Tag - Mixology Monday

1
MxMo: XCIII Blue—The Surf Savai’i Sour
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A Tiki Month SubRoundup of MxMo: Sours
3
Extracting the Inversions for Tiki Month
4
MxMo Inversion: Ginger Simple Syrup

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 Tiki Month SubRoundup of MxMo: Sours

MxMo-Tiki-Logo
For those of you following Tiki Month, but who may have missed this month’s Mixology Monday, I want to present a sub-roundup of the entries which are either explicitly or can just be shoehorned into a Tiki concept. With this month’s MxMo theme being Sours, the basic form of most Tiki drinks, it was a target-rich environment.
Without further ado, here are whole bunch of great looking drinks with a Tiki theme or Tiki elements, most of which I won’t have time to try this month, alas. But I’ll get to a bunch of them… oh yes, my precious.

Blue MargaritaBartending Notes offered a simple Margarita, but the picture came out blue. Tiki Rule 4 says that If it’s Blue, it’s Tiki True, so here it is. I just posted about this entry separately here.

Rhubarb Rum FizzAndrea, this month’s taskmistress, ended up with a Rhubarb Rum Fizz. I’m not sure if rhubarb is Tiki-compliant or not, but it looks tasty, she’s our host, and I’m glad I’m not as old as she is and can still take two ounces of lemon juice in one night. (Cough, Fog Cutters, Cough!)

Sol Volcanique from Rated-R CocktailsJFL of Rated-R Cocktails is about the most prolific Tiki blogger out there currently. He produces all sorts of delicious and gorgeous original cocktails regularly. Read him. For this MxMo, he rolls out the Sol Volcanique, which employs the rarely used tangerine.

Sloppy Joe form Nihil UtopiaMy buddy Dagreb takes the opportunity this MxMo to tell the familiar cocktail blogger story of the One Drink That Really Made Me A Cocktailian™. In his case it is the Sloppy Joe. I’m not sure it is really a Tiki drink, but it has rum and citrus and syrup. And I’ve already gotten into how vermouth can be a Tiki ingredient, so here I shoehorn it in.

Eden Sour from DrinksburghMike from Drinksburgh somehow gets away with putting grenadine in a Trader Vic-style Mai Tai without a horde of angry grass-skirted villagers burning down his house. (Though come to think of it, I haven’t heard from him in the last day or so….) Anyway, his Eden Sour would not be any more Tiki if you served it with a plane ticket to Tahiti.

008Caipirinhas aren’t usually considered Tiki, but I’m not sure why. When we think of Brazil we think of volcanic upthrusts, scary natives, and barely clad women in the sand. It is sort of a giant, continent-sized Bora Bora. Anyway, the Ginger Kumquat Caipirinha that Mike of Grow. Eat. Mix. Drink. offers is sure Tiki enough for me.

BalsouricaTwitter god Joel DiPippa quotes some authority as saying “When you have homemade limoncello everything looks like a Sour.” His Balsourica is another drink that teeters on the edge of being had in a Tiki bar, but I want to remember to try it, so I’m including it here.

5 Spice Ti' Punch from Stir and StrainElana at Stir and Strain went with a 5 Spice Ti’ Punch. She employs the traditional 5 Spice blend through an infused syrup that I think would be useful for all manner of Tiki drinks beyond her intended use.

Hanalei Sour from Putney FarmThe folks at Putney Farm worked up something they call a Hanalei Sour. It looks gorgeous, delicious, and Tiki as all get out. And if I can figure out coconut sugar by this evening, it is what I’m making tonight.

Polynesian Sour from Shake Strain & SipLastly, we have the Polynesian Sour, from Scott at Shake Strain & Sip. I won’t trying this delectable-looking treat since it calls for Hawaii’s own spirit, Okolehao. You’ll be shocked, shocked to hear it isn’t available in Ohio…. Oh, and the picture will show you that there is no better garnish to announce you have a Tiki Sour on your hands than a giant half a lime.

There are lots more great Sours on offer in Andrea’s roundup, but these are the ones I think belong in the Tiki category. Remember to swing back by Ginhound to check out all the rest!

Extracting the Inversions for Tiki Month

Turning Doctor Bamboo on His Head
Uninverted Source: Dr. Bamboo

Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut, and author of Drink & Tell: A Boston Cocktail Book, is the man I call The Hardest Working Blogger in Booze Business™. Nowhere is this more clear than in his shouldering the burden of keeping Mixology Monday alive, and in wrangling other hard working bloggers into running the monthly programs. Since I am not a hard-working blogger, I have managed to miss almost all of the second wave of MxMos.

Bad blogger!
No Fernet for you!

But I made it in for this month, since I had a Tiki idea.

The excellent Stewart of Putney Farm stepped up to the plate to host MxMo this month, with a cool, if maddeningly open-ended, theme of Inversion. You can read his excellent round up of the results at that link, but I noted that there was a surprising number of Tiki or Tiki Compliant entries beyond mine and wanted to give them all a second link here.
Dagreb's Flourishing Heir
My buddy Dagreb inverts the Suffering Bastard to give us the Flourishing Heir. For reasons unknown, this makes me think of Downton Abbey, and every time I read his post I am seized with the image of a Tiki party at Downton, with Carson arguing with the Earl of Grantham that it is scandalous for him to appear in that fighter plane-patterned dinner jacket, and the Earl should behave himself and wear his more conservative aloha floral patterned tails.
Oh, Dagreb offers a second inverted cocktail as well, but it is a vile perversion of all that is good and holy and I shall not write of it here.

Iat Iam
Joey of Rated R Cocktails has bought into Tiki Month in a big way, may Pele bless him. He will need those blessings, because his offering, the Iat Iam (Mai Tai inverted, get it?) commits almost every sacrilege imaginable to Tiki’s holiest concotion… and still manages to produce a good result! Seriously Joe, gin? Orange juice? Bitters? Red superball cocktail cherries? Freaking Blue Curaçao? What, all out of commercial “grenadine”, were you?

The Tigress
Chef-blogger Nathan Hazard, whose blog sports the gloriously inexplicable moniker of The Chocolate of Meats, pulls off no mean feat in The Tigress—a completely juiceless Tiki drink! I don’t have the time to produce his pineapple cordial which ties it all together, which is too bad because I think this might be an ideal culmination of this year’s unofficial Tiki Month theme of cocktail-style Tiki drinks.

Hawaii O
Another Tiki cocktail, a dessert one this time, is the Hawaii-O, from Danish blogger Andrea at Gin Hound. She takes a long-forgotten candy and inverts it into a cocktail. Chocolate and pineapple go really well together under all circumstances, but with a healthy dose of rum? Yum. The only thing I don’t like about this post is that it reminds me that I did no dessert drinks myself this time through Tiki Month….

Hopped Up Nui Nui
One of my favorite bloggers, and one of my wife’s favorite bartenders, Jacob Grier of Liquidity Preference takes the classic Nui Nui and beers it up with Inversion IPA! I’d wax on here about the very interesting head Jacob gets on the drink from shaking it with a carbonated ingredient already mixed in, which I’d have never considered doing, but I’m too busy wondering where to find that extraordinary cocktail umbrella.
(Bonus: Check out Jacob’s Great Moments in Heterosexuality, which I’d previously not noticed.)

Invertita Boozenerds
“Boozenerds” Christa and Shaun offer two Tiki, or at the least Tiki Compliant, cocktails. The Invertita (pictured) is a spicy aromatic drink where the frozen stuff stays under the liquid. The second, the Rogue Wave, is an Old-Fashioned that morphs into a Tiki drink as the frozen fruit nectar ice cubes melt. Tiki is a particularly ice-nerdy genre of drinks, and these are two fun-looking techniques that I intend to try with stuff that isn’t Tiki-related too.

MxMo-Tiki-Logo
And I did my aforementioned post as well, in which I “inverted” making a critical Tiki ingredient by, um, not making said critical Tiki ingredient.

There are plenty more worthwhile (though not Tiki) posts outlined in Stewart’s roundup post. Do go check them out as well!

And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!

MxMo Inversion: Ginger Simple Syrup

MxMo-Tiki-ThumbToday is Mixology Monday, and this month’s theme is “Inverted”, which could mean a lot of things. I intend to take it as turning a concept on its head, as you will see if you hang with me. Since it is Tiki Month on this blog, and other places as well, I’m going to keep with the Tiki theme and invert a Tiki element.

Part of the fun, but also a big part of the pain in the ass of Tiki are the myriad of exotic ingredients you need to make or track down. These syrups, juices, etc. take varying amounts of work to make or obtain, but they all have limited shelf lives and most have very little application to cocktails other than Tiki. If you keep enough of them on hand to make a decent range of Tiki drinks, you practically have to make nothing but, just to keep from throwing away a criminal amount of the stuff. This is both expensive and depressing.

This is the biggest reason for Tiki Month. I love Tiki drinks, but not enough to crowd out all the others in the larger world of craft cocktails. So I indulge myself in one month a year where I assemble all those fruits and home-made or difficult to obtain liquids, and chase away the cold. The whole idea of Tiki Month itself is a bit of an inversion, but not the focus here.

This post is about a particularly useful but problematic essential Tiki ingredient, ginger simple syrup. Ginger simple is awesome because of the exotic but gentle burn it can lend to a drink. It plays well with a very wide range of juices, spirits, and even other spices. Further, it is an exception to my rule above about Tiki syrups not being much use in more mainstream cocktails.

The list of decidedly non-faux-polynesian drinks that can be happily modified or improved by the mere substitution of your ginger syrup for plain simple is distinguished and too long to so much as scratch here. I’ll just name one: Rum Old-Fashioned.

Of the critical Tiki syrups, ginger simple is the only one I’ve tried making reasonably often when it is not Tiki Month.

And it is a pain in the ass.

The problem with ginger simple is that it lasts for a much shorter time than other similar infused syrups. The ginger flavor just packs up and leaves in a depressingly short time, leaving you with plain old simple syrup with an almost unidentifiable, imperceptible heat. Without a party or two, even during Tiki Month, the diminuative 12 oz bottles of ginger simple that I make don’t stay potent to the bottom.

I’ve done some research on extending ginger simple syrup’s life. A good thread at Tiki Central on a modified Mai Tai moves to an in-depth discussion of making ginger syrup last. The two prong approach they kind of settle on is to treat your raw ginger very roughly (Vitamix sounds like “Jack the Ripper” to fresh produce), and making your ginger syrup so strong it bites. I find this solution unsatisfying for several reasons. I don’t like brute force solutions. I imagine that this may introduce other chemicals into the syrup from the ginger than those you’d get in the traditional steeping method. Just starting with a stronger ginger content to delay the point where it fades to unrecognizability does not address the problem of the syrup weakening from one session to the next. And I’d spend longer cleaning my BlendTec carafe of all the fibrous remains than I would drinking the drinks I made with the ginger. I’m lazy. Sue me.

Another approach can be found at a blog with the mind-shatteringly awesome name of I Love You but I’ve Chosen Cocktails. It is more focused on creating a ginger beer base than a cocktail syrup. The approach here is to add a bit of lemon juice to the ginger puree, altering the PH. This allegedly helps stabilize the flavor essences of the ginger, making them less likely to volatilize. But now you have lemon juice in your ginger syrup, along with a lot of sugar. It could work in some applications, but a recipe calling for generic ginger simple may find this version problematic.

After wrestling this with some time before this Tiki Month, I’ve decided to give up invert the problem; stand it on its head, if you will. I harkened back to the words of the mighty philosopher Mick Jagger, who once spake, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time, you just might find, you get what you need.

Hipster kiddies, you probably don’t get that joke, but trust us old farts, it’s friggin’ hilarious!

Well, at least it makes sense.

What I wanted was ginger simple syrup that would be stable in flavor long enough to use most of it. But what I, and other cocktailians, needis a way to get ginger into a cocktail, in reliable amounts, easily. Not the same thing.

I hit on the solution while browsing the herbal remedy section of one of our nearby organic/locavore/gluten-free supermarkets. (When you reach a certain age, your body starts telling you to stop dismissing herbal remedies as the poppycock you always thought, and give them a chance.) Here on the shelf was a bottle of high-quality, food-grade ginger extract.
DGINGER
A simple syrup base is the normal way that bartenders and mixers have been prepping certain flavors so they dissolve easily in cold liquids for decades. Sugar is common in drinks anyway, and preserves and retains lots of flavors well. Just not ginger.
The scales fell from my eyes as I saw that I did not actually need to do this with a single, special-purpose ingredient. I picked up a bottle. And you don’t need a nearby organic/locavore/gluten-free supermarket to do the same. Amazon has you covered.

Now I just use plain simple syrup, the ready availability of which in my bar is exceeded only by that of gin, and about 6 drops of pure ginger extract per teaspoon called for in a recipe. Further, when I’m making up my own drinks, the amount of ginger I can deliver to the drink is divorced from the amount of sugar I add. I get the same ginger heat, with added reliability and flexibility. The ginger essences in the extract are contained in a small, well-sealed bottle, and stabilized with alcohol, not sugar. The bottle will last a good long time on the shelf next to my bitters.

I save space in my fridge, time and mess in my kitchen, grumpiness from my wife over said mess in the kitchen, and waste in my bar. All for a little cheat on the Traditional Method. It is Tiki Month, and if it teaches you nothing else, it teaches you that there is good stuff to be learned from that Glorious Lack of Authenticity!

And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!

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