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Tag Archives: root beer

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I know that to some of my friends it seems like I just open up the liquor cabinet at the Twilight Lounge, pull out a few seemingly random bottles and whip up a cocktail that’s delicious and nutritious, just like that.  Alright, well, actually, it does sometimes work like that.  However, more times than not it takes several iterations to get a cocktail where I want it.  This week was an example of the latter as I worked on tonight’s cocktail over a span of several days, until finally I was able to say “That’s It!” to myself.

I started off with the notion that I wanted to recreate a root beer float.  That meant using the root beer flavoring from LorAnn Oils.  But what else to use?  I decided on a base of vodka, which provides pretty much a blank slate to work with.  My first crack at it was 2 oz of vodka (Sobieski, for those of you keeping score at home), 2 drops of the root beer flavor and 1/4 ounce of grenadine.  This effort was ok.  The grenadine was subtle but there, but the root beer was also subtle, and I wanted this to be bolder.  I also didn’t get the creaminess that a root beer float would have, but I didn’t want to add ice cream.  The second iteration kept the same amount of vodka and grenadine, but I bumped up the root beer flavoring to 3 drops and added 1 egg white.  Much better, as the egg white added the creamy texture that I wanted, but the root beer was still a tad muted.  Finally, version three came through when I bumped up the root beer flavor to 4 drops.  Ah yes, now I had a tasty cocktail that is evocative of the root beer float flavor I wanted to emulate. 

  Root Beer Float

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 drops LorAnn Oil root beer flavor
  • 1/4 oz grenadine
  • 1 egg white

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

When you shake this drink (as with any drink containing egg whites) give it as hard a shake as you can for 30 seconds.  This is about 10 seconds longer than I normally shake cocktails, but it is essential to get the frothy emulsification you want from the egg.  Also, as I’ve noted before, I use pasteurized egg whites purchases from my local grocer in the cardboard container (just like the milk you got at school as a kid).  It’s much easier to add the egg white to a drink when I can pour it from a carton, not to mention safer.  I use 1/2 oz of egg white when the recipe calls for 1 egg white. 

Cheers!

Day 326, Cocktails 330, 331 & 332

Ahh, it was finally here.  The day that separates the professionals from the amateurs.  The day that is our biggest excuse to consume prodigious quantities of alcohol (as if Wisconsinites needed an excuse).  The day that is always 65 plus degrees in the middle of freakin’ March (yep, its true – at least for the last three years).  And finally, the day I do the all day St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl with Mike and Brett (even though Brett bombed out on us this year). 

Mike and I got a relatively late start, getting to Bub’s Irish Pub in Germantown at about 7am.  Not only is Bub’s an Irish pub, but they are hardcore – the kind of place that has the count down clock to St. Paddy’s day going year round.  Erin (how appropriate) was our bartender (and no, that’s not her in the picture), and she was able to serve up two tasty Irish themed cocktails for my enjoyment.

The first was the Irish Float which consisted of Bailey’s Irish Cream, Captain Morgan rum and root beer (I believe it was Sprecher).  This was very tasty with a creamy consistency.  The root beer complimented the Bailey’s very nicely and, somewhat to my surprise, the Captain Morgan added a level of complexity that complemented the drink.  As Erin and I were talking cocktails I asked if she had added any chocolate liqueur to this to add more complexity.  She hadn’t, and, unfortunately didn’t have any.  However, Kahlua often lends chocolate notes, so we tried and splash of that and it did add a nice chocolate dimension as a variant of her original drink.

The second of Erin’s drinks at Bub’s was called an Irish Flag and was served as a shooter.  This consisted of green Creme de Menthe, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Midori.  The color turns out to be the minty green of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and so does the flavor, much to my delight.  This would be an excellent shooter to have around for next St. Patrick’s day or as a chilled shooter on a hot summer day out by the pool.

Our second stop of the day was the old Rusty’s in Richfield and is now something Ed’s.  In addition to the Irish Buck I sipped on there I also had my first corned beef meal of the day, opting for a deconstructed sandwich.  The beef was very tender and tasty and complimented the Irish Buck.

Our third stop was Sheryl’s Place in Ackerman.  Nikki was our barmaid (yes, that is her in the picture, holding my Twilight Lounge business card, if you can pull your eyes away from her shamrocks) and she sold us on a cocktail with the delightful name of Leprechaun Piss.  Now, I’ve never had leprechaun piss before, so if it really tastes like this, then it’s not half bad.  Not great, but not bad either.  It consists of Island Punch Pucker, UV orange, 7 up and sour mix.  The color is this iridescent green that looks like it might have leaked out of the cooling system of your car.  Fortunately, it did taste better than that!

After finishing our piss and leaving some of our own behind it was on our ultimate destination for the day, the Tally Ho in Erin (the town, not the bartender).  The Tally Ho sets up a couple of tents and draws hundreds after the Erin parade, especially with the weather as mild as it was.  At this point I pretty much stuck to … well, I’m not sure what I stuck to.  Mike was driving, so I didn’t worry too much about it.  I do know that I stopped taking notes and just concentrated on having fun and not falling down (which is more than I can say for some of the folks who were there). 

So there’s the St. Patrick’s day report – and I promise, no more Irish drinks until next March!

Cheers!

Day 250, Cocktails 248 & 249

New Year’s Eve at the Twilight Lounge, and it was quite an event!  You can check out my about page for pictures of the festivities, so I won’t get into the details here.  Suffice it to say that the night finally ended at about 4am, give or take a few minutes. 

In addition to yesterday marking the end of the year, it was also my first chance to try out my bourbon balls.  I know, you’re thinking, what the hell are bourbon balls?  As a Maker’s Mark ambassador I get a freebie every year around the holidays.  This year’s gift was a mold to make ice balls – and was I ever excited!  Being able to have a solid, round ball of ice about the size of a baseball in my glass keeping my bourbon or scotch cold is fantastic.  The size of the ball keeps the drink cold yet it melts much slower than individual cubes.  You’ll be seeing more of my cocktails using the ice balls, just like yesterday’s cocktail (artfully posed on the Twilight Lounge poker table).

So, what to do with my ice balls and get ready for the party?  My first attempt featured 2 oz of Maker’s Mark bourbon, 1/2 oz Cavados, 1/8 oz maple syrup and 2 drops of my root beer extract.  I wanted to get a bit of root beer flavor and thought it would work well with the apple flavor of the Calvados.  Hmmm, not so much.  The root beer flavor I was shooting for was barely there and Calvados gave this drink a real rough edge.  So, back to the drawing board, and in a totally new direction.

  Ball Drop

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/8 oz maple syrup
  • 3 drops root beer extract

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a rocks glass with an ice ball.

This was nice – and it looks great too!  With just hints of orange, maple and root beer with Maker’s this ends up being a very complex cocktail.  This is a great sipper and with the giant ice ball, it stays nice and cold without getting watered down.  In fact, it took me about an hour to drink this and there was still half of the ball left!

Cheers!

Day 212, Cocktails 205 & 206

Yesterday was filled with anticipation.  My mom Paula and step dad Cookie were due to arrive from Pennsylvania in time for dinner.  The whole family was looking forward to their arrival since we hadn’t seen them since Paula’s birthday celebration in August.  The girls in particular always enjoy Grandma’s visits.

After an excellent dinner of Gwen’s homemade lasgana we headed to the Twilight Lounge for cocktails and a chance to get caught up.  Paula was very impressed with the new floor and then settled in at the bar with Cookie and Gwen.  I mixed up a Caramel Apple for Gwen and a Greg’s Kringle for Paula.  She thought both of them were delicious but chose to stick with the Kringle.  Meanwhile, I began to experiment with another of the flavorings I had picked up at the bake shop a couple of weeks ago.  Here’s what I came up with.

  Maker’s Root Dram

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Drambuie
  • 2 drops root beer flavor extract

Combine in a shaker and shake, shake, shake to mix.  Strain into a chilled coupe.

I really liked this one.  Inspired by the Charles Hires Old Fashioned from a Bryant’s Sporting Fraternity event, it has a subtle root beer flavor behind the Drambuie and Maker’s Mark.  There are several layers of flavor that give this drink a nice complexity.  I’ll probably tinker with it a bit more, but I did like it.  The next cocktail was a classic from the Ultimate Bar Book.

  Waldorf Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 oz bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Pernod
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine in a shaker and shake, shake, shake to mix.  Strain into a chilled coupe.

This classic is a variation of the Sazerac.  I enjoyed it, but the Pernod is a bit strong for my liking, making this a one and done for me.  I just wouldn’t be able to drink these all night long like a could a martini or manhattan.

By the time I finished this it was getting late and we were all ready for bed.  I’m sure that there will be more cocktail fun this weekend though!

Cheers!