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Category Archives: tequila

_tiajuana

The Twilight Lounge – March 27, 2016

Ok, so it’s a not a true Tia Juana, but it’s pretty close…

I’ve continued to look for cocktails to use my bottle of Suze in and often find myself substituting the Suze for Campari since they are so close in flavor and taste.  So last Sunday I found myself doing so with a cocktail called the Tia Juana.

Suze Tia Juana

  • 1/2 oz Suze
  • 1-1/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 1-1/2 oz tequila

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I used Noilly Prat vermouth and Cazadores tequila.  The yellow Suze combined with the Noilly Prat and Cazadores provides a deep gold color that is delightful to see in the glass.  The vermouth was front and center with the first sip, with a slightly bitter finish provided by the Suze.  As the cocktail warmed over the 30 minutes or so that I sipped it the vermouth did fade a bit.  Interestingly enough the tequila stays very subdued throughout, so if you are looking for something that tastes like tequila, Tia Juana isn’t for you.  In fact, for an all booze drink, this one does not taste boozy at all.

What drinks have you substituted ingredients for and how did it turn out?

Cheers!

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Tequila ShotMinneapolis, MN – May 14, 2013

A couple of weeks before a team meeting scheduled for Minneapolis, my team leader called me and asked me if I could help with a very important assignment that would be right up my alley.  I was excited as I wondered what did he have in mind?  A market study?  New technology?  Ha!

No, the assignment was to put together a tequila tasting at the Mexican restaurant we would be going to for dinner one of the evenings of our meetings.  OK, so he was right, this was right up my alley!

The dinner was to be held at Barrios, a very nice Mexican restaurant in downtown Minneapolis that features small plates and hundreds of tequilas.  I the bar manager a week or so before the dinner to find out what they did have and select two for our tasting.  While difficult, I did manage to select two that covered the broad range of tequilas that are available.

The first was Herradura Anejo.  Herradura represents the tradition of tequila.  The distillery has been in operation since 1870, although is, unfortunately, no longer a family operation, having been sold to Brown Forman in 2006.  However, the old ways are still followed with this lowlands tequila.  It is aged for 25 months in oak, is 80 proof and is a wonderful example of a classic aged tequila.  During our tasting it exhibited a vanilla and oak character with a touch of agave on the finish.

The second tequila of the evening was the Milagro Barrel Select.  Milagro (Spanish for miracle) is a new comer to the tequila scene and has only been in operation since 1997.  Founded by Danny Schneweiss and Moy Guindi, the objective was to have a tequila that retained the character of Mexico.  This is a highlands tequila and was aged in oak for 35 days, although is still considered a Blanco (silver or white tequila).  It is triple distilled which helps create the smooth character and leaves a charcoal flavor on the palate.  Agave, herbal and vanilla notes on the back end round out the flavor profiles.

All in all it was an educational experience – we had an aged and new tequila, we had an old family product and one from a new upstart and we had a highlands and a lowlands tequila.  Only 138 left to go on Barrio’s menu!

Cheers!

When in Mexico I can only drink so many margaritas (even of the avocado variety) and palomas…so what to do?  At the house we were staying at we had both silver and reposado tequilas, along with Grand Marnier (for making margaritas).  So….one night after dinner and enjoying a fine Cohiba on the patio the inspiration for the Mexican version of the classic Manhattan hit me.  And it was soooo good, especially with the fine cigar I was enjoying with it (yes, it was Cuban).  So, without further adieu, the Mexican Manhattan.

  Mexican Manhattan

  • 3 oz reposada or anejo tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir.  Pour into a rocks glass.  No garnish needed.

Upon my return home I mixed this up using the Cazadores anejo that I brought home from Puerto Vallarta (oh, so smooth) and used Cointreau (I also don’t actually have any Grand Marnier at the moment).  The orange of the Cointreau is a very nice, slightly sweet complement to the Cazadores anejo. 

Another option if you have a really good reposada or anejo is to just add a couple of dashes of orange bitters instead of Cointreau.  This will give the orange flavor without the added sweetness of the liqueur.

So, when I need to escape winter I’ll be getting that bottle of Cazadores out and reliving the sun and sand of the beach at Puerto Vallarta!

Cheers!

Has it really been four months since my last post?  I guess there was just way to much gin, bourbon and scotch during the last 120 days.  However, the good news is that I’m tanned, rested and ready!  A week in Puerto Vallarta will do that for a guy!

Of course, there was more to the vacation than family, sun and beach.  There was tequila!  One advantage to renting a house for the week was the opportunity to mix up cocktails for everyone using great, fresh local ingredients.  One of those cocktails was the above pictured Avocado Margarita.  It’s more like a cross between a smoothie and a margarita.  But with fresh limes and avocados at my disposal, I couldn’t pass this one up.

      Avocado Margarita

  • 1-1/2 oz silver tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup diced avocado
  • 1 oz half and half
  • 1 tsp sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a blender with one half cup ice and puree until smooth.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lime wedge or lemon peel.

I used Patron silver since that’s what we had, and used Grand Marnier instead of Cointreau (again, that’s what we had – and, oh, by the way, makes excellent margaritas!).  This was served with a dinner of grilled shrimp, mahi mahi and rice with poblano pepper and chorizo.  It was delicious – smooth, not to sweet, not to avocado flavored and just a hint of tequila.

Unfortunately, I only had enough avocado for one round the night we did these, but I’m sure this will find its way into my glass again!

Adios amigos!

Day 362, Cocktails 361 & 362

…but it turned out I was mistaken.

So tonight’s mea culpa is that I had a miscount on my days.  I’ve actually been off by two days, and it’s two days the wrong way, meaning I have 2 less days to complete my journey.  Fortunately I was ahead of the count in terms of cocktails, so all is well.  However, I’m sure Andy will have something to say about all this!

Now, back to the fun stuff – the cocktails!  I did two last night, the first a recipe from Dale Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail” that I selected for its ease of mixing and cool sophistication.

  Black Rose

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 dash grenadine

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill and combine.  Strain into a rocks glass over an ice ball.  Garnish with a flamed lemon peel.

For this drink I used Knob Creek bourbon and it was a winner!  The deep, charcoal flavor of the bourbon was mellowed ever so slightly by the grenadine and Peychaud’s.  It was reminiscent of a Manhattan, but without the sweetness and allowed the bourbon to still be the star.  I really liked this drink and will definitely be having it again!

Unfortunately, Gwen didn’t really appreciate the Black Rose.  She asked me to make something with cucumber, so here’s what I put together for her.

  Cucumber Mule

  • 2 cucumber slices, about 1/4″ thick
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 2 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1-1/2 oz Old Ballycastle ginger
  • Seltzer water

Muddle the cucumber and bar syrup in the bottom of a collins glass.  Add the tequila, lime juice and ginger and stir.  Fill the glass with ice and top with seltzer water.

Mmmm, a nice variation of the Monterrey Mule that lets the hint of cucumber compliment the ginger and tequila.  I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing cocktail and can’t wait to have it on a warm summer evening – assuming summer does show up around here sooner or later….

Cheers!

Day 313, Cocktails 314 & 315

Two new cocktails were created at the Twilight Lounge last Friday night.  You’ll be welcome to have the first, the Pear Tequila, anytime that you come by.  This was the first of the night and was inspired by my simple desire to play around with the Old Ballycastle Ginger and tequila.  I have no idea what put that idea into my head, but it was there so I went with it.

The second drink of the night was the End Of The Line (pictured).  I decided to use Kajmir, the vanilla flavored brandy – vodka blend.  And why did I name it End Of The Line?  Well, I’m almost out of Kajmir, and since it is no longer made, when its gone, its gone…of course, freeing up a space for a bottle of something else (hehe).  So, I’ll get back to this in a minute, but first I want to go back to the Pear Tequila.

  Pear Tequila

  • 1-3/4 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1-1/2 oz Mathilde Poire liqueur
  • 3/4 oz Old Ballycastle Ginger
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.

This turned out to be pretty good.  The recipe above was the second iteration – I had too much tequila and not enough Mathilde and Old Ballycastle in the original attempt.  It’s a multi-layered cocktail, with the pear and ginger flavors both subtly intertwined and complimenting the Cazadores nicely.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

With my first effort under my belt, I turned my attention to my nearly empty bottle of Kajmir.  I really don’t know what led me to pull out … maybe it was just my desire to clear out a space for something new.  Whatever the reason, as I sniffed the now open bottle I started thinking about what else could I pair with this to create a cocktail.  I wanted to stick with the Old Ballycastle Ginger, but I’d need something else as well.  I finally settled on orgeat as my third flavoring ingredient.

  End Of The Line

  • 2 oz Kajmir
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1/4 oz Old Ballycastle Ginger
  • 1/8 oz orgeat

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a rocks glass with an ice ball.  No garnish needed.

This is also a very nice cocktail…a hint of nuttiness from the orgeat, a bit of spice from the ginger and the smooth, slighty smokey vanilla of the Kajmir.  I added the extra shot of vodka (I used Sobieski) to give this drink at list a little heft since the Kajmir is only 40 proof.

I’d ask you to try this one out as well, but unless your one of the three people in the world who still have a bottle, you’ll have a tough time finding it.  Of course, if you get over to the Twilight Lounge soon, I still have enough for a couple more!

Cheers!

Day 281, Cocktail 280

Gwen was prepping to get the hell of out of Dodge ahead and down to Cancun with a bunch of her friends tonight.  They originally weren’t supposed to leave until Wednesday, but the “big blizzard” headed our way they moved their travel plans up a day.  So I figured that something with tequila was in order tonight.

Besides Gwen’s trip, the inspiration for tonight’s cocktail was a drink I saw on the Cooking Channel show Drink Up.  My inspiration was made with rum and cardamom syrup which I replaced with tequila and Old Ballycastle ginger.    The rest of the ingredients are in the original, although I played around a bit with the proportions.  Let’s see how it turned out.

  Mexican Hat Dance

  • 3 slices of cucumber
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1 oz Old Ballycastle ginger
  • 2-1/2 oz Cazadores tequila

Toss the three cucumber slices into the bottom of your shaker, then add 4-5 ice cubes.  Add the rest of the liquid ingredients and shake, shake, shake.  You need to work this hard because you are muddling the cucumber at the same time that you are mixing your drink.  To prepare your collins glass cut three more slices of cucumber.  Place an ice cube in the bottom, then a cucumber slice, then another ice cube…create a stack three ice cubes / cucumber slices high.  Strain the drink over the cucumber / ice stack in the glass.

I know the drink is good when Gwen asks for seconds and thirds (it’s probably a good thing Andrea wasn’t here).  The flavors are multilayered with cucumber and ginger playing together, supported by the Cazadores.  There is just a hint of spicy heat from the ginger and the syrup keeps the drink from being too tart.  As an alternative, you can just dump the contents of your shaker into a collins glass.  This gives you bits of cucumber mixed in with the drink.  But, you don’t get the neat effect of the layered ice and cucumber slices.

Cheers!

Day 244, Cocktail 241

I hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas!  We certainly did here at the Twilight Lounge.  At left you can see the newest addition to the Lounge staff.  I hope he works out as the in house entertainer.  Next to him is the latest drink (and the last Christmas cocktail) to come out of the Twilight Lounge.

This cocktail is a twist on the mule style of cocktails.  Basically, a mule is a base spirit, ginger ale or beer and lime juice.  For my Christmas mule I switched it up and used lemonade, Old Ballycastle Ginger and seltzer water to mix with my tequila. 

  Christmas Mule

  • 1 oz tequila
  • 3 oz lemonade
  • 1/4 oz Old Ballycastle Ginger
  • selzter water

Place a couple of ice cubes in a collins glass.  Add the tequila, lemonade and Old Ballycastle.  Stir to mix.  Add several more ice cubes to fill the glass about 3/4 full of ice.  Top with seltzer.  Garnish with a lime wedge and fresh cranberries.

You don’t see tequila used in many holiday cocktails, but our friends south of the border certainly do celebrate, so why not?  The Old Ballycastle adds just a hint of ginger and the tequila comes through as well.  Notice that I stirred the drink with only a couple of ice cubes.  I’ve learned that when mixing a drink in the same glass you will be drinking it from that this is a much easier way to get a good stir without slopping all over the place.  I also used fresh cranberries as my garnish – I just love to do this with nearly any holiday cocktail.  There are two reasons for this.  First is that by Christmas the fresh cranberries are usually gone (I buy a bag around Thanksgiving, and they will last a couple of months if kept refrigerated).  The second is that they add a festive touch, and are good to eat as well!

Next up for the Twilight Lounge is our first ever New Year’s Eve party!

Cheers!

Day 200, Cocktail 195

Buck week continued Thursday night at Ivee’s.  I had come up with a cocktail that continued my buck theme that I figured Davey would have all the ingredients available.  It sounded like a good idea when I thought of it…

  Monterrey Buck

  • 1 oz tequila
  • 2 dashes Agnosturo bitters
  • lime wedge
  • ginger ale

Fill a collins glass with ice and add the squeeze the lime wedge over the ice.  Add the tequila and bitters and top with the ginger ale. 

This is a twist on the Monterrey Mule and after my experience adding bitters to my classic bourbon and coke in the Bourbon Buck, I figured this would be a tasty cocktail.  I still think it would be, except I didn’t get to taste it in all its glory.  It turns out that Davey did not have ginger ale as I figured he would.  He offered to make me “bar” ginger ale.  I said sure before I asked what is “bar” ginger ale.  Just what is “bar” ginger ale?  3/4 cola and 1/4 lemon lime soda…uh, sure, you can call it “bar” ginger ale, but it sure didn’t taste like ginger ale.  **Sigh** 

I ended up switching to gin and tonics for the balance of my night of Beat Stan at trivia, with no apparent ill effect.  At least something worked out!

Cheers!

Day 162, Cocktails 157 & 158

The local Newcomer’s International Dining group has been offering me new cocktail opportunities for several years now.  Usually we have enough couples participating each month to do it at one of the member’s home with everyone bringing a dish.  This month, though, the attendance was light so the group decided to dine out.  Bingo, a cocktail adventure in the making!

We had dinner at a south side Mexican restaurant.  The food was very good, but unfortunately the cocktails did not match the quality of the dinner.  I had what was listed on the menu as a Polamos cocktail.  I asked our waitress what was in it and she told that it was tequila (Don Julio to be exact) with sour and lime juice.  It sounded like the tequila version of a whiskey sour, so I gave it a whirl.  It was served on the rocks with a salted rim and tasted like, well a mediocre restaurant margarita.  A lackluster start to the evening as far as cocktails are concerned.

My fortunes were soon to improve.  After dinner Gwen convinced our group to head over to the Foundation Bar for more fun and cocktails.   You regular readers already know that this is one of my favorite bars in Milwaukee and always provides a new cocktail experience.  Tonight was no exception.  After perusing the speciality cocktail menu I settled on the Pirate’s Grog.  Served in a you get to keep it ceramic pirate head glass it features Coruba dark rum along with Bacardi 151 and a light rum.  There is also apricot brandy and a couple of fruit juices (pineapple and orange, I believe) and a couple of secret spices.  This is a delicious drink with the flavor of the Coruba rum really coming through.  It’s bold and slightly spicy and I really enjoyed it.

After finishing off the Pirate’s Grog I had another classic, the Singapore Sling.  Since I’ve previously posted the Singapore Sling here I won’t go into all the details.  Suffice it to say that the Foundation Bar uses the original 1910 recipe from the Raffles Bar in Singapore.  This is a classic and is a quite a treat.

Cheers!