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Tag Archives: maple syrup

Day 331, Cocktail 336

While driving home after dropping daughter number one off at school Tuesday morning I noticed a stand of maple trees with buckets hanging off the trunks about 3 feet up from the ground.  Instantly I realized that someone was collecting the sap so that they could make…drumroll please…maple syrup!  Yum!

Cocktails with maple syrup have graced earlier posts of this blog, but I felt inspired to come up with a cockail that would use it again.  Rye seemed like a natural, and having chosen the Jim Beam all I had to do was decide what else should go into the mixing glass.  My fondess of orange as a pairing with rye is well documented, so choosing Agnsotura’s orange bitters was a fairly obvious choice to me.

  Orange Maple

  • 3 oz Jim Beam rye
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

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

Very nice, a good blend of all three flavors in balance.  The sweetness of the maple syrup helps make this a touch less boozy and compliments the orange flavor of the bitters.  Another winner from the Twilight Lounge!



Day 321, Cocktails 326 & 327

Last Saturday, after the couple of tiki cocktails that I had whipped up, the girls were ready for something different.  There’s been a bit of a buzz over the last year for cocktails that are mixed with tea (and for liquor bottled with tea) that I’ve largely ignored.  However, with a couple of adult beverages already in me, my inhibitions were lowered and I decided to give tea based cocktails a try.

For this effort I pulled out my bottle of Evan Williams bourbon and my Stirrings Peach liqueur.  These are two flavors that go well together and also seemed a natural to go with a Southern inspired tea based cocktail – particularly since I’d be using Gwen’s sweet tea.  After fooling around with the bourbon, peach liqueur, tea and maple syrup (yes, that’s right, maple syrup – it adds depth to the flavor profile)  I settled on two versions of the same cocktail.  One is sweeter and one is more boozy, thus fitting Gwen’s and my tastes.

  Sweet Peach Tea

  • 1-1/2 oz Evan Williams bourbon
  • 1/8 oz Stirrings Peach Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup
  • 4 oz sweet tea

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously to chill and combine.  Pour into a collins glass, adding ice if needed.  Garnish with a peach slice.

This drink has a nice, sweetly mellow flavor.  I really had to cut down on the peach liqueur, having started with 1/2 oz.  Even that small amount overwhelmed the drink.  However, for my taste, this was a bit too sweet, so I adjusted it for my taste.

  Peach Tea

  • 2 oz Evan Williams bourbon
  • 1/8 oz Stirrings Peach Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup
  • 4 oz sweet tea

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously to chill and combine.  Pour into a collins glass, adding ice if needed.  Garnish with a peach slice.

This version gets closer to the boozy cocktails that I prefer while still maintaining all its southern charm.  With more bourbon and less tea there is a deeper, smokier quality and the maple notes come through stronger as well, which make a nice compliment to the bourbon and peach.

By the time we got through these cocktails it was definitely time to call it a night…which, of course, we didn’t do.  The cocktail experimenting was definitely over though!


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!


Day 250, Cocktails 248 & 249

New Year’s Eve at the Twilight Lounge, and it was quite an event!  You can check out my about page for pictures of the festivities, so I won’t get into the details here.  Suffice it to say that the night finally ended at about 4am, give or take a few minutes. 

In addition to yesterday marking the end of the year, it was also my first chance to try out my bourbon balls.  I know, you’re thinking, what the hell are bourbon balls?  As a Maker’s Mark ambassador I get a freebie every year around the holidays.  This year’s gift was a mold to make ice balls – and was I ever excited!  Being able to have a solid, round ball of ice about the size of a baseball in my glass keeping my bourbon or scotch cold is fantastic.  The size of the ball keeps the drink cold yet it melts much slower than individual cubes.  You’ll be seeing more of my cocktails using the ice balls, just like yesterday’s cocktail (artfully posed on the Twilight Lounge poker table).

So, what to do with my ice balls and get ready for the party?  My first attempt featured 2 oz of Maker’s Mark bourbon, 1/2 oz Cavados, 1/8 oz maple syrup and 2 drops of my root beer extract.  I wanted to get a bit of root beer flavor and thought it would work well with the apple flavor of the Calvados.  Hmmm, not so much.  The root beer flavor I was shooting for was barely there and Calvados gave this drink a real rough edge.  So, back to the drawing board, and in a totally new direction.

  Ball Drop

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/8 oz maple syrup
  • 3 drops root beer extract

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a rocks glass with an ice ball.

This was nice – and it looks great too!  With just hints of orange, maple and root beer with Maker’s this ends up being a very complex cocktail.  This is a great sipper and with the giant ice ball, it stays nice and cold without getting watered down.  In fact, it took me about an hour to drink this and there was still half of the ball left!


Day 187, Cocktail 184

Friday night and I was on taxi duty for daughter number two.  She had not one, not two, but three Halloween parties that she wanted to attend.  Gwen and I made her cut it down to two, but it still left me with quite a bit of taxi duty last night.

In between all the running around I managed to come up with a new, original cocktail to help us stay in the Halloween spirit.  Apple is a natural flavor for fall and even Halloween inspired cocktails (anyone up for some bobbing for apples with Charlie Brown and the gang?).  Calvados was a natural choice for me to use.  But what to mix it with?  How about some rye whiskey and maple syrup?  The result was named by Gwen, let’s check it out!

  Caramel Apple

  • 2 oz Jim Beam rye
  • 1 oz Calvados
  • 1/2 oz maple syrup

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

I did not garnish this, although an apple slice or a caramel candy would both be fun garnishes.  A more traditional garnish would be an orange peel.  As the name suggests, this did end up tasting somewhat like a caramel apple, thanks to the blend of the apple flavored Calvados and the maple syrup.  While this might not be a true Halloween cocktail, it is definately a tasty fall treat that can be enjoyed in front a fire inside or outside!


Day 170, Cocktails 165 & 166

Although the weather here over the weekend was more like summer than fall, there’s no doubt that autumn is here.  All I have to do is look out in the yard and see all the leaves on the grass to know that it’s October.  This time of year also means apple picking and making apple pies and homemade applesauce…mmm, mmm good!  At the Twilight Lounge it also means its time for the Calvados.

Just what is Calvados, you ask.  The answer is really quite simple.  It is an apple brandy that originates from the  Lower Normandy region of France.  It has been around since the days of Charlemagne in the 8th century and has continued since then pretty much the same.  Of course, modern Calvados are made by hundreds of producers, but all come from the Calvados appellation controlled region of France.

Tonight I have two cocktails that are original recipes (as far as I know) and are variations on the same theme.  The first is a classic style cocktail that I call a Nailed Apple.  The name comes from the twist that this is on a Rusty Nail

  Nailed Apple

  • 2 oz Cutty Sark scotch
  • 1 oz Drambuie
  • 1/2 oz Calvados

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

Very similar in flavor to the Rusty Nail, but with just a hint of apple from the Calvados.  If you are a scotch fan the fun you can have with this drink by trying different scotches is nearly endless.  For example, I think making this with a smokier scotch such as Laphroig would be an amazing cocktail.

The second cocktail of the evening is a variation that adds even more fall flavor.  I call it the Maple Apple.

  Maple Apple

  • 2 oz Cutty Sark scotch
  • 1 oz Drambuie
  • 1 oz Calvados
  • 1/8 oz maple syrup
  • seltzer water

Combine all the ingredients except the seltzer water in a mixing glass with ice.  You’ll want to add the maple syrup last so that it doesn’t end up just sticking to the ice.  Stir to chill and combine.  Pour (ice and all) into a rocks glass and top with selzter water. 

I think this one turned out pretty good as well.  I can imangine sitting besides the fire pit on a crisp fall night with this drink in my hand.  The increased amount of Calvados comes through with more apple flavor while the maple syrup adds just a touch of sweetness.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Day 78, Cocktail 80

Tiki week continues tonight with another new cocktail.  But before we can drink, we need a glass to put it in!  If you are a regular reader, you’ve already read my rantings regarding cocktail glasses.  However, when it’s tiki time, the rules get thrown out the window and cool, retro tiki barware takes center stage.  Most of my tiki recipes can be served in one of these fun glasses – I have a set of 6 of the center fellow while his two friends are one offs.  Half the fun of tiki glasses (the not drinking from them half) is in acquiring them.  I never buy my tiki glasses “retail”.  Rather, thrift shops, rummage sales, flea markets, craigslist and ebay are my sources, and so much more fun!  And don’t worry about them matching, finding different glasses is what makes using them so much fun at a party!

Now, about that cryptic post title.  Some of you of a certain age should remember the old Hai Karate cologne.  You know the one that drives women so mad with the desire that the unsuspecting wearer has to resort to karate chops to keep the many attackers at bay.  (Yeah, like that really happened to me!)  Well, tonight’s cocktail is named the Hai Karate is a Beachbum Jerry original from his Intoxica recipe book.

  Hai Karate

  • 2 oz amber rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1/8 oz maple syrup (the real stuff!)
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 6-7 ice cubes.  Skake well to mix and then pour (ice and all) into a tiki glass or collins glass.  Garnish with a lime or orange wedge.

A very nice tropical, fruity blend that allows the rum (in this case, Appleton Reserve) to shine through.  The maple syrup adds just a touch of woody sweetness that blend very well with this drink.  Once again, I’ve looked at a recipe and thought “you’re kidding” but it really does work!


PS – I will be doing a second tiki week in August, so if you have a favorite tiki recipe, let me know!  If I use your recipe during tiki week II you’ll win an official Twilight Lounge keepsake of your very own!