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Category Archives: whiskey

Shamrock

The Twilight Lounge – March 12, 2016

Continuing on the Irish whiskey theme I stumbled upon the Shamrock while thumbing through The Ultimate Bar Book this afternoon.  In addition to being a whiskey drink, it would help use up the Crème de Menthe I’d been sitting on for far too long.  It’s not often outside of Christmas that I get to use it!

The Shamrock

  • 1-1/2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 3/4 oz Crème de Menthe
  • 2 oz heavy cream
  • maraschino cherry

Combine all the ingredients except the cherry in a shaker with ice.  Shake vigorously and strain into a old fashioned glass filled with ice.  Garnish with the cherry.

It is minty and it is creamy…and the whiskey is well hidden behind those two.  Aside from it being green and sweet, I’m not sure what else to think about this cocktail.  If we weren’t heading into St. Patrick’s day I’m pretty sure this would not have ever found a way into a glass raised to my lips.  But I suspect if you are a fan of ice cream drinks then you’ll enjoy this one.

Cheers!

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Milwaukee, WI – March 7, 2012

So I’m sitting at the bar and I hear, in this low, almost whispering voice, “Nice pants.”  I look around and there’s no one within ear shot, so I shrug it off and take another sip of my drink.  But then I hear the voice again, “Great looking haircut.”  Again, I look around and nothing.  I try to shrug it off, but when a few minutes later the voice asks “Have you lost weight?” I call the bartender over.

“Brett, I keep hearing this voice saying things like “nice pants” and “great haircut”.  What gives, are you screwing with me?”

Brett looks me right in the eye and tells me, “It’s the peanuts, they’re complimentary.”

One of the nice things about Bryant’s (South 9th and Lapham, Milwaukee) is that you don’t have to worry about either random hours or complimentary nuts distracting your taste buds from the cocktails.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had occasion to stop by and enjoy these two outstanding creations by Emily.

First is the Glamour Shot, pictured above.  When Emily asked what I was in the mood for I quickly answered gin, but that I didn’t want something run of the mill or a classic.  So, out came the Plymouth gin, Domaine de Canton liqueur, Cynar liqueur, bar syrup and lemon juice.  An interesting combination I thought, between the ginger Canton and the bitter Cynar, with is derived from, among other things, artichoke.  The result was a terrific cocktail that leads with the ginger of the Canton then quickly follows with a slightly bitter bite.  The bar syrup and lemon juice round out the drink and give it balance so that it’s boozy, but in a mellow way.  An excellent offering from Emily.

The second drink is her Milwaukee Manhattan.  This drink was designed for a contest that Emily had entered (and, incidently, won) for the best variation on the classic Manhattan.  Featuring Bulliet rye whiskey with the usual sweet and dry vermouths (making this on perfect) and both Agnostura and Peychauds bitters, the twist is the addition of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur (which I love!).  Again, a very well constructed cocktail that tasted incredible.  The cherry from the Luxardo was out in front on this one, with the sweet vermouth, bitters and rye filling in behind it.  This is a complex cocktail, with layers of flavors to be discovered.  Again, kudos to Emily for a job well done.

Cheers!

Milwaukee, WI – February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day and Gwen and I decided to try someplace new for dinner.  A quick flip through our entertainment guide and I found The Eatery on Farwell in Milwaukee’s Eastside neighborhood.  It turned out to be a great find!

As usual, before ordering dinner we had a cocktail.  I was pleased to see a number of original cocktails on the menu (and none of them incorrectly termed a martini!).  After perusing the list I settled on the Hot Dan.  I was eager to try it because it used Roaring Dan’s Maple Rum from local distiller Great Lakes Distillery.  I love to see local restaurants supporting local providers!  In addition to the rum, the Hot Dan is made with house made allspice, simple syrup, cloves, a squeeze of orange and hot water. 

My first impression was the maple from the rum with an added sweet component to the flavor.  There was a hint of citrus on the back end, thank you orange slice.  A nice drink to chase away the chill of a cold Valentine’s Day evening.  The farther I got into this drink, the more the allspice took over.  By the time I was done with the cocktail the allspice was a bit too powerful – I’d like to see a little less of that in the drink and either a bit more orange or perhaps even a dash of Agnostura bitters. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Hot Dan is a good cocktail.  Gwen had the KK Smash, another cocktail featuring a spirit for Great Lakes Distillery (Kinnickinnic Whiskey in this case) that is a twist on the whiskey sour.  It was delicious!

As for dinner – it was fantastic.  The Pig in a Pot was absolutely fantastic, with mushroom duxelle providing an absolutely wonderful base for the pork tenderloin.  The presentation, in a terra cotta flower pot, was terrific and the potato galette was a fantastic accompaniement.  The Braised Short Ribs were also excellent and the root vegetable mash that came with it was every bit as good as well.

The next time you find yourself hungry or thirsty and in the vicinity of Farwell Ave. in the Eastside, you can’t go wrong with The Eatery on Farwell!

Cheers!

Germantown, WI – December 18, 2011

Well, another 3 hours of watching the futility known as Cleveland Browns football.  The game started well enough with an opening touchdown drive that featured the bruising, no nonsense running of Petyon Hillis.  I actually felt like the Browns offense may have found a groove today between Hillis and his punishing running style and the athletic Seneca Wallace at quarterback getting the ball downfield to the Brown’s receivers. 

After that opening drive I decided to have a cocktail, and even though I want to feature gin over the next couple of weeks, I was inspired to have rye whiskey by watching Hillis.  Rye seems to match Peyton’s straight forward style of play.  Here’s what I came up with.

  Peyton Hillis

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 1 dash of orange bitters
  • 1 lemon slice

In a rocks glass muddle the lemon slice with the bar syrup and bitters.  Add 5-6 ice cubes and the vermouth and rye and stir.  Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Mmm, I do always like the combination of orange bitters and rye, and I did again in this cocktail.  It is a takeoff on a traditional old fashioned, using lemon for a brighter taste than the orange in an old fashioned. 

Unfortunately, as I sipped my new cocktail creation I was again treated to the sight of the Browns unable to maintain their edge and losing yet again.  At least the cocktail was good!

Cheers!

Day 343, Cocktails 348, 349 & 350

Monday evening found me at Ivee’s On Main to watch the NCAA basketball final.  While the game may have been lackluster, the cocktails were not!  Recently Colleen Graham had posted the Fancy Whiskey in her cocktail blog.  I thought it looked like a pretty good drink.  Plus, it easily lent itself to doing a multiple versions and some serious tasting comparisons based on the type of whiskey used.  So, in the name of science and to be able to give you a complete report I embarked on a fancy whiskey journey.

First, the Fancy Whiskey recipe is:

  Fancy Whiskey

  • 2 oz whiskey(of your choice)
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • dash Agnostura bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and blend.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

So, the recipe is pretty straightforward.  Let’s see how things worked out as I tried different whiskies.  The first was made with Maker’s Mark bourbon.  It was good, with the flavor reminiscent of a Manhattan, except orange flavored.  While 1 oz of bar syrup sounds like a lot, it did not overly sweeten the drink.  The use of triple sec helped with this cause since it is not as sweet as Cointreau is.  The bitters also help to keep the sweetness in line.  All in all, a good drink.

For the second variant I moved to Scotch and had Davey make it with Dewar’s.  It was very similar in taste to the Maker’s Mark version with a smokey peat element from the Scotch.  Depending on your specific taste you could amp up the smokey component of this drink by using a stronger single malt such as Laphroaig.  Again, a very good cocktail that I wouldn’t hesitate to order or make in the future.

Finally, for version three I switched to Canadian whiskey, Canadian Club to be specific.  This version was the least memorable of the bunch, probably owing to Canadian whiskey’s mellow character, particularly when compared to bourbon and Scotch.  It was a good cocktail, but didn’t have the heft that the first two versions had.  Think of this as the Fancy Whiskey lite!

All in all, three good cocktails.  Maybe those boys from Butler should have tried one of these, it couldn’t have hurt there shooting!

Cheers!

Day 325, Cocktail 329

The day before St. Patrick’s day and I was going to have one last Irish cocktail to prepare myself for my all day pub crawl with my buddies Mike and Brett.  As I thumbed through the Ultimate Bar Book I found a cocktail named Everybody’s Irish.  How could I lose with this cocktail, right?  Well, I lost.  Big time.  For once my thought that there’s no way this combination of ingredients can taste good came true.  I’m going to post the recipe here, but I can not suggest that you actually try this one, unless of course, some person in the distant future attempts to recreate my journey because I’ve become famous.  Even then, though, I’d give dispensation to skip this drink!

So, without further adieu, I give you Everybody’s Irish.

  Everybody’s Irish

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1/4 oz green Chartreuse
  • 1/4 oz green Creme de Menthe

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a green olive.

Overwhelming mint and anise flavors just knocked me on me ass with this one.  While I did drink it all, it was awful, with the brine from the olive just adding injury to the insult of this cocktail.  I think it’s whole purpose is to be green, which it is – a very bright, almost flourescent, green!  One last note, Chartreuse is one of the few liqueurs not in stock at the Twilight Lounge, so substituted Pernod.  The flavors of the two are very similar although the Pernod is not green like the Chartreuse.

My next post will get into our adventures from St. Patrick’s day.  Until then…

Cheers!

Day 324, Cocktail 328

An elderly woman lived on a small farm with her grandson, just yards from the border with North Dakota.  The land had been the subject of a dispute with the US for decades as to whether the farm was in the US or Canada.  One day her grandson came rushing into the house, waving a letter.  “Good news Grandma!” he shouted.  “There’s been an agreement reached between Canada and the US and our farm is in North Dakota.  You have the final approval to accept or reject the agreement.  What do you want to do?”

“Why, approve it of course” was the woman’s reply to her grandson.  “I can’t take another winter in Canada!”

Bada bum!

Ok, maybe that wasn’t my best lead in, but it was a lead in.  I found this drink while thumbing through the Ultimate Bar Book, looking for something straightforward and simple.  This fit the bill.

  Canadian Cocktail

  • 2 oz Canadian whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 2 dashes Agnostura bitters

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or into a rocks glass with an ice ball or several large cubes.

This was a nice sipper, with just a hint of orange from the Cointreau and a nice flavor punch from the bitters.  No surprise here that I liked this, having enjoyed orange flavors in my whiskey cocktails for some time now.  By the way, I used Canadian Club for the whiskey, which is my house Canadian.

So just what makes Canadian whiskey Canadian?  Most Canadians use a base of rye, however, do not confuse them for nor substitute them in for rye whiskey.  The reason for this is that corn and other grain based neutral distilled spirits find their way into Canadian whiskey.  Flavor wise, Canadians are perhaps the most mellow and easy going of the whiskey family, often times with notes of vanilla and sweetness not found in other whiskeys.

Cheers!

Day 319, Cocktail 322

Ok, so not everyone is into Nutty Irishmen or Car Bombs (or Guinness for the matter) for St. Patrick’s day.  Some of us are looking for leprechaun’s and their pots of gold.  Poor little buggers, working their fingers to the bone making shoes, only to have some blundering idiot steal their earnings!

Whew!  Well, I had come across a cocktail called the Dancing Leprechaun in the Ultimate Bar Book while getting ready for last Saturday’s NID.  It looked good, but a little to complicated to mess with at a dinner party, so I didn’t use that night.  However, it was just the drink for Thursday night.  So I mixed one up and hoped to find a leprechaun’s pot of gold…

  Dancing Leprechaun

  • 1-1/2 oz irish whiskey
  • 3/4 oz Drambuie
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • ginger ale

Combine the ingredients, except the ginger ale, in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to combine then strain into a collins glass filled with ice.  Top with ginger ale and garnish with a lemon twist or wedge.

This would make a very good mid day break from the Guinness on St. Patrick’s day.  Light, refreshing with just a hint of whiskey and the honey sweetness of the Drambuie.  There’s even a connection between the Scottish Drambuie and the Irish whiskey – both Ireland and Scotland have chafed under British rule, so it’s natural that they join forces, at least in a cocktail!

Cheers!

Day 317, Cocktail 320

So what happens when you don’t hit a nail square on the head?  It gets bent, of course!  I know, I’m grasping here, but (in the words of Brett Hertzberg, the father of modern bartending in Germantown) it’s all I got.

So the Bent Nail is a variation of the classic Rusty Nail.  How it get the name Bent Nail is beyond me as my research turned up nothing.  If you happen to know, please share with me and my readers!

So, without further adieu:

  Bent Nail

  • 1-1/2 oz Canadian whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Drambuie
  • 1/4 oz Kirsch

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to chill and mix.  Strain into a coupe.

I used the coupe for this since this a relatively small drink at just 2-1/4 oz of ingredients.  When accounting for ice melt while mixing it probably comes in at a little less than 3 oz.  As for the taste, it’s good.  Just a hint of cherry from the kirsch, which also helps cut the sweetness of the Drambuie.  It’s not as bold as a Rusty Nail, given that the Canadian (I used Canadian Club) doesn’t have the smokey, peaty components that Scotch does.

Cheers!

Day 314, Cocktails 318 & 319

So just where did this whole thing about the Irish being drunkards come from anyway?  I spent some today trying to find out and … I really didn’t find anything conclusive.  The best explanation is a combination of what does seem to be an above average per capita consumption of alcohol (although not as high as the Russians) along with a cultural bias against the Irish, particularly as they were emigrating to America in the early 19th century.  Painting the Irish as drunks and brawlers made it easier for other groups competing with the new immigrants for jobs to demonize the Irish as a group.

So, enough of the history.  Back to last Saturday’s NID, where I was doing my best to fulfill the Irish stereotype.  I had started the night off with a couple of convential cocktails.  By the time I got to cocktail number three I was ready to wing it a bit.

  Bombed Nutty Irishmen

  • 1-1/2 oz Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1-1/2 oz Frangelico
  • 1 oz Irish whiskey

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake to combine and chill.  Pour into a rocks glass with additional ice to fill the glass.

A much more potent version of the Nutty Irishmen, yet still very, very drinkable.  The whiskey gives it a bit of a bite, but not so much that I would call this a boozy cocktail.  More like dangerous…as in tasty yet potent.

By now the creative juices were really starting to flow.  So for my next and final number I did a take on the Irish Car Bomb.

  Irish H-Bomb

  • 1-1/2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 1-1/2 oz Baileys Irish Cream
  • 4 oz stout

Combine the whiskey and Baileys in a shaker with ice and shake to chill and mix.  Pour into a collins glass, add a bit more ice and top with stout.  Gently stir to mix and enjoy!

This is the Car Bomb on steriods.  What I’ve always found interesting about this combination is how it ends up so smooth and chocolatey!  In fact, this may be just a little too smooth as again the flavor masks just how much booze you get in this drink.

Cheers!