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Tag Archives: beefeater

A Few of My Favorite Friends

The Twilight Lounge – December 16, 2011

Gin, sweet, juniper laced, glorious gin.  Bombay gin.  Beefeater gin.  Tanqueray gin. Gin Wigmore (just checking to see if you are paying attention).  Hendricks gin.  New Amsterdam gin.  Seagrams gin.  Plymouth gin.  London Dry gin, local gin, craft gin…gin, gin, gin.  Invented by the Dutch, co-opted by the British, where would we be without it?  No martinis – the only civilized way to end an uncivilized day.  No gin and tonics.  No Aviations.  No Singapore Slings or Sleigh Wrecks!

The invention of modern gin is credited to Franciscus Sylvius in the 17th century, although its roots go back to 11th century Italian monks who used juniper berries to flavor crudely distilled spirits.  The term gin is derived from the Dutch word genever, their word for juniper.  Originally used for what was supposed to be medicinal purposes, the British came upon it during the 30 Years War and called it “Dutch courage” for the effect it had on their bravery when taken before battle. 

Gin’s popularity in Britian soared during the reign of  William of Orange, who assumed the British throne in 1689.  With the taxes placed on brandy from France and on beer being quite heavy, locally distilled gin became the spirit of choice throughout England.

From 17th century England, gin has seen its ups and downs.  It its high point in the quintessential martini as enjoyed by FDR and Churchill to it’s low point as bathtub gin during Prohibition, gin has been a staple of cocktail culture for centuries.  Over the next few weeks I’ll explore the different styles of gins and include a number of gin reviews as well.  In the meantime, have a gin question?  Then fire away and I’ll do my best to answer!

Cheers!

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Day 365, Cocktail 364

It’s Easter Sunday and the last day of my year long cocktail journey (by the way – I didn’t plan it this way, but it did just happen to work this way!).  Since I need two to finish my quest, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing – a day / night doubleheader if you will.  The first cocktail was one that I wanted to be able to enjoy with our Easter Dinner, which was Polish sausages, potatoes, cabbage and more, followed by Gwen’s chocolate birthday cake.  As I flipped through my recipe books a drink I’ve had bookmarked for some time now looked it would fit the bill.

  Palm Beach

  • 2 oz white rum
  • 2 oz gin
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • Combine the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a rocks glass with an ice ball.

Very nice blend of pineapple, rum and gin, although a bit strong.  In fact, I ended up adding about another ounce of pineapple juice to keep this from knocking on my butt.  However, the rum and pineapple flavors of this drink complimented the sausage and sides with our dinner very well.  I just may have a new Easter cocktail!

So, with the Palm Beach, I’m down to my last cocktail.  I’m contemplating what to drink, but if you have a suggestion for my grand finale, I’d love to hear it!

Cheers!

Day 356, Cocktail 359

Tax season is over!  Hopefully you’re getting a modest refund.  If you wrote a check, well, you have my sympathy!

To celebrate the end of the tax season I pulled out a recipe from Colleen Graham’s blog that she had published a week or so ago.  How could I resist something called the Income Tax Cocktail?  This is basically a Bronx cocktail with the addition of bitters – perhaps indicative of the bitter pill paying taxes is?  We’ll never know for sure as the actual origins of this drink don’t seem to be known, at least not that I could find.  So let’s give this a try and see how it comes out.

  Income Tax

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes Agnostura bitters

Combine everything in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish, if desired, with an orange peel.

It was…alright.  Kinda’ like doing taxes, I’m more relieved to be done with this than enjoying the actual cocktail.  The sweet vermouth dominates the flavor, most likely because the Agnostura bitters are playing right into sweet vermouth at the expense of the other ingredients.  Kinda’ like our government, huh?

Cheers!

Day 350, Cocktail 356

Monday, besides being the first official day on the new job,  was also my final turn into the home stretch of my cocktail journey – I’m now counting down the final 10 cocktails to complete 365 new and different cocktails in 365 days.  Number 10 was discovered on the internet via the CocktailDB, one of my better sources of cocktails during the past year.  I was still in an egg white mood, even though I swore that the Golden Fizz was my last for a while.  So I searched on egg white as an ingredient and found this fun cocktail.  I have no idea where the name came from, but it sure looked good!

  Bachelor’s Bait

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1/4 oz grenadine

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes and shake long and hard to mix thoroughly and emulsify the egg.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  No garnish required.

Again, a delicious drink with the egg white adding a layer of body and creamy texture that just makes these drinks so tasty and good!  With a hint of orange from the bitters complimenting the gin (I used Beefeater) wonderfully.  The grenadine provides both a hint of color and a bit of sweet taste to compliment the orange bitters.

One more note about the egg white.  I have mentioned in previous posts that I use a pasteurized egg white product from the dairy section of my local grocery store.  This makes sure I won’t make myself or guests sick and also makes it easy to make cocktails without separating a bunch of eggs.  Just use 1/2 oz of egg white from the carton when a recipe calls for 1 egg white.

Cheers!

Day 343, Cocktail 347

Well, after Sunday’s lame wine and soda cocktail, I decided I could improve on the effort and went back to drawing board.  I still had half a bottle of the Rex-Goliath to get through and Gwen won’t be drinking it any time soon…so I figured I should try to amp up this puppy.

I contemplated what to use and decided on gin.  I specifically used the Beefeater because I wanted a strong, London Dry gin to be able to hold its own against the strong flavor of the wine.  And in honor of the now nearly empty bottle of Rex-Goliath I named by drink the Crazy Rooster.

  Crazy Rooster

  • 1 oz Beefeater gin
  • 5 oz red wine
  • lemon lime soda

Combine the gin and wine in a collins glass with ice.  Top with the lemon lime soda and stir.  Garnish with a lemon wedge.

This amped up version of the Red Wine Cooler adds a bit of an alcoholic punch while cutting down on the sweetness of the wine.  The gin is there and actually compliments the wine and soda nicely. 

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!

Day 310, Cocktail 312

Ok boys and girls, let this be a lesson to you…do not let middle aged men drink and have access to bermuda shorts. 

With that said, Tuesday night I was again somewhat aimlessly wandering through the Ultimate Bar Book, looking for a cocktail for the evening.  A few pages after the not so special Barton’s Special I found Tuesday’s drink.  Thinking of Bermuda got me thinking of warm weather, summer and fun.  Yes, the pool is still buried under several feet of snow and ice, but it is March.  Spring training is under way and it won’t be long before the warm breezes reach us, the tiki torches are lit and we are on our way to summer fun.

In the meantime, the Bermuda Highball (and those guys in the funny shorts) will have to sustain me.

  Bermuda Highball

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • ginger ale

Combine the gin, brandy and vermouth in a mixing glass with a few ice cubes and stir to mix.  Pour, ice and all, into a collins glass, fill with ice and top with the ginger ale.  Give a quick stir to mix.

A pretty tasty cocktail that is well balanced.  I used St. Remy brandy and Beefeater gin in this one and they both blended well with the vermouth.  There were hints of the vermouth that came through the ginger ale, with the gin and brandy playing nice supporting roles.

So breakout the shorts and get ready for summer!

Cheers!

Day 309, Cocktail 311

Monday, Monday, Monday…it was just a blah kind of day this past Monday.  Very little to make it remarkable or even notable.  So how to cheer up Monday?

I pulled the Ultimate Bar Book down off the shelf in the Twilight Lounge and started flipping through it.  I headed right to the very beginning of the cocktails by spirit section, which is brandy.  I’m fairly well stocked in brandy between the cognac, brandy and Calvados that I have, so it seemed like a good place to start.  And then, there it was…the angels started singing and a single spotlight illuminated the entry.  The Barton Special Cocktail.  If this cocktail can’t make Monday special, what can?

I attempted to do some research on the history of this drink.  It does appear in the Savoy cocktail guide, but I really couldn’t find anything definitive regarding its history or just how Barton is.  However, I didn’t let that stop me from mixing one up.

  Barton Special

  • 1-1/2 oz Calvados
  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz scotch

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

Ok, so I’m sure the selection of gin and scotch would make a difference in this drink.  I went with the Beefeater for the gin, figuring this would need all the oomph that a quality London dry would provide.  I used the Johnny Walker Red because, well, its what I had.  However, it’s big, smokey flavor figured to stand up to the Calvados.  Which is does, almost.  The clear flavor of this drink is the Calvados, backed by the smoky scotch.  The gin gets totally lost in this.  It really is just a huge shot…not much going on here with flavor to make this a distinctive cocktail.  I suspect some lemon and bitters would help pull this three headed beast together and tame it.  That experiment, however, will have to wait for another day.  So, alas, my Monday remained uninspired.

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 302, Cocktail 303

Yesterday’s cocktail was also courtesy of what appears to be the now defunct Tiki Bar TV (moment of respectful silence).  During it’s 5 year run it was at times funny, at times tawdry but always true to its tiki roots.  The last episode came out in December, 2009 and despite rumours during 2010 that there would be more, alas, there hasn’t been.  Dr. Tiki, Johnny Johnny and Lala you are missed!  And now, for the cocktail.  This little gem is from the second episode when Dr. Tiki writes this prescription for a guy trying to get out of a bad relationship. 

  Trap Door

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz spiced rum
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • seltzer water

Combine the gin, rum, orange and lime juice in a shaker with ice.  Shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a tiki glass filled with cracked ice.  Top with seltzer water.

I usually don’t used spiced rums in cocktails (I used Sailor Jerry, which is what I stock in the Twilight Lounge) but I have to admit that it worked out well in this cocktail.  The spice from the Sailor Jerry mellowed out over time, giving the drink a smooth, silky feel that wasn’t too sweet.  The gin (I used Beefeater for this one) is a base, but with its botanicals, is present to the taste buds.  The lime and orange balance each other out well.  All in all, a nice, tropical, tiki style cocktail.  In fact, it was so good I had two!

Cheers!