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Tag Archives: egg white

Gloom LifterRockford, IL – December 2, 2014

Business recently took me to Rockford, IL and there I discovered Alchemy.  It’s part craft beer, part craft cocktails and part craft pizza.  While I enjoyed the pizza I had, I really enjoyed the cocktails!

First was the Gloom Lifter.  It starts with Tullamore Dew as the base, but what really caught my eye was the egg whites.  It also has lemon juice, raspberries and flamed bitters in the mix.  Served in an elegant coupe this was a very well balanced and proportioned cocktail.  Cinnamon and cardamom on the nose the cocktail was light, slightly sweet and smokey.  I was a little disappointed that there was no spiciness in the taste, but it was overall an excellent cocktail and will be sure to lift the gloom of winter!

The second cocktail I enjoyed was the Cold & Heavy Snow.  Using Milagro silver tequila as its base I was drawn to it with the house made ginger beer.  Finishing off the cocktail is lime juice, cider and cinnamon.  I really enjoyed the this cocktail – the ginger beer was spicy and well made and the cider and cinnamon added a bit of holiday cheer.  Another winner.

If your travels take you to Rockford, Alchemy is worth a stop!

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Madison, WI – July 12, 2012

I found myself in Madison, WI for an evening recently – and for the first time in my various travels around the midwest.  Being just 90 miles from home was different, but I still managed to hunt down a good cocktail lounge to while away my evening.  The Opus Lounge was my target for the evening.

After reading a few of the Yelp reviews and seeing the menu when I first arrived I was concerned that this would be a menu driven cocktail lounge lacking any real creativity.  Boy, was I wrong, and am I ever glad I was!

The decor is urban chic with a soundtrack to match that ranged from hip hop to acid jazz and many alternative formats in between.  As I scanned the booze behind the bar I saw what I thought were too many flavored vodkas, but then, who doesn’t have too many flavored vodkas these days?  The menu was also full of what sound like fruity, girly drinks and, my pet peeve, is called a martini menu (a martini is a cocktail, and this was a cocktail menu!).  

Fortunately, Marilyn, the bartender on duty, came to the rescue and patiently demonstrated that she and Opus have real cocktail chops.  I ended up sampling three of the menu items, the Dill Collins, an interesting riff on the classic Tom Collins which was very refreshing on a warm summer evening.  This cocktail featured Death’s Door gin over muddled cucumber, dill, lemon and a sugar cube.  Club soda and ice finish off this drink.  It was delicious – the dill was just barely there and added a nice dimension to the drink.

 
Next was the Royal Highness featuring Plantation rum, cassis, bolivar bitters, lime, Domaine de Canton and egg white among its ingredients.  Yes, I said egg white, and when a bar is mixing cocktails with egg white they get my full attention!  This drink evoked visions of tiki torches and tropical beaches for me.  There was a slight coconut flavor, which I could not figure out for the life of me since this drink had none in it.  It did have a smooth, creamy texture courtesy of the egg white and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
 
The third menu item was the Pimm’d Up Bondurant.  Only the second cocktail I’ve seen anywhere using the venerable Pimm’s No. 1 and it was delicious.  This is basically a Pimm’s sour with Domaine de Canton in it.  The ginger of the Canton played off the Pimm’s perfectly.  This sipper was served up in a cocktail glass, but would have worked equally as well in a collins glass on the rocks.
I finished the night with an off menu drink from Marilyn that featured Laphroiag scotch, ginger and lemon flavors.  Again, a homerun that has me wishing I had written down the recipe – but unfortunately, didn’t.  

Bottom line is that if you’re looking for good cocktails in Madison, look no further than Opus Lounge.

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!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

During some random night last week I was again in the mood for a cocktail featuring egg white.  After thumbing through several cocktail books I found something called the Clover Club.  This is a classic cocktail (read as pre-Prohibition) that was enjoyed by the members of the Clover Club in Philadelphia.  The Clover Club was a group of civic minded business leaders who met regularly at the Bellevue-Stratford hotel.  Alas, while the Clover Club itself expanded to multiple cities in the early 1900’s, the cocktail didn’t make it past Prohibition.  It’s a pity too, because this delicious number beats the pants off a Cosmopolitan any day!

  Clover Club

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 1 egg white

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake for 60 seconds or more.  Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a half slice of lemon.

You really need to shake, shake, shake this cocktail, just like any other egg white cocktail.  The reason is to emulsify the egg and create an nice creamy head and fully incorporate the egg into the drink.

As for the cocktail itself – delicious is the only way to describe it.  Creamy, slightly sweet from the grenadine with just hints of juniper from the gin.  I used Bombay for this one – I wanted the full flavor of a London dry to stand up to the relatively large amount of grenadine and lemon in this one. 

Cheers!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I know that to some of my friends it seems like I just open up the liquor cabinet at the Twilight Lounge, pull out a few seemingly random bottles and whip up a cocktail that’s delicious and nutritious, just like that.  Alright, well, actually, it does sometimes work like that.  However, more times than not it takes several iterations to get a cocktail where I want it.  This week was an example of the latter as I worked on tonight’s cocktail over a span of several days, until finally I was able to say “That’s It!” to myself.

I started off with the notion that I wanted to recreate a root beer float.  That meant using the root beer flavoring from LorAnn Oils.  But what else to use?  I decided on a base of vodka, which provides pretty much a blank slate to work with.  My first crack at it was 2 oz of vodka (Sobieski, for those of you keeping score at home), 2 drops of the root beer flavor and 1/4 ounce of grenadine.  This effort was ok.  The grenadine was subtle but there, but the root beer was also subtle, and I wanted this to be bolder.  I also didn’t get the creaminess that a root beer float would have, but I didn’t want to add ice cream.  The second iteration kept the same amount of vodka and grenadine, but I bumped up the root beer flavoring to 3 drops and added 1 egg white.  Much better, as the egg white added the creamy texture that I wanted, but the root beer was still a tad muted.  Finally, version three came through when I bumped up the root beer flavor to 4 drops.  Ah yes, now I had a tasty cocktail that is evocative of the root beer float flavor I wanted to emulate. 

  Root Beer Float

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 drops LorAnn Oil root beer flavor
  • 1/4 oz grenadine
  • 1 egg white

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

When you shake this drink (as with any drink containing egg whites) give it as hard a shake as you can for 30 seconds.  This is about 10 seconds longer than I normally shake cocktails, but it is essential to get the frothy emulsification you want from the egg.  Also, as I’ve noted before, I use pasteurized egg whites purchases from my local grocer in the cardboard container (just like the milk you got at school as a kid).  It’s much easier to add the egg white to a drink when I can pour it from a carton, not to mention safer.  I use 1/2 oz of egg white when the recipe calls for 1 egg white. 

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 347, Cocktail 355

Yes, I’m still alive – although based on my 50th some of you may have thought I’d dropped dead!  Actually, what has happened is that I’ve started a new job that requires a fair amount of travel.  Last in particular was hectic, but on the other hand I will have the opportunity to try new cocktails while travelling, so all is well.  Now to the task at hand, getting caught up here.

A week ago Friday I was back to egg fizz cocktails, finishing up the exploration I had begun earlier that week.  The last cocktail of this side journey was inspired by the earlier reported Whiskey Fizz, but with addition of egg white.  Since the gin version of this cocktail in Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail” is called the Silver Fizz, I decided to name this one the Golden Fizz.

  Golden Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • lemon lime soda

Combine the bourbon, lemon juice, bar syrup and egg white in a shaker with ice.  Shake vigorously to combine and get a nice emulsion going with the egg white.  Strain into a chilled Delmonico glass and top with lemon lime soda.

Mmmm, this is good.  The extra body and creaminess from the egg really takes what was a Whiskey Fizz to a new level.  This drink is even pleasing to the eye with its white, foamy head.  You can also use any good bourbon or rye whiskey in this one.

Cheers!

Day 339, Cocktail 343

Those of you who have been following my cocktail journey for a while will undoubtedly realize that Thursday’s cocktail was inevitable.  Newer readers will get the chance to learn first hand about one of my primary booze fetishes.  Yes, I am talking about maraschino liqueur!  Whenever I see a cocktail with gin and lemon juice as foundational elements I am always ready to add the maraschino to make it an Aviation, one of my favorites.  So when I made the Silver Fizz on Wednesday I knew that I would be adding maraschino to it on Thursday to try it out.  It took me a couple of tries (thank heaven’s Gwen was around to help drink the prototypes) but I finally worked out the correct amount (for my palate) of Luxardo maraschino liqueur to add.  Here it is:

  Cherry Silver Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz Rehorst gin
  • 1-1/2 oz bar syrup
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/8 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1 egg white
  • seltzer water

Combine all the ingredients except the seltzer water in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.  Strain into a Delmonico glass and top with seltzer water.

Ah yes, just a touch of cherry from maraschino liqueur really adds a level of complexity and depth to the original Silver Fizz.  This, to me, makes an even better warm day sipper than the original.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Day 338, Cocktail 342

Ok, so not the catchiest of titles.  Honestly, I sat here for a good 10 minutes and nothing, absolutely nothing witty or pithy came to mind.  Either blog fatigue has set in or I’ve finally reached my limit.  Nah, can’t be that!

So, last night I started thumbing through Dale Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail” and stumbled into the fizz section.  According to Degroff a fizz is a spin-off from the sour, made possible by the development of widespread appearance of soda water.  There are basically two types of fizz.  The first includes egg white for a creamy texture and nice, foamy head.  Fizzes made with egg white are typically served without ice, and thus require a smaller Delmonico glass.  The Delmonico glass is very similar to the collins glass except that it is in the 8 to 10 oz range rather than 12 oz.  The glass in my picture is a 10 oz Delmonico.  The second type of fizz is made without egg white and thus, is usually served over ice in a collins glass.

The fizz that caught my eye was the Silver Fizz.  Here it is:

  Silver Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 oz bar syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 oz seltzer water

In a shaker with ice  combine everything but the seltzer water.  Shake long and hard (at least 30 seconds) to mix, chill and emulsify the egg.  This is an important step if you want the frothy head and creamy texture that the egg white will impart.  Strain into a chilled Delmonico glass and top with the seltzer water.

This was a delicious cocktail!  Very light, with a sweet, creamy taste and mouth feel, with just a touch of effervescence from the seltzer.  A hint of lemon and the botanicals from the gin (I used Rehorst) finish off this drink.  If summer ever does get here (there’s still ice on my pool) this would be a great cocktail for a warm evening on the patio.

Cheers!

Day 320, Cocktail 323

Another Friday night at the Twilight Lounge (and yes, the lights are low there).  With nothing else planned, Gwen and I went with the tried and true formula of home made pizza, cocktails, and, of course, a James Bond movie.  This weeks’s movie was Goldeneye, Pierce Brosnan’s first appearance as 007.  One of my favorite scenes is when a former Russian KGB officer turned mobster jokingly asks Bond if he wants his martini shaken, not stirred.

As for the cocktail, I was back to egg whites.  I found this recipe on the CocktailDB and thought I’d give it a whirl.

  Whiskey Daisy

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 3/4 oz grenadine
  • 1/2 egg white

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake to mix.  Add 3-4 ice cubes and shake to chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The first flavor across my tongue was the lemon, followed by the fruit of the grenadine and then the rye.  I had used Jim Beam for the rye, which is on the mellower side.  I had also cut down on the lemon from the original recipe, which called for 1-1/2 ounces of lemon juice.  That was just too much and overpowered the drink.  The egg white, in addition to adding a frothy “head” to the drink that is visually appealing also added a slight creaminess to the drink.  Overall, very nice and a nice compliment to the action from 007 on the screen.

Notice that I initially mixed this drink without ice.  I did so to create more of an emulsification with the egg.  Doing so warm creates a better and more airy mixture.  Add the ice after you’ve given this a good hard shake and then shaking gently will maintain that airiness while chilling the cocktail.

Cheers!