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Day 67, Cocktail 62

Last night business associate and friend Miles was in town.  Miles is also a cocktail, wine and beer enthusiast, so naturally, we stopped by Bryant’s for a drink before going to dinner.  Propietor John Dye was behind the bar and as helpful as ever.  Miles experimented with a couple of bourbon based cocktails, Gwen had her usual Love and Happiness, Pete sampled a Hemingway daiquiri and another fruity cocktail.  Me?  I had a hankering for Scotch.  So John whipped up something called the Reluctant Tabby Cat (isn’t that a great name, or what?).  The base was Laphroig 12 year old Scotch.  The smokey, peat flavor came through, particularly on the finish.  Limoncello and sweet vermouth were also part of the mix.  The limoncello was very forward and was the first thing you tasted when taking a sip.  The vermouth provided a mid range undertone.  The drink was served in a coupe with a long rope of lemon peel.  All in all a very good cocktail.  While I did not ask about proportions, my guess would be 2 parts scotch and 1 part limoncello and 1/2 part sweet vermouth.

Tonight it’s the B-52’s for Summerfest, so my next post will be a cocktail ready made to get ready for the show!


Rye, Brandy, Sweet Vermouth and Gin?

Day 65, Cocktail 61

Woo Hoo!  First, the good news.  While catching up on some e-mail I was reading through Colleen Graham’s cocktail newsletter and saw that my blog has made her blog roll!  Of course, I wish I had spelled Twilight Lounge correctly, but, hey, it’s a link!  By the way, if you haven’t checked out Colleen’s blog, I highly recommend it.  I subscribe to her newsletter and it always has interesting recipes as well as great tips, contests and more.

Next, on to a new cocktail for today.  I know that I’m in the middle of this grapefruit jag, and I’ll be returning to grapefruit tomorrow.  For today, though, I just had a hankering for rye.  In fact, this is one of those days that I would have liked to mix up one the drinks I’ve already done, such as a Cooper Brothers.  However, I take my duty here seriously and so I went to the Internet Cocktail DB.  (By the way, this is another very good online resource for drink recipes that allows searches by name and ingredient – very handy.)  A search for rye whiskey yielded a number of interesting looking cocktails.  It was the Chauncey that caught my eye.  Rye, brandy, sweet vermouth, sure, this all sounds very Manhattan like.  Then I saw it…gin…really?  You add gin to this thing?  I did some research and learned that this is a classic cocktail that’s been around since at least the 30’s.  I find the classics appealing.  I also liked the fact that I had all the ingredients and wouldn’t need any special liqueurs (although if I wasn’t living in Wisconsin the odds of me having brandy would have been small).


  • 3/4 oz rye whiskey
  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz brandy
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with 4-5 ice cubes.  Stir thoroughly to mix and chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

My mix of this cocktail used Russell’s Reserve Rye, Plymouth Gin, Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth and Korbel Brandy.  As I was mixing this up I felt that the sweet vermouth would at the forefront, and I think I was correct.  The rye ends up providing the base while I get just a hint of the botanicals that are in the gin.  I’m sure part of this comes from using Plymouth, which is mild as far as gin goes.  The Agnosturo serves to help pull this together and ties it up into a nice little package.  Definately in the style of a Manhattan, I am enjoying this cocktail.


Day 60, Cocktails 55 & 56

The nice thing about going to Bryant’s is that I can always catch up on cocktails.  Rarely do I have the same thing twice there, even in the same evening.  There are just too many new and delicious drinks to discover not to explore!  Yesterday I was there with proprietor John Dye behind the bar.  I told John I was in the mood for something appropriate for Summerfest eve.  He thought for a minute and then suggested this tasty number.


  • vodka
  • lychee liqueur
  • lemon juice
  • bar syrup

While I didn’t get the exact measures from John, I could probably figure it out in a couple of trys.  It’s served in a collins glass filled with cracked ice and garnished with a long twist of lemon. 

This was a very refreshing and sweet cocktail.  Bryant’s doesn’t serve much vodka, but in this case it provides the backbone for the lychee liqueur, which is a very sweet, tasty Chinese fruit.  Think along the lines of very ripe pear and your close, but not quite there.

The second new cocktail that I tried was a twist on a perfect manhattan.  This cocktail used bourbon, dry vermouth and cream sherry instead of sweet vermouth.  I have to admit, it’s not going to make it into my cocktail hall of fame.  While I enjoy a manhattan and I like sherry, this just didn’t quite hit the spot for me.

Can't We Just Be Friends?

Day 39, Cocktail 32  

Those of you who know me well know that I’ve been enamored with two liqueurs lately.  Those two liqueurs are St. Germain, the wonderful elderflower flavored liqueur and Domaine de Canton, a brandy based ginger flavored liqueur.  I’ve played around with both of them with a variety of spirits and flavors and generally have enjoyed most everything that I’ve come across that uses them.  

What is interesting about these two liqueurs is that they were developed independently by the Cooper brothers, Robert and John.  The brothers learned the liquor business while working with their father, Sky Cooper.  The most notable brand the family had was Chambord, the rasberry flavored liqueur.  When Sky sold the rights to Chambord to Brown-Forman, Robert struck out on his own and began working on his passion for elderflower.  After several years the result was the award winning St. Germain, introduced in 2007.  Brother John, realizing that staying on in the family business without Robert wasn’t in his best interest, also moved on to put together what became the ginger flavored Domaine de Canton in 2008. 

So, how to bring the brothers back together?  In a cocktail, of course.  

  The Cooper Brothers  

  • 1 slice of orange
  • 1-1/2 oz Russell’s Reserve Rye
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain
  • 1/4 oz Domaine de Canton

Muddle the orange slice in the bottom of a mixing glass.  Add ice and the remaining ingredients.  Stir thoroughly.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with an orange twist. 

The original recipe I found used bourbon.  I think the rye is bit mellower and works better with the St. Germain and Canton.  The orange adds a bit of freshness that I also thought was missing from the original recipe. 


A Greg Louganis Trio


Day 29, Cocktail 28  

Unusually warm and summer like weather hit SE Wisconsin last weekend which sent us into a flurry of activity to get the pool open a week earlier than normal.  All day Saturday was spent cleaning and arranging so that the Patio Lounge and Pool Club would be ready for Sunday.  This is where the action is during the summer months while we take a break from the Twilight Lounge.   

Sunday dawned sunny and warm as forecast, and it was time to enjoy the fruits of yesterday’s (and even Sunday morning’s) hard work.  Greg was the first of our friends to show up and a little later Andrea came by with her two kids.  After some initial swimming and splashing it didn’t take long to hear them and Gwen clamoring for an opening day cocktail.   

I gave it a few moments of thought and then started to mix.  Let’s see…rum…St. Germain…lemon juice…tonic water…this might just work out.  After a bit of tinkering we were all (well, except Greg who was still nursing Saturday night’s hangover) enjoying a new, refreshing poolside cocktail.  But what to call it?  The Opening Day?  Naw.  The Cannonball?  Better, but still a bit lame.  The jacknife?  We just weren’t getting anywhere fast.  Then brilliance hit Greg as he called “The Greg Louganis”!  I immediately saw the brilliance and also grabbed the Peychauds.  If we were going to call this the Greg Louganis I needed a small pool of red floating at the top of this clear drink.  And thus, it was done!  

  Greg Louganis 

  • 3 oz Mt. Gay light rum
  • 1 oz St. Germain
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • tonic water
  • Peychaud’s bitters

Fill a 20 oz acrylic tumbler (hey, it is for the pool!) with ice.  Add the Mt. Gay, St. Germain and lemon juice and stir.  Top with tonic water and add a dash of Peychauds.  Garnish with a cherry. 

Grab your floatie and hit the pool with this in your hand for a relaxing afternoon. 


Day 15, Cocktail 15

After a terrific brunch this morning at Amici’s we came home to watch an afternoon movie and have a cocktail while Gwen relaxed.  It didn’t take long for Gwen to want something special.  I remembered that I had a very nice bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne in the wine cellar.  We’ve had a number of champagne cocktails over the last couple of years but I wanted to try something new today.  A quick internet search yielded an interesting recipe that used Chambord and simple syrup.  That got me to thinking.  I had been itching to combine Chambord and St. Germain.  It seemed natural that the elderflower flavor in the St. Germain would work well with the rasberry of the Chambord.  It also helps that both liqueurs are from the same family tree.  Sky Cooper owned the Chambord brand for years (before selling to Brown Forman several years ago) while son Robert Cooper is the creative force behind St. Germain. 

So, down to the Twilight Lounge I went and a few minutes later came back upstairs with what I call the Mother’s Day.  Gwen absolutely loved it and I found the interplay of the rasberry and elderflower to be wonderful and a well balanced offset to the the dryness of the Moet and Chandon I used.

  The Mother’s Day

  • 1 oz Chambord
  • 1/8 oz St. Germain
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • Moet and Chandon Imperial (or other dry champagne)


Pour the Chambord, St. Germain and bar syrup into a chilled coupe.  Stir with a bar spoon to blend.  Fill the glass with the champagne and garnish with a lemon peel.

We enjoyed drinking this today, and its a great reason to use an entire bottle of champagne!


A pair of Sagebrushes with their proud parents

Day 14, Cocktail 14   

Yesterday I posted the Sagebrush, a newly created recipe.  All day long today I just had this nagging feeling that I had rushed my post for it.  So when I got home after my Saturday Otto’s run for a few odds and ends for the Twilight Lounge I got to tinkering.  The result is the new and improved Sagebrush!  I replaced the ginger ale with a favorite of mine, Domain de Canton.  I also  added a pinch of kosher salt and a dash of Agnosturo bitters.  The addition of these two ingredients really helped to tie this cocktail together.  I do have to give a nod to Chad Doll for the inspiration to try the salt – see his post at   



  • 2 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 1-1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters
  • 2 sage leaves (for muddling)
  • sprig of sage (for garnish)


Fill a mixing glass with 1 oz crushed ice, 2 sage leaves and 1/8 oz of bar syrup.  Muddle thoroughly.  Add the Cazadores, Domaine de Canton and cranberry.  Stir vigourously to mix.  Strain into a rocks glass over 4-5 ice cubes.  Garnish with the sage sprig.   

This version comes together as a more complete cocktail with a smoother taste and more body than the original.  Give it a try!