S&C Graham Foto Design Blog

Archive for the ‘Spirits and Cocktail Industry’ Category

¡Hola Tequila! Makes an Appearance on Jeopardy!

What is the next best thing to being a contestant on Jeopardy!? Being a source for an answer. That is exactly where I found myself just a few short months ago and it led to my book, ¡Hola Tequila!, getting a little spotlight of its own on the episode that aired July 16th, 2013.

¡Hola Tequila! Book by Colleen Graham

¡Hola Tequila! Book by Colleen Graham

It is a double delight for me, because this is the second occasion that a piece of my writing has been used as a reference on the show. In this instance, ¡Hola Tequila! had its own category in the first round of that show. The logo appeared in the header, with the red and yellow standing out from the rest of the signature white type and Jeopardy! blue background of the game board. The contestants and Mr. Trebek seemed to have some fun saying the title (how could you not?), and I could tell that this was a category they were a little leery of at first. They did well, though, and only one question stumped all three.

As Jeopardy! is a well-protected property and video is unavailable, you can check out the game board and results here at J! Archive.

Since I mentioned it, I might as well share the first instance of my Jeopardy! story, which goes back to the December 17, 2012 episode in a little category called “The Christmas Spirit” (seen here on J! Archive). Not a soul but me and the team at Jeopardy! would know it, but each of those five questions were pulled from a long-running article of mine on About.com, Happy Holiday and Christmas Cocktails. I had an inkling that this was the case, check my own source, and confirmed it with the show before I made any public announcement. No credit that time, but just the knowledge that it happened was enough for me.

I am delighted and proud that my little book, which Shannon and I worked so hard on that one hot, hot August had its 15 minutes of fame on such a prestigious television show. Thank you to the Jeopardy! team for the wonderful opportunity.

Find ¡Hola Tequila! at:


Showing on Found Folios

We have recently been accepted to show on Found Folios, which is an online portfolio website for creatives and art buyers. We have 3 portfolios up, Cocktails, Commercial, and Personal. There is a bio page and partial client list with the services that we provide.

We are happy with the way our work looks on there and we think we have a strong creative showing up next to others in our field. It is working out well so far.

Here is our profile page, and check back as we continually add to the gallery: Found Folios Profile for S&C Graham Foto Design

Thanks for looking and have a great day.







Assignment: Moet & Chandon Champagne (editorial usage)

Here is a recent assignment for Moet & Chandon Champagne. This is a new product to there line, Ice Imperial. They requested a series of shots featuring different ways of using ice in there product.The images are for editorial use, (hence the solid white hi key backgrounds). So here are a few images from the shoot. Thanks for looking, have a great day and love each other..

Moet Imperial Ice Champagne with fruit ice cubes


Moet Imperial Ice Champagne with strawberry ice cube


Moet Imperial Ice Champagne with muddled mint and cucumber


Moet Imperial Ice Champagne - Fun fruit-filled ice




An ¡Hola Tequila! Update

A little update on ¡Hola Tequila!… The book is now available in many bookstores including those below. Also, we have received a few more reviews…

Hola Tequila by Colleen and Shannon Graham
Find ¡Hola Tequila! at:




¡Hola Tequila! Reviews:


¡Hola Tequila! Book Release in March

After months of waiting, we are excited to announce that our book, ¡Hola Tequila!, is so very close to being released. The exact date when the book will be in stores is still to be determined, though the official release is March so they should be there soon. As of right now, you can pre-order at Amazon.


The first review came out two weeks ago thanks to William Dowd. Read it on Dowd on Drinks.


If you have been following this blog, you will have seen many of the amazing photographs that appear in the book, which were shot by Shannon. He did a fantastic job illustrating what I was thinking and that is no easy task; one that could only be done by someone who has worked with me for over a decade. This is why I love working with him! All of the images were shot within the block of our studio and I know that he enjoyed working on the environmental sets that allowed him to get out of the darkness of the studio in August.


For my part, this was a fun book to write and for the 2 months that I worked on it (I know, that’s an insane deadline!) I was engrossed in the subject, there was very little room in my liquor cabinet of a brain to think about much else. I love to write about history and when it came to tequila I took the approach of digging out some of the lesser known points of the spirit’s past. When you dig far enough, there are some very interesting things to be found.

Tequila’s story includes how it is produced and the process seems to me to be the most fascinating of all the distilled spirits produced today. Much of this admiration stems from a press trip I took a few years ago that was put together by DISCUS and took us to a handful of distilleries in Jalisco, Mexico. I’ve been to many distilleries since, but few have impressed me to the extent of tequila. Much of that has to do with the labor required in cultivating the agave and then working it into the fine liquid we know as tequila.


As I do on About.com, I often take a practical approach to cocktails. I like drinks that are attainable by everyone, the ingredients are readily available and most are quite common – you likely have 80% of the ingredients in your bar or kitchen right now. Some of the drinks are brand new, designed specifically for ¡Hola Tequila!, some are favorites from my tequila experiences.  You will find Margaritas, both Tequila Sunrises, and the Paloma, plus the newbies like Mint Madre, Piña de Picante, and (a personal favorite) Cilantro-Cucumber Smash. For each main recipe I give ideas for creating variations, many of which involve infusing tequila with herbs and fruits that compliment the cocktail.


Considering that we are talking about tequila, it would not be right to avoid shooters.  I included advice for improving on the traditional tequila shot, and the other shooters are each designed to be versatile enough to be served as a sipping drink. My number one pet peeve about shot drinks is that they do not always taste good and I see no point in downing something that tastes like crap no matter how quickly it goes down. I invite you to pour my El Tigre shooter into a cocktail glass… it’s elegant, pretty, and quite tasty.


The other aspect of ¡Hola Tequila! that I am proud of is that it is unbranded. Instead of recommending this brand or that, I encourage you to explore for yourself and find tequilas that you enjoy. The only brand mentions are when they are relevant and important to the story of tequila itself. I feel that it is important for drinkers to explore, learn, and taste for yourself because taste is so subjective. Hopefully, with the information I lay out on the types and regional characteristics of tequilas you will be able to make educated choices in finding great tequilas, as there are far too many available to recommend that this subject could comprise a whole book on its own, though it would become dated far too quickly to be relevant.

Though Shannon was my main support on this project, we had help from others that warrant a mention. First and foremost is our publisher, Sellers Publishing Inc. The entire team there are a joy to work with and I am grateful to have worked with them. Then there is Theresa, a good friend who is an executive chef and sat with us for hours coming up with great garnishes for the photographs. Quite a few of the images were shot inside Montage, our fabulous business neighbor and a divine restaurant with an excellent atmosphere. They opened their doors to us and the space is a photographer’s dream.


I do hope that you enjoy reading ¡Hola Tequila! as much as I enjoyed writing it.