Tag - Mixology Monday

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Mixology Monday: Tiki — The Missionary’s Downfall
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Reminder: Mixology Monday is February 20th
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Call for Submissions: MxMo LXIV—Tiki!
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Mixology Monday LVI: The Blue Beetle #2
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Tiki Drink: Hot Buttered Mai Tai
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MxMo LII: Forgotten Cocktails

Mixology Monday: Tiki — The Missionary’s Downfall

Missionary's Downfall
Now this is a Tiki Drink.

It is Mixology Monday again, the sixty-fourth such extravaganza to take over the interwebz. I am hosting said blog carnival once again. It has been Tiki Month all month here at the Pegu Blog, and the theme for this month’s MxMo is…. Tiki!!!

Purely a coincidence.
Really!

Be sure to come back in about 24 hours or so to check out the round up of all the participants this time out. Now, let us move on to my own offering.

I’ve concentrated this month on drinks that have awesome names, but I’ve saved this one for MxMo. The name Missionary’s Downfall is almost perfectly evocative of all that is Tiki. It’s colorful. It’s kinda pagan. It’s a little dark and mysterious. And it is kinda suggestive of sex, though not of the Guilt-Free variety. It’s a name impossible to forget.

But while there are a number of Tiki drinks with memorable names, not all are great drinks. This one is fabulous, however. The exact proportions of this recipe are all over the map, depending on where you find it. This is how I make it, adapted from the Tiki+ app. (Interestingly, the Bum’s recipe that is in Grog Log, is significantly different, even though Tiki+ lists that book as the source.)

MISSIONARY’S DOWNFALL

  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. honey mix*
  • 1 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse Silver or other white rum
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh pineapple juice
  • 10-20 mint leaves
  • 6 oz. small or crushed ice

Combine in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a large cocktail glass and garnish with a sprig of young mint, planted upright in the center.

*HONEY MIX

  • 1 part honey
  • 1 part water

Combine in a small sauce pan and bring just to a boil. Cool and bottle for future use.
Make more of this than you think need for just this drink. Honey mix is versatile stuff!

Most other Missionary’s Downfall recipes call for peach brandy. I use apricot because my apricot brandy is much higher quality than my peach, and because I prefer how it works in this cocktail.

You’ll notice that the Missionary’s Downfall is much lower in alcohol than many Tiki drinks. Interestingly, it doesn’t taste particularly mild. What it does taste like is delicious. The drink does extremely well what good Tiki does best—offer a wide array of soft and exotic flavors that don’t trample each other, letting each come to the fore sometime throughout each sip. (Bad Tiki, incidentally, does the opposite.)
But because this drink does such a good job of balancing the flavors and making each apparent, you really need to not shortcut any of them. Make sure your juices are fresh. Use good mint.
Most importantly, don’t substitute other sweeteners for the honey mix. Similarly, don’t try to just use pure honey and try to blend it in. It won’t cooperate. If you try, you will end up with a layer of sticky goo trapping some of your mint leaves on the bottom of your blender below the blades, and not enough honey flavor and texture in your cocktail.

Garbage in, garbage out with this drink. But good stuff in, ambrosia out, in my opinion. It is light, delicious, and goes down easy.

I’ll leave you with the following as background music for the rest of your Mixology Monday: Tiki reading pleasure. It’s a song called Missionary’s Downfall by a band called Planet Smashers. They are supposedly classified as a “Third Wave Ska” band, whatever that is. To me, they sound like an upbeat early 80′s New Wave outfit, singing about Tiki drinks. Here’s the lyrics. Here’s a link to the album, Mighty, on iTunes. and here’s the YouTube video, embedded for your listening pleasure:

Reminder: Mixology Monday is February 20th


Hear that? It’s drums, in the distance…. And there is a deeper rumbling in the direction of the mountain. The Earth itself trembles. A red glow lights the night sky. The Tiki Gods stir, and the natives feel restless.

Are they angry?
The volcano gods, I mean, not the natives.

Oh, I’m not sure that they are angry, at least not yet. Perhaps they just have demands. Yes, that’s it, demands.

So if those demands aren’t satisfied,
then they will be angry?

Yes!
And don’t make us angry…

See?
You wouldn’t like us when we are angry.

Yikes!
Um, Doug? Do something!

Oh, I wouldn’t worry. They seem like OK guys to me.

That’s easy for you to say!
You’re not the one stuck here inside your head this blog with “Volcano Hulk”!

OK, OK.
Oh, Tiki Gods! What makes you restless? What do you want?

Virgins?

Why is it always virgins with you?

We like virgins.

Um, I’ll see what we have….

Hey!
Don’t Look at me!

Yeah. She won’t do.
I took care of that long ago!{Smirk}

You?!
Oh, that’s funny.

What?
Now wait a minute!

Hey! This little reminder post is going off the rails. Back to the sock drawer and work this out, you two.
And you Tiki Gods, we are fresh out of virgins around here. What else can we do for you?

Your sacrifices to us all this month have served only to whet our appetites. If you won’t give us virgins, then you must give us many more drinks… and maybe some snacks… or fine rainment… and perhaps some sacramental vessels!
Just celebrate Tiki, dammit, all across the land. Or we will cover it with lava!
BWAHAHAHAHA!

It’s Mixology Monday: Tiki, tomorrow, February 20th, folks! Don’t forget to notify me as a reply to this post, or to the original announcement post, or in an email where to find what you’ve written on or before Monday. I’ll have the roundup up Tuesday, Tiki Gods willing.
Write about what you want to appease the Tiki Gods: Drinks (of course it’s mostly about the drinks), Mugs, Shirts, Decor, and Food.
See you tomorrow!

Call for Submissions: MxMo LXIV—Tiki!


Monday, February 20th, 2012 will be the 64th Mixology Monday. I’ll be hosting it here at the Pegu Blog, and since February is Tiki Month in these parts, We’ve decided that the theme shall be TIKI!

The Tiki scene, like classic cocktails in general, is reviving nicely these days. The lush, decadent marriage of tropical flavors and exotic kitsch carries us away to a better, less dreary place. Please join in and add your words, images, and offerings to the Tiki Gods on the 20th. Since Tiki is more than just the drinks, feel free to post on whatever Tiki subject floats your outrigger canoe. I suspect most of you will want to offer up delectable drinks, but feel free to wax eloquent on aloha shirts, exotica music, decor, garnishes, food or whatever else moves you to enter the Tiki spirit!

As with most Mixology Mondays, the procedure is easy:

  • Write up your exotic journey and post it to your blog or on eGullet, etc., on or before February 20th, 2012.
  • If you are currently blogless, drop me a line, and I’ll set you up an author account and you can post your offering to the gods right here. If you don’t want to figure out how, you can even email me the text and pictures, if any, and I’ll post it. But please do it early!
  • Be sure to include a link back to this post, and to the Mixology Monday site. Also include the regular MxMo logo, or you can use this thumbnail-sized version of the MxMo: Tiki logo at the top of this post. (You can steal the full-sized pic above if you like, too)
  • When your post is done, add a comment to this post right here and/or email me the link at D o u g (at) C o c k t a i l c a p e r s . c o m.
  • Check back to the home page here after a day or so to see all the glorious results.

Aloha, Y’all!

Mixology Monday LVI: The Blue Beetle #2

56? Really?
This little Blog Carnival of Cocktails might just catch on.
This installment of Mixology Monday is hosted by Turntable Boy, aka DJ Hawaiian Shirt of Spirited Remix. Chris (yes, he’s got a lot of names) has a nifty original idea for a theme this month: Your Best. He asks all cocktail bloggers and sundry to post (or repost) our favorite original cocktail.

So what original concoction am I most proud of? For many of the prolifically creative out there, this question may be hard to answer, but not me. First, I don’t create that many drinks at all, and second, I don’t pretend to be that good at it.
That said, I have made a few that I’m proud of, but one stands out head and shoulders above the rest. I came up with it more than two years ago and since then the only cocktail I have made more of than it is… well, you know.

This month, I (re)offer: The Blue Beetle #2.
The name was stolen from Jacob Grier, whose Blue Beetle is also nice but not at all like my #2. (I was on a Corpse Reviver kick when this drink was created, thus the naming convention.) Here’s the main recipe:

BLUE BEETLE #2

  • 3 parts dry gin (Whitley Neill is best)
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part blueberry simple syrup
  • 2-3 dashes of Fee’s Grapefruit Bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass as garnish with a strip of lemon peel as long as shoelace.

Once you’ve got the blueberry syrup done (see below) this drink is dead easy to make, it has a striking blue-purple color, and most importantly, a fresh flavor and aroma that appeals to all sorts of drinkers. It is particularly effective as a gateway drug for gin. The Blue Beetle #2 damps down the pungency of gin, while still allowing its underlying complexities to make themselves evident. A gin drinker will identify this as a gin drink right off. But a gin skeptic will likely just say, “Wow! That’s good!”
I recommended Whitley Neill since there is something in its African botanicals that marry really well in this drink. But any good dry gin will do well. I do recommend that you stay away from really heavy juniper formulations, and don’t think the recipe’s magical gin-softening powers will let you get away with the cheap stuff either!

The only tough thing about the BB#2 is the blueberry simple syrup. It’s actually easy to make, but a bear to clean up after. I use the recipe Alton Brown gives in his blueberry soda episode of…

You sure do use a lot of my stuff here on this blog, don’t you Doug?

Well, yeah. There’s lots to use.

Of course.
You know, with some good humor, a little culinary know-how, and the right blueberries, a fun little syrup like this can be…

What, you’re going to leave me hanging here?

Oh no. I praise you. I link your recipe. Promo your show, Good Eats, yourself.

Ha!
Gotcha!

Damn.
Anyway, here’s the recipe:

BLUEBERRY COCKTAIL SYRUP

  • 24 oz. wild blueberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 oz. granulated sugar
  • 1.5 oz. fresh lime juice.
  • 1 oz. vodka

Put blueberries and water in a deep sauce pot. Bring to a boil and back off the heat to a good simmer for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool until it won’t burn your fingers, then strain through several layers of cheesecloth resting in a colander over a stainless steel bowl. Lift the cheesecloth and squeeze it gently to work out as much liquid as you can. Discard the pulp and cheesecloth blob. Pour liquid back into original pot, add sugar and lime juice. Heat over medium high while stirring until mixture boils. (Don’t stir while it boils!) Boil for two minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool completely, and add vodka to help keep it stable. Refrigerate and enjoy with gin and lemon juice!

I’ll leave you with a last note about the blueberries. They don’t have to be fresh, but they do need to be flavorful. Dole sells American wild blueberries frozen in 12 oz. bags that are much better for this syrup than all the big, beautiful, flavorless Chilean blueberries that you find in the store most of the year. Put those on your Frosted Flakes.

So that’s it. The Blue Beetle #2 is my best. I hope you give it a try. Now swing back to Spirited Remix and give some others’ a whirl as well!
Cheers!

Tiki Drink: Hot Buttered Mai Tai

Well, it is Mixology Monday time again, folks! That is our monthly round up of cocktail bloggers, posting in harmony on a single theme. This month’s festivities are being hosted by Nancy, The Backyard Bartender. The theme that she has decreed for us is, “Some Like it Hot!”

Now, I’m not much of a hot alcoholic beverage guy, at least not yet. (We’ll see after I read everybody’s posts) But as it happens, the announcement for this month’s MxMo came across my reader less than an hour after I had discovered the perfect drink for me for this month’s entry.

See, this is the last post I’ll be putting up during Tiki Month 2011, my annual month-long exploration of all things Tiki. Tiki drinks are hardly a bastion of hot beverages, tending more to the delicate chill of crushed ice. so it was fortuitous indeed, perhaps fated, that I find this idea.

One of the classic hot drinks, perhaps the classic hot drink, is the Hot Buttered Rum, and I’m sure we’ll see a few of these this Mixology Monday. One of the classic Tiki drinks, perhaps the classic Tiki drink, is the Mai Tai. The Mai Tai is made with rum. Hmmm.

Let’s Tiki, an excellent Tiki blog I just discovered this month, had a post late last year producing this cosmic convergence, the Hot Buttered Mai Tai. He even produced a good video of the process for making it, but since I’m stealing his drink for my MxMo post, I’ll make you have to visit his blog to see it.

Like any good Tiki drink, this one is a little complicated to make and requires a two step process. First, you have to whip up a batch of the mix. Simply combine 4 tablespoons of softened butter with 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract. Then stir in 2 tablespoons of orange zest. This is going on all the zest you can get from a single large orange. (Remember when zesting to not abrade the orange too deeply. Orange zest is yummy, the orange pith which dwells a millimeter deeper is not.) This is enough to make four Hot Buttered Mai Tais. I don’t know for sure, but if you keep it sealed in plastic wrap in single serving sized dollops, it should keep a good while.

When you are ready to make your drink, here’s the recipe.

HOT BUTTERED MAI TAI

  • 2 oz. good dark rum
  • 1 tbsp. mix
  • 2 tsp. honey (to taste)
  • hot water

Combine rum and mix in a small coffee cup. Add a small amount of hot water and stir to dissolve. Add honey to taste.

The resulting drink is interesting. It combines the basic Mai Tai taste elements, but from often different directions. It is pretty good, but is very easy to screw up as well.

First, don’t scrimp on the quality of the rum. Just because this is a hot drink doesn’t mean you can get away with any old rum.
I know.
I tried.
Just as with a regular Mai Tai, you need a rich, full-bodied dark rum, or even a blend of rums. (Rum blending for Mai Tais can lead you down the rabbit hole of obsession, so be careful). I tried this first with Mount Gay Eclipse, a perfectly serviceable dark rum which I’d never use in a regular Mai Tai, to totally bland results.

The other way you can ruin this drink is too much hot water. Add a small amount at a time. And try to find the smallest Tiki vessel you can to mix it in. Let your mix get to room temp before you make the drink and you won’t need much to dissolve it and the honey. Then add a bit more for heat and to taste.

The Hot Buttered Mai Tai is a worthy last drink for Tiki Month, and a fun challenge to make with a tasty result. It won’t replace the classic in my repertoire, but I’ll keep it in my quiver for the right occasion. Now, head back to Nancy’s place and check out every one else’s hot drinks. Some like it hot, maybe you will too!

That’s it for Tiki Month. As usual, I have about thirty posts still in my draft queue that I just couldn’t get to. I may hit a few throughout the year, and the rest will have to wait for Tiki Month 2012! It’s been a gas, thanks for all the readers and the comments. Stick around as we return next month to our usual classic frivolity!

MxMo LII: Forgotten Cocktails

Really, Dennis? Could you have put this one more on a tee for me?

It is Mixology Monday time again, and this month’s host is Dennis at Rock & Rye. Here is his charge for this round:

The challenge this month is to bring to light a drink that you think deserves to be resurrected from the past, and placed back into the spotlight. It could be pre-prohibition, post-war, that horrible decade known as the 80′s, it doesn’t really matter. As long as it is somewhat obscure, post it up. If possible, try to keep to ingredients that are somewhat readily available. While we all appreciate the discovery of an amazing cocktail, if we can’t make it, it’s no fun for anyone.

This is just too damn easy, folks. May I present to you a cocktail that has labored in great obscurity, and still labors in far more anonymity than it deserves? Let’s try that exotic offering from the late British Colonial Era of Burma, a delicious and exotic gin sour called…

How could I do anything else? Three and half years, 600+ posts, and 275,000 visitors ago, I started this entire blog with the purpose of bringing this hardly remembered classic back to the minds of cocktail drinkers everywhere. I’d been pushing this on my own since the turn of the century, badgering every bartender I encountered while traveling around the country killing people into learning the recipe. I can’t tell you why I have this obsession schtick, but the last decade has been one long-form version of MxMo 52 for me.

There are a variety of ways to make a Pegu, but all have certain things in common. Pegus all are sours made with gin, orange liqueur, lime and bitters. All are light, bracing, delicious, and deceptively potent.
This cocktail was created by and for the men who were members of the Pegu Club, an outpost of British culture in the frontier of The Empire in the jungles of Burma. These were men who were men of culture, refinement, and breeding, who simultaneously straddled the globe and bent it to their will (for a time). They appreciated a drink with subtlety and grace, that accompanied that refinement with serious power. A drink, in short, meant for this guy:

Here’s the first version of the Pegu I ever encountered, in Paul Harrington’s important Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century.

THE PEGU

  • 3 parts Bombay Sapphire
  • 1 part Cointreau
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine ingredients with ice and shake thoroughly. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.

This is a delicious drink. It is easy to make, and most reasonably equipped bars (no bar is reasonably equipped without fresh limes for juice) can make it for you. Harrington’s Pegu is constructed to capture the feel of the older recipes, while using ingredients readily available in normal bars. For further discussion on this “easily make-able today version vs. classic version” issue, see this post on versions of the Aviation. Harrington’s Pegu is still my favorite, and accounts for more than half of the ones I drink myself at home and nearly all of those I have in bars. It’s best with mainstream gins, especially floral jobs like Sapphire.

The first variation of a Pegu was also the first one made for me by a bartender who already knew of the drink before I told him about it. The man was Peter Dorelli, back in 2000 when he was still head barman at the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London. My wife and I went to England and France for ten days that Spring. She wanted to see and do a hundred different things in London. I wanted to go to the American Bar—because I figured since the Pegu first saw print in The Savoy Cocktail Book, I ought to be able to order one without giving a class for the first time. It worked. It was a sufficiently unusual drink order that Dorelli came to our table, and sat and talked with me about cocktails for quite a long time. It was wonderful.

The drink he brought me looked quite different from what I had expected. And while it tasted just right, the texture was smoother and the color lighter. It was a bit frothy. Apparently he thought all Americans are Health Nazis, since he took a lot of convincing before he admitted that he made his Pegus with a dollop of raw egg white.

SILVER PEGU

  • 3 parts gin
  • 1 part Cointreau
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 tsp.-1 tbsp. egg white

Combine ingredients in shaker with ice and shake very, very thoroughly to combine and leave a light froth. Strain into a cocktail glass and do not garnish.

While just as powerful, a Silver Pegu is even more gentle in the mouth. And less aggressively orangey pink. If you are worried about the dangers of raw egg whites, you have three options:

  1. Buy pasteurized eggs. (The whites are a little less effective than regular)
  2. Consider the amount of disinfectant that tiny amount of egg white will be swimming in.
  3. Live a little.

When I make these (which is rare, as the eggs are a pain), I usually use a big, juniper-heavy gin, like Broker’s. The egg white takes the natural softening of the gin in all Pegus and goes almost too far. A good burly gin fights back and comes through admirably.

In the ten years I’ve been pushing this drink, the cocktail world has, to say the least, changed. The range and numbers of fine drinks being served has exploded. Naturally, business has responded by introducing new ingredients and reintroducing old ones to facilitate.
Today you will easily find, for the first time in 50-80 years, not only one, but a variety of such ingredients as orange bitters and orange curaçao. Now, you can drink a cocktail much closer to what they were making in the Nineteen Twenties, when the Pegu first made it’s name around the globe.

THE PEGU CLUB COCKTAIL

  • 3 parts gin
  • 1 part orange curaçao
  • 1 part lime juice
  • 2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a champagne coupe and garnish with a wheel of lime or a tattooed wedge.

This is pretty close to most early versions of the recipe you find. It is also just about what Audrey Saunders slings in her wonderful Pegu Club lounge in Manhattan. (It’d be wonderful even without that name and signature cocktail… just not as wonderful.) Lighter in color, the Pegu Club is also lighter on the tongue. Interestingly, the orange bitters doesn’t do as good a job of softening the juniper, so the Broker’s I recommend for the Silver Pegu will ruin a Pegu Club. When making these, I’m much more likely to choose Beefeater, or better yet, a light touch gin like G’Vine or Aviation.
For the orange curaçao, I often still use Cointreau, though I’ve had some good experiments with Creole Shrubb. I strongly advise against Citronage in Pegus. Other curaçaos do other things, and if you’ve got a good recommendation, please let me know!
I’m making a lot more Pegu Clubs lately, in part because the PeguWife prefers them.
The chief disadvantage of the Pegu Club is that while any reasonably equipped bar can make a Pegu, only a premium cocktail establishment will have the stuff to make Pegu Clubs.

There you have it: Three cocktails, any one of which you can legitimately call a Pegu, and any one of which will make your cocktail snob’s heart sing. Not only that, but if there is a good entry gin cocktail for the “Oh I don’t drink gin” crowd, this drink is it. Help me out here, have a Pegu yourself, and pass along the good news to ten of your friends!

I’ll add a few words about the challenges and the rewards of running a cocktail blog called The Pegu Blog. I started this blog almost as an exercise in self-parody of my “obsession” with this drink. But I really do want more people to relearn this great cocktail. I figured out very early on that I couldn’t just write about Pegus. As wonderful as the drink is, there is not enough material to keep up regular postings, and no one would read such a monomaniacal set of writings if I tried.

That’s OK, Doug.
No one reads your writings anyway.

I thought I’d make it through this post without you.

Hey!
I’d never miss a Mixology Monday!

So here you are, insulting me. You know, bloggers have sockpuppets to give them a way to praise themselves…

Hence, your exercise in the old self-parody!

Pardon me while I hit my head on the desk….

Regardless of Guy’s snotty commentary, I’ve found that the best way to get you to read about Pegus is to write (hopefully) entertainingly about cocktails in general. Less than 10% of my posts are really about Pegus at all. Thanks for visiting, this Mixology Monday, and I hope you look around the site while you are here, or even subscribe to my feed. Now that you’re done, head on back over to Rock & Rye, thank Dennis for all the work he’d done, and enjoy the other forgotten classics we cocktail writers have put together for you!

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