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Tag Archives: agnostura

Day 333, Cocktail 338

So what does a cocktail and the Slinky have in common?  Well, the Slinky was named by Betty James and last Thursday’s cocktail is named the Betty James.

Betty’s husband Richard actually invented the Slinky after he saw a torsion spring fall of a table and go through it’s gyrations along the floor.  In 1945 the couple convinced Gimbal’s department store to purchase 400 Slinky’s and display them on a ramp in the store.  The Slinky sold out in just 90 minutes at the handsome price of $1 each.  From there the couple was in the toy business, with Betty running the company from 1960 until it was sold to Poof Products in 1998. 

As for why this cocktail is named the Betty James, I have no idea.  My research turned up absolutely nothing about the naming, which is too bad, because there has to be a story there somewhere.  If you know the story, please let me know!

  Betty James

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Agnostura bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

A close cousin to the Aviation, this was a delightful cocktail.  I used Rehorst gin and it provided a very nice backbone.  The bitters provided a nice bite to compliment the maraschino and lemon flavors.  Overall, a very good cocktail!

Cheers to you Betty!

Day 331, Cocktail 336

While driving home after dropping daughter number one off at school Tuesday morning I noticed a stand of maple trees with buckets hanging off the trunks about 3 feet up from the ground.  Instantly I realized that someone was collecting the sap so that they could make…drumroll please…maple syrup!  Yum!

Cocktails with maple syrup have graced earlier posts of this blog, but I felt inspired to come up with a cockail that would use it again.  Rye seemed like a natural, and having chosen the Jim Beam all I had to do was decide what else should go into the mixing glass.  My fondess of orange as a pairing with rye is well documented, so choosing Agnsotura’s orange bitters was a fairly obvious choice to me.

  Orange Maple

  • 3 oz Jim Beam rye
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

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

Very nice, a good blend of all three flavors in balance.  The sweetness of the maple syrup helps make this a touch less boozy and compliments the orange flavor of the bitters.  Another winner from the Twilight Lounge!

Cheers!

Day 330, Cocktail 335

At the height of the empire, it was common for officers in British Army to complete a tour of duty in India, the crown jewel of Britain’s holdings.  However, Indian foods and climate didn’t always agree with the men or their officers, requiring a remedy to soothe bouts of digestive system distress.  Hence, the Pink Gin.  With its combination of bitters, originally formulated as a digestive remedy that was full of a multitude of other fanciful health benefits and gin, which is, in my opinion, a remedy for nearly everything that ails me, how could her or his majesty’s officers and troops go wrong?

In keeping with name, I elected to use Peychaud’s bitters with this cocktail.  Using Angostura would have imparted a brown color, and then I’d have had to call this post Brown Gin…and that just doesn’t sound nearly as appetizing.

  Pink Gin

  • 2 – 1/2 oz gin
  • 5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Add the gin to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill.  Add the Peychaud’s directly a chilled cocktail glass.  Swirl the bitters around in the glass and then pour the bitters off (you’ve just “rinsed” your glass).  Strain the gin into the glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.

This was a very nice, tasty alternative to my typical martini.  I used Plymouth gin, which is somewhat mild for gin and allowed the Peychaud’s to come front and center.  The earthy, herbal essence was backed up almost to perfection by the gin.  This cocktail was incredibly sippable, boozy, but not overwhelming. 

Interestingly enough, for you Bond fans, this was also Ian Fleming’s favorite drink.  Why he never had James Bond drink this is a mystery, but I wish he had.  I would have had one much sooner than now!

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 318, Cocktail 321

You know how sometimes you come across something that was secret and it should have stayed that way?  Like discovering that Uncle Fred is a cross dresser, for example?  Well, that’s kinda’ the way I feel about Wednesday’s cocktail.  I found it doing a random search of the CockailDB.  It was called the Great Secret, and I wish it still was a secret…

  Great Secret

  • 1 – 3/4 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1 dash Agnostura bitters

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

Well….first off, this is a very small cocktail…like really small, as in it only filled my 4 oz coupe to barely half full.  Second, it tasted like bitters…and bitters… and bitters…until finally I got a hint of Lillet coming through.  Perhaps if I amped up the gin (I was using Beefeater) and the Lillet this would have worked out better.   But in it’s current state I’m going to pass on adding it to the index.

Cheers!

Ginger Rye Fizz at the Twilight Lounge

Day 306, Cocktails 307 & 308

Friday night, and after a dinner of wings and oven fries Gwen and I settled in to watch another James Bond film, this one Pierce Brosnan’s “Tomorrow Never Dies”.  The cocktails for the evening, however, were anything but traditional Bond martinis. 

I had recently purchased a carton of pasteurized egg whites to use on cocktails.  Why?  Well, I am very interested in pursuing additional egg white cocktails for one.  Second, by using the pasteurized egg whites I’m assured of not getting any nasty little bugs in my drink.  Finally, it’s a lot easier to just measure out the amount of egg I need than having to crack open an egg and then figuring out what to do with the unused yolks.

So, down to the Twilight Lounge I went.  I already had my first cocktail in mind.  I had been anxious to take my rye whiskey, orange juice and ginger flavor combination to the next level with the addition of an egg white.  Here’s the result:

  Ginger Rye Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz Jim Beam rye
  • 3/4 oz Domaine de Canton liqueur
  • 3/4 oz orange juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 dash Agnostura orange bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes.  Shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled coupe.  No garnish required.

Mmmm, this was a very nice cocktail.  Silky smooth texture from the egg white that complimented the balanced ginger, orange and rye flavors of my liquid ingredients.  We both thoroughly enjoyed this cocktail!

After we finished this first cocktail (about the time that Terri Hatcher bit the dust in the movie) I paused the DVR and it was back down to the Lounge to come up with the second cocktail of the night.  Basically, I used the same recipe with different ingredients.

  Elderflower Gin Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz Beefeater gin
  • 3/4 oz St. Germain liqueur
  • 3/4 oz orange juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 dash Agnostura orange bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes.  Shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled coupe.  No garnish required.

Another very well balanced, silky smooth cocktail.  In this one the interplay between the orange and the elderflower flavored St. Germain is divine, with the botanicals of the Beefeater chiming in to perfection.  Again, I could drink these all night!

As it was, this drink got us to the end of the movie (of course, Bond vanquishes his foe and gets the girl) and we called it a night shortly thereafter.  But I hope you give one or both of these a try and let me know what you think.  If you haven’t had a cocktail with egg white in it, you really should try one!

Cheers!

Day 300, Cocktails 298, 299 & 300

Saturday night marked day 300 – I’m in the final stretch now!  Since we stayed home Saturday night it was easy to knock back three new cocktails while we enjoyed watching Dr. No (a James Bond classic with Sean Connery) and then Frost Nixon.  Both movies were evocative of classic style cocktails, so that’s what I stuck with for the night.

The first cocktail was from the old Tiki Bar TV podcast.  Unfortunately, Tiki Bar TV seems to have met its demise, but the catalog of 40 some odd episodes is still available on ITunes.  Check it out – it’s the most!

  Suffering Bastard

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 3/4 oz lime
  • ginger ale

In a mixing glass combine the gin, bourbon and lime juice and stir.  Strain into a tiki glass with cracked ice.  Top with ginger ale and garnish with a mint sprig.

This is really a variant on the classic mules, although the use of the bourbon and gin makes it quite different from the versions using tequila and vodka.  It was quite tasty, and with the mint garnish, really has a tiki feel to it.

After the Suffering Bastard, I switched us to a gin based martini style drink.  We were watching Frost Nixon by then, and a martini just seemed like the drink to have.  I picked out something called the Sweet Martini from The Martini Book by Sally Ann Berk.

  Sweet Martini

  • 3 oz gin
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Combine the ingredients in mixing glass with ice and stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

The sweet version of my classic martini, this was good.  The use of orange bitters instead of the standard Agnostura was nice, offsetting the sweetness of the vermouth. 

After the orange bitters flavor of the Sweet Martini, I had a hankering for something with rye and orange – I know, a big surprise!  Here’s what I put together.

  Frost Nixon

  • 2-1/2 oz Old Overholt rye
  • 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • orange slice

Place an orange slice in a shaker with ice cubes and add the rest of the ingredients.  Shake, shake, shake to chill and mix.  Strain into a chilled coupe.

A combination of a Manhattan and my favorite rye and orange combination.  Very tasty with hints of fresh orange juice and the orange bitters providing depth to the rye and vermouth.

As I finished up this cocktail the movie also finished up and it was time to call it a night.  And some night it was!

Cheers!

Day 285, Cocktails 283, 284 & 285

Nothing like a trip to Bryant’s to get caught up!  Brother Mark and I (along with another of Mark’s friends) stopped by there not too long ago for a Men’s League night.  We were delighted to find Emily, Michael and Katie Rose behind the bar.  That always means good things are in store for us!

My first was an effort from Emily, and it was fantastic!  Named the Robin’s Nest (see the picture), she used Hendrick’s gin, Domaine de Canton liqueur, lime juice, rich syrup and muddled cucumber, salt and pickled ginger to create a dazzling mix of ginger and cucumber flavors.  The rich syrup is fuller and, well, richer – and is made with demerara sugar instead of the regular white sugar I use in my bar syrup.  This was an outstanding drink from Emily and if you walk ito Bryant’s and find her behind the bar you really need to try one of these.

Next up was a no name cocktail from Michael that he put together to satisfy my craving for something in rye and orange flavors.  His cocktail included Sazerac rye whiskey, Aperol, orange bitters and Lillet Blanc.  A very tasty cocktail, this one had just the right mix of sweet orange and floral flavors that complimented the Sazerac extremetly well.  I enjoyed sipping this one as we bantered with each other and the other patrons at the bar.

My last drink of the night was a Katie Rose effort, and she put together a fantastic effort.  Following up on my rye and orange inclination, she used Sazerac rye, Aperol, Punt e Mes, Cynar, Reagan’s bitters, Angostura bitters and lemon juice.  You would think between the bitters, Cynar and Punt e Mes that this would be a very bitter, difficult drink.  It wasn’t, though.  The Aperol helps sweeten it back up, counteracting the bitter flavor of the Cynar (which is a liqueur made from artichoke among other things) and the Punt e Mes, which is a bitter Italian vermouth.  The flavors in this cocktail are bold and strong, yet also work well together, creating a taste explosion in my mouth.  Well done Katie, especially considering she overcame a sprained thumb which made shaking painful for her.

If you are in Milwaukee and have not been to Bryant’s you really do need to try it out – you won’t be disappointed.

Cheers!

Day 279, Cocktail 279

Saturday night was a stay at home movie night…although come to think of it, we ended up watching a bunch of episodes of World War II in Color that were on the DVR.  Not quite a movie, but it was video entertainment.  Gwen and the girls whipped up a cheese fondue for dinner (I guess I should call it a TV dinner since we did eat in front of the TV) – it was delicious!

In keeping with our habit, we both wanted a gin based, martini style cocktail.  I thumbed my way through Sally Ann Berk’s “The Martini Book” and found a cocktail called the Hoffman House Martini.  In its heyday, the Hoffman House was one of New York’s premiere hotels and bars.  Located on Madison Square (before there was a Madison Square Garden), it hosted an A-list clientele.  It was also at the forefront of the movement that took martinis dry — removing the sweeteners out of the cocktail and using dry vermouth.  Alas, this venerable piece of cocktail history is no more.  The Hoffman House was torn down in 1915 to make way for an office building.  Fortunately,  their cocktail lives on.

  Hoffman House Martini

  • 4 oz gin (use a London Dry)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 4 dashes Angostura orange bitters

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to chill and combine.  Strain into a chilled cocktail shaker and garnish with cocktail olives (in my case, three of them, sans stuffing of any kind). 

I used Beefeater gin for this (although Bombay or even Plymouth would also be good choices).  And it was delicious.  It was like a dirty martini on steroids.  The orange bitters really popped in this drink and brought out the botanicals in the Beefeater.  I normally use Angostura bitters in my martinis, but I believe that I’ve been converted to using the orange bitters going forward.  And trust me, changing my regular martini is a once an epoch event, so you know how much I enjoyed this drink! 

I’d love to hear your take on it – give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Cheers!

Day 275, Cocktails 276 & 277

After last Saturday’s French Gimlet I was in the mood last night and tonight to continue to play around with the St. Germain.  It’s just soooo delicious and I want to see just where I can take this.  On Sunday Gwen and I watched a couple of episodes of “Drink Up” that I had on the DVR.  This is a 1/2 hour long show on the Cooking Channel and features several cocktail recipes in each episode, along with a number of other food and entertaining tidbits. 

One of the drinks that caught my eye used St. Germain and bourbon.  I’ve paired the St. Germain with rye previously, so I was pretty sure that this would be a winner, and it was.

  Westlake Cocktail

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz St. Germain liqueur
  • 3 dashes orange bitters

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass and stir to combine and chill.  Strain into a rocks glass over cracked ice or ice cubes.  Garnish with a big, oversized orange peel.

Oh, yeah…this is a lovely blend of elderflower, orange and smokey bourbon flavors.  It’s very well balanced, not too sweet but yet the St. Germain is prominent.  I used Maker’s Mark for this cocktail, but I’m sure any quality bourbon would work well.

Tonight I wanted to continue the theme and did a search on the web for St. Germain cocktails.  I found this one, and though it was very similar to the Westlake, I decided to try it so that I could compare and contrast.

  Elderflower Manhattan

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz St. Germain liqueur
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes Agnosturo bitters

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass and stir to combine and chill.  Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Very, very nice.  This is a twist on a perfect Manhattan, with the St. Germain filling in for sweet vermouth.  With the dry vermouth this is a bit more boozy than the Westlake since it is drier.  I could drink way too many of these in one sitting – its just that right mix of sweet and dry.

Give these two takes on bourbon and St. Germain a try and let me know which you liked best.

Cheers!