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Tag Archives: maker’s mark

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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The Twilight Lounge – August 6, 2012

Ok, so I don’t really have a golden stingray – at least not the kind with four wheels and a bowtie on the grille. But I did recently find an interesting cocktail by that name.

I’ve recently decided to slim down the number of different liqueurs that I have at the Twilight Lounge (33 or 34 at last count) and have been using up the items I’m not planning on stocking anymore. One of those items is my bottle of Galliano. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I have several other anisette flavored liqueurs, and outside of Harvey Wallbangers, I haven’t found much to do with it (ok, so there are two cocktails I made with it during my 365 day journey, the Powerhouse and the Salt Lake Special).

So, I dialed up the CoctailDB and searched under Galliano and found the Golden Stingray. As has happened before, my initial reaction was no way this tastes good, but I figured what the heck and gave it a whirl.

Golden Stingray

  • 1 oz quality bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Galliano
  • soda water

Fill a rocks glass with ice and add with the bourbon and Galliano. Top with soda water, stir and serve.

I have to confess that the recipe I found on CocktailDB did not include the soda. I added that to cut the sweetness of the Galliano and make it a more refreshing summer sipper (it has been awfully hot this summer!). The primary flavor is the sweet anisette of the Galliano, but it is tempered by the bourbon (I’ve used both Maker’s Mark and Four Roses Small Batch).

A pleasant enough drink, but not enough to get me to continue stocking Galliano at the Twilight Lounge. So if you want one, you better get here soon!

Cheers!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I’m sure by now you know that Animal Kingdom won the Kentucky Derby yesterday.  And I’m nearly as sure that if you had any interest in race at all that you had a mint julep while you watched it, wearing your best party hat, of course.  Gwen and I also settled in to watch the race, and yes, she did have a party hat on.  We also had mint juleps, but not your traditional julep.

Juleps were originally developed as medicinal “tonics” to cure whatever might be ailing you during the 15th century.  A mixture of herbs, sugar and water, eventually alcoholic ingredients such as brandy or Cognac were introduced.  Over time mint became the herb used in juleps and then in the late 1800’s Kentucky bourbon become the choice of liquor to use.  Thus, the modern mint julep was born. 

As with most classic cocktails, there are certain standards and controversy about how to make a proper mint julep.  If you really want to be proper you will use a silver julep cup.  Using a julep cup allows the outside surface to become frosted over from the ice in the cup and adds a touch of elegance.  However, if you don’t have a julep cup (I don’t) you can use any tall cocktail glass.  I used a collins glass for mine on Saturday. 

The second point of contention in the making of a mint julep is just where and how the mint is used.  Some will simply garnish the julep with a large bunch of mint leaves extending from the top of the glass.  This presentation gives you a nice scent of mint with each sip of the julep.  Others will muddle the mint in the bottom of the glass before adding the ice and bourbon.  And what do I do?  Why, both of course! 

I do enjoy a good julep, especially on Derby day.  However, this year I decided to make a variation of the mint julep to provide a bit more flavor.  Here’s my recipe for a Peachy Mint Julep.

  Peachy Mint Julep

  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • 1 bar spoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 oz Stirrings Peach Liqueur
  • 4 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon

In the bottom of a collins glass gently muddle the mint with the sugar and peach liqueur.  Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the bourbon.  Stir to mix and chill using a bar spoon.  Garnish with a sprig of mint leaves extending above the rim of the glass and serve with a straw.

The Stirrings Peach Liquer adds just a hint of peach flavor and sweetness to complement the mint and the charcoal, smokey notes of the Maker’s Mark.  This is particularly a good way to get your non-bourbon drinking friends to try a julep since it is a bit mellower than a traditional julep.

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 347, Cocktail 355

Yes, I’m still alive – although based on my 50th some of you may have thought I’d dropped dead!  Actually, what has happened is that I’ve started a new job that requires a fair amount of travel.  Last in particular was hectic, but on the other hand I will have the opportunity to try new cocktails while travelling, so all is well.  Now to the task at hand, getting caught up here.

A week ago Friday I was back to egg fizz cocktails, finishing up the exploration I had begun earlier that week.  The last cocktail of this side journey was inspired by the earlier reported Whiskey Fizz, but with addition of egg white.  Since the gin version of this cocktail in Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail” is called the Silver Fizz, I decided to name this one the Golden Fizz.

  Golden Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • lemon lime soda

Combine the bourbon, lemon juice, bar syrup and egg white in a shaker with ice.  Shake vigorously to combine and get a nice emulsion going with the egg white.  Strain into a chilled Delmonico glass and top with lemon lime soda.

Mmmm, this is good.  The extra body and creaminess from the egg really takes what was a Whiskey Fizz to a new level.  This drink is even pleasing to the eye with its white, foamy head.  You can also use any good bourbon or rye whiskey in this one.

Cheers!

Day 343, Cocktails 348, 349 & 350

Monday evening found me at Ivee’s On Main to watch the NCAA basketball final.  While the game may have been lackluster, the cocktails were not!  Recently Colleen Graham had posted the Fancy Whiskey in her cocktail blog.  I thought it looked like a pretty good drink.  Plus, it easily lent itself to doing a multiple versions and some serious tasting comparisons based on the type of whiskey used.  So, in the name of science and to be able to give you a complete report I embarked on a fancy whiskey journey.

First, the Fancy Whiskey recipe is:

  Fancy Whiskey

  • 2 oz whiskey(of your choice)
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • dash Agnostura bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and blend.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

So, the recipe is pretty straightforward.  Let’s see how things worked out as I tried different whiskies.  The first was made with Maker’s Mark bourbon.  It was good, with the flavor reminiscent of a Manhattan, except orange flavored.  While 1 oz of bar syrup sounds like a lot, it did not overly sweeten the drink.  The use of triple sec helped with this cause since it is not as sweet as Cointreau is.  The bitters also help to keep the sweetness in line.  All in all, a good drink.

For the second variant I moved to Scotch and had Davey make it with Dewar’s.  It was very similar in taste to the Maker’s Mark version with a smokey peat element from the Scotch.  Depending on your specific taste you could amp up the smokey component of this drink by using a stronger single malt such as Laphroaig.  Again, a very good cocktail that I wouldn’t hesitate to order or make in the future.

Finally, for version three I switched to Canadian whiskey, Canadian Club to be specific.  This version was the least memorable of the bunch, probably owing to Canadian whiskey’s mellow character, particularly when compared to bourbon and Scotch.  It was a good cocktail, but didn’t have the heft that the first two versions had.  Think of this as the Fancy Whiskey lite!

All in all, three good cocktails.  Maybe those boys from Butler should have tried one of these, it couldn’t have hurt there shooting!

Cheers!

Day 335, Cocktail 340

Every good movie (and, unfortunately, some not so good movies) deserves a sequel.  In the case of the Godfather, there were two sequels.  And hey, maybe if were lucky, there will be a fourth! 

So, Saturday’s cocktail is a sequel of a previous drink.  Our friend Patti was home alone this weekend with Greg out of town on family business.  So Gwen made plans for the three of us to go out to dinner and then karaoke.  Our dinner stop was Amici’s in Richfield.  We all had wonderful Italian meals, and of course, cocktails.  While Gwen and Patti had martinis (Bombay and Grey Goose respectively) I chose the Godfather Martini.  I know, it should not be called a martini, but I bit my tongue and ordered it anyway.  Essentially, this is the close cousin to the previously posted Godfather cocktail.  The Amici’s version is made with Dewar’s scotch while my Godfather uses Maker’s Mark bourbon.  Both, of course, have amaretto in them. 

So how was it?  Pretty good.  The proportions of scotch and amaretto (which I did not get) were just right, providing a nice balance between the smokey flavor of the Dewar’s and the nutty, almond flavor of the amaretto.  This is a slightly sweet cocktail, so be prepared for that if you are a boozy cocktail fan.  It won’t knock you over with sugar like some fruity ice cream drink, but it’s not like having a scotch on the rocks or Manhattan either.

As for the karaoke, well that went just fabulous as well.  Of course, after a cocktail or two, my singing always gets better!

Cheers!

Day 311, Cocktail 313

Wednesday was my friend and Men’s League founder Mark’s birthday.  I had invited him to come over to the Twilight Lounge for a drink, but he instead invited me over for a cocktail so he could show off his latest effort, as well as his new bar room in his basement.  The room is spectacular, with stone walls, a beamed ceiling and a table and benches that Mark assembled and antiqued himself – and this table is so solid I’m sure it could take a direct hit from a cruise missile!

The cocktail was also solidly built and delicious.  Here it is:

  Mark’s Bourbon Pear

  • 1-1/2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1 oz Mathilde Pear liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz bar syrup

Combine the ingredient in a shaker with ice and shake to chill and mix.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a couple of basil leaves.

Excellent cocktail Mark!  The pear is evident and softens the bourbon, making for a very drinkable, yet boozy cocktail.  And the basil garnish adds a nice botanical scent and flavor to the drink.  A cocktail that I highly recommend!

Cheers!

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 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!