the lounging gourmet (plus your chance to play bartender)

For as much as I love food and enjoy trying new things, the same can’t be said when it comes to pairing it with a few adult beverages. Yes, I love wine. But while I can be a food snob (ok, I totally am), I’m not when it comes to wine. In fact, I’m pretty boring with my alcohol consumption. Ninety-five percent of the time I prefer to drink a bold Cabernet of sorts. The other 5% is when I occasionally order a Vox and soda – but it has to be with lots of lime and of course, blue cheese stuffed olives (and keep ‘em coming). Add a cold beer a few times throughout the summer and sprinkle in a Bloody Mary or two and that pretty much concludes my rather predictable drinking pattern.

Enter The Lounging Gourmet, a set of floral infused elixirs produced locally. These floral beverage mixers came to be thanks to one local woman, Nora Egger. Nora became fascinated by the diversity of the global cocktail culture she discovered in her extensive travels and spending over a decade living abroad. Upon return to Cleveland, she decided to try to recreate some of those enticing concoctions one summer in her kitchen.  This is how the handcrafted line of four gourmet mixers came to be: Damascan rose, English lavender, Andean fire orchid and Antillean hibiscus.

According to the site, these elixirs are highly concentrated so only a splash is needed to transform any cocktail, dessert or vinaigrette into an epicurean delight. Nora uses only the finest ingredients available and incorporates natural and organic floral compounds.

Locally, you can purchase the elixirs ($14.95 each) at Pat O’Brien’s Fine Wines (Lander Circle) , Lilly Handmade Chocolates and Rozi’s on the west side. Additionally, many area restaurants offer a variety of cocktails using these elixirs, including 806 West, Menu6, Pier W and L’Albatros and more.

I was first introduced to The Lounging Gourmet a few months ago. I have to admit – I have yet to make a cocktail for myself. I want to, especially because they each smell so lovely and I have heard good things from area bartenders, but I’m just not into cocktails. But, I like to make cocktails (I used to bartend throughout college and a little post) and the few that I have made for people, they enjoyed. I did try a few of the elixirs, sans alcohol, with club soda and lime. Since I don’t drink pop of any kind, this was actually quite enjoyable.

I have an entire set to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment and tell me what your favorite cocktail is for a chance to play bartender (check out their suggested recipes). I’ll pick a winner by Thursday at 4. Cheers!

42 Comments

  1. Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Does any merlot count as a cocktail!?

  2. Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Do you mean Rozi’s on the west side?

    I like my scotch in the winter, but gin n tonic in the summer — I can imagine these elixirs would work well in there.

  3. Rosemarie
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    My favorite cocktail is the French 75 (with brandy) at VTR. It is delicious. I just turned 30, so this would make a fantastic birthday present for myself! lol!

  4. Janet
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    (Grey Goose) Vodka and tonic is my favorite! It’s the only drink that doesn’t leave me feeling sick the next day. :-)

  5. Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I am a flavored mimosa fanatic. I would DEFINITELY use these to kick my Sunday morning brunches up a notch. :)

  6. Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    All the mixers sound delish!

    Maker’s Mark w/soda and lemon has been a recent fave of mine.

  7. Stephanie
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    This is something my husband whipped up when we were low on “wash.”

    Vernors ginger ale and Sky Vodka with an orange slice over ice.

  8. Claudia
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    My favorite lately is a Moscow Mule.

    Vodka, lime and a good spicy ginger beer. Its a great summer cocktail!

  9. Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Last summer I was addicted to The Flying Fig’s Lemon Basil Martini.
    I was skeptical at first but it was the perfect marriage of flavors. This summer I hope to recreate it.

  10. Elena
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I have a few favs that I rotate throughout the year, but right now I’d say Midori Sour

  11. Mina
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I usually drink either Pinot Noir or Pinot Griggio, so I’m not that adventuresome. But I did have a Champagne cocktail at the Greenhouse tavern that I LOVED!

  12. Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure I’m an old man at heart because I love a good old fashioned highball – whiskey and gingerale

  13. Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    These elixirs look awesome. I would love to play around with the lavendar. My fave cocktail is a mojito.

  14. Posted May 25, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The pomegranate and lime mojito from 806 Wine and Martini Bar in Tremont. I am not a cocktail girl either (wine please!), but that drink is so tasty!

  15. Jyll
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Love making mojitos with fresh mint from our garden. Now, if we only had a lime tree!

  16. Amy
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I can never say no to Johnny Mango’s classic Mojito!! It pairs magnificently with this gorgeous summer weather!!

  17. Beth
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    My favorite is St. Germain with soda water on the rocks – I can’t get enough of it!

  18. Alana
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Extra dirty Grey Goose vodka martini with lots of blue cheese stuffed olives!

  19. Posted May 25, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Dammit, Claudia already staked her claim to the Moscow Mule. Our favorite Moscow Mule is from Cleveland’s Speakeasy Velvet Tango Room.

    I guess we’lll take an Old Fashioned.

  20. Posted May 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    my favorite cocktail is a mojito made with keylimes and handfuls of fresh mint from the garden. that sounds so good right now on a sunny hot day like today. maybe i should go home and make a fresh pitcher to enjoy on the patio. it is funny to think that only a few years ago, my idea of a great cocktail was red wine mixed with fanta lemon (all the rage in spain way back when)…i havent had one of those in ages….(and dont knock it till you try it!)

  21. jen h
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Lately I’ve been a beer girl, but now that summer is here, any type of margaritas are great! I’m glad I’m not pregnant this summer so I can try all of the fun things you all have mentioned!!

  22. Emily Lauren
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    My favorite cocktail is a sidecar… though I’m looking forward to sampling these floral delights!

  23. Posted May 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m mostly a wine drinker, but I do enjoy a simple Captain and Coke every once and a while. These elixirs would be great for flavoring panna cotta and other desserts!

  24. Posted May 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    These little elixirs sound wonderful – especially the hibiscus. Makes me think of the cactus margarita from Lopez…it’s not at all expected but so good. I have to say though that my most recent fav cocktail discovery is the pinapple & cilantro mohito!! I’m not a fan or mint, so I don’t like the traditional mohito but the cilantro does the trick here! Luck to all! :)

  25. Haley
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I am a huge fan of vodka and speciality juices. Miles Market’s fresh squeezed grapefruit juice mixed with vodka or in a mimosa is one of my favorites. But when I want to treat myself, a drity martini with blue cheese olives is what hits the spot. I would love to try the wild caipirinha with the hibiscus elixir!

  26. Kristy
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    You can’t go wrong with a margarita or a mojito, those two are definitely my favorites! Anything that incorporates something natural (lime juice, mint leaves, etc.) makes me happy.

  27. Amanda
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Any kind of sour from VTR!!!
    At home, Tanquerary and Tonic, scotch on the rocks, mojito, margaritas oh man, I love a good drink.
    My husband would love to try drinks with these delicious elixirs.

  28. Julie
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    a perfectly spicy bloody mary with celery and bleu cheese stuffed olives….so good!

  29. Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Cool give away. I don’t drink a ton of cocktails but I do enjoy making trying different ones at VTR. My favorites are the manhattan and gimlet.

  30. Wendy
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    My fave is one my husband made up recently – we’ve been calling it the Pompidou: Absolut Mango, St. Germain, Blood Orange Efferve (a spritzy French soda currently heavily promoted at Heinen’s), and key lime. Such a great summer drink and very colorful!

  31. Wendy
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Can I enter twice? The 21st Amendment Watermelon Beer is soooooooo good. Barely fruity and extremely refreshing. Had one at B-Spot. Recommended for outdoors.

  32. Ellen
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    My go-to cocktail would be pink lemonade and blueberry vodka. Pink lemonade is preferred for aesthetic reasons but yellow will do in a pinch! This drink is especially delicious when enjoyed on a balmy summer evening. Ahh… maybe I will go make one now!

  33. Cheryl
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    ahhh, the French 75. With gin. The way it is supposed to be made. Great, now I’m wishing it wasn’t 7:30 in the morning, but 7:30 at night so I could indulge!

  34. R. Moore
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Winter
    Michter’s 10 Year-Old Single Barrel Rye
    Pomegranate molasses
    Augusta bitters
    Fresh Lemon Juice

    Summer
    Pimm’s Cup
    Pimms #1
    50/50 Blend Lemonade, Iced Tea
    Cucumber
    Over Ice topped with Vodka of choice

  35. Liz
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Two words:
    Kettle One

    Two (more) ingredients:
    Blue Cheese Olives & Olive Juice

    One fantastic after work/before dinner/crappy day/goregous day/anytime cocktail:
    The Dirty Martini

  36. Rob F
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for giving us a chance to test this great product!

    Now that it is patio season, I prefer to sip on a cider, such as Strongbow or Wyder’s.

    When ordering a liquor drink, I go with a vodka tonic, or the always dependable Crown and Coke.

    Good luck all!

  37. mike h
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    my favorite drink is bourbon… with a splash of sweet vermouth… manhatten!!

  38. Rebeca
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I love Cucumber Martinis. Muddle a few slices of seedless cucumber with a bit of sugar. Shake with vodka of your choice, and a squeeze of lime. Perfect summer cocktail!

  39. Mary
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    The Moscow Mule at Flying Fig and Dragonfly are PERFECT for summer days and nights on a patio :) Super refreshing if you love ginger!

  40. Michelle V
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Sorry for the delay in responding – the winner was Allison. Thanks everyone! Lots of love for the Moscow Mule. I had one for the first time last summer. It was actually pretty good – a perfect refreshing summer cocktail. C

  41. Wendy
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Beth – we are loving St. Germain + soda!

  42. Sandy K.
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    These are AWESOME!!!!!! Ive made martinis with them all. The Fire Orchid and Hibiscus are the best by Far. I’ve used the Hibiscus in a cosmopolitan martini in place of the cranberry juice. The fire orchid is spectacular shaken Icy cold with Grey Goose vodka. I’m out and need to buy more!!!!’