Thursday, April 25, 2024

Cowboy Carter on Repeat, Dranks in Cups, Fly Shoes On Feet

 First things first: this isn’t an album review or think piece. I actually find something new to love every time I listen to Beyonce’s “Cowboy Carter” (savored in its intended order, of course). Like a well-made whiskey or a great wine, it’s layered and robust with a sturdy structure and unexpected notes. Speaking of wine and whiskey, I couldn’t resist asking a couple of my favorite wine and spirits experts in New Orleans (one is even from Texas) to pair drinks with their favorite songs from the album. (I’ve added shoppable shoe pairings “Just for Fun,” and they’re NOT all cowboy boots). 


“Comin’ in peace and love, y’all. Oh a lot of takin’ up space.” “Can you stand me?” “If this ain't country, tell me, what is?” —from American Requiem

THE DRINK: Responsible Hedonist, “Pop a Wheelie White” Chardonnay 2022, Hawke's Bay (New Zealand)

New Orleans-based cocktail artist, sommelier and vibe curator, Brittany Taylor feels that this chardonnay aptly captures the energy of Cowboy Carter and the way it presents past, present and up-next artists with their flowers while also paying homage to the various ways in which country music presents itself. Taylor calls the wine’s flavor “a bouquet of white flowers with traces of peaches and nectarines” and notes that it’s the “perfect white wine for our southern belles who like their wine like their cowboys--strong and alluring.” She also mentions that this wine was selected because is maker is a barrier-breaking Black woman from the midwest who now lives in New Zealand and makes unconventional wines. See the synergies?

THE SHOE: Azalea Wang Fuji Western Boot

To say this album has people talking would be an understatement. This 27-track opus is TAKING UP SPACE and demanding to be noticed- so much so that people who NEVER listen to Beyonce have suddenly become overnight music critics- one even attempted to mansplain Paul McCartney’s lyrics to… wel… Paul McCartney. That said, I chose Azalea Wang’s Fuji Western Boot in both white and black to pair with this wine and album. Covered in jewels, they’re either beautiful or garish, depending on the opinion of the beholder. Either way, they’ll be conversation starters. 


“Your beauty is beyond compare. Takes more than beauty and seductive stares.” “You a bird, go on and sing your tune.” 

The Drink: Messina Hof Muscat Canelli 2023 (Bryan, TX)

Kenda Jones, a wine expert and educator from New Orleans says “while Jolene is a fictional character, I envision her as a stunning cowgirl from the Texas High Plains, which is where this wine originates. It’s flavor profile is off-dry, with a hint of sweetness and a full-bodied essence that’s highlighted by notes of southern peach and juicy nectarines. I imagine Jolene as voluptuous woman who wields her sweetness and charm quite intentionally. Oh and she’s slick, which reminds me of this wine’s smoothness. Plus, this is a dessert wine, so, like Jolene, it’s what one would choose to conclude an evening.” 

THE SHOE: Kendall Miles Posh Mule

We all know a “Huh-zzy” like Jolene. Sometimes she’s an insecure woman who seeks validation by trying to break up relationships. Other times, she (like me) is simply a woman who appreciates and embodies sensuality—and gets treated like she’s trying to steal someone’s man when she isn’t. Either way, she’s a bit flamboyant and is probably wearing heels when everyone else is in flats (ya know, like Sandra Clarke from 227). This feathered “Posh” mule by Kendal Miles calls to mind the above lyrics from the song and also looks like the perfect shoe to wear for a nightcap-solo or otherwise-with its seductive silhouette and slender high heel.


“So sweet. I give you kisses in the backseat. I whisper secrets in the backbeat.” “Inhalin’ whiskey when you kiss my neck.” “I’ll be your best friend” “I don’t like the way she’s lookin’ at you. Someone better hold me back.” “When you’re restless, I take the wheel.”

The Drink: Rye & Sons Straight Rye 

Does anyone else notice their hips randomly swaying when Bodyguard plays-as if you didn’t really intend to dance but somehow found yourself in a groove? That, and the fact that the lyrics mention the smell of whiskey inspired Brittany to suggest sipping AndrĂ© Hueston Mack’s straight rye whiskey (neat or on the rocks) as you listen to this song. According to Taylor, the celebrated sommelier, winemaker and restaurateur has created “an easy-drinking and exciting rye whiskey with a silky and sultry mouthfeel that softly ignites the body and gets it moving in ways you didn’t know possible.” Oh, honey, honey, indeed!

THE SHOE:  Converse Run Star Hike Platform Western Sneaker ($115)

It’s easy to get lost in a song, a drink or a relationship, but as the title indicates we also need to stand ten toes down-especially if you’re offering to be someone’s bodyguard and considering jumping bad. What better way than in a pair of easy-wearing sneakers with platform soles and western accents? 


“I’m lookin’ super hot.” “I got the perfect pose” “Denim on denim, on denim, on denim.” “Give you fashion in a simple white tee. Give you these blues, it’s in my genes.” “I love you down to the bone.”

THE DRINK: La Onda, 'Blanco de Tinto' Cabernet Sauvignon, California (Sierra Foothills)

Available at Patron Saint Wines in New Orleans

“With flavors of ripe apricot, lemon zest, honeysuckle and beeswax, this wine is made in an unorthodox way, reminding you of that first love--dreamy and full of idealism,” says Taylor, who’s also heard it compared to " looking in someone’s eyes and knowing that they aren’t looking at you, they see you.” It’s a Blanc de Noir of Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed “Renaissance” vineyard in North Yuba. The vineyards are wild, a true collection of vines, granite, red clay, insects, bees, herbs, flowers, berries, thistles, and hungry animals. Very much like the scenario represented in this song–between two people who know exactly how to elevate each other’s heart rates and rev each other’s engines–this wine has some sweetness, some wildness, a bit of complication, but most important is its reliability. 

THE SHOE: Miss Lola “Abby” Denim Cowgirl Boots ($43.99)

Sometimes trendy and always in style, cowboy (or cowgirl) boots can convey a sense of ease, invoke a pioneering spirit or represent a tried-and-true reliability. A good pair can last almost forever- just like a love that’s meant to be. Plus, a denim-on-denim look done right is always a winner. That’s why this denim western-inspired boot feels like the right choice for this song and drink. Can’t you just see yourself in your favorite white tee, some dark denim cut-offs and these boots?


“Bounce on that sh** dance.” “I died and someone brought me back to life, but not my senses.” “Running through the river with you. Dance.”

THE DRINK: Vending Machine Wines, 'Wine Dive', California (Mendoncino)

The beat and refrain of “RIIVERDANCE” give listeners no choice but to hit the dancefloor, and it’s sure to inspire some great line-dance choreography. Brittany calls this grenache “a fruity red wine of bursting watermelon,” which makes it quite refreshing and the perfect choice for sipping between steps. 

THE SHOE: Marfa “The Lainey” Boots ($115)

Fancy footwork deserves fabulous footwear, and Marfa’s “The Lainey” cowboy boot definitely fits that bill in bold turquoise with striking gold lightning-bolt accents. This boot exudes main character energy, and that’ll come in handy as you record your next viral dance video. Also, just so you know, the gold version of this boot is actually named “Jolene,” and it was quite a struggle deciding between it and the shoe I eventually paired with that song.

What’s your favorite track on the album? Is there one you didn’t see mentioned that you’d like to see paired with a shoe? Send a message, and I’ll post your requested pairing on Instagram.


Known as the NOLA Wineaux (@Nola_winechill)  on Instagram, Kenda Jones is a WSET L2 wine influencer and educator in New Orleans. In addition to offering informative wine suggestions and information via her social media platforms, she also curates educational tastings, is a brand ambassador for See Saw Wines and has curated selections for the EATER Wine Club.

On any given day, you may find Brittany Taylor (@BstandsforBands on Instagram) writing press releases, communications strategies or conducting media outreach. You may also catch her doing mom things with her toddler son. At night, though, you’ll likely find her creating cocktails, curating wine selections for some of New Orleans’ coolest bars or hosting one of her Whyne Down events.

—Edited by Tisha Watson

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Booze Review: Upstate Vodka by Sauvage

When Life Gives You Apples, Make Vodka

Upstate Vodka by Suavage is distilled from New York state Apples

In a vodka-saturated market,  it can be tough to stand out. However, that's exactly what Sauvage—a distillery and farm known for producing handcrafted, fruit-based wines—has endeavored to do with its newest product, Upstate Vodka. Produced in Oneonta, New York, this all-natural vodka is made from apples harvested in New York state, but isn't apple-flavored. At 90 proof, it also has a higher ABV than many other vodkas. Though vodka hasn't been my go-to spirit in some time, I was intrigued when I was asked to review Upstate by Suavage. I was also excited to find out whether it would taste like the flavored vodkas favored by those who enjoy shots, the more subtle ones that are easily sipped alone, or the stronger ones used in craft cocktails. With few primer notes (other than the fact that it recently won a gold medal at the Denver International Spirits Competition), I was totally left to my olfactory senses and my taste buds.

The Sniff: 

The initial whiff of Upstate Vodka presented a sweet aroma, like fresh Granny Smith and McIntosh apples. A longer inhale revealed notes of honeysuckle, fresh-cut grass and black pepper. There was eventually the expected scent of alcohol, but it was never overpowering. So, it was generally pleasant and made me really want a taste.

The Sip:

I definitely tasted the essence of apples on the front end, but that flavor gives way to a creamy mouthfeel and more neutral flavor. The sweetness was light, and lacked the syrup-like thickness or intense, artificial taste found in many flavored vodkas. The typical vodka burn definitely hit the back of my tongue, but it didn't ruin the experience.

The Verdict on Upstate Vodka by Suavage:

Upstate Vodka's complex flavor profile gives it a place among sipping vodkas—especially on the rocks. I can also see it tasting great in a vodka & soda. Though it doesn't lend itself to dirty martinis or savory cocktails, it could complement cocktails that feature cider, ginger, caramel or cinnamon. It would also work well in an upgrade to the apple martini, but only if you skip the green liqueur and add a homemade version made with freshly pressed apple juice. I'd recommend it to vodka adventurists, but I'm not so sure if it works for purists. 

The Shoes N Booze Squad would love to know your thoughts. Would you try Upstate Vodka at your local bar? Would you like to see cocktail recipes featuring Upstate Vodka here? Let us know!

*We were compensated for this review.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Celebrity Shoe Spotting: Michelle Obama's Glittery Gold Boots

Becoming Style Goals in Balenciaga

First, a moment of silence for each of us who were completely SLAYED when we saw what Michelle Obama wore for the Brooklyn installment of her "Becoming" book tour. Now that we've gathered ourselves, can we discuss the BOOTS. Cardi B might like "those Balenciagas, the ones that look like socks," but our #FOREVERFLOTUS is clearly into the ones that indicate she's living her life like it's golden (and iridescent).

Gold Balenciaga Knife over-the-kneeboots as seen on Michelle Obama

Balenciaga sent brightly colored satin renditions of its over-the-knee "Knife" boots down runways a few seasons ago (and we have seen lower-cost options in popular fast-fashion stores since). However, done in shimmering, iridescent gold sequins (and on the legs of our life muse), the thigh-high stretch boots that could almost be mistaken for tights are now beyond iconic. Kudos to her stylist, Meredith Koop. We love the tonal pairing of the Aspen yellow shirtdress from Balenciaga's S'19 collection. Feel like forking over $3900? Get your pair HERE. Otherwise, see below for a few ways to channel THE Michelle LaVaughn Obama's style.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Booze News: Let Smirnoff Seltzer Upgrade Ya

Can We Get a Window Seat?

Smirnoff Spiked Seltzer Raspberry Rose
Courtesy Photo

We clearly have holiday travel on the brain. We recently suggested shoes that make the TSA line more bearable, and now we're giving you the scoop on how middle-seat fliers can potentially get their seats upgraded by Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer.

The brand recently announced that from today until December 14th it's "bringing fun to the un-fun" by spending up to $50,000 on upgrades for adult travelers with a middle seat ticket on a U. S. direct, non-stop flight taking place between December 17, 2018 and January 31, 2019. To enter, hopeful travelers just have to share their seat assignments (securely) via A panel of judges will then decide which entrants are most deserving of seat upgrades of $3,125 or less. 

“The holidays are the best. Traveling for the holidays though…the worst,” said Krista Kiisk, Brand Director, Smirnoff Seltzer. “We believe that there is an opportunity for fun in any moment, whether it’s finding delicious flavor in a drink that contains zero sugar or embracing the chaos of holiday travel. Smirnoff Seltzer’s holiday campaign and commitment to spend up to $50,000 to rescue as many people as possible from the misery of the middle seat is helping people find that fun.”

So, do your travel plans deserve a #funofakind upgrade? Click below.

Smirnoff Sparkling Spiked Seltzer Seat Upgrade details.

*Remeber to enjoy responsibly.