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The Twilight Lounge – February 11, 2012

“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” – Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca.

Ah yes, one of my favorite cocktail movies and a great way to introduce one of my favorite gins and the subject of the next installment in my occasional series of gin reviews.  The Original Bombay London Dry gin!

Original Bombay is now a product of Bacardi, Ltd., and is, within the Bacardi product portfolio, second banana to Bombay Sapphire.  Which, to me, is really too bad because Original Bombay is a fine gin in its own right.  Using their “vapourization” distillation process, the vapor coming off as the gin is distilled is passed through a total of eight botanicals:  coriander, lemon peel, angelica root, cassia bark, iris root, liquorice, juniper berries and almonds.  With a recipe that dates back to 1761, this is about as original as modern gins get!

Taken straight, the juniper definitely is what jumps out on the nose, followed by a warm, sharp boozy note.  Not unpleasant, but not for the faint of heart either, this is a man’s shot.  That said, it does go down smooth, with the juniper coming to the fore with afternotes of lemon and nuts.  It stays smooth throughout and doesn’t leave me reaching for a chaser.

Now, for the martini.  I started with my “standard” recipe…and again, didn’t like it because the vermouth was too overpowering.  So, again, I’ve changed my standard martini recipe to 3 oz gin, 1/8 oz (1 bar spoon) Noilly Prat dry vermouth, 1 dash Angostura bitters.  Now this is what I wanted!  The vermouth makes a nice compliment to the strong juniper of the gin, with the bitters helping to mellow things out a bit.  What can I say?  This has been my go to drink for nearly two decades, so, of course I liked it!  This is the baseline martini for me, against which all others are judged.

On the gin and tonic.  Again, in the name of full disclosure, this is my preferred gin and tonic.  The Bombay is strong enough to stand up to the tonic and is complimented by it, rather than being lost in it.  Add the lime wedge, and, well, I think you have a bit of gin and tonic heaven.  Those Brits sure knew what they were doing when the added quinine water to their gin (ok, so it was to fight disease, but who cares why they did it?).

Overall, I really like the Original Bombay.  It has been a staple of my liquor cabinet for decades now, and is the classic example of a London Dry gin.  Simply put, you cannot go wrong with it!  I rate the Original Bombay a 5 out of 5!


Day 354, Cocktails 357 & 358

Friday night and both Gwen and I were ready for a fun evening.  I had been in Texas for the bulk of the week and it was hectic getting started up on the new job.  It had also been a busy week for Gwen with lots of activities for the girls that had to be taken care of.  So when Friday rolled around we were ready to celebrate our birthdays in style (Gwen’s is coming up next week). 

Our first stop of the evening was the Firefly Urban Bar + Grill for dinner (using my trusty Groupon!) and a drink.  Firefly is located in Wauwatos and has a very hip and slightly upscale vibe – so definately wear your best t-shirt when you go, as the one of the girls at the table next to us did.  The food is varied and ranges from appetizers to sandwiches to full dinners that are twists on traditional comfort type foods.  The pork chops that we both ordered were good, and the speciality cocktails were very good.  Gwen had the White Cosmopolitan, which I won’t report on (since I only tasted it) while I went with the Metaxa Side Car.  Consisting of Metaxa, a greek brandy that is a blend of brandy and wine, Patron Citronage, orange and lemon juice, this was a very nice, mellow cocktail.  It’s flavors were multilayered with the orange and just a hint of lemon made dark, silky and almost chocolatey by the Metaxa, with a hint of the Patron lurking in the background.  Very smooth and not too sweet but not boozy either.  I definately recommend this cocktail if you visit Firefly.

After dinner we headed back to Germantown and stopped by the Klavier Lounge.  We both had their special for the night, a Berry Mojito.  Consisting of Bacardi Dragon Berry rum, simple syrup, grapefruit, lime and garnished with a mint sprig this was propietor Kris Peters’ twist on the classic mojito.  This cocktail had a nice, sweet flavor that goes over big with the girls.  I also enjoyed mine, but one was enough for me on the sweet scale and I moved on the a Rusty Nail and then Monterrey Mules for the rest of the night.  As usual though, it was a lively time at the Klavier and we enjoyed ourselves immensely!


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!


Day 118, Cocktail 116

The Rock Crest Lodge in Custer, SD has been home since Monday for us.  We’ve enjoyed some amazing sights, including Devil’s Tower, Mt. Rushmore and Badlands National Park.  We’ve had some less than amazing dining experiences and the new cocktail opportunities have been few and far between. 

One dining and cocktail experience that was above average was at the Buglin’ Bull right here in Custer.  They had a reasonable st0cked bar and were working on their speciality cocktail list.  Not wanting to miss a chance at something new I asked to see it.  Our waitress brought over a typewritten manuscript filled with cocktail recipes.  A cocktail called the bulltini immediately caught my eye since it included Lillet – pretty high end stuff.  Unfortunately, it also included Ketel One vodka and Beefeater Gin.  Sound familar?  It should since it’s the Vesper of James Bond fame!  A quick conversation with the bartender cleared that up.  They did have another cocktail that was their own creation that I did try. 

  Custer’s Stand

  • Bacardi O Rum
  • Tuaca liqueur
  • lemon lime soda

This cocktail is served on the rocks and gives a nice blend of citrus and vanilla with a nutty tones.  A nice cocktail that was new to us!  This was the first time I’d come across Tuaca (although we have since seen it featured a number of tourist trap bars in Deadwood and Keystone this week).  It’s a brandy based spirit, infused with citrus and spices and it’s seventy proof.  I’ve yet to try it on its own, so that will come later.

I don’t know that I’ll have anything else new to report on until we get home Sunday.  In the meantime, we’re enjoying the mountain air and the antique tractor parade going by the lodge this morning!