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The Twilight Lounge – March 12, 2016

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and as is usual, I’ll be pub crawling all day with my pal Mike.  We’ve been doing our St. Patrick’s day drink fest for 6 or 7 years and this year will be no different.  We’ll start at 6am at Bub’s Irish Pub in Germantown, work our way to Erin for post parade fun at the Tally Ho and then work back towards town.  There will be plenty of Irish whiskey, Guinness, corned beef and fair lasses in green to be sure!

As a prelude to the glorious day itself, I’ve been enjoying Irish inspired cocktails.  This one in particular caught my eye as I perused the Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich.

Dancing Leprechaun

  • 1-1/2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 3/4 oz Drambuie
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • ginger beer

Add the whiskey, Drambuie and lemon juice to a shaker with ice.  Shake then strain into an ice filled Collins glass.  Add ginger beer to the top, stir and garnish with a lemon twist.

I used Tullamore Dew whiskey, which I like as much for it’s reasonable cost as I do it’s slightly smoky flavor.  Irish whiskey and ginger beer has long been a favorite of mine, and this cocktail is a nice twist on the typical Irish and ginger beer.  The Drambuie gives a bit of sweetness and a spicy, nutty flavor that I enjoyed.  It’s a refreshing cocktail that would be fun on a warm summer day (soon to be here) as well as on St. Patrick’s Day.

Cheers!

 

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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 255, Cocktails 253 & 254

My good friend and associate Miles was in town Wednesday night and we got together for a few cocktails.  Getting together with Miles is always fun, in part because he is knowledgeable about wine, beer and spirits (I guess that part time gig at the wine store helps) and we always have some good conversation as well as good drinks.

Miles is a huge Bryant’s fan, but I suggested we try Cafe Lulu first since he had not been there and we could grab some food if need be.  The menu, cocktails and patrons at Lulu are an eclectic bunch, which makes the place that much more interesting.  The cocktail I had there was a Sweet Violet and consists of Rehorst vodka (a locally distilled product), Pages Creme de Violette and a splash of sour.  The attraction of this cocktail is the Creme de Violette, which until just a couple of years ago, was virtually unavailable in the US.  Fortuntately, it is back and is helping make tasty cocktails again.  This was a good cocktail, with the floral flavor of the Creme de Violette nicely accented by the sour.  Since vodka was the base, there was no disconcerting collisions in this drink.  Definately a winner!

After our drink at Lulu’s Miles was ready to head back to Bryant’s and I was happy to oblige.  John and Emily were manning the bar when we arrived.  I asked for something with bourbon and ginger flavors.  John obliged me with something he called a Dana and Dan cocktail.  It was bourbon, ginger beer and peach schnapps, served in a collins glass on ice.  It was delicious!  The strong and slightly spicey ginger of the ginger beer held up well against the bourbon and the peach schnapps provided a nice fruity note on the end of this drink.  Well done, again, John!

After a cocktail at Bryant’s we were both ready to call it a night (hey, it was a school night!).  You can be sure, though, that I’m looking forward to Miles’ next visit!

Cheers!

Day 249, Cocktails 246 & 247

Yesterday marked day number 249 (and thanks to the 81 of you who visited!).  Greg and Patti had invited our family over to celebrate the holidays with a wonderful pork loin dinner (great job Patti!) and cocktails (great job Greg and Katy!).  The feature for the night was Gosling’s Black Seal rum, a treat for me as I had not had Black Seal rum before.  So, after a quick road trip to pick up a fresh bottle of rum and a couple of cans of Gosling’s ginger beer it was time to mix.

The first cocktail was brought back from New Orleans by Katy and in addition to the rum featured orange and cranberry juice.

  Bermuda Triangle

  • 1-1/2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 2 oz orange juice

Fill a collins glass with ice and add the rum and juices.  Give a good stir to mix and garnish with a lime wedge.

This is a delicious cocktail.  The deep, dark rum, with it’s syrupy, molasses flavor is well tempered by the tart cranberry and slightly sweet orange juice.  It has a bright, lively flavor and is not overly sweet, which is definately the flavor of the rum coming through.  I could easily drink several of these and not get that overly sweet flavor that sometimes happens with juiced cocktails.

After that wonderful dinner that I mentioned above Greg and I headed downstairs for darts and my second Gosling’s cocktail of the night.

  Dark and Stormy

  • 1-1/2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
  • Gosling’s Ginger Beer

Fill a collins glass with ice.  Add the rum and top with the ginger beer.

Wow, this is a delicious cocktail.  The ginger beer is sweet, rich and just a touch of spice.  The rich flavor of the rum complements the beer extremely well.  It’s almost as if the Gosling guys made the rum and beer to go together (oh yeah, they did!).  I’ll definately be adding Gosling’s to the roster at the Twilight Lounge!

As for tonight, it’s kinda nice that day 250 is also New Year’s Eve – a very nice round number for the last day of the year.  We’ll be hosting our first New Year’s Eve party tonight at the Twilight Lounge, so you’ll get the full update tomorrow!  Enjoy yourself tonight and have a great 2011!

Cheers!

Day 216, Cocktails 213 & 214

Saturday night was a night out on the town for Paula, Cookie, Gwen and me.  We started by stopping by Bryant’s for a cocktail before dinner.  Proprietor John Dye was manning the bar when we arrived and I asked John for something with rye and ginger beer.  He came up with an original cocktail on the spot that has no name.  It consisted of Old Overholt rye, Gosling ginger beer, Branca Menta, Peychaud’s bitters and lime juice.  It was very tasty and had just an overtone of mint, which I originally guessed as creme de menthe, incorrectly so as it turned out.  The mint flavor came from the Branca Menta, which is a mint version of Fernet Branca.  Very herbal, almost bitter tasting, it helped round out the cocktail John made in a way that creme de menthe would never be able to do.

After our drink at Bryant’s we headed to Casablanca for dinner.  The food was excellent and the atmosphere was interesting.  We’ll definately return soon!

After dinner we headed to another favorite, the Foundation Tiki bar in Riverwest.  There I enjoyed a Blue Moana.  This tasty treat consists of vodka, blue curacao, lime juice with hints of orange and almond.  I’m sure the almond comes from orgeat syrup but I couldn’t quite figure if the orange was coming from orange juice, triple sec or Cointreau.  I also did not have a chance to quiz the bartender as shortly after we arrived a busload of pub crawlers arrived and the bar was hopping for the next hour!

All in all a great evening as we got to take my mom and Cookie to two of my favorite bars in Milwaukee.  We’re already looking forward to their next visit!

Cheers!