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Tag Archives: orgeat

grapefruit-jimmy-cagneyThe Twilight Lounge – February 12, 2013

As reported in my last post, I was recently in Florida.  And what do I do when I come home from Florida?  I bring home a case of Indian River grapefruit, of course – doesn’t everyone?  And just what the heck do I do with a case of grapefruit?  Make cocktails, of course!

So on the first day of spring training workouts for my beloved Cleveland Indians I thought it would be appropriate to come up with something new using all that grapefruit I have (yeah, I know, the Tribe is in Arizona, but I didn’t have any cactus laying around the Lounge).  As I thought about how to use the white grapefruit I pulled out the gin and St. Germain.  A bit of orgeat seemed in order as well as the Agnostura bitters.  Wow!  It’s not often that I hit one out of the park on the first try, but today I did.

Grapefruit League

  • 1-1/2 oz London Dry gin
  • 3/4 oz St. Germain
  • 1 bar spoon orgeat
  • 1 dash bitters
  • grapefruit juice

Combine all the ingredients but the grapefruit juice in a collins glass with a couple of ice cubes and stir.  Fill the glass the rest of the way with ice and then top with grapefruit juice, stirring again.

Very well balanced with the orgeat and St. Germain sweetening the tart grapefruit juice just enough so that the grapefruit still shines through.  The gin provides a nice base with a bit more punch than vodka would and the bitters help tie it all together into a nice, refreshing package.  The perfect sipper while contemplating dreams of World Series titles for my Indians – shhh, don’t spoil the moment for me!


AP BRITAIN NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATIONS I GBRThe Twilight Lounge – January 4, 2013

Happy New Year!  It was an odd New Year’s Eve / New Year’s Day for me.  First, half the family (Gwen and daughter number 1) were in London for the New Year’s Day parade, which daughter number 1 was in.  Second, I was at Disney in Florida with daughter number 2.  Sooo, no holiday party this season at the Twilight Lounge (much to the chagrin of some of our friends) and, amazingly for me, no booze, no champagne, no beer, no nothing on New Year’s Eve.  I think I was 15 the last time that happened!

Finally, yesterday we were all back together.  Tonight was movie and cocktail night.  Hmmm…a new bottle of gin from London (Brokers), a case of fresh Indian River white grapefruit from Florida.  Yeah, you know where this is going.

London Calling

  • 3 oz Brokers gin
  • 1/4 oz orgeat
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters
  • 1-1/2 oz St. Germain
  • fresh white grapefruit juice
  • tonic water


Combine the gin, orgeat, bitters and St. Germain in a mixing glass without ice.  Stir vigoursly to mix.  Pour into a collins glass filled with ice, fill to nearly the top with grapefruit juice and add a splash of tonic water.  Stir and serve.

I loved this one – and nailed it on my first attempt!  The orgeat and St. Germain compliment the grapefruit and cut its tartness just enough.  It’s not sweet, but not bitter either.   The gin gives a nice base and just a hint of juniper comes through, adding a layer of complexity that vodka would not add.

So, the next time you take a split vacation between London and Florida, you know what to have to drink!  Mind the gap and stay calm and carry on!


Day 321, Cocktails 324 & 325

Patti and Gwen were out shopping Saturday when Gwen texted me “Patti wants to know if the bar is open?”.  Of course the Twilight Lounge is open!  If I’m awake (even at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon) then the Lounge is open. 

So when the girls arrived I busted open a couple of tiki cocktails on them.  Hey, it was sunny and almost 40, which passes for spring around these parts.  I could see the tiki torches in mind, and in a few short weeks I’ll see them for real around the Patio Lounge and Swim Club.

My first cocktail was the Trader Woody, which is yet another TikiBar TV recipe (and is pictured above).

  Trader Woody

  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 1 oz amaretto
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • dash of lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a tiki glass and add cracked ice to fill the glass.

For this drink I used my Appleton Estate V/X rum and the Disaronno amaretto.  It’s a nice, basic tiki style drink with the rum and pineapple being the dominant flavors.  There’s a bit of nuttiness that normally would be provided by orgeat in this thanks to the amaretto.  By the time I was done with this I was thinking mai tai junior.

Patti and Gwen approve of the Trader Woody

The second cocktail is courtesy of Beach Bum Jerry’s Intoxica recipe book.  Called the Cesar’s Rum Punch, it was created by Joseph Cesar, the head bartender of the Grand Hotel Oloffson in Haiti in the 1960’s.  During its heyday in the ’70’s you could find Mick and Bianca Jagger, Michael York and other assorted celebrities at the bar.  Your first Cesar’s Punch was on the house, accompanied by the warning “You won’t like it here.”  Let’s see how we like it at the Twilight Lounge!

  Cesar’s Rum Punch

  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes.  Shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a tiki glass filled with crushed ice.  Garnish with a pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry, lime and orange wheels speared together with a mint sprig.

The original recipe called for Rhum Barbancourt, which I did not have, so I substituted in my Appleton Reserve V/X.  I’m not sure that it makes that much difference as this has an almost overwhelming lime presence at first, followed by the fruitiness of the grenadine and then the rum.  And when I say overwhelming, I mean it.  This was in your face lime taste, although there was enough grenadine and bar syrup to tone down the sour component of the lime.  Overall, a fun drink, and it does break the typical tiki flavors of rum and pineapple.

After two tiki drinks the girls and I were in the mood for something different, and the night was still young (who am I kidding, it was still afternoon!).  So for the next two drinks you’ll just have to wait for the next post!


Day 313, Cocktails 314 & 315

Two new cocktails were created at the Twilight Lounge last Friday night.  You’ll be welcome to have the first, the Pear Tequila, anytime that you come by.  This was the first of the night and was inspired by my simple desire to play around with the Old Ballycastle Ginger and tequila.  I have no idea what put that idea into my head, but it was there so I went with it.

The second drink of the night was the End Of The Line (pictured).  I decided to use Kajmir, the vanilla flavored brandy – vodka blend.  And why did I name it End Of The Line?  Well, I’m almost out of Kajmir, and since it is no longer made, when its gone, its gone…of course, freeing up a space for a bottle of something else (hehe).  So, I’ll get back to this in a minute, but first I want to go back to the Pear Tequila.

  Pear Tequila

  • 1-3/4 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1-1/2 oz Mathilde Poire liqueur
  • 3/4 oz Old Ballycastle Ginger
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.

This turned out to be pretty good.  The recipe above was the second iteration – I had too much tequila and not enough Mathilde and Old Ballycastle in the original attempt.  It’s a multi-layered cocktail, with the pear and ginger flavors both subtly intertwined and complimenting the Cazadores nicely.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

With my first effort under my belt, I turned my attention to my nearly empty bottle of Kajmir.  I really don’t know what led me to pull out … maybe it was just my desire to clear out a space for something new.  Whatever the reason, as I sniffed the now open bottle I started thinking about what else could I pair with this to create a cocktail.  I wanted to stick with the Old Ballycastle Ginger, but I’d need something else as well.  I finally settled on orgeat as my third flavoring ingredient.

  End Of The Line

  • 2 oz Kajmir
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1/4 oz Old Ballycastle Ginger
  • 1/8 oz orgeat

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a rocks glass with an ice ball.  No garnish needed.

This is also a very nice cocktail…a hint of nuttiness from the orgeat, a bit of spice from the ginger and the smooth, slighty smokey vanilla of the Kajmir.  I added the extra shot of vodka (I used Sobieski) to give this drink at list a little heft since the Kajmir is only 40 proof.

I’d ask you to try this one out as well, but unless your one of the three people in the world who still have a bottle, you’ll have a tough time finding it.  Of course, if you get over to the Twilight Lounge soon, I still have enough for a couple more!


Day 264, Cocktails 263 & 264

Friday night was a stay in family night for us.  The kiddos picked out Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the DVD player and Gwen and the daughters put together a mini Tapas of appetizers for us.  My job was to whip up cocktails for us, non-alchoholic for the daughters, of course.

I had a can of Lychee fruit juice, which has become a favorite at the Twilight Lounge, especially for daughter number 2.  I started by mixing up her non-alcholic cocktail.  I began with a pint glass filled with ice.  Next I added about 3 oz of the lychee juice, 1 oz of orgeat, juice from 1/2 a lime (about 3/4 oz) and then topped it with tonic water.  Sometimes I’ll also drizzle in a bit of grenadine on the top for color, although I did not do that this time.  You can also top this with seltzer water or lemon lime soda – my daughter happens to like the tonic water.  It was soooo good that she had another!

You’ve seen orgeat in some of my cocktails, mostly tiki type fare.  It is an almond flavored syrup and is usually available in larger liquor stores with the other flavorings such as grenadine or bloody mary mix.  It is thick and sweet, so it doesn’t take too much to flavor a cocktail.  It is just one of those ingredients I always have on hand.

Now, what to make for the adults?

  Almond Lychee

  • 1-1/2 oz Appleton Estate VX amber rum
  • 1 oz lychee juice
  • 1/4 oz orgeat syrup
  • 1/2 oz lime juice

Combine the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  You really need to work this one over to make sure the orgeat gets thoroughly incorporated.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lychee fruit.

I know, my picture doesn’t have a garnish – I didn’t have any lychee fruit in the house, but next time I will!  This is a nice, tiki style cocktail with a twist from the lychee juice.  The closest I can come to describing how it tastes is pear – but a little lighter.  There’s a bit of the molasses flavor from the rum and the lime helps provide a bit of tart, cutting the sweetness of the orgeat. 

The Almond Lychee was so good that we had two while watching good ‘ol Harry once again beat off the advances of what’s his name that shall remain unnamed.

Later last night I went down to the Twilight Lounge to write yesterday’s post.  As usual, I poured myself a whiskey on the rocks to sip on while I wrote.  Normally I would have had a scotch (Cutty Sark is my house blended) but instead decided to use Russell’s 6 Reserve Rye last night.  After a couple of sips, which I did enjoy, I decided to tinker.  After fooling around and adusting a bit here’s what I came up with.

  Blog Sipper

  • 2oz Russell’s Reserve Rye
  • 3 dashes Angosturo orange bitters
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice

In a mixing glass, combine the ingredients (bitters first) with ice cubes.  Stir for 30-45 seconds to combine and chill.  Strain into a rocks glass with large ice cubes or an ice ball.

Mmmm, that lovely combination of orange flavors and rye with just a touch of lemon is delicious.  The perfect cocktail to sip on while I muse over the cocktail world!


Day 240, Cocktail 238

Well, I suppose it was bound to happen sooner later…

After taking a two day cocktail hiatus, I got back to mixing on Tuesday with a cocktail that I saw on the Travel Channel show “Mixing With the Best”.  Yeah, I know that both the show and the channel no longer are around, but sometimes I get a little backed up with what’s on the DVR.

  Da Vinci Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 oz white rum
  • 1 oz Frangelico liqueur
  • 1-1/2 oz orange juice (the juice of 1/2 orange)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with an orange peel.

As I was sipping on this I thought it tasted awfully familiar.  So I opened up the cocktail list, and there it was, the Almond Orange Sunrise.  Ok, so its not the exact same, using almond flavored orgeat instead of the hazelnut flavored Frangelico, but still, it was damn close.  Not that it’s going to kill me or anything, but it was kind of funny, in a you’d have to have been there kind of way.


Day 226, Cocktail 224

I know, I know, I just popped my best Dean Martin line as a post title.  But will the cocktail stand up to a kick in the head?  Let’s find out.

Tuesday’s cocktail was something called Cameron’s Kick.  It’s another classic, prohibition area cocktail with a murky past.  It did appear in the Savoy cocktail book, published in London in 1930 and considered an iconic recipe book for bartenders and enthusiasts alike.  The recipe I used is pretty close to the Savoy version.  However, if you google Cameron’s Kick Cocktail you’ll find all kinds of variants both in ingredients and in proportion.  Of course, that’s what makes cocktails so much fun!

  Cameron’s Kick

  • 1 oz blended scotch
  • 1 oz Irish whiskey
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz orgeat

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with an orange peel or orange twist if desired.

Yes, this is another one of those cocktails that when I first looked at the ingredient list I though “you’ve got to be kidding!”.  To be honest, my first sip wasn’t all that pleasant either.  The flavor profile went from the scotch to the whiskey to the lemon to the almond of the orgeat…to, I don’t know, maybe baby puke?  The interesting thing was that as this had some time to sit in the glass and blend it got better.  By the time I was halfway through I was quite pleased with this drink.  Not too sweet, not too boozy, it was just right.  And to my suprise (well, maybe not, I’ve gotten used to unusual ingredient combinations) this unusual blend of flavors worked well together.

Do you have an odd drink?  Let me know and I’ll try it out!



Day 79, Cocktail 81

What does every good tiki cocktail need?  An umbrella, of course!  Harry Yee, the “Dean of Hawaiian Bartenders” is credited in some circles with being the first to use the umbrella as a drink decoration.  He was definately the first to use an orchid as a drink garnish while at the Hawaiian Village Hotel bar on Waikiki.  Yee is credited with creating a number of tropical classics.  One of my favorites combines the usual suspects of rum and pineapple with almond flavored orgeat syrup, a favorite flavor of mine in tiki drinks.


  • 1-1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz white Puerto Rican rum
  • 1-1/2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz orgeat syrup

Mix the ingredients with 8 ounces of crushed ice and pour into a chimney glass or tall tiki head glass.  Garnish with maraschino cherry speared to a pineapple wedge and an umbrella (of course!).

I cheated a bit and put 8 oz of ice cubes in my blender with the liquid ingredients and then used the puree button.  The final outcome is the same and this is easer if you don’t have crushed ice readily available.

This is a very flavorful drink that doesn’t overpower you with rum flavors.  Don’t be fooled, the vodka helps give this some pop. but the predominate flavor is the pineapple and orgeat with just a hint of rum.


Lyman was one of the original purveyors of exotica

Day 76, Cocktail 78 

Ahh, to have heard Arthur Lyman in his prime!  I wish I had, but unfortunately, never did.  Lyman, along with Martin Denny was one of the key forces behind what became known as the exotica style of jazz and lounge music.  Today, we’d think of Lyman’s work as being Tiki…and we would be right!  

Music is just one part of Tiki culture.  There’s also food, clothes, barware and, of course, the cocktails to be considered as well.  Just how did Tiki culture come about?  Undoubtly, the roots of Tiki lie within the Pacific theatre of WWII.  Hundreds of thousands of service men (and women!) served in the South Pacific, spanning a geography from Hawaii to Okinawa.  While the rigors of war were at times brutal, our troops did get a taste of the island lifestyle.  When the war ended and they returned home they brought tropical fruit laced drinks, Polynesian and Hawiian food, tropical shirts and inspired music back with them.  The 50’s saw the advent in home luau parties, Tiki style restaurants such as Trader Vic’s (I remember visiting the legendary Kahiki in Columbus, OH with my family as a kid) and the tiki glass. 

I can’t think of a better way to start a week of Tiki than with the original Mai Tai.  The Mai Tai was created by Victor Bergeron for a few of his friends that were visiting from Tahiti.  One of his guests exlaimed that the drink tasted “Maita’i roa ae!”, which figuratively means “Out of this world – the best!”.  Thus, the Mai Tai was born.  

  Mai Tai 

  • 1 oz St. James Martinique rum
  • 1 oz Appleton Estate dark Jamaican rum
  • 1/2 oz curacao
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz orgeat syrup
  • 1/4 oz bar syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes and shake to chill and combine.  Strain into a tiki glass filled with cracked ice.  Garnish with an orange wedge, cherries and pineapple chunk.  Don’t forget the umbrella or, my favorite, the plastic drink monkey! 

This delicious cocktail will take you the beaches of Hawaii, Fiji or any other South Pacific locale you’d like!  It is important to use the St. James and Appleton rums as they each have distinctive flavors that make the Mai Tai what it is.  Substitutions will not yield the same results with this drink, trust me on that one! 


Day 25, Cocktail 25

Spring has finally returned here, which means it won’t be long before the tiki torches are lit at the Patio Bar and Swim Club.  So what to pair with this great evening?  Well, I still had some ruby red grapefruit juice and an ample supply of rum.  Sounds like a good start, heh?  I also keep orgeat syrup around which is an essential for many tiki drinks.  Orgeat is an almond flavored syrup and works very well with rum and many tropical fruit flavors.  It’s very inexpensive and is available at most liquor stores. 

So, after thinking about what I could pull together, this is what I settled on.

  Tiki Sunset

  • 1 oz Mt. Gay silver rum
  • 1/2 oz St. James rum
  • 1/4 oz orgeat
  • 2 oz ruby red grapefruit juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Stir well to mix.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with lemon twist.

The orange pink hue of this cocktail resembles a tropical sunset.  The orgeat softens the flavor of the St. James while the Mt. Gay provides a nice tropical base.  Light the torches and mix one up!