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Tag Archives: bar syrup

December 3, 2011 – Germantown, WI

Last Saturday was the kickoff to the holiday season for me.  The decorations are all up (we’ll, OK, I’m still putting the finishing touches on the Twilight Lounge decor) and our first holiday party of the season was Saturday night.

Of course, I had to come up with Christmas themed cocktail to take for us to imbibe.  I seem to have a thing for green cocktails at Christmas, so when I stumbled upon a cocktail called the Grinch it seemed like a natural.  It called for Midori (very green indeed), lemon juice and bar syrup.  So I mixed up a batch and….waaaaaay to sweet.  The Midori is sweet enough as it is and with the additional bar syrup, well, there was just no way I’d be able to sip these all night long.  Factor in that Midori is only 40 proof and I knew I just had to do something.  And what was that something?  Vodka!

  The Grinch

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Midori liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup

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

Alternatively, you can just pour this, ice and all, into a rocks glass.  In that case, just double all the ingredients and you’ll be good to go.

This turned out to be a nice holiday sipper – not to sweet, not too boozy, but just right.  The melon flavor of the Midori is cut down by the vodka and lemon and is in the background instead of in your face.  Of course, the green color certainly matches the Grinch’s face, and the cherry is a nice reminder that his heart went from two sizes too small to two sizes too big!

Chears!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Well, I found this picture on my camera a couple of days ago…it’s dated May 14.  It looks delicious, doesn’t it?  I just wish I knew what the heck it is!  Obviously, made with Hendricks….

Wait a minute.  I just flipped through the spiral bound notebook that I use to write down new recipes and write my notes as I drink cocktails … and … I think I found it.  I’d swear that I’d looked before through my notebook and didn’t find this cocktail, but I’m sure this is it.  With Alzheimer’s moments like these, it’s no wonder that I’m getting AARP cards in the mail every other day.

  Mint Love and Happiness

  • 3 cucumber slices
  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • 1/2 oz bar syrup
  • 2 oz Hendrick’s
  • 1 oz St. Germain

In a mixing glass muddle the cucumber, mint and syrup.  Add ice and the Hendrick’s and St. Germain.  Stir to mix and chill.  Double strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with a lemon peel floating on a mint leaf (fancy, I know). 

Ahh, a twist on one of my favorite spring/summer cocktails, this takes the Love and Happiness a step further with the addition of the mint.  The flavors of the Hendrick’s, cucumber, mint and St. Germain were just made for each other – sorta  like Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (did I really just write that?).

As you mix this baby up, put the Raveonettes latest release “Raven In The Grave” on the old Pioneer and listen to “Forget That You’re Young” while you sip.  The aural experience will match the taste experience, I promise!

(Really – this post is written exactly as my mind worked through it – I really didn’t know what the drink was in the picture as I uploaded it – do you really think I could make this stuff up?)

Monday, May 30, 2011

First, a little history.  A number of years ago, while I was living in St. Louis, my good buddy Andy invited me to head on out to Montgomery County, MO for a night of dirt track racing, good food and drinking.  How could I resist? 

To make a long story short, the night was long on drinking and short on most everything else.  The next morning we made for three hungover hombres.  I asked Andy what he had for breakfast…and the answer was bacon and a watermelon.  Oh, and nothing else to drink (the camp didn’t have potable water).  So, bacon and watermelon it was!

Ever since then Andy and I have joked about a watermelon bacon cocktail.  Yesterday I decided to try my hand at it (creating the pictured mess in the process!).

I early in the morning by infusing a 1/2 later of vodka with slices of bacon (yes, it was cooked!).  I let the bacon sit in the vodka for about 6 hours and then put it in the freezer.  The objective here was to get the fat from the bacon to solidify.  After a couple of hours in the freezer I pulled it out and strained it, leaving myself with a slightly brownish, bacon tasting vodka.  To say that the flavor was unusual would be an understatement.  It did taste like bacon and vodka, but the aroma was less than enticing.  But I didn’t let that stop me!

Next up was the watermelon.  I pureed several cups of fresh cut, seedless watermelon.  Then with my trusty sidekick Greg at my side I went to work.  The first iteration was 1 oz of the bacon vodka, 1 oz white rum, 1/2 an egg white, 3 oz watermelon puree, 1/2 lime juiced and 1/8 oz of peach liqueur.  How was it?  Well, it was drinkable, but the peach actually drowned out the watermelon while the bacon as a little too heavy handed.  Not a keeper.

For the second iteration I dropped the rum and replaced it with 1 oz of vodka.  I also upped the watermelon to 4oz, kept the egg white, dropped the peach and added 1/8 oz of bar syrup (still with me?).  This was better, but still … funky.  While I was getting the creamy head I wanted from the egg white the whole thing was still disjointed and light on the watermelon flavor. 

In the next iteration I cut the bacon vodka down to 1/2 oz, used 2 oz vodka, 4 oz of watermelon puree and 1/4 oz bar syrup.  Now I was getting somewhere.  The bar syrup was helping to pull the cocktail into balance and the watermelon and bacon flavors were also well proportioned.  At Greg’s suggestion I opened up the liquor cabinet, looking for a flavored liqueur to add, hoping that this would be the final piece of the puzzle.  After several sniffs of a number of options, I settled on maraschino liqueur.  I added just 1/8 oz to the above proportions.  Yes, we have a winner!  The hint of cherry flavor from the maraschino liqueur was just what I needed to take the flavor load from falling completely to the bacon and watermelon.  Both, however, were clearly present, with the maraschino providing a very nice flavor base.

  Montgomery County

  • 1/2 oz homemade bacon infused vodka
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 oz watermelon puree
  • 1/4 oz bar syrup
  • 1/8 oz maraschino liqueur

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to chill and combine.  Strain into a chilled 6 oz cocktail glass.  Garnish with a watermelon chunk.

Whew!  It was messy and took a lot of tries, but I think I finally got it.  Andy, this one’s for you!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yeah, I know, I’m going backwards in time…I got a little out of order so that I could get my Kentucky Derby Mint Julep post in while it was still fresh.

So, last week I was in the Twin Cities for a series of customer meetings.  Fortunately, I had the chance one evening to try out a local spot near where I was staying.  Bricks American Pub, in Blaine, MN was suggested by my good friend Ashish and it lived up to his recommendation.  They have a well stocked bar and can serve up craft beers, wines and classic and speciality cocktails.

The cocktail I had was an off menu drink mixed up by Dave, our bartender for the evening.  It consisted of Tanqueray Ten, lemon juice, bar syrup and muddled basil.  It was very tasty as the fresh basil was perfectly balanced with the lemon and offset the flavor of the Tanqueray to perfection.  Not too sweet and not too boozy, this cocktail was just right!

I also sampled their brandy Old Fashioned along with my associate Mikhail.  Mikhail is from Russia and fortunately the Bricks Old Fashioned was a terrific introduction to this classic cocktail.  Dave made our Old Fashioneds properly, muddling the orange and cherry in the glass and not using premixed sour.  It was well done and was bursting with the fruit flavors along with the brandy. 

So, if you happen to find yourself in Blaine, MN in the future and are thirsty, definately check out Bricks – it will be worth your time!

Day 362, Cocktails 361 & 362

…but it turned out I was mistaken.

So tonight’s mea culpa is that I had a miscount on my days.  I’ve actually been off by two days, and it’s two days the wrong way, meaning I have 2 less days to complete my journey.  Fortunately I was ahead of the count in terms of cocktails, so all is well.  However, I’m sure Andy will have something to say about all this!

Now, back to the fun stuff – the cocktails!  I did two last night, the first a recipe from Dale Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail” that I selected for its ease of mixing and cool sophistication.

  Black Rose

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 dash grenadine

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill and combine.  Strain into a rocks glass over an ice ball.  Garnish with a flamed lemon peel.

For this drink I used Knob Creek bourbon and it was a winner!  The deep, charcoal flavor of the bourbon was mellowed ever so slightly by the grenadine and Peychaud’s.  It was reminiscent of a Manhattan, but without the sweetness and allowed the bourbon to still be the star.  I really liked this drink and will definitely be having it again!

Unfortunately, Gwen didn’t really appreciate the Black Rose.  She asked me to make something with cucumber, so here’s what I put together for her.

  Cucumber Mule

  • 2 cucumber slices, about 1/4″ thick
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 2 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1-1/2 oz Old Ballycastle ginger
  • Seltzer water

Muddle the cucumber and bar syrup in the bottom of a collins glass.  Add the tequila, lime juice and ginger and stir.  Fill the glass with ice and top with seltzer water.

Mmmm, a nice variation of the Monterrey Mule that lets the hint of cucumber compliment the ginger and tequila.  I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing cocktail and can’t wait to have it on a warm summer evening – assuming summer does show up around here sooner or later….

Cheers!

Day 359, Cocktail 360

While the new job has kept me busy, fortunately, there are opportunities to try new cocktails.  Last night was just one of those opportunities.  While at a local hangout in the Dells I had the chance to try a cocktail called the Cherry Drop.  Yes, it was made with flavored vodka, but….it was easier than try to teach the bartender to make something new…  Truth be told, it was nice, refreshing cocktail.  It consisted of white cherry vodka, lemon juice, bar syrup and was topped with seltzer water.  The sugared rim was a bit over the top, but it was a nice, refreshing sipper.  I’m sure this would have tasted even better on a warm summer day poolside!

So, I’m really into the home stretch now, with just five cocktails to go in the next six days.  Stay tuned as the journey hits its last few laps!

Cheers!

Day 347, Cocktail 355

Yes, I’m still alive – although based on my 50th some of you may have thought I’d dropped dead!  Actually, what has happened is that I’ve started a new job that requires a fair amount of travel.  Last in particular was hectic, but on the other hand I will have the opportunity to try new cocktails while travelling, so all is well.  Now to the task at hand, getting caught up here.

A week ago Friday I was back to egg fizz cocktails, finishing up the exploration I had begun earlier that week.  The last cocktail of this side journey was inspired by the earlier reported Whiskey Fizz, but with addition of egg white.  Since the gin version of this cocktail in Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail” is called the Silver Fizz, I decided to name this one the Golden Fizz.

  Golden Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • lemon lime soda

Combine the bourbon, lemon juice, bar syrup and egg white in a shaker with ice.  Shake vigorously to combine and get a nice emulsion going with the egg white.  Strain into a chilled Delmonico glass and top with lemon lime soda.

Mmmm, this is good.  The extra body and creaminess from the egg really takes what was a Whiskey Fizz to a new level.  This drink is even pleasing to the eye with its white, foamy head.  You can also use any good bourbon or rye whiskey in this one.

Cheers!

Day 344, Cocktail 351

Well, I guess this serves me right.  I didn’t take any pictures of Tuesday’s cocktail, a whiskey fizz.  I did a quick online search for photos of whiskey fizz and I found some very nice ones, but just didn’t feel right using someone else’s photograph of the cocktail.  So I got cute and thought, “hey, I’ll find something sexy to use” and did a search for whiskey chicks.  Well, you can see how that turned out…

  Whiskey Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz rye whiskey
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • lemon lime soda

Combine everything but the lemon lime soda in a shaker with ice cubes and shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a collins glass filled with ice cubes and top with lemon lime soda.  Garnish with a lemon wedge.

This recipe came from Dale Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail”, and it is very good – it beats just a plain rye and 7-Up anyday.  The lemon adds a much fresher component to the recipe than you would otherwise get just using the soda.  I used Jim Beam rye in this one, but a good bourbon would work just as well.

Cheers!

Day 341, Cocktails 344 & 345

Saturday night and it was, yet again, another NID night.  This month’s theme was Brazilian food, which meant cachaca was on the cocktail menu.  I’ve never had cachaca before, so I lost my cachaca virginity last night, as did everyone else there!

Cachaca is known as Brazilian rum, although the similarity to the rums we are used to from the Caribbean ends with the fact that it is distilled sugarcane.  It is generally distilled in pot stills and is not aged, leaving it fiery bite.  In fact, when I tasted the 51 brand of cachaca I was reminded more of pisco than I was of rum.  Extremely popular in Brazil, you can start to find cachaca in local liquor stores here in the US.

I was assigned the task of making two cocktails that used cachaca.  Here they are:

  Caipirnha

  • 4-5 lime wedges
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 oz cachaca

In the bottom of a rocks glass muddle the lime and sugar until the sugar has dissolved in the lime juice.  Fill the glass with ice and then the cachaca.  Stir and enjoy.

This cocktail has a definite bite that the sweetened lime juice doesn’t completely tone down.  It has a fiery element, just like the dancing in the streets you’d see during Carnivale!

  Batida de Coco

  • 2 oz cachaca
  • 1/2 oz bar syrup
  • coconut milk

Combine the cachaca and bar syrup in a shaker with ice.  Shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a collins glass filled with ice cubes.  Add the coconut milk and stir.

To my suprise, the coconut taste is mellowed out nicely by the cachaca and sweetness of the sugar (I am not a fan of coconut and this is the first recipe I’ve done with it).  Sweet and creamy, this was a nice compliment to the bite of the Caipirnha, and went much faster among the diners.

These two cocktails, along with some great Brazilian food made for a fun evening…in fact I seem to remember Gwen and Jenny on the bar (again) before the night was over!

Cheers!

Day 339, Cocktail 343

Those of you who have been following my cocktail journey for a while will undoubtedly realize that Thursday’s cocktail was inevitable.  Newer readers will get the chance to learn first hand about one of my primary booze fetishes.  Yes, I am talking about maraschino liqueur!  Whenever I see a cocktail with gin and lemon juice as foundational elements I am always ready to add the maraschino to make it an Aviation, one of my favorites.  So when I made the Silver Fizz on Wednesday I knew that I would be adding maraschino to it on Thursday to try it out.  It took me a couple of tries (thank heaven’s Gwen was around to help drink the prototypes) but I finally worked out the correct amount (for my palate) of Luxardo maraschino liqueur to add.  Here it is:

  Cherry Silver Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz Rehorst gin
  • 1-1/2 oz bar syrup
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/8 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1 egg white
  • seltzer water

Combine all the ingredients except the seltzer water in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.  Strain into a Delmonico glass and top with seltzer water.

Ah yes, just a touch of cherry from maraschino liqueur really adds a level of complexity and depth to the original Silver Fizz.  This, to me, makes an even better warm day sipper than the original.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cheers!