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Tag Archives: luxardo

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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Lincoln, NE – March 14, 2012

During my last trip to Lincoln I found several nice places that made up for my disappointment with Marz.  However, hands down, the best of the bunch is the Bourbon Theater.  I can assure you the next time and every time I’m in Lincoln I’ll be stopping by to see Luke Edson!

The Bourbon Theater is an interesting venue – a music club (the night I was there featured a DJ playing house, very loudly) along with an amazingingly well stocked bar and the very talented Luke Edson behind the bar.

For openers, I enjoyed that fact that Luke spent a few minutes chatting with me to find out what I like in a drink.  After our conversation he made me his twist on a Rob Roy.   Featuring Skye scotch along with Dubonnet, orange bitters and an orange twist, this was an amazing cocktail – and better than the original Rob Roy.  This wonderful smokey scotch with the orange flavors was very cohesive and well done. 

The next drink Luke made for me was the Mont Blanc, an original of his.  Here it is.

  Mont Blanc

  • 1-1/2 oz St. Remy brandy (or better)
  • 3/4 oz Bianco vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 – 1/3 oz Averna

In my notes at the time I wrote “OMG amazing!”  It’s like a boozy dessert.  Vanilla notes, a hint of cherry and an almost creamy texture.  This is, without a doubt, one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. 

By the way, if you want to make this at home (and I will be!) you will need the use Bianco vermouth, not dry vermouth.  Bianco is a sweetened white vermouth and using dry will not yeild the same result at all!

Cheers!

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!

Day 365, Cocktail 365

Whew!  The last cocktail of my year long sojourn is finally here – and I can hardly believe its been year since I started!  It’s really been quite the journey and I’ve had some very interesting cocktails…along with a few clunkers.  So as I contemplated what to make as my 365th cocktail I decided to try to find something that would combine two of my favorite ingredients, Maker’s Mark bourbon and Luxardo maraschino liqueur.  There aren’t a lot of recipes that call for this combination, but I did find one that would fit the bill.

  Bourbon Crusta

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice

Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to chill and combine.  Strain into a chilled coupe.

Mmm, a nice, tart cocktail that highlights the maraschino.  The bourbon comes in on the back end of this drink but it really does a nice job of showcasing the maraschino.  Typically, a crusta also would include a sugared rim, which I skipped, half out of expediency to get to the drink and half out of the fact that I didn’t want the extra sugar.  However, if this drink is too tart for you, just add a 1/4 oz of bar syrup.

So, in the words of the immortal Bugs Bunny, that’s all folks!

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 333, Cocktail 338

So what does a cocktail and the Slinky have in common?  Well, the Slinky was named by Betty James and last Thursday’s cocktail is named the Betty James.

Betty’s husband Richard actually invented the Slinky after he saw a torsion spring fall of a table and go through it’s gyrations along the floor.  In 1945 the couple convinced Gimbal’s department store to purchase 400 Slinky’s and display them on a ramp in the store.  The Slinky sold out in just 90 minutes at the handsome price of $1 each.  From there the couple was in the toy business, with Betty running the company from 1960 until it was sold to Poof Products in 1998. 

As for why this cocktail is named the Betty James, I have no idea.  My research turned up absolutely nothing about the naming, which is too bad, because there has to be a story there somewhere.  If you know the story, please let me know!

  Betty James

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Agnostura bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

A close cousin to the Aviation, this was a delightful cocktail.  I used Rehorst gin and it provided a very nice backbone.  The bitters provided a nice bite to compliment the maraschino and lemon flavors.  Overall, a very good cocktail!

Cheers to you Betty!

Day 301, Cocktails 301 & 302

We had some fresh grapefruit in the house, which is currently one of number 2 daughter’s favorite snacks.  I figured that she wouldn’t miss one (it’s not like their that big or anything…), so I grabbed one and took it down to the Twilight Lounge with me.  I didn’t have anything in mind, figuring I’d just experiment and see what I could come up with.

For my first effort I wanted to use the Death’s Door gin that I had in the cabinet.  I was almost out and figured that maybe this would be a good way to use it up, particularly since it is not overly botanical like the London dry gins.  As I looked throught the liqueurs cabinet my eye was drawn to the Luxardo maraschino liqueur (another shock, I know).  I also grabbed the bar syrup figuring that the tart grapefruit would need a little sweetness beyond what the maraschino would provide.  Thus, after a little tinkering, the Death by Grapefruit was born.

  Death by Grapefruit

  • 2 oz Death’s Door gin
  • 1 oz ruby red grapefruit
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 oz bar syrup

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

Even though I only used 1/4 oz of the Luxardo, it is the maraschino flavor that comes front and center initially, followed by the tart grapefruit and then the juniper of the gin.  It definately needs the bar syrup, otherwise this would be a very tart cocktail.  All in all, a pretty good effort, if I say so myself.

For my next cocktail, I decided to stay in the same vein of gin, but swapped out the Luxardo for Ty Ku, the delightful mangosteen and melon flavored liqueur.  Again, after a little bit of trial and error, here is what I settled upon.

  Ty Ku Grapefruit

  • 1 oz Plymouth gin
  • 1 oz Ty Ku
  • 1 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup

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

As with the Death by Grapefruit, the supporting liqueur is what comes through first, in this cast the Ty Ku.  It is then followed by hints of grapefruit and then even more subtly the Plymouth.  I had chosed the Plymouth because of its relatively neutral presentation (for a gin, that is), and because I was almost out of the Death’s Door.

Of the two drinks from last night, I’d have to give the nod to the Death by Grapefruit, although I thought both were good.  Give ’em both a try and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Day 292, Cocktails 289 & 290

The Dinner Party Download has been a favorite podcast of mine for a while now.  The unique blend of cocktails, current events and food put you in perfect position, as the hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam remind you weekly, to win this week’s dinner party.  I enjoy the interviews that they do as well as the history and cocktail segment.  In this segment you get a tidbit from history and then, a cocktail to commemorate the event.  Last week’s event was the accidental loss of an H-bomb by the US Air Force during an exercise off the coast of Georgia.  The bomb is still out there somewhere, at the bottom of the Atlantic and is now known as the Tybee bomb.  And thus, this cocktail was born!

  Tybee Bomb

  • 2 oz Plymouth gin
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 1/8 oz grenadine
  • 1 maraschino cherry, soaked in moonshine for 2 days

Combine all the ingredients, except the cherry, in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to chill and combine.  Strain into a cocktail glass and drop the marinated cherry into the bottom for garnish.

Wow, what a great cocktail (and yes, I do have moonshine, so I was able to marinate the cherry in it – I think Pisco or cherry brandy would also work if you don’t have ‘shine laying about the bar).  Silky smooth thanks to the egg white with hints of cherry and just a bit of bite from the moonshine soaked cherry.  This was my first foray into egg white cocktails at home and it was delicious!  Thanks Rico and Brendan!

I would have made another on Friday while Gwen and I were waiting to go out for dinner, but we were limited on our egg availability.  So I went in a completely different direction for my second effort of the night.  I put 2 oz of Maker’s Mark bourbon in my shaker with ice and 2 orange slices and a drop of my English Toffee flavoring.  I shook hard and long and then strained it into a rocks glass with a bourbon ball and an orange slice for a garnish.  It was enjoyable, but not quite right.  I got the hint of toffee flavor that I wanted, but it was pretty strong with bourbon.  I think either Cointreau or triple sec would help this out, and maybe a dash of bitters.  I’ll have to play around with this one some more and let you know what I come up with.

Cheers!

 

Day 290, Cocktail 287

Wednesday night and my stream of consciousness cocktailing took me from the Ty Ku Cherry with it’s gin and maraschino (along with the Ty Ku, of course) to a combination of gin, maraschino and Lillet Blanc.  Why?  Well, regular readers know by now that I love the Luxardo Maraschino liqueur.  Gin, well, that’s a no brainer – just check out the cocktail index and see how many gin drinks there are.  And the Lillet Blanc?  Why not?  It’s been sitting in the fridge, feeling a little left out lately, so I pulled it out.  Here’s what I came up with.

  Cherry Lillet

  • 2 oz Beefeater Gin
  • 1 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass and stir vigorously with ice.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon twist.

Hmmm, delicious.  The floral and orange flavors of the Lillet work wonderfully with Luxardo’s cherry to create a multi layered flavor profile that blends very well with the gin.  I suggest using a London Dry type gin such as Beefeater or Bombay for this drink.  A lighter gin would get lost behind the Lillet and Luxardo.  If you like the Aviation or French 75 cocktails, I think you’ll like this one as well.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Day  288, Cocktail 286

Monday night rolled around and I was in the mood for something a bit lighter.  I’ve been pretty whiskey heavy lately, and my detour through brandy for a week still kept me in the same vein of brown liquors.  So as I contemplated what do make down in the Twilight Lounge I pulled out my trusty bottle of Beefeater Gin to use as my base.  Next I opened up the liqueur cabinet (yes, I have one whole cabinet dedicated to liqueurs, and one dedicated to liquor – each about the size of a double door upper cabine in your kitchen) and started to root around.  The Ty Ku bottle was near the front and I swear I could hear it calling my name, so I picked it up.  As I did so, my hand brushed against the Luxardo Maraschino bottle and it the touch was electric…I knew that these two must somehow form a winning combination.

  Ty Ku Cherry

  • 2 oz Beefeater Gin
  • 1 oz Ty Ku
  • 1/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to chill and mix.  Strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with a lemon peel.

Hmmm, this was nice.  Light, refreshing, with just a hint of melon from the Ty Ku and cherry from the Luxardo.  The Ty Ku has enough volume to tone down the gin (not that gin needs toning down) so that it wasn’t an overwhelming flavor.  This cocktail makes a great before dinner drink for lighter fare – think summertime menus of crisp salads or grilled tuna.  I can’t wait for warmer weather to arrive so I can have one while sitting out on the patio overlooking the pool!

I wanted to also comment on my use of the ‘ol 1/8 oz measure.  It’s actually pretty easy to achieve 1/8 oz as that is the volume of my bar spoon.  So when I make a cocktail that needs 1/8 oz it gets 1 bar spoon full of whatever it is.  1/4 oz is two bar spoons, etc.  If there is one piece of equipment worth having, it is the long handled bar spoon!

Cheers!