Tuesday, December 24, 2013

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

Drink: You'll Shoot Your Eye Out
Establishment: Distil (via the Bon Vivants)
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
First Connoisseur: Holly, recreated

2 ounces aged rum (we used Brugal 1888)
1/2 ounce Becherovka
1/2 ounce Benedictine
1/4 ounce cinnamon syrup (we used our brown spice syrup)
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Garnish with an orange twist. If you would like to flame orange oil over the drink like we did, squeeze the twist over a lighter above the center of the poured cocktail. Drop the twist in afterwards.

We thought that this drink dreamed up for artisan cocktail bar Distil in Milwaukee is the perfect Christmas Eve tipple. Named after the famous line of A Christmas Story, the You'll Shoot Your Eye Out is a mixture of spicy mint that reminds me of a Stinger if Santa was drinking them. At my first taste of this old-tasting cocktail, I said that all I needed was a cigar and a dog. Do yourself a favor and check out Distil - the bartenders are friendlier there than at Bryant's and the drinks are crafted with as much care. Check out Bon Vivants too.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tallgrass Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat - Drinking Notes

We had the K. Family Christmas in Iowa this year, which is a great time to dive into the local liquor stores for some new draughts for the Firewater Lounge. I knew that I had a beer cocktail that I have had on the back-burner for a while from a trip to South Dakota (recipe coming to the FWL soon...) and that it included a topper of Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat Stout. The craft beer revolution plugs the Wisconsin market with a myriad of small state breweries, which is good, but if you want something out-of-state, you often have to go out-of-state.

Tallgrass Brewing resides in Kansas, so I found some Buffalo Sweat in the Hy-Vee in Dubuque, which is a very manageable drive for us southwestern Wisconsites. Their Vanilla Bean version of their best-selling oatmeal cream stout is a mixture of vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. The pour is deep and dark with a frothy mocha head. If you like sweet stouts, this is the sweetest I've had. It starts with all its creaminess up front - a taste akin to a chocolate malted milkshake stirred with a vanilla bean. It finishes with an equally thick espresso note. You can taste nothing of its 5% ABV. Ond of Cindy's and Yukon Cornelius' winter favorites.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hot Buttered Rum

I have to tell you that I thought that Arena's own Lake Louie Milk Stout was this year's ultimate Christmas drink - thick, yummy pour, don't have to get up and mix them, and they are conveniently made minutes away. That plan was completely blown by the return of M.R. Hoffman and a quick succession of multiple milky ones led to diabolical amounts of gin. It was as though Santa (Satan in anagram remember) wanted me to remember the old Wisconsin adage, "Beer before liquor..." Unfortunately, the adage did not come to me before I was offering up porcelain prayers.

Lesser men would have taken such an experience as time to re-evaluate their alcohol consumption, but I came to the only sane explanation for the occurrence - I was lazy. If I would have taken greater care to slow down and appreciate the wonders of alcohol during this most festive of seasons, last Sunday wouldn't have looked like I was wearing a zombie costume from Halloween.

So, I am going to release a somewhat time-intensive, but spectacular homemade recipe for Hot-Buttered Rum. We have prepared this in so many ways - with batter like classic recipes in Wisconsin, via our Crock Pot, and others, but riffing of the oldest recipes still seem best. So, going back to the old bar master Jerry Thomas, who's spiced rum is not battered, but buttered, here's our version of the non-lazy, holiday-inspired hot-buttered rum...