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Tag Archives: st. germain

Day 270, Cocktail 272

As I’ve meandered through brandy cocktails this week I’ve come to appreciate brandy as a base spirit.  It’s really quite versatile and has been working quite well with a number of flavors.  I’ve also noticed the number of cocktails that use Cointreau, the orange flavored liqueur.  This got me thinking about what could I come up with that would use brandy?  Orange seems to work well, but what else would?  I let my mind wander (something its good at, just ask my teachers) and finally reached the Cooper Brothers cocktail that I had created earlier in this journey.  I decided to give it a whirl, using brandy in place of the rye whiskey.

  Brandy Cooper Brothers

  • 1-1/2 oz brandy
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain
  • 1/4 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 1 orange slice

Muddle the orange slice in a mixing glass.  Add ice and the liquid ingredients.  Stir to chill and mix.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Nice, very nice.  This may even taste a bit better than the original rye whiskey version – it’s a little mellower and the orange flavor seems to really pop.  You might also be wondering why I muddle the orange slice instead of just using juice.  The reason I muddle the orange slice is that I really work over the peel, getting the oils from it to release and mix with the liquid ingredients.  This adds quite a bit of flavor and aroma to the cocktail.  It’s an extra step worth taking!

Cheers!

Day 261, Cocktail 260

I know you’re looking at that post title and wondering just what the heck is coming up.  You are, aren’t you? 

Well, it’s like this.  Sometimes it’s harder to name the cocktails that I concoct at the Twilight Lounge than it is to actually concoct them.  After yesterday’s rather lame effort with my two new pear cocktails I decided today was to be an inspiring effort, one worthy of great plaudits and driven by outsized ego and ambition.  Thus, the Peary is born.  As in Robert Peary, intrepid explorer of the North Pole (although the second man to reach it).  And why is Robert Peary the inspiration for tonight’s cocktail.  Actually, its only because his name is Pear-y.

  Peary Cocktail

  • 2 oz Death’s Door gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Mathilde Poire liqueur
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain liqueur

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

Another very nice cocktail from the Lounge.  Light citrus and elderflower notes at the beginning of this followed by just a hint of pear.  It’s slightly sweet and the “brandy” feel of the Mathilde Poire is totally subsumed by the lemon and St. Germain.  If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll note that the only differences between this and yesterday’s Elderflower Pear is that I dropped the Lillet and amped up the St. Germain. 

As for Admiral Peary, I hope he doesn’t mind that I borrowed his name.

Cheers!

Day 260, Cocktails 258 & 259

Monday I was inspired to follow up on the delicious Pear Flower that I had just last Friday at the NSB Bar and Grill.  I had previously purchased a bottle of Mathilde Poire liqueur that I had intended all along to pair with St. Germain, but I just had never really gotten around to it.  The Mathilde Poire is made from D’Anjou pears and is 36 proof.  It definately smells and taste like ripe pears and also has a brandy like backbeat to it.

So with the Mathilde Poire in hand, what else to use?  Death’s Door gin quickly joined it on the top of the bar followed by Lillet Blanc.  Just smelling each of these seperately and then together was good – I was pretty sure that I was on to something that would turn out good.

  Death’s Door Pear

  • 2 oz Death’s Door Gin
  • 1 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1/2 oz Mathilde Poire Liqueur

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with cubed ice.  Stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  No garnish required.

On my initial taste I got a bit of sharpness from the Mathilde (that brandy backbeat I talked about), but it was quickly mellowed by the floral qualitites of the Lillet.  After the drink had a chance to mellow in my glass it had a nice pear flavor that was complimented nicely by the juniper in the the Death’s Door.  By the way, using another gin in lieu of the Death’s Door will definately change the flavor profile and may overwhelm the drink, especially if you use a London Dry gin.  If you can, use the Death’s Door.

One cocktail was not enough this evening.  I was on a roll and ready to introduce St. Germain to the mix.  Here’s what I came up with.

  Elderflower Pear

  • 2 oz Death’s Door gin
  • 1 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1/2 oz Mathilde Pear Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz St. Germain Liqueur

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with cubed ice.  Stir to mix and chill.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  No garnish required.

Oh my god, this is a homerun!  The addition of the St. Germain adds both a touch of sweetness and just enough of the elderflower flavor that combines just right with the pear flavors of the Mathilde.  The flavors just exploded on my tongue, providing me with the perfect balance between the boozy gin, the floral Lillet and the two liqueurs.    This drink alone is enough reason to have the Mathilde around, especially if you are a fan of St. Germain.

Try them out and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Day 257, Cocktail 256

Friday night was a date night for Gwen and me.  No kids, no friends, no worries, just the two of us (isn’t that a song?)  I decided to try someplace new and did a web search for Milwaukee bistro.  A number of interesting choices popped up and I chose one that was relatively close to home – NSB Bar and Grill.  Formerly known as the North Shore Bistro it has undergone a few changes, including the name.

When we arrived it was going to be 10 – 15 minutes for a table.  Fortunately, there were seats at the bar (I know, a shock that we’d wait at the bar), which ran the length of the dining room.  I was pleased to see that it was well stocked with liquor and liqueurs and also pleased to see a number of tempting selections on the speciality cocktail list.  While Gwen went for her usual dirty Bombay martini I opted to try out the Pear Flower.  This consisted of Grey Goose la Poire, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and bar syrup.  The result is pictured here and was delicious!  The pear flavored Grey Goose was a perfect match for the St. Germain and grapefruit juice.  The lemon juice added just the right amount of sour to offset the sweetness of the St. Germain.  Regular readers know that I’m no fan of flavored vodkas, but this cocktail makes a strong case for them. 

As for dinner, Gwen had the Pan Seared Tilapia with Pistachio Lemon Butter while I opted for the Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  Both meals were also very good and made for a great evening out for us.

Cheers!

Day 146, Cocktail 142

Back at last (to posting that is).  A very busy week on the business front (and leaving my laptop in Milwaukee while in St. Louis) has kept me offline.  Rest assured though, I’ve been keeping up.  I’m skipping ahead of some of my St. Louis explorations to last night.  Gwen and I drove to Minneapolis for a weekend of mixed business and pleasure with another couple.  Last night we met my business associate and friend Ashish and his wife Lori for dinner and cocktails.  At Ashish’s suggestion we went to the Bradstreet Crafthouse, located in the Graves Hotel. 

I’ve got to tell you that this is my first visit to Minneapolis since the early 80’s and wow, this city is amazing!  The downtown area was alive and vibrant last night with all kinds of night life and a Twins game going on at Target Field.  I was drooling as we passed by one cocktial lounge and restaurant after another.

Back to the Bradstreet Crafthouse.  This establishment is dedicated to the art of the craft cocktail and features a number of classics and new mixes created locally.  You can also select a variety of small plate dishes from the extensive menu (try the satay and lamb sliders!).  My first drink of the night was the Vincent’s Ruin.  This features Bulliet Bourbon, lemon, St. Germain and Pernod.  (Yep, the combination of bourbon and St. Germain is what caught my eye.)First, a terrific presentation as the drink was served in a rocks sized glass with a generous lemon peel and the large, round ice ball – about half the size of a baseball.  I’ve seen this before at Bryant’s in Milwaukee and its a very neat and stylish way to keep you drink cold.  It’s also practical as the ice melts much slower, reducing the amount of dilution.   As for the flavor, it was amazing!  Each flavor was subtle on its own and perfectly blended to create a very harminous drink.  With the slightly smokey bourbon providing a solid foundation the elderflower, lemon and anise flavors were each distinct but not overwhelming. 

I could have drunk this all night, but there was more to explore.  Unfortunately, that will have to wait as it’s time to get going to the tailgate before the Minnesota – USC game this afternoon.

Cheers!

Day 127, Cocktails 125, 126 & 127

Whew, what a day!  We had planned to swim and grill out this afternoon and invited our friends Greg and Patty to join us.  When they arrived we all got into the pool and cooled off from another hot day (at least hot for us !) and got caught up with all the news.  About mid afternoon it was time to try out our first cocktail of the day (fortunately, I don’t have to twist Greg and Patty’s arm very hard).  I decided to give a drink recipe sent to me by a high school classmate Mary Sheldon Hyatt a try.  It’s called the Dia Del Amore (which is what Valentine’s Day in Mexico is known as).  As best I can tell, this recipe comes from the fine folks who produce St. Germain, so it should come as no suprise that it uses…ta da…St. Germain.

Dia Del Amor

  • 1-1/2 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 1 oz St. Germain liqueur
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 2 dashes Tabasco

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes and shake, shake, shake.  Prepare a rocks glass by salting the rim.  Add 4-5 ice cubes and strain the drink into the glass.  Garnish with a lime twist. 

This drink was fantastic!  Mary, thanks for sending me the recipe.  We all enjoyed it!  The sweet, elderflower of the St. Germain was a terrific compliment to the tequila.  I was pleasantly suprised by this as I have not worked with tequila and St. Germain before.  The tabasco added just a hint of smokey, pepper flavor, but really no heat at all.  This cocktail is really a great substitute for your typical margarita, and really blows away nearly any typical restaurant ‘rita made with overly sweetened mixes. 

While we were on the patio enjoying the Dia Del Amor, I handed Greg my new copy of The Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich (and a huge thanks to Ashish for giving me this book – it is fantastic!).  Greg, not being one to miss an opporunity to drink my booze started flipping through the tequila section.  It didn’t take long before he started to quiz me. 

 “Do you have silver tequila?” 

“Of course.”

“Pineapple juice?”

“Actually, yes.”

“Angosturo bitters?”

“Yep.”

“Club soda?”

“Yes, why?”

“Because we should try a La Conga next.”

And try we did. 

  La Conga

  • 2 oz silver tequila
  • 1/4 oz pineapple juice
  • 3 dashes Agnosturo bitters
  • seltzer water

Fill a rocks glass with ice cubes.  Add the tequila, pineapple juice and bitters.  Top with seltzer water, stir and garnish with a lemon slice.

This is an unusual cocktail in that it is mixed directly in the glass.  That said, it didn’t really catch the fancy of any of us today.  The bitters really dominate the flavor of this drink and I don’t think it really had enough pineapple juice since we didn’t catch any flavor of it in the drink.  If I were to try this again I would double the pineapple juice and cut the Agnosturo to 2 dashes and see how that goes.

We took a break from cocktails to have some dinner, but it didn’t take long to head down to the Twilight Lounge and try our third tequila cocktail of the day, also from The Ultimate Bar Book.

  La Bomba

  • 1 oz gold tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/8 oz grenadine

Combine the tequila, Cointreau, pineapple juice and orange juice in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add the grenadine. 

The grenadine ends up sinking to the bottom which gives the drink a very nice visual appeal (it’s the cocktail in the picture above).  It also adds a layer of flavor as you work your way through the drink.  This was another delicious drink that was very well balanced and enjoyed by all of us today. 

So, to paraphrase Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad.  Give these cocktails a try and let me know what you think.

Cheers!

Day 116, Cocktails 114 & 115

Our vacation continues this week in southwest South Dakota.  We’re staying in Custer and from there visiting numerous sites including Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, Deadwood and more.  Yesterday we rolled through Sturgis where they locals were putting the town back together after this year’s bike week.  There were still a few stragglers and shirts for sale.  (As a side note, I couldn’t help but wonder if bikers look down on the guys driving the three wheelers.  I gotta’ believe they do.)

All this driving around Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota has put me behind with the reports (of course, the enjoyment of cocktails hasn’t slowed!).  This report goes back to last Sunday while we were still in Boulder.  Sunday evening found as at the 4580 Restaurant for a final, family dinner.  They have a well stocked bar and we took advantage of it.

The first drink we had was a speciality of the bar.

  Amelia Earhart

  • Bombay Sapphire gin
  • St. Germain
  • Creme de Violette
  • Lemon juice
  • mint leaves for garnish

If there was ever a chick cocktail, this is it.  A very light purple color with the wonderful violet flavor of the creme de violette at the front.  The gin and St. Germain are in the background supporting the violette.  A very nice sipper on a warm evening.

If the Amelia Earhart is a chick’s cocktail, then this second one, enjoyed by Reno and I was the manly man’s cocktail.  It was simply a classic manhattan, but it was made with Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.  This whiskey is distilled from barley and has a very distinctive flavor as a result.  Smooth and mellow, it has a malty flavor that comes through.  This is an excellent sipper and will soon find its way into my liquor cabinet.  If you are a bourbon or single malt whiskey fan then I recommend trying this distinctive whiskey.

That’s all for now, more from Custer later.

Cheers!

Day 105, Cocktail 105

Gwen and Tina went to see Wicked at the Marcus Center tonight and by the time they got back home they were ready for a wicked cocktail.  Oh, it was also supposed to be green, which started to limit the possibilities (since all my cocktails are wicked).  In fact, with no Midori at the Twilight Lounge it was either Tyku or green Cream de Menthe.  A coin toss later, Cream de Menthe won.  Now, what to do with it?  I’ve been messing around with gin and cream de menthe for a while now.  Out came the shaker, Plymouth and Cream de Menthe.  Hmmm, still a bit too minty.  According to Gwen and Tina it was an elderberry elixir that turned the witch green.  Well, I don’t have any elderberry, but I do have elderflower liqueur.  So, a bit of St. Germain later, and the Emerald Witch was born.

  Emerald Witch

  • 1-1/2 oz Plymouth gin
  • 1/8 oz Creme de Menthe
  • 1/4 oz St. Germain

Combine in a shaker with ice.  You know the drill.  Strain into a chilled coupe.

This worked out well, and the girls seemed to like it.  The St. Germain helps mellow the Creme de Menthe and the gin provides the structure for this one.  So go see Wicked or fire up The Wizard of Oz on your DVD player, mix up a pitcher of Emerald Witches and enjoy the show!

Cheers!

Day 104, Cocktails 103 & 104

Saturday was a fun, family day at the Wisconsin State Fair, and we managed to avoid eating any food on a stick.  We did see the chocolate covered bacon on a stick, and it did not look appetizing at all.  We were also fortunate to have our friends from St. Louis, Andy and Jennifer, and their two daughters, come over for a cook out and some swimming Saturday evening.  It ended up being quite a little party.

When Andy and Jennifer arrived that signalled the beginning of cocktail hour.  The problem was that when asked what they wanted, Jennifer and Gwen both said “Whatever”.  I’d never hear of a cocktail with that name and didn’t find anything on the CocktailDB web site either.  So I set about making up a cocktail for the girls.

Whatever Cocktail

  • 2 oz Hendrick’s gin
  • 1/2 oz cucumber juice
  • 1/4 oz St. Germain
  • 1/8 oz peppermint schnapps

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to completely chill.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a cucumber wheel.

My inspiration for this was the Love and Happiness.  However, rather than muddling cucumber I used my juicer to squeeze cucumber slices.  And, since I’d pretty much used all the mint from my garden, I added the peppermint schnapps to add just a hint of mint flavor.  It must of worked, because the girls loved it and I thought it worked out pretty well too.

It didn’t take long before the girls were ready for a second cocktail.  Jennifer joined me in the Twilight Lounge and wanted to have something named for her.  I asked what she liked and she told me vodka, rasberry and tequila.  I nearly pulled out the rasberry vodka, then thought about using vodka and chambord.  I even briefly considered the Sleigh Wreck, but I wanted to wait on that one.  I asked if she liked ginger and Jen said “yeah, its OK.”  So, I started thinking about a twist on a mule style cocktail combined with a margarita.  Thus, the Jennifer was born.

  Jennifer

  • 2 oz Cadadores tequila
  • 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton
  • 1 oz lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  You know what’s coming…shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.

Jen and Gwen loved this, and so did I.  Much more sophisticated than a mule and a flavorful twist on a margarita, this cocktail definately shifted the party into high gear.  I can’t wait until this fall when we’ll see Andy and Jennifer again!

Cheers!

Day 98, Cocktails 96 & 97

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [to Igor] Now that brain that you gave me. Was it Hans Delbruck’s?
Igor: [pause, then] No.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Ah! Very good. Would you mind telling me whose brain I DID put in?
Igor: Then you won’t be angry?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: I will NOT be angry.
Igor: Abby Someone.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby Someone. Abby who?
Igor: Abby Normal.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby Normal?
Igor: I’m almost sure that was the name.

Ah yes, the Mel Brooks classic “Young Frankenstein” has a lot of memorable lines, but the exchange between Frankenstein and Igor about the brain that was used in the monster is my favorite.  Which leads me to the latest cocktail sampled at the Twilight Lounge last night.

  Abbey Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 1/4 oz orange juice
  • Dash of Agnosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with an orange peel.

I used Bombay for this one as it is one of my favorites and I thought it would be a nice pairing with the juice.  Essentially, this is a martini with orange juice substituting for the sweet vermouth.  I liked it, but Gwen wasn’t as keen on it.  In an effort to have something she would enjoy, I went back down to the Lounge and doctored hers up.  This is the result.

  Abbey Normal

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 1/4 oz orange juice
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz St. Germain
  • Dash of Agnosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with an orange peel.

This version was much more to Gwen’s liking, with the Cointreau reinforcing the orange juice and the St. Germain adding a touch of floral sweetness that helped mellow out the Bombay.

So get out your shaker, mix up either one of these cocktails, pop “Young Frankenstein” into the DVD player and enjoy!

Cheers!