Sunday, March 11, 2018

Lake Louie’s Winter’s Mistress Baltic Porter

This winter Tom Porter’s Lake Louie Brewery offered a boilermaker set, Bulleit bourbon with four bottles of Winter’s Mistress baltic porter. Now, those that know me know that I hate to be a virgin to any liquid, hard or soft, and since I never had a baltic porter, I thought that Tom’s draught would be a good introduction. Plus, it came with my college bourbon, so I wasn’t risking much.

I opened a bottle of Winter’s Mistress and poured into two short 1960s jelly jar glasses for Cindy and I to try. The pour was viscous and smooth, hued of the darkest brown possible. As I raised the glass to my lips, I got a neophyte surprise- a waft of dark fruits like black currants and raspberries, sarsaparilla, anise and caramelized sugars. From the aroma, I was a bit apprehensive, since fruity beers are definitely not my favorite tipple.

I shouldn’t have been worried; the beer is not the artificial-flavored malt beverage nastiness of the domestic Frankenfruitbeer cocktail. Instead it’s flavor is malty upfront, with an immediate trailer of raspberries and currants that lingers on the palate. Its sweetness is pronounced, but even throughout. The bitterness and burnt character of other porters is nonexistent (as is customary of this beer style).

Tom is definitely on to something in selling Winter’s Mistress in a boilermaker set. And even though the Mistress is sold with Bulleit, we mixed it with our very own hand-mixed four-grain bourbon (no, you aren’t getting the recipe, don’t ask). The boilermaker procedure is varied. Some people chase whiskey with their beer. Some alternate the two drinks. Some drop the whiskey right into their beer. There seems to be no wrong way to do it, which works for us laid-back Lounge Lizards.

Cindy and I decided to drink using the alternating method in order to keep our Mistress cold and to lengthen the experience. And an exceptional experience it is for you Lounge Lizards with a sweet tooth. When a mouthful of four-grain is chased with the porter, the short burst of dark fruit is replaced with a wall of dark chocolate and toffee with long whispers of black raspberries and port.

If you want Winter’s Mistress, you better get to Woodman’s pronto before the winter ends. And if you’d like the classic boilermaker proportions, here you go:


1 shot of whiskey
1 glass of beer

Method varies. Classic American is to shoot the whiskey, chase it with a beer. British-style is to drop the shot into the beer and drink. The former requires speed, the latter creates a warm beer, so if you want to lengthen the experience, alternate swallows of each or chill your whiskey prior to mixing it into your beer. Salut.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Stone Fence

It’s been a busy year here at the Firewater Lounge, with Cindy and I taking second jobs and having our first high schooler running wildly to and fro, finding time to seriously sit down for cocktail hour with the Lounge Lizards has been pretty tough. But it’s Christmas, and we always find a way to give all the Lounge Lizards something liquid for Christmas. And hopefully, from our glass to yours, you will find a little cheer and love as well.

This year we were showered with gifts from the Jensen family who has been very good to us over the last year. From sharing their tremendously talented and intelligent daughters for more mock trial successes to helping Cindy get her photography into the Wisconsin Artist Showcase to helping with an emergency at one of my crime scenes, the Jensens were there.

The Jensens also sent a holiday basket of goodies to Cindy for some photography that she had shot, so we thought it apropos to share with everyone at the Firewater Lounge because, well, it’s Christmas.

Since the basket contained Martinelli sparkling cider, we choose one of the oldest cider cocktail recipes in American history, the Stone Fence. Tracing its rabble-rousing reputation to the draught which pre-fueled Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys’ victory at Fort Ticonderoga during the Revolutionary War in 1775, the Stone Fence has always been liquid courage in a glass. Potent, yet drinkable, the Stone Fence has always been 1 part whatever liquor you have, 2 parts cider (or hard cider if you are Ethan Allen) and bitters. We most often have them with bourbon; Allen would have used the more available rum.

We’d like to give you two Stone Fence recipes. The first is the classic rum variety; the second is a modern rendition from Black Twig Cider House in Durham, North Carolina. Enjoy. Thank the Jensens for the inspiration if you see them before we do, and, as always, have a Merry Christmas!

Stone Fence (Classic Pours Series)

1 part dark rum (we used Smith and Cross)
2 parts apple cider (we used Martinelli)
1 dash Angostura bitters

Pour rum and cider into a rocks glass filled with ice. Float the bitters on top of the drink to allow the drinker to decide whether they want to stir or drink through the bitters. When Stone Fences are garnished, it is usually with mint or freshly-grated nutmeg; since it’s Christmas time, we chose the nutmeg.

Black Twig Stone Fence

1 part gin (we used Vikre spruce)
2 parts apple cider (we used Martinelli)
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Same routine as a traditional Stone Fence. This time, though, the garnish is a clementine swath.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas has traditionally been a thought of as a drinking Mecca. The Strip obviously has its share of retro-1950s bars, swanky nightclubs, tiki lounges, and skydeck havens, but if you are looking for a good cocktail without all the glitz, head north to the old Vegas downtown. All you will need is to travel to the single block of Fremont St between North Las Vegas Boulevard and South 6th Street. Here you have seven highly-rated bars at your disposal: the fireplace-laden Griffin, the piano bar Don’t Tell Mama, the twin industrial-vibed Vanguard and Therapy, the classy speakeasies Commonwealth and Laundry Room, and the eclectic Tim Burton-esque Park on Fremont. Now, we had the family in tow, and for some odd reason, everything goes in Vegas EXCEPT children in bars (because exposing them to bars is WAY worse than exposing them to the mostly naked showgirls on the walking outside on the strip, right?). Anyway, it was morning, and most places are closed for bunch drinking, except for Park on Fremont, which was our destination anyway because of their misty patio that welcomes both late summer drinks and children.