Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

I was looking for an interesting cocktail yesterday as I am a bit tired of our old standbys.  I have a bottle of Galliano in the liquor cabinet and had the idea of a Galliano martini, thinking vodka and Galliano and maybe something else.  However, when I searched for Galliano martinis, I came upon a site that listed a bunch of cocktails using Galliano.  Most choices had to be passed by, since I always seemed to be missing a key ingredient.  Drives me nuts!

Anyhow, eventually I came upon a cocktail called “Laser Beam” that had a set of ingredients that just did not seem to go together.  But I thought, heck, I’ll make a small version and see what it tastes like.  Even as I was measuring, I really hesitated, do I really want to mix peppermint schnapps with Galliano and Amaretto??  But I did.  First taste, I thought, man, that’s really odd, I don’t think I’ll make this one again.  Second taste, hmmmmm……  Third taste, wow, this strangely works, have to make one for hubby and chill it in the freezer for when he gets home.  He tasted it without knowing the ingredients and thought it was very good, and was also surprised when I told him what was in it.

So here without further ado is my version of the Laser Beam cocktail.  Original called for 1 oz of each liquor, but I thought that was too much, so I cut the recipe in half.  I am lazy and build most cocktails in the glass, but you could probably do this one in a shaker also.  Original called for Jack Daniels, but all I had was Jim Beam Rye, so that’s what I used.  There are many other versions of the Laser Beam cocktail, many with far different ingredients.  By the way, this one has a beautiful color, sort of a light golden, brown.

Lynn’s Laser Beam Cocktail

1/2 oz. Galliano

1/2 oz. Amaretto

1/2 oz. Jim Beam Rye Whiskey

1/2 oz. Peppermint Schnapps

Put some ice in a martini glass and add all ingredients.  Stir and serve.




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I find it a real effort to find interesting non-alcoholic cocktails that adults will like.  I have a book dedicated to non-alcoholic cocktails, but most of them are just glorified milkshakes and smoothies.  Often I am after something that is not too cloying that can replace something like a Manhattan, a Tom Collins, or a Gin & Tonic.  Fortunately, we discovered just the thing several years ago in Julia Child’s Menu Cookbook.  She calls it the “Angosoda Cocktail” but we have been making it for years and calling it “The Julia” in honor of that incredibly exhuberant icon of cooking.

BTW, I can’t wait to see “Julie & Julia” but we generally don’t go out to the show much, so I will wait until it comes out on DVD.

My husband and I like an evening cocktail before dinner most nights, but occasionally we just don’t feel like alcohol, so I will poke my head in his office (where he is frequently at work almost right up until dinner time) and ask “How about a Julia?”  Without further ado, here’s how you make one:

The Julia (non-alcoholic cocktail)

Ice (cubed or crushed)

Angostura Bitters

One fresh lime

Club Soda, Sparkling Water, or Seltzer

In either a large wine glass or a Collins glass (tall and slim), add some cubed or crushed ice – fill just short of halfway.  Use a nice glass – presentation helps this feel and look like a real cocktail.  Put one or two thin slices of lime on top of the ice, then shake a few dashes of bitters into the glass.  Fill the glass with seltzer and serve.   This drink has a pretty light rose color from the bitters and a clean refreshing taste.

A few comments:  I often have lime wedges pre-cut in my fridge.  In place of the lime slices, you can squeeze a lime wedge into the glass, then drop it in.  Do not neglect the bitters or you are just drinking seltzer.  If you are not a regular bitters user, give them a try – I was initially a bit apprehensive about using them but they give an interesting depth to many drinks.    We always have several cases of canned seltzer on hand.  My son often likes to have a seltzer when it is not a “soda day” (our kids are only allowed one soda every other day) or when he is going down into the basement, where kids are not allowed to bring pop.  Kroger sells the “Big K” brand of sparkling water in 12 packs and you can usually find it on sale for $2 or less per case.

I am always on the lookout for interesting cocktails of both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties.  If you have one to share, please leave a comment.  I’d love to hear from you.

Best regards,


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We greatly enjoy trying different cocktails and I am always looking for new and interesting cocktail concoctions, but we do have several favorites that are my “go to” cocktails when I don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about what to make.  One of our favorites is The Manhattan, which was my Father-in-Law’s signature cocktail.  We first started making them according to Dad’s instructions:

Dad’s Manhattan

2 parts bourbon (1 oz. if you want a small cocktail, 2 oz. if you want a big one)

1 part sweet vermouth (1/2 oz. for small cocktail, 1 oz. for large)

Fill a low ball glass with ice and add both liquors.  Add a bit of water, to taste.  I usually just leave it straight and let the ice do the job of watering down the cocktail by melting.  Stir and serve.  I also add a maraschino cherry, but Dad never did.

Recently, Martha Stewart Living magazine ran an article on cocktails across the US and one of the cocktails included was the classic Manhattan.  The MSL recipe was very similar to Dad’s except it recommended Rye Whiskey for the classic Manhattan over Bourbon, suggested combining ingredients in a shaker first (I am lazy and build about half my cocktails directly in the glass – I don’t mind them a little stronger), and also added a few dashes of bitters, which I generally do also.

We were out of Bourbon when I read the article, so I headed off to the liquor store for a new bottle and thought that while I was there, I’d get some Rye Whiskey also to try the “classic” Manhattan.    I had never purchased Rye Whiskey, so asked the clerk for some help.  We try to buy most of our liquors in the $20-30 price range (except for scotch and cognac, which we go a little higher on) – usually that gives a decent smoothness without breaking the bank.   The best Rye Whiskey they had was Wild Turkey (I had no idea what kind of whiskey that was prior to this trip!) for $23.  It was slightly cheaper than the bottle of small distillery Bourbon I bought at $28.  The clerk thought I might like my Manhattans better with the Rye than with the Bourbon.

That night I used the Rye Whiskey for a large Manhattan.  It was extremely nice.  Near the end of the drink I wished I had made two small versions to compare – one with rye whiskey and one with bourbon.  I went ahead and made a small bourbon Manhattan (despite my husband’s warning not to – I can only manage one cocktail per night without feeling it the next day).  Unfortunately the first Manhattan was too watered down to compare to the second – maybe another day I will do a side by side, but I do think the rye one came out very nice.

We have another, not very authentic, but pretty tasty recipe from The Bartender’s Best Friend by Mardee Haidin Regan – a very nice bar book, by the way.  It is on the sweet side and you may find yourself wanting to add more ice to water it down as you drink it, though if you make it in shaker or stir in a separate ice filled cocktail mixing glass first, you may not need to.  Lazy me, I always build this directly in the glass.  My version is slightly modified from that in the book:

Irresistible Manhattan

1 ½ oz. Bourbon or Rye Whiskey (original calls for Canadian whiskey)

1 oz. sweet vermouth

1 oz amaretto

About 1 t. liquid from jar of maraschino cherries (original calls for ¼ oz.)

Couple dashes of Angostura Bitters

Mix in glass filled with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Or, as I prefer, just build directly in a cocktail glass (I like this in a low ball glass) filled with ice.  Garnish with a couple maraschino cherries.  You can also cut this recipe in half if desired.


Best regards,


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The Bee’s Knees

Yesterday I asked my daughter to check out my blog and she promptly told me that it was too long!  I told her, grownup blogs are usually long, but she was not convinced.  So, in deference to shortness and trying to share something useful,  today I present the recipe for my latest signature cocktail.

I had this at a restaurant in town a few months ago.  I try to order cocktails haven’t had before I or something I don’t have the equipment, inclination,  or ingredients to make at home.  This one was so good that I looked it up on the Internet and adapted several recipes in order to come up with my own version.  See notes at the end as to how you might vary it.

The Bee’s Knees Cocktail

2 oz. gin (I like Bombay Sapphire)

1 oz. honey syrup (see instructions below as to how to make – very easy)

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with some ice.  Shake well, then pour into a cocktail glass.  I like a little crushed ice in my glass, but at the restaurant it was served straight.  When I am really feeling lazy, I mix directly in the glass, using a little more ice than usual.  You may reduce the gin to 1.5 oz if you prefer a less strong drink.  You may reduce the honey syrup to 0.5 oz if you prefer it less sweet.  Increase the lemon if you like it more tart.  As you can see, with a little experimentation, you can vary this to fit your tastes.

Honey Syrup

Mix equal parts hot water and honey in a heatproof glass container (I use a pyrex measuring cup) until honey is dissolved.  Stores well in the fridge.

Enjoy!  We have a beautiful weekend ahead in the Midwest.

Best regards,


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