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Tag Archives: hendricks

Lincoln, NE – August 8, 2012

Another trip to the heartland (it’s pretty easy to see why Springsteen went to Nebraska to record “Nebraska”) and another opportunity to sample what Lincoln offers – which is a lot!

I had the evening by myself.  I’d walked by Dish on my earlier visits and decided to try it out this time.  I was there on a Wednesday night, and it was fairly quiet, which suited me as I pulled up a seat at the bar.

I was greeted by Teresa behind the bar and quickly learned that she had the cocktail mixing chops to go with the excellent selection of liquor and liqueurs behind the bar.  She made me a two speciality cocktails, with a Scapa single malt whiskey sandwiched in between, and all were excellent.

The first cocktail was their riff on a Manhattan that featured orange and allspice infused Maker’s Mark, just a splash of sweet vermouth and Agnostura bitters.  I had it on the rocks and enjoyed it.  Normally, I would consider infusing Maker’s with anything to be heresay, but this worked well.  Frankly, as I shared with Teresa, it was very similar in taste to a Twilight Lounge favorite, which is just to add a dash of orange bitters to rye whiskey on the rocks.

My second drink of the evening was the very straight forward Scapa with just a single ice cube.   I could almost taste the salt spray on my lips as I sipped this for the first time.  It wasn’t as smokey as I usually like in a single malt, but it was delightfully smooth with a hint of vanilla (which would have made the perfect after dinner scotch for me this night).  

 The last cocktail effort of the night was a blend of Hendrick gin and Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur with a bit of lemon.  I nice way to finish the evening.

The off menu dinner and dessert specials that she suggested were also spot on.  The shrimp and scallps were perfectly grilled and served with jasmine rice, spinach and a pepper pesto type creation.  The portion size was just right.  Dessert was an amazing homemade vanilla ice cream on top of a pecan chocolate brownie with rasberries, black cherries and an incredible Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce.  It was awesome!

I”m looking forward to my next trip to Lincoln — Thanks Teresa!

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A Few of My Favorite Friends

The Twilight Lounge – December 16, 2011

Gin, sweet, juniper laced, glorious gin.  Bombay gin.  Beefeater gin.  Tanqueray gin. Gin Wigmore (just checking to see if you are paying attention).  Hendricks gin.  New Amsterdam gin.  Seagrams gin.  Plymouth gin.  London Dry gin, local gin, craft gin…gin, gin, gin.  Invented by the Dutch, co-opted by the British, where would we be without it?  No martinis – the only civilized way to end an uncivilized day.  No gin and tonics.  No Aviations.  No Singapore Slings or Sleigh Wrecks!

The invention of modern gin is credited to Franciscus Sylvius in the 17th century, although its roots go back to 11th century Italian monks who used juniper berries to flavor crudely distilled spirits.  The term gin is derived from the Dutch word genever, their word for juniper.  Originally used for what was supposed to be medicinal purposes, the British came upon it during the 30 Years War and called it “Dutch courage” for the effect it had on their bravery when taken before battle. 

Gin’s popularity in Britian soared during the reign of  William of Orange, who assumed the British throne in 1689.  With the taxes placed on brandy from France and on beer being quite heavy, locally distilled gin became the spirit of choice throughout England.

From 17th century England, gin has seen its ups and downs.  It its high point in the quintessential martini as enjoyed by FDR and Churchill to it’s low point as bathtub gin during Prohibition, gin has been a staple of cocktail culture for centuries.  Over the next few weeks I’ll explore the different styles of gins and include a number of gin reviews as well.  In the meantime, have a gin question?  Then fire away and I’ll do my best to answer!

Cheers!

June 30, 2011 – Fargo, ND

One of the benefits of my job is getting to find neat cocktail lounges in places I’d never otherwise visit.  The HoDo Lounge in downtown Fargo is just one of those places.

It is located in the historic Hotel Donaldson and draws a crowd as eclectic as the drink menu.  The band added to the fun, playing a mix of original music and covers that kept the crowd moving all night long. 

The first drink that I had was the Firetruck.  It was an amazing cocktail that consisted of St. Germain, seltzer water, and (drum roll please) 10 year old Laphroaig.  Even though there was just a 1/4 oz of the Laphroaig in this drink it comes through loud and clear.  The St. Germain sweetens this up just a bit and softens the peaty flavor of the Laphroig, while the seltzer makes this a tall glass sipper that is refreshing.  An inventive and very interesting cocktail.

The second cocktail of the night was the unusually named Cucular Caley (pictured).  A melange of pomegranate vodka, Hendricks gin, Sailor Jerry rum and cucumbers, all topped with a bit of seltzer, this was an amazing drink.  It was slightly sweet, slightly spicy and slightly fruity, yet still boozy enough to remind me that it packs a punch.  Kudos to the staff for this fantastic cocktail!

With that it was time for me to head back to my hotel and get a good nights sleep before my drive back to Milwaukee.  You can be sure, though, that I’m looking forward to my next visit to Fargo!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Well, I found this picture on my camera a couple of days ago…it’s dated May 14.  It looks delicious, doesn’t it?  I just wish I knew what the heck it is!  Obviously, made with Hendricks….

Wait a minute.  I just flipped through the spiral bound notebook that I use to write down new recipes and write my notes as I drink cocktails … and … I think I found it.  I’d swear that I’d looked before through my notebook and didn’t find this cocktail, but I’m sure this is it.  With Alzheimer’s moments like these, it’s no wonder that I’m getting AARP cards in the mail every other day.

  Mint Love and Happiness

  • 3 cucumber slices
  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • 1/2 oz bar syrup
  • 2 oz Hendrick’s
  • 1 oz St. Germain

In a mixing glass muddle the cucumber, mint and syrup.  Add ice and the Hendrick’s and St. Germain.  Stir to mix and chill.  Double strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with a lemon peel floating on a mint leaf (fancy, I know). 

Ahh, a twist on one of my favorite spring/summer cocktails, this takes the Love and Happiness a step further with the addition of the mint.  The flavors of the Hendrick’s, cucumber, mint and St. Germain were just made for each other – sorta  like Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (did I really just write that?).

As you mix this baby up, put the Raveonettes latest release “Raven In The Grave” on the old Pioneer and listen to “Forget That You’re Young” while you sip.  The aural experience will match the taste experience, I promise!

(Really – this post is written exactly as my mind worked through it – I really didn’t know what the drink was in the picture as I uploaded it – do you really think I could make this stuff up?)

Day 299, Cocktails 296 & 297

Tonight’s first cocktail is courtesy of the Dinner Party Download (to which, if you are not already subscribed to, you should be!)  The history behind the cocktail was the marriage of Charles Sherwood Stratton, better known as Tom Thumb, to Lavinia Warren in 1863.  The wedding was a huge spectacle, and may have been the wedding of the century.  Although many at the time considered yet another publicity stunt by P.T. Barnum, by all accounts the couple was very much in love.

The cocktail itself was created by John Ginetti of 116 Crown in New Haven, CT, the birthplace of Stratton and Sherwood.  It’s called the 4th and Clyde.

  4th and Clyde

  • 1 oz Hendrick’s gin
  • 1 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1 oz St. Germain
  • 1/8 oz honey
  • pinch of chili flakes

In a mixing glass, with no ice, combine all the ingredients and stir to combine.  You need to do this warm in order to get the honey to incorporate.  Once blended, add ice and stir to chill.  Double strain into a chilled coupe.

A very nice cocktail that is well balanced.  Slightly sweet from the honey and St. Germain with a touch of heat from the chili that helps bring the bourbon forward.  I really enjoyed this cocktail.

This led me to tweak the recipe just a bit to create what I called the Tom Thumb.

  Tom Thumb

  • 1 oz Hendrick’s gin
  • 1 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1 oz St. Germain
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/8 oz maple syrup

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

Subtle changes to the ingredient list, but big changes in flavor.  The orange of the Cointreau really balances very nicely with the St. Germain’s elderflower, but maintains the sweetness.  The maple syrup replaces the chili flakes, taking the heat away, but allowing the bourbon to still come through nicely.  Not what I’d consider a boozy cocktail with all the sweet ingredients, but not overly sweet either, as was the case with the 4th and Clyde.

Give this pair a try and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

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!

Cheers!

Day 285, Cocktails 283, 284 & 285

Nothing like a trip to Bryant’s to get caught up!  Brother Mark and I (along with another of Mark’s friends) stopped by there not too long ago for a Men’s League night.  We were delighted to find Emily, Michael and Katie Rose behind the bar.  That always means good things are in store for us!

My first was an effort from Emily, and it was fantastic!  Named the Robin’s Nest (see the picture), she used Hendrick’s gin, Domaine de Canton liqueur, lime juice, rich syrup and muddled cucumber, salt and pickled ginger to create a dazzling mix of ginger and cucumber flavors.  The rich syrup is fuller and, well, richer – and is made with demerara sugar instead of the regular white sugar I use in my bar syrup.  This was an outstanding drink from Emily and if you walk ito Bryant’s and find her behind the bar you really need to try one of these.

Next up was a no name cocktail from Michael that he put together to satisfy my craving for something in rye and orange flavors.  His cocktail included Sazerac rye whiskey, Aperol, orange bitters and Lillet Blanc.  A very tasty cocktail, this one had just the right mix of sweet orange and floral flavors that complimented the Sazerac extremetly well.  I enjoyed sipping this one as we bantered with each other and the other patrons at the bar.

My last drink of the night was a Katie Rose effort, and she put together a fantastic effort.  Following up on my rye and orange inclination, she used Sazerac rye, Aperol, Punt e Mes, Cynar, Reagan’s bitters, Angostura bitters and lemon juice.  You would think between the bitters, Cynar and Punt e Mes that this would be a very bitter, difficult drink.  It wasn’t, though.  The Aperol helps sweeten it back up, counteracting the bitter flavor of the Cynar (which is a liqueur made from artichoke among other things) and the Punt e Mes, which is a bitter Italian vermouth.  The flavors in this cocktail are bold and strong, yet also work well together, creating a taste explosion in my mouth.  Well done Katie, especially considering she overcame a sprained thumb which made shaking painful for her.

If you are in Milwaukee and have not been to Bryant’s you really do need to try it out – you won’t be disappointed.

Cheers!

Day 192, Cocktail 190

Wednesday night marked the return of the Men’s League.  The Reverend Horton Heat at Turner Hall Ballroom was on the menu – I really like his hard driving rockabilly style and what’s not to like when you have not just a song but a whole album named It’s Martini Time? 

As usual, the first stop of the night was Bryant’s for a cocktail.  John Dye was behind the bar when we arrived and I asked for something in gin.  John whipped up a no name (read – original) cocktail that consisted of Hendricks, Aquavit (a caraway flavored neutral grain spirit), Cointreau and lemon juice.  The caraway really pops in this, giving the drink a spicy, almost peppery flavor.  It was a very interesting combination and went down all too easy.

Unfortunately, we only had time for one at Bryant’s before moving on the show.  The Reverend was fantastic, pounding out all his favorites, including It’s Martini Time, Suicide Doors and Big Red Rocket of Love. 

Cheers!

Day 108, Cocktails 108 & 109

If Hollywood can make no less than three versions of the movie, I figure I can try three versions of the cocktail.  From the first sip of the first effort at the Blood and Sand I knew that, ultimately, this is the version I’d come up with.  Kind of like a love at first sight thing, do you know what I mean?

Those of you who know me well (that means you Stoffel) will say, duh, of course you were going to end up there.  Even you semi regular readers should not be suprised.

So just what the heck am I babbling about anyway?  Why, the use of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur in place of the cherry brandy, of course.  That oh so tart maraschino flavor is perfectly complemented by the sweet vermouth and orange juice, with the smokiness of the scotch sitting in the background, nice and mellow.  I can just see the scotch, sitting in a wing backed arm chair, smoking a pipe, trying to decide which of his two loves, sweet vermouth or maraschino liqueur, to go home with.  Aw, heck, take ’em both home!

  Blood And Stan

  • 3/4 oz scotch
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 oz orange juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy – no garnish necessary.

For the record, I’ve been using Cutty Sark scotch for all these variants.  Feel like something bolder?  Try Laphroaig instead to amp up the peat and smoke flavors.

I’m glad I got that out there and off my chest.  Really, I’ve been thinking about this cocktail since last Saturday!

Round two tonight was a cocktail for Gwen that was inspired by the show “Drink Up” on the Cooking Channel.  Yes, I know that one cooking network wasn’t enough and that we needed another.  At least these guys have shows about cocktails!  It was also helpful that I was able to use a couple of ingredients fresh from the garden.  Really, I mean fresh, as in about 2 minutes from being picked to being in the cocktail!  That’s one of the neat things about summer – there are so many truly fresh ingredients that you can work with right out of your own bar garden.

  Basil Collins

  • 2 oz Hendricks gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz bar syrup
  • seltzer water
  • 3 cucumber slices, about 1/8″ thick
  • 1 orange slice, about 1/8″ thick
  • 1 basil leaf

In a mixing glass combine the cucumber, orange, basil and bar syrup.  Gently muddle.  The key here is gentle – you want to leave the basil, orange and cucumber relatively intact while extracting the flavors that each contains.  Add several ice cubes, the gin and lemon juice.  Pour back and forth between two mixing glasses several times to mix.  Finally, pour into a collins glass and top with seltzer water.  Garnish with an orange slice or wedge.

Yet another light, refreshing summertime cocktail.  The fresh basil and cucumber work very well together and with the citrus flavors.  The gin is there, but not overpowering at all.  Mix one up and let me know what you think – or better yet, let me know about your twist on this one!

Cheers!

Day 104, Cocktails 103 & 104

Saturday was a fun, family day at the Wisconsin State Fair, and we managed to avoid eating any food on a stick.  We did see the chocolate covered bacon on a stick, and it did not look appetizing at all.  We were also fortunate to have our friends from St. Louis, Andy and Jennifer, and their two daughters, come over for a cook out and some swimming Saturday evening.  It ended up being quite a little party.

When Andy and Jennifer arrived that signalled the beginning of cocktail hour.  The problem was that when asked what they wanted, Jennifer and Gwen both said “Whatever”.  I’d never hear of a cocktail with that name and didn’t find anything on the CocktailDB web site either.  So I set about making up a cocktail for the girls.

Whatever Cocktail

  • 2 oz Hendrick’s gin
  • 1/2 oz cucumber juice
  • 1/4 oz St. Germain
  • 1/8 oz peppermint schnapps

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to completely chill.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a cucumber wheel.

My inspiration for this was the Love and Happiness.  However, rather than muddling cucumber I used my juicer to squeeze cucumber slices.  And, since I’d pretty much used all the mint from my garden, I added the peppermint schnapps to add just a hint of mint flavor.  It must of worked, because the girls loved it and I thought it worked out pretty well too.

It didn’t take long before the girls were ready for a second cocktail.  Jennifer joined me in the Twilight Lounge and wanted to have something named for her.  I asked what she liked and she told me vodka, rasberry and tequila.  I nearly pulled out the rasberry vodka, then thought about using vodka and chambord.  I even briefly considered the Sleigh Wreck, but I wanted to wait on that one.  I asked if she liked ginger and Jen said “yeah, its OK.”  So, I started thinking about a twist on a mule style cocktail combined with a margarita.  Thus, the Jennifer was born.

  Jennifer

  • 2 oz Cadadores tequila
  • 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 1 oz lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  You know what’s coming…shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.

Jen and Gwen loved this, and so did I.  Much more sophisticated than a mule and a flavorful twist on a margarita, this cocktail definately shifted the party into high gear.  I can’t wait until this fall when we’ll see Andy and Jennifer again!

Cheers!