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Tag Archives: ginger

rehorst-gin-2The Twilight Lounge – February 4, 2017

If you are a regular reader, you know that I like, no make that love my gin.  So, this review is far, far overdue, considering that a friend gave me this bottle of Rehorst gin for my birthday last year. Check that, Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin (Batch No. 10, for the record).

So, just what the heck is this from the Great Lakes Distillery?  It starts as Rehorst Gin, itself an interesting gin that includes sweet basil and Wisconsin Gingseng among its 9 botanicals (including the usual juniper).  Then the gin is aged in oak barrels to impart an additional layer of complexity not normally found in gin.  It is indeed limited, as only one barrel a month is bottled and released.

So how did Great Lakes Distillery do?  Pretty damn good in my estimation.  On the nose it is not as juniper forward as London Dry or even Plymouth style gins.  The oak has mellowed the botanicals out, smoothing their edge.  Sipping it there is not the heat I’d expect from a liquor that is 94 proof.  The oak comes through along with spicy hints, not unlike black pepper and rosemary, with the juniper on the finish.  With the oak aging, sipping this neat or on the rocks is akin to doing so with a good bourbon (and something I don’t typically do with gin).  Adding a twist and few ice cubes makes this a treat and a viable substitute for my traditional martini.

What else can you do with this gin?  Fortunately for you, I experimented with a number of combinations, some traditional and some new.  It made a great gin and tonic, spicy, woody and better with a lemon wedge in place of the classic lime.  As a martini it comes off almost like a Manhattan.  As a variant to the perfect Manhattan (1/2 sweet vermouth, 1/2 dry vermouth) it was divine!  Mixed with ginger beer was even better than having it with tonic water, a real treat.  The most interesting cocktail I concocted is what I call the Asian Gin Ginger:

Asian Gin Ginger

  • 2 oz Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin
  • 1 oz Tyku
  • 1/2 oz Top Note Ginger Beer Concentrate
  • Dash Bittercube Blackstrap bitters

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Spicy, darkly sweet defines the Asian Gin Ginger.  Floral hints from the gin and Tyku make this not a truly boozy cocktail, but a sickly sweet one either.  Refreshing, I could drink several of these in an evening (and I did!)

My bottom line is that this is a terrific addition to the liquor cabinet.  It doesn’t replace the London dry gin in mine, but it is there in addition.  I give the Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin two thumbs up!

Cheers!

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Milwaukee, WI – March 7, 2012

So I’m sitting at the bar and I hear, in this low, almost whispering voice, “Nice pants.”  I look around and there’s no one within ear shot, so I shrug it off and take another sip of my drink.  But then I hear the voice again, “Great looking haircut.”  Again, I look around and nothing.  I try to shrug it off, but when a few minutes later the voice asks “Have you lost weight?” I call the bartender over.

“Brett, I keep hearing this voice saying things like “nice pants” and “great haircut”.  What gives, are you screwing with me?”

Brett looks me right in the eye and tells me, “It’s the peanuts, they’re complimentary.”

One of the nice things about Bryant’s (South 9th and Lapham, Milwaukee) is that you don’t have to worry about either random hours or complimentary nuts distracting your taste buds from the cocktails.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had occasion to stop by and enjoy these two outstanding creations by Emily.

First is the Glamour Shot, pictured above.  When Emily asked what I was in the mood for I quickly answered gin, but that I didn’t want something run of the mill or a classic.  So, out came the Plymouth gin, Domaine de Canton liqueur, Cynar liqueur, bar syrup and lemon juice.  An interesting combination I thought, between the ginger Canton and the bitter Cynar, with is derived from, among other things, artichoke.  The result was a terrific cocktail that leads with the ginger of the Canton then quickly follows with a slightly bitter bite.  The bar syrup and lemon juice round out the drink and give it balance so that it’s boozy, but in a mellow way.  An excellent offering from Emily.

The second drink is her Milwaukee Manhattan.  This drink was designed for a contest that Emily had entered (and, incidently, won) for the best variation on the classic Manhattan.  Featuring Bulliet rye whiskey with the usual sweet and dry vermouths (making this on perfect) and both Agnostura and Peychauds bitters, the twist is the addition of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur (which I love!).  Again, a very well constructed cocktail that tasted incredible.  The cherry from the Luxardo was out in front on this one, with the sweet vermouth, bitters and rye filling in behind it.  This is a complex cocktail, with layers of flavors to be discovered.  Again, kudos to Emily for a job well done.

Cheers!

Milwaukee, WI – January 26, 2012

“Feeling different feeling strange
This can never be arranged
As the light fades from the screen
From the famous final scene”

My apologies to Mr. Seger and the rest of the Silver Bullet Band.  However, having played the “Stranger In Town” album until I wore it out as a teen, how could I resist a drink named “The Famous Final Scene”? 

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Mark Stoffel and I decided a Men’s League night was long overdue and headed downtown for a man date and a few good drinks.  We started at Umami Moto where I had their Shanghai Mule.  A twist on the classic Moscow Mule, this cocktail substituted TyKu Soju for vodka.  It was mild and refreshing cocktail, and actually would be a great poolside sipper on a warm day.  My original notes called it innocuous, which may have a little harsh, but there wasn’t a lot memorable about it (actually, if it were not for my notes, I wouldn’t be writing about it here because I did forget about it).

After our start at Umami, it was on to Distil, our primary objective of the evening.  Distil is one of Milwaukee’s latest hip cocktail lounges, serving up true cocktails, including several that are homemade, along with a great selection of hard to find and rare bourbons and other assorted spirits.  “The Famous Final Scene” was the cocktail that caught my eye, and not just for the name.  Consisting of Bulliet Rye, sweet vermouth, HUM Botanical liqueur and orange bitters, it reminded me of some of the rye cocktails I’ve conjured up at the Twilight Lounge.  I’m a fan of rye and orange bitters, and was really looking forward to trying this out.  Unfortunately, this cocktail (pictured above) was overwhelmed by the spicey ginger flavor of the HUM liqueur.  I couldn’t detect the rye or the orange bitters, and the vermouth helped sweeten it, but also wasn’t really discernable.  I’d love to try this drink with half the amount of HUM in it, but unfortunately, this cocktail is mass produced by the bar manager and stored in jugs waiting to be ordered, so the bartender on duty couldn’t tinker with the recipe to see if we could get it right. 

Fortunately, not all was lost for the evening.  Mark and I also ordered up a taste of the George T. Stagg 15 year old.  This cask strength bourbon clocks in at around 140 proof, but you’d never know it by how smooth and mellow it was.  Nice notes of charcoal and vanilla to my nose made this a delight.  Adding just a drop of water mellowed it even more so and allowed cherry notes to emerge as well.  All in all, an excellent sipping bourbon!

So, 1 out 3 got Albert Pujols $240 million … and all it did was keep me from getting a hangover!

Cheers!

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 313, Cocktails 314 & 315

Two new cocktails were created at the Twilight Lounge last Friday night.  You’ll be welcome to have the first, the Pear Tequila, anytime that you come by.  This was the first of the night and was inspired by my simple desire to play around with the Old Ballycastle Ginger and tequila.  I have no idea what put that idea into my head, but it was there so I went with it.

The second drink of the night was the End Of The Line (pictured).  I decided to use Kajmir, the vanilla flavored brandy – vodka blend.  And why did I name it End Of The Line?  Well, I’m almost out of Kajmir, and since it is no longer made, when its gone, its gone…of course, freeing up a space for a bottle of something else (hehe).  So, I’ll get back to this in a minute, but first I want to go back to the Pear Tequila.

  Pear Tequila

  • 1-3/4 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1-1/2 oz Mathilde Poire liqueur
  • 3/4 oz Old Ballycastle Ginger
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.

This turned out to be pretty good.  The recipe above was the second iteration – I had too much tequila and not enough Mathilde and Old Ballycastle in the original attempt.  It’s a multi-layered cocktail, with the pear and ginger flavors both subtly intertwined and complimenting the Cazadores nicely.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

With my first effort under my belt, I turned my attention to my nearly empty bottle of Kajmir.  I really don’t know what led me to pull out … maybe it was just my desire to clear out a space for something new.  Whatever the reason, as I sniffed the now open bottle I started thinking about what else could I pair with this to create a cocktail.  I wanted to stick with the Old Ballycastle Ginger, but I’d need something else as well.  I finally settled on orgeat as my third flavoring ingredient.

  End Of The Line

  • 2 oz Kajmir
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1/4 oz Old Ballycastle Ginger
  • 1/8 oz orgeat

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a rocks glass with an ice ball.  No garnish needed.

This is also a very nice cocktail…a hint of nuttiness from the orgeat, a bit of spice from the ginger and the smooth, slighty smokey vanilla of the Kajmir.  I added the extra shot of vodka (I used Sobieski) to give this drink at list a little heft since the Kajmir is only 40 proof.

I’d ask you to try this one out as well, but unless your one of the three people in the world who still have a bottle, you’ll have a tough time finding it.  Of course, if you get over to the Twilight Lounge soon, I still have enough for a couple more!

Cheers!

Day 281, Cocktail 280

Gwen was prepping to get the hell of out of Dodge ahead and down to Cancun with a bunch of her friends tonight.  They originally weren’t supposed to leave until Wednesday, but the “big blizzard” headed our way they moved their travel plans up a day.  So I figured that something with tequila was in order tonight.

Besides Gwen’s trip, the inspiration for tonight’s cocktail was a drink I saw on the Cooking Channel show Drink Up.  My inspiration was made with rum and cardamom syrup which I replaced with tequila and Old Ballycastle ginger.    The rest of the ingredients are in the original, although I played around a bit with the proportions.  Let’s see how it turned out.

  Mexican Hat Dance

  • 3 slices of cucumber
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1 oz Old Ballycastle ginger
  • 2-1/2 oz Cazadores tequila

Toss the three cucumber slices into the bottom of your shaker, then add 4-5 ice cubes.  Add the rest of the liquid ingredients and shake, shake, shake.  You need to work this hard because you are muddling the cucumber at the same time that you are mixing your drink.  To prepare your collins glass cut three more slices of cucumber.  Place an ice cube in the bottom, then a cucumber slice, then another ice cube…create a stack three ice cubes / cucumber slices high.  Strain the drink over the cucumber / ice stack in the glass.

I know the drink is good when Gwen asks for seconds and thirds (it’s probably a good thing Andrea wasn’t here).  The flavors are multilayered with cucumber and ginger playing together, supported by the Cazadores.  There is just a hint of spicy heat from the ginger and the syrup keeps the drink from being too tart.  As an alternative, you can just dump the contents of your shaker into a collins glass.  This gives you bits of cucumber mixed in with the drink.  But, you don’t get the neat effect of the layered ice and cucumber slices.

Cheers!

Day 276, Cocktail 278

I was armed with several fresh oranges and a hankering for something Asian tonight (maybe Gwen’s homemade fried rice for dinner had something to do with my urges). 

When I hit the Twilight Lounge I started to rummage through the liquor cabinets.  The Ty Ku came out and then after pondering for a moment I pulled out the Domaine de Canton as well.  My reasoning was that the ginger in the Domaine de Canton was first, an Asian flavor and second, would meld well with the Ty Ku and its melon overtones.  I was also pretty sure I could use my orange as well.  This is what I came up with.

  Ty Ku Dream

  • 2 oz Ty Ku
  • 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 3/4 oz orange juice

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill and mix.  Strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with an orange twist if desired.

This is a nice, summer weight cocktail – slightly sweet yet refreshing.  The Ty Ku with its mangosteen and melon flavors is front and center with a distinct ginger flavor chiming in from the Domaine de Canton.  And, because the Ty Ku is only 40 proof and the Domaine de Canton only 56 proof you’re not going to get as tipsy as quickly as if you were drinking vodka or gin.  That’s like a double winner in my book!

Cheers!

Day 233, Cocktail 231

Ah yes, the eternal question, Ginger or Mary Ann?  Spicy, redheaded, buxom Ginger or the practical, girl next door Mary Ann?  Supposedly you can what kind of man he is by his answer to this question…Ginger or Mary Ann? 

Last night was Ginger’s night at the Twilight Lounge.  I had been at World Market over the weekend and picked up a bottle of Old Ballycastle Ginger.  This mixer, produced by Powell & Mahoney, caught my eye.  I figured it would be an interesting way to add ginger flavors to cocktails.  So on Tuesday I pulled it out and started playing around.  It definately tastes like ginger, but it also has a spicy after note, as in spicy hot.  Not too hot, but enough to let you know it’s there.

After tasting the Old Ballycastle Ginger I knew that this was just screaming for tequila.  Yet, I wasn’t in the mood for tequila and decided to work it with rye and orange juice.  Here’s the result:

  Ginger Rye

  • 2 oz Jim Beam rye
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz Old Ballycastle Ginger
  • 1 dash Angosturo bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake to chill and combine.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.

A very flavorful cocktail with the ginger and orange combining nicely to complement the rye.  The spiciness of the ginger is barely there, but I did get a hint of it.  I was a bit suprised that it wasn’t more prevalent given how strong it was by itself.  I also really had to sneak up on this one and ended up with much more of the ginger than I thougth I would in it.

Oh, and I’ve always been a Mrs. Howell man.  She’s the one with the money!

Cheers!

Day 225, Cocktails 222 & 223

Nothing like watching Monday Night Football with a win for your fantasy football team already in the books.  Except watching Monday Night Football with the number one seed already locked up for my fantasy football team!

As I watched the game I contemplated what to drink.  I was in the mood to use the Stirrings Peach Liqueur I had recently acquired, but didn’t know what.  I quick check of the Stirrings website didn’t really anything that excited me.  They had a few cocktail recipes that used the peach liqueur, but not very many and nothing that looked simple.  Not that complicated would normally deter me, but I was tired and wanted this to be easy.

So after a few minutes of thought I decided on Maker’s Mark as my base.  Peach flavors and bourbon work well together, so I knew this would be reasonably safe.  But I did want to push the envelope a bit and after a lot of bottle sniffing (doesn’t everbody sniff bottles of booze?) I settled on Domaine de Canton for my third flavor. 

My first effort was 2 oz of Maker’s Mark, 1 oz of Stirrings Peach liqueur and 1/8 oz (one bar spoon) of the Domaine de Canton.  My first sip was nice – the peach was out first with bourbon just behind it.  The ginger flavor of the Canton was a subtle note on the tail, but it was there.  My first impression was, mmm, not bad.  However, as I sipped this over the next 30 minutes or so the sweetness of the Stirrings Peach began to overtake the cocktail.  By the time I was done it was too sweet and syrupy for my taste.  A reformulation was in order.

  Just Peachy

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Stirrings Peach liqueur
  • 1/8 oz Domaine de Canton liqueur

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to chill and combine.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I liked this version much better.  The sweet component of the Stirrings Peach never takes over and the ginger of the Domaine de Canton actually comes through a bit more. 

As for my bottle sniffing, I do owe an explanation.  Taste is a matter of smell.  You taste what you smell (if you don’t believe me take a mouthful of whatever you want while holding your nose – you won’t taste a thing).  So, by holding two bottles together and smelling them I can get a pretty decent idea of how they will taste together.  Try it – you’ll be glad you did!

Cheers!

Day 160, Cocktail 155

It’s been a hectic week and I’ve gotten behind here as well as with a few other things – I guess that’s life!

On Wednesday night I did have the opportunity to have dinner at Trocadero with a couple of co-workers from St. Louis, Mike and Kevin.  It was a splendid night and was warm enough to eat outside even though it was nearly 9 o’clock and the end of September.  We don’t get many nights like that in Milwaukee by this time of year so we took advantage of it.  Mike and Kevin split a bottle of wine with their dinner.  Me?  I had a cocktail, of course!

I enjoyed what the Trocadero calls a Pineapple Ginger.  As you would guess from the name, fresh pineapple juice and freshly grated ginger are the main flavor components of this cocktail.  The base spirit in this drink is Patron Citronage and the recipe also calls for lemon and lime juices.  The presentation is completed with a brown sugar rim and a lime wedge.

I liked this drink.  Typically, many pineapple drinks can get very sweet and syrupy.  This one, however, stays well balanced with the ginger toning down the pineapple juice and mingling exceptionally well.   It would be very easy to enjoy several of these through an evening.  Another grade A effort from the Trocadero!

Cheers!