Skip navigation

Tag Archives: cocktail glass

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!

Advertisements

Day 363, Cocktail 363

Friday night and another movie night for Gwen and I.  I had just purchased a box of those “Cutie” clementines and figured that they would back an excellent mixer for a cocktail.  They are slightly sweeter and less acidic than orange juice, and they fit so nicely into my lemon press, so I figured why not!  I’ve also been on a bit of a ginger kick so I wanted to incorporate that into the drink as well. 

Thus, with clementines and Domaine de Canton in mind, what to use for the base spirit?  I reached for the Rehorst gin.  I wanted something more than vodka, but didn’t want the full impact of a London Dry gin.  With it’s clean aftertaste and subtle use of juniper I knew the Rehorst would be a good choice.  Next I also pulled out the St. Remy brandy.  As I thought this cocktail through I figured I would need a bit of “darker” flavor as well to balance out the juice and ginger flavors I wanted.  So, let’s see how this worked out.

  Cutie

  • 1 oz Rehorst gin
  • 1/2 oz St. Remy brandy
  • 1 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 1 oz clementine juice

Combine all the ingredients in a Boston shaker with ice and shake and roll to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Very nice, if I say so myself.  This really hit the spot and the flavors all worked together as I planned.  Not too sweet, with a backbeat of ginger from the Domaine de Canton and several layers of flavor from the Rehorst and St. Remy.  All in all, a very nice cocktail for clementine season!

So, I’m now down to two cocktails to had today to finish off my year long journey.  I’ll be having one with our mid afternoon dinner and then the final cocktail early this evening.  If you have a suggestion for my last cocktail, let me know!

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, 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 334,  Cocktail 339

After my recent visit to Great Lakes Distillery, home of Rehorst gin and other spirits, I had picked up a bottle and have been using it at the Twilight Lounge.  While clearly a gin, it’s botanicals are toned down compared to the typical London Dry gin.  However, in my book, that is a good thing and it puts the Rehorst on par with Plymouth and similar, milder gins.  What this means is that Rehorst is ideal for gin cocktails outside the traditional realm of the martini and gin and tonic.

On Friday night I pulled out my bottle of Rehorst along with my Lillet Blanc and Domaine de Canton and started to fiddle around.  Here’s what I came up with.

  Ginger Flower

  • 1-3/4 oz Rehorst gin
  • 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes.  Stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

It took me 3 trys to come up with this formulation, but in the end it was worth the work (and thanks to Gwen for helping to drink all this versions!).  The floral notes of the Lillet blend wonderfully with the Rehorst.  The Domaine de Canton provides just a hint of ginger, which is what I was after.  Overall, I think this is a nice, refreshing summer type sipper.

If you haven’t already, I suggest you try out the Rehorst gin – you wont’ be disappointed.

Cheers!

Day 328, Cocktail 334

Last Saturday our friend Jenny threw a surprise 40th birthday party for her husband Kevin.  They had just finished their basement, including a nice bar set up.  Naturally, our gift to Kevin was a variety of barware and a bottle of vodka, Cointreau, some ginger beer, lemons and limes.  To go with this starter package was a list of four cocktails that could be made from the box.  On that list were the Moscow Mule, Kamikaze, Lemon Drop and Caipiroska.  Another advantage of inviting me and Gwen to the party is that you get a built in bartender!

I actually started out the evening sticking with the Moscow Mule, which I’ve had before is in the index.  Simple and straightforward, it is the cocktail that turned America into a vodka drinkers in the 1940’s.  Using ginger beer instead of ginger ale really makes this a treat!  However, after a couple of the mules (and a Cincinnati loss to UConn in the tournament) I was ready for something different and tried out the Lemon Drop.

  Lemon Drop

  • 1-1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1-1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz orange juice

Rub the edge of a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon wedge and then rim with sugar.  Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to chill and combine.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I used Luksusowa, a good Polish potato vodka.  This is a nice, girly cocktail, with the lemon and orange flavors sweetening the vodka.  If you like Cosmopolitans then you will like this one as well.

A word about vodka.  Please, please, please, don’t overspend on vodka!  You can easily spend $40 to $50 on premium vodkas.  However, unless you are a master distiller who has spent a lifetime tasting and comparing distilled spirits, you will not be able to distinguish the difference between a $20 vodka and a $50 vodka.  If you want to keep one premium around, and in the freezer, for shots (which I sometimes do), that’s fine.  My current selection of vodka includes two premiums, Grey Goose (given to me as a gift) and Chopin (purchased on sale for $30, $20 off the regular price).  The rest of my vodka selection is Sobieski and Luksusowa, both value priced at around $20 for a 1.75L. 

Cheers!

Day 303, Cocktail 304 & 305

Ah yes, the entire Brady clan enjoyed Alice’s pork chops and applesauce dinners…be sure to sound like a wiseguy while you say it!

No, I didn’t make pork chops and applesauce for dinner last night.  Instead, it was a pork roast with a garlic, onion and thyme rub along with mashed potatoes and braised brussel sprouts with bacon.  So no pork chops and no applesauce.  However, I felt that I needed something with apple to make the night complete.  A quick search of the CocktailDB for options and the next thing I knew I was in the Twilight Lounge whipping up the Calvados Cocktail to enjoy while I made dinner.

  Calvados Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 oz Calvados
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes and shake, shake, shake to mix and combine.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, no garnish required.

A pretty decent cocktail.  A bit of a bite from the Calvados, not unusual for a brandy.  A touch of sweetness from the orange juice and Cointreau, while the orange bitters keeps the whole thing well balanced.  As an aside, the original recipe called for just one dash of orange bitters, but I amped it up and thought it was much better with two.

After dinner I was ready for dessert, and decided to try a home grown variant of the Calvados cocktail.

  Calvados Toffee

  • 1-1/2 oz Calvados
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 drops LorAnn Gourmet English Toffee flavoring

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes and shake, shake, shake to mix and combine.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, no garnish required.

Very similar to the Calvados Cocktail with just a hint of toffee flavor that makes the drink, to me, a bit sweeter and richer.  I thought it was a very nice after dinner cocktail, but Gwen wasn’t too thrilled with it.  I wouldn’t hesitate to make this again.

I want to mention the flavorings I’ve been using lately.  I’ve mentioned before that I found these at a local cake / bake shop.  They are all labelled LorAnn Gourmet and they are a great way to have fun with cocktails on the cheap.  If you do get some, use them sparingly, they do pack a punch!

Cheers!

Day Five, Cocktail Five
 
I want to take a moment and talk about the cocktail glass.  As with food and other assorted past times, the right equipment aids in the enjoyment of whatever it is you’re doing.  In the case of cocktails, the right glass adds to the enjoyment of a well made drink. When I said I wanted to talk about the cocktail glass I am referring to a specific glass and not the entire range of glasses that drinks are served in (although over time, I’ll get to all of them).  The glass I am talking about is what you may think of as a martini glass.  However, to me (ever the purist, although my friends just call me anal) it is properly called a cocktail glass.  Of course, a martini is just one the may cocktails that are served in this glass.  But don’t take my word on it…check it out for yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocktail_glass has the same definition as mine. 

A few of the cocktail glasses from The Twilight Lounge

 
So why use a cocktail glass?  Well, the drinks served in this glass will generally share two characteristics.  They will be served chilled and at least one of the ingredients will be an aromatic (the stuff you smell in your food and drinks).  Just like a wine glass, the stemmed cocktail glass allows you to hold your drink without warming it with your hand.  And, again, similar to the wine glass, the large bowl allows you to breathe in the aroma of your drink as you sip (yes, I said sip – these drinks aren’t made for slamming!).  The glasses I have at The Twilight Lounge are either 4 or 6 ounces.  I generally use the 4 ounce glasses for boozy drinks like martinis or manhattans.  For drinks with more juice that are fruitier such as a cosmopolitan I’ll use the 6 ounce glass.  For the recipes I publish, a good guide to remember is that with 3 ounce of ingredients you can use the four ounce glass and if there is 4-5 ounces of ingredients use the 6 ounce glass.  You’ll be filling the glass up since the you’ll pick up some additional liquid from the melting ice that your drink will be mixed with.
 
I have a number of cocktail glasses that have been collected over the years.  Some have come from Goodwill – hey, don’t knock it, it’s a great place to find “vintage” barware on the cheap!  Others were gifts or purchased because I liked the look.  That’s the fun of collecting barware in general.  It allows me to express myself and have fun!