The Twilight Lounge – March 5, 2016
It’s been a long and winding road…but I’m back and ready for more cocktails, fun and who knows what else!
I have been itching to get back to work here for awhile now. I finally was pushed over the top this week while at Half Barrel in Rochester, MN (which I highly recommend checking out – a great selection of whiskies, great cocktails and very good food). I started to chat with Kelsey, who was also there on business, about craft cocktails. Finally, the bartender, whose name, regretfully, I did not get, joined in our conversation. One thing led to another and the topic of my blog came up. The bartender, based on the conversation, said he’d seen my blog. I was stunned and said no way! So I pulled it up on my phone and he said yeah, I’ve been on here a lot and read it and liked a lot of your cocktails! I was blown away! And resolved to return, so hear we are…
A few weeks ago I hosted a small gathering at my home and a friend brought me a bottle of Suze. It is a liqueur made from gentian, a pretty tropical flowering plant. The color is bright yellow, similar to Galliano, and the flavor is bitter with floral and spice hints. It’s not unlike Campari although not as bitter. Katie had seen it a local liquor store and it was new to her (as it was me) and she figured if anyone could make cocktails with it, it was me.
It took several attempts. I started with vodka as a base, but that just didn’t have enough flavor to balance the Suze. At the suggestion of my cocktail buddy Mark I switched to gin, using Beefeater, my go to London dry. We got close with Beefeater, Suze, lemon juice and bar syrup, but it wasn’t quite there.
Finally, last night, with a light snow falling outside and me deciding to come home early I went back into the Twilight Lounge and took another crack at it. This time I decided to use it more like bitters and did a mashup of a Martini and Manhattan. Thus, the Inspiration was born.
- 2oz Beefeater gin
- 1/2 oz Suze
- 1/8 oz Martini and Rossi sweet vermouth
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
On the first sip there was a smoky, velvety texture with a slight bitter aftertaste from the Suze, pleasing to my palate. The Suze is evident but complimented by the botanicals from the gin. After a few more sips a slightly nutty flavor was also evident adding a little more depth to the taste profile. It’s a nice sipper and definitely something your friends have not had!