer to another.)

White’s Elixirs Old Fashioned                               Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($12.99)

Whites Elixir Rebel Yell Bourbon

White’s Elixirs Sour Mix                                                          George Dickel Rye Whisky (19.99

Whites Elixirs Sour Mix + Dickel Rye Whisky

White’s Elixirs Moscow Mule                                                    360 Vodka ($11.99)

Whites Elixirs Moscow Mule + 360 Vodka

White’s Mojito Mix                                                    El Dorado 3 Year Rum ($17.99)

Whites Mojito Mix + El Dorado Rum

White’s Elixirs Fresh Margarita                                          El Jimador Tequila($13.99)

Whites Elixirs Fresh Margarita + El Jimador Tequila

White’s Elixirs Spicy Margarita                                          Sauza Silver Tequila($14.99)

Whites Elixirs Spicy Margarita + Sauza Silver Tequila

White’s Elixirs Simple Syrup                                                  Tanqueray Gin ($20.99)

Whites Elixirs Simple Syrup + Tanqueray GIn

DSS Spotlight : Sturdy Brothers

Today we're spotlighting one of our #DSSfamily brands based in historic Thomasville, Georgia :  Sturdy Brothers. Read below to learn more about the roots and craftsmanship behind this brother-owned brand.



sturdy brother founders

What was there in the beginning?  People always ask.  What made you get into this?  Why are you doing this?  Sometimes folks are excited to partner with us.  And sometimes people are confused why two people would quit everything else and work in a small shop making bags from canvas on 100 year old sewing machines.

The answer goes so far back that its often hard to give a short answer to people.  The short answer is we love making things, but the long answer is somewhat more.

sturdy brothers craftsmanship

Deep down there is a tugging desire in all men to create, to work hard, to build calluses on their hands.  A goal to look and see that there has been something made, something built each day.  We believe that God place this desire in us, to work hard.  And there is a calling, "...make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you" 1 Thessalonians 4:11, which we must answer.

Since my brother and I were kids, we've been piddlers.  Always a random project.  Taking things apart to figure out how they work.  Treehouse building on Saturdays in the woods, rebuilding go-carts, art projects, and writing.  Event at a young age there is a reward for working with your hands.  The finished product, whatever it is, awaits in all its glory at the end of the day.

large waxed canvas tote by sturdy brothers

As young adults, all of our lives we've heard things like, "back when things lasted," or, "when America made the best appliances," or "when America made great things."  I knew we were blessed to live in a truly amazing and free country, but the blatant truth was things had gone down hill quickly.  At least from a manufacturing prospective, things are not what they used to be.  My grandmother had a Maytag washing machine that lasted 40 years.  Washing for half a lifetime.  It probably weighed a hundred pounds.  One thing was for sure, it was made to last.  Now I hear rumors that giant appliance companies purposefully under engineer products to have a lifetime of 5 or 6 years.  Things will break.  Integral parts will give out.  Customers will need to buy a new product, and companies will have a sale every 6 years instead of every forty.  Something about this illustration of durability from the past in contrast with our backslidden current predicament struck a cord with us.  

Sturdy Brothers was born from the specific desire to Rekindle what has been lost over the years in American Craftsmanship, and in a broader sense, with our lives glorify God by creating beautiful things from hard work.  Henry David Thoreau puts it well, "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."  In many ways I believe this to be a desperation of man caused by an inability to physically relate to his work and glory in its end result, as I described earlier.   I, for one, did not seek to be a man who's soul withers away at his fingers behind a desk and computer in a crowded office.  In college for business, this was the direction I was quickly headed.

maker movement with sturdy brothers

It all started one hot summer over a phone call.  I was working up in Raleigh, NC at a coffee shop called Jubala, and Spencer was down in south Georgia managing Grassroots Coffee Company.  The conversation indicated a few things: we needed a new adventure (something with heart and blood and sweat and tears in it), we wanted to make something well, and we wanted to inspire ourselves and others to make.

One of the downsides of working in coffee is you seem to always get dirty.  Between the wet hot coffee grounds, and splattered milk there is seldom a day to return home unscathed.  At least there is the ever lingering, semi-pleasent smell of a blended ice cream based concoction radiating from your clothing for the remainder of your post shift life.  There has been one mechanism devoted to the protection of clothing in a coffee shop/ food industry environment, the apron.  It was my brother who decided to experiment with the apron idea.  

sturdy brothers thomasville ga

After browsing the internet for brainstorms, the most suitable, and most durable fabric for an apron came down to some sort of waxed canvas.  For hundreds of years waxed canvas has been used for waterproofing and durability.  Brands like Barbour, and Filson have been using this dependable medium for years.  After several wax recipes, fabric testing, leather dying, and about $350 we had our first apron prototype.

study brothers waxed canvas aprons

It seemed like everyone who saw, tested, or heard about the apron loved it!  The response was amazing, and suddenly we had our first product.  Although we didn't know it yet, the waxed canvas apron was soon to be the cornerstone product to a line we would create over the next months.  

Our name, Sturdy Brothers, was taken out of an old line of poetry I had written years before.  It went something to the effect of "Sturdy up your souls for the work ahead."  After long discussions back and forth from, "Young Brothers Goods," to "Down South Merchandise," we landed here.  The word "Sturdy" very much describes both the fabric of waxed canvas, and our goal of "Rekindling American Craftsmanship."  Our original aim of creating products that were both rewarding to make, and having the attention to detail last a lifetime was finally coming to fruition.  

leather key chain / sturdy brothers

With the help of friends, all our family members, a computer guru, and videographer, we were off to make our stab at creating a kickstarter campaign that would showcase our newly designed waxed canvas and leather products, and allow supporters to pledge money towards a particular product.  This was all back in February of 2014.  We started an Instagram account, passed out fliers, and prayed for the best.  The kickstarter campaign was called "Waxed Canvas and Leather. American. Sturdy."  You can find it     --> here.

Initially we had a $3,500 dollar goal.  Reaching the goal would allow us to buy some key machinery, and enable us to buy fabric and materials in bulk 100 yard bolts.  I was wondering if this goal was a little high, if we'd even make it..  To my and everyone's surprise the goal was reached within 24 hours.  Friends, family, and supporters were coming out of the woodwork from everywhere.  I was shocked watching order after order come through on my phone that first night.  At the end of 30 days we had raise $14,823 to start our dream.  I arranged to move to South Georgia where our little shop, behind my mother's house was, and we started making.

southern brand sturdy brothers

It has been such a blessing to watch Sturdy Brothers grow.  We now have a manufacturing location on Jackson street in historic downtown Thomasville, Georgia, as well as a retail shop in Grassroots Coffee on Broad street.  We have an online retail outlet on our website at, as well as wholesale opportunities.  We are always excited about new opportunities on their way.  On behalf of Sturdy Brothers, we are truly thankful for the opportunity to live quiet lives and work hard with our hands every day.   


Benjamin Young

sturdy brothers founders

To learn more about Sturdy Brothers, click here.

Hello, Gorgeous!

We are pleased to announce the newest member of our DSS family, Tutu Moi! 

Rebecca Shady, the founder and designer of Tutu Moi, has brought her creative background as a dancer to her professional expertise resulting in cornering the market as the authority of the designer tutu. She flawlessly balances a vintage appeal with modern notes making her styled tutu a desired staple in everyone's closet. 

Get to know Rebecca and her carefully crafted brand further through these insightful excerpts from her blog Q&A..

"We take a classic silhouette but allow for a modern fit so that the skirts are relevant to today's styles.  This allows our customers to take a tutu and make it their own, no matter the style or the occasion."
"A tutu is timeless and morphs you into whatever state of mind you're in."
"To this day, I'm usually wearing a 'new' piece with something I've had in my closet for years.   I tend to purchase things that will age well and will easily pair with more than one item I already have.  And that's definitely one reason I have such an affinity for the tutu."
"I challenge most customers to try our tutus with something they would typically wear, something that is already in their closet - like one of their favorite tanks, or that staple leather jacket you've had for years.  Make it fun, but keep it YOU." 
"We've got styles for every body shape and for each style, the silhouette that the tulle creates flatters different body shapes.  But all our styles accentuate your waist and are the most flattering styles for most women's shape.  Tried and true, timeless skirt silhouettes are the inspiration for each of our styles."
"How would you describe your personal style?" "Timeless." 


DSS is very excited to welcome Tutu Moi as part of our team. We cannot wait to see how we can work with Rebecca to make her unique brand grow even further. You can read the full interview with Rebecca Shady on her blog featured below.


Valentine's Gift Guide

With only a week to plan something special for the one you cherish, DSS has your S.O. covered... 

The Sercy Studio Valentine's Keychain

Breathless Paper Co. Kiss Card

The Sercy Studio Blessing Beads

The Sercy Studio Blessing Beads

Honeycomb Studio Gold Ring Holder 

Heirloomed Collection Love Letter 

Heirloomed Collection Oyster Ring Dish 

Breathless Paper Co. Valentine's Card 


Check into our Instagram page @deepsouthsocial Monday, Feb. 8th at 8pm through Thursday, Feb. 11th at Midnight for our Valentine's Day Loop Giveaway! One lucky participant will win this special Deep South Social bundle! 

From left clockwise: Breathless Paper Co, The Sercy Studio, Honeycomb Studio, and Heirloomed Collection 

Meet the Owner

Furniture from 

Gail Silverstein, the owner and operator of Urban Cottage, reflected to Deep South Social the insights of owning her own small business with her daughter over the past eighteen years. The creative lifestyle boutique nestled in Virginia Highlands is know for offering a cozy atmosphere for selling unique homeware and gifts created by local artists and craftsmen. 


What inspired you to start Urban Cottage? How did you decide on the name?

I have always loved home decor and making my surroundings comfortable. As far back as I can remember whether it was watching my mom make our house a home or sewing drapes in college, I was involved in making interior spaces "home". And when it came to choosing the name, it was easy. It was a cottage in the city. So, hence Urban Cottage.

Accessories from 

What do you love about being a shop owner? Is there anything you don’t like?

What I like about owning a shop is I get to do what I like for the most part. And I love watching it grow. But the most gratifying part is developing long-standing relations with customers who come back over our 18 years and sometimes bring their children who are now building their homes. It is a good feeling to know they are loyal and appreciate our sincere efforts to maintain our integrity and give outstanding customer service. We are a family business and that is utmost importance to us.

Kitchen from 

What are your top five favorite product categories to pick out?

I truly love tabletop. Our categories have expanded since moving to Virginia Highlands so it has been fun to expand this area. Besides tabletop, furnishings and lighting is another favorite along with books. I enjoy perusing through the books before ordering and making sure the illustrations show well.

Tabletop from

What do you want to share about Urban Cottage?

Urban Cottage is definitely a labor of love. Over the past 18 years we have weathered ups and downs. It has definitely evolved from our "little cottage" in Buckhead. Our items have expanded as well as our services; our interior design service has grown as well as our customer base. Urban Cottage's parent company uses old barn wood to create beautiful pieces of furniture as well as picture frames and other items. We have local carpenters and metal workers who create custom pieces.

Barnwood Frames from @urban_cottage_inc Instagram

What are the ‘goals’ for your brand and where do you see Urban Cottage in the next couple of years?

We have and will continue to increase our “Kids” section. We hope that more people will come to know that this family business is worthy of receiving their business.

"Urban Cottage Kids" from @urban_cottage_inc 

Why do you carry southern made and designed goods? What is your favorite southern food, recipe, or town?

We love carrying southern made goods, because we support local and other small businesses. And we want to support these creators. Charleston, SC is my favorite southern spot. It offers so much history and culture. Plus it is by the water, a real love of mine.

Exterior of UC

Urban Cottage is a fantastic venue for not only selling one of a kind items, but also a place for other small-businesses to come together and find support. It is exciting to see mature businesses still evolving and planning for the future like Urban Cottage. It is no wonder Urban Cottage has become a staple in so many people's lives. 

998 North Highland Avenue
Atlanta, GA30306