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Tag Archives: bitters

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 343, Cocktails 348, 349 & 350

Monday evening found me at Ivee’s On Main to watch the NCAA basketball final.  While the game may have been lackluster, the cocktails were not!  Recently Colleen Graham had posted the Fancy Whiskey in her cocktail blog.  I thought it looked like a pretty good drink.  Plus, it easily lent itself to doing a multiple versions and some serious tasting comparisons based on the type of whiskey used.  So, in the name of science and to be able to give you a complete report I embarked on a fancy whiskey journey.

First, the Fancy Whiskey recipe is:

  Fancy Whiskey

  • 2 oz whiskey(of your choice)
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • dash Agnostura bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and blend.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

So, the recipe is pretty straightforward.  Let’s see how things worked out as I tried different whiskies.  The first was made with Maker’s Mark bourbon.  It was good, with the flavor reminiscent of a Manhattan, except orange flavored.  While 1 oz of bar syrup sounds like a lot, it did not overly sweeten the drink.  The use of triple sec helped with this cause since it is not as sweet as Cointreau is.  The bitters also help to keep the sweetness in line.  All in all, a good drink.

For the second variant I moved to Scotch and had Davey make it with Dewar’s.  It was very similar in taste to the Maker’s Mark version with a smokey peat element from the Scotch.  Depending on your specific taste you could amp up the smokey component of this drink by using a stronger single malt such as Laphroaig.  Again, a very good cocktail that I wouldn’t hesitate to order or make in the future.

Finally, for version three I switched to Canadian whiskey, Canadian Club to be specific.  This version was the least memorable of the bunch, probably owing to Canadian whiskey’s mellow character, particularly when compared to bourbon and Scotch.  It was a good cocktail, but didn’t have the heft that the first two versions had.  Think of this as the Fancy Whiskey lite!

All in all, three good cocktails.  Maybe those boys from Butler should have tried one of these, it couldn’t have hurt there shooting!

Cheers!

Day 336, Cocktail 341

Monday evening at the Twilight Lounge and I kept looking at the little bit of champagne left over from the weekend.  I needed a cocktail that would make use of my bubbly before it went totally flat on me.  But what to make?  A quick trip to the CocktailDB and a search on champagne gave me my answer.  The Americana cocktail called for champagne and “100 proof” bourbon, among other ingredients.  What better time to break out the Wild Turkey.  Not only is it 101 proof, but what could be more American for the Americana cocktail?  After all, none other than founding father Benjamin Franklin wanted to designate the turkey as our national bird.  So I gathered up the ingredients and went to work.

  Americana Cocktail

  • 1/4 oz Wild Turkey bourbon
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 1 dash Agnostura bitters
  • champagne

Combine the Wild Turkey, bitters and bar syrup in a mixing glass with a little cracked ice.  Stir to combine and strain into a chilled coupe.  Top with champagne and give a quick stir.

Basically, this is champagne with a kick.  There is so little Wild Turkey in this drink compared to the champagne and even the bitters, that I could barely notice it.  However, it was a nice way to use up the last of the champagne!

Cheers!

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 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 321, Cocktails 324 & 325

Patti and Gwen were out shopping Saturday when Gwen texted me “Patti wants to know if the bar is open?”.  Of course the Twilight Lounge is open!  If I’m awake (even at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon) then the Lounge is open. 

So when the girls arrived I busted open a couple of tiki cocktails on them.  Hey, it was sunny and almost 40, which passes for spring around these parts.  I could see the tiki torches in mind, and in a few short weeks I’ll see them for real around the Patio Lounge and Swim Club.

My first cocktail was the Trader Woody, which is yet another TikiBar TV recipe (and is pictured above).

  Trader Woody

  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 1 oz amaretto
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • dash of lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a tiki glass and add cracked ice to fill the glass.

For this drink I used my Appleton Estate V/X rum and the Disaronno amaretto.  It’s a nice, basic tiki style drink with the rum and pineapple being the dominant flavors.  There’s a bit of nuttiness that normally would be provided by orgeat in this thanks to the amaretto.  By the time I was done with this I was thinking mai tai junior.

Patti and Gwen approve of the Trader Woody

The second cocktail is courtesy of Beach Bum Jerry’s Intoxica recipe book.  Called the Cesar’s Rum Punch, it was created by Joseph Cesar, the head bartender of the Grand Hotel Oloffson in Haiti in the 1960’s.  During its heyday in the ’70’s you could find Mick and Bianca Jagger, Michael York and other assorted celebrities at the bar.  Your first Cesar’s Punch was on the house, accompanied by the warning “You won’t like it here.”  Let’s see how we like it at the Twilight Lounge!

  Cesar’s Rum Punch

  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes.  Shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a tiki glass filled with crushed ice.  Garnish with a pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry, lime and orange wheels speared together with a mint sprig.

The original recipe called for Rhum Barbancourt, which I did not have, so I substituted in my Appleton Reserve V/X.  I’m not sure that it makes that much difference as this has an almost overwhelming lime presence at first, followed by the fruitiness of the grenadine and then the rum.  And when I say overwhelming, I mean it.  This was in your face lime taste, although there was enough grenadine and bar syrup to tone down the sour component of the lime.  Overall, a fun drink, and it does break the typical tiki flavors of rum and pineapple.

After two tiki drinks the girls and I were in the mood for something different, and the night was still young (who am I kidding, it was still afternoon!).  So for the next two drinks you’ll just have to wait for the next post!

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 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!

Day 284, Cocktail 282

Today was back to normal around here…schools open, roads cleared…and mountains of snow everywhere.  It was kind of fun to see just how much there was.  It also gave me the opportunity to play around with yesterday’s Blizzard cocktail after a reader (yes, you Sally) suggested dropping the grenadine and trying bitters.  So that’s just what I did.  I figured that Peychaud’s would be a good choice because it has a slightly spicey quality.  I was also tempted to try the orange bitters, but after sniffing both several times I settled on the Peychaud’s.  It seemed like a better match for the cranberry that’s in this cocktail.

  Blizzard Revisted

  • 1-1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1-1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz bar syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Combine the ingredients with 5-6 ice cubes in a shaker.  Shake to combine and chill.  Pour into a rocks glass.

Sally, I have to say, this is pretty good.  Different from the original in subtle ways, and good.  It’s not as sweet, and I did add the 1/4 oz of bar syrup after removing 1/2 oz of grenadine – I knew I’d still need some sweet to offset the lime juice.  Without the grenadine to help reinforce the cranberry against the lime, the lime flavor is more predominant.  However, the spicy flavor of the Peychaud’s compliments it very nicely.  I like them both equally.  For you, it will be a matter of your personal taste. 

Cheers!