Category: lime
Bartenders, Recipes, Rule 2, Rum, Tiki Month 2015

Tiki Drinks in Craft Bars—Example: Mytoi Gardens

Banner Over the years of doing Tiki Month, I've tended to focus most of my drinking evaluation on the older Tiki drinks, mostly those from the 30's and 40's. There's a couple of reasons for that. First, I'm an historian at heart. I like old stuff. It is why I love Beachbum Berry so much. His ability to uncover so much about this interesting little slice of American culture is amazing. Mmore importantly, the Tiki drinks from the decades of the Tiki era tend to be sweet, boring, and insipid, in keeping with American tastes in drinking at that time. (There are exceptions, but this is a pretty good rule of thumb.) I was asked Wednesday night by a visiting Cincinnati bartender who is just getting into Tiki exploration why the delicious Mai Tai I'd just served her had devolved in modern days to the sweet, fruity mess most everyone thinks of now. The reason is those changing tastes of American drinking. To an experienced cocktail palate, one used to multiple spirits and the profound ways that sometimes just a change in ratios can alter flavors, a Vic Bergeron Mai Tai is a fantastic drinking adventure. The strong, discordant yet somehow perfectly harmonious flavors demand the attention of the serious drinker. Well, they demand the attention of the casual Vodka and Soda or Cosmopolitan drinker, too.... but not in the same way. To them, the reaction is more like, "Whoa! What the Hell? This is tasty, I guess, but really... what the Hell?" The food world equivalent would be just wanting a quick, good hamburger, but being asked instead to sit down for a four-course meal featuring Osso Buco. In the 70's, as you needed to medicate yourself to tamp down the knowledge that your President was named Nixon or Carter, you were stressed enough at being thought square for drinking cocktails at all, instead of doing lines of coke like all the cool people. You did not need or want to be challenged by your damn drink. In today's world, where even self-medication isn't enough, people are moving back to food and drink that they want to pay attention to. And thus, the older style of thought- and palate-provoking tropical drinks are rising once again. So recently I've been looking more and more at truly modern Tiki drinks, those invented during the current revival of the genre. A lot have been inventions of A Mountain of Crushed Ice or Rated-R Cocktails, two of the best full-time Tiki blogs out there. You should visit and subscribe to both. Go on. I'll wait. More encouragingly to the likes of me is that there are also a lot of excellent modern Tiki-style drinks being concocted in non-Tiki bars today as well. In olden days, when Don and Vic rode their triceratopses to work every day, really good Tiki drinks were restricted to specialty bars. The overhead of fresh juices and exotic syrups was too much for normal pubs. But in today's Craft environment, arrays of juices and syrups (and cocktails with lots of ingredients in small amounts) are par for the course. There is no reason that Tiki drinks should not nestle in among the other marvelous offerings in any top flight bar. Mytoi-Gardens-PeguBlog To illustrate my point, here's a delicious concoction by the hardest working blogger in the cocktail business, Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut and the current Guardian of Mixology Monday™. (Scheduled for release as a major motion picture by Marvel in 2023.) For his sins, Fred works a bit at the Russell House Tavern in Boston. His Tiki drink, the Mytoi Gardens sits proudly on the Russell's extensive Craft menu, among Algonquins and modern bitter bombs like something called a Sottobosco. Here's my take on it. Read Fred's post for his slightly more price-friendly version.
MYTOI GARDENS
  • 1 1/2 El Dorado 12
  • 1 fresh pineapple juice
  • 3/4 fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 Allspice dram
  • 1/4 simple syrup
  • 5 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Combine in a shaker with ice and chill thoroughly. Strain into a transparent vessel (not a Tiki mug!) filled with crushed ice. Float 3 dashes more of Angostura on top and garnish with pineapple in one or more forms.
As I told Fred as soon as I tried my first shot at the Mytoi Gardens, this is one big-time, old school Tiki drink. Sweet though it may be, the undeniably exotic notes of the vanilla and the allspice, along with the redolent... demeraraness... of the El Dorado combine to provide that uniquely Tiki experience: a slightly disorienting, slightly transporting melange of flavors that provides a unique escape hatch all its own. abc
Lime Juice, Mixology Monday, Recipes, Rule 2, Rum, Tiki Month 2014

Mixology Monday LXXXII: Sours — The Regal Daiquiri

The Regal Daiquiri, a Tiki drink for MxMmo: Sours It is time for Mixology Monday, the eighty-second edition! This month's theme, hosted by Andrea at the Ginhound Blog, is Sours. She's allowing Daisies and Fizzes too, but come on—The Sour is perhaps the single greatest, most versatile class of cocktails to be created to date. If I, whose entire blogging raison d'etre is centered on a certain lone, magnificent, gin Sour, were unable to summon a worthy example and resorted to a Daisy or Fizz, I'd just close the site. I think we are all obligated to give our take on just what a Sour is, so here is mine: At it's root, a Sour is a spirit-forward cocktail, enhanced by lesser amounts of citrus juice and sugar. It can be made with almost any class of liquor as the base, though there are specific brands from almost every kind of spirit that lend themselves better or worse to making a Sour. There are multitudinous ways to enhance the basic formula, with alternates for both the citrus as acidifier, and the sugar as a sweetener. Further, Sours are inclusive beasts, that welcome all manner of additional modifiers to the basic three ingredient party. If you are a home bartender, the Sour should be your first and best area of experimentation to begin creating your own original cocktails. To focus my task further, it is Tiki Month around here, so I had a good road map to use for my sour, and an obvious spirit to base it on: Rum. Now, if you are making a bedrock rum Sour, and you use lime as your citrus, you have a Daiquiri. I call the Daiquiri the Gospel of Rum because it is the essential rum cocktail. If you have so much as a bottle of Bacardi, you need to know how to make a basic Daiquiri. And then you need to learn how to riff off of it. I went searching for Tiki Daiquiris, and found a number. One I had not tried was Donn Beach's Royal Daiquiri. Dating back to the 1950's, it is a basic Daiquiri, with most of the sugar replaced with parfait d'amour. I don't have any parfait d'amour, but I do have a bottle of Creme Yvette that I've been struggling to find a good use for. I am really motivated to manage this, as one of my best buds in the industry is a brand ambassador for CY. With a simple substitution, here was my first pass:
DON'S ROYAL DAIQUIRI
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Creme Yvette (parfait d'amour in the original)
  • 1/4 tsp. simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz. silver rum
  • 4 oz. small ice
Combine in a blender and flash blend for 5+ seconds. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a cocktail glass.
More on the preparation in a moment. The resulting drink is beautiful and tasty, but a little too sweet for our preferences around this house. It is very accessible, almost too accessible really for my tastes. You could serve this in any mainstream restaurant and the Cosmo drinkers would slug them down like, um, Cosmos. I wanted something a little more Tiki, more complex in flavors. Also, something a little less sweet. I got rid of the sugar entirely, as the Creme Yvette is plenty sweet. It is also very powerful in flavor. I did not want to reduce the amount, since I loved the color so much, so I cast about for one more exotic multiplier. I settled on OYO Honey Vanilla Vodka, which I've had success with in prior Tiki Months. This is, in my opinion, the best product Middle West Spirits produces, and I treat it more as a fine liqueur than an infused vodka. This pops up the proof of the drink, and adds some sweet flavors while actually dropping the overall average sweetness just a hair. The result is something I'm quite happy with.
REGAL DAIQUIRI
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Creme Yvette
  • 1/2 oz. OYO Honey Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz. silver rum
  • 4 oz. small ice
Combine in a blender and flash blend for 5-7 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lime and perhaps a preserved hyacinth flower.
This preparation was new to me, and I like it... a lot. You get the benefits of a blender drink, excellent dilution, chill, and meshing of ingredients, but without the slurry of fine chipped ice that makes the drink loud to sip at first, and quickly diluted thereafter. I know the OYO is not readily available everywhere (the Creme Yvette for that matter), but it is in distribution to some mail order joints, so look around. It is good stuff. So there you have it, a simple, easy to make cocktail with a Tiki flair. and one that demonstrated the power and flexibility of the Sour. Enjoy.abc
Garnish, Recipes, Tiki Month 2011

Tiki Drink: Halikai Hot Tub

Halikai Hot Tub Tiki Drink with lime garnish to end all garnishes(Volcano Scorpion Bowl, available from Amazon.com)

Thursday Drink Night can lead to some strange things. Every Thursday, a group of like-minded cocktail enthusiasts get together in the Mixoloseum chat room to discuss life and create and try original cocktails based on a central theme. You are invited, too. Come give it a try. The chat room is always open, but TDN starts Thursdays at 8:00 PM in the US Eastern Time Zone. Yesterday, the theme was simply Kaiser Penguin. Kaiser Penguin is the blog of one Rick Stutz, a long-time cocktail blogger and one of our fearless leaders in the CSOWG (our little blogging guild). Rick is synonymous in the minds of those who know him in this context with three things (at least):
  1. Homemade ingredients.
  2. Magnificent, gorgeous, ridiculously complex garnishes.
  3. An unhealthy affinity for Fernet Branca, the Triple Lindy of cocktail ingredients.
Now, I can't abide Fernet. And this Tiki month I've concentrated on stuff other than making my own syrups. So I was left searching for garnish ideas... As the picture above will show, I came up with something. Here's the recipe:

HALIKAI HOT TUB

  • 2 oz. El Dorado 12 yr. demerara rum
  • 2 oz. The Gin From Watershed Distillery
  • 1 oz. cognac
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. Trader Tiki Hazelnut Orgeat
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 10 oz. ice

Combine ingredients in a blender and flash blend for about five seconds. Pour into a scorpion bowl "hot tub".

Carve a face on a full-sized lime with zester. Skewer lime top down with fireworks pick, and add two key limes for the body. Attach two more key limes with toothpicks to the side of the torso as arms. Use a toothpick behind the head as hook and nestle Mr. Halikai into the "hot tub".

Place a sugar cube in the volcano crater and fill with J. Wray 151 proof rum. Light it (carefully).

Serves two happily.

This drink is really all about the garnish. (A less pretty but better lit picture is here.) Don't get me wrong, the drink is really tasty, but all it is is a tiny tweak on the house Scorpion Bowl recipe of the old Luau Restaurant in Beverly Hills (real recipe of this and other Scorpions to be found in Beach Bum Berry Remixed.) But the real point here is one of the fun elements of Tiki drinks: The Garnish. Just like you don't need to wear an aloha shirt, or listen to Martin Denny, or use a fancy ceramic vessel to enjoy a great tiki drink, you don't need a silly, wild, creative garnish. And you also don't need box seats behind home plate to enjoy a baseball game. But if they are available.... Use whatever strikes your fancy. Carve up some tropical fruit, or employ the leaves from atop a pineapple. Mint and other herbs make a great and fragrant garnish that can actually enhance the flavor of the drink. Hell, a cheap paper umbrella or pink flamingo on a toothpick can set your mood. Just experiment, and you'll have fun. And once you have a cool idea, don't hesitate to riff on it. You cannot go too far with Tiki garnishes!"
Roasting Marshmallows over a Scorpion Bowl"No, Mr. Stay Puft, I expect you to DIE!"
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Halloween, reviews, Vodka

The Skeletal Mule With Three Olives Purple

Halloween time, folks! Among the spook-tide offering from the Liquor Fairy this year was a bottle of Three Olives Purple. Three Olives has one of the larger spread of flavors available, with more coming all the time. Purple is a bit more differentiated than most, as we'll see in a moment. I've written before about the difficulty vodka makers have in differentiating their products from their competitors. Some use sex. (Some are bit more on the nose about this than others.) Others use beautiful or gimicky packaging. The most useful thing the distillers do to make themselves stand out is to offer a flavored or infused variant or two. Three Olives has used all these methods over the years, but they seem to have chosen to be the king of flavored vodkas as their core competency. They show sixteen flavored vodkas on their website currently, including all the basics called for in most decent cocktails that use flavored vodka, such as a citrus and a vanilla. Purple, along with the unfortunately(?) named Rangtang, are part of a new evolution in the flavored vodka field: Color. Purple looks just that, a dark, opaque concord grape purple. It makes for some very interesting looking mixtures. The flavor is also just that, Purple. The label says "grape-flavored vodka", but it's purple-flavored vodka. That's not a bad thing, by the way, just a thing you need to know when deciding what to do with this product. I happen to like purple flavored things, others don't. That's no different from any other infusion choice in vodka. Now, if you like the basic flavor, what do you do with it in a drink? The initial, and easy, route to go is sweet flavors. I think most bars will use Purple in shooter-like drinks. It looks distinctive, and the flavor is a powerful quick hit. Try playing with orange curaçao, cranberry, or even real grape juice. You can also produce an interesting Cosmopolitan variant with a sweet red wine in place of the cranberry juice. But this is a serious cocktail blog (har!) and I wanted to come up with a drink using Purple that was more dry and/or spicy, in the vein I prefer. After a few rather unfortunate dead ends, it hit me that Purple would marry well with ginger. Purple, Canton, a splash of lime, and some orange bitters (in all sorts of different ratios) yields a tasty cocktail. The drink that I hit on that I really like, and that I think goes really well with this whole Halloween time we have right now, is my Skeletal Mule. It is essentially nothing but a Moscow Mule, modified for spookiness. Use Purple in place of plain Three Olives or other brand vodka. And replace the copper cup with the best drinkware you can find at one of the fifty temporary Halloween supply stores that are open near you right now.
SKELETAL MULE
  • 2 oz. Three Olives Purple
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 4 oz. good, spicy ginger beer.
Mix your ingredients in the vessel with ice cubes. Garish with a homemade brandied cherry impaled on a lime wheel and a chunk of dry ice.
This drink looks all Halloweeny without the dry ice, and positively Vincent Price with it. I plan on having one close at hand when answering the door for the trick or treaters this Sunday. (A few words about Dry Ice: You can usually get it, year-round at good ice cream shops. They keep it to pack with ice cream for travel. And do not use dry ice to garnish shooters or shots! If someone drinks even a sliver of the stuff, the consequences don't bear dwelling on. And even if there are no accidents, the bubbles in a small glass are going to splash Purple all over the place and make a mess.)
The-Liquor-Fairy-ThumbThe Liquor Fairy Was Here!
The following product, Three Olives Purple, was recently provided to me as promotional consideration to encourage me to discuss it.
For a complete disclosure of my policies regarding promotional items and all other financial interests, please click this link, or follow the Liquor Fairy link in the header of this page.
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