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Day 332, Cocktail 337

Last week Gwen took us on a world tour for our dinners, visiting a different country each night of the week.  On Tuesday I took her Cuban cue (Cuban sandwiches for dinner, and they were delicious!) and found a Cuban styled drink for us to have with dinner.  Rum seemed a logical choice and after a quick web search for Cuban cocktails I found this at a website sponsored by the Cuba Tourism agency.  So with my Cuban sandwich in hand, a cold El Presidente cocktail at hand, all I needed to complete my night was a Cuban cigar.  Oh well, two out of three ain’t bad.

  El Presidente

  • 2-1/2 oz white rum
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/8 oz grenadine
  • 1/8 oz triple sec

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes.  Stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a collins glass and then fill with cracked ice.  Garnish with a lemon slice.

This is a nice cocktail, although the flavor profile was dominated by the dry vermouth and then the lemon juice, with just a hint of rum.  The grenadine and triple sec help balance things out a bit, but I tend to think that a little less vermouth and lemon would allow the rum flavors to come out a bit more.  All in all, this wasn’t as emblematic of Cuba as I had hoped it would be. 

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 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!

Cheers!

Day 307, Cocktail 309

On Saturday Gwen’s Newcomer’s group set up an outing to the Great Lakes Distillery.  GLD is the first distillery in Milwaukee since Prohibition and began operation a few years ago with their flagship Reehorst Vodka.  Since then they have branched out to include Reehorst gin, Roaring Dan’s rum (made with maple syrup) and absinthe.

We got a quick tour of the distillery, hosted by Jason Neu.  The tour was quick because essentially they have the still (pictured) and a few racks for aging (they are experimenting with bourbon and brandy right now), and … that’s it.  It really is booze production at its most elemental!

While I had the opportunity to sample the rum and absinthe I’m going to focus on the gin since I was able to enjoy a Reehorst gin martini while waiting for our tour to start.  The mix was pretty simple – a generous (probably 5 oz) pour of gin, a dash of cherry bark bitters and a twist. 

It was a pretty good martini.  GLD makes their Reehorst gin unique with the addition of Wisconsin grown gingsen and basil.  The addition of these flavors takes some of the edge off the juniper, making this a more accessible gin – several in our group who profess to not like gin enjoyed this one.

All in all it is great to see a local producer making high quality spirits from local ingredients.  I look forward to tinkering with the Reehorst gin and the Roaring Dan rum in the future.  Stay tuned!

Cheers!

Day 302, Cocktail 303

Yesterday’s cocktail was also courtesy of what appears to be the now defunct Tiki Bar TV (moment of respectful silence).  During it’s 5 year run it was at times funny, at times tawdry but always true to its tiki roots.  The last episode came out in December, 2009 and despite rumours during 2010 that there would be more, alas, there hasn’t been.  Dr. Tiki, Johnny Johnny and Lala you are missed!  And now, for the cocktail.  This little gem is from the second episode when Dr. Tiki writes this prescription for a guy trying to get out of a bad relationship. 

  Trap Door

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz spiced rum
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • seltzer water

Combine the gin, rum, orange and lime juice in a shaker with ice.  Shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a tiki glass filled with cracked ice.  Top with seltzer water.

I usually don’t used spiced rums in cocktails (I used Sailor Jerry, which is what I stock in the Twilight Lounge) but I have to admit that it worked out well in this cocktail.  The spice from the Sailor Jerry mellowed out over time, giving the drink a smooth, silky feel that wasn’t too sweet.  The gin (I used Beefeater for this one) is a base, but with its botanicals, is present to the taste buds.  The lime and orange balance each other out well.  All in all, a nice, tropical, tiki style cocktail.  In fact, it was so good I had two!

Cheers!

Day 281, Cocktail 280

Gwen was prepping to get the hell of out of Dodge ahead and down to Cancun with a bunch of her friends tonight.  They originally weren’t supposed to leave until Wednesday, but the “big blizzard” headed our way they moved their travel plans up a day.  So I figured that something with tequila was in order tonight.

Besides Gwen’s trip, the inspiration for tonight’s cocktail was a drink I saw on the Cooking Channel show Drink Up.  My inspiration was made with rum and cardamom syrup which I replaced with tequila and Old Ballycastle ginger.    The rest of the ingredients are in the original, although I played around a bit with the proportions.  Let’s see how it turned out.

  Mexican Hat Dance

  • 3 slices of cucumber
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1 oz Old Ballycastle ginger
  • 2-1/2 oz Cazadores tequila

Toss the three cucumber slices into the bottom of your shaker, then add 4-5 ice cubes.  Add the rest of the liquid ingredients and shake, shake, shake.  You need to work this hard because you are muddling the cucumber at the same time that you are mixing your drink.  To prepare your collins glass cut three more slices of cucumber.  Place an ice cube in the bottom, then a cucumber slice, then another ice cube…create a stack three ice cubes / cucumber slices high.  Strain the drink over the cucumber / ice stack in the glass.

I know the drink is good when Gwen asks for seconds and thirds (it’s probably a good thing Andrea wasn’t here).  The flavors are multilayered with cucumber and ginger playing together, supported by the Cazadores.  There is just a hint of spicy heat from the ginger and the syrup keeps the drink from being too tart.  As an alternative, you can just dump the contents of your shaker into a collins glass.  This gives you bits of cucumber mixed in with the drink.  But, you don’t get the neat effect of the layered ice and cucumber slices.

Cheers!

Day 256, Cocktail 255

About this time of year, as the reality of January sets in, I can’t help but think how much nicer it would be to be in Florida for the next couple of months.  I mean, what’s better than getting the bikini on while still on the train as it thunders south?  So after a quick search online I came up with Thursday’s cocktail, which  was enjoyed at Ivee’s while I was playing trivia.  Davey did a great job of mixing this one up for me while I defended my status as the trivia guru.  One sip and I felt warm all over (and a bit smarter as well).

  Florida Special

  • 1-1/2 oz white rum
  • 3/4 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz sweet vermouth

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

A very nice, well balanced cocktail.  The dry vermouth cuts the natural sweetness of the pineapple juice, keeping this drink from becoming syrupy and overly sweet, especially if you are going to have more than one.  The rum is there, as is the sweet vermouth, providing a multi-layered flavor effect.  I definately had Florida’s beaches in mind as I sipped this during the evening.

Cheers!

Day 251, Cocktails 250 & 251

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?

Thus starts the standard New Year’s Eve song, sung at the stroke of midnight (after the kissing is over).  It’s actually a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788.  “Auld Lang Syne” translates from the old Scottish to modern English as “for the sake old times” more or less. 

I started with that little tidbit because it’s time to sing Auld Lang Syne to the holiday season.  Tonight’s post is two more cocktails that were served up on New Year’s Eve at the Twilight Lounge bash.  The first is a classic cocktail that hails from the era just after Prohibition.  The 20th Century Cocktail was invented to honor the new Dreyfus Hudson steam locomotive that was put into service pulling the 20th Century Ltd. train between Chicago and New York in 1938.  Although we are well into the 21st century, this is still a damn good cocktail!

  20th Century Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz white creme de cacao
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass.  Stir to chill and mix.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon peel or twist.

A nice, chocolate flavored cocktail with hints of lemon and mellowed out by the slightly sweet flavor of the Lillet.  This would be better as a dessert cocktail after a hearty dinner, but the chocolate fans in your life will enjoy it anytime!

The second new cocktail at the Lounge New Year’s Eve was for my neighbor Jasen.  He was bringing a big bottle of Hennessy VS cognac that was going to be left behind.  The only caveat was that I had to make a drink for him that used the Hennessy.  The drink I chose for Jasen was the Boston Sidecar, which I also imbibed in myself.

  Boston Sidecar

  • 1 oz Hennessy cognac
  • 1 oz light rum
  • 3/4 oz triple sec
  • 3/4 oz lime juice

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

The addition of the rum and replacing the traditional sidecar’s lemon with lime makes this close to a margarita in flavor.  I do get a slightly nutty, woody flavor from the cognac, but the lime and rum definately lighten this classic up. 

Well, there you have it, the holidays are officially over!

Cheers!

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.

Cheers!

Day 236, Cocktails 236 & 236

Mark and Sue invited me over on Friday night to watch “Control”, the 2007 bio pic of Ian Curtis, the lead singer and soul Joy Division.  As with so many others, Curtis’ flame burned hot but for not nearly long enough as he took his own life at the age of 23.  From the embers of Joy Division emerged New Order and Joy Division is still influencing bands today.  As I go back and listen to some of their tracks the raw energy and emotion that Curtis puts into his singing is unbelievable.

A benefit of watching the movie with Mark and Sue was a couple of new cocktails from Mark.  Both of these were his recipes and both were delicious.  The first was called the Mark Tai and his take on a Mai Tai.  It consisted of light rum, Cruzan Black Strap rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, triple sec and bar syrup.  This was a tasty cocktail that Mark has come up with.  Not as rum intesive as the Mai Tai’s I make using the Trader Vic recipe, but very good.

The second was Mark’s version of the Hemingway daiquiri.  He used light rum, Campari, lime juice, bar syrup and maraschino liqueur.  Basically he uses the Campari to replace the grapefruit juice.  The result was outstanding.  Just enough of the maraschino flavor that I love in a cocktail and the Campari adds a nice touch of bitter, very similar to what grapefruit juice would do.  Another outstanding effort by Mark.

Cheers!