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Category Archives: tequila

Day 160, Cocktail 155

It’s been a hectic week and I’ve gotten behind here as well as with a few other things – I guess that’s life!

On Wednesday night I did have the opportunity to have dinner at Trocadero with a couple of co-workers from St. Louis, Mike and Kevin.  It was a splendid night and was warm enough to eat outside even though it was nearly 9 o’clock and the end of September.  We don’t get many nights like that in Milwaukee by this time of year so we took advantage of it.  Mike and Kevin split a bottle of wine with their dinner.  Me?  I had a cocktail, of course!

I enjoyed what the Trocadero calls a Pineapple Ginger.  As you would guess from the name, fresh pineapple juice and freshly grated ginger are the main flavor components of this cocktail.  The base spirit in this drink is Patron Citronage and the recipe also calls for lemon and lime juices.  The presentation is completed with a brown sugar rim and a lime wedge.

I liked this drink.  Typically, many pineapple drinks can get very sweet and syrupy.  This one, however, stays well balanced with the ginger toning down the pineapple juice and mingling exceptionally well.   It would be very easy to enjoy several of these through an evening.  Another grade A effort from the Trocadero!

Cheers!

Day 137, Cocktails 135 & 136

Gwen and I ended up at Trocadero Saturday night for cocktails and dinner.  It’s one of those eclectic and hip restaurants located in an older building with loads of character.  Check them out – you won’t be disappointed.  The food is terrific, the service very good and the bar is complete with a full selection of wines, craft beers and (of course) well made cocktails.

Before our dinner (mac ‘n cheese on steriods for me, fish tacos for Gwen) we had a couple of couple of cocktails.  I ordered the Pink Ribbon drink of the week.  (Each week Trocadero has been doing a different drink for their Pink Ribbon special, and $1 is donated to breast cancer research.)  This week’s edition was essentially a cherry mojito.  The base spirit was Bacardi Cherry rum and the mint was muddled with maraschino cherries.  It was delicious!  The cherry flavor was subtle, yet present, and played very nicely with the mint.  It was a slightly sweet cocktail that was reminiscent of that Wisconsin favorite, the Old Fashioned.

Gwen’s drink, the Jalapeno Cucumber Margarita, was a smash!  This cocktail featured muddled cucumber, lemon and lime with a cilantro jalapeno puree, Parton Cintronage and a raw sugared rim.  Simply put, an amazing cocktail!  The first impression is sweet, with the jalapeno flavor coming through, but not the heat of the pepper.  The cilantro, cucumber and tequila fill in behind the jalapeno to create a fabulous fusion of flavors.  I could drink this one all night! 

Two original cocktails very well executed.  If you are looking for something new to try, give Trocadero a try.  You won’t be disappointed!

Cheers!

Day 132, Cocktails 132 & 133 

This post references back to last Friday, the 133rd of the journey.  It was dinner at home and Gwen was making burritos, so tequila seemed logical.  I pulled Mittie Hellmich’s Ultimate Bar Book down off the shelf (heck, who am I kidding, it resides right on top of the bar these days) and started thumbing through the tequila section.  Since I still had some pineapple juice left, the Matador caught my eye. 

 
                           A Pair of Matadors 

   Matador

  • 1-1/2 oz gold tequila
  • 3 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice cube.  Garnish with a cherry.  

This turned out to be quite tasty and a very nice compliment to the burritos (which were spicy).  I also love the way this drink looks with the foam on top from the hard shaking that the pineapple juice recieved.  It adds a visual element to the cocktail that is very pleasing to my eye. 

Once dinner was over I was ready to try another cocktail and delved back into the tequila section of the Ultimate Bar Book.  This time it was the Blue Margarita that caught my eye. 

Blue Margarita

 

  Blue Margarita 

  • 2 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1 oz blue curacao
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lime juice

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes and shake, shake, shake.  Rim a chilled cocktail glass (you’ll need the 6 oz version for this cocktail) with a lime wedge and then salt the rim.  Strain the cocktail into the glass. 

This twist on a margarita is more visual than flavor changing since the curacao has an orange flavor, not unlike the Cointreau or triple sec.  The blue is dramatic, and I’ve used it in several other cocktails in the past.  Just check out the Cocktail List & Index page for a complete list of drinks that I’ve done with blue curacao (or any other liquor or liqueur for that matter).  With the extra shot of orange flavored liqueur the tequila is not quite as up front and center like a margarita usually is, but it is still there. 

So there you go, a nice pair of tequila drinks to try out the next time you have Mexican, or any thing else for that matter! 

Cheers! 

Day 127, Cocktails 125, 126 & 127

Whew, what a day!  We had planned to swim and grill out this afternoon and invited our friends Greg and Patty to join us.  When they arrived we all got into the pool and cooled off from another hot day (at least hot for us !) and got caught up with all the news.  About mid afternoon it was time to try out our first cocktail of the day (fortunately, I don’t have to twist Greg and Patty’s arm very hard).  I decided to give a drink recipe sent to me by a high school classmate Mary Sheldon Hyatt a try.  It’s called the Dia Del Amore (which is what Valentine’s Day in Mexico is known as).  As best I can tell, this recipe comes from the fine folks who produce St. Germain, so it should come as no suprise that it uses…ta da…St. Germain.

Dia Del Amor

  • 1-1/2 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1 oz St. Germain liqueur
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 2 dashes Tabasco

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes and shake, shake, shake.  Prepare a rocks glass by salting the rim.  Add 4-5 ice cubes and strain the drink into the glass.  Garnish with a lime twist. 

This drink was fantastic!  Mary, thanks for sending me the recipe.  We all enjoyed it!  The sweet, elderflower of the St. Germain was a terrific compliment to the tequila.  I was pleasantly suprised by this as I have not worked with tequila and St. Germain before.  The tabasco added just a hint of smokey, pepper flavor, but really no heat at all.  This cocktail is really a great substitute for your typical margarita, and really blows away nearly any typical restaurant ‘rita made with overly sweetened mixes. 

While we were on the patio enjoying the Dia Del Amor, I handed Greg my new copy of The Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich (and a huge thanks to Ashish for giving me this book – it is fantastic!).  Greg, not being one to miss an opporunity to drink my booze started flipping through the tequila section.  It didn’t take long before he started to quiz me. 

 “Do you have silver tequila?” 

“Of course.”

“Pineapple juice?”

“Actually, yes.”

“Angosturo bitters?”

“Yep.”

“Club soda?”

“Yes, why?”

“Because we should try a La Conga next.”

And try we did. 

  La Conga

  • 2 oz silver tequila
  • 1/4 oz pineapple juice
  • 3 dashes Agnosturo bitters
  • seltzer water

Fill a rocks glass with ice cubes.  Add the tequila, pineapple juice and bitters.  Top with seltzer water, stir and garnish with a lemon slice.

This is an unusual cocktail in that it is mixed directly in the glass.  That said, it didn’t really catch the fancy of any of us today.  The bitters really dominate the flavor of this drink and I don’t think it really had enough pineapple juice since we didn’t catch any flavor of it in the drink.  If I were to try this again I would double the pineapple juice and cut the Agnosturo to 2 dashes and see how that goes.

We took a break from cocktails to have some dinner, but it didn’t take long to head down to the Twilight Lounge and try our third tequila cocktail of the day, also from The Ultimate Bar Book.

  La Bomba

  • 1 oz gold tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/8 oz grenadine

Combine the tequila, Cointreau, pineapple juice and orange juice in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add the grenadine. 

The grenadine ends up sinking to the bottom which gives the drink a very nice visual appeal (it’s the cocktail in the picture above).  It also adds a layer of flavor as you work your way through the drink.  This was another delicious drink that was very well balanced and enjoyed by all of us today. 

So, to paraphrase Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad.  Give these cocktails a try and let me know what you think.

Cheers!

Day 126, Cocktail 124

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t as swank and swell as the picture, but we did attend a party last night that included drinks and dinner.  It was a fun night hosted by our friends Julie and Dave and there were 8 or 9 people there, so it qualifies as a party!

Chili was the main course and most of the guys (me included) brought beer to drink.  However, Dave also had mixed up a pitcher of margaritas (and then several more as the night wore on!).  I have to admit that I did have one (or three) as we moved into the party games after dinner.    One of the games was Imagine If – the object is to read a card, starting with Imagine if so and so was a store manager, would the store be … and then there are 6 choices that are read off.  I was absolutely shocked when one of the questions was “Imangine if you were looking for Stan at night” and my friends were unaminous in there selection of a bar as the place to find me.  Really?  Oh well.

So where was I…right, the margarita’s.  Dave used a recipe that I’ve used for years now whenever I need an easy to make crowd pleaser, the beer margarita.  This is simple to make by the pitcher or by the gallon (as I’ve done for BBQ’s and pool parties).

  Beer Margarita

  • 12 oz can limeade
  • 12 oz tequila
  • 12 oz water
  • 12 oz beer

Just combine everything in a pitcher, stir to mix and serve over ice.  Garnish with a lime wedge (just set a bowl of them out next to the ice).

Like I said, it’s tough to get much easier than this.  The key is to use a decent quality tequila and beer.  The tequila doesn’t have to be top shelf, but don’t reach for the store brand tequila on the bottom shelf either.  A good rule of thumb is that if the bottle is dusty don’t buy it!  As for beer, I like to use Sam Adams, but any good quality lager or ale will do.  In fact, play around with different beers to see what it does to the flavor before picking your favorite.

So fire up the grill, grab the party hats and have fun!

Cheers

Day 111, Cocktails 110 & 111

We arrived in Boulder yesterday for a mini family reunion to celebrate our Mom’s 70th birthday.  It was the first time we had my Mom, Cookie, my brother and all our kids and spouses together at one time!

With 1,068 miles to drive Thursday and Friday I had plenty of time to figure out a cocktail to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.  A lot of different ideas rolled through my mind until I settled on a couple of final options.  When we finally did arrive it was great to back with the whole family.  A quick trip to the garden for basil and mint and then it was time to mix.

  Paula Anna (Basil Version)

  • 2-1/2 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 2 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lime slice
  • 2-3 small strawberries, quartered
  • seltzer water

In a mixing glass muddle the lime slice and basil.  Add the strawberries and lightly muddle to release the juice but don’t crush them.  Add 3-4 ice cubes and the tequila and Domaine de Canton.  Shake to mix and empty into a pint glass.  Add 3-4 more ice cubes and top with seltzer water.

This cocktail is a take on a Monterrey Mule and fizz style drinks.  The tequila and ginger of the Domaine de Canton is a great combination.  The fresh basil really accents the drink well and the strawberries add a touch of sweet.

For a second version, try this with fresh mint in place of the basil.  It gives a slighter sweeter taste to the drink.  Try them both and let me know what you think!

Happy Birthday Mom and Cheers!

Day 104, Cocktails 103 & 104

Saturday was a fun, family day at the Wisconsin State Fair, and we managed to avoid eating any food on a stick.  We did see the chocolate covered bacon on a stick, and it did not look appetizing at all.  We were also fortunate to have our friends from St. Louis, Andy and Jennifer, and their two daughters, come over for a cook out and some swimming Saturday evening.  It ended up being quite a little party.

When Andy and Jennifer arrived that signalled the beginning of cocktail hour.  The problem was that when asked what they wanted, Jennifer and Gwen both said “Whatever”.  I’d never hear of a cocktail with that name and didn’t find anything on the CocktailDB web site either.  So I set about making up a cocktail for the girls.

Whatever Cocktail

  • 2 oz Hendrick’s gin
  • 1/2 oz cucumber juice
  • 1/4 oz St. Germain
  • 1/8 oz peppermint schnapps

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to completely chill.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a cucumber wheel.

My inspiration for this was the Love and Happiness.  However, rather than muddling cucumber I used my juicer to squeeze cucumber slices.  And, since I’d pretty much used all the mint from my garden, I added the peppermint schnapps to add just a hint of mint flavor.  It must of worked, because the girls loved it and I thought it worked out pretty well too.

It didn’t take long before the girls were ready for a second cocktail.  Jennifer joined me in the Twilight Lounge and wanted to have something named for her.  I asked what she liked and she told me vodka, rasberry and tequila.  I nearly pulled out the rasberry vodka, then thought about using vodka and chambord.  I even briefly considered the Sleigh Wreck, but I wanted to wait on that one.  I asked if she liked ginger and Jen said “yeah, its OK.”  So, I started thinking about a twist on a mule style cocktail combined with a margarita.  Thus, the Jennifer was born.

  Jennifer

  • 2 oz Cadadores tequila
  • 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 1 oz lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  You know what’s coming…shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.

Jen and Gwen loved this, and so did I.  Much more sophisticated than a mule and a flavorful twist on a margarita, this cocktail definately shifted the party into high gear.  I can’t wait until this fall when we’ll see Andy and Jennifer again!

Cheers!

Day 100, Cocktail 99

Just got back from Greg and Pattie’s, and yes, I loved my Sazerac!  But as I expected, no else did.  Fortunately, I had already worked out Plan B, which worked out marvellously!  I’ve had several tequila – ginger combinations over the last three months and had decided to leverage that same combination again.  The twist tonight was using Domaine de Canton in place of ginger ale.  The result was quite tasty and well recieved as everyone had two rounds before we left for the night.

  Katie

  • 1-1/2 oz tequila
  • 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • lemon lime soda

In a mixing glass combine the tequila, Canton and lime juice with ice.  Stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a collins glass filled with ice and top with lemon lime soda.  Give it a quick stir, garnish with a lemon or lime wedge, and serve.

A very light and refreshing take on the mule style drinks, and it was enjoyed by all.  Good luck in New Orleans Katie!

Cheers!

Oriental Gem or Just Oriental?

Day 62, Cocktails 57 & 58

While this is day 62 of my adventure, these two cocktails are from earlier this week.  Several months ago I purchased a bottle of Ty Ku liqueur at my local Otto’s Wine and Spirits.  Otto’s is definately my go to place for liquor, liqueurs, beer and wine.  The selection is large, the staff knowledgeable and the prices good.  If you are in the Milwaukee area and enjoy a drink now and then, check them out!

So, back to the Ty Ku.  It was on sale, looked interesting, and based on nothing more than that, I bought it.  When I got home I opened it up, poured a small sample and took a sniff.  Hmmm, my initial reaction was not pleasant.  I took and sip and was not thrilled.  The closest thing I could liken it to was a distilled spirit that I had in China that smelled like sweat socks left in a gym locker and tasted worse.  While this was not that bad, it did seem to have the same origin.

I let it sit for a couple of months, during which time my liqueur cabinet has started to overflow.  Being the kind of person that cannot throw liquor away (no matter how unattractive it is) I endeavored to find a use for it.  My quest started at the Ty Ku website.  They are pretty non specific about the geography of its origin, but do give some information on what does make up Ty Ku.  The flavoring components are yuzu, a fruit that is somewhat of a cross between a lemon and a lime, honeydew melon (a flavor that I can detect in it), mangosteen (I have no idea what this tastes like as it is not generally available in North America), ginseng,  green tea, and goji berry.  I won’t even begin to get into the veiled “health” benefits that Ty Ku seems to think it possesses.  My interest is in what I can do with this 40 proof liqueur.

My first Ty Ku cocktail is from their website and is a bit of a twist on a margarita:

  Skinny Senorita

  • 1-1/2 oz Ty Ku
  • 1/4 oz tequila (I used Cazadores)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • soda water

Combine the Ty Ku, tequila and lemon juice in a shaker glass with 3-4 ice cubes.  Stir well to mix and chill.  Pour into a rocks glass filled with cracked ice.  Top with soda water and garnish with lime slice.

This cocktail, I have to admit, was light and effervescent.  A hint of th melon flavor in the Ty Ku came through, which was very nice.  On their web site Ty Ku claims this is a 96 calorie cocktail, so Gwen appreciated that aspect of it as well.

My second effort with Ty Ku was last night.  The flavor profile (which by now has grown on me) seemed like it would work well with cucumber.  Did somebody say cucumber?  Hendrick’s gin immediately came to mind as a base spirit.  Then I borrowed a page from Chad Doll’s playbook and used my citrus juicer on an unsuspecting cucumber to get its juice.  After several trials, I settled on this little number:

  Melon Cukey Baby

  • 2-1/2 oz Henrick’s gin
  • 3/4 oz Ty Ku
  • 1/8 oz cucumber juice
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 cubes of ice.  Shake, shake, shake to mix and thoroughly chill.  Pour into a chilled, 6 oz cocktail glass.  Garnish with a floating cucumber slice.

As I was working this I dialed back on the cucumber juice and increased the gin and Ty Ku to get the balance right.  In the end I thought this was a tasty, summer cocktail with just enough sweetness to refresh but still allow the interplay between the melon flavor in the Ty Ku and the cucumber tones of the Hendrick’s.   Try it out and let me know what you think — and if you have a better idea for a name, please let me know!  I’ll mix you one if have the winning suggestion!

Cheers!

Day 24, Cocktails 23 and 24

It’s a two ‘fer post with a couple of variations on the same theme, always an interesting way to compare cocktails and their ingredients!

The first drink I have for you tonight came from the television show “Great Cocktails”.  It’s hosted by Steven Phillips, a long time bartender from New York.  It’s a decent show, with lots of good tips as well as fun facts and plenty of cocktail history.  You can catch it on Fine Living Network.  Check it out and see if you don’t learn something. 

The topic of this particular episode was vodka.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy vodka (heck, my last post was a vodka drink).  But I have a little bit of trouble taking it too seriously.  By itself, a good vodka is devoid of any flavor or character.  Which is why we have the proliferation of flavored vodkas on the market.  They make life very easy (too easy, if you ask me) for the mediocre bartender.  A really good bartender will rarely work with flavored vodkas – that’s what juices, liqueurs, bitters and other flavor adders are for.  However, I do admit that when I want to whip together a quick drink, vodka is sure easy to use because of the lack of flavor.  (Editorial note – potato vodkas do offer some distinct tastes, and I’ll get to those sometime this year.)

So, enough pontificating.  The drink that caught my eye was the Moscow Mule.  Here it is.

  The Moscow Mule

  • 1 oz Luksusowa vodka
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • ginger ale

Fill a rocks glass with ice cubes.  Add the vodka, lime juice and top with ginger ale.  Stir to mix and garnish with a lime wedge.

With the vodka receding to the background the interplay between the lime and ginger ale is interesting.  It’s light, refreshing and pretty good.  I wouldn’t hesitate to have this one again or to serve it to friends.  It’s definately different.

So, as I was making this I thought, hmmm, I wonder how this would taste with tequila in place of the vodka.  I mean the lime and tequila go together like white on rice.  Fast forward several hours and I did just that.  Thus, the Monterrey Mule was born.

  The Monterrey Mule

  • 1 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • ginger ale

Fill a rocks glass with ice cubes.  Add the tequila, lime juice and top with ginger ale.  Stir to mix and garnish with a lime wedge.

I have to admit that I’m not nearly as enamored with the result of this one.  To me, the tequila and ginger ale seem to be bickering amongst themselves while the lime sits on the sidelines.  Maybe a pinch of salt would help bring this together…if it does, I’ll let you know.  Until then, give it a try and let me know what you think.  It may be just me that doesn’t like this one.

Cheers!