Skip navigation

Tag Archives: maraschino liqueur

Day 271, Cocktail 274

Liz Phair rocked at Turner Hall last night!  And to really make my night she mostly played cuts from her “Exile in Guyville” disc, which is my favorite!  The only song I she didn’t play that I would have really liked to have heard was “Flower”, but hey, I guess you can’t always get what you want.

After the show I headed home and found our friends Patti and Greg down in the Lounge with Gwen.  I was just in time to help out with the last round of cocktails.  Before the show I had come up with my Liz Phair cocktail.  While I was working on it, in the back of mind, I had a similar drink that I wanted to call Flower in honor of the song.  So I tried it out….and it didn’t work.  I used the Knob Creek again, but replaced the orange bitters with Peychaud’s and tried St. Germain instead of the Luxardo maraschino.  It was not very good.  The St. Germain and the bourbon clashed and the Peychaud’s just didn’t jibe with either in this drink.  I made a note to myself last night to try adding Cointreau, and maybe that would help, but I doubt it. 

Fortunately, the concert was much better than my post show drink!

Cheers!

Day 271, Cocktail 273

I’m going to see Liz Phair tonight at Turner Hall Ballroom in downtown Milwaukee, and I am psyched!  I’ve never seen her live and she is one of my all time favorites!  I’ve been listenening to her music since Exile in Guyville and I just love her music.

Sooo, I began to think, just what would Liz Phair drink before or after her show?  I’m pretty sure she’s not a girlie cocktail kind of gal.  No, she be drinking like the guys.  But not beer.  Probably tequila or bourbon I figure.  So it’s time to dump Brandi (sorry girl, you were such a fine girl, but your week is over) and I reached into the cabinet for the Knob Creek bourbon.

  Liz Phair

  • 2-1/2 oz Knob Creek bourbon
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Agnosturo orange bitters

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir vigorously to mix and chill.  Let the drink sit for a moment or two (OK, more like 30 – 60 seconds) to give the ice a chance to melt a bit.  Meanwhile, prep a rocks glass with an ice ball.  Strain into the rocks glass over the ice ball.

Of course Liz drinks her bourbon with an ice ball – she’s the epitomy of balls for heaven’s sake!  And the extra melt is important to help take the edge of the bourbon.  Overall, a good cocktail, although I did have to sneak up on the amount of Luxardo in it.  It has a nice kick from the bourbon a just a hint of cherry and orange flavors from the Luxardo and Agnosturo orange bitters. 

Maybe I’ll sneak back stage and make for Liz Phair tonight…or maybe I’ll just worm my way up to the front of the stage and dance my butt off instead!

Cheers!

Day 269, Cocktails 269, 270 & 271

As I was preparing tonight’s post I couldn’t help but chuckle over the thought of my favorite Seinfeld episode.  It’s the one that has Jerry dating one gal, but he’s grown tired of her and is interested in her roommate.  Jerry and George spend all night in an attempt to devise a plan for “The Switch” when George comes up with the most brilliant idea he ever had – the Menage a Trois with the girlfriend and her roommate.  The idea is that the girlfriend will turn him down and break up and the roommate will be titillated by the notion that Jerry wanted to include her.  The plan “backfires” when the girlfriend and roommate are into the idea and Jerry backs out!  That’s the point at which I start screaming at the TV, unable to believe that Jerry is passing up the opportunity of a lifetime. 

So what does that have to do with brandy cocktails?  Not much, but I do have three of them for you tonight.  So let’s get to it.

  Fantasio

  • 1-1/2 oz brandy
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters

Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with a lemon wedge and then sugar the rim.  In a mixing glass combine all the ingredients with ice and stir to mix and chill.  Strain into the sugar rimmed cocktail glass.

The cocktail is excellent, I could do without the sugared rim.  I still don’t know what possessed me to do it (just because the recipe called for it doesn’t mean I will).  I ended up clearing a spot with my first few sips and sticking with that cleared path to drink from.  I’m just not a fan of salted or sugared rims.  (Spinners and rim jobs, on the other hand …).  Anyway, back to the cocktail.  It was delicious with just enough of the maraschino to provide a nice cherry flavor pop that had hints of orange from the Cointreau.  Oh, and yeah, I could also taste the brandy as well as the base for this cocktail.  Given my love of maraschino, it’s no surprise that I liked this one (Gwen thought it was too boozy).

  Cherry Blossom

  • 1-1/2 oz brandy
  • 1 oz kirschwasser
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/8 oz grenadine

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

Another very nice, cherry flavored cocktail.  In fact, I’d have to say that this is the best cocktail I’ve ever had with kirschwasser.  By itself, I find kirschwasser (a cherry brandy, often German in origin) to be harsh with quite a bite.  In this drink, however, the lemon juice and Cointreau mellowed the kirschwasser out, leaving a lovely, almost (but not quite) cherry flavor accented by the orange of the Cointreau.  I’m sure the grenadine also helped smooth this cocktail out – and be sure to use the real stuff!

  Brandy Cassis

  • 1-1/2 oz brandy
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz creme de cassis

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

This is where I should insert the photo of the really, really sour face.  Way too much lemon juice in this one, it completely overpowers the drink!  I even double checked the recipe after I made it and was drinking it (as I’m writing this) to be sure – I really thought I had made a mistake.  Sadly, I did not.  If I were to make this again I would cut the lemon juice in half or add a 1/4 oz of bar syrup.  I’d favor just cutting the lemon juice in half since even if sweetened it would still overwhelm the cassis. 

So, as Meatloaf once sang, two out of three ain’t bad.

Cheers!

Day 265, Cocktails 265 & 266

There’s a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes

And there’s a girl in this harbor town
And she works layin’ whiskey down
They say “Brandy, fetch another round”
She serves them whiskey and wine

The sailors say “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” (you’re a fine girl)
“What a good wife you would be” (such a fine girl)
“Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea”
(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)

This 70’s classic by Looking Glass seems as good a way as any to introduce a week of Wisconsin’s favorite, brandy.  More brandy is consumed (by far) in Wisconsin than any other state (40% of Korbel’s total output of brandy ends up here), but the bar at the hotel where one of my friends stayed did run out of brandy, along with Miller Lite.)  So with winter in full swing and several bottles of brandy in the Twilight Lounge liquor cabinet it seemed like a good time to explore this Wisconsin favorite.

  Saratoga Cocktail

  • 2oz brandy
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/8 oz lemon juice
  • 1/8 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a cherry.

I amped the pineapple up from 1/4 oz to 1/2 oz after making my first one.  The pineapple just seemed lost without the extra 1/4 oz.  My modified drink was good with a very complex and layered flavor profile.  The brandy, maraschino and pineapple all blend harmoniously.  Towards the end it did start to get a little syrupy sweet the way some drinks with pineapple can get, but overall I thought this was a winner.  By the way, for those of you keeping score at home I used Korbel brandy and Luxardo maraschino liqueur.

The Saratoga on the left and Pisco Punch on the right.

For my next brandy drink I decided on the Pisco Punch.  Pisco is an acquired taste.  It is a brandy distilled from white muscat grapes and has a sharp flavor to it, somewhat similar to kirschwasser.  So why choose it?  Well, I had a bottle left over from New Year’s Eve courtesy of Christian and Meredith and had some pineapple juice left from the Saratoga.

  Pisco Punch

  • 2 oz Pisco brandy
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients with 1/2 cup of cracked ice in a blender.  Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled wine glass.  Garnish with a cherry or lime slice.

I had to let this one grow on me.  This drink, although it looks frilly, is not.  Between the pisco and the bitters it is a sour son of a gun.  As I expected, it was a complete no go for Gwen.

Well, that’s it for today.  Off to watch the Packers with all my brandy swillin’ friends at Ivee’s!

Cheers!

 

Day 247, Cocktails 244 & 245

New Year’s Eve is rapidly approaching and I’ve been getting ready for first ever New Year’s Eve party at the Twilight Lounge.  Not that it’s the first New Year’s Eve party we’ve ever hosted, just the first at the Lounge mind you.  Although we haven’t decided yet what to wear on Friday night, I think Josephine Baker has the right idea.  If there is ever a night to wear a tuxedo, it’s New Year’s Eve!

So, on Tuesday, I was idly perusing The Martini Book when I stumbled upon a cocktail called the Tuxedo.  Perfect for my needs, heh?  When I saw maraschino liqueur and orange bitters I just knew I’d have to try it.

  Tuxedo

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1-1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/8 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 4 dashes orange bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass and stir.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with an orange twist.

Mmmmm, this is pretty good.  It combines two of my favorite flavors, the maraschino liqueur and orange bitters.  However, as I sipped it I had a tough time really getting the maraschino flavors to come forward.  They were hidden by the vermouth, at least to my taste buds.  So, for round two I headed back to the bar and tinkered and came up with an improved (at least in my humble opinion) Tuxedo.

  Tuxedo Deluxe

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 4 dashes orange bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass and stir.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with an orange twist.

Now we’re cooking!  This was the just right blend of vermouth, maraschino and bitters, swimming in a pool of vodka.  I loved this drink and will probably have one on New Year’s Eve! 

Do you have a favorite that you’ve made your own by tinkering with it?  If so, let me know, I’d love to try it out!

Cheers!

Day 246, Cocktails 242 & 243

Notice how everyone is always eyeing a good cocktail, especially when its made at the Twilight Lounge?  I mean just look at it…Gumby is all over it, Pokey is charging in, Kevin Mack is trying to head Pokey off and Bernie Kosar is about to hoist himself up into the drink.  And Chief Wahoo?  Why do you think he’s grinning?

Tonight I had a few fresh oranges and a brand new juicer (thanks to Gwen and the girls) to try out.  By now, you regular readers know that I border on a fetish for orange and rye whiskey, so this should be no suprise to you.

  Whiskey Special

  • 1-1/2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz orange juice

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with an orange peel and a dusting of ground nutmeg.

Hmmm….my official taste tester wasn’t too crazy about this, and I kinda’ agreed with her.  The flavor of the dry vermouth overwhelms the drink and the nutmeg just tastes gritty.  So what to do?  Well, that’s easy, try again!

  Whiskey Extra Special

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/8 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with an orange peel.

Now that’s more like it!  The Luxardo stays in the background and allows the orange flavors and rye to blend and play together very nicely.  This turned into a nice, semi boozy cocktail that I could drink all night!  Alas, work calls tomorrow, so I’ll hold myself to one tonight.

Cheers!

Day 236, Cocktails 236 & 236

Mark and Sue invited me over on Friday night to watch “Control”, the 2007 bio pic of Ian Curtis, the lead singer and soul Joy Division.  As with so many others, Curtis’ flame burned hot but for not nearly long enough as he took his own life at the age of 23.  From the embers of Joy Division emerged New Order and Joy Division is still influencing bands today.  As I go back and listen to some of their tracks the raw energy and emotion that Curtis puts into his singing is unbelievable.

A benefit of watching the movie with Mark and Sue was a couple of new cocktails from Mark.  Both of these were his recipes and both were delicious.  The first was called the Mark Tai and his take on a Mai Tai.  It consisted of light rum, Cruzan Black Strap rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, triple sec and bar syrup.  This was a tasty cocktail that Mark has come up with.  Not as rum intesive as the Mai Tai’s I make using the Trader Vic recipe, but very good.

The second was Mark’s version of the Hemingway daiquiri.  He used light rum, Campari, lime juice, bar syrup and maraschino liqueur.  Basically he uses the Campari to replace the grapefruit juice.  The result was outstanding.  Just enough of the maraschino flavor that I love in a cocktail and the Campari adds a nice touch of bitter, very similar to what grapefruit juice would do.  Another outstanding effort by Mark.

Cheers!

Day 231, Cocktail 230

If Snoop Dog can have his gin and juice, then I can my gin and bourbon, right?

After Saturday’s movie night and the several Manhattan variations I had tried, I had the brilliant idea to combine bourbon with orange juice and Luxardo maraschino liqueur.  Actually, I used a clementine for the juice instead of an orange.  I had bought a box of them last week and this seemed like a good way to use one up.  Besides, since they are so much smaller they fit very nicely into my juice press!

  Cherry Orange Manhattan

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

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

This was a very nice cocktail.  I’ve enjoyed orange and maraschino with rye on several occasions, so its not a big suprise that the transition to bourbon with these flavors works well.  There was just a hint of the maraschino in the background and the Peychaud’s really helps pull this together in a tidy little package.

Cheers!

Day 230, Cocktails 227, 228 & 229

Saturday night was another Christmas movie night – the weather forecast here was just too lousy to plan anything else. 

We watched a couple of movies, including on of my all time favorites, “A Christmas Story”.  I just love the whole leg lamp scene, from the moment the major award arrives to the ignominious end, a shattered relic of its glory.  “Not a finger” is all poor Darrin McGavin can blurt out when he sees what’s happened to his prized lamp, and that just cracks me up every time!

Of course, nasty weather outside, a roaring fire and Christmas movies inside all lend themselves to cocktails being mixed with care in the Twilight Lounge!  We ended up with a lineup of three new cocktails, so let’s get to it.

  Gwen’s Red Carpet

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 oz pomegranate juice
  • 2 oz Pinot Grigio
  • seltzer water

Fill a collins or highball glass with ice cubes.  Add the ingredients in the order listed, topping with selzter water.  Give a quick stir and serve.

This was a recipe that Gwen found and originally called for champagne.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any about, so I improvised with the Pinot Grigio and seltzer water.  This was a nice starter cocktail, and I could easily enjoy several of these since they are not too sweet.  In fact, Gwen did have a second while I moved on to my next cocktail for the evening.

  Maraschino Manhattan

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

Fill a shaker with ice cubes and add the ingredients, bitters first.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

This was very, very good.  You know how I love the flavor of Luxardo’s Maraschino liqueur and there was just a hint of it evident along with the bourbon and vermouth.  It was a very nice, slightly drier version of a sweet manhattan.  As much as I liked this I think it is the new house manhattan of the Twilight Lounge.

Finally, cocktail number three was an off the cuff mix prepared after I ran out of Pinot Grigio for the Gwen’s Red Carpet. 

  Not a Finger

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 oz pomegranate juice
  • 2 oz lychee fruit juice
  • lemon lime soda

Fill a collins or highball glass with ice cubes.  Add the ingredients in the order listed, topping with lemon lime soda.  Give a quick stir and serve.

This one really hit the spot, especially for Gwen.  In fact, she labelled it the best of the night!  The lychee adds a really bright, fresh flavor that I have a hard time describing…somewhat pear like, but it is a unique flavor that is really good.  If you can find lychee fruit juice in your local market pick up a can and try it out, you’ll love it!

Cheers!

Day 215, Cocktails 209, 210 & 211

Ahh, the day after Thanksgiving.  It’s Black Friday (a day that sounds like the plague) and like lemmings, Gwen and I got up at 5:40 to head to the local Menard’s for their 6am opening and a $100 TV.  We figured who would be at a home improvement store that early?  Well, as we drove up, the parking lot was full and the line at the door extended for several hundred feet.  We kept right on driving and went back home.  Thus, for the 3rd time now I’ll again vow to never shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The day after Thanksgiving also means putting up the exterior decorations.  (The inside stuff is also going up, but that takes Gwen the whole weekend and then some).  It was a brisk, but sunny day as I pulled out the lights and ladders.  With Cookie’s help we banged it out in just a couple of hours and then admired the lights from the curb after it got dark.  It’s my first year replacing my old fashioned C9 bulbs with LED C9 bulbs.  I know I’ll save a ton of electricity, but they are just not the same.  I’m sure I’ll get used to them, it’ll just take some time.

With the lights up and a movie on after dinner, it was time for a cocktail.  Since I had just finished putting up the outdoor lights, Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold seemed like the perfect inspiration for a new drink.  Bourbon seemed like the ideal base.  Remember the scene after the squirrel attack when Clark asks his dad how he got through the holidays and his answer was that he had a lot of help from his friend Jack?  Well, I don’t have Jack but I do have bourbon.  But what to add with it?  Peach is a flavor that works well with bourbon.  I tried a mix of 2 oz Maker’s Mark, 1 oz Stirrings peach liqueur and a dash of Peychaud’s bitters.  Hmmm, even Gwen thought that this was too sweet.  We also agreed that this wasn’t very emblematic of Clark.  This one will go back in the hopper and I’ll play around with it in the future.

So, what would a Clark Griswold taste like.  We batted around a few ideas and decided it would be cherry and chocolate flavors.  Back to mixing I went and tried 2 oz Maker’s Mark, 1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur and 1/4 oz Kahlua.  I know, Kahlua is coffee flavored, but it ends up tasting like chocolate to me when mixed with bourbon.  I tested this out on Gwen and she though the maraschino was too strong and that it was still too sweet.  I enjoyed it (big suprise there) but did agree that the maraschino overpowered the rest of the drink.

The third time was the charm.

  Clark Griswold

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 3/8 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Kahlua

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

We both enjoyed this one.  Even my mom thought it was good.  Just the right blend of bourbon with cherry and chocolate overtones from the maraschino and Kahlua.  So now every time we watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation we’ll be able to enjoy our very own Clark Griswold.

Cheers!