Author: Doug Winship
Mixology Monday, Pirates, Rule 2, Tiki Month 2017, Whiskey

MxMo’s Last Hurrah: Irish Privateer

It is Mixology Monday again, but never again. I'm a little teary-eyed while writing this post. Once upon a time, before Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter were much of a thing, great beasts called "blogs" roamed the internet, sharing wisdom and inanity alike on all manner of subjects, not the least among them being cocktails. Blogs had no limit on size, or illustration, or content, but they lacked the tools of modern social media to reach enough people. To battle the dangers of obscurity, blogs would gather periodically in herds called "blog carnivals", where related sites would post simultaneously on a specified subject, and link each other to draw traffic to all. In the cocktail world, the great stallion Paul Clarke summoned the herd known as Mixology Monday. After many years, Paul was no longer able to lead the herd, and Fred Yarm, the hardest working blogger in cocktails, took up the mantle and MxMo lived on. But in the fullness of time, MxMo at last dwindled. The original participants faded or were lost, and the new generations found that with tools of social media, they hardly needed the nurture and safety of the blog carnival. Now at last, the time has come to say goodbye to Mixology Monday. Fred himself is hosting this last roundup, and his chosen theme is appropriately the "Irish Wake". Hopefully this last gathering of the herd will be mighty, as we all post on the theme of goodbyes, and raise a drink which features Irish Whiskey, that most melancholy of spirits. Here at The Pegu Blog, the Irish Wake arrives smack in the middle of Tiki Month 2017. This left me with the added difficulty, beyond working through my tears, of coming up with a Tiki-profile drink that employs the native spirit from a mysterious isle, that while lushly green, is hardly tropical, and located on the other side of the world from Polynesia. There are no Irish Whiskey Tiki drinks, folks. None that I can find. So I had to dust off my questionable creative mixology skills and summon one from the volcanic mists. (Cue drums and dancing native girls as Doug capers about in a scary wooden mask, brandishing cocktail shaker and basket of fruit.)
In the Age of Sail, a disreputable but formidable Irish sea captain and his crew took service with the King of England, swallowing their national pride easily with a wash of profit motive from "pirating with permission." Our privateer sailed bravely through the Straights of Magellan and into the South Pacific, there to relieve the Portuguese shipping of whatever gold and spices they were using for ballast. Gold and spices make for lousy ballast, so the boyos really saw it as a voyage of humanitarian safety inspections, you see.... They missed the essential problem that all that gold and spice was now in use as ballast in their ship! When a Typhoon found them near a nameless archipelago, it smashed their unbalanced ship and sent it to the bottom, taking with it all that lovely ballast. The only thing the five survivors had to cling to was a like number of barrels of the spirit of their own native isle. After the storm passed, they drifted at sea. One by one, they succumbed to the sun and the sea (and in one case, a shark). The survivors lashed the barrels together to preserve them until only our doughty captain remained. One morning, as he was resolving to burst open a cask in order to drown in the Irish Sea, rather than the Pacific, he instead washed ashore on the only inhabited island of that nearby archipelago. The natives were welcoming, but didn't like the spirit he brought with him. This suited him, as it meant he had a lifetime supply to toast his lost comrades. As he grew to a ripe old age, enjoying his eternal tropical Irish wake, he found to his alarm that he might outlive his supply! So he took to cutting it with the native fruits and spices, experimenting and experimenting until he found just the right combination to last him a lifetime. His native hosts even found that they liked his whiskey this way too, finally joining him in his sad remembrances. Soon, they realized that he would consume it all, so they killed him and kept the remaining barrel for themselves.
IRISH PRIVATEER
  • 1 1/2 oz Bushmills (the privateer was a Protestant)
  • 1/2 oz orgeat
  • 1/2 oz King's Ginger liqueur (the privateer was of course a redhead)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and toss like the sea has turned against you. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a single floating mint leaf.
abc
Recipes, Rule 2, Rum, Tiki Month 2017

Tiki Winners 2017 Part II: The Luau

Each year during Tiki Month, I conduct a number of unlicensed laboratory experiments on human subjects have a few friends over to try out new recipes I've run across. This year I want to blog the ones that come up as winners, in that they are the ones that everybody is ordering by the end of the night. Winner number two from lab session one this year is the Luau. This nifty number is a variation on the classic Luau Grog, minus the ice cone, created by Gerry Corcoran at PDT, and published in the eponymous book. Like the other winner from this session, I found this one via a heads up from Fred Yarm. (Spoiler Alert: There are a lot of drinks I'm trying this year that will include hat tips to Fred....)
LUAU (For PDT's exact recipe, see the book)
  • 3/4 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum
  • 3/4 oz El Dorado 8 Yr.
  • 3/4 oz Dos Maderas
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime
  • 1/2 oz passion fruit syrup
  • 1/4 oz orgeat
  • 1 dash Angostura
Shake thoroughly with ice. Strain into a whimsical Tiki mug, top with crushed ice, and garnish with orange and mint. (p.168, PDT Cocktail Book)
This drink really illustrates one of the great joys of Tiki: blending rums. The non-alcoholic ingredients form a nice bed frame for this drink, the but the star attraction is the weird, delicate dance of three disparate rums. I'm sure there are better trios than I chose (including the three specified by PDT, no doubt), but any reasonably informed selection of three high quality rums with different pedigrees will likely make this drink sing. On my †, ††, or ††† scale of Tiki drink potency, the Luau rates just a ††, but comes across as a †††. It's boozy on the tongue. For a Tiki drink, it is quite spirit-forward.abc
Recipes, Rule 2, Rum, Tiki Month 2017, Whiskey

Tiki Winners 2017 Part I: The Expedition

Each year during Tiki Month, I conduct a number of unlicensed laboratory experiments on human subjects have a few friends over to try out new recipes I've run across. This year I want to blog the ones that come up as winners, in that they are the ones that everybody is ordering by the end of the night. Winner number one from lab session one this year is The Expedition. This beaut is a Martin Cate original, and you can find it in his insanely worthwhile book Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki. (The book is on sale as of this posting for only eighteen bucks. This is a steal.) I thought to try it out based on a post from last august by Fred Yarm, which I've had squirreled away in my reading list in anticipation of this day.
THE EXPEDITION
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz 1:1 cinnamon syrup
  • 1/2 oz 1:1 honey syrup
  • 1/4 oz 1:1 vanilla syrup
  • 1/4 oz coffee liqueur
  • 2 oz dark Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz decent bourbon
Flash blend with 12 ounces of crushed ice. Pour into a medium-large mug with 2 oz. of seltzer already inside. Top with more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with orchid and a restrained amount of mint. (p.140, Smugglers Cove)
This drink is a nicely balanced combination of several different strains of Tiki. It is a soft, sweet melange of flavors that goes down easy for the less adventurous drinkers. But it also hearkens back to the exotic spice flavor profile of the early Tiki period with its cinnamon, vanilla and coffee. And it is a bit of a hidden booze bomb, with a splash over three ounces of liquor. Be careful about serving these to people who haven't had them before, as it is terrifyingly easy to misjudge the alcohol content in The Expedition. Don't expect, as I did from reading the recipe, for this to be a "coffee drink". It's not, at least not with the coffee liqueur I used. Instead, the coffee seems to be one of those "flavor morters" great cocktails often have, helping to bind disparate flavors into a single, new whole. The Expedition is what I call a "story drink", in that the ingredients are selected to tell a story, in this case, the career (expedition) of Don the Beachcomber. Read Martin's book for the story. Usually, story drinks, or story pairings, or story menus don't quite stick the landing. It is usually like selecting the instruments in an orchestra based on which ones look them most rad, but in this case the result really, really works.abc
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