December 3, 2011 – Germantown, WI
Last Saturday was the kickoff to the holiday season for me. The decorations are all up (we’ll, OK, I’m still putting the finishing touches on the Twilight Lounge decor) and our first holiday party of the season was Saturday night.
Of course, I had to come up with Christmas themed cocktail to take for us to imbibe. I seem to have a thing for green cocktails at Christmas, so when I stumbled upon a cocktail called the Grinch it seemed like a natural. It called for Midori (very green indeed), lemon juice and bar syrup. So I mixed up a batch and….waaaaaay to sweet. The Midori is sweet enough as it is and with the additional bar syrup, well, there was just no way I’d be able to sip these all night long. Factor in that Midori is only 40 proof and I knew I just had to do something. And what was that something? Vodka!
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz Midori liqueur
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1/8 oz bar syrup
Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Alternatively, you can just pour this, ice and all, into a rocks glass. In that case, just double all the ingredients and you’ll be good to go.
This turned out to be a nice holiday sipper – not to sweet, not too boozy, but just right. The melon flavor of the Midori is cut down by the vodka and lemon and is in the background instead of in your face. Of course, the green color certainly matches the Grinch’s face, and the cherry is a nice reminder that his heart went from two sizes too small to two sizes too big!
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I know that to some of my friends it seems like I just open up the liquor cabinet at the Twilight Lounge, pull out a few seemingly random bottles and whip up a cocktail that’s delicious and nutritious, just like that. Alright, well, actually, it does sometimes work like that. However, more times than not it takes several iterations to get a cocktail where I want it. This week was an example of the latter as I worked on tonight’s cocktail over a span of several days, until finally I was able to say “That’s It!” to myself.
I started off with the notion that I wanted to recreate a root beer float. That meant using the root beer flavoring from LorAnn Oils. But what else to use? I decided on a base of vodka, which provides pretty much a blank slate to work with. My first crack at it was 2 oz of vodka (Sobieski, for those of you keeping score at home), 2 drops of the root beer flavor and 1/4 ounce of grenadine. This effort was ok. The grenadine was subtle but there, but the root beer was also subtle, and I wanted this to be bolder. I also didn’t get the creaminess that a root beer float would have, but I didn’t want to add ice cream. The second iteration kept the same amount of vodka and grenadine, but I bumped up the root beer flavoring to 3 drops and added 1 egg white. Much better, as the egg white added the creamy texture that I wanted, but the root beer was still a tad muted. Finally, version three came through when I bumped up the root beer flavor to 4 drops. Ah yes, now I had a tasty cocktail that is evocative of the root beer float flavor I wanted to emulate.
Root Beer Float
- 2 oz vodka
- 4 drops LorAnn Oil root beer flavor
- 1/4 oz grenadine
- 1 egg white
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
When you shake this drink (as with any drink containing egg whites) give it as hard a shake as you can for 30 seconds. This is about 10 seconds longer than I normally shake cocktails, but it is essential to get the frothy emulsification you want from the egg. Also, as I’ve noted before, I use pasteurized egg whites purchases from my local grocer in the cardboard container (just like the milk you got at school as a kid). It’s much easier to add the egg white to a drink when I can pour it from a carton, not to mention safer. I use 1/2 oz of egg white when the recipe calls for 1 egg white.
Day 292, Cocktails 289 & 290
The Dinner Party Download has been a favorite podcast of mine for a while now. The unique blend of cocktails, current events and food put you in perfect position, as the hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam remind you weekly, to win this week’s dinner party. I enjoy the interviews that they do as well as the history and cocktail segment. In this segment you get a tidbit from history and then, a cocktail to commemorate the event. Last week’s event was the accidental loss of an H-bomb by the US Air Force during an exercise off the coast of Georgia. The bomb is still out there somewhere, at the bottom of the Atlantic and is now known as the Tybee bomb. And thus, this cocktail was born!
- 2 oz Plymouth gin
- 1 egg white
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
- 1/8 oz grenadine
- 1 maraschino cherry, soaked in moonshine for 2 days
Combine all the ingredients, except the cherry, in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to chill and combine. Strain into a cocktail glass and drop the marinated cherry into the bottom for garnish.
Wow, what a great cocktail (and yes, I do have moonshine, so I was able to marinate the cherry in it – I think Pisco or cherry brandy would also work if you don’t have ‘shine laying about the bar). Silky smooth thanks to the egg white with hints of cherry and just a bit of bite from the moonshine soaked cherry. This was my first foray into egg white cocktails at home and it was delicious! Thanks Rico and Brendan!
I would have made another on Friday while Gwen and I were waiting to go out for dinner, but we were limited on our egg availability. So I went in a completely different direction for my second effort of the night. I put 2 oz of Maker’s Mark bourbon in my shaker with ice and 2 orange slices and a drop of my English Toffee flavoring. I shook hard and long and then strained it into a rocks glass with a bourbon ball and an orange slice for a garnish. It was enjoyable, but not quite right. I got the hint of toffee flavor that I wanted, but it was pretty strong with bourbon. I think either Cointreau or triple sec would help this out, and maybe a dash of bitters. I’ll have to play around with this one some more and let you know what I come up with.