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Day 295, Cocktail 294

St. Valentine’s Day…not to be confused with Harry Potter and his goblet of fire, but it does have a certain ring to it, don’t you think?  Anyway, we celebrated in fine style at the Twilight Lounge this past Monday.  I provided the cocktail, an asparagus and crab salad appetizer while Gwen whipped up the veal marsala for dinner and I closed with a Bananna’s Foster variant for desert.  A very nice evening, indeed!

My Valentine’s cocktail came courtesy of Colleen Graham’s cocktail blog.  I already had everything I needed (the champagne still unopened from New Year’s Day) and it looked like something that we could enjoy several of through the evening – although I must confess to also opening a bottle of Jadot Chassagne – Montrachet, one of my favorite Chablis’ of all time.

  Cherub’s Cup

  • 1 oz St. Germain
  • 2 oz Hendricks gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz bar syrup
  • 1 strawberry (for muddling)
  • dry champange or sparkling wine

Muddle the strawberry gently in the bottom of a shaker with the bar syrup.  Add ice and the gin, St. Germain and lemon juice.  Shake vigorously to mix and chill.  Strain into a collins glass with ice.  Top with your champagne and garnish with a strawberry.

Mmmm, delicious!  The elderflower flavors from the St. Germain play wonderfully with the strawberry and lemon.  The gin, with it’s floral and slightly cucumber flavor provide a nice base and the champagne gives it just a touch of fizz.  We enjoyed several of these with our desert and beyond that night!


Day 293, Cocktails 291 & 292

Saturday night and daughter number 1 was hosting a boy / girl Valentine’s Party in the Twilight Lounge.  That means two things.  First, Gwen and I got to stay home Saturday night to chaperone.  Second, the liquor cabinets were locked for the night as well!  What to do, then?  Well, a little advanced planning and move a few key bottles upstairs to the kitchen, that’s what to do!

I had a full bottle of pomegranate juice that had been around a for awhile and decided it was time to put it to use.  I poked around Colleen Graham’s cocktail blog (see the links list below) and found something called the Blushing Geisha.  I didn’t have the rose water that it called for, but went ahead anyway with this variant (that is the beauty of cocktails – you can change ’em any way you want to!).

  Blushing Geisha

  • 2 oz Ty Ku
  • 1 oz pomegranate juice
  • 1/8 oz lemon juice
  • seltzer water

In a shaker combine the Ty Ku, pomegranate juice and lemon juice.  Shake to chill and combine.  Strain into a rocks glass filled 2/3 with ice.  Top with seltzer water. 

I was really suprised how well the Ty Ku flavors, especially the melon tones, came through in this drink.  I really expected the pomegranate to overpower the drink, but it didn’t.  This turned out to be a very nice showcase for the Ty Ku and would make a great cocktail for a warm summer night – and those aren’t that far off around here.

Next up was a totally off the cuff creation.  I had already figured to use vodka and the pomegranate in some type of cosmo type concoction.  Hmmm, I wonder how the Lillet Blanc would play with these?  And what about staying Asian themed by using some lychee juice?  Here’s what I came up with.

  Lychee Pom

  • 1-1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 1/8 oz lychee juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lychee fruit or leave ungarnished.

Wow, does the lychee ever stand clear!  It’s amazing the flavor that is packed into the lychee juice.  Sweet, and the closest I can come to describe it is pear flavors, but not quite as syrupy as pears are.  Either way, the small amount in this drink was still enough to have it become the defining the flavor, with notes of orange and floral flavors coming from the Lillet Blanc.  We enjoyed this one so much that we each had two.  By the time we were through with the second the party was also finishing up and we called it a night.


I wonder if Gin Wigmore drinks gin?

Day 72, Cocktail 72

After my ill fated foray into the Slow Comfortable Screw I just had to do something to get the sweet, syrupy taste out of my mouth.  What better way than a real cocktial made with real gin?  The real London Dry kind by the way, not the rockin’ Kiwi R&B artist who has the chops to be the next Amy Winehouse.  Several weeks ago I had bookmarked a recipe on Colleen Graham’s cocktail blog that she described as a variant to a martini.  Actually, it’s a variant on the Aviation, adding sweet vermouth to the gin, maraschino liqueur and lemon juice found in that classic that is a favorite of mine.  So I set to work and mixed one up for myself.  Not bad, but something is still missing.  The sweet vermouth needed to be offset by something.  Most of the cocktails with a “dark” component and maraschino usually work better with a dash or two of bitters. 

So, back to the shaker it was with this drink and a heavy dash of Agnosturo was added.  A few quick shakes and back into my cocktail glass….and….mmmm, delicious!  The Agnosturo adds just the “bite” this needs to balance against the sweet vermouth, bringing all the flavors into harmony.  I will be drinking this one again!


  • 2 oz Bombay gin
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients in shaker with 4-5 ice cubes.  Shake to chill and mix.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lemon peel.

I’ve been sipping on mine as I write this and the flavors are just growing in their depth.  This is a really tasty treat!


Rye, Brandy, Sweet Vermouth and Gin?

Day 65, Cocktail 61

Woo Hoo!  First, the good news.  While catching up on some e-mail I was reading through Colleen Graham’s cocktail newsletter and saw that my blog has made her blog roll!  Of course, I wish I had spelled Twilight Lounge correctly, but, hey, it’s a link!  By the way, if you haven’t checked out Colleen’s blog, I highly recommend it.  I subscribe to her newsletter and it always has interesting recipes as well as great tips, contests and more.

Next, on to a new cocktail for today.  I know that I’m in the middle of this grapefruit jag, and I’ll be returning to grapefruit tomorrow.  For today, though, I just had a hankering for rye.  In fact, this is one of those days that I would have liked to mix up one the drinks I’ve already done, such as a Cooper Brothers.  However, I take my duty here seriously and so I went to the Internet Cocktail DB.  (By the way, this is another very good online resource for drink recipes that allows searches by name and ingredient – very handy.)  A search for rye whiskey yielded a number of interesting looking cocktails.  It was the Chauncey that caught my eye.  Rye, brandy, sweet vermouth, sure, this all sounds very Manhattan like.  Then I saw it…gin…really?  You add gin to this thing?  I did some research and learned that this is a classic cocktail that’s been around since at least the 30’s.  I find the classics appealing.  I also liked the fact that I had all the ingredients and wouldn’t need any special liqueurs (although if I wasn’t living in Wisconsin the odds of me having brandy would have been small).


  • 3/4 oz rye whiskey
  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz brandy
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with 4-5 ice cubes.  Stir thoroughly to mix and chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

My mix of this cocktail used Russell’s Reserve Rye, Plymouth Gin, Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth and Korbel Brandy.  As I was mixing this up I felt that the sweet vermouth would at the forefront, and I think I was correct.  The rye ends up providing the base while I get just a hint of the botanicals that are in the gin.  I’m sure part of this comes from using Plymouth, which is mild as far as gin goes.  The Agnosturo serves to help pull this together and ties it up into a nice little package.  Definately in the style of a Manhattan, I am enjoying this cocktail.