Category: cocktail
Rule 4
Tiki Month 2018

Tiki Drink: London Sour

The London Sour and I were born in the same year. What year? Never you mind, buster. Suffice it to say that it was a tumultuous year, where American military aggression stained our souls and the rest of the world was damned ungrateful for what we did for them, civil rights were torn by controversy over whose inalienable rights were more inalienable, there were violent clashes in the streets between groups of citizens who for the most part didn't know what the hell the other (or indeed, their own) side was talking about, and the Russians were making trouble.
So, you were born in 2016?
1965. Jerk. Anyway, the London Sour is a Trader Vic original, which you can find in Beachbum Berry's Intoxica. I want to blog about it for two reasons. One, it is a Tiki drink that uses scotch as the base spirit. Scotch! And two, it is instructive about the progression of Tiki historically. Please note that neither of those reasons is that the London Sour is good. Because, spoiler alert, it isn't terribly. It is quite drinkable, of course. Vic didn't make crappy drinks. But by 1965, he seems to have clearly been coming to the end of his powers. The Tiki drink oeuvre was similarly reaching its senescent phase as well. The dark, exotic, unctuous... unfamiliar profile of the early work was sliding into a more modern, lighter flavor palate.
  • 2 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz orgeat
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz blended scotch
Shake well with small ice, and pour unstrained into a lowball glass. Garnish with leftover citrus.
This is a pleasant, utterly unchallenging drink. The scotch comes through, sure, but manages to be blandly unremarkable, despite being scotch in a Tiki drink. There is far more orange juice than should be present in any drink beyond a screwdriver, which the London Sour tastes mostly like. What is missing in this drink is the flavor alchemy that I so love in early Tiki drinks. You can pick out every ingredient in this drink from the sip. That's not a bad thing in many cocktails, but I think an important part of a Tiki drink is the creation of new, unidentified flavors. abc
Tiki Month 2018
Rule 2

Tiki Drink: Lion’s Fang

I don't have a lot of time right at the beginning of this year's Tiki Month, but I wanted to get some content quickly out of the box. In the days leading up to this little blogvent, I start trying a lot of the recipes I've bookmarked since the last Tiki Month. I've been drinking a fair number of Lion's Fangs for the last two weeks.... The Lion's Tail is a classic bourbon cocktail that the PeguWife and I both love. It's a drink I've been debating for a while about whether to include in a Tiki Month. In the end, I just didn't think it is quite "Tiki" enough. The Lion's Fang is a much more Tiki-Compliant riff from Chad Austin of Bootlegger Tiki. I actually find the Fang better than the Tail. And it is much more in the Tiki style.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Demerara rum (Hamilton's)
  • 1 oz. bourbon (Wild Turkey 101)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. falernum
  • 1/4 oz. Allspice Dram (St. Elizabeth)
  • 1/4 oz. Demerara syrup
  • 2 dash Angostura bitters
  • 6 drops absinthe (Pernod)
Shake all ingredients well. Strain into a low mug or old-fashioned glass with fresh, small ice. Garnish with something sharp and pointy.
General Cocktails
Rule 4

The Next Word We Need To Banish: Curated

Can we talk? It is time to recognize that another word has gotten out of control. It is rampaging through the cocktail (and general culinary) industry, making those who employ it look insufferably twee. And worse, making the entire industry which is perilously close to embracing it look twee as well. I mean more twee than craft cocktails already kind of are. To be sure, this word is also being abused in many other arenas as well, but I write about cocktails, so that's where it pisses me off the most. It's just pretentious as hell. I'm talking about our sudden need to claim that we "curate" everything. Stop it. First off, most people don't know what it means, even if they just read the bare bones definition a few minutes ago. Most folks hear curate or curator and think of it as someone who collects and presents rare and precious things in museums. The positive image that probably lurks in their subconscious when they think of curators, especially if they are considering identifying themselves as such, is this guy: indiana-jones-curator No. That guy is in "Purchasing". A curator is more this guy. X1QAr1GR_400x400 Not quite the same, huh? But either way, the subtext cocktail types who employ the word curate want to portray is collecting, organizing, presenting, and protecting things that represent the great works of a civilization. You know, as in, "This belongs in a museum!" And that is the subtext most people who see the word employed have as well. And that's the problem. A cocktail menu, I don't care it is Dead Rabbit's or Smuggler's Cove's, is not a collection of the great works of a civilization. Sure, the Manhattan may well be the single greatest culinary achievement of American civilization. I happen to think it is. But let's face it, your list of house-created seasonal recipes is not the Louvre. It's not even Ripley's. And even if a cocktail menu is made up of nothing but time-honored masterworks, prepared to perfection... it's a list of drinks. And putting them on a menu does nothing to protect them for posterity. It is a colossally pretentious word for a list of products available for sale in, for practical purposes, unlimited quantities. Even if you have a "carefully curated selection of rare whiskeys", it is still a bunch of bottles on a shelf or three. If a particular bottle is still made, it is something for sale, again, in relatively unlimited quantities. If it has been discontinued, the purpose of offering it for sale is ultimately to destroy it permanently. None of all this is curation. The most charitable interpretation of this phenomenon is just another cutesy element in an industry that already dances so close with being "precious", a chaperone needs to swing by with a ruler to separate them for the craft's own good. JAEb383 At it's worst, this "curation" fetish is self-important, "Tulip Bubble" kind of thinking that encourages a dangerous disconnect between the value of a product as perceived by customers and by producers. Whether you are Le Lion de Paris or Bob's Bar (The Cultural Hub of the Midwest!), You. Are. A. Business. You are not a revered academic institution. Seriously guys, this term is creeping into use by people I both like and highly respect. Stop it. You are only damaging your industry and your own enterprise. And looking just a bit like an ass doing
Rule 5

High Maintenance Loves: Whiskey Sour

[caption id="attachment_10915" align="aligncenter" width="447"]"This old thing? Just something I threw on..." "This old thing? Just something I threw on..."[/caption] There is a pretty wide range of hassle in making drinks. For every Jack and Coke, there is a seven ingredient monster that calls for a tincture of mistletoe harvested with a golden sickle and caught in a oaken bowl before it could hit the ground. At midnight. During a Full Moon. I don't care how transcendent the latter is, I'm not making it at home. Not to be all heteronormist here, but you marry the one and you date the other. Briefly. But, while at home I strongly favor drinks that make my life easy to make (there is a reason it is only Tiki Month once a year), there are a few high-maintenance gals that make the effort worthwhile. Exhibit A, in what I optimistically plan to become a series, is the Whiskey Sour. To much of the populace the Whiskey Sour is the sort of faceless drink that leathered old men in dive bars might nurse while watching the results roll in on closed-circuit from Aquaduct. And the Whiskey Sour in that mental picture is indeed no Kim Kardashian. You just slip some Jim Beam into a glass with some ice and a splash of sour mix and call it a day. And while this is a perfectly serviceable drink, it is not going to be a common tipple for the portion of the human race who have the knowledge to appreciate a really good cocktail. I am talking about this Whiskey Sour. Whiskey Sour This here is a high-maintenance cocktail, folks. Check out the recipe I use to see why.
  • 2 oz. low-premium bourbon (Four Roses Small Batch)
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. not-quite-rich simple syrup (1.5:1)
  • 1 fresh egg white
Combine ingredients in an empty shaker. Insert the spring from a worn-out Hawthorne shaker, or the wire ball from a protein smoothie shaker. Seal well and shake vigorously for thirty to forty five seconds. Be careful, as the shaker can develop substantial pressure during this step as the foamy head forms out of the egg proteins. When using a Boston Shaker, it will often leak a little. Once you have formed the foam, open the shaker and add ice. Shake again until chilled. Strain into an old-fashioned glass with fresh ice cubes, or better yet a large chunk of ice. Garnish with a large strip of lemon zest.
For the home bartender, making a round of proper Whiskey Sours means a lot of cleanup. Eggs make a mess, and if you are smart you will clean the counters and your bar tools immediately, before you get to enjoy your cocktail. If you don't, you will have a royal pain of a cleanup. You also ought to take into consideration the tiny chance that those raw egg whites could make you sick. Wash your hands. Thoroughly. It takes at least twice as long to make one of these, than it does to whip up, say, a proper Daiquiri. [caption id="attachment_10918" align="aligncenter" width="236"]2130ed3af806629591d4d715e3f1abeb But is this high-maintenance beauty worth it?[/caption] Oh Lordy, yes. As you saw above, it is gorgeous. If "mouthfeel" was not a term already, you'd have to pretty much invent it to talk about the unctuous, rich texture of each sip on your tongue. The flavors last beautifully. You can easily adjust the ratio of ingredients to suit your personal tastes. (Mine runs to the sour side.) For spirits aficionados, the Whiskey Sour has the virtue of both making mediocre bourbon taste great, but still retaining the ability to showcase that much nicer bottle you got from your brother at Christmas.
Disclaimer: The Pegu Blog is not advocating making Whiskey Sours with that bottle of Pappy Van Winkle....
Make the Whiskey Sour a part of your regular rotation. It is worth hauling all those
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