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Tag Archives: triple sec

Day 343, Cocktails 348, 349 & 350

Monday evening found me at Ivee’s On Main to watch the NCAA basketball final.  While the game may have been lackluster, the cocktails were not!  Recently Colleen Graham had posted the Fancy Whiskey in her cocktail blog.  I thought it looked like a pretty good drink.  Plus, it easily lent itself to doing a multiple versions and some serious tasting comparisons based on the type of whiskey used.  So, in the name of science and to be able to give you a complete report I embarked on a fancy whiskey journey.

First, the Fancy Whiskey recipe is:

  Fancy Whiskey

  • 2 oz whiskey(of your choice)
  • 1 oz bar syrup
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • dash Agnostura bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and blend.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

So, the recipe is pretty straightforward.  Let’s see how things worked out as I tried different whiskies.  The first was made with Maker’s Mark bourbon.  It was good, with the flavor reminiscent of a Manhattan, except orange flavored.  While 1 oz of bar syrup sounds like a lot, it did not overly sweeten the drink.  The use of triple sec helped with this cause since it is not as sweet as Cointreau is.  The bitters also help to keep the sweetness in line.  All in all, a good drink.

For the second variant I moved to Scotch and had Davey make it with Dewar’s.  It was very similar in taste to the Maker’s Mark version with a smokey peat element from the Scotch.  Depending on your specific taste you could amp up the smokey component of this drink by using a stronger single malt such as Laphroaig.  Again, a very good cocktail that I wouldn’t hesitate to order or make in the future.

Finally, for version three I switched to Canadian whiskey, Canadian Club to be specific.  This version was the least memorable of the bunch, probably owing to Canadian whiskey’s mellow character, particularly when compared to bourbon and Scotch.  It was a good cocktail, but didn’t have the heft that the first two versions had.  Think of this as the Fancy Whiskey lite!

All in all, three good cocktails.  Maybe those boys from Butler should have tried one of these, it couldn’t have hurt there shooting!


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. 


Day 259, Cocktail 257

Don’t you just love to start the week off feeling just fine and dandy?  That’s exactly how I felt Sunday after having had a pretty good weekend up to that point.  We were both in the mood for something with gin so I perused the “The Martini Book” and found this jim dandy of a cocktail.  It is a classic that goes back to the Savoy Cocktail book, published in the 1930’s, and considered a bible of sorts for the cocktail set.

  Fine and Dandy

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to chill and mix.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  No garnish needed.

This was a very nice cocktail.  The orange flavor of the triple sec and lemon from the juice being at the forefront, nicely backed by the juniper of the Beefeater gin that I used.  This was a very nice way to get a fruit flavored cocktail without it being overly sweet. 

A cocktail making hint for you on this one.  Whenever making a cocktail that calls for small amounts of aromatics like bitters add that ingredient first on your ice in your mixing glass or shaker.  It will coat the ice and become a little more evenly dispersed this way instead of adding it last to the other liquids in your shaker or mixer. 


Day 223, Cocktail 221

This is the post wherein I attempt to make our friend Andrea very sad for having left beautiful Milwaukee for Boston…

Saturday night was our annual NID Holiday cocktail party.  Definately another occasion to come up with an orginal Christmas cocktail — and one that I could make up by the pitcher full!  Now, the first time I did this several years ago Andrea got wrecked on my creation, causing us to change the name from the Sleigh Ride to the Sleigh Wreck.  Even though she swore off of them, I’m pretty sure they were the cause of her dancing on the bar at our annual holiday party that year.  Andrea, if you’re reading this, set me straight if I’ve missed anything.

Anyway, back to Saturday night.  I tinkered around for a bit and came up with this.

  Bad Santa

  • 1-1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 bar spoon peppermint schnapps

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Pour into a rocks glass and garnish with a mint leaf or green striped candy cane. 

Both Gwen and I, as well as several of our friends enjoyed this one.  The pomegranate juice keeps it fruity without being sweet and the peppermint schnapps give it just a whiff of mint flavor.  Definately a crowd pleaser for those holiday parties!

Now, if you do want to mix it up by the pitcher full, just work the scale up.  I used 3 cups vodka, 2 cups pomegranate juice, 1 cup triple sec and just 1 oz of peppermint schnapps.  I also added about 3/4 cup of ice to the pitcher and let it melt in.  This is really important to remember when mixing large batches.  When you mix a cocktail one at a time, you’re getting about 20% water into the drink from the ice melting.  Thus, adding ice or water to your large batch mixes still gives you the proportion.  Otherwise, you risk having your guests dancing on top of your bar by 10pm instead of 1am!


Day 189, Cocktail 187

Finally, the big day is here!  It seems almost anticlimatic, probably because for the grown ups the fun was last night!  The kids are out trick or treating, so it’s time for Gwen and I to relax with a cocktail while passing out the candy. 

Yet another web search for Halloween cocktails yeilded tonight’s drink.  This drink is ubiquitious and it’s origin is unclear.  But, it looks good, tastes good and has a name that fits!

  Black Widow

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 3/4 oz creme de cassis
  • 3/4 oz triple sec
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz pomegranate juice

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with black licorice strings.

This is a nice little Halloween cocktail, fruity, but not too sweet.  It has a dark, ruby, almost black color and with the licorice whips makes for a somewhat sinister presentation.


Day 188, Cocktails 185 & 186

Saturday night, in addition to being alright for a fight, was also the night for the Germantown pub crawl.  Gwen and I popped up to Ivee’s and followed my usual tradition of letting the pub crawl to me…meaning we stayed there and just enjoyed as wave after wave of crawlers stopped in at Ivee’s.  It was a fun night and we saw a few of our friends and made a couple of new ones to boot!  The jukebox was pumping out a great mix of Halloween themed songs, everything from Thriller to Rob Zombie to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.  I had my typical Freddy Krueger get up on and I wasn’t alone.  By my official count there were five Freddies by the end of the night.  I think I need a new costume next year!

Getting ready for the night entailed a cocktail at home.  I found this recipe on line (and honestly can’t remember where I got, otherwise I’d tell you) and decided to mix it up.  Based on my quick research, however, this is a cocktail that dates back to the Savoy Bar and the 1930’s.

  Satan’s Whiskers

  • 3/4 oz Bombay gin
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz orange juice
  • 3 bar spoons triple sec
  • 1 bar spoon plus two dashes Agnosturo Orange bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Wow, this has been my favorite cocktail of the week, by far.  I love what the orange bitters does, giving the drink a wonderful bite that is not too bitter and mellows out the sweetness of the juice and sweet vermouth wonderfully.  It adds a nice fall flavor to the orange flavors, if that makes any sense.  I hope it does.  I enjoyed this so much that I actually had a second one while making dinner!

After dinner and just before leaving I had to mix up a shooter for us that I’ve been waiting for a year to make.

  Brain Hemorrhage

  • 1 oz chilled peach schnapps
  • 1 bar spoon chilled Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1/2 bar spoon chilled grenadine

Pour the peach schnapps into a shot glass.  Float the Baileys on top of the schnapps.  Top with the grenadine.  The Baileys will end up looking like a coagulated mess in the midst of the schnapps while the grenadine will float to the bottom, dragging some of the Baileys with it.  It looks a lot like the name implies!

This is a nice, sweet shooter that is tasty – just right for the ladies!  Even Brett at Ivee’s agreed, after making a couple for me last night, that it was finally a good use for Baileys!



Day 180, Cocktail 176

Ahh, to have been around when the Stork Club was in its heyday.  It was the place to be, not just in New York, but anywhere in the world.  And If you really part of the in crowd you would be able to get a table in the Cub Room within the Stork Club.  How swank is that, having a room within a club?  Maybe I should have the  Boom Boom Room within The Twilight Lounge!

Anyway, I was listnening to some back issues of the Dinner Party Download, my new favorite podcast (since TikiBar TV appears to be defunct).  Check it out at the Apple Itunes store, you’ll dig it the most.  The historical topic was the day Jack Parr walked off the set of the Tonight Show.  The cocktail to match the event was the Stork Club.  I immediately tried it upon getting home tonight.  Here it is.

  Stork Club Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 dash Angosturo bitters

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

This cocktail was created by Nathaniel Cook, the chief barman at the Stork Club.  It’s tasty and slightly tart.  It’s definately like drinking a bit of history.  I can close my eyes and imangine I’m in the Cub Room with my pals from the Rat Pack or maybe the Kennedy clan.

See you tonight at Ivee’s for Trivia Night!


Day 178, Cocktails 173 & 174

Ok, so maybe I’m being a tad melodramatic, breaking out the Peaches and Herb, but it sounded good in my head. 

Tonight’s cocktails feature a pairing that deserve to be brought together, whether its for the first time (it is for me) or its after being seperated (most likely at birth).  Kajmir is the odd blend of vodka, brandy and vanilla flavors (a gift that must be drunk!) and Kahlua, the well known coffee flavored liqueur.  I thought these two would play well together but wasn’t satisfied with just the two of them.  Orange is definately a flavor that should work.  Thus, the first of two cocktails was born.

  Orange Mocha ‘Nilla

  • 1-1/2 oz Kajmir
  • 3/4 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Triple Sec

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to chill and mix.  Strain into a coupe and garnish with an orange peel.

It took a couple of tries to get this just right, but once I did I had a very lovely, fall flavored cocktail.  The orange of the triple sec, mocha of the Kahlua and the vanilla of the Kajmir all blend very well without being too sweet.  I think you’ll like this one.

Next I tried to play with another fall flavor, apple.  For this effort I broke out the Calvados.  Here was the final version I came up with.

  Apple Mocha ‘Nilla

  • 1-1/2 oz Kajmir
  • 3/4 oz Kahlua
  • 1/2 oz Calvados

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to chill and mix.  Strain into a coupe, no garnish required.

Hmmm, not as good as the Orange Mocha ‘Nilla.  The Calvados is strong and even I kept dialing it back it was still front and center.  Maybe if I had gone down to 1/4 oz of Calvados, but that will have to wait for another night.


Day 152, Cocktail 152

There were so many ways to go with this tonight…

I really missed a prime opportunity yesterday, the 151st day of my liver’s long day’s journey into night.  C’mon, you know what it was I missed out on — a chance to have a cocktail that features Bacardi 151, of course.  So that’s what I’m doing today, a day late perhaps, but really, can you ever be late when it comes to cocktails?  Certainly not at the Twilight Lounge where there is no such thing as bar time.

So what to make?  I started with my Beachbum Berry’s Intoxica! recipe book, but just didn’t see anything that caught my eye that I had all the ingredients for (passion fruit nectar was my downfall in most cases).  So next I moved to the Ultimate Bar Book and began flipping through the rum section.  Mittie Hellmich, the author, doesn’t take too kindly to overproof rums like Bacardi 151, so he didn’t have a lot using the stuff.  To be honest, I agree with his sentiments that they are mostly for show or lighting on fire and don’t really add depth or character to a cocktail.  But I was determined to forge ahead anyway.

I cued up some tiki music and became inspired when Don Tiki’s “The Other Side of the Moon” came on.  Actually, it wasn’t as much the song as the album artwork that goes with it.  This is from his “Skinny Dipping with Don Tiki” disc and the nude woman on the cover dipping her toe in the water 

just did it for me.  At the same time I found a cocktail in Hellmich’s book called the Florida Special that provided the inspiration for tonight’s cocktail.

  Skinny Dipping

  • 1 oz Bacardi 151 rum
  • 1/4 oz triple sec
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 oz bar syrup
  • 1 oz orange juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Although it is only 1 oz of rum, it’s like a double.  Add in the triple sec and Luxardo and you have a cocktail that has a kick.  The neat thing is that between the orange juice and Luxardo you only get a nice, tropical flavor – a nice blend of orange and cherry with a hint of rum in the background.  You’d never know this was 151 proof rum floating around in the glass if I hadn’t told you.  Of course, after two or three of these, you and your friends will be skinny dipping!  It’s just too bad that the Patio Lounge and Swim Club is closed for the year!



Hooray for Polish vodka!

Day 48, Cocktail 44

Polishfest is next weekend and is always the highlight of June for us.  We all love the pierogies and sausages, the polka music is fun and the vodka, well, what is there to complain about there?  So, in preparation, we’ll have a week of Polish cocktails and Polish vodka!  This first offering was something I found on line and decided to give it a try.


  • 1 oz Polish potato vodka
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/8 oz triple sec
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker over 4-5 ice cubes.  Shake vigorously to chill and break up the ice.  Pour, unstrained, into a large rocks glass.  Garnish with a lime slice.

I have to admit, this one didn’t tickle my fancy.  The vermouth is simply too much and overpowers both the vodka and even the grapefruit juice.  If you’ve got a good recipe using Polish vodka, let me know!