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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!


Day 209, Cocktails 200 & 201

Well, it was an interesting week, to say the least.  A good chunk of my time was spent starting up a job search, which has me excited but also nervous.  I also spent a fair bit of time finishing up the new floor at the Twilight Lounge.  I’m glad that project is over and the new cork look floor looks great!    Finally, it was a whole bunch of other little things as we get ready for my mom Paula and Cookie’s visit to us for Thanksgiving.  Whew!

To celebrate the reopening of the Twilight Lounge our friends Greg and Patti came over for dinner.  It’s always fun to get together with them for good food, games, conversation and cocktails.  Inevitably, the evening goes much longer than planned and Saturday was no exception!

I started the evening off with the Caramel Apple and it went over well with Greg and Patti.  Greg noted that it would be a great cocktail to sip while smoking a fine, full bodied cigar.  Frankly, I agree!  After a couple of these tasty treats we moved on to dinner.  After dinner it was time for a liquid dessert and I broke out the Pecan Pie.  Again, a bullseye!  Even Greg enjoyed it, even though he doesn’t like pecan pie! 

As the night wore on the music got louder, the new floor was given a dance workout and a couple of new cocktails were invented and enjoyed.  The first came about as we were talking about blending flavors and sniffing some of the various liquors and liqueurs in the Twilight Lounge.

  Greg’s Kringle

  • 1-1/2 oz Kajmir
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz Amaretto

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a coupe and garnish with an orange peel.

Yummy is the only way to describe this drink!  Greg’s immediate reaction was that it tasted like a kringle, a Wisconsin favorite.  He was right too.  This comes out slightly nutty, slightly vanilla and just the right amount of sweet to be a great after dinner cocktail.  We’ll be having this one again!

While Greg was enjoying his kringle, I was ready for more rye and orange flavors.  Here’s the result.

  No Name

  • 2-1/2 oz Russel’s rye whiskey
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 2 dashes Agnosturo orange bitters
  • 1 bar spoon bar syrup

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a large cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Again, another winner!  The ginger of the Domaine de Canton adds a new dimension to the rye and orange that is slightly exoctic.  The orange bitters help tie it all together and the bar syrup softens the rye just a tad but does not make this a sweet cocktail by any stretch.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t inspired with a name for this one — but I’m open to suggestions!  Give me your ideas and I’ll publish the winner and personally make it for you!

From this point on it got late enough and sloppy enough to switch to rum and cola’s…between the music and dancing we didn’t leave ourselves any time for proper cocktails.  All in all it was a great evening with great friends!



Day 178, Cocktails 173 & 174

Ok, so maybe I’m being a tad melodramatic, breaking out the Peaches and Herb, but it sounded good in my head. 

Tonight’s cocktails feature a pairing that deserve to be brought together, whether its for the first time (it is for me) or its after being seperated (most likely at birth).  Kajmir is the odd blend of vodka, brandy and vanilla flavors (a gift that must be drunk!) and Kahlua, the well known coffee flavored liqueur.  I thought these two would play well together but wasn’t satisfied with just the two of them.  Orange is definately a flavor that should work.  Thus, the first of two cocktails was born.

  Orange Mocha ‘Nilla

  • 1-1/2 oz Kajmir
  • 3/4 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Triple Sec

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to chill and mix.  Strain into a coupe and garnish with an orange peel.

It took a couple of tries to get this just right, but once I did I had a very lovely, fall flavored cocktail.  The orange of the triple sec, mocha of the Kahlua and the vanilla of the Kajmir all blend very well without being too sweet.  I think you’ll like this one.

Next I tried to play with another fall flavor, apple.  For this effort I broke out the Calvados.  Here was the final version I came up with.

  Apple Mocha ‘Nilla

  • 1-1/2 oz Kajmir
  • 3/4 oz Kahlua
  • 1/2 oz Calvados

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to chill and mix.  Strain into a coupe, no garnish required.

Hmmm, not as good as the Orange Mocha ‘Nilla.  The Calvados is strong and even I kept dialing it back it was still front and center.  Maybe if I had gone down to 1/4 oz of Calvados, but that will have to wait for another night.


Day 89, Cocktail 91

Another Friday night at the Twilight Lounge, and it’s another retro cocktail night.  With no plans for the evening it’s a great time to try a couple of new ones on for size.

The first was born out of the fact that I still had the Kajmir sitting out from the Tuesday’s effort.  I pulled my copy of “The Martini Book” of the shelf and started browsing.  (By the way, as you know, I do not condone the name of this book by Sally Berk.  It would be far more appropriate to call it the cocktail book.  Ok, I’ll move on as I did promise to limit my rants).  One recipe that caught my eye called for vanilla flavored vodka, Calvados and dry vermouth.  Hmmm, the Kajmir should do nicely in place of the vanilla vodka I reasoned.  So, my version became the Apple Pie cocktail.

  Apple Pie

  •  3 oz Kajmir
  • 1/2 oz Calvados
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth

Combine everything in a shaker with ice and shake away.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a thin slice of apple (Granny Smith or another tart apple works best).

Not bad.  It is reminiscent of a slice of apple pie courtesy of the blend of Calvados and the Kajmir.  This would be great to have in about 2 months after harvesting apples and sitting in front of a roaring fire.

Gwen wasn’t wild about the Apple Pie, so it was back down to the Twilight Lounge to mix her up a drink.  I have been working on this cocktail variant of the Love and Happiness for a while now, and think it’s ready to publish.

  Gin Mint

  • 3 oz Hendricks gin
  • 3/8 oz St. Germain
  • 2 slices of cucumber, about 1/8″ thick
  • 2 slices of lime, about 1/8″ thick
  • 3-4 grains of kosher salt
  • 1 small sprig of mint

Place the St. Germain, cucumber, lime, salt and mint into a mixing glass and muddle.  Be sure to just go up and down with your muddler, do not twist.  Twisting will pulverize the mint and cucumber seeds and make it harder to strain out.  Add 4-5 ice cubes and the gin and stir thoroughly.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish by floating a cucumber slice.

This is a very nice, refreshing, hot summer evening cocktail (which, by the way, is exactly the kind of evening we’re having here).  The St. Germain sweetens the drink just so while the salt helps bring out the best of the cucumber.  Give this a try with one of those fresh cucumbers from you garden.  Really, go ahead, I’ll wait why get it.


Day 86, Cocktail 89

Yep, it’s another obtuse and obscure post title…what can I say?  Hall and Oates popped into my mind mostly because I’ve been listening to The Bird and The Bee’s new release “Interpeting the Masters, Vol. 1 (A Tribute to Daryll Hall and John Oates)”.  Wow, I never thought I’d see Hall and Oates regarded as masters.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed them in the 80’s just like everyone else.  It’s just, well, really, Masters?  Any way, if you have not heard of The Bird and The Bee, check ’em out.  You’ll thank me some day.

So, back to cocktails.  I was idly flipping through The Cocktail Bible this evening looking for something to catch my eye.  I’ve still got a bunch of drinks bookmarked that I’ve not tried, but none of them were tickling my fancy.  Then, I turned the page, and there it was.  A cocktail called the Indian Summer.  Vodka, gin, pineapple juice, all good.  Kahlua?  Really?  I’m not a coffee fan (witnessed by the fact that the bottle of Kahlua sitting at the back of the liqueur shelf at the Twilight Lounge moved here with us from St. Louis).  But I thought, what the heck.

As I pulled out the vodka, I saw my bottle of Kajmir sitting there, all lonely as well.  While it’s not been around as long as my Kahlua, this bottle has had a couple of birthday’s.  It was a gift and I just haven’t found too many ways to use the offbeat liqueur that is a blend of brandy, vodka and vanilla.  At 40 proof, its not that strong.  It just goes against my not using flavored vodka grain I guess.  However, as I contemplated the Kahlua I was about to use, I thought that the vanilla flavor would be a nice compliment.  Thus, the Mocha Summer was born.

  Mocha Summer

  • 1 oz Kahlua liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Bombay gin
  • 1/2 oz Kajmir liqueur
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • tonic water, about 1/2 oz

In a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes combine the Kahlua, Bombay, Kajmir and pineapple juice.  Shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass (you’ll need your 6 ouncer for this one) and then top with about 1/2 oz of tonic water.  If you really want to go uptown, shave some dark chocolate on the top for a garnish.

The vanilla in the Kajmir did it’s job and blended with the Kahlua to give a chocolate flavor the drink.  Meanwhile, the tonic water just lightened this up enough to keep it from being too heavy.  When Gwen took her first sip I thought she had just died and gone to heaven!  I’m pretty sure we’ll see this again at the Twilight Lounge.