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rehorst-gin-2The Twilight Lounge – February 4, 2017

If you are a regular reader, you know that I like, no make that love my gin.  So, this review is far, far overdue, considering that a friend gave me this bottle of Rehorst gin for my birthday last year. Check that, Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin (Batch No. 10, for the record).

So, just what the heck is this from the Great Lakes Distillery?  It starts as Rehorst Gin, itself an interesting gin that includes sweet basil and Wisconsin Gingseng among its 9 botanicals (including the usual juniper).  Then the gin is aged in oak barrels to impart an additional layer of complexity not normally found in gin.  It is indeed limited, as only one barrel a month is bottled and released.

So how did Great Lakes Distillery do?  Pretty damn good in my estimation.  On the nose it is not as juniper forward as London Dry or even Plymouth style gins.  The oak has mellowed the botanicals out, smoothing their edge.  Sipping it there is not the heat I’d expect from a liquor that is 94 proof.  The oak comes through along with spicy hints, not unlike black pepper and rosemary, with the juniper on the finish.  With the oak aging, sipping this neat or on the rocks is akin to doing so with a good bourbon (and something I don’t typically do with gin).  Adding a twist and few ice cubes makes this a treat and a viable substitute for my traditional martini.

What else can you do with this gin?  Fortunately for you, I experimented with a number of combinations, some traditional and some new.  It made a great gin and tonic, spicy, woody and better with a lemon wedge in place of the classic lime.  As a martini it comes off almost like a Manhattan.  As a variant to the perfect Manhattan (1/2 sweet vermouth, 1/2 dry vermouth) it was divine!  Mixed with ginger beer was even better than having it with tonic water, a real treat.  The most interesting cocktail I concocted is what I call the Asian Gin Ginger:

Asian Gin Ginger

  • 2 oz Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin
  • 1 oz Tyku
  • 1/2 oz Top Note Ginger Beer Concentrate
  • Dash Bittercube Blackstrap bitters

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Spicy, darkly sweet defines the Asian Gin Ginger.  Floral hints from the gin and Tyku make this not a truly boozy cocktail, but a sickly sweet one either.  Refreshing, I could drink several of these in an evening (and I did!)

My bottom line is that this is a terrific addition to the liquor cabinet.  It doesn’t replace the London dry gin in mine, but it is there in addition.  I give the Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin two thumbs up!

Cheers!

Day 363, Cocktail 363

Friday night and another movie night for Gwen and I.  I had just purchased a box of those “Cutie” clementines and figured that they would back an excellent mixer for a cocktail.  They are slightly sweeter and less acidic than orange juice, and they fit so nicely into my lemon press, so I figured why not!  I’ve also been on a bit of a ginger kick so I wanted to incorporate that into the drink as well. 

Thus, with clementines and Domaine de Canton in mind, what to use for the base spirit?  I reached for the Rehorst gin.  I wanted something more than vodka, but didn’t want the full impact of a London Dry gin.  With it’s clean aftertaste and subtle use of juniper I knew the Rehorst would be a good choice.  Next I also pulled out the St. Remy brandy.  As I thought this cocktail through I figured I would need a bit of “darker” flavor as well to balance out the juice and ginger flavors I wanted.  So, let’s see how this worked out.

  Cutie

  • 1 oz Rehorst gin
  • 1/2 oz St. Remy brandy
  • 1 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 1 oz clementine juice

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

Very nice, if I say so myself.  This really hit the spot and the flavors all worked together as I planned.  Not too sweet, with a backbeat of ginger from the Domaine de Canton and several layers of flavor from the Rehorst and St. Remy.  All in all, a very nice cocktail for clementine season!

So, I’m now down to two cocktails to had today to finish off my year long journey.  I’ll be having one with our mid afternoon dinner and then the final cocktail early this evening.  If you have a suggestion for my last cocktail, let me know!

Cheers!

Day 339, Cocktail 343

Those of you who have been following my cocktail journey for a while will undoubtedly realize that Thursday’s cocktail was inevitable.  Newer readers will get the chance to learn first hand about one of my primary booze fetishes.  Yes, I am talking about maraschino liqueur!  Whenever I see a cocktail with gin and lemon juice as foundational elements I am always ready to add the maraschino to make it an Aviation, one of my favorites.  So when I made the Silver Fizz on Wednesday I knew that I would be adding maraschino to it on Thursday to try it out.  It took me a couple of tries (thank heaven’s Gwen was around to help drink the prototypes) but I finally worked out the correct amount (for my palate) of Luxardo maraschino liqueur to add.  Here it is:

  Cherry Silver Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz Rehorst gin
  • 1-1/2 oz bar syrup
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/8 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1 egg white
  • seltzer water

Combine all the ingredients except the seltzer water in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.  Strain into a Delmonico glass and top with seltzer water.

Ah yes, just a touch of cherry from maraschino liqueur really adds a level of complexity and depth to the original Silver Fizz.  This, to me, makes an even better warm day sipper than the original.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Day 338, Cocktail 342

Ok, so not the catchiest of titles.  Honestly, I sat here for a good 10 minutes and nothing, absolutely nothing witty or pithy came to mind.  Either blog fatigue has set in or I’ve finally reached my limit.  Nah, can’t be that!

So, last night I started thumbing through Dale Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail” and stumbled into the fizz section.  According to Degroff a fizz is a spin-off from the sour, made possible by the development of widespread appearance of soda water.  There are basically two types of fizz.  The first includes egg white for a creamy texture and nice, foamy head.  Fizzes made with egg white are typically served without ice, and thus require a smaller Delmonico glass.  The Delmonico glass is very similar to the collins glass except that it is in the 8 to 10 oz range rather than 12 oz.  The glass in my picture is a 10 oz Delmonico.  The second type of fizz is made without egg white and thus, is usually served over ice in a collins glass.

The fizz that caught my eye was the Silver Fizz.  Here it is:

  Silver Fizz

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 oz bar syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 oz seltzer water

In a shaker with ice  combine everything but the seltzer water.  Shake long and hard (at least 30 seconds) to mix, chill and emulsify the egg.  This is an important step if you want the frothy head and creamy texture that the egg white will impart.  Strain into a chilled Delmonico glass and top with the seltzer water.

This was a delicious cocktail!  Very light, with a sweet, creamy taste and mouth feel, with just a touch of effervescence from the seltzer.  A hint of lemon and the botanicals from the gin (I used Rehorst) finish off this drink.  If summer ever does get here (there’s still ice on my pool) this would be a great cocktail for a warm evening on the patio.

Cheers!

Day 334,  Cocktail 339

After my recent visit to Great Lakes Distillery, home of Rehorst gin and other spirits, I had picked up a bottle and have been using it at the Twilight Lounge.  While clearly a gin, it’s botanicals are toned down compared to the typical London Dry gin.  However, in my book, that is a good thing and it puts the Rehorst on par with Plymouth and similar, milder gins.  What this means is that Rehorst is ideal for gin cocktails outside the traditional realm of the martini and gin and tonic.

On Friday night I pulled out my bottle of Rehorst along with my Lillet Blanc and Domaine de Canton and started to fiddle around.  Here’s what I came up with.

  Ginger Flower

  • 1-3/4 oz Rehorst gin
  • 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 1/8 oz bar syrup

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

It took me 3 trys to come up with this formulation, but in the end it was worth the work (and thanks to Gwen for helping to drink all this versions!).  The floral notes of the Lillet blend wonderfully with the Rehorst.  The Domaine de Canton provides just a hint of ginger, which is what I was after.  Overall, I think this is a nice, refreshing summer type sipper.

If you haven’t already, I suggest you try out the Rehorst gin – you wont’ be disappointed.

Cheers!

Day 333, Cocktail 338

So what does a cocktail and the Slinky have in common?  Well, the Slinky was named by Betty James and last Thursday’s cocktail is named the Betty James.

Betty’s husband Richard actually invented the Slinky after he saw a torsion spring fall of a table and go through it’s gyrations along the floor.  In 1945 the couple convinced Gimbal’s department store to purchase 400 Slinky’s and display them on a ramp in the store.  The Slinky sold out in just 90 minutes at the handsome price of $1 each.  From there the couple was in the toy business, with Betty running the company from 1960 until it was sold to Poof Products in 1998. 

As for why this cocktail is named the Betty James, I have no idea.  My research turned up absolutely nothing about the naming, which is too bad, because there has to be a story there somewhere.  If you know the story, please let me know!

  Betty James

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Agnostura bitters

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

A close cousin to the Aviation, this was a delightful cocktail.  I used Rehorst gin and it provided a very nice backbone.  The bitters provided a nice bite to compliment the maraschino and lemon flavors.  Overall, a very good cocktail!

Cheers to you Betty!