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AP BRITAIN NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATIONS I GBRThe Twilight Lounge – January 4, 2013

Happy New Year!  It was an odd New Year’s Eve / New Year’s Day for me.  First, half the family (Gwen and daughter number 1) were in London for the New Year’s Day parade, which daughter number 1 was in.  Second, I was at Disney in Florida with daughter number 2.  Sooo, no holiday party this season at the Twilight Lounge (much to the chagrin of some of our friends) and, amazingly for me, no booze, no champagne, no beer, no nothing on New Year’s Eve.  I think I was 15 the last time that happened!

Finally, yesterday we were all back together.  Tonight was movie and cocktail night.  Hmmm…a new bottle of gin from London (Brokers), a case of fresh Indian River white grapefruit from Florida.  Yeah, you know where this is going.

London Calling

  • 3 oz Brokers gin
  • 1/4 oz orgeat
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters
  • 1-1/2 oz St. Germain
  • fresh white grapefruit juice
  • tonic water


Combine the gin, orgeat, bitters and St. Germain in a mixing glass without ice.  Stir vigoursly to mix.  Pour into a collins glass filled with ice, fill to nearly the top with grapefruit juice and add a splash of tonic water.  Stir and serve.

I loved this one – and nailed it on my first attempt!  The orgeat and St. Germain compliment the grapefruit and cut its tartness just enough.  It’s not sweet, but not bitter either.   The gin gives a nice base and just a hint of juniper comes through, adding a layer of complexity that vodka would not add.

So, the next time you take a split vacation between London and Florida, you know what to have to drink!  Mind the gap and stay calm and carry on!


Twilight Lounge – December 23, 2011

“One martini is alright.  Two are too many, and three is not enough” – James Thurber

Back to my recurring series on gin, the stuff of legend.

Part of the series will be to review the various gins that I have and drink.  While I have made and enjoyed a number of gin cocktails (81 are listed in the index by my count), I decided to use my tried and true basics to conduct my taste tests – the classic martini and the gin and tonic.  Of course, I also sip and smell the gin unadorned as well to understand its unique nose and flavor.

Today’s review is New Amsterdam gin.  This is an 80 proof gin from The Amsterdam Spirits Company, which is actually a subsidiary of  E. & J. Gallo Winery.  This explains in large part the very innocuous nature of New Amsterdam, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

On its own the New Amsterdam has slightly floral and citrus notes on the nose, with lemon and orange being the most predominant.  The taste experience is also similar, with definite lemon and orange flavors coming through…and not much else.  There is barely a hint of juniper or other botanicals, and a sweetness to the flavor that, frankly, reminds more of a flavored vodka than a gin.

On to the martini.  I used my standard recipe of 3 oz gin, 1/2 oz Noilly Prat dry vermouth and 1 dash Angostura bitters and garnished with three unstuffed cocktail olives.  The New Amsterdam’s mild flavor really lets the vermouth come through, much more so than a typical London Dry gin would.  The citrus flavors do compliment the vermouth nicely.  However, I don’t drink a martini to sip vermouth and I missed tasting the gin.

Next was the gin and tonic.  I used a rocks glass (12oz) with 6 ice cubes (1-1/2 oz each).  2oz of gin, Shweppes diet (hey, I have to watch the weight!) tonic water and a lime wedge squeezed over the top complete the ingredient list.  A quick stir and it’s ready to taste.

By my gin and tonic standards this has a very mild taste.  The lime in the drink did play off the citrus notes of the New Amsterdam.  While refreshing, and suitable for a warm summer day, I missed the “bite” of my typical gin and tonic.  Again, the lack of a clear juniper component disappointed me.

The verdict?  I’m disappointed.  As I wrote early on, this strikes more as a flavored vodka than a gin.  I appreciate the attempt to widen the gin drinking audience, but it really should taste at least somewhat like gin.  On a scale of 1 to 5 I rate the New Amsterdam gin a 2.



I’m at the Twilight Lounge and you’re not!

 Day 91, Cocktails 93 & 94

Day 91 was last Sunday, I by then I had two more cocktails to tell you about.  The first cocktail I enjoyed at the Comet Cafe located in Milwaukee’s Eastside.  The Comet was featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so we decided to give it a try.  I’m glad we did!  The Comet features local ingredients prepared with a minimum of fuss.  They also feature a complete bar.  As I perused the drink menu I realized that this would be the place to try a Wisconsin favorite, the Brandy Old Fashioned.  At the Comet the Brandy Old Fashioned starts with muddled cherries, orange, sugar and bitters.  Brandy and sour mix are added and then served over ice, garnished with an orange and cherry.  This was a delicious cocktail, with bright, fresh flavors.  5 stars to the Comet Cafe for a great execution of this Wisconsin classic. 

Sunday evening found me at Mark Stoffel’s for a drink before heading to the Rave for the Thrill Kill Kult and Lords of Acid show.  Yes, the show was fantastic, especially the Lords of Acid as all the original members are still with the group.  I even found my way into the mosh pit for a spell, and lived to tell about it! 

Back to Mark’s house.  He had a variety of fruits out along with a bottle of vodka.  So, I grabbed a pint glass and four or five strawberries.  I crushed the strawberries into the glass and filled the glass with ice, 2 oz of vodka, 1 oz lemon juice and 1 oz bar syrup.  I stirred all this together and then topped it with tonic water.  The result was a refreshing strawberry lemonade that will get you of the Mike’s hard lemonade for life! 

  Strawberry Lemonade 

  • 4-5 fresh strawberries
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • tonic water

Give this one a try on a hot day – it will cool you off!