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A blog about Pegus...

and other assorted ramblings on the cocktail life.

1
MxMo: XCIII Blue—The Surf Savai’i Sour
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A Heartfelt Plea
3
Notes on Opening Your New Year’s Eve Champagne
4
I Could Browse This Chinese Cocktail Site All Day

MxMo: XCIII Blue—The Surf Savai’i Sour

Surf Savai'i Sour
mxmologoI’ve been terribly remiss in participating in Mixology Monday of late, but this month the stars aligned so perfectly that here I am. The particular items in sync here are the impending arrival of Tiki Month here at the Pegu Blog (and assorted other corners of the World Wide Web and Twitterverse), and the theme chosen by this month’s MxMo host, Andrea of Ginhound.

That theme is Blue. Tiki is of course the natural home of blue drinks. The stunning azure of blue curaçao is immediately evocative of the waters of South Pacific beaches, and I project a lot of Tiki-style drinks in this month’s round-up. (Caveat: I have made incorrect predictions in the past.)

Regardless, I have posted before about blue drinks, of varying degrees of quality, many were old recipes with an original or two thrown in. The drink I’m submitting today, the Surf Savai’i Sour is not, in fact, blue at all! The blue is in the special effects. And those special effects have gone through some significant evolution as I’ve worked on this drink.

Tonga 1
Just another crappy day in Tiki Inspirationville….
Savai’i Beach, Tonga Source

I wanted to do a surf-themed drink. The flavor profile came together quickly, but my chosen ingredients result in a drink so brown that simply trying to blue it up results in a look that more evokes the muddy ocean waters of the beautifully bleak Atlantic beach of my own youth. I’m using egg whites to get a good crema intended to evoke mighty ocean spray, so I moved to adding the blue as a liquid garnish enmeshed in the foam.

My first idea was a rocks drink, using a big chunk of ice, and giving it a name something like Diamondhead. I shook the drink, poured it over the ice, then drizzled some blue curaçao over it to work down through the foam in turbulent tendrils like mighty surf breaking on volcanic sands. In theory.

Don’t laugh. I know. I’m in the future, too.
Surf-Savai'i-Rocks
Sad, isn’t it?
If I can’t even get the effect to last long enough to move it from bar to light box and get a picture. That’s pretty lame to give to a guest. And it wasn’t nearly as cool looking as I had hoped anyway.

When the going gets tough, the tough try something else. I changed over to the up drink you see atop the post. I’ve seen countless bartenders do the kind of effect I used to draw the cresting wave, usually with Angostura Bitters in a Pisco Sour or the like. I’ve avoided trying it because it looks like one of those things that’s harder than it looks.

That makes exactly zero sense, Doug….

Quiet while I’m making excuses.

It is in fact dead easy. I put some blue curaçao in a dropper bottle and dropped out a connect the dots layout of the wave. Then you take a coffee straw and sweep evenly through the dots in the direction you want. For the wave, start at either end and go to the crest. The only really important thing to do is make sure your cream or foam is thick and rich enough to support your drops to begin with.

Here’s the recipe:

SURF SAVAI’I SOUR

  • 3 parts El Dorado 3 demerara rum
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part fresh pineapple juice
  • 1.5 parts St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
  • 1 scant part B. G. Reynolds’ Orgeat
  • Combine ingredients in a shaker, along with the spring removed form a cheap hawthorne strainer. Shake extensively. I usually shake it until the pressure built enough to about pop the seal, then release the pressure and repeat three times. Add ice and shake just enough to chill. Strain into a coupe glass. Wait for the foam to rise and stabilize, and many of the larger, visible bubbles to pop. Garnish with blue curaçao, droppered into a wave shape and stroked smooth with a coffee straw.

I’m pretty happy with the final flavor of the drink. It is intentionally a fusion of the Trader Vic and Donn Beach schools. It has Vic’s unctuous sweet and sour face, but the exotic spicy undertow of the allspice adds a distinctly Donish touch. Be careful with the allspice, though. The sweet spot of just enough is a very narrow band, nestled between great expanses of insipidity and “Wow! That’s a lovely glass of allspice liqueur you’ve served me!”

Cheers, all! Now go read the rest of the Mixology Monday offerings!

A Heartfelt Plea


Ron Jeremy just doesn’t get any respect. This auteur is one of the most prolific actors and directors working in the cinema today. Not to mention the fact that his entire career is one huge blow after another to the pernicious “Lookism” so rampant in the Business. (And by The Business, I do mean The Industry!)

Yet, despite these impeccable credentials as film master and social justice icon, and the fact that the evidence of his Jewish upbringing is both enormous and well-documented, the Canadian Powers That Be relentlessly refuse to allow his films to be shown at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival! The video above is Ron’s heartfelt and subtle appeal for this ban to end, expressed in a short film, as befitting this heir to Orson Wells.

Oh, and I continue to believe that Ron’s ron, er, rum is under-appreciated as well. I’m actually serious here. Ron de Jeremy is not at all an all-purpose rum, but it honestly, no shit, makes a wonderful Rum Old Fashioned. And it has one of the more brilliant ad campaigns out there. I can’t recommend visiting the website and exploring its offerings enough… especially once you are two or more drinks in.

(H/T: Sploid)

Notes on Opening Your New Year’s Eve Champagne


One of the best parts of New Year’s Eve is the Champagne…

To make French 75s with!

No. Although those are delicious, Esquire’s David Wondrich describes them as “a hot-rails-to-hell spree drink“. While I’m sure there are a few who would disagree with me, I think that the point is to make New Year’s Eve memories, not New Year’s blackouts.

Mmmmm… French 75s….

No! No, this post is about straight champagne. Or more to the point, opening champagne. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can put someone’s eye out with that cork. Or you could spill your, um, swill upon the ground like Elvis up there. I have a few suggestions for opening your bottle.

Many of you may have seen this video from my hero Alton Brown about opening your chapagne. It is a simple and easy process!

So, for that method, you just need cold champagne and a cavalry saber… Um… even I don’t have a cavalry saber! I’ll have to see about fixing that for next year. Watch this space. Also, you still are opening the bottle close to your face, so if you get it wrong, spray is still an issue.

So my real offering this New Year is this video, because when you open your champagne bottle with a .50 caliber sniper rifle, you can certainly manage to be out of range of any minor spray that may result!

See! Foolproof!

If you have a stone cold sober sniper.
…and a fitty cal.
…and several backup bottles of Cristal!

OK. True, cavalry sabers and sniper rifles might be considered somewhat dangerous elements to add to your drunken revelry. Just remember, neither is as dangerous as what the guests have out in the parking lot.

I’ll finish with a single piece of sensible advice, because I ought to dispense such at least once a year, and this is my last chance.

Opening champagne is really simple to do with no mess at all.

  1. Keep your bubbly chilled and unshaken. If it is disturbed enough to “help” the cork come out, you are going to loose half the liquid when it follows the cork out the neck upon opening.
  2. Hold the bottle upright and gently remove the wire.
  3. Always keep the neck pointed at a light fixture-free section of the ceiling.
  4. Grab the cork in your fist from the side, not the top.
  5. Gently but firmly rotate the cork in the neck of the bottle. The key to removing a champagne cork is rotation, not bending or pushing!
  6. Do this slowly back and forth and the cork will slowly start to ease its way out. When it starts to come out, don’t get excited and pull harder. Just hold it firmly until it works its way loose.

With an inaudible pop, the cork will be gently loose in your hand, and every damn drop of champagne will remain in the bottle for your guests’ enjoyment.

There, you’re done! And with all the money you save on carpet cleaning, drywall repair, and Obamacare co-pays, you can upgrade to a decent bottle of champagne you won’t need to chug to get down.


Cheers!

I Could Browse This Chinese Cocktail Site All Day

Sip Summer Cup | DRiNK MagazineIt is amazing what you can find through a broken link. I was clearing my old open browser tabs, and stopped to look closer at a post I’ve had open for about a fortnight now. It is a Sploid piece on bartender Takumi Watanabe making a wood-smoked Rum Martinez.

SploidWatanabeTakumi
Sploid does some really nice GIF highlights of embedded videos.

But Sploid isn’t the site I want to direct you to. A broken link in their post sent me to the online portal of “Drink, China’s leading bar industry magazine”. Drink’s post on the Rum Martinez has been taken down, but I took a second to visit the home page, and wow. There is a serious collection of lovely drinkpron here. The site is multilingual, with both English and Chinese, and the English translation is fairly legible to boot.

The videos are extensive and very well made. It being China, I can’t vouch for them all exactly belonging to Drink, if you get my IP-obsessed drift, but the collection is impressive. They use China’s YouTube ripoff, so it took me a few minutes to figure out how to include any here.

To give you an example, I’ll embed this one, the Sip Summer Cup, an apparent “brand ambassador type” cocktail that features Sipsmith Summer Cup, a Pimm’s competitor that I’ve never seen before. Everything about this video is perfect, from the sushi-style ingredient prep, to the ice, to the jiggering, to one last detail….

Did you get the last detail? The bartender uses an alternate technique that I had never seen for one of the most important steps in making a Craft cocktail. I think it is superior to ours, and I’m stealing it when it applies. What do you think?

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