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Tag Archives: peychauds

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 362, Cocktails 361 & 362

…but it turned out I was mistaken.

So tonight’s mea culpa is that I had a miscount on my days.  I’ve actually been off by two days, and it’s two days the wrong way, meaning I have 2 less days to complete my journey.  Fortunately I was ahead of the count in terms of cocktails, so all is well.  However, I’m sure Andy will have something to say about all this!

Now, back to the fun stuff – the cocktails!  I did two last night, the first a recipe from Dale Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail” that I selected for its ease of mixing and cool sophistication.

  Black Rose

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 dash grenadine

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill and combine.  Strain into a rocks glass over an ice ball.  Garnish with a flamed lemon peel.

For this drink I used Knob Creek bourbon and it was a winner!  The deep, charcoal flavor of the bourbon was mellowed ever so slightly by the grenadine and Peychaud’s.  It was reminiscent of a Manhattan, but without the sweetness and allowed the bourbon to still be the star.  I really liked this drink and will definitely be having it again!

Unfortunately, Gwen didn’t really appreciate the Black Rose.  She asked me to make something with cucumber, so here’s what I put together for her.

  Cucumber Mule

  • 2 cucumber slices, about 1/4″ thick
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup
  • 2 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1-1/2 oz Old Ballycastle ginger
  • Seltzer water

Muddle the cucumber and bar syrup in the bottom of a collins glass.  Add the tequila, lime juice and ginger and stir.  Fill the glass with ice and top with seltzer water.

Mmmm, a nice variation of the Monterrey Mule that lets the hint of cucumber compliment the ginger and tequila.  I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing cocktail and can’t wait to have it on a warm summer evening – assuming summer does show up around here sooner or later….


Day 330, Cocktail 335

At the height of the empire, it was common for officers in British Army to complete a tour of duty in India, the crown jewel of Britain’s holdings.  However, Indian foods and climate didn’t always agree with the men or their officers, requiring a remedy to soothe bouts of digestive system distress.  Hence, the Pink Gin.  With its combination of bitters, originally formulated as a digestive remedy that was full of a multitude of other fanciful health benefits and gin, which is, in my opinion, a remedy for nearly everything that ails me, how could her or his majesty’s officers and troops go wrong?

In keeping with name, I elected to use Peychaud’s bitters with this cocktail.  Using Angostura would have imparted a brown color, and then I’d have had to call this post Brown Gin…and that just doesn’t sound nearly as appetizing.

  Pink Gin

  • 2 – 1/2 oz gin
  • 5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Add the gin to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill.  Add the Peychaud’s directly a chilled cocktail glass.  Swirl the bitters around in the glass and then pour the bitters off (you’ve just “rinsed” your glass).  Strain the gin into the glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.

This was a very nice, tasty alternative to my typical martini.  I used Plymouth gin, which is somewhat mild for gin and allowed the Peychaud’s to come front and center.  The earthy, herbal essence was backed up almost to perfection by the gin.  This cocktail was incredibly sippable, boozy, but not overwhelming. 

Interestingly enough, for you Bond fans, this was also Ian Fleming’s favorite drink.  Why he never had James Bond drink this is a mystery, but I wish he had.  I would have had one much sooner than now!


Day 304, Cocktail 306

Wednesday’s cocktail was less than spectacular, so this will be a relatively short post.


  • 1-1/2 oz rye
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 oz grenadine

Combine in a shaker with ice to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled coupe.

I have to admit that this cocktail just did not hit the spot.  The initial flavor was odd – the rye came through and it was very tart and almost tasted like there was lime in it, although there is none.  It was very disjointed and never did come together in the glass.  I suspect that a bit grenadine or bar syrup and perhaps a dash of Peychaud’s might help, but I didn’t the time Wednesday to fool around with it.  Maybe another day!


Day 284, Cocktail 282

Today was back to normal around here…schools open, roads cleared…and mountains of snow everywhere.  It was kind of fun to see just how much there was.  It also gave me the opportunity to play around with yesterday’s Blizzard cocktail after a reader (yes, you Sally) suggested dropping the grenadine and trying bitters.  So that’s just what I did.  I figured that Peychaud’s would be a good choice because it has a slightly spicey quality.  I was also tempted to try the orange bitters, but after sniffing both several times I settled on the Peychaud’s.  It seemed like a better match for the cranberry that’s in this cocktail.

  Blizzard Revisted

  • 1-1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1-1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz bar syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Combine the ingredients with 5-6 ice cubes in a shaker.  Shake to combine and chill.  Pour into a rocks glass.

Sally, I have to say, this is pretty good.  Different from the original in subtle ways, and good.  It’s not as sweet, and I did add the 1/4 oz of bar syrup after removing 1/2 oz of grenadine – I knew I’d still need some sweet to offset the lime juice.  Without the grenadine to help reinforce the cranberry against the lime, the lime flavor is more predominant.  However, the spicy flavor of the Peychaud’s compliments it very nicely.  I like them both equally.  For you, it will be a matter of your personal taste. 


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!


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!


The Explorer's Club

Day 135, Cocktail 134  

It’s been a fun and enjoyable Labor Day weekend around here, and I hope you’ve had a safe and enjoyable holiday.  There’s lots to report on that happened over the last three days, but for this post I decided to take you on a journey with me.  A journey through flavors and experiments as I search for just the right combination of ingredients to create a delicious and refreshing fizz to celebrate the holiday. 

My journey started today with my continued insistence that I find some way to use up the peppermint schnapps that I have behind the bar.  My first pass consisted of filling a collins glass with ice and adding 1/2 oz of peppermint schnapps and 1/2 oz of fresh lemon juice.  I then filled the glass with seltzer water, added a dash of maraschino cherry juice and viola!  My first attempt at the Mint Fizz.  Hmmm, at first blush this wasn’t too bad, but over the course of the 30 to 45 minutes that I was sipping on it the mint gradually took over.  Drinking several of these would not be an option, unless you like sucking on peppermint candies all day.  So, back to the drawing board.  

I need something that will counteract the mint without knocking my socks off.  Let’s try some Luxardo maraschino liqueur.  I went with the same amounts of peppermint schnapps and lemon juice (1/2 oz) and added 1/2 oz of Luxardo maraschino liqueur.  The maraschino stands up equally to the schnapps, giving me a minty, cherry flavor.  But it is still not quite right at this point.Round three had me leaving the peppermint schnapps and maraschino at 1/2 oz but increasing the lemon juice to 3/4 oz.  I also added 2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters to the drink.  Not only does the Peychaud’s impart a very light, pink color to the cocktail, but it adds a bit of binder to tie this whole thing together.  At this point, I have a pretty decent fizz that has a nice interplay between the schnapps and maraschino, without being too minty.  I could drink several of these in an afternoon (oh wait, I did, didn’t I?).  

  Mint Fizz  

  • 1/2 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • seltzer water

Fill a collins glass with ice cubes.  Add the schnapps, maraschino, lemon juice and Peychaud’s.  Top the glass with seltzer water.   

Try it out and let me know what you think!   


Day 107, Cocktails 106 & 107

“Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool
Lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules”

Ok, so mabye Mary Macgregor’s semi-hit single is a hackneyed way to start today’s post, but trust me, it fits…somehow.  Today’s subject is a classic cocktail, the Blood and Sand.  Named for the movie Blood and Sand, originally produced in 1922 and starring Rudolph Valentino, the cocktail, like the movie has three or four versions floating around out there.  In fact, many other sources credit the 1941 version starring Tyrone Power as the inspiration for the cocktail, even though there appears to be credible evidence that the drink was around before 1941.  So just how does Mary Macgregor’s song fit in?  Well the movie is about a young man of humble beginnings who ventures off to find fame and fortune as a bull fighter, taking his young love with him.  Of course, along the way, he also falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy and powerful man.  What to do?  Remain true to his first love?  Or leave her for the glamour and wealth of the sophisticated beauty?  I’ll leave you to learn that on your own.

As for the cocktail, like the movie, we have a strong leading man in the scotch that is the base of this cocktail.  The two lovers that tear at his heart are represented by sweet vermouth and cherry brandy.  All are in the drink in equal amounts, making for the perfect love triangle.

  Blood and Sand (classic)

  • 3/4 oz scotch
  • 3/4 oz cherry brandy
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz orange juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

So just how does the scotch hold up against the vermouth and cherry brandy and orange juice?  Very well, thank you.  This definately goes into the category of cocktails I would never have imangined drinking a year ago, yet it works very well.  I made mine with kirschwasser and it worked well, even though I’m not a kirschwasser fan.  The sweetness of the vermouth and orange do the trick to mellow out the kirschwasser and let the smoky scotch flavor still come through.  Even though the scotch is torn between two lovers it is still firmly in charge of this drink.

As a side note, my first attempt at this was awful.  As I sipped trying to like it I started to think through why I wasn’t enjoying it.  Finally, it dawned on me.  I went back down to the Twilight Lounge and confirmed my suspicion.  I had made my first attempt with dry vermouth rather than sweet.  Ugh!  No wonder I didn’t like it!

After the having the original, I’ve spent the last several days toying with my variant on this theme.  It was natural to use Cherry Heering, although my later research uncovered multiple versions that used Heering as the cherry brandy.  This does not work for me.  The Cherry Heering and sweet vermouth are just too sweet and overpower the scotch when used in the traditional equal parts scotch, brandy, vermouth and orange juice proportions.  As I noodled around with this, I came to realize that Cherry Heering would substitute for both the sweet vermouth and cherry brandy.  Thus, the triangular perfection of the Blood and Sand story is lost.  But its still a damn good cocktail, so here it is.

  Bloody Sand Trap

  • 1-1/2 oz scotch
  • 1/4 oz Cheery Heering
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

This drink actually comes very close to the original Blood and Sand without the harshness of the kirschwasser.  The scotch and Heering play well together and the orange juice is a nice compliment.  It all came down to getting the proportions correct and the dash of Peychauds helps tie it together.

If you want to enjoy the movie with this one, I suggest the 1990 version of the film starring Sharon Stone.


Day 100 Cocktail 98

In New Orleans, that is.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I could live there, but not before I’m independently wealthy and writing about cocktails becomes my primary avocation.  If I lived in New Orleans I don’t think that I could actually earn a living with the siren call of Bourbon Street, the tropical heat and humidity, the jazz, the food.

However, Katie, the daughter of our good friends Greg and Patty is doing just that.  A year removed from her graduation from UW-Lacrosse she is headed back to New Orleans this week for her new job with Habitat for Humanity.  Not only will she live in a great city, but she’ll be making a difference in many peoples lives.  My hat is off to you Katie!

Tonight we will be sending her off in style.  And what better way than to mix up a batch of Sazeracs.  The Sazerac is a New Orleans staple and is often credited with being the first cocktail.  The original Sazerac was actually cognac and Peychaud’s bitters and developed in the early 1800’s.  Just when the switch to rye whiskey was made is unclear, but the current incarnation uses rye instead of cognac.


  • 3 oz rye whiskey
  • 3/4 oz bar syrup
  • Peychaud’s bitters to taste
  • Pernod (or absinthe)

Fill a rocks glass with ice water to chill.  In a mixing glass muddle the bar syrup and Peychaud’s.  Add ice and the rye and stir.  Empty the chilled rocks glass and rinse with the Pernod.  Strain the contents of the mixing glass into the rinsed rocks glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist or float a lemon peel and serve.

To rinse a glass is simply to pour a small amount of the liquid called for in the glass, swish it about (like you are swirling wine before tasting it) and then dump the contents.  This is particularly effective with highly aromatic liqueurs at imparting just the barest hint of flavor,

This is a classic American cocktail and should be on your bucket list.  I know I’ll enjoy mine in a few hours, and I hope you do to!