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Tag Archives: orange bitters

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!

Granville, OH – February 7, 2012

I figured I needed to get this post up ASAP.  The last time I was in Granville and had a great cocktail that I wanted to post I never quite got arounjd to it…and then the place went out of business.  I definately do not want Emily George’s Bella to suffer the same fate!

Bella has always had a good selection of base spirits and a few original recipe cocktails on the menu.  However, when I perused the bar last night after arriving I couldn’t help but notice the bottle of Aperol sitting there.  Now, that’s a liqueur you don’t see in any ‘ol bar (heck, I don’t even have it at the Twilight Lounge!).  So I asked the bartender what she made with it…and the answer was, I’ll have to ask Emily.

A few moments later Emily George, appeared at our table.  As we talked it quickly became apparent that she knew her stuff.  After she got an idea of what I liked she suggested a cocktail that was similar to a Manhattan in construction, but totally different in ingredients.  She didn’t have a name for it, so I’m going to call it the Bella.  Two parts Appleton Dark Rum, 1 part Aperol, a dash of Fee’s orange bitters and garnished with a flamed orange peel.  And it was fantastic!  The familar and tropical flavor of the Appleton, with its sweet, cane sugar overtones was the perfect foil for the somewhat bitter Aperol.  The Fee’s orange bitters (always a favorite) pulled it all together in perfect package.  This is a quintessential cocktail – simple, to the point and great flavors!

As we got to talking I learned that Emily is quite accomplished.  She asked me if I wanted to try something really new and I said sure…she left for a moment and came back with a pre release bottle of … well, I promised not write about it.  Let’s just say that I was impressed (for once) by a flavored vodka.

As dinner progressed I did a have second cocktail that was equally delicious, although in totally different ways.  Uncharacteristically, I did not record all the ingredients.  It did feature Barenjaker Honey liqueur and ginger beer with orange flavors as well.  I do love the ginger beer – so much more flavorful than ginger ale!  This one was served in a pint sized glass and was very refreshing – it would be perfect for those hot summer days poolside!

So, if you find yourself in Granville, OH, be sure to stop in at Bella for great food and even better cocktails!

Cheers!

Twilight Lounge – February 5, 2012

Previously I had written how hosting the occasional BYOB is great since I end up the leftovers in my fridge.  Of course, the flip side to that is that, sometimes, the leftovers are Miller Lite.  And frankly, Miller Lite, and all its “light” bretheren is about the biggest waste of resources known to man. 

So what to do with this swill?  Typically, I wait to use it for cooking – making one of my Polish stews or something like that.  I do occasionally drink it as well, only because I can’t stand to see booze (however bad) not get drunk.  Since it is in cans, holding it for summertime pool use is also an option.  But by then it would be past its date (like that really would make a difference), and I don’t want to do that to my friends and guests.

So, in preparation for the game today I was cleaning up the bar in the Twilight Lounge, and eureka!, it hit me!  The orange bitters was sitting out and I though, why not?  I dropped a couple of dashes into my chilled glass (fresh from the freezer) and poured in the Lite.  Not bad…not great, but certainly more palatable than just the straight stuff.  It gave it almost a Blue Moon quality – which, of course, is from the orange that Blue Moon is served with. 

So there you go.  Got some crappy beer around?  Don’t despair, break out the bitters and have fun!

Cheers!

The Twilight Lounge – February 3, 2012

Friday night was movie night around here and I had selected Patton to watch.  This definitely called for a cocktail, and I was in the mood for something new and different.  I also had a taste for St. Germain, so I went to their website to see what the had and found the Elder Fashion.  A twist on the Old Fashioned, and very straightforward to make, I decided to give it a whirl.

The original recipe called for rye whiskey, St. Germain and Angostura bitters, garnished with an orange slice.  I made the first one that way, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted – it was missing the orange/cherry components of the Old Fashioned.  So when I mixed up the second one I used orange bitters rather than Angostura.  That hit the spot!  I’ve always enjoyed the flavor of rye whiskey with orange bitters, and the St. Germain gave just the right level of sweet and that hint of elderflower.

  Elder Fashion

  • 3 oz Old Overholt rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain
  • 1 dash orange bitters

In a rocks glass combine all the ingredients and stir.  Add 3-4 ice cubes or an ice ball, garnish with an orange twist and serve.

Much simpler to make than an Old Fashioned and just as tasty!  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Milwaukee, WI – January 26, 2012

“Feeling different feeling strange
This can never be arranged
As the light fades from the screen
From the famous final scene”

My apologies to Mr. Seger and the rest of the Silver Bullet Band.  However, having played the “Stranger In Town” album until I wore it out as a teen, how could I resist a drink named “The Famous Final Scene”? 

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Mark Stoffel and I decided a Men’s League night was long overdue and headed downtown for a man date and a few good drinks.  We started at Umami Moto where I had their Shanghai Mule.  A twist on the classic Moscow Mule, this cocktail substituted TyKu Soju for vodka.  It was mild and refreshing cocktail, and actually would be a great poolside sipper on a warm day.  My original notes called it innocuous, which may have a little harsh, but there wasn’t a lot memorable about it (actually, if it were not for my notes, I wouldn’t be writing about it here because I did forget about it).

After our start at Umami, it was on to Distil, our primary objective of the evening.  Distil is one of Milwaukee’s latest hip cocktail lounges, serving up true cocktails, including several that are homemade, along with a great selection of hard to find and rare bourbons and other assorted spirits.  “The Famous Final Scene” was the cocktail that caught my eye, and not just for the name.  Consisting of Bulliet Rye, sweet vermouth, HUM Botanical liqueur and orange bitters, it reminded me of some of the rye cocktails I’ve conjured up at the Twilight Lounge.  I’m a fan of rye and orange bitters, and was really looking forward to trying this out.  Unfortunately, this cocktail (pictured above) was overwhelmed by the spicey ginger flavor of the HUM liqueur.  I couldn’t detect the rye or the orange bitters, and the vermouth helped sweeten it, but also wasn’t really discernable.  I’d love to try this drink with half the amount of HUM in it, but unfortunately, this cocktail is mass produced by the bar manager and stored in jugs waiting to be ordered, so the bartender on duty couldn’t tinker with the recipe to see if we could get it right. 

Fortunately, not all was lost for the evening.  Mark and I also ordered up a taste of the George T. Stagg 15 year old.  This cask strength bourbon clocks in at around 140 proof, but you’d never know it by how smooth and mellow it was.  Nice notes of charcoal and vanilla to my nose made this a delight.  Adding just a drop of water mellowed it even more so and allowed cherry notes to emerge as well.  All in all, an excellent sipping bourbon!

So, 1 out 3 got Albert Pujols $240 million … and all it did was keep me from getting a hangover!

Cheers!

Germantown, WI – December 18, 2011

Well, another 3 hours of watching the futility known as Cleveland Browns football.  The game started well enough with an opening touchdown drive that featured the bruising, no nonsense running of Petyon Hillis.  I actually felt like the Browns offense may have found a groove today between Hillis and his punishing running style and the athletic Seneca Wallace at quarterback getting the ball downfield to the Brown’s receivers. 

After that opening drive I decided to have a cocktail, and even though I want to feature gin over the next couple of weeks, I was inspired to have rye whiskey by watching Hillis.  Rye seems to match Peyton’s straight forward style of play.  Here’s what I came up with.

  Peyton Hillis

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 1 dash of orange bitters
  • 1 lemon slice

In a rocks glass muddle the lemon slice with the bar syrup and bitters.  Add 5-6 ice cubes and the vermouth and rye and stir.  Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Mmm, I do always like the combination of orange bitters and rye, and I did again in this cocktail.  It is a takeoff on a traditional old fashioned, using lemon for a brighter taste than the orange in an old fashioned. 

Unfortunately, as I sipped my new cocktail creation I was again treated to the sight of the Browns unable to maintain their edge and losing yet again.  At least the cocktail was good!

Cheers!

When in Mexico I can only drink so many margaritas (even of the avocado variety) and palomas…so what to do?  At the house we were staying at we had both silver and reposado tequilas, along with Grand Marnier (for making margaritas).  So….one night after dinner and enjoying a fine Cohiba on the patio the inspiration for the Mexican version of the classic Manhattan hit me.  And it was soooo good, especially with the fine cigar I was enjoying with it (yes, it was Cuban).  So, without further adieu, the Mexican Manhattan.

  Mexican Manhattan

  • 3 oz reposada or anejo tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir.  Pour into a rocks glass.  No garnish needed.

Upon my return home I mixed this up using the Cazadores anejo that I brought home from Puerto Vallarta (oh, so smooth) and used Cointreau (I also don’t actually have any Grand Marnier at the moment).  The orange of the Cointreau is a very nice, slightly sweet complement to the Cazadores anejo. 

Another option if you have a really good reposada or anejo is to just add a couple of dashes of orange bitters instead of Cointreau.  This will give the orange flavor without the added sweetness of the liqueur.

So, when I need to escape winter I’ll be getting that bottle of Cazadores out and reliving the sun and sand of the beach at Puerto Vallarta!

Cheers!

Saturday, July 23, 2011 – The Patio Swim Club at the Twilight Lounge

Summer is in full swing at the Patio Swim Club and that means it was time to break out the smoker and BBQ some pork shoulder.  With Paula and Cookie here for the weekend, this was the perfect day to do it.

Producing my eastern North Carolina style pork butt is an all day affair.  I started at 8am, getting the smoker out and getting the fire going.  After years of experimenting I’ve settled on lump hardwood charcoal as my base fuel with chunks of hickory to provide the smoke and flavor.  With the fire going, it was time to get back into the kitchen and prep my butt. 

I unwrapped the pork (thanks to the Germantown House of Sausage) and patted it dry then went to work with my rub.  Yes, it’s my own recipe.  No, I won’t publish it.  Yes, it’s good!  This part is critical and I make sure I really work the rub into the pork so that I’ll end up with a great crust on the butt when I’m done with the smoker.

It's All in the Rub!

With that, all I had to do was wait for the smoker to get up to about 200 degrees – and I didn’t have to wait long.  With that, the pork butt went on the grill, the cover was shut and now it was 8 to 10 hours of patience and fire tending.

Patience is the Key Now

Of course, nothing helps the patience like a good cocktail and some poolside fun.  Normally when I smoke I have bourbon – with cola, or maybe Mountain Dew (that’s what we did in the Carolina’s) or just with some ice.  However, as I was reading the Wall Street Journal after putting the butt in the smoker, I found an interesting recipe that used Pisco.  I’ve had a bottle around since New Year’s Eve (thanks again Christian and Meredith) and this seemed like a great way to use some of it up.

 
  El Capitan
  • 2 ounces Pisco
  • 2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to combine and then pour into a rocks glass.

I used Cesar Pisco and Peychaud’s bitters in this drink, and enjoyed it immensely.  The flavor of the Pisco comes through, but there is a strong resemblence to a Manhattan, especially with as much sweet vermouth as is in this.  The orange bitters (from Agnostura) also make themselves known.  The whole cocktail comes together nicely, and since it was on the rocks, it was perfect for sipping as I tended my smoker and enjoyed the pool.

As for the pork butt – well, it was perfect if I say so myself.

A Little Bit of Carolina Heaven

Moist and spicy, but not too hot, we all enjoyed this along with beans, slaw and corn bread Gwen put together. 

 
Cheers and bon appetit!

 

Day 350, Cocktail 356

Monday, besides being the first official day on the new job,  was also my final turn into the home stretch of my cocktail journey – I’m now counting down the final 10 cocktails to complete 365 new and different cocktails in 365 days.  Number 10 was discovered on the internet via the CocktailDB, one of my better sources of cocktails during the past year.  I was still in an egg white mood, even though I swore that the Golden Fizz was my last for a while.  So I searched on egg white as an ingredient and found this fun cocktail.  I have no idea where the name came from, but it sure looked good!

  Bachelor’s Bait

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1/4 oz grenadine

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes and shake long and hard to mix thoroughly and emulsify the egg.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  No garnish required.

Again, a delicious drink with the egg white adding a layer of body and creamy texture that just makes these drinks so tasty and good!  With a hint of orange from the bitters complimenting the gin (I used Beefeater) wonderfully.  The grenadine provides both a hint of color and a bit of sweet taste to compliment the orange bitters.

One more note about the egg white.  I have mentioned in previous posts that I use a pasteurized egg white product from the dairy section of my local grocery store.  This makes sure I won’t make myself or guests sick and also makes it easy to make cocktails without separating a bunch of eggs.  Just use 1/2 oz of egg white from the carton when a recipe calls for 1 egg white.

Cheers!