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Oriental Gem or Just Oriental?

Day 62, Cocktails 57 & 58

While this is day 62 of my adventure, these two cocktails are from earlier this week.  Several months ago I purchased a bottle of Ty Ku liqueur at my local Otto’s Wine and Spirits.  Otto’s is definately my go to place for liquor, liqueurs, beer and wine.  The selection is large, the staff knowledgeable and the prices good.  If you are in the Milwaukee area and enjoy a drink now and then, check them out!

So, back to the Ty Ku.  It was on sale, looked interesting, and based on nothing more than that, I bought it.  When I got home I opened it up, poured a small sample and took a sniff.  Hmmm, my initial reaction was not pleasant.  I took and sip and was not thrilled.  The closest thing I could liken it to was a distilled spirit that I had in China that smelled like sweat socks left in a gym locker and tasted worse.  While this was not that bad, it did seem to have the same origin.

I let it sit for a couple of months, during which time my liqueur cabinet has started to overflow.  Being the kind of person that cannot throw liquor away (no matter how unattractive it is) I endeavored to find a use for it.  My quest started at the Ty Ku website.  They are pretty non specific about the geography of its origin, but do give some information on what does make up Ty Ku.  The flavoring components are yuzu, a fruit that is somewhat of a cross between a lemon and a lime, honeydew melon (a flavor that I can detect in it), mangosteen (I have no idea what this tastes like as it is not generally available in North America), ginseng,  green tea, and goji berry.  I won’t even begin to get into the veiled “health” benefits that Ty Ku seems to think it possesses.  My interest is in what I can do with this 40 proof liqueur.

My first Ty Ku cocktail is from their website and is a bit of a twist on a margarita:

  Skinny Senorita

  • 1-1/2 oz Ty Ku
  • 1/4 oz tequila (I used Cazadores)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • soda water

Combine the Ty Ku, tequila and lemon juice in a shaker glass with 3-4 ice cubes.  Stir well to mix and chill.  Pour into a rocks glass filled with cracked ice.  Top with soda water and garnish with lime slice.

This cocktail, I have to admit, was light and effervescent.  A hint of th melon flavor in the Ty Ku came through, which was very nice.  On their web site Ty Ku claims this is a 96 calorie cocktail, so Gwen appreciated that aspect of it as well.

My second effort with Ty Ku was last night.  The flavor profile (which by now has grown on me) seemed like it would work well with cucumber.  Did somebody say cucumber?  Hendrick’s gin immediately came to mind as a base spirit.  Then I borrowed a page from Chad Doll’s playbook and used my citrus juicer on an unsuspecting cucumber to get its juice.  After several trials, I settled on this little number:

  Melon Cukey Baby

  • 2-1/2 oz Henrick’s gin
  • 3/4 oz Ty Ku
  • 1/8 oz cucumber juice
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 cubes of ice.  Shake, shake, shake to mix and thoroughly chill.  Pour into a chilled, 6 oz cocktail glass.  Garnish with a floating cucumber slice.

As I was working this I dialed back on the cucumber juice and increased the gin and Ty Ku to get the balance right.  In the end I thought this was a tasty, summer cocktail with just enough sweetness to refresh but still allow the interplay between the melon flavor in the Ty Ku and the cucumber tones of the Hendrick’s.   Try it out and let me know what you think — and if you have a better idea for a name, please let me know!  I’ll mix you one if have the winning suggestion!


You really want me to drink this?

Day 52, Cocktail 49 

As previously mentioned, sometimes the drinks at the Twilight Lounge don’t work out so well.  Tonight was one of those nights.  I had noticed that apple juice was a common ingredient in a few of the meager number of Polish cocktail recipes using Old Krupnik that I had been able to find.  Being the explorer that I am (and an afficianado of the “boozy” drink – thanks Chad!) I thought “why not use Calvados instead of apple juice?”  The answer is simple…because Calvados doesn’t mix particularly well with Old Krupnik!  I used a base of Chopin vodka and varying amounts of Old Krupnik and Calvados.  But no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t come up with anything that I’d drink again, let alone serve my friends.  In the end, I threw the mix I had into a rocks glass over ice and tried adding ginger ale to make it palatable.  Yeah, like that really helped.  So, like a doctor that buries his mistakes, this little cocktail adventure will also be buried. 

Don’t despair though, tomorrow I will have a winner for you – the Stanski, which has been a Twilight Lounge staple for years. 


Well, maybe it wasn't this bad....

Day 36, Cocktail 28

The Chinese have a proverb that states “May you live in interesting times.”  The last week has certainly been interesting, if nothing else.

To recap, I’ll be posting four tasty drinks that I had last week.  Three were enjoyed at the Sporting Fraternity cocktail tasting at Bryant’s.  Katie Rose and Chad Doll outdid themselves with an amazing selection of root based cocktails (I know, I was thinking the same thing you’re thinking).  Then I’ll also fill in with a few of the tasty drinks we had over the weekend.

Now, as for what this flood thing…well, I recieved a panicked call from Gwen Friday morning informing me that the basement was flooded.  Oh, and the good news?  It was the finished Twilight Lounge side this time (yes, that’s right, this has happened before).  By the time I got home she had cut the water off.  The water was just shy of becoming standing water on the carpet.  Which means that the carpet was soaked.  I ended up spending most of Friday on my knees with a shop vac sucking up the water and then three days of fans and dehumidifiers have dried the place out.  I was able to start putting everything back together today, although that will take several more days. 

As for the bugs, I virus zapped my laptop last week.  It is now replaced, but that little sojourn without one made posting pre-flood a bit more difficult as well since I was sharing computer time with entire family. 

The good news is that the weather was spectacular for Memorial Day weekend in Milwaukee and the pool was used thoroughly all weekend long.  I also managed to fit in some BBQ ribs on Monday.

So, until tomorrow, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey that is at my side.


Never keep a man from his rye, especially when he has a gun.

 Day 17, Cocktail 17 

Today has been one of those beastly days that makes me really appreciate a good, boozy (thanks again Chad for that descriptor) cocktail to unwind.  In the past my choice for tonight would have been made without even thinking – a very dry Bombay martini.  But, since it is Maraschino week and since I have grown very fond of rye whiskey and since I happen to have a bottle of both down in the Twilight Lounge, well, the choice today was actually pretty easy. 

As you look over the ingredients it may seem to be a rye manhattan on steriods.  While partially true, the taste is very un-Manhattan as the lemon juice and Maraschino combine provide a nice fruity overtone.  The sweet vermouth helps cut the tartness of the lemon and provide structure while the rye is the foundation for this drink.  While I believe this exact recipe to be an original, I was inspired by Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge where they serve up a number of outstanding rye cocktails.  

  Cherry Russell 

  • 2 oz Russell’s Reserve Rye
  • 3/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Agnosturo bitters


Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake (your booty) until frosty cold.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a healthy slice of lemon peel and enjoy!  It’s my second favorite civilized day to end an uncivilized day.  Gregory, put down that gun and come and enjoy your cocktail!